01Aug Mass Readings for August, 2017

Mass Readings for August

(as in the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2017, ed. Patrick Jones)

01 August. Tuesday of Week 17

02 August. Wednesday of Week 17

03 August. Thursday of Week 17

04 August. Friday of Week 17

05 August. Saturday of Week 17

06 August. The Transfiguration of the Lord

07 August. Monday of Week 18

08 August. Tuesday of Week 18

09 August. Wednesday of Week 18

10 August. Thursday of Week 18

11 August. Friday of Week 18

12 August. Saturday of Week 18

13 August. 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

14 August. Monday of Week 19

15 August. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

16 August. Wednesday of Week 19

17 August. Wednesday of Week 19

18 August. Friday of Week 19

19 August. Saturday of Week 19

20 August. 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

21 August. Monday of Week 20

22 August. The Queenship of Mary

23 August. Wednesday of Week 20

24 August. Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

25 August. Friday of Week 20

26 August. Saturday of Week 20

27 August. 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

28 August. Monday of Week 21

29 August. The Passion of John the Baptist

30 August. Wednesday of Week 21

31 August. Thursday of Week 21


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Bible

01 August, 2017. Tuesday of Week 17

Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, bishop and doctor of the Church

1st Reading: Exodus 33:7-11; etc

Moses comes face to face with God, fasts 40 days and receives the Ten Commandments

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise and stand, each of them, at the entrance of their tents and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down, all of them, at the entrance of their tent. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent.

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, “The LORD.” The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. He said, “If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” He was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Gospel: Matthew 13:36-43

The parable of the weeds refers to the end of the world

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”


Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, bishop and doctor of the Church

Alphonsus (1696-1787) from Marianella near Naples studied law and practiced as a lawyer until 1723, when he began studying for the priesthood.
After ordination at the age of 30 he lived his first years as a priest working with the homeless youth of Naples. His sermons were very effective at converting people who were alienated from their faith. In 1732 he founded the Redemptorists, a congregation to preach principally in the slums of cities and other poor places. Despite his resistence, was made bishop of Palermo at the age of 66. He wrote many works on moral theology and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1871.


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Bible

02 August, 2017. Wednesday of Week 17

St Julian Eymard, priest

1st Reading: Exodus 34:29-35

Moses veils his face when speaking to the people

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with the LORD.

Gospel: Matthew 13:44-46

Ready to give up all for the sake of the buried treasure, or the priceless pearl

Jesus said to his disciples,”The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”


Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop

Eusebius, born in Sardinia about 300, became the first bishop in Vercelli (northern Italy), in the early 340s. He led his clergy to form a monastic community modelled on that of the Eastern cenobites. Hence the Augustinians honor him along with Augustine as their founder. He sought a solution to the Arian crisis at the synod of Milan (355).

St Julian Eymard, priest

Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868) from Isere in the French Alps became a priest as a member of the Marist Fathers. Later he founded two religious institutes, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (for clerics) and the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament (for women). One of his memorable sayings is, “You take communion to become holy, not because you already are.”


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Bible

03 August, 2017. Thursday of Week 17

1st Reading: Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38

When the tabernacle and its contents are consecrated, God’s glory settles there

Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him. In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was set up. Moses set up the tabernacle; he laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars; and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it; as the Lord had commanded Moses. He took the covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above the ark; and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the curtain for screening, and screened the ark of the covenant; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.

Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53

The reign of God is like a net (or a storeroom) full of various contents

And Jesus said to his disciples,
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.


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Bible

04 August, 2017. Friday of Week 17

Saint John Vianney, priest

1st Reading: Leviticus 23:1, 4-11 etc

Sacred festivals of Pasch, Pentecost, Atonement and Tabernacles

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall celebrate at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the Lord, and on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to the Lord; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. For seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation: you shall not work at your occupations.

The Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall raise the sheaf before the Lord, that you may find acceptance; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall raise it.

And from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering, you shall count off seven weeks; they shall be complete. You shall count until the day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days; then you shall present an offering of new grain to the Lord.

