Reflections on Daily Readings 2022
January 30th - February 26th, 2022
January 30 – February 5, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Fourth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; Psalm 70; 1Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30
In our first reading today we read of the call of Jeremiah to be the Lord’s prophet. He calls him to speak his words to his people and tells him straight out that he will be rejected by the people but he is still to go and speak to them for the Lord himself will be with him. In our gospel passage we see Jesus preaching and at first the people marvel at what they hear. But as he speaks about the prophets Elijah and Elisha they become angry and drive him out of the synagogue, intending to kill him, because they do not want to hear his words. The readings remind us that we are called to proclaim the kingdom of God just as Jeremiah was called in his turn and that we will be rejected just as Christ was rejected. Just as God was with Jeremiah so too will he be with us in our mission.
In our second reading from the first letter to the Corinthians we have St Paul’s tremendous passage on love which is common at wedding ceremonies and becoming common at funeral liturgies. Unless we have love as the guiding principle of our lives then our work for the kingdom will not bear fruit.
2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30, 16:5-13; Psalm 3; Mark 5:1-20
The setting for today’s first reading is a time during the rule of King David when the people had grown disenchanted with his rule and were looking to rebel. The rebellion is led by his son Absalom who declares himself king in the city of David. We see David fleeing and, as he goes, he is cursed by a relative of his own predecessor – King Saul – because he has committed murder. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus curing a man who was possessed by many spirits. The people come to see what has happened but they do not rejoice as so many others had done. Instead they ask Jesus to leave their area. Though he had shown his power to them they were afraid to believe – perhaps they realised that his message would require a change in their lifestyle.
Memorial of St John Bosco, Priest
Don Bosco was born in 1815 to a peasant family in Piedmont, Italy. After being ordained he established several boys’ clubs and schools in Turin which very quickly flourished. He was also well known for his preaching and fund-raising skills and he built several churches. In 1854 he founded what became the Salesian Congregation to educate and look after boys, and with St Mary Mazzarello he founded the Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians in 1872 to educate and look after girls. He died in 1888.
Feast of St Brigid, Virgin, Secondary Patron of Ireland
Romans 12:3-13; Psalm 148; Mark 3:31-35.
St Paul reminds us in the letter to the Romans that each of us has been given a different grace or gift and that we should not boast about them. As the body must work as one, without one part being any better than another, so too the Christian community must work together as one for the good of the kingdom. The gospel text is quite appropriate for the feast we celebrate today for it tells us that those who do the will of God are truly the brothers and sisters of Christ. Brigid left us an example of this in her life in that she always did the will of God and placed Christ and others before her own needs.
About St Brigid
Brigid was born near Dundalk about the middle of the fifth century. She became a nun and founded a monastery in Kildare (for both men and women) and became known for her love of justice, for her compassion for the poor, and for the many miracles she worked. She was the spiritual mother of Irish nuns for many centuries and is often referred to as “Mary of the Gael” (Mary of the Irish). She died about the year 525.
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas Day)
Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 23; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40.
The reading from Malachi tells us that God will send his messenger to prepare the way and that, suddenly, the Lord himself will appear. This reminds us of John the Baptist’s preaching. In the second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, the author tells us that Christ had to become human in order to fully represent us before God the Father. In our gospel passage from St Luke, we see Mary and Joseph going to the Temple with the infant Jesus to be purified. There, they meet Simeon and also Anna who both speak of the child as being salvation for all the nations. Simeon praises God and says that he can now rest in peace for he has seen the Saviour. Though he was the Son of God and himself God, Jesus was still brought up in the faith and with respect for the Law of Moses.
On this day we call to mind the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple by his parents in keeping with the Law of Moses. This event is recorded in today’s the gospel. Today is also the formal end of the Christmas festival of light and the memorial of Christ’s birth. Today, candles are blessed and carried in procession as a sign of our welcoming Christ the Light into our lives. It is also a special day in the Church’s calendar when the Church prays for Consecrated Life – a life which is consecrated to God through prayer and service and which enriches and gladdens the Christian community. We also pray to God to help people to hear and answer his call and so consecrate themselves to the Lord.
1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12; Psalm – 1 Chronicles 29:10-12; Mark 6:7-13
We now come to the end of David’s life in our first reading and he is to be succeeded by his son, Solomon. Before he dies, he implores Solomon to live according to the decrees of the Lord – something he himself had failed to do on a number of occasions. The Psalm acknowledges that God is the ruler of all and that everything comes from him. In the Gospel we see Jesus sending out his disciples to preach in his name. This they do and they cure many people of illnesses and unclean spirits. They were able to do so because they believed in what they were doing. We too are called to have faith in Christ, to live according to the decrees of the Lord and to bring his healing and love to all whom we meet.
