Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 23, 2024


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R/. The Lord will keep us, as a shepherd keeps his flock.

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: Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

1.      God always owns us up. He is a God who belongs to us and who makes us belong to Him. He is the God of covenant and intimacy. He is in a stable and everlasting relationship with His people. That is why today in the first reading from Ezekiel, God repeats twice: “They shall be my people and I will be their God”.

2.       God promises that He will gather His people from all around, and bring them to their own land. He will make them one nation. One king shall be king over them all. They shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. Historically, it may refer to the Jewish people and their kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

3.       But they allude very much to the new Israel, the Christian faithful, the followers of Christ. It is the one nation of the Church of Faith. The one kingdom is the kingdom of heaven surpassing the kingdom of the world and evil.

4.       Christ is the one king that reigns over all. He is the one shepherd in line with David. As prophesied rightly by the high priest Caiaphas, Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

5.       Now what will be some signs and conditions of belonging to this one God, one nation, and one kingdom of God? We shall not defile ourselves anymore with our modern idols like money, sex, power, and position; or with any detestable things; or with any transgressions. We shall save ourselves from all the backsliding. We shall be cleansed from our sins. We shall walk in God’s rules and be careful to obey His statutes.

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