Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection March 25, 2024


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R/. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/. Hail to you, our King; you alone are compassionate with our faults.

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

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denari and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

1.      We are on the Monday of the Holy Week. The days are preparing so dramatically for the end of Jesus’ life and mission. In the first reading, we have the figure of the prophet Isaiah, the suffering servant of Yahweh. In him, we find an allusion to Jesus. The words referring to the prophet would perfectly apply to Jesus. Certainly, God would pronounce the same words about Jesus:

2.      “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations… He will not grow faint or discouraged till he has established justice on the earth… I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon”.

3.      The Lord like the prophet is on the last days of his human journey of mission on earth. He encounters a response that is both positive and negative. The positive response is represented by the Bethany family of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary and some believing Jews. The negative response is represented by Judas Iscariot and the Pharisees and scribes.

4.      The family of Bethany is an abode and ambiance of love, intimacy, and service. Mary loves him passionately. She sits at Jesus’ feet, anoints his feet with the costliest ointment, and wipes them with her hair. Martha cares for and serves him so warmly and lavishly. Lazarus shares the table with him in intimate vicinity.

5.      On the other hand, we have Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. His three years in close company with Jesus would have no effect on him. There are also the Pharisees and scribes who maliciously plot to kill Jesus.

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