The Word of God

March 31, 2021


Wednesday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 259

Reading I – Is 50:4-9A

The Lord GOD has given me 
    a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
    a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
    he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
    have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
    from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
    therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
    knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
    if anyone wishes to oppose me,
    let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
    Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
    who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial Psalm – 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34

R.    (14C)  Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
    and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
    a stranger to my mother’s sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
    and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R.    Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
    I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
    for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
    and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
R.    Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
    and I will glorify him with thanksgiving:
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
    you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
    and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R.    Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Verse before the Gospel

Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our errors.

OR:
Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel – Mt 26:14-25

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, 
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, My appointed time draws near; 
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘“
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said, 
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

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March 30, 2021


Tuesday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 258

Reading I – Is 49:1-6

Hear me, O islands,
    listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
    from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
    and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
    in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
    Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
    and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
    my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
    who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
    and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
    and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
    and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – 71:1-2, 3-4A, 5AB-6AB, 15 and 17

R.    (see 15AB)  I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
    incline your ear to me, and save me.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
    a stronghold to give me safety,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O LORD;
    my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
    from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
    day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
    and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.

Verse before the Gospel

Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel – Jn 13:21-33, 36-38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now? 
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”

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March 29, 2021


Monday of Holy Week
Lectionary: 257

Reading I – Is 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
    my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
    he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
    not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
    and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
    the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
    and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
    I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
    as a covenant of the people,
    a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
    to bring out prisoners from confinement,
    and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Responsorial Psalm – 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14

R.    (1A)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
    of whom should I be afraid?
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
When evildoers come at me
    to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
    themselves stumble and fall.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
    even then will I trust. 
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
    be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
 

Verse before the Gospel

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

Gospel – Jn 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.

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March 28, 2021


Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 37 and 38

At the Procession with Palms – Gospel – Mk 11:1-10

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, 
he sent two of his disciples and said to them, 
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it, 
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
‘Why are you doing this?’ reply,
‘The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.’”
So they went off 
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street, 
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them, 
“What are you doing, untying the colt?”
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to, 
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, 
and others spread leafy branches 
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
    “Hosanna!
        Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
        Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
    Hosanna in the highest!”

OR: Jn 12:12-16

When the great crowd that had come to the feast heard 
that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 
they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out:
    “Hosanna!
    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,
        the king of Israel.”
Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written:
    Fear no more, O daughter Zion;
    see, your king comes, seated upon an ass’s colt.
His disciples did not understand this at first, 
but when Jesus had been glorified 
they remembered that these things were written about him 
and that they had done this for him. 

At the Mass – Reading I – Is 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me
    a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
    a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
    he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
    have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
    from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
    therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
    knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm – 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

R. (2A)  My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me;
    they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
    let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
    a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
    I can count all my bones.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
    and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
    O my help, hasten to aid me.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
    in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
    all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
    revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
 

Reading II – Phil 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    coming in human likeness;
    and found human in appearance,
    he humbled himself,
    becoming obedient to the point of death,
    even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
    and bestowed on him the name
    which is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,    
    and every tongue confess that
    Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Verse before the Gospel – Phil 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

Gospel – Mk 14:1—15:47

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread 
were to take place in two days’ time.
So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way 
to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.
They said, “Not during the festival, 
for fear that there may be a riot among the people.”

When he was in Bethany reclining at table 
in the house of Simon the leper, 
a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil,
costly genuine spikenard.
She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant.
“Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages 
and the money given to the poor.”
They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, “Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?
She has done a good thing for me.
The poor you will always have with you, 
and whenever you wish you can do good to them, 
but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could.
She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
Amen, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world,
what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, 
went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money.
Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, 
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, 
his disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them, 
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city, 
and found it just as he had told them; 
and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. 
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, 
one who is eating with me.”
They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,
“Surely it is not I?”
He said to them,
“One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.
For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said, 
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, 
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine 
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, 
“All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
    I will strike the shepherd,
        and the sheep will be dispersed.

But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him, 
“Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be.”
Then Jesus said to him,
“Amen, I say to you, 
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times.”
But he vehemently replied, 
“Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.”
And they all spoke similarly.

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
“Sit here while I pray.”
He took with him Peter, James, and John, 
and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch.”
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; 
he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
but not what I will but what you will.”
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep, 
for they could not keep their eyes open 
and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them, 
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough.  The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
See, my betrayer is at hand.”

Then, while he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, 
accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs 
who had come from the chief priests,
the scribes, and the elders.
His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, 
“The man I shall kiss is the one; 
arrest him and lead him away securely.”
He came and immediately went over to him and said,
“Rabbi.”  And he kissed him.
At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew his sword,
struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you come out as against a robber, 
with swords and clubs, to seize me?
Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, 
yet you did not arrest me; 
but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.”
And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest’s courtyard 
and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus 
in order to put him to death, but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
 alleging, “We heard him say,
‘I will destroy this temple made with hands
and within three days I will build another
not made with hands.’”
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
saying, “Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?”
But he was silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him, 
“Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?”
Then Jesus answered, “I am;
and ‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
“hat further need have we of witnesses?
You have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?”
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!”
And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the high priest’s maids came along.
Seeing Peter warming himself,
she looked intently at him and said,
“You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
But he denied it saying,
“I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.”
So he went out into the outer court.
Then the cock crowed.
The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,
“This man is one of them.”
Once again he denied it.
A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more,
“Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean.”
He began to curse and to swear, 
“I do not know this man about whom you are talking.”
And immediately a cock crowed a second time.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him,
“Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.”
He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came, 
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, 
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison 
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered, 
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy 
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd 
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do 
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why?  What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace, 
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and, 
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
— which is translated Place of the Skull —,
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments 
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries, 
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha!  You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, 
mocked him among themselves and said, 
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said, 
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed 
and gave it to him to drink saying, 
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

        Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he  breathed his last he said, 
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene, 
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening,
since it was the day of preparation,
the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
a distinguished member of the council,
who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God,
came and courageously went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion, 
he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
wrapped him in the linen cloth,
and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses
watched where he was laid.

OR: Mk 15:1-39

As soon as morning came, 
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, 
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison 
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered, 
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy 
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd 
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do 
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why?  What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace, 
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and, 
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments 
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries, 
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha!  You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, 
mocked him among themselves and said, 
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said, 
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed 
and gave it to him to drink saying, 
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

        Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said, 
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”

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March 27, 2021


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 256

Reading I – Ez 37:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
    to which they have come,
    and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
I will make them one nation upon the land,
    in the mountains of Israel,
    and there shall be one prince for them all. 
Never again shall they be two nations,
    and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.

No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
    their abominations, and all their transgressions. 
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
    and cleanse them so that they may be my people
    and I may be their God.
My servant David shall be prince over them,
    and there shall be one shepherd for them all;
    they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.
They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob,
    the land where their fathers lived;
    they shall live on it forever,
    they, and their children, and their children’s children,
    with my servant David their prince forever.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
    it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
    and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
    I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
    who make Israel holy,
    when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.

Responsorial Psalm – Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12ABCD, 13

R.    (see 10D)  The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
    proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
    he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
R.    The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
    he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
    they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings:
The grain, the wine, and the oil,
    the sheep and the oxen.
R.    The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
    and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
    I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R.    The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.

Verse before the Gospel – Ez 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel – Jn 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees
and told them what Jesus had done. 
So the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
“What are we going to do? 
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
“You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish.”
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation,
but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews,
but he left for the region near the desert,
to a town called Ephraim,
and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”

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March 26, 2021


Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 255

Reading I – Jer 20:10-13

I hear the whisperings of many:
    “Terror on every side!
    Denounce! let us denounce him!”
All those who were my friends
    are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
“Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
    and take our vengeance on him.”
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
    my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
    to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
    who probe mind and heart,
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
    for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
    praise the LORD,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
    from the power of the wicked!

