Reflections on Daily Readings 2022

May 29th - June 25th, 2022

May 29 – June 4, 2022

Easter Season – The Seventh Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.

The Ascension of the Lord

Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 46; Hebrews 9:24-28, 10:19-23; Luke 24:46-53

Our first reading today recounts the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It was now forty days after his resurrection and he had appeared to his disciples on numerous occasions but now they see him face to face for the last time. As they are speaking he is taken up into heaven. In the second reading the Hebrews are reminded that when Christ ascended he went straight to heaven and not to anything human. He went to heaven to be in the presence of God where he would intercede on behalf of his followers. The author also tells them that because Christ had sacrificed himself there would be no need for any other sacrifice for sin and wrong-doing – Christ’s sacrifice wipes away all sin and is eternal. Our gospel reading gives St Luke’s second account of the ascension in which Christ promises the disciples the Holy Spirit who will lead and strengthen them. As soon as he has blessed them he is taken from them for ever. It is our Christian hope that as Christ has ascended into heaven, we too will follow him and will join him in the kingdom. But we can only do this if we remain faithful to his teaching handed on through the apostles and if we are open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Acts 19:1-8; Psalm 67; John 16:29-33

In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles today we see St Paul on his third missionary journey in what is present-day Turkey. Paul arrives in the port town of Ephesus, where he will remain for almost three years – the longest he stayed anywhere. Today we learn from him that baptism in to the Christian faith does not complete our lives. Only the gift of the Holy Spirit can do this. In the gospel, Christ tells the disciples that they are about to leave him and be scattered. They will do so in order to spread the Gospel throughout the world. He also tells them that this will not be an easy task. We, as heirs of the first disciples, have a duty to help spread the Gospel and we should have no fear in this for Christ, as he says in the text, has already conquered the world.

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Zephaniah 3:14:18 (or Romans 12:9-16); Psalm Isaiah 12:2-6; Luke 1:39-56

In the first reading from Zephaniah we are told to rejoice because the Lord, the king of Israel, is in our midst and has come to repeal our sentence. In the alternative reading from Romans, we are told to make the needs of our fellow men and women our special care. This is what Mary did when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the final stages of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. The gospel tells us of the encounter between the two women when Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s house. It gives us the beautiful Magnificat – the hymn of Mary. We too are called to think of our fellow men and women in their need and to praise God for all that we have been given in life, even if it is not what we expected. Mary is often seen as the Ark of the Covenant as she bore Christ within her for those nine months and Elizabeth rejoiced when she stood in the presence of that human ark, as did the child within her. Having received the Holy Spirit and also Christ at communion, we too are arks of God’s word and so should act accordingly and bring his message and his peace wherever we go. A small point, but an important one, is that the child carried by Elizabeth (John the Baptist) leapt for joy in her womb when he heard Mary – he recognized who and what she was, and he also recognized the immense importance of the child she herself carried. Today also reminds us of the great part John would play in the spread of the Gospel.

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Acts 20:28-38; Psalm 67; John 17:11-19

Today’s first reading continues St Paul’s emotional farewell to the Ephesians. He warns them that they will face trials of faith after he has gone but he commends them to God’s protection. The reading also reveals the affection the Ephesians had for Paul. Jesus is praying to the Father in the gospel and asking that his followers be kept faithful and unified in their work and belief. He then calls them together so that they may dedicate themselves to the work he is leaving them.


Memorial of St Justin, Martyr

Born to pagan parents in Nablus, Palestine, Justin became a Christian when he was about 30 years old. He was a well-known philosopher and was known as “the Philosopher.” He wrote many works in defence of the faith and some of these – the Apologies and the Dialogue with Trypho – survive today. He also wrote our earliest account of baptism and of the Sunday Mass. He was martyred in Rome in 165, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, by being beheaded along with five men and a woman.

