17th Sunday of the Year (b)
Sunday 29th July: Seventeenth Sunday of the Year. (B)
Who are we in the eyes of God ? What can God do for us ? After all, we are no more than little people in a vast world. Today’s Liturgy shows us that God can do a great deal through us and with the little we have to offer. If we put our time and talents at his disposal, he can turn them into blessings for many.
The first reading is from the second Book of Kings. In a time of famine, the prophet Elisha orders bread destined for a religious offering to be given to the hungry poor. As there is not enough, God sees to it that there is more than sufficient to satisfy everyone.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Ephesians. Paul encourages the Christian community to be one and avoid disputes and factions.
The Gospel, from St. John’s Gospel, presents Jesus revealing himself to us as the giver of bread to the hungry. He will use this sign later to reveal himself as the bread of life in the eucharist.
Monday 30th July: Monday of the 17th week of the year.
Jeremiah was uncomfortable in his role as a prophet. In spite of this and because of the promise he had made to God. Today we hear part of a prayer, on behalf of the people, begging God to come and rescue them.
In the Gospel, Jesus explains the parable of the good seeds and the weeds. In nature they grow together until they are harvested and then separated. Judgement day will see good and evil people separated.
Tuesday 31st July: Memorial of St. Ignatius Loyola.
He was born in 1491 in Spain. He chose a military career initially. While convalescing after being seriously wounded, he read the lives of the saints and the Life of Christ. As a result and after much reflection, he was converted to a life of holiness. He began his studies for the priesthood and was eventually ordained in 1538 after much studying and also suspicion from Church authorities. He gathered around him a small number of like-minded dedicated men, including the future St. Francis Xavier, from which were formed the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, who put themselves directly under the Pope’s authority, ready to go anywhere and undertake any work asked of them by the Pope. He died in 1556.
Wednesday 1st August: Memorial of St. Alphonsus Ligouri.
He was born in 1696 near Naples, becoming a very successful lawyer. He had gained doctorates in both civil and canon law by the time he was 17. He gave up the practice of the law in order to become a priest and was ordained in 1726. He is the founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists), whose main work is the preaching of missions and retreats. He himself was a very popular preacher. He became a Bishop in 1762 and gave himself totally to the service of his diocese before going back to his order and dying in 1787 at the age of 91.
Thursday 2nd August: Thursday of the 17th week of the year.
Jeremiah loved his people. He really wants them to return to God and he wants to do all he can to help them do this. He uses one of his many life experiences and stories to try and do this comparing the people with clay being moulded God into the kind of people he wants them to be.
The parable we hear today is the parable of the fisherman’s net. All sorts of fish are caught, good and bad alike. Later these will be sorted. It is the same with people. The wicked, those who refuse to accept Jesus will in time be cast out.
Friday 3rd August: Friday of the 17th week of the year.
Jeremiah faces a major challenge today. The official prophets, paid to give good news all the time at court, do not like what he is saying and begin plotting to discredit him and bring him down. He is thrown out of the court and the temple.
Jesus is alsochallenged. He is not accepted because of his background and where he comes from. This stops him from working amongst his own people.
Saturday 4th August: Memorial of St. John Vianney.
This saintly man is regarded by most as the patron saint of priests who work in parishes. He was born of poor parents near Lyon in 1786. He received very little formal education. He eventually began his studies for the priesthood but found Latin very difficult. He persisted and was ordained in 1815. He was given charge of the obscure and somewhat backward parish of Ars where he remained for 42 years. However, in a short space of time, by his own personal witness and commitment, he had completely changed the whole moral and spiritual life of that small community. His fame spread and people came from all over France especially to go to confession. He died in 1859 and was canonised in 1925.
We give you thanks, loving Father,
For giving us Jesus your son
As our food on the road to you and one another.
Give us the will and the strength
To bring to a hungry world food
And a fair share in the riches of the earth.
Help us also to break the bread
Of dignity and hope for all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.