Solemnity of Pentecost (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 4th June: Solemnity of Pentecost. (a)
The fifty day celebration of Easter ends today with the great feast of Pentecost. It is a day when we consider the transforming gift of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and in the life of the Church. We give thanks for this gift given us by God.
The events of the first Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, are described in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
St. Paul describes the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the second reading.
Finally, in the Gospel reading, St. John links Easter with the Holy Spirit. The risen Jesus gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples and initiates the mission of the Church.
End of the Easter Season.
9th Week of the Year (1)
Monday 5th June: Memorial of St. Boniface
St. Boniface was born in England about 673, became a teacher and then a priest. He was keen to do missionary work and eventually was sent by the Pope to Germany where he worked for many years in the southern territory. He became Archbishop of Mainz in 747 and the returned to Friesland to carry on his missionary work. It was there that he was martyred in 754 as he was preparing to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. He was buried in the Abbey of Fulda, where to this day, the Bishops of Germany hold their regular meetings.
Tuesday 6th June: Tuesday in the ninth week of the year.
The weekday readings come from the Book of Tobit. This is the story of a dutiful son, Tobias, a very religious and law abiding Jew. He was blinded, as we hear in today’s passage, and this caused problems for him but he remained faithful to God. His prayer is for forgiveness of sins.
In the Gospel, Jesus reminds his followers that he expects them to be noticed and stand out. Only if people see faith in action will they give glory to God.
Wednesday 7th June: Wednesday in the ninth week of the year.
Tobit appeals to be allowed to dies and go to his eternal home and the story switches to Sarah who had not had much luck – seven dead husbands (!) and now an outcast. She too prays. Both prayers are heard and now the setting for the rest of the story has been established.
Jesus stresses that he has not come to wipe out the old law. Much of it is good and valid but he has come to build on it and complete it.
Thursday 8th June: Thursday in the ninth week of the year.
Tobias is asked by his father to travel and collect money he had invested. Tobias sets off and stayed with Raguel, the father of Sarah. He asks permission to marry Sarah and this section finishes with Tobias and Sarah asking God’s protection.
Jesus carried on his teaching in the gospel and condemns some of the scribes and Pharisees because they have interpreted the law to suit themselves. Over the next few days many of the readings contain the phrase ‘You have heard it said… but I say this to you.’ He stresses it is sincerity of heart that matters above all else.
Friday 9th June: Feast of St. Columba.
Columba was born in Gartan in County Donegal in 521 into a family of royal lineage. He became a monk at Clonard and was ordained a priest where he was trained by St. Finian. He began founding monasteries in Derry, Durrow and possible Kells before travelling to Scotland and landing in Iona. From here, his monks travelled all over evangelising the local tribes and their kings. His influence reached as far at Northumbria. Iona became known as a place of pilgrimage and as a centre of missionary expansion. He died in 597.
Saturday 10th June: Saturday in the ninth week of the year.
Tobias, acting on the advice of Raphael, the archangel who by now was travelling with Tobias and Sarah although unrecognised had achieved a cure for Tobit’s blindness. Now he wants to pay Raphael for his help. In revealing his true self to them Raphael tells how it was he who had taken their prayers to the Father.
Jesus stresses again the way in which the law must be interpreted. It must be positive and with no attempt to distort or disguise. ‘Say yes if you mean yes, say no if you mean no.’