Reflections on Daily Readings 2023

August 27th - September 30th, 2023

August 27 – September 2, 2023

Ordinary Time – The Twenty-First Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.

The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 22:19-23; Psalm 137; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20

Our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah sees the Lord removing the key of the House of David from Shebna and giving it to Eliakim because the former had been a poor keeper of the key and servant of God. Eliakim is given full authority and whatever he closes will remain closed and whatever he opens will remain open. A similar scene is found in the gospel text from St Matthew in that, following his great profession of faith, St Peter is given the keys of the kingdom by Christ. The Lord tells Peter and his successors that whatever he binds on earth will be considered bound in heaven and whatever he should loose on earth will be considered loosed in heaven. Peter is also made the rock on which the Church is to be built.

In the second reading from St Paul to the Romans, Paul tells us that everything that exists comes from God, everything is by God and everything is for God. Our passage concludes with Paul telling us that it is to God that we should give glory for ever.

Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 8-10; Psalm 149; Matthew 23:13-22

Today we begin reading from St Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians and which was written in Corinth between 50-51 AD, possibly following reports received from St Timothy. In today’s opening section we see Paul reminding them that God loves them. Many of Paul’s letters were written to bring his readers back to the right path and to keep them faithful to God. In this letter he does this by reminding the people of all that they have received from God and of the great faith they had from the outset. The Christian Community at Thessalonica was founded there by Paul about twenty years after the Resurrection on what was an important point on the trade routes between east and west. The Psalm is a hymn of praise for God. In the Gospel we see Jesus rebuking the scribes and Pharisees because they have become too interested in technicalities and are, therefore, a block to the people drawing closer to God. This is a constant reminder to us that we can become too engrossed in details and so miss out on a wonderful and intimate relationship with God who does so much for us.

Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist 

Jeremiah 1:17-19; Psalm 70; Mark 6:17-29

The first reading sees the Lord telling Jeremiah not to be afraid but to stand up before the people and to preach as he has been commanded to by the Lord. The reading is also a good description of John the Baptist and his fearless belief in Christ who also stood before a king and gave him warning of how to act righteously before God. Both Jeremiah and John suffered violent deaths. The gospel passage recalls the martyrdom of John and how he died for the faith as a result of a promise vainly made to a lovely girl by Herod.

Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Psalm 138; Matthew 23:27-32

St Paul tells the Thessalonians in the first reading of how he slaved for the people in order to bring them the Good News. He reminds them that he was a tentmaker and was therefore able to live off his own independence and not be a burden to others while preaching the Good News. This was possibly added to quieten those who tried to discredit Paul by saying that he preached solely for money. In our Gospel text for today, Jesus continues to berate the scribes and Pharisees and he tells them that, while they appear to be good on the outside, on the inside they are full of hypocrisy for they are no better than those who killed the prophets. There is a contrast in our readings today between the single-minded Paul of the first reading, who wants people to be saved, and the Pharisees of the Gospel who are looking after their own reputations and status rather than leading the people to God.

Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 3:7-13; Psalm 89; Matthew 24:42-51

In our first reading we see St Paul praising the Thessalonians because he has heard from St Timothy of their great faith. He is currently in Corinth where things are not going so well for him and he tells them that he wishes he could see them again as this would be a boost to him. Having praised them he goes on to encourage them to a greater love than they already have, a love which would encompass the whole human race. In the Gospel we see Jesus exhorting the people to be always ready because nobody knows when this life will end. We cannot be Christians whenever it suits us but must always live out our Christianity so that whenever the Lord does call he will find us ready and pure.

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Psalm 96; Matthew 25:1-13

We see St Paul in our first reading explicitly calling the people of Thessalonica to holiness and to avoid anything which would lead them into sin and away from God. Sexual immorality was widespread in Paul’s day and he was aware that the Thessalonians were living in a society in which this was very common. He reminds them that each person can become a temple for the Holy Spirit and therefore every human being must be treated with great respect. In our Gospel text today we have the same theme as yesterday – that of being ready. Today Jesus uses the parable of the foolish bridesmaids who were caught out when the bridegroom arrived at an unexpected hour. Those who are prepared and have lived good lives will enter the kingdom with the Lord, but those who have not, will not necessarily enter because they may not have time to repent and return to the right path. It is quite easy for us to assume that we have years left in us yet, but, for some, it could all end today.

Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

1 Thessalonians 4:9-11; Psalm 97; Matthew 25:14-30

St Paul continues to encourage the people to love one another and today he tells them that it was from God that they learned to love and that with the help of God and their willingness they will learn to love even more than they do at present. He also reminds them that he taught them to live in such a way that others would see Christianity in action and so come to believe. We have the parable of the talents in our Gospel text for today and it is a reminder to us that we all have talents but that we won’t fully realise those gifts unless we actually try. Some have huge and obvious talents but everyone has small talents too and these are just as important as the big obvious ones that some people seem to have. In any case we must work to the best of our ability for the sake of the kingdom.

September 3 – September 9, 2023

Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Second Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.

The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm 62; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27

The Prophet Jeremiah in our first reading today is weary of proclaiming God’s word because all he gets for doing so is insult and derision. This is not because the words he speaks are foolish but because the people are stubborn and are too fond of doing their own thing without giving any thought to God, from whom all things come. In the gospel from St Matthew, Christ tells those closest to him that he is soon to die. St Peter tries to change their path but the Lord is not happy with this for the disciples have failed to understand what his mission is all about. He tells them that his true followers must be prepared to suffer for him and to live according to his teaching and not according to the mores of their contemporary society. Those who are faithful to him will be rewarded by him.

Almost as a support to Jeremiah, St Paul in the second reading to the Romans urges his readers to offer their very lives to God and to live as God wants them to live. He calls on them not to live as those around them do but to allow the power of God to transform them in to what he wants them to be.

Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Psalm 95; Luke 4:16-30

In our first reading today St Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians to remain faithful to God and he tells them that those who are faithful will be taken up to heaven to be with Christ. Some in Thessalonica had been worrying about their dead relatives and were beginning to despair like some of the pagans. Paul reminds them of how non-believers mourn when people die but that as believers there is no need to mourn: full union with Christ is what we seek and that with this thought we should console each other and remain in hope. For the remainder of this liturgical year we read from St Luke’s Gospel and in today’s text we see Jesus returning to his home town of Nazareth for the first time. He reads from the prophet Isaiah and then instructs the people, telling them that he is the fulfilment of the text he had just read. They were enraged because they thought they knew him from his childhood, and so they took him to one of the high ridges on which Nazareth is built and tried to kill him, but he slipped away. The text is a reminder that the message of God is not dependent on the messenger for its validity and that Christ is present in each person no matter how well we think we might know them. We must always be open to seeing and hearing the Word of God in others.

Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11; Psalm 26; Luke 4:31-37

St Paul in the first reading for today is encouraging his readers to remain faithful to God and to the Good News which they received from Christ. He refers to ‘the day of the Lord’ which is a phrase found in the Old Testament and which was used by the prophets to indicate that a new phase of human existence was about to begin as God cleansed the world. He says this because the new phase had just begun with the resurrection of Christ and so the people were to change their way of life in keeping with Christ’s sacrifice for them. They are also to encourage one another to remain faithful so as to receive the reward which God has for all who believe in him. The Psalm echoes Paul’s sentiments. In the Gospel passage from St Luke we see Jesus in Capernaum where he heals a possessed man whose demons recognise him as the ‘Holy One of God.’ The people are impressed by Jesus not simply because of his teaching but also because of the authority with which he teaches.

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time 

Colossians 1:1-8; Psalm 51; Luke 4:38-44

Today we begin reading from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians which he wrote while under house arrest in Rome (61-63 AD) following news of a crisis in Colossae. The purpose of this letter was to bolster the faith of the community but also to correct errors and heretical tendencies which had been introduced into the community’s faith. Paul begins by giving thanks for the people and their faith and telling them about how the Good News is spreading throughout the world. In our Gospel text we see Jesus healing people and casting out devils. He then tries to go to a quiet place while the people try to stop him because they want to keep him to themselves but he tells them that his message is for all people and so he has to go and sow the seeds in other towns and places. The message is for all people and we have a duty to help in the spread of that message wherever we may find ourselves.

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Colossians 1:9-14; Psalm 97; Luke 5:1-11

St Paul continues to praise the people of the small town of Colossae today for their faith and in this way to encourage them to grow ever deeper in the faith. He reminds them that, through Christ, God has taken them out of darkness and forgiven them their sins. In today’s Gospel text we see Jesus calling Simon Peter and his companions to be his followers. They do so after they make a huge catch of fish on the lake, though they had caught nothing in the same place only a few hours before. What is key in this text is the complete and total response of Peter and his companions to Jesus’ call – ‘they left everything and followed him.’ This is in sharp contrast to the people in Nazareth, whom we read about on Monday, who wanted to kill Jesus after they had listened to him. A question for us today is whether or not our response is as total as that of Simon Peter, and, if not, why not.

The Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Micah 5:1-4 or Romans 8:28-30; Psalm 12; Matthew 1:1-6, 18-23

Our readings today may seem rather odd for the memorial of our Lady’s birthday because they speak about the arrival of Christ. In the first reading from Micah we read that the saviour will arrive and then his people will live secure. In the gospel text from St Matthew we have the genealogy of Christ. But the readings do serve to remind us that if it wasn’t for the generosity of Mary in answering God’s call then Christ would not have been born and world history could have been very different. The memorial also serves to remind us that Mary was a human being just like us and that she had a birth just like us.

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time 

Colossians 1:21-23; Psalm 53; Luke 6:1-5

In the first reading St Paul reminds the Colossians of what they used to be and what they are now through the death of Christ. He wants them to continue on the path which brings them to greater union with God rather than the path which will take them further from God’s love – he wants them to go forwards rather than backwards. Again in today’s Gospel we see the Pharisees quizzing Jesus about the actions of his disciples who are breaking the Sabbath by picking corn. In reply Jesus tells them that in fact he is Lord of the Sabbath – he is not there to decide over Sabbath disputes but is the Lord of the Sabbath. In this way he is also telling them that as the Sabbath is subordinate to him then so too is the Law which they follow and use against the disciples. It is a reminder to us that Christ is Lord of all and it is to him that we owe our homage.


Memorial of St Ciaran of Clonmacnois, Abbot

Ciaran (Kieran) was born in Connacht and went to the monastic school at Clonard before spending some time on Inishmore with St Enda. Following a vision he left the western isles and travelled across Ireland to Clonmacnois where he founded one of the most famous monasteries in the country and where he was noted for his virtues and miracles. He died between 549 and 556.

September 10 – September 16, 2023

Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Third Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.

The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 94; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20

In the first reading from the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel we are warned that if we do not try to turn the wicked from their ways then we will be held responsible for their punishment. This is a further reminder of our duty to spread the gospel. In the gospel for today, Christ echoes the words of Ezekiel that we must try to win people back to the right road to eternal life. He also reminds us that where we gather in his name, he will be there amongst us. The readings remind us today that we are a people who live in community and must therefore look after those in community with us. To help us in this we are also told in today’s gospel passage by Christ that he will be with us even if there are only two or three gathered in his name.

In the second reading from Romans, St Paul tells us that love is the root of everything. If we act out of love then we will always be able to keep the Commandments.

Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Colossians 1:24-2:3; Psalm 61; Luke 6:6-11

As we read St Paul’s letter to the Colossians we see Paul telling them that he is happy to suffer for them because he believes so completely in the message he brings them and in Christ who is their salvation. So precious is the gift which he is handing on that he is happy to bear any hardship for their sake even though he has never seen them. This is part of Paul’s writing style to encourage the people to remain faithful to the message. In the Gospel text we again see Jesus in trouble with the Pharisees on a Sabbath day. He questions them and asks them if it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath because they would allow nothing to be done. What Christ does on the Sabbath is good for he healed a man with a withered hand. We are again reminded not to create too many laws and to make them our god but to serve God alone in purity and sincerity of heart.

Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Colossians 2:6-15; Psalm 144; Luke 6:12-19

St Paul reminds the Colossians of what it is that Christ has done for them and for us – he has forgiven all our sins, he has shared his divinity with us and he has freed us from all that would keep us from God’s love. These are Paul’s reasons for us to continue growing in the faith. The Psalm is one of praise for God. In the Gospel we see Jesus choosing his twelve most intimate followers and then going on to cure those who come to him. What is key in the text is that before he made his decision, Jesus ‘spent the whole night in prayer.’ This is a reminder to us that we too should pray to the Lord for guidance no matter what decision we have to make in life and no matter how trivial it may seem. With the Lord on our side to help us we should ask for that help so that we will be able to see our decision through to a successful end.

Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Colossians 3:1-11; Psalm 144; Luke 6:20-26

St Paul tells the people in his letter to the Colossians that through baptism and accepting Christ as their Saviour they rid themselves of all that was impure and made themselves spotless. He now encourages them to remain spotless and faithful to that new life which they received in Christ and he gives them a few examples of the sort of things – everyday things – which must not be allowed to creep back in to their lives. Our Psalm is a continuation of yesterday’s hymn of praise. In the Gospel we read Luke’s account of the Beatitudes. We have heard these beautiful phrases many times throughout our lives and several times a year but do we really pay any attention to them? Do we see them as lovely phrases or do we see them as a radical blueprint for living and one which we should try to practice in our own lives? Only when we see them as the latter and actively live by them can our world change for the better and so acknowledge that there is a God who is close to his people.


Memorial St John Chrysostom, Bishop & Doctor of the Church

Born about the year 347-349 in Antioch, John was ordained in 386. His gifts of speech and eloquence gave rise to the name “Chrysostom” – “Golden Mouth.” He was made archbishop of Constantinople in 398 and was one of the greatest of the four Greek Doctors of the Church and one of the Three Holy Hierarchs along with Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen. He worked tirelessly for the spread of the faith and its defence against heresies. His courage brought him many enemies and he was banished from Constantinople by civil decree on a number of occasions, which the Western Church tried to resolve but in vain. He died in 407 during one such banishment.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 77; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17

The first reading from the Book of Numbers recalls how the people in the wilderness had complained against God. For their ungratefulness, the Lord sent serpents among the people to punish them. Moses fashioned a bronze serpent to save those who were bitten by the serpents. The second reading from the letter to the Philippians is one of the most beautiful passages in scripture for it tells us of how Christ humbled himself to become one of us in order to save us. Through his humility he was raised above all other creatures and won our salvation. In the gospel, Jesus tells us that he had to be raised high, just as Moses raised the serpent, so that all peoples may be saved and brought to eternal life. In the cross is our salvation and the salvation of all peoples and it is this redemption which we celebrate today.

St Helena was, for a time, wife of Emperor Constantius and was the mother of Emperor Constantine I – the first emperor to become a Christian. With her son’s approval she travelled to the Holy Land in search of the sacred places and relics associated with our Lord. Among the relics she discovered was the True Cross which she is said to have discovered on this day in 320 and in 335 had churches dedicated on Calvary and the True Cross venerated there. This annual feast is a chance for us – outside of the Easter Season – to reflect on the significance of the cross in our lives and of the redemption which Christ won for us by his death and resurrection.

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows 

Hebrews 5:7-9; Psalm 30; John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35

In our first reading from the letter to the Hebrews we read that Christ offered up prayer to God but still went to the cross to save the world. In the gospel from St John, we see Mary at the foot of the cross as her Son dies. In the alternative gospel from St Luke we see Mary and Joseph with the Christ-child in the Temple at his presentation. There they are met by Simeon who predicts that Mary would suffer as a result of being the mother of Christ. Today’s memorial recalls Mary’s suffering at seeing her Divine Son rejected and ultimately put to death. Through it all she never tried to prevent what was taking place because she trusted in God and in her Son. As she suffered she was comforted by God who comforts us in all our troubles.

Saturday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 1:15-17; Psalm 112; Luke 6:43-49

In writing to St Timothy, St Paul reminds him that Christ came to save sinners. As an example and proof of that Paul says that he himself was the greatest of sinners and now he is counted as an apostle – appointed by God himself. Anyone who believes and is daily converted to the Gospel can become a disciple. In the Gospel, Jesus too reminds us of the necessity of daily conversion and really living out the Gospel message in our lives. Simply acknowledging Jesus will do nothing for us but if we acknowledge him and live out the Gospel every day then we will be on the right path to eternal life as he has promised us. This will also give a very good and encouraging example to others of real Christian living and so help the building up of the kingdom.


Memorial of St Cornelius, Pope, & St Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs

Cornelius was elected pope in 251 and was martyred two years later under the persecutions of Emperor Gallus. During the persecutions under the Roman emperors many Christians left the faith to save their lives eventually returning to the faith before they died or when the persecutions eased. Cornelius and Novatian clashed over this with Novatian saying they should not be re-admitted and Cornelius being more pastorally sensitive and forgiving. Part of this clash saw Novatian have himself elected as pope in opposition to Cornelius (Novatian was anti-pope from 251 to 258). Caecilius Cyprianus was born in North Africa at the start of the third century and became a lawyer before converting to Christianity and became a bishop in 249. He is remembered with Cornelius because he supported Cornelius in the struggle against Novatian and was beheaded on the 14th of September, 258 on the instruction of Emperor Valerian. Both of these men are named in the Roman Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).

