Tuesday of week 30 in Ordinary Time

Romans 8:18-25; Psalm 125(126); Luke 13:18-21

Continuing from yesterday, when we were told that we are to inherit the kingdom of God, today in Romans we hear about the world we live in. People around us are desperately looking for answers to all those key questions - why do I suffer - why do children die in war - what made all of this beautiful world - where do we go when we die?

As heirs of God, we have the answers! Always the root of the answer lies in the Love of God, and our Love of God - the relationship that we were each baptised into. Those around is, in our families, our places of work, or our social lives - they need us to be open to sharing our inheritance with them.

Remember also that our full inheritance is in our future - we have to wait patiently, but in eager hope. Hope is like Faith, a way of being, but is a way that looks forward, rather than Faith, which is a way to look at what we are doing now.

Hope in your future, use faith in your present, and you will become attractors, people around you will come to know God.

Monday of 30th week of the year

Romans 8:12-17; Psalm 67(68):2,4,6-7,20-21; Luke 13:10-17

Romans 8 is a great place to go for advice on the spiritual life.

Todays reading invites us to remember that Jesus himself told us to talk directly to God our Father - God His Father, 'Abba, Father!'. This word, Abba, is one of the very few in the whole of scripture that we have available to us in the Lord''s own tongue, aramaic. Abba, is not a child's word like 'Daddy', but is the term one might use respectfully from an adult to their parent. Not Dad, can I borrow the car tonight, more, Father, I would like to talk with you about...

We should be reminded that as people who can refer to their parent god in this adult way - we are indeed God's heirs, we are due to inherit the kingdom of God. That is a great blessing indeed, and also a significant responsibility. To be worthy of that inheritance we do indeed need to live spiritual lives, focusing on the permanent, not the temporary.

SS Simon & Jude

Ephesians 2.19-22; Psalm 18; Luke 6.12-19

Jesus sent out his disciples “two by two” [Luke 10.1] and the Church honours two such pairs (James the Less and Philip, and Simon and Jude) with joint feasts. We know little about Simon, who is only mentioned in the lists of the Twelve and not otherwise in the Gospels, but St Luke notes that he was “called the Zealot”, suggesting that he had been involved in the guerrilla movement set on extirpating the Roman colonial presence from the holy land of Israel. Tradition has it that he was martyred with Jude in Persia.

Jude (called “Thaddeus” in Matthew 10.3) gets a brief speaking part in John’s Gospel [14.22] when he asks Jesus a question at the Last Supper. Apart from that intervention we know little about him. He is traditionally regarded as the author of the Epistle of St Jude in the New Testament.

Friday in Week 29

Romans 7.18-25; Psalm 118; Luke 12.54-59

I am unspiritual; I have been sold as a slave to sin.’ [Romans 7.14b] Romans 7 is one of the frankest self-accusations in all literature. ‘I fail to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very things I hate’ [7.15b] St Paul continues. Having in earlier writings shown the impotence of the Law to bring wholeness to human life, here he goes further, showing the unreliability of human reason and intention. The law, the knowledge of right and wrong is good, but it doesn’t have the power to keep us from sin. Even will power is inadequate to keep us from sin. The will of every one of us has been corrupted. Depending on our will to help us make the right choices ends in our frustration. The problem lies with our corrupt human nature.

Fortunately, there is help in the Spirit. That will be the theme of the 8th chapter of Romans. For today, our reading ends with Paul’s rhetorical question—‘Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?’—and its enthusiastic affirmation of the will of God for everyone’s salvation—‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’

SS Chad & Cedd

Romans 6.19-23; Psalm 1; Luke 12.49-53

Four brothers from Northumbria—Cedd, Cynibil, Cælin and Chad—were all priests in the
th Century. Chad, who died at Lichfield on 2 March 672, was the first Bishop of Mercia; later he was made Bishop of Northumbria, establishing his see at York. Cedd, who died of the plague at Lastingham, Yorkshire, on this day in 664, was sent as a missionary bishop to the East Saxons; the (now Anglican) Cathedral of Chelmsford is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Peter and St Cedd. All four brothers were educated at Lindisfarne under Aidan and during lives of extensive missionary activity (Cedd in particular is credited with the founding of at least three monasteries) they continued to uphold Aidan’s ascetism and simplicity of life. St Cedd is remembered for his leadership at the Synod of Whitby in 664.

