23rd Sunday of the Year (c)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Ordinary Season of the Year. (c)
Weekdays – Year 2
Sunday 4th 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.
Today is also the Feast of St. Cuthbert, the patron saint of our parish. It is not celebrated this year since it falls on a Sunday and Sunday liturgy always takes precedence over any feast day.He was born in 635 and entered the monastery in Melrose when he was 17. He became known as a preacher and teacher and travelled around the borders and northeast England. He settled in Lindisfarne (Holy Island) but spent time on Inner Farne, living as a hermit. He became Bishop if Hexham but was unhappy in this role and returned to Lindisfarne where he died. Initially he was buried there but because of the fear of his grave being vandalised, the monks moved his body. His final resting place is Durham cathedral.
Monday 5th September: Monday of the 23rd week of the year.
St. Paul turns to another failing of the Corinthians. He warns them against mixing with people of low moral standards because they can be influenced by them to live lives at odds with the teaching they have received.
The Gospel gives us another example of how the Pharisees twisted the Law of Moses about the Sabbath. Jesus shows he is doing good by healing the man’s hand. The passage highlights the nature of true religion and stresses the need to avoid making institutions more important than the will of God.
Tuesday 6th September: Tuesday of 23rd week of the year.
Paul continues his correction of the faults of the people at Corinth. He stresses that when disputes are not settled out of court then love has died and Christians have ceased to be Christian.
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 7th September: Wednesday of 23rd week of the year.
St. Paul, in this section of his Letter to the Corinthians, is responding to questions raised as a result of the early Christian believing the second coming was imminent. That is why Paul suggests celibacy for those not already married and those who are married to be faithful to the commitment they have made.
Jesus is talking about the requirements or characteristics of being one of those who follow him. It will not be an easy road. 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 8th September: Thursday of 23rd week of the year.
Paul turns to another problem which has been raised in relation to the eating of food which had been offered to the false gods. Some of the Christians thought by eating this food they would be seen to be honouring the idols so Paul says that they must not give misleading messages. The stronger Christians were not worried about what they ate because they did not believe in the idols.
The Gospel passage reminds us that Jesus expects high standards of his followers. Treat others with respect, with dignity and with love. Treat them as you would like them to treat you.
Friday 8th September: Feast of the Birth of Our Lady.
We know very little of the early life of Our Lady. Traditionally, we believe that her father and mother were Joachim and Anna. Today’s feast is a feast of Eastern origin and was first celebrated in Jerusalem in the 5th century and introduced to Rome in the 7th.
Saturday 9th September: Saturday of 23rd week of the year.
Paul restates his main message in the introduction to the letter to Timothy. Jesus came into the world to save sinners amongst whom Paul numbers himself. Through the passing on of the message, others would come to know Christ and so come to eternal life.
Jesus stresses the need for sincerity as distinct to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. We should build our lives on the rock who is Christ, like the man who built his house upon the solid foundation of rock.