Daily Gospel – Tuesday, June 18, 2024 – Matthew 5,43-48 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (1 Kings 21,17-29)

Reading of the First Book of Kings.

After the death of Naboth, the word of the Lord was addressed to Elijah the Tishbite, in these terms: “Get up and go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who reigns in Samaria. He is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he went down to take possession of it. This you will say to him: ‘Thus says the Lord: You killed and on top of that you steal!’ And you will add: ‘Thus says the Lord: In the same place where the dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, they will also lick up yours'”. Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me at last, O my enemy?” Elijah replied, “Yes, I found you. Because you sold yourself to do what displeases the Lord, I will bring disaster upon you: I will sweep away your descendants, exterminating all the men of the house of Ahab, slave or free in Israel. your family as I did with the families of Jeroboam son of Nabat and of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you provoked my anger and caused Israel to sin. Also concerning Jezebel the Lord pronounced a sentence: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel in the land. field of Jezreel. Those of Ahab’s family who die in the city will be devoured by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by the birds of the air.’

There was no one who sold himself like Ahab, to do what displeased the Lord, because his wife Jezebel encouraged him to do so. She behaved in an abominable way, following the idols of the Amorites, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put a sackcloth on his skin, and fasted. He slept wrapped in a cloth of penance and was dejected. Then the word of the Lord was addressed to Elijah the Tishbite in these terms: “Have you seen how Ahab humbled himself before me? Since he has done this, I will not punish him during his lifetime, but in the days of his son I will send disaster upon him. your family”.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Matthew 5,43-48)

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

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said: ‘You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy!’ But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you! In this way, you will become children of your Father who is in heaven, because he makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous. and unjust. For if you love only those who love you, what reward will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same thing? , be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, today we gather to meditate on two powerful passages of Scripture that challenge us to reflect deeply on our attitudes, our actions and our relationship with God and others. Let’s delve into the First Reading from the Book of Kings and the Gospel of Matthew, and allow these divine words to illuminate our hearts and guide our steps.

In the First Reading, from the Book of Kings, we find the story of King Ahab and his meeting with the prophet Elijah. Ahab, a king who strayed from the ways of the Lord, had committed a great injustice by taking for himself the vineyard of Naboth, an innocent man. Elijah is sent by God to confront Ahab and denounce his evil. This passage presents us with a clear example of God’s judgment against injustice and corruption.

Let’s imagine the scene: Ahab, influenced by his wife Jezebel, conspires against Naboth to take his vineyard. Naboth, faithful to the traditions of his ancestors, refuses to sell his inheritance. But Jezebel, unscrupulous, organizes a plot to falsely accuse Naboth of blasphemy, resulting in his unjust death. King Ahab then takes possession of Naboth’s vineyard, believing that everything has been resolved.

Here, the prophet Elijah enters, sent by God to confront the king. Elijah boldly tells Ahab, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You killed and stole! ‘” He announces divine condemnation on Ahab and his descendants, stating that injustice will not go unpunished. This passage reminds us that God sees all things and that divine justice will prevail, even in the face of the most corrupt actions of the powerful.

Let’s reflect on our own lives. How many times have we witnessed or even participated in injustice? Perhaps not as dramatic as those of Ahab and Jezebel, but small, everyday injustices – ignoring someone’s suffering, conniving at corruption, treating those who need our help with indifference. God calls us to be just, to defend the oppressed and not to remain silent in the face of evil.

Now, let’s connect this message with the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus teaches us about loving our enemies. Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may become children of your Father in heaven.” He calls us to a standard of love that goes beyond what is humanly expected. Loving only those who love us is easy, but loving our enemies is a challenge that can only be accomplished with God’s grace.

Let’s think of a concrete example. Imagine someone who has been betrayed by a friend or suffered a great injustice at work. The natural feeling is anger, resentment and a desire for revenge. But Jesus calls us to respond differently – to forgive, to love, and to pray for those who have hurt us. This unconditional love does not mean approving injustice, but rather choosing a path of peace and reconciliation.

To better understand this difficult lesson, we can look to the life of Jesus. On the cross, He forgave those who crucified Him, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is the radical love to which we are called. A love that knows no limits, that makes no distinction between friend and enemy, and that always seeks reconciliation and peace.

Let’s reflect on how we can apply these teachings in our lives. Are there people in our lives we need to forgive? Maybe a family member, a co-worker, or even a neighbor? We can begin change with small actions – a gesture of kindness, a word of reconciliation, or a heartfelt prayer for those who have caused us pain.

Love for enemies also manifests itself in our daily attitudes. Instead of responding with anger when we are provoked, we can respond with patience and understanding. Instead of speaking ill of someone who has wronged us, we can choose silence or even words of forgiveness. These actions, although small, reflect God’s love and have the power to transform our lives and the lives of those around us.

Let’s think of a metaphor to illustrate this point. Imagine a garden full of weeds. Weeds represent hatred, anger and resentment. For the flowers of love, peace and kindness to grow, we need to pull out the weeds. This is a continuous process, which requires effort and dedication, but the fruits are beautiful and lasting.

Now, let’s close our eyes for a moment and ask God for the grace to love as He loves us. Lord, help us to forgive those who have hurt us, to love our enemies and to be instruments of your peace. May we live in accordance with your teachings, reflecting your love in every action and word.

My brothers and sisters, as we leave here today, let us carry with us the message of justice and love that we find in the Scriptures. May we be courageous like Elijah, defending truth and justice, and may we have a heart full of unconditional love, as Jesus taught us. May our lives be a living testimony of God’s love, transforming the world around us. Amen.