Job 9.1-13,14-16; Psalm 87; Luke 9.57-62
Wenceslas (c911-35), the “good King” of the familiar Christmas carol (which has nothing apart from its wintry setting to do with Christmas), was born in the castle of Stochov near Prague and became Duke of Bohemia in 921; he remained in office until his assassination in 935. His younger brother, known as Boleslaus the Cruel, was implicated in his murder. He was posthumously declared to have been King by Otto I, the Holy Roman Empire, and he is considered the patron saint of the Czech people.
The carol speaks of Wenceslas’ strong faith and his concern for the poor, and throughout the Middle Ages he was taken as the primary exemplar of a righteous King, his strength revealed not simply in his princely valour but through his consummate piety.
On this feast day in 1958 Karol Wojtyła (later Pope St John Paul II) was consecrated Bishop of Ombi, Poland. On this feast day in 1973 Pope John Paul I died after thirty-three days as pope.