Reflections on Daily Readings

June 27th - July 31st, 2021

June 27th to July 3th, 2021

Ordinary Time – The Thirteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.

Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Psalm 29; 2Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43

In our first reading today from the Book of Wisdom we are told that God takes no pleasure in death. The author tells us that God created us to live but that it was the devil’s jealousy which brought death into the world. In our gospel reading from St Mark we see Jesus raise a little girl who had died. In so doing he shows that he has power over life and death and can give life back whenever he wishes. While on the way to the little girl a woman in the crowd touches the hem of Christ’s cloak and is instantly cured because she believed in Christ. We are called on today to have faith in Christ and to share with others knowing that a great reward awaits us – that of eternal life with Christ.

St Paul reminds us in the second reading that we should share what we have with those who are in need but he tells us that we don’t have to suffer hardship in order to satisfy their need. We give what we can without going short ourselves.

Genesis 18:16-33; Psalm 102; Matthew 8:18-22

In our first reading we see that the Lord has heard about the sinfulness of the city of Gomorrah and has decided to wipe out the city. However, Abraham has heard of the Lord’s plan and pleads with him not to punish the just man along with the sinner and he pleads with the Lord to spare the just. At the end of the reading the Lord relents and promises not to destroy the city if there are but ten just men living within it. The reading reminds us that the Lord is always watching over us and is displeased with our sinfulness but he is always ready to relent and to accept us back, as is repeated in the Psalm. In the Gospel we see Jesus telling those who come to him to follow him. He makes that same invitation to each of us today and we can do this by keeping the commandments and believing in Christ and in his Gospel. We must remember though, that witnessing to the Gospel will not be easy but that Christ is on our side and so we should not despair.


Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons, Bishop & Martyr

Irenaeus was born about the year 125 in Asia Minor and was a pupil of Justin Martyr and was influenced by St Polycarp. He came to Gaul as a missionary and was later made Bishop of Lyons. He is counted as one of the Fathers of the Church because of his writings and is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. He died sometime around the year 203, possibly by being martyred for the faith.

Solemnity of Sts Peter & Paul the Apostles

Acts 12:1-11; Psalm 33; Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18; Matthew 16:13-19

Today’s feast celebrates the two founders of the Church in the city of Rome and has been observed in Rome since the fourth century. This date was traditionally considered the foundation day of the city of Rome by Romulus and Remus.

Genesis 21:5, 8-20; Psalm 33; Matthew 8:28-34

Today we read from the book of Genesis of Abraham’s rejoicing at the birth of his son Isaac. His wife, Sarah, grows jealous of his first son, Ishmael, who was born to Sarah’s servant-girl, and so she tells Abraham to send the servant-girl and her son away. Abraham is saddened by this but he does as she wishes. At the end of the reading we see that Ishmael too will be a great nation because he was the son of Abraham. In the Gospel, Jesus heals two demoniacs and casts out their demons who enter a herd of swine and are destroyed. The local people implore Jesus to leave the area not because they had lost the herd but because they had little faith and did not want to change their comfortable lives. Faith in Christ calls for a radical change in our lives and one which we must make no matter how uncomfortable it may make us feel for that is the only way to enter heaven.

Genesis 22:1-19; Psalm 114; Matthew 9:1-8

Today we read of the sacrifice by Abraham of his son Isaac. What is remarkable about the story is that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son because he believed in and trusted God so much. This is the faith to which each one of us is called. While this may seem a difficult thing to do we should not fear or worry for the Spirit is with us to help and strengthen us. The image of Isaac carrying the wood on which he was to be sacrificed reminds us of Jesus carrying the wood of the cross on which he became a sacrifice which saves us all. In our Gospel passage we see Jesus at odds with the scribes because he has forgiven a paralytic his sins and told him to walk again. He did so not to show off but because the people who came to him had faith in him. The people are delighted to see this and they are filled with awe. Christ forgives our sins too if we turn to him in faith and he will help us in all our trials.


