The Lord is speaking to us in the gospel: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Red.
St Mark the Evangelist
He was a cousin of Barnabas and accompanied the apostle Paul on his first missionary journey; later he followed him to Rome. He was a disciple of Peter, and his gospel is told from Peter’s point of view. He is credited with founding the Church in Alexandria. His body was stolen from Alexandria in 828 (though some say that the wrong bones were stolen) and taken to Venice, which adopted him as its patron saint. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
Other saints: Bl. Robert Anderton (1560 - 1586) and William Marsden (-1586)
Isle of Wight
Robert Anderton (c. 1560- 1586) was born in either Lancashire or the Isle of Wight or, according to some, the Isle of Man. He graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1578. Shortly after he went abroad and converted to Roman Catholicism. He entered the English College at Rheims in 1580 and there met William Marsden, a Lancashireman. The two were ordained priest together.
After ordination they set sail for England, but were caught in a storm. They prayed that they would be allowed to die on land rather than at sea. Driven ashore on the Isle of Wight by the storm, they were immediately arrested by the authorities. In court at Winchester, they pleaded that they had not violated the law by landing in England, since their landing had been involuntary. They defended their faith and the Pope and acknowledged that they had come to exercise their ministry and reconcile people to God and the Church. This led to their being taken to London, where they were asked to take the Oath of Supremacy, acknowledging Elizabeth as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. They acknowledged the queen as their lawful queen in all secular affairs but refused to swear the Oath. As this was a treasonable offence under the Second Act of Supremacy, they were condemned to death, were returned to the Isle of Wight near the place where they had landed, and were hung, drawn and quartered on 25 April 1586.
They were beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Irenaeus (130 - 202)
Irenaeus was born in Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Izmir in Turkey) and emigrated to Lyons, in France, where he eventually became the bishop. It is not known for certain whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is. The majority of this work was lost for many centuries and only rediscovered in a monastery on Mount Athos in 1842. Many passages from it are used in the Office of Readings.
Liturgical colour: red
Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Romans 1:16-17 ©|
I am not ashamed of the Good News: it is the power of God saving all who have faith – Jews first, but Greeks as well – since this is what reveals the justice of God to us: it shows how faith leads to faith, or as scripture says: The upright man finds life through faith.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Thessalonians 2:2-4 ©|
It was our God who gave us the courage to proclaim his Good News to you in the face of great opposition. We have not taken to preaching because we are deluded, or immoral, or trying to deceive anyone; it was God who decided that we were fit to be entrusted with the Good News, and when we are speaking, we are not trying to please men but God.
|Afternoon reading (None)||2 Timothy 1:8-9 ©|
Bear hardships with me for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy – not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace, which has been granted to us in Christ Jesus.