Gospel for Tuesday

June 22, 2021

Tuesday of the Twelfth week in Ordinary Time

 

Do Not Throw Your Pearls before Swine

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to

Saint Matthew 7,6.12-14.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

 

Introductory Prayer:

I believe in the power of prayer, Lord. This time spent with you is the most important time of my day. Let me be confident of your presence and your love, in order to take full advantage of these privileged moments.

 

Meditation:

What can pearls and narrow gates teach us about God’s truth and holiness? In the ancient world pearls were of very great value and were even considered priceless. They were worn as prized jewels to make a person appear more beautiful and magnificent to behold. Holiness, likewise, is a very precious jewel that radiates the beauty of God’s truth, goodness, and glory. God offers us the precious gift of his holiness so that we may radiate the splendor of his truth and goodness in the way we think, speak, act, and treat others. We can reject or ignore this great gift, or worse yet, we can drag it through the mud of sinful behavior or throw it away completely.

Why does Jesus contrast holiness and pearls with dogs and swine (Matthew 7:6)? Some things don’t seem to mix or go together, like fire and water, heat and ice, sweat and perfume, pure air and poisonous vapors, freshly cleaned clothes and filthy waste. The Talmud, a rabbinic commentary on the Jewish Scriptures, uses a proverbial saying for something which appears incongruous or out of place: an ear-ring in a swine’s snout. Jesus’ expression about “pearls before swine” and “not giving dogs what is holy” is very similar in thought (Matthew 7:6). Jewish law regarded swine as unclean. Wild dogs were also treated as unfit for close human contact, very likely because they were dirty, unkept, lice-infested, and prone to attack or cause trouble.

What is the point of avoiding what is considered unclean? Jesus’ concern here is not with exclusivity or the shunning of others (excluding people from our love, care, and concern for them). His concern is with keeping spiritual and moral purity – the purity of the faith and way of life which has been entrusted to us by an all-holy, all-loving, and all-wise God. The early church referenced this expression with the Eucharist or the Lord’s Table. In the liturgy of the early church, a proclamation was given shortly before communion: Holy things to the holy. The Didache, a first century church manual stated: Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist except those baptised into the name of the Lord; for, as regards this, the Lord has said, ‘Do not give what is holy to dogs.’ The Lord Jesus invites us to feast at his banquet table, but we must approach worthily.

Jesus summed up the teaching of the Old Testament law and prophets with the expression, So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them (Matthew 7:12) – and in the same breath he raised the moral law to a new level of fulfillment and perfection. God’s law of love requires more than simply avoiding injury or harm to one’s neighbor. Perfect love – a love which is unconditional and which reaches out to all – always seeks the good of others for their sake and gives the best we can offer for their welfare. When we love our neighbors and treat them in the same way we wish to be treated by God, then we fulfill the law and the prophets, namely what God requires of us – loving God with all that we have and are and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

How can we love our neighbor selflessly, with kindness, and genuine concern for their welfare? If we empty our hearts of all that is unkind, unloving, and unforgiving, then there will only be room for kindness, goodness, mercy, and charity. Paul the Apostle reminds us that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). It is the love of God that fuels our unconditional love for others. Are you ready to let the Holy Spirit transform your life with the purifying fire of God’s love?

Jesus used a second illustration of a narrow gate which opens the way that leads to a life of security and happiness (Matthew 7:13-14) to reinforce his lesson about choosing the one true way which leads to peace with God rather than separation and destruction. The Book of Psalms begins with an image of a person who has chosen to follow the way of those who are wise and obedient to God’s word and who refuse to follow the way of those who think and act contrary to God’s law : Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:1-2). When a path diverges, such as a fork in the road, each way leads to a different destination. This is especially true when we encounter life’s crossroads where we must make a choice that will affect how we will live our lives. Do the choices you make help you move towards the goal of loving God and obeying his will?

The Lord Jesus gives us freedom to choose which way we will go. Ask him for the wisdom to know which way will lead to life rather than to harm and destruction. See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil… Therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 3:15-20). Choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). Behold I set before you the way of life and the way of death (Jeremiah 21:8). If we allow God’s love and wisdom to rule our hearts, then we can trust in his guidance and help to follow his path of love, truth, and holiness.

 

Petition:

Lord, help me appreciate better the beauty of the Christian faith.

 

  1. Our True Values: We take great care to guard what is most valuable to us, right? The truth is, we often take great risks with what is most precious. We say we value life and limb but think nothing of speeding in heavy traffic. We say we want to get to heaven, but we dabble in sin, even serious sin, almost daily. We surf racy websites. We cut down people in office gossip. We close our hearts to the needy. We habitually vote for politicians who defend abortion. We take sin oh-so-lightly. Likewise, we might let the holy things of our faith languish. We might neglect the sacrament of reconciliation. We receive Communion unworthily. We stay silent when a relative brags about using contraception. We do nothing when a child withdraws into the world of the internet for five hours a day. Is there something about which I should be speaking up?

 

  1. Do unto Others: To decide what to do in any given situation, we can ask ourselves how we would like to be treated. “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Luke 6:38). The respect we have for ourselves is often reflected in the respect we show others. Rudeness, indifference and irritability toward others bespeak a problem in us. The Golden Rule isn’t just for others; it is also to guard our own dignity. Are there people toward whom I am routinely uncharitable? Do I realize that this lack of charity can hurt my character more than it hurts their feelings?

 

  1. The Broad Road and the Narrow Gate: Modernity is like a 24/7 convenience store. We can get anything, anytime. We can end up thinking that everything about life should be easy, be it marriage, self-discipline or even our salvation. The illusion of ease shouldn’t fool us. Working toward our salvation is challenging work. Original sin left a deep mark on all of us. Struggling toward salvation takes prayer, sacrifice and constant vigilance. Do I sense that the living of my faith in today’s world is easy? If so, I’m probably not living it well. Where have I avoided the narrow road of holiness? Am I too attached to food, clothes or the opinions of others?

