8th Sunday of the Year (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 2nd March: 8th Sunday of the Year. (a)
The first reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. There are times when, like the people of Israel, we can feel lost, abandoned, unloved. Into this place of great sadness the Lord promises his people that he loves us with a deep unfailing love just as the the love a mother has for her child.
St. Paul reminds the Corinthians not to use their time and energy worrying about who is worthy and who is not. We are called to be stewards of the mysteries Christ gives us and so we should trust in the heavenly Father.
Jesus realises that worrying seems to be part of everyday life and so he calls upon all those who hear to reshape their lives in service to the Lord, trusting all things to God.
Monday 3rd March: Weekday of the eighth week of the year.
St. Peter’s first letter is very pastoral in its tone and its content. It was written to Christians scattered throughout the various provinces of Asia Minor. It aims to encourage and support these new converts in the face of the real practical problems and crises they faced in their daily lives. This opening section is a powerful prayer that sums up the key elements in the Christian teaching. It is a blessing or thanksgiving to God for the salvation, which he has achieved through Jesus Christ.
Jesus teaches that the commandments of the law are the first basic rules of good living. He presents great ideals for us to follow. Those who are rich would find these hard to follow due to the distraction and temptation their money would bring.
Tuesday 4th March: Weekday of the eighth week of the year.
Peter tells his readers to realise they are specially privileged. Because of their calling, they are to be filled with joy and be holy in all that they do despite their sharing in the sufferings of Christ as well.
Those who do try to follow the ideals of Jesus Christ and leave everything and everyone to follow him will definitely receive their rewards. It will be eternal life.
The Season of Lent.
Wednesday 5th 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. Paul makes 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 6th 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 7th 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 8th 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.