Wednesday in Week 29

Romans 6.12-18; Psalm 123; Luke 12.29-48

Singularly among St Paul’s writings, the Epistle to the Romans was written to a community he had not yet visited [15.22-24], though the enormous list of greetings he sent to Roman Christians [16.3-16] serves as a reminder that Paul had been nonetheless instrumental in the formation of this Christian community, as scores of men and women who had heard Paul preach in other parts of the Empire came to Rome and brought his teachings with them.

Romans is a kind of calling card, a self-written letter of introduction, for Paul. [1.11-15] It is the most systematic of Paul’s writings since it doesn’t concern itself with answering particular questions or with dealing with problems that have arisen in a particular place. Rather, here Paul sets forth the fundamental tenet of his preaching, that in Christ God had acted decisively to reconcile the whole world, both the chosen Jews and the unclean Gentiles, to himself.

Romans stands first in the New Testament collection of Paul’s writings because it is the longest letter (the letters of Paul, that is, are arranged in the Bible in decreasing order of length). But it is appropriately placed at the head of this collection because in it we find the clearest exposition of Paul’s theology: the relentless call of God to those he created [1.20] to leave darkness, slavery and death and enter into light, freedom and life worthy of the name; together with God’s concomitant commitment to enlighten, free and enliven a world rendered impotent by its own submission to the dominion of evil.

St Anthony Mary Claret

Romans 5.12,15,17-21; Psalm 39; Luke 12.35-38

Antonio María Claret y Clarà (1807-70) was born in Sallent in the County of Bages in the Province of Barcelona, the fifth of the eleven children of Juan and Josepha Claret. His father was a woollen manufacturer. He received an elementary education in his home village and at the age of 12 he became a weaver. He migrated to Barcelona at the age of 18 to continue in this trade. In his spare time he studied Latin and French.

He entered the diocesan seminary at Vic in 1829. After ordination in 1835 he returned to his native parish, but as he felt called to missionary work he went to Rome. He sought to enter the Jesuit novitiate, but was turned down because of ill health. He returned to Spain and preached missions throughout Catalonia; then for 15 months he delivered retreats in the Canary Islands. Returning to Spain he founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, better known as the Claretians, in 1849.

At the request of Queen Isabella, Pope Pius IX appointed him Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba in 1850. He reorganised the diocesan seminary, restored clerical discipline, and built a hospital and numerous schools. He preached missions throughout the island. He survived an assassination attempt by a freemason and later obtained a commutation of the assassin’s death sentence to life imprisonment.

In 1857 Queen Isabella asked him to return to Spain and she appointed him as her confessor. After a revolution dethroned her she and her family went into exile in France, and St Anthony followed her there. In 1869 he went to Rome to prepare for the First Vatican Council. Owing to ill health he retired to a Cistercian monastery in the Pyrenees, where he died.

St John Capistrano

Romans 4.20-25; Luke 1; Luke 12.13-21

Born in Capistrano, Italy, in 1386, John was a successful lawyer and became Governor of Perugia in 1412. In 1416, he and his wife mutually consented to separation so that he could become a Franciscan. He travelled extensively through Italy, Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland and Russia preaching penance and establishing numerous communities of Franciscan renewal. When Mohammed III was threatening Vienna and had captured Constantinople, St John was commissioned by Pope Callixtus III in 1453 to preach a Crusade against the invading Turks. At the age of 70, marching at the head of 70,000 Christians, he gained victory in the battle of Belgrade in July of 1456. Three months later he died of the plague in Ilok, Hungary (today part of Croatia). He is the patron saint of jurists.

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, 22 October 2023