Reflections on Daily Readings 2023
May 28th - June 24th, 2023
May 28 – June 3, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Eight Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 103; 1Corinthians 12:3-7, 13-12; John 20:19-23
Our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles tells us of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Christ and of the effect it had on them. The Apostles were in one room together when the Holy Spirit came down upon them and they were able to speak in different languages. They went out into the streets and began to teach about Jesus and all those who were in the city were able to understand what was being said. This is the birth of the Church. The second reading tells us that there are many gifts given by this Holy Spirit but that we are all one this Spirit and therefore we all make up one body – the body of Christ which is his Church. The gospel sees Jesus meeting with his followers and telling them that they must continue his work now that they have received the Holy Spirit. 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. We should also follow the example of the Apostles on Pentecost Day and spread the Good News about the Kingdom of God.
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 Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 35:1-12; Psalm 49; Mark 10:28-31
Today, our first reading calls on us to “honour the Lord with generosity” and to keep his laws. What we have has come from the Lord and therefore we should share it with others so that they too may feel the love of God through us. The author – Ben Sirach – also tells us that those who give will be rewarded, but that our generosity must not be for any show of piety but must be genuine. In the Gospel passage we are reminded that the reward promised to us is nothing short of eternal life. If we place Christ before all else then he will reward us but he also reminds us that fully living the Christian way of life will bring persecutions from those who are against the kingdom of God and against his believers.
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.
Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 42:15-25; Psalm 32; Mark 10:46-52
Our first reading today comes from the final section of Ben Sirach’s book of wisdom and so is a hymn of praise for all the works of God. We are told that the glory of the Lord is to be found in creation which is all around us. Everything that the Lord has made is perfect for “he has made nothing defective.” And whatever has been made compliments something else. In this way Ben Sirach was hoping to keep the Jews from being distracted by the new Greek culture which had just taken over control of Palestine. The Psalm praises God for all that he has done. In the Gospel we read of the restoration of Bartimaeus’ sight by Jesus. Bartimaeus was healed because he asked to be healed and because he had faith in Christ. If we too ask for something and are people of faith then our prayer will most certainly be heard and answered.
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.
Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 44:1, 9-13; Psalm 149; Mark 11:11-26
In our first reading today we are told to praise illustrious men. But the men we are to praise are not those who were wealthy or powerful but those who did good deeds, who kept the covenants and who passed these on to their children – these are the ones who are truly illustrious and worthy of praise. Ben Sirach, in writing about these men, is trying to show his readers and listeners that those who live God-fearing lives have already achieved wisdom and therefore do not need the philosophies and culture of foreigners. In the Gospel we are reminded of the importance of the house of God as a house of prayer and how it should be kept sacred through Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple. We are also reminded of the importance of faith and of forgiveness – not just the forgiveness we receive from God but the forgiveness which others receive from us. If we come before the Lord to seek forgiveness then we must be willing to forgive those who have wronged us.
Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 51:12-20; Psalm 18; Mark 11:27-33
In the first reading, from our final passage from Ecclesiasticus, the author speaks of seeking wisdom and of following wisdom’s instruction. As Christians we know that the wisdom of God is his Son, Jesus Christ, and that if we seek him we will find him and, having found him, he will guide us, through the Holy Spirit, in all things. In the Gospel we see Jesus being confronted by the chief priests and the scribes because they are not happy with the way he teaches and what he teaches. They ask where his authority comes from but when they fail to answer his question he does not answer theirs. We know that his authority is from God because he is the Son of God who was sent to redeem us.
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.
June 4 – June 10, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Ninth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Most Holy Trinity
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Psalm Daniel 3; 2Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18
In the first reading from the Old Testament Book of Exodus we see Moses going back to the Lord with the two tablets to receive the Law from a tender and compassionate God. The God who gives the Law to his people is one who does so out of love for his people that – through observance of the Law – they may be drawn into his love and live in happiness. The second reading is quite Trinitarian in its closing words to the people of Corinth, a closing which we use at the start of the Eucharist, and which is a common feature of St Paul’s letters. The Gospel tells us that God sent his Son to redeem and to save the world. We are told that God did this because he wanted all people to “have eternal life.” All who believe in Jesus and who live out that belief, will one day be joined with the Trinity in eternal life.
Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Tobit 1:3, 2:1-8; Psalm 111; Mark 12:1-12
Today we turn to the Book of Tobit which was possibly written by Jews in Egypt between the fourth and fifth centuries before Christ. In today’s text we read of Tobit who was sitting down to a feast but, before he touched the food, he sent his son out to bring in someone who was in need to share in the meal. The son came back to say that one of their people had been killed and thrown in the market place. Tobit got up immediately and recovered the body and gave it a dignified burial. He shows concern for someone he did not know simply because he was one of his nation. It is also important because Tobit and the Jewish people were in exile in Assyria and many were struggling to keep faithful to their traditions and their Jewish roots. In our Gospel text from St Mark, we have the parable of the vineyard in which the owner’s son is murdered and thrown out. The earth, of course, is the vineyard and the workers represented the Jewish authorities of his day against whom Christ told this parable. The Jewish authorities wanted to arrest Christ there and then but couldn’t for fear of the people. The earth still belongs to God and we look after it as his stewards but we must do so in a way which is in keeping with the will of God. We must have a concern for others and for all of creation just as Tobit did in our first reading.
Memorial of St Boniface, Bishop & Martyr
Known as the ‘Apostle of Germany,’ Boniface was born in Devon, England, about the year 680 and christened Winifrid. He became a monk and left England in 716 to preach the Gospel in Germany and was given the name Boniface by Pope Gregory II. He travelled throughout Germany and established monasteries and dioceses before carrying out an ecclesiastical reform in Gaul. He was consecrated bishop in 722 and was later Primate of Germany. In his seventies, he retired as bishop and travelled about the country again. He was martyred for the faith in Friesland in 754.
Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Tobit 2:9-14; Psalm 111; Mark 12:13-17
In our reading today from the book of Tobit we see that Tobit loses his sight through a simple accident. The treatments only make his condition worse and yet he says nothing against God who could have prevented this from happening, even when his own wife says that there is no point in remaining faithful to God. As the Psalm says – “With a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.” In our Gospel passage we see the chief priests and scribes at odds with Jesus and trying to catch him out. They ask him whether or not they should pay taxes to Caesar and he tells them that as it is Caesar’s head on the coin that they should pay. He tells him to “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.” We owe everything to God and we should thank and praise him for all that he has given us. He is the Lord of creation and is to be given true praise and acknowledgment at all times, even when things are not going our way.
Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17; Psalm 24; Mark 12:18-27
In our reading today from Tobit we see that Tobit is downhearted at the lot that has fallen to him and so he begins a prayer of lamentation to God. At the same time there is a woman named Sarah who has been married seven times but all of her husbands have died before they came together. She too begins a prayer of lamentation to God and like Tobit, she too prays for death as a deliverance from her problems. Their prayers are answered and the Archangel Raphael is sent to them. This is an example of how we should trust in God and pray to him with confidence. In our Gospel text we see Jesus being questioned by the Sadducees and he tells them that God is not a God of the dead but of the living. In other words, when we physically die in this life part of us lives on forever. The Sadducees denied this because they had not fully grasped the teachings in the scriptures and did not believe in resurrection. Their story of a woman with seven husbands reminds us of Sarah in the first reading. We have Christ’s word for life after death and also the promise of eternal life to those who trust in him and believe in the promise he has made to us.
Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Tobit 6:10-11, 7:1, 9-14, 8:4-9; Psalm 127; Mark 12:28-34
In our first reading today we see the marriage of Sarah to Tobias after Tobias has been sent to Persia to collect a sum of money for his father, Tobit. Sarah’s father warns Tobias of the fate of those who marry his daughter yet Tobias goes ahead with the marriage regardless. The passage ends with the newly-weds in fervent prayer before God. We again see the scribes questioning Jesus in the Gospel but this time his answer silences them. He tells the scribes, and us, that we must love the Lord our God with our whole being and we must also love our neighbour. These are the two greatest commandments and on these two all others hang: if we can live by these two then we will have no trouble in keeping the Law of the Lord and living righteously before him as his sons and daughters.
Feast of St Columba (Colum Cille), Abbot & Secondary Patron of Ireland
Romans 12:1-2, 9-13 or 2 Cor 5:14-21; Psalm 33; Mt 8:18-27 or Mt 19:27-29
St Colum Cille 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.
Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20; Psalm – Tobit 13; Mark 12:38-44
In our first reading the Archangel Raphael reveals himself and tells Tobit and Tobias that he was sent to test their faith and they have been found righteous. Before he leaves them he reminds them – and us – to always praise and thank God. He also tells them that while it is right to keep certain things secret it is always right to proclaim the works of God to all people. The Psalm comes from Tobit’s beautiful song of thanksgiving after Raphael has left them. In our Gospel we have the story of the widow who put in very little to the offerings when compared to the money given by others and yet hers was the greater offering because she gave from what she needed while the others gave from their surplus and so would never miss it. We too are challenged to give as much as possible from what we have and not just from what we have over and above what is needed to live. We are reminded today to praise God and to give charitably to others.
