12Sep 12 September. Tuesday, Week 23

Saint Ailbe, bishop

1st Reading: Colossians 2:6-15

Baptism “buries” us with Christ and raises us to live in and with him

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aide, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

Gospel: Luke 6:12-19

Jesus spends the night in prayer and afterwards calls the twelve

Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the whoe 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.


What goes on at night

Note the dramatic transition from death to life in today’s text from Colossians, and the Gospel shows Jesus in transition from night-time to a new dawn. Night to day is linked with rebirth and new awareness. At night people can lose their healthy sense of self-control, and be swept into various evil actions or thoughts. Paul links with darkness a list of sins which excludes from God’s kingdom, suggesting some that he found or suspected were practiced in Corinth: fornication, idolatry, adultery, sodomy, thievery, drunkenness, slander and the rest.

For St Paul, night symbolises our struggle against evil. He names these forces of evil as superhuman agents, “principalities and powers,” over whom Christ is victorious, “leading them off captive”. We are advised to: “Continue to live in Christ Jesus the Lord, in the spirit in which you received him. Be rooted in him and built up in him.”

Night can also be a profoundly prayerful time. Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God. Silent prayer of such intense surrender turns into a dynamic time of new life. “Even when you were dead in sin, God gave you new life in company with Christ.” After being restored by the night of prayer, at daybreak he called his disciples and selected twelve of them to be his apostles. Jesus proceeded to share his life by teaching and by healing all who came to him. “Power went out from him which cured all.”

The healing touch

Did you notice the last line in this gospel, “everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all”? People wanted to touch this man through whom God was working so powerfully. It wasn’t just enough to hear him or to see him; they needed to touch him. Touching the Lord is a more intimate, a more personal, form of communication with him than hearing or seeing. The sense of touch remains important in the faith life of us all. We too want to touch the Lord, and to be touched by him.

It is above all in and through the Sacraments that we touch the Lord and allow him to touch our lives. In the Eucharist, for example, we take the bread in our hands or on our tongue and eat it; we take the chalice in our hands and drink from it. The sense of touch is very real there. As we take the bread and take the cup, as we touch the Lord in this way, the Lord takes us; he touches our lives. Like the people in the gospel, we too can experience the healing and renewing power that comes from him. The Lord who touches us in the Eucharist sends us forth to touch the lives of others in life-giving ways.


Saint Ailbe, bishop

Ailbe (Latin: Albeus), also known as Saint Elvis, was a 6th-century Irish bishop (d. 528), who is also associated with early medieval Wales, particularly Saint David, whom he was credited with baptizing. He founded a monastery at Emly and is the patron saint of Cashel and Emly.


One Response

  1. Brian Fahy

    Things that don’t change

    A reflection on Luke 6:20-26

    Jesus spent the whole night in prayer to God. I am sure he did no such thing! I bet he got his head down for a good sleep in some shady hollow away from the wind. The idea of staying up all night saying prayers is no image to admire or imitate, I say. To be alone on the mountain is to be in the presence of God. To be quiet in your heart and mind and allow the Spirit to speak gently to us, now that is prayer. We need to imitate the Lord in this every day of our lives. We need to be quiet. At night when we go to sleep perhaps it is then that the good Lord watches over us and soothes our tormented minds and calms our fears and readies us for the light of tomorrow.

    Jesus came down from the mountain and chose twelve of the disciples to be his special companions. They say it is good to make decisions in the morning rather than at night. Sleep on things. We also need to choose people who will be our special friends through the course of our life. We need kind and loving people around us in whom we can confide and find comfort and feel secure. Going through this world alone is a hard road to walk.

    Jesus came to some level ground where he found a large gathering of people all wanting to be cured by him. The world is full of people who are suffering in one way or another. When we are part of Christ Jesus we share in his power to help and to heal others. We do so by our ministry of kindness and understanding, by our patience and perseverance with one another. We often think too much about our own suffering in life and forget just how powerful we are to help others, because we belong to Christ.

    The Church is going through a great time of change and sometimes we get too obsessed with what we think should happen. I have been guilty of this myself! But some things do not change. They remain important truths in the life of every follower of the Lord.

    Be quiet in the Lord’s presence and also get a good sleep. Be close to your friends and value them. They will see you through. Know your own power to help and heal others around you by the power and the grace that the Lord gives to you.

    Brian Fahy
    12 September 2017

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