Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 10, 2024


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R/. O let my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not.

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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

At that time: Jesus said to Nicodemus, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

1.      Yet again, the Word of God impresses upon us the nature, the depth and the extent of God’s love. In fact, already at the creation itself, God testifies to this love. He loves the humans so much that He gives His own divine image and likeness to them.

2.      But sadly, humans disfigure this divine identity due to sin. Thereupon, man loses the immortal life, the dignity, bliss and glory. He falls into death, misery and ignominy. But yet again, God’s love comes into action.

3.      He does not leave man in such a state of loss and distress. He initiates a story, a journey of salvation, a salvation history. He rewrites the pages of slavery, bondage and misery of the humankind.

4.      He enters into their life situations, intervening and acting mightily and delivering and liberating them from slavery and exile. He establishes covenants with them. He makes them prosper in the promised land.

5.      One such concrete instance of God’s mighty intervention is depicted in today’s first reading from the book of Chronicles. God wonderfully inspires and steers Cyrus, the king of Persia, a pagan king, to take the initiative toward the building of the temple.

6.      But again, sin and evil raise their ugly head. The human ignominy and misery continue. So once more, God had to intervene. If sin abounded, grace must superabound. If the old man brought downfall, a new man must bring upliftment. No human being can rise up to this task.

7.      Hence, God Himself shoulders the responsibility. God sends His own Son, as the incarnate Saviour, in the person of Jesus Christ. In and through Jesus, yet again God continues to shower upon the sinful humanity abundant streams of His mercy.

8.      It is a loving mercy that condones, forgives, reconciles and restores the fallen man.”God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, as a ransom for human salvation”. Thus, Jesus is the face, the mirror, the replica, the manifestation, the authentication and the testimony of God’s own love.

9.      In sensitivity and solidarity, he becomes the ever-flowing streams of mercy and compassion. Even while we are sinners, he deigns to suffer and die for us, and offers liberation and a graced life here and now, and eternal life and salvation there and then.

10.  Faith is that graced life, which lives grace, once being liberated from the clutches of sin. So, seen from the divine standpoint, faith is the gratuitous gift of God, a sign of grace and God’s love.

11.  At the same time, seen from the human standpoint, faith is also the human response to God’s gift of love and salvation. This gift of faith becomes a task, in responding and cooperating to God’s gift of God’s own life, a restored life.

12.  Thus, life becomes light, when concretized and translated into action. To the extent one accepts light, and allows it to work on him, to that extent life becomes vibrant and fully active. Therefore, a person of faith who receives Jesus and the life of God must constantly live in light dispelling all the shades of darkness.

13.  In simple details, this living in the light implies: being illuminated,  being clear-sighted and focused, being guided and charged to walk in God’s ways, and do good works that shine and show God’s own light.

14.  If this is the whole spectrum of love, mercy, faith, life and light, then some basic and vital questions and challenges remain always. How much we are conscious of God’s ceaseless love for us?

15.  How much we are profoundly grateful to His mercy that forgives and dignifies us. How do we value, appreciate and live the gift of faith? Do we constantly realize faith as an experience of God’s merciful love and offer of life, and not merely as the belief in certain doctrines and truths?

16.  How do I live my new life of faith in a renewed life of light? Am I a faithful person, living the life of God in light and enlightenment,  Or am I a mediocre believer walking in darkness, suffocating God’s life?

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