Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent




Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 256

1st Reading -1 EZ 37:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
to which they have come,
and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
I will make them one nation upon the land,
in the mountains of Israel,
and there shall be one prince for them all.
Never again shall they be two nations,
and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.

No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions.
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God.
My servant David shall be prince over them,
and there shall be one shepherd for them all;
they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.
They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob,
the land where their fathers lived;
they shall live on it forever,
they, and their children, and their children’s children,
with my servant David their prince forever.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.

Responsorial Psalm – JER 31:10, 11-12ABCD, 13

R. (see 10d) The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock.
R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings:
The grain, the wine, and the oil,
the sheep and the oxen.
R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R. The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.

Verse Before The Gospel – EZ 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel – JN 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees
and told them what Jesus had done.
So the chief priests and the Pharisees
convened the Sanhedrin and said,
“What are we going to do?
This man is performing many signs.
If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,
and the Romans will come
and take away both our land and our nation.”
But one of them, Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year, said to them,
“You know nothing,
nor do you consider that it is better for you
that one man should die instead of the people,
so that the whole nation may not perish.”
He did not say this on his own,
but since he was high priest for that year,
he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation,
but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews,
but he left for the region near the desert,
to a town called Ephraim,
and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”

Catholic Daily Reflections

One Man Should Die

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” John 11:49-50

As in the previous day’s reflection, it’s important for us to start putting our focus on the suffering and death of Jesus. Holy Week begins this Sunday, so this is the time of year when God wants us to look intently at His Cross. It’s important to look at it from all angles, to try to understand what was going on, what Jesus was experiencing, what the disciples were experiencing and even what the Pharisees and high priests were experiencing.

In today’s Gospel quoted above we see the thinking of Caiaphas, the high priest. His words are interesting in that they are both sad and prophetic at the same time. He, along with the other chief priests and the Pharisees, were beginning to plan and plot Jesus’ death. But what’s insightful is the apparent motivation of Caiaphas and the others.

Jesus was gaining popularity and they were afraid that this popularity would stir things up with the Romans. They were also jealous that Jesus had attracted so many. So Caiaphas offers the twisted logic that it’s better that one man die rather than all of the people. In other words, he appeared to think that because Jesus was becoming so popular, and the people were listening to Jesus more than they were to the chief priests and Pharisees, that it was better to eliminate the “problem” so that things could return to the way they were.

This reveals the fact that the Pharisees were more concerned about themselves and their status than they were about the Truth. It’s amazing that one of their criticisms of Jesus was that He was doing too many signs and wonders. How strange. If the chief priests and Pharisees were interested in the Truth, they would have also seen the glory and divine authority of Jesus and come to believe in Him and followed Him. But they couldn’t swallow their pride and accept the call to follow someone other than themselves. They couldn’t let go of their position of authority.

We often see this same experience in our daily lives. We want to be the center of attention. And so often when we see someone else do well or receive praise we can get jealous. And our jealousy can often turn into a form of envy. Envy means we are angered and saddened by the goodness of another. We can brew over it and want to see them fail.

The ideal is to be one of those faithful followers of Jesus. This is especially important to ponder this coming week as you witness the hostility grow toward our Lord. What would you do if you were there? Would you continue to stand with Jesus despite the attacks of others? As the hostility toward Jesus grew, would you back away from Him or grow closer to Him in love and commitment?

Reflect, today, upon the coming commemoration of the persecution of our Lord. Let your mind begin to ponder the many reactions and experiences people had that first Holy Week. Put yourself in their shoes and try to live it with Jesus. The goal is to find ourselves there at the foot of the Cross with Him on Good Friday with love and courage, standing by Him and loving Him every step of the way.

Lord, may I follow You this coming Holy Week. May I have the love I need to love You even in Your rejection and pain. Help me to shed all envy and selfishness and to see You especially in the sufferings of others and in their goodness. Jesus, I trust in You.

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