Sunday, 4 July 2021

Small books, large empires,
campaigning newspapers:
anniversaries for thinking

Ludwig Wittgenstein and his Limerick-born interpreter Elizabeth Anscombe

Patrick Comerford

The ‘Decade of Centenaries’ has moved to a new phase this year, with commemorations – among others – of the centenaries of the opening of the Stormont Parliament, the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the formation of the Irish Free State in 1921, and partition.

This year also marks the centenary of the publication of a short book. The name of the book – Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus – is not punchy, and the centenary edition is unlikely to appear on best-selling lists this year or to find its way into the decorations of shop windows. But this book has changed philosophy for ever.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was a Viennese-born Cambridge philosopher who had been influenced at an early stage by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. He worked primarily in the fields of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.

In his lifetime, Wittgenstein published just this one small, 75-page book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921), one article, one book review and a children’s dictionary. His major work, Philosophical Investigations, was not published until two years after his death.

After World War I, and following the publication and translation of his Tractatus, he returned to Cambridge in 1929. There he met Dr Maurice O’Connor ‘Con’ Drury (1907-1976), then an ordinand in Westcott House, the Anglican theological college in Cambridge.

Con Drury was instrumental in arranging the philosopher’s many visits to Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s. During those visits, he stayed at Ross’s Hotel, now the Ashling Hotel in Parkgate Street, Dublin, in Kilpatrick House in Red Cross, Co Wicklow, as a guest of the Kingston family, and at the Drury family cottage in Kinvara, Co Galway.

Wittgenstein enjoyed strolling in the Phoenix Park and the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, where a plaque on steps in the Great Palm House recall that he liked to sit and write there in the late 1940s. He returned to Cambridge and died in 1951.

Westcott House, Cambridge … an encounter with Con Drury brought Wittgenstein to Ireland (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

* * *

One of his best-known students was Professor Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (1919-2001). She was born in Limerick and baptised in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, and became one of the greatest English philosophers of the 20th century.

She was Ludwig Wittgenstein’s student and one of his literary executors. She became an authority on his work, editing and translating many of his writings, including his Philosophical Investigations.

Elizabeth Anscombe was Professor of Philosophy in the University of Cambridge from 1970 to 1986. When she died 20 years ago, she was buried in a grave in Cambridge beside the plot where Wittgenstein was buried half a century earlier.

Bertrand Russell said Wittgenstein was ‘the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived.’ Iris Murdoch’s debut novel centred on a line from the Tractatus. His influence reaches almost every discipline in the humanities and social sciences, and he has influenced many current Anglican theologians, including Andrew Davison and Alison Milbank.

Events to mark the centenary of the Tractatus include an international symposium of philosophers, an exhibition in Vienna and new editions in German and English.

Wittgenstein was a guest of the Kingston family in Kilpatrick House in Red Cross, Co Wicklow (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

German identity after
150 years of unification


As Angela Merkel steps down in September after 16 years as Chancellor of Germany, there are concerns about the rise of the far-right in Germany and questions about whether Germany can remain the powerhouse of the European Union.

Angela Merkel’s enduring presence on the European stage makes it difficult to remember that Germany is a new state, by European standards, and modern Germany only exists since German unification 150 years ago.

The Unification of Germany formally took place on 18 January 1871 at the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, following Bismarck’s humiliation of France in the Franco-Prussian War. William of Prussia was proclaimed the Emperor of the German Empire, and Berlin became the capital of the new Germany.

German national identity only developed in the 19th century, and German Unification postdates, for example, the proclamation of the modern Italian state (1861), the formation of the modern Greek state (1827), the Act of Union (1801), and the French Revolution (1789).

German colonies were spread across Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Between 50% and 70% of the Herero population in in German South-West Africa (Namibia) was exterminated in 1904. It became known as the Herero and Namaqua Genocide, and was an act of racist savagery that seemed unique at the time. But it became the forerunner of the Turkish genocide of Armenians and Pontic Greeks, and then, in the 1930s and 1940s, the Holocaust and the attempted genocide of Jews.

