Reflections on Daily Readings 2022
June 26th - July 30th, 2022
June 26 – July 2, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Thirteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1Kings 19:16, 19-21; Psalm 15; Galatians 5:1, 13-18; Luke 9:51-62
In our first reading from the first Book of the Kings we see Elijah appointing Elisha as his successor as God had instructed him. Elisha was ploughing the land when Elijah found him and – having initially asked to say goodbye to his people – he leaves his men and his fields and follows the great prophet. In the gospel passage from St Luke we see Jesus heading resolutely for Jerusalem and his impending Passion and death. Along the way he meets three men: one who promises to follow him but is dismissed by Christ, and two others who are unable to follow him just then. Because of their conditions they are sent home by Christ. This is a reminder to us that following Christ is a wholehearted and total commitment – one which can have no conditions on our part.
In the second reading we are told by St Paul that the Spirit brings us liberty and so we should act accordingly. With the Spirit in us we will not act in any self-indulgent way but will give ourselves completely to the Lord. We should pray, therefore, that we may have this Spirit in full measure so that we may answer the Lord’s call to follow him with our whole heart, trusting in him alone.
Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 2:6-10, 13-16; Psalm 49; Matthew 8:18-22
Our first reading today comes from the Prophet Amos who served the Lord about the year 760 BC. In our text, the Lord is recounting some of the many sins of his people. He reminds them of what he did for them and tells them how he will deal with them in a way that nobody in Israel will be able to escape. The Psalm continues the accusations against the people. In the Gospel, Jesus is calling the people to follow him, though some do not wish to come right away. The message in the readings for us today is that we are called to follow the Lord and to respond to that call immediately and not when we fell like it. Secondly, those who have been called are expected to live a life worthy of the Lord, one in keeping with the Gospel values.
Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 3:1-8, 4:11-12; Psalm 5; Matthew 8:23-27
Today’s reading from the Prophet Amos continues yesterday’s theme of reminding the people of how much they have sinned against God. They are also given warning that the Lord means to punish them for their sins. Today’s Psalm could easily have been the words on the lips of the Prophet Amos. In the text from St Matthew’s Gospel, we see Jesus command the forces of nature and calm a storm. The readings remind us of the infinite power of God and that, in Jesus, he has made a covenant with us which we must honour.
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 Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles
Acts 12:1-11; Psalm 33; 2Timothy 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.
Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells of the release of St Peter from prison before Herod could put him to death as he had St James. In the second reading, St Paul tells Timothy that he has been able to preach the Good News because he had God at his side to give him power and to guide him. In the gospel, Jesus makes Peter the head of the Church and tells him that nothing will ever prevail against the Church. Our readings show us how we should live – by being faithful to God and not fearing what may come for God is always with us. They also remind us that even those who consider themselves to be ‘ordinary’ can become ‘heroes’ of the faith for these men were quite ordinary and quite unremarkable before they received the Holy Spirit – the same Spirit which we too have received. We are also reminded that they were old men when they were martyred because even in old age they witnessed for Christ. Regardless of our age or our standing in society we should always publicly acknowledge Christ as our Saviour.
Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 7:10-17; Psalm 18; Matthew 9:1-8
In today’s first reading Amos is confronted by King Jeroboam and Amaziah, his royal priest. They do not like what Amos prophesies but in reply, Amos tells them that his words do not come from a group of prophets, like Amaziah, but directly from God. He then tells them how the kingdom will end. In the Gospel, Jesus forgives a paralytic man his sins which outraged the scribes. He tells them that he has the power to forgive and heals the man to prove his authority. The people are amazed and pleased to see this. We are reminded that not everyone, such as Amaziah, speaks the truth but that the words of Jesus are truth and life.
Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 8:4-6, 9-12; Psalm 118; Matthew 9:9-13
In the reading from the Prophet Amos the Lord tells his people that the punishment they will receive will be in the form of a famine. A spiritual famine is to fall upon them for their sins against the Lord in which they will not hear the word of the Lord. In the Gospel, Jesus is scorned by the Pharisees for eating with tax collectors and sinners but, in reply, he tells them that their sacrificial ways do not please him. What the Lord seeks is true mercy. Those who are virtuous are not called to conversion for their hearts are already set on God, but those who are still in need of conversion are the ones who are being called. If we in our day turn our backs on God then we live without his word, but if we seek God then his word will take root in our hearts and we will live the life he seeks.
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.
Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Amos 9:11-15; Psalm 84; Matthew 9:14-17
In the first reading from the Prophet Amos, the Lord tells his people that he will revive their fortunes and re-establish the kingdom of David. We know that this will happen in the person of Jesus, the Messiah. In the Gospel, Jesus tells John the Baptist’s disciples that his own disciples do not fast in his presence because they have the Lord of Life with them. When he is gone from them then they will fast and mourn. We have the Lord always with us and so we should rejoice and live by his precepts so that we may never be abandoned as were the people of old when they sinned against God.
July 3 – July 9, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Fourteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 66:10-14; Psalm 65; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
In our first reading from the prophet Isaiah we read that the Lord will send peace upon his chosen one like a flowing river. In the gospel we see the Lord appointing seventy-two disciples and sending them out to spread his message. The first word they are to speak to people is the word ‘Peace,’ and they are to stay with the people and bring the Lord’s healing and comfort to them. But Jesus is aware that they will not all be received with open arms for there will be those who do not want his peace and so will reject his messengers. In this case the messenger is to move on to those who will accept the message. As successors of the seventy-two we have a duty and a responsibility to spread peace throughout the world, each in his or her own way. When we are rejected for doing this we must remember and take courage in the fact that Christ too was rejected and yet he has been raised to eternal life and we too will be raised for being faithful to him.
As we come to the end of St Paul’s letter to the Galatians he reminds his readers that they are to remain faithful to the message of Christ. If they do not then they will not live in peace. He also reminds them that external signs, such as circumcision, are irrelevant compared to what is to be found within the heart of each believer.
Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Hosea 2:16-18, 21-22; Psalm 144; Matthew 9:18-26
In today’s reading from the prophet Hosea, who was writing about the year 755 BC, the Lord is speaking of his relationship with his people. So strong is his love for his people that he speaks of marrying Israel for ever. Hosea was the first to use this marriage image when talking about God and his people but it is one which was to be used by later prophets and also St Paul. In the Gospel, Jesus restores life to a little girl who has died. More importantly, he cures a woman whose faith was so strong that she believed that she would be cured even if she only touched his cloak. She was also courageous enough to own up when Jesus asked who had touched him – strict Jewish law would have decreed that she should not be in a crowd as that could result in those coming into contact with her being impure and unable to attend synagogue. We are called on to be like this woman and to believe in God completely. He has chosen us out of all of creation to be his bride and therefore he will not abandon us.
Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13; Psalm 113; Matthew 9:32-38
In our first reading today we read that despite the fact that the Lord has chosen his people as his spouse the people turn from God and spurn him. He recounts their sins and how they abused his altars and created false idols for themselves. Now, God is about to punish them. In the Gospel, Jesus is sorry to see many people coming to him for they have nobody to minister to them. We are called on to be labourers in this great harvest. We do not all have to become priests and religious but we are all called to live according to the Gospel values, in this way the kingdom of God will be strengthened daily and more people will become shepherds of the flock.
Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12; Psalm 104; Matthew 10:1-7
Today we read in the text from the Prophet Hosea that Israel has turned from the Lord and worshipped false gods, and so the Lord is now going to punish the people. If the people had retained their integrity they would not be in such a situation. Hosea pleads with the people to change their ways and return to the Lord. In the Gospel we see Jesus choosing his twelve closest companions and sending them out to preach in his name. Because Israel was the Lord’s Chosen People through the ages, the apostles are told to go with the message to the house of Israel first and to leave the others aside for the moment. While the names of the Twelve appear in a few places in the New Testament no two lists are in the same order, though St Peter’s name always appears first.
Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9; Psalm 79; Matthew 10:7-15
The Lord recounts the sins of his people in today’s first reading from Hosea. He also recalls some of what he did for the people and how he blessed them. While he is angry with his people he will still keep his anger in check. He may punish this ‘ungrateful son’ but he will not destroy him. Today’s Gospel text continues on from yesterday’s passage and in it we see Jesus instructing the Twelve before they go out in his name. We too need to be mindful of all that the Lord has done for us and we should give thanks for that each day, not just in our prayers, but by living lives worthy of the Gospel which we can proclaim in the manner in which we live.
Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Hosea 14:2-10; Psalm 50; Matthew 10:16-23
In our first reading for today, the Lord speaks through the prophet Hosea and tells his people what he wants of them. Those who listen and believe in the message will walk in righteousness but those who reject it will stumble and fall. In our Gospel passage Jesus continues to instruct the Twelve in today’s text from St Matthew. In it he warns them of the hardships that will come but he strengthens them by telling them that they will have him with them and that the words they will speak will be from him – therefore they need have no cause for fear. We are called to live righteously before God and to remember that those who preach the true Gospel in his name are doing so with the guidance of the Lord. As the people of the Old Testament were invited back to God despite their sins, so too we will be welcomed if we ask the Lord for forgiveness.
Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 92; Matthew 10:24-33
We now move to the book of the Prophet Isaiah and today’s passage recounts the call of Isaiah to be God’s messenger. This took place about the year 742 BC while the young Isaiah was visiting the Temple in Jerusalem. Though Isaiah felt unworthy of the task the Lord was with him and so made him worthy. Isaiah responded by accepting God’s call and following the path of the prophets. Jesus’ instruction to the Twelve continues in today’s Gospel reading and he tells them that no matter what happens they need have no fear. As Isaiah was called so too we are called to spread the Gospel of Christ in our own way. If we truly believe in God then we need have no fear of what others may say against us for living as Christians.
July 10 – July 16, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Fifteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 68; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37
In our first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy we see Moses speaking to the people about the Word of God. He tells them that the Word is very close to them – so close in fact that they can observe it. The Word is not hidden from them in heaven but is among them: it is in their mouths and in their hearts. In our gospel text for today we have the story of the Good Samaritan. This kind man is shown in stark contrast to those who passed the victim by and did nothing and shows us that there must be no discrimination in our hearts with regard to our fellow men and women. The Word of God is among us and he walks this earth in the hearts of all whom we meet if we but open our eyes to that and seek him there.
For today and the next three Sundays our second reading comes from St Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae. In today’s passage he tells us that Christ has existed before all time and from him comes all of creation. Everything that exists, even those in authority, owes their being to him. If we acknowledge that fact then we will find the Word of God wherever we go and we will be able to show that Word to our fellow men and women as did the Good Samaritan.
Feast of St Benedict, Abbot & Patron of Europe
Proverbs 2:1-9; Psalm 33; Matthew 19:27-29
The first reading from Proverbs exhorts us to apply ourselves in seeking the truth for there is a great treasure to be found in the truth. When we discover it then we will “understand what virtue is, justice and fair dealing.” In the gospel, Jesus assures Peter that those who have left everything for him will receive a great reward, that reward being eternal life. The readings are quite appropriate for the feast of St Benedict for they recount exactly the sort of life Benedict lived. We too are called to seek truth and to give up everything for the sake of Christ and the kingdom.
Benedict was born in central Italy in 480. He was sent to Rome to study but left the city for the life of a hermit in Subiaco, not far from Rome, about the year 500. So many gathered around him that he founded twelve communities of monks, but in time left them because of their lack of discipline. He moved to Monte Cassino and established the famous monastery there on the site of a pagan temple to Apollo. He wrote a Rule for the monks which has become the foundation of spirituality and monastic life though it is not believed that he intended starting a religious order. He is the spiritual head of monks in the Western Church as St Basil is spiritual head of those in the Eastern Church. He died while at prayer in March 547 and was made Patron of Europe by Paul VI in 1964.
Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 7:1-9; Psalm 47: Matthew 11:20-24
In our first reading today from the Prophet Isaiah the Lord is telling his people to stand by him and they will be safe, but if they do not stand by him then they will not stand at all. This takes place about the year 733 BC when the rulers of Israel (the northern kingdom) and Aram had forged alliances with foreign rulers. Isaiah tells King Ahaz of Jerusalem to place his trust in God and God will defend him. In the Gospel, Christ exhorts his hearers to listen to him and to believe in him. Christ names a number of towns in which he had worked most of his miracles but where true faith had not materialised. He tells the people that these towns will be punished more severely than Sodom unless they listen and convert. We too are called to conversion of heart and a new way of life.
Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16; Psalm 93; Matthew 11:25-27
The people are reminded by the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading that kingdoms and powers rise and fall but that everything is subject to God’s power. Isaiah foretells that the King of Assyria will be used by God as the stick to discipline the people of Judah for the sins they have committed. In the Gospel, Jesus says that it is children who truly understand the message of the kingdom. By this he is saying that those with no preconceptions or theories can easily grasp the message he brings. To truly understand that message we need to have a clear mind and childlike trust.
Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus of Los Andes
Juana (Juanita) Fernandez Solar was born on July 13, 1900, in Santiago, Chile. Academically gifted she excelled in school and was awarded her school’s prize for outstanding student. She enjoyed sports and had a talent for music and, after leaving school, helped orphans and the poor and taught catechism. From the age of fifteen and at the request of a Carmelite nun in Santiago, she kept a detailed diary which gives great insight into her faith and prayer life, as do the many letters which survive. She was very much inspired by the biography of St Thérèse of Lisieux and by the writings of St Elizabeth of the Trinity, St Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) and St John of the Cross. She entered Carmel in May 1919 taking the name ‘Teresa of Jesus’ and died of typhus on April 12, 1920, having been given a dispensation in periculo mortis to make her profession of vows as a Carmelite nun. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1993, the first Chilean saint.
Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19; Psalm 101; Matthew 11:28-30
Our first reading today tells us that those who live righteously before the God who judges all will have a happy life. Those who do not live by the law of God will have a troubled life. Christ calls the people to himself in the Gospel and tells them that if they believe in him he will support them. The yoke which each of us has to carry is an easy one because faith in Christ will make the burden lighter and easier to carry. True faith is what we must have and that faith is demonstrated in righteous living.
Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8; Psalm 38; Matthew 12:1-8
In our first reading we see that Hezekiah is now King of the southern kingdom of Judah. He is told by Isaiah that he is about to die so he prays to God and is cured because of his faith. In the Gospel, Jesus admonishes the Pharisees for being too legalistic about the Sabbath day. His disciples had been out walking with him and had picked a few heads of corn as they passed through the corn fields. What the Lord wants is mercy and not legalism for only in mercy is true faith to be seen.
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 feastday 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.
July 17 – July 23, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Sixteenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 18:1-10; Psalm 14; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42
In our Old Testament reading today we see Abraham at the Oak of Mamre when three men pass by. He recognises them as friends and invites them to break their journey for some refreshments with him, before hurrying off to prepare a lavish meal for them. They ask after Sarah and tell Abraham that when they pass again the following year, Sarah will have given birth. We know in fact, that Sarah was well on in years but that the promise made was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac. In the gospel we see Jesus visiting the home of his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus, though Lazarus is not mentioned in this passage. Mary sits down to listen to the Lord while Martha fusses over the hospitality. When she points this out to Jesus he tells her to follow Mary’s example because while Mary is not being impolite about looking after her guest, she has recognised the importance of spending time with her Lord and listening to him as he speaks directly to her.
We are told in the second reading from the letter to the Colossians that the message of God was a mystery which was hidden for centuries but which, in Christ, has been revealed for all to see. If we are to see and understand this message then we must make time for the Lord when he passes our way, to prepare a place of welcome for him as did Abraham and to listen attentively to him as did Mary.
Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Micah 6:1-4, 6-8; Psalm 49; Matthew 12:38-42
Our first reading today comes from the Prophet Micah who lived in the eighth century before Christ. In it, we see God charging the people with the crime of abandonment – they have abandoned him. As witnesses he calls the mountains which have stood in silent watchfulness for centuries. At the end of the text we are told exactly what the Lord asks of us. In the Gospel, Christ likens himself to Jonah who spent three days in the belly of the whale. Christ too was to spend three days in darkness before restoring the people to righteousness. If we wish to be worthy of God, then, we too, must “act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with [our] God.”
Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Psalm 84; Matthew 12:46-50
The Prophet Micah is calling on the Lord in the first reading to be merciful to his people and to pardon their sins and transgressions. The people wish to live under God’s blessing as in the past and Micah’s prayer to God is on their behalf. The Psalm takes up this theme and asks the Lord to revive his people, to lead them in the right path. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that those who do the will of God are his brothers and sisters and mother. If we want to be called brothers and sisters of Christ then we too must denounce our sinful ways and do the will of the Father.
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’.
Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13; Psalm 35; Matthew 13:10-17
In today’s first reading the prophet Jeremiah is speaking on behalf of God and reminds the people of how good God has been to them. Yet they have turned their backs on him and walked away from him, preferring instead to put their trust in man-made alliances with foreign groups. The Psalm reminds us that God alone is the fountain of life. In the Gospel, Christ tells us that he speaks in parables so that those who are open to him will understand. Those who are not open to him do not want to hear his message because they know that it would force them to convert. We are called today to conversion of heart and lifestyle. We are called to acknowledge what we have received from God and to be grateful for it and, in giving thanks, to be worthy of what we have received.
Feast of St Mary Magdalene
Songs 3:1-4 (or Corinthians 5:14-17); Psalm 62; John 20:1-2, 11-18
The first reading from the Song of Songs tells of a person seeking the one whom they love. Today we can understand it as Mary Magdalene seeking the Lord. In the gospel from St John we see Mary at the empty tomb and been greeted by Christ himself, now risen from the dead. For her faithfulness to him she has been rewarded by being the first person to see the Lord after his resurrection and also by being the one to proclaim that news to the apostles.
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
The first reading from St Paul to the Galatians speaks very much of the life of St Bridget of Sweden. She gave what she had in the service of the poor and of Christ and the life she lived was not hers but Christ’s. The gospel speaks of the vine whose branches bear much fruit if they remain pure and part of the vine tree. We are called to be like Bridget and to give of what we have in the service of the Lord and of his people. If we do so then we will produce much fruit for the kingdom.
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.
July 24 – July 30, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Seventeenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 18:20-32; Psalm 137; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13
In our first reading from the Book of Genesis we see the Lord speaking with Abraham about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their sins. The Lord decides to wipe them off the face of the earth but Abraham asks the Lord to relent for not all the people are evil. He begins by asking the Lord to spare them if there are fifty just men in the town and finally persuades the Lord to spare the people if there are but ten just men found there. The Lord listens to the pleas of Abraham and relents each time. The Psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord for listening to the cries of his servant. In our gospel text we see Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray and he gives them the ‘Our Father.’ He goes on to tell them – through an example – that if anyone calls on God their prayers will not go unanswered. All too often people forget that ‘no’ is also an answer, as is silence. In answering our prayers the Lord does not always give us what we want because what we want might not be what we need or for our good.
St Paul tells us in the second reading that all our sins have been wiped away because they have been nailed to the cross with Christ whose sacrifice sets us free. No matter what we do we always have the Lord on our side and he is ready to forgive our sins and to answer our prayers whenever we turn to him in faith and trust.
Feast of St James the Apostle
2Corinthians 4:7-15; Psalm 125; Matthew 20:20-28
In our passage from the second letter to the Corinthians St Paul tells us that, because he believes and proclaims the word of God, he will be raised to life with Christ. The death and the life of Christ are at work in him in a very powerful way. There is also a reminder that there will be trials in witnessing for the Lord. In the gospel we see Zebedee’s wife coming to Jesus to ask that her sons sit at his right and left in heaven. Jesus can grant them places in heaven but only if they suffer for him through the spread of the Gospel. We too are called to live lives worthy of the kingdom no matter what trials may come our way. We are to carry our cross every day for Christ and to proclaim the Gospel by the example of how we live.