September 17 – September 23, 2023

Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Fourth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecclesiasticus 27:30-28:7; Psalm 102; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35

Both the first reading and the gospel today speak of forgiveness. We are called on in both readings to remember the Covenants with God who forgave humankind again and again despite their sinful ways. The first reading from Ecclesiasticus opens by telling us that ‘resentment and anger … are foul things’ and that these have no place in our lives. In our gospel passage we have the parable of the wicked servant who – despite being pardoned by the king of his debt – refused to pardon a fellow servant who was in debt to him. There is a reminder for us that if we are to expect forgiveness from God and from others then we ourselves must forgive those who we perceive to have wronged us and we should never harbour resentment.

In the second reading St Paul tells us that we belong to God whether we are alive or dead. If we belong to the Lord then we should forgive much.

Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Timothy 2:1-8; Psalm 27; Luke 7:1-10

In our first reading from his first letter to St Timothy, we see St Paul exhorting Timothy and his companions to pray because this is what pleases God and it will also help others to come to salvation which is what God wants. There is also a reminder in the letter that God’s offer of salvation knows no limits. The Psalm reminds us that God listens to us when we call to him in prayer. In our Gospel passage from St Luke, we see a centurion coming to Jesus to plead for the life of his servant. The man’s request is answered because of his faith even though he is not of the House of Israel. This is the faith to which we are called – a faith which trusts Jesus completely in all things. It also shows us that God does answer our prayers, particularly when those prayers are for others.

Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 3:1-13; Psalm 100; Luke 7:11-17

Our first reading today from the first letter to St Timothy gives us guidelines for the sort of people who should be admitted to service in the Church as presidents of communities (bishops) and as deacons. It gives us an image of the early hierarchy of the Church with a married clergy and women working closely with deacons. St Paul also comments on how other people too should live. It is a good reminder to us that what we do is done in public and that we are answerable to the community as well as to God and we should always give a Christian example in living. In our Gospel we see Jesus comforting the widow of Nain and restoring her only son to life. This is a further sign for the people of the greatness of Christ but also shows his compassion for those who suffer. The widow had lost the only person she had left in this world who would look after her and take care of her and so Christ answered her need by restoring her son to her. Luke is the only evangelist who records this miracle but it fits with his image of Jesus who always feels deeply the distress of his people. The Lord always comforts us in our sorrows and supports us in our pain, and while not always as obvious as in today’s Gospel he is always there to help us and to give us strength.

Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Timothy 3:14-16; Psalm 110; Luke 7:31-35

St Paul in his first letter to St Timothy reminds his co-worker that the mysteries of our religion are very deep. He offers no explanation because none could do justice to God but he does give a very brief summary of the mystery. The letter also shows Paul’s concern for Timothy himself who is now looking after the Church in Ephesus where Paul himself had spent time. In the Gospel we see Jesus teaching the people. He puts it to them that when John the Baptist appeared and didn’t act as they would expect they called him a mad man. Yet when Christ himself appeared among them doing what they expected John to do, they likewise would not accept him but called him a drunkard. Christ is pointing out that the people do not decide what the messenger should be like. The messenger is appointed by God and acts on his behalf proclaiming the message as God has instructed. It is for the people to recognise the messenger and to listen to and accept the message if they are to attain eternal life. We must never see God and his message in our terms.


Memorial of St Andrew Kim Taegon, Priest & Martyr, St Paul Chong, Martyr & Companions

Andrew and his Companions are known as the Korean Martyrs for they were martyred in that country. Andrew was born in 1821 and ordained in 1845, just one year before he became the first Korean priest to be put to death for the faith. In all it is thought that up to 10,000 Koreans were martyred for the faith between 1791-1867, many of whom were lay-people. Pope John Paul II canonized a representative 103 martyrs in Seoul Cathedral on May 6, 1984.

Feast of St Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist 

Ephesians 4:1-7; Psalm 18; Matthew 9:9-13

Our first reading today from the letter to the Ephesians speaks of the different gifts of God which have been given to the Ephesians, and how they should all be used for the building up of the Body of Christ. First among those are the apostles who gave their lives for the building of the kingdom – Matthew being today’s example. The gospel passage tells the story of the call of Matthew from being a tax-collector to being a follower of Christ.