 

Conversation with Christ:

Help me to see, Lord, that my real dignity lies in treating others well, and in renouncing my disordered passions. Let me shake off mediocrity in my spiritual life and make the most of the time you give me.

 

Resolution:

Today I will make a special sacrifice for a loved one.

 

Prayer:

Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am – a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.

 

Evangelio del martes

22 de junio, 2021

Martes de la duodécima semana del Tiempo Ordinario

 

Entrad por la puerta estrecha

Del Santo Evangelio según

San Mateo 7,6.12-14.

No den las cosas sagradas a los perros, ni arrojen sus perlas a los cerdos, no sea que las pisoteen y después se vuelvan contra ustedes para destrozarlos.
Todo lo que deseen que los demás hagan por ustedes, háganlo por ellos: en esto consiste la Ley y los Profetas.
Entren por la puerta estrecha, porque es ancha la puerta y espacioso el camino que lleva a la perdición, y son muchos los que van por allí.
Pero es angosta la puerta y estrecho el camino que lleva a la Vida, y son pocos los que lo encuentran.

Palabra del Señor

 

Oración introductoria
Señor, dame las fuerzas para estar convencido de mi misión como verdadero cristiano. Creo en ti, pero aumenta mi fe, hazla firme. Haz grande mi fe para poder amar a mis hermanos desinteresadamente. Tú eres mi fuerza, y contigo todo lo puedo. Ayúdame, pues sin ti no puedo nada.

Petición
Dios mío, concédeme ser un apóstol entregado, que salga de mi mundo y piense en los demás. Alcánzame la gracia de poder negarme a mí mismo; así estaré atento a las necesidades de mis hermanos, antes que a las mías.

Meditación del Papa Francisco

¿Qué quiere decir Jesús? ¿Cuál es la puerta por la que debemos entrar? Y, ¿por qué Jesús habla de una puerta estrecha?

La imagen de la puerta se repite varias veces en el Evangelio y se refiere a la de la casa, del hogar doméstico, donde encontramos seguridad, amor, calor. Jesús nos dice que existe una puerta que nos hace entrar en la familia de Dios, en el calor de la casa de Dios, de la comunión con Él. Esta puerta es Jesús mismo. Él es la puerta. Él es el paso hacia la salvación. Él conduce al Padre. Y la puerta, que es Jesús, nunca está cerrada, esta puerta nunca está cerrada, está abierta siempre y a todos, sin distinción, sin exclusiones, sin privilegios. Porque, sabéis, Jesús no excluye a nadie.

Jesús en el Evangelio nos dice que ser cristianos no es tener una “etiqueta”. Yo les pregunto: ustedes, ¿son cristianos de etiqueta o de verdad? Y cada uno responda dentro de sí. Nunca cristianos de etiqueta. Cristianos de verdad, de corazón. Ser cristianos es vivir y testimoniar la fe en la oración, en las obras de caridad, en la promoción de la justicia, en hacer el bien. Por la puerta estrecha que es Cristo debe pasar toda nuestra vida.  No tengan miedo de ir contracorriente, no miren la vida desde el balcón, sean protagonistas. El ser discípulo-misionero implica ir contracorriente, conlleva entrar por la puerta estrecha, ir a contramano, muchas veces, de todo lo que la sociedad hoy propone, lleno de luces y slogans que hablan de felicidad, pero que solo llevan a una vida sin sentido.  La puerta estrecha es Jesús, y a Él tengo que buscarlo, a Él tengo que escucharlo, a Él tengo que conocerlo, en la oración personal y diaria, en el encuentro con su Palabra, en los rostros y vida de aquellos que están en el camino y por supuesto también en la Eucaristía.   (S.S. Francisco).


Reflexión
En este evangelio Jesús nos invita a entrar por la puesta estrecha. Nos podemos preguntar: “Señor, en mi vida diaria, ¿cuál es la puerta estrecha?” Y nos puede resultar algo confuso esta idea, y quizá no la entendamos. Pero lo que Cristo realmente nos está pidiendo es que seamos que vivamos las enseñanzas que nos ha dejado mediante el camino de la abnegación. ¿Y para qué todas estas negaciones? Para poder lograr entrar por la puerta estrecha que conduce a la vida eterna. Nosotros, los cristianos, tenemos una misión muy clara y precisa, predicar el Evangelio a todo el mundo, y no podemos estar satisfechos hasta no ver terminada nuestra tarea. Nuestras perlas preciosas están en nuestro corazón cada vez que le recibimos en el sacramento de la Eucaristía. De ahí nace la necesidad de pedirle a Dios nuestro Señor que nunca nos deje solos y que nos conceda la gracia de llegar a su presencia para gozar el fruto de nuestra abnegación.

Propósito
Voy a rezar un misterio del rosario para que siga caminando con esperanza por la senda estrecha que conduce a la Vida.

Diálogo con Cristo
Señor, ayúdame a dar más ejemplo de mi vocación como un cristiano auténtico. Señor y Dios mío, soy todo tuyo. Tú eres mi pastor. Señor, dame valor para seguir el camino del sacrificio, que es el que conduce al cielo. Quiero ser feliz en tu presencia. Concédeme ser un trasmisor incansable de la Verdad.

 

Despedida:

Te damos gracias, Señor, por todos tus beneficios, a Ti que vives y reinas por los siglos de los siglos.
Amén.
¡Cristo, Rey nuestro!
¡Venga tu Reino!
Virgen prudentísima, María, Madre de la Iglesia.
Ruega por nosotros.
En el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.
Amén.