The Brandenburg Gate … a symbol of both German unification and German imperialism (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

* * *

Writing recently in the New Statesman, Richard J Evans, former Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University, observed: ‘It is a curious fact that if you say Germany was not exclusively or even primarily responsible for the outbreak of war in 1914, you are regarded as left wing in Britain and right wing in Germany.’

Wilhelm II, the last Kaiser, was forced off the throne in the November revolution after Germany’s defeat in World War I. He went into exile in the Netherlands where he spent the rest of his life, and the German colonial empire came to an end in 1919.

Members of the Hohenzollern family, the Prussian royal family, openly identified with the Nazis in the 1930s. The public backing of ‘Crown Prince’ Wilhelm for the Nazis in 1932 and 1933 was a significant influence in persuading large numbers of monarchist Germans to vote for Hitler and to support the Third Reich. The ex-Kaiser’s fourth son, August Wilhelm, became a Nazi stormtrooper.

The Hohenzollern family has recently emerged from decades of obscurity and has initiated a number of legal battles to recover what they claim is family property, including castles, estates and art works.

As Professor Evans wrote, ‘A decision in their favour would mean in effect ignoring their ancestors’ collaboration with the Nazis’ and ‘undermine the Federal Republic’s continuing and, so far, largely successful efforts to come to terms with the Nazi past.’

Continuity and identity remain problems for Germany, even 150 years after German unification.

The Hohenzollern crypt in Berlin Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

200 years of
‘Guardian’ journalism


For the past 50 years, I have been a daily reader of The Guardian, which is celebrating its bicentenary this year.

It is 200 years since a four-page weekly first appeared in Manchester in 1821. Since then, the Manchester Guardian has become The Guardian, and has published more than 54,000 editions, and several million pieces of journalism, including news reports, leaders, opinion articles, interviews, reviews, photographs and cartoons.

In its own words, The Guardian is ‘older than Germany, fish’n’chips, the FA Cup and Texas.’

At the beginning of the last century, the campaigning owner-editor, CP Scott, supported Irish Home Rule and opposed the Boer War. In 1914, the Guardian warned that a rush to war would be ‘a crime against Europe.’

Since then, the Guardian has embraced social justice, workers’ rights, redistributive economics, fairness, environmental concern, a measure of pacifism, an inclination for an underdog and a good sense of humour.

Sarah Tisdall leaked documents in 1983 revealing where cruise missiles would be deployed at Greenham Common. The Guardian was taken to court, and then editor Peter Preston, gave back the incriminating evidence – to the dismay of staff and readers. It was not the Guardian’s finest hour: Tisdall was jailed, and Preston later conceded he should have destroyed the documents at the outset.

The Guardian was first published in 1821 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

* * *

Some of its finest hours include taking on Jonathan Aitken in 1995. Aitken vowed to strike the Guardian down with the ‘trusty shield of British fair play’ and ‘the sword of truth.’ But determined journalists uncovered the supporting evidence they needed when they found key receipts in the basement of a bankrupt Swiss hotel.

Aitken had been receiving pay-offs from the Saudis, and when he was jailed for perjury for 18 months, the Guardian front-page headline proclaimed: ‘He lied and lied and lied.’ Niall Hamilton brought a £10 million libel case, but the evidence exposed him as liar and a cheat and brought an end to the ‘cash for questions’ case.

Chris McGreal witnessed genocide in Rwanda. Maggie O’Kane and Ed Vulliamy revealed the horrors of the siege of Sarajevo and the death camps in Bosnia.

Ewan McAskill told the story of Edward Snowden, the NSA files and in the biggest intelligence leak, uncovering the scale of western surveillance, and the Guardian played a pivotal role in the 2010 Wikileaks and in revealing the ‘Panama Papers.’

The newspaper that gave us memorable ‘typos’ such as a man named Brian who died of a ‘brian tumour’ also gave us the best-ever April Fools’ Day joke with a seven-page supplement on the attractions of San Serriffe on 1 April 1977.

