12th Sunday of the Year (b)

Sunday 25th June:        Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist.  (B)

In the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord assures the suffering servant that, because of who he is and what he does, he will reveal his glory in time to come.

In the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles, paul announces that the whole purpose of John’s ministry was to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah – Jesus himself.  John is the link between the prophets of the time of Israel and the time of Jesus.

St. Luke, in the Gospel, tells of the mysterious birth and naming of John.  The people are both confused and amazed at the circumstances surrounding the birth – ‘what will become of this child they ask.’

Monday 26th June:       Monday of the 12th week of the year.      

We move to the reign of Hosea in the northern kingdom,Israel.Assyriahad destroyed the kingdom and all the leading citizens were sent into exile.  This was seen as a warning to the southern kingdom,Judah.Israelhad fallen because the people had turned from God. IfJudahdoes not change, the same will happen to the people there.

In the Gospel, Jesus reminds that it important not to judge one another.  We need to look at our own lives and make sure we remove whatever is holding us back from fully following Christ in all that we do and say.

Tuesday 27th June:       Tuesday of the 12th week of the year.

          Hezekiah was king ofJudah and was thought to be a good king because he tried to follow the commands of the Lord. Despite the threats of the Assyrians, he opts for faith in God against all the odds. The people would be cared for by God.

Jesus reminds us that we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.

Wednesday 28thJune:     Memorial of St. Irenaeus.

           Irenaeus is one of the most important fathers of the early Church.  He was born around 125 inAsia Minor.  He is said to have been a disciple of St. Polycarp who is turn was a disciple ofSt. John the Apostle.  This shows how close in time Iraneus is to the early days of the Church.  He became Bishop of Lyons and combated the heresies of his day.  He died in 202.

Thursday 29th June:     Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul.

We know from the Gospels that Peter was fromGalilee, that his brother was Andrew, that he was married and that he was a fisherman.  He is portrayed as a very impetuous man e.g. he said he would never betray Jesus.  On the other hand, he was a man of great faith and determination.  He was martyred inRomein 64.

Paul, who was originally known as Saul, came fromTarsusand was brought up as a very strict Jew.  He was also a Roman citizen.  He was as scrupulous upholder of the Law and joined the Pharisees, becoming a ferocious persecutor of the early Christians.  After his conversion experience on the road toDamascus, he became a very committed Christian, setting off on various missionary journeys.  His story is found in the Acts of the Apostles and in the various letters he wrote to the early Christian communities.  Tradition tells us he was martyred in Rome in 67.

Friday 30th June:          Friday of the 12th week of the year.

          After the reign of Hezekiah and Josiah, the leaders of the people lead them back into the olds ways.  Their enemies are now the Babylonians. Jerusalem is taken by them, the temple was destroyed and the leaders sent into exile. Only the poor were left behind.

Jesus cures the leper who has faith in him.  Jesus reminds him to follow the tenets of his faith and show himself to the priest to have his cure confirmed.

Saturday 1st July:                   Saturday of the 12th week of the year.

The story of theChosenpeople in the Old Testament is remembered in this reading from the Book of Lamentations. They people move into exile. Everything they loved is taken from them, their homes, their temple, their cities. All they could hold on to was the prophecy that ‘a remnant would return’ as God’s chosen people.

In the Gospel, Jesus cures the centurion’s servant.  The centurion’s faith is a model for all of us.  Jesus goes on with his healing ministry.

God of power and might,

When we cry out to you in the tempests of life

Reassure us that you care and are with us,

Even when you seem to be absent.

Stay with us through your Son Jesus, he who is Lord

Forever and ever.