Reflections on Daily Readings 2022
October 30th - November 26th, 2022
October 30 – November 5, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-First Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 11:22-12:2; Psalm 144; 2Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10
In our first reading from the Book of Wisdom we are told that God created everything and having created it he loves everything in creation. The author also tells us that if there was something that God did not like that it would not be in creation for he would not have created it – a reminder that whatever we regard as being good or bad was all created by God. In the gospel from St Luke, we have the story of the tax collector, Zacchaeus, who was converted upon meeting Jesus and promises to make amends for anything he has done in the past while living a new life in to the future. The story is a reminder that while we may judge people by our own standards they are not the standards which God uses.
In our second reading St Paul is writing to the Thessalonians to encourage them in the faith. In our passage today he prays that the name of Christ will be glorified in them and in their faith which he hopes will grow daily. We too must work to strengthen our faith every day in order that the name of God may be glorified in us and we, in turn, be glorified in and by him.
Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Philippians 2:1-4; Psalm 130; Luke 14:12-14
St Paul asks us in the first reading from his letter to the Philippians in northern Greece, to be a humble people and to always regard others as being better than we are. He also says that we should be of one mind thereby avoiding factions and divisions. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that we should not do something for the sake of a reward or a returned favour in this life but that we should be charitable to those who cannot give anything back. Therefore our reward will be all the greater for it will be given in the next life.
Solemnity of All Saints
Apocalypse 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12
In the reading from the Book of the Apocalypse the author speaks of the faithful who have died and are now radiant in the presence of God in heaven. They are radiant because their robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb who is our redeemer. Before the final judgement all those who have been faithful will be given a seal on their forehead as the Jews sealed their doorposts on Passover night. In our second reading St John asks us to think of the love which God has lavished on us – a love which allows us to be called the sons and daughters of God and therefore grants us a place in heaven with God. For John, this means that anybody who thinks of this would automatically try to purify themselves and try to live up to this great gift and grace. In the gospel, we have Christ’s tremendous blueprint for Christian living – the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount – which has the power to transform our world but only if people live out that teaching in their lives. These readings are apt for today’s feast because the saints did live out the Beatitudes and did recognise and appreciate the great love which God lavished on them and so lived their lives in such a way that people could see the love of God in their midst. As a result, the saints – who were living, breathing human beings like each and every one of us – now enjoy the beatific vision in the eternal kingdom.
Solemn Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 26; Romans 5:5-11; Matthew 11:25-30 or Mark 15:33-39, 16:1-6
In our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah we read that the Lord of hosts will destroy Death for ever. We know that Christ has triumphed over death and yet people still die. What is important for us to keep in mind is that while our earthly body may die our soul does not. It lives on and the banquet which Isaiah speaks about takes place in heaven. In the second reading St Paul tells us that we have been saved by Christ who died for us even while we were still sinning. This is the hope that we should have and if we live according to that hope then we will all be reunited in the kingdom where death has no power. In the gospel text from St Matthew we see Jesus praising the Father in heaven for revealing the mysteries to children rather than to the learned and the clever. The text concludes with Jesus calling to him all those who are overburdened. Matthew is reminding us that the way of Christ is a way of fulfilment at the end of which is eternal life and a time of rest which will never end. Only if we trust God like little children and act accordingly can we enter the kingdom of heaven. In the alternative gospel passage from St Mark we read of the death of Christ which is a moment of great despair for his mother and for the disciples. But in the second part there is a very obvious contrast because we now see the Risen Lord and so we are filled with great hope. Christ, who was human, has been raised from the dead and through his resurrection we too have the promise of resurrection and eternal life. Today in a very special way we pray for all who have died but we do so in hope – hope of the resurrection which has been promised to each one of us and to all who have died.
Any of the readings from amongst those from the Lectionary for the Dead may be used today.
Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Philippians 3:3-8; Psalm 104; Luke 15:1-10
St Paul speaks about how perfect a Jew he himself was before his conversion. However his former standing as a Jew is often a disadvantage because people are not always ready to accept that he is now a true Christian. If we want to be accepted as true Christians then we must convert today and not continue in our sinful ways. Christ tells us in the Gospel that there is more rejoicing in heaven over the conversion of a sinner than for the right living of the virtuous. The virtuous are doing no more than is expected of them while the repentant sinner has come to accept the word of God and make it the guiding light in their life.