Very little is known about Matthew other than the fact that he was a tax-collector and wrote one of the Synoptic Gospels, which he wrote in Hebrew. Accounts of his martyrdom are unconfirmed.

Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time 

1 Timothy 6:2-12; Psalm 48; Luke 8:1-3

St Paul calls upon St Timothy to be saintly in all that he does and to seek only the profit of spirituality and not material possessions. The latter we cannot take with us and so we should and must concentrate on the spiritual. Paul was also aware that Timothy was going to encounter those who would seek to make financial gain out of preaching and he did not want Timothy to fall in to the same trap but to stick to the sound principles for a happy life as given by Christ. The Psalm reminds us that we cannot buy life from God or avoid the grave. In the brief Gospel text for today we are given the names of some of the women who accompanied Jesus on his travels and looked after his needs. These were loyal to Christ even to following him to Calvary and assisting with his burial.

Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 6:13-16; Psalm 99; Luke 8:4-15

St Paul continues his exhortation to Timothy today and reminds him that Christ is the source of all life and so he must remain steadfast as a servant of Christ. As Christ bore witness before Pontius Pilate so too Timothy must bear witness until the end of his life. In our Gospel passage we have the familiar parable of the Sower going out to sow seed. The different places where the seed fell represent humankind’s response to Christ. The important phrase for us is “Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!” If we truly listen to the word of God then we will grow in the faith for we will realise the great promise that awaits those who listen, hear and take to heart the word of God.


Memorial of St Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), Priest

Francesco Forgione was born in southern Italy in 1887. He joined the Capuchin Friars and was ordained priest in 1910. He suffered from ill-health and was thought to have tuberculosis at one stage. While praying before a cross he received the visible stigmata on September 20, 1918. His fame spread far and wide after the end of the Second World War and crowds flocked to hear and see him. Many miracles have been attributed to him and he was a gifted confessor. He founded a hospital in 1956. He died on September 23, 1968, and was canonized in 2002.

September 24 – September 30, 2023

Ordinary Time – The Twenty-Fifth Week | Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle 1.

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm 144; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20:1-16

Our readings from Isaiah and from St Matthew’s Gospel speak to us of the generosity of God which is beyond our understanding. Isaiah reminds us to seek the Lord and not abandon his ways like the wicked do. The gospel sees Jesus teaching about the mercy of God through a parable in which all people are treated very generously. All people are considered equal in God’s eyes and there is a welcome and a place for each person in heaven if they live according to the gospel.

Our second reading now comes from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians and in today’s passage we read that Christ will be glorified in us and that Christ is our life. Paul is quite candid about the fact that he wants to die and live with Christ in heaven but at the same time he knows that Christ is with him and that he has a task to complete for Christ before he dies – the spread of the gospel. Christ can only be glorified in us if we live out the gospel in the sight of others with Christ as the guiding principle of our lives.

Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Ezra 1:1-6; Psalm 125; Luke 8:16-18

For the next three weeks we return to the Old Testament for our first reading beginning today with the book of Ezra which was probably written in the third century before Christ but concerning the return from Exile in 515-513 BC. In our section today we see God moving the heart of King Cyrus to allow the Jews to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians and who were later defeated by the Persians who now rule the land. In the Gospel text we have the parable of the lamp in which Jesus reminds us that nothing is secret. We live and work in communities and so what we do will ultimately be known to the community but, more importantly, everything is known to God. Our faith too is something which is not strictly private for the Christian community is a public one and we are called to proclaim our faith in public though not so as to gain any adulation from others but so that others may see our example and, through us, come to know the living God.

Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time 

Ezra 6:7-8, 12, 14-20; Psalm 121; Luke 8:19-21

In the text from Ezra we read of the Israelites completing the Temple to God at the command of King Darius (it was begun under the rule of Cyrus). This was completed about the year 515 BC on what was the site of Solomon’s magnificent temple. When the Temple was completed they restored the priesthood to it as Moses had prescribed in the Torah. The Psalm speaks of rejoicing during the pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that those who listen to his word and carry out his wishes will be regarded as his mother and sisters and brothers. It is a challenge to us to ask ourselves if we are worthy of those titles and, if not, what are we willing to do to be seen as the close family of Jesus.

Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Ezra 9:5-9; Psalm – Tobit 13:2, 4, 6, 8; Luke 9:1-6

Today, Ezra the priest praises the Lord for he has given the people a refuge even after they had sinned against him which resulted in their slavery to the Persians. They were in slavery because they did not keep the covenants and had strayed from the Law of God. Yet God is still faithful to them and has moved the heart of the king to allow them to rebuild the Temple and now they have a place in which to worship and to continue their faith. The Psalm reminds us that while God punishes us for our transgressions he is still merciful. In the Gospel we see Jesus sending out the Twelve on their first solo mission to preach in his name. They are to preach and to heal and to prepare the people for the Good News. We too were commissioned at our baptism and have been sent out every day since to preach and to heal, but how many of us have actually done that for even a few minutes a day? If we were all to be faithful to our promises then this world would be a better place.


Memorial of St Vincent de Paul, Priest

Vincent was born in France in 1581. He became a priest in 1600 and, on a visit to Paris, he met with Fr Bérulle and Mme de Gondi who changed his heart forever. He then became totally immersed in the plight of the poor and destitute. In 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Missions (the Vincentians) and, in 1633, the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul to carry on his work. He died in 1660 and is the patron saint of all charitable societies and in particular the society which bears his name.

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Haggai 1:1-8; Psalm 149; Luke 9:7-9

Our reading today goes back a few years in the history of the Israelites to about the year 520 BC. Work on the reconstruction of the Temple has slowed down at this point and the Lord sends the prophet Haggai to remind the people that while they live in very fine dwellings, the Temple of the Lord is still lying in ruins. The Lord instructs them to consider how life has gone for them and to then go and prepare the materials for the new building. In the Gospel today we see that Herod has become aware of the presence of Christ in his jurisdiction. He has also heard the people speaking about Jesus and it shows us that despite his many signs and miracles and his preaching, the people still do not see Jesus as the Messiah. They still think he is John the Baptist or one of the ancient prophets come back to life. We too must ask ourselves who Christ is for us. Is he simply a saintly man, someone who preached about love and moral living or is he really our Lord and Saviour?

Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 (or Revelations 12:7-12); Psalm 137; John 1:47-51

The text from the book of Daniel speaks of one of great age taking his seat upon his throne and receiving sovereignty, glory and kingship and with all peoples worshiping him. In the alternative reading from the book of Revelations we read of Michael the Archangel leading the hosts of angels into battle on behalf of the Lord against the dragon, known as the devil of Satan. They are victorious and the glory of the Lord is declared. In the gospel we see Jesus speaking with Nathanael when the latter came to him late at night. Nathanael says that Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus commends him for his faith. He goes on to tell him that he shall see great things in heaven including the angels who dwell in the Lord’s presence and act as his messengers.

Michael is traditionally regarded as the chief of the Archangels and a special protector against the attacks of Satan. Gabriel is the special messenger of the Lord who visited Mary at the Annunciation. Raphael is known as “The Healer of the Lord” because he brought healing to people as found in the Book of Tobias and St John’s Gospel.

Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Zechariah 2:5-9, 14-15; Psalm – Jeremiah 31:10-13; Luke 9:43-45

In the first reading today from the prophet Zechariah (written between 520-517 BC) we see the Lord telling the people that he will be the wall around Jerusalem which will protect the city and its people. At the same time he will be the glory which dwells in the midst of the people in the centre of the city. The people will not need to build a stone wall around the city for the Lord himself will be their protector when he returns to Zion. For the second time in the Gospel this week we see Jesus telling the disciples that he will be handed over and will eventually die. They still do not understand what he is saying and they are too afraid to ask. We have the benefit of their accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Christ and so we know that there was no need for them to be alarmed but to rejoice for salvation was in their midst. How much more they could have enjoyed the living presence of Christ had they known what we know? And yet we have this knowledge but do we really enjoy living in the presence of Christ knowing that salvation has not only been promised to each one of us but has been guaranteed through the death and resurrection of Christ?


Memorial of St Jerome, Priest & Doctor of the Church

Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius was born in Dalmatia between 340 and 347. He is regarded as the most learned Father of the Church in matters concerning the Bible. In 385 he retired to Bethlehem where he continued his great work of translating the Bible into Latin and also wrote several Biblical commentaries. He could be quick to temper but also very quick to remorse. He referred to those who sought to amend the Bible as “presumptuous blockheads.” In his Prologue to his commentaries on the Prophet Isaiah he wrote that “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” For his services for Pope St Damasus he is depicted as a cardinal though he was never elevated to the College of Cardinals. He died in 420 in Bethlehem. Jerome is the patron of librarians.

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