Weekdays in January, February and March 2021

These reflections on the weekday Bible readings are by Canon Mervyn Tower, parish priest of Corpus Christi, Headington, Oxford.

Friday 1 January
Mary, Mother of God (solemnity)
Numbers 6.22–27
Psalm 66
Galatians 4.4–7
Luke 2.16–21
Pope St Paul VI declared 1 January to be the World Day of Peace, so it is fitting that the blessing of Aaron is proclaimed. The Book of Numbers is known in Hebrew by its opening as Bemidbar (In the desert). Until Numbers 9.32, the scene is placed at Sinai, but the rest of the text is about the wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness. The blessing, with its final shalom, its climax, is for the perilous journey (First Reading: Num. 6.22–27). Luke records the fact of the circumcision of Jesus, the ceremony on the eighth day by which the Lord becomes a child of the Covenant and a member of the chosen people. He is the one ultimately to be able give the fullness of the blessing of peace (Gospel: Lk 2.16–21). Paul states, against any gnostic heresies, that Jesus was really born of a woman. He did not just appear. He is really human (Second Reading: Gal. 4.4–7).

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