Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 03, 2024


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R/. O Lord, teach me your statutes.

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 apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he sawa great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

1.      King Solomon was really wise to ask God for wisdom in preference to riches, honour, long life, and victory over enemies. He knew that for a leader, an understanding and wise mind to discern between good and evil is crucial for good governance. Nothing else can really match and replace wisdom.

2.       God was so pleased with the wise supplication of Solomon and he grants him incomparable wisdom. Along with it, he also grants him riches and honour. However, such a gift of wisdom will abide only when one is faithful to God.

3.       For the Bible says clearly, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Thus, as long as Solomon was walking before the Lord like his father in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward God, he reigned in wisdom. But when he began to waver in his fidelity to the true God, his wisdom also began to wane.

4.       In the NT, a leader is presented more in terms of a shepherd. Jesus himself presents himself as a good shepherd. He also expects his leaders over his people to be true shepherds. In the gospel, Jesus feels compassion for the people.

5.       This certainly shows the very nature of God as compassionate. He feels concerned for us. He senses our needs. He feels deeply moved by our plight.

6.       But apart from God’s nature of compassion, the reason for his compassion is a note to reflect upon. He feels compassion for the people because they are like sheep without a shepherd. This speaks both of the sheep and the shepherds as well.

7.       The sheep are directionless and deviant, either because there is no true shepherd to follow or because they do not follow the true shepherd. The shepherds too are culpable because they do not shepherd their sheep.

8.       The shepherds fail to be good shepherds because they lack the essential trait of wisdom. They lack that understanding and wise mind to discern between good and evil. They are more worried about riches, honour, long life, and success over their rivals, rather than wise governance. They substitute wisdom with the things of the world.

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