4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (c)

Sunday 3rd February:                      4th Sunday of the Year (c).

The first reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah.  God reveals to him that divine strength will be given to him to help him carry out his role as a prophet.

The second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.  St. Paul stresses the primacy of love in the life of a Christian.  He gives examples of how love should be evident in their lives.

The Gospel, from St. Luke, shows how Jesus shared the fate of many of the prophets who had gone before him. He is not accepted in his own town by his own people.

Monday 4th February:           Monday in the 4th week of the year.

          We begin the fourth and final week of the readings from the Letter to the Hebrews. The author continues today on the theme of the need for faith and refers back to other great people of the Old Testament.  They were made strong out of weakness – just like the many people who have suffered and are still suffering persecution because of their faith.

The Gospel presents the strange story of the demons and the pigs. St. Mark recounts the sure of a man suffering violent convulsions.  The miracle reveals Jesus’ power to rescue from anything that separates us from God. The fact this incident also takes place in non-Jewish countryside is a sign that Jesus’ mission is not unrelated to the gentiles.

Tuesday 5th February:            Memorial of St. Agatha.

Agatha suffered martyrdom at Catania in Sicily in the year 250.  She refused marriage so that she could give all her time to caring for the sick and the poor.  Even the threats and torture inflicted on her could not sway and she was martyred. It is believed that through her intercession, Catania was saved from an eruption of Mount Etna.  As a result, she is invoked against any outbreak of fire.   

Wednesday 6th February:      Memorial of St. Paul Miki and his companions. 

St. Frances Xavier had brought Christianity to Japan about 1549.  By 1587, there were said to be over two hundred Christians but at this stage, the emperor ordered all missionaries to leave the country, afraid of their growing influence.  Some stayed behind in disguise. In 1597, 26 Christians, mostly Japanese were crucified in different ways over a period of time.  The group was made up of 6 Franciscans, 3 Japanese catechists, Including Paul Miki) and 17 Japanese lay people. Paul Miki was highborn Japanese and an eminent Jesuit preacher. He prayed for the conversion of his executioners and forgave them.

Thursday 7th February:         Thursday in the 4th week of the year.

          The heavenly city, the goal of the Christian’s life, at last appears in some detail.  We are reminded we no longer belong to the Old Covenant but to the New Covenant established by Christ, the High Priest.  We are already citizens of that kingdom.

Jesus sends his disciples out on their first mission – this was to be their first test of faith.  They brought the healing power of Jesus to many.

Friday 8th February:               Friday in the 4th week of the year.

          As we move to the end of the Letter to the Hebrews the author sums up all his writings in five points that are needed for us to live really Christian livers.  These are brotherly love, hospitality, sympathy for those in trouble, purity in and respect for marriage and contentment.  As Lent approaches these may be good starting points for our Lenten journey.

The Gospel takes us back to John the Baptist, this time to his execution and its implication for Jesus and the disciples.  It is through the fear of Herod that he is put to death.

Saturday 9th February:                   Saturday in the 4th week of the year.

          At the end of the Letter to the Hebrews the author urges us to pray that we offer God an unending sacrifice of praise in our lives and keep showing that in the actions of our daily routines.

The apostles try to find a quiet place to go and reflect on the death of John the Baptist but to no avail.  Crowds follow and Jesus feels compelled to help them.

The light of God

Surrounds us;

The love of God

Enfolds us

The power of God

Protects us;

The presence of God

Watches over us;

Wherever we are,

God is,

And all is well.