Pictorial Thought for Today

Pictorial Thought for Today
Photo by Hilary Musgrave

Jul 19 - St Macrina the younger (330-379)

Summary of St Macrina: belonged to a family of saints associated with the city of Caesarea in Cappadocia. Much of what we know about her and her family is from a treatise 'On the soul and resurrection', also known as the 'Macriniae', written by her younger brother, St Gregory of Nyssa.

Patrick Duffy tells her story.

A Family of Aaints
Macrina Her grandmother, St Macrina the Elder, had to flee with her husband during the Diocletian persecutions (303-4). Her parents, rhetorician Basil the Elder, and Emmelia, her mother, are honoured as saints as are four of her brothers - Basil of Caesarea (2 Jan), Gregory of Nyssa (9 Mar) and Peter of Sebaste and the monk Naucratius. Macrina was the eldest child of the family of ten.

Helping with the upbringing of the children
rom her early years her parents taught her the Scriptures and the Psalms. Betrothed to a steady young man who died, she did not want to marry, but stayed with her mother Emmelia helping with the upbringing of the other children.

Basil Becomes monk and bishop
  Mac's famWhen Basil had finished his studies of rhetoric at Athens, he was rather full of himself. Macrina took him in hand and he soon gave up rhetoric and became a monk and went on eventually to become bishop of Caesarea. Macrina led the life of a consecrated virgin in the family home.

Gregory, five years younger than she, married and taught rhetoric, then (after his wife either died or became a nun) he became a monk and was appointed bishop of Nyssa in 371.

A Religious Community
When Macrina was about forty, her father died. She and her mother joined in setting up a religious community near Pontus, on the banks of the River Iris (northern Turkey). Macrina later became the leader of the community and its spiritual director.

Death and Influence
Basil died in 379. Gregory, in grief for his brother, went to visit his sister. He had not seen her for eight years and now she was almost on her death bed. She consoled Gregory in his grief with thoughts of the resurrection, quoting John 12:24: "Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." God's abundance, she adds, makes many additions. Macrina was so poor when she died that Gregory had to provide a shroud in which to bury her.

Liturgical Readings for: Saturday, 20th July, 2024

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2


A reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah        38:1-6. 21-22.7-8
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.

Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him,
'The Lord says this, "Put your affairs in order, for you are going to die, you will not live."'
Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and addressed this prayer to the Lord,
'Ah, Lord, remember, I beg you, how I have behaved faithfully and with sincerity of heart in your presence
and done what is right in your eyes.'
And Hezekiah shed many tears.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah,
'Go and say to Hezekiah,
"The Lord, the God of David your ancestor, says this:
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will cure you:
in three days' time you shall go up to the Temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will save you from the hands of the king of Assyria, I will protect this city."'

'Bring a fig poultice,' Isaiah said 'apply it to the ulcer and he will recover.'
Hezekiah said, 'What is the sign to tell me that I shall be going up to the Temple of the Lord?''
'Here' Isaiah replied 'is the sign from the Lord that he will do what he has said.
Look, I shall make the shadow cast by the declining sun go back ten steps on the steps of Ahaz.'
And the sun went back the ten steps by which it had declined.

The Word of the Lord             Thanks be to God..

Responsorial Psalm          Is 38
Response                              You have held back my life, O Lord, from the pit of doom.

1. I said, 'So I must go away, my life half spent,
assigned to the world below for the rest of my years.'                          Response

2. I said, 'No more shall I see the Lord in the land of the living,
no more shall I look upon men within this world.                                 Response

3. 'My home is pulled up and removed like a shepherd's tent.
Like a weaver you have rolled up my life, you cut it from the loom.  Response

4. 'For you, Lord, my heart will live, you gave me back my spirit;
you cured me, kept me alive, changed my sickness into health."       Response

Gospel  Acclamation                       Ps 26:11
Alleluia, alleluia!
Instruct me, in your way; on an even path lead me.

Or                                                             Jn 10: 27
Alleluia, alleluia!
The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the lord, I know them and they follow me.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew        12: 1-8
The Son of Man is master of the sabbath.

