20th Sunday of the Year (b)
Sunday 19th August: 20th Sunday of the Year. (B)
The first reading is from the Book of Proverbs. Wisdom is described in terms of a banquet. Christians see this as a foreshadowing of the Eucharistic banquet to which we are all invited.
In the second reading, from the Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul tells the followers of Christ to give good example and to bless and thank God for the many blessings they have received.
The Gospel passage, from St. John’s Gospel, contains Jesus’ great promise of eternal life to those who eat his body and drink his blood in the Eucharist.
Monday 20th August: Memorial of St. Bernard.
Bernard was born in 1090 near Dijon in France. At the age of 22, he entered the Cistercian monastery of Citeaux along with 30 of his friends. He was eventually chosen as Abbot of a new foundation in Clairvaux where he led a life of intense prayer. He was still able to respond to requests for help and advice from Popes and Kings as well as attend Councils of the Church. He died in 1153.
Tuesday 21st August: Memorial St. Pius X.
According to Baron von Pastor, a Papal historian Pius X ( born as Joseph Sarto)”was one of those chosen few men whose personality is irrestible. Everyone was moved by his simplicity and his angelic kindness. Yet it was something more that carried him into all hearts; and that something is best defined by saying that all who were ever admitted to his presence had a deep conviction of being face to face with a saint.” His declared aim when he became Pope was ‘to renew all things in Christ.’ One of the liturgical reforms he introduced and encouraged was the frequent of Holy Communion. He also had a deep sense of social justice and his charities were immense. He died in 1914 just after the outbreak of World War 1.
Wednesday 22nd August: Memorial of the Queenship of Our Lady.
Pope Pius XII instituted this feast in 1955, originally on 31st May. It was moved to be closer to the Feast of the Assumption to stress the fact that it is precisely because she has been taken body and soul into heaven that Our Lady can exercise her role as Mother and as Queen.
Thursday 23rd August: Thursday of the 20th week of the year.
The people are in exile, sad, depressed worried about their future. Ezekiel gives them a message of great hope. They will be given new hearts to replace their hearts of stone which turned them against God in the first place. They will be restored to their land by God who will be their God and they will be his people.
Jesus preaches the parable of the landlord and the workers in the vineyard to stress the power and generosity of God’s love.
Friday 24th August: Feast of St. Bartholomew.
We know little about this apostle (sometimes referred to as Nathaniel) other than that he was numbered among the twelve. According to legend, he preached the Gospel in India and was martyred there but there is no real foundation for this. What is certain is that he was one of the chosen companions of Jesus and so is worthy of a special place in our devotion.
Saturday 25th August: Saturday of the 20th week of the year.
This is the last extract from the Prophet Ezekiel. Again the promise of the return of the remnant from exile to Israel is made. The Temple would be rebuilt, the glory of God would remain and the people would once again live as God’s chosen people praising and glorifying him for all he had done.
The Pharisees are taken to task for interpreting the law in such a way that it has become a burden; they have made it more important than the people. They have become hypocrites and have not practiced what they have been preaching.
God our Father, we thank you
For nourishing us on the way to you
With the true bread and drink of life, your son, Jesus Christ.
In this and in every eucharist,
Let him take flesh again in us
That we may do for one another what he has done for us,
That we may be present to one another
As he is present and available to us
And that, with him, we may live your life
Now and for ever.