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Acts 22:30, 23:6-11; Psalm 15; John 17:20-26

Today’s reading from the Acts sees St Paul on trial in Jerusalem where many of the Jewish community are not happy that he has abandoned aspects of the Law of Moses. Paul has been arrested – partly for his own safety – and he now stands trial before the Sanhedrin – the Jewish Supreme Court. From this too he has to be rescued by the tribune who fears for Paul’s safety. In a vision at the end of the text, the Lord tells Paul that he is now to go to Rome. In the gospel, Jesus prays to the Father and asks that all believers may be unified. He also prays for strength for his followers who carry his Gospel to all peoples. We too are called on to witness to Christ wherever he may send us knowing that he is always with us to guide and protect us.

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Acts 25:13-21; Psalm 102; John 21:15-19

In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we see that following his unfinished trial before the Sanhedrin a group of Jews conspire against St Paul. He is now in Caesarea but knows that he won’t get a fair trial in Jerusalem and so asks that, as a Roman citizen, he be tried in Rome itself. In this Paul is complying with Christ’s vision for him to go and preach the Gospel in Rome from the end of yesterday’s reading. Today’s gospel text is a well-known one in which Christ asks St Peter if he loves him. He also gives Peter a hint as to how Peter is to die. Peter, having denied Christ three times, now affirms three times that he does indeed love him. While it is easy for us to say we love Christ, would it be easy for others to see it by how we live our lives?


Memorial of St Kevin, Abbot

Kevin (Coemgenus) was one of the great sixth-century Irish saints. He grew up in Kilnamanagh and later went to Glendalough to become a hermit and settled in Disert Caoimhghin, by the upper lake. In time, several other hermits joined him and soon the great monastic settlement of Glendalough grew up by the lakes and continued to spread after his death in 618.

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter 

Acts 28:16-20, 30-31; Psalm 10; John 21:20-25

St Paul has now arrived in Rome in our first reading, and quickly sets about teaching about Christ while still under house arrest. This is the conclusion of the Acts of the Apostles and St Luke ends it here to show that the fledgling church has now spread well beyond Jerusalem and has now reached Rome – the centre and capital of the world as they knew it. In today’s reading from St John’s gospel we have the closing verses of that gospel. The author tells us that though a lot has been written about Christ there is so much more that could be written. What we have is all that we need for our faith – if we are willing to accept it.


Memorial of St Charles Lwanga & Companions, Martyrs

Charles Lwanga was in charge of the servant boys of King Mwanga of Buganda (Uganda). The king opposed both Christians and Muslims which led to an attempt by the British to remove him from power. During one persecution the king ordered his Christian servants to be executed. Some of the boys were quite young and only preparing for baptism at the time but, despite the pleas of their families to obey the orders of the king, they remained faithful to Christ. They were martyred by being burned to death at Namugongo in 1886 and canonized in 1964.

June 5 – June 11, 2022

Ordinary Time – The Tenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.

Pentecost Sunday 

Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 103; Romans 8:8-17; John 14:15-16, 23-26

In our first reading we read of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and how they immediately went out and began preaching to the people about the risen Lord. Not only did they preach but they were able to do so in many languages so that everyone who heard them that day could understand what they were saying, such was the power of the Holy Spirit at work in them. Our Psalm is a hymn requesting the Father to send the Holy Spirit among us and, through him, to renew the face of the earth. In the second reading, the Romans are told that if they have the Spirit within them then what they do will be directed towards God at all times – the things of this earth will be of no great interest or lasting value to them. In the gospel reading from St John, we see Jesus telling his disciples that he will send them the Spirit – whom he calls the Advocate – to be with them to strengthen and to guide them. This is the Spirit who is sent in the first reading. As heirs of the apostles we too have received the Holy Spirit, most notably at Baptism and Confirmation, and it is up to us to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives and to give praise and glory to God by the lives we lead.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church 

Gn 3:9-15, 20 or Acts 1:12-14; Psalm 87; John 19:25-34 

Mary, Mother of the Church: From the cross Jesus entrusted Mary to his disciples as their mother

and entrusted his disciples to Mary as her children. Mary, present with the disciples at Pentecost,

prayed with them as the Holy Spirit descended. Mary has never ceased to take motherly care of

the pilgrim church on Earth.

Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 17:7-16, Psalm 4; Matthew 5:13-16

Today, in our first reading from the Kings, we see Elijah being sent by God to a Sidonian town. Again, Elijah puts his trust in God and does as he is commanded. There is a famine in both Palestine and Phoenicia (Jezebel’s homeland) and yet the widow is provided with enough food by God for herself and the holy prophet she looks after. Our Gospel text from St Matthew sees Jesus telling his disciples that they are the light of the world. It is their task to light the way for the people toward God and to guide them home. Elijah too, was the light of the world in his time for he spoke to the people about God and showed them how to live in the sight of God. As the successors of Elijah and the disciples, we are the light of the world and it is our duty to proclaim Christ wherever we may be and to bring people to know him.

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 18:20-39; Psalm 15; Matthew 5:17-19

We read in the first reading today of the slaughter of the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel by Elijah and how he won back the people for the Lord, even though he was the only true prophet left alive in Israel. The event takes place about three years into the famine brought on the people by the actions of King Ahab and his pagan wife, Jezebel. The Psalm for today could quite easily have been the prayer on Elijah’s lips as he called on God for strength and guidance. Today’s Gospel tells us that the Law and the Prophets are still to be obeyed because Christ did not come to abolish them but to complete them, for they contained some inaccuracies which had crept in over the years. It is not enough to observe the mere letter of the Law but also the broader interpretations of the Laws. We are called on to be like Elijah and to stand up for God in the midst of adversity and to obey the Law and the teachings in all things.

Feast of St Columba (Colum Cille), Abbot & Secondary Patron of Ireland 

Colossians 1:24-29; Psalm 15; Mark 10:17-30

In our first reading St Paul tells us that he became the servant of the Church to deliver God’s message to the people. In the gospel we see the rich young man asking Jesus what he must do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him that he must give all he has to the poor and then follow Christ. These readings are very apt for the feast of St Colum Cille for he was of royal lineage but he gave up that privilege and gave his whole life to Christ, founding churches and monasteries wherever he went. As Colum Cille became a servant of the Gospel of Christ we too are challenged today to continue his great missionary work in our own communities.

Columba was born about the year 521 in Co Donegal of royal stock and having completed his studies spent 15 years founding churches and preaching in Ireland. In 561 – for reasons still not clear – he left Ireland for Scotland and arrived on the island of Iona with twelve companions. He preached the Gospel far and wide while returning to Ireland occasionally. His monastic rule had a great influence on Western monasticism. He died in 597.

Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Kings 19:9, 11-16; Psalm 26; Matthew 5:27-32

In today’s text from the first Book of the Kings, Elijah stands on Mount Horeb (also known as Sinai) and is visited by God. God does not come with great power but in the gentleness of a light breeze. When asked why he has come there, Elijah says that he is filled with a jealous zeal for God and because all other servants of God have been killed. The meeting with God on Sinai reminds us of the meeting between God and Moses on the same mountain when Moses was given the Ten Commandments. Elijah is now instructed by God to return to Palestine for the Lord has work for him to do and from which he cannot shy away. In the Gospel, Christ speaks about divorce and adultery. This is often used to portray the Church in a negative way as being oppressive and uncaring but in this passage Christ is setting an ideal for us to strive towards. He also reminds us that we must keep the oaths we swear. Living out the values of the Gospel is not always going to be easy but the standards are always necessary to guide and strengthen the people. We are called to be like the Prophet Elijah because people like him are needed to stand up for God and his Word, especially in today’s world.

Memorial of St Barnabas, Apostle 

Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3; Psalm 97; Matthew 10:7-13

Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles recounts some of the work done by St Barnabas in spreading the Gospel of Christ in various communities. The gospel today sees Jesus sending out his Apostles and telling them how they should act. We are called to be like Barnabas and to give our life to the service of God and the Word.

