Liturgy of the Sunday

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Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kobe, a priest martyr for love, who accepted death in the concentration camp of Auschwitz to save the life of another man in 1941.

First Reading

Jeremiah 38,4-6.8-10

The chief men then said to the king, 'You must have this man put to death: he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. This man is seeking not the welfare of the people but their ruin.' King Zedekiah answered, 'He is in your hands as you know, for the king is powerless to oppose you.' So they took Jeremiah and put him into the storage-well of the king's son Malchiah in the Court of the Guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the storage-well, only mud, and into the mud Jeremiah sank. Ebed-Melech came out from the palace and spoke to the king. 'My lord king,' he said, 'these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this: they have thrown him into the storage-well. He will starve to death there, since there is no more food in the city.' At this the king gave Ebed-Melech the Cushite the following order: 'Take thirty men with you from here and pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the storage-well before he dies.'


Psalm 39


Blessed is the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

I waited, I waited for the Lord
and he stooped down to me;
he heard my cry.

He drew me from the deadly pits,
from the miry clay.

He set my feet upon a rock
and made my footsteps firm.

He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God.

Many shall see and fear
and shall trust in the Lord.

Happy the man who has placed
his trust in the Lord

and has not gone over to the rebels
who follow false gods.

How many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders and designs

that you have worked for us;
you have no equal.

Should I proclaim and speak of them,
they are more than I can tell!

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.

You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I.

In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.

My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart.

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.

My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord.

I have not hidden your justice in my heart
but declared your faithful help.

I have not hidden your love and your truth
from the great assembly.

O Lord, you will not withhold
your compassion from me.

Your merciful love and your truth
will always guard me.

For I am beset with evils
too many to be counted.

My sins have fallen upon me
and my sight fails me.

They are more than the hairs of my head
and my heart sinks.

O Lord, come to my rescue
Lord, come to my aid.

O let there be shame and confusion,
on those who seek my life.

O let them turn back in confusion,
who delight in my harm.

Let them be appalled, covered with shame,
who jeer at my lot.

O let there be rejoicing and gladness
for all who seek you.

Let them ever say : 'The Lord is great',
who love your saving help.,

As for me, wretched and poor,
the Lord thinks of me

You are my rescuer, my help,
O God, do not delay.

Second Reading

Hebrews 12,1-4

With so many witnesses in a great cloud all around us, we too, then, should throw off everything that weighs us down and the sin that clings so closely, and with perseverance keep running in the race which lies ahead of us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which lay ahead of him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame of it, and has taken his seat at the right of God's throne. Think of the way he persevered against such opposition from sinners and then you will not lose heart and come to grief. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of bloodshed.

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 12,49-53

'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 'Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'


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


There is urgency in the Gospel of this Sunday, the urgency of proclaiming to all that the Kingdom of God is at the door. Jesus, moved by compassion for the crowds who were " harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Mt 9:36) said to them, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." And he "went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness," Unfortunately, today this urgency is often obscured, suffocated and restrained: it is obscured by the climate of violence, suffocated by wars and injustice and, at times, restrained by the disciples themselves when they shy away from the Lord's invitation to follow their own urgencies or habits. It is easy to resign oneself to the present. How many times we hear: nothing can be done! The world has always been like that! On the contrary the Lord tells us: "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Let us allow ourselves to be drawn into this passion, to be burnt by this fire. We will see the meanness of our passions and the avarice of our hearts. Unfortunately, so often the only fire that burns in us is the fatuous fire of self-love, which the Fathers called "filautìa." The love of Jesus is of another nature. It is a sweet and overwhelming love, it makes us forget ourselves so that love for the poor can grow. "Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division," Jesus reminds us today. We would hardly put these words on Jesus' mouth. But the Gospel is different from our way of thinking. Jesus' statement emphasises the sword more than peace is meant to make us understand that he did not come to defend our self-centredness, but love for others. Jesus did not come to defend the stingy tranquillity of the rich man who did not even see poor Lazarus starving at his door; he did not come to defend the egocentricity of the priest and the Levite who, despite seeing the half-dead man on the road, passed by. This is not peace, but greed, and as the Orthodox Archbishop of Tirana, Anastasius, once said: "The opposite of peace is not war, but egocentrism." Peace does not exist without strong, passionate love.