18th Sunday of the Year (b)

Sunday 5th August:      Eighteenth Sunday of the Year (b)

The first reading is from the Book of Exodus. The people are complaining about their lack of food and the fact they seem to be lost in the desert.  God sends them manna from heaven as a sign that he has not abandoned the.

St. Paul, writing to the Ephesians, urges them to to come closer to Christ and leave behind their old way of life.

The Gospel, from St. John, tells of Jesus revealing himself as the bread from heaven, who meets our deepest longings and hungers.

Monday 6th August:     Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  (B)

The Transfiguration of the Lord is always celebrated on 6th August each year and it is one of the few feasts which are celebrated even on a Sunday.  It is also the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.  So perhaps today more than ever we need to pray for peace in our world especially in the Middle East where so many innocent people are being killed each day while world governments stand by and watch.

The first reading is from the Prophet Daniel and has been seen by the Church as referring to Jesus whose glory was seen at the Transfiguration.

The second reading is from the 2nd Letter of St. Peter.  He was privileged to be present at the Transfiguration and uses this fact to call for a genuine renewal of faith.

The Gospel presents St. Mark’s account of the events of the Transfiguration.  He explains it in terms of Jesus being the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets. The whole incident is meant to prepare the disciples for the struggles they will face as disciples in the days that lie ahead of them.

Tuesday 7th August:     Tuesday in the 18th week of the Year.

          Things are not looking good for the people of Israel.  They are in exile, in despair, without hope.  They feel God has abandoned them.  Jeremiah’s message is one of hope.  The remnant will be saved and restored.  A new people of Israel will arise and return to Jerusalem.

In the Gospel, Jesus, after feeding the five thousand takes time to be on his own to pray and reflect.  However, in spite of the miracle he has worked, the disciples still lack faith in him when he appears to them walking on the water.  Peter eventually makes his act of faith ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

Wednesday 8th August:    Memorial of St. Dominic.

          Dominic was born in Castille in Spain in 1170.  He studied for the priesthood and, when he was 46, Pope Honorius entrusted to him and his companions the mission to preach the Word of God to combat heresy that was rampant at the time.  This was the beginning of the Dominican order.  They worked from smaller houses rather than traditional monasteries and combined a life of study and contemplation.  Dominic died in 1221.

Thursday 9th August:   Feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

                                                (Edith Stein)

Born in 1891 in Germany, Edith Stein was the eleventh child of a Jewish family.  Initially she opted for atheism but gradually she came to realise she wished to become a catholic and was baptised on January 1st in 1922.  She joined the Carmelites in Cologne in 1933 before moving to Holland to be with her sisters.  She was arrested by the Germans in August 1942 and gassed in Auschwitz on August 9th.  She was canonised by Pope John Paul in 1998.  She left behind a legacy of deeply spiritual writings which reflected her own deep faith and wish to identify her life with that of the suffering Christ.

Friday 10th August:      Feast of St. Lawrence.

          Deacon Lawrence is one of the most heroic of the age of martyrs.  He was a Spaniard called from Toledo to Rome.  In 258, the Emperor Valerian began a fierce persecution of the Church.  He had the Pope put to death.  Lawrence was one of the Pope’s chief executives and had charge of the Church’s property.  Knowing this would be confiscated by the Emperor, and that he himself would probably be captured and put to death, he devised a plan to distribute all the Church’s wealth to the poor of Rome.  As a result, he was sentenced to a particularly cruel death being burned on a gridiron.  His basilica is one of the seven major churches of Rome.

Saturday 11th August:            Memorial of St. Clare.

          Clare was born into an aristocratic family in 1193 and was a life long friend of St. Francis of Assisi.  They possessed the same love of Christ and commitment to poverty.  After receiving the habit from St. Francis, St. Clare founded the first convent of Franciscan (Poor Clare) nuns at San Damiano.  Her mother and sister were among those who formed this first community.  She ruled her community for forty years until her death in 1253.

Lord our God,

By the power of Jesus our Transfigured Lord,

You call us to transform the world in which we live and move and have our being in the image of Jesus your Son.

Commit us to Justice and Love

That we might play our part in transforming this harsh and cold world

Into a sign and token

That you are with us.

We ask this through

Christ our Lord.