Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 27, 2024


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R/. To one whose way is blameless, I will show the salvation of God.

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, says the Lord, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!

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

At that time: Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honour at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the market-places and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

1.      God never ceases to call us for repentance and renewal. All the more during this holy season of Lent, this call is strong and straight. Thus we hear in the first reading from Isaiah, saying, “Hear the word of the Lord… Give ear to the teaching of our God! Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean”.

2.      Now what does this mean and imply? We need to remove the evil of our deeds from before His eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause.

3.      In the light of the gospel, this repentance and renewal would mean removing all the traces of hypocrisy. Jesus cautions us against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes. Its forms are manifold:

4.      Preaching but not practising; demanding too much from others but doing very little themselves; making a show to impress others and not out of genuine conviction or devotion; seeking recognition and honour.

5.      The greatest antidote is humility, for “the greatest among you shall be your servant”. In simple details, it is to have the mind of a disciple and learner and not a teacher or rabbi; it is to be a brother to others and not to be revered as a father, for we all have only one Father; it is to be an instructee under the one instructor, the Christ, and not projecting oneself as a great instructor.

6.      If one cultivates this humility and strives to renew life, then the fruits are enormously great: the Lord will completely wipe away all the stains and weight of sin. The Lord himself assures: even though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

7.      This means that the Lord will thoroughly cleanse us and make us pure. Further, if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; you shall be exalted to the heights, for “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”.

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