20th Sunday of the Year (c)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Ordinary Season of the Year. (c)
Weekdays – Year 1
Sunday 18th August: 20th Sunday of the Year. (c)
The first reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah. He has become a problem to the people. Some want to kill him because of what they consider the bad news he brings and the way in which he challenges their way of life. Others are afraid to kill him because they see him as a prophet sent by God.
The passage from the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that we are called to put to one side whatever prevents us concentrating on the person of Jesus and building our lives around him.
Jesus’ words are full of contradiction. He will bring peace and division. He does not bring comfort and following him will bring many hard decisions for those who wish to do so.
Monday 19th August: Monday of the 20th week of the year.
We move to the Book of Judges. These were the de facto leaders of the People of Israel at this stage in their history. They tried to help the people remain loyal to teachings and directions of Moses and Joshua but with limited success. Many of the false gods of the neighbouring peoples were more appealing to the people so they left the God of Israel.
The Gospel passage again reminds us of the tension and the temptations of material things which can draw us away from the following of Christ.
Tuesday 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
Wednesday 21st August: Memorial of 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.
Thursday 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.
Friday 23rd August: Friday of the 20th week of the year.
We finish the history of the early Israelites with a reading from the Book of Ruth. She was from the tribe of Moab and, as such, would normally be excluded from God’s people. She had married one of the sons of Naomi she had become a follower of the God of Israel. She chooses to leave her own land and people and accompany her aging mother-in-law Naomi back to Israel.
In response to another attempt to trap him, Jesus again stresses the basic commandments – love God, love your neighbour. Both of these were basic to what was expected of all Jews so there was no change in Jesus’ teaching.
Saturday 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.
Lord our God
You have called Leo your servant
as bishop and pastor of your Church
in St Andrews and Edinburgh.
May he keep watch over the whole flock
to which the Holy Spirit has appointed him as shepherd,
preaching the word of God with unfailing patience and sound teaching
so that with faith and love he protects the bride of God, his holy Church.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen