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1. MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS THEN SAY"May the Word of the Lord be on my mind, on my lips, and in my heart."

2. COMPOSITION OF PLACE—

"VISIO DIVINA" OR SEEING WITH HEART'S EYES (Optional)

Use this image of Joseph The Carpenter with child Jesus by Georges de La Tour. The experience of beholding a La Tour is like looking at the sunset; your eyes are glued to the dimming sun. Sit down and quietly gaze and marvel at this masterpiece by someone who went through a similar crisis. Ten years after painting this in 1652, Georges and his family perished in an epidemic in LunĂ©ville France. GUIDED MEDITATION—1—Does it mirror or evoke any feeling of the darkness surrounding you these days? Focus on your breathing and feel your own heart beat; listen.—2—Move your attention towards the candle light. Feel in your eyes the warmth. Look at those dirty fingernails. Ask to be cleansed.—3—Notice too the straight flame unperturbed by Joseph's breath. Imagine the heart of God beating and aflame with divine love for you.—4—Join in! The light leads the way as you enter the scene. As you move closer towards Jesus' glowing face you likewise move away from the cast shadows. Look at that face with a bright smile. Thank him briefly.—5—Now, tell Jesus quietly your heart's desires. Imagine his gaze shifting on you. Jesus says "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" (Ps 46:10). Use this image as a screen saver.

Readings at Mass - 24 Mar 2021

Here is your Readings at Mass page for 24 Mar 2021: Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent.

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Wednesday 24 March 2021

Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent 

Liturgical Colour: Violet.

Readings at Mass


First reading
Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28

God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
  Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’
  Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

Responsorial PsalmDaniel 3:52-56
To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
Blest your glorious holy name.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest in the temple of your glory.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest who gaze into the depths.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest in the firmament of heaven.
To you glory and praise for evermore.

Gospel AcclamationMt4:4
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Or:cf.Lk8:15
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Blessed are those who,
with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves
and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!

GospelJohn 8:31-42

If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:
‘If you make my word your home
you will indeed be my disciples,
you will learn the truth
and the truth will make you free.’
They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
everyone who commits sin is a slave.
Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured,
but the son’s place is assured.
So if the Son makes you free,
you will be free indeed.
I know that you are descended from Abraham;
but in spite of that you want to kill me
because nothing I say has penetrated into you.
What I, for my part, speak of
is what I have seen with my Father;
but you, you put into action
the lessons learnt from your father.’
They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:
‘If you were Abraham’s children,
you would do as Abraham did.
As it is, you want to kill me
when I tell you the truth
as I have learnt it from God;
that is not what Abraham did.
What you are doing is what your father does.’
‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:
‘If God were your father, you would love me,
since I have come here from God;
yes, I have come from him;
not that I came because I chose,
no, I was sent, and by him.’
Copyright © 1996-2021 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.

Calendar used: Philippines

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3. 'TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS'—EVER IN SCRIPTURE, IT IS THE HEART THAT PRAYS. In today's featured Gospel reading, what word or phrase from God speaks to me?—PONDER—LISTEN—THANK—SURRENDER. I contemplate God's word and then end with the OUR FATHER...

Nota bene: Featured after 3:00 PM Philippine Time (PHT) +0800 UTC are the readings for tomorrow.
4. "FATHER, WE THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING TO US TODAY THROUGH YOUR HOLY WORD."
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

†FINAL BLESSING

"MAY ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS US, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN." The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties (CCC 2157). Wherever you are be mindful of your interior silence. "If we do not understand silence, we do not understand God."

Optional/Alternative Prayer Exercise

THE EXAMEN PRAYER at the Center for Ignatian Spirituality Philippines [www.cisphil.org]

Lectio Divina: The three concentric circles of Divine Reading

I. The first outermost circle–the mind–which is the first place or vessel of the Word. It is said that "Empty vessels make the most sound" so feed your mind with the words of Scripture and let it reverberate–never straining to "study or solve." But, first, it might be good to empty your mind of other concerns. When ready, slowly read and pause to listen to the echoes by remembering a word or a phrase from what you read. Be reverent towards the Word of God that is expressed in human words and fashioned in the light of the same Spirit through whom it was written (cf. DV 12).

II. It is not just the mind that is fed by the Word of God. Move to the second inner circle–the mouth, the door to our enteric nervous system which is commonly called gut. When we were still in the womb of our mothers both our gut and our brain originated from the same clump of tissue called the neural crest. One section turned into the brain between our ears and another section turned into the "second brain" or one's gut where one half of all our nerve cells are located. One can "think" through the gut. Our capacity for feeling and expressing emotions depend primarily on it and, only secondarily, the brain. There is a Native American proverb which says, “Listen or your tongue will make you deaf.” Like the mind, the mouth needs quieting down too. They are like Siamese twins; when one is sick, the other may also be sick. The reason you do not hear others' feelings or even your own emotions is because your busy tongue has made you deaf.

III. Only after we have quieted our two brains that we can move into the third innermost circle–the heart. The opening words of the Rule of St Benedict says, “Listen with the ear of the heart.” What does it mean to listen with the ear of the heart? Once, I got a feedback from one of my silent retreatants who thanked me for listening not only to words but to movements of the heart. It dawned on me that it does make a big difference to listen in this way. As always in the Scripture, it is the heart that prays. Deep in the heart, prayer happens. So allow the "ears of your heart"–to do their work. It is a difficult and challenging journey though to listen with the heart if it is not emptied, e.g., of one's own assumptions, prejudices and past hurts. However, this is the most privileged place to receive the Word of Scripture. This innermost place of prayer is what the desert fathers and mothers call “purity of heart” where we come face to face with God. "Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all" (Ps 139:4). Although God knows already what you might have there in your heart, talk to Him and listen reverently to His words of consolation.