Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 23, 2024


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R/. O praise the Lord, all you nations

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord, and I know them, and they follow me.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”.

1.      The Jews are annoyed with Jesus and ask him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly”. Jesus responds, “I told you but you do not believe”. There was no cloud of suspense or mystery. His own works of wonders and healings in his Father’s name are the greatest testimony of his identity. Thus, both his words and deeds were more than enough to bear witness to him.

2.      Yet why do they not believe? Jesus gives the reason as well. It is because they are not among his sheep. If they were to be his sheep, they would hear his voice, and follow him. For his sheep hear his voice and they follow him. They shall not be snatched out of his hand and will never perish.

3.      The very fact that they do not hear his voice and do not follow him but are easily snatched by evil and follow his dictates is a clear sign that they are not his sheep.

4.      But on the contrary, we see how the apostles were charged with the power of the Spirit and the fire of preaching. The hand of the Lord was with them. They were good men, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, exemplified in Barnabas.

5.      That is why they could touch and transform thousands. Many believed and turned to the Lord. There were no barriers like Jew or Gentile, male or female, free or slave. There was no suspense or doubt because the light of the Holy Spirit was enlightening them, guiding them, and confirming them in faith.

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