23rd Sunday of the Year (c)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Ordinary Season of the Year. (c)
Weekdays – Year 1
Sunday 8th September: 23rd Sunday of the Year. (c)
The first reading today is from the Book of Wisdom. The author is grappling with a question which still challenges the greatest minds of the world today – ‘who can divine the will of God ?’ The author argues that no one can arrive at God’s Counsels without wisdom. God does not leave us in ignorance but grants the gift of wisdom on those who humble seek it as did Solomon.
The second reading comes from the shortest of St. Paul’s letters – to Philemon. He stresses that we are not slaves any longer but brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a response to slavery as it was practised at that time.
In the Gospel, Jesus is highlighting for his disciples, the reality that they may have to sacrifice the people and possessions that mattered most to them if they were to be true disciples. He stresses the need for total commitment and dedication but also promises the help and strength needed from him to cope.
Monday 9th September: Monday of the 23rd week of the year.
St. Paul begins this passage in his letter to the Colossians with anew insight. The difficulties and sufferings endured by Paul help the Church to grow and deepen and he is in fact sharing in the suffering of Christ himself. Christ is not just for the Jews but for all.
The Gospel shows how the Pharisees twisted the Law of Moses regarding the Sabbath. Jesus challenges this by showing that he was doing good and saving life by his actions.
Tuesday 10th September: Tuesday of 23rd week of the year.
Paul now appeals to the Colossians. They must live their lives according to Christ and his teaching. They should be rooted in him, built on him, held firm by faith and full of thanksgiving. This applies to us in our time and place as well.
The importance of prayer is stressed in the Gospel. Jesus, as he often did, goes to a quiet place to pray before he makes and important decision. This time he chooses the apostles after his time of prayer. They travel with him and watch, listen and learn from him about the Good news.
Wednesday 11th September: Wednesday of 23rd week of the year.
Paul passes on some very practical advice. The Colossians is to stay away from the wrong and sinful influences of the world around them. Life is to be modelled on Jesus and his example.
We have the first extract from the Sermon on the Mount in today’s Gospel. Jesus gives the basic requirements and recommendations for those who wish to follow him. He preaches the Beatitudes as the way by which his followers should live their lives.
Thursday 12th September: Thursday of 23rd week of the year.
In yesterday’s section from the Letter to the Colossians Paul was warning against the wrong behaviour that could be seen in the lives of those around the Christian community, values and ideals which were to be avoided. Today’s section points in the direction of the qualities and ideals that should be the hallmark of the follower of Christ
Jesus stresses the standards he expects from those who follow him, some of which would challenge the expectations of those listening and watching. The rewards for these efforts will be a place in heaven.
Friday 13th September: Memorial of St. John Chrysostom.
John was born in Antioch in 347. He gained a reputation as a powerful preacher. His name means ‘Golden Mouth.’ According to the custom of the time, he was not baptised until he was about twenty. He was a hermit for a number of years before becoming a priest. In 398, he became Archbishop of Constantinople and worked very hard for the poor and for the reform of his clergy. He denounced abuse wherever he found it, including the court of the Emperor. As a result, he was banished and died in exile in 407.
Saturday 14th September: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
This feast has its origin in Jerusalem, where from the fifth century the wood of the true cross used to be shown to the people the day after the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection. It was celebrated in Rome by the seventh century and stresses the victory and triumph of the cross of Christ.
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.