Christ is the chief shepherd, the leader of his flock: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
|Saint Joseph Vaz (1651 - 1711)|
Joseph Vaz was a missionary born on 21 April 1651 in Goa, India. He died on 16 January 1711 in Kandy, present day Sri Lanka. He was an Oratorian missionary priest. He arrived in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) during the Dutch occupation.
The Dutch had expelled the Portuguese who had introduced Catholicism to Sri Lankan. The Dutch then went on to impose Calvinism as the official religion in Sri Lanka. Father Vaz travelled throughout Sri Lanka, bringing the Eucharist and Sacraments to clandestine groups of Catholics. He would sometimes disguise himself as a beggar in order to facilitate his mission. Later, he founded a shelter in the Kingdom of Kandy where he intensified his missionary work of ministering to both the minority Tamil and Sinhalese ethnic groups. By the time of his death, he had managed to rebuild the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka. He was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on 21 January 1995, in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, and canonized there by Pope Francis on 14 January 2015.
|Other saints: Saint Fursa or Fursey (- c.650)|
East Anglia, Ireland
He was an Irish monk who did much to establish Christianity throughout the British Isles and particularly in East Anglia, at a time when a high Christian civilisation existed in Ireland but had been largely wiped out elsewhere.
Born in Ireland, he established a monastery at Rathmat, on the shores of Loch Corrib, and then journeyed to England where he founded another at Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth. He finally crossed over to France and became the abbot-founder of Lagny, near Paris. He was buried in Picardy and his shrine survived until the French Revolution. His life is also famous for his remarkable ecstasies, of which St Bede and others wrote.
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.
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Timothy 4:16 ©|
Take great care about what you do and what you teach; always do this, and in this way you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Timothy 1:12 ©|
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Timothy 3:13 ©|
Those who carry out their duties well as deacons will earn a high standing for themselves and be rewarded with great assurance in their work for the faith in Christ Jesus.