Speak to the people of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month, and lasting seven days, there shall be the festival of booths to the Lord. The first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. Seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the eighth day you shall observe a holy convocation and present the Lord’s offerings by fire; it is a solemn assembly; you shall not work at your occupations.

These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you shall celebrate as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord offerings by fire–burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day.

Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58

Because the people of Nazareth reject Jesus, he could work few miracles there

Jesus came to his home town and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honour except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.


Saint John Vianney, priest

Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, (1786 –1859) from the district of Lyons, France, was parish priest  of the village of Ars for over 40 years (hence his popular soubriquet as “the Curé d’Ars“). Canonized in 1925, he is widely admired for his combination of humility and zeal.  His story is sensitively retold in The Diary of a Country Priest (1936) by Georges Bernanos. He is venerated as a spiritual guide and as the patron saint of parish priests.


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Bible

05 August, 2017. Saturday of Week 17

Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major

1st Reading: Leviticus 25:1, 8-17

Land can never be sold or mortgaged beyond the next Jubilee year

The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: “You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. The you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month–on the day of atonement–you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.

“In this year of jubilee you shall return, every one of you, to your property. When you make a sale to your neighbour or buy from your neighbour, you shall not cheat one another. When you buy from your neighbour, you shall pay only for the number of years since the jubilee; the seller shall charge you only for the remaining crop years. If the years are more, you shall increase the price, and if the years are fewer, you shall diminish the price; for it is a certain number of harvests that are being sold to you. You shall not cheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.”

Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12

John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod Antipas, then beheaded at a dancer’s request

At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet.

But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.


Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major

This is one of the four major basilicas in Rome. Pope Pius V inserted the feast of its dedication into the General Roman Calendar in 1568 when, in response to the request of the Council of Trent, he reformed the Roman Breviary. Before that, it had been celebrated since the 14th century, in all the churches of the city of Rome.


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Bible

06 August, 2017 (Sunday). The Transfiguration

Three apostles were priveleged to witness the inner life of Christ, revealed to them in splendour on the holy mountain. We pray for a deeper experience of God in our own lives, and to share in his divine life

1st Reading: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

Daniel sees the Almighty One conferring power upon the Son of Man

As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.

Or: 2 Peter 1:16-19

The power of Jesus Christ is a truth personally experienced in his company

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. ” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Gospel: Luke 9:28-36

Moses and Elijah talk with Jesus, on the mountain-top

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” ?” not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came an overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.


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Bible

07 August, 2017. Monday of Week 18

Saint Cajetan, priest

1st Reading: Numbers 11:4-15

The people rebel, during the Exodus from Egypt

The rabble among the Israelites had a strong craving; and they also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color was like the color of gum resin. The people went around and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, then boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna would fall with it.

Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child,’ to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once – if I have found favor in your sight – and do not let me see such misery as this.”

Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21

Out of compassion, Jesus cures the sick and multiplies food in a deserted place

When Jesus heard the news of John the Baptis’s death, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.

When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.


Saint Sixtus, pope, and companions

Pope Sixtus II (first half of the 3rd century) was bishop of Rome from 257 to his death in 258. In the persecution under Valerian in 258, many Christians were put to death and Sixtus was one of the first victims. He was martyred along with several of his deacons, the most famous of them being Lawrence of Rome.


Saint Cajetan, priest

Cajetan (Gaetano) (1480-1547), was an north Italian priest and a reformer of the clergy, devoted to serving the poor. After studying law in Padua, he worked for some years as a diplomat for Pope Julius II. then feeling the call to priesthood he was ordained in 1516. He founded in Vicenza a hospital for incurables (1522) and later founded the Theatines to combine the spirit of monasticism with the exercises of the active ministry.


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Bible

08 August, 2017. Tuesday of Week 18

Saint Dominic, priest

1st Reading: Numbers 12:1-13

Despite the envy of Miriam and Aaron, God appoints Moses as leader of his people

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman); and they said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth. Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the entrance of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words:

When there are prophets among you, I the Lord make myself known to them in visions; I speak to them in dreams. Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face–clearly, not in riddles; and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.

