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Gospel for Sunday, August 21 Luke 13: 22-30

XXI Sunday C

22He passed through cities and villages, teaching, as he walked toward Jerusalem. 23A man asked him: “Lord, are there few who are saved?” He replied: 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter there, but will not succeed. 25When the master of the house gets up and closes the door, remaining outside, you will begin to knock on the door, saying: Lord, open to us. But he will answer you: I don’t know you, I don’t know where you are from. 26Then you will begin to say: We ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets. 27But he will declare: I tell you, I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity! 28There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth there when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you cast out. 29They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and will sit at the table in the kingdom of God. 30And behold, there are some who are last who will be first, and some who are first who will be last.”

Luke 13: 22-30

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The temptation of believers has always been to limit themselves to a cultic religiosity, made up of the observance of rites and the repetition of prayers and ceremonies. We feel at ease because we are comforted by the Sacraments, we are regular attendees of community celebrations, and because we profess a fully Orthodox doctrine. Today’s Gospel tells us that Christianity is something else.

It does not surprise us then that one of the most recurring themes in Pope Francis’ teaching is to warn us against Gnosticism, a doctrine of thought that already undermined the first Christian communities, making “enlightenment” on the part of God, the knowledge (“gnosis”) of the truth, without then caring about how this will change our lives in daily practice. Jesus forcefully rejects this attitude: “I don’t know you, I reject your “gnosis”, a faith that is only doctrinal adherence: I don’t know where you are from… There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see yourselves… thrown out” (13, 25.28).

Pope Francis states in “Gaudete et exsultate”: “Gnosticism presupposes «a faith locked in subjectivism, where it is only interested in… a series of reasoning and knowledge that is believed to be able to comfort and illuminate, but where the subject ultimately remains closed in immanence of his own reason or feelings”… Thank God, throughout the history of the Church it has become very clear that what measures the perfection of people is their degree of charity, not the amount of data and knowledge they can accumulate. The «Gnostics»… conceive of a mind without incarnation, incapable of touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others, plastered in an encyclopedia of abstractions. In the end, disembodiing the mystery, they prefer «a God without Christ, a Christ without Church, a Church without people»” (nn. 36-38).

“Gnosticism is one of the worst ideologies… Sometimes it becomes particularly deceptive when it disguises itself as disembodied spirituality” (n. 40).

“In reality, the doctrine, or rather, our understanding and expression of it, «is not a closed system, devoid of dynamics capable of generating questions, doubts, questions», and «the questions of our people, their pains, his battles, his dreams, his struggles, his worries, possess a hermeneutic value that we cannot ignore if we want to take the principle of incarnation seriously. His questions help us to ask ourselves, his questions question us”” (n. 44).

“Saint Bonaventure warned that true Christian wisdom must not be separated from mercy towards others: «The greatest wisdom that can exist consists in fruitfully dispensing what one possesses, and which one has received precisely so that it may be dispensed… For this reason, as mercy is a friend of wisdom, so avarice is its enemy.” There are activities which, when combined with contemplation, do not prevent it, but rather favor it, such as the works of mercy and piety”” (n. 46).

“Being holy does not mean, therefore, shining one’s eyes in a presumed ecstasy. Saint John Paul II said that “if we have truly started again from the contemplation of Christ, we will have to be able to see it above all in the faces of those with whom he himself wanted to identify”. The text of Matthew 25,35-36 “is not a simple invitation to charity: it is a page of Christology, which projects a beam of light on the mystery of Christ”. In this call to recognize him in the poor and the suffering, the very heart of Christ is revealed, his feelings and his deepest choices, to which every saint tries to conform” (n. 96).

“When I meet a person sleeping in the elements, on a cold night, I can feel that this bundle is an unexpected event that hinders me, an idle delinquent, an obstacle in my path, an annoying sting for my conscience, a problem that must be solved politicians, and perhaps even garbage that litters public space. Or I can react starting from faith and charity and recognize in him a human being with the same dignity as me, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother redeemed by Christ. This is being Christian! Or can holiness be understood without this living recognition of the dignity of every human being?” (n. 98).

“Also harmful and ideological is the error of those who live by distrusting the social commitment of others, considering it something superficial, worldly, secularized, immanentist, communist, populist. Or they relativize it as if there were other more important things or as if it were only of interest to a certain ethic or reason that they defend. The defense of the innocent who was not born, for example, must be clear, firm and passionate, because the dignity of human life, always sacred, is at stake and love for every person requires it regardless of their development. . But equally sacred is the life of the poor who have already been born, who struggle in poverty, abandonment, exclusion, in human trafficking, in the hidden euthanasia of the sick and elderly deprived of care, in new forms of slavery , and in every form of waste. We cannot propose an ideal of holiness that ignores the injustice of this world, where some celebrate, spend happily and reduce their lives to the novelties of consumption, while others only look from the outside and meanwhile their life passes and ends miserably” (n . 101).

“We might think that we give glory to God only with worship and prayer, or only by observing some ethical norms – it is true that the primacy goes to the relationship with God -, and we forget that the criterion for evaluating our life is first and foremost what we have done to others. Prayer is precious if it fuels a daily donation of love. Our worship is pleasing to God when we bring to it the intentions of living generously and when we allow the gift of God that we receive in it to be manifested in dedication to our brothers” (n. 104).

Saint Paul said: “The prophecies will disappear; the gift of tongues will cease and knowledge will vanish, but charity will never end” (1 Cor 13:8).

And Saint John of the Cross: “At the sunset of life we will be judged on love”.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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