Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 22, 2024


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R/. In my anguish I called to the Lord, and he heard me

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/.Your words, Lord, are spirit and life, you have the words of eternal life

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

At that time: The Jews picked up stones again to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.

1.      Good and godly people suffer. This is an obvious fact. In today’s readings, we find this in the case of the prophet Jeremiah and Jesus. Both face opposition, rejection, persecution, and condemnation. Both stand in the face of death, becoming victims of plots to kill them. 

2.      It is not a punishment. It is the price they had to pay for their loyalty and commitment. It is the cost of their conviction and authenticity. Few things always stand out in them. One is their total communion with God. That is why Jesus would declare, “The Father is in me and I am in the Father”

3.      Second, even in their greatest desperation, they felt this total belonging to God. They do not lose heart. They are not shaken in their faith. Jesus was convinced that Father is always on his side and would never abandon him. The Father will be his guide and strength and surely will glorify him. Jeremiah too was convinced, saying, “The Lord is with me as a dread warrior”.

4.      Third, they deeply and perseveringly hoped for God’s vindication. Jesus says that everyone will be judged according to their faith or unfaith. The prophet affirms, “My persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not succeed. They will be eternally dishonoured… The Lord will deliver the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers”.

5.      They surrendered themselves totally to God. They accept their sufferings as tests and trials for righteousness. They do not seek vengeance by themselves. Rather they commit their cause to God. They remain totally focused on their mission. Come what may, they never swerved from their commitment to the mission entrusted to them by God.

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