thursday 16 JANUARY 2020
Saint Fursa (- c.650)
He was an Irish monk who did much to establish Christianity throughout the British Isles and particularly in East Anglia, at a time when a high Christian civilization existed in Ireland but had been largely wiped out elsewhere.
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 4:1-11
It happened at that time that the Philistines mustered to fight Israel and Israel went out to meet them in battle, encamping near Ebenezer while the Philistines were encamped at Aphek. The Philistines drew up their battle line against Israel, the battle was hotly engaged, and Israel was defeated by the Philistines and about four thousand of their army were killed on the field. The troops returned to the camp and the elders of Israel said, ‘Why has the Lord allowed us to be defeated today by the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of our God from Shiloh so that it may come among us and rescue us from the power of our enemies.’’ So the troops sent to Shiloh and brought away the ark of the Lord of Hosts, he who is seated on the cherubs; the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, came with the ark. When the ark of the Lord arrived in the camp, all Israel gave a great shout so that the earth resounded. When the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, ‘What can this great shouting in the Hebrew camp mean?’ And they realised that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. At this the Philistines were afraid; and they said, ‘God has come to the camp.’ ‘Alas!’ they cried ‘This has never happened before. Alas! Who will save us from the power of this mighty God? It was he who struck down Egypt with every kind of plague! But take courage and be men, Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been slaves to you. Be men and fight.’ So the Philistines joined battle and Israel was defeated, each man fleeing to his tent. The slaughter was great indeed, and there fell of the Israelites thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured too, and the two sons of Eli died, Hophni and Phinehas.
R/ Redeem us, O Lord, because of your love.
- Yet now you have rejected us, disgraced us; you no longer go forth with our armies. You make us retreat from the foe and our enemies plunder us at will.
- You make us the taunt of our neighbours, the laughing-stock of all who are near. Among the nations, you make us a byword, among the peoples a thing of derision.
- Awake, O Lord, why do you sleep? Arise, do not reject us forever! Why do you hide your face and forget our oppression and misery?
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 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.
In the gospel today, the leper begs Jesus if he is willing to heal him. Jesus is very much willing to heal him, not from a distance but at close range by touching him. In this miracle Jesus teaches us two things. First, he teaches us that it is not enough to love from a distance. There is no such thing as long distance love affair. It is because this will not last long. Healing requires that we touch, make contact and connect flesh to flesh. Those who work for the sick find out that there is real healing power and restoration through human touch or physical contact. Second, we should have faith and courage like that of the leper. He does not engage in self-pity so Jesus can show true pity and compassion on him. The bold actions of the leper make Jesus even bolder in his actions. The Lord teaches us today that it is not enough to love from a distance but to have faith and courage like that of the leper.