Memorial of St Oliver Plunkett, Bishop & Martyr

Oliver was born in Meath in 1625 and ordained priest in Rome in 1654. Soon after he was made professor at the Propaganda Fide College and in 1669 was created Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. It was a difficult time for the Church in Ireland and even though he was on very good terms with the Protestant bishops, he was forced into hiding in 1673. Following his betrayal he was arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle. His trial in Dublin collapsed due to lack of evidence and he was sent to London where a grand jury said there was nothing to answer for. Following a third (fixed) trial he was sentenced to death. He was hung, drawn and quartered in 1681, the last Roman Catholic to be martyred at Tyburn, London. He was canonized in 1975.

Genesis 23:1-4, 19, 24:1-8, 62-67; Psalm 105; Matthew 9:9-13

Our first reading today recounts the finding of a wife for Isaac. Sarah has died and Abraham is anxious that Isaac marry a woman of his own tribe so as not to contaminate the line chosen by God through marriage to a local Canaanite. Abraham’s senior servant therefore travels back to Mesopotamia and is guided by the Lord who leads him to Rebekah. Upon returning to the land of Canaan they are met by Isaac who weds Rebekah. We again read in the Gospel of Jesus coming into conflict with the Pharisees, this time because he was eating with people they considered to be sinners. He reminds them that healthy people do not need a doctor and so he has come to call the sinners to repentance because the virtuous are already on the right path. It is a reminder to us that even those who consider themselves to be virtuous are sinners because they have judged others by their own standards and have not been merciful in their consideration of others. When it comes to faith we must not consider others to be inferior to us but must always realise that we can be better than we currently are.

Feast of St Thomas the Apostle

Ephesians 2:19-22; Psalm 116; John 20:24-29

Very little is known about Thomas other than what is found in the Gospels. Also known as Didymus (The Twin) his questioning of Christ’s teaching and his disbelief in the resurrection show that even the closest followers of Christ had doubts and that, even in doubting, the Lord is there to give strength and guidance. Tradition holds that he brought the faith to Southern India where he is said to have died. He is the patron saint of architects, builders and India.

July 4th to July 10th, 2021

Ordinary Time – The Fourteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.

Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalm 122; 2Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6

We read in the text from Ezekiel how the Lord spoke to the prophet and sent him to preach his word. Whether the people believe or not the prophet will still speak to them. In the gospel passage from St Mark we see Jesus being rejected in his own home town because the people thought they knew him. As a result of their rejection of him he is unable to do very much for them because his ministry and mission depended on people both listening and believing. Christ will not force any of us to do his will and if we don’t want to do his will then we simply ignore him as did the people in his home town. Christ is no longer physically present with us as a preacher but his Church is and she preaches his message and brings forgiveness whether people wish to listen or not. As members of that Church each of us was commissioned at baptism to preach that message.

St Paul tells us in the second reading that no matter what people say or think he will continue to preach the word of God to them. He may be weak in the eyes of the world but he knows that at such times he is strongest in his mission and that Christ is with him.

Genesis 28:10-22; Psalm 90; Matthew 9:18-26

We read in our first reading today about ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’ Jacob had been travelling to Haran to find a wife and to get away from the wrath of his older brother, Esau. As it was night he stopped to rest and slept on the ground. As he was sleeping the Lord appeared to him in his dreams and promised him that his descendants would be great – the same promise he made to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather. The ladder of angels which Jacob saw symbolises the communication between God and man. The stone which Jacob had used as a pillow he sets up as a monument to the Lord. In the Gospel we see Jesus curing two people. A woman in the crowd touched his cloak and the bleeding disease she had suffered from left her. In the second he raises a girl to life after her father had asked him to come to the house to save her. The key in these two miracles is faith. The woman didn’t ask to be cured but believed that even if she just touched his cloak that she would be healed. The little girl didn’t ask to be restored to life but her father had faith in Jesus. We too are called on to have faith in Christ because, for people of faith, anything is possible.

Genesis 32:23-33; Psalm 16; Matthew 9:32-38

In our first reading we see Jacob returning to his own country fourteen years after he had left for Haran to find a wife. As they cross the river Jabbok the Lord comes and wrestles with Jacob who fights with great strength all night. During the encounter the Lord changes Jacob’s name to ‘Israel’ which means ‘one who struggles with God.’ Later this title becomes the name of the Jewish nation. We read in St Matthew’s Gospel that some of the Pharisees believe that Jesus is able to cast out devils because he is the prince of devils. However, Jesus feels sorry for the people because they have no real teachers to guide them in the faith and to lead them towards God. So he tells his disciples to pray for more people to come forward to lead the flock. This is a reminder to us to pray for vocations – not just to the priesthood and religious life – but also that we ourselves will have the faith and the courage to lead others to God by our own example of living the Gospel.

