Mass Readings for October, 2017
Mass Readings for the month of October, 2017
(as listed in the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2017, edited by Patrick Jones)
01 October, 2017. 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
Jesus warns that prostitutes and tax-collectors may be closer to God than their supposed betters. Social or religious privelege means little in the sight of God. The parable of the two sons, neither of whom does what he says he will do, highlights the dictum that “actions speak louder than words.” Doing good actions is better than speaking fine words
1st Reading: Ezekiel 18:25-28
God deals justly with us, forgiving the sinner who repents and rewarding those who persevere
Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die.
Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die.
2nd Reading: Philippians 2:1-11
Unity depends on Christians imitating the humility of Christ who became obedient unto death
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32
The parable of the two sons reminds us that good actions speak louder than fine words
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders: “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
Therese Martin (1873-1897) from Lisieux, Normandy, was a Carmelite nun, popularly known as “The Little Flower” or as “St Therese of Lisieux.” She entered the Discalced Carmelites in 1888 at the age of 15, joining her two elder sisters in that cloistered community. After some years as assistant novice mistress, and having wrestled with the dark night of faith, she died of tuberculosis, aged only 24. Her spiritual autobiography The Story of a Soul appeared soon after her death and had immediate impact under the title “The Little Way.” Because of her intense prayer for missionaries, she was declared co-patron of the missions in 1927, and in 1997 was declared a Doctor of the Church. Her parents were canonised as saints by Pope Francis, in October 2015.
02 October, (Mon) 2017. The Guardian Angels
1st Reading: Exodus 23:20-23
I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way
The Lord spoke to Moses and the people during their journey across the desert desert: ‘I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Be attentive to him and listen to his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him.
But if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. My angel will go in front of you.’
Gospel: Matthew 18:1-5, 10
Their angels in heaven look upon the face of my heavenly Father
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
03 October, 2017. Tuesday of Week 26
Blessed Columba Marmion, abbot
1st Reading: Zechariah 8:20-23
Peoples of every nationality will want to share the faith of the Jews
Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, the inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Come, let us go to entreat the favour of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.” Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favour of the Lord.’
Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘
Gospel: Luke 9:51-56
The Journey begins as Jesus proceeds towards Jerusalem
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
Blessed Columba Marmion, abbot
Joseph Marmion (1858-1923) from Clane, Count Kildare, was for four years a priest in Dublin diocese and later (1886) became a Benedictine monk in Maredsous abbey, Belgium, taking the religious name Columba at his profession. Though his French was far from perfect, he was valued as a preacher in the local parishes, and became assistant Novice Master to the monks. He gave retreats in Belgium and England, and for his last 14 years was Abbot of Maredsous (1909–1923). His Christ-centred books were widely admired, notably his classic “Christ, the Life of the Soul.”
04 October, 2017. Wednesday of Week 26
Saint Francis of Assisi
1st Reading: Nehemiah 2:1-8
King Artaxerxes sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem, to restore its walls and graves
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was served him, I carried the wine and gave it to the king. Now, I had never been sad in his presence before. So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This can only be sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my ancestors’ graves, lies waste, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favour with you, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves, so that I may rebuild it.” The king said to me (the queen also was sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a date. Then I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters begiven me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may grant me passage until I arrive in Judah; and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, directing him to give me timber to make beams for the gates of the temple fortress, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the gracious hand of my God was upon me.
Gospel: Luke 9:57-62
Jesus responds to prospective followers by a series of stern statements
As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Saint Francis of Assisi
Giovanni di Bernardone (1181-1226), was nicknamed Francesco (“the Frenchman”) by his father Pietro, as his mother was French. As a young man Francesco lived the life of a troubador and planned to fight for Assisi as a soldier. But in 1204 he had a vision that redirected his life; on a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined some poor people begging at Saint Peter’s Basilica and resolved from then on to live in poverty and simplicity in the service of Christ and the Church. He began preaching in the streets, and soon gathered an Order, later called Franciscans, that followed this evangelical lifestyle. With Saint Clare of Assisi he also founded the Poor Clares, an enclosed religious order for women, as well as a confraternity, the Third Order, for laypeople. In 1219, he tried to convert the Sultan to put an end to the Crusades. Once his Order was authorized by the Pope, he withdrew from external affairs to a life of austerity and prayer. In 1224, he received the stigmata, and bore in his body the wounds of Christ’s Passion. He is patron saint of animals, of peace and of the environment, and is one of the two patrons of Italy.
