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March 15, 2017


hand holding a match

The Battle of Light and Darkness 

Reading 1 – 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 – PS 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.”

Reflection

In our Scripture Readings today, it is clear that we are being prepared for the eventual drama that will unfold during Holy Week. Both Jeremiah and St. Matthew have set the stage for evil’s attack upon the good in this world and the attempt of darkness to overcome the light. the Old Testament Prophet foreshadows the attack of the Pharisees against Jesus when he wrote: “Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life?”

The Lord must remind the Apostles that hard times and challenges to the very core of their existence will ensue and they must be ready: “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…”

We know two things about this exchange: They acknowledge his warning and state that they are ready for anything, and, they simply were not: 1o of the 12 ran away.

However, this is good for each and every one of us: every day is challenge and struggle to live this life and walk this walk. We live in a world of darkness and terror and unless we hold the Light of Christ within us, we will indeed be swallowed up in despair (as was Judas Iscariot). Thus, the battle of light and darkness is not just outside of us, it is also within us. And we have Jesus especially in the Eucharist to help us move forward in faith.

Remember the words of the Verse before the Gospel today: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” 

Our Father
The Seventh Petition:“But Deliver Us from Evil”

In the last petition, “but deliver us from evil,” Christians pray to God with the Church to show forth the victory, already won by Christ, over the “ruler of this world,” Satan, the angel personally opposed to God and to his plan of salvation. (CCC 2864)

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