Memorial of St Blaise, Bishop & Martyr (Optional)
Very little about Blaise is known with great certainty though it would appear that he had been a bishop in Armenia and was martyred about the year 316. Throats are blessed because it is told that he saved the life of a boy in whose throat a fishbone had lodged. The blessing of throats today is a reminder to us of the Lord’s desire for us to be well and to remove suffering from our lives.
Ecclesiasticus 47:2-11; Psalm 17; Mark 6:14-29
The reading from Ecclesiasticus today was written about eight centuries after the death of King David. It recalls his deeds and while we know that David offended God the reading shows that his life was really oriented toward serving God and the Chosen People. It ends by saying that God took away David’s sins and established his dynasty as he had promised. In the Gospel we read of the death of John the Baptist because of a promise foolishly made. John had faith in what he preached and ultimately this faith brought about his death. John has now fulfilled the role which the great prophet Elijah was to fulfil – that of preparing the way for the Messiah.
1 Kings 3:4-13; Psalm 118; Mark 6:30-34
Solomon has now been proclaimed king after his father, David. He goes to the holy site of Gibeon to sacrifice there and while there the Lord tells him that he can have anything he asks for. Solomon doesn’t ask for victories or armies or lands or riches. He asks simply for wisdom. Pleased with this request God also grants him more than he had asked for. In the Gospel we see the disciples returning from their mission, which has been very successful, so much so that people from many villages have followed them to hear more and to be cured. The preaching of the disciples and the faith of the people has brought them to the Lord himself.
Memorial of St Agatha, Virgin & Martyr
The cult and veneration of Agatha goes back to earliest times though nothing is known of her life other than the fact that she was martyred in Sicily. She is among those named in the Roman Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).
February 6 – February 11, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Fifth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 137; 1Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11
In our readings last week we saw the Lord calling us to be his prophets. In today’s first reading we see Isaiah answering the Lord’s call and volunteering to be the Lord’s messenger to the people. At the same time, however, Isaiah acknowledges that he is not fit for this task for he is a sinner. The Lord then takes away his sin. In the gospel we see Jesus by the lake of Gennesaret where he meets Simon Peter, as well as the brothers James and John. They have been out all night and have caught nothing but, at Jesus’ command, they cast their nets again and net a huge haul of fish. Peter realises he stands before someone truly great and asks to be left alone for he is a sinner. Still Jesus calls him and they follow him. Last week we were called to be God’s prophets; this week we are reminded of those who answered that call and what it is that we are asked to preach. It is now for us to decide whether or not we want to answer the call and live up to the commitments which were made at our baptism and which we ourselves renewed last Easter. There is also a reminder that God knows our inmost being, he knows of what we are made and still he calls us.
In the second reading we see St Paul reminding the Corinthians, and ourselves, about the basis of the Christian faith. He recalls their basic beliefs about Jesus and the resurrection as he taught them and he reminds them of how unworthy he himself was for this important work.
1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13; Psalm 131; Mark 6:53-56
In the reading from the first book of the Kings, Solomon, now king, completes the wish that David once had – to build a house of stone for the Ark of the Covenant, that is, the casket containing the two tablets of the Law. Solomon builds the great Temple in Jerusalem and has the Ark placed within it. Our Gospel theme is a continuation of last week’s theme on faith. Jesus is moving through the countryside and the people are flocking to see him. Many hope for a cure and many ask that they be allowed to touch even the hem of his garments for they believed that even this would cure them.
1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30; Psalm 83; Mark 7:1-13
Solomon now goes in to the Temple he has had built and prays to God. First, he praises God and then he asks for two things in particular for the people: that God will always hear them, and that he forgives them their transgressions. St Mark shows us Jesus at odds again with the Pharisees. This time they are not pleased that the disciples do not follow the rituals for washing prescribed by the Law. Christ points out that the rituals are nothing without the correct disposition of mind and heart. While the Pharisees may fulfil the letter of the Law in what they do, they do so without any great conviction. This is a reminder to us that going through the motions of our own religion is not enough – we must have faith in God and believe in what we are doing and why we do it.
1 Kings 10:1-10; Psalm 36; Mark 7:14-23
In our first reading we see that the Queen of Sheba has heard of Solomon and has come to test him for herself, only to find that he is as wise as the rumours proclaimed. She praises him and acknowledges that what he has has come from God. The Psalm speaks of committing one’s life to God as Solomon did. Continuing from yesterday’s Gospel text, Jesus now addresses the issue of clean and unclean foods as the Jewish Law understood them. Christ proclaims all food to be clean because nothing that goes into man is unclean. He makes a very clear declaration that whatever comes from man and is regarded as unclean is a result of the man’s interior disposition. Evil, etc., comes from within ourselves, not from what we eat.
