Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 20, 2024


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R/. You are to be praised and highly exalted forever!

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/.Blessed are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

At that time: Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practises sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house for ever; the son remains for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.

1.      Freedom is a strong theme for our reflection today. In the first reading from Daniel, three youngsters Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego lose their freedom. They are thrown into the fire because they refuse to worship false gods.

2.      They prefer death rather than disloyalty to their true God. They prefer to forfeit their temporary freedom rather than lose their dignity as God’s children. They prefer slavery for the sake of faith rather than slavery to sin.

3.      Many think they are free because they have free access to many things and pleasures of the world. As they have the freedom to use or abuse as they like, they imagine themselves to be free beings.

4.      Thus, they equate licentiousness and self-indulgence with freedom. But actually, this is nothing but slavery to evil. This is what Jesus clearly teaches: Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin and is not free.

5.      Any freedom to do wrong is only false freedom. Any freedom that does not lead and contribute to good and positive is not true freedom. Therefore, freedom is tested by truth. Freedom is true when it abides in truth and promotes truth. Any freedom that endangers truth and indulges in falsity is not freedom but only slavery.

6.      That is why Jesus asserts: Know the truth and truth will make you free. The three youngsters knew the truth. They knew that only true God is the highest priority and only obedience to Him is the highest duty.

7.      They knew that serving the king or the false gods may bring temporary relief and freedom but it will cause eternal loss and damnation. They were ready to be burnt in the natural fire rather than the fire of hell. They were truthful and faithful to their faith. That is why God miraculously sets them free.

8.      On the contrary, the Jews do not see the truth, do not accept it, and follow it. They do not recognize the truth of Jesus, his identity as the Son of God and the Messiah. They do not accept the truth proclaimed by Jesus.

9.      They do not realize the truth about their sinfulness and unfaithfulness. They do not realize that Jesus himself is the truth that sets us free. They fail to repent and believe. They fail to live truthful and authentic lives. Instead, they are steeped in hypocrisy.

Catholic Leaf is website that provides Sundays and Weekdays catholic reflections. Please use catholic leaf as a tool for preparing your Homily.