Reflections on Daily Readings 2023
January 1st - January 28th, 2023
January 1 – January 7, 2023
Christmas Season | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
Mary, the Holy Mother of God
Num 6:22-27; Psalm 66; Gal 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21
Throughout the Church’s liturgical calendar there are several solemnities, feast days and memorials of Our Lady. Today we celebrate Our Blessed Lady as the Mother of God which is not accepted by all Christians. For us, Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of the Most Holy Trinity. Therefore, as his mother, Mary is the Mother of God. However, this does not place Mary in a position superior to God or to her Divine Son but simply acknowledges her special connection with Jesus Christ. The Vatican II document, Lumen gentium, says: “At the message of the angel, the Virgin Mary received the Word of God in her heart and in her body, and gave Life to the World. Hence she is acknowledged and honoured as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer” (Lumen gentium 52).
Memorial of Sts Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops & Doctors of the Church
1 John 2:22-28; Psalm 97; John 1:19-28
Basil was born in 329 in Cappadocia to a family which produced nine saints. During the course of his studies he met Gregory of Nazianzen and they became life-long friends. For a time after studies Basil was a teacher before becoming a monk and is regarded as the spiritual head of monks of the Eastern Church (as St Benedict is spiritual head of monks in the Western Church). In 370 he was made bishop of Caesarea and acquitted himself very well in his role as bishop. The Arian heresy (that Jesus is not co-equal with the Father but created by him) was strong at this time and Basil fought against this even to the point of taking on the Arianist emperor, Valens. His friend, Gregory, was born about the year 329 and likewise to a family of saints. After studies in law he followed Basil in the solitary life and was very shy compared to his friend. He was appointed bishop by Basil but never took up the office, instead acting as assistant-bishop to his father before being appointed to Constantinople in 380, though he resigned soon after. Basil died in January 379 and Gregory ten years later. Both are counted in the Western Church as being among the Four Greek Doctors of the Church while in the East they are two of the Three Holy Hierarchs – John Chrysostom being the third.
1John 2:29-3:6; Psalm 97; John 1:29-34
In our first reading today we are reminded that those who truly know God do not sin because they live according to his will and are his children. The title ‘Son of God’ was reserved for those in Old Testament times who lived uprightly in the sight of God. St John is challenging us to live up to the fact that we are the Sons and Daughters of God. In our gospel text we see John the Baptist witnessing to Jesus and telling his listeners that Jesus is truly the Son of God who is filled with the Spirit of God. The two readings call on us to reaffirm our allegiance to God and to witness to him at all times.
1John 3:7-10; Psalm 97; John 1:35-42
In our first reading today, St John tells us that a sinful way of life is not in keeping with God’s love for us. We are the children of God and so cannot sin if the seed of truth and the Spirit of God are within us. In today’s gospel we read of the calling of the first apostle – St Andrew – who went and called his brother, St Peter, proclaiming that he had found the Messiah. We have heard about Jesus all our lives but how long is it since we proclaimed him as the Messiah?
1John 3:11-21; Psalm 99; John 1:43-51
St John continues to exhort us to live according to the will of God and to love one another by showing us what love is not – the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain. For John, showing hatred to another person is to imitate Cain. For him, our love should not be mere lip-service, but should be seen in all our actions. In the gospel passage for today we see Philip and Nathanael witnessing to Jesus as he calls them to be his disciples. We too are called on to witness to Christ and to the kingdom through loving others at all times no matter what they may do to us, and to bring the love and peace which God bestowed on us at Christmas to the world.
The Epiphany Of The Lord
Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 71; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12
The feast of the Epiphany celebrates the first formal presentation of the Christ-child to the world represented by the three Wise Men from the east, traditionally named Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior.
The feast of the Epiphany celebrates the first formal presentation of the Christ-child to the world represented by the three wise men from the east. The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah speaks of the glory of the Lord now becoming visible and of the great joy that this brings to the earth. The Psalm continues this theme and tells of how all the people shall worship and give glory and praise to God. In the second reading from his letter to the Ephesians, St Paul tells his readers that the message of God through Christ is meant for all people – not just the Jewish people but all peoples. The gospel text from St Matthew recalls how the three wise men came to find the Child and the homage they pay to him. The three wise men in particular represent all peoples – Jew and Gentile alike – and on our behalf they pay homage to our infant king while also giving him gifts from us. We cannot give him presents as the wise men did for he is no longer physically present but we can give him the gift of believing in him and of proclaiming the Gospel. As the Christmas carol says – “what I have I give him, give my all.”
