The Word This Week

We will spend most of the Sundays of the coming year in the company of Saint Matthew. His Gospel (like the others) has its own characteristics. He is writing for a Jewish audience, and so is always at pains to stress one thing: that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. He does this by reference to Jesus’ teaching and miracles, and very often by quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament to show that Jesus was their fulfilment. Today is a perfect example. “Zebulun and Naphthali” was an old name for the area round Capernaum by the side of the Lake of Galilee, a busy fishing and trading area, with many Gentile towns and settlements: it is here, rather than in the dangerous town of Nazareth, that Jesus “settles” and begins his ministry. This is where the proclamation of the Kingdom of God begins, as was foretold, and the first followers are invited to join Jesus.

Today’s Scripture (Psalter: Week 3)
Isaiah 8: 23 – 9: 3
Response: Psalm 26
The Lord is my light and my help
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink?

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
Hope in the Lord!

(Sung Antiphon: The Lord is my light and my help.)

1 Corinthians 1: 10 – 13. 17

Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom,
and cured all kinds of sickness among the people.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Matthew 4: 12 – 23
Prayer of the Faithful: R/. Lord, give us your light.

See Today’s Readings on Catholic Online.

Catholic Parliamentary and Public Policy Internships

big-benAre you a recent graduate or do you know someone who has recently graduated? Well, you may be interested in the Catholic Parliamentary and Public Policy Internship scheme. This scheme provides eight recently graduated Catholics with an intensive experience of political and social action in a spiritual context. Four interns will be placed with Christian MPs at Westminster, one in a parliamentary support role within the Secretariat, two in public policy with CAFOD and CSAN, one in a media internship in Archbishop’s House Westminster.

In addition to educational work experience, all internships also involve individually guided retreats and spiritual guidance throughout the year, studying Christian ethics and Catholic social teaching at Heythrop College as well as exploring the political landscape and the Church’s involvement in social action through a series of events.

If this is something that might interest you, why not apply today?

World Peace Day – A Message from Pope Francis

pope-francisLiving as one family is the foundation and pathway of peace” is the theme given By the Pope for this year’s celebration and prayer. He says: “In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced. Fraternity is an essential human quality, for we are relational beings. Without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace.” For the full message, download the World Peace Day document.

The Word This Week

There is no break between Christmas and Ordinary Time – one flows almost seamlessly into the other through the Baptism of Jesus. We ended our Christmas Season thinking about the “revelation” of the Son of God – people realising who this “Jesus of Nazareth” actually was – and this continues today, as we interject a passage from Saint John before we begin our weekly reading through Saint Matthew’s Gospel. New Year is about beginnings, and as we return to the beginning of Our Lord’s public ministry there is a sense of something exciting about to happen – even though we know the story, we dive into it once more, like returning to a favourite novel or film. So it is with joy that we stand in the country of the river Jordan, and recognise Jesus of Nazareth as the Chosen One of God, who offers himself to do God’s work.

Today’s Scripture (Psalter: Week 2)
Isaiah 49:3, 5–6

Response: Psalm 39
I waited, I waited for the Lord //
and he stooped down to me;
he heard my cry.
He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God.

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I.

In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord.

(Sung Antiphon: Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

1 Corinthians 1: 1 – 3
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

John 1: 29 – 34
Prayer of the Faithful: R/. Lord, send your grace and peace.

The Word The Week

As soon as Jesus was baptised he saw
the Spirit of God coming down on him.

300px-Andrea_del_Verrocchio_002It may seem strange, but this is a Christmas Feast. Not if we think of Christmas only in terms of the Baby in Bethlehem, but if we have followed the ideas of the Feasts of Holy Family and especially Epiphany, and have seen the Season in terms of the growing manifestation or appearing of the Son of God: first to the shepherds and then to the wise men from the East. Now in the River Jordan, Jesus, Son of Mary, is revealed to all as the fullness of all God’s promises: “This is my Son, the Beloved”. On this day we stand before the revelation of God’s love for us, such that he would send his only Son into the world. Christmas without the Baptism of the Lord, and the words that are spoken from heaven, would be incomplete, since it is only in them that we fully see the wonder of what happened in Bethlehem, that we fully understand the reason for the joy with which we celebrated Christmas Day. As we come to the end of Christmas today, and look forward to hearing the Gospel in Ordinary Time, we do so having been shown who it is we listen to: the only Son of God, the Beloved.

Today’s Scripture (Psalter: Week 1)
Isaiah 42: 1–4, 6–7

Response: Psalm 28.
O give the Lord you children of God,
give the Lord glory and power;
give the Lord the glory of his name.
Adore the Lord in his holy court.

The Lord’s voice resounding on the waters,
the Lord on the immensity of waters;
the voice of the Lord, full of power,
the voice of the Lord, full of splendour.

The God of glory thunders.
In his temple they all cry: ‘Glory!’
The Lord sat enthroned over the flood;
The Lord sits as king for ever.

(Sung Antiphon: The Lord will bless his people with peace.)

Acts 10: 34 – 38
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
The heavens opened and the Father’s voice resounded:
“This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.”
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Matthew 3: 13 – 17

Prayer of the Faithful:
R/. Lord, bring true justice.

The Word This Week

We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.

In the East, this Season of Christmas is called the “Time of Manifestation”, or “Showing”. Today is the “Feast of the Manifestation”, or the Showing (off) of the Saviour to the whole world, to all nations. In the wise men who travel from the East, we see all the nations beyond the people of Israel being welcomed at the new ‘Temple’ of the ‘New Covenant’ – the new born child in the manger. A look at the Psalm response shows this: “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” The same is true of the key word in the second reading: “Revelation”. Remember that for the people of Israel this was to be their Messiah, come to restore their fortunes. By this feast, we proclaim God’s plan was to extend his salvation to the men and women of every nation, of every time and every place – including us. In many ways this is our Christmas Feast, when we celebrate the Good News of the Saviour’s birth revealed at last to us.

Today’s Scripture (Psalter: Week 2)
Isaiah 60: 1 – 6
Response: Psalm 71
O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
And your poor in right judgement.

In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the great river to earth’s bounds.

The Kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts/
shall pay him tribute.
The Kings of Sheba and Seba /
shall bring him gifts.
Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,
all nations shall serve him.

For he shall save the poor when they cry
and the needy who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak
and save the lives of the poor.

(Sung Antiphon: All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.
Ephesians 3: 2–3, 5–6
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! We saw his star as it rose
and have come to do the Lord homage. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Matthew 2: 1 – 12

Prayer of the Faithful: R/. Lord, let your light shin