Friday, March 22, 2013

March 23, 2013

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 256

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.
God said through Ezekiel, "I will bring back the children of Israel from the lands where they have been scattered because of their sins. They will be one nation under one Ruler.  Never again will they be divided."

In my opinion, this is a prophecy of the coming of the Catholic Church, which Jesus Christ established and is united under the Pope.

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.
No longer will they worship other gods.  They will repent and I will forgive them.  They will be my people, I will 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.
David shall be their ruler and they will be united under one shepherd (see John 21:15-17).

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.
Never again will they be taken from the land I promised to them.  They shall live with me forever.

I think this verse should be spiritually interpreted to mean our eternal home in heaven.  The Church is the Kingdom of God on earth.  If we persevere in good works, we will be in the Kingdom of God on earth and then when we die, will be in the Kingdom of God in heaven.

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.
I will make a new Covenant with them.  It will last forever.  And I will always be with them where ever they may go.

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.
God will protect us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Listen to God all of you in the world, and tell it to all the nations.  God is bringing all His children back and protects them as a shepherd protects his sheep.

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.
God will redeem his children from their enemies.  Rejoicing they will climb God's mountain.  They will pour into God's graciousness.  All that they may ever need.

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.
Then the young girls will be glad and dance.  And all the men with them.  I will make the sad, rejoice.  I will comfort them and make them happy after all their turmoil.

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.”
After Jesus revived Lazarus, the Jews became concerned that all of Israel would begin to follow Jesus.  And then, the Romans would come and destroy Israel.

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.
But the High Priest, Caiaphas, was inspired by the Holy Spirit to say, "It is better for one man to die than the whole nation to be destroyed".  In this way, he prophesied of Jesus' passion and death.  And from that day, the Jews planned how to kill Jesus.

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.
So, Jesus went to a deserted region near Ephraim and there stayed with his disciples.  Away from the Jews.

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?”
 But the Passover of the Jews approached.  And many came to Jerusalem seeking Jesus.  And they wondered if He would come to the feast in accordance with the Law of Moses.

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