Little is known about Barnabas but, like St Paul, he is always counted as an apostle because he was divinely called to spread the Gospel with Paul. He is the one who was sent to Paul to ‘bring him into Christianity’ after Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus, and is the one in Acts 4 who sold his land and gave the money to the common fund. He also attended the first council of the Church in Jerusalem with Paul. He is said to have been martyred in Cyprus.

June 12 – June 18, 2022

Ordinary Time – The Eleventh Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.

The Most Holy Trinity

Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

It is our firm belief that God is a Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – and even though we may not understand how this can be, today we celebrate that fact in the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Our readings for this solemnity reflect this Trinitarian aspect of God. In the first reading from the Old Testament Book of Proverbs we see Wisdom telling us that she had existed before anything was created and she was at the Creator’s side through all of creation. Today, we understand Jesus to be the personification of Wisdom and so we believe that he was at the Father’s side through all of creation. In the Gospel reading from St John we see Jesus telling his disciples that he has many things to say to them, though not enough time, but that the Spirit will guide them after he has returned to the Father. The word ‘trinity’ may not have been used by Christ but in this short passage all three persons are mentioned by him and all are clearly equal. In our second reading from St Paul to the Romans, Paul too speaks of the Trinity because he tells us that through Christ we draw close to the Father with the perseverance and hope given us by the Spirit. The Father wants us to be with him and his Son has shown us the way while the Spirit fortifies us for the journey. All that remains is for us to accept that guidance and follow the path marked out by Christ.

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 21:1-16; Psalm 5; Matthew 5:38-42

Today’s first reading sees Naboth – a just man – being stoned to death so that the king can have himself a vegetable garden. Naboth refused to hand over what had been handed down to him by his forefathers and even Ahab acknowledges this to be right. However, Queen Jezebel arranged for false accusations to be made against Naboth so that he could be tried as a traitor and the lands confiscated. In the Gospel from St Matthew, Christ tells us to always turn the other cheek to the wicked. Naboth could be seen as a forerunner to Christ for both were wrongly accused and wrongly put to death. We are reminded of what lies can do and how they can destroy lives.


Memorial of St Anthony of Padua, Priest & Doctor of the Church

Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195. He first joined the Augustinian canons regular but later left to become a Friar Minor of St Francis and preached in Italy and France. He was known to his contemporaries as “The Hammer of Heretics” for his dedicated preaching of the true faith. He has a reputation for retrieving lost objects of careless people. According to a story he received a vision of the Child Jesus and this is why statues of Anthony show him holding the Child Jesus. He died in 1231, was canonized a year later in 1232, and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1947.

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 21:17-29; Psalm 50; Matthew 5:43-48

Our reading today from the Kings is a continuation of yesterday’s text, and in it we see Elijah confronting King Ahab. He accuses Ahab of killing Naboth and of doing what was wrong in the eyes of God. Having heard the predicted doom, Ahab repents. The Psalm is one of pleading for mercy and would have been quite fitting if spoken by the king. Christ, in the Gospel, tells us that we must love our enemies no matter what they have done to us. Only when we love them are we living truly Christian lives.


Memorial of St Elisha, Prophet

Elisha came from a wealthy family and was appointed by God to be successor to the great Prophet Elijah. Just before Elijah was taken up into heaven, Elisha asked for a double portion of his mentor’s spirit and this was granted and can be seen in Elisha’s placing on himself the cloak mantle of Elijah as he was taken up in the chariot. Elisha is noted in the Old Testament for curing the leprosy of Naaman and for raising a dead child to life, both of which were referred to by Jesus Christ in his preaching.

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time 

2 Kings 2:1, 6-14; Psalm 30; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Today’s first reading sees Elijah being assumed into heaven – his work on earth now completed. In his place, Elisha takes over from his master as the foremost prophet in the land. In our Gospel text, Christ is telling the disciples that they should not parade their religious practice in front of others or use it to show off. They should pray and fast quietly because God sees all that they do. Christ did not do away with prayer and fasting but changed how it should be done. We are called on to fast and to pray to our Father in heaven but without drawing attention to ourselves.

