9th September, Tuesday, Week 23

Saint Ciaran, abbot.

Ciarán (or Kieran) was a 6th-century saint from County Roscommon (possibly 516-546) who studied under Saint Finian of Clonard before going on to be the founding abbot of Clonmacnoise on the river Shannon. He is sometimes called Ciarán the Younger to distinguish him from the other 6th-century Saint Ciarán who was bishop of Ossory. Clonmacnoise became a great centre of learning, remembered in Rolleston’s poem as: “In a quiet water’d land, a land of roses, stands Saint Kieran’s city fair; and the warriors of Erin in their famous generations slumber there.”

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

(A community of people sanctified by Jesus must preserve high standards of love and respect.)

When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Gospel: Luke 6:12-19

(Jesus spends the night in prayer and afterwards calls the twelve; then teaches and heals.)

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Night’s Potential

Night can be a time of violence and death, as well as of rebirth and new awareness. At night some people lose their healthy inhibitions and self-control, and it can be dangerous to go anywhere near certain areas just as the bars are closing. Saint Paul tends to link the idea of darkness to a list of sins which he found or suspected in Corinth: fornication, idolatry, adultery, sodomy, thievery, miserliness, drunkenness, slander and the rest. Their main sin, in his view, is disunity and their willingness to offend one another, He singles out the scandal of mistrust and deceit in the Corinthian church, so that members feel obliged to take their problems and disputes to secular law courts. Indignantly he expects more of baptised Christians.

But night can also be a time of profound, silent prayer. Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God. Silent prayer of such intense surrender turns into a dynamic time of new life. “Even when you were dead in sin, God gave you new life in company with Christ.” After being restored by the night of prayer, at daybreak he called his disciples and selected twelve of them to be his apostles. Jesus proceeded to share his life by teaching and by healing all who came to him. “Power went out from him which cured all.”

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