Readings and Reflection for March 23, Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent


“Repent of this evil against your people.”,
A reading from the Book of Exodus (Exodus 32:7- 14)

In those days: The Lord said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”’ And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may bum hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses begged the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent he brought them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you did swear by your own self, and did say to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.”’ And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 106:19-20.21-22.23 (R. see 4a)
R/. O Lord, remember us with the favour you show to your people.

They fashioned a calf at Horeb,
and worshipped an image of metal,
they exchanged their glory
for the image of a bull that eats grass. R/.

They forgot the God who was their saviour,
who had done such great things in Egypt,
such wonders in the land of Ham,
such marvels at the Red Sea. R/.

R/. O Lord, remember us with the favour you show to your people.

For this he said he would destroy them,
but Moses, the man he had chosen,
stood in the breach before him,
to turn back his anger from destruction. R/.

Glory and praise to you, O Christ. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son; that whoever believes in him should have eternal life. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

“It is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 5:31-47)

At that time: Jesus said to the Jews, “If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men. But I know that you have not the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Moses is the most prominent figure in the race and religion of Israel. Indeed the Israelites of old and the Jewish people of today believe that God gave them their religion, Judaism, through Moses. That made Moses the highest authority next to God. Whatever he said or wrote had the seal of God on it. But the people did not always follow Moses, for example when they made a molten calf to worship it. They also did not obey Moses when they refused to accept his testimony about Jesus. That did not trouble Jesus because he had a much higher testimony, that of his Father, borne out by the miracles that he performed. If we are doing God’s work, and people fail or refuse to show us recognition, it should not disturb us. It is enough that we have recognition from God whose work we are doing.


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