Jesus took a walk one sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him,
'Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath.'
But he said to them,
'Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry - how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone?

Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath day the Temple priests break the sabbath without being blamed for it?
Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple.

And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.'

The Gospel of the Lord    Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Gospel Reflection        Friday           Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time         Matthew 12:1-8

When Jesus quotes the Jewish Scriptures, it is often because he finds there a message or a word that corresponds to his own message and vision. At the end of today’s gospel reading, he quotes from the prophet Hosea, ‘What I want is mercy, not sacrifice’. For Hosea and for Jesus, what matters more to God than all the sacrifices that were offered in the Temple in Jerusalem was this attitude of mercy. How was mercy understood? In the parable of the good Samaritan, it was mercy that the Samaritan showed to the broken traveller on the roadside. Those who were broken in body and spirit often came up to Jesus with the prayer, ‘Have mercy on me’. When Jesus brought life to the dying, healing to the sick, forgiveness to sinners, loving acceptance to the excluded, he was showing mercy. To show mercy is to recognize the need of others and to respond to it with a generous spirit.

In the beginning of today’s gospel reading, Jesus’ disciples were in need of food; they were hungry. They picked ears of grain from a grain field to satisfy their hunger, which was perfectly legitimate at the time. When the Pharisees noticed this, they judged the disciples, saying that they were doing work on the Sabbath, breaking the Sabbath law of rest. The Pharisees lacked mercy, failing to understand the need of the disciples for food. They were judgemental rather than merciful. Jesus revealed the merciful love of God for all, and he called on us to show something of God’s merciful love to others. As he says, quoting Hosea, this is what God wants. Jesus was closer to God than any human being; he was the Son of God. As a result, he knew better than anyone else what God wants. God wants to find among his people, among us all, a compassionate, understanding and merciful heart.


The Scripture Readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd. and used with the permission of the publishers.  http://dltbooks.com/
The Scripture Reflection is made available with our thanks from his book Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2021/ 2024: The Word is near to you, on your lips and in your heart by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications 2022/23, c/f www.messenger.ie/bookshop/

Liturgical Readings for: Saturday, 20th July, 2024

Sliocht as Leabhar Íseáia, Fáidh          38:1-6. 21-22.7-8
Tá d’urnaí cloiste agam agus do dheora feicthe agam.

Sna laethanta sin, buaileadh Hiziciá tinn agus bhí sé le bás.
Tháinig an fáidh Íseáia mac Ámóz chuige agus dúirt leis:
“Seo mar a deir an Tiarna:
Déan do thiomna le do theaghlach, mar tá an bás agat; níl téarnamh i ndán duit.”
D’iompaigh Hiziciá a aghaidh ar an mballa agus chuir sé suas an phaidir seo chuig an Tiarna:
“Uch, a Thiarna, cuimhnigh, impím ort, mar a d’iompair mé mé féin i d’fhianaise le dílseacht agus faoi chroí mór maith, agus an rud a bhí maith i do shúile á dhéanamh agam.”
Agus chaoin uisce a chinn.

Ansin ligeadh briathar an Tiarna le hÍseáia:
“Gabh agus abair le Hiziciá:
Seo mar a deir an Tiarna, Dia Dháiví do shinsear: Tá d’urnaí cloiste agam agus do dheora feicthe agam. Tá mé chun tú a leigheas; faoi chionn trí lá, rachaidh tú suas go Teampall an Tiarna. Cuirfidh mé cúig bliana déag le do shaol. Scaoilfidh mé saor thú as láimh rí na hAsaíre, agus déanfaidh mé an chathair seo a chumhdach.”

Dúirt Íseáia:
Cuirigí ceirín figí ar an neascóid agus tiocfaidh biseach air.”
Dúirt Hiziciá: “Cén comhartha a bheidh agam go rachaidh mé suas go Teampall an Tiarna?”
D’fhreagair Íseáia:
“Seo duit ón Tiarna an comhartha go ndéanfaidh sé an rud a dúirt sé.
Bí ag coimhéad scáth na gréine ar chéimeanna Áchaz, tabharfaidh mé air filleadh deich gcéimeanna ar ais.”