When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam had become leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam and saw that she was leprous. Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us for a sin that we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like one stillborn, whose flesh is half consumed when it comes out of its mother’s womb.” And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her.”

Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus retires to pray, walks on the water, saves Peter from sinking

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.

And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.


Saint Dominic. priest

Dominic de Guzmán (1170-1221), was a Spanish priest and founder of the Dominican Order. Born in Castile, Spain, he saw the need for a new type of organization to address the spiritual needs of the growing cities of the Middle Ages, one that would combine systematic education with more organizational flexibility than either monastic orders or the secular clergy. In 1217 pope Honorius III granted him authority to found “The Order of Preachers” He is buried in the basilica of San Domenico, Bologna.


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Bible

09 August, 2017. Saint Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stern), virgin and martyr

Saint Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein )

1st Reading: Hosea 2:16-17; 21-22

God’s love for his people, Israel, is like a husband’s love for a wife

On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My Baal.”
For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. On that day I will answer, says the Lord, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth;
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel.”

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13

A parable on being ready for Christ’s return: the wise and foolish bridesmaids

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. ‘ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. ‘ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves. ‘ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us. ‘ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do no know you. ‘ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.


Saint Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein )

Edith Stein 1891-1942) was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years. After studying philosophy and holding a teaching position at the University of Freiburg she became a Catholic Church and later a Discalced Carmelite nun, taking the new name Sister Teresa Benedicta. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, also a convert and an religious sister, were sent to a Carmelite monastery in Echt, the Netherlands for their safety. They were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber one week later.


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Bible

10 August, 2017. (Thurs.) St Lawrence, deacon and martyr

1st Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10

Whoever sows generously will also reap generously

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Gospel: John 12:24-26

Those who love their life in the wrong way will lose it

Jesus said to his disciples, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.”


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Bible

11 August, 2017. Friday of Week 18

Saint Clare, virgin

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-40

Moses calls the people to appreciate God’s works and keep the commands

Moses said to the people: “Ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, while you heard his words coming out of the fire. And because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants after them. He brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, giving you their land for a possession, as it is still today. So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”

Gospel: Matthew 16:24-28

The cost of discipleship: Take up the cross and follow

Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”


Saint Clare, virgin

Chiara Offreduccio (1194-1253) was one of the first followers and helpers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life, the first monastic rule known to have been written by a woman. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honor as the Order of Saint Clare, known today as the Poor Clares.


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Bible

12 August, 2017. Saturday of Week 18

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, religious; Saint Muredach, bishop; Saint Lelia, virgin; Saint Attracta, virgin

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 6:4-13

The central commandment of Torah: Be faithful to God

Moses said to the people: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you–a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant–and when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. The Lord your God you shall fear; him you shall serve, and by his name alone you shall swear.

Gospel: Matthew 17:14-20

Jesus casts out demons by the power of prayer

A man came up to Jesus, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”


Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, religious

Jane Frances, Baroness of Chantal (1572-1641) married at the age of twenty but was left a widow at twenty-eight, with four children. Some years later, with the help of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop of Geneva, she founded in Annecy the Congregation of the Visitation. Her sisters were noted for their outreach to the sick poor, in contrast to cloistered female religious. Chantal said, “What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I’m on their side.”

Saint Attracta, virgin

In Butler’s Lives of the Saints,, it is said that Attracta of Achonry (5th/6th century) received the veil from Saint Patrick himself. She is the patron saint of the parish of Locha Techet, (Lough Gara), Co. Sligo


Saint Muredach, bishop

Legend has it that Saint Patrick made Muredach, one of his disciples, bishop near the mouth of the river Moy, circa 440. Since the twelfth century, Muredach has been honoured as patron of the diocese of Killala, in north Mayo.


Saint Lelia, virgin

According to Butler’s Lives of the Saints, she was the daughter of prince Cairthenn, whom St Patrick baptized. Lelia he lived a deeply religious life in the regions of Limerick and Kerry, where her memory is still held at Kileely, near Thomond Bridge in the heart of what is now Limerick city.