Also known as James the Greater, he was the brother of St John the Apostle and Evangelist. Not much is known about him other than what is to be found in the Gospels where he has a special place among the Twelve with Peter and John. In Spain it is believed that he preached the Gospel in the Iberian Peninsula and that his relics were buried at Santiago de Compostela, but this is not maintained outside of Spain. He was the first of the apostles to die having been martyred by Herod Agrippa between 42 and 44 AD.
Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 14:17-22; Psalm 78; Matthew 13:36-43
In the reading from Jeremiah we read that the southern kingdom of Judah has been stricken with a drought because the people were unfaithful to the covenant. The people need food and call on God to be merciful to them and to end the drought. The people gather in Jerusalem for a penitential service in which they acknowledge that their sins have caused the drought. In the Gospel, Christ tells us that on judgement day those who have not lived according to the will of God will be weeded out just as the darnel is weeded out and burned. Unlike the people in the first reading, we are called on to be faithful to God in good times as well as in bad.
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.
Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21; Psalm 58; Matthew 13:44-46
The Prophet Jeremiah in our first reading realises that the message he preaches is a difficult one, one of dissention and one which has separated Jeremiah from his people and given him a sense of isolation. God however, tells him to be faithful and he will strengthen him against those who do not wish to listen to him or his message. It is a reminder that, even in our day, following our Christian vocation is not always an easy one but that God is always with us to strengthen and guide us. Christ tells us in the Gospel that the kingdom of heaven is a treasure beyond all price. We are called on to be like the prophet Jeremiah, to preach the Gospel of Christ no matter what the personal cost to us, knowing that there is nothing more valuable in this life than eternal life with God in the next.
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.
Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 18:1-6; Psalm 145; Matthew 13:47-53
We have the allegory of the potter in today’s reading from Jeremiah. As the potter gently reshapes something which goes wrong and starts it afresh, so we are like clay in the hands of God who can restart creation whenever he wishes. Jeremiah realises that the sufferings the people are put through by God, are simply God’s way of remoulding the people and coaxing them back to the covenant and their promises to him. Christ again tells us in the Gospel that the good and the bad will be sifted on judgement day and only the good will be allowed in to the kingdom. We must allow the word of God to mould us each day in to a new people just as the potter moulds his clay.
Memorial of St Martha
1 John 4:7-16; Psalm 33; John 11:19-27 or Luke 10:38-42
The first reading from St John’s first letter speaks of love – love for God and love for others. Love was also a characteristic of Martha. We have two images of Martha presented to us in the gospels. The first is from St Luke in which we see Martha rushing about the house when our Lord arrives. She becomes annoyed because her sister, Mary, is sitting listening to Christ rather than looking after him. When she complains about this, Jesus tells her to stop worrying and to sit in his presence and listen as her sister is doing. In the second image, this time from St John’s Gospel, we are presented with the arrival of Jesus at the tomb of his friend Lazarus. Martha greets him while Mary stays indoors. Martha says that if Christ had come sooner her brother would not have died but that whatever Christ asks of the Father will happen. When asked if she believed that Christ was the resurrection and the life, Martha answers that she does and that she believes him to be the Christ, the Son of God. This is the faith to which we are all called to profess and to show in our lives through love of God and neighbour.
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”).
Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24; Psalm 68; Matthew 14:1-12
The authorities wish to kill Jeremiah in the first reading because they did not like his message. He had predicted that God would destroy his own Temple in Jerusalem because of the sins of the nation. He tells the people that even if they kill him the message will be carried by others and it will never die because the message he brings are God’s own words. In the Gospel, we read of the beheading of John the Baptist for the sake of a foolish promise. The truth of the message and its constancy is put before us today and we are called on to believe it as the people did in the time of Jeremiah after they heard him speak.