Come before the Lord, singing with joy.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St John Jones (- 1598)
He was a novice at the Franciscan convent in Greenwich, but when this was dissolved in 1559 he had to move to France, where he took his final vows. Later he joined the Roman province of the Franciscan Order and in 1592, at his own request, he went on a mission to England. He was arrested on false charges in 1596 and severely tortured. In 1598 he was tried and convicted of being a priest and on 12 July he was executed. Despite the deliberately early hour chosen for the execution, a large crowd gathered, to which he preached before being hanged, drawn and quartered.
St John Jones (c.1540-1598)
John Jones (known also as John Buckley, John Griffith and Godfrey Maurice) was born in Clynnog Fawr in Wales, about 1540, into a Welsh family which had remained true to the Catholic faith. As a young man, he entered the Franciscan house at Greenwich. Eventually he went to Rome and asked to be sent to England. He reached London at the end of 1592, and worked for some years in different parts of the country. His brother Franciscans in England elected him their provincial. In 1596 the ‘priest catcher’ Richard Topcliffe was informed by a spy that Father Jones had visited two Catholics and had said Mass in their house. He was promptly arrested, tortured and scourged. He was then imprisoned for nearly two years. On 3 July 1598 he was tried on the charge of “going over the seas in the first year of Her Majesty’s reign (1558) and there being made a priest by the authority from Rome and then returning to England contrary to statute”. He was convicted of high treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. By this time people were becoming sympathetic to the Catholic victims of these awful butcheries, so the execution was arranged for an early hour in the morning in order to escape notice. In spite of the earliness of the hour, a large crowd had gathered. John Jones spoke to the crowd, reminding them that he was dying for his faith alone and had no political interest. His dismembered remains were fixed on the poles on the roads to Newington and Lambeth, they were removed by some young Catholic gentlemen, one of whom suffered a long imprisonment for this offence.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
Liturgical colour: green
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Galatians 5:13-14 ©|
My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Galatians 5:16-17 ©|
Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Galatians 5:22,23,25 ©|
What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.