Daily Bible Reading - March 8, 2024

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Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc.

3RD WEEK OF LENT

Psalter: Week 3 / (Violet)

St. John of God, religious

Day of abstinence from meat (age 14 and up)

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 81: 6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14, 17

I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

1st Reading: Hosea 14: 2-10

Return to your God, Yahweh, O Israel! Your sins have caused your downfall. Return to Yahweh with humble words. Say to him, “Oh, you who show compassion to the fatherless, forgive our debt, be appeased.

Instead of bulls and sacrifices, accept the praise from our lips. Assyria will not save us: no longer shall we look for horses, nor ever again shall we say ‘Our gods’ to the work of our hands.”

I will heal their disloyalty and love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned from them. I shall be like dew to Israel, like the lily will he blossom. Like a cedar, he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow and spread. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance, like a Lebanon cedar.

They will dwell in my shade again, they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like a vine, and their fame will be like Lebanon wine. What would Ephraim do with idols, when it is I who hear and make him prosper?

I am like an ever-green cypress tree; all your fruitfulness comes from me. Who is wise enough to grasp all this? Who is discerning and will understand?

Straight are the ways of Yahweh: the just walk in them, but the sinners stumble.

Gospel: Mark 12: 28-34

A teacher of the law had been listening to this discussion and admired how Jesus answered them. So he came up and asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”

Jesus answered, “The first is: Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes a second commandment:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.” The teacher of the Law said to him, “Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one, and there is no other besides him.

To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.”

Jesus approved this answer and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

REFLECTION:

“Love of God and neighbor.”

Today’s Gospel narrates how a teacher of the law asked Jesus about the first of the commandments. Jesus referred to the Shema from Deuteronomy (cf. Dt. 6:4-5), which highlights the love of God, and to the love of neighbor from Leviticus (Lev. 19:18).

It is interesting to reflect that the Shema mandates us to love God with whole heart, whole soul and with all our strength while the Markan version of the same imperative mandates us to love God with our whole heart, whole soul, whole mind and with all our strength.

We may reflect further on the remarks of the teacher of the law, which includes “whole understanding.” Do we understand that the Lenten observances we do are not merely for the salvation of the self?

Every Lenten practice must lead to our participation in God’s salvific act which is encompassing. May this Lenten journey enable us to truly go out of ourselves.

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