05 October, 2017. Thursday of Week 26
1st Reading: Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7-12
Ezra gets his people to renew their loyalty to God and to share their gifts
In the seventh month all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the purpose. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherbiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Gospel: Luke 10:1-12
Jesus sends out the seventy-two disciples to announce the reign of God
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Eve the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.”
06 October, 2017. Friday of Week 26
Saint Bruno, priest
1st Reading: Baruch 1:15-22
From our time in Egypt until now, we have disregarded the voice of the Lord
The Lord our God is in the right, but there is open shame on us today, on the people of Judah, on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on our kings, our rulers, our priests, our prophets, and our ancestors, because we have sinned before the Lord. We have disobeyed him, and have not heeded the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in the statutes of the Lord that he set before us. From the time when the Lord brought our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until today, we have been disobedient to the Lord our God, and we have been negligent, in not heeding his voice. So to this day there have clung to us the calamities and the curse that the Lord declared through his servant Moses at the time when he brought our ancestors out of the land of Egypt to give to us a land flowing with milk and honey. We did not listen to the voice of the Lord our God in all the words of the prophets whom he sent to us, but all of us followed the intent of our own wicked hearts by serving other gods and doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God.
Gospel: Luke 10:13-16
Tyre and Sidon would have repented, had they seen the miracles done by Jesus
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
Saint Bruno, priest, founder of the Carthusians
Bruno of Cologne, Germany (1035-1101) studied and was ordained in Paris. For some years he was a celebrated teacher at Reims, and served a close advisor to Pope Urban II. Refusing the offer of a bishopric he spent some time with the hermits who were later to form the Carthusians. In 1084 with six of his companions he went to Grenoble, whose bishop assigned them to a secluded place named Chartreuse in the lower French Alps where they founded the first Carthusian monastery.
07 October, 2017. Saturday of Week 26
Our Lady of the Rosary
1st Reading: Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
Grieving for the Jews in exile, Baruch begs them to turn again and seek God
Take courage, my people, who perpetuate Israel’s name! It was not for destruction that you were sold to the nations, but you were handed over to your enemies because you angered God. For you provoked the one who made you by sacrificing to demons and not to God. You forgot the everlasting God, who brought you up, and you grieved Jerusalem, who reared you. For she saw the wrath that came upon you from God, and she said:
Listen, you neighbours of Zion, God has brought great sorrow upon me; for I have seen the exile of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them. With joy I nurtured them, but I sent them away with weeping and sorrow. Let no one rejoice over me, a widow and bereaved of many; I was left desolate because of the sins of my children, because they turned away from the law of God.
Take courage, my children, and cry to God, for you will be remembered by the one who brought this upon you. For just as you were disposed to go astray from God, return with tenfold zeal to seek him. For the one who brought these calamities upon you will bring you everlasting joy with your salvation.
Gospel: Luke 10:17-24
Jesus rejoices in the graces reserved for the humble of heart
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!”; He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Our Lady of the Rosary
This feast was established by pope Pius V in thanksgiving for the Christian victory over the Turks at the naval battle of Lepanto (1571), credited to the recitation of the Rosary. Our Lady is daily honoured in the prayer, which also invites us to meditate the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Christ her son. The Rosary invites us to reflect on the great mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Jesusm in union with his reflective, prayerful mother Mary. St Luke tells how she “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Again, in response to finding Jesus in the temple, Mary “treasured all these things in her heart.” We see our Lady as a contemplative person, reflecting on every detail in the life of her Son. She embodies the attitude of mind and heart that we can bring to the praying of the Rosary. Praying with her, we ponder upon the key moments in the journey of Jesus in this world and from this world to the Father. Mary’s spirit of “Let it be to me according to your word” is something we share in the Rosary, as we too hand ourselves over more fully to God’s purpose for our lives.
08 October, 2017. 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The church is the choice vineyard of the Lord, planted for a noble and productive purpose. Here we can grow to maturity in the sunshine of God’s grace. But the vineyard can fall into disuse, or fail to produce the expected fruits of loving mercy. We pray that our lives may never be soured by bitterness or disillusionment
1st Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7
Israel is the vineyard God has tended. It is expected to bear fruits of holiness
Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns
I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice, but saw bloodshed
righteousness, but heard a cry!
2nd Reading: Philippians 4:6-9
We should do whatever is true and honourable, just and right
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43
God is master of the vineyard and expects a proper return from the tenants
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders: “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces its fruit.”
