Abbo St Antony, Abbot (251 – 356)
St Antony is the originator of the monastic life. He was born in Egypt: when his parents died, he listened to the words of the Gospel and gave all his belongings to the poor. He lived to be over a hundred years old, and died in 356.
Entrance Antiphon Cf. Ps 91: 13-14
The just will flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a Lebanon cedar, planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
O God, who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony to serve you by a wondrous way of life in the desert, grant, through his intercession, that, denying ourselves, we may always love you above all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Hebrews 3:7-14
The Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts, as happened in the Rebellion, on the Day of Temptation in the wilderness, when your ancestors challenged me and tested me, though they had seen what I could do for forty years. That was why I was angry with that generation and said: How unreliable these people who refuse to grasp my ways! And so, in anger, I swore that not one would reach the place of rest I had for them. Take care, brothers, that there is not in any one of your community a wicked mind, so unbelieving as to turn away from the living God. Every day, as long as this ‘today’ lasts, keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the lure of sin, because we shall remain co-heirs with Christ only if we keep a grasp on our first confidence right to the end.
R/ O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’
- Come in; let us bow and bend low; let us kneel before the God who made us: for he is our God and we the people who belong to his pasture, the flock that is led by his hand.
- O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.
- For forty years I was wearied of these people and I said: “Their hearts are astray, these people do not know my ways.” Then I took an oath in my anger: “Never shall they enter my rest.”’
Gospel Acclamation : Ps 118:88
Alleluia, alleluia!Because of your love give me life, and I will do your will. Alleluia!
Gospel : Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.
Prayer over the Offerings
May these offerings of our service, placed on your altar in commemoration of Saint Anthony, be acceptable to you, O Lord, we pray, and grant that, released from earthly attachments, we may have our riches in you alone. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon Cf. Mt 19: 21
If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have, give to the poor, and follow me, says the Lord.
Prayer after Communion
Nourished for our healing by your Sacraments, O Lord, may we escape every snare of the enemy unharmed, just as by your grace Saint Anthony won glorious victories over the powers of darkness. Through Christ our Lord.
“O that today, you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’” These words of the psalm which are quoted in the First Reading, capture a central theme of Christianity, which is obedience. Obedience is what makes the difference between children of God and children of the devil. The Christian is the one who hears God’s Word and obeys it. If we disobey God, then we cannot claim to be his children; we are on the side of darkness. The Israelites disobeyed God in the desert, even though they saw his wonders; the man who was healed by Jesus disobeyed Jesus’ instructions and the spread the news of his healing. You have heard God’s Word and you have seen his wonders in your life; are you going to obey him or not? Harden not your heart!