Reflections on Daily Readings 2022
July 31st - August 27th, 2022
July 31 – August 6, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Eighteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23; Psalm 89; Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12:13-21
Our first reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes is a stark reminder to us that all that we work for in life will go to someone else when our time on this earth is over. No matter how much we amass in this life it will not go with us beyond the grave. The Psalm reminds us of how short life is. This theme is also found in the gospel where we see Jesus teaching people about the futility of amassing worldly wealth. The only wealth that is of real use to us is in the Spirit. This is not to say that we shouldn’t work in this life but rather that we should have our goal fixed firmly on eternal life rather than on our bank balance.
The second reading too tells us that our thoughts should be on heavenly things rather than on the things of this earth. Only then can we inherit the kingdom and really reach out to our fellow men and women and lead them towards our true homeland in heaven.
Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 28:1-17; Psalm 118; Matthew 14:13-21
We read in the first reading today how the prophet Hananiah gave a prophecy in the Temple which was false but which the people accepted and believed. Hananiah even takes on Jeremiah in front of the people but God assures Jeremiah that Jeremiah is the true prophet. For leading the people astray, Hananiah died. In the Gospel, we read the account of the multiplication of five loaves and the two fish. This reminds us of the bread of life, the body of Christ, which brings us all to salvation. We must be always on our guard against false teachings which tell us what we want to hear and which ultimately lead us away from God. Only in the truth and in the Eucharist is our salvation assured.
Memorial of St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Born near Naples in 1696, Alphonsus became a lawyer before becoming a priest, being ordained in 1726. He created the Redemptoristines in 1730 and founded the Redemptorists (Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer – C.Ss.R) in 1732 to work among the country peasants. By the time of his death in 1787 however, the Redemptorists were in a terrible state though he was no longer at its helm to help heal the rifts. From 1762 to 1775 he was bishop of the small diocese of Sant’Agata dei Goti.
Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 31:1-2, 12-15, 18-22; Psalm 101; Matthew 14:22-36
We read in the first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah that despite the sins and transgressions of the people, which the Lord had punished them for, he is now going to restore the fortunes of Jerusalem and rebuild the city. This comes at the end of the Babylonian Captivity, about the year 539 BC, and at a time when the people were disheartened at the restoration work which lay ahead of them. In the Gospel, we see Jesus walking on water towards the disciples in the boat. St Peter tries to walk to him but his faith is not strong enough to make the journey. If we have complete faith in Christ we can overcome our fear and achieve great things for the kingdom. With our faith must also go conversion and repentance, as we are reminded in the first reading.
Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 31:1-7; Psalm – Jeremiah 31; Matthew 15:21-28
The Lord reminds us in our first reading that he has always loved his people with an everlasting love. And out of his love he is now going to restore the fortunes of his people. Again, this is following the end of the Babylonian Captivity and Jeremiah is painting a wonderful picture for the people of the New Jerusalem when all its people will come to it when the exiles are over. It is his way of encouraging the people to get on with the task of rebuilding the Temple and their dedication to the covenants with God. We read in the Gospel of the cure of a young girl because of her mother’s great faith and because she refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. Even though she was a Canaanite and not of the House of Israel, she had faith greater than some who had heard the Good News for themselves. With faith, we too can overcome the trials which afflict us throughout our life.
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.
Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Nahum 2:1, 3, 3:1-3, 6-7; Psalm – Deuteronomy 32; Matthew 16:24-28
The first reading today comes from the Prophet Nahum in which we see the Lord restoring the fortunes of Israel and Judah but with a word of caution. Nahum was prophet at the time of the fall of Nineveh (in 612 BC) which was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians had previously subdued the northern kingdoms of Israel but had failed to take Judah. In the Gospel we are told that if we want to be a true follower of Christ then we must take up our cross – take up whatever it is that troubles us – and follow him. By offering up our sufferings to him he will strengthen us and we will be able to attain the promise of immortality which Christ has gained for us.
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 96; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Luke 9:28-36
This feast recalls the day when Christ was on top of Mount Tabor with a few of his disciples and in their sight he was transfigured. The glory with which he stood before them is the glory which awaits us on the last day when we shall enter the kingdom of heaven and be counted among the elect. The first reading from the book of Daniel speaks of the glory of God, of his appearance and of his white robes. The second reading from St Peter (a witness to the transfiguration) also speaks of the glory of Christ.
