Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(as listed in the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2017)

07 October, 2017. Saturday of Week 26

Our Lady of the Rosary

1st Reading: Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29

Grieving for the Jews in exile, Baruch begs them to turn again and seek God

Take courage, my people, who perpetuate Israel's name! It was not for destruction that you were sold to the nations, but you were handed over to your enemies because you angered God. For you provoked the one who made you by sacrificing to demons and not to God. You forgot the everlasting God, who brought you up, and you grieved Jerusalem, who reared you. For she saw the wrath that came upon you from God, and she said:

Listen, you neighbours of Zion, God has brought great sorrow upon me; for I have seen the exile of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them. With joy I nurtured them, but I sent them away with weeping and sorrow. Let no one rejoice over me, a widow and bereaved of many; I was left desolate because of the sins of my children, because they turned away from the law of God.

Take courage, my children, and cry to God, for you will be remembered by the one who brought this upon you. For just as you were disposed to go astray from God, return with tenfold zeal to seek him. For the one who brought these calamities upon you will bring you everlasting joy with your salvation.

Gospel: Luke 10:17-24

Jesus rejoices in the graces reserved for the humble of heart

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!"; He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."


What's to be so glad about?

It baffles us when a person as good as Job must "repent in dust and ashes". But he was humbled by the mystery of God's overpowering presence. He had presumed to question God, as though he, Job, were a divine colleague, but now he disowns his words and repents in dust and ashes. The conclusion to the Book of Job is a strong call to just this kind of humility before God. If we follow Job's example, we will be blessed like him.

Our gospel allows us a rare glimpse into the deepest of all mysteries, the prayer of Jesus himself. The Evangelists, especially Luke, frequently enough speak of Jesus at prayer, but seldom offer more than a reverent silence around such moments. Here he speaks his prayer aloud, overcome by a hidden power. Rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, he thanks the Father that "what you have hidden from the learned and the clever, you have revealed to merest children." We can only hope to remain so grateful in the midst of any success we may achieve, even in our teaching of religion.

Taking pride on our work

It is natural to take pride in our work, especially if we feel that we have done it well. That is what we find the disciples doing in today's gospel. They return to Jesus from a period of successful mission. In their excitement they say to Jesus, "even the devils submit to us when we use your name." Jesus acknowledges the success of their work, yet he focuses on something more fundamental. He tells them to rejoice not so much in the success of their work but in the fact that their names are written in heaven. It is their relationship with God which is to be the real source of their joy. It is that relationship which makes their work fruitful. That is why Jesus goes on to say to them, "Happy the eyes that see what you see." The disciples had come to see and hear the presence of God in the person of Jesus; they had received Jesus' revelation of his own relationship with God his Father and had allowed themselves to be drawn into that relationship. That is why they can rejoice. The gospel reading reminds us that our own sharing in Jesus' relationship with God is our real treasure, not so much the success or otherwise of what we do. It is that gift of sharing in Jesus' relationship with God his Father that allows us to see and hear what many prophets and kings longed to see and hear, and is the real cause for joy and thanksgiving. Even when our work ceases, for whatever reason, be it age or poor health or lack of opportunity, that gift of sharing in Jesus' own relationship with God endures.

Our Lady of the Rosary

This feast was established by pope Pius V in thanksgiving for the Christian victory over the Turks at the naval battle of Lepanto (1571), credited to the recitation of the Rosary. Our Lady is daily honoured in the prayer, which also invites us to meditate the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Christ her son. The Rosary invites us to reflect on the great mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Jesusm in union with his reflective, prayerful mother Mary. Saint Luke tells how she "treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart." Again, in response to finding Jesus in the temple, Mary "treasured all these things in her heart." We see our Lady as a contemplative person, reflecting on every detail in the life of her Son. She embodies the attitude of mind and heart that we can bring to the praying of the Rosary. Praying with her, we ponder upon the key moments in the journey of Jesus in this world and from this world to the Father. Mary's spirit of "Let it be to me according to your word" is something we share in the Rosary, as we too hand ourselves over more fully to God's purpose for our lives.