Sunday, November 15, 2009


“St. Margaret of Scotland”
Artist and Date UNKNOWN 


Biographical Information about St. Margaret of Scotland[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland

Readings and Commentary:

Isaiah 58:6-11

Thus says the LORD:
This is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.

Commentary on
Is 58:6-11

This passage is from what is known as Deutero-Isaiah. It was written in the latter part of the Babylonian exile (700 BC). Isaiah laments and he chastises the people for missing the point of their fasts of atonement. They perform the rituals and follow the law but then violate the spirit of God’s Law by being uncaring and cruel to each other.

The prophet explains what that spirit is and how it is to impact their actions and closes with the reward for following the spirit of God’s Law – “Your integrity will go before you and the glory of the Lord behind you. Cry, and the Lord will answer; call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’
[3] He goes on to describe the salvific effect of these actions of charity and compassion as being as a light in darkness as rain in parched land. He concludes with what can be seen as baptismal reference (well-spring of holiness) that brings eternal life.

CCC: Is 58:6-7 2447
Psalm 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9

R. (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be might upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

An evil report he shall not fear.
His heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast;
he shall not fear till he looks down upon his foes.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Commentary on
Ps 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9

This hymn of praise and thanksgiving from Psalm 112 commends the people faithful to the Law of Moses. The one who is blameless in the eyes of God has nothing to fear those from his community or others since the Lord is his protector. A repeating theme is the praise of those who are generous to the poor and poor in spirit.

John 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments
and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one's life for one's friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another."

Commentary on
Jn 15:9-17

The discourse on the union of Jesus with his disciples continues. His words become a monologue and go beyond the immediate crisis of Christ’s departure. In this passage Jesus focuses on the chain of love from the Father, through the Son, to his adopted sons and daughters.

There is much made of the use of the difference in the Greek words for"love" used in this discourse. When Jesus says: "No one has greater love than this…" the word agapao (intimate, selfless love) is used, while when he says: "You are my friends…" the word phileo (casual "friendly" (brotherly) type of love) is used. St. John uses the two words synonymously so the message is clear, reiterated at the end of the passage: "Love one another."

St. John also distinguishes the disciples' new relationship with God saying, “I no longer call you slaves…I have called you friends.” Jesus designates the disciples “friends of God.” This designation is supported and defined in other places in sacred scripture. It separates the disciples from Moses, Joshua, and David who carried the designation “Servants of the Lord” (see Deuteronomy 34:5Joshua 24:29, and Psalm 89:21). Calling them “friends” of God establishes the same relationship as that enjoyed by Abraham (see James 2:23): “Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.'"[4] The clear reference was that they, like Abraham, would be patriarchs of the New Covenant.
CCC: Jn 15:9-10 1824; 15:9 1823; 15:12 459, 1823, 1970, 2074; 15:13 363, 609, 614; 15:15 1972, 2347; 15:16-17 2745; 15:16 434, 737, 2615, 2815

The single most consistent virtue of the Saints we memorialize is that they have lived the great commandment of the Lord exquisitely. This is the case of St. Margaret of Scotland. She brought her devotion to God and Christ to a foreign land (although in modern times we might struggle a bit with that notion since Scotland and England are both part of the United Kingdom). She came to a society dominated by ancient Celtic practices and converted first the court a part of which she became and then a country, bringing the Church to prominence.

As the Patron Saint of Scotland, this “evangelization” is that accomplishment for which she is most recognized. For her place of posterity in the Church it is her example of faith in Christ and fidelity to his teachings that wins her the prize of glory.

We pray for her intercession today. May we come to posses the same courageous faith that converted a kingdom, thereby becoming the light of Christ’s love to all we meet.


[1] The picture is “St. Margaret of Scotland” Artist and Date UNKNOWN 
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. 
[3] Translation from the Jerusalem Bible 
[4] St. James synthesizes Isaiah 41:8 and 2 Chronicles 20:7 in which Abraham is called God’s friend.

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