Agus d’fhill an ghrian ar ais na deich gcéimeanna a bhí sí tar éis a dhul síos.

Briathar an Tiarna            Buíochas le Dia

Salm le Freagra            Is 38
Freagra                             Is tú a shábháil mé ar dhuibheagán an neamhní .
1. Bhí mé á rá: i mbláth mo mhaitheasa ní foláir dom imeacht liom
go geataí Seól síos; is ann a choinneofar mé ar feadh a bhfanann agam de bhlianta.                      Freagra

2. Bhí mé á rá: Ní fheicfidh mé an Tiarna níos mó i dtír na mbeo,
ní fheicfidh mé a thuilleadh aon duine de mhuintir an tsaoil seo.                                                      Freagra

3. Tá m’áit chónaithe bainte dhíom, tá sí stoite ar nós an phubaill a bhíonn ag aoirí;
mar a dhéanfadh fíodóir, tá mo shaol cornta suas agat, agus tú ar tí an uige a ghearradh.             Freagra

4. Ach, a Thiarna, ina dhiaidh sin beidh m’anam beo i do chuideachta;
is tú a thabharfaidh suaimhneas do mo spiorad. Beidh fáil ar théarnamh agam agus fadú saoil.   Freagra

Go raibh an Tiarna libh.            Agus le do spiorad féin
Sliocht as an Soiscéal naofa de réir Naomh Matha      12:1-8
Tá Mac an Duine ina mháistir ar an tsabóid.

San aimsir sin ghabh Íosa trí na goirt arbhair lá sabóide.
Bhí ocras ar a dheisceabail, agus thosaigh siad ag stoitheadh na ndias agus á n-ithe.
Chonaic na Fairisínigh é sin agus dúirt siad:
Féach, tá do dheisceabail ag déanamh ruda nach dleathach a dhéanamh lá sabóide.”

Dúirt sé leo:
“An ea nár léigh sibh mar a rinne Dáiví é nuair a bhí ocras air féin agus ar a chompánaigh? Conas mar a chuaigh sé isteach I dteach Dé agus mar a d’ith builíní na fianaise, siúd is nár dhleathach dó féin ná dá chompánaigh iad a ithe, ach do na sagairt amháin. Nó fós, nár léigh sibh sa dlí, na sagairt sa Teampall lá sabóide, go sáraíonn siad an tsabóid agus nach mbíonn locht ar bith orthu?

Ach deirim libh, tá ní anseo is mó ná an Teampall. Agus dá mb’eol daoibh a chiall siúd: ‘Trócaire is áil liom agus ní íobairt,’ ní dhaorfadh sibh na daoine atá gan locht.
Óir tá Mac an Duine ina mháistir ar an tsabóid.

Soiscéal an Tiarna.       Moladh duit, a Chriost 

© An Sagart
Liturgical Readings for: Sunday, 21st July, 2024

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Jesus has compassion on the crowd that has need of teaching and guidance. His teaching is given with authority, it is confirmed by miracles. It brings together those who share his message. The Church always needs shepherds who are prepared to teach and build up the unity of the flock.

FIRST READING               

A reading from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah        23:1-6
The remnant of my flock I will gather and I will raise up shepherds to look after them.

'Doom for the shepherds who allow the flock of my pasture to be destroyed and scattered' - it is the Lord who speaks! This, therefore, is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds in charge of my people:
You have let my flock be scattered and go wandering and have not taken care of them. Right, I will take care of you for your misdeeds - it is the Lord who speaks!
But the remnant of my flock I myself will gather from all the countries where I have dispersed them, and will bring them back to their pastures: they shall be fruitful and increase in numbers.
I will raise up shepherds to look after them and pasture them; no fear, no terror for them any more;
not one shall be lost - it is the Lord who speaks!

god's shepSee, the days are coming - it is the Lord who speaks
when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,
who will reign as true king and be wise,
practising honesty and integrity in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel dwell in confidence.
And this is the name he will be called:
'The Lord-Our-Integrity.'

