Reflections on Daily Readings 2024

January 28th - February 24th, 2024

January 28 – February 3, 2024

Ordinary Time – The Fourth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.

The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 94; 1Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

In our first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses tells the people that after he has gone the Lord will give them a great prophet who will teach them his ways. The people had grown tired of listening to God and wanted to listen to one of their own so the Lord agrees to appoint one of their own as his prophet. In the gospel we read how Jesus taught the people and that he commanded the unclean spirits with authority which they obeyed. In this we can see Jesus as the great prophet whom Moses spoke about. The Lord is our great teacher and the scriptures contain his teaching if only we had the courage to become familiar with the scriptures and to live out the teachings in our lives.

St Paul tells us that it is easier for the unmarried to devote themselves to the Lord because they do not have to worry about pleasing their spouse or looking after the family. In this, Paul is not being negative about marriage but he is reminding us that no matter what our status in life we must devote some time every day to the Lord.

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.

2 Samuel 18:9-10, 14, 24-25, 30-19:3; Psalm 85; Mark 5:21-43


In our first reading today, we see that David has defeated his son Absalom in thick forests east of the Jordan. We now see that Absalom is fleeing for his life because his gamble of making himself king to answer the people’s needs has not paid off. The young man falls into the hands of his father’s troops who kill him while he could not defend himself. Upon hearing the news David goes into mourning for the loss of his son. The text from St Mark’s Gospel for today is a well-known double miracle – the cure of the woman with a haemorrhage and the cure of Jairus’ daughter. The central point is faith: the woman had faith and she needed only to touch the clothes Christ wore to be cured; Jairus’ daughter died before Jesus could reach the house and when the messengers informed him of this, Jesus told them to have faith and she would live. The faith of the woman is the faith to which we are all called.

2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17; Psalm 31; Mark 6:1-6

In today’s first reading, David decides to take a census of the people but having done so regrets it and asks the Lord for forgiveness. The Lord gives him three penances and he must choose one. The one he chooses results in death and hardship. In the end David asks the Lord to punish him and his family and none else, for the sin was his alone. We are not told why the Lord became angry at the census but it is possible that it showed that David was relying more on human resources in leading the Chosen People than reliance on God. The Psalm takes up this theme of seeking forgiveness. Jesus, in the Gospel, is rejected in his own hometown because the people “knew” him. Because of their lack of faith they could not be healed or cured. We have each received graces from God but they are nothing if we do not accept them and have faith in God.


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

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.



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.

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas Day)

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.



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.

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 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.

February 4 – February 10, 2024

Ordinary Time – The Fifth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.

The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 146; 1Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39

The readings today speak of the healing and freedom brought to us by Christ and his gospel. In the first reading Job likens man’s life to being little more than a slave who awaits his wages and has nothing else to look forward to. In the gospel we read about Jesus curing people and preaching the Good News to them. The crowds follow him wherever he goes because his words bring healing and freedom to them. We do not have Christ with us in the same way as the people in the gospel had but we do have him present in our tabernacles and present in the words of sacred scripture. We are challenged today to listen to the words of Christ and to put our trust in them knowing that they will bring us healing and comfort and free us from all that would enslave us in this life.

In the second reading St Paul tells us that he preaches the gospel in order to set others free even though he doesn’t get paid for it and has, in a certain sense, become the slave of all.

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.


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).

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.


Memorial of Sts Paul Miki & Companions, Martyrs

Paul was born in Japan between 1564 and 1566 and joined the Jesuits in 1580. Along with twenty-five other Christians – both religious and lay, Franciscans and Jesuits – he was tortured and martyred at Nagasaki in 1597.

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.

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.

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.


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.

February 11 – February 17, 2024

Ordinary Time – The Sixth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.

The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46; Psalm 31; 1Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45

In our first reading today from the Book of Leviticus – one of the books containing the Law of Moses – we see Moses instructing that those suffering from leprosy must live as outcasts and that the priests must declare them as outcasts. While they were to live apart to prevent the spread of diseases, it was never decreed that they be treated shamefully. In our gospel for today we see Jesus – the eternal high priest – curing a man of his leprosy and bringing him back into society while Christ himself lives as an outcast. The reading is a reminder that the gospel and the love of God are inclusive and that everyone has a place in the kingdom.

