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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 28.03.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 28.03.2023

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NUMBERS 21: 4 – 9

In those days: From Mount Hor the Hebrews set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it up as a sign; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it up as a sign; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 102: 1 – 2, 15 – 17, 18 — 20 (R.) 1

R/. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

O Lord, and let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Turn your ear towards me;
on the day when I call,
speedily answer me. R/.

The nations shall fear the name of the Lord,
and all the earth’s kings your glory.
When the Lord shall build up Sion,
he will appear in all his glory.
Then he will turn to the prayers of the helpless;
he will not despise their prayers. R/.

Let this be written for ages to come,
that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord;
the Lord looked down from His holy place on high,
looked down from heaven to the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
and free those condemned to die. R/.

VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL

Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
The seed is the word of God, and the sower is Christ; all who find him will abide for ever.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

GOSPEL
“When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he.”
JOHN 8: 21 – 30

At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” Then said the Jews, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you can not come’?” He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Even what I have told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge; but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he spoke thus, many believed in him.

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Language of Jesus
March 28, 2023

Jesus had been teaching in veiled but deeply profound ways about Who He was. In prior passages, He referred to Himself as the “bread of life,” the “living water,” the “light of the world,” and He even took upon Himself the ancient title of God “I AM.” Furthermore, He continually identified Himself with the Father in Heaven as His Father with Whom He was perfectly united and by Whom He was sent into the world to do His will. For example, just prior to the line above, Jesus states clearly, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me” (John 8:28). And it was because of this that many came to believe in Him. But why?

As John’s Gospel continues, Jesus’ teaching remains mysterious, deep and veiled. After Jesus speaks profound truths about Who He is, some listeners come to believe in Him, while others become hostile to Him. What is the difference between those who come to believe and those who ultimately kill Jesus? The simple answer is faith. Both those who came to believe in Jesus and those who orchestrated and supported His murder heard the same teaching of Jesus. Yet their reactions were so very different.

The same is true for us today. Just like those who heard these teachings for the first time from Jesus’ own lips, we also are presented with the same teaching. We are given the same opportunity to listen to His words and either receive them with faith or reject them or be indifferent. Are you one of the many who came to believe in Jesus because of these words?

Reading these veiled, mysterious and deep teachings of Jesus as they are presented in the Gospel of John requires a special gift from God if these words will have any impact upon our lives whatsoever. Faith is a gift. It’s not just a blind choice to believe. It’s a choice based on seeing. But it’s a seeing made possible only by an interior revelation from God to which we give our assent. Thus, Jesus as the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the great I AM, the Light of the World, and the Son of the Father will only make sense to us and will only have an effect upon us when we are open to and receive the interior light of the gift of faith. Without that openness and reception, we will remain either hostile or indifferent.

Reflect, today, upon the deep, veiled and mysterious language of God. When you read this language, especially in the Gospel of John, what is your reaction? Ponder your reaction carefully; and, if you find you are any less than one who has come to understand and believe, then seek the grace of faith this day so that our Lord’s words will powerfully transform your life.

PRAYER:
My mysterious Lord, Your teaching about Who You are is beyond human reason alone. It is deep, mysterious and glorious beyond all understanding. Please give me the gift of faith so that I may come to know Who You are as I ponder the richness of Your holy Word. I believe in You, dear Lord. Help my unbelief. Jesus, I trust in You.

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