09 October, 2017. Monday of Week 27
Saints Denis & Companions, martyrs; Saint John Leonardi; Bl. John Henry Newman
1st Reading: Jonah 1:1–2:1
Jonah is swallowed by the whale and brought back to Israel
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep. The captain came and said to him, ‘What are you doing sound asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps the god will spare us a thought so that we do not perish.’
The sailors said to one another, ‘Come, let us cast lots, so that we may know on whose account this calamity has come upon us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.Then they said to him, ‘Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?’ ‘I am a Hebrew,’ he replied. ‘I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’Then the men were even more afraid, and said to him, ‘What is this that you have done!’ For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them so.
Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you, that the sea may quieten down for us?’ For the sea was growing more and more tempestuous. He said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quieten down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you.’ Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them. Then they cried out to the Lord, ‘Please, O Lord, we pray, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life. Do not make us guilty of innocent blood; for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.’ So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish.
Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
The parable of the Good Samaritan
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,”; he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal lie?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Saints Denis & Companions
Denis came to France from Rome in the middle of the 3rd century and became the first bishop of Paris. He was martyred (beheaded) with two of his clergy during the Decian persecution of Christians, shortly after 250 AD.
Saint John Leonardi
Giovanni Leonardi (1541-1609) was an Italian priest and the founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca. He became a strong figure in the Counter-Reformation and worked with this group to spread
devotion to Our Lady, to the Forty Hours and to frequent reception of the Eucharist.
Bl. John Henry Newman
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) from London, England, was a scholarly Anglican cleric and preacher in Oxford, a leader of the high-church “Oxford Movement” which wished to return the Church of England to forms of worship traditional in earlier times. In 1845 he left the Church of England and was received into the Catholic Church where he was later made cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. He was instrumental in founding the Catholic University of Ireland, and wrote an idealistic work on the Idea of a University. Newman’s other writings including his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, The Grammar of Assent and the popular hymn “Lead, Kindly Light.” He wanted lay people to be involved any public discussion of religion and morals and promoted the idea of consulting the faithful in matters of doctrine.
10 October, 2017. Tuesday of Week 27
1st Reading: Jonah 3:1-10
At Jonah’s preaching, the people of Nineveh repent and so save their city
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42
Jesus defends Mary’s right to listen, while Martha is busy with hospitality
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
11 October, 2017. Wednesday of Week 27
Saint John XXIII, pope; Saint Canice, abbot
1st Reading: Jonah 4:1-11
Jonah complains, angry that God has mercy on Nineveh
Jonah was displeased and became very angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city. The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east win, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”
Gospel: Luke 11:1-4
The Our Father stresses daily needs and daily temptation
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
Saint John XXIII, pope
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (1881-1963) from the village Sotto Il Monte in Lombardy was ordained in 1904 and served in a number of posts, including papal nuncio in France, before becoming the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice. Elected pope at age 76, he surprised those who expected him to be a caretaker pope by convening the Second Vatican Council (1962 65). His strong views on equality were summed up in his statement, “We were all made in God’s image, and thus, we are all Godly alike.” Noted for his affectionate style, he intended the ecumenical Council to be one of “aggiornamento” bringing the Church into closer touch with the modern world. He did not live to see the completion of the Council, but died four years after his election and shortly after completing his encyclical, Pacem in Terris. He was canonized on 27 April 2014.
Saint Canice, abbot, patron of Ossory
Cainnech (Latin Canicus), was a 6th century monastic founder and missionary said to have been born in Dungiven, Derry, and to have died in Kilkenny (CillCainnech). Anything we know of him is from the few references in Adomnán’s Life of Saint Columba .
12 October, 2017. Thursday of Week 27
1st Reading: Malachi 3:13-18
Religion seems to brings no benefit. Yet on the day of the Lord all will be revealed
You have spoken harsh words against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, “How have we spoken against you?” You have said, “It is vain to serve God. What do we profit by keeping his command or by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts? Now we count the arrogant happy; evildoers not only prosper, but when they put God to the test they escape.”
Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
Gospel: Luke 11:5-13
Persevere in prayer, confident of the Father’s love to all who ask it
Jesus said to his disciples, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
13 October, 2017. Friday of Week 27
1st Reading: Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2
A solemn fast to avert the plague, reminding us of the fearful “day of the Lord.”
Priests, put on sackcloth and lament; wail, you ministers of the altar. Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God! Grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near–a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.