Responsorial Psalm – 18:2-3A, 3BC-4, 5-6, 7

R.    (see 7)  In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
    O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R.    In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
My God, my rock of refuge,
    my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
    and I am safe from my enemies.
R.    In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
The breakers of death surged round about me,
    the destroying floods overwhelmed me;
The cords of the nether world enmeshed me,
    the snares of death overtook me.
R.    In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
In my distress I called upon the LORD
    and cried out to my God;
From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry to him reached his ears. 
R.    In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

Verse before the Gospel – See Jn 6:63C, 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel – Jn 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”
The Jews answered him,
“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”
Jesus answered them,
“Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘? 
If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came,
and Scripture cannot be set aside,
can you say that the one
whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world
blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan
to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. 
Many came to him and said,
“John performed no sign,
but everything John said about this man was true.”
And many there began to believe in him.

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March 25, 2021


Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Lectionary: 545

Reading I – Is 7:10-14; 8:10

The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!”
Then Isaiah said: 
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!”  

Responsorial Psalm – 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11

R.    (8A and 9A)  Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
    but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
    then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
    and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
    I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
    your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
    in the vast assembly.
R.    Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading II – Heb 10:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats 
take away sins.
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said:

    “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
        but a body you prepared for me;
    in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
    Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
    behold, I come to do your will, O God.’”

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Verse Before the Gospel – Jn 1:14AB

The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us;
and we saw his glory.

Gospel – Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

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March 24, 2021


Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 253

Reading I – Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said:
“Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
that you will not serve my god,
or worship the golden statue that I set up?
Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made,
whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet,
flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe,
and all the other musical instruments;
otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace;
and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar,
“There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you
in this matter.
If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
But even if he will not, know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up.”

King Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage
against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual
and had some of the strongest men in his army
bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles,
“Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?”
“Assuredly, O king,” they answered.
“But,” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt,
walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” 
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed,
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;
they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies
rather than serve or worship any god
except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm – Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R.    (52B)  Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”
R.    Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R.    Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R.    Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you who look into the depths
    from your throne upon the cherubim;
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”
R.    Glory and praise for ever!
“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
    praiseworthy and glorious forever.”
R.    Glory and praise for ever!

Verse before the Gospel – See Lk 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel – Jn 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone. 
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains. 
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you. 
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” 
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham. 
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. 
We have one Father, God.” 
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

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March 23, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo, bishop, please go here.

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 252

Reading I – Nm 21:4-9

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent 
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.    

Responsorial Psalm – 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21

R.    (2)  O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
    and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
    in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;    
    in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
    and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
    and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
    and not despised their prayer.
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
    and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
    from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
    to release those doomed to die.”
R.    O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse before the Gospel

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

Gospel – Jn 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me. 
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

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March 23, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo, bishop


For the readings of the Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, please go here.

Lectionary: 544

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 2 Tm 1:13-14; 2:1-3

Beloved:
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
who dwells within us.

My child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And what you heard from me through many witnesses
entrust to faithful people
who will have the ability to teach others as well.
Bear your share of hardship along with me
like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 7-8C, 10

R.    (3) Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Alleluia – Jn 10:14

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 9:35-38

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, Bishop
1538–1606

A late vocation, he made up for lost time through ceaseless apostolic labors

Today’s saint was the second Archbishop of the second most important city in Spain’s Latin American empire in the 1500s. Lima, Peru, stood only behind Mexico City in importance to the Spanish Crown during the pinnacle of its colonial ambitions. So when Lima’s first Archbishop died in 1575, the King of Spain, not the Pope, searched for a suitable candidate to send over sea and land to replace him. The King found his man close at hand, and he was more than suitable to the task. Turibius of Mogrovejo was a learned scholar of the law who held teaching and other posts in Spain’s complex of Church and civil courts. Yet for all his learning, piety, faith, and energy, there was one huge obstacle to him being a bishop. Turibius was not a priest. He was not even a deacon. He was a very good, albeit unmarried, layman. The arrangement for centuries between Spain and the Holy See was that the Spanish Crown chose bishops while the Pope approved, or rejected, them. So after the Pope approved the appointment, over the candidate’s fierce objections, Turibius received the four minor orders on four successive weeks, was ordained a deacon and then ordained a priest. He said his first Mass when he was over forty years old. About two years later, Turibius was consecrated as the new archbishop, and then sailed the ocean blue, arriving in Lima in May 1581.

Archbishop Turibius was extraordinarily dedicated to his episcopal responsibilities. He exhausted himself on years-long visits to the parishes of his vast territory, which included present day Peru and beyond. He acquainted himself with the priests and people under his care. He convoked synods (large Church meetings) to standardize sacramental, pastoral, and liturgical practice. He produced an important trilingual catechism in Spanish and two native dialects, learned to preach in these indigenous dialects himself, and encouraged his priests to be able to hear confessions and preach in them as well. Archbishop Turibius’ life also providentially intersected with the lives of other saints active in Peru at the same time, including Martin de Porres, Francisco Solano, and Isabel Flores de Oliva, to whom Turibius gave the name Rose when he confirmed her. She was later canonized as Saint Rose of Lima, the first saint born in the New World. Saints know saints.

Archbishop Turibius was a fine example of a counter-reformation bishop, except that he did not serve in a counter-reformation place. That is, Peru was not split by the Catholic versus Protestant theological divisions wreaking such havoc in the Europe of that era. Saint Turibius implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent, not to combat heretics, but to simply make the Church healthier and holier, Protestants or no Protestants. From this perspective, the reforms of Trent were not a cure but an antidote. If Turibius’ energy and holiness were motivated by any one thing besides evangelical fervor, it was his desire to make the Spanish colonists of Peru recover the integrity of their own baptisms. The indigenous population needed authentic examples of Christian living to respect and emulate, and few Spanish colonialists provided such models of right living. Saint Turibius’ greatest enemy, then, was simply original sin, which returns to the battlefield every time a baby is born.

After exhausting himself through total dedication to his responsibilities, Saint Turibius fell ill on the road and died at age sixty-seven in a small town far from home. His twenty-four years as Archbishop were a trial of strength. He had baptized and confirmed half a million souls, had trekked thousands of miles on narrow paths made for goats, had never neglected to say Mass, and did not accept any gifts in return for what he gave. Turibius was canonized in 1726 and named the Patron Saint of Latin American Bishops by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1983. Perhaps his unforeseen ordination explains his sustained fervor and drive. What came late was valued for having come at all. He bloomed late and bloomed beautifully, becoming the Spanish equivalent of his great contemporary, the Italian Saint Charles Borromeo.

If a visitor searches for the tomb of the saintly Archbishop in the Cathedral of Lima today, he will not find it. There are only fragments of bones in a reliquary. His reputation for holiness was immediate and his relics were distributed far and wide after his death. He is in death as widely shared as he was in life, all the faithful wanting just a piece of the great man. In January 2018, Pope Francis prayed before the relics of Saint Turibius in Lima and invoked his memory in a talk to Peru’s bishops. Saint Turibius did not, Pope Francis said, shepherd his diocese from behind a desk, but was a “a bishop with shoes worn out by walking, by constant travel, by setting out to preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance, and fear.”

Saint Turibius, we invoke your intercession to inspire all who share the gospel, in whatever form, to do so with ardour, skill, and charity, using all the means at their disposal, as you so powerfully did in your own life and ministry.

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March 22, 2021


Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 251

Reading I – Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41C-62

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim,
who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna,
the daughter of Hilkiah;
her pious parents had trained their daughter
according to the law of Moses.
Joakim was very rich;
he had a garden near his house,
and the Jews had recourse to him often
because he was the most respected of them all.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges,
of whom the Lord said, “Wickedness has come out of Babylon:
from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.”
These men, to whom all brought their cases,
frequented the house of Joakim.
When the people left at noon,
Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk.
When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk,
they began to lust for her.
They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven,
and did not keep in mind just judgments.

