DAILY MASS READINGS (March 31, 2020)

TUESDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF LENT (CYCLE A, Violet)

Reading 1 (NUMBERS 21:4-9)

A reading from the Book of Numbers

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent 
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. 

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21)

R. (2)  O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;    
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse Before The Gospel

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

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

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

Gospel (JOHN 8:21-30)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me. 
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: As Holy Week continues to draw near, the Gospel (John 8:21-30) describes the continuous tension between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees see him as a threat to their authority, so they would do anything to stop him. Unfortunately, Jesus already has the favor of their fellow citizens. Above all, even when he was young, he already has the favor and wisdom of the Father. So he told them that he was sent by God to obey the divine will. And he must be lifted up high, so that the people may believe in him. In the First Reading (Numbers 21:4-9), Moses raised up the bronze serpent on the pole, and when the Israelites looked at it, they were healed from the serpents’ poison. In the same way, Jesus Christ was hung on the Cross for our salvation. He was triumphant and victorious in his Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. Because of that, many had come to believe in him and were saved. But those who have doubted him have already died in their sins, just as he said to the Pharisees. This means that they are separated from the grace of the Father. Jesus teaches us that obeying God’s will is very important. Whether people doubt the truth you are testifying, still, God is with you, uttering the words you speak and the actions you live. So as we journey down the end of this Lenten road, let us always live our faith in Jesus Christ, especially during this Holy Week, both by word and by example.

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