Memorial of St Malachy, Bishop
Malachy O’More was born in 1095 at Armagh. He was known for his zeal and vigour and was Abbot of Bangor, Bishop of Connor and then Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. When the Irish Church was reorganised in 1139 he resigned and went on pilgrimage to Rome. On the way he stayed at Clairvaux where he became friends with St Bernard and arranged for the Cistercians to come to Ireland where they established their first monastery at Mellifont. On his second journey to Rome he again stayed at Clairvaux where he died in St Bernard’s arms in 1148. He was the first Irish saint to be formally canonized.
Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Philippians 3:17-4:1; Psalm 121; Luke 16:1-8
In today’s first reading from the letter to the Philippians, St Paul calls on us to remain faithful because there is a glory awaiting us which only the faithful can attain. If we are unfaithful then we will be lost forever. Paul reminds us that our true homeland is in heaven where we will share in the glorified body of Christ. In the Gospel we have the story of the steward who was to be sacked for his malpractices but who made a number of deals in order to secure his future. Our future is in heaven and so we should make that future secure by faith in God and living by the Gospel.
Memorial of St Charles Borromeo, Bishop
Charles was born in 1538 to a privileged background – his mother was a Medici. Though he was ordained a priest in 1563 he had been made a cardinal three years earlier by his uncle, Pope Pius IV. He was responsible in part for reassembling the Council of Trent but his greatest achievement was in sorting out his own diocese and improving the liturgy there. He was also the first to begin what are known as “Sunday Schools.” He was selfless during the plague and was one of the greatest churchmen of the Counter-Reformation. He died in 1584 and was canonized in 1610.
Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Philippians 4:10-19; Psalm 111; Luke 16:9-15
In our closing section today from his letter to the Christians at Philippi, St Paul thanks the Philippians for their generosity to him and he tells them that their account in heaven is increasing because in helping him they are also helping in the spread of the Gospel. He also tells them that he can overcome anything because he has the help of God on his side. In the Gospel, Christ calls us to make God and heaven the only things that matter to us in life. Like the Philippians we are to help in the spread of the Gospel in any way we can and that begins with the strengthening of our own faith in Christ and the Resurrection.
November 6 – November 12, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-Second Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
2Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; Psalm 16; 2Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38
In the first reading from the second Book of the Maccabees we have a section from the powerful story of a mother and her seven sons who were arrested for refusing to bow down before the false gods of the king or to defy the Laws of God. One by one they were tortured and put to death – in front of their mother – beginning with the eldest of the sons and finishing, finally, with the mother herself. Each proclaimed their faith in God and received a martyr’s death to the astonishment of their torturers. Our Psalm for today could easily have been the words on the lips of the young men and their mother as they died for the faith – “I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.” In the gospel Jesus tells us quite clearly that there is life after death and that we all have a place in that life with God. He reminds the Sadducees that Moses too held this belief but that over the centuries this belief has been lost to them. Those who are faithful to the Law and to God – such as the woman and her seven sons in the first reading – will rise from the dead and dwell for ever with God.
In the second reading St Paul prays that we may be kept safe from evil and from those who would lead us astray as the king and his minions tried in the first reading. If we trust in God then he will be at our side to strengthen and to protect us until we join him in paradise.
Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Titus 1:1-9; Psalm 23; Luke 17:1-6
We begin this week with St Paul’s letter to St Titus (in 65 AD), a fellow missionary who he had left behind on the island of Crete to continue organising the Christian community there. In our opening passage Paul speaks of the sort of character a person should have if he wishes to be appointed as a sacred minister by Titus. In fact, as Christians, it is a standard by which we could all try to live. In the Gospel, Christ tells us that we must forgive others who come to us seeking forgiveness and if they are sorry for the wrong they committed. It is a reminder that we cannot stand before God and ask him to forgive us if we have not forgiven others for the wrongs they may have committed against us.
Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Titus 2:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 36; Luke 17:7-10
St Paul speaks in the first reading from his letter to St Titus about how we should behave and act as Christians. We do this because of the glory which we are awaiting and which will be given us by Christ, though we do not know when. Paul also reminds Titus that the example of his own life in Crete will be very important for the growth of the faith there. The Psalm continues Paul’s theme. We are reminded by Christ in the Gospel that we are servants of God and that really we should not expect praise for living as Christians because, in so living, we are simply doing our duty. Yet there are those who do it simply to earn the praise of others and the Lord knows this and will not accept it.