One day, while they were waiting for the right moment,
she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only.
She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm.
Nobody else was there except the two elders,
who had hidden themselves and were watching her.
“Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids,
“and shut the garden doors while I bathe.”

As soon as the maids had left,
the two old men got up and hurried to her.
“Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us;
give in to our desire, and lie with us.
If you refuse, we will testify against you
that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.”

“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned.
“If I yield, it will be my death;
if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.
Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt
than to sin before the Lord.”
Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her,
as one of them ran to open the garden doors.
When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden,
they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her.
At the accusations by the old men,
the servants felt very much ashamed,
for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.

When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day,
the two wicked elders also came,
fully determined to put Susanna to death.
Before all the people they ordered:
“Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah,
the wife of Joakim.”
When she was sent for,
she came with her parents, children and all her relatives.
All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping.

In the midst of the people the two elders rose up
and laid their hands on her head.
Through tears she looked up to heaven,
for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.
The elders made this accusation:
“As we were walking in the garden alone,
this woman entered with two girls
and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls.
A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her.
When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime,
we ran toward them.
We saw them lying together,
but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we;
he opened the doors and ran off.
Then we seized her and asked who the young man was,
but she refused to tell us.
We testify to this.”
The assembly believed them,
since they were elders and judges of the people,
and they condemned her to death.

But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me. 
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”

The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel! 
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied,
“Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them.”

After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two.”
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought.
Daniel said to him,
“Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you,
lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.”
“Under an oak,” he said.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both.”

The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

OR:

The assembly condemned Susanna to death.

But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me.
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”

The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him,
“What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel!
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied,
“Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them.”

After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two.”
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. 
Daniel said to him, “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,
beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.”
“Under an oak,” he said.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,”
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both.”

The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

Responsorial Psalm – 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (4AB) Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

Verse before the Gospel – Ez 33:11

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

Gospel – Jn 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, 
and all the people started coming to him, 
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman 
who had been caught in adultery 
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught 
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin 
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

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March 21, 2021


For the readings of the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B, please go here.

Fifth Sunday of Lent Scrutiny Year A Readings
Lectionary: 34

Reading I – Ez 37:12-14

Thus says the Lord GOD: 
O my people, I will open your graves 
and have you rise from them, 
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD, 
when I open your graves and have you rise from them, 
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live, 
and I will settle you upon your land; 
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm – 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
    LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to my voice in supplication. 
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
    LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
    that you may be revered. 
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
    my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
    let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
For with the LORD is kindness
    and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
    from all their iniquities.
R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Reading II – Rom 8:8-11

Brothers and sisters:
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; 
on the contrary, you are in the spirit, 
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, 
although the body is dead because of sin, 
the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, 
the one who raised Christ from the dead 
will give life to your mortal bodies also, 
through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Verse Before the Gospel – Jn 11:25A, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.

Gospel – Jn 11:1-45

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, 
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil 
and dried his feet with her hair; 
it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him saying, 
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
hen Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death, 
but is for the glory of God, 
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, 
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples, 
“Let us go back to Judea.”
The disciples said to him, 
“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, 
and you want to go back there?”
Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in a day?
If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, 
because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks at night, he stumbles, 
because the light is not in him.” 
He said this, and then told them,
“Our friend Lazarus is asleep,
but I am going to awaken him.”
So the disciples said to him,
“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”
But Jesus was talking about his death, 
while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. 
So then Jesus said to them clearly,
“Lazarus has died.
And I am glad for you that I was not there,
that you may believe. 
Let us go to him.”
So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, 
“Let us also go to die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus 
had already been in the tomb for four days.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.
And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary 
to comfort them about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus, 
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life; 
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

When she had said this, 
she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, 
“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”
As soon as she heard this,
she rose quickly and went to him.
For Jesus had not yet come into the village, 
but was still where Martha had met him.
So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her 
saw Mary get up quickly and go out,
they followed her, 
presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, 
she fell at his feet and said to him, 
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, 
he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, 
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said, 
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man 
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, 
“Lord, by now there will be a stench; 
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe 
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me; 
but because of the crowd here I have said this, 
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice, 
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands, 
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

OR: 

Jn 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33B-45

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying, 
“Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
“This illness is not to end in death, 
but is for the glory of God, 
that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, 
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples, 
+Let us go back to Judea.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus 
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him; 
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus, 
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life; 
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, 
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, 
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said, 
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man 
have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, 
“Lord, by now there will be a stench; 
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe 
you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said, 
“Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me; 
but because of the crowd here I have said this, 
that they may believe that you sent me.”
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice, 
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands, 
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

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March 21, 2021 – Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B


For the readings of the Fifth Sunday of Lent Scrutiny Year A Readings, please go here.

Lectionary: 35

Reading I – Jer 31:31-34

The days are coming, says the LORD, 
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel 
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand 
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; 
for they broke my covenant, 
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make 
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; 
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, 
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Responsorial Psalm – 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15

R. (12A)  Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
    in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
    and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
    and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
    and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
    and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Reading II – Heb 5:7-9

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, 
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears 
to the one who was able to save him from death, 
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 
and when he was made perfect, 
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Verse Before the Gospel – Jn 12:26

Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord;
and where I am, there also will my servant be.

Gospel – Jn 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, 
and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”
Philip went and told Andrew; 
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them, 
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you, 
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, 
it remains just a grain of wheat; 
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world

will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me, 
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now.  Yet what should I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, 
“I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; 
but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
Jesus answered and said, 
“This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
Now is the time of judgment on this world; 
now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth, 
I will draw everyone to myself.”
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

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March 20, 2021


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 249

Reading I – Jer 11:18-20

I knew their plot because the LORD informed me;
at that time you, O LORD, showed me their doings.

Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter,
had not realized that they were hatching plots against me:
“Let us destroy the tree in its vigor;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will be spoken no more.”

    But, you, O LORD of hosts, O just Judge,
        searcher of mind and heart,
    Let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
        for to you I have entrusted my cause!

Responsorial Psalm – 7:2-3, 9BC-10, 11-12

R.    (2A) O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge;
    save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
Lest I become like the lion’s prey,
    to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me.
R.    O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
Do me justice, O LORD, because I am just,
    and because of the innocence that is mine.
Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,
    but sustain the just,
    O searcher of heart and soul, O just God.
R.    O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
A shield before me is God,
    who saves the upright of heart;
A just judge is God,
    a God who punishes day by day.
R.    O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.

Verse before the Gospel – See Lk 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel – Jn 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, 
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.

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March 19, 2021


Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 543

Reading I – 2 Sm 7:4-5A, 12-14A, 16

The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David,
‘When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Responsorial Psalm – 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29

R.    (37)  The son of David will live for ever.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
    through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness,
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
    in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R.    The son of David will live for ever.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
    and establish your throne for all generations.”
R.    The son of David will live for ever.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
    my God, the Rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
    and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R.    The son of David will live for ever.

Reading II – Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith,
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.

Verse Before the Gospel – Ps 84:5

Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord;
they never cease to praise you.

Gospel – Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24A

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

OR:

Lk 2:41-51A

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them.

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March 18, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop and doctor of the Church, please go here.

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 247

Reading I – Ex 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
The LORD said to Moses,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
‘With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth’?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people. 
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’“
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.
 

Responsorial Psalm – 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R.    (4A)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
    and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
    for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
    who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
    terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
    but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
    to turn back his destructive wrath.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse before the Gospel – Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel – Jn 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews: 
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me. 
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

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March 18, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop and doctor of the Church


For the readings of the Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent, please go here.

Lectionary: 542

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors, #719-724 or the Common of Doctors of the Church, #725-730.

