Reading 1 (WISDOM 2:1A, 12-22)

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

The wicked said among themselves, 
thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts; 
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 AND 23)

R. (19a)  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Verse Before The Gospel (MATTHEW 4:4B)

(Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.)

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

(Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.)

Gospel (JOHN 7:1-2, 10, 25-30)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Feast of the Tabernacles or known as Sukkot is a religious Jewish festival that falls between from and to the 15th day of September and October. It commemorated the dwellings of the Israelites during their 40 years of exile in the Desert of Sin. There also was a dwelling like a tent-like structure where the Ark of the Covenant is kept, and it is called a tabernacle. The Hebrews carried this ark from their exodus until the time King David won the war against the Philistines. Then on the eighth day King Solomon built the Temple where the Ark of the Covenant is to be kept, and it was consecrated to the Lord. Today the replica of the Ark of the Covenant is seen through the tabernacles, and the eternal tabernacle is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the new ark of the new covenant wherein she carried in her womb the Son of God, the fulfillment of all the Scriptures. That is why in today’s Gospel (John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30), Jesus came to the festival to continue revealing his mission of obeying the Father’s will. He wants to go in secret because he doesn’t want to be arrested by the Jews. It is not because he is scared but because it is not yet the hour of his Passion and Resurrection, and he doesn’t want any riot since many people feared him as a prophet. He is referred to as the Wisdom of God in the First Reading whom the wicked especially the Jewish leaders plotted to persecute and kill because of their claim that his testimony is not from God, but in return they haven’t fully recognized God’s salvation. The Lord teaches us that he desires mercy not sacrifice as what the Old Testament scriptures say. Also he teaches us humility in spite of the personality we have and others have known us. Especially this Lenten Season as we prepare to commemorate our salvation on Holy Week, we are called to live in the Lord’s love and grace by becoming witnesses of the Good News.

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