READINGS for 2007-03-31

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



No longer shall they defile themselves... – Ezekiel 37:23

It’s a bit alarming to think that what once was thought of as so shameful that it had to be hidden is now accepted by the general public. When I was still at the Correctional Institution for Women as an inmate, what I shirked from was the intimate relationship between two women inmates. And when I became a squad leader and had to do my rounds, I would often trip over women in compromising positions. Sometimes my prayers would consist of asking the Lord to be the one to shield them from the sight of the others!
        Isn’t that ironic?
        No, not all that is “in” should be emulated. I hope you join me in praying that we be spared the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah! Beth C.

God made us either male or female. Don’t risk being sent out of the fold.

Lord Jesus, make straight the hearts that are confused.



Ezekiel 37:21-28

At the end of time, when Jesus returns, all men and women will become one nation, namely, The Kingdom of God. What a day this will be. There will be no more strife between nations and creeds and the peace of Christ will reign over all. This is how we should be seeking to live today, but because of sin we seem to be depressingly far from this reality! Let us not despair and pray earnestly for the coming reign of God.

21 Thus speaks the Lord GOD: I will take the Israelites from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land. 22 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. 23 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. 24 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. 25 They shall live on the land which 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. 26 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. 27 My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 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.


Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13

R: The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.

10 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 of his flock. (R) 11 The LORD shall ransom Jacob, he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror. 12 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) 13 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)


John 11:45-57

In the expedient mind of Caiaphas it is better to sacrifice one life and so ward off a revolution that will result in the loss of thousands of lives than to allow an uprising to begin. Jesus truly is the ‘sacrificial lamb’ in a far greater and more significant sense than Caiaphas would be able to grasp. We know the truth and we are thankful to Jesus that He was willing to give His life as a ransom for all.

 45 Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. 48 If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, 50 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.” 51 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, 52 and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53 So from that day on they planned to kill him. 54 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. 55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. 56 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?” 57 For the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should inform them, so that they might arrest him.
my reflections
He was willing to give His life as a ransom for all.



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The Pharisees and the chief priests were already feeling the heat. They were alarmed by Jesus’ growing popularity among the Jews who have been witnessing his miracles left and right. So when some Jews came to them to report about what Jesus has done to Lazarus they probably thought that he has gone way too far. They gathered the council to plan their move.
      During the council meeting the high priest Caiaphas said that it is expedient that one man should die for the people that the whole nation should not perish (Jn 11:50). The evangelist John said that with those words Caiaphas prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (Jn 11:51-52). John was attributing those wonderful words to an unlikely person like the high priest. This is what William Barclay calls a dramatic irony.
      “Caiaphas meant that it was better that Jesus should die than that there should be trouble with the Romans. It was true that Jesus must die to save the nation,but not in the way that Caiaphas meant. It was true in a far greater and more wonderful way” (W. Barclay). It was an unlikely thing to hear from a scheming and malicious mind of a person like Caiaphas. But that is exactly the thing here. God uses the words even of evil men to bring about a wonderful truth. We find those words of Caiaphas realized soon after Jesus’ death and those words continue to be realized today.
      This dramatic irony must be welcomed by most of us for it only goes to prove that God will not waste any experience on earth to bring about his plan for man. He can make use even of the most untoward incident which he did not will to happen or a person with the most dubious character to send us his message. Fr. Sandy V. E.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you submit to the Father’s wishes and will?

Thank You, Father, that we can trust You to use us for Your glory.

St. Guy of Pomposa, abbot, pray for us.

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