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 5:1-5

Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R.    (10)  The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    (John 6:63)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R.      The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R.      The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R.      The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R.      The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Alleluia – Jn 15:9B, 5B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in my love, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor
c.  315–386

A wise and persevering bishop teaches doctrine directly to his flock

It is the Christ-given obligation of every Catholic bishop, and the priests and deacons who share in his ministry, to teach, sanctify, and govern all people under their spiritual care. Regarding teaching, the letters of Saint Paul, as well as the writings of early Christian theologians, abundantly attest to the duty of the Apostles and their appointed successors to ensure that false doctrine never infects their flocks. The episcopal duty to teach was not a charism or gift of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues, performing miracles, or healing the infirm. Teaching correct doctrine might be aided by the Holy Spirit, but it was first a mandate from the Lord Himself. To not teach, to teach incompletely, or to teach falsely, was for the shepherd to ignore, neglect, or scatter the sheep entrusted to his care and protection.  

Today’s saint, Cyril, the Bishop of Jerusalem in the late fourth century, was a model teacher of right doctrine. He did not just teach teachers what to teach. He did not deputize or delegate others to teach on his behalf. He was the local Father, and, concerned for Christian formation in the household of faith, he personally taught the faith. How do we know this? Two reasons: First, because a holy woman named Egeria went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the 380s. She documented her travels in a journal identifying the bishop, known to be Cyril, as the catechist in the domed mausoleum covering the tomb of Christ (part of today’s church of the Holy Sepulchre). Second, we know of Bishop Cyril’s talks because many of them were dutifully recorded and preserved, presumably because of their high caliber. The talks are rich, early testimony to the perennial, consistent doctrines of the Catholic Church.

Egeria states that Cyril taught about Lent and Easter to catechumens and neophytes (the newly baptized) by going through the entire Bible and the Creed, article by article. He taught for three hours each day, every one of the forty days of Lent and during Easter week. In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul wrote, “But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?” (Romans 10:14). Bishop Cyril admirably fulfilled his apostolic duty to teach and to proclaim so that others would know the Lord.

Among the profound teachings of Saint Cyril on the Mass, Baptism, and the Sacraments are his extended reflections on the nature of the Holy Eucharist. He is explicit: “Since He Himself has declared and said of the bread: This is My Body, who shall dare to doubt any more? And when He asserts and says: This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate and say it is not His Blood?…Do not think it mere bread and wine, for it is the Body and Blood of Christ, according to the Lord’s declaration” (St. Cyril Catechetical Lecture XXII). Cyril notes that if Christ could change water into wine, why could He not change wine into His own Blood? Reading these words of Cyril, it is perplexing that any modern Christian could doubt the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. As Blessed Cardinal Newman wrote: “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant”(An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Introduction, chpt. 5).

Bishop Cyril was deeply involved in various consequential theological controversies of his day, was banished from Jerusalem, and participated in the First Council of Constantinople. He lived a long, complicated, and impactful life in the heart of the Church. He is in many ways a model to all bishops for his zealous yet tender care of souls, especially those preparing to be washed in the saving waters of baptism at Easter. Saint Cyril fortified the content of the Church’s teaching with his personal presence, and by extension, the presence of the Sacrament of Holy Orders in his very person. He is a bishop remote in time, yet near in doctrine. Far removed from us historically, he is still close at our side when we stand to recite the same Creed he recited at every Sunday Mass.

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, through your generous dedication to teaching the faith, come to the assistance of all catechists, ordained and lay, to be equally committed to teaching those under their care, in season and out of season, knowing that fidelity to the Lord and His Church is what counts the most.

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March 17, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Patrick, bishop, please go here.

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 246

Reading I – Is 49:8-15

    Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
    on the day of salvation I help you;
    and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
    and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
    on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
    nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
    and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
    and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
    others from the north and the west,
    and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
    break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
    and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
    my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
    be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
    I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm – 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18

R.    (8A)  The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
    and compassionate toward all his works.
R.    The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
    and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
R.    The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
    and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
    to all who call upon him in truth.
R.    The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Verse before the Gospel – Jn 11:25A, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

Gospel – Jn 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews: 
“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

“I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.”

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March 17, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Patrick, bishop


For the readings of the Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, bishop, please go here.

Lectionary: 541

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Pastors: For Missionaries, #719-724.

Reading 1 – 1 Pt 4:7B-11

Beloved:
Be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another
as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God;
whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies,
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 7-8B, 10

R.    (3)  Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R.    Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Alleluia – Mk 1:17

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
Come after me, says the Lord,
and I will make you fishers of men.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Lk 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening  to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that they were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

Saint Patrick, Bishop
Fifth Century

The black arts of pagandom were no match for this one-man fortress

Today’s saint, the Patron of Ireland, was English. He was born in an unknown year to Catholic parents in an educated home in Roman Britain. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a married priest. When he first went to Ireland, he did not go willingly. He was kidnapped by pirates at the age of sixteen and enslaved. He went from the warm embrace of his home to herding pigs, exposed to sleet and cold, starving on the rain-soaked coast of rural Ireland. Times of great danger and deprivation are often times of great grace. In young Patrick’s years of isolation, cold, hunger, and loss, prayer was his only nourishment and comfort. His captivity turned a boy into a man and transformed a tepid Christian into an ardent soul burning with love for the Holy Trinity.

After six years of torturous enslavement, Patrick escaped his captors and made the difficult voyage back to his own nation, family, and language. But the Irish were never far from his mind. One night, he had a dream. Patrick sees a man he knew in Ireland named Victoricus approaching from the west. Victoricus holds countless letters and hands one to Patrick. It is titled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he begins to read the letter, Patrick hears a multitude of voices rising, as if one, from a forest near the Western Sea: “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.” Patrick is deeply moved. Unable to read any more, he wakes up.

Patrick decides to be a slave of Christ and to return as a missionary to Ireland. Feeling himself unprepared, he first studies for many years at monasteries in France. After receiving an excellent education in the Faith, he receives priestly and episcopal ordination. He then embarks as a fully equipped missionary for his adopted homeland. There he finds a rustic people steeped in paganism. It is not today’s paganism—well read, superior, and too sophisticated to believe in religious “mythology.” Real paganism, the paganism of remote Ireland, called upon dark forces to conquer the white spirits and angels of God. Real paganism casts spells, calls down lightning from the night sky, mixes potions to poison its enemies, and forms flames into swords for battle. Real paganism invokes the devil because it knows satan keeps his appointments. This is the dark paganism Patrick finds lurking in the foggy hills and bogs of his new land. Fifth-century Ireland had a deeply entrenched, richly layered culture of pagan worship. And Bishop Patrick used his crozier, like a dagger, to stab it right in the heart.

Saint Patrick converts the Irish, one tribe after another. He matches the tribes’ preternatural forces with supernatural powers. There are numerous anecdotes, of dubious historicity, describing how Patrick turned an enemy into a fox, converted his walking staff into a tree, or drove all the snakes out of Ireland. These tales illustrate a deeper point—Saint Patrick had command over creation itself and used that power to communicate the truth of the Christian God who created creation. There is no doubt that Saint Patrick harvested an immense number of souls.

For the Church to send a bishop to Ireland in the fifth century was to land a man on the moon. Beyond Ireland there was no one and nothing. Patrick evangelized a rugged, clever people in a rugged, clever way. He conquered their witches, wizards, and warlocks with the Holy Spirit. He vanquished their incantations, potions, brews, demons, and sorcery with the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Son of God in the Mystery of the Altar we call the Blessed Sacrament. He overcame the “black laws of pagandom” with a protecting God who walks always and lovingly at our side. Many centuries of saints, abbots, missionaries, scholars, and monks set sail from tiny Ireland to traverse the globe in service of the Gospel. They owe the rich Catholic culture of their homeland to that mighty pillar of faith known as Saint Patrick.

Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, assist us through your intercession to trust in the raw power of God to conquer evil. Give us confidence to confront evil spirits, however they may show themselves, so that the peace of true religion may reign where it does not reign now.

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March 16, 2021


Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 245

Reading I – Ez 47:1-9, 12

The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water, 
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, “Have you seen this, son of man?”
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. 
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm – 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R.    (8)  The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
God is our refuge and our strength,
    an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
    and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R.    The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
    the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
    God will help it at the break of dawn.
R.    The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
The LORD of hosts is with us;
    our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
    the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R.    The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 

Verse before the Gospel – Ps 51:12A, 14A

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel – Jn 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.