1John 3:22-4:6; Psalm 2; Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25
St John reminds us in the first reading that those who keep the Commandments, believe in Christ and love one another will have God in them. He also warns the people of Asia Minor about false prophets who were about at the time diluting the message given by Christ. One of the marks of a true prophet or believer in Christ was that the preacher fully accepted the Incarnation. We are reminded that the language of belief is often alien in our world today and so we must persevere all the more and not believe the false prophets who come speaking the language that people want to hear. In the gospel from St Matthew we read of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry or his first appearance in public following the arrest of John the Baptist. Jesus’ fame and reputation quickly spread as he goes about preaching and curing.
January 8 – January 14, 2023
Ordinary Time – The First Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Baptism of the Lord
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 28; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:3-17
In our first reading from Isaiah we see the Lord speaking about his servant. This servant enjoys the favour of the Lord and has been sent to be the “covenant of the people and the light of the nations.” Our gospel passage recounts Christ’s baptism by John as told by St Matthew. In it, the Father witnesses to his own Son and says that he is the Chosen One in fulfilment of the text from Isaiah. In the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles we see St Peter preaching and he tells us that Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit, that he cured those who came to him, and that he is the Lord of all people. He also tells us that God has no favourites – each one who does the will of the Father will receive the inheritance promised if they believe in Christ.
Feast of St Andrew Corsini, Carmelite and Bishop
Andrew was born in 1302 to the well-known and noble Corsini family in Florence, Italy. His early years were far from exemplary but, after intervention by his mother, he changed his ways and became a Carmelite friar, studying in both Paris and Avignon. In 1348 he was elected Provincial of Tuscany and, a year later, was appointed Bishop of Fiesole, which he initially tried to refuse. He was particularly given to the causes of the poor and became known as ‘The Apostle of Florence’, and to finding peace among the divided Italian states. He died on January 6, 1374.
Isaiah 61:1-3a or Malachi 2:5-7a; Psalm 88; Matthew 23:8-12 or Matthew 28:16-20
The first reading from the third section of the Prophet Isaiah (Trito-Isaiah) is one which Jesus used to announce the arrival of the Messiah among the people. The text speaks of being anointed by the Spirit to carry out God’s work of liberating his people from the darkness of evil and leading them into the light. It speaks of comforting those for whom life is difficult, and those who mourn. This is quite appropriate for Andrew Corsini who devoted much of his time to the plight of the poor.
The alternative reading from the Prophet Malachi speaks of the ideal priest who would bring God’s message to his people and who would guide them along the right path. His words will turn the people from sinful ways to the true path to eternal life, and his life will be marked by integrity and virtue.
In the gospel passage from St Matthew, the Lord is warning the disciples about their role as leaders of the people and how that role is to be carried out in humility. If they become arrogant, as some of the Jewish leaders of time had become, if they lord it over the people, then they will do enormous harm to the faith and to the faithful and will ultimately lead them away from God and the Kingdom.
In the alternative gospel passage, again from St Matthew, we have a post-resurrection encounter between Jesus and the Eleven in which Jesus gives them the great mandate to continue his work. They are to preach to all the nations – showing that the message is not confined to the Jews – and they are to baptise the people in the name of the Trinity. In all that they do, the Risen Lord will always be with them.
Hebrews 2:5-12; Psalm 8; Mark 1:21-28
Again the author of the letter to the Hebrews speaks at length about the true identity of Jesus. He is at pains to make sure that we do not see Jesus as just another prophet or holy man but the Son of God who was perfect in everything. In the closing lines he also tells us that the one who sanctified us – Christ – and we who are sanctified are of the same stock, that is to say we are all sons and daughters of God and heaven is our true home. In our Gospel text we see Jesus casting out an unclean spirit. The spirit recognised Jesus as the Son of God and acknowledges this. The people are amazed by how he speaks and they too recognise the authority with which he acts. The readings call on us today to recognise the authority of Christ and of his Gospel and to conform our lives to it, for only then can we receive eternal life.
