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

18 September. Wednesday, Week 24

1st Reading: 1 Timothy 3:14-16

The church is entrusted with the mystery of salvation, meant for the whole world

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:

He was revealed in flesh,
  vindicated in spirit,
  seen by angels,
  proclaimed among Gentiles,
  believed in throughout the world,
  taken up in glory.

Psalm 110:1-6

Response: How great are the works of the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart
   in the meeting of the just and their assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
  to be pondered by all who love them. (R./)

Majestic and glorious his work,
  his justice stands firm for ever.
He makes us remember his wonders.
The Lord is compassion and love. (R./)

He gives food to those who fear him;
   keeps his covenant ever in mind.
He has shown his might to his people
   by giving them the lands of the nations. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 7:31-35

Some will not respond to others, whether by dancing or mourning

Jesus said to his disciples, "To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.' For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon;' the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children."


The church as one big family

Ideally, the members of the church are all "members of God's household." Paul quotes a confession of faith, popular among believers:" He was revealed in flesh, / vindicated in spirit," etc. The Gospel cites a piece of ancient wisdom, echoing the Book of Proverbs and repeated from parent to child, rabbi to student. Scholars have suggested that St Paul probably did not compose this hymn-like verse, but was citing a well-known hymnic statement of the early church.

In a wholesome family the members are respectful of each others' giftedness. Paul envisaged a church gifted with many talents, but says that in the end there are three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. To love in such an way, the leaders of God's household cannot be dominant autocrats or narrow careerists, but people who care for the family quality of life in the church. If there is strength in unity, these are the leaders who strengthen our common faith.

Dancing to the Lord's tune

Jesus uses a striking image to describe how the people of his generation responded to his ministry and that of John the Baptist. They are like children who refuse to dance when other children in the playground play the pipes; they are also like children refuse to cry when other children in the playground sing dirges. He identifies himself with those who play the pipes and John with those who sing dirges. It may seem odd to think of Jesus as a piper who plays a tune that invites people to dance to it, but in a sense, that is what we are about as his followers or disciples.

Christians are people who dance to Jesus' tune. The idea of dancing to someone else's tune is usually a negative one. But as followers of Jesus we should attune our ears to his rhythm, to the music of his life, and then try and move in time with his music. We need to let the music that Jesus plays by his life, death and resurrection, shape our lives. Attentive listening is very important in our relationship with the Lord, because it is only then that we can move to the divine music. Our blessed Lady listened attentively to the Lord's word, and she, more than anyone was in tune with the music of Jesus. She is our model and our inspiration as we try to live in harmony with that life-giving tune.