The gospel text from St Luke recounts the transfiguration of the Lord on the mountain in the presence of Peter, James and John. While the disciples look on Jesus is changed and his clothes appear as white as light while he speaks with Moses and Elijah. This suggests that Jesus is greater than both the Law and the Prophets. As with Christ’s baptism in the Jordan, the Father’s voice sounds from heaven to proclaim his satisfaction with his Son. We are given an insight today into the glory which awaits us and so we are reminded to remain always faithful if we are to attain that glory.
August 7 – August 13, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Nineteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 32; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12:32-48
In our first reading today from the book of Wisdom we see that the virtuous will have the Lord on their side. When they turn to the Lord in sincerity and seek his help and protection he will be there to guard them. In our gospel, Jesus tells us to always stand ready and uses different examples to re-enforce his point. He tells us that if our treasure is to be found in worldly possession then our heart will be there rather than focused on the things of heaven where it belongs. We are also told that we are responsible for the things and people that are placed in our care and by this he includes the Good News of the kingdom. As baptised Christians we each have a duty to spread the news of the kingdom throughout the world in whatever way we can. One important point which the Lord brings out is that we do not know when we will be called to give an account of our stewardship and so we must always be ready whether we are called tomorrow or next year.
We now turn to the Letter to the Hebrews for our second reading for the coming weeks and in today’s passage we are reminded of the faith of Abraham who went where the Lord asked him to go though he did not know what he would find there. If we have faith and live a life of faith then we will have nothing to worry about for the Lord will always be with us and our sights will always be firmly fixed on the kingdom. In this way, when the Lord comes, he will find us ready and waiting to enter our eternal inheritance.
Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28; Psalm 148; Matthew 17:22-27
Today we begin reading from the prophet Ezekiel and in today’s text the prophet is describing what appears to be the glory of the Lord. The encounter takes place about the year 593 BC during the Babylonian captivity and sees God calling the Jewish priest, Ezekiel, to be his prophet. Ezekiel is to prepare the people for the destruction of Jerusalem and for its future glory. In our Gospel passage we see Jesus again telling his followers that he will soon be put to death but that he will rise again to life. His listeners are saddened by this for they do not fully understand the meaning of his words.
Memorial of St Dominic, Priest
Born in Spain about the year 1170, Dominic first became an Augustinian canon regular. Throughout this time the Albigensian heresy was prevalent across southern France due to a lack of proper teaching and preaching. As a result, Dominic founded the Friars Preachers (Order of Preachers – O.P.), more commonly known as the Dominicans, for the purpose of preaching the true faith and in particular to combat Albigensianism. He died in 1221.
Feast of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Martyr & Patroness of Europe
Hosea 2:16-17, 21-22; Psalm 44; Matthew 25:1-13
In our first reading we see that the Lord will lure his faithful one and betroth himself to her forever. This is appropriate for this feast for we remember that Edith Stein was Jewish by birth and over time she sought to give herself to God through the Christian Church while not forgetting her Jewish heritage. In our gospel we have the parable of the ten bridesmaids who were waiting for the bridegroom’s return. Some were foolish and were not ready for his return and so were left outside in the cold. Edith was ready when it came to her own death in the concentration camp and as that time loomed she also gave strength and solace to those around her. So today would be a good time to ask ourselves if we are ready for when the Lord calls us and have we done all that we could do to deepen our faith and to make God’s presence visible in our world.
Edith Stein was born on October 12, 1891, the eleventh child of a Jewish family living in Breslau in what was then Germany (today Poland). She studied and became a lecturer of philosophy and knew many of the leading philosophers of her day including Edmund Husserl (for whom she was an assistant) and Martin Heidegger. She became a Catholic in 1922 having been moved by the life of St Teresa of Avila. Eleven years later she entered the Carmel at Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. During the Nazi persecution she moved to the Carmel in Echt, Holland, to ease things for the Carmel in Cologne but was arrested there and sent to Auschwitz. There she was gassed on August 9, 1942, offering up her holocaust for the people of Israel. Her writings are noted for their doctrinal richness and spirituality including ‘The Hidden Life’ and ‘The Science of the Cross.’ She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987, and canonized at Rome twelve years later. She was also named Co-Patroness of Europe.