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 45; 1Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22
In the first reading from Ezekiel we read how a stream flowed from the Temple and gave life in abundance wherever it flowed. If we look at the distance from the Temple as a timeline then we see that over time the river grows to become a great torrent with the Temple being Christ. What is in the river could be seen as the members of the Church and what is on the banks as those who come into contact with members of the Church. Whether the people be in the river or on the bank, all receive life from the river. In the second reading St Paul reminds us that we are all God’s temple through the Spirit which has been given to us and therefore we must preserve this temple and strengthen it in the faith. The Temple is not just a stone building but it is each and every one of us who has God within them. In the gospel we see Jesus driving out of the Temple those who had dishonoured it. The Church is the house of God and it is the source of life for us and that is what we celebrate today. It is our duty to build up the Church of God – the church within each of us and the church as the unity and gathering of all who believe in Christ.
The Church commonly known as the Basilica of St John Lateran is actually dedicated to the Most Holy Saviour and St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist and was first dedicated in 324 AD. It derives its importance from the fact that it is the “Most Holy Lateran Church, of all the churches in the city and the world, the mother and head” (Sacrosancta Lateranensis ecclesia omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput – from an inscription on the front wall of the church). This basilica is also the Cathedral Church of the Bishop of Rome and Primate of Italy – the Pope (St Peter’s in the Vatican is a basilica but not a Cathedral Church). In celebrating its dedication we celebrate the dedication of our own local churches also for they are all joined together.
Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Philemon 7-20; Psalm 145; Luke 17:20-25
Our last section from St Paul this year comes from his letter to Philemon, a young well-to-do Christian who is a close friend of Paul, about Onesimus – Philemon’s slave. He is asking Philemon to receive Onesimus back – not as a slave – but as a brother. Whatever our status or our role in life we are all brothers and sisters in the Gospel and equal in the eyes of the Lord. In the Gospel, Jesus tells the Pharisees that the kingdom is already with them though they have failed to see or realise it. He also tells his disciples that he is to suffer and be rejected. Still today, he suffers and is rejected when people reject his Gospel and his Church.
Memorial of Pope St Leo the Great
Leo I was elected pope in 440 at a time when there were several heresies regarding the person of Jesus Christ prevalent in the Church. Nestorianism held that the two natures of Christ – the human and divine – were two completely separate persons while Monophysitism held that Jesus only had one nature as the human nature was replaced by his divine nature. Leo fought against these two maintaining that the human and divine natures of Christ are both present and inseparable. This he laid out in his ‘Dogmatic Letter’ to Flavian of Constantinople and which became a key discussion at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Leo prevailed and his teaching is part of our faith to this day. At a time when civil order was breaking down in the Roman Empire he gave the Church an important role in civil and political society when he negotiated with Attila the Hun and Genseric the Vandal. He died in 461.
Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
2 John 4-9; Psalm 118; Luke 17:26-37
Today we turn from the letters of St Paul to the second letter of St John to an unknown Christian community. In the text, John reminds us of the great commandment to love one another. We are also told to be wary of those who teach a false gospel – all we need is to be found in the Gospel we have already received. We are reminded by Christ in the Gospel text from St Luke, that we know not when our time will come to an end and that we, like Noah and Lot, must heed the word of God today and be converted.
Memorial of St Martin of Tours, Bishop
Martin was born about the year 335 to a Roman officer and was himself drafted into the army. However, he believed that Christians should not take part in war and he refused to take part. He was a disciple of St Hilary of Poitiers and founded a community of hermit-monks which later became a Benedictine monastery. Reluctantly he was elected Bishop of Tours in 371, though he continued his monastic lifestyle as much as possible. He brought monasticism to Gaul and had a considerable influence on the Celtic churches. He died in 397.
Saturday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
3 John 5-8; Psalm 1; Luke 18:1-8
St John tells us in our reading from his third letter that we should support the servants of the Gospel in any way we can for in supporting them we too help in the spread of the Good News. Of importance is our support of the missionary endeavour still taking place throughout the world. We are not all able to be missionaries but our help for them is our way of spreading the Gospel of Christ. Through the parable of the unscrupulous judge and the poor widow we are told by Christ in the Gospel that God will hear the prayers of his faithful ones and answer them even if he appears to take a long time in doing so. Therefore we are to persevere in our prayers and not loose heart.
