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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 8:16-18)

(Week 25 of the year: Monday)

A LAMP IS PUT ON A LAMP-STAND SO THAT PEOPLE MAY SEE THE LIGHT WHEN THEY COME IN.

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or to put it under a bed. No, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in.

For nothing is hidden but it will be made clear, nothing secret but it will be known and brought to light. So take care how you hear; for anyone who has will be given more; from anyone who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 5:13-16)

SALT AND LIGHT

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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GLORY TO YOU, O CHRIST OUR LIFE!

Let us acclaim Jesus Christ risen from the dead that we might rise with him:

R. Glory to you, O Christ our life!

O Christ, radiant light shining in our darkness,
– you have sanctified for ever our mortal condition: (R.)

Lord, who walked the road to Calvary,
– you call us to follow you through death to resurrection: (R.)

Son of the Father, our brother and our master,
– you make us a people of priests and kings: (R.)

King of glory, we await the glorious day of your appearing,
– when we will see you as you are and be made like you: (R.)

(Personal intentions)

Our Father…

O God, you were pleased to give joy to the world through the Resurrection of your Son. Grant, we beseech you, that through the mediation of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may obtain the joys of life everlasting. Amen.

 

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SPREAD, O SPREAD, THOU MIGHTY WORD (HYMN)

Spread, O spread, thou mighty Word,
Spread the kingdom of the Lord,
Wheresoe’er his breath has given
Life to beings meant for heaven.

Word of life, most pure and strong,
Lo! for thee the nations long;
Spread, till from its dreary night
All the world awakes to light.
– J. F. Bahnmeier,
tr. C. Winkworth

 

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WHERE HAD THE PALM SUNDAY CROWDS DISAPPEARED TO WHEN JESUS WAS SENTENCED TO DEATH?

THE SALVATION HISTORY OF ALL MANKIND AS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE:
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED ON PALM SUNDAY?

“The following day Jesus set out for Jerusalem. Hearing that He was at Bethany, a great crowd had come from Jerusalem to meet Him. They were attracted also by the prospect of seeing Lazarus, whom Jesus had brought back to life. The priests and Pharisees, on the other hand, were angry at His growing fame and the admiration of the people for Him. They were strengthened in their resolve to put Him to death. Indeed they were determined also to put Lazarus to death.

JESUS’ ENEMIES WERE ANGRY AT HIS GROWING FAME

It was the intention of Jesus to enter Jerusalem as the Messias. He wished to fulfil the prophecy of Zacharias [Zechariah], who had foretold that the Messias would enter Jerusalem seated upon an ass. Unwilling, perhaps, to endanger His friends at Bethany, He did not ask them for the animal upon which He would enter the Holy City. Instead, when He drew near to Bethpage, He told His disciples to enter the village and to bring to Him the ass and her colt which they would find there.

THE PROPHECY OF ZACHARIAS WAS TO BE FULFILLED

When the disciples returned with the ass and her colt, some of those present spread their cloaks over the colt. Jesus then mounted and started for Jerusalem. The people, apparently accepting Him as the Messiah, did what they could to make His entrance into the city a royal procession. Some spread their cloaks on the ground before Him. Others stripped branches from the trees along the way and spread them on the road before Him. Filled with enthusiasm they shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest!’ (Matthew 21:9).

‘HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!’

Some of the Pharisees, who had come to watch Him, objected to the behaviour of the crowd. They would not accept Jesus as the Messias, nor did they wish the people to do so. ‘Master,’ they said to Him, ‘rebuke thy disciples’ (Luke 19:39). But Jesus, knowing that the time had come for Him to accomplish His mission, insisted upon being acclaimed as the Messias. ‘I tell you,’ He said to the Pharisees, ‘that if these keep silence, the stones will cry out’ (Luke 19:40). Up to this moment Jesus had accepted the title of Messias only from His most intimate disciples. But, on this day, the first Palm Sunday, He allowed the people to hail Him as the Son of David, the Messias Who comes in the name of the Lord.

HE IS COMING TO FULFIL GOD’S PLAN FOR THE SALVATION OF MANKIND

The occasion is a solemn one. Jesus, the Messias, the Anointed One of God, is about to enter Jerusalem, God’s Holy City. He is coming to fulfil God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. Though His disciples and the people are hailing Him as a King He alone realises fully that His kingdom is not a temporal, earthly kingdom, but a spiritual and eternal kingdom. And, in spite of His warnings to His disciples, He alone accepts the fact that His kingdom will be established, not by a triumphant revolt against the power of the Roman Empire but by his own suffering and death.

