Ordinary Season of the Year. (a)
Weekdays – Year 1
Sunday 20th August: Twentieth Sunday of the Year. (a)
The theme of the first reading and the Gospel today is that of openness and inclusiveness.
The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah reminds us and teaches us that God’s house is open to all those who worship with sincerity in their hearts. No one should feel excluded or be excluded because they are different in any way.
St. Paul, writing to the Romans, reminds us that God never takes back his gifts. Our sinfulness and disobedience can be changed when we accept God’s mercy.
In the Gospel, we hear of the pagan woman, a Canaanite, the sworn enemies of the Jewish people, who had extraordinary faith In Jesus and how that faith was rewarded.
Monday 21st August: Memorial of St. Pius X
According to Baron von Pastor, a Papal historian Pius X (born as Joseph Sarto)”was one of those chosen few men whose personality is irrestible. Everyone was moved by his simplicity and his angelic kindness. Yet it was something more that carried him into all hearts; and that something is best defined by saying that all who were ever admitted to his presence had a deep conviction of being face to face with a saint.” His declared aim when he became Pope was ‘to renew all things in Christ.’ One of the liturgical reforms he introduced and encouraged was the frequent of Holy Communion. He also had a deep sense of social justice and his charities were immense. He died in 1914 just after the outbreak of World War 1.
Tuesday 22nd August: Memorial of the Queenship of Our Blessed Lady.
Pope Pius XII instituted this feast in 1955, originally on 31st May. It was moved to be closer to the Feast of the Assumption to stress the fact that it is precisely because she has been taken body and soul into heaven that Our Lady can exercise her role as Mother and as Queen.
Wednesday 23rd August: Wednesday in 20th week of the year.
For their early years in the Promised Land, the people claimed that their only king would be God. No one was to claim kingship for himself and the Judges constantly reminded their people about this.
Jesus uses the parable of the landowner and the vineyard workers to stress how his love and generosity is for all people of all time who accept him as Lord and Saviour.
Thursday 24th August: Feast of St. Bartholomew.
Bernard was born in 1090 near Dijon in France. At the age of 22, he entered the Cistercian monastery of Citeaux along with 30 of his friends. He was eventually chosen as Abbot of a new foundation in Clairvaux where he led a life of intense prayer. He was still able to respond to requests for help and advice from Popes and Kings as well as attend Councils of the Church. He died in 1153
Friday 25th August: Friday of the 20th week of the year.
We finish the history of the early Israelites with two readings from the Book of Ruth. She was from the tribe of Moab and, as such, would normally be excluded from God’s people. She had married one of the sons of Naomi she had become a follower of the God of Israel. She chooses to leave her own land and people and accompany her aging mother-in-law Naomi back to Israel.
In response to another attempt to trap him, Jesus again stresses the basic commandments – love God, love your neighbour. Both of these were basic to what was expected of all Jews so there was no change in Jesus’ teaching.
Saturday 26th August: Saturday of the 20th week of the year.
The very sad Naomi, after the death of her husband and two sons, went back to her own country with Ruth, her daughter in law. She meets Boaz who becomes her husband. Her son was the grandfather of King David.
Jesus again points out how the Pharisees have let the people down. They interpreted the law to suit themselves and made it more important than the people. Jesus warns against the hypocrisy in this and also gives us the same warning.
God our Father
For nourishing us on the way to you
With the true bread and drink of life, your son, Jesus Christ.
In this and in every eucharist,
Let him take flesh again in us
That we may do for one another what he has done for us,
That we may be present to one another
As he is present and available to us
And that, with him, we may live your life
Now and for ever.