21st Sunday of the Year (b)
Ordinary Season of the Year. (b)
Weekdays – Year 1
Sunday 23rd 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 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.
Tuesday 25th August:
Our weekday readings come from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. In today’s section, Paul is stating his reasons for the work he had done with them and for them. It involved much hardship and persecution but he did it out of love for them. All that he did he did for the glory of God and not for any personal gain.
Jesus continues his criticism of the hypocrisy shown in the lives of the leaders of the people. They are not putting into practice what they preach. They are spending too much time on the externals and neglecting the conversion of heart needed for the true follower of Christ.
Wednesday 26th August:
Paul continues his account of the hard work he did for the Thessalonians and his efforts to get the Good News across to them. He treated everyone as a good father should in his efforts to get them to live a life worthy of God. They accepted his message and he thanks God for that.
Again, in the Gospel, we have Jesus hitting out at the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees – comparing them to whitewashed tombs.
Thursday 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.
Friday 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.
Saturday 29th August: Memorial of the Passion 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.
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.