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March 15, 2021


Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 244

Reading I – Is 65:17-21

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
    and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
    or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
    in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
    and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
    and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
    or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
    and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
    and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

Responsorial Psalm – 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12A and 13B

R.    (2A)  I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
    and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
    you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
    a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
    but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
“Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
    O LORD, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing;
    O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R.    I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Verse before the Gospel – Am 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.

Gospel – Jn 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee.
For Jesus himself testified
that a prophet has no honor in his native place.
When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him,
since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast;
for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee,
where he had made the water wine.
Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum.
When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea,
he went to him and asked him to come down
and heal his son, who was near death.
Jesus said to him,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
The royal official said to him,
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
“The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
“Your son will live,”
and he and his whole household came to believe.
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.

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March 14, 2021


For the readings of the Fourth Sunday of Lent Year B, please go here.

Fourth Sunday of Lent Scrutiny Year A Readings
Lectionary: 31

Reading I – 1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A

The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, 
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice, 
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, 
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel: 
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, 
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see, 
because man sees the appearance 
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, 
but Samuel said to Jesse, 
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him; 
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold 
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, 
anointed David in the presence of his brothers; 
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Responsorial Psalm – 23: 1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (1)  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
    he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
    I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
    that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
    in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
    all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
    for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
 

Reading II – Eph 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness, 
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light, 
for light produces every kind of goodness 
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; 
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention 
the things done by them in secret; 
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
    “Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.”

Verse Before the Gospel – Jn 8:12

I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel – Jn 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, 
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned; 
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him, 
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, 
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”
He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again, 
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe 
that he had been blind and gained his sight 
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said, 
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid
of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed 
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind 
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said, 
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses, 
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing, 
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners, 
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said, 
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment, 
so that those who do not see might see, 
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this 
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin; 
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

OR:

Jn 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him, 
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, 
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again, 
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said, 
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

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March 14, 2021 – Fourth Sunday of Lent Year B


For the readings of the Fourth Sunday of Lent Scrutiny Year A Readings, please go here.

Lectionary: 32

Reading I – 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23

In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people 
added infidelity to infidelity, 
practicing all the abominations of the nations 
and polluting the LORD’s temple 
which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers, 
send his messengers to them, 
for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.
But they mocked the messengers of God, 
despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets, 
until the anger of the LORD against his people was so inflamed 
that there was no remedy.
Their enemies burnt the house of God,
tore down the walls of Jerusalem, 
set all its palaces afire, 
and destroyed all its precious objects.
Those who escaped the sword were carried captive to Babylon, 
where they became servants of the king of the Chaldeans and his sons
until the kingdom of the Persians came to power.
All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah: 
“Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths, 
during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest 
while seventy years are fulfilled.”

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, 
in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, 
the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia 
to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, 
both by word of mouth and in writing: 
“Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: 
All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, 
and he has also charged me to build him a house 
in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, 
let him go up, and may his God be with him!”

Responsorial Psalm – 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R. (6AB)  Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
By the streams of Babylon
    we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
    we hung up our harps.
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
For there our captors asked of us
    the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
    “Sing for us the songs of Zion!”
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
How could we sing a song of the LORD
    in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand be forgotten!
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
May my tongue cleave to my palate
    if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
    ahead of my joy.
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

Reading II – Eph 2:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
God, who is rich in mercy, 
because of the great love he had for us, 
even when we were dead in our transgressions, 
brought us to life with Christ — by grace you have been saved —, 
raised us up with him, 
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 
that in the ages to come 
He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace 
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, 
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works 
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them

Verse Before the Gospel – Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel – Jn 3:14-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, 
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, 
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish 
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, 
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, 
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, 
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world, 
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light, 
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, 
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

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March 13, 2021


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 242

Reading I – Hos 6:1-6

“Come, let us return to the LORD,
    it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
    he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    to live in his presence.
Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
    as certain as the dawn is his coming,
    and his judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
    like spring rain that waters the earth.”

What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your piety is like a morning cloud,
    like the dew that early passes away.
For this reason I smote them through the prophets,
    I slew them by the words of my mouth;
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,
    and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Responsorial Psalm – 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21AB

R.    (see Hosea 6:6)  It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
    in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
    and of my sin cleanse me.
R.    It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
    should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
    a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R.    It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
Be bountiful, O LORD, to Zion in your kindness
    by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem;
Then shall you be pleased with due sacrifices,
    burnt offerings and holocausts.
R.    It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.

Verse before the Gospel – Ps 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel – Lk 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — 
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

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March 12, 2021


Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 241

Reading I – Hos 14:2-10

    Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
    you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
    and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
    and receive what is good, that we may render
    as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
    nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
    to the work of our hands;
    for in you the orphan finds compassion.”

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
    I will love them freely;
    for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
    he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
    and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
    and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
    and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
    and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
    I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”– 
    Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
    let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
    in them the just walk,
    but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial Psalm – 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 and 17

R.    (see 11 and 9A)  I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
    “I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
    his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you.”
R.    I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
    I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
    O Israel, will you not hear me?”
R.    I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“There shall be no strange god among you
     nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
    who led you forth from the land of Egypt.”
R.    I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“If only my people would hear me,
    and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
    and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
R.    I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Verse before the Gospel – Mt 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Gospel – Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
    Hear, O Israel!
    The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, 
    with all your soul, 
    with all your mind, 
    and with all your strength.

The second is this:
    You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
    He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
    with all your understanding, 
    with all your strength,
    and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

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March 11, 2021


Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 240

Reading I – Jer 7:23-28

Thus says the LORD: 
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.

Responsorial Psalm – 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
    let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
    let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
    and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
    “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
    as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
    they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R.    If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Verse before the Gospel – Jl 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel – Lk 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, 
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

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March 10, 2021


Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 239

Reading I – Dt 4:1, 5-9

Moses spoke to the people and said:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land 
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”

Responsorial Psalm – 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20

R.    (12A)  Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
    praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
    he has blessed your children within you.
R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
    swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
    frost he strews like ashes.
R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
    his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
    his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R.    Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse before the Gospel – See Jn 6:63C, 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel – Mt 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

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March 9, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Frances of Rome, religious, please go here.

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 238

Reading I – Dn 3:25, 34-43

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”

Responsorial Psalm – 25:4-5AB, 6 and 7BC, 8-9

R.    (6A)  Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
    teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my savior.
R.    Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
    and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
    because of your goodness, O LORD.
R.    Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
    thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
    he teaches the humble his way.
R.    Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Verse before the Gospel – Jl 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel – Mt 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

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March 9, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Frances of Rome, religious


For the readings of the Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent, please go here.

Lectionary: 238

Reading 1 – Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and makes cloth with skillful hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R.    (2)  I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    (9)  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R.     I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R.    I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.    Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Saint Frances of Rome, Religious
1384–1440

Just to be near her was thought a blessing

Today’s saint, born into a wealthy noble family in the Eternal City, was married to a man from a similarly privileged family when she was just thirteen. Saint Frances earnestly sought to do the will of God in serving her husband, her children, and her home while also attempting to live a high level of holiness modeled on the life of a nun. She had desired to enter religious life from a young age, but her father refused to break his promise to give Frances in marriage to a fellow nobleman. Frances struggled with an internal conflict between her married state and the religious state to which she had originally felt called. This was not a choice between a good and a bad option. It was a natural tension in the soul of a holy woman who saw two paths open before her, both of which led to God. After her husband died and her children were grown, Saint Frances did live the ordered life of a religious, albeit outside of a convent.

