Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Reading 1 Ex 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
The LORD said to Moses,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
‘With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth’?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'”
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm  Ps 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (4a)  Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel Jn 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”


– – –

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.

The Advocate / El Defensor

During this season of Lent we tend to focus on the Gospels and the life of Christ, especially leading up to his death. This, of course, is of the utmost importance for us as Christians. But we should also look back into the Old Testament and see that from the very beginning God had this plan to come and die for us. We can see, even back in the time of Moses, a certain foreshadowing of the Messiah. 

Today’s First Reading is a perfect example of this. Here we have God about to inflict wrath on the people who continually disobey him. This wrath would be justified and God, as the creator of all things, has every right to decide when someone will live or die. But instead, we see Moses coming to the defense of his people. He reminds God of the covenant he made with Abraham and about the fact that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. That would not be possible if they were all wiped off the face of the earth. 

Some may look at this passage and think that Moses is convincing God not to smite his own people. Does God change his mind? I like to look at this verse in a different context. Of course God knows what he is going to do. Human beings do not change the perfect will of God. What I get from this passage is that God is teaching Moses how important it is for them to have a human advocate. Someone who can commune with God on their behalf. 

Fast forward to the time of Christ and this is exactly what we receive. Not only do we have an advocate who takes our needs and wants to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, but this advocate is God himself. We not only have a prophet, we have THE prophet. Jesus doesn’t just come to talk about our salvation, he is our salvation. We can tend to look at the Old Testament as a different God than the New Testament. As if all of a sudden Jesus comes and convinces God to be less harsh. But we must realize that the Trinity exists from the beginning. The God of the Old and New Testaments is the same and God desires all men to be saved. 

So when we read passages like our First Reading where it seems like God wants to wipe everyone out, I prefer to read it as God teaching the importance of a savior. We are fallen humans and we do not deserve salvation. God has every right to wipe us all out if he wants, after all, he created us. It’s like the old phrase, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” But instead of wiping us out and starting over, like he did with the flood, he hears the cry of the advocate. He hears the cry of Moses. He hears the cry of Christ hanging on the cross. We may be fallen, we may be weak, we may even sin horribly at different times, but God loves us so much that he didn’t just send us a prophet to talk to us about God, he sent himself. 

As we get closer and closer to holy week I think it’s important to reflect on the love of the Father (though he could just be done with us at any second), the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins, and the protection we have of the Holy Spirit who keeps us on the right path. God desires that we all are saved. He does not prefer wrath to mercy. So let’s take some time to thank God for not giving up on us, and for taking it a step further and becoming one of us to be our advocate and to allow us to one day share in his eternal glory. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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Durante esta temporada de Cuaresma, tendemos a centrarnos en los Evangelios y la vida de Cristo, especialmente antes de su muerte. Esto, por supuesto, es de suma importancia para nosotros como cristianos. Pero también debemos mirar hacia atrás en el Antiguo Testamento y ver que desde el principio Dios tenía este plan de venir y morir por nosotros. Podemos ver, incluso en la época de Moisés, un cierto presagio del Mesías.

La Primera Lectura de hoy es un ejemplo perfecto de esto. Aquí tenemos a Dios a punto de infligir la ira sobre las personas que continuamente lo desobedecen. Esta ira estaría justificada y Dios, como creador de todas las cosas, tiene todo el derecho de decidir cuándo alguien vivirá o morirá. Pero en cambio, vemos a Moisés saliendo en defensa de su pueblo. Le recuerda a Dios la alianza que hizo con Abraham y que su descendencia sería tan numerosa como las estrellas. Eso no sería posible si todos fueran borrados de la faz de la tierra.

Algunos pueden mirar este pasaje y pensar que Moisés está convenciendo a Dios de no herir a su propio pueblo. ¿Dios cambia de opinión? Me gusta ver este versículo en un contexto diferente. Por supuesto, Dios sabe lo que va a hacer. El ser humano no cambia la perfecta voluntad de Dios. Lo que entiendo de este pasaje es que Dios le está enseñando a Moisés cuán importante es para ellos tener un abogado humano. Alguien que pueda comunicarse con Dios en su nombre.

Avance rápido hasta el tiempo de Cristo y esto es exactamente lo que recibimos. No sólo tenemos un defensor que lleva nuestras necesidades y deseos al Padre, con el Espíritu Santo, sino que este defensor es Dios mismo. No solo tenemos un profeta, tenemos EL profeta. Jesús no solo viene a hablar de nuestra salvación, ES nuestra salvación. Podemos tender a ver el Antiguo Testamento como un Dios diferente al Nuevo Testamento. Como si de repente viniera Jesús y convenciera a Dios a ser menos duro. Pero debemos darnos cuenta de que la Trinidad existe desde el principio. El Dios del Antiguo y del Nuevo Testamento es el mismo y Dios quiere que todos los hombres se salven.