Esther 4C:12-16, 23, 25; Psalm 33; John 4:19-24
In the first reading from the book of Esther, we see Queen Esther pleading before God for her people. Her husband had been tricked into having the Jews treated badly with a view to their extermination, and so she pleaded to God for their safety before going before the king herself. Having been born a Jew, Teresa Benedicta also pleaded for her people during the Holocaust and offered her life for their salvation.
In the gospel, we see Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman at a well despite the fact that Jews and Samaritans did not associate with each other, and she was also an unaccompanied woman. In the conversation the Lord tells her that it does not matter where she worships so long as she has faith and worships the one true God – the Jews held that one could only worship in the Temple in Jerusalem, whereas the Samaritans worshipped on Mount Gerizim. As a result of the conversation, the woman came to believe in Jesus as her Messiah as did many of the people of her town following her original call to them.
Feast of St Lawrence, Deacon & Martyr
2Corinthians 9:6-10; Psalm 111; John 12:24-26
In our first reading today St Paul exhorts his readers to give alms to the poor and to look after them in any way possible, knowing that there will be abundant blessings from the Lord for this work or mercy. In our text from St John’s Gospel the Lord tells us that we must be like a grain of wheat because unless we die to the ways of this life and are born of the true and everlasting life we will be lost for ever. Lawrence lost his life but he did so with a great heart because what he did was done for the Lord and so his name and his example lives on to this day. He is an example to us that the life to come is of far greater value than the present life we live and that we should do all we can to secure our place alongside Lawrence in the kingdom.
Laurence was one of the seven deacons in Rome under Pope St Sixtus II. Three days after Sixtus was martyred in 258, Laurence was himself martyred by being roasted alive on a grid-iron. He is remembered in the Roman Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).
Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 12:1-12; Psalm 77; Matthew 18:21-19:1
In today’s first reading we see how Ezekiel is ordered by the Lord to leave the city because of its evil ways. But he is to do it in broad daylight so that the people will see what he does and may, in this way, be persuaded of their sinfulness and so return to God. These actions are to be a symbol of God’s dissatisfaction with the House of Israel in the hopes that the people will heed what is happening and return to the right path. However, the people have grown stubborn and don’t believe that God would destroy his own city. In the Gospel from St Matthew, Christ tells us that there is to be no limit to the number of times we are to forgive others if they wrong us and seek forgiveness. As the Lord is merciful with us so we must be merciful with others.
Memorial of St Clare, Virgin & Religious
Clare was born in Assisi 1193 and left home at the age of 18 to join St Francis of Assisi. Influenced by his ideas she established the first convent of Franciscan nuns, today known as the Poor Clares, at San Damiano, and spent the rest of her life in that convent. She died in 1253 and was canonized two years later.
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63; Psalm – Isaiah 12; Matthew 19:3-12
The Lord speaks to Jerusalem through the Prophet Ezekiel in the first reading and tells the city – which is a symbol of the Jewish nation – how he looked after it and nurtured it. But now the city has become infatuated with itself and is no longer faithful to the one who cared for it. Now is the time for the city and its inhabitants to remember the covenant and to be ashamed. Our Gospel text is a particularly difficult one for it speaks of the Lord’s displeasure with divorce as he tells his disciples that it is not in keeping with his Law or his vision for us. At the same time, he does not condemn those whose marriages have ended in this way.
Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 18:1-10, 13, 30-32; Psalm 50; Matthew 19:13-15
The Lord tells us in the reading from Ezekiel that he will not punish whole groups of people for the misdeeds of a few but that he will punish the individual sinners for what they have done. Ezekiel is trying to get the people to accept responsibility for their own misdeeds rather than blaming those around them, or their ancestors, for their own sins and for the punishment which has befallen them. Again today we read in the Gospel that we must become like little children in faith and trust if we are to enter the kingdom. At the time of Christ, children had no standing in society and so Christ’s inclusion of them is important and shows the importance of a child-like trust and faith rather than one which uses reason and so reduces the faith.
