Reflections on Daily Readings 2023
October 1st - October 28th, 2023
October 1 – October 7, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Sixth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm 24; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32
The first reading from the Prophet Ezekiel tells us that we are the ones who are unjust when we go astray and not God. God punishes us for our sinfulness but he is just in doing so. We are also reminded that those who change their ways and repent of their transgressions are welcomed back by God. The Psalm asks the Lord to be merciful and to teach us his ways. In the gospel, Jesus is admonishing some of the chief priests and elders for not listening to God’s messengers. He tells them that those whom they consider to be sinners are actually getting in to heaven ahead of them because they are, in their own quiet way, believing in God. He points out to them that John the Baptist came and lived and preached in a way which they hold as exemplary and yet they refused to listen to him. We too are called on to believe in God and not fool ourselves with our own ideas.
St Paul tells us in the second reading that we must be the same as Christ who gave up everything and became like us in order to save us. We must give up our earthly ways and become like Christ if we are to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Feast of St Thérèse of Lisieux, Virgin & Doctor of the Church
Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin – popularly known as ‘The Little Flower’ – was born in Alençon, northern France, in 1873, one of nine children born to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin. While still young (at the age of 15), and despite opposition, she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Lisieux. By word and example she taught the novices the virtues of humility. Following a difficult illness (tuberculosis) she died on September 30, 1897. Thérèse was canonized in 1925 with successive popes referring to her as ‘the greatest saint of modern times’. She became famous for her ‘Little Way’ which is found in her remaining letters and her biography. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997. She is co-patroness of the Missions and secondary patron of France.
Isaiah 66:10-14 or 1John 4:7-16; Psalm 102; Matthew 11:25-30 or Matthew 18:1-4
In the reading from the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord is telling Jerusalem and its inhabitants that they are to be comforted as a child is looked after by its mother. To Jerusalem he will send peace flowing like a river.
Our alternative reading from the first letter of St John tells us that we must love one another because God loves us. Not alone will God love us, but he will also live in us. Despite the poor health and trials Thérèse suffered in the final years of her life, she continued to love and trust in God and this was lived out in how she loved her sisters in Community, even when their odd habits and eccentricities caused her distraction. She was devoted to Christ whose life, death and resurrection were the embodiment of God’s incredible love for us and which inspired Thérèse.
Both gospels which can be used today carry the same theme – that of becoming like little children in how we trust God. In one we see Jesus praising God for having revealed his truth to mere children, and in the other he tells us to become like a little child for they are the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Often the most learned in the world miss God’s message because they want to analyse and rationalise it. However, those who look at it with a child’s mind, as did St Thérèse, will find the true meaning in its hidden depths. At times, Thérèse’s writings are very much in line with those of a child and yet the message is very simple but also profound, demonstrating that she had grasped the message of God which she tried to live that out in her own short life.
Memorial of the Guardian Angels
Exodus 23:20-23; Psalm 90; Matthew 18:1-5, 10
In our first reading we read of the Jews who have just left Egypt on their journey back to the Promised Land. As the journey is a long one the Lord is granting a guardian angel to them who will guide and protect them and speak God’s word to them. For their part, the people must honour and respect the angel. In the gospel, Jesus tells us that we have guardian angels and that, particularly in the case of children, our guardian angels are in the presence of the Father in heaven and speak directly to him on our behalf.
It is our belief that each of us has a guardian angel from birth who is there to help us in all things. It is also the belief that homes, cities and states also have guardian angels. A Votive Mass to the guardian angels has been in practise since the ninth century and, in 1670, Pope Clement X made October 2 an obligatory commemoration.
Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Zechariah 8:20-23; Psalm 86; Luke 9:51-56
In the first reading we see that when the Lord has rebuilt Jerusalem the renown of the city as the dwelling place of God will spread far and wide. On that day people from other nations and creeds will seek the city to draw close to the Lord. This is about the year 520 BC and is an encouragement to those who are rebuilding the Temple to continue in their work. In the Gospel, Jesus now turns resolutely towards Jerusalem and his impending death. On the way some people and villages do not accept him and the disciples want to destroy them but Jesus stops them. This is a reminder that nobody will be forced to believe in Christ or in his way. It is for each man and woman to make up their own mind and to follow their own path in life. The first reading puts it before us that if we are truly living Christian lives and giving a perfect example to our fellow men and women then they will come to us and ask us to lead them to the Lord. However, unless we give the example they will never see the path to salvation.
Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Nehemiah 2:1-8; Psalm 136; Luke 9:57-62
In our text from Nehemiah we have a further telling of the rebuilding of Jerusalem written about the third century before Christ on events that took place between 538 and 515 BC. Nehemiah seeks to rebuild the ancient defences of the city and tells the king of his dream. The heart of the king is moved to grant Nehemiah his request and renew the city’s walls. Again we see that the Lord moves the heart of the king to allow this to take place even though the king was not a Jew. In the Gospel, we see people coming to Jesus to be his followers but each one has a condition to fulfil before he takes the path with Christ. We are reminded that we cannot place conditions on our following of Christ – we follow him wholeheartedly or we don’t follow him at all. If we follow him then we will inherit eternal life.
Memorial of St Francis of Assisi
Francis was born in Assisi in 1181. After a pleasure-filled youth he left home and founded the Order of Friars Minor in 1209. Ten years later he went east to convert the Muslims but was unsuccessful either with the Crusaders or the Muslims. In 1224 he received the stigmata, the first recorded incident of the stigmata in history. With St Clare he established the Franciscan nuns in 1212. He died a deacon in 1226 and was canonized just two years later.
Thursday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Nehemiah 8:1-12; Psalm 18; Luke 10:1-12
In our first reading today we read of the people gathered in the square to hear the word of the Lord read by Ezra and explained by the Levites. They are told that the day is sacred to the Lord and that they are to be happy and not sad. Ezra had spent time in exile with his fellow Jews and only returned to Jerusalem because he felt called to help the people rebuild their faith according to the Mosaic Law. Much of the faith of the people after this return from exile is shaped by Ezra. The Psalm reminds us of the importance of the Law of God in our lives. In the Gospel we see Jesus sending out seventy-two of his followers to preach in his name. We are their successors and therefore we have a duty to bring the Gospel message to all people wherever or however we meet them.
Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Baruch 1:15-22; Psalm 78; Luke 10:13-16
In our first reading today we go back in time to about the year 587 BC close to the start of the Babylonian exile. It is a text that was sent by the exiles to those Jews who had been left behind in Palestine and was a public confession of their sins which caused their exile in the first place. The people are sinners while God is integrity. For their sinfulness and disloyalty the people acknowledge that they have suffered disasters. In the Gospel from St Luke we see Jesus lamenting the fact that people and places have not accepted his message despite the miracles they have seen him work. Jesus was sent by God and those who reject him or his messengers ultimately reject God himself.
Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary
Acts 1:12-14; Psalm – Luke 1; Luke 1:26-38
The readings and the Psalm today focus very much on Our Lady. In the first reading we see the apostles and a number of others gathered with Mary in the upper room between the Ascension and Pentecost. They are gathered together in prayer. The Psalm is Mary’s beautiful prayer, the Magnificat, in which she praises God. In the gospel, we see the archangel Gabriel greeting Mary at the Annunciation. She says ‘yes’ to God in complete trust and confidence. Today’s memorial reminds us to be steadfast in prayer and to always trust in the Lord for he will be with us to strengthen and to guide us.
This memorial has been observed since 1571 when the Christians gained victory over the Turks through the intercession of Our Lady at the naval Battle of Lepanto.
