Readings and Reflection for March 16, Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

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FIRST READING
“This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God.”
A reading from the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:23-28)

Thus says the Lord: “This command I gave my people, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me, or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers. “So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.”’

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 95: 1-2.6-7abc.7d-9 (R. 7d-8a)
R/. O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.

Come, let us ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come into his presence, giving thanks;
let us hail him with a song of praise. R/.

O come; let us bow and bend low.
Let us kneel before the God who made us,
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand. R/.

R/. O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.

O that today you would listen to his voice!
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your forebears put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.” R/.

VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL Joel 2:12-13
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, for I am gracious and merciful.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

Gospel
“He who is not with rue is against me.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 11:14-23

At that time: Jesus was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marvelled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons”; while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and house falls upon house. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace; but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted, and divides his spoil. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
All the money in the world is not enough to turn even one single lie to the truth. What is false can never suddenly become truth just because this person or that person says it. Truth is truth anytime, anywhere, any day. Truth has no expiry date but a lie dies once the truth is exposed. It is very sad how we who claim to be children of God, (we who say we are Christians; followers of Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life), would be aware of the truth yet would still turn around to lie.

The healing of this man ought to give confirmation to the words of Jesus about his identity as the Son of God, the Messiah and Saviour of Mankind; the one whose kingdom is stronger and greater than that of the devil. The healing of this man was a sign that God’s kingdom has come in the midst of men.

However, this truth was too loud to be accepted by those who would not accept Jesus as God. They knew the truth but upon realizing its implications, they found a way to twist the truth to suit their prejudice against Jesus. They turned things around by creating a lie aimed at damaging the reputation of Jesus and making him look like an ordinary man. They went about saying that Jesus was casting out demons by the prince of demons. This same group of liars would be responsible for paying the soldiers who were guarding the tomb of Jesus to lie to Herod and the whole world that the body of Jesus was stolen by his disciples three days after his death. They just couldn’t accept the truth. However, we must know that there is nothing we can do to fight the truth.

If you hear anything about a person, especially information that damages the person’s personality, don’t rush to believe it. Remember it happened to Jesus Christ; it can happen to anybody. Go to the person and find out the truth before you draw a conclusion.

Finally, I beg you. Stop sharing posts on social media without first confirming if they are true or not. Don’t become a tool in the hands of the wicked ones in spreading falsehood.

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