Sunday 24th June: Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. (B)
In the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord assures the suffering servant that, becuae of who he is and what he does, he will reveal his glory in time to come.
In the second reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Paul announces that the whole purpose of John’s ministry was to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah – Jesus himself. John is the link between the prophets of the time of Israel and the time of Jesus.
St. Luke, in the Gospel, tells of the mysterious birth and naming of John. The people are both confused and amazed at the circumstances surrounding the birth – ‘what will become of this child they ask.’
Monday 25th June: Monday of the 12th week of the year.
We move to the reign of Hosea in the northern kingdom, Israel. Assyria had destroyed the kingdom and all the leading citizens were sent into exile. This was seen as a warning to the southern kingdom, Judah. Israel had fallen because the people had turned from God. If Judah does not change, the same will happen to the people there.
In the Gospel, Jesus reminds that it important not to judge one another. We need to look at our own lives and make sure we remove whatever is holding us back from fully following Christ in all that we do and say.
Tuesday 26th June: Tuesday of the 12th week of the year.
Hezekiah was king of Judah and was thought to be a good king because he tried to follow the commands of the Lord. Despite the threats of the Assyrians, he opts for faith in God against all the odds. The people would be cared for by God.
Jesus reminds us that we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.
Wednesday 27thJune: Wednesday of the 12th week of the year.
We come to the reign of another king – Josiah. The temple was in the process of being repaired and this inspired him to begin a period of reform, building on what had been started by the previous king, Hezekiah. He reclaimed the worship of the one true God from the worship of the false gods.
The words of Jesus are challenging as always – a good person will produce good fruits. Beware of false prophets whom you will know by their fruits.
Thursday 28th June: Memorial of St. Irenaeus.
Irenaeus is one of the most important fathers of the early Church. He was born around 125 in Asia Minor. He is said to have been a disciple of St. Polycarp who is turn was a disciple of St. John the Apostle. This shows how close in time Iraneus is to the early days of the Church. He became Bishop of Lyons and combated the heresies of his day. He died in 202.
Friday 29th June: Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul.
We know from the Gospels that Peter was from Galilee, that his brother was Andrew, that he was married and that he was a fisherman. He is portrayed as a very impetuous man e.g. he said he would never betray Jesus. On the other hand, he was a man of great faith and determination. He was martyred in Rome in 64.
Paul, who was originally known as Saul, came from Tarsus and was brought up as a very strict Jew. He was also a Roman citizen. He was as scrupulous upholder of the Law and joined the Pharisees, becoming a ferocious persecutor of the early Christians. After his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, he became a very committed Christian, setting off on various missionary journeys. His story is found in the Acts of the Apostles and in the various letters he wrote to the early Christian communities. Tradition tells us he was martyred in Rome in 67.
Saturday 30th June: Saturday of the 12th week of the year.
The story of the Chosen people in the Old Testament is remembered in this reading from the Book of Lamentations. They people move into exile. Everything they loved is taken from them, their homes, their temple, their cities. All they could hold on to was the prophecy that ‘a remnant would return’ as God’s chosen people.
In the Gospel, Jesus cures the centurion’s servant. The centurion’s faith is a model for all of us. Jesus goes on with his healing ministry.
God of power and might,
When we cry out to you in the tempests of life
Reassure us that you care and are with us,
Even when you seem to be absent.
Stay with us through your Son Jesus, he who is Lord
Forever and ever.