Local newspapers are folding up and dying in England. The Lichfield Mercury, where I was a freelance contributor 50 years ago, began in 1815 but finally came to an end last year. The Guardian is constantly adapting to new circumstances and markets; hopefully, it has another 200 years of campaigning journalism ahead of it.

A special cartoon by Posy Symmonds celebrates 200 years of Guardian journalism

This feature was first published in the July 2021 edition of the ‘Church Review’ (Dublin and Glendalough.

Sunday intercessions on
4 July 2021, Trinity V

‘He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts’ (Mark 6: 8) … figures carrying heavy bags in a shop window in Santiago de Compostela (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Let us pray:

‘We have waited on your loving-kindness, O God … your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is full of justice’ (Psalm 48: 9-10):

Heavenly Father,
as we journey through this world,
we pray for the world, for the kingdoms and the nations of the world,
especially those nations torn by war, conflict, injustice and oppression.

We pray for justice, mercy and peace,
for all prisoners, especially prisoners of conscience,
for an end to hatred, oppression and gender violence,
that your praise may reach to the ends of the earth,
that they may know your right hand is full of justice.

We pray for Ireland, north and south,
We give thanks for all who are responding
to the pandemic crisis …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

‘He … began to send them out two by two … So they went out and proclaimed’ (Mark 6: 7, 12):

Lord Jesus Christ,
we pray for the Church,
that we may be a pilgrim church, growing in faith, in hope, and in love.

We pray for our Bishop Kenneth as he prepares to retire,
we give thanks for his faithful and caring ministry,
we pray for our neighbouring churches and parishes,
and people of faith everywhere,
that we may be blessed in our variety and diversity.

In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray this week for the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea,
and the Acting Archbishop of Papua New Guinea
the Right Revd Nathan Ingen, Bishop of Aipo Rongo.

In the Church of Ireland this month,
we pray for the Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry,
with which we will be united,
and for Bishop Patrick Rooke as he prepares to retire.

In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for those living with disability in our diocese,
that they may experience the healing touch of Christ.

We pray for our own parishes and people …
and we pray for ourselves …

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

‘God has shown himself to be a sure refuge’ (Psalm 48: 4):

Holy Spirit,
We pray that you may dwell with us in the pilgrimage of life.

We pray for one another …
we pray for those we love and those who love us …
we pray for our families, friends and neighbours …
and we pray for those we promised to pray for …

We pray for those who feel rejected and discouraged …
we pray for all in need and those who seek healing …

We pray for those who are sick or isolated,
at home or in hospital …

Ruby … Arthur … Ann … Daphne … Sylvia … Ajay … Adam …

We pray for all who grieve and mourn at this time …
for all who are broken-hearted,
trying to come to terms with the loss of loved ones,
including the Casey family …
We remember and give thanks for those who have died …
May their memories be a blessing …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

A prayer from the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) on the Fifth Sunday after Trinity:

Heavenly Father,
Give us the strength to heal inequalities.
May we work together so that all can be healthy,
In body and soul.

Merciful Father …

‘He … began to send them out two by two’ (Mark 6: 7) … two walkers in the narrow streets of San Marino (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Setting out with no bags
on the journey of life as
a pilgrim and a disciple

‘He … began to send them out two by two’ (Mark 6: 7) … two walkers on the beach in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, at the end of the day (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday 4 July 2021

The Fifth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity V)

9.30: The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion II), Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick

11.30: Morning Prayer, Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin, Tarbert, Co Kerry

The Readings: II Samuel 5: 1-5, 9-10 Psalm 48; Mark 6: 1-13.

There is a link to the readings HERE

When I set out on journeys, too often I take too much with me … ‘A Case History’ or ‘The Hope Street Suitcases’ by John King in Liverpool (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

May I speak to you in the name of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen

I got my second Astra Zeneca injection on Friday, and I am now hoping that I can travel once again within the next few weeks or months.

So, I am interested in some of the travel advice that I find in this morning’s readings.

In the Gospel reading (Mark 6: 1-13), we are challenged in the Church, as Christians, to see how being sent by God is always being in service and as being part of the ‘Sent Community.’

