Fifth Sunday of Lent
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14
Responsorial: Psalm PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Second Reading: Romans 8:8-11
Tract: John 11:25A, 26
Gospel: John 11:1-45
If you have ever seen the movie The Princess Bride you will remember the scene in which Miracle Max (played by Billy Crystal) declares that the hero Wesley (who despite appearing quite dead) is only “mostly dead.” To which he adds excitedly, “mostly dead means slightly alive!” He then gets to work reviving him with a magic pill.
As Christians, we believe that the human soul survives death. This is why Christ says of God (i.e. himself) that “he is not God of the dead but of the living.” This does not mean that we will not experience physical death. It means that if we persevere in the state of grace, we will be admitted to the Heavenly Kingdom and be resurrected unto eternal life at the end of time. In that sense, while earthly death is a horrible thing, we also recognize that it is not the end. All Christians must engage both this life, and death in this life,...Read more
First Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-20
Responsorial: Psalm 7:2-3, 9BC-10, 11-12
Tract: Luke 8:15
Gospel: John 7:40-53
In the Gospel reading, Nicodemus (himself a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin) confronts his fellow Pharisees and some of the Jewish chief priests who are angling to have Jesus arrested and silenced. He asks them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?”
Predictably, the Pharisees and priests react badly to this suggestion, and turn on Nicodemus himself, accusing him of being a follower of Jesus, “You are not from Galilee also, are you?” In fact, as we know from earlier in John’s Gospel, Nicodemus was a secret follower of Christ.
But this is irrelevant to the point he is making here. Nicodemus’s original question merely brings up a very basic principle of natural justice, one that the Mosaic law echoes abundantly. Namely, that we should insist upon proof before we take action against someone for supposed wrongdoings. Relying on rumors and innuendo being spread by the crowds (much of it confused and contradictory) was hardly a fair...Read more
Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent
First Reading: Wisdom 2:1A, 12-22
Responsorial: Psalm 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 & 23
Tract: Matthew 4:4B
Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Homily by Father Sina:
When Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, some Jews were already speculating that he might be the Messiah. But others disagreed, saying, “But we know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” This alludes to the then Jewish expectation that the Messiah would have an unknown origin.
People were aware that Jesus was from Nazareth and he is commonly referred to as being from there throughout the Scriptures. Of course, Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem and spent part of his young life in Egypt, but there is no reason to think that these facts was unknown to his contemporaries. Indeed, the very fact that Joseph and Mary were known to be his parents de-mystifies Jesus’s authority in many people’s eyes, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother?”
Yet, on...Read more