Sunday, March 8, 2015

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, March 8, 2015 with Reflection

1ST READING - Exodus 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 thechildren 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 him who takes his name in vain. “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, 10 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. 11 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. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. 13 You shall not kill. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 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.”

P S A L M - Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
7 [8] The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. (R) 8 [9] The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye. (R) 9 [10] The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true, all of them just. (R) 10 [11] They are more precious than gold, than a heap  of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb. (R)

 2nd READING - 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
22 Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.190

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

John 2:13-25
13 Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there.15 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, 16 and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” 17 His disciples recalled the words of scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. 18 At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 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. 23 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. 24 But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, 25 and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.



Today’s First Reading is about the Ten Commandments. And speaking of them, please take note that there are no amendments to the Ten Commandments. Neither are they mere suggestions, by the way.

         We admit in all humility and honesty that we often fall short in keeping the Ten Commandments. The problem probably lies in that, for most of us, we view these God-given commands as a legal code or an ethical program, a list of dos and don’ts which we had better follow if we want to enter heaven. Add to this the negative tone of the Ten Commandments, and you get the idea. Human nature is like that — what’s forbidden or prohibited is what is often transgressed (“the lure of the forbidden!”).

         We need to recover the original context of the Ten Commandments: the Covenant between Yahweh and Israel. This took place in the desert of Sinai after God miraculously delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. That was a powerful faith experience for the Israelites.

         This spills over to us as well in our present time. It’s worth remembering that the Covenant, or any covenant for that  matter, can’t be one-sided. It entails our responsible (“response-able”) participation and fulfillment.

         It would have been simpler perhaps if we view God as the divine policeman or as a judge out to condemn us for every violation we commit. And so we have no choice but to comply with and conform to the code.

       But God wants from us no less than our total and radical commitment. Perhaps something a bit like what Jesus showed in today’s Gospel, as He zealously drove out the buyers and sellers in the Temple. It was the same passion and fervor of Jesus that made Him go to such great extents as to be crucified on the cross to save us.

         Let us ask the Lord to cleanse our hearts and minds with the salvific grace of His passion, death and resurrection. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you view the Ten Commandments? Do you thank God that we have them to guide the way we live?

Help me to keep Your commandments, Lord. Grant me the grace to persevere in following Your will so that I may reach heaven at the end of my life.

St. John of God, religious, pray for us.

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