Gospel: Luke 11:15-26
Jesus casts out devils by the finger of God, not by Beelzebul, as his detractors claim
When Jesus had cast out a demon some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?–for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
14 October, 2017. Saturday of Week 27
Saint Callistus, pope and martyr
1st Reading: Joel 4:12-21
A time of peace and prosperity will come to God’s holy mountain
The Lord says:
“Let the nations rouse themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the neighbouring nations.
Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.
The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake. But the Lord is a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. So you shall know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it.
In that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Wadi Shittim. Egypt shall become a desolation and Edom a desolate desert, because of the violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood. But Judah shall be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem to all generations. I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the Lord dwells in Zion.”
Gospel: Luke 11:27-28
More blessed than giving birth to Jesus is hearing God’s word and keeping it
While Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
Saint Callistus, pope and martyr
While cremation was widely practiced by the pagans, the early Christians opted firmly for inhumation, which is why they needed substantial burial-places outside the city of Rome. Callixtus also called Callistus (died 223) was the deacon to whom Pope Zephyrinus entrusted the burial catacombs along the Appian Way. He succeeded Zephyrinus as bishop of Rome in 218 and was martyred in 223 under emperor Alexander Severus. The largest Roman catacomb complex is named for him, San Callisto.
15 October, 2017. 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By baptism we have been called to salvation, and to take our place in the future kingdom of God. Somehow, we must get a wedding garment, so as to take our place at the wedding feast. Our eucharist recalls that invitation and prompts us to reflect on how we are doing. But it is not all our own work, as Paul reminds us. It is God’s grace that prompts us to a worthy life, despite human weakness; we can do all things through him who strengthens us
1st Reading: Isaiah 25:6-10
The image of a banquet symbolises the blessings God has in store for His People
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.
2nd Reading: Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Paul tries not to depend on material things, but trusts in the Lord for what he needs
I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress. And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
God is like a king who invites us to a banquet. Many refuse their invitation
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Saint Teresa of Avila, virgin and doctor of the Church
Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (1515-1582), was a Spanish Carmelite nun from Avila, a contemplative mystic, reformer and major figure in the Counter Reformation. Along with John of the Cross she founded the Discalced (or reformed) Carmelites. For her mystical writings she was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
16 October, 2017. Monday of Week 28
1st Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Jesus, descendant of David is recognised as Son of God by the resurrection
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Luke 11:29-32
The Ninevites and the queen of Sheba will blame the people of Jesus’ generation
When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!>
Saint Gall, abbot and missionary
Gall or Gallus (c. 550-645) studied in the monastery at Bangor, Co. Down and was one of the companions of Saint Columbanus on his mission from Ireland to the European continent. First they lived a monastic life in Luxeuil (France); and then (610) they voyaged up the Rhine to Bregenz. But when Columban moved on to Italy, Gall remained behind due to illness and was nursed at Arbon, just south of the Bodensee (Lake Constance). He led the life of a hermit and preacher for many years, and died at the age of ninety-five near the city now called Sankt Gallen.
Saint Hedwig, religious
Hedwig or Jadwiga (1174-1243) was Duchess of Silesia from 1201 and High Duchess of Poland from 1232. On the death of her husband, Henry (1238) she entered the Cistercian monastery which he had established at her request and lived there the rest of her life as a lay sister.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, religious
Margaret Alacoque (1647-1690) from L’Hautecour, Burgundy, was from early childhood devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. After four years of illness, at the age of 13 she vowed to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, and was restored to perfect health, adding the name Mary to her baptismal name. She experienced mystical visions of Jesus Christ, whom she zealously proclaimed under the symbol of the Sacred Heart.
17 October, 2017. Tuesday of Week 28
1st Reading: Romans 1:16-25
Refusal to worship the true God leads to immorality
I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Gospel: Luke 11:37-41
Inner cleanliness is far more important than external appearance
While he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr
Ignatius (c. 50-107) was leader of the church in Antioch after Saint Peter. Sentenced to death during the persecution under Trajan, he went as a prisoner to Rome where he suffered martyrdom in the amphitheatre in 107. On his way to Rome he wrote a series of inspirational letters to various local churches, commending them to be faithful to Christ and to remain united under their local bishop.
18 October, 2017. Wednesday of Week 28
1st Reading: Romans 2:1-11
Jew and gentile will be judged by the same criteria
Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honour and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.
Gospel: Luke 11:42-46
Woe to Pharisees and lawyers who insist on impossible legal details
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herb of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honour in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”
One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them.”