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Bible

13 August, 2017. 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saint Fachtna, bishop; Saints Pontian, Pope, and Hippolytus, priest, martyrs

1st Reading: 1 Kings 19:9, 11-13

God’s voice was like the gentle whisper of a breeze

At that place Elijah came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. ” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

2nd Reading: Romans 9:1-5

Paul grieves to see his fellow-Jews refuse to accept Jesus. He would do anything to win them for Christ

I am speaking the truth in Christ-I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Gospel: Matthew 14:23-33

When Peter begins to sink Jesus chides him for his lack of faith

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.

Immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. ” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. ” He said, “Come. ” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


Saints Pontian, Pope, and Hippolytus, priest, martyrs

Pontian and Hippolytus (2nd-3rd century) both suffered martyrdom through being sent to hard labour in the mines of Sardinia, in the persecution under emperor Maximian in the year 235. One had been pope for five years, the other an antipope for 18. They died reconciled. Their bodies were brought back to Rome and buried as martyrs. Hippolytus had been a rigorist who fought for an ideal Church composed only of pure souls separated from the world. He and his group remained in schism through the term of three popes. His writings are our main source for knowledge of the Roman liturgy and the structure of the Church around 200 A.D.


Saint Fachtna, bishop

Fachtna of Tulachteann, Co. Cork (6th century), established the monastic school of Rosscarberry. Before that was one of the pupils of Saint Ita, and founded a monastery (Molana) on an island in the Blackwater, near Youghal. He is patron saint of the diocese of Ross


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Bible

14 August, 2017. Monday of Week 19

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 10:12-22

God’s chosen people must show mercy to foreigners, the orphan and the widow

And Moses said to th people, “So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being.

“Although heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth with all that is in it, yet the Lord set his heart in love on your ancestors alone and chose you, their descendants after them, out of all the peoples, as it is today. Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven.”

Gospel: Matthew 17:22-27

Why and how Jesus pays the temple tax

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed.

When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes, he does.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?” When Peter said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the children are free. But so that we do not give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.”


Saint Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr

Maximilian Maria Kolbe (1894-1941) was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a family man in the death camp of Auschwitz near Krakow, in World War II. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement.


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Bible

15 August, 2017. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1st Reading: Revelation 11-12

The image of woman and dragon is applied to the Assumption

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the desert, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah.

2nd Reading: Corinthians 15:20-25

Christ is “first fruits” of the resurrection. His Mother already shares the fullness of redemption

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power; for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

Gospel: Luke 1:39-56

During her visit to Elizabeth, Mary recites the Magnificat

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.


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Bible

16 August, 2017. Wednesday of Week 19

Saint Stephen of Hungary

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 34:1-12

The great Moses dies within sight of the Promised Land

Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain–that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees–as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants;’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of morning for Moses was ended. Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20

Fraternal accountability within the Christian family

Jesus said to his disciples: “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?”


Saint Stephen of Hungary

Stephen (975 1038 AD), was the first King of Hungary from 1000 to his death in 1038. He was the first member of his family to become a Christian, after marrying the devout Gisela of Bavaria. He established one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries, and encouraged the spread of Christianity, partly by force. Hungary, which enjoyed a long period of peace during his reign, became a preferred route for pilgrims travelling from Western Europe to the Holy Land. He was canonized in 1083.


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Bible

17 August, 2017. Thursday of Week 19

Our Lady of Knock

(option: Our Lady of Knock: Use the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lect II, 1421-1449)

1st Reading: Joshua 3:7-10, 11, 13-17

Carrying the Ark into the Jordan allowed the people cross safely

The Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses. You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'” Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.” Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”

When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

Gospel: Matthew 18:21-19:1

The pardoned official who was harsh to his own debtors

Then Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, is lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.