Hebrews 2:14-18; Psalm 104; Mark 1:29-39
Having told us that Christ is the true Son of God and is God himself, the author of the first reading now tells us that Christ is also human. It was not the angels who needed to be redeemed but men and women and so Christ was born of human flesh and became one like us. Only by being one of us could he plead on our behalf and understand our struggles. There are a number of important points in today’s Gospel. The first is that Jesus cured people of their illnesses no matter what their complaint was. This shows how tremendous his power was. Secondly, he went away from the crowd so that he himself could pray. Even though he too was God he still prayed to the Father, he still spoke to the Father whenever he could and in private. Thirdly, he did not keep the message and his healing powers for those who were his friends but wanted to travel as far as possible to spread the Good News as far as possible. The challenge for us today is to realise that Jesus was human like one of us and being human he knows our weaknesses. When we acknowledge this then we can pray to him knowing that he will listen to us and answer us. We must also realise that we too have a duty to spread the Good News wherever we may go.
Hebrews 3:7-14; Psalm 94; Mark 1:40-45
We are reminded today of how the people in the wilderness rebelled against Moses and against God and turned their backs on God. We are also reminded of how he made a new covenant with his people despite all they had done. The writer does not want us to turn from God but to make sure that we help each other to remain faithful and on the path to eternal life as co-heirs with Christ. Jesus cures a leper in today’s Gospel passage, not because he had to but because he wanted to. Despite Jesus’ warning the leper goes and tells others about the cure and the people begin to flock to Jesus. The readings remind us today that God wants us to be with him and will help us when we call to him and are faithful to him. God is not going to force salvation on us but will only grant us the salvation promised to us if we want it and to show that we want it we must be faithful to his Word and to him.
Hebrews 4:1-5, 11; Psalm 77; Mark 2:1-12
The author of the letter to the Hebrews reminds his readers that the promise made by God is still good and there is no time limit on it. But the promise can only be attained by being faithful. The Israelites who rejected Christ were not faithful and therefore have rejected their own salvation. Jesus has his first confrontation with the authorities in today’s Gospel text. A paralytic is brought to him and when Jesus tells him his sins are forgiven the scribes begin to question this. They believed that only God could forgive sins and to prove to them that he was from God and had the authority to forgive, Jesus cures the paralytic who then gets up and walks out in front of them. We are called to believe in Christ and to be faithful to God and to the Gospel. We are also reminded that if we do sin that Christ will forgive us if we ask for forgiveness.
Hebrews 4:12-16; Psalm 18; Mark 2:13-17
The word of God is something powerful and something from which we cannot hide. No matter what we do or say – in public or in the privacy of our hearts – all is known to God. Therefore we must always be on our guard and remain faithful. If however we do fall, the author of the first reading reminds us that Christ will be there to help us because he knows our weaknesses having been human like us. He will always be there to help and to pick us up when we fall. We see Jesus calling the tax collector, Matthew, in our text today. We also see him admonished by the Pharisees for eating with those they considered sinners. It is worth noting that those who considered themselves virtuous were the very ones who rejected Christ, while those who acknowledged their sinfulness were the ones who embraced him. We are called to follow Christ as readily as St Matthew did and to remain faithful to him always. We are also told not to be like the Pharisees who coldly judged people without mercy, but to live a life of mercy and love.
January 15 – January 21, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Second Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; Psalm 39; 1Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34
Today’s gospel from St John sees John the Baptist giving Jesus the title, “Lamb of God.” The lamb was traditionally sacrificed in the Temple to atone for sins, to intercede, and to give thanks on behalf of the people. Jesus is the ultimate lamb, the ultimate sacrifice. We are also reminded that at the Passion, Jesus died at the same time that the lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple for the Passover ceremonies. The first reading from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah talks about the Lord’s servant being the one to bring salvation to the whole world. This links in with the gospel where John says that Christ is that servant.
Our second reading for the next seven weeks comes from St Paul’s letter to the Christian Community in Corinth. In today’s passage Paul tells us that the Lord is for all peoples – he came to save all nations, not just the Jewish people. We are challenged today to say, with conviction, the words spoken by John the Baptist, ‘Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God.’
