Reflections on the Daily Readings

September 23 - 29, 2018
The Season of Ordinary Time - The Twenty-fifth Week
Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle II.
Divine Office - Psalter Week I.

Sunday 23:          The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; Psalm 53; James 3:16-4:3; Mark 9:30-37
In our first reading from the Book of Wisdom we see the people plotting the downfall of a virtuous man of God. They intend to deal cruelly with the innocent man because he has commented on their way of life even though they acknowledge that they have broken the Law. They intend to test the innocent man and see if he will break under pressure and become one like them. Much of what is said brings to mind the Passion of Christ and the suffering he went through in silence for our sake.
In the gospel we see Jesus teaching his disciples as they travel to Capernaum. In the first section Jesus again speaks about his death and resurrection and it is made clear that the disciples don’t understand this, but are too afraid to ask. The second part of the text is a teaching on power and status. The disciples had been arguing about which of them was the greatest, perhaps because they had misinterpreted Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom and presumed that it would be a kingdom in which they would have honour and prestige. Instead, Jesus tells them that the greatest is the least and to this end he placed a child before them because, at the time, children had no power, authority or status in society – that would only come when they reached adulthood. The true disciple should welcome a child and deal kindly with them because they are without power, but they should treat everyone in this way too. In welcoming children they welcome Jesus Christ, who is the greatest envoy of the Father. They should also see themselves as powerless and not seek after status beyond that of a child or an envoy. Ambition can be a good thing but only if it is kept in check and if pursued for the right reason.
In the second reading, the author contrasts the ways of this world and the ways of the Lord: one brings disharmony and arguments while the other brings peace and understanding. The people are called on to live the Lord’s ways rather than the ways of this world. The author suggests that the reason for such discord is because the people want their desires answered, but this doesn’t always happen. The author exhorts the people to pray properly and such divisions will disappear because the people will get what they need. However, this is not to suggest that every whim of the people is granted but that those who pray properly are open to a change of heart, are open to seeing their want for what it is – a want or an indulgence and not a necessity or something that is good for them. In this way they will accept what comes from the hand of God for their good and the good of the community.

Monday 24:         Of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Proverbs 3:27-34; Psalm 14; Luke 8:16-18
Today we return to the Old Testament and to the Book of Proverbs in the section known as Wisdom Literature. The Book is attributed to the wisdom of King Solomon and is aimed at the young and immature. We are warned in our passage for today that those who wilfully do what is wrong and who do not show kindness have no place with God. The Psalm speaks of the sort of person who is pleasing to the Lord. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us in the parable of the lamp that nothing is hidden from God – everything is seen by him. Therefore we must be careful to always act justly and righteously in all things.

Tuesday 25:         Of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13; Psalm 118; Luke 8:19-21
We have a number of little proverbs in today’s first reading from the Book of Proverbs which give pointers to the way we should think and act. The general theme is about the ways of evil men in comparison to those who are good-living. In the Gospel we see Jesus being looked for by his family. He tells us that those who do his will are members of his family. If we are Christians then we should take every care not to let our family down, and in particular our brother, Christ, by doing or saying anything that is against his will.

Wednesday 26:   Of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Proverbs 30:5-9; Psalm 118; Luke 9:1-6
In the first reading from the Book of Proverbs we see the author remind us about the trustworthiness of God’s promises. He then goes on to pray for sincerity and finally he asks to be protected against poverty but also against excessive wealth, for wealth can put a barrier between us and God. The Psalm is a prayer to God to be guarded from evil ways. In the Gospel we see Jesus sending out his Twelve Apostles to preach and to cure in his name. As Christians we too have an obligation to spread the Good News of the kingdom.

Thursday 27:       Memorial of St Vincent de Paul, Priest*
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11; Psalm 89; Luke 9:7-9
Today we begin reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes written by an author named Qoheleth about the third century before Christ. He tells us that there is nothing new to be found in the world – everything there is has already existed but we do not have any memory of them. It is in the mind of God the Creator and the works of man are but mere vanity. In our Gospel text, the works and teachings of Christ have come to the attention of Herod. He is unsettled because some people thought that Jesus was the Baptist – whom Herod had beheaded – come back to life. Herod had listened to John with curiosity but had not done as John had instructed. Now he is getting a second chance to do the right thing. We too get second chances though we do not always acknowledge or grasp them. However, we do not know when our time on this earth will end and so we need to listen to the word of God today and act upon it.

Friday 28:            Of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Psalm 143; Luke 9:18-22
In our first reading today from the Book of Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth tells us that there is a time for everything. The reading reminds us that there is a rhythm in life and a cycle of change to all things. In our Gospel, St Peter makes his great profession of faith when Christ asks his followers who they think he is. He also tells them that he is to suffer and to die. Today we are asked to look into our hearts and, for ourselves, answer the question – “Who do you say I am?” We are also told that this event took place while Jesus and the Apostles were at prayer, again showing us how central prayer was in the life of Christ.

Saturday 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 while all peoples worship him. This sovereignty is an eternal one and shall never pass away nor will his empire ever be destroyed.
In the alternative reading from the book of the Apocalypse we read of Michael the Archangel leading the legions 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. The triumph is continued through the blood of the Lamb and by the martyrdom of those who die for their faith in Jesus Christ.
In the gospel we see Jesus speaking with Nathanael (Nathaniel) 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.

Memorials this Week
September 27:     Memorial of St Vincent de Paul, Priest
Vincent was born in France in 1581. He became a priest in 1600 and, on a visit to Paris, he met with Fr Bérulle and Mme de Gondi who changed his heart forever. He then became totally immersed in the plight of the poor and destitute. In 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Missions (the Vincentians) and, in 1633, the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, to carry on his work. He died in 1660 and is the patron saint of all charitable societies and in particular the society which bears his name.

September 29:     Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, the Archangels
The three archangels are the senior angels who dwell in God’s presence and who act on his behalf in relations with his people. 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.

© P. Breen, O.Carm. 2011, 2013
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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