October 8 – October 14, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Seventh Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 79; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43
Through the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading the Lord speaks of a vineyard which he planted and which has yielded bad fruit. The Lord is now going to let the vineyard be destroyed and over-run. The good vines that were planted were the Lord’s Chosen People but the bad fruit is their lack of belief and their sinfulness. In the gospel we have another parable concerning a vineyard. In this, the tenants try to take over ownership of the vineyard by killing the owner’s son. We are reminded that while we may live in the Lord’s vineyard here on earth we still owe our homage to God. We may try at playing gods but it will get us nowhere if we ignore the one true God from whom all things come.
In the second reading to the Philippians, St Paul tells us to pray to God if there is anything we need and that, at the very least, the peace of God will be granted to us.
Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Jonah 1:1-2:1, 11; Psalm – Jonah 2:3-5, 8; Luke 10:25-37
Today we begin reading from the Book of Jonah and in the text we see the Lord calling on Jonah to be his messenger to the Ninevites. Jonah does not want this work and so tries to escape from the Lord by taking a ship to Tarshish. While on the voyage the ship encounters a storm and the others on the ship throw Jonah overboard in order to save themselves. The story is thought to represent the Jewish attitude to foreign nations from about 539 to 333 BC when the Jews held that other nations and particularly the pagans could never be recipients of God’s mercy. In the Gospel we see a lawyer trying to outsmart Jesus but instead he gets the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable was told to point out that our neighbour is not simply the person who believes what we believe or who lives in the same district. Our neighbour is anyone we encounter. Not alone must we acknowledge them as our neighbour, we must treat them with the respect that a son or daughter of God deserves. Only then can we truly be their neighbour and be worthy of the kingdom of God.
Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Jonah 3:1-10; Psalm 129; Luke 10:38-42
In our first reading we see God again calling Jonah to be his messenger and this time Jonah answers positively. This reminds us that there is no getting away from God – we cannot hide from him especially when he has work for us to do on his behalf. Jonah goes and preaches to the Ninevites and they believe in his words and renounce their ways. It was a reminder to the Jews that all people are worthy of hearing the word of God and that those other nations could easily respond far more positively than the Jews themselves. If we go and proclaim God’s word at his request then he will be with us and will bring success to our endeavours. At the same time, we should not place ourselves above others because of our beliefs. In the Gospel we see Jesus visiting the home of his friends Martha and Mary. There Mary sits down and spends time with the Lord while Martha fusses over being a good hostess. When she speaks to Jesus about this he tells her to be more like her sister – to take time with the Lord. It is all too easy to become pre-occupied with other things and not to give the necessary quiet time with the Lord each day. It is Mary’s example which we are called on to follow today.
Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Jonah 4:1-11; Psalm 85; Luke 11:1-4
In the first reading from the Book of Jonah we see Jonah very annoyed with God because the Lord has relented and allowed the Ninevites to live. He reminds Jonah that he has put much effort in to creating the world and all it contains and so he has every right to be angry when part of that creation turns sour but also every right to be merciful when that misguided part decides to change its sinful ways. Jonah was aware that God was going to be merciful and, like the Jews of the fifth century before Christ, he didn’t want God to show mercy to anyone but the Jewish people. In the Gospel we see Jesus praying. His disciples, wishing to be like their master, ask him to teach them how to pray and so he gives them the ‘Our Father.’ This one prayer sums up all of life – past, present and future; it asks the Lord for forgiveness while asking for the strength to forgive others and it asks the Lord to protect us from all temptation.
Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Malachi 3:13-20; Psalm 1; Luke 11:5-13
Today we turn to the Book of Malachi, written about the middle of the fifth century before Christ, for our first reading and in it we see the Lord comforting those who are not pleased that the sinful seem to prosper as much and sometimes better than those who are God-fearing. But the Lord consoles them by telling them that the day of judgement for the sinful is fast approaching and that when it arrives it is those who have been God-fearing who will have the sun of righteousness shining on them. Our Gospel text today is a continuation of yesterday’s passage in which Jesus taught the disciples to pray and today we are told that those who pray to God will have their prayers answered. He doesn’t tell us that we will get what it is that we are asking for but he does tell us that our prayers will be answered especially if we are consistent in our prayers.
Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Joel 1:13-15, 2:1-2; Psalm 9; Luke 11:15-26
In our first reading today from Joel, written sometime between 400 and 350 BC, the author is calling on the people to repent for the day of the Lord is at hand. The prophets called the people to repentance and to the observance of the covenants and this is what Joel does in our first reading. The people are being punished by the Lord with a locust plague but if the people repent then they will be saved. In the Psalm we are reminded that while the Lord will judge his people he will do so in justice and fairness. In the Gospel we see Jesus asserting before the people that he is not Beelzebul – the prince of devils. He can cast out devils because he has authority over them – not the authority of the prince of devils but the authority which comes from being the Lord of Creation. He also tells us that those who wish to enter the kingdom must always be on their guard so that they are not distracted from the right path to the kingdom.
Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Joel 4:12-21; Psalm 96; Luke 11:27-28
In today’s text from the prophet Joel we see the Lord telling the people that their sins are more easily harvested than a full and plentiful harvest. But he is soon going to deal with his people and on that day he will weed out the good from the bad. In addressing Jerusalem, Joel addresses the nation for Jerusalem stood for and represented the country. Afterwards the just will flourish. In the Gospel, a woman calls out to Jesus and comments on how fortunate his mother was to have borne such a son. He replies that those who listen to the word of God are even more fortunate than his mother. This was not to denigrate his mother but to show the great importance for all of us to listen to God’s word and to live that out in our lives.
October 15 – October 21, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Eight Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 22; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-14
In the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah we are told that those who hope in the Lord will be raised up and will receive salvation. In this all their shame and troubles will be taken from their and happiness will be theirs. Our gospel text contains the parable of the king who held a banquet for his son’s wedding but whose guests did not turn up. The banquet is the kingdom of heaven and the guests are men and women of every age and time. Those who do not heed the call of God and who ignore him will be left out in the dark when their time on earth comes to an end. It is a reminder that the message of God and places in the kingdom are offered to all but only those who are worthy will be allowed entry to the kingdom when the time comes.
In the second reading, St Paul tells his readers that he can master anything that may come his way because he has the Lord to give him strength. We are challenged today to live lives worthy of the invitation which the Father extends to us, knowing that he is with us to strengthen us just as he did St Paul.
Feast of St Teresa of Avila, Virgin & Doctor of the Church
Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada was born in Avila in Spain in 1515. She entered the Carmelites and made great progress in the way of perfection and was granted mystical revelations. At this time religious life in Spain, and across Europe, was in need of reform and Teresa began this work with the monastery in which she was living. She also founded other monasteries under her strict reform and enlisted St John of the Cross to reform the male branch of the Order of Carmelites. After her death the reform she began eventually separated from the Carmelite Order to become the Order of Discalced Carmelites. She wrote a number of books which brought her to the attention of the Inquisition but which she persevered in writing and which show a profound insight into prayer. For Teresa, prayer was a conversation with a close friend and this can be seen in her many references to Christ. Her letters also show a tremendous humanity while gently bringing people back into line. Her best known works are ‘The Way of Perfection’ and ‘The Interior Castle.’ She died at Alba in 1582 and was canonized in 1622. Her writings have earned her the title of Doctor of the Church.
Wisdom 7:7-14 or Romans 8:14-17, 26-27; Psalm 83; John 7:14-18, 37-39a or John 4:5-15a
There are two possible first readings for today and both speak about prayer. The reading from the Book of Wisdom speaks about praying for and receiving understanding, and about the importance of wisdom and the goodness which wisdom brings. St Teresa of Jesus had a very close relationship with the Lord which she developed through an incredible life of prayer with him. Through that she gained an insight into the life of prayer for each of us and taught us that prayer is simply a conversation with a close friend – a phrase which makes prayer easier for so many people.
