Daily Readings & Inspiration Daily

Tuesday of Holy Week

Reading 1 Is 49:1-6

Hear me, O islands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17

R.    (see 15ab)  I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R.    I will sing of your salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel

Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel Jn 13:21-33, 36-38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”

– – –
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Love and Devotion

It’s odd, isn’t it, that you can read something many times, over many years, and miss the obvious. That’s how today’s Gospel appeared to me. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus had Jesus and his 12 over for dinner after Lazarus was raised from the dead. 

How amazing to have dinner with Jesus, let alone with someone who had been dead. What did they talk about? Despite the tradition that Lazarus never smiled after he was restored to life, I imagine this dinner was a foretaste of the last banquet of the Lamb, where the redeemed will sit at table in the heavenly kingdom. 

The Gospel continues with Mary’s act of love and devotion, anointing Jesus with oil. She pours out her love for him, over the objections of Judas, who thinks it too extravagant. 

I always think that everyone in the New Testament who followed Jesus was so poor they barely had enough to eat, but here there’s a dinner thrown for 15 or more. I always picture the stories in scripture like those images from Sunday School where Jesus is on one side, and the crowd is across from him, listening to him, but with a definite divide between them. Not Mary– she’s kneeling at Jesus’ feet, massaging them with scented oil.

How could I have missed the story that was written? Probably because we hear God’s word, then file it away in our memory. Next time that passage comes up, it’s ‘oh yes, I know that story. Isn’t it …sweet or quaint or powerful–fill in the adjective.

But this year, as we begin the final days of Lent, and enter into the Triduum, all of the external busy-ness of life has been put on hold. The days have run together, making it hard to know which day this is, exactly. We have the gift of sitting with Jesus in this present moment and listen carefully to his love story. We can marvel at God’s mercy and experience his grace in a more intimate way. We long for the Sacrament of his Body but offer our act of Spiritual Communion until the time when we can receive him again.

The important thing is to know Jesus is with us, even as we engage in self-isolation and social distancing. We don’t live in the despair of the days between the Crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus is with us now.

In the movie, Risen, a Roman officer, Clavius, is charged with finding the body of Jesus, which mysteriously disappeared from its guarded tomb. Pilate needs to produce the body to stop the rumors of resurrection. So he searches Jerusalem, coming to a house where he suspects Jesus’ followers are hiding. He breaks in, and finds the apostles joyfully gathered around a man–the man he is searching for. Jesus is engaged with them—looking, listening, smiling–fully present with them. Their fear of the Jewish authorities and the Romans doesn’t matter. Jesus is with them. As he is with us.

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy… 1 Peter 1:8

Contact the author

Pamela joined Diocesan’s staff in 2006, after a number of years in the non-profit sector. Her experience is in non-profit administration including management, finance, and program development, along with database management and communications. She was a catechist in her parish RCIA program for over 15 years, as well as chairperson of their Liturgy Commision. Received into the Catholic Church as an adult, Pamela’s faith formation was influenced by her Mennonite extended family, her Baptist childhood, and her years as a Reformed Presbyterian (think Scott Hahn).

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