Every year, on the first Sunday of Lent, the gospel is on the temptations of Jesus in the desert. Mark refers to them very briefly, and uses two verses (vv. 12-13) to explain them. In front of these few lines some preachers are struggling to outline the homily.
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The first part of today’s Gospel (vv. 40-42) reports the fact. A leper, in contravention of the provisions of the law, approaches Jesus and begs him on his knees to be “purified.” He is not asking for healing, but to be purified, that is to be put in a condition to go back into the community. More than the disease itself, what troubled him was the fact of being excluded from civil and religious society.
Evil exists but is not invincible. Jesus did not get involved in theoretical disquisitions on pain. He proposed his solution: evil exists and is not to be explained, but fought. “Every time I wipe a tear, I cooperate in the salvation of Christ."
Priests, parents and Christian educators often say they are disappointed. They complain because their gospel-inspired exhortations seem to fall on deaf ears or have a very weak impact. The word of the Lord—they ask—has perhaps lost its efficacy? One preaches about oneself and one’s own convictions, believing of proclaiming the gospel. The good exhortations, warnings dictated by common sense, the wisdom of this world often show themselves useful, but they never worked wonders. Miracles happen only if the announced word is that of the Master.
Each call begins with the discovery of one’s name, the real one, known by God, not the one dictated by ambitions, proclaimed by flatterers, suggested by vanity. Only in silence and prayer one can hear it tenderly pronounced by the Lord. Samuel does not come to discover the voice of God alone. There is a man, the priest Eli, who helps him. There are some people more sensitive than others to the word of God. They are the ones that can help us discover what the Lord wants us to do.
All the evangelists give importance to the baptism of Jesus because it marked the beginning of his public life. But it is not the incident itself that they want to attract attention to, as the revelation of the sky. In this event, one can capture it. The Synoptic Gospels present it to us with three images well understood by their readers: the opening of the heavens, the dove, the voice from heaven (vv. 10-11).
The dream of God came true when a star appears in Israel, Christ the Lord, as the Lord has promised (Nm 24:17). His light drives away the darkness created by ancestral hates and convokes all the people in one family. This is the message of hope of the Epiphany, the feast of light.
- May the Lord bless and protect you
- May the Lord shine his face on you and be gracious to you
- May the Lord direct his gaze on you and give you peace.
Mary does not understand, but observes, meditates, reflects and after Easter (not before), she will understand everything; she will clearly see the meaning of that which happened.
The message is addressed to all Christian parents. Their duty is not only to give the children an education, work and an insertion into the fabric of civil society. They are called to a most important mission: to consecrate their children to the Lord, from the earliest days of their lives.
At Christmas, God reveals the immensity of His unconditional love. This is his justice. All people are invited to contemplate with wonder and let themselves be free from fear because "there is no fear in love. Perfect love drives away fear, for fear has to do with punishment: those who fear do not know perfect love"(1 Jn 4:18).
No one had understood God's plan. David, Nathan, Solomon, the kings of Israel had not understood it. All had put their dreams in opposition to God and expected from him only the help to achieve them. Mary does not behave like them; she does not put her plan in opposition to God. She only asks what is the role God intends to entrust to her and joyously welcomes his initiative.
In the Gospels we encounter people with sad faces: the rich young man who has not the courage to detach his heart from his possesions (Mt 19:22), the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:17). But an atmosphere of joy pervades in all the pages of the Gospel, from the promise of a son to Zechariah "he will bring joy and gladness and many will rejoice at his birth" (Lk 1:14), to the "great joy" announced to the shepherds (Lk 2:10-11), to the joy of Zacchaeus who receives the Lord in his house (Lk 19:6), until the disciples’ sheer joy on the day of Passover (Jn 20:20).
The Baptist had a mission to fulfill: to prepare the way for this encounter of love. The strange clothing that distinguished him was that of the prophets (Zec 13:4) and, in particular, of Elijah who, like John, “wore a mantle of fur with a leather belt around his waist” (2 Kgs 1:8). The content of the Baptist’s preaching (vv. 7-8) was the announcement of the coming of one, stronger than he, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception—defined by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854—has been formulated with a language linked to the philosophical and theological categories of time, a difficult to understand language for the twenty-first-century man and woman. If the dogma wants to have something to say to us today, we must re-read it in the light of biblical revelation.
“The doorkeeper” who has to be more vigilant than others indicates those that, in the Christian community, are responsible for carrying out the most important services, those on which the life of the church depends: the proclamation of the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments, the support of the disciples who are wavering in their faith.
The conclusion of the parable is a popular proverb that reflects an easily verifiable fact: wealth tends to accumulate and the rich becomes richer. Invoked in this parable, this saying meant to signify that, with the riches of God’s kingdom, the same thing happens: the community that is generous and attentive to the signs of the times progress and is gaining greater vitality, while those who prefer to withdraw into themselves grow old, lapse and no one will be surprised to see them one day disappear.
The last words of today's Gospel reproduce at a glance all the displayed message: "Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and who ever humbles himself shall be made great" (v. 11).
The word saint indicates the presence in certain people of a divine and beneficial force that allows one to stand out, to distance oneself from what is imperfect, weak, ephemeral. Among the people who appeared in this world, only Christ has possessed the fullness of this force of goodness and only he can be declared saint, as we sing in the Gloria: “You alone are holy.” But we, too, can rise up to him and become partakers of his holiness.
Any promotion, any growth of man realizes God’s plan. “So let us love one another since he loved us first. If you say, ‘I love God’ while you hate you brother or sister, you are a liar. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your brother or sister who you see? We have received from him this commandment: let those who love God also love their brothers and sisters”
, in the Christian calendar, is the Feast of All Saints; it's when Christians remember all who have gone before us in space and time. They were holy, kind, humble, respectful, obedient, loving, caring, brave, etc.... "All for the glory of God" was their ultimate goal.