5th Sunday of the Year (c)
Ordinary Season of the Year (C)
Weekdays – Year 1 – then Weekdays of Lenten Season
Sunday 7th February: 5th Sunday of the Year (c).
The first reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah is given a vision of the holiness and majesty of God. At first, he protests his unworthiness, but he ultimately accepts the call to be God’s messenger.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Romans. St. Paul reminds his listeners of the truth he preached – the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Gospel passage, from St. Mark, recounts the call of Peter, James and John, fishermen who leave everything to follow him.
Monday 8th February: Monday in the 5th week of the year.
The first reading continues the readings from the First Book of Kings. We miss the details of the building and furnishing of the Temple but hear of thits dedication and how it reaches its climax with the Ark of the Covenant being installed. This marks the fulfilment of the promise that David’s son would rule and that the temple would be rebuilt.
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 9th February: Tuesday in the 5th week of the year.
We read Solomon’s great prayer at the dedication of the Temple. He praises the goodness of God, who is all-powerful and cannot be restricted or contained even in the heavens far less the Temple. The Lord is to be honoured. He watches over his people, forgives their sins and listens to their needs.
In the Gospel, we hear how the Pharisees and some of the scribes were critical of the fact that Jesus did not observe some of the various purification rites. He reminds them of the need for sincerity and of the need for a pure heart.
The Lenten Season Begins.
Wednesday 10th February: Ash Wednesday.
During Lent, a number of themes are constantly put before us – prayer, fasting, almsgiving, repentance, forgiveness and the mercy of God. Today we are reminded that we are called to repentance.
The first reading is from the Prophet Joel. True fasting and repentance means a sincere change of heart. It means turning away from sin and turning towards a loving and forgiving Father who is God.
Jesus has restored us to friendship with God. This demands that we continue seeking God’s reconciliation today. Now is the right time to do this.
The Gospel reminds us that external acts of penance have no values unless our inner attitudes correspond to our helping of neighbours, praying and doing penance.
Thursday 11th February: Thursday after Ash Wednesday.
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.
Today is also the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It reminds us of the appearances of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858. Her message was the need for penance – a very timely reminder as we approach the Lenten season. This is also the World Day of Prayer for the Sick when we remember in a special way all who are sick and those who care for them.
Friday 12th February: Friday after Ash Wednesday.
Fasting, no matter how public, is useless if it is accompanied by injustice towards others. Empty ritual is not what true religion is about. It cannot be divorced from a genuine concern for those in need.
In response to a question about the apparent lax attitude of Jesus’ disciples towards fasting Jesus replies very bluntly. He is with them, a cause for celebration. There will be plenty of opportunity for fasting when he is no longer with them.
Saturday 13th February: Saturday after Ash Wednesday.
Integrity before the Lord is tied up with integrity in human relationships. If you avoid injustice, if you share with the needy, your light will rise in the darkness and the Lord will guide you. God’s guidance and strength will be with you in the conflicts of life.
The parable of the sower and the seed finds an illustration in this passage with Jesus’ visit to Levi, the tax collector. In spite of his profession, he hears the word of Jesus and his response is immediate. He has an inner spiritual life more honest than that of the Pharisees and scribes.
‘Find out how much God has given you
And from it
Take what you need;
The remainder is needed by others’