Genesis 41:55-57, 42:5-7, 17-24; Psalm 32; Matthew 10:1-17

In our reading from Genesis we now move ahead several years and see Joseph in Egypt as the pharaoh’s main steward. Israel’s sons had sold Joseph into slavery because they were tired of his perfect ways and the fact that their father appeared to love him more than all of them put together. So they sold Joseph as a boy to some traders and Joseph ends up in Egypt where he becomes one of the chief stewards to the Pharaoh.  Years later his brothers come to Egypt to buy grain for there is a famine in their own country. They do not recognise Joseph but he recognises them and has them detained for some days. In our Gospel reading we have the naming of the twelve apostles and these Jesus sends out to proclaim the Good News. We are the successors to the Twelve and it is our duty to proclaim the Good News in all that we do and say.

Genesis 44:18-21, 23-29, 45:1-5; Psalm 104; Matthew 10:7-15

In our reading from the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis we see Joseph finally revealing himself to his brothers. Despite the way they had treated him he forgives them and welcomes them with open arms. In some ways the scene reminds us of Christ who, on the cross, forgave those who rejected him and treated him shamefully. In the Gospel we see Jesus instructing the Twelve before he sends them out in his name. We received the faith for nothing and so should pass it on to others for nothing. We should also welcome those who come in Christ’s name and listen to their teaching.

Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30; Psalm 36; Matthew 10:16-23

In the first reading from the Book of Genesis we read of the moment when Israel (Jacob) is reunited with his long-lost son Joseph. Israel also takes his whole family and settles in Egypt at Joseph’s request where they enjoy peace. Before moving to Egypt, the Lord appears to Israel to tell him that he will be with him and make him a great nation in Egypt. Jesus continues instructing the Twelve in the Gospel before sending them out in his name. He reminds them that it will not go as smoothly as they might think and that they will be harassed from time to time and have to suffer for him, but through it all the Holy Spirit will be with them to guide and strengthen them. The Holy Spirit is also with us and so we should take up the mantle of the Twelve and preach the kingdom of God to all whom we meet.

Genesis 49:29-33, 50:15-26; Psalm 104; Matthew 10:24-38

We read of the death of Jacob, now Israel, in our reading from Genesis today and of his wish to be buried in his native Canaan – the Land of Promise – rather than Egypt. Jacob’s sons now fear Joseph’s wrath for what they did to him as a boy now that their father is dead, but Joseph forgives his brothers, reminding them that a great good has come of their evil intent. Joseph too dies and before he dies he instructs them that, when they leave the land of Egypt, they are to take his bones with them. We continue reading in the Gospel from the instruction Jesus gave to his apostles before they went out to preach on his behalf. He again reminds them that a difficult road lies ahead and he tells them not to fear what people may do to their bodies but to fear what the prince of darkness may do to their souls if they do not trust in Christ alone. That same warning is given to us. We quite often spend far more time worrying about our physical body than we do about our soul even though the soul is far more important and is the immortal part of us.

July 11th to July 17th, 2021

Ordinary Time – The Fifteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.

Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 84; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

In our first reading we see Amos being dismissed by Amaziah because Amaziah does not like the message which is being preached by Amos. Amos tells him that it is not his own message but God’s message and that he preaches at God’s command. In our gospel we see Jesus sending out the Twelve in pairs to preach and to cure. They do so and are successful because they do so in his name and with his authority. No matter what people may think, the message of God cannot be silenced simply because they may not like what it says or who it is who is preaching. We are the successors to the Twelve and we are the Church and so we too should proclaim the kingdom of God to the people of our own time whether they like it or not, knowing that a great reward lies in store for those who do listen and believe.

For our second reading for the next few weeks we turn to St Paul’s letter to the Christians at Ephesus. In today’s passage we are told that we were chosen by God before the world was created to be his own people. In choosing us he wants us to life in love and to be spotless in his sight. We do this by believing in him and living according to his precepts.