In addition, as we are sent, we are called to trust both in God and in those from whom we receive resources and support for our work. This applies, of course, not just to bishops and priests, but to all who seek to follow Christ and live as citizens of God’s Kingdom.

What do you take with you on a journey?

If you can bring your mind back to pre-pandemic times, ask yourself what are the essential items you packed in your case?

Was it a small bag for an overhead cabin on a Ryanair flight and a short overnight stay?

Or was it a large suitcase or two for a two-week summer holiday, filled with towels, sun cream and swimwear?

Apart from my passport, the requisite toothbrush, plastic cards, phone chargers, presents for hosts and friends, and changes of clothes and sandals, I always need to take my laptop and more than enough reading: books, magazine, journals and newspapers.

And I always regret that I have packed too much – not because I do not wear all those T-shorts or read each and every one of those books, but because I find there is not enough room for all the books I want to take back with me, and because restrictions on overhead bags often mean I cannot return with a bottle of local wine.

In this Gospel reading, as the disciples prepare for their journey, we might expect them to take with them an extra wineskin, an extra tunic, an extra pair of sandals, some water, some spending money.

But Christ tells the disciples, as he sends them out in mission, two-by-two, to take nothing for their journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money, no spare shoes, no change of tunic, no coins for tips in the taverns or inns where they stay and eat.

Perhaps the disciples set out filled with doubts and uncertainty, full of fear and anxiety, rather than with full suitcases.

But what the disciples would soon learn is that for the people they are going to encounter along the way, it is not food or money or clothes that they need most. What those people need most, like the women in last Sunday’s Gospel reading (Mark 5: 21-43), is healing. And so, Christ requires the disciples to give what is the hardest thing in the world for us to give: the hardest thing to give is ourselves.

Sometimes, the moments when we put aside the comforts of home and step into uncertainty and risk are moments when we find we are closest to God.

Perhaps this Gospel reading is challenging me to ask myself: What baggage have I been dragging along with me in life, on my journey of faith?

Have I been carrying this baggage around not because I need it, but because I am comfortable with it?

What unnecessary junk am I still carrying around with me in life that I ought to have left behind long ago?

For the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933), in his poem ‘Ithaka’ (1911), the beginning of the journey is as important as the end itself, the journey as important as the destination.

In this poem, Cavafy transforms Homer’s account of the return of Odysseus from the Trojan War to his home island, and, after a long absence finding Ithaka disappointing.

Cavafy tells Odysseus that arriving in Ithaka is what he is destined for, that he must keep that always in mind: one’s destiny, the inevitable end of the journey, is a thing to be faced for what it is, without illusions.

The meaning of Ithaka is in the voyage home that it inspired. It is not reaching home or again escaping its limitations once there that should occupy Odysseus so much as those elevated thoughts and rare excitement that are a product of the return voyage:

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Πάντα στον νου σου νάχεις την Ιθάκη.
Το φθάσιμον εκεί είν’ ο προορισμός σου.
Aλλά μη βιάζεις το ταξείδι διόλου.
Καλλίτερα χρόνια πολλά να διαρκέσει
και γέρος πια ν’ αράξεις στο νησί,
πλούσιος με όσα κέρδισες στον δρόμο,
μη προσδοκώντας πλούτη να σε δώσει η Ιθάκη.

Η Ιθάκη σ’ έδωσε τ’ ωραίο ταξείδι.
Χωρίς αυτήν δεν θάβγαινες στον δρόμο.
Άλλα δεν έχει να σε δώσει πια.

Κι αν πτωχική την βρεις, η Ιθάκη δεν σε γέλασε.
Έτσι σοφός που έγινες, με τόση πείρα,
ήδη θα το κατάλαβες η Ιθάκες τι σημαίνουν

Christ sends his disciples out, as he has been sent, with no real resources, but ready to rely on the hospitality of others for their basic needs, and depending on God for the power to fulfil their mission.

We are challenged to embrace the call of God, and go out as servants of Christ in dependence on God’s resources, God’s strength, to sustain us.

