Universalis
Sunday 3 November 2024    (other days)
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Using calendar: England - Portsmouth - Hampshire - Winchester. You can change this.

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord; hail the God who saves us, alleluia.

Year: B(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.

In other years: Blessed John Body (1549 - 1583)

John Body (sometimes spelled Bodey) was born in Wells, Somerset, in 1549, and was a student of Winchester College and New College, Oxford. He became a Fellow in 1568, but was deprived of his fellowship in June 1576. Thereupon he went abroad to study civil law at Douay College, and returned to England in February 1578. Arrested in 1580, he was kept in iron shackles in Winchester gaol, and was condemned to death in Winchester in April 1583 along with Blessed John Slade, a schoolmaster (whose feast is celebrated on 30 October). The verdict was considered unsafe, and both were tried again in Andover on 19 August 1583 and the death sentence confirmed. John Body was hung, drawn and quartered in Andover on 2 November 1583. He was beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
Portsmouth Ordo

In other years: Saint Martin de Porres (1579 - 1639)

He was born in Lima in Peru, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black ex-slave. His mother gave him a Christian education and he became a pharmacist and a nurse. Despite his father’s opposition he entered the Dominican Order as a lay brother in 1603 and spent his life working for the sick and the poor. Many people of all ranks would come to him for advice. He had a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He has been named as a patron saint of those of mixed race.

In other years: St Winefride

Very little is known about her except that she lived in the 6th or 7th century near Treffynon (Holywell) in Clwyd in Wales. Various miraculous stories are told about her, and her cult has been widespread since the Middle Ages. Its main centres were Shrewsbury, where her remains were enshrined in 1138, and the well at Holywell that sprang up where, according to one version of her life, she was beheaded and then restored to life by her uncle, St Beuno. The well has remained a place of healing and pilgrimage through the Reformation to the present day.

Other saints: Saint Malachy (c.1094 - 1190)

Ireland
He was a priest in Armagh and in 1123 he was sent to the abbey of Bangor in Co. Down, then in urgent need of reform, as its abbot. He was made Bishop of Connor in 1124 and did much to revive that neglected diocese. He was appointed Archbishop of Armagh in 1132, with a similar aim, but it took him two years to obtain possession, since the Archbishopric of Armagh had become hereditary, and the family that owned it objected to an outsider taking over. He restored order to the Church and Christian morals to the people, and founded monasteries, including the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland, at Mellifont. On a journey to Rome he stopped at Clairvaux to visit his friend St Bernard, fell sick and died in his arms. See the article in Wikipedia.

Other saints: Blessed Rupert Mayer (1876-1945)

3 Nov (where celebrated)
Rupert Mayer (1876-1945) was born in Stuttgart, Germany, ordained a diocesan priest in 1899, and a year later entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Austria. In 1912 he was assigned to take care of immigrants in Munich. He formed a network of clergy and laity to cooperate in serving the migrants throughout the city, providing them food, clothing, shelter and jobs. He fearlessly opposed the rise of Communism, National Socialism, and Hitler in particular. His protests against the Nazis landed him several times in prison, but he continued to speak out against the régime in his lectures and sermons. He was arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp on November 3 1939, where because of his advanced age he developed heart problems. From late 1944 he was interned at Ettal monastery, the Nazis fearing that he might die in the camps and become a martyr. Liberated in May 1945, he returned to his parish in Munich, where he suffered a brain haemorrhage and died that November.

Today's Gospel: "With all your mind"

Sometimes there is a message for us in some words of the Gospel that even the evangelists don’t notice. There is an example here, hidden in words so uninteresting that we can’t even be sure who said them. Matthew and Mark say Jesus, while Luke says the scribe.
  Jesus (or the scribe) appears to be quoting from the Old Testament, but one phrase does not exist in any text of the Commandments: that we should love the Lord our God with all our mind.
  It is easy not to notice this phrase, and indeed Matthew, Mark and Luke don’t notice it. We know this because normally when Jesus departs from the Old Testament it is noticed, and remarked upon, and made the subject of a whole “But I say to you…” discourse.
  Not here.
  There are two aspects to this. One is what it says about the past, the other is what it says to us. The past is straightforward. The Jews have never been “people of the Book” in the sense of believing in the Bible and nothing but the Bible. They have, it is true, had a peculiar reverence for every sacred word, but they have lived not in unthinking obedience to those words alone but in a dialogue, you might even say in a relationship, with the sacred text. So the fact that “all your mind” appears here, without attracting notice or comment, must mean that it had become a part of the generally accepted interpretation of the words of Scripture. When, centuries after the Pentateuch, the Jews came across the new, Greek ways of thinking – as the Wisdom literature shows that they did – they immediately realised that this new thing called “mind” was included, no doubt about it, in the commandment to love.
  What this says to us is more important than just a footnote in the history of ideas. It is the foundation and justification of all science. God does not command the impossible. If he is to be loved with the mind, that can only be because he is lovable with the mind, or, to detheologize the language, because Ultimate Being can be related to rationally. The Gospel phrase tells us that things make sense and that we have the equipment to make sense of them.
  What does omnipotence mean? Does it mean that the Omnipotent can do anything at all? If that were true, all science would be at an end. If God willed that when I dropped a glass on the floor it would shatter, then even if God had willed the same whenever anyone in the past had ever dropped a glass, that would still not bind God. God would still be free to decide, if I dropped a glass on the floor now, that this particular glass, alone among all the glasses in history, should bounce and not break.
  Which is to say: on this interpretation of divine omnipotence, science is impossible. We cannot predict the result of an experiment, because next time God may decide differently. We cannot even lay down laws of nature based on previous experience, because to call a law a “law” is to claim to be able to bind God, which is blasphemy.
  This is not merely an academic quibble. When the 11th-century Muslim philosopher al-Ghazāli propounded this very idea, it captured the mainstream of Islamic thinking and led to the virtual suicide of science in Islam and the abandonment of rational thinking about the physical world, as being unnecessary, or sacrilegious, or both.
  We are saved from this by this one little phrase in the Gospel, about loving God with all our mind. It is more than mere permission, it is a command to understand, to go out and do science, and it was followed whenever Christians had leisure to think. It led to the dazzling 13th-century renaissance and the birth of modern science, and we are still living through its consequences.
  As for divine omnipotence, this is not the place to go into it in detail, but the answer to al-Ghazāli must surely be that God can indeed make the glass bounce, but God cannot make the glass bounce and still be God, since to break the laws and regularities of nature whimsically and without reason would be to abandon lovability-with-the-mind. This is exactly the argument that theologians use against pointless or frivolous miracles, but it applies to science as well, and to the possibility of doing science at all.

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 orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Romans 8:15-16 ©
The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God.

Noon reading (Sext)Romans 8:22-23 ©
From the beginning until now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

Afternoon reading (None)2 Timothy 1:9 ©
God 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. This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time.

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Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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