The divine pull that Saint Frances felt in the direction of two unique callings was not unusual. The Church has other female saints who were wives and mothers before they entered religious life. The spiritual theology of the Church in the twentieth century, ratified by the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, now offers a vision of holiness which resolves much of this earlier tension in trying to discern a vocation. The primary calling of all Christians is imparted through Baptism, fortified in Confirmation, and nourished in reception of Holy Communion. These Sacraments are sufficient armor to fit one for holiness in any and all circumstances. The married life and its natural domestic concerns is, then, as much a theater for holiness as a cloister.

The Church wants all Catholics to understand daily life as its own drama in fulfilling, or rejecting, God’s will. It is not that one is distracted with the details of work, family, domestic chores, and children while the real action takes place in the parish, the monastery, the retreat center or the convent. The real action is at home, in the domestic church. It is precisely at home where Christians spend most of their time, raise their children, engage with their spouses, and accomplish the multitude of tasks that make life happen. Home and work are not spheres of life. They are life. And it would be absurd to argue that the will of God lies outside of life itself. To say that holiness is for everyone is to say that all of creation is a forum to pursue it, and that no vocation limits the opportunity to accomplish God’s will.

Saint Frances of Rome was a model wife and mother for forty years, often in violent and difficult circumstances provoked by skirmishes related to the Western Schism, the era of more than one pope which divided Rome’s elites into warring factions. Frances’ husband loved and revered her, her servants admired her, and her children adored her. In addition to performing her domestic duties so faithfully, Frances also fasted, prayed, had a vibrant mystical spirituality, and was generous with the poor. Her charity toward the destitute was not the modern charity of making charitable donations. She did the work, not someone else. She herself made personal contact with the homeless, the hungry, and beggars. Her sterling example of piety and service led her to found a group of like-minded women who lived in the world but who bound themselves to a life of prayer and service. The group was later recognized as an order in the Church under the title the Oblates of Saint Frances of Rome. So in addition to fulfilling her own duties, Frances also helped similarly high-placed women to avoid lives of frivolity.

Saint Frances of Rome was generous in all things, saw her guardian angel at her side for many years, ate little more than dry bread, and had a provable gift of healing. As her reputation for holiness spread in her later years, to be in her mere presence was considered a blessing by the people of Rome. As wife, mother, and later Oblate, she stretched herself to the limit in seeking out and doing God’s will, precisely as that will was transmitted to her by the Church she loved with such fervor.     

Saint Frances of Rome, through your intercession, aid all wives and mothers to live lives of generous service to their families. Help them to serve the domestic Church by creating, and fortifying, that cradle of holiness and culture the Church so needs to flourish.

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March 8, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint John of God, religious, please go here.

Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 237

Reading I – 2 Kgs 5:1-15AB

Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram,
was highly esteemed and respected by his master,
for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram.
But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.
Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel
a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife.
“If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,”
she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman went and told his lord
just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said.
“Go,” said the king of Aram.
“I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”
So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents,
six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read:
“With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you,
that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

When he read the letter,
the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed:
“Am I a god with power over life and death,
that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy?
Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!”
When Elisha, the man of God,
heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments,
he sent word to the king:
“Why have you torn your garments?
Let him come to me and find out
that there is a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman came with his horses and chariots
and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
The prophet sent him the message:
“Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
“I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel? 
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”
With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
“My father,” they said,
“if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before him and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm – 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4

R.    (see 42:3) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

As the hind longs for the running waters,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Send forth your light and your fidelity;
    they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
    to your dwelling-place.
R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Then will I go in to the altar of God,
    the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
    O God, my God!
R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Verse before the Gospel – See Ps 130:5, 7

I hope in the LORD, I trust in his word;
with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption.

Gospel – Lk 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, 
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

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March 8, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint John of God, religious


For the readings of the Monday of the Third Week of Lent, please go here.

Lectionary: 539

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Holy Men and Women: For Religious, #737-742 or For Those Who Work for the Underprivileged, #737-742.

Reading 1 – 1 Jn 3:14-18

Beloved:
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that anyone who is a murderer
does not have eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 112:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-7A, 7B-8, 9

R.    (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
An evil report he shall not fear.
His heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R.    Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Mt 25:31-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

Statue of John of God in Rome | Saint of the Day
Saint John of God’s Story
Having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.
He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of Saint John of Avila, he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.
Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by Saint John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.
He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But, excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.
Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, now a worldwide religious order.
John became ill after 10 years of service, but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. He died under the care of a spiritual friend and admirer, Lady Ana Ossorio.
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Gratitude Attracts Miracles


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 8, 2021

There is a remarkable juxtaposition, a type of literary set of bookends in our Readings of today. In the First Reading, the assured faith and belief that the prophet could heal leads to tremendous consequences: “Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.” However, and quite sadly, the same is NOT true later in the life of Jesus: “When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.” Jesus’ people would not, or could not accept Him as the Messiah He is because they allowed doubt and tragic unbelief to stifle and cloud any hope of a miracle in their midst. And this is the real significant meaning of the imagery: leprosy.

If we were to look upon this frightful and dehumanizing disease that attacks the skin and bones, it becomes an excellent metaphor for the lack of faith and vain trust in self and its effects on the soul. One horrible aftermath of leprosy was the exclusion of the sufferer from the rest of the community. They became outcasts and wholly rejected. So, too with the seeds of sin and death that undermine a faithful and loving attachment to the Lord: we become outsiders to live and seemingly never able to part of the community again. This is where the touch of Christ means everything. He wants us close to Him; He desires our reunion with the Church and the community of believers. He truly wants us closer to Him than we are to ourselves. We must die to pride so we can live again. St. Paul says it best: “If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.”

“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.” Perhaps there is no other depiction from anywhere in the Bible that illustrates and highlights the depth of a mean-spirited lack of faith that produces ingratitude. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such selfish, egotistical behavior? The current level of detachment in our society could be a clue. We seem to be facing reality through a screen of some sort: I phones, laptops, I pads, computers, television, etc., all train us to take an almost inhuman step away from reality so as not to become too immersed with any real internal and integrated approach to life, you know, the way Jesus approached everyone in the Scriptures and how he deals with you and me right here, right now.

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March 7, 2021


For the readings of the Third Sunday of Lent Year B Readings, please go here.

Third Sunday of Lent Scrutiny Year A Readings
Lectionary: 28

Reading I – Ex 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst 
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD, 
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people, 
along with some of the elders of Israel, 
holding in your hand, as you go, 
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it 
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah, 
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Responsorial Psalm – 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8)  If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
    let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
    let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
    and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
    “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
    as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
    they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading II – Rom 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith, 
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
through whom we have gained access by faith 
to this grace in which we stand, 
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint, 
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless, 
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, 
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Verse Before the Gospel – Cf. Jn 4:42, 15

Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world;
give me living water, that I may never thirst again.

Gospel – Jn 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, 
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him 
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him, 
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; 
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, 
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself 
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, 
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; 
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty 
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands, 
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; 
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand; 
we worship what we understand, 
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, 
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; 
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; 
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned, 
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, 
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” 
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar 
and went into the town and said to the people, 
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another, 
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment 
and gathering crops for eternal life, 
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; 
others have done the work, 
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.” 

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified, 
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,

they invited him to stay with them; 
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 
and they said to the woman, 
“We no longer believe because of your word; 
for we have heard for ourselves, 
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

OR:

Jn 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, 
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, 
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him 
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him, 
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; 
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, 
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself 
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, 
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; 
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty 

or have to keep coming here to draw water.

“I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; 
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father 
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand; 
we worship what we understand, 
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, 
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; 
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him 
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; 
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them; 
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 
and they said to the woman, 
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves, 
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

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March 7, 2021 – Third Sunday of Lent Year B Readings


For the readings of the Third Sunday of Lent Scrutiny Year A Readings, please go here.

Lectionary: 29

Reading I – Ex 20:1-17

In those days, God delivered all these commandments:
“I, the LORD, am your God, 
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.
You shall not carve idols for yourselves 
in the shape of anything in the sky above 
or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 
you shall not bow down before them or worship them.
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, 
inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness 
on the children of those who hate me, 
down to the third and fourth generation; 
but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation 
on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished 
the one who takes his name in vain.