June 11 – June 17, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Tenth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; Psalm 147; 1Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58
The first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that God humbled the people in the desert to see if they would be faithful to him or not. Throughout their wanderings he kept his people alive with manna – bread from heaven. The Gospel passage comes from St John’s Bread of Life discourse. In the section we have today, Jesus tells us that he is unlike the bread – the manna – which the Jews received from God in the wilderness. The bread in the wilderness only satisfied them for a while whereas the food which Christ gives us is his own flesh and blood – food which will bring the believer to union with Christ and eternal life with the Father. In the second reading from his first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul tells us that while there may be many of us, through receiving the body of Christ we are all made one and become a single body, which has Christ as its head. Today’s feast has the Last Supper on Holy Thursday night as its backdrop and origin but we celebrate it today in thanksgiving for the great gift we receive through the body and blood of Christ given for us.
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
2Corinthians 1:1-7; Psalm 33; Matthew 5:1-12
In the first reading St Paul writes to the people of Corinth to strengthen them in their faith. This letter was written by Paul about the year 57 AD while on his third missionary journey to the Gentiles. Today he tells about the compassion of God who comforts us and helps us along the way no matter what happens to us. Having received God’s consolation we are to go out and console others so that they too may feel God’s presence and consolation through us. In our Gospel reading for the next sixteen weeks we read from St Matthew’s Gospel and we begin with the Beatitudes – the radical blueprint for living which Christ left us. Matthew likens Jesus to Moses who gave the people a law for living while on another hilltop. If we can live out the Beatitudes in our lives then we will give true glory and praise to God while allowing the world to see that there is a better way than the way it offers and that the peace of God is the true path to happiness and eternity.
Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
2Corinthians 1:18-22; Psalm 118; Matthew 5:13-16
St Paul tells us in the first reading today from his second letter to the Corinthians that the answer to all our prayers and God’s promises are found in Christ. God assures us of this and has sent us the Holy Spirit who is present in us always. In our Gospel we are told by Christ himself that we are the light of the world. Our world is in need of the true light that will guide it out of conflict and the darkness of sin into the true radiance of the Father’s glory. We are that light but if we don’t let our light shine then the world will never be saved. We are called on today to say ‘yes’ to the Lord, as Paul tells us Christ did, and so bring the world to him.
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.
Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
2Corinthians 3:4-11; Psalm 98; Matthew 5:17-19
In our first reading today St Paul is reminding his readers that he is an administrator of God’s covenant by the power of God. This new covenant is not written down like the tablets of stone given to Moses. It is far greater and is written by the Holy Spirit and therefore is also everlasting. This is the greatest covenant and one which we must live up to. It is also a living covenant as Christ lives for ever. In the Gospel, Christ tells us that he did not come to abolish the old Laws as some had thought. He came rather to complete them and give them their full meaning and he reminds us that we have to keep those Laws if we are to be his servants. We cannot be choosey in what we believe but must believe whole-heartedly in the Lord and in his Laws and commandments.
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.
Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
2Corinthians 3:15-4:1, 3-6; Psalm 84; Matthew 5:20-26
In our first reading today from his second letter to the Corinthians, St Paul tells us to remove the veil from over our minds which prevents us from listening to, understanding and accepting the word of God for what it is – the true word of God and not some human invention. In the Gospel Jesus reminds us to be reconciled with our brother – that is, all those with whom we live or meet. He tells us that we sin even by thinking negatively about others and so we should make reparation for that before approaching the altar of God. We must lay aside all anger and resentment and live by the Law of the Lord in harmony and peace with one another and with God.
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Deuteronomy 7:6-11; Psalm 102; 1John 4:7-16; Matthew 11:25-30
The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart calls to mind images of the Sacred Heart in which the heart of Christ is emblazoned upon his chest for all to see. In the images Christ points to his heart which on the one hand invites us to draw closer to him and on the other reminds us that he has been rejected and his heart has been pierced because of that. In the first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy we are told that God has chosen us out of his love for us despite all our faults. The Psalm continues this theme of God’s love for his people. The second reading from St John tells us that love comes from God and is a love which surpasses all others. In the Gospel from St Matthew, Christ is calling us to himself and tells us to place in his care all our worries and troubles. In his great love for us he will ease our burdens. We too are called to love our fellow men and women, and Christ above all else.
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.
