Love gathers, love guards

On the verge of Holy Week

The reading from the Old Testament helps us see who God is and understand his goals. The responsorial psalm echoes the promise to gather and guard and also to restore. The mourning of this life will turn to joy for all eternity.

The Gospel shows us a scene from how God is going to accomplish his work: through his Son. Yes, he will come to Jerusalem for the Passover, for he is the Paschal Lamb.

In all the readings it is clear that the work is the Lord’s, not ours. God will accomplish it. Our role is more than mere cooperation. We are called into relationship and to respond to God’s work of love. Some need to turn away from sin and toward God; some need to stop resisting, and abandon themselves to God’s work in their lives. Daily reading of scripture will allow us to continually renew our minds, protect us from the ways of the culture, which are sin and death, and give us an opportunity to encounter God in his Word. Our part is to be open to the encounter and trust in love and mercy.

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament Prophecy: Ezekiel 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: Jeremiah 31:10–13

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.

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.

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.

Good News: John 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?”

Questions of the Day

  • What do you think?
  • Have you killed Jesus—expunged him from your life?
  • Why is it so hard to trust in God and abandon ourselves to his love?
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