Archive for March 22, 2014

March 23rd 2014 – Third Sunday of Lent

Posted: March 22, 2014 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

Striking the Rock

Readings:
Exodus 17:3-7
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-15,19-26,39-42

The Israelites’ hearts were hardened by their hardships in the desert.

Though they saw His mighty deeds, in their thirst they grumble and put God to the test in today’s First Reading – a crisis point recalled also in today’s Psalm.

Jesus is thirsty too in today’s Gospel. He thirsts for souls (see John 19:28). He longs to give the Samaritan woman the living waters that well up to eternal life.

These waters couldn’t be drawn from the well of Jacob, father of the Israelites and the Samaritans. But Jesus was something greater than Jacob (see Luke 11:31-32).

The Samaritans were Israelites who escaped exile when Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom eight centuries before Christ (see 2 Kings 17:6,24-41). They were despised for intermarrying with non-Israelites and worshipping at Mount Gerazim, not Jerusalem.

But Jesus tells the woman that the “hour” of true worship is coming, when all will worship God in Spirit and truth.

Jesus’ “hour” is the “appointed time” that Paul speaks of in today’s Epistle. It is the hour when the Rock of our salvation was struck on the Cross. Struck by the soldier’s lance, living waters flowed out from our Rock (see John 19:34-37).

These waters are the Holy Spirit (see John 7:38-39), the gift of God (see Hebrews 6:4).

By the living waters the ancient enmities of Samaritans and Jews have been washed away, the dividing wall between Israel and the nations is broken down (see Ephesians 2:12-14,18). Since His hour, all may drink of the Spirit in Baptism (see 1 Corinthians 12:13).

In this Eucharist, the Lord now is in our midst – as He was at the Rock of Horeb and at the well of Jacob.

In the “today” of our Liturgy, He calls us to believe: “I am He,” come to pour out the love of God into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. How can we continue to worship as if we don’t understand? How can our hearts remain hardened?

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 22, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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We are at times so proud and arrogant Lord, have mercy on us. We often let our assumptions and presumptions blind us to Your love, grace, Word even Your gentle promptings. Indeed You can give us great miracles, wonders and signs! However most of Your greatest extraordinary gifts to us have come in humble ordinary ways and ‘packages’: Jesus our Lord, the most Holy Eucharist in bread and wine, our baptism through water, through the words spoken through babes, our loved ones even acquaintances. In the quiet through a gentle breeze.

Lord Jesus help us to remain humble and open to Your gentle promptings through whomever and whatever means You choose. And give us Your strength and perseverance to always remain faithful. In Your most precious name. Amen

FIRST READING
2 Kings 5:1–15ab

GOSPEL
Luke 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.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 22, 2014 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

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Why are we so competitive? Especially with our brothers and sisters? Why do we jealously crave the undivided love and attention of Father, Mother, priests and grandparents?

And why do we so often squander the precious gifts and talents from our heavenly Father for personal glory, entertainment and enjoyment? Then hide ourselves in the darkness in the fifth of sin, fearful and ashamed?

Merciful and loving Father I have sinned against You. With confidence I come before You; for by Your great love for me through Your Son Jesus Christ I know that a contrite heart You will not spurn. I am indeed sorrowful for my sins and by Your loving embrace I know I am liberated to love and be loved. Let me always honour, love and serve You all the days of my life. Amen

FIRST READING
Micah 7:14–15, 18–20

GOSPEL
Luke 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.’“