READING: Sirach 47:2-11
RESPONSORIAL: Psalms 18:31, 47 and 50, 51
GOSPEL: Mark 6:14-29
Very little is known about the life of St Blaise other than that he was bishop of Sivas in Armenia in the fourth century. Legend has it that he spent time living as a hermit in the hills and that when he was found he was surrounded by sick animals which he cured. For this reason he is made patron saint of wild animals.
Here in Ireland, after Mass today, we all go forward to have out throats blessed. No one knows how this tradition started but the service of blessing throats on this feast has been going on for over a thousand years. In today's sophisticated world, such a simple act of faith reminds us that we are not in control of everything and we still need God's help in some things. It is also a reflection of the Church's healing ministry and our communion with those faithful who have gone before us. These simple traditions show us the continuity of who we are and the faith to which we belong.