Readings and Reflection for March 23, Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent


Keep the commandments, and your work will be complete.
A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9)

Moses spoke to the people, saying, “And now, O Israel, give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, gives you. Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land which you are entering to take possession of it. ‘Keep them and do them; for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. ’For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law which I set before you this day? “Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children.”

The word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 147: 12-13, 15-16, 19-20 (R/. 12a)
R/. O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!

O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!
O Sion, praise your God!
He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you. R/.

He sends out his word to the earth,
and swiftly runs his command.
He showers down snow like wool;
he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. R/.

R/. O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord!

He reveals his word to Jacob;
to Israel, his decrees and judgements.
He has not dealt thus with other nations;
he has not taught them his judgements. R/.

Glory and praise to you, O Christ. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of eternal life. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

He who does them and teaches them shall be called great.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 5:17-19)

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

The Gospel of the Lord

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” God gave commandments to the Israelites through Moses. Those commandments were so sound that Moses believed people of other nations would marvel at them. They would stand the test of time, and continue to be binding for all time to come. Jesus says exactly that in today’s Gospel: he did not come to abolish the old order, but to fulfill it. The spirit of man is such that it is always yearning for new things. However, in our quest for new things, we will always be well advised to bring along whatever may be of enduring value in the old. That is how the Old Testament is part of the Christian Bible, and the Ten Commandments continue to be binding not only on the Jewish people, but on all humankind. It is also the reason why the Catholic Church affirms Sacred Tradition to be an authentic source of faith and morals, alongside Sacred Scripture.


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