The Word of the Lord.     Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm        Ps 22.
Response                      The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

1. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.                                  Response

2. He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.     Response

3. You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.                                     Response

4. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.                                              Response


A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians        2:13-18
Christ Jesus is the peace between us, and has made the two into one.

J unifies usIn Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law.

This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God. In his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.

The Word of the Lord.                   Thanks be to God.

Gospel  Acclamation                Jn 10:27  
Alleluia, alleluia!
The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord,
I know them and they follow me.


The Lord be with you              And with your spirit.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark       6:30-34            Glory to you, O Lord.
They were like sheep without a shepherd.

sheep in dangerThe apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them,
'You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while';
for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them.

o as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

The Gospel of the Lord.       Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ


For homily resources for this Sunday's Gospel click here:  https://www.catholicireland.net/sunday-homily/

Scripture texts taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published and copyright 1966 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.
Liturgical Readings for: Sunday, 21st July, 2024

Sliocht as Leabhar Irimia, Fáidh.    23:1-6
Cruinneoidh mé féin fuüleach ma thréada agus cuirfidh mé aoirí gcionn a bheathóidh iad.

“Is mairg do na haoirí a ligeann do chaoirigh m’innilte imeacht ar aimhleas agus ar fán" – an Tiarna a labhraíonn.
Dá bhrí sin, is é seo a deir an Tiarna, Dia Iosrael, I dtaobh na n-aoirí a bheathaíonn mo phobal: Lig sibh scaipeadh agus seachrán a theacht ar mo thréad agus níor thug aon aire dóibh. Féach, agróidh mise oraibhse olc bhur ngníomhartha – an Tiarna a labhraíonn. Ach cruinneoidh mé féin fuílleach mo thréada as gach uile thír inar dhíbir mé iad, agus tabharfaidh mé ar ais iad chun a dtalamh féaraigh: beidh siad síolmhar agus méadófar iad. Cuirfidh mé aoirí os a gcionn a bheathóidh iad; ní bheidh eagla orthu níos mó, ná uamhan; ní bheidh easnamh arbith orthu – an Tiarna a labhraíonn.; god's shep

'Feach, tá na laethanta ag teacht – an Tiarna a labhraíonn –
agus ardóidh mé do Dháiví beangán fíréanta;
rialóidh sé ina rí go críonna,
agus déanfaidh sé breithiúnas agus ceart sa talamh.
Ina laethanta siúd sábhálfar Iúdá agus cónóidh Iosrael faoi dhóchas.
Is é seo an t-ainm a bhéarfar air: An Tiarna ár bhfíréantacht.'

Briathar an Tiarna               Buíochas le Dia.  

Salm le Freagra                Sm 22
Freagra                                Is é an Tiarna m'aoire, ní bheidh aon ní de dhíth orm.

I. Is é an Tiarna m'aoire, ní bheidh aon ní de dhíth orm.
Cuireann sé i mo luí mé  i móinéar féaruaithne.
Seolann sé ar imeall an uisce mé,mar a bhfaighim suaimhneas.          Freagra

2. Seolann sé mé ar rianta díreacha mar gheall ar a ainm.
Fiú dá siúlfainn i ngleann an dorchadais, níor bhaol liom an t-olc
agus tú faram le do shlat is do bhachall chun sólás a thabhairt dom.  Freagra

3. Cóiríonn tú bord chun béile dom i bhfianaise mo naimhde;
Ungann tú mo cheann le hola; tá mo chupán ag cur thar maoil.          Freagra

4. Leanfaidh cineáltas is fabhar mé gach uile lá de mo shaol.
I dteach an Tiarna a mhairfidh mé go brách na breithe.                        Freagra

DARA LÉACHT           

Sliocht as céad Litir Naomh Pól chuig na hEifísigh        2:13-18
Is eisean ár gceann réitigh: is é a rinne aon bhuíonon amháin den dá phobal.

