6th Sunday of the Year (b)

Ordinary Time of the Year. (B) 

Sunday 12th February:          Sixth Sunday of the Year.  (B)

The law described in the first reading from the Book of Leviticus, existed to protect the community but it meant that, once a person had been diagnosed as a leper by the priest, according the Law of Moses, that person became unclean and was forced to live apart from the community with no contact whatsoever.

St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians in the second reading, sets the standards very high.  Do everything for the glory of God he tells them, think about others and imitate Christ.

In the Gospel, Jesus touches and cures a leper – regarded as unclean- and in so doing breaks a serious religious taboo. He breaks down barriers that have existed for centuries. This brings unwanted attention on himself.

Monday 13th February:         Weekday of the sixth week of the year.   

The Old Testament story is laid aside for a few weeks and we turn to the New Testament and to the Letter of St. James. He stresses throughout his letter perseverance in the following of the newfound Christ and the importance of following the lifestyle laid down in the Gospels. He stresses the close link between faith in God and love of neighbour. In this first extract, we are told how perseverance will lead to spiritual maturity.

The Pharisees are getting angry with Jesus and with their failure to catch him out. They cannot respond to his wisdom and his insights when they tackle him.  Now they decide they want a sign from him that he is the Messiah.

Tuesday 14th February:                   Feast of St. Cyril and St. Methodius.       Contrary to popular belief and practice today is not the Feast of St. Valentine in the Church.  It is, rather, the feast of two brothers, who are venerated as the apostles of the Slavic people. They ran into a lot of opposition from theGerman-speakingChurch for using the Slavic language in their preaching and in their liturgies. However, this way of reaching out to people meant many people were brought into the Church. Methodius even spent some time in prison as a result of his efforts. He was accused of teaching unorthodox doctrine and had to defend himself to the Pope. Cyril died in 869 on a visit toRome, Methodius died in 884 having translated most of the Bible into the Slavic language. They are regarded as patron saints of Christian Unity.

Wednesday 15th February:   Weekday of the sixth week of the year.

          James encourages us to control our desires and our actions. Be quick to listen and slow to speak he teaches. Be practical in the help you give to those in need as a sign of your faith in God and your love for God.

In the Gospel, we hear the account of the miracle of the blind man being given his sight.  This time the miracle occurs over a period of time.

Thursday 16th February:       Weekday of the sixth week of the year.

James gives us more practical advice that. If our relationship with Jesus is correct, we will not fall into the trap of main distinctions between people.  We will treat everyone with respect and with dignity.

The Gospel presents us with Peter’s great proclamation of faith, followed by his lack of understanding and even criticism of what Jesus was saying about himself.

Friday 17th February:            Weekday of the sixth week of the year.

          James contrasts a dead faith with a living faith. The latter will involve actions and not just words. A live faith will be shown by its good deeds.

Today Jesus talks about the conditions needed if we are to be true followers of his.  There will be a need to renounce ourselves and take up our cross daily.        

Saturday 18th February:        Weekday of the sixth week of the year.

Jesus teaches and warns about misusing the tongue. He sees the tongue as the guardian of the whole person. It is wrong to use the tongue to bless God on the one hand but curse our neighbour on the other.

Some of the disciples are given a very unique experience.  They go up the mountain with Jesus and are given, through the transfiguration, a glimpse of the power and majesty of God.  This is done to strengthen their faith and themselves for what lay ahead of them as disciples.