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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 13.10.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 13.10.2023

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JOEL 1: 13 – 15; 2: 1 – 2

Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests, wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because cereal offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God; and cry to the Lord. Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes. Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 9: 2 – 3, 6 and 16, 8 – 9 (R.) 9a

R/. The Lord will rule the world with justice.

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
all your wonders I will confess.
I will rejoice in you and be glad,
And sing psalms to your name, O Most High. R/.

You have rebuked the nations, destroyed the wicked;
you have wiped out their name forever and ever.
The nations have fallen in the pit which they made;
their feet have been caught in the snare they laid. R/.

But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
He has set up his throne for judgement.
He will judge the world with justice;
He will govern the peoples with equity. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
John 12: 31b – 32

Alleluia.
Now shall the ruler of this world be cast out, says the Lord; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
LUKE 11: 15 – 26

At that time: [When Jesus had cast out a demon,] some of the people said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons”; while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and house falls upon house. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; but when one stronger than he assails him and over comes him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Overcoming “Neutrality”
October 13, 2023

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23)

These words are embedded within several powerful teachings of Jesus, but, in many ways, this single sentence can stand alone as an important Christian truth. Specifically, it tells us that we cannot be neutral in our position regarding Jesus and all that He has taught us. This is an important message in the world today.

Today, there seems to be a growing secular value that we might call “neutrality.” We are told by many in the world that we must accept any morality, any lifestyle, any choice that others make. And though it is true that we must always love and accept every person and treat them with the utmost dignity and respect, it is not true that we should be neutral to the choices and secular values that some choose to live and express. Sadly, when we do speak the full truth, especially the many moral truths our Lord has revealed, we are often labeled as judgmental. But this is not the truth.

This quote above from today’s Gospel makes it clear that we cannot remain indifferent to the teachings of our Lord and still remain in His good graces. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that the opposite is true. He says that if we are not with Him, meaning, if we do not accept all that He has revealed, then we are, in fact, against Him. Being neutral on matters of faith and morality is not actually being neutral at all. It’s a choice that some make that has the clear effect of separating them from Jesus.

For example, regarding matters of faith, if someone were to say, “I do not believe in the Eucharist,” then they are, in fact, rejecting God. And though it is not our duty to be their judge, it is our duty to acknowledge that they have expressed a belief contrary to the truth. They are in error, and if they persist in this error, then they do separate themselves from God. That’s what Jesus is saying.

The same is true regarding morality. There are many examples in the moral life that are becoming more and more blatant in their opposition to our Lord’s teaching. Thus, we must remind ourselves that when we reject a moral teaching given to us by our Lord, we reject Jesus Himself.

Jesus goes even further when He says that “whoever does not gather with me scatters.” In other words, it’s not enough to simply personally believe all that Jesus taught, we must also teach it to others. If we do not and if we, instead, offer a false form of “acceptance” of another’s error, then we are actually working against Jesus. We all have a moral duty to actively promote the truths of the Gospel given to us by our Lord.

Reflect, today, upon how fully you are “with” our Lord and “gather” with Him. Do you fully accept all that He has taught and also seek to gather many others for the Kingdom of God? If you do not see yourself actively believing in and participating in the mission of our Lord, then heed these words of Jesus and allow them to gently but firmly challenge you, so that you will more fully work to build up God’s Kingdom in your own heart and in the world all around you.

PRAYER:
My glorious King, You desire to build up Your Kingdom in my life and, through me, in the lives of others. Give me the grace and courage I need to fully accept all that You have taught me and to actively become an instrument of Your grace and truth in the world. May I be with You in all things, dear Lord, and gather many into Your loving arms of grace. Jesus, I trust in You.

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