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time 

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 48:1-14; Psalm 96; Matthew 6:7-15

Today’s reading from Ecclesiasticus is a hymn of praise for Elijah and Elisha and their service for the Lord. The author emphasises how the two prophets never tired of bringing the people back to God’s way of living even when that work brought them great danger. The text from St Matthew’s Gospel sees Christ teaching his followers how to pray and in it he gives them the “Our Father” – the Lord’s Prayer. We are called on to pray to the Father and to serve him as did Elijah and Elisha. We are also asked to think carefully about the words of the Lord’s Prayer and to try to fulfil each of its phrases.

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20; Psalm 131; Matthew 6:19-23

The reading from the second book of the Kings sees Queen Athaliah seizing power by slaying her grandsons. However, one male heir – Jehoash – is hidden by his aunt and survives the queen’s massacre. Eventually the people revolt against her tyrannical rule and Jehoiada, the priest, has her removed from power and establishes a new covenant with God while destroying the temple of the Baals which Athaliah had built. In the Gospel, we are told that we should not store up treasure for ourselves on earth for they are worthless. Rather, we are to store up treasure in heaven and this is done through upright living in the sight of God.

Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time 

2 Chronicles 24:17-25; Psalm 88; Matthew 6:24-34

In our reading from the second Book of the Chronicles, Jehoiada the priest – who had crowned Joash as king and who had made the covenant between God and the king – dies and quickly the people abandon the faith. King Joash has Zechariah – son of Jehoiada – put to death in Jerusalem about 796BC because he spoke out against the king and the people for their transgressions and abandonment of the true faith. As a result, the land is taken over and plundered by the Aramaeans who are small in number, and the king himself dies at the hand of his own people for his murder of Zechariah. The Psalm is a reminder to be faithful to the covenants made with God. In the Gospel, Christ tells us that we cannot serve two masters – we can only serve one. That master should be God. If we serve him faithfully then we will never have to worry about anything or even about tomorrow, for the Lord will look after us in all things. We are called to put our complete trust in God and never forget the Covenant he has made with us in the blood of his Son.

June 19 – June 25, 2022

Ordinary Time – The Twelfth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 109; 1Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17

Today we celebrate the great solemnity of Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Christ. Traditionally, this day was marked by processions with the Blessed Sacrament carried through towns and villages whose streets and neighbourhoods were cleaned up and decorated for the occasion. The solemnity marks one of the great mysteries of our faith and with it one of the great gifts which God has given to his Church. We celebrate the fact that bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ and which strengthen us and the Church along the path to salvation. In the first reading from the Book of Genesis we see Melchizedek offering bread and wine to God in thanksgiving for the victories achieved with God’s help. This bread and wine is a foreshadow of the bread and wine offered by Christ at the Passover meal. The second reading from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reminds us of the first Eucharist in the upper room on Holy Thursday night. In the Gospel we have St Luke’s account of the miracle of the loaves and fish in which Christ fed a multitude that was hungry. Christ has told us that he is the bread of life and that those who partake of his body and blood will want for nothing because his body and blood will strengthen and guide us. It may be difficult to grasp how a small wafer or a drop of wine can be so important or undergo such a change, but faith is not dependent on proof and so we keep today’s solemnity, asking the Lord to lead us toward our true homeland and to strengthen our faith in this most precious of sacraments.

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18; Psalm 59; Matthew 7:1-5

We see in today’s first reading that even though God had freed his people from the slavery in Egypt they soon fell away from the Covenant and so we see them again going into exile for their transgressions. The northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians about the year 721 BC. Only the southern tribe of Judah remained faithful and free. Our Gospel text tells us that we should never judge others but should look after ourselves. When we see faults in others we should realise that there are bigger faults to be found in ourselves. Today’s readings give us a choice – be faithful to the Lord and his Word and thus live in peace and righteousness, or turn from him and suffer.