There is no shortage of work to be done in the world today. The issues of justice are many and diverse and require people of passion, commitment and with a sense of being ‘called’ or being ‘sent.’

But, for justice to become a reality in this world, in our country, in our communities, there must be a sense in which all the individual initiatives connect and form part of a larger whole. It is not just as individuals that we are sent out into the world, but we are sent out as groups and communities. As we work together, each with our own particular gifts or focus, we can make a significant difference.

Now that I have had my second vaccination, perhaps I should be planning to take up my walking stick, dust off my sandals and set off on that journey into God’s abundance. It is the journey of following Christ that is the most important journey I can make in life.

And so, may all we think, say and do be to the praise, honour and glory of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

‘He ordered them … to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics’ (Mark 6: 8-9) … sandals in a shopfront in Rethymnon, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 6: 1-13 (NRSVA):

1 He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. 2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

‘He … began to send them out two by two’ (Mark 6: 7) … two walkers set out into the light of day in Porto (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Liturgical colour: Green.

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
Hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Collect of the Word:

O Lord our God,
you are always more ready to bestow your gifts upon us
than we are to seek them;
and more willing to give than we desire or deserve:
in our every need,
grant us the first and best of all your gifts,
the Spirit who makes us your children.

Post-Communion Prayer:

Holy and blessed God,
as you give us the body and blood of your Son,
guide us with your Holy Spirit,
that we may honour you not only with our lips
but also with our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue’ (Mark 6: 2) … inside Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Chania, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Hymns:

529, Thy hand, O God, has guided (CD 30)
618, Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy (CD 35)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.



Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
36, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Saint Peter’s Basilica, as a work of architecture, is the greatest building of its age (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During this time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

Today is the Fifth Sunday after Trinity (Trinity V). Later this morning I am hoping to preside at the Parish Eucharist in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick, and to preach at Morning Prayer in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry.

Last week my photographs were of seven monasteries in Crete. This morning (4 July 2021), my photographs are from Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, introducing a week illustrated with photographs of churches in Rome.

Earlier in this series, on Tuesday in Holy Week (30 March 2021), I introduced the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, one is my favourite churches in Rome.

Queues line up in Saint Peter’s Square in pre-pandemic days to visit Saint Peter’s Basilica (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The imposing size of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the history of the Papal power make it difficult to grasp that the Vatican has been a sovereign state for less than 80 years and that it is such a tiny independent entity.

The three Lateran treaties in 1929 established the territorial extent of the new state, which is totally landlocked within the City of Rome by a land border of 3.2 km. With a land area of 0.44 sq km (108.7 acres), the Vatican State is comparable in size to a small farm in Ireland and easily outpaced by Europe’s next smallest states, Monaco and San Marino.

The sovereign territory is so tiny that any visitor to Saint Peter’s and the Vatican Museums visits the state many times over, constantly stepping in and out of Vatican and Italian territory.

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican (Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano) was designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Saint Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world.

Despite popular perceptions, this is not the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome – this title continues to be held by the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. But Saint Peter’s remains one of the holiest places in the Roman Catholic Church and in world Christianity. Catholic shrines.

Tradition says this is the burial site of Saint Peter, and Saint Peter's tomb is said to be directly below the high altar. Many popes have been buried at Saint Peter’s since the Early Christian period.

A church has stood on this site since the time of Constantine the Great. The construction of the present basilica began in 1506, was completed in 1615, and it was consecrated in 1626. As a work of architecture, it is the greatest building of its age. It is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of major basilica, all four of which are in Rome, the other three being Saint John Lateran, Saint Mary Major, and Saint Paul outside the Walls.

Swiss Guards on duty at the top of the steps of Saint Peter’s during a Papal audience (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 6: 1-13 (NRSVA):

1 He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. 2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

‘Crossing the Tiber’ from Rome to the Vatican (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (4 July 2021, Trinity V) invites us to pray:

Heavenly Father,
Give us the strength to heal inequalities.
May we work together so that all can be healthy,
In body and soul.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The Dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, seen across the Tiber, towers above the skyline of Rome (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org