Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 50; Matthew 16:13-23
In the first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord speaks of the new covenant he will make with his people and, in establishing this new covenant, he will wipe away their past sins. We know that this greatest of all covenants was fulfilled almost six centuries later in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The Psalm could easily be the prayer of one of the Lord’s faithful who is waiting for the covenant to be established. St Peter’s great profession of faith is our text in today’s Gospel. In it we read of how Peter was made the first shepherd of the flock, a role which has been handed on through the papacy. Christ is now making his final preparations before he goes to Jerusalem where he will suffer and die for us and, in so doing, create the new and everlasting covenant spoken of by Jeremiah.
Memorial of St John Mary Vianney, Priest
Vianney, commonly known as the Curé d’Ars, was born in Dardilly, France in 1786. Due to his educational difficulties he was almost refused ordination but was ordained priest in 1815, being appointed curate in the town of Ars near Lyons in 1818, where he was to minister for the rest of his life. Nothing in life mattered to him except matters spiritual so that his clothes were falling apart, his food was insufficient and he hardly slept, but he still attracted thousands to his little church where many benefited from his hidden knowledge and his gifts of healing. It is said that over 1,000 people a week came to him in the twelve months before he died in 1859. He was canonized in 1925 and named patron saint of parish clergy four years later.