Reflections on Daily Readings 2022
February 27th - March 26th, 2022
February 27 – March 5, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Eight Week – Season of Lent | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 27:4-7; Psalm 91; 1Corinthians 15:54-58; Luke 6:39-45
In the first reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus we are told that we should not praise a man before he has spoken for it is in his speech that we find his true feelings and beliefs. The Psalm reminds us that it is good to give thanks to the Lord and that the just will flourish. Taking up the sentiments of the first reading, Christ tells us in the gospel that a man’s words come from his heart: if his heart is filled with love of the Lord then his words will reflect this and he will speak of peace, but if his heart is filled with malice then his words will be against the kingdom. Jesus also warns us about being hypocrites and tells us that we should not point out faults in others when we have faults of our own.
In the second reading St Paul reminds us that as long as we strive for the kingdom, death will have no power over us. Death only has power through sin but if we avoid sin and live lives according to the gospel then we will gain eternal life and will join Christ in defeating death.
1Peter 1:3-9; Psalm 110; Mark 10:17-27
This week we turn to the first letter of St Peter and in our first reading for today Peter is preaching to the people about Christ and the kingdom. He is reminding the people that they believe in Christ even though they have never seen him and so their faith will bring them to everlasting happiness. The Jewish people regard the Promised Land as their “inheritance” and so Peter uses this word deliberately to show that the new inheritance – the new Promised Land – is to be found in heaven rather than here on earth. This inheritance is something which cannot be taken from us except by God. In the Gospel from St Mark, we see a young man go away sad because he did not see that faith is a far more precious treasure than the gold he possessed. We are called to be like the people in the first reading – who believed though they had not seen Christ, unlike the young man in the Gospel.
1Peter 1:10-16; Psalm 97; Mark 10:28-31
In our first reading again today St Peter is telling us how we must believe – with a completely free and open mind in imitation of the holiness of God himself. In that way we will truly come to know God and be united with him. He also encourages us to do all we can today to believe in God rather than putting it off until tomorrow. Today’s Gospel is a continuation of yesterday’s passage, and in it we see the disciples worrying about how they will enter heaven. Christ reassures them and tells them that whoever gives up all they have for him will receive a great reward in this life and in the next – though they will suffer for it. We too will share in that promise if we put Christ and the Gospel before everything else in our lives.
Memorial of St David
David is the patron saint of Wales. He founded the monastery of Menevia (Mynyw) in the far west of South Wales and was bishop of those parts. His monks followed a very austere rule which brought David into conflict with other Christian leaders. David lived in the sixth century.
Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 50; 2Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Today we enter Lent – the great penitential season of the Church’s year – in preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of each of us. The readings today speak about repentance, about fasting, about preparation. We are called to prepare for the glory of the resurrection and our salvation by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In the gospel, we are told that what we do is to be done quietly and without drawing attention to ourselves for that means nothing in the sight of God. Throughout Lent, many people give up various things, such as chocolate or sugar, etc., but what we are asked to give up in the readings has far greater impact not just on ourselves but on others, for we are asked to give up sin and hypocrisy.
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Luke 9:22-25
In today’s Old Testament reading Moses sets before the people a choice – life or death. To gain long life they must live according to the commandments of God. To gain death they need only ignore God. The Psalm speaks of the happiness of those who do turn to God. Similar to the first reading, Jesus too gives us a choice – life or death. If we opt to follow him in all that we do and say then we will gain an eternal reward, though this may mean losing our physical life here on earth but it will certainly mean entering into life with Christ. The purpose of the readings each day is to make us think about our lives and where they are going. The readings today encourage us to reflect, at this early part of Lent, on what we have to change over the next few weeks in order to make us more worthy of the great sacrifice made for us by Christ.
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Isaiah 58:1-9; Psalm 50; Matthew 9:14-15
Through the Prophet Isaiah the Lord tells us the sort of fast that is false – one which is trumpeted before others while putting on a false impression of being miserable. Instead, God wants a quiet, private fast. He also wants all oppression to cease and for all people to show charity to their neighbours. Isaiah spells out practical works of mercy that do please God. We might imitate these ourselves in a variety of ways throughout this penitential season. In the gospel, the disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus why it is his that his disciples don’t fast like they and the Pharisees do. In reply he tells them that because he (the bridegroom) is with them, they will not fast – when he is gone, then the time will be right for fasting.