August 14 – August 20, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Twentieth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10; Psalm 39; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53
In the first reading we read of the attempted murder of the prophet Jeremiah by some of the king’s men. This was because the prophet had spoken the word of God to the people and they did not like what he said and were afraid that he would influence the king. The Psalm could easily have been the words on the prophet’s lips as he sank into the mud – “Lord, come to my aid!” In our gospel text for today we have an unusual lesson from Jesus in which he tells us that he did not come to bring peace but division. This seems to fly in the face of all that we have ever heard about Christ and yet when we look at places like the former Yugoslavia, like Rwanda, like Northern Ireland we see just how much belief in Christ has divided our world as people try to impose their understanding of the Good News on their neighbours. Yet, this is not the division which Jesus is speaking of for in reality he is talking about the division between good and evil, between those who opt for life over death. Only by following his ways can we walk the path of righteousness which leads to eternal life.
The author of today’s second reading from the letter to the Hebrews urges us to keep our sights fixed firmly on Jesus in order to gain eternal life. He says this because of the number of opposing and competing views that were trying to win the allegiance of the people. In all of this we have the Lord as our advocate and the Holy Spirit as our guide.
Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady into Heaven
Apocalypse (Revelations) 11:19, 12:1-6, 10; Psalm 44; 1Corinthians 15:20-26; Luke 1:39-56
The first reading from the Book of the Apocalypse refers to our Lady who, as Queen of Heaven, is robed in splendour and majesty. She gives birth to one of great importance who is taken directly to the throne of God, whose Son he is, while the Virgin flees to a special place – reminding us of her special place in heaven. In the second reading, St Paul tells us that Christ is the first-fruit – the first to rise from the dead. The gospel from St Luke contains the Magnificat – Mary’s beautiful hymn which she said upon meeting her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation. Today’s solemnity commemorates our Lady’s entry into glory, a glory which awaits us and which was prefigured on August 6th in the celebration of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This solemnity celebrates the fact that at the end of Mary’s life, her body was assumed into heaven rather than undergo decay in the earth. Though maintained by the faithful for centuries, it was only proclaimed a dogma of the faith by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 28:1-10; Psalm – Deuteronomy 32; Matthew 19:23-30
In our first reading we see God about to punish an imaginary prince in the port city of Tyre for the prince likened himself to a god and was not faithful to the true God. This comes from a section of the book of the Prophet Ezekiel in which warnings are given to the neighbouring kingdoms around Israel and Judah. The Psalm, taken from Deuteronomy, could easily have been the words spoken by God in his anger. Today’s Gospel text follows on from yesterday’s passage and in it Christ tells us that it is difficult to enter heaven if we place too much store on our possessions. First and foremost in our life must always be Christ and the Kingdom. We need possessions to live comfortably in this life but we need Christ to live peacefully for all time.
Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 34:1-11; Psalm 22; Matthew 20:1-16
We read in the first reading that the people have turned away from God and have been lured by other gods because their shepherds – their religious and political leaders – have not looked after them properly. These shepherds are now to have their flocks taken from them and, ultimately, the Lord himself will be their shepherd. This latter part was fulfilled in the person of Jesus. In the Gospel parable of the generous landowner, Christ reminds us that all are equal in the sight of God whether they be rich or poor, clergy or laity, young or old. All are judged equally in his eyes. No matter our station in life we have a duty to uphold God’s word and to assist in its spread.
Memorial of Our Lady of Knock
Readings of the Day or from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
At about 8.00pm on August 21, 1879, a wet evening, fifteen people in a remote part of Co Mayo witnessed an apparition on the gable wall of the parish church in Knock. In the apparition were Our Lady, St Joseph her spouse, St John the Evangelist, an altar and cross, angels, and a lamb. Everything was in white and nothing was said. The apparition lasted about two hours and over the years several inquiries were held – even as late as 1936 with the remaining survivors, some of whom were then living abroad. Today, Knock Shrine is the most important Marian shrine in Ireland and draws many pilgrims from around the world. In 1979, Blessed John Paul II, on his Apostolic Visit to Ireland, prayed at the site of the apparition.
