Reflections on Daily Readings 2024
December 31st - January 27th, 2024
December 31, 2023 – January 6, 2024
Christmas Season | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Ecclesiasticus 3:2-6, 12-14; Psalm 127; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
In our first reading today we are told to honour and look after our parents without conditions. The author tells us that in so doing we also respect, honour and obey the Father of us all. In our second reading St Paul tells us how we should live in families with the underlying rule being that of love and respect. Everything we do in our families should be done with the wisdom which comes from God. In the gospel text from St Matthew, we read of the angel appearing to Joseph and telling him to take the Child and Mary into Egypt until it was safe to return. It would have solved a number of problems for Joseph if the child were to die and yet he carried out the angel’s instruction showing himself to be a true father and guardian to Jesus. Today we are called on to honestly evaluate our relationship with our family and to do what we can to live the ideal found in today’s readings.
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 66; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21
In our first reading today from the Book of Numbers we see God telling Moses how to bless the people in his name – “May the Lord bless you and keep you…” In our reading from Galatians we are reminded that Christ was born of a woman and therefore he was as human as we are. However, in so doing he has enabled each of us to become children of God just as he is the Son of God. In the gospel passage we see the Holy Family still in the stable or cave when the shepherds come having been sent by the angels. The second part of the text recalls how the Child was named Jesus in accordance with the instruction of Gabriel at the annunciation.
1John 2:22-28; Psalm 97; John 1:19-28
St John exhorts us to remain faithful to God in our first reading and to be faithful to the teaching which we have received from Christ and to be wary of those false teachers who deny that Jesus is the Messiah. If we remain steadfast then we will receive the promise which God made to us – that is eternal life. We can be steadfast because we have been anointed with the Holy Spirit who will protect us whenever we ask for that strength and protection. In our gospel we read about John the Baptist who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. We are called on to be modern day successors of John and to proclaim the kingdom by what we do and say and think. John told his questioners that the Messiah stood among them though they did not know it – and that is still true today – Jesus walks among us though we, sadly, do not always recognise him.
Memorial of Ss Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops & Doctors of the Church
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.”
January 7 – January 13, 2024
Ordinary Time – The First Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.
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 Peter Thomas, Carmelite and Bishop
Peter Thomas was born about the year 1305 in southern Périgord, France, and became a Carmelite at the age of twenty-one. In 1345 he was chosen by the Order as its Procurator General to the papal court, which was then at Avignon in France. He was made Bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, Bishop of Corone (Koroni) in the Peloponnesus region of southern Greece in 1359, Papal Legate for the East, Archbishop of Crete in 1363, and Latin Patriarch of Constantinople in 1364. Throughout all of this he worked tirelessly for Church unity and was a special envoy on behalf of Pope Urban V on several occasions. In 1365 he was in charge of the military expedition against Alexandria during which he was injured, resulting in his death three months later at Famagosta, Cyprus, in 1366.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Ephesians 2:13-22; Psalm 121; John 10:11-16
The first reading for today’s feast from the book of the Prophet Ezekiel comes from a passage in which the image of the shepherd is used. In another passage the author speaks of bad shepherds who do not look after their sheep and who are human shepherds. Our text comes from the passage which sees God as the Good Shepherd, the one who has true concern for his sheep and who leads them to good pastures.
In the alternative reading from the letter to the Ephesians, the author says that the differences between Jew and Gentile have been removed through Jesus Christ so that they are now one people in the sight of God. This is seen visibly in the Christian Community and in the Church, which is built upon the foundations of the Apostles with Jesus Christ as the main cornerstone, just as he should be the cornerstone of the life of every Christian.
In the gospel text from St John, we see Jesus take up the Good Shepherd image from Ezekiel and say that he is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the one who has true care for each one of us and this was shown when he laid down his life that we might be reconciled to God and have life eternal. The bad or false shepherd doesn’t care about the sheep in his care because they are not his, and so he runs away and leaves the sheep to their own devices and to be taken by the evil one, whereas the Lord looks after those who are faithful to him to see that they reach heaven.