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Isaiah 58:9-14; Psalm 85; Luke 5:27-32
The Lord continues to tell his people how they should live if they are to enjoy his favour. They must do all that he has commanded them and must bring about an end to tyranny and oppression. It reminds us of the blessings and rewards that lie in store for us if we practise kindness and compassion towards others. Our gospel text reminds us that the Word of God is not just for those who believe and live their lives in accordance with his wishes for they are not in need of conversion. His Word is for all people and particularly for those who are not living a life worthy of him – and he is the judge of what is worthy of him.
March 6 – March 12, 2022
The First Week of Lent | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The First Sunday of Lent
Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Psalm 90; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13
In our first reading from the book of Deuteronomy we see Moses instructing the people. He tells them that they must bring their first fruits to the Lord and to declare their faith in him. This will be their way of thanking God for all that they have received from him. In our second reading, St Paul also speaks about creeds and tells us that the creed of the Christian is that Christ rose from the dead and redeemed us regardless of race or colour. In our gospel reading from St Luke we read of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness during his fasting and prayers of forty days. Despite all that Satan offered him he remained faithful to his Father and to his mission. Our Lenten season is about facing up to the times when we have given in to temptation and resolving to say ‘no’ to them in the future. It is also about preparing to celebrate the events which are central to our faith and which bring us salvation.
Monday of the First Week of Lent
Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 18; Matthew 25:31-46
The readings today show us how to make our lives more holy during Lent by treating other people the way we should treat them. The Lord speaks to Moses in the reading from Leviticus and through him gives the people instructions for living properly in his sight, particularly how to act towards members of our family, friends and neighbours. The Psalm sings the praises of God’s law and reminds us that this law gives wisdom and refreshes the soul. In the gospel, Jesus gives a further instruction for proper living: we must reach out to others and help them in any way we can because God dwells in them just as much as he does in us. At the start of this first full week of Lent we are reminded that good works – as well as faith in God – are necessary in life.
Memorial of Sts Perpetua & Felicity, Martyrs
Perpetua was a young married woman and Felicity was a slave when they were arrested in Carthage in 203 AD during the persecutions of Septimus Severus. Along with four men – Saturus, Saturninus, Revocatus and Secundulus – they were thrown to the beasts and thus martyred – those who did not die were killed by the sword. Their “stories” are amongst the greatest writings of the martyrs and were written by two of the martyrs themselves. Perpetua and Felicity are named in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I).
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 33; Matthew 6:7-15
In the reading from Isaiah, God says that his word goes out and achieves what it was sent to do. This reminds us that God’s will is perfectly carried out in heaven and that we pray for this to happen here on earth. In the gospel, Jesus gives us the most perfect prayer – The Our Father. It is perfect because it is past, present and future. It is perfect because it gives praise to God for what we have received; it asks for what we need to continue living; it seeks forgiveness for the wrongs we have done; it asks for the strength to forgive; and it asks for protection. The whole Gospel is summed up in this one prayer and as we pray it the Word of God is fulfilled.
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
Jonah 3:1-10; Psalm 50; Luke 11:29-32
Today’s readings remind us of the importance of penance and of its reward. In the first reading we see Jonah has been sent to Nineveh to warn the people of God’s wrath at their wrong-doing and of God’s intention to punish them. When they hear the warning they repent and when they repent the punishment they were to receive is set aside, and their friendship with God is restored. The Psalm takes up this theme of repentance and the plea for forgiveness. Jesus, in the gospel, is giving the same warning to the people of his day as Jonah gave to the Ninevites. The message is given to us in our day also. We must turn away from sin and return to the ways of the Lord if we are to be saved.
Thursday of the First Week of Lent.
Esther 14:1, 3-5, 12-14 (Vulgate); Psalm 137; Matthew 7:7-12
Today’s readings remind us of just how important a life of prayer is and that we should cultivate this during the Lenten season. In the first reading we see Queen Esther – a Jew – whose husband, King Ahasuerus, had just been tricked into destroying the Jews. In our passage today from Esther, we see that she has just received word of this and pleads to the Lord to be with her in this time of great peril as she attempts to save her people, and in which she is ultimately successful. In the gospel passage, Jesus speaks of the importance of prayer and the fact that no prayer goes unanswered. While we may not always be happy with the answer we receive, we do still receive an answer to our prayer, an answer which God deems to be best for us in our situation.
Friday of the First Week of Lent.
Ezekiel 18:21-28; Psalm 129; Matthew 5:20-26
The readings today remind us of the importance of interior conversion. In the reading from the Prophet Ezekiel we are told that God does not rejoice in the death of a wicked man but rejoices to see that person converted. More distasteful in his sight is a righteous man turning to wicked ways than a wicked man living wickedly. In the gospel, we are told that our virtue must be more than the mere lip-service of the Pharisees – we must live and act from a deeply held conviction and faith and not just go through external emotions. God sees the inmost heart and judges accordingly. Jesus also reminds us to be reconciled with our family for any wrong we have done to them or they have done to us. Where we fall short on this we must take concrete steps towards conversion.