Memorial of the Irish Martyrs

Between 1579 and 1654, seventeen Irish people were put to death for the Catholic Faith during the persecutions in Ireland. Of the eleven clergy: nine belonged to religious Orders, four were bishops (three Religious), four were priests (one secular). Of the six lay people: one was a woman (Margaret Ball), three were sailors, and one – Francis Taylor – was Lord Mayor of Dublin. These seventeen were canonized in 1992.

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36; Psalm 47; Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Despite being attacked by a more powerful nation in our reading from the second book of the Kings, Hezekiah prays to the Lord for deliverance for his people and, as a result of his trust in God, is delivered safely. The Assyrians – who had over-run the northern kingdom – were now attacking the southern kingdom and only one city remained free – Jerusalem. One could easily imagine today’s Psalm being sung following the defeat of Sennacherib. In the Gospel, Christ tells us to treat others as we would have them treat us. We are reminded to always remain faithful to the Word of God and to always put our trust in him.


Memorial of St Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

The patron saint of Youth, Luigi Gonzaga was born in Castiglione in northern Italy in 1568. Born into high society he refused to allow corruption and worldliness take hold of his life, preferring instead to become a Jesuit. He joined the Society of Jesus in Rome in 1585 but after six years of tending to the sick he too became ill – probably with the plague – and died in 1591.

Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 22:8-13, 23:1-3; Psalm 118; Matthew 7:15-20

King Josiah is shown the Book of the Law in our first reading today which his people have just rediscovered in the Temple. He immediately orders that all it says is to be obeyed and makes a new covenant with God before the people. The Psalm asks the Lord to teach us his statutes and that we may be careful to observe them. Christ warns us in the Gospel today about listening to false prophets. In our day there are many false prophets with ‘quick fix’ solutions and easy ways to get into heaven. However, we must remember that there is only one way to enter heaven and that is through Christ – the Gate of the Sheepfold, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 24:8-17; Psalm 78; Matthew 7:21-29

The city of Jerusalem and the people go into exile in Babylon in our first reading from the second book of the Kings. This is about the year 597 BC – 125 years after the northern kingdom had been over-run for the same reason, which was that the people and their king had turned from God and no longer trusted him. The magnificent Temple built by King Solomon is stripped of its glory. Our Gospel tells us that we must build our house on solid ground if it is to remain standing and we are to be safe. The solid foundation is the Word of God in which we must place all our faith and trust. If we walk away from it, we will be no better than King Jehoiachin and his people who fell to the Babylonians.

Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist 

Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 138; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66, 80.

Our readings today speak to us about St John the Baptist and his life. John was the last of the prophets – those people who were called by God to remind the people of the covenants and to point out to them when they were straying from the Law of God. The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah reminds us of the messenger who would prepare the way for the Lord. In the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles we see St Paul speaking about John and his life’s work. The gospel recounts for us the birth and how it was that John got his name. It also indicates the great destiny which lay before him as the cousin and herald of the Messiah. We also remember how some saw him as Elijah or one of the other great prophets come back to life.

John was a cousin of Jesus and was just a few months older than him. In the gospel, John is the fore-runner to Christ and is known as ‘the Baptist’ because he was the one who began baptising with water for the forgiveness of sins. He suffered martyrdom by beheading because of a promise foolishly made by King Herod.

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Isaiah 61:9-11; Psalm 1Samuel 2:1, 4-8; Luke 2:41-51

The first reading speaks of rejoicing in God for what he has done for the speaker. It could so easily be the prayer of Mary in thanksgiving for the great honour which God has bestowed upon her in making her the mother of his Divine Son. The Psalm continues this theme. The gospel text tells us how Mary stored up everything about her Son in her heart as a truly loving mother. No doubt Mary thought about these things from time to time – something which we too should do regarding Christ and his place in our lives.

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