Hebrews 5:1-10; Psalm 110; Mark 2:18-22
In our first reading today, the author of the letter to the Hebrews continues to explain about the person of Christ. Today they are told that Christ is a priest like all other priests, except that he is perfect. As those who become priests are called by God so too Christ was called by God rather than opting for it himself. In this way he was like all other priests who are human and so knew our weaknesses. He also prayed to God for strength and support especially as he approached his own death. Again today we see the Pharisees objecting to the practises of Christ. While the Pharisees fasted publicly Jesus’ disciples did not fast at all. Christ tells them that this is because he is with them. When he is gone from them then they will fast. Christ, who was with us as one of us, knows our faults and our failings and is always ready to help us when we call to him. As he himself regularly prayed to the Father we too must follow that example and pray to the Father in good times as well as in times of need.
Hebrews 6:10-20; Psalm 111; Mark 2:23-28
All that we do is remembered by God and never forgotten. The letter to the Hebrews uses the example of Abraham to show us that all that God promises will be fulfilled. God has promised us everlasting life and that promise will be fulfilled in the same way that Abraham became the father of a great nation. The Pharisees are unhappy with Jesus and his followers in today’s Gospel text because, unlike the Pharisees, they do not keep the Sabbath in the same way as the Pharisees do. The Pharisees and many others had an extremely strict ban on doing any sort of work on the Sabbath and picking corn was against the Law. Jesus tells them that the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around. In other words, the Sabbath is a day for remembering the goodness of God and giving thanks to him and while it does mean not working on the Sabbath day it does not mean that all physical exertion is banned.
Memorial of St Antony, Abbot
Antony was born to a wealthy family in Upper Egypt in 251 but lived a life of solitude and prayer in the desert. He is regarded as the Father of Christian Monasticism because he was the first hermit to form communities of hermits. He was much sought after by kings, bishops and crowds of people seeking advice. He died in his hermitage on Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea at the age of 105.
Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17; Psalm 110; Mark 3:1-6
The King of Salem was also Melchizedek, the priest of God. We often hear the phrase – “You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.” The author of today’s first reading tells us that Christ is the high priest of this order and that, like Melchizedek, he is a priest for ever. But Christ’s priesthood is not because of any law regarding his lineage, but because of his power over death and his immortality. Today’s Gospel has the same theme as yesterday’s text – the Sabbath rest. Today we see Jesus in the synagogue where he cures a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees are not happy because, as far as they were concerned, nothing could be done on the Sabbath day. But Christ heals the man because it is a good thing to do and the right thing to do.
Hebrews 7:25-8:6; Psalm 40; Mark 3:7-12
The theme of Christ’s priesthood continues in the reading from the Hebrews. The text lays down the ideal of what a high priest should be and then goes on to say that Christ does fulfil this ideal perfectly. Therefore we can be certain of Christ’s help when we call to him. In the Gospel Jesus is being pursued by the people because of the miracles and cures he has worked. The people are coming from near and far just to see and hear him. As he casts out unclean spirits, these spirits recognise him for who he really is – the Son of God – but he warns them to keep quiet so as not to aggravate the authorities further.
Hebrews 8:6-13; Psalm 85; Mark 3:13-19
God made many covenants with his people in Old Testament times but the people regularly broke them. He then made a promise that he would make a new covenant with the people which would be everlasting. Our text from the letter to the Hebrews today speaks of this to show us that Christ is the new and everlasting covenant. Today’s text from St Mark’s Gospel sees Jesus choosing his twelve closest companions. These twelve were to preach, to cure the sick and to cast out devils in his name. For us as baptised Christians, they are examples of the sort of way in which we too must live out our faith – bringing the healing presence of Christ wherever we go.
Hebrews 9:2-3, 11-14; Psalm 47; Mark 3:20-21
The author of the letter to the Hebrews reminds his readers that the blood which the priests sprinkled on people only restored their outward holiness – the inner sanctity of the person was never restored in this way. With Christ however, we have the means of restoring our inner holiness through his blood which he gave for us. A characteristic of St Mark’s Gospel is that he likes to point out the people who did not always believe in Christ and sometimes paints a negative picture of them. Today we see him do this of Jesus’ own relatives. Jesus had become quite the talking point and focus of attention and some of this attention was turned on them, particularly the attention of the authorities. They come in search of Jesus to take him home, thinking that he was out of his mind. It is quite easy at times to dismiss the teachings of Jesus as the talk of an attention seeker. However, when we look closely at the teachings of Christ we see that while they call for a radical conversion in our lives they are not attention seeking or mad. They are quite simple and possible and perhaps we do not want to live by them because they are so simple.