June 18 – June 24, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Eleventh Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Exodus 19:2-6; Psalm 99; Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 9:36-10:8
The theme of our readings today is very much one of calling. We are called to live as sons and daughters of God and to keep his commandments and the covenant in constant faith and truth. Not only that, we are also called to go out ourselves and to proclaim the Good News and so make the kingdom visible. While all may not be able or called to do so as ordained ministers and religious, all are called to do so by the example of how they live their lives and in their dealings and relations with others. In our gospel text for today from St Matthew, we have the naming of the Twelve Apostles and the instruction to them to go out and spread the Good News. At the end of the text we are reminded that what we have received, we have received without charge and so we must pass that on without charge.
The second reading from the letter to the Romans reminds us that as Christ died to make us righteous in the eyes of God that he will not fail to save us should we go astray. We must remain faithful to him and live the kind of life he wants us to live. There will be times when we will go astray but we must always make the effort to secure our place in the kingdom.
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Psalm 97; Matthew 5:38-42
In our first reading today from his second letter to the Christians in Corinth, St Paul is urging us to prove that we are servants of God. God has already given us the grace to do this work and he urges us not to neglect that grace but to work with it and so give glory to God in all things whether we are being persecuted, working or resting. In all things we must let the glory of God shine through so that others may come to believe in him. Paul also tells us that we should never put this duty off until tomorrow because we might not have a tomorrow. In our Gospel for today, Jesus says the same thing but he tells us not just to do as we are told by those who don’t believe or who are testing us, but to do what they have asked and more besides. We must not offer resistance to anyone because through it all we have Jesus with us to strengthen and guide us and to bring us to victory for the glory of God.
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 8:1-9; Psalm 145; Matthew 5:43-48
In a very gentle way in the first reading St Paul is reminding the community at Corinth of their duty to live the Gospel and also to aid in the spread of the Gospel. He is in Macedonia and building up the Church there and he tells the Corinthians of all that is happening there so that they will feel, perhaps, a little envious and will work all the harder themselves to keep the faith. He also reminds them that Jerusalem is the focus of the faith. In our Gospel we are called on by Jesus to be perfect just as our Father is perfect. This is not an easy thing to do and in particular he tells us that we should love our enemies which many people shy away from. But given God’s law of love we are not asked to like our enemies which is very different from loving them. In loving them we pray for their salvation and for an increase in them of the grace which has been poured out into the whole world. Nothing can disarm our enemies more than our prayers for them.
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.
Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Psalm 111; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
In our first reading today St Paul urges us to be cheerful givers. If we give to others out of charity it will mean nothing if we do so simply to fulfil the commandment to look after one another. However, if it is done out of genuine concern for the receiver then we will receive many graces and favours ourselves and will move a step closer to full union with God. Paul speaks of this because he was organising a special collection for the community in Jerusalem – the birth place of the faith. In our Gospel reading today from St Matthew we see Jesus instructing us on how to give to others and on how to pray – we are to do both without any show or arrogance. God alone sees all that we do in secret and God is the one we must please. Putting on an act for our fellow man is mere folly if it is simply done to win his approval. This doesn’t mean that we don’t make a special effort and dress appropriately when coming to church but it does mean that our reason for attending church must be of far greater importance than how people see us.
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.
Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 11:1-11; Psalm 110; Matthew 6:7-15
At the time that St Paul was writing to the Corinthians they had begun to fall away from the true faith and disunity was creeping in among them. Paul’s letter was an attempt to keep them in tune with the correct Gospel as is seen clearly in today’s passage. He is telling them that the message which he brought is the right one and that there is only one Good News – anyone who comes with differences from this are not to be followed. As proof of what he is saying he tells them that he taught them for no fee because he did so out of love – love for God and love for the Corinthians. In our Gospel we see Jesus teaching his disciples the ‘Our Father.’ It is a prayer which encompasses all of life – past, present and future and one which we should pray with great reverence and care. At the end Jesus also reminds us that we must forgive others who have hurt us or sinned against us because if we do not forgive others, then we have no right to expect God to forgive us the sins we commit against him and our fellow men and women.
Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30; Psalm 33; Matthew 6:19-23
Many people boast about their successes in life and the great things that they have done so St Paul in our first reading to the Corinthians today boasts about himself also. But Paul doesn’t boast about the wonderful things he has done or about the amount of travelling he has done, or about the number of times he has been in prison and punished by the civil authorities. He boasts about the occasions when he was in dangerous situations and in all his boasting he comes across as being weak or naïve. And yet all of this was done at the Lord’s command so that the Good News might spread throughout the land and because Paul’s greatest treasure was Christ. In the Gospel Jesus tells us that where our treasure is, that is where our heart will be found. On the last day there is little point if our treasure is in a bank vault and our heart with it, or in the jewels in our trinket box, because they are not the keys to heaven. If we wish to enter heaven then heaven must be our treasure so that our heart will always be there – in life and in death.
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.