Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 13, 2024


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R/. Blessed the man whom you discipline, O Lord.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him..

R/. Alleluia

At that time: The disciples had forgotten to bring bread and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And Jesus cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another, the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

1.      The word of God today cautions us against the power and pressure of negative influences. In the first reading, St James warns us not to be tempted and deceived by the lures and enticements of our own desires.

2.      A gift is good and perfect if it comes from above, from God, and is stable and consistent. So whatever leads to evil, sin, and death, whatever rises merely from the desires, whatever comes only from below, and whatever is fluctuating and unstable, is dubious and evil.

3.      In the gospel, Jesus cautions his disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. The leaven of the Pharisees indicates their self-righteousness and hypocrisy. The leaven of Herod signifies his ruthless worldliness and power-seeking.

4.      Just as the leaven can ferment the whole dough, so also the wrong ways of the Pharisees and Herod can strongly exert a negative influence on his disciples

5.      Therefore, the disciples of Jesus must be deeply alert and attentive to sense any such evil influences that try to lure them and lead them astray. They must be conscious to discern such deceptive forces.

6.      In the light of Jesus’ warning, they must try to perceive and understand, have the eyes to see, and have the ears to hear. They shall not harden their hearts. Instead, they will keep them ever flexible and open to God’s power.

7.      Particularly, they shall constantly remind themselves of the many wonders that God has been doing and continues to do in their lives. Jesus asks them to remember the miraculous feeding of thousands with a few loaves and fish.

8.      In the same way, he is asking all his present disciples never to lose sight of God’s blessings and favours received without ceasing. They must always bear in mind that whenever God takes control of our life situations, there is full satisfaction and even surplus.

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