21st Sunday of the Year (b)

Sunday 26th August:             21st Sunday of the Year.  (B)

In the first reading, from the Book of Joshua, we reminded that God’s people in the Old Testament were conscious that it owed its freedom and its very being to God’s love for them.  They choose to link their destiny to that of God and to serve him loyally.

The second reading, from the Letter to the Ephesians, and St. Paul reminds us that, in marriage, the partners choose one another for lifelong love and fidelity and give themselves to one another as Christ gave himself for the Church.

The Gospel passage is from St. John.  The upsetting words of Jesus place a choice before the disciples. Many leave.  Peter, apparently speaking in the name of the others, expresses his firm faith in Jesus as Lord.

Monday 27th August:   Memorial of St. Monica.

          St. Monica was born in Northern Africa about the year 331.  What we know of her is drawn from the writings of her son, St.   Augustine. She prayed constantly for the conversion of her son from the unholy life he was leading and a few months before she died, he was baptised.  Her commitment and perseverance are models for us all in the life of prayer.  She is regarded as the Patron Saint of Mothers.     

Tuesday 28th August:   Memorial of St. Augustine.   

St. Augustine was a great philosopher, theologian, orator, pastor and man of God.  We know a great deal about him from his own writing especially from his ‘Confessions.’ He talks about his search for meaning to life and all the difficulties he encountered before his final conversion and total commitment to Jesus.  He was born in 354 and died in 430 and is regarded as one of the greatest fathers of the Church.       

Wednesday 29th August:     Memorial of the Beheading of John the Baptist.

          This feast has its origin in Samaria where the Baptist’s skull was venerated in the fourth century.  It became part of the universal calendar in the seventh century.  St. John is unique in that he is honoured with two feast days – his birth and his death.

Thursday 30th  August:                    Thursday of the 21st week of the year.

The first reading is from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. There was much worship of false gods there especially Venus. Paul had established a Christian community while on his second missionary journey.  Now he responds to a question raised about false apostles who were preaching false doctrine. He reminds the Corinthians of the many blessings they have received from God.

Directing his words particularly to the leaders of the local community, Jesus reminds them that, at his coming, he should find them doing what they are supposed to be doing i.e. serving the community and not lording it over them.

Friday 31st August:                 Friday of the 21st week of the year.

          St Paul is aware of how divided the Corinthians are and how easily swayed they are by false philosophies.  He reminds them their salvation lies in Jesus who saved them by his death on the cross.

The main point of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins is to remind us to be always ready to respond to the call of the Lord.  We do not know when he will call us.

Saturday 1st September:        Saturday of the 21st week of the year.

St.   Paul continues his argument against relying totally on human reason. He chooses the weak, in human terms, to speak for him.  And so the weak become great in the eyes of God.

Today we hear another famous parable. We are reminded that we are all given talents in life.  They are to be used for the greater glory of God.

Lord our God,

In response to your love,

We have chosen you at baptism

As the God of our lives.

In the strength of this Eucharist

Help us renew,

Day after day,

This commitment to you and your kingdom.

Let your Son build up with us

A community of peace and service

And when it is slow in coming

Reassure us that, in your own good time,

The seeds will bear fruit that lasts

Forever and ever.