19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36
Psalm 48:2-3ab, 3cd-4, 10-11
Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Today's Gospel reading leaves out five of Matthew's verses, and
I believe that we need them if we wish to make real sense of what the opening
verse means. After all, if we are to take seriously Christ's prohibition
about not giving what is holy to dogs, how can we also obey Paul's injunction
to preach the word in season and out?
The verses that we do not read today are those in which Jesus tells us to
"Ask, and it will be given to you" and "If you who are evil know how to give
your children what is good..." Here Jesus is speaking to and about those
who hunger and thirst, the ones who are ready and willing to receive the
word of God, and we must, as Christians, share the wealth of who we are and
what we have with them.
In the case of the "dogs" and "swine," those who reject God outright and
even mock Him, we must still do the work of proclamation, but it can only
be of the most basic sort. We must love and minister to them, showing
our deep interest in them and caring for them but not being concerned about
imparting the finer points of our spirituality.
It is the Spirit who will guide us here, as long as we are constant and
humble in our prayer, and it is the Spirit who will bring our patient work