Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 16, 2024


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R/. O Lord, my God, I take refuge in you

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/. Blessed are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

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

At that time: When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”They went each to his own house.

1.      Many times it is strange and also sad that the people with more knowledge become shallow and stubborn in their own thinking. They are caught up in their restrictive territory and refuse to look beyond. They become fixated on their reasoning and ideas and reject the other side. This is truly intellectual blindness and arrogance.

2.       This is what happened in the case of the Pharisees and scribes in the time of Jesus. They were acclaimed scholars and teachers of the law. They were the interpreters and guides of the Scriptures. Their main argument and objection against Jesus were predominantly based on the Scriptures and law.

3.       The Scriptures say that the Christ comes from the offspring of David and from Bethlehem, the village where David was. But instead, Jesus comes from Galilee. Besides, he also often defies and breaches the law. If Jesus were to be the Christ, then he must come from Bethlehem and David’s ancestry. He must also abide by the law.

4.       But, perhaps just a little closer and deeper query would have discovered the actual details about Jesus. If only they wanted, they would have easily found out that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and that he is the offspring of David. But they did not want to go beyond the external and apparent certainties. They were stuck up with his earthly origins. Hence they did not know the truth.

5.       What prevented them from having the right knowledge? It is clearly their antagonism and prejudice. They just did not like and appreciate Jesus. Unlike Nicodemus, they were rushing to condemn him even without first giving Jesus a hearing and learning what he does.

6.       The prophet Jeremiah in the first reading laments in deep anguish and his words apply quite rightly to Jesus. Like a gentle lamb, he is led to the slaughter. Against him, they devised schemes to destroy him completely as a tree with its fruits.

7.       But commendable is the spirit of forbearance and surrender of the prophet and Jesus as well in the face of such hostility and unjust persecution. As in the words of the prophet, both “commit their cause to God” who judges righteously, and who tests the heart and the mind.

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