St. Peter Regulatus
He was a Franciscan reformer born in Valladolid, Spain into a wealthy family. In his convent he lived a life of prayer and poverty. Thirty-six years after his death his body was found untouched by nature.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps. 102: 2-3
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all his benefits; it is he who forgives all your sins.
Rejoicing in this annual celebration of our Lenten observance, we pray, O Lord, that, with our hearts set on the paschal mysteries, we may be gladdened by their full effects. 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: Hosea 5:15-6:6
The Lord says this: They will search for me in their misery. ‘Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds; after a day or two he will bring us back to life, on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence. Let us set ourselves to know the Lord; that he will come is as certain as the dawn his judgement will rise like the light, he will come to us as showers come, like spring rains watering the earth.’ What am I to do with you, Ephraim? What am I to do with you, Judah? This love of yours is like a morning cloud, like the dew that quickly disappears. This is why I have torn them to pieces by the prophets, why I slaughtered them with the words from my mouth, since what I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.
Psalm 50 (51):3-4, 18-21
R/ What I want is love, not sacrifice.
1) Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offence. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
2) For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice, a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.
3) In your goodness, show favour to Zion: rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, burnt offerings wholly consumed.
Gospel Acclamation: Ps 94:8
Glory and praise to you, O Christ! Harden not your hearts today, but listen to the voice of the Lord. Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’
Prayer over the Offerings
O God, by whose grace it comes to pass that we may approach your mysteries with minds made pure, grant, we pray, that, in reverently handing them on, we may offer you fitting homage. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Lk. 18: 13
The tax collector stood at a distance, beating his breast and saying: O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
Prayer after Communion
May we truly revere, O merciful God, these holy gifts, by which you ceaselessly nourish us, and may we always partake of them with abundant faith in our heart. Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer over the People
Hold out to your faithful people, Lord, the right hand of heavenly assistance, that they may seek you with all their heart and merit the granting of what they ask. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Egoism and pride are two sisters which make very bad company in a person. Jesus teaches about these two vices which unfortunately are part of human nature. The Pharisee’s prayer started very well: “I thank God…”, but immediately took a wrong turn, as he focused on praying about himself. Four times he used the personal pronoun “I”, showing his egoism and pride. The tax collector instead stood aloof in an attitude of humility and a sense of unworthiness. Beating his breast in sorrow, he pronounced the words which transformed him from a sinner to a virtuous man: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” We should always go to God in prayer with good and right attitude in order to come back justified. A full glass cannot receive any water; it must be emptied first. We should empty ourselves of our self-righteousness and acknowledge our unworthiness and sinfulness before, in order for him to fill us with his grace.