From The Gospel of John (2003) directed by Philip Saville
[Today's Gospel begins at 2:02 and ends at 3:10]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 3:14-21 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Nicodemus, Unknown Flemish Master
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, Belgium [Web Gallery of Art]
The Pharisees generally have a bad name and the adjective 'pharisaical' is defined in Merriam-Webster as marked by hypocritical censorious self-righteousness. Those words could certainly describe most of the Pharisees we meet in the gospels. But they do not apply to Nicodemus. He was patently a good man who said to Jesus when he met him at night, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God (John 3:2). He was also with Jesus at the end helping to prepare for the burial. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds (John 19:39).
Patience Mollè Lobè, a 57-year-old widow and member of the Focolare Movement. An engineer, she became a very senior official in the Department of Public Works in Cameroon. She saw at first hand the powers of darkness in the corruption she encountered there. Here she relates how attempts were made three times to kill her.
[There's a transcript of the video here]
Patience Mollè Lobè is yet another example of a layperson living fully the vision of Vatican II. So many have the idea that carrying out a particular kind of liturgical service, eg, being a reader, is what being a good lay Catholic is all about. It's much more than that. It is a way of life in following Jesus, living every moment according to the Gospel, bringing the values of Jesus into every human situation. In the words of St Paul in today's Second Reading: For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life (Ephesians 2:10).
Here in the Philippines many of us have known persons like Patience Mollè Lobè, some of whom have died for confronting the cosmic powers of this present darkness. Their witness to Jesus and the Gospel brings us the light of hope and proves the truth of his words today, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Antiphona ad introitum Entrance Antiphon Cf Isaiah 66:10-11
Laetare, Jerusalem, et conventum facite, omnes qui diligitis eam;
gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristis fuistis,
ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolations vestrae.
Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her.
Be joyful, all who were in mourning,
exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.
On 11 March it was announced that the the poem below by Irish poet Seamus Heaney (1939 - 2013) had been chosen as Ireland's best-loved poem of the last one hundred years.
When all the others were away at Mass
by Seamus Heaney
In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984
When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.
So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.