Liturgy of the Sunday

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Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Clare of Assisi (†1253), disciple of Saint Francis on the way of poverty and evangelic simplicity.


First Reading

Wisdom 18,6-9

That night had been known in advance to our ancestors, so that, well knowing him in whom they had put their trust, they would be sure of his promises. Your people thus were waiting both for the rescue of the upright and for the ruin of the enemy; for by the very vengeance that you exacted on our adversaries, you glorified us by calling us to you. So the holy children of the good offered sacrifice in secret and with one accord enacted this holy law: that the holy ones should share good things and dangers alike; and forthwith they chanted the hymns of the ancestors.

Psalmody

Psalm 32

Antiphon

Praise the Lord for his unfailing love.

Ring our your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.

Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,
with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.

O sing him a song that is new,
play loudly with all your skill.

For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.

The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

By his word the heavens were made
by the breath of his mouth all the stars.

He collects the waves of the ocean;
he stores up the depths of the sea.

Let all the earth fear the Lord,
all who live in the world revere him.

He spoke; and it came to be.
He commanded; it sprang into being.

He frustrates the designs of the nations,
He defeats the plans of the peoples.

His own designs shall stand for ever
and the plans of his heart from age to age.

They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.

From the heavens the Lord looks forth,
he sees all the children of men.

From the place where he dwells he gazes
on all the dwellers of the earth,

he who shapes the hearts of them all
and considers all their deeds.

A king is not saved by his army
nor a warrior preserved by his strength,

A vain hope for safety is the horse;
despite its power it cannot save.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,

to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.

In him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in his holy name.

May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope

Second Reading

Hebrews 11,1-2.8-19

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of realities that are unseen. It is for their faith that our ancestors are acknowledged. It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he sojourned in the Promised Land as though it were not his, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. He looked forward to the well-founded city, designed and built by God. It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise was faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who already had the mark of death on him, descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore which cannot be counted. All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of a homeland. If they had meant the country they came from, they would have had the opportunity to return to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them. It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though he had yet to receive what had been promised, and he had been told: Isaac is the one through whom your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 12,32-48

'There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. 'Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart will be too. 'See that you have your belts done up and your lamps lit. Be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. In truth I tell you, he will do up his belt, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch that he comes, or in the third, but blessed are those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.' Peter said, 'Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?' The Lord replied, 'Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy steward whom the master will place over his household to give them at the proper time their allowance of food? Blessed that servant if his master's arrival finds him doing exactly that. I tell you truly, he will put him in charge of everything that he owns. But if the servant says to himself, "My master is taking his time coming," and sets about beating the menservants and the servant-girls, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful. 'The servant who knows what his master wants, but has got nothing ready and done nothing in accord with those wishes, will be given a great many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but has acted in such a way that he deserves a beating, will be given fewer strokes. When someone is given a great deal, a great deal will be demanded of that person; when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." So opens the passage from the Gospel of Luke (12:32) that is proposed to us this Sunday. It returns to the heart of Jesus' preaching: the coming of the kingdom. Jesus' disciples are entrusted with the serious mission of continuing to proclaim the kingdom and making it real here and now, despite being only a little flock. The kingdom of God is God's sovereignty over the lives of men and women, and it is pleasing to the Father to share this sovereignty with those who give alms to obtain purses that do not wear out and treasures to put in heaven, where there are no thieves that steal or moths that destroy. Jesus is trying to emphasize the difference between earthly goods that can be lost and heavenly goods that have no risks (he is referring to an ancient Biblical tradition that describes good works as treasures stored in heaven: an ancient Hebrew saying put it like this: "My fathers amassed treasures for down here, and I have amassed treasures for above. My fathers amassed treasures that do not bear interest, and I have amassed treasures that bear interest.") This is what a disciple does who is waiting for the Lord and his kingdom. The Gospel clarifies this idea with the parable of the servant placed in charge of a household after the departure of the master.
Thinking that his master is delayed in returning, the servant begins beating his fellow servants, both men and women, and to drink and get drunk. This scene might seem exaggerated at first, but in truth it describes a situation which is all too common. The many injustices and thousands of small, daily acts of evil that make life difficult for so many people stem from this rather wide-spread attitude. It is the idea that we can act like little masters towards each other, with the thought that nothing bad will ever happen to us.
Vigilance is a virtue that seems little practiced in our time, but nonetheless it is essential for our lives. We often let ourselves be weighed down by our toils and our worries. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (v. 34), Jesus says. This is our problem. The treasure for Christians is the Lord, and their lives consist of waiting for him. The reward of which Jesus speaks, which will be given to those whom he finds alert, is an incredible reward that upsets the normal way of doing things: the master himself will become the servant of the servants, he will fasten his belt and invite them to recline on cushions in the hall, and he will come and serve them. This is the fullness of life that can be lived by those who stay alert not for themselves but in order to welcome the Lord.