J unifies usA bhráithre, tá sibh i gCríost Íosa; sibhse a bhí tráth I bhfad i gcéin, tá sibh tagtha i ngaire de bharr fhuil Chríost. Mar is eisean ár síocháin; is é a rinne aon bhuíon amháin den dá phobal nuair a leag sé ar lár an balla deighilte, an naimhdeas ina cholainn, agus chuir ar ceal an dlí agus a chuid aitheanta agus forálacha d’fhonn aon duine nua amháin a dhéanamh den bheirt ann féin trí shíocháin a dhéanamh eatarthu, agus an dá bhuíon a thabhairt chun athmhuintearais le Dia in aon chorp amháin leis an gcrois ar ar chuir sé an naimhdeas chun báis.

Tháinig sé ag fógairt dea-scéal na síochána daoibhse a bhí i bhfad uaidh agus dóibh sin a bhí ina chóngar; mar is tríd atá teacht againn araon ar an Athair faoi luí an aon Spioraid.

Briathar an Tiarna            Buíochas le Dia.  

Alleluia Véarsa             Eo 10: 27
Alleluia, alleluia!
Éisteann mo chaoirigh le mo ghlór,a deir the Tiarna
agus aithním iad, agus leanann siad mé.


Go raibh an Tiarna libh.              Agus le do spiorad féin
Sliocht as Soiscéal naofa de réir Naomh Marcas,    6:30-34             Glóir duit, a Thiarna.
Bhí siad mar a bheadh caoirigh gan aoire.

sheep in dangerSan am sin tháinig na haspail le chéile timpeall ar Íosa agus d’inis siad dó a raibh déanta acu agus a raibh de theagasc tugtha acu. Dúirt sé leo:
Tagaigí sibhse go dtí áit uaigneach ar leithligh agus glacaigí bhur suaimhneas tamall” – óir bhí mórán daoine ag teacht agus ag imeacht agus ní raibh am chun bia féin acu.

D’imigh siad leo i mbád go dtí áit uaigneach ar leithligh. Agus chonaic mórán ag imeacht iad agus d’aithin siad iad, agus rith siad ann dá gcois as na cathracha uile agus bhain siad an áit amach rompu.

Ag teacht i dtír dó chonaic sé slua mór, agus ghlac sé trua dóibh mar go raibh siad mar a bheadh caoirigh gan aoire, agus thosaigh sé ag muineadh mórán nithe dóibh.

Soiscéal an Tiarna.       Moladh duit, a Chriost

Machtnamh ar Bhriathar Dé dia Domhnaigh

Aoirí don aimsear láithreach

I ngach réimse inniú tá géarchéim údaráis ann. Díreach mar gheall ar bheith i gceannas ní chinntíonn dé a thuilleadh géilliúntais dílseacht agus neamhcheistiú. An ceannaire oiriúnach do’n lá atá inniu ann, ní mór dóibh bheith ábalta meas agus iontaobhas a ghiniúint, duine de dhearcadh freagrachta soiléir, ar féidir leis (nó léí) rudaí a cchur chun cinn gan dearmad a dhéanamh ar mothúcháin daoine eile. Is iad na haoirí sa chreideamh daoine a thugann aire do dhaoine eile (Jeremiah); ceannairí a chuidíonn linn leanúint ar an mbealach ceart (Salm), agus a thaispeánann trua ar dhaoine eile ina laige (Soiscéal). Ní bhaineann an íomhá an aoire leis na heaspaig mar tréadaithe oifigiúla agus oidhrí na n’aspal, nó leis na sagairt pharóiste amháin. Baineann glaochaint an aoire ar shlí éigean le gach cineál ceannaireachta, sa réimse teaghlaigh agus sóisialta chomh maith agus le cúrsaí creidimh. Tugann focal Dé cuiúinn inniu scrúdú a dhéanamh ar an gcineál ceannaireachta a chuireann muid féin ar fáil do dhaoine eile

Pádraig Ó Rúairí, cp,
Sliabh Argus, Átha Cliath.

© An Sagart