Memorial of St Agnes, Virgin & Martyr
Agnes was a girl of about 14 or 15 years of age when she was martyred and buried beside the Via Nomentana in Rome during the final years of the persecutions by the Emperor Diocletian (early fourth century). Near her grave a basilica was erected and a series of large catacombs excavated and which can still be visited today. Nothing definite is known about her martyrdom other than the fact that she died for believing in Christ. On this day lambs are blessed, whose wool is used to make the palliums for new metropolitan archbishops.
January 22 – January 28, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Third Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 8:23-9:3; Psalm 26; 1Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23.
Today we begin the cycle of readings from St Matthew’s Gospel which will continue throughout the Sundays of Ordinary Time for this year. In today’s passage we see Jesus settling in Capernaum and calling his first disciples. By settling in Capernaum he is fulfilling the words in our reading from Isaiah which say that this area is where the glory of the Lord will come from, an area which had been humbled in the past. Isaiah also speaks about the people being freed from a great darkness and their yoke being lifted from their shoulders. He speaks of joy and gladness and rejoicing and of how a great light has shone on the land that was shrouded in darkness. This is what Christ came to bring to the people of God who believe in him – liberation from that which oppresses them. In our day too he brings liberation from all that oppresses us and keeps us separated from the love of God which knows no bounds.
St Paul reminds us in the second reading taken from his first letter to the Corinthians that we can only be for one person and that person must be Jesus Christ. There may be many great orators to show us the way but it is not them that we are to follow but the Christ about whom they preach.
Hebrews 9:15, 24-28; Psalm 97; Mark 3:22-30
In our first reading from the letter to the Hebrews we are told that Christ offered himself for our sins. In Christ’s time the high priest made offerings in the sanctuary time after time to redeem the people, but Christ only had to do this once: he suffered only once for our sins. The next time Christ appears on earth it will be to bring the reward of salvation to the faithful and not to deal with sin, which has already been dealt with by Christ. In our Gospel text we see that Jesus has been casting out unclean spirits. The scribes believed that this was because he himself was Beelzebul – the prince of devils. But he tells them that if this were so then Satan would come to an end for a divided kingdom could never last. Christ can cast out spirits because he is greater than they and his authority is everlasting.
Hebrews 10:1-10; Psalm 39; Mark 3:31-35
We again read from Hebrews and about the Law of the Torah, which the Jews obeyed, but which did not win them life for they had to make sin offerings regularly. However, the law of Christ’s Gospel will win us life because we have been reconciled with God. If we live by the will of Christ then there will be no need for sin offerings because we will not sin. Today’s Gospel text is quite short and yet very profound. Jesus’ family come looking for him and those with him tell him this. In reply he tells them that those about him are his mother and brothers and sisters. Those who hear his message and follow it, obeying the commandment of love and avoiding sin, are the true family of Christ.
Memorial of St Francis de Sales, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Francis was born in Savoy in 1567 to a noble family. Having studied law at Padua he gave up the legal profession and was ordained priest in 1593. He was made a bishop only six years later and was Archbishop of Geneva by 1602 – home of John Calvin (who broke from the Roman Catholic Church in 1530 and founded Calvinism). He founded the Visitation Nuns with St Jane Frances de Chantal and was noted for the great way he preached which brought many people back to the Catholic Church following the Reformation. He died at the age of 56 in 1622. He is the patron saint of journalists and other writers.
Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Apostle
Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Psalm 116; Mark 16:15-18
St Paul had been the great persecutor of the early followers of Jesus and had put many of them to death. Today we celebrate his conversion and the readings show how he has changed and become one of the greatest preachers in the Church. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we hear Paul himself speak of his former life as a persecutor of Christianity and of his calling by Christ himself. The alternative reading from Acts gives a second telling of the event from a historical perspective. What is important in both accounts is that as Christ appeared to the Eleven in today’s gospel and sent them out to spread the news of the Kingdom, so too Paul has been commissioned by Christ for that same task. We are asked to convert daily to the Gospel and to take its message to others following the example of St Paul and in fulfilment of our own baptismal promises. Our gospel text is a post-resurrection encounter between Christ and the Eleven in which he commissions them to out to the “whole world; proclaim the Good News.”