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.
1Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20; Psalm 39; Mark 1:29-39
We read today of the call of Samuel and of his “yes” to the Lord. His “yes” meant that he became an important prophet and military leader for the people. The Psalm takes up this theme of answering the Lord’s call. The Gospel recounts some more of the miracles worked by Jesus. It also tells us that he was keen to move about the towns and to preach to as many people as possible. In the Old Testament, Samuel is called to act on God’s behalf, while in the New Testament, God himself is present among us and trying to lead as many people as possible to the Kingdom through his own words. We too must share the Good News with as many people as we can for we are the successors to Samuel and to Christ. The Gospel also reminds us that even though many people were coming to Jesus he still had time for prayer with his Father.
1Samuel 4:1-11; Psalm 43; Mark 1:40-45.
The reading from Samuel recounts a battle from the history of Israel in which the Israelite army are facing up to the Philistines. Realising their weakness the Israelites bring the Ark from Shiloh and while this strengthens them it is not enough for them to overcome their adversaries. The Israelite army is heavily defeated and the Ark taken from them while the shrine at Shiloh is destroyed. Our Gospel passage is a continuation of yesterday’s text and again we see Jesus curing the sick, this time a man with leprosy. After he has cured him he warns the man to say nothing of who cured him but the man tells everyone. As a result Jesus has to move around quietly but crowds still come to him. Those who went seeking Christ after they heard of him believed in him even though they did not know who he was. The Israelites in the first reading are given a lesson that everything they have is dependent on God just as the leper’s health is dependent on his mercy. When we are at our weakest we learn the true power and mercy of God.
1Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22; Psalm 88; Mark 2:1-12.
The theme of trusting in God alone is continued in our first reading from Samuel. In the passage, set about the year 1020 BC, we see the people of Israel rejecting God and seeking a human king. Samuel tells them what a king would do to them but they still want one and so God instructs Samuel to give them what they want. In our Gospel passage Jesus cures a paralytic by forgiving him his sins which appals the scribes who were listening to him. For them, only God has the power to forgive. But Christ tells them that the Son of Man has such authority. We too are asked to believe in God and his Son and their authority and to have faith in them at all times even when it may seem difficult.
1Samuel 9:1-4, 17-19, 10:1; Psalm 20; Mark 2:13-17.
Today’s excerpt from the Book of Samuel sees the prophet appointing a king for the Israelites as they had requested. The one he anoints is Saul who was out looking for his father’s she-donkeys which had strayed. The anointing symbolises that Saul is now set apart from other men and has been given authority by God – a symbolic ritual which exists to this day in the ordination of priests and bishops and some royal coronation ceremonies. Our passage from St Mark’s Gospel shows us Jesus sitting down to dinner with tax collectors and sinners – people whom polite and strict Jewish society rejected. The message and example for us in these readings is that God does not judge by our standards but accepts all people and even calls them to high office. The challenge for us is to likewise accept all people – regardless of race, language, colour or religion – as Jesus did.
January 14 – January 20, 2024
Ordinary Time – The Second Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
1Samuel 3:3-10, 19; Psalm 39; 1Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42
Our readings for this Sunday focus on answering the call of God to be his followers and his disciples. In the first reading from the first Book of Samuel we see Samuel being called. Initially he thinks that it is Eli who is calling him but in time Eli realises that it is God who is doing the calling and tells the boy to answer with the words – “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” In the gospel text from St John we read about how St Andrew became the Lord’s first disciple and how he brought his brother, Peter, to the Lord with the words – “We have found the Messiah.” We are encouraged to look at our own lives and to give our whole life to following Christ.
For today and the next twelve weeks our second reading comes from the letters of St Paul to the Christians in Corinth. In today’s passage Paul reminds that our bodies make up part of Christ’s mystical body and so we should dedicate ourselves to the building up of the kingdom.
