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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 17.02.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 17.02.2023

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GENESIS 11: 1 – 9

The whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 33: 10 – 11, 12 – 13, 14 – 15 (R.) 12b

R/. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen as his heritage.

The Lord frustrates the designs of the nations;
he defeats the plans of the peoples.
The designs of the Lord stand forever,
the plans of his heart from age to age. R/.

Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his heritage.
From the heavens the Lord looks forth;
he sees all the children of men. R/.

From the place where he dwells
he gazes on all the dwellers on the earth,
He who shapes the hearts of them all,
and considers all their deeds. R/.

ALLELUIA
John 15: 15b

Alleluia.
I have called you friends, says the Lord, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“Whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it.”
MARK 8: 34 – 9: 1

At that time: Jesus called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would have his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: True Fulfillment
February 17, 2023

“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36)

This short and direct question is worth much meditation. In Mark’s Gospel, this line comes within the context of Jesus teaching about the requirements of being His disciple. And it comes after Jesus began to explicitly teach that He Himself would suffer and die as the Christ.

Think about this question above, starting with the first part of the question. “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world…” Do you want to gain the whole world? For most people, such a possibility is quite enticing. To “gain the whole world” is to gain everything this world has to offer. Imagine being offered unlimited wealth in this world. What if you were to win the largest jackpot any lottery ever offered and more? What if you were able to have beautiful mansions around the world, your own private jet, every modern convenience, the most expensive of cars, and the ability to do whatever you wanted for the rest of your life? Is this enticing? Certainly it is on a superficial level. But it is also a very deceptive enticement, because all of this could not make you any happier or more fulfilled than you already are.

The second part of this question is also easy to address. Would you want to forfeit your life? Certainly not. So Jesus offers two contrasting statements in one sentence. Most people would want to gain the whole world but would never want to forfeit their lives. Jesus sets up this contrast as a way of telling us very clearly that we cannot desire one without also choosing the other. In other words, if your heart’s desire is for the riches of this world, then you do indeed forfeit your very life to the extent that you give into that desire. On the contrary, if you choose the salvation of your soul, then you must forfeit the desire for the riches and enticements of this world. You cannot desire and choose both.

With that said, there might be a very rare soul who has many things in this world but has no attachment to them at all. They live completely detached from the things of this world, finding true satisfaction only in God and His holy will, becoming indifferent to any material things they have. Of course, this is a very difficult interior disposition for one to arrive at when they have accumulated much wealth.

Alternately, there are those in this world who have very little. They are truly poor in the literal sense. However, they spend their days dreaming about riches and covet all that they do not have. Sadly, this poor soul is, in fact, just as materially attached as the one who has made riches the goal and focus of life. And that interior attachment will do great spiritual damage.

Reflect, today, upon this question of Jesus: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Use that question as a source of prayer, meditation and self-examination. Try to be honest about your desires. If you find that you spend much time daydreaming about riches, then pay particular attention to this question. Life in its fullness can never be obtained through those desires or the fulfillment of those desires. God and God alone fulfills. Seek God above all else and you will find that nothing this world has to offer comes close to the riches of the Kingdom of God.

PRAYER:
Lord, You and You alone are the source of fulfillment in life. Please purify my desires so that I ultimately desire only You and Your holy will. Free me from every deception and false enticement in life so that I will find satisfaction only in You. Jesus, I trust in You.

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