In the second reading St Paul tells us that we should model ourselves on Christ and never do any harm to anyone no matter what they believe. As Christ brought outcasts back into society so we too should have genuine concern for those who are outcasts in our own society.

James 1:1-11; Psalm 118; Mark 8:11-13

In the first reading, St James – the leader of the community in Jerusalem – tells us that we will be tried in various ways but that we should welcome such trials because they are for our own good and will make us better people. He tells us that we should always rely on the help of God in such situations. The letter of St James is different from the letters of St Paul because James’ letter is written as a guide for all Christians rather than just to Christians of a particular place. The Psalm takes up this theme and says that “It was good for me to be afflicted.” The text from St Mark’s Gospel sees Jesus being tested by the people who would not believe him unless he showed them a sign from heaven. The author notes Christ’s exasperation or frustration in the sigh which comes from Christ before he leaves them. While it is good for us to be tested it is not good for us to test God.

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.

Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 50; 2Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Today we enter Lent – the great penitential season of the Church’s year – in preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of each of us. The readings today speak about repentance, about fasting, about preparation. We are called to prepare for the glory of the resurrection and our salvation by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In the gospel, we are told that what we do is to be done quietly and without drawing attention to ourselves for that means nothing in the sight of God. Throughout Lent, many people give up various things, such as chocolate or sugar, etc., but what we are asked to give up in the readings has far greater impact not just on ourselves but on others, for we are asked to give up sin and hypocrisy.

Thursday after Ash Wednesday 

Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Luke 9:22-25

In today’s Old Testament reading Moses sets before the people a choice – life or death. To gain long life they must live according to the commandments of God. To gain death they need only ignore God. The Psalm speaks of the happiness of those who do turn to God. Similar to the first reading, Jesus too gives us a choice – life or death. If we opt to follow him in all that we do and say then we will gain an eternal reward, though this may mean losing our physical life here on earth but it will certainly mean entering into life with Christ. The purpose of the readings each day is to make us think about our lives and where they are going. The readings today encourage us to reflect, at this early part of Lent, on what we have to change over the next few weeks in order to make us more worthy of the great sacrifice made for us by Christ.

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Isaiah 58:1-9; Psalm 50; Matthew 9:14-15

Through the Prophet Isaiah the Lord tells us the sort of fast that is false – one which is trumpeted before others while putting on a false impression of being miserable. Instead, God wants a quiet, private fast. He also wants all oppression to cease and for all people to show charity to their neighbours. Isaiah spells out practical works of mercy that do please God. We might imitate these ourselves in a variety of ways throughout this penitential season. In the gospel, the disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus why it is his that his disciples don’t fast like they and the Pharisees do. In reply he tells them that because he (the bridegroom) is with them, they will not fast – when he is gone, then the time will be right for fasting.

Saturday after Ash Wednesday 

Isaiah 58:9-14; Psalm 85; Luke 5:27-32

The Lord continues to tell his people how they should live if they are to enjoy his favour. They must do all that he has commanded them and must bring about an end to tyranny and oppression. It reminds us of the blessings and rewards that lie in store for us if we practise kindness and compassion towards others. Our gospel text reminds us that the Word of God is not just for those who believe and live their lives in accordance with his wishes for they are not in need of conversion. His Word is for all people and particularly for those who are not living a life worthy of him – and he is the judge of what is worthy of him.

February 18 – February 24, 2024

Lent – The First Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.

The First Sunday of Lent 

Genesis 9:8-15; Psalm 24; 1Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15

As we begin our Lenten preparation for the celebration of Easter we are reminded of the reason behind this time. In the first reading we see God talking with Noah and making a new covenant with him, and not just with him but with all of creation right down to our own time. The rainbow in the sky is a reminder of that covenant. In the second reading St Peter reminds us that the waters of baptism save far more than were saved by the ark in Noah’s time. We read very briefly in St Mark’s gospel of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness and how he did not succumb to Satan’s promises. After this episode Jesus begins preaching repentance for the sake of the kingdom. We know that what awaits us is a much greater promise than awaited Noah and so we should use this time well by examining our own life and making sure that it is in keeping with the covenant.