1Samuel 15:16-23; Psalm 49; Mark 2:18-22
We continue our readings from the first Book of Samuel and today we see that Saul – the people’s king who succeeded in driving the Philistines from the central valley – has failed as God predicted that he would. Saul did not listen carefully to the word of God and displeased God in the battle against the Amalekites so now God has rejected him as king. The Psalm takes up God’s displeasure with Saul and says that offerings are not enough – love of the law and word must also accompany sacrifices. In today’s Gospel we see that while others are fasting, Jesus’ disciples are not fasting and this causes trouble with the Pharisees. When asked, Jesus tells them that wedding guests do not fast when the bridegroom is present. We too are called on to love God’s law and to live according to that law but not grudgingly. We too must realise that Christ is always with us in all things.
Memorial of St Ita, Virgin
Ita (whose name means ‘thirst for holiness’) was born in the sixth century in the Deise near Drum, Co Waterford. She left home and went to Limerick in order to devote her life to God. She gathered a community of maidens around her and also ran a school for boys. Many miracles were said to have been worked by her. She died in 570.
1Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 88; Mark 2:23-28
Having rejected Saul as king over his people, God now sends Samuel out to find another king. However, Saul remains as king for the time being as the people were unwilling to lose their first king. Samuel goes to Jesse and from among his sons anoints the boy, David, as king to replace Saul. In so doing, God again shows that he does not judge by the standards of humans but appoints those who appear to be unfit for high office. God’s spirit rests on David who will rule when the right time comes. In the passage from the Gospel we see Jesus again being questioned about the actions of his disciples, this time for picking corn on the Sabbath. In reply he says that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” The Risen Lord has made the Sabbath a holy day, one which unites all Christians. It is a day to celebrate the freedom won for us by Christ’s sacrifice.
1Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51; Psalm 143; Mark 3:1-6
In our first reading from Samuel we see that Saul’s army has been in battle for some time with the Philistines and have not been able to overcome them. The battle field is not far from Bethlehem and the time is about the eleventh century before Christ. David now arrives and we read the familiar story of how he alone – with very little weaponry – slew Goliath. He is able to do so because God’s favour rests on him but also because he did it in the name of the Lord. The Psalm is in praise of God who helped him in battle. The Gospel reading continues yesterday’s theme of the Sabbath day. Today we see Christ healing a man even though any form of work was prohibited. Even though he was doing good and healing an invalid the Pharisees now seek to silence him permanently.
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.
1Samuel 18:6-9, 19:1-7; Psalm 55; Mark 3:7-12
In our first reading we see that Saul has now become jealous of David because the boy is now more popular than the king, and so Saul seeks to destroy him. Saul’s own son, Jonathan, however, intercedes on behalf of David and brings reconciliation between Saul and David. Our Gospel tells of the popularity of Jesus everywhere he goes and of his many cures. Whenever he casts out demons he always stops them revealing who he is – his time has not yet come to fully reveal that he is the Son of God, because the people are not ready for that. Like the unclean spirits, we too know that Jesus is the Son of God but do we always acknowledge that as did the unclean spirits?
1Samuel 24:3-21; Psalm 56; Mark 3:13-19
In our first reading today we read that Saul is again looking for David because he has heard rumours that he meant to do the king harm. However, David is in a position to kill Saul but does not take it because Saul is God’s anointed. Instead he turns the occasion into another reconciliation between them. Now Saul acknowledges that David will be king and that the sovereignty will be secure under David. Today’s Gospel shows us Jesus appointing the Twelve who were to be his closest companions and commissioning them to preach in his name and to cure others. As these twelve were commissioned so too are we, as their descendants, and we too are called to proclaim the kingdom of God in our lives by what we do and say in keeping with our baptismal promises to be the Lord’s disciples.
2 Samuel 1:1-4, 11-12, 17, 19, 23-27; Psalm 79; Mark 3:20-21
We now begin reading from the second Book of Samuel and today we read that Saul and Jonathan have been killed in battle. David, who at one time was at the mercy of the king, mourns greatly for the father and son and we see his pain in today’s text. David now becomes King of Israel and at the same time one of the most important figures in Jewish history. Our Gospel reading today is very short and a little unusual. In the passage a large crowd has gathered around Jesus and his family receive word of this. So, convinced that he is mad, they set out to bring him home. However, we must remember that Mark has a habit of portraying those around Jesus in such a light because they didn’t always support him or believe in his message. Even today, Christians are sometimes considered mad because of the message they preach in his name.