About St Paul the Apostle
Paul (also known by his Jewish name Saul) was born in Tarsus in Cilicia in modern-day Turkey. He was educated and was a Pharisee which meant that he was well acquainted with both the Law and the Scriptures which is evident in his writings. As a faithful Jew he persecuted the early Christians until he was struck down on his way to Damascus to arrest some Christians. In this incident, the Risen Lord appeared to Paul and from then on Paul becomes the greatest champion of the faith and is known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. He met with St Peter and the other Apostles in Jerusalem on a number of occasions and undertook three great missionary journeys to spread the faith. These journeys took him through Palestine but also through Syria, Turkey, Crete, Greece and Malta. During some of these journeys he funded himself through his work as a tent maker. Eventually Paul ends up in Rome where, even under house arrest, he spreads the faith and writes some of the letters found in the New Testament to the churches he had founded on his travels and also to individuals to bolster their faith. These letters also contain Paul’s understanding of who Jesus Christ is and the importance of the death and resurrection of Christ. He was beheaded during the persecutions in the reign of Emperor Nero.
Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus, Bishops
2Timothy 1:1-8; Psalm 95; Luke 10:1-9
In our first reading today from St Paul’s second letter to Timothy we see Paul describe Timothy as someone who was sincere in the faith. Paul is writing to him to encourage him to work to increase his faith, to “fan into a flame the gift which God gave” him. That gift was something powerful with which to spread the faith. That gift has also been given to us and so the example of Timothy and Titus is placed before us as an encouragement to follow their example and the example of the Apostles. Our gospel text from St Luke sees Christ sending out the seventy-two to preach in his name and to bring his healing power to others.
Very little is known about these two saints who were companions and disciples of St Paul who is said to have written three letters to them and which are part of the canon of sacred scripture. Timothy was made bishop of Ephesus while still very young and is said to have been beaten and stoned to death in 97AD for fighting against heathen worship. Titus was made bishop of Crete though he still went on missions for Paul from time to time but always returned to Crete where he eventually died.
Hebrews 10:32-39; Psalm 95; Mark 4:26-34
The Hebrews are reminded in today’s first reading that when they first accepted the Good News they suffered for it, but they got through the suffering. They are told that having come through this suffering they must still remain faithful even when there is nothing to challenge the faith. They must remain faithful for ever. In the Gospel we see that Jesus continues to use parables to teach the people. Today he tells them that the kingdom grows silently and without ceasing, just as seeds grow silently and constantly in the ground. From small beginnings, the kingdom will grow like the mustard seed which, being the smallest of all seeds, grows to be the biggest shrub of all. Both readings challenge us to keep watch over our soul and to strengthen our faith. If we live a life of faith then our own faith will grow and with it the kingdom of God and the faith of those around us.
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Psalm – Luke 1:69-75; Mark 4:35-41
Today, the author of the first reading uses the example of Abraham and Sarah to teach us about faith. Abraham was told that he would be the father of a great nation even though Sarah was barren. Sarah too believed that she would give birth because God had said it. They also moved to a different country at God’s command. They did so because they believed and because they believed they were rewarded and the promises made to them were fulfilled. In the Gospel, we see Jesus and the disciples out on the lake when a storm blows up. The disciples, terrified, waken him and he calms the storm, showing that he has power over the forces of nature. Both of our readings today challenge us to live by faith. Because the disciples had weak faith they were terrified in the boat even in the presence of their Saviour. Abraham and Sarah on the other hand, lived by strong faith and received a great reward. We too will be rewarded for living by faith and for helping to strengthen the faith of others.
Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas, Priest & Doctor of the Church
Thomas was born in 1225 and was educated by the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino before joining the Dominican Order. He spent his life teaching and writing in France and Italy and his two major works – the Summa Contra Gentiles and the Summa Theologica – are still studied today for the quality of their theology and philosophy. He died at the age of 49 while on his way to the second Oecumenical Council of Lyons in 1274. He is the patron saint of universities and schools.