Exodus 1:8-14, 22: Psalm 123; Matthew 10:34-11:1

Today we begin reading from the Book of Exodus which continues where we finished in the Book of Genesis last week. Almost 200 years have now passed in Egypt since the death of Joseph and his brothers and a new Pharaoh comes to power who knows nothing of the history of the Israelites in Egypt. He therefore has the Israelites enslaved and begins killing their sons out of fear that they may not be as loyal as he would like. Our Gospel passage today from St Matthew seems at first a little odd because Jesus tells his disciples that he did not come to bring peace but the sword. We know from bitter experience that this is correct for there are many places in the world where long and bloody battles have been fought because of religion and because of different views within Christianity, even within our own country. But Christ tells us that we should welcome all people regardless of their religious beliefs because, if we welcome those who are holy and help those who come to us, then we will bring peace to our world and the Gospel of Christ will spread throughout the world.

Exodus 2:1-15; Psalm 68; Matthew 11:20-24

To help stamp out the Jewish race the Pharaoh had decreed that all Jewish males were to be killed at birth but today we read in Exodus that Moses was not killed but was hidden by his mother. Eventually she placed him in a basket in the river because she could no longer conceal him. The child is found by the Pharaoh’s daughter who takes him home and entrusts him to his own mother. He lives in Pharaoh’s house and flees when he kills an Egyptian for striking a Hebrew. From here on, Moses will be central as we read about the return to the Promised Land. In our Gospel text we see Jesus admonishing those towns in which he had worked miracles because, despite all they had seen, they still refuse to change their ways and to live according to the Law of God. This is a reminder to us that we must be converted daily to the Gospel and play our part in the building up of the kingdom of God. It is also a reminder that Jesus had been busy in other parts of the Holy Land but that not all of it is recorded in the Gospels – again showing us that in fact we know only small though significant parts about his life on earth.

Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12; Psalm 102; Matthew 11:25-27

In our first reading from the Book of Exodus we read of the first encounter between God and Moses in the burning bush. The Lord has heard the cry of his Chosen People in Egypt and he appoints Moses to be his instrument in delivering them from their slavery. Moses is unsure about this but the Lord tells him that he will be with him. This promise to be with Moses is heard time and time again throughout the Old Testament and also in the promise of Jesus to his apostles – “I will be with you always.” In the Gospel, Jesus praises his Father for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children. All too often today people scrutinise their faith so much that they destroy it. The mysteries are called mysteries precisely because we do not have the capacity to understand them and yet that does not mean that they are false or to be ignored. A child accepts what he or she is told and believes in it and that is what we are asked to do. If we truly believe in Jesus and his word then no further proof should be necessary for the Lord will not deceive us as he only seeks our good.

Exodus 3:13-20; Psalm 104; Matthew 11:28-30

In our text from Exodus we see Moses still questioning God about sending him to be the one to win freedom for the Israelites. A person’s name has always been important for the Jews as it tells a lot about the person and so Moses asks God for his name. The Lord replies, “I Am who Am,” and for the first time reveals himself as Yahweh, the God of power. The sacred name tells us that, unlike the pagan gods, this is a God who lives and he now hears the cry of his people and is about to act. By contrast we see Jesus in the Gospel calling the people to him and telling them that he is gentle and humble of heart. And yet both of these images are of the same God who is at once powerful and gentle, who hears his people when they cry to him and will come to their aid. It is a reminder for us that God can do all things for us but at the same time he is not a God to be feared but one who genuinely cares for each of us.


Memorial of St Bonaventure, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

Giovanni di Fidanza was born between 1218 and 1221 in Tuscany, Italy. He joined the Order of Friars Minor and rose through the ranks becoming the Order’s seventh Minister General in 1257, devoting much time to the unity of the Order. He was approached with a view to making him Archbishop of York in northern England, but this he refused. Eventually he was made bishop of Albano, Rome, and a cardinal in 1273. One of the key mystical theologians and scholars of his time he attended the Council of Lyons in 1274 at which he died. One of his tasks at this council was the re-unification of the Latin and the Orthodox Churches which seemed to begin well but failed soon after his death. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588.

Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Carmelite Order had its formal beginnings among a group of crusaders on Mount Carmel in Israel beside a spring used by the Old Testament prophet Elijah. In the centre of their compound they built a chapel dedicated to St Mary of the Place, which was Mount Carmel. This devotion to Mary continued and became stronger as the centuries passed and is best exemplified in the full title of the Order: The Order of the Brothers of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. This particular feast was first celebrated in the fourteenth century and became the patronal feast of the Order early in the seventeenth century. It was recognised by Pope Paul V (1605-1621) as the feast day of the Scapular Confraternity.



1Kings 18:42b-45a; Psalm 14; Galatians 4:4-7; John 19:25-27

In the first reading we see the holy prophet Elijah instructing his servant to keep watch on the sky, for the drought which had plagued the land was soon to end. When he saw the small cloud, the servant was told to go and tell King Ahab to prepare for the rains. The unnamed servant symbolises the Carmelite who is attentive to his master, who awaits his master’s word and then brings that word to others, the master being Jesus Christ. The Psalm reminds us that only those who seek after purity will be admitted to God’s house.

In the second reading, St Paul wrote to the people of Galatia that the One who redeemed them was born of a woman and was therefore subject to the Law as all humans are. Yet it was by his life, death and resurrection that the people are redeemed because, for Paul, only someone born under the Law could redeem the subjects of the Law and free them from its slavery so as to live the true life God had intended. Our Lady is the woman who gave birth to the Saviour and, through the motherhood bestowed on her at the foot of the Cross, we are all her children. We also share in the gift of the Holy Spirit which binds us in adopted sonship.

In the gospel, we see Jesus on the Cross with very few close family or friends to support him. Before he died, he looked after his mother by placing her under the care of John, the Beloved Disciple. But Mary didn’t simply become a guest in John’s house or someone for him to look out for: she became his mother and John became her son. It is a powerful reminder that we are all the children of Mary, brothers and sisters to one another and to Jesus Christ, and that we must have a care and concern for others. Mary is also seen in her sorrow as one who is silent but who still trusts in the wisdom of God even in what must have been a very dark moment in her life as she watched her Son die without dignity. For Carmelites, these readings are important for we are the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and therefore we are servants of the Lord and of his Word.

Exodus 12:37-42; Psalm 135; Matthew 12:14-21

In the reading from the Book of Exodus we see the Chosen People finally leaving Egypt. The Lord has heard their cry and is now leading them to a better life through the desert and across the Red Sea. The Psalm is a hymn of praise to God for freeing his people. In the Gospel we read of the Pharisees plotting against Jesus while he goes off quietly and cures those who come to him seeking his comfort. He tells them to say nothing about him because his time has not yet come and he has more to do. Today, in our own time, however, the Lord’s time has come and we all have a duty to proclaim the risen Lord who sets his people free from all that keeps them captive but only if they turn to him in faith and seek his help.

July 18th to July 24th, 2021

Ordinary Time – The Sixteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.

Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 22; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34

In our first reading we see the Lord condemning those shepherds who have not cared for their flocks but have allowed them to be scattered and destroyed. The Lord says that he will raise up true shepherds who will properly pasture his sheep. In the gospel passage from St Mark – which is the conclusion to the passage begun last week – we see the Twelve returning to Jesus after they had been preaching in his name and they return rejoicing. They go off to be alone and to rest but the people follow them because they want to hear more about Christ and his message. He takes pity on them and teaches them himself. Little has changed between Christ’s time and ours – the world badly needs those who will preach Christ’s message of salvation. No matter who we are or what we do in life, as baptised Christians we were all commissioned to go out and to preach the good news of the kingdom both in word and in the example of our lives. There are still many in our world who have not heard about Christ or who have forgotten about him or not really come to know him. Each of us has a duty to bring our fellow men and women to the truth and the knowledge of God.

In the second reading St Paul tells us that Christ is the link which joins so many people together in peace. All who believe in him regardless of their skin colour or their nationality have a place in the kingdom and so all are brothers and sisters in the eyes of God.