“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days you may labor and do all your work, 
but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God.
No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, 
or your male or female slave, or your beast, 
or by the alien who lives with you.
In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, 
the sea and all that is in them; 
but on the seventh day he rested.
That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, 
that you may have a long life in the land 
which the LORD, your God, is giving you.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, 
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, 
nor anything else that belongs to him.”

OR: Ex 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17

In those days, God delivered all these commandments:
“I, the LORD am your God, 
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.
You shall not have other gods besides me.

“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
For the LORD will not leave unpunished 
the one who takes his name in vain.

“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.
Honor your father and your mother, 
that you may have a long life in the land 
which the Lord, your God, is giving you.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, 
nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, 
nor anything else that belongs to him.”

Responsorial Psalm – 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68C)  Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
    than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
    or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading II – 1 Cor 1:22-25

Brothers and sisters:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 
but we proclaim Christ crucified, 
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, 
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, 
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Verse Before the Gospel – Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel – Jn 2:13-25

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, 
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, 
and spilled the coins of the money changers
and overturned their tables, 
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here, 
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, 
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them, 
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said, 
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, 
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, 
his disciples remembered that he had said this, 
and they came to believe the Scripture 
and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, 
many began to believe in his name 
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, 
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.

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Water As Wisdom To The Soul


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 7, 2021

The truth about water is both evident and critical because it is fundamental to lasting health, peace of mind, and survival. Our bodies are about 60% water, and without it, a person will die within just a few days. Perhaps water is also an essential aspect of our spiritual lives while we examine the beautiful readings that are given to us on this Third Sunday of Lent: “Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” However, this Scriptural lesson cannot be concerned with just the nutritional aspects of water. The exact connection is with Baptism, and the new life promised in the Old Testament and then fulfilled by Jesus with whom we travel these days of Lent.

“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.'” Just as the human body pangs and thirsts for water, the soul also desires fulfillment and complete nourishment that can only be satisfied and found in the Lord Jesus. The remarkable aspect of the scene at the well is that Jesus was asking for a drink. What could that possibly signify? Jesus thirsted for the faith of the woman at the well. Much like He is thirsting for you and me to make a commitment to Him and be nourished entirely with His presence and love. The truth is simple: without Jesus, we will die; with Him, we will continuously be refreshed in His great love.

“Like water in the desert is wisdom to the soul.” Edward Counsel

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March 6, 2021


Sunday Vigil Mass

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 235

Reading I – Mi 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
    the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
    in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
    as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
    show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
    and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
    but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
    treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
    and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
    from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm – 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

R.    (8A)  The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
    and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits.
R.    The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
    he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
    he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R.    The Lord is kind and merciful.
He will not always chide,
    nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
    nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R.    The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R.    The Lord is kind and merciful.

Verse before the Gospel – Lk 15:18

I will get up and go to my father and shall say to him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

Gospel – Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”

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Forgiving The Inexcusable


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 6, 2021

“Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance.” It would be more than just a simple sadness if we found ourselves finishing another great Season of Lent and were not in possession with just a little more desire and ease when confronted with the need and call to forgive. And yet, if we were to speak realistically, the lack of ability may equal the lack of desire even to approach any semblance of forgiving someone and letting everything go, especially when there is a deep and lasting wound or infraction that is at stake. Why do you think some people will not forgive, at least not yet? Here are just a couple: Some will not forgive another because they want more proof of repentance; others because they are still carrying another hurt from their not-to-distant past, and we may have just opened a scab, the proverbial “old wound.” However, there is a more in-depth and inherent why some refuse to forgive, and it is simple. They have lost the true and essential truth of what Jesus has accomplished for them and all of us. Redemption!

In a sincere and hopeful attempt to avoid any sadness for us on Easter Sunday, the Scriptures provide us with an even better reason to continue to work toward a forgiving heart and a life dedicated to the mercy of our loving Father. And this is wonderfully found in such a delightful and poignant detail that is found wedged gently within the phrases of the parable that Christ presents to us in the Gospel: “So he got up and went back to his Father. While he was still a long way off, his Father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” Could you picture this? The prodigal son has left everything necessary to him and all the people who loved him. The pain caused to his Father must have been horrible, but even with this hurt, this holy parent still waited outside for his son to return home and then ran to accept him back into his arms. This is God who always is poised to forgive and love. This wondrous love is enough to bring us to forgive everyone who has ever caused us pain. The Psalm gives us the words for the prayer that will lead us to lasting joy: “He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion.”

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” C.S. Lewis

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March 5, 2021


Friday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 234

Reading I – Gn 37:3-4, 12-13A, 17b-28A

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph, 
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father. 
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? 
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm – 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R.    (5A) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land
    and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
    Joseph, sold as a slave.
R.    Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,
    and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
    and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R.    Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,
    the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
    and ruler of all his possessions.
R.    Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse before the Gospel – Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel – Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: 
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

    The stone that the builders rejected
        has become the cornerstone;
    by the Lord has this been done,
        and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

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Simply Showing Up


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 5, 2021

We have noted many times in our Reflections that more than a few Old Testament accounts of people and events tell of a foreshadowing of that which is yet to come. For example, Moses said the Jewish people of another Law-Giver, like him, who would come later and who would require the people’s total allegiance and obedience; the Psalms describe the experiences of David; yet they also speak of David’s Greater Son, the Messiah. In our First Reading of today, We heard of Joseph, son of Israel, who was deeply loved and cherished by his father but who would also face awful rejection: “When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.” The Scriptural lesson for us today is that for centuries humanity had been waiting for the Messiah, the Landowner of Heaven and Earth, and still many rejected Him. That, unfortunately, goes on today in our time as was described dramatically in the timely threat that if we cannot produce good fruit with what we have been given, someone else will: “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

We have been given a vineyard and a charge: You have a life now use it wisely and carefully. This means, among many other things, that our very demeanor and actions, especially around our families and friends, and co-workers alike, must radiate the fact that we do believe that Jesus is the Long-Awaited Messiah and that “I have in fact accepted Him here and now.”

You and I have numerous and wonderful opportunities to accomplish on our Lenten journey. One of the best ways is through forgiveness whenever possible and necessary. Even for our friends. Especially for our friends. The sad turn of events in the parable that Jesus uses to continue to get through to the chief priests, scribes, and elders is one of rejection. The truth is, we make hundreds of choices every day we walk on this planet, from what we will eat and not eat to whom we will call or not. The wisdom here is found in what to reject and what not to reject. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

“When we are faithful to simply show up with hands willing to work, we can watch in wonder as God brings forth fruit from our humble efforts.” Eryn Lynum

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March 4, 2021


For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint Casimir, please go here.

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 233

Reading I – Jer 17:5-10

    Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
    who seeks his strength in flesh,
    whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
    that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
    a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
    whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
    that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
    its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
    but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
    beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
    and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
    according to the merit of his deeds.

Responsorial Psalm – 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R.    (40:5A)  Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
    the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
    and meditates on his law day and night.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
    planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
    and whose leaves never fade.
    Whatever he does, prospers.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so, the wicked, not so;
    they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
    but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R.    Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse before the Gospel – See Lk 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel – Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’”

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March 4, 2021 – Optional Memorial of Saint Casimir


For the readings of the Thursday of the Second Week of Lent, please go here.

Lectionary: 537

Below are the readings suggested for today’s Memorial. However, readings for the Memorial may also be taken from the Common of Holy Men and Women,  #737-742.

Reading 1 – Phil 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
I consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things
and I consider them so much rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having any righteousness of my own based on the law
but that which comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God,
depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection
and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,
if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it
or have already attained perfect maturity,
but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it,
since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part
do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 15:2-3AB, 3CD-4AB, 5

R.    (1) The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R.    The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R.    The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R.    The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.

Alleluia – Jn 13:34

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you:  love one another.”

