Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection January 02, 2024


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R/. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. At many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

R/. Alleluia

This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

1. The temptations never vanish or diminish. They are ever prevalent and try to prevail over us. They try to deceive and detract us in subtle and disguised ways. Often the temptation for ego- ego-projection and self-glory is very strong.

2. This is what confronted John the Baptist as well. There was a clear alluring possibility to present himself as the awaited Messiah. The people were already impressed by him and were quite disposed to accept him as the Messiah.

3. He resists and overcomes this bait for self-glory. In all honesty and humility, he denies such presumptions. He truthfully confirms his role as the messenger and precursor who announces and prepares the way of the Lord.

4. The same is our situation as well. Unceasingly, we are also surrounded by many deceptive forces. They discard the truth, disguise the lie as truth, and mislead us into the wrong. The remedy to resist and overcome these pressures is to constantly abide in him, to be regenerated by him.

5. This consists in cultivating a deep spirit of humility. This does not put on airs. This is not puffed up. This seeks not undue comfort and self-glory. Rather, we should strive to do right, because that is the real way of being born of God.

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