Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 8:4-6, 9-12; Psalm 118; Matthew 9:9-13
In the reading from the Prophet Amos the Lord tells his people that the punishment they will receive will be in the form of a famine. A spiritual famine is to fall upon them for their sins against the Lord in which they will not hear the word of the Lord. In the Gospel, Jesus is scorned by the Pharisees for eating with tax collectors and sinners but, in reply, he tells them that their sacrificial ways do not please him. What the Lord seeks is true mercy. Those who are virtuous are not called to conversion for their hearts are already set on God, but those who are still in need of conversion are the ones who are being called. If we in our day turn our backs on God then we live without his word, but if we seek God then his word will take root in our hearts and we will live the life he seeks.
Memorial of St Oliver Plunkett, Bishop & Martyr
Oliver was born in Meath in 1625 and ordained priest in Rome in 1654. Soon after he was made professor at the Propaganda Fide College and in 1669 was created Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. It was a difficult time for the Church in Ireland and even though he was on very good terms with the Protestant bishops, he was forced into hiding in 1673. Following his betrayal he was arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle. His trial in Dublin collapsed due to lack of evidence and he was sent to London where a grand jury said there was nothing to answer for. Following a third (fixed) trial he was sentenced to death. He was hung, drawn and quartered in 1681, the last Roman Catholic to be martyred at Tyburn, London. He was canonized in 1975.