7th Sunday of the Year (b)

Ordinary Time of the Year.

Sunday 19th February:          Seventh Sunday of the Year.  (b

Today, Isaiah announces in the first reading, that the Lord God is doing something ne.  Despite the misdeeds of the chosen peoeple, the Lord is merciful and does not remember our sins.  This is a message we will hear again and again as we move in to the Lenten season.

In the second reading, from the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, we are reminded very clearly how Jesus is the guarantee and the sign of God’s love for us.

In the Gospel, from St. Mark, we are reminded that God’s grace and healing is meant for the restoration of the whole human person.

Monday 20th February:        Weekday of the seventh week of the year.      

We continue the readings from the Letter of St. James in these last few ordinary days before lent.  Today he strongly contrasts the harony that comes from wisdom and the disharmony that comes from bitterness and jealousy.  One leads to compassion, peace and good works the other promotes self.

In the Gospel, hear how Jesus casts out the ‘difficult’ devil.  It is stressed how this is done through the power of prayer.

Tuesday 21st February:          Weekday of the seventh week of the year.    

St. James reminds us today that followers of Christ are nor perfect yet.  They are striving for perfection and must continue to work hard to let God’s grace rule in their hearts and lives.     The nearer you are to God, the nearer he comes to you.

In the Gospel, Jesus speaks abaaout his future sufferings and is frustrated to hear his disciples almost ignoring him to argue amongst themselves about who is the greatest.  The image of the child is put before them and us.

Wednesday 1st March:           Ash Wednesday

 A day of Fasting and Abstinence.

          During Lent, several key themes are constantly put before us. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, repentance, forgiveness and the mercy of God, dying to sin, rising to new life are the recurring messages that we are asked to reflect on during our Lenten journey.

Today, we reminded of the call to repentance and prayer.  The need to undergo a complete conversion experience, which is both internal and external, is stressed.St.   Paulmakes the blunt appeal in Jesus’ name – be reconciled to God now for it is the favourable time.

When performed sincerely, good deeds were a very real sign of holiness and prayer. All too often, however they were done to attract human praise and attention.  Jesus warns against this happening in the lives of his followers. What matters above all is our interior attitude and sincerity before God.

Thursday 2nd March:   Thursday after Ash Wednesday.

The first reading is from the words of Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy.  A stark choice is given. Follow the commandments that God has given to his people and you will live in the love of the lord.  Turn away through sin and you will die.

In the Gospel, Jesus is preparing his disciples for his forthcoming suffering and death.  The true follower will also find that serving the Lord brings with it many difficulties and obstacles.  Jesus message is straightforward – ‘pick up your cross and follow me; do not be ashamed of me.’

Friday 3rd March:         Friday after Ash Wednesday.

          This passage is from the period after the exile. Fasting, no matter how public, is useless unless it accompanied by justice towards others.  You must also share what you have with those who are in need.

By contrast, with John’s disciples and the Pharisees, Jesus disciples appear lax. Jesus reply is both simple and complex.  They are celebrating because he is with them but the time will come when he is not and then they will fast.

Saturday 4th March:     Saturday after Ash Wednesday

If you avoid injustice, if you share with those are in need, the Lord will guide you through the darkness. Integrity before God cannot be divorced from integrity in human relationships.

Jesus visits the home of the tax collector – Levi. In spite of his profession, he is able far more easily than the scribes and Pharisees to recognise Christ.  His response is total. He left what he was doing immediately and started following Jesus.