19 October, 2017. Thursday of Week 28
1st Reading: Romans 3:21-30
All have sinned, but are freely justified by faith in Jesus Christ
But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one.
Gospel: Luke 11:47-54
In attacking Jesus, the Pharisees take sides with those who killed the prophets of old
Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. So you are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
When he went outside, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile toward him and to cross-examine him about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.
Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions, martyrs
Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649) was a French Jesuit missionary who went to New France (Canada) in 1625 and worked primarily with the Huron for the rest of his life, having learned their language and culture. In an Iroquois raid the missionaries were captured, ritually tortured and martyred on March 16, 1649. Isaac Jogues (1607-1646) was a Jesuit priest, missionary and martyr who worked in 17th century North America. He was martyred by the Mohawk in present-day New York state.
Saint Paul of the Cross, priest, religious founder
Paolo Francesco Danei (1694-1775), from Ovada, Piedmont, northern Italy, the second of sixteen children, only six of whom survived infancy, was from an early age aware of the reality of death and suffering. After an early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, by age fifteen he left school and for a time taught catechism in churches near his home. He had a conversion to a life of prayer at the age of 19 and his prayer focussed on the Passion of Christ. At age 26 he felt drawn to form a community of evangelical life, promoting the love of God as revealed in the Passion of Jesus. This later came to be known as the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, or the Passionists, and Paul was their first superior general. He was one of the most popular preachers of his day, conducting parish missions in many parts of Italy. Many of his letters, most of them of spiritual direction, have been preserved. He died in Rome at the Retreat of Saints John and Paul (SS. Giovanni e Paolo) and was canonised in 1867.
20 October, 2017. Friday of Week 28
1st Reading: Romans 4:1-8
For the believer, faith is credited as justice. This is how Abraham was justified
What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.”
Gospel: Luke 12:1-7
What you hear or say in secret, proclaim from the rooftops
Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows
21 October, 2017. Saturday of Week 28
1st Reading: Romans 4:13, 16-18
Hoping against hope, Abraham became the father of many nations, believing in the life-giving power of God
The promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)–in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.”
Gospel: Luke 12:8-12
Do not worry about defending yourselves. The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what to say
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before he angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”
22 October, 2017. 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s Christians are called to live in a very pluralist world, that presents us with huge challenges. Only the grace of God and the depth of our convictions will enable our faith to survive and to thrive in a secular society. But then, throughout history the life of faith has often thriven in spite of unpromising circumstances, whether it was the Jews under the Persian king Cyrus or the early Christians under the harsh rule of imperial Rome
1st Reading: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Providence appointed king Cyrus to liberate Israel from the exile in Babylon
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him, and the gates shall not be closed:
“For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,
so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west,
that there is no one besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
2nd Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5
Paul assures his readers that he prays for them and is glad for their zeal as converts
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 labor 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.
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21
Jesus refused to be drawn into a sterile argument, about paying taxes to Caesar
The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”
But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that belong to him, and to God what belongs to God.”
Saint John Paul II, Pope
Karol Wojtyla (1920-2005), was the first non-Italian pope since the 16th century Dutch Pope Adrian VI (1522-1523). Born in Krakow, Wojtyla was just out of his teens when the brutality of Nazi invasion and racist oppression swept over Poland. His zeal as a priest, and later archbishop of Krakow, was admired by Pope Paul VI, who appointed him to his advisory commission on the ethics of birth control. As pope, Wojtyla sought to improve the Catholic Church’s relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church, Judaism and Islam. Strongly conservative in moral teaching but reformist for social change, he helped to end communist rule in his native Poland and most of eastern Europe. He also strongly resisted the growth of Liberation Theology as being too close to Communism. As a gifted linguist and a charismatic public speaker, Wojtyla became the most travelled pope in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He canonised more saints than all of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. His papacy (1978-2005) was the second longest in history after Pope Pius IX (1846 to 1878). Eight years after his death he was canonised in 2013 by his successor, Benedict XVI.
23 October, 2017. Monday of Week 29
1st Reading: Romans 4:20-25
Like Abraham’s faith, our faith will be credited to us by God
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
Our Lord warns against greed in all its forms
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Saint John of Capistrano, priest
Giovanni of Capestrano (1386-1456) was a Franciscan friar from the Abruzzo, Italy. An active preacher, theologian, and inquisitor, he earned himself the nickname “Soldier Saint” when aged 70 he led a crusade against the invading Ottoman Empire at the siege of Belgrade. He died later that year in Villach, Austria.