Our Lady of Knock

On the evening of 21st August, 1879, people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo, witnessed an apparition of Our Lady, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church.There were fifteen official witnesses to the Apparition, who ranged in age from 5 years to 74 years old. Each gave testimony to a commission of enquiry in October of that year. The findings of the Commission were that the testimonies were both trustworthy and satisfactory. Since then, the great Marian shrine has hosted pilgrims from all over the world who make their way to Knock, seeking the motherly intercession of Mary and her inspiration to live the Christian life more fully.


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Bible

18 August, 2017. Friday of Week 19

1st Reading: Joshua 24:1-13

Joshua narrates God’s help to Israel, from the patriarchs to entering the Promised Land

Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people,

“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors–Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor–lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac; and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in its midst; and afterwards I brought you out. When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. When they cried out to the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did to Egypt. Afterwards you lived in the desert a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan; they fought with you, and I handed them over to you, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. Then King Balak son of Zippor of Moab, set out to fight against Israel. He sent and invited Balaam son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he blessed you; so I rescued you out of his hand.

“When you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I handed them over to you. I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove out before you the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. I gave you a land on which you had not laboured, and towns that you had not built, and you live in them; you eat the fruit of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.

Gospel: Matthew 19:3-12

Among the Kingdom signs are marital fidelity and celibacy

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.”

His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”


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Bible

19 August, 2017. Saturday of Week 19

Saint John Eudes, priest

1st Reading: Joshua 24:14-29

At the covenant ceremony at Shechem, the whole people promise loyalty to God

Joshua said to all the people: “Revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” The people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.”

So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem. Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of Go; and he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord. Joshua said to all the people, “See, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us; therefore it shall be a witness against you, if you deal falsely with your God.” So Joshua sent the people away to their inheritances.

After these things Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred ten years old.

Gospel: Matthew 19:13-15

The kingdom of God belongs to hearts that are as pure as little children

Then little children were being brought to Jesus in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.


Saint John Eudes, priest

Jean Eudes (1601-1680) from Ri in Normandy (France), was an Oratorian priest and parish missionary, zealous in serving the sick and the marginalised. He founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity.


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Bible

20 August, 2017. 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: : Isaiah 56:1, 6-7

The Lord will bring foreigners to worship in Jerusalem

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

Foreigners who have attached themselves to Yahweh to serve him and to love his name and be his servants —
all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant — these I will bring to my holy mountain.
I will make them joyful in my house of prayer.
Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar,
for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

2nd Reading: Romans 11:13ff

Paul trusts that eventually his fellow-Jews also will come to Christ

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus answers the prayer of a persistent woman and praises her faith

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon. ” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us. ” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me. ” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs. ” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. ” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish. ” And her daughter was healed instantly.


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot and doctor of the Church

Bernard (1090-1153) from Burgundy in France, was a monk and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order. With several of his brothers, he founded an abbey at Clairvaux which became inspirational for monastic reform in the 12th century. A great biblical student, preacher and devotee of the Virgin Mary, he was advisor to popes and crusaders and sought the unity of Christendom. At the Council of Troyes (1129) he helped to formulate the rule of the Knights Templar, who became the ideal of Christian nobility.


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Bible

21 August, 2017. Monday of Week 20

Saint Pius X, pope

1st Reading: Judges 2:11-19

The era of the Judges alternates between falling away and being restored

Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and worshipped the Baals; and they abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; they followed other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were all around them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord, and worshipped Baal and the Astartes. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers who plundered them, and he sold them into the power of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them to bring misfortune, as the Lord had warned them and sworn to them; and they were in great distress.

Then the Lord raised up judges, who delivered them out of the power of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen even to their judges; for they lusted after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their ancestors had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord; they did not follow their example. Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord would be moved to pity by their groaning because of those who persecuted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they would relapse and behave worse than their ancestors, following other gods, worshipping them and bowing down to them. They would not drop any of heir practices or their stubborn ways.

Gospel: Matthew 19:16-22

To follow Jesus, we must share what we have with the poor

Then someone came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.