Exodus 14:5-18; Psalm – Exodus 15:1-6; Matthew 12:38-42

In our first reading from the Book of Exodus we see that the Passover has taken place and the Israelites are now marching out of Egypt. The Pharaoh, regretting his decision, changes his mind and goes after the Israelites who immediately question Moses for freeing them. Their old life of servitude was what they wanted in the face of danger because they still did not trust the Lord but Moses leads them on and the Egyptians follow. The Psalm tells us what happens when the two groups reach the Red Sea. In our Gospel text we again see Jesus at odds with the scribes and Pharisees who still do not believe him and, despite all the signs they had seen, ask for more extraordinary signs so that they might believe. Jesus rebukes them and reminds them of Jonah who was thought to be dead for three days and also Solomon whose wisdom is well known. He is greater than all of these because he is the absolute revelation of the Father. Many today do not believe because they have never seen Jesus and want a sign before they believe. Only when they open their eyes to the message of Christ will Christ become visible to them.

Solemnity of St Elijah the Prophet

The Prophet Elijah is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets and, with Moses, is one of the two great figures of the Hebrew Scriptures who represent the Law and the Prophets. In Hebrew, his name means ‘The Lord is my God’, and this he lived out in his life and work. He defended God on Mount Carmel as the one true God against the prophets of the false god, Baal, and for which he was hunted by Queen Jezebel. He is a key figure for the Carmelite Order whose early members lived beside the spring on Mount Carmel which was used by the prophet himself. His devotion to God, his prayer life, his intimate union with God are examples for Carmelites as they strive to bring God’s presence alive in the lives of others.



1Kings 19:1-9a, 11-14a; Psalm 15; 1Peter 1:8-12; Luke 9:28b-36

In our reading from the first Book of the Kings, we read that, having slain all the prophets of Baal, Elijah is now threatened by Queen Jezebel who seeks his life in retribution. In fear, he flees into the wilderness but is supported by the angel of God. When he reached the mountain, he stood before God who made himself known to Elijah, not in the form of great and wonderful power, but in the form of a gentle voice, a quiet breeze. When asked why he was there Elijah replied: ‘I am filled with a jealous zeal for the Lord of hosts’.

St Peter tells us in the second reading that what the prophets had been looking forward to was the presence of Christ on earth. That presence has now been revealed to the people who have now received the Holy Spirit for their good.

In the gospel, we read St Luke’s account of the transfiguration of the Lord. During the transfiguration he was joined by Moses who represents the Law, and by Elijah who represents the Prophets. In this way, we are shown that the authority of Jesus Christ is greater than these two pillars of the Jewish faith, and we are also reminded that their teachings pointed to his arrival. Elijah is a shining example of one who answered God’s call and gave his life to the service of God. Even his name bears witness – the Hebrew ‘Elia’ means ‘The Lord is my God’.

Exodus 16:1-5, 9-15; Psalm 77; Matthew 13:1-9

In our first reading from Exodus we see the people again complaining about how good it was back in Egypt where they had all the food they could eat. The Lord hears their complaints and gives them food – meat in the evening and bread in the morning. The text is a reminder that we all have a little ‘Egypt’ in us – we all have a comfort zone which we do not want to relinquish even for the sake of eternal life. However, we must give it up and if we make the effort to do so then the Lord will be with us to help us achieve perfection. St Matthew presents us with the parable of the sower in our Gospel and it is a story which we are all familiar with. The seed is, of course, the Word of God and the ground represents each of us. The seed is useless if it finds no nourishment just as the Word of God will be dead in us if we make no effort to practice the faith or to live out the Gospel values. We are called to renew ourselves daily and to nourish the faith which was given to us at baptism.

Feast of St Mary Magdalene

Song of Songs 3:1-4 or 2 Cor 5:14-17; Psalm 62; John 20:1-2, 11-18.

Mary of Magdala was one of the followers of Christ who is mentioned in all four Gospels. She stood by the cross of Christ as he was dying and she was the first to see the risen Lord. Because she was the one who told the apostles that the Lord had risen, she is often referred to as “the apostle to the apostles.”

Feast of St Bridget of Sweden, Patroness of Europe

Galatians 2:19-20; Psalm 33; John 15:1-8

Bridget was born between 1302 and 1304 in Sweden and in 1316 was married to Ulf Gudmarsson and together they had eight children. She became the chief lady-in-waiting at the royal court of King Magnus II in 1335, possibly due to her father’s post as a provincial governor. She was widowed in 1344 and from then on devoted her life to the poor and destitute. She travelled to Rome for the Jubilee Year in 1350 and spent the rest of her life there. She also established the Bridgettines though it never received official approval in her lifetime. She died in Rome in 1373 and her remains were returned to her native Sweden, to the Bridgettine monastery she had founded. Catherine – her fourth child – followed her mother and dedicated her life to the poor and to the strengthening of the Bridgettines. She too was widowed at a young age and she too was canonized.

Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 49; Matthew 13:24-30

In today’s text from Exodus we see Moses presenting the Ten Commandments to the people and the people affirm that they will “observe all the commands that the Lord has decreed.” This is a further covenant with the people through Moses for if the people keep their word then they will inherit life. In our Gospel we have St Matthew’s version of the parable of the weeds growing with the good seed. The farmer’s servants are scandalized to see the weeds but he tells them to do nothing but to have patience and wait, for at harvest time – at the last judgement – the good will be separated from the bad and the bad will be thrown on the fire. This is a parable regarding the kingdom which has a mixture on earth of saints and sinners who will be sifted at the last judgement. Again we are challenged to ask ourselves on which side of the divide we lie and what are we going to do to ensure that we are among those found worthy to enter the Father’s kingdom.


Memorial of Blessed John Soreth, Carmelite Priest

John Soreth was born at Caen in Normandy and entered Carmel as a young man. He studied at Paris and pre-dated St Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) in his attempts to reform the Order. He was Prior General from 1451 until 1471 and was responsible for the Constitutions of 1462. He introduced nuns into the Order in the Netherlands in the early 1450s and also promoted the Third Order. He died in 1471.

July 25th to July 31st, 2021

Ordinary Time – The Seventeenth Week| Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I

2Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 144; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-5

Our first reading and our gospel are strongly linked today because they both contain a similar miracle – the feeding of many people with small quantities of bread and fish. In the first reading from the second Book of the Kings we see the prophet Elisha feeding a hundred men with twenty barley loaves which they ate and still had some to spare though they were all satisfied. Our gospel for the coming few weeks comes from the sixth chapter of St John’s Gospel which is often referred to as ‘The Bread of Life Discourse.’ Alone among the gospels, St John’s does not contain the Institution Narrative from the Last Supper and this sixth chapter is seen as a development of the theology of the Eucharist for John and his Community. In today’s passage we see Jesus teaching more than five thousand people who he then them with five barley loaves and two small fish. Again the people eat all they want and are satisfied and still have some left over. We know that Christ feeds us with even greater bread than the people received from Elisha or Christ because we receive Christ’s own body and blood which bring us eternal life rather than the fleeting satisfaction the people received from the barley loaves.

In our second reading, St Paul tells us that there is only one baptism and that we all belong to the one Lord. Therefore, as members of the Body of Christ, we must live in charity and peace but above all we must believe in Christ if we are to receive the eternal life which he promised.

Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34; Psalm 105; Matthew 13:31-35

In our last passage from the Book of Exodus we saw the people saying that they would obey the Lord’s commands and now today we see them worshipping a calf of gold. Moses had been a long time on the mountain and they had complained to Aaron so he made a golden idol for them to keep them quiet. Moses smashes the tablets of the Law – showing that the covenant they made with the Lord has been broken. He then returns to the Lord to seek forgiveness. The Lord tells him that he, Moses, will not be held responsible for the actions of the people for they are the ones that strayed so quickly, but they will be punished when the time comes. In the Gospel we see Jesus continuing to teach through parables. Both of today’s parables refer to the kingdom which begins as a small movement (Christ and his Apostles) and which suddenly grows and is revealed in all its grandeur. We are the leaven in society and without us the kingdom will not grow or flourish and the world will not achieve justice and peace.


Memorial of Sts Joachim & Anne, Parents of Our Lady

These are the names traditionally given to the parents of Our Lady, though nothing is known about them. Anne is the Patron Saint of Canada, women in labour, miners, cabinet-makers and home-makers.

Exodus 33:7-11, 34:5-9, 28; Psalm 102; Matthew 13:36-43

In today’s text from Exodus we see Moses meeting the Lord in the tent of meeting and on the mountain top where he asks the Lord to forgive the stupidity of the people and to take them again as his heritage. Moses spent forty days and nights on the mountain in the presence of God and received again the two tablets of the Law. The Psalm reminds us that the Lord is compassion and love and that he forgives those who have sinned. In today’s Gospel we see Jesus explaining the parable of the weeds, or the darnel, to his disciples. The weeds are the followers of the prince of darkness while the good seeds are the followers of Christ. At the end of time the good will be separated from the bad and the good will enter heaven while the bad will be cast below where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. This is yet another reminder for us to examine our lives and see where we are for we do not know when judgement day will come for each of us – maybe tomorrow, maybe next year.


