Reflections on the Daily Readings

October 23 - 29, 2016
The Season of Ordinary Time - The Thirtieth Week.
Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle II.
Divine Office - Psalter Week II.

Sunday 23:          The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Mission Sunday
Ecclesiasticus 35:12-14, 16-19; Psalm 32; 2Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14
Our first reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus tells us that the Lord takes no account of our standing in the eyes of the world but that he listens to rich and poor alike. It also tells us that the prayer of the humble “pierces the clouds” and does not go unanswered. Our Psalm is a hymn of praise for all that the Lord has done for the poor who call to him. In the gospel we have the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee who went to the synagogue. The Pharisee exalted himself in the eyes of God while the tax collector acknowledged himself as a sinner and asked the Lord for forgiveness. We can exalt ourselves in the eyes of our fellow men and women but the eyes of God penetrate the heart and the mind and know our true feelings and dispositions. Only the humble please God.
In our second reading we see St Paul telling St Timothy that he had been abandoned by everyone when he had been arrested but that God alone stood by him and gave him strength. Because Paul has the Lord faithfully on his side he will inherit the crown of righteousness, a crown which will also be granted to us if we serve the Lord in humility of heart.

Monday 24:         Of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 4:32-5:8; Psalm 1; Luke 13:10-17
Our first reading this week is again taken from St Paul’s letter to the Christian community at Ephesus and in today’s passage Paul encourages us to love others in imitation of the Father and the Son who both love much. Only in this way can we build up the kingdom of God and live righteously. The Psalm speaks of how a good person lives. In the Gospel, Christ heals a woman on the Sabbath which infuriates a synagogue official who tells the people to come to be healed on any day of the week except the Sabbath. The Lord answers and says that none of those present would hesitate to untie his donkey on the Sabbath in order to water the beast and therefore it is right to untie a fellow human from their bonds on the Sabbath. His words leave the officials confused while the people are happy to hear him.

Tuesday 25:         Of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 5:21-33; Psalm 127; Luke 13:18-21
Our first reading from the letter to the Ephesians today does not appear to be very politically correct these days but St Paul’s underlying message of respect is all the more important in today’s overwhelming climate of individualism and self-centredness. Paul speaks of married life and says that a husband and wife should have the same relationship with each other as Christ has with his Church. Today’s Gospel sees Christ using two brief parables to show how the kingdom flourishes and grows. It can only grow if we allow it to do so and if we each help in its spread.

Wednesday 26:   Of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 6:1-9; Psalm 144; Luke 13:22-30
Today’s first reading is a continuation of yesterday’s text from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and sees great emphasis being placed on respect for one another. Today he speaks about the relationship between children and their parents and between slaves and their masters. Paul lived at a time when slavery was a way of life and his underlying principle is that all men and women should live in respect and love following the example of Christ. Jesus tells his listeners in today’s Gospel that everyone is invited to the kingdom where many will enter but not those who fail to do the will of God. Saying we believe in God is not enough unless we put that faith into practice.

Thursday 27:       Of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 6:10-20; Psalm 143; Luke 13:31-35
St Paul tells us in our final section from his letter to the Christian community in the port city of Ephesus that it is the devil we must fear and not our fellow men and women. To combat the devil we must allow God to clothe us in spiritual armour and to pray constantly while spreading the Gospel. In the Gospel text some Pharisees come to warn Jesus to leave Jerusalem or he will die at the hands of Herod. However, he tells them that it is his destiny as a prophet to die in Jerusalem. He then weeps at the fact that Jerusalem has rejected both him and his message.

Friday 28:            Feast of Sts Simon and Jude the Apostles*
Ephesians 2:19-22; Psalm 18; Luke 6:12-19
Our first reading from the letter to the Ephesians speaks of the Church being founded on the Apostles. St Paul speaks about the role the Apostles played in the establishment of the Church and of how their lives can give a sure foundation to the faith of each of us. The gospel passage recounts the naming of the Twelve Apostles by Christ. What is significant about his choice is that they were ordinary people who believed in him and acknowledged their sinfulness and need of grace. More importantly, Jesus spent time in prayer before he made his choice. We too should pray before we make our own important decisions and try to live as the Apostles did – completely faithful to the Lord.

Saturday 29:        Of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Philippians 1:18-26; Psalm 41; Luke 14:1, 7-11
In our first reading from his letter to the Philippians, St Paul says that he wants to die for the simple reason that he wants to go to heaven. However, he realises that he has an important mission to take care of before he dies and that is the spread of the Gospel. Paul also says that both life and death come under the influence of Christ and therefore he is happy to live but does not fear death. This mission is also our mission. Christ warns us in the gospel, in the story of the wedding feast, about being a humble people and about not seeking the highest honours. Humility will serve the kingdom, and ourselves, far better than pride and honours.

Memorials this Week:
October 28:         Feast of Sts Simon & Jude, the Apostles
Very little is actually known about these two apostles. Simon, known as “the Zealous,” is named in the list of the Twelve. Jude (Thaddeus) is believed to be the brother of James the Less and also the author of the epistle which bears his name. Tradition holds that Simon and Jude were martyred together in Persia but there is no proof for this.

© P. Breen, O.Carm. 2011
The Reflections above are available in printed form in:
Reflections on the Readings for every day of the Church's year.
Patrick J. Breen, O.Carm. Dublin: Columba Press. 2011. ISBN 978 1 85607 732 3.

And direct from the publishers: Columba Press, Dublin.

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