1 Kings 11:4-13; Psalm 105; Mark 7:24-30
The first book of the Kings today tells us that despite all he has received from God, in his old age Solomon is persuaded by his foreign wives to follow other gods and to whose glory he builds temples. In his displeasure at this the Lord declares that Solomon’s kingdom is to suffer. The Psalm tells of the sins of the people. In the Gospel text for today, Jesus cures a little girl who had an unclean spirit. He did so because her mother, a pagan, showed that she believed in him and his power. The woman’s faith and her love for her daughter are the examples we are called to imitate today rather than the example of Solomon who, for all his wisdom, wandered far from the Lord.
Memorial of St Scholastica, Virgin
Scholastica was born in Umbria in the late fifth century and was the sister of St Benedict. She became a nun and eventually was prioress of her monastery near Monte Cassino which she ran under the direction and guidance of her brother. She died in 543 or 547.
1 Kings 11:29-32, 12:19; Psalm 80; Mark 7:31-37
We are told in the first reading today that because of the sins of Solomon and his following of false gods, the Lord has decided to split the kingdom into two – the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. The Psalm is a warning from God not to offend him and also reminds the people of what he had already done for them – a reminder of their ungratefulness. Again in our Gospel text, Jesus is seen healing a deaf mute. However, he does so in private, away from the crowd, and tells the man to say nothing of it – his reputation is already preceding him. But the man speaks of it and the people praise Christ.
Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes (Optional)
In 1858, fourteen year old Bernadette Soubirous received a vision from Our Lady near the mountain village of Lourdes, in southern France. Initially, people refused to believe her but the apparitions continued. When Bernadette asked the Lady who she was she replied that she was the Immaculate Conception. In time the well and site of the apparition became a centre of prayer as people flocked to it to draw closer to Our Lady and in the hope of receiving a cure. Several miracles have taken place here. In recognition of this, Pope John Paul II named this particular day ‘World Day of the Sick’ in 1992. On this day, special liturgies may be celebrated which include the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
1 Kings 12:26-32, 13:33-34; Psalm 105; Mark 8:1-10
In our first reading we see that Jeroboam I is now ruler of Israel while Rehoboam (son of Solomon) is ruler of Judah. Jeroboam fears that if the people continue to go to the Temple in Jerusalem to worship that they will revert to following Rehoboam and the northern kingdom will be lost. So he abandons God and creates two calves as false gods and has the people worship them. In the text from St Mark we see one of the miracles of the loaves and fish. An interesting point in the text is that the people had been with Christ for three days. We are told that there were about four thousand people and they had sat and listened to him in the countryside without food for three days whereas many people today find it difficult to sit in a church for even one hour a week. The Lord is always with us in the Blessed Sacrament and so it is important that we make an effort to spend some time in his presence each week, even if it only means arriving earlier than usual for Mass or staying on for a while afterwards.
February 13 – February 19, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Sixth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 17:5-8; Psalm 1; 1Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; Luke 6:17, 20-26
In our first reading today from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah we are reminded that we must always place our trust in God. While in life we have to trust in our fellow men and women – and this is a good thing – ultimately, we must place our trust first and foremost in God because there is only so much our fellow men and women can do for us while God can give us eternal life. This theme is continued in the Psalm. In the gospel, we have St Luke’s account of the Beatitudes – Christ’s great blueprint for living as recounted by Luke. In all that is done or suffered, it is God who grants the reward, not man. All of this comes to pass because Christ has been raised from the dead.
In the second reading from the first letter to the Christians at Corinth, we are reminded that Christ’s resurrection doesn’t simply have an impact in this life but in eternal life. So too, trusting in man can only be for this life while trusting in God and living according to the Beatitudes and the gospel precepts brings eternal life to all.
Feast of Saints Cyril & Methodius, Patrons of Europe
Acts 13:46-49; Psalm 116; Luke 10:1-9
These two men are responsible for bringing the Good News to those who spoke the Slavonic language in the ninth century. Like Saints Paul and Barnabas in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, they proclaimed the message to those who had not heard the story of Christ and our salvation and in doing so they did as the seventy-two did in going out ahead of the Lord (St Luke). The response to the Psalm sums up their mandate – “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the good news.” Our gospel text from St Luke sees Jesus sending out the seventy-two in pairs to preach and heal in his name just as Cyril and Methodius did in their time. As they responded to the Lord’s mandate so too we are challenged to follow their example and spread the Good News.
