For Jesus: “the small ones” are at the center of his community’s attention. They are God's treasure, the precious pearl for which it is worth to scour every corner of the world; the jewel that brings overflowing joy to whoever finds it (Mt 13:44-46). The rabbis said: "The Lord rejoices in the resurrection of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked." The God of Jesus is more pleased when a sinner returns than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray (Mt 18:13).
News in Homilies
In our day we are also tempted to live in the dynamics of the conservation of our own humanity, our own ego, in short, our own interests. This is living from human logic. Today, more than ever, we are tempted to commit crime, to settle, to easily abandon our convictions; To sell the word - speaking to each person what he wants to hear - without being witnesses of the truth of Christ.
It is not enough to learn what others, even apostles, say about the Teacher. One could write an encyclopedia about the Christ and still not be a card-carrying Christian. To each baptized, Jesus leans over and whispers, "But YOU...who do YOU say I am?" That question will never go away.
The message is as timely as ever. The church is called to be sign that all discriminations related to gender, membership to a race, to a people or to an institution are ended. Paul declares: “In Christ Jesus, all of you are sons and daughters of God through faith. Here there is no longer any difference between Jew or Greek, or between slave or freed, or between man and woman; but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Faith Matures in Moments of Crisis. "Come to me now—the Risen Lord repeats to every disciple. Do not be afraid of losing your life. If you hesitate, death will make you afraid. If you trust my word, the waters of death will not scare you, and you will cross over and catch up with me in the resurrection.”
Jesus leaves the plain and leads some disciples to the heights; he moves them away from human reasoning and calculations to introduce them into the inscrutable designs of the Father. He makes them go up to bring them back then, transformed, to the land where they are called to work.
Jesus warns us: "Do not store up treasures for yourself here on earth, where moth and rust destroy it, and where thieves can steal it. Store up treasures for yourself with God, where no moth or rust can destroy it, nor thief come and steal it. For where your treasures is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:19-21).
The world came out good from the hand of God. However, the presence of evil remains an enigma, a disturbing element that man cannot stand. He is impatient as the servants in the parable. He asks himself: "Where did the weeds come from?" Frenzy, to immediately solve the tensions he experiences, takes over him. He ends up resorting to worse remedies of evil. He becomes intolerant and ruthless with himself and with others. He punishes cruelly, launches holy wars and gets carried away by anger that "never fulfills the justice of God” (Jas 1:20).
Between Heaven and Earth: Te World. "Hear, o Israel” is the most beloved prayer of the Jewish pity (Dt 6:4). In the Bible, listening does not mean to receive a communication or information, but to adhere to, to receive, to keep in one’s heart and put into practice a proposal. It is equivalent to granting trust to God. Those who listen to his word with these provisions are blessed (Lk 11:28).
Jesus is presented as meek and humble of heart. These are the terms that we find in the Beatitudes. The passage of today's Gospel is a reason for both personal and community reflection. Which God do we believe in? Is he that one of the "wise" or that one revealed to us by Jesus? For whom is our community a sign of hope, for whom is one convinced of meriting the first place, for whom does one feel unworthy to cross the threshold of the church?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus insists, three times: “Do not be afraid!” (vv. 26,28,31) and each time, he adds a motive to justify his recommendation. The announcer of the Gospel is afraid, first of all, because of the violence unleashed by the enemies of Christ, his mission might fail (vv. 26-27).
The gesture to reach out to receive the consecrated bread is the sign of the interior disposition to accept Christ and to ensure that his thoughts become our thoughts, his words our words, his choices our choices. In the sign of the Eucharist, his person is assimilated, as is the case with the bread. One day, the disciple will relish the transformation performed in him by the Spirit at work in the sacrament and he will exclaim, like Paul: Now “it is no longer me; Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
Today’s feast was very lately introduced in the liturgical calendar (only around 1350). It offers the opportunity, through reflection on the word of God, to purify the image that we have made of him and to discover new and surprising features of his face. To internalize the message, we repeat: “Show me, O Lord, your true face.”
The Spirit: Hope For A New World. Where the Spirit comes radical upheavals and transformation always happen: barriers fall, doors are opened wide; all the towers built by human hands and designed by “the wisdom of this world” shake; fear, passivity, and quietism disappear; initiatives are developed and courageous decisions are made.
The certainty of the Ascension reverses the perspective. While the years pass, the Christian is satisfied because he sees the days of a definitive encounter with Christ coming soon. He is happy to have lived, does not envy the young ones and looks at them with tenderness. "The Sufferings of this present time are not worth compared to the future glory that will be revealed in us"
Jesus promised not to leave them alone, without protection and guidance. He said that he will pray to the Father, and he will “send the other Paraclete” who will always be with them (v. 16). It is the promise of the gift of that Spirit that Jesus possesses in fullness (Lk 4:1,14,18) and will be infused into the disciples. Jesus clarifies (vv. 15,17) that the Spirit could be received only by those who are in accord with him, with his plans and his works of love. The world cannot receive it.
One of the characteristics of the primitive community described in the Acts of the Apostles is the absence of classes, titles, honorifics, greater prestige or recognized dignity of some eminent member. All believers are considered on a level of equality. No one would be called rabbi because there was only one Master and they were only disciples. They felt themselves brothers and no one claimed the title of father. They knew the fact of having one Father in heaven (Mt 23:8-10).
In the story of the disciples of Emmaus, all elements of the celebration of the Eucharist are present: there is the entrance of the celebrant, then the Liturgy of the Word with the homily, finally, “the breaking of bread.” Only at the time of the Eucharistic communion the eyes open and the disciples realize that the Risen One is in their midst, but without the Word, they would not have come to discover the Lord in the Eucharistic bread. The disciples of Emmaus, as soon as they recognized the Lord, rush to announce their discovery to their brothers and sisters and with them proclaim their faith: “The Lord is truly risen...”