4th Sunday of the Year (b)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Ordinary Time of the Year. (B)
Weekdays – Year 1.
Sunday 1st February: Fourth Sunday of the Year. (B)
In the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, a prophet is promised to the people, to speak in God’s name. This prophecy is seen as being fulfilled in Jesus and his preaching.
In the second reading, from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Paul seems to be downplaying marriage and stressing the role of celibacy. His passion for the Kingdom is overriding everything in his life. He wants his followers in Corinth to give undivided attention to the Lord before everything and everyone else.
In the Gospel, Jesus teaching makes a deep impression on people when he takes on the forces of evil. He teaches with authority.
Monday 2nd February: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
This is a feast both of Jesus and of Our Blessed Lady. We commemorate the presentation of Jesus in the temple, forty days after his birth in accordance with the Law of Moses. It shows us the obedience of Mary and Joseph to the law of God, given to Israel. Through the eyes of faith, the presentation was the fulfilment of God’s promises to his people.
Tuesday 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.
Wednesday 4th February: Weekday of the fourth 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 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.
Friday 6th February: Memorial of St. Paul Miki & 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.
Saturday 7th February: Weekday of the fourth 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.