The alternative text from the letter to the Romans speaks about the Holy Spirit being there to help us in our weakness, a Spirit which has been given to each of us by God. At times prayer is difficult for us but with the Spirit moving in us we are able to pray and to speak personally with God.
In the gospel text, Jesus tells us that the words which he speaks and uses to teach are not his own words as a human but come from God in heaven and can therefore be trusted. The Jews had expressed astonishment that Jesus could say such things given his apparent lack of education. Many said the same of St Teresa in her day, and yet she is a Doctor of the Church and the teaching she has left us was inspired by God. The key teaching for us is to listen to God in the silence of our hearts and the words of scripture, and to live out the life of faith at every moment.
In the alternative gospel text, we see the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well. She listens to Jesus despite the obstacles which society had placed between a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman, and through that listening she came to believe in Jesus.
Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 1:1-7; Psalm 97; Luke 11:29-32
We now return to the New Testament and over the next four weeks will take our first reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans which was written to the Church in Rome (though it was not founded by Paul) between 57 and 58 AD. In today’s passage we have Paul’s opening comments in which he tells the people that he was called by God to be a disciple and to preach about Jesus Christ. The opening, or salutation of the letter, contains many of the truths of the faith held by the early Church. In the Gospel we see Jesus teaching the people and he reminds them of Jonah who was sent to the Ninevites to bring them back to the right path, which we read of last week. He tells them that there is something greater than Jonah in their midst and that their generation is in more need of conversion than were the Ninevites. Unlike the Ninevites, however, their generation will not listen or repent and so will be lost. We each have a duty to preach the good news as Paul did and to bring the message of salvation to all people so that they may change their ways as did the people of Nineveh.
Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 1:16-25; Psalm 18; Luke 11:37-41
In today’s passage from the letter to the Romans, St Paul reminds us that the everlasting power and divinity of God are visible in his creation. Even if God did not speak to his people directly they could still know him through his creation. In the letter Paul also points out what sort of lives people lead when they don’t have faith in God. In the Gospel, we see Jesus admonishing the Pharisees because they are too concerned with external things and are not at all concerned with what is to be found in the heart of a person. He reminds them that God made the inside and the outside of everything and that therefore both inside and outside are clean. However, what is within a person is of far more importance than what is on the outside. The Lord also tells us that giving to charity is one way of cleansing the heart.
Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop & Martyr
Not very much is known about Ignatius except that in old age he was sent to Rome to be martyred with other Christians. On the long journey to Rome he wrote several letters to various Churches as did St Paul, and these letters are among the most important documents of the ancient Church. He died in 107 when he was thrown to the lions.
Feast of St Luke the Evangelist
2Timothy 4:10-17; Psalm 144; Luke 10:1-9
In our first reading from his second letter to St Timothy, St Paul tells Timothy that he has nobody with him now except Luke. The evangelist was a companion of Paul in the latter’s second and third missionary journeys. Paul also tells of an occasion when he had to defend himself and only God was there to support him. In the gospel, the Lord sends out seventy-two disciples to preach and cure in his name. We are all reminded that we each have a role to play in the spread of the Gospel. Tradition at one time thought Luke was a member of this seventy-two.
Luke was from Antioch and was a physician when he met St Paul and joined him on his travels. He wrote the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel which bears his name but beyond that nothing is known of his life.
Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 3:21-30; Psalm 129; Luke 11:47-54
In the first reading St Paul tells us that we are justified by faith and not by mere observance of a Law. Keeping the Laws of God are important but if they are not done from a faith-driven desire then they are worthless. Faith is all important if our actions are to be seen as Christian and Christ-like and so bring us to eternal life. Paul also tells us that we do not earn faith because of our good works and so should never use our good deeds as a way of showing off our faith. In our Gospel passage for today we again see Jesus admonishing the Pharisees for their lack of honesty before the Lord. They build the tombs for the prophets who their own forefathers had killed and so their generation will now pay for the slaughter of the prophets. The Pharisees then begin a ‘furious attack on him to try to catch him out.’
Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 4:1-8; Psalm 31; Luke 12:1-7
Our passage today from the letter to the Romans continues yesterday’s theme in which St Paul tells us that we are not justified by our works but by our faith. He takes as an example Abraham, our Father in Faith. Abraham did many good things and could have boasted about them but what justified him was the fact that he put his faith in God. This was partly to ‘correct’ a belief – then prevalent among the Jews – that saw Abraham justified because of his actions after God’s call rather than because of his faith in God. In the Gospel text we see Jesus teaching the people and his disciples and reminding them that everything that is said and done is known to the Father. He also tells the disciples that they need not fear those who can kill our mortal bodies but to fear those who can kill the spirit also which is far more serious as this is the immortal part of our being. Trust in God will prevent such a thing from happening.
Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 4:13, 16-18; Psalm 104; Luke 12:9-12
St Paul again uses the example of Abraham in our first reading today to point out that Abraham was justified because of his faith and so too are all those who are his sons and daughters in the faith if they too believe in God. Again, Paul is ‘correcting’ a belief among the rabbis of the time that Abraham was justified because of the Law of Moses rather than because of his belief in God. They are justified not because they are his biological descendants but because of their faith in God as Abraham had faith. In the Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that those who openly opt for God will have Christ on their side before the throne of God but that those who openly opt against God will have no one on their side. Christ will support those who believe in him but those who do not believe will be on their own. Those who do opt for God will not just have Christ on their side in heaven but will also have the Holy Spirit with them to guide them in all that they do and say.
October 22 – October 28, 2023
Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Ninth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.
The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mission Sunday)
Isaiah 45:1, 4-6; Psalm 95; 1Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21
In the first reading the Lord, speaking through the Prophet Isaiah, tells us that apart from him all is nothing. In the gospel, the Pharisees are trying to catch Jesus out but he turns the tables on them. They did not like paying taxes to Caesar and ask Jesus whether or not the taxes should be paid. If he says ‘yes’ then he will be seen as no friend to Israel and not a true Jew; if he answers ‘no’ then he could be denounced to the Romans as a trouble maker. He tells them that as Caesar’s head is on the coins then Caesar has a right to claim them back. He uses this to say that all we have comes from God and therefore he is deserving of our praise, our thanks and our faith.
For the final weeks of this year our second reading comes from St Paul’s letter to the Christians of Thessalonica. Today’s reading is from the opening section of his second letter to the Thessalonians in which he reminds them of their faith, their love and their hope. Paul is giving them a little boost to keep them strong in faith. The same applies to us today.
Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 4:20-25; Psalm – Luke 1:69-75; Luke 12:13-21
Before St Paul became a Christian he was a Pharisee and the Pharisees believed that people were justified if they adhered to the letter of the Law and so they lived their lives in fidelity to the Law. Now a Christian, Paul realises that more than mere adherence to laws is necessary – we must also have faith. He reminds us of Abraham who had complete faith in God even though he had no idea where God was leading him and when the promise made by God seemed to be impossible in view of how old he and Sarah were. Our Psalm today is the familiar text of the Benedictus. In the Gospel we are reminded by Jesus not to lay store on earthly things for these will not last or bring happiness. We must always place God above all else and see material things as secondary, requiring only what we truly need rather than what we want. Jesus tells the story of a rich man who died without learning this lesson.
Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 5:12, 15, 17-21; Psalm 39; Luke 12:35-38
In the first reading from his letter to the Romans, St Paul tells us that as sin entered the world through one man so also the world is redeemed through one man. The first man is Adam and the second is Christ. No matter how many sins people may commit the grace of God is ever more abundant and salvation awaits every human being if they have the courage to accept it. In the Gospel, Jesus reminds us to be always ready for we do not know when the master will return. He uses the analogy of the servants waiting for the master to return from his wedding banquet. No matter what time he returns he will want them to be waiting for him. However, he will expect more than to find them waiting but to also find his house in good order. We are the stewards of God’s creation and so he will expect to find his house in good order when he comes to visit us.
Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 6:12-18; Psalm 123; Luke 12:39-48
St Paul tells us today that we must not let the ability to sin reign in our lives. We all have the ability to sin and in today’s world the great temptation is to follow ways which are not God’s ways and to do whatever it is that we want to do. We must resist this and instead become enslaved to righteousness, which does not mean living a dull life. Again in our Gospel passage for today we are reminded by the Lord to be always ready for the moment when he calls us to give an account of our lives, and not just of our lives but of our stewardship of his creation and as witnesses of his Gospel. Those who have been faithful to the Covenant sealed in the Blood of Christ will be rewarded. The important point to note is that the Lord does not tell us when he will come to visit us. For most of us there are many years to come, yet, for many others, tomorrow could be the day they meet the Lord.
Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 6:19-23; Psalm 1; Luke 12:49-53
We continue reading from the letter to the Romans where we are told that we have been freed from the slavery of sin by Christ and that now we have the ability to live lives of righteousness. In so doing we will achieve eternal life with the Father. In talking about ‘wages,’ St Paul is referring to the wages a Roman soldier would have received and the ‘gift’ reminds the people of the gift the emperor gave out to people. Both remind us that our sins bring us closer to death or separation from God and that our sharing in eternal happiness is due entirely to the love of God. The Psalm tells us of the happiness of the people who place their trust in God and live by his ways. In the Gospel we see Jesus telling the people that he has brought division with him. This may seem odd but when we look at it we realise that he is talking about division between those who believe in him and those who do not believe in him. The divisions which we see between those who do believe in Christ are at odds with his message. But in the world we see a very clear distinction between those who accept Christ and make every effort to live Christian lives faithful to the Gospel and those who do not accept him and continue in their own ways. Unity can only be achieved when we show others that belief in Christ is the right way to live and that it is not a dull and boring way to live but a path of joyfulness and fulfilment.
Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Romans 7:18-25; Psalm 118; Luke 12:54-59
In today’s passage from the letter to the Romans we see St Paul openly speaking of the struggle taking place within him – the struggle between living the Gospel values and living the easier and more carefree life which so often leads to sin. He knows what the right thing to do is and yet he struggles. In this, any of us could replace Paul’s name with our own. The Gospel message is not always easy to live but with the help and the grace of God, who is always at our side, it is very possible. In the Gospel passage today from St Luke, we see Jesus admonishing the people for not being able to read the signs of the times. They can make many other predictions regarding what they see and yet they cannot read the most obvious things before them, such as the presence of the Messiah. We have the Messiah in our midst always and yet we too fail to read the signs of the times and follow him in complete sincerity.
Feast of Ss Simon and Jude the Apostles
Ephesians 2:19-22; Psalm 18; Luke 6:12-19
Our first reading from the letter to the Ephesians speaks of the Church being founded on the Apostles. St Paul speaks about the role the Apostles played in the establishment of the Church and of how their lives can give a sure foundation to the faith of each of us. The gospel passage recounts the naming of the Twelve Apostles by Christ. What is significant about his choice is that they were ordinary people who believed in him and acknowledged their sinfulness and need of grace. More importantly, Jesus spent time in prayer before he made his choice. We too should pray before we make our own important decisions and try to live as the Apostles did – completely faithful to the Lord.
Very little is actually known about these two apostles. Simon, known as “the Zealous,” is named in the list of the Twelve. Jude (Thaddeus) is believed to be the brother of James the Less and also the author of the epistle which bears his name. Tradition holds that Simon and Jude were martyred together in Persia but there is no proof for this.