Reflections on the Daily Readings

July 5 - 11, 2015
The Season of Ordinary Time - The Fourteenth Week.
Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.
Divine Office - Psalter Week II.

Sunday 5:            The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalm 122; 2Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6
We read in the text from Ezekiel how the Lord spoke to the prophet and sent him to preach his word. Whether the people believe or not the prophet will still speak to them. In the gospel passage from St Mark we see Jesus being rejected in his own home town because the people thought they knew him. As a result of their rejection of him he is unable to do very much for them because his ministry and mission depended on people both listening and believing. Christ will not force any of us to do his will and if we don’t want to do his will then we simply ignore him as did the people in his home town. Christ is no longer physically present with us as a preacher but his Church is and she preaches his message and brings forgiveness whether people wish to listen or not. As members of that Church each of us was commissioned at baptism to preach that message.
St Paul tells us in the second reading that no matter what people say or think he will continue to preach the word of God to them. He may be weak in the eyes of the world but he knows that at such times he is strongest in his mission and that Christ is with him.

Monday 6:           Of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 28:10-22; Psalm 90; Matthew 9:18-26
We read in our first reading today about ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’ Jacob had been travelling to Haran to find a wife and to get away from the wrath of his older brother, Esau. As it was night he stopped to rest and slept on the ground. As he was sleeping the Lord appeared to him in his dreams and promised him that his descendants would be great – the same promise he made to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather. The ladder of angels which Jacob saw symbolises the communication between God and man. The stone which Jacob had used as a pillow he sets up as a monument to the Lord. In the Gospel we see Jesus curing two people. A woman in the crowd touched his cloak and the bleeding disease she had suffered from left her. In the second he raises a girl to life after her father had asked him to come to the house to save her. The key in these two miracles is faith. The woman didn’t ask to be cured but believed that even if she just touched his cloak that she would be healed. The little girl didn’t ask to be restored to life but her father had faith in Jesus. We too are called on to have faith in Christ because, for people of faith, anything is possible.

Tuesday 7:           Of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 32:23-33; Psalm 16; Matthew 9:32-38
In our first reading we see Jacob returning to his own country fourteen years after he had left for Haran to find a wife. As they cross the river Jabbok the Lord comes and wrestles with Jacob who fights with great strength all night. During the encounter the Lord changes Jacob’s name to ‘Israel’ which means ‘one who struggles with God.’ Later this title becomes the name of the Jewish nation. We read in St Matthew’s Gospel that some of the Pharisees believe that Jesus is able to cast out devils because he is the prince of devils. However, Jesus feels sorry for the people because they have no real teachers to guide them in the faith and to lead them towards God. So he tells his disciples to pray for more people to come forward to lead the flock. This is a reminder to us to pray for vocations – not just to the priesthood and religious life – but also that we ourselves will have the faith and the courage to lead others to God by our own example of living the Gospel.

Wednesday 8:     Of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 41:55-57, 42:5-7, 17-24; Psalm 32; Matthew 10:1-17
In our reading from Genesis we now move ahead several years and see Joseph in Egypt as the pharaoh’s main steward. Israel’s sons had sold Joseph into slavery because they were tired of his perfect ways and the fact that their father appeared to love him more than all of them put together. So they sold Joseph as a boy to some traders and Joseph ends up in Egypt where he becomes one of the chief stewards to the Pharaoh.  Years later his brothers come to Egypt to buy grain for there is a famine in their own country. They do not recognise Joseph but he recognises them and has them detained for some days. In our Gospel reading we have the naming of the twelve apostles and these Jesus sends out to proclaim the Good News. We are the successors to the Twelve and it is our duty to proclaim the Good News in all that we do and say.

Thursday 9:         Of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 44:18-21, 23-29, 45:1-5; Psalm 104; Matthew 10:7-15
In our reading from the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis we see Joseph finally revealing himself to his brothers. Despite the way they had treated him he forgives them and welcomes them with open arms. In some ways the scene reminds us of Christ who, on the cross, forgave those who rejected him and treated him shamefully. In the Gospel we see Jesus instructing the Twelve before he sends them out in his name. We received the faith for nothing and so should pass it on to others for nothing. We should also welcome those who come in Christ’s name and listen to their teaching.

Friday 10:            Of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30; Psalm 36; Matthew 10:16-23
In the first reading from the Book of Genesis we read of the moment when Israel (Jacob) is reunited with his long-lost son Joseph. Israel also takes his whole family and settles in Egypt at Joseph’s request where they enjoy peace. Before moving to Egypt, the Lord appears to Israel to tell him that he will be with him and make him a great nation in Egypt. Jesus continues instructing the Twelve in the Gospel before sending them out in his name. He reminds them that it will not go as smoothly as they might think and that they will be harassed from time to time and have to suffer for him, but through it all the Holy Spirit will be with them to guide and strengthen them. The Holy Spirit is also with us and so we should take up the mantle of the Twelve and preach the kingdom of God to all whom we meet.

Saturday 11:        Feast of St Benedict, Abbot & Patron of Europe*
Proverbs 2:1-9; Psalm 33; Matthew 19:27-29
The first reading from Proverbs exhorts us to apply ourselves in seeking the truth for there is a great treasure to be found in the truth. When we discover it then we will “understand what virtue is, justice and fair dealing.” In the gospel, Jesus assures Peter that those who have left everything for him will receive a great reward, that reward being eternal life. The readings are quite appropriate for the feast of St Benedict for they recount exactly the sort of life Benedict lived. We too are called to seek truth and to give up everything for the sake of Christ and the kingdom.

Memorials this Week:
July 11:                Feast of St Benedict, Abbot & Patron of Europe
Benedict was born in central Italy in 480. He was sent to Rome to study but left the city for the life of a hermit in Subiaco, not far from Rome, about the year 500. So many gathered around him that he founded twelve communities of monks, but in time left them because of their lack of discipline. He moved to Monte Cassino and established the famous monastery there on the site of a pagan temple to Apollo. He wrote a Rule for the monks which has become the foundation of spirituality and monastic life though it is not believed that he intended starting a religious order. He is the spiritual head of monks in the Western Church as St Basil is spiritual head of those in the Eastern Church. He died while at prayer in March 547 and was made Patron of Europe by Paul VI in 1964.

© 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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