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 36:23-28; Psalm 50; Matthew 22:1-14
In our first reading today from the Prophet Ezekiel the Lord tells his people that he will lead them to their own soil and bring them home from where they have been scattered. Once home he will give them a new spirit so that they will be able to keep his laws. This reminds us of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day. The Psalm could have been the people’s response to this – “A pure heart create for me, O God . . .” Today’s Gospel parable speaks of the kingdom of heaven. The message of the kingdom was first proclaimed to the Jews who rejected it and so it was proclaimed to the Gentiles and hence to all people. We are all invited to the kingdom of heaven but unless we live a life worthy of that call we will not be allowed to enter. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to show us the way but we must receive him openly and without condition.
Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 37:1-4; Psalm 106; Matthew 22:34-40
In our reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel we see that God is going to raise his faithful ones from the dead and give them new life. The bones symbolise the whole house of Israel which the Lord will bring back from Babylon to their own homeland in Palestine. In our Gospel, the Pharisees are testing Jesus by asking him about the Commandments. His answer is a reminder for us that we must place God above all else and love him with our whole being. Not alone this, we must also love our neighbour as we love ourselves. In giving us this commandment, Jesus put together two rules from the Old Testament and gave a greater standard to strive for and by which to live.
Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 43:1-7; Psalm 84; Matthew 23:1-12
In our reading from the prophet Ezekiel we read of the Lord’s glory returning to the Temple now that all things have been purified. When they have returned and restored the Temple, the basis of life for the people will be the presence of God in their midst. Christ warns us in the Gospel about those who preach one thing while doing something completely different. While people may pay us respect for the positions we hold we must always remember that they are not lower than us – we are all equal. We must keep in mind that nobody is above us in the eyes of God for all are equal.
Memorial of St Bernard, Abbot & Doctor of the Church
Bernard was born near Dijon in France in 1090. In 1112 he joined the Cistercian monastery of Cîteaux along with thirty other young men. Soon after he established the monastery of Clairvaux and was its first abbot. He worked tirelessly for the unity of the Church and against heresies and was not afraid to dispute with princes or to give advice to popes. He took part in Oecumenical and other councils, travelled extensively to preach the faith and established 68 other Cistercian monasteries. He died in 1153 and was canonized twenty-one years later.
August 21 – August 27, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Twenty-First Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 116; Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30
In our first reading we see that the Lord is going to gather all of his Chosen People from wherever they have been scattered and return them to Jerusalem. They will come in chariots, on horse back, on stretchers, but they will come to Jerusalem. In the gospel, Jesus tells us that there will be a gathering of the nations in the kingdom of heaven. But he also warns us that not everyone will be saved because there will be those who will not believe in him or in his message until it is too late and these people will be left out in the cold while the faithful will enter paradise to take their places along with the prophets of old. It is a reminder to us that we must live up to our responsibilities as baptised Christians sooner rather than later and to take an active part in the spread of the Gospel.
In our second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, the author tells us that some of us will be punished by the Lord but this should not be a cause of worry for – in punishing us – the Lord acknowledges us as his sons and daughters. His punishment, therefore, is intended to make better people of us. Of course we can avoid such action by living according to the gospel precepts, beginning today.
Memorial of the Queenship of Mary
Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalm 112; Luke 1:26-38
Our first reading today comes from the Prophet Isaiah and is commonly heard coming up to Christmas. In the text the prophet tells us about the Son who will be given to us and will bring us salvation through his self-sacrifice. The gospel text is St Luke’s account of the Annunciation in which we hear how the Son spoken of in the first reading will be born. As always, the readings on memorials and feastdays of Our Lady remind us of her great service to the word and will of God.
Tuesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17; Psalm 95; Matthew 23:23-26
Today, St Paul exhorts his readers in Thessalonica to remain faithful to Christ’s message and not allow themselves to be led astray by false prophets or by those who proclaim that ‘the end is nigh.’ This was in answer to the idea that the Second Coming of Christ was about to happen very soon but Paul warns the people not to be deceived by false prophecies about this event but to remain faithful to the faith which he gave them. In our Gospel, Jesus continues to rebuke the scribes and Pharisees. He tells them that they have been more concerned with the measure of things than with justice, mercy and good faith. He also tells them that what is in their hearts is of far more importance than their outward appearances. We too should be more concerned with our inner disposition than with how we dress and appear to others and we must make justice and mercy priorities in our whole life while building up our faith.