JESUS FORESEES JERUSALEM’S DOOM

Thus, when Jesus comes within sight of Jerusalem He is overwhelmed with sorrow at the thought that God’s Holy City will reject Him, refusing to acknowledge Him as the Messias, as, in fact, the very Son of God. He weeps over the city, and in His anguish He says to it, ‘If thou hadst known, in this thy day, even thou, the things that are for thy peace! But now they are hidden from thy eyes’ (Luke 19:42).

‘SEEKING ONLY WORLDLY GLORY’

Jerusalem will have none of His spiritual kingdom. It will seek only earthly glory. It will waste its strength and its hope in a futile attempt to oust the Romans from Palestine. Foreseeing its doom, Jesus prophesies to it, ‘For days will come upon thee when thy enemies will throw up a rampart about thee and shut thee in on every side, and will dash thee also to the ground and thy children within thee, and will not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation’ (Luke 19:43-44).

JESUS’ WORDS WERE HEARD BY BOTH JEWS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GENTILES

Jesus then continued on His way to the city. In Jerusalem He went to the Temple. There, towards evening, the people gathered to listen to Him. In view of His triumphal entrance into the city as the Messias, the people were, no doubt, expecting either a miraculous sign of His power or some announcement about His plans. Jesus took the occasion to tell them how His work for mankind was to be accomplished. Some Gentiles were present with the Jews who had come to worship on the feast. Thus the words of Jesus were heard not only by His Chosen People but also by representatives of the Gentile world.

‘UNLESS A GRAIN OF WHEAT FALLS INTO THE GROUND AND DIES…

‘The hour has come,’ He said, ‘for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves His life, loses it; and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting. If anyone serves me, let him follow me; and where I am there also shall my servant be. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him’ (John 12:23-26).

Jesus compares Himself to a grain of wheat. As the grain must die in order to give life to the fruit, so also Jesus must die in order to give life to men. The life of which He speaks is not this present life of the body, but eternal life. Those who prize only the present life of their bodies must inevitably lose that life, and lose, besides, the eternal life with the Father in heaven which Jesus has come to give men. But those who prefer eternal life to the life of the body shall enjoy eternal life with the Father in heaven. Jesus must die to give eternal life to men. Those who would serve Him must follow His example. They, too, must be prepared to give up the life of the body for eternal life.

‘AN ANGEL HAS SPOKEN TO HIM’

Jesus is truly Man. The prospect of death is disturbing to Him. And so He adds, ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour! No, this is why I came to this hour. Father, glorify thy name!’ Even though the thought of His own death is naturally repugnant to Him, Jesus will not ask His Father to spare Him. In fact, His whole life has led up to this conclusion. By His death God will glorify His name.

When Jesus had spoken these words, the voice of His Father in heaven was heard, saying, ‘I have both glorified it; and I will glorify it again’ (John 12:28). Some of those present thought they had heard thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’

Jesus said to them, ‘Not for me did this voice come, but for you’ (John 12:30). Then He told them that God’s judgment of the world was about to be accomplished. ‘Now is the judgment of the world; now will the prince of the world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself’ (John 12:31-32).

THROUGH SIN THE DEVIL HAD BECOME THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD

Through sin the devil had become the prince of this world. But now judgment was about to be executed against him, and he would be cast out of the world. God’s promise to the devil, and to Adam and Eve, was about to be fulfilled. The seed of the woman, Jesus Himself, was about to crush the devil. And, strangely, He would overcome the devil by His death. Jesus would be lifted up from the earth on a cross, He would be crucified.

JESUS HIMSELF WAS ABOUT TO CRUSH THE DEVIL

The crowd had expected Jesus to announce His plan for their redemption. But they had expected Him to forecast some design to expel the Romans and establish an earthly kingdom among the Chosen People. But, instead of an earthly victory, Jesus spoke of a spiritual victory; instead of the Romans, He spoke of the devil, the evil spirit who ruled the empire of sin and death. Jesus would overcome the empire of sin and death.

JESUS WOULD OVERCOME THE EMPIRE OF SIN AND DEATH

The crowd still clung to its hope for a political Messias. ‘We have heard from the Law,’ they objected, ‘that the Christ abides forever. And how canst thou say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?’ (John 12:34).