Saturday of the First Week of Lent.
Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Psalm 118; Matthew 5:43-48
In the reading from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy, we see that God has promised life to his people but only if they keep the Commandments – those simple instructions and rules for living which make life so easy and happy. The Psalm tells us that those who do keep the Commandments and the law of God will live in happiness. Jesus reminds us in the gospel that we must love all people – good and bad alike. For him, this is a simple extension of the Commandments and something we should have no problem doing if we are truly living out the Commandments. We must always act perfectly in the same way that God is perfect and we are seeking to become one with him.
March 13 – March 19, 2022
The Second Week of Lent | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Second Sunday of Lent
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Psalm 26; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28-36
In our first reading today we see Abram putting his trust in God yet again. He has already left his homeland to go to a place which the Lord pointed out even though he did not know what lay in the future for him. Again he puts his trust in the Lord and this time the Lord promises to give his descendants the land he is now living in despite the fact that he has no children and Sara is barren. As we know, God did fulfil his promise and gave Abram a son and made him the father of a multitude. In the gospel text we have St Luke’s account of the Transfiguration of Christ. Jesus and some of his closest friends had climbed the mountain, where he was transfigured in their sight and appeared in radiant glory and stood between Moses and Elijah – the two key figures for the Jews from the Old Testament. The apostles got a glimpse of Christ’s true glory on the mountain and it was only after the resurrection that they truly understood what they saw. The Transfiguration also has an important implication for each of us and this is brought out by St Paul in the second reading in which he tells us that Christ will transform our mortal bodies and make us like his own in glory. The Transfiguration didn’t just give the apostles a glimpse of their glorified Lord – they also got a glimpse of what they too would be like when they joined him in eternity. That glory awaits those of us who have been faithful to God in this life and this season of Lent is about making us aware of what we need to do in order to attain that perfection and ultimately the glory which awaits us.
Monday of the Second Week of Lent
Daniel 9:4-10; Psalm 78; Luke 6:36-38
In our first reading we see Daniel speaking to the Lord and contrasting the goodness of God with the wickedness of the people. The reading reminds us that while we may sin and rebel against God, he never fails to forgive us when we seek forgiveness. The message is that as we are forgiven so we must forgive those who we perceive to have wronged us. The Psalm continues this theme and asks God not to treat the people according to their sins. In the gospel reading from St Luke, Jesus tells us to forgive others and we too will be forgiven; if we give to others we too will receive. When we judge others we should be careful that the yardstick we use on them is the same which we apply to ourselves. There is often a difference between judging and justice and we must err on the side of the latter.
Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 49; Matthew 23:1-12
In the Prophet Isaiah we are called to turn back to God but we must do more than just repent of what sins we have already committed. We must resolve to do good from now on and to commit no wrong. We must put into practice the words which we ourselves speak. Christ takes up this theme in the gospel text and tells us that we must practice what we preach. If we have authority over others then we should not ask them to do what we ourselves would not do but should help others to carry their burdens rather than piling more burdens on them. There is no point in doing good acts if we do not believe in the reason for them or if we are simply doing it for the praise of others. We must be a humble people before others and before our God.
Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
Jeremiah 18:18-20; Psalm 30; Matthew 20:17-28
In our first reading we read that the people have turned against Jeremiah and he prays to God for his safety. The plotting against Jeremiah reminds us of the plotting that will take place against Christ as we near Holy Week and, ultimately, the outcome of that plotting. The Psalm continues this prayer for help reminding us that in God alone is our safety and our salvation. In the gospel passage from St Matthew we have the first prediction by Christ of his coming death. Zebedee’s wife asks that her two sons be closest to him in heaven but he tells them that they will have to suffer first and they reply that they are happy to do so. Turning to the others he tells them that places at table are insignificant because he came to serve rather than to be served. We too must serve if we are to be fit for heaven.
Solemnity of St Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland
Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 138; 1Thessalonians 2:2-8; Luke 5:1-11
In our first reading we see the Prophet Amos and his message being rejected by Amaziah and told to go home. Amos, however, refuses to go away stating that it was God who appointed him to this work and he will be faithful to that. The second reading continues this theme and in it the author is saying that his preaching was not done to flatter others or for his own personal gain but to serve God alone – which is what Patrick did in Ireland. Our gospel text from St Luke recounts the call of the first disciples and how small Peter felt in the Lord’s presence. Yet, they left all they had and followed him. Having escaped slavery and returned to freedom St Patrick gave up that freedom to become the Lord’s servant and returned to Ireland to spread the faith. The readings remind us of our national saint but they are also a reminder to us to protect the faith we have received even though that may mean rejection from those who do not believe in the presence of the Triune God.
About St Patrick
Patrick was born between 385 and 389 in Roman Britain, probably Wales. About the year 403 he was taken as a slave to Ireland by pirates who used to raid the Welsh coast, and he remained there for six years before escaping back to Britain. However, he could hear the call of the Irish people to return to them so he studied and became a priest. He was consecrated bishop by St Germanus at Auxerre before returning to Ireland as a missionary and Bishop of Ireland in succession to St Palladius about 432AD. He travelled the country preaching the Gospel of Christ and baptising the people and established what was to become the primatial church of Ireland at Armagh in 444. He is said to have died at Saul in northeast Ireland about 461 and his remains are, according to tradition, buried at Downpatrick with St Brigid and St Columba (Colmcille).
Friday of the Second Week of Lent
Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28; Psalm 104; Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
Today’s passage from the Book of Genesis recounts the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers. There is an echo in the story of Joseph – whose brothers rejected him, plotted against him and tried to kill him – of the story of Jesus who was also rejected, plotted against and eventually put to death. In the gospel, Jesus uses a parable to speak of himself to the people. He tells the story of a vineyard owner whose workers have rebelled and killed his messengers. In the end he sends his son and they kill him too. The kingdom was being offered to the Jews first but they would not produce the harvest so it was offered to the gentiles who accepted the task and have produced a harvest. We are now heirs of those gentiles and are reminded of who our vineyard owner is. The story is also one of missed opportunities, a betrayal of trust, and ingratitude in the face of the vineyard-owner’s overwhelming generosity. It is a reminder to us to examine our lives and to ensure that we are not like the bad tenants, and, if perchance we are, to take this opportunity to make up for the opportunities which have already passed us by.
Solemnity of St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16; Psalm 88; Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22; Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24
In the first reading from the Prophet Samuel, we see God telling David that his throne will stand secure for ever through one of his line. The Psalm repeats this promise. The passage from the letter to the Romans assures us that we are the spiritual children of Abraham and that we must have faith and belief like him. The gospel recounts the narrative of the vision Joseph had which told him to take Mary as his wife though she was already pregnant. In this way Jesus was born of the line of David and everything that God had promised to David and to Abraham was fulfilled. As Joseph trusted in the Lord, so we are called to that same trust and belief. The key element for us is that Joseph was a man of faith just as Mary was a woman of faith. Both had annunciations and both accepted what must have been quite troubling but they did so without hesitation. In this way they ensured the prophesies and promises of the Old Testament while giving the child a strong faith-based family unit in which to grow up.
Little is known about Joseph except that he was of the line of David which was essential in order for Jesus to be legally of the house and line of David in fulfilment of the Scriptures. What is more important for us is the example which Joseph left us. He was a man of faith who played his role in God’s salvific plan for us; he was obedient to the will of God; he had a love for the Law and its fulfilment; he showed piety and fortitude in times of trial; he had a chaste love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and he exercised his paternal authority with due care. He is therefore a true example of Christian living and is the Protector of the Church. Joseph is also the patron of carpenters and manual workers.
March 20 – March 26, 2022
The Third Week of Lent | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Third Sunday of Lent
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalm 102; 1Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9
In our first reading we see the Lord appointing Moses to go and bring his message to his people in Egypt who have been held in slavery by a people with whom they once had equality. What is important for us to note in the account is not the fact that the bush was unharmed or that Moses was tending a flock, but that the Lord has seen the plight of his people and has resolved to free them from that plight. Today many people are oppressed by their own false gods and habits but the Lord still wants them to be freed and so we have this season of Lent to help us identify our false gods and to accept God’s help in freeing ourselves from the things which oppress us. St Paul reminds us of this in the second reading. In the gospel we see Jesus calling the people to repentance. If the people repent then they will have life but if not they will perish. The choice placed before us today is quite clear: if we accept the Lord’s love and compassion and turn away from our false gods which lead us into sin then we will be saved and receive eternal life, but if not then, while we may live this life according to our own rules, we will not enter the kingdom in the next life.