Saint Pius X, pope

Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto (1835–1914), from Treviso, Lombardy, was bishop of Rome as pope Pius X 1903-1914. Bitterly opposed to all relativist or “Modernist” theology, he used a Syllabus of Errors to purge the church of liberal theologians. His major, positive achievement was to codify the church’s Canon Law, integrating all its  laws into one volume. He promoted a more traditional, devout lifestyle, urged the use of simple language in teaching catechism and his introduction of early and frequent communion became a major hallmark of his papacy.


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Bible

22 August, 2017. The Queenship of Mary

1st Reading: Isaiah 9:1-6

God’s promise of joy and restoration to those who sat in darkness

There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation: “The power of the Most High will overshadow you”

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel as sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. ” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. ” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God. ” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. ” Then the angel departed from her.


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Bible

23 August, 2017. Wednesday of Week 20

Saint Rose of Lima, virgin; Saint Eugene, bishop

1st Reading: Judges 9:6-15

In a riddle Jotham curses Abimelech and the people of Shechem

All the lords of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem. When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you lords of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

The trees once went out to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ The olive tree answered them, ‘Shall I stop producing my rich oil by which gods and mortals are honored, and go to sway over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ But the fig tree answered them, ‘Shall I stop producing my sweetness and my delicious fruit, and go to sway over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I stop producing my wine that cheers gods and mortals, and go to sway over the trees?’ So all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16

The landowner who pays the same agreed wage to the first as to the last

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


Saint Rose of Lima, virgin

Isabel Flores y de Oliva (1586-1617) from a Spanish colonial family in Lima, Peru, was nicknamed “Rose” from an incident in her childhood. She wanted to be a nun, but instead entered the Dominican Third Order while living in her parents’ home. At twenty she took a vow of perpetual virginity. For eleven years she lived an ascetical life of prayer and died at the age of 31. She was the first person born in the Americas to be canonized

Saint Eugene, bishop

Eugene (Eoghan) is honoured as founder of the 7th century monastery of Ardstraw (Co. Tyrone). Tradition says he was born in Leinster; but as a boy he studied at Clones (Monaghan), from where was carried off by pirates to Britain and subsequently to Brittany. On obtaining his freedom, he went to study at Saint Ninian’s Candida Casa; then returning to Ireland, he made a foundation at Kilnamanagh, in the Wicklow hills. Later he settled in the valley of Mourne (Co. Tyrone). He was followed by many disciples including his kinsman, Saint Kevin of Glendalough, who completed his studies under saint Eugene. His name is generally Latinized as Eugenius, but the Irish form is Eoghan (Owen), hence Tir Eoghain, or Tyrone.


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Bible

24 August, 2017. St Bartholomew, Apostle

1st Reading: Revelation 21:9-14

The City of God has 12 gates, representing the 12 apostles

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Gospel: John 1:45-51

The vocation of Nathanael, whose name is linked with Bartholomew

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”


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Bible

25 August, 2017. Friday of Week 20

Saint Louis of France, king; Saint Joseph Calasanctius, priest

1st Reading: Ruth 1:1 etc

Ruth migrates to Bethlehem, with her widowed mother-in-law

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food. Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.

So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

Jesus declares as central the love of God and neighbour

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”


Saint Louis of France, king

Louis IX (1214-1270) from Poissy, near Paris, was king of France from the age of twelve until his death at fifty six. He was a patron of the arts and of the church, and went on two crusades, first in his mid-30s in 1248 and then again in his mid-50s in 1270, when he died of plague in Tunis. He is the only canonised king of France.


Saint Joseph Calasanctius, priest

José de Calasanz (1557-1648) from Aragon, Spain, was sent to study law as his parents wanted him to marry. Following a grave sickness in 1582 he was ordained priest in 1583. After nine years of ministry in Spain, he moved to Rome where he worked mainly in the instruction of neglected children. In November 1597, he opened the first free public school in Europe. In 1602, he began the Piarists (Congregation of the Pious Schools,) the first religious institute dedicated essentially to teaching.


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Bible

26 August, 2017. Saturday of Week 20

1st Reading: Ruth 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17

How Ruth the foreigner came to become king David’s great grandmother

Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favour.” She said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favour in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before.

