St Deogratias (d. 457)
He was an outstanding priest, very much loved and supported by the people because of his charity and preaching. He later became bishop of this diocese of Carthage.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 30: 2, 5
In you, O Lord, I put my trust, let me never be put to shame; release me from the snare they have hidden for me, for you indeed are my refuge.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, purifying us by the sacred practice of penance, you may lead us in sincerity of heart to attain the holy things to come. 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: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him. His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’ But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat. Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed. Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.
Psalm 104 (105):16-21
R Remember the wonders the Lord has done.
1)The Lord called down a famine on the land; he broke the staff that supported them. He had sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave.
2) His feet were put in chains, his neck was bound with iron, until what he said came to pass and the word of the Lord proved him true.
3) Then the king sent and released him the ruler of the people set him free, making him master of his house and ruler of all he possessed.
Gospel Acclamation: Jn 3:16
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son: everyone who believes in him has eternal life. Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43,45-46
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures: It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see ‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’ When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.
Prayer over the Offerings
May your merciful grace prepare your servants, O God, for the worthy celebration of these mysteries, and lead them to it by a devout way of life. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: 1 Jn. 4: 10
God loved us, and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Prayer after Communion
Having received this pledge of eternal salvation, we pray, O Lord, that we may set our course so well as to attain the redemption you promise. Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer over the People
Grant your people, O Lord, we pray, health of mind and body, that by constancy in good deeds they may always merit the defence of your protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God is the owner of the vineyard, and at the right time he will need the fruits from the vineyard. Prophet Jeremiah described the reaction of the people to the message brought by God’s servants: “…they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their fathers did,” (Jer. 7:26). Instead of behaving this way, Christians are expected by God the landowner to deliver a full harvest of different good works. Only the people who produce and offer what God requires will inherit the kingdom of God, because they will have performed the deeds of mercy and justice not only for the servants of God but also for all the people in the world.