Weekly Readings January/February 2018

Breaking the Word Weekdays

dreamstimeWeekdays in January 2018 - Kathleen O'Gorman
Kathleen O'Gorman and Duncan Macpherson

These reflections on the weekday readings are by Kathleen O'Gorman and Duncan Macpherson. They both enjoyed distinguished careers at St Mary's University, Twickenham, and continue to contribute widely to the understanding of Scripture in a pastoral context.

Monday 1 January
Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Numbers 6.22-27
Psalm 66.2-3,5,6,8
Galatians 4.4-7
Luke 2.16-21
How fitting that this beautiful feast of the divine motherhood of Mary should be designated the World Day of Prayer for Peace. All the readings today point to the graciousness of God and humanity's assurance of God's blessing. Yet the second reading and the Gospel go further, reminding us that God has chosen to work through fragile humanity, indeed through a woman, to enact his great purpose of salvation for all.

The priestly benediction in the first reading seems strangely placed in the Book of Numbers,. But its giving and its timing are the Lord's initiatives, as the writer indicates. Familiar throughout ancient Israel, this blessing continues to be recited by Jews and Christians, often at the end of worship. Its words are echoed in the psalm where blessing is offered, not to Israel alone, but to 'all nations'.

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