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Laetare Sunday – Reconciliation at the heart of the Gospel

Laetare SundayLaetare or Rose Sunday. We are over half the way to Easter, and we get to relax and rejoice a little.

 

MASS READINGS for March 10, 2013 (Fourth Sunday of Lent – Laetare)

I. FIRST READING: Joshua 5:9a.10-12.

While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth of the month.
On the day after the Passover they ate of the produce of the land in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain. On that same day
after the Passover on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased. No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

II. PSALM: Psalms 34(33):2-3.4-5.6-7.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
The lowly will hear me and be glad.
Glorify the LORD with me,
Let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
And delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
And your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
And from all his distress he saved him.
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

II. SECOND READING: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

Brothers and sisters: Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

III. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint 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 he addressed this parable.
Then he said, “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.”

The Prodigal Son returns

The Prodigal Son returns

Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.

Scott Hahn

 

 

It’s just not funny. It’s a serious comment on the truth…

What a brilliant cartoon. We have to make a difference to THIS perception! I include Scott Hahn’s  reflection on today’s readings. To listen to the podcast, follow the link above.

Pure Religion: Reflections on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light, as one having authority to interpret God’s law.

Jesus’ quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they’ve turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.

The gift of the law, which we hear God giving to Israel in today’s First Reading, is fulfilled in Jesus’ gospel, which shows us the law’s true meaning and purpose (see Matthew 5:17).

The law, fulfilled in the gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord’s presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us—the kingdom of God, eternal life.

Readings:
Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8
Psalm 15:2-5
James 1:17-18,21-22,27
Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Israel, by its observance of the law, was meant to be an example to surrounding nations. As James tells us in today’s Epistle, the gospel was given to us that we might have new birth by the Word of truth. By living the Word we’ve received, we’re to be examples of God’s wisdom to those around us, the “first fruits” of a new humanity.

This means we must be “doers” of the Word, not merely hearers of it. As we sing in today’s Psalm and hear again in today’s Epistle, we must work for justice, taking care of our brothers and sisters, and living by the truth God has placed in our hearts.

The Word given to us is a perfect gift. We should not add to it through vain and needless devotions. Nor should we subtract from it by picking and choosing which of His laws to honor.

“Hear me,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel. Today, we’re called to examine our relationship to God’s law.

Is the practice of our religion a pure listening to Jesus, a humble welcoming of the Word planted in us and able to save our souls? Or are we only paying lip-service?

The reading for today points us steadily towards the necessity of the coming Year of Faith in the life of the Church as well as  in the lives of each and every Catholic, whether you are practising or not . What powerful readings. Imagine the change in our hearts, and how this change would alter misguided perceptions of the Church if every Catholic decided to LIVE the FAITH within the precepts of the Church (sincerely and with determination,  having Jesus as our focal point) ? Imagine the effect on our families , our society as a result of this?

Ponder on this quote from the reflection above in terms of the Catholicism:- ‘The law, fulfilled in the gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord’s presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us—the kingdom of God, eternal life.’