24 October, 2017. Tuesday of Week 29
1st Reading: Romans 5:12, 17-21
Through Adam, sin and death came to us all; through Jesus Christ, grace far surpasses all sin
Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gospel: Luke 12:35-38
Good for those servants whom the master finds wide awake at his return
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
Saint Anthony Mary Claret, bishop
Anthonio Maria Claret (1807-1870) was a priest-missionary from Catalonia, Spain, founder of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, called the Claretians. He was appointed as Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba in 1849, but after eight years was recalled to Spain by Queen Isabella II, to be her confessor and serve as rector of the Escorial monastic school. In 1869 he went to Rome to prepare for the First Vatican Council, but soon afterwards, in failing health, he withdrew to the Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide, in southern France, where he died in 1870.
25 October, 2017. Wednesday of Week 29
1st Reading: Romans 6:12-18
Be obedient to God and you will come from death to life
Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Gospel: Luke 12:39-48
Be on your guard. He will come when you least expect it
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be aware of this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them 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 possessions. But if that slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 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, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one o whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.
Blessed Thaddaeus McCarthy, bishop
Thaddeus McCarthy was appointed Bishop of Ross and later Bishop of Cork and Cloyne but never ministered in either see. He died in Ivrea, Italy, on October 25th, 1492, where he is still venerated. He was beatified in Rome in 1896.
26 October, 2017. Thursday of Week 29
1st Reading: Romans 6:19-23
Freed from sin and now serving God, and destined for eternal life
If I may speak in human terms because of your natural limitations, just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gospel: Luke 12:49-53
Jesus lights a fire on the earth, through the baptism of his Passion
“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No,I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
27 October, 2017. Friday of Week 29
1st Reading: Romans 7:18-25
Who can free me from my moral crisis? Only God, through Jesus Christ
For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
Gospel: Luke 12:54-59
If you can foretell the weather, why can’t you read the signs of the time?
Jesus also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain;’ and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat;’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I ell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
Otteran (or Odran) lived for over forty years in the area now known as Silvermines, in County Tipperary, Ireland, building a church there in 520.Tradition also says that Odran served as abbot of Meath, and founded Lattreagh. In 563, he was among the twelve who accompanied St Columba to the Scottish island of Iona, where he died and was buried. He was chosen by the Vikings as patron of the city of Waterford in 1096 and later became patron of that diocese.
28 October, 2017. Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
1st Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22
God has appointed apostles so that his people’s needs will be served
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
Gospel: Luke 6:12-19
Before selecting his twelve apostles, Jesus prays all night on the mountain
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Saints Simon and Jude
On the various New Testament lists of the Twelve, the tenth and eleventh are named as Simon the Zealot (or Simon the Canaanean) and Judas son of James, also called Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. (“Judas” corresponds to the Hebrew name “Judah.” Early Christian tradition held that Simon and Jude went together as missionaries to Persia, and were martyred there.
29 October, 2017. 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our Gospel celebrates the great commandment of love. To love our neighbour as God does, prejudices based on race, religion or colour have to go. The revelation at Mount Sinai prompted a sense of fairness towards others, deeper than specific commandments. Jesus demonstrates a life of utterly unselfish loving, and invites us to make that our guide to life. For St Paul, this imitation of Christ is the core of spirituality
1st Reading: Exodus 22:20-26
The Israelites must show fairness in practical matters
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the children of Israel this:
You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan.
If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans.
If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them.
If you take your neighbour’s cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; for it may be your neighbour’s only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbour cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate.”
2nd Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
The fervour of the Thessalonian converts encouraged other local churches
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. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
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 22:34-40
Jesus’ summation of morality as the twofold commandment of love
When the Pharisees heard that he 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 Colman, abbott and bishop
Colman (7th century, c. 560-632 ) from Kilmacduagh, Co Galway, studied on Aranmore Island, where he founded two churches before returning to make another foundation at Kilmacduagh. Towards the end he was a recluse, living austerely in a cave at the Burren in County Clare.
30 October, 2017. Monday of Week 30
1st Reading: Romans 8:12-17
In the Spirit, we are God’s children; he is our “Abba–Father”
So then, my brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ–if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
Jesus cures a woman on the sabbath; causing indignation
Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at al the wonderful things that he was doing.
31 October, 2017. Tuesday of Week 30
1st Reading: Romans 8:18-25
The future we hope for is already within us, like a seed waiting to flower
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Gospel: Luke 13:18-21
God’s reign is like a mustard seed, or like yeast to make the dough rise
Jesus said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”