Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 12, 2024


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R/. Show me compassion, that I may live.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. I am the way, and the truth, and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.

R/. Alleluia

At that time: The Pharisees came and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

1.      In the gospel, the Pharisees demand Jesus for a sign from heaven. The purpose is not to strengthen their faith but only to test his power. Surely there were enough and more signs in the form of his teaching, preaching, and healing.

2.       His miracles were powerful signs of God’s mercy and power through him. In fact, he himself was the greatest sign of God’s presence, guidance, and power. They see all these signs but they refuse to accept them.

3.       What is the reason? We get the answer from the letter of St James in the first reading. It is because they lacked wisdom. They lacked that wisdom that makes them steadfast in their faith. Instead, they were doubting, double-minded, and unstable in their ways.

4.       They were like the waves of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. Their faith was so shallow like a flower of the grass that withers and passes away. How many today are like these Pharisees? Signs of God’s love, goodness, and holiness abound. His care, light, and power are abundant.

5.       But many just reject them because they are devoid of wisdom. They are double-minded and shallow. Like the waves, they are constantly driven and tossed by the winds of worldly allurements. Like the flowers of the grass, their beauty and joy are perishable and passing.

6.       Therefore, what are we to do? “Trust God and not test God”. We need not test God’s power and fidelity. We shall not test His concern by the mere granting of favours to us. We shall not test His power by the mere removal of all difficulties from our life.

7.       We shall not test His mercy by the mere healing of us always. Rather, we need to trust and surrender wholeheartedly. Let us trust Him even when things go wrong, even when we do not receive what we want.

8.        “See the signs and follow what they signify”. If only we are a little more open and humble, there are plenty of signs of God’s grace all around us. Signs are not necessarily miracles and healings alone.

9.       A sign is anything that signifies to us the ways of God. A sign is anything that indicates God’s grace and teaches us to be responsive and effective. In that way, even negative experiences like Corona, sickness, failure, persecution, et cetera also are signs.

10.   “Test your faith and bear testimony to it”. Our faith is tested by trials and adversities. Through our perseverance, we bear testimony to the depth of our faith. True faith does not seek exemption from afflictions as a sign of the power of faith. Rather, it accepts them and endures through them as a sign of its genuineness.

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