Feast of St Bartholomew the Apostle
Apocalypse (Revelations) 21:9-14; Psalm 144; John 1:45-51
Our first reading from the Book of the Revelations made to St John the Evangelist, speaks of the new Jerusalem which has twelve foundation stones. The new Jerusalem is a metaphor for the Church established by Christ and built on the foundation of the apostles themselves. The wall symbolises the people of God. In the gospel we see Nathanael (Nathaniel) being brought to Jesus and we read of his declaration of faith because of what Jesus said to him. It is believed that this Nathanael is the St Bartholomew we honour today.
Very little is known about Bartholomew apart from his being listed among the Twelve in the Synoptic Gospels. Many scholars identify him as the Nathanael who came to visit Jesus under the cover of darkness in the first chapter of St John’s Gospel. Tradition holds that he preached the faith in India, though there is no evidence of this.
Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 1:1-9; Psalm 144; Matthew 24:42-51
Today we turn to St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians which was written by Paul between 55 and 57 AD, about five years after he had left the port town in southern Greece. In today’s passage Paul tells us that we have been enriched with so many graces by God. If we put our faith and trust in Christ then he will keep us on the right path towards heaven. In the Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we do not know the day or the hour when he will return, or indeed when we will be called to give an account of our life. Therefore, we must always be ready and must be living a Christian life at every moment by being faithful to Christ and to his Gospel.
Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 1:17-25; Psalm 32; Matthew 25:1-13
We are reminded by St Paul in his letter to the Christians in Corinth that for many people preaching about a crucified saviour is nonsense – the Jews could never accept a Messiah who suffers and the Greeks could never understand a God who dies. But for those of us who believe in the wisdom of God it is our salvation and our hope. We are reminded again in our Gospel reading to be always ready for we do not know when the Lord will return or when he will call us to himself. Those who are ready and have lived a Christian life will enter the kingdom but those who have not been faithful will find themselves outside in the cold.
Transverberation of St Teresa of Jesus (Avila)
This memorial, known also as the Ecstasy of Teresa of Avila or the ‘piercing of the heart’, marks the moment when her heart was pierced by an angel and set ablaze with the love of Christ. This is when Teresa entered into a spiritual marriage with the Lord, which very few people achieve. It was recorded in detail by Teresa in her Life and, when the saint had died and her body exhumed, while her body was incorrupt, it was discovered that her heart did in fact have a wound in keeping with that caused by being pierced by a spear.
1Corinthians 12:31; 13:1-10, 12-13; Psalm 39; John 14:23-27
Our first reading is one of the most beautiful texts in the New Testament and is quite appropriate for today’s memorial. In the text, from his first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul speaks about love and what love is, which he does by telling us in part what love is not. No matter how great a person is or how powerful or intelligent, if they do not have love as the foundation of all that they do then they are nothing at all.
That theme is taken up in the gospel from St John in which Jesus says that those who love him will keep his word and he will make his home in their heart. This very much describes what happened to Teresa when she had the encounter with the angel and was joined in a powerful spiritual union with the Lord.
Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Psalm 32; Matthew 25:14-30
There are those who consider Christians to be foolish because they believe in someone who was so weak that he was executed in a most demeaning way. But St Paul tells us in the first reading that God uses what appears to be weak to confound the mighty and to show his great power. It is only by placing our trust in the Wisdom of God that we will understand what it is the Lord wants of us and so enter heaven. In our Gospel text we have the parable of the talents. We have all been given gifts and talents which we must use for the sake of the kingdom and the good of others. One such talent is our faith which was given to us at baptism. It is not simply enough to say that we believe in God but we must actively strengthen our faith and put it into practice in our daily lives through prayer and good works.
Memorial of St Monica
Born in North Africa to a Christian family in 332, Monica married a pagan, Patricius, who was converted due to her gentle ways. She then spent her energies in converting her eldest son – Augustine – to the faith. She followed him to Milan where she enlisted the help of St Ambrose, then Bishop of Milan, and in time Augustine was converted and became one of the greatest teachers in the Church. She died in Ostia in 387 while Augustine was taking her home to North Africa. Her last words, recorded in Augustine’s ‘Confessions’ were – “Lay this body wherever it may be. Let no care of it disturb you: this only I ask of you that you should remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be” (Confessions Book 9, Chapter 11).