Reflections on the Daily Readings

May 22 - 28, 2016
The Season of Ordinary Time - The Eighth Week.
Readings: Sunday Cycle C; Weekday Cycle II.
Divine Office - Psalter Week IV.

Sunday 22:          The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
It is our firm belief that God is a Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – and even though we may not understand how this can be, today we celebrate that fact in the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Our readings for this solemnity reflect this Trinitarian aspect of God. In the first reading from the Old Testament Book of Proverbs we see Wisdom telling us that she had existed before anything was created and she was at the Creator’s side through all of creation. Today, we understand Jesus to be the personification of Wisdom and so we believe that he was at the Father’s side through all of creation. In the Gospel reading from St John we see Jesus telling his disciples that he has many things to say to them, though not enough time, but that the Spirit will guide them after he has returned to the Father. The word ‘trinity’ may not have been used by Christ but in this short passage all three persons are mentioned by him and all are clearly equal. In our second reading from St Paul to the Romans, Paul too speaks of the Trinity because he tells us that through Christ we draw close to the Father with the perseverance and hope given us by the Spirit. The Father wants us to be with him and his Son has shown us the way while the Spirit fortifies us for the journey. All that remains is for us to accept that guidance and follow the path marked out by Christ.

Monday 23:         Of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
1Peter 1:3-9; Psalm 110; Mark 10:17-27
This week we turn to the first letter of St Peter and in our first reading for today Peter is preaching to the people about Christ and the kingdom. He is reminding the people that they believe in Christ even though they have never seen him and so their faith will bring them to everlasting happiness. The Jewish people regard the Promised Land as their “inheritance” and so Peter uses this word deliberately to show that the new inheritance – the new Promised Land – is to be found in heaven rather than here on earth. This inheritance is something which cannot be taken from us except by God. In the Gospel from St Mark, we see a young man go away sad because he did not see that faith is a far more precious treasure than the gold he possessed. We are called to be like the people in the first reading – who believed though they had not seen Christ, unlike the young man in the Gospel.

Tuesday 24:         Of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
1Peter 1:10-16; Psalm 97; Mark 10:28-31
In our first reading again today St Peter is telling us how we must believe – with a completely free and open mind in imitation of the holiness of God himself. In that way we will truly come to know God and be united with him. He also encourages us to do all we can today to believe in God rather than putting it off until tomorrow. Today’s Gospel is a continuation of yesterday’s passage, and in it we see the disciples worrying about how they will enter heaven. Christ reassures them and tells them that whoever gives up all they have for him will receive a great reward in this life and in the next – though they will suffer for it. We too will share in that promise if we put Christ and the Gospel before everything else in our lives.

Wednesday 25:   Of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
1Peter 1:18-25; Psalm 147; Mark 10:32-45
Today, St Peter reminds us of what Christ did for us – a sacrifice we should never forget for it was paid in his precious blood. Peter also uses the image of a ‘spotless lamb’ which is seen so often in Christian art. In today’s Gospel, Christ tells his disciples of his impending death, when the ransom will be paid for us. Christ also tells them that they are to be the servants of all, not masters. We too are called to serve others just as Christ served us and redeemed us. Service is far more important and life-saving than power.

In Carmelite Churches:
May 25:               Feast of St Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin*
Songs 5:4b, 8:6-7; Psalm 17; Luke 10:38-42
The first reading from the Song of Songs speaks about love and the fact that love is as strong as death. In the Gospel we have the familiar story of Christ’s visit with Martha and Mary. As we know, Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he had to say while Martha fussed over the small details of hospitality. The Lord tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better part because she gives time to the Lord and listens to his word. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi’s love for Christ was a love which could not be quenched and for which she underwent many acts of penance and purification. With the example of this Carmelite saint before us we are challenged to look at our own lives and to see if we truly love Christ even unto death.

Thursday 26:       Memorial of St Philip Neri, Priest*
1Peter 2:2-5, 9-12; Psalm 99; Mark 10:46-52
St Peter continues to tell us in the first reading how to believe and act as children of God. We must set ourselves close to Christ and always act honourably among those who denounce us. We must hunger every day for the food that will feed us spiritually and so show to those around us what it means to follow Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus cures a blind man on the road to Jericho because the man asked for the cure and because the man had faith and trust in Christ. This is the sort of faith we are called to have – complete and total, even when others are trying to keep us down.

Friday 27:            Of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
1Peter 4:7-13; Psalm 95; Mark 11:11-26
Our first reading continues with St Peter giving instruction on the faith. We must have total trust and faith in God and must remember that he will test us from time to time so that we are truly worthy to be with him in paradise. In our Gospel passage for today there are a number of topics raised. In the Temple, we see our Lord driving out the money changers who had defiled his Father’s house. There is a reminder here that we must give due care and respect to the house of God for it is here that he dwells most visibly in our world. Also in the passage we are told to “have faith in God” and we will be able to move mountains. Finally, we are told that we must repent of our sins but if we approach the Father seeking forgiveness we must be prepared to forgive those who have wronged us. Only in forgiving others can we expect forgiveness for ourselves.

Saturday 28:        Of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Jude 17:20-25; Psalm 62; Mark 11:27-33
Today we read from the letter written by St Jude who tells us that our faith is to be our foundation and we are to build upon that foundation. This is done by helping others who are weaker in faith than we are while all the time praying for a stronger faith for ourselves. Jude is also warning us to be careful about the instruction we take from some who appear to be preaching the Gospel but who are preaching a tainted version. The Psalm gives us a good example of what our prayer could be. In the Gospel, Jesus is questioned by the scribes and elders about his authority. He poses a question for them and when they refuse to answer this he does not answer theirs. His authority comes from God but they will not accept this.

Memorials this Week:
May 25:               Feast of St Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin
Mary Magdalene was born in 1566 to the famous Tuscan noble family Pazzi who were influential bankers in Florence throughout the fifteenth century. She entered the Carmelites in Florence in at the age of sixteen and held various offices within the convent. Throughout her religious life she was devoted to prayer and experienced many visions which were recorded by others in the convent. She died in 1607 and was canonized in 1669.

May 26:               Memorial of St Philip Neri, Priest
Philip was born in 1515 in Florence and spent most of his life in Rome. He became known as ‘the second apostle of Rome’ because of his untiring work for all those in the city whether they be Pope or servant boy. After his ordination (1551) he founded the Congregation of the Oratory and was particularly well known for his ministry in the confessional. He died in 1595.

© 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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