6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B – February 11, 2018

They believed to have locked God

in a camp

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/-gmq2YQS2Go

The Following video is with the Voiceover in English for the Italian Commentary By Fr. Armellini 

6th Sunday pic

 Introduction

 

During the crossing of the desert, Moses had given to the people of this provision: “The Lord your God walks in the midst of the camp to protect you and give your enemy into your hands; your camp must be sacred that the Lord may not see anything indecent in it; otherwise, he will turn away from you” (Dt 23:15). He put this order in the Lord’s mouth: “Put out of the camp all lepers, and all who suffer from an infection or who have become unclean by touching a corpse. You must not allow the camp where I dwell among them to become unclean in this way” (Nm 5:1-3).

 

To the ancient the world seemed to be divided into two opposing spheres: one occupied by the forces of life, the other in the hands of the powers of death. To the first God and the pure people belonged, to the second all pagan gods and all that recalled sin. The lepers, who carried in their bodies the hideous marks of the death, were the symbol of impurity and rejection by the Lord.

 

The Israelites thought so; their spiritual leaders have categorized people into clean and unclean, just and sinners. But does God accept this discrimination? And when it is done, on which side is God?

 

The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ encounters with the lepers go far beyond the biographical chronicle. They are a message in place of God’s choices: he approaches the impure and caresses them, because none of his creatures is impure, much less his children. Jesus chose the marginalized, those who were rejected by all; for this reason, he became impure himself, was expelled from the camp and put to death out of the holy city, in an unclean place.

 

Now we know on which side God is.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
“I disgust sin, but if I refuse the sinner, I walk away from God.”

 

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5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B – February 4, 2018

Evil exists but is not invincible

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/-CBf3wl6bCc

 

Introduction

 

Around 2200 B.C., the famous Dialog of a desperate with his soul was composed in Egypt. It was a monologue in which the protagonist, shaken by personal tragedy, contemplates suicide: “Today—he admits—death stands before me as a healing for a patient, as freedom for a prisoner, as a scent of myrrh, like the pleasure of one sitting under a palm tree on the day when a cool breeze blows.” We are at the dawn of the Egyptian literature and now the agonizing problem of pain emerges. Why is man destined to suffer?

 

The traditional response of Israel to this puzzle is the doctrine of retribution that Eliphaz, the friend of Job, sums up: “Have you seen a guiltless man perish, or an upright man done away with? Those who plow evil or those who sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:7-8). But life belies in an impious way this dogma of Jewish faith, highlighting the ingenuity, the provocative and insolence towards those who suffer.

 

Blaming the man referring to the story of the so-called original sin is equally untenable. To talk about the pedagogy of God who makes his children grow through pain, has been called “theological sadism,” created by those who have not realized the horrendous evil that affects the innocent. Besides, who ever said that pain humanizes?

 

To give theoretical explanations to this existential cry is equivalent to “teach a lesson on food hygiene to those who are dying of hunger and thirst.”

 

Jesus did not get involved in theoretical disquisitions on pain. He proposed his solution: evil exists and is not to be explained, but fought.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Every time I wipe a tear, I cooperate in the salvation of Christ.”

 

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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B – January 28, 2018

The Divine Power in Man’s Word

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/QYL1cnyRf08

 

Introduction

 

Facts and words: they seem contrary to modern man. Word was instead the materialization of thought for the ancient people. It was no wind, but a crystallization of feelings and emotions. It does not only transmit ideas and information, but communicates a creative or destructive charge of the person who utters it. The idols could not cause neither good nor bad, because—it was said—“They have mouths that cannot speak” (Ps 115:5), while the Lord, with his word creates the heavens, “for he spoke and so it was” (Ps 33:6, 9).

 

The word of God, which has given shape to the universe and preserves the earth and the heavens (2 P 3:5-7) has come into the world, “and was made flesh” (Jn 1:14) and gave sight to the blind, made the dumb speak, the lame on his feet, offered food to the hungry, liberty to the captives and joy to the broken-hearted. He turned the sinner into a disciple, the dishonest tax collector into an apostle, the chief tax collector into a son of Abraham and a bandit into the first of the guests at the heavenly banquet.

 

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? If it does not change hearts and minds, if it does not make a new world sprout, then it is not the word of God, but of people. It is easy to misunderstand: 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.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
“We do not preach ourselves, but the word of Christ the Lord.”

 

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3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B – January 21, 2018

He inaugurated a New Era

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/EKJLBJiLnss

Introduction

 

Christians believe that the Messiah has already come. The Jews claim that he is yet to come. Who is right?

 

No doubt, the Jews. We too tacitly admit to the fact that each year we dedicate four weeks to prepare ourselves for his coming.

 

We anxiously wait for the Messiah, because we are told that “justice will flower in his days and peace abounds till the moon be no more. He delivers the needy who call on him, the afficted with no one to help them. May grain abound throughout the land” (Ps 72:7.12.16). We have not yet seen these prophecies realized, so we keep waiting.

 

The Messiah is yet to come, but when he arrives, everyone, including the Jews, will recognize him: it is Jesus. His birth into the world is a slow and gradual; the new times, the last, have already started, but have not come to fruition.

 

One day they reported to Jesus that his mother and brothers were looking for him; he “looking around at those who sat there, said: Here are my mother and my brothers!” (Mk 3:34). Yes, the community of those who listen to his word, trust him and follow him. It is his mother, she is the one who in pain gives birth to him every day, until God’s plan is fully realized: “To unite all in Christ everything in heaven and on earth” (Eph 1:10).

 

Immediacy, generosity, decision in detachment from what is old and incompatible with the future world, characterize the response of those who, answering to the call of Jesus, commit themselves to God’s plans.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
“Show me, O Lord, your ways and give me the strength to follow you.”

 

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