4th Sunday of the Year (b)

Ordinary Time of the Year. (B) 

Sunday 29th January:            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 inCorinthto 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 30th January:           Weekday of the fourth week of the year.

David had two sons, Solomon and Absalom.  Absalom tried to destroy him following on his own punishment of banishment for the murder of his half-brother Amnon.  This is a fulfilling of part of the prophecy of Nathan we heard last week. David fled fromJerusalemas Absalom and his armies approach.

The Gospel presents the stag range story of the demons and the pigs – forbidden meat to the Jews.  The power of Jesus is without limit.

Tuesday 31st January:                Memorial of St. John Bosco.

          John Bosco was born in Castelnuovo in the archdiocese ofTurin in 1815.  His father died when he was two and he was brought up by his mother. From his earliest years, he wanted to be a priest and work with disadvantaged and homeless boys. Some time after his ordination, he managed to set up a training school and by 1856 there were 156 residents with four workshops, a printing press and classes in Latin and the classics.  At first, he had a number of priests helping him.  This developed into the Salesians, named after their patron saint, St Francis of Sales.  John Bosco died in 1863.

Wednesday 1st February:   Weekday of the fourth week of the year.

          This is the last account of the events of David’s life. He took a census of the people. This was deemed as wrong because it implied a lack of trust in God and showed David depended on the numbers he could muster for his army.  This was David’s public sin and the people were punished for it by experiencing great pestilence.

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 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 toIsrael.  Through the eyes of faith, the presentation was the fulfilment of God’s promises to his people.

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 inArmenia about 316.

Saturday 4th February:          Weekday of the fourth week of the year.

When Solomon became King, the country was at peace. He was faithful to God at first offering sacrifices at the best places he could find until the temple could be rebuilt. In a dream he is offered anything he wishes from God. He asks for a discerning heart to enable him to distinguish good from evil. He was given a wise and shrewd heart along with riches and a long life, seen as a blessing from God.

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.