Word of the day
Reading of the day
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Hosea
Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”
I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”—
because of me you bear fruit!
Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.
Gospel of the day
From the Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”
Words of the Holy Father
The true preacher is one who knows he is weak, who knows he cannot defend himself from himself. The emissary “in the midst of wolves”, could object and ask, “but Lord, so they might eat me?”. And “the answer is, “Go! This is the way”. And it is John Chrysostom who makes a most profound reflection: “if you do not go out as a lamb but go as a wolf among wolves, the Lord will not protect you; defend yourself on your own”. When the preacher believes he is too intelligent or when one who has the responsibility of issuing forth the Word of God tries to be sly and thinks I am getting along with these people, then it will end badly, or he will negotiate God’s Word with powerful and arrogant people. (Santa Marta, 14 Feb 2020)