January 21 – January 27, 2024
Ordinary Time – The Third Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 24; 1Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
Our readings today call on us to repent and to change our ways. They remind us that the pleasures of this earthly life are constantly changing and that only the Word of God can bring us everlasting happiness. In the first reading we see the Prophet Jonah being sent to Nineveh to preach the Word of God there. The people realise their folly and change their ways returning to the Lord once more. In the gospel from St Mark we see Jesus begin his public ministry with the words “The kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.” He then goes on to call his first disciples. By virtue of our baptism we are each called to serve the Lord as did the people of Nineveh and the first disciples. We are challenged to say the words of today’s Psalm with conviction – “Lord, make me know your ways . . . make me walk in your truth.”
St Paul tells us in the second reading that the world as we know it is passing away. While the world is now a great age and does not appear to be coming to an end any time soon, the life of each of us on this planet is extremely short and rather insignificant. Therefore we should dedicate ourselves to the Lord so that we will inherit eternal life.
2 Samuel 5:1-7, 10; Psalm 88; Mark 3:22-30.
On Saturday, we read of the death of King Saul and of David’s grief. Today we see the tribes coming to David and asking him to take up the kingship and to lead the country. This he does and reclaims the city of Jerusalem as it stands on the border between the two halves of the kingdom and which stood as an impenetrable fortress. We are told that in all he did, the Lord was with David, a theme which is continued in the Psalm. In the Gospel passage, Jesus has been accused of being Beelzebul and that this is how he can cast out unclean spirits. In reply he tells the people that a kingdom which is divided cannot stand for very long. The kingdom of God is here with us but if Christians do not stand together in unity and peace then that kingdom too will be in trouble in our time. We have a duty to help build up, in our own small way, the kingdom of God.
2 Samuel 6:12-15, 17-19; Psalm 23; Mark: 3:31-35.
In our first reading we see that David has now established himself in Jerusalem – the Citadel of David – and to complete the victory has brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city. The Ark was received there with great praise and rejoicing. This also served to unite the northern and southern kingdoms as both held the Ark in great reverence and so Jerusalem became, not just the political capital, but the focal point of all worship. In our Gospel text for today we are told that Jesus’ mother and family have come to get him, which we read of last Saturday. When told this he asks his listeners who the members of his family are. In answer to his own question he tells us that those who do God’s will are his mother, and brothers and sisters. We must ask ourselves each day if we live our lives well enough to merit being called his brothers and sisters.
2 Samuel 7:4-17; Psalm 88; Mark 4:1-20.
Having now regained Jerusalem in our first reading, and having brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, David now wants to build a solid house for the Ark. Through the prophet Nathan, David is told that God’s favour rests on him and he will have great fame. As David wants to build a house for the Ark so God intends to make a royal family of David’s line which will last for ever. The Psalm repeats this. The parable recounted in the Gospel for today is the Parable of the Sower, a very familiar parable to us. The question we must ask ourselves today is this: ‘Which of the seed in the parable do I belong to?’
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 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.
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.”
Memorial of Sts Timothy & Titus, Bishops
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.
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.
2 Samuel 12:1-7, 10-17; Psalm 50; Mark 4:35-41.
In our reading from the second book of Samuel we see that David is confronted by Nathan for the sin he has committed. As a result of his sin the child he is about to father with Bathsheba is to be struck down and his kingdom is also to suffer. David repents of his sin following the telling of Nathan’s story and as a result the sin is forgiven by God though the trouble which David will encounter with his sons will serve as a reminder of his actions. In the Gospel text, Jesus shows his power over nature. He and his disciples are out on the lake and a storm blows up which he calms. The disciples are frightened because they do not yet realise exactly who he is. As his presence brought peace and tranquillity to those who were with him on the boat so too it will bring us peace and harmony when we are in trouble and turn to him in prayer.