09Jun 09 June, 2018. Saint Columba (Feast)

1st Reading: Romans (12:1-2; 9-13)

Offer to God your spiritual worship

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honour.
Do not grow slack in zeal, but be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, and exercise hospitality.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 71)

R./: The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the humble hear and rejoice. (/R.)

Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord and he answered me
and delivered me out of all my terror. (/R.)

Look upon him and be radiant,
and let not your faces be ashamed.
I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me
and saved me from all my troubles.(/R.)

The angel of the Lord encompasses those who fear him,
and he will deliver them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are they who trust in him! (/R.)

Gospel: Matthew (8:18-27)

Jesus calms the storm, the the apostles’ amazement

When Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, 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.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

BIBLE

Calming our storms

John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Matthew (preached in Antioch around 390 a.D.) illustrate both his reverence for the Gospel and his close attention to details within the text. Since his practical aim was to promote morality, in commenting on any passage he concludes by highlighting some virtue to be imitated. Here is part of what he says about today’s Gospel. The citation is long, but well worth a read.

“There arose a great tempest in the sea, so that the ship was covered with the waves, but he was asleep.” Jesus took them with him, not by chance but in order to make them spectators of the miracle that was to take place. For like an excellent trainer, he was anointing them with a view to both objects; as well to be undismayed in dangers, a to be modest in honours. Having sent away the rest, he kept them and lets them be tossed with the tempest; at once correcting this, and disciplining them to bear trials nobly. For while the former miracles were great indeed, this one contained also in it a major kind of teaching, and was a sign like that of old. For this reason he takes with him only the disciples. For as when there was a display of miracles, he also lets the people be present; so when trial and terrors were rising up against him, he takes with him none but the champions of the whole world, whom he was to train. While Matthew merely mentioned that “he was asleep,” Luke says that it was “on a pillow;” meaning both his freedom from pride, and to teach us hereby a high degree of austerity.”

He draws a lesson from the disciples’ fear: “When the tempest was at its height and the sea raging, they awoke him, saying, “Lord, save us: we perish.” But he rebuked them before he rebuked the sea, because as I said, these things were permitted for training purposes and they were an image of the trials that would come to them later. Yes, for after these things again, he often let them fall into serious tempests of misfortune; and Paul also said, “I would not have you ignorant that we were pressed beyond our strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life;” and again, “Who delivered us from so great a death.” Indeed their very alarm was a valuable occurrence, that the miracle seemed all the greater and their remembrance of the event be made lasting. Having first expected to be lost, they were saved, and having acknowledged the danger, they learned the greatness of the miracle. So that is why he sleeps: for had he been awake when it happened, they would not have been fearful, or they would not have begged him. Therefore he sleeps, to give occasion for their timidity and make clearer their perception of what was happening..”

In conclusion Chrysostom says: “He stretched out no rod, as Moses did, neither did he stretch forth his hands to Heaven, nor did he need any prayer, but as for a master commanding a servant, or a Creator his creature, so did he quiet and curb it by word and command only; and all the surge was immediately at an end, and no trace of the disturbance remained. This the evangelist declared saying, “And there was a great calm.” And that which had been spoken in praise of the Father, he showed forth again by his works. For it says, “he spoke and the stormy wind ceased.” So here likewise, he spoke, and “there was a great calm.” And the multitudes who wondered at him; would not have marvelled, had he done it in such manner as did Moses.”


CANDLE

(Saint Columba of Derry (521-597)

Colum, also known as Colm-cille (“dove of the church”), is one of the Patron Saints of Ireland. He was born in Co Donegal, and in 546 founded a monastery in Derry. In 563 he sailed to the island of Iona, off Scotland, to establish a new monastery from which much of Scotland and northern England was evangelised. He is honoured as pioneer of the ideal of peregrinatio pro Christo (travelling for Christ.) Not to be confused with the missionary Columbanus.



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