4th Sunday of the Year (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Ordinary Cycle of the Year (a)
Weekdays – Year 1.
Sunday 29th January: Fourth Sunday of the Year (a)
The first reading today comes from the Prophet Zephaniah. He holds out hope of salvation for those who seek God and who practise integrity and humility.
The second reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians reminds us how God chooses the poor, the weak, the lowly, people who are conscious sof their limitations. They rely on God rather than on themselves.
The Gospel, from St. Matthew, presents us with the Beatitudes. We hear of the values Jesus preached and lived, values he wishes to see in his followers, even although they turn the world’s values upside down.
Monday 30th January: Monday in 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 31st January: Memorial of St. John Bosco.
St. John Bosco was born near Turin in Italy in 1815. His mother brought him up from the age of two following on the death of his father. From his early years, he wanted to be a priest and work with homeless boys. Some time after his ordination, he managed to set up a training school for poor boys. By 1856, there were 150 resident boys, with 4 workshops, a printing press, Latin classes and another 500 children coming in as day students. At first, he had a number of priests helping him on an informal basis. Later he founded a religious order to carry on his work. These became known as the Salesians, after the Patron Saint chosen for them, St. Francis of Sales. John Bosco died in 1863. He is a patron of the young and of teachers.
Wednesday 1st February: Wednesday on 4th week of the year
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews gives another reason why people shoud bear suffering. It is because they are following in the line of the saints and of Christ himself.
In the Gospel, we move from great faith to great doubt. Jesus is not accepted by his own community who found it hard to have faith in him and so he moves on.
Thursday 2nd February: Feast of Presentation of the Lord.
This is a Feast both of Jesus and of his mother, Mary. We commemorate the presentation of Jesus in the temple forty days after his birth ‘in accordance with the law of Moses.’ The Presentation shows us the obedience of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to the law of God given to Israel. The feast is also known as Candlemas when traditionally new candles to be used in the Church’s liturgy, are blessed.
Friday 3rd February: Optional Memorial of St. Blaise.
Very little is known about St. Blaise. It seems he was born of a rich and noble family, received a Christian education and was made a Bishop when quite young. During persecution, he spent much of his time hiding. Many people came to his cave seeking cures and one story tells of how he cured a young boy who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The practice of the blessing of the throats with crossed candles grew from this story. St. Blaise was martyred in Armenia about 316.
Saturday 4th February: Saturday in 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 disciples and Jesus try to get away to a quiet place to reflect after the death of John the Baptist but the crowds follow. Jesus takes pity on them and is worried about them – he feeds them physically and spiritually.