Sunday, March 15, 2015

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, March 15, 2015 with Reflections

1ST READING - 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
14 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. 15 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. 16But 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. 19 Their enemies burnt the house of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, set all its palaces afire, and destroyed all its precious objects. 20 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. 21 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.” 22 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: 23 “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!”

P S A L M - Psalm 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
R: 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) 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) 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) May my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not, if I place not Jerusalem ahead of my joy. (R)

2nd READING - Ephesians 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. 10 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.

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

John 3:14-21
14 Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” 16 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.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 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. 19And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. 21 But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.



I still shudder when I recall my personal experience many years ago of watching up close a snake charmer with a cobra in India. Snakes or serpents are very scary, even gross, creatures.

         It’s good to be reminded that snakes are still God’s creatures, and there are really just a few species whose bites are deadly. I know of a priest who keeps one as a pet. He admits that he has been bitten by it a number of times, but the fact that he’s still alive is proof that not all bites are fatal. Not only that, medical studies have shown that the venom of snakes can actually be used to treat cardiovascular ailments and even tumors. Isn’t it ironic that a poisonous serpent, which can kill us, can also heal?

         Our Gospel today speaks not so much of a bronze serpent as Jesus Himself on the cross: Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, whose very purpose and mission is to give us a love that truly heals. We do have “sin bites,” badly needing forgiveness and mercy, cure and healing from God.

         Today, let us turn our gaze lovingly on the cross of Christ. Let us fix our eyes prayerfully on each of the five wounds of Jesus. Then let us consider our own death-dealing wounds — those deep lesions and wounds which we now wish to lift up to the Lord for healing. In the words of our Second Reading, “God is rich in mercy; because of his great love for us he brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin.” Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you still have wounds that you have kept from God’s healing love? Open them up now to the Lord.

Heal my wounds, Lord, and set me free from their enslaving effect on me.

St. Louise de Marillac, pray for us.

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