Reading 1 Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm PS 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21

  1. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
    When the LORD called down a famine on the land
    and ruined the crop that sustained them,
    He sent a man before them,
    Joseph, sold as a slave.
    R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
    They had weighed him down with fetters,
    and he was bound with chains,
    Till his prediction came to pass
    and the word of the LORD proved him true.
    R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
    The king sent and released him,
    the ruler of the peoples set him free.
    He made him lord of his house
    and ruler of all his possessions.
    R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

 

**

“At times Scripture holds a mirror up to our face and we don’t like what we see. The Word is truth, and sometimes the truth is painful. But so is antiseptic on a wound. Scripture challenges us only to heal us and call us to growth. No pain, no gain.” –Marcellino Di’Ambrosio, 40 Days, 40 Ways

**

 

 

“Humility is possible only for the free. Those who are secure in the Father’s love, have no need of pomp and circumstance or people fawning on them. They know who they are, where they’ve come from, and where they are going. Not taking themselves too seriously, they can laugh at themselves. The proud cannot.”   –Marcellino Di’Ambrosio, 40 Days, 40 Ways

 

Gospel: Mt 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

“Pope Francis insists that mercy is at the very top of the Christian hierarchy of great truths, and everything falls apart whenever mercy is displaced by anything else.”

from Richard Rohr, Hierarchy of Truths: Jesus Use of Scripture

emphasis mine

reading 2 — Rom 8:31b-34

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?

Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?
Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised—
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.

Verse Before the Gospel– Mt 17:5

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.

Gospel — Mk 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

**

THE AKEDA AND THE TRANSFIGURATION

by Father Robert Barron

In her readings, the Church asks us to consider the account of Abraham’s faith in tandem with the Gospel account of the Transfiguration of the Lord. They are indeed parallel narratives.

Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a high mountain. We know from the symbolism of the mountain that an encounter with God’s mystery is imminent. Next, “His clothes became dazzling white. And behold two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” The brightness is evocative of the light that passed through the divided sections.

Then there is the “trance” that accompanies faith. “Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep…” This anticipates in a very mild way the terrible darkness that Peter and his companions are going to be asked to endure. When Jesus enters into his Passion, their lives fell apart; everything they believed was turned upside-down.

But then they come fully awake and they see the glory of the Lord – and Peter says something characteristically rash: “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” His statement is beautiful, touching, and deeply human, but spiritually misguided precisely because authentic faith never settles down, never builds booths, never stays put. And it certainly can never live under the illusion that it is in charge.

“While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.” Just when you think you have control over God, God confounds you – not because he’s being difficult, but because he is a God of the future, a God of adventure, a God of fuller life.

“A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!  My daughter is suffering terribly…”  Jesus did not answer a word.  So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  The woman came and knelt before him.  “Lord, help me!” she said.  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” – Matthew 15: 22-28 (NIV)

Mature religious people, that is, those who develop an actual inner life of prayer and outer life of service, tend to notice and imitate the “three steps forward” quotes in the Bible. First they change their life stance–and then they can be entrusted with the Bible. For all others who will not change their life position, the Bible is mere information and ammunition. It would be better if they did not read it! Only converted people, who are in union with both the pain of the world and the love of God, are prepared to read the Bible–with the right pair of eyes and the appropriate bias–which is from the side of powerlessness and suffering instead of the side of power and control. This is foundational and essential conversion, and it is the biblical characters themselves that first reveal this pattern, which then becomes obvious as you look around the world that we live in. The Greek word ineffectively translated as “repentance” in the Bible quite literally means “to change your mind” (metanoia), which is what this season of Lent is supposed to be about. It is not about giving up candy! You can give up all the candy you want and still be trapped in the old mind. You can give up no candy at all, but still allow yourself a total “revolution of the mind” (Ephesians 4:23). That is what Lent is about.

From Richard Rohr, Gospel Call for Compassionate Action

“Obeying God is nothing like obeying a politician or a president or a king. Such people are flawed and sinful and sometimes have to be opposed. But God isn’t like that. God is love right through; he wants only what is for our good.

Another important point: politicians and presidents and kings put out policies that we can readily understand, but God is essentially mysterious. We cannot, even in principle, fully understand what God is up to, what his purposes are. His commands – which will always be for our good – are nevertheless often opaque to us. And this is precisely why we have to obey, listen, and abide – even when that obedience seems the height of folly.”

from “Obeying God” by Father Robert Barron

We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, “Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.” But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.

Jesus says, “No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). The most inner light is a light for the world. Let’s not have “double lives”; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public.

For further reflection …

Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue.”  The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth?… Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” – Exodus 4: 10-13 (NIV)

emphasis mine

Women Writers of the Triad's photo.
March 2015
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