11th Sunday of the Year (b)

Ordinary Season of the Year.  (b)

Weekdays – Year 2

Sunday 17th June:        11th Sunday of the Year. (b)

The first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel.  It is written at the time of the exile and the people are despairing of ever seeing their homes, their temple again.  The prophet announces, as encouragement, the the line of David will be restored and one day the exile will come to an end.

In the second reading, St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, is talking about ‘being away from the Lord, while living here on earth.  This time of separation he says demands faith in the follower of Christ not sight. Life should be lived so as to be please the Lord and not be afraid to meet him at the day of judgement.

St. Mark presents us with two parables in the Gospel. The first is of the seed growing quietly in the ground and the second is that of the mustard seed. Once a seed has been sown and tended, growth is inevitable.  This parable and that of the mustard seed were written to engourage the early followers who were becoming impatient at the apparent lack of growth in the life of the Church.  Jesus’ message is clear.  Growth starts from small beginnings and once started cannot bhe stopped.  The word of God sown in our lives should be the same for us.

Monday 18th June:       Monday in 11th week of the year.

We continue the readings from the First Book of Kings.  Ahab still hasn’t learned his lesson and now steals his neighbour’s vineyard with the help of his wife, Jezebel.  He is warned of the consequences of his action by Elijah but to no avail. Naboth is killed through the plotting of Jezebel and the vineyard is Ahab’s.

          Jesus continues his radical teaching.  No longer is it to be an eye for an eye.  The follower of Jesus must go to the opposite extreme to try to bring about conversion to God’s ways in the lives of those who have sinned.

Tuesday 19th June:       Tuesday in 11th week of the year.

Elijah now confronts Ahab again for his lack of faith and his turning to the pagan gods and their prophets instead of remaining true to the God of Israel. He is warned of the punishments to come for him but he relents and seeks repentance that is given but the punishment will come upon his heirs in time to come.

In the Gospel, Jesus presents another strand of his radical teaching His followers must now love their enemies.  God makes no distinction but awaits the conversion of the sinner.  They have to strive for the same degree of perfection.

Wednesday 20th June:             Wednesday in 11th week of the year.

          We move to the second book of the Kings and the end of Elijah’s period.  We read about the succession of Elisha and how Elijah picks him as his successor

          Three religious practices had a very high priority for the Jews – almsgiving, prayer and fasting.  Jesus warns against carrying any of these out with any kind of attention seeking or showiness.

Thursday 21st June:     Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

He was born inLombardyto a family with royal connections.  He studied inFlorenceand spent some time inSpain.  His father wanted him to become a great soldier but from his earliest years, Aloysius wanted to work for God.  He undertook a routine of much prayer, fasting and abstinence and eventually, in 1585, he became a Jesuit novice inRome.  He died in 1891 during a plague inRomewhile caring for the other victims.  He is the patron of youth.

Friday 22nd June:                   Friday in 11th week of the year.

          We now move south into the southern kingdom of Judah for our next series of readings. The kingdom was still ruled by descendants of David but efforts were being made to eliminate the line of David mauinly through the mother of King Ahaziah.  She tried to bring the worshop of the pagan god Baal in to the life of the people but this was overtuned by a combination of the military and the priests who ministered in the temple.     

The final section of Jesus’ sermon gives us some very practical advice concerning the pursuit of holiness.  Don’t depend on earthly treasures.  They are fragile.  Seek the things of God and store them up.

Saturday 23rd June:     Saturday in 11th week of the year.

          The second Book of Chronicles which provides our first reading gives us an account of the reign of King Joash .  Initially he was a good king but once the prophet Jehoida died he came under the influence of the pagan gods through his son.  The king expelled and then killed the son so God punishes him for the murder he committed.

                      Jesus gives us more practical advice about Christian living.  Believe that the Lord is looking after us all the time.  We are worth so much to him.

Sweet Heart of Jesus,

Fount of love of mercy,

Today we come,

Thy mercy to implore.