Catholic IrelandLiturgical Readings for : Friday, 3rd February, 2023
Next Sunday's Readings
Friday of Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1
General Themes: The law of love covers all situations, including strangers, refugees, prisoners and marriage.
Today is also the memorial of fourth Century St Blaise, bishop, martyr, and patron of sufferers of sore throats.
A reading from the letter to the Hebrews 13:1-8
Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.
Continue to love each other like brothers, and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Keep in mind those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; and those who are being badly treated, since you too are in the one body. Marriage is to be honoured by all, and marriages are to be kept undefiled, because fornicators and adulterers will come under God’s judgement. Put greed out of your lives and be content with whatever you have; God himself has said:
I will not fail you or desert you, and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord to help me, I fear nothing: what can man do to me?
Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.
The Word of the Lord Thanks be to God
Responsorial Psalm Ps 26:1, 3, 5, 8-9
Response The Lord is my light and my help.
1. The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink? Response
2. Though an army encamp against me
my heart would not fear.
Though war break out against me
even then would I trust. Response
3. For there he keeps me safe in his tent
in the day of evil.
He hides me in the shelter of his tent,
on a rock he sets me safe. Response
4. It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;
Dismiss not your servant in anger;
you have been my help.
hide not your face. Response
Gospel Acclamation Lk 8: 15
Blessed are those who with a noble and generous heart ,
take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 6:14-29 Glory to you, O Lord
Theme: It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.
King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well-known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him’. Others said, ‘He is Elijah‘; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have’. But when Herod heard this he said,
‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead’.
Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife’. As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.
An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl,
Ask me anything you like and I will give it you’. And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom’. She went out and said to her mother,
‘What shall I ask for?‘
She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist’. The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish’. The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
The Gospel of the Lord Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reflection Friday, Feb 3rd Fourth Week in Ordinary Time Mark 6:14–29
There is a lot of darkness in the gospel reading. Some of the worst human instincts are on display. There is Herod who had chained up in prison an innocent man because he challenged Herod on the morality of marrying his brother’s wife, Herodias. There is Herodias who wanted Herod not just to imprison John but to kill him, for the same reason. At Herod’s birthday feast, Herodias seized her opportunity when her daughter beguiled Herod into making a rash promise. Herod displayed moral weakness in submitting to his wife’s request for the head of John the Baptist, even though he knew John to be a good and holy man and wanted to protect him.
Herod’s birthday feast turned out to be a very grisly affair. Is there any light there in the darkness? The one great light is John the Baptist himself. He courageously proclaimed God’s word, even though he must have known it could have deadly consequences for him. He was a man of integrity, of courage and of deep faith. Then there are the disciples of John the Baptist who took his body and laid it in a tomb, ensuring that, even if his death was undignified, he would have a dignified burial. There is always some light at the heart of darkness, some goodness at the heart of evil. You have heard the expression, ‘it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’. We can be tempted to get very discouraged by the various expressions of moral darkness of our time. However, our calling as followers of the risen Lord, who declared himself to be the light of the world, is to reflect the light of his goodness and love by our lives. Every good and loving act is a protest against the darkness, and we can be assured that if we are faithful to our calling, in the end the darkness will not overcome the light.
The Scripture Readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published 1966/7/8 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers. http://dltbooks.com/
The Scripture Reflection is available with our thanks from Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2022-2023: Your word is a lamp for my feet and light for my path by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications c/f www.messenger.ie/bookshop/