Catholic IrelandLiturgical Readings for : Saturday, 4th February, 2023
Next Sunday's Readings
Saturday of Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1
General Themes: The Good Shepherd takes good care of his flock, inspiring us always to do God’s will.
A reading from the letter to the Hebrews 13:15-17. 20-21
May the God of peace, who brought the great Shepherd back from the dead, make you ready to do his will in any kind of good action.
Through Jesus, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, a verbal sacrifice that is offered every time we acknowledge his name. Keep doing good works and sharing your resources, for these are sacrifices that please God.
Obey your leaders and do as they tell you, because they must give an account of the way they look after your souls; make this a joy for them to do, and not a grief – you yourselves would be the losers. We are sure that our own conscience is clear and we are certainly determined to behave honourably in everything we do; pray for us. I ask you very particularly to pray that I may come back to you all the sooner.
I pray that the God of peace, who brought our Lord Jesus back from the dead to become the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood that sealed an eternal covenant, may make you ready to do his will in any kind of good action; and turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.
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
Gospel Acclamation Jn 10: 27
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.
The 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. So 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.
Gospel Reflection Saturday, 4th Feb, Fourth Week in Ordinary Time Mark 6:30–34
You are familiar with the line from Robert Byrne’s poem, ‘To a Mouse’,
‘The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley’ or, in more standard English, ‘often go awry’. We can plan carefully for something, but it doesn’t necessarily happen according to plan. The unforeseen event can knock our plans on the head. Jesus and his disciples seem to have had a similar experience in today’s gospel reading. The disciples had just returned from a successful period of mission. They returned to more ministry. The gospel says that there were so many coming and going that they had no time even to eat. Jesus knew they needed to be by themselves in a lonely place to rest in his company.
As the good shepherd, Jesus planned to lead them to restful waters to revive their drooping spirits. However, this very laudable plan came to nothing. Word got out as to where they were going and, upon arriving, the normally lonely place was full of people. We might have expected Jesus to react angrily. On the contrary, the gospel says he had compassion for the crowd because they were like sheep without a shepherd. The good shepherd discovered that he had a bigger flock to care for than the little flock of his twelve disciples. Jesus understood that God was in the interruption. God was calling to him through the spiritual hunger of the crowd. When our plans don’t work out, it’s not always the disaster we think it is at the time. God can be in the interruption. The collapse of our plans can create a space for the Lord to serve us in ways we had never anticipated. When plans don’t work out, a compassionate, accepting, response, in the spirit of Jesus, is often what is called for.
The Scripture Readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published 1966/7/8 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers. http://dltbooks.com/
The Scripture Reflection is available with our thanks from Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2022-2023: Your word is a lamp for my feet and light for my path by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications c/f www.messenger.ie/bookshop/