Readings and Reflection for April 9, Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent


“I will make them one nation.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:21-28)

Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from the nations among Which they have gone, and will gather them from all sides, and bring them to their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. They shall not defile themselves any more with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. “My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes. They shall dwell in the land where your fathers dwelt that I gave to my servant Jacob; they and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there for ever; and David my servant shall be their prince for ever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of them for evermore.”

The word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Jeremiah 31: 10.11-12ab.13 (R. see 10d)
R/. The Lord will keep us, as a shepherd keeps his flock

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the islands afar off;
say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” R/.

For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Sion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord. R/.

R/. The Lord will keep us, as a shepherd keeps his flock.

Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. R/.

Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, says the Lord, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

“Together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 11:45-57)

At that time: Many of the Jews who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him; but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he 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. So from that day on they took counsel about how to put him to death. Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and there he stayed with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if any one knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

The Gospel of the Lord

With the approach of Holy Week, the tension between Jesus and the Jewish leaders was getting to a head. One event after another increased their animosity towards him. The latest was the raising of Lazarus from the dead. For them, that was one miracle too many. It had taken place in public. There was no way anyone could deny it. It had the potential of increasing Jesus’ popularity and the number of those believing in him. It was time to stop him in his tracks. The high priest Calaphas prophesied that he should die rather than that the whole nation should perish. His prophecy would come to pass in due course, except that the death of Jesus would not be for the sake of the Jewish nation alone, but for all of God’s children scattered throughout the world


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