These two brothers were born about the year 825 in Salonika, were educated at Constantinople, and are regarded as the apostles of the southern Slavs to whom they preached the Gospel. In 863 they were sent as missionaries to Moravia. In 869 Cyril died in Rome but his brother was consecrated bishop and went back to Moravia and Pannonia (Hungary) with permission to use the Slavonic language in the liturgy. The Slavonic translation of the Bible is attributed to them. He was opposed by the German bishops and was for a time imprisoned. Methodius died in 885.
James 1:12-18; Psalm 93; Mark 8:14-21
Continuing our reading of the letter of St James, who died a martyr’s death about the year 63 AD, the apostle tells us today that while God tests us he does not tempt us for that would prove nothing. It also cannot happen because God is good and to tempt would be to lead people into sin and God would not do that either. The lure of sin comes from ourselves and not from God. In the Gospel passage from St Mark, Jesus is warning the disciples to be careful with regard to the Pharisees and Herod but they do not understand him. We too must be on the watch against those who would lead us along false paths – paths which would lead us away from God’s Law and his love. So too, we must not lead others along false paths of our own making.
James 1:19-27; Psalm 14; Mark 8:22-26
St James gives us a warning today in the first reading that it is not good enough to simply listen to the word of God – we must also put it into practice in our everyday lives. If we say we believe in God but fail to act accordingly then our faith is dead because, if we truly believed, we would live out that faith in a very real and clear manner. The Psalm tells us how the one who listens to God’s Word should live. In the Gospel text from St Mark, we see Jesus cure a blind man in the town of Bethsaida in Northern Israel. The man’s sight returns gradually which suggests to us that the more our faith in Jesus grows the clearer we will be able to see.
James 2:1-9; Psalm 33; Mark 8:27-33
In our first reading today we are being told by St James not to make distinctions between people for any reason but to treat all as equals before God. He talks about how we might treat the rich and poor in different ways because of their wealth or standing but that this is wrong because all are equal in the eyes of God. In the Gospel passage from St Mark we see St Peter making his great act of faith before Jesus – “You are the Christ.” To be true followers of Christ we too must make this same profession every day and live the Gospel values, particularly as we have the benefit of an established religious community, expert witness testimony of the life of Christ, and have been learning about and communicating with God since our earliest days. In the text, Jesus also remonstrates with Peter for trying to hold him back from going to Jerusalem and to his death with the reminder that God’s ways are not our ways. Jesus could have done as Peter wished but it was only through his death and resurrection that we are saved.
James 2:14-24, 26; Psalm 111; Mark 8:34-9:1
St James again tells us in the first reading today that it is not enough to say we have faith in God – we must show that faith by the kind of life we live. If we truly have faith then we will do everything in accordance with that faith. In other words, our life will be marked by good works but these works will not be done to prove to others that we have faith but they will be done out of a personal conviction that this is what the Lord wants us to do. Our faith strengthens our good works and our good works strengthen our faith and the faith of others. Jesus tells his followers in the Gospel that they must not cling to the life they have but must give it up in order to be his true disciples. We must give up our life and live the life Christ calls us to live if we too are to be his true followers.
James 3:1-10: Psalm 11; Mark 9:2-13
In the first reading we are given a warning by St James to be very careful about what we say – the tongue is a dangerous instrument and needs be watched vigilantly. He talks about how loose talk can destroy a person and suggests that idle gossip and chat is the mark of a fool. Today’s Gospel account tells of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor. The passage has a number of meanings and one of these meanings is that the transfigured Christ is an image of what each of us can be and what we will be like when we join him in the next life. But we must be careful because our shining robes are easily discoloured if we stray from the right paths.
February 20 – February 26, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Seventh Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
1Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23; Psalm 102; 1Corinthians 15:45-49; Luke 6:27-38
In our first reading from the first Book of Samuel, we read of an incident in the life of King David some time before he became king of Israel. David had been the loyal servant of King Saul but Saul feared and detested David’s popularity amongst the people. So Saul set off in pursuit of David intending to end his life. David and his men come upon Saul during the night and creep into the king’s camp but do not harm the king – David refuses to harm the Lord’s anointed even when it was in his power to end the king’s life. Our Psalm reminds us that “The Lord is compassion and love” and that he forgives us when we stray from his love. The gospel passage from St Luke is a continuation of last week’s text in which we had the Beatitudes. Today we are told that we are to be compassionate to our fellow men and women just as God has been compassionate with us. The Old Law was very much an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth but the New Law – which Jesus has established – is built on forgiveness and not revenge, on reconciliation and not retribution, on love and not war. The last line of the gospel also reminds us that as we deal with others so too will we be dealt with by others.