Memorial of St Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr
Josaphat was born about the year 1580 in Vladimir in the Ukraine. He became a Byzantine Rite monk and later abbot of Vilna at a time when the Orthodox Dioceses in Kiev were united with the Holy See and to this union he devoted his life. In 1617 he was made Archbishop of Polotsk where he touched the lives of many people through his gentleness and wisdom. For his efforts to bring about union with Rome he was murdered by a mob in White Russia in 1623.
November 13 – November 19, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-Third Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malachi 3:19-20; Psalm 97; 2Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19
In our first reading from the Prophet Malachi, we read that the triumph of God is at hand and his glory is soon to be revealed. The Psalm calls on us to praise and glorify God. In the gospel, Jesus tells us quite clearly that we will be rejected by the world for believing in him because his message is something which many people do not wish to hear or to acknowledge. However, in giving us the warning he also tells us that he will be with us throughout and that while we may even have to give our lives for the sake of the message, we will reign for ever with him if we are faithful to him. On that day we shall see his glory and righteousness shine out with him as foretold in the first reading.
In the second reading St Paul exhorts us to keep on working for the kingdom. He goes so far as to say that those who are not working but interfering with the work should not be fed. It is a reminder of how serious the spread of the Gospel is – it is not some private message to be kept to ourselves but something which we should want to spread to the ends of the earth.
All Carmelite Saints
Romans 8:28-35, 37-39; Psalm 23; Matthew 5:1-12
Today we remember all those members of the Carmelite Family whose heroic lives have pointed the way to heaven for us and who have been recognised as saints and blesseds. Our first reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans speaks of how God wants all people to become true images of his own divine Son. All those he intends for this have been called by him and with them he shares his glory. If we too believe then we will follow the example of how the saints lived their lives, in fidelity to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. In this way, we too will share the Father’s glory in eternity.
The Gospel text from St Matthew gives the account of the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the Beatitudes. The text reminds us that the Lord is with us and that those who suffer rejection, or humiliation, or even death, for the sake of the Kingdom will enjoy life in the Kingdom. Far from being downcast at being ill-treated for the sake of the Gospel, the people are to be happy because they will be rewarded for their faithfulness. The saints would have been aware of this text and would no doubt have taken great courage from its message and so have won the crown of righteousness.
All Carmelite Souls
Romans 14:7-9, 10c-12; Psalm 114; Matthew 25:31-46
Today we commemorate all those members of the Carmelite Family who have gone before us to their eternal reward. In our first reading from the letter to the Romans, St Paul reminds us that when we are called from this life each of us will have to stand before the Lord and give an account of our lives. We belong to the Lord and so we must live life accordingly, because in doing so we secure our entry to the Kingdom.
Our gospel today sees Jesus teaching his disciples about the judgement of God and takes up the same theme as the first reading. He tells them, as he tells us today, that those who do the will of God will enter and inherit the Kingdom of heaven, while those who refuse to reach out to their brothers and sisters in their need, will not enter the Kingdom for they have rejected God by their very rejection of others. If we too want to be part of the Kingdom, then we must reach out to others every day. There is a powerful reminder that Jesus Christ is to be found in every person we meet or encounter regardless of what we think of them or how they are presented to us.
Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 4:1-11; Psalm 150; Luke 19:11-28
In our first reading from the Book of the Apocalypse, or Revelation, the author writes of the glory of God and of the praise given him by the host of heaven. The four principle creatures have been seen as the four Evangelists and, indeed, the images found here are often used in art – the lion for Mark, the ox for Luke, the man for Matthew, and the eagle for John. This text was to give hope to those Christian communities who were being persecuted because of their faith. The Gospel today gives us the parable of the man who was to be made king and who gave money to three servants. The first two servants made a profit with the money entrusted to them and they were rewarded for this while the third man did nothing and was punished. The money can be seen as our faith which we have a duty to build up and to strengthen while also helping the growth of the faith in the world. Lip-service to the Lord will count for nothing.
Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 5:1-10; Psalm 149; Luke 19:41-44
We read in today’s passage from the Book of the Apocalypse that Christ – the Lamb who was sacrificed – has, by his blood, redeemed us from death and opened the way to salvation for us. In our Gospel text we see Jesus arriving at Jerusalem and he pauses before going in to the city. He pauses to weep at the stubbornness and the blindness of the people who have heard his teachings and seen his miracles and yet fail to see that he is their Messiah. Despite their rejection of him, Jesus still loves the people as he loves each one of us whether we wish to acknowledge that love or not.
Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King Andreas II of Hungary and niece of St Hedwig, was born in Bratislava (in modern-day Slovakia) in 1207. At the age of fourteen she married Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (Blessed Louis of Thuringia) and they had three children. Six years later, in 1227, her world was shattered when Louis died in a crusade. Eventually she gave up her finery and became a Third Order Franciscan and devoted her life to the poor – work which she had begun when Louis was alive and for which her in-laws were not happy but unable to do anything about while Louis lived. She died in 1231, aged 24.
Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 10:8-11; Psalm 118; Luke 19:45-48
We continue to read of St John’s vision of heaven in our first reading from the Book of the Apocalypse. In eating the scroll given him by the angel, John is indicating that he has fully understood the message he has received (similar to the Prophet Ezekiel centuries before). The sweet taste of the scroll signifies the glory of heaven which awaits us, while the bitter taste represents the trials that we must go through before entering into the glory promised us. In the Gospel, Christ drives the money changers from the Temple and cleanses it. He then teaches the people every day in the Temple which infuriates the elders who wish to get rid of him. The people on the other hand, are so captivated by Christ’s preaching that the authorities are unable to act against him for the time being.
Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 11:4-12; Psalm 143; Luke 20:27-40
We continue our readings from the Book of the Apocalypse in which St John speaks about two men who witness for God – one who brings famine and the other who brings plagues – which could remind us of Elijah and Moses in the Old Testament. The two men are attacked by a beast who kills them. However, they are restored to life showing that God is more powerful than the powers of evil. This was a reminder for the people that, even though they may have to suffer for the faith, the power of God is greater and the promises he made to them will be fulfilled. In the Gospel, Christ tells us that God is the God of the living for after this earthly life is over our soul goes to a place of never-ending life, as we have been reading from John’s vision of that life in our first reading. Perhaps we could ask ourselves today if we are worthy of that never-ending life and, if not, to resolve to make ourselves more worthy.
November 20 – November 26, 2022
Ordinary Time – The Thirty-Fourth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle 2.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
2Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 121; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43
Our first reading for today’s Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King comes from the second book of Samuel where we read about the representatives of the people coming to David at Hebron and making him king over all their people. One of the reasons for doing so is because he is their own flesh and blood. This also reminds us that Jesus was of the royal line of David. Our second reading from St Paul reminds us that Christ is the Lord of all and everything comes from him – be it authorities and sovereignties. Our Gospel text may seem a little strange for today coming as it does from the crucifixion where the good thief repents of his crimes and asks to be remembered. Christ confirms the fact that he has a kingdom and tells the good thief that he shall be with his saviour in that kingdom. As the liturgical year draws to a close it is appropriate that as we look back over it we acknowledge all that we have received from the Lord’s goodness. It is also a good time to look forward while affirming that Christ is the Lord of all – he is the Universal King.
Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Zechariah 2:14-17; Psalm – Luke 1:46-55; Matthew 12:46-50
As is so often the case on memorials of Our Lady, the readings focus very much on her Divine Son. Today’s memorial is no different for the first reading sees the Lord telling us that he is coming to dwell in the midst of his people, and that he will make Jerusalem his very own. This reminds us of Christ who lived among the people and for whom Jerusalem was so important. In the gospel text we have the familiar story of Jesus being sought by his family. He tells the people that whoever does the will of God are his real family.
Today’s feast has been observed in the Church since the eighth century. We know that Mary said ‘yes’ to the message of the Annunciation but today’s feast commemorates that Mary had a relationship with God before that – if not then the message of the Annunciation would not have been given to Mary. The feast of the Presentation of Mary recalls the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple and suggests that Mary’s life was, in some way, consecrated to God from her earliest years.
Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 14:14-19; Psalm 95; Luke 21:5-11
St John’s vision today tells of the harvesting of the earth which will take place at the end of time. Christ is the one who will reap the harvest of those who have been faithful to him. In the second analogy we see an angel placing the grapes of the unfaithful in to the winepress of God’s anger. In the Gospel, Christ foretells the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and also warns his followers to be on their guard against those who claim to be messiahs and who preach of impending doom. The Temple was the most important place for the Jews and any talk of its destruction was seen as heretical and, therefore, the message of Christ would have been seen in a very poor light in certain quarters.
Memorial of St Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr
Very little is actually known about Cecilia. Tradition has it that she was married at a young age to Valerian, who later converted to Christianity, and was martyred with his brother, Tiburtius, both of them being later canonized. Cecilia was later martyred by beheading in her own home after the attempt to suffocate her failed. However, there is no proper record of this. It is thought that perhaps her following comes from the belief that she founded a church in Rome. She is the patron saint of musicians though for reasons unknown. She is named in the Roman Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).
Feast of St Columban, Abbot
Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 95; Luke 9:57-62
Our reading from the Prophet Isaiah speaks of how all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God and of how they will rejoice in that salvation. St Columban – as a monk and missionary – sought to bring that salvation to people by founding monasteries and teaching the people. The Psalm commands us to “proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples,” which is what Columban did. In the gospel passage from St Luke, we see some men telling Jesus that they will follow Jesus once they have taken care of certain things. However, Jesus tells them that they must follow him immediately. Columban did this even in the midst of difficulty. We are challenged today to be like Columban and to freely and readily go where the Lord leads and to spread his word in all we do and say.
Columban was born in Leinster in the mid-sixth century and became a monk. He left Bangor for France and founded the famous monastery of Luxeuil in the Vosges. In 610 he was exiled from France by Queen Brunhilda and went to Italy where he founded the equally famous monastery of Bobbio. He defended and maintained Irish customs and his strict Rule was very influential on European monasticism during the sixth and seventh centuries. He died in Bobbio in 615.
Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 18:1-2, 21-23, 19:1-3, 9; Psalm 99; Luke 21:20-28
In our first reading we read St John’s vision of how Babylon – representing the city of Rome and the greatest city of evil – has been destroyed by God for its wickedness. At the end of the passage the assembly of heaven sings a hymn of praise for the punishment of the city and for the fact that God “judges fairly, he punishes justly.” Again in our Gospel from St Luke, Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the people for their lack of faith and perseverance. He says that there will be many signs – terrifying and frightening signs – but that will be the time to stand confidently for liberation will be near at hand.
Memorial of St Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions, Martyrs
Andrew Dung-Lac was a Vietnamese priest who worked to spread the Gospel in what was formerly known as Indo-China (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand). Throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many Christians were martyred in Vietnam and the region for their faith – the first being Vincent Liem, O.P., who was beheaded in 1773. Today’s memorial commemorates 96 native Vietnamese men and women, 11 Dominican missionaries from Spain, and 10 French missionaries. Andrew Dung-Lac was born in 1795 and was beheaded on December 21, 1839.
Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 20:1-4, 11-21:2; Psalm 83; Luke 21:29-33
In our first reading from Apocalypse (Revelation) we are told that the dead are judged by God according to what they did in life in terms of their faith. In order to be saved their names had to be written in the book of life. We are told about the 1,000 year reign of Christ at the end of which the dragon (Satan) would be set free for a short time. Some Christian-based groups of our own time – such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses – take this passage to be literally true and see the release of the dragon to be the great battle of Armageddon when sinful and unfaithful humans will be wiped out forever and only the righteous will live. Most Christian groups see the passage as an allegory to encourage the early Christians to remain faithful and to do all they can to ensure that their names will be found in the book of life. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that even if the earth and heaven pass away his words will remain for ever. As sure as the trees bud and flower in summer, his words will come to pass.
Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Apocalypse 22:1-7; Psalm 94; Luke 21:34-36
We conclude our liturgical year with part of the last chapter of St John’s vision in which we are told that at the end of time the saints will live in never-ending light because the Lord will be shining on them. This will take place in the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city. In our final Gospel text for this year, Christ reminds us to be always ready because we do not know when he will return and ask us to make an account of our lives. As this liturgical year ends our readings cause us to reflect on the end times and the beginnings of eternal life with God. As we prepare to begin a new liturgical year, perhaps this is a good time to reflect upon our own lives and so make preparations for our own end and entry to eternal life.