Monday of the First Week of Lent 

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 18; Matthew 25:31-46

The readings today show us how to make our lives more holy during Lent by treating other people the way we should treat them. The Lord speaks to Moses in the reading from Leviticus and through him gives the people instructions for living properly in his sight, particularly how to act towards members of our family, friends and neighbours. The Psalm sings the praises of God’s law and reminds us that this law gives wisdom and refreshes the soul. In the gospel, Jesus gives a further instruction for proper living: we must reach out to others and help them in any way we can because God dwells in them just as much as he does in us. At the start of this first full week of Lent we are reminded that good works – as well as faith in God – are necessary in life.

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent 

Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 33; Matthew 6:7-15

In the reading from Isaiah, God says that his word goes out and achieves what it was sent to do. This reminds us that God’s will is perfectly carried out in heaven and that we pray for this to happen here on earth. In the gospel, Jesus gives us the most perfect prayer – The Our Father. It is perfect because it is past, present and future. It is perfect because it gives praise to God for what we have received; it asks for what we need to continue living; it seeks forgiveness for the wrongs we have done; it asks for the strength to forgive; and it asks for protection. The whole Gospel is summed up in this one prayer and as we pray it the Word of God is fulfilled.

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Jonah 3:1-10; Psalm 50; Luke 11:29-32

Today’s readings remind us of the importance of penance and of its reward. In the first reading we see Jonah has been sent to Nineveh to warn the people of God’s wrath at their wrong-doing and of God’s intention to punish them. When they hear the warning they repent and when they repent the punishment they were to receive is set aside, and their friendship with God is restored. The Psalm takes up this theme of repentance and the plea for forgiveness. Jesus, in the gospel, is giving the same warning to the people of his day as Jonah gave to the Ninevites. The message is given to us in our day also. We must turn away from sin and return to the ways of the Lord if we are to be saved.


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.

The Feast of the Chair of St Peter

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.



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.

Friday of the First Week of Lent. 

Ezekiel 18:21-28; Psalm 129; Matthew 5:20-26

The readings today remind us of the importance of interior conversion. In the reading from the Prophet Ezekiel we are told that God does not rejoice in the death of a wicked man but rejoices to see that person converted. More distasteful in his sight is a righteous man turning to wicked ways than a wicked man living wickedly. In the gospel, we are told that our virtue must be more than the mere lip-service of the Pharisees – we must live and act from a deeply held conviction and faith and not just go through external emotions. God sees the inmost heart and judges accordingly. Jesus also reminds us to be reconciled with our family for any wrong we have done to them or they have done to us. Where we fall short on this we must take concrete steps towards conversion.


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.

Saturday of the First Week of Lent. 

Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Psalm 118; Matthew 5:43-48 

In the reading from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy, we see that God has promised life to his people but only if they keep the Commandments – those simple instructions and rules for living which make life so easy and happy. The Psalm tells us that those who do keep the Commandments and the law of God will live in happiness. Jesus reminds us in the gospel that we must love all people – good and bad alike. For him, this is a simple extension of the Commandments and something we should have no problem doing if we are truly living out the Commandments. We must always act perfectly in the same way that God is perfect and we are seeking to become one with him.

Our website uses cookies to give you the best online experience. Please see our cookies page for further details or agree by clicking the 'Accept all cookies' button. Alternatively, please click the Cookie settings button to adjust which cookies this website stores during your visit.

Cookie settings

Below you can choose which kind of cookies you allow on this website. Click on the "Save cookie settings" button to apply your choice.

FunctionalOur website uses functional cookies. These cookies are necessary to let our website work.

AnalyticalOur website uses analytical cookies to make it possible to analyze our website and optimize for the purpose of a.o. the usability.

Social mediaOur website places social media cookies to show you 3rd party content like YouTube and FaceBook. These cookies may track your personal data.

AdvertisingOur website places advertising cookies to show you 3rd party advertisements based on your interests. These cookies may track your personal data.

OtherOur website places 3rd party cookies from other 3rd party services which aren't Analytical, Social media or Advertising.