3rd Sunday of the Year (b)

Ordinary Time of the Year. (B) 

Sunday 22nd January:            Third Sunday of the Year.  (B)

Repentance is one of the main themes running through the readings of today’sMass.

The first reading from the prophet Jonah, tells how the preaching of Jonah met with an immediate response from the people ofNineveh. It stresses the mercy and forgiveness of God and how this is available and freely given to all people not just the people ofIsrael.

Even though we know that the second coming of Christ was not as close atSt. Paulexpected, the message he gives is important.  He reminds us that, ultimately, we are called to live in the next world.  The things of this world should not distract us from that calling and should not affect the way we live our lives.

The Gospel shows the prompt response of the first disciples to Jesus’ call to follow him. It is complete and total.

Monday 23rd January:          Weekday of the third week of the year.  

David first became king ofJudah, the southern kingdom before eventually becoming King of Israel, the northern kingdom as well. The two states were united in a powerful way under David.

The scribes are already trying to discredit Jesus. He works through the devil, they say. Jesus turns his back on them, reminding them that all sins will be forgiven, if they are willing to repent.

Tuesday 24th January: Memorial of St. Frances of Sales.   

          Francis was born in 1567 nearSavoy inFrance. He wished to dedicate himself to God from a very early age but his father was not happy with this. He became a doctor of law before finally studying for the priesthood and being ordained. He spent a lot of his time working as a missionary nearLake Geneva, meeting much hostility initially. He became Bishop of Geneva and was much in demand as a preacher all overFrance.  His great theme is the call to holiness of each individual.  It is not just bishops, priests and nuns who are called to be holy – it is all of us.

Wednesday 25th January:   Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

          Saul, as he was known initially, was brought up inTarsus as a very strict Jew. He was scrupulous in his following of the Law and became a Pharisee. He was involved in the persecution of the early Christians witnessing to the martyrdom of St. Stephen. Following the incident on the road toDamascus, he became an ardent follower of Christ.  His story is found in the Acts of the Apostles where we learn of the various missionary journeys he undertook.

Thursday 26th January:        Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus.

These two men were two of St. Paul’s most ardent followers.  Timothy accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey, leaving him atEphesus. He is regarded as the first Bishop of Ephesus. Titus was put in charge of the Church atCrete.  Paul wrote two letters to Timothy and one to Titus that are often called the pastoral letters.

Friday 27th January:    Weekday of the third week of the year.

We skip over the accounts of the various wars of David and the Israelites and come to the part of David’s life where he sinned. He caused the death of a beautiful woman’s husband with whom he was having an affair.  He used his power to cover this all up.

Jesus uses a parable to try to answer a difficult question that exits until today.  How good and evil can exists side by side?

Saturday 28th January:                   Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas was born near Aquino inItalyin 1225.  He died in 1274. He spent his early years at Monte casino, studied atNaplesUniversityand joined the Dominican Order. This caused trouble within his family who actually took him prisoner and held him for two years. He studied later underSt. Albertthe Great. His devotion to the Eucharist gave rise to much of his writing, including hymns which are still used in the Church today. He is regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of the doctors of the Church. He devoted his life to teaching and preaching but above all to theological reflection and writing of the truths of the faith.