Así que cuando leemos pasajes como nuestra Primera Lectura donde parece que Dios quiere acabar con todos, prefiero leerlo como si Dios enseñara la importancia de un salvador. Somos humanos caídos y no merecemos la salvación. Dios tiene todo el derecho de acabar con todos nosotros si quiere porque después de todo, él nos creó. Es como la vieja frase, “Te traje a este mundo y puedo sacarte”. Pero en vez de aniquilarnos y empezar de nuevo, como hizo con el diluvio, escucha el grito del defensor. Oye el grito de Moisés. Oye el grito de Cristo colgado en la cruz. Podemos estar caídos, podemos ser débiles, incluso podemos pecar horriblemente en diferentes momentos, pero Dios nos ama tanto que no solo nos envió un profeta para hablarnos de Dios, se envió a sí mismo.

A medida que nos acercamos más y más a la semana santa, creo que es importante reflexionar sobre el amor del Padre (aunque podría acabar con nosotros en cualquier momento), el sacrificio de Cristo en la cruz por nuestros pecados y la protección que tenemos del Espíritu Santo que nos mantiene en el buen camino. Dios desea que todos nos salvemos. No prefiere la ira a la misericordia. Así que tomemos un tiempo para agradecer a Dios por no darse por vencido con nosotros, y por dar un paso más y convertirse en uno de nosotros para ser nuestro abogado y permitirnos un día compartir su gloria eterna.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

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Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Fr. Barry Braum,

Allowing the Father to Work in Us / Permitir Que el Padre Obre en Nosotros

Balancing work and rest sometimes sways off-kelter, especially in a world where Sunday no longer holds a place of honor and self-serving ambition is worshiped. However, God has not abolished the Fourth Commandment, “Keep Holy the Sabbath Day.” This topic is discretely nestled in today’s Gospel, particularly in the eyebrow-lifting statement by Jesus, “My Father is working, still; and I am working” (John 5:17). The Pharisees were not only indignant that Jesus was breaking the rules of the Sabbath but also that He was claiming equality with God. Wait, how can God create a Commandment that seemingly contradicts? 

First, the gift of a day of rest was not designed for God but for us. Next, in my opinion, it all comes down to context, perception, and motive. The Ignatius Press Didache Bible says this of John 5:17, “To imitate God on the Sabbath; was to continue to do good works” (p. 1418). Rest is essential, clearly, or why else would God command us to find time to prioritize it? However, the most essential aspect of that Commandment is making the Sabbath holy and the day the Lord’s. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Just as God ‘rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,’ human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives” (2184).

How have we made the Sabbath a time to honor the Lord during this fourth week of Lent? Have we used this day to further our Lenten works of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving? Are we imitating the Lord by taking time away from our typical bustling to do good works? Can we rest from doing what we want to do or feel we ought to be doing to make space in our lives for God to cultivate blessings we can not yet even imagine?

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Equilibrar el trabajo y el descanso a veces se desvía, especialmente en un mundo donde el domingo ya no ocupa un lugar de honor y se adora la ambición egoísta. Sin embargo, Dios no ha abolido el Cuarto Mandamiento, “Santificar el Día de Reposo”. Este tema está discretamente ubicado en el Evangelio de hoy, particularmente en la asombrada declaración de Jesús: “Mi Padre trabaja siempre y yo también trabajo” (Juan 5:17). Los fariseos no solo estaban indignados porque Jesús estaba quebrantando las reglas del sábado, sino también porque estaba afirmando ser igual a Dios. Espera, ¿cómo puede Dios crear un mandamiento que aparentemente contradice?

Primero, el regalo de un día de descanso no fue diseñado para Dios sino para nosotros. A continuación, en mi opinión, todo se reduce al contexto, la percepción y el motivo. La Biblia Didache de Ignatius Press dice esto de Juan 5:17: “Imitar a Dios en el sábado era continuar haciendo buenas obras” (p. 1418). El descanso es esencial, claramente, o ¿por qué Dios nos ordenaría encontrar tiempo para priorizarlo? Sin embargo, el aspecto más esencial de ese Mandamiento es santificar el sábado y el día del Señor. Como explica el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, “Así como Dios ‘cesó el día séptimo de toda la tarea que había hecho’ (Gn 2, 2), así también la vida humana sigue un ritmo de trabajo y descanso. La institución del día del Señor contribuye a que todos disfruten del tiempo de descanso y de solaz suficiente que les permita cultivar su vida familiar, cultural, social y religiosa (cf GS 67, 3).” (CIC 2184).

¿Cómo hemos hecho del sábado un tiempo para honrar al Señor durante esta cuarta semana de Cuaresma? ¿Hemos usado este día para promover nuestras obras cuaresmales de oración, ayuno y limosna? ¿Estamos imitando al Señor quitando tiempo de nuestro ajetreo típico para hacer buenas obras? ¿Podemos descansar de hacer lo que queremos hacer o sentimos que deberíamos estar haciendo algo para hacer espacio en nuestras vidas para que Dios cultive bendiciones que aún ni siquiera podemos imaginar?

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Allison Gingras ( ) — Shares her love of the Catholic Faith with stories, laughter, and honesty as experienced in the ordinary of life! Her writing includes Encountering Signs of Faith (Ave Maria Press) and the Stay Connected Journals for Women (OSV). Allison is a Catholic Digital Media Specialist for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Fall River Diocese. She hosts A Seeking Heart podcast and is co-host of the Catholic Momcast podcast.

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