In the second reading St Paul tells us that there are two key men: the first is Adam and the second is Christ. The second is the one whom we must follow if we are to gain eternal life and we do this by modelling ourselves on him and living according to the precepts which he laid down for us in today’s gospel.
James 3:13-18; Psalm 18; Mark 9:14-29
This week we continue reading from the letter of St James and which today presents a very practical view of religion. James tells us that if we truly believe then our belief will be seen in the good works that we do because we will have the wisdom to discern what is right according to our faith. In the Gospel, some of the disciples have been trying to cure a possessed boy but are unable to because they have not prayed for it. The boy’s father does believe and asks Jesus to help the little faith he himself has. We too need to have our faith strengthened daily and would do well to pray for that strengthening while living out our faith in concrete ways.
Memorial of St Peter Damian, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Peter Damian was born in 1007 in Ravenna. Being unwanted as a child he was poorly treated but still managed to gain an education thanks to his brother who was archpriest of Ravenna. He became a monk in 1035 and was soon appointed abbot of Fonte Avellana and later Cardinal-bishop of Ostia where he worked tirelessly for the church and against clerical abuses such as simony and incontinence. He died in 1072 and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.
Feast of the Chair of St Peter, Apostle
1Peter 5:1-4; Psalm 22; Matthew 16:13-19
In his first letter, St Peter tells us how he himself exercised his authority through a pastoral letter to those who were responsible for looking after the faithful. In the passage Peter speaks of his being a witness to the sufferings of Christ – reminding his readers that he was present with the Lord and knew the human Christ. This letter also tells us how he implores all elders to be true shepherds to those entrusted to them by the Lord and to be perfect examples of living witnesses to the Gospel. As Peter was the chief shepherd of the flock after Christ, the Psalm for today reminds us that the Lord is the true Shepherd. The gospel passage from St Matthew shows Peter being appointed as leader of Christ’s Church following his great proclamation of faith in Christ. While he was leader of the fledgling group he is also a powerful symbol of unity for the Church which continues right down to this day. This feast has been observed in Rome since the fourth century. It celebrates the unity of the Church under the papacy and the readings recall Christ’s choice of Peter as the rock on which he would build the Church.
James 4:13-17; Psalm 48; Mark 9:38-40
In today’s excerpt from the letter of St James we are reminded that everything we do is subject to the will of God and that this should always be kept in mind when making promises about the future. We should be more concerned with attaining eternal life than with what we will do a year from now. In the Gospel, Jesus tells John that those who work miracles in his name are not enemies. Even if one is not of the same church as us, that does not mean they are wrong if what is preached is in keeping with the teaching of Christ.
Memorial of St Polycarp, Bishop & Martyr
Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of John the Evangelist and is regarded as one of the greatest of the Apostolic Fathers. He wrote a number of letters similar to St Paul and these were read publicly for many years. He was martyred at the request of the people by being burnt at the stake probably in 155.
James 5:1-6; Psalm 48; Mark 9:41-50
In today’s first reading St James the Apostle is warning the wealthy to be mindful of the poor and the suffering for it is at the expense of the poor that many rich people have acquired their wealth. There is a reminder here that those with wealth must use it to help alleviate the plight of the poor. All are equal in the eyes of God and God is very much aware of those who use their wealth to help others. The Psalm continues this warning to the rich. Christ warns us in the Gospel to be always pure of heart and intention and to remain faithful to his teaching. He tells us that if our actions cause another to sin then it would be better for us “to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around [our] neck.” Our actions have an impact on others and all that we do should direct others towards the kingdom of God and not away from it.
James 5:9-12; Psalm 102; Mark 10:1-12
Again today, St James is warning us about living lives faithful to the Gospel and not swearing falsely about ourselves or others. He also reminds the people to remain faithful to God even in the midst of affliction and pain. Today’s Gospel passage sees Christ being asked about divorce. He tells us that divorce is wrong in the eyes of God and that is the ideal which we must always keep before us. However, we are not given licence to condemn those who have divorced or whose marriages have broken down. The marriage bond is sacred and may not be broken in the eyes of God.
James 5:13-20; Psalm 140; Mark 10:13-16
St James in the first reading tells us of the importance of prayer both in good times and in bad. He also tells us of the importance of leading people back to the Church when they have gone astray, and of the importance of confession and anointing the sick. In all things God is ready to listen and to help his people. In the Gospel, Christ tells us that if we do not welcome God’s kingdom we will have no hope of entering it. He again uses the trust of a child to show us the approach we should have towards God – one of complete trust and confidence in an ever-loving and benign Father.