Memorial of Blessed Titus Brandsma, Carmelite Priest & Martyr

Anno Sjoerd Brandsma was born at Bolsward, The Netherlands, in 1881, joined the Carmelite Order in 1898 taking the name ‘Titus’, and was ordained priest in 1905. Following studies in Rome he lectured in philosophy at the Catholic University of Nijmegen from 1923 to 1942, where he also served as professor and Rector Magnificus. He was also a journalist and was involved in a number of publications, being appointed ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists in 1935. During the 1930’s he visited Ireland and stayed in Kinsale with the Carmelite Community there – to improve his English – before giving a series of lectures in the United States. Throughout the 1930s Nazi propaganda was on the rise but Fr Titus refused to support or print anything in support of the Nazi regime, working instead to maintain the freedom of the Catholic press and education in the Netherlands. By 1942 it was required that the press in the Netherlands print articles in favour of the Nazi regime but, continuing to refuse, Titus was arrested by the Gestapo on January 19, 1942, and imprisoned in his native country before being sent to the concentration camp at Dachau where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners. In Dachau he was experimented on in the medical wing and was finally put to death by lethal injection on July 26, 1942.

Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 98; Matthew 13:44-46

In the first reading from the Book of Exodus, Moses returns to the people with the tablets of the Law. His face is now radiant because he has been in the presence of God and this happens every time he meets with God. Jesus tells us in the Gospel about a man who finds a field with a hidden treasure – he sells everything he has and buys the field. The kingdom of heaven is the most prized possession in existence and if we only realised this we would do all we could to make sure that we too attain it. We do so by believing in Christ, by daily converting to the Gospel and by proclaiming the Good News wherever we go.

Memorial of St Martha

1 John 4:7-16; Psalm 33; John 11:19-27; Luke 10:38-42

Little is known about Martha other than what is recounted in the Gospels. She was the sister of Lazarus and Mary, and a friend of the Lord. She is the sister who frets over the guests while her sister sits and listens to Jesus. She is also the one who addresses Jesus when he arrives following the death of her brother, Lazarus, and who makes her declaration of faith (“I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world”).

Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37; Psalm 80; Matthew 13:54-58

In our reading from the Book of Leviticus the Lord instructs Moses about the solemn festivals which are to be held by the Jewish people each year – Pesach (the Passover) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). These are important reminders each year for the people of all that the Lord has done for them. In the Gospel we see Jesus returning to his home town and teaching the people. His ‘old neighbours’ however, dismiss him because they did not want their comfortable little world to be changed. As a result of their lack of faith he could work few miracles. Faith and healing are both gifts from God and if we refuse faith then we also refuse healing. We are all like the Nazarenes at times and need to remind ourselves that it is the kingdom we are talking about and that Jesus is the gate to that kingdom.

Leviticus 25:1, 8-17; Psalm 66; Matthew 14:1-12

In the text from Leviticus we read of the establishment of the jubilee year. The Lord instructs the people that every fiftieth year is to be a special year for them and they are to return to their own clans that year to celebrate the sacred jubilee. Part of the jubilee was also the practice of leaving the land fallow for that year to allow its fertility to return. It is a reminder that God is the Lord of Creation and the owner of all that exists. In the Gospel text we read of the martyrdom of John the Baptist at the hands of Herod the Tetrarch. John died because of the vanity of Herod who had made a rash promise to a beautiful girl and was afraid to go back on it even though he knew that what he was about to do was wrong. It is not always easy to do the right thing but when it comes to the kingdom of God, the right thing is the only thing to do for it will secure our place in heaven alongside John the Baptist and those who gave their lives for the sake of the kingdom.


Memorial of St Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

Born in 1491 in Loyola of noble stock, Ignatius became a soldier. Having been wounded in battle against the French, Ignatius began reading sacred texts while he was recovering from his injuries and then went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He became a priest and began founding the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1534 and whose members are ready to serve the Church wherever needed. He died in 1556.

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