tuesday 14 JANUARY 2020
St. Felix of Nola
Saint Felix of Nola (d. ca. 250) was a Christian presbyter at Nola near Naples in Italy. He sold off his possessions in order to give to the poor. He was believed to have died a martyr’s death.
Upon a lofty throne, I saw a man seated, whom a host of angels adore, singing in unison: Behold him, the name of whose empire is eternal.
Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care, O Lord, we pray, that they may see what must be done and gain strength to do what they have seen. 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: 1 Samuel 1:9-20
After they had eaten in the hall, Hannah rose and took her stand before the Lord, while Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to the Lord with many tears and made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord of Hosts! If you will take notice of the distress of your servant, and bear me in mind and not forget your servant and give her a man-child, I will give him to the Lord for the whole of his life and no razor shall ever touch his head.’ While she prayed before the Lord which she did for some time, Eli was watching her mouth, for she was speaking under her breath; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard. He therefore supposed that she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to be in this drunken state? Rid yourself of your wine.’ ‘No, my lord,’ Hannah replied ‘I am a woman in great trouble; I have taken neither wine nor strong drink – I was pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; all this time I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.’ Then Eli answered her: ‘Go in peace,’ he said ‘and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.’ And she said, ‘May your maidservant find favour in your sight’; and with that the woman went away; she returned to the hall and ate and was dejected no longer. They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord and then set out and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah had intercourse with Hannah his wife and the Lord was mindful of her. She conceived and gave birth to a son, and called him Samuel ‘since’ she said ‘I asked the Lord for him.’
Resp. Psalm: 1 Samuel 2:1,4-8
R/ My heart exults in the Lord my Saviour.
- My heart exults in the Lord. I find my strength in my God; my mouth laughs at my enemies as I rejoice in your saving help.
- The bows of the mighty are broken, but the weak are clothed with strength. Those with plenty must labour for bread, but the hungry need work no more. The childless wife has children now but the fruitful wife bears no more.
- It is the Lord who gives life and death, he brings men to the grave and back; it is the Lord who gives poverty and riches. He brings men low and raises them on high.
- He lifts up the lowly from the dust, from the dung heap he raises the poor to set him in the company of princes to give him a glorious throne. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, on them he has set the world.
Gospel Acclamation Jm 1:21
Alleluia, alleluia! Accept and submit to the word which has been planted in you and can save your souls. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28
Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority. In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.
Prayer over the Offerings
May your people’s oblation, O Lord, find favour with you, we pray, that it may restore them to holiness and obtain what they devoutly entreat. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon Ps 35: 10
With you, O Lord, is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.
Prayer after Communion
Humbly we ask you, almighty God, be graciously pleased to grant that those you renew with your Sacraments may also serve with lives pleasing to you. Through Christ our Lord.
The prayer of Hannah in the temple at Shiloh must have been very deep. She did not make any noise – “… for Hannah was speaking under her breath” – and yet her prayers were powerful enough to move God from his seat to bless her. The movement of Eli from his seat by the doorpost of the temple to Hannah and the subsequent blessing he gave to her are symbolic of what had taken place spiritually – God had moved from his seat and blessed Hannah. What was it about the prayer of Hannah that moved God? Hannah “poured out her soul before Yahweh.” Prayers that move God are prayers that emanate from the soul and not from the lips. When our prayer is deep enough that it moves us to tears, God will not sit down. He will move to bless us.