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighbourhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12

Jesus teaches about authority and true greatness

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”


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Bible

27 August, 2017. 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saint Monica, widow

1st Reading: Isaiah 22:19-23

Isaiah warns Shebna that the key, the symbol of his authority, will be taken from him

Thus says the Lord to Shebna, the master of the palace: “I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your post. On that day I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and will clothe him with your robe and bind your sash on him. I will commit your authority to his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his ancestral house.

2nd Reading: Romans 11:33-36

After the anguished chapters 9-11 comes a hymn to the wisdom and goodness of God

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20

Peter declares faith in Jesus and is promised the keys of the kingdom

When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.


Saint Monica, widow

Monica (331-387) was a 4th-century Christian from Hippo near Carthage (Tunisia) and the mother of Saint Augustine.  She is honoured for her Christian virtues, her patience with a straying husband, and a prayerful dedication to the conversion of her son, who later wrote extensively about her in his Confessions. Monica followed Augustine to Italy where she found Saint Ambrose in Milan and through him ultimately had the joy of seeing her wayward son convert to Christianity, after seventeen years of resistance. She died at Ostia, on her way back to Africa.


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Bible

28 August, 2017. Monday of Week 21

Saint Augustine of Hippo, bishop and doctor of the church

1st Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 8-10

Paul recalls the dramatic conversion of the people of Thessalonica

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake.

For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Gospel: Matthew 23:13-22

The woes pronounced on the scribes and pharisees

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.”


Saint Augustine of Hippo

Aurelius Augustinus (354-430), born in Hippo (mod. Tunisia, North Africa) of a Christian mother, Monica, and a pagan father, Patricius. Augustine was brought up a Christian although not baptized. His study of philosophy resulted in his renouncing the Christian faith. He lived for fifteen years with a woman, by whom he had a son. After moving to Rome and then to Milan, he came under the influence of Ambrose, bishop of Milan. As a result of Ambrose’s guidance, and his mother’s prayers and example over many years, he underwent a deep conversion and was baptized in his early thirties. He returned to Africa and was ordained priest and four years later was appointed Bishop of Hippo in the Roman province of North Africa; he remained in that post for 35 years until his death in 430. As a bishop he lived a community life with his clergy. He had a powerful intellect and great mystical insight. His most famous work is entitled the Confessions, in which he describes his own spiritual journey. Augustine’s life teaches us that it is never too late to turn to the Lord: ‘Late have I loved you, Beauty, at once so ancient and so new! Late have I loved you! You were within me and I was outside… You were with me, but I was not with you… You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.’


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Bible

29 August, 2017. (Tuesday) The Passion of St John the Baptist

1st Reading: Jeremiah 1:17-19

Like Jeremiah, we must speak out against domineering rulers

But as for you, gird up your loins; stand up and tell them everything that I command you.
Do not break down before them, or I will break you before them.

And I for my part have made you today a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall, against the whole land,
against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land.
They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you.

Gospel: Mark 6:17-29

Mark’s terse account of John the Baptist’s execution

King Herod had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


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Bible

30 August, 2017. Wednesday of Week 21

 

1st Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

The gospel is no mere opinion but is God’s own word

You remember our labour and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.

Gospel: Matthew 23:27-32

Woe to hypocrites who are not what they seem

Jesus said to his disciples, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors.


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Bible

31 August, 2017. Thursday of Week 21

Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, bishop and missionary

1st Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:7-13

Paul recalls the faith of the Thessalonians and prays for their spritual growth

Brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51

The faithful steward is ready even if the master comes by surprise

Jesus said to his disciples, “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possession. But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, bishop and missionary

Aidan of Lindisfarne (d. 651) was an Irish monk from Iona monastery, who went as a missionary to Northumbria. He founded a monastic cathedral on the island of Lindisfarne, served as its first bishop, and travelled throughout northern England, spreading the gospel both to the nobility and the common people. A laudatory biography of him was later written by the Venerable Bede (672-735). For his Irish origins, his Scottish monasticism and his ministry to the English, St Aidan was once proposed as a possible patron saint of the British Isles.



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