Daily Readings for Mass.
(Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2019)

01 April. Monday, 4th Week of Lent

1st Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21

"Rejoice in what I am creating!" Good things in store for those who love God

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.

They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

Psalm 30

Response: I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me

I will extol you, O Lord, for you drew me clear
  and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
  O Lord, you brought me up from the nether world;
  you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. (R./)

Sing praise to the Lord, you his faithful ones,
  and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
  a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
  but with the dawn, rejoicing. (R./)

Hear, O Lord, and have pity on me;
  O Lord, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
  O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks. (R./)

Gospel: John 4:43-54

Jesus cures the son of a royal official, his second miracle in Cana

When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honour in the prophet's own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.

Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe." The official said to him, "Sir, come down before my little boy dies." Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, "Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him." The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.


An outsider shows the way

As Isaiah looks forward to a new heavens and a new earth, we too look forward. Our ultimate hope is to share in the risen life of Christ beyond the here and now, a new kind of existence in the direct presence of God. Just as Isaiah invites us to "be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating", St. Paul promises we will see a new creation, when "what is sown perishable will be raised imperishable".

When a royal courtier, whose son was in danger of death, came and asked Jesus for help, he told him, 'Go home. Your son will live.' This courtier trusted Jesus and started for home, trusting that the boy would recover. Do we have this confidence that the Lord can work miracles in our lives? Do we trust that God cares for each of us, whatever our conditions and our needs? Can we believe that whatever happens in our life's journey will turn out to be for the best? We join with the courtier's prayer of faith: "Yes, Lord, I believe."

Jesus really can work miracles, now no less than then. When he said, "Your son will live" the courtier believed him. Vibrant faith does not exclude human initiative. If it did, the courtier would not have come to Jesus asking his help. This was the second sign given by Jesus. The Cana miracle of water into wine was the first sign (John 2:11). These are indicators of new life and new joy, promises that the old will be swept away and the past be remembered no more. They point to a new creation, beyond death. Hear, O Lord, and have mercy, for you have changed my mourning into dancing.

A request granted

Many people asked Jesus for help as he went around the villages. On this occasion a court official asked him to cure his seriously ill son. This official was probably attached to the court of Herod Antipas. His request at first met with what seems like a refusal. But he was a persevering man who asked more insistently, "come down before my child dies." In response to this man's perseverance, Jesus grants his request, but not in the way the man wanted. He didn't go home with him to cure his son; he simply said, "your son will live." The man had to believe the word of Jesus and he did just that. He returned home on his own, with the promise of Jesus in his heart, and on the way he discovered that his prayer had been answered.

When we approach the Lord in prayer, asking for help, we might feel that the Lord is not answering our prayer. Things may not go as we had hoped. When that happens, we must persevere in prayer, as the supplicant did. Like him, we will discover that the Lord will answer our prayer, even if not in the way we expected. Like the royal official we are asked to take the Lord at his word and to travel with the Lord's promise in our hearts.


Saint Ceallach or Celsus

Ceallach or Celsus or Celestinus (1080-1129) as Archbishop of Armagh contributed to the reform of the Irish church in the twelfth century. He put an end to the previous arrangement, in effect since 966, whereby the supreme head of the Irish Church had been a layman. Following the Synod of Raith Bressail, which established a diocesan structure for Ireland, he became the first primary prelate of all Ireland.