Monday of the Third week of Lent
2Kings 5:1-15; Psalm 41; Luke 4:24-30
In the text from the second book of the Kings we see one of the King of Aram’s commanders – Naaman – being cured of leprosy by the Prophet Elisha. At this the commander declares that only in Israel is there a true God. In the gospel passage, Jesus refers to the text from Kings and Naaman the leper and tells his listeners that he, like Elijah and Elisha, was not sent only to the Jews but to all peoples. The story of Naaman also reminds us of Easter baptism: there is a link between Naaman’s cleansing in the Jordan and the baptism of Christ in the same waters. We have a duty not to keep the Gospel message to ourselves but to bring it to others. Christ brought his message to his people first but they failed to see in his simplicity and ordinariness, the true power and presence of God. They sought something spectacular but did not see it. If we are looking for something spectacular then we too will be disappointed for the message of Christ is profound while still being simple.
Tuesday of the Third week of Lent
Daniel 3:25, 34-43; Psalm 24; Matthew 18:21-35
In the Book of the Prophet Daniel there is recounted the story of three young men – Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah – who refused to abandon their religion for King Nebuchadnezzar. The king had them bound and thrown into a fiery furnace but the angel of God joined them there and they walked through the furnace unharmed. Our passage today from Daniel sees Azariah speaking to God from within the furnace and asking God to look kindly on them and on their people and to forgive the sins of the people which have brought them such torment. The Psalm continues this theme. In the gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that prayer on its own is not enough – we must also forgive our neighbours whenever they wrong us. And that forgiveness must come from the heart and not just from the lips. If we do not forgive others how then can we stand before God and expect him to forgive us when we withhold forgiveness?
Wednesday of the Third week of Lent
Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147; Matthew 5:17-19
In the first reading, Moses has given the people their laws and tells them to be careful to observe them because they come from God. It is a reminder of the importance of the command of God in our daily lives. Christ, in the gospel, tells us that he came to complete the laws given to us by Moses and that they are to be obeyed. While some use Jesus as an excuse to be a rebel we see him today upholding the tradition and Law of the Jewish people, but what is important is that Jesus wants us to live the spirit of the law and not just the mere letter of the law, and while this at times is harder to do it is infinitely more rewarding and more pleasing to God. The Ten Commandments may have been given many centuries ago but they are not outdated and are still to be obeyed by all.
Thursday of the Third week of Lent
Jeremiah 7:23-28; Psalm 94; Luke 11:14-23
In today’s reading from the Prophet Jeremiah, God tells us what commands he had given the people. The people, however, have abandoned the Lord and his commands. It is a reminder to us not to harden our hearts to God but to always be receptive to his ways no matter where they lead us or what they may ask of us. In the gospel some of the people are afraid of Jesus and believe that he can cast out devils because he is one himself. He tells them that this is not the case because the kingdom would soon die if that were so. He goes on to tell them that if they are not for him then they are against him. We know that being for Jesus is not just something we say but is a complete way of life and one which we cannot shy away from because when we refuse to make the commitment to live this way of life then, at that moment, we put up a barrier to closer union with God.
The Annunciation of the Lord
Isaiah 7:10-14, 8:10; Psalm 39; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38
The readings for this solemnity all point towards one very important word – “Yes.” They each speak of doing the will of God with open hearts. The gospel text recounts Gabriel’s visit to Mary to tell her that she is to bear the Saviour of the world. Mary answers “yes” to God and we too are called on to say “yes” to him every day of our lives and to trust in his goodness as completely as did Mary. Our gospel today also reminds us of Christ’s “yes” in the Garden of Gethsemane when he was faced with the prospect of dying for us. Yet in that “yes” which caused his death he also secured our salvation. Now is the time for us to say “yes” to him and to truly gain that salvation.
Today is celebrated as a solemnity as it recalls the day when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that God had chosen her to play an important role in the plan of salvation – that of bearing the Christ-child. Key for us is Mary’s acceptance of this task even though the whole episode must have terrified her.
Saturday of the Third week of Lent
Hosea 5:15-6:6; Psalm 50; Luke 18:9-14
We read in the prophet Hosea that what God wants from us is true love – not sacrifices and fleeting emotions when we are in difficulty. We must always love him and seek to do his will with sincerity. We must never be superficial people when it comes to God. The Psalm echoes this. In the gospel, Jesus tells the story of two men in the Temple – one who went to the front and told God how good he was, believing that his goodness and righteousness was of his own creation; the other who stayed at the back and asked God for mercy acknowledging that he was a sinner. We are called to be like the second man – to be honest before God and to acknowledge that we do wrong. We are also reminded that all goodness comes from God and not from ourselves and this is what the tax collector realised and which made him righteous before God – God has no time for insincerity. The lesson put before us today is that true love for God is genuine and humble.