26th Sunday of the Year (b)

Sunday 30th September:        26th Sunday of the Year.  (B)

The first reading is from the Book of Numbers.  Joshua resents the fact that the gift of prophecy has been given to many others besides Moses.  Moses himself, however, welcomes it.

The second reading is from the Letter of St. James. He condemns the rich, those who think they have no need for God in their lives.  He especially attacks those who have gained their worldly wealth by taking advantage of the poor.

In the Gospel, Jesus teaches his followers to recognise people who are helpful.  It is a lesson in tolerance that should make us think about world and the lack of tolerance. Jesus shows us how to deal with obstacles to faith, the avoidance of scandal and the occasions of sin.

Monday 1st October:   

All this week, the ordinary day readings come from the Book of Job.  It itries to deal with the perennial problem of human suffering.  Why does God allow a good person to suffer ? Today we hear a description of Job and his life and how his sufferings begin.

Another profound issue is raised in the Gospel passage.  The disciples are arguing about who will be the greatest; who will be in charge.  Jesus’ answer stuns them all.

Tuesday 2nd October:   Memorial of the Guardian Angels.

          Like the Feast of the Archangels, which was celebrated last week, this feast of the Guardian Angels is a reminder of God’s care for us. He is always looking after us.  Traditionally we believe that each one of us has a guardian angel watching over us.  This feast dates back to the Middle Ages and was first celebrated in Portugal.

Wednesday 3rd October:

          Three of Job’s friends try to comfort him and sort his problems and his suffering.  Because the thinking was that suffering was a result of sinning, they tell him to seek God’s forgiveness.  Job feels this is still unfair since although he admits he is a sinner, his sufferings in his eyes far outweigh his sins.

People are wishing to become part of the group following Jesus.  Jesus asks them if they are prepared to make the necessary commitment and sacrifice.

Thursday 4th October:  Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi.

Francis was born in 1181.  He lived a very lavish life until he was about twenty.  He was captured by soldiers from a neighbouring city and held prisoner for over a year.  He then took on the Christian life despite severe opposition from his father.  In 1208, while praying in the church of the Portiuncula, he felt called personally by God to leave all things and follow him.  He put on the garment, which we now know as the Franciscan habit.  Others joined him and so the Franciscan Order came into being, living vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  In 1224, Francis received the stigmata.  He is also credited with building the first crib to help the people understand the story of the birth of Jesus.  He was a man of generosity, simplicity and devotion to God.  He died in 1226.

Friday 5th October:       Friday of the 26th week of the year.

           Now we hear God’s response to all Job’s questions and to his despair. Job realises how insignificant he is in the sight of the whole of creation and how small minded he has been and awesome is the power of God.

Yesterday we were told what the disciples were to do if they were refused welcome in any town.  Now we hear Jesus condemns the towns that have closed their ears to his message.

Saturday 6th October

          Today we have the last section from the Book of Job. He is restored by God who now realises the Lord is all powerful God rebukes his friends who have been trying to help him but without reference to God.

The disciples, in the Gospel, return from their first effort at going out to preach and teach without Jesus.  They are praised by Jesus for their work.

A man who was very full of himself and loved to show the extent of his knowledge asked his wife this question.

‘Do you know how many truly great men there are in the world today?’

To which she replied,

‘No I don’t.  But there is certainly one less than the number you think there is.’