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The Look Of Love


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 4, 2021

The pages of all the Scriptures literally shout out with warnings and desperate pleas concerning neglect for the poor and hungry in our world. This also seems to be a theme that has never been applied to just one culture or time period but for all of humanity in every age. The words of the Prophet Jeremiah are as fierce as they are clear about the pride and selfishness that produces this kind of woeful abandonment of the most vulnerable around us: “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. “

The Gospel today makes even a stronger case for realizing our responsibilities for the poor and neglected in this world and the severe consequences that await those who live very selfishly and even hatefully. At the same time, they walk the earth with the many blessings abounding. “My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad.” The rich man in our passage literally had to walk over Lazarus who was literally covered with sores and longed to eat scraps that fell from the large table of the palace in front of which he is begging. This is a powerful Lenten lesson for every one of us. Let us all carefully look around our lives to make sure we are not “walking over” people who need us. Negligence is a terrible thing that brings much worse than sores and scraps for those who remain blind.

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March 3, 2021


Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 232

Reading I – Jer 18:18-20

The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word.”

Heed me, O LORD,
    and listen to what my adversaries say.
Must good be repaid with evil
    that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
    to speak in their behalf,
    to turn away your wrath from them.

Responsorial Psalm – 31:5-6, 14, 15-16

R.    (17B)  Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
You will free me from the snare they set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
    you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side,
    as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my God.”
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
    from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
R.    Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Verse before the Gospel – Jn 8:12

I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel – Mt 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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Ecstasy And Exultation


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 3, 2021

“Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak on their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.” Sociologist Robert Wuthnow of Princeton University has explored how it is that people make everyday ethical decisions. Many people, he found, perform deeds of compassion, service, and mercy because at some point in their past, someone acted with compassion toward them. He wrote, “The caring we receive may touch us so deeply that we feel especially gratified when we are able to pass it on to someone else.” He tells Jack Casey’s story, who was employed as an emergency worker on an ambulance rescue squad. When Jack was a child, he had oral surgery. Five teeth were to be pulled under general anesthetic, and Jack was fearful. What he remembers most, though, was the operating room nurse who, sensing the boy’s terror, said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be right here beside you no matter what happens.” When Jack woke up after the surgery, she was loyal to her word, standing right there with him. Nearly 20 years later, Jack’s ambulance team is called to the scene of a highway accident. A truck has overturned, the driver is pinned in the cab, and power tools are necessary to get him out. However, gasoline is dripping onto the driver’s clothes, and one spark from the tools could have spelled disaster. The driver is terrified, crying out that he is scared of dying. So, Jack crawls into the cab next to him and says, “Look, don’t worry, I’m right here with you; I’m not going anywhere.” And Jack was true to his word; he stayed with the man until he was safely removed from the wreckage. Later the truck driver told Jack, “You were an idiot; you know that the whole thing could have exploded, and we’d have both been burned up!” Jack told him that he felt that he just couldn’t leave him.

Many years before, Jack had been treated compassionately by the nurse, and because of that experience, he could now show that same compassion to another. His experience of an act of loving service enabled him to do the same for another. In the Verse before the Gospel for today, Jesus made it clear: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.”

Following Jesus and living a Christian life that is authentic and inspiring is much more than having a hobby or belonging to a particular political party. It is even more than having a job or a career. Our faith not only points us to what is eternal but also follows us into that existence. If we live with Jesus here and now, we will enjoy His wonderful presence forever. That is why the Eucharist is essential to the one who understands that this life is passing and Heaven is the only real goal worth living and dying for. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.” Kallam Anji Reddy

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March 2, 2021


Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 231

Reading I – Is 1:10, 16-20

Hear the word of the LORD,
    princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
    people of Gomorrah!

    Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
    cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
    hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

Come now, let us set things right,
    says the LORD:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
    they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
    they may become white as wool.
If you are willing, and obey,
    you shall eat the good things of the land;
But if you refuse and resist,
    the sword shall consume you:
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!

Responsorial Psalm – 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 and 23

R.    (23B) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
    for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
    no goats out of your fold.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
    and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
    and cast my words behind you?”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
    Or do you think that I am like yourself?
    I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
    and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
 

Verse before the Gospel – Ez 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel – Mt 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

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Friend, Enemy, And Companion


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 2, 2021

“Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.” From time to time, we come across very similar sounding words but quite different in meaning. Such may be the case with the difference between being humiliated and being humbled. Humiliation is the act of being embarrassed or even an act of self-hatred self-loathing. Humility is the understanding or will to accept oneself in love and truth. Although these two are easily and often confused, they are vastly different. They are almost opposites in the light of the Readings for us today. God will never humiliate us out of a sense of evil hatred, but some moments certainly humble us. Today’s great news is that He always wishes to raise us and strengthen us in His great love for reach and every one of us.

In the Gospel today, Jesus makes this point very clear and even with more significant promises ahead: “…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” This means that no matter what happens to us, if we stay close to the Lord, especially in these days of the Lenten journey, we may, for a time, feel low and deprived of attachments that have been detrimental to our spiritual progress. Still, the great promise of Easter is ours for eternity. A person who seeks to humiliate serves the darkness; a humble person walks in light because they do the truth. This is our Lenten goal: to be a person of light and truth!

“The greatest friend of truth is Time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility.” Charles Caleb Colton

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March 1, 2021


Monday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 230

Reading I – Dn 9:4B-10

“Lord, great and awesome God,
you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you
and observe your commandments!
We have sinned, been wicked and done evil;
we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets,
who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes,
our fathers, and all the people of the land.
Justice, O Lord, is on your side;
we are shamefaced even to this day:
we, the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem,
and all Israel, near and far,
in all the countries to which you have scattered them
because of their treachery toward you.
O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers,
for having sinned against you.
But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!
Yet we rebelled against you
and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God,
to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.”

Responsorial Psalm – 79:8, 9, 11 and 13

R.    (see 103:10A)  Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
    may your compassion quickly come to us,
    for we are brought very low.
R.    Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Help us, O God our savior,
    because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
    for your name’s sake.
R.    Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you;
    with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
    will give thanks to you forever;
    through all generations we will declare your praise.
R.    Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.

Verse before the Gospel – See Jn 6:63C 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel – Lk 6:36-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

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Measure The Treasure


Reflection on Mass Reading for March 1, 2021

It may take the death of someone very dear to us or some horrendous tragedy or life-altering disappointment to finally take us to the brink of existence to realize that we truly belong to God. Some of us have been blessed from the beginning with a child-like and total trust in God, but for many of us, it seems as if we have to grow gradually into that space where we know without a doubt that 1. God exists, 2. He made me, and 3. I can trust my entire life to Him. Daniel of our First Reading was one of those trusting God-fearing individuals. Yet, he was also ready to beg forgiveness for straying from the fold: “But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.” The two opposing attitudes are entirely linked in the depths of love and mercy a person who loves God completely understands. Love and mercy are essential elements of a holy, happy, and healthy life in Christ.

No one can claim seriously that they are “self-made.” That is not possible. We did not create ourselves as much as some might insist. Precisely because God created and designed and loved us all into existence means that we belong to Him. We can trust that. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned, …For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” When one trusts the Lord with everything they have, acknowledges their sinfulness and failings before the Lord, they are much less ready to judge and short-change the people around them. Thus, the same standards we apply to others will indeed be applied to us, one way or another, sooner or later. Since we profoundly and fundamentally belong to God, we have an even more substantial and compelling reason to get along with each other and practice what we preach. Since God has created ALL, then ALL have equal dignity, and the more we can recognize that quality in everyone, even if they do not see it, the closer we come to fulfilling the destiny God has invited us to follow.

“The most beautiful people I have ever met are the ones who always see life in full color. They are the ones who have been through hell and back and still stop to savor the parts of life that many seldom pay attention to. They will always use their past experiences as a guiding light to bring forth a more authentic way of life. These are the people I admire most because no matter how much they have suffered, they will always find a reason to make the best of this imperfect world.” Karen A. Baquiran

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