THEY HAD FORGOTTEN ISAIAH’S DETAILED AND EXTENSIVE PROPHECY OF THE SUFFERING SERVANT

The idea of a suffering Messias, a dying Messias was not pleasing to them. They had forgotten the Isaian prophecy of the Servant of Jahweh who would die for His people; or they were unable to reconcile this prophecy with their dreams of political liberation and power. And the Son of Man to them was not someone who was lifted up from the earth on a cross but rather a majestic figure who would come to them seated on the clouds of heaven.

Jesus, knowing their blindness, made one more plea for their belief in Himself. ‘Yet a little while the light is among you,’ He said. ‘Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you. He who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light’ (John 12:35-36).

IF PEOPLE BELIEVED IN HIM THEY WOULD BECOME SONS OF LIGHT

The light of which Jesus spoke was Himself. If they would believe in Him, they would become sons of light, with the power to see in Him the fulfilment of the predictions of their ancient prophets. With the divine light of faith they would see that God’s plan for mankind was accomplished by the death of the Messias.

NOT ACCEPTABLE TO HIS OWN PEOPLE

But the crowd, which had been so enthusiastic earlier in the day, was unwilling to give such faith to Jesus. Disappointed, Jesus left them and retired to Bethany for the night. Jesus had come to Jerusalem to give His life as a ransom for men, as a payment for the penalty of sin. But the prize, freedom from sin, was not acceptable to His own people.”
– Martin J. Healy S.T.D., 1959

 

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30th MARCH, GOSPEL READING (JOHN 9:1-41)

JESUS HEALS THE MAN BORN BLIND

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Master, was he born blind because of a sin of his, or of his parents?”

Jesus answered, “Neither was it for his own sin nor for his parents’ sin. He was born blind so that God’s power might be shown in him. While it is day we must do the work of the One who sent me; for the night will come when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

As Jesus said this, he made a paste with spittle and clay, and rubbed it on the eyes of the blind man. Then he said, “Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.” (This word means ‘sent’.) So the blind man went and washed and came back able to see.

His neighbours, and all the people who used to see him begging, wondered. They said, “Isn’t this the beggar who used to sit here?” Some said, “He’s the one.” Others said, “No, but he looks like him.” But the man himself said, “I am he.” Then they asked him, “How is it that your eyes were opened?” And he answered, “The man called Jesus made a mud paste, put it on my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’. So I went, and washed, and I could see.” They asked, “Where is he?” and the man answered, “I don’t know.”

The people brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made mud paste and opened his eyes. The Pharisees asked him again, “How did you recover your sight?” And he said, “He put paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “That man is not from God, for he works on the Sabbath”; but others wondered, “How can a sinner perform such miraculous signs?” They were divided, and they questioned the blind man again, “What do you think of this man who opened your eyes?” And he answered, “He is a prophet!”

After all this, the Jews refused to believe that the man had been blind and had recovered his sight; so they called his parents and asked them, “Is this your son? You say that he was born blind, how is it that he now sees?” The parents answered, “He really is our son and he was born blind; but how it is that he now sees, we don’t know, neither do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is old enough. Let him speak for himself.”

The parents said this because they feared the Jews, who had already agreed that whoever confessed Jesus to be the Christ was to be expelled from the synagogue. Because of that his parents said, “He is old enough, ask him.”

So a second time the Pharisees called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Tell us the truth; we know that this man is a sinner.” He replied, “I don’t know whether he is a sinner or not; I only know that I was blind and now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He replied, “I have told you already and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

Then they started to insult him. “Become his disciple yourself! We are disciples of Moses.” We know that God spoke to Moses; but as for this man, we don’t know where he comes from.” The man replied, “It is amazing that you don’t know where the man comes from, and yet he opened my eyes! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone honours God and does his will, God listens to him. Never, since the world began, has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person who was born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
They answered him, “You were born a sinner and now you teach us!” And they expelled him.

Jesus heard that they had expelled him. He found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is he, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said, “You have seen him and he is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshipped him.

Jesus said, “I came into this world to carry out a judgment: Those who do not see shall see, and those who see shall become blind.” Some Pharisees stood by and asked him, “So we are blind?” And Jesus answered, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty. But you say, ‘We see’; this is the proof of your sin.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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30th MARCH, BIBLE READING II (EPHESIANS 5:8-14)

WE LOOK FORWARD TO HIS LIBERATION AND OURS IN THE GLORY OF THE RESURRECTION AT EASTER.

RISE FROM THE DEAD AND CHRIST WILL SHINE ON YOU.

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast.

The things which are done in secret are things that people are ashamed even to speak of; but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light. That is why it is said, ‘Wake up from your sleep, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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