Reflections on the Daily Readings

September 28 - October 4, 2014.
The Season of Ordinary Time - Twenty-sixth Week.
Readings: Sunday Cycle A; Weekday Cycle II.
Divine Office - Psalter Week II.

Sunday 28:          The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm 24; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32
The first reading from the Prophet Ezekiel tells us that we are the ones who are unjust when we go astray and not God. God punishes us for our sinfulness but he is just in doing so. We are also reminded that those who change their ways and repent of their transgressions are welcomed back by God. The Psalm asks the Lord to be merciful and to teach us his ways. In the gospel, Jesus is admonishing some of the chief priests and elders for not listening to God’s messengers. He tells them that those whom they consider to be sinners are actually getting in to heaven ahead of them because they are, in their own quiet way, believing in God. He points out to them that John the Baptist came and lived and preached in a way which they hold as exemplary and yet they refused to listen to him. We too are called on to believe in God and not fool ourselves with our own ideas.
St Paul tells us in the second reading that we must be the same as Christ who gave up everything and became like us in order to save us. We must give up our earthly ways and become like Christ if we are to enter the Kingdom of heaven.

Monday 29:         Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels*
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 (or Revelations 12:7-12); Psalm 137; John 1:47-51
The text from the book of Daniel speaks of one of great age taking his seat upon his throne and receiving sovereignty, glory and kingship and with all peoples worshiping him. In the alternative reading from the book of Revelations we read of Michael the Archangel leading the hosts of angels into battle on behalf of the Lord against the dragon, known as the devil of Satan. They are victorious and the glory of the Lord is declared. In the gospel we see Jesus speaking with Nathanael when the latter came to him late at night. Nathanael says that Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus commends him for his faith. He goes on to tell him that he shall see great things in heaven including the angels who dwell in the Lord’s presence and act as his messengers.

Tuesday 30:         Memorial of St Jerome, Priest & Doctor of the Church*
Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23; Psalm 87; Luke 9:51-56
In our first reading from the Old Testament Book of Job, we see Job cursing the day of his birth because of the misfortunes that have befallen him. However, he does not curse the Lord or sin because he believes that God does not punish without just cause and so would say nothing negative against God. In the Gospel we read that Jesus resolutely headed for Jerusalem to suffer and to die for us. We are challenged to be Job-like and not to “give out” to God when evil afflicts us but to see in it a way to show our love and trust for God and so be more worthy of the great sacrifice which Christ made for us.

Wednesday 1:     Memorial of St Thérèse of Lisieux, Virgin & Doctor of the Church*
Job 9:1-16; Psalm 87; Luke 9:57-62
In our first reading today Job tells his friends that God is always right for we do not know his mind. Therefore how can we be right and God be wrong? In his speech he outlines the greatness and the glory of the Lord. In the Gospel we see a number of men coming to Jesus to follow him but each has a condition to be filled before they will set out with him. Our following of Christ must be unconditional if we are to be true disciples and so enter the kingdom of heaven.

In Carmelite Churches:
October 1:           Feast of St Thérèse of Lisieux, Virgin & Doctor of the Church*
Isaiah 66:10-14; or 1John 4:7-16; Psalm 102; Matthew 11:25-30
In the reading from Isaiah, the Lord is telling Jerusalem that he will send peace to her flowing like a river. Our reading from the letter of St John tells us that if we love one another then God will love us. Not alone will God love us but he will also live in us. In the Gospel we see Jesus praising God for having revealed his truth to mere children. Often the most learned in the world miss God’s message because they want to analyse it. However, those who look at it with a child’s mind, as did St Thérèse, will find the true meaning in its hidden depths.

Thursday 2:         Memorial of the Guardian Angels*
Exodus 23:20-23; Psalm 90; Matthew 18:1-5, 10
In our first reading we read of the Jews who have just left Egypt on their journey back to the Promised Land. As the journey is a long one the Lord is granting a guardian angel to them who will guide and protect them and speak God’s word to them. For their part, the people must honour and respect the angel. In the gospel, Jesus tells us that we have guardian angels and that, particularly in the case of children, our guardian angels are in the presence of the Father in heaven and speak directly to him on our behalf.

Friday 3:              Of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Job 38:1, 12-21, 40:3-5; Psalm 138; Luke 10:13-16
In our first reading for today, we come to the high point in the Book of Job. The Lord himself speaks with Job and questions Job about the world of nature because Job has told his friends that what has happened to him has its source in God and not in nature. At the end of the conversation Job declares that he has been frivolous and will not speak of this again. In the Gospel, Christ tells his followers that those who reject their teaching of the Good News reject not just those who proclaim it but also Christ and the Father. We know that those who reject the Good News will not be allowed to enter the Kingdom.

Saturday 4:          Memorial of St Francis of Assisi, Deacon*
Job 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17; Psalm 118; Luke 10:17-24
In the first reading we see Job repenting for having questioned God’s reasons for acting and for his own pride. Because he has been faithful, God rewards Job beyond his earlier fortunes. In the Gospel, Christ’s disciples come back rejoicing for they have had authority over the devil. They have been given power by Christ for the spreading of the kingdom. We too have a duty and a responsibility to pass on the message of the kingdom to those whom we meet by word and deed. Like Job, we will receive a great reward if we have been faithful to the Gospel.

Memorials this Week:
September 29:     Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, the Archangels
Michael is traditionally regarded as the chief of the Archangels and a special protector against the attacks of Satan. Gabriel is the special messenger of the Lord who visited Mary at the Annunciation. Raphael is known as “The Healer of the Lord” because he brought healing to people as found in the Book of Tobias and St John’s Gospel.

September 30:     Memorial of St Jerome, Priest & Doctor of the Church
Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius was born in Dalmatia between 340 and 347. He is regarded as the most learned Father of the Church in matters concerning the Bible. In 385 he retired to Bethlehem where he continued his great work of translating the Bible into Latin and also wrote several Biblical commentaries. He could be quick to temper but also very quick to remorse. He referred to those who sought to amend the Bible as “presumptuous blockheads.” In his Prologue to his commentaries on the Prophet Isaiah he wrote that “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” For his services for Pope St Damasus he is depicted as a cardinal though he was never elevated to the College of Cardinals. He died in 420 in Bethlehem. Jerome is the patron of librarians.

October 1:           Memorial of St Thérèse of Lisieux, Virgin & Doctor of the Church
Thérèse Martin was born in Alençon in France in 1873 and is popularly known as ‘The Little Flower.’ Whilst still young, and despite opposition, she entered the Discalced Carmel of Lisieux at the age of 15. By word and example she taught the novices virtues of humility. Following a difficult illness she died on September 30, 1897, and was canonized in 1925 with successive popes referring to her as “the greatest saint of modern times.” She became famous for her ‘Little Way’ which is found in her remaining letters and her biography. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1999. She is co-patroness of the Missions and secondary patron of France.

October 2:           Memorial of the Guardian Angels
It is our belief that each of us has a guardian angel from birth who is there to help us in all things. It is also the belief that homes, cities and states also have guardian angels. A Votive Mass to the guardian angels has been in practise since the ninth century and, in 1670, Pope Clement X made October 2 an obligatory commemoration.

October 4:           Memorial of St Francis of Assisi, Deacon
Francis was born in Assisi in 1181. After a pleasure-filled youth he left home and founded the Order of Friars Minor in 1209. Ten years later he went east to convert the Muslims but was unsuccessful either with the Crusaders or the Muslims. In 1224 he received the stigmata, the first recorded incident of the stigmata in history. With St Clare he established the Franciscan nuns in 1212. He died a deacon in 1226 and was canonized just two years later.

© 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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