5th Sunday of the Year (b)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Ordinary Time of the Year. (B)
Weekdays – Year 1.
Sunday 8th February: Fifth Sunday of the Year. (B)
The Book of Job confronts the difficult question of suffering. In Old Testament times, the common explanation was that suffering was a punishment for sin. However, Job is a good man who suffers greatly. This results in his depressing view of life.
This sets the scene for the Gospel reading where we Jesus concentrating not so much on the ‘why?’ of suffering but responding to actual suffering. He heals the sick, he proclaims the good news of salvation but still finds time for himself to step back, reflect and above all pray.
St. Paul, in the second reading, talks about his own ministry as an apostle and what it is that drives him on. All he says and does is done for the sake of the Gospel and Christ.
Monday 9th February: Weekday of fifth week of the year.
We begin reading from the Book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. It consists of various traditions, which were passed from one generation to the next and were eventually written down. They were stories with a special significance – each had a specific message about God. The people at that time had no interest in how things happened in the past.
Today we have the first part of the story of creation. The message is that God made all things in this world out of nothing and he intended it to be good and beautiful.
In the Gospel, Jesus continues his healing mission. We are given a summary of Jesus’ activities emphasising the enthusiasm of the crowd after the feeding of the 5000.
Tuesday 10th February: Memorial of St. Scholastica.
It is traditionally believed that St. Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict. She is believed to have been in charge of a convent near Monte Cassino where he was Abbot. She devoted herself to a life of prayer and solitude. She could only visit her brother once a year under the strict rules under which they bound themselves. She died in 543, aged sixty-seven.
Wednesday 11th February: Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.
This date marks the anniversary of the first of eighteen apparitions of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858. She identified herself as the Immaculate Conception. She appealed for pilgrims to do penance, to come in procession and for a church to be built there. Now over six million pilgrims go to Lourdes between April and October each year. Some go out of curiosity, some go looking for a physical cure, some go looking for spiritual healing, some go to renew or even find their faith in God. At the heart of a pilgrimage are the two great processions – the Blessed Sacrament Procession and the Marian (Torchlight Procession). The praying of the Rosary is also stressed but the phrase in the roof of the Rosary basilica sums up the message of Lourdes – Through Mary to Jesus.
Today is kept throughout the world as the World day of Prayer for the Sick.
Thursday 12th February: Weekday of the fifth week of the year.
Genesis continues with the story of creation and, in particular, the creation of woman. It stresses that woman is equal to man. She is worthy to share his life with him. It is God’s will that one man and one woman should form a partnership that would be lifelong and exclusive.
The Gospel stresses that the gift of faith is not restricted to the Jewish people. It highlights the tension that existed in the early Church between Jew and Gentile and what was required of both to become followers of Jesus.
Friday 13th February: Weekday of fifth week of the year.
Things take a turn for the worse in the reading from the Book of Genesis. We are given the story of the fall- the entry of evil into a world of beauty and goodness. We inherit this in original sin. We misused the freedom God gave us and disobeyed.
Jesus’ actions in the gospel are familiar sacramental actions symbolising the restoration of hearing and speech which were the hallmark of this incident in the Gospel.
Saturday 14th February: Feast of St. Cyril & Methodius.
The Liturgy today celebrates two great missionaries from the Eastern Church – the monk Cyril and his brother Methodius, a bishop. Born in Thessalonica they evangelised the Bulgarians, Moravians and Bohemians in the ninth century. They created the Slavonic alphabet (called Cyrillic), translated the scriptures and prepared liturgies in this language to make it more accessible to the local people. They met with much opposition but Rome approved of their efforts.