Reflections on the Daily Readings

September 25 - October 1, 2016
The Season of Ordinary Time - The Twenty-sixth Week.
Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle II.
Divine Office - Psalter Week II.

Sunday 25:          The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 6:1, 4-7; Psalm 145; 1Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31
Through the Prophet Amos in the first reading we see the Lord warning the people that because of their faith in earthly things and their disloyalty to him they will suffer destruction – all that they have will be taken from them because of their fickleness. The Psalm reminds us of the faithfulness of God and of all that he does for his people. In the gospel, Jesus gives us the story of the rich man and the poor man named Lazarus. The rich man failed to really take notice of the poor man or to reach out to him and help him. As a result the rich man went to Hades while the poor man went to heaven. Despite all the warnings and all the teachings from and about God the rich man failed to heed them and so suffers after his death for his misdeeds. The story is a reminder to us that we have all been given the Good News with its promise of eternal life but it is now up to us to actually take those lessons on board and secure our place in heaven.
In the second reading from his first letter to Timothy, we see St Paul encouraging Timothy to be faithful to the teaching to which he has dedicated his life so that he may secure for himself eternal life.

Monday 26:         Of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Job 1:6-22; Psalm 16; Luke 9:46-50
This week we turn to the Book of Job which dates to about the beginning of the fifth century before Christ. In its opening section we see how Job was afflicted by Satan who wanted to prove a point to God. Job represents all those who serve the Lord faithfully and yet endure suffering in their lives. Despite his great misfortunes, Job still praises God and refuses to do or say anything wrong. In the Gospel, the disciples have been arguing about who is the greatest but Christ tells them that the greatest is actually the least. We are challenged today to be a humble people and to accept everything that comes our way – whether we see it as good or bad – with dignity and with praise for God.

Tuesday 27:         Memorial of St Vincent de Paul, Priest*
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 28:   Of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
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.

Thursday 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.

Friday 30:            Memorial of St Jerome, Priest & Doctor of the Church*
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 1:          Memorial of St Thérèse of Lisieux, Virgin & Doctor of the Church*
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.

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.

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
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.

© 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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