Daily Gospel – Friday, June 28, 2024 – Matthew 8:1-4 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (2 Kings 25,1-12)

Reading of the Second Book of Kings.

In the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came to attack Jerusalem with his entire army. They laid siege to it and built assault towers around it. The city was besieged and surrounded by ditches until the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month, when hunger was getting worse in the city and the population had nothing left to eat, they opened a breach in the city wall. Then the king fled by night, with all the warriors, through the gate between the two walls, near the royal garden, although the Chaldeans surrounded the city, and followed the road that leads to Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plain of Jericho, while his entire army was scattered and abandoned him. The Chaldeans arrested the king and took him to Reblah, before the king of Babylon, who pronounced sentence against him. He killed the sons of Zedekiah in his presence, put out his eyes and, bound with a bronze chain, took him to Babylon. On the seventh day of the fifth month, the date corresponding to the nineteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzardan, commander of the guard and officer of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord and the king’s palace and committed all the houses and buildings in Jerusalem to the flames. The entire army of the Chaldeans, which accompanied the commander of the guard, destroyed the walls surrounding Jerusalem. Nebuzardan, commander of the guard, exiled the rest of the population that had remained in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon and the rest of the people. And, of the country’s poor, the commander of the guard left a portion, such as wine growers and farmers.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Matthew 8,1-4)

Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. Behold, a leper approached and knelt before him, saying: “Lord, if you wish, you have the power to cleanse me.” Jesus reached out his hand, touched him and said, “I want it, be clean.” At the same time the man was healed from leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and make the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today gathered in community, we are invited to delve into the Holy Scriptures, to listen carefully to God’s words and to reflect on how they apply to our lives. Today’s readings bring us powerful messages of destruction, exile, and healing. These are themes that, at first glance, may seem distant from our daily reality, but which, upon reflection more deeply, we realize that they touch on essential aspects of our existence.

In the first reading, from the Second Book of Kings, we find a dark and tragic description: “In the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came with all his army to attack Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege works around it.” This was the beginning of the end for the kingdom of Judah. The city of Jerusalem, with all its splendor and spiritual significance, was surrounded, besieged, and eventually destroyed. The Temple, symbol of God’s presence among His people, was set on fire and reduced to ashes. The people of Judah were taken into exile in Babylon, separated from their land, their traditions, and, apparently, their God.

This historical account reminds us that even the most powerful nations and the most glorious kingdoms can fall. But it also reminds us of the consequences of turning away from God’s ways. Jerusalem did not fall just to external forces; It fell because of the infidelity of its leaders and its people. They had turned away from God’s laws, sought other gods, and neglected justice and mercy.

Now, let’s think about our own life. How often do we find ourselves surrounded by problems, feeling like our personal “cities” are about to fall? It could be the loss of a job, family problems, illness or financial crisis. Just like Jerusalem, we can feel surrounded and besieged, without seeing a way out. But it is in these moments of darkness and despair that we are called to turn our hearts to God, to recognize our mistakes, and to seek His mercy and help.

Today’s gospel, from the book of Matthew, offers us a deeply comforting and hopeful image. “When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. Then a leper came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.’ I want, be clean.’ Instantly, the man was cured of his leprosy.”

Here we see a striking contrast with the Old Testament reading. Instead of destruction and exile, we see healing and restoration. The leper, a marginalized man, removed from society and considered unclean, finds in Jesus not only physical healing, but also social and spiritual reintegration. Jesus’ touch not only heals his leprosy, but also breaks down the barriers that separated him from others and from God.

Leprosy, in those times, was a feared disease, symbolizing not only physical affliction, but also impurity and isolation. Those who suffered from this disease were removed from their communities, living on the outskirts, without contact with their families and friends. They were the “exiles” of their time, separated from everything they held dear. When Jesus touches the leper, He not only challenges social and religious norms, but also shows us God’s immense love and compassion for those who are marginalized and rejected.

Let us think of the “leprosies” of our own lives – those areas of our existence where we feel impure, unworthy, or alienated from God and others. It could be a sin we carry, a moral failing, or even an emotional wound that makes us feel isolated and removed. Jesus invites us to approach Him, to kneel and ask for His healing. And He, with His immense love and compassion, is always ready to reach out and purify us.

The story of the leper healed by Jesus also challenges us to be like Christ in our world. We are called to reach out to those who are marginalized, to touch the “untouchables” in our society, to show compassion and love to everyone, especially those most in need. Just as Jesus was not afraid to touch the leper, we should not fear approaching those who are considered “unclean” or unworthy by society.

As we reflect on these readings, we are called to a deep examination of conscience. Where have we been unfaithful to God’s ways in our lives? What are the areas of our existence that need the healing and touch of Jesus? How can we be instruments of healing and restoration for those around us?

The exile from Jerusalem and the healing of the leper are two sides of the same coin. One shows us the consequences of infidelity and separation from God, the other shows us the immense mercy and restorative power of God. In our lives, we are constantly between these two poles – falling and rising, sinning and seeking redemption.

As we approach the Eucharist today, let us remember that we have received the Body of Christ, the same Jesus who touched and healed the leper. May we open our hearts to His healing grace, allowing Him to cleanse and restore us. And as we leave here, may we take that same grace and compassion to the world, touching and healing the “leprosies” we encounter on our journey.

May God bless us and always guide us in the paths of His justice, mercy and love. Amen.