Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 21, 2024


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R/. The Lord remembers his covenant forever.

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/.O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts as at Meribah.

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

At that time: Jesus said to the Jews, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

1.      Abraham figures in both the readings of the day. In the first reading from Genesis, God encounters Abram and makes promises to him and covenant with him. Thereby, his name changes his whole life changes. He becomes Abraham, the father of a son in old age, the father of many nations, and a blessing for many. He becomes a father and model of faith.

2.      In the gospel, Jesus says that Abraham saw him and was glad because he is before Abraham was. This is something crazy about history because Abraham and Jesus belong to two epochs. Clearly, Jesus was referring to his pre-existence, his identity of eternity as the Son of God.

3.      He was speaking from a divine perspective. Naturally, the Jews would not understand it because their perspective and realm of thinking are different. They think and see things and Jesus from a mere earthly and human perspective.

4.      This is the same divine, eternal perspective with which Jesus declares, “If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death”. Clearly, he was not speaking of natural physical death. What he meant was that believing and following his word will bring eternal life. In other words, faith gives eternity. In this sense, Abraham lives eternally because he had faith in God.

5.      This is the problem with many. They claim to have faith but their perspective and realm are merely earthly and human. They think in worldly terms. The only antidote for this is to imitate Jesus. Like Jesus, we should always try to glorify God and not ourselves. We must know Him and keep His word.

6.      Such an imitation will prevent us from misunderstanding others acting wrongly towards them as the Jews did. They did not understand what Jesus meant. They mistake his union with the Father as blasphemy. They become furious. They pick up stones to throw at him. This cautions us that we must not easily resent and oppose others just because they think and act differently.

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