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Mass Readings

Catholic Ireland

Liturgical Readings for : Thursday, 29th February, 2024
Léachtaí Gaeilge
Next Sunday's Readings

Thursday of Second Week of Lent

The gospel story of the poor man Lazarus reminds us of the choice that each of us about our life and death.
Are we going to live and die generously or selfishly?

FIRST READING  

A reading from the prophet Jeremiah          17:5-10
A curse on the one who puts his trust in man, a blessing on the one who puts his trust in the Lord.

The Lord says this:
A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord. He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited. ‘

‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope.

He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.

‘The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets?
I, the Lord, search to the heart, I probe the loins, to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.’

The Word of the Lord.                  Thanks be to God

Responsorial Psalm                Ps 1
Response                                      Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

1. Happy indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners nor sits in the company of scorners,
but whose delight is the law of the Lord and who ponders his law day and night. Response
2. He is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves shall never fade;
and all that he does shall prosper.                                                                                   Response
3. Not so are the wicked, not so! For they like winnowed chaff
shall be driven away by the wind. For the Lord guards the way of the just
but the way of the wicked leads to doom.                                                                     Response

Gospel  Acclamation                 Lk 15:18
Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory!
I will leave this place and go to my father and say:
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.’
Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory!

Or

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory!
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 to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory!

GOSPEL

The Lord be with you.          And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke              16:19-31         Glory to you, O Lord
Good things came your way, bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony.

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores.
Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames”.
My son,” Abraham repliedremember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

‘The rich man replied,
Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too”. “They have Moses and the prophets,said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.
Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”‘

The Gospel of the Lord.            Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
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Gospel Reflection           Thursday,           Second Week of Lent              Luke 16:19-31

In the time of Jesus only a tiny number of people would have had the excessive wealth of the rich man in the parable. He is described as ‘dressed in purple and fine linen, the most expensive cloth of the day. He feasted magnificently every day’. The vast bulk of the population in the place and time where Jesus lived never feasted at all. To feast magnificently every day is a vulgar display of wealth in that culture. In contrast to the rich man, Lazarus would have been a familiar figure to people.

There were many people who depended on the generosity of others to survive, which is why almsgiving was such an important value in the Jewish religion. Lazarus seems to have been extremely destitute. He had so little that he longed to eat the scraps that fell from the table of the rich man who lived just the other side of the gate. Yet, even though Lazarus was physically close to this extremely wealthy man, he was invisible to him. The rich man walked past Lazarus as if he wasn’t there. However, Lazarus was not invisible to God.

When Lazarus died he received the hospitality that was denied him in this life. He was given a place of honour beside Abraham at the banquet of eternal life. The rich man had the opportunity to reveal something of God’s hospitality to Lazarus before Lazarus died but he failed to do so. We are all called to reveal something of God’s hospitable and welcoming love to each other in the here and now. Individuals and whole groups whose need is great can become invisible to us. They may be physically near us, but we don’t see them. It is the Lord who calls out to us through those in greatest need, just as God was calling out to the rich man through Lazarus. Whenever we become present to them in a way that reveals God’s love we are doing God’s good work on earth. We are like that tree, mentioned in the first reading, whose ‘foliage stays green… and never ceases to bear fruit’. In revealing God’s hospitable love to those who are at risk of becoming invisible, we open ourselves up to receiving God’s hospitable love both in this life and in eternal life. As Jesus says elsewhere in the gospels, ‘Give and there will be gifts for you’.

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The Scripture Readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd. and used with the permission of the publishers.  http://dltbooks.com/
The Scripture Reflection is made available with our thanks from his book Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2021/2024: The Word is near to you, on your lips and in your heart by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications 2022/23, c/f www.messenger.ie/bookshop/

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