friday 17 JANUARY 2020
St Anthony, Abbot (251 – 356)
St Anthony 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 St. 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: 1 Samuel 8:4-7,10-22
All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. ‘Look,’ they said to him ‘you are old, and your sons do not follow your ways. So give us a king to rule over us, like the other nations.’ It displeased Samuel that they should say, ‘Let us have a king to rule us’, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for it is not you they have rejected; they have rejected me from ruling over them.’ All that the Lord had said Samuel repeated to the people who were asking him for a king He said, ‘These will be the rights of the king who is to reign over you. He will take your sons and assign them to his chariotry and cavalry, and they will run in front of his chariot. He will use them as leaders of a thousand and leaders of fifty; he will make them plough his ploughland and harvest his harvest and make his weapons of war and the gear for his chariots. He will also take your daughters as perfumers, cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields, of your vineyards and olive groves and give them to his officials. He will tithe your crops and vineyards to provide for his eunuchs and his officials. He will take the best of your manservants and maidservants, of your cattle and your donkeys, and make them work for him. He will tithe your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out on account of the king you have chosen for yourselves, but on that day God will not answer you.’ The people refused to listen to the words of Samuel. They said, ‘No! We want a king, so that we in our turn can be like the other nations; our king shall rule us and be our leader and fight our battles.’ Samuel listened to all that the people had to say and repeated it in the ears of the Lord. The Lord then said to Samuel, ‘Obey their voice and give them a king.’
R/ I will sing forever of your love, O Lord.
- Happy the people who acclaim such a king, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who find their joy every day in your name, who make your justice the source of their bliss.
- For you, O Lord, are the glory of their strength; by your favour it is that our might is exalted; for our ruler is in the keeping of the Lord; our king in the keeping of the Holy One of Israel.
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Ep 1:17,18
Alleluia, alleluia! May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, word went round that he was back; and so many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as the crowd made it impossible to get the man to him, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some scribes were sitting there, and they thought to themselves, ‘How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?’ Jesus, inwardly aware that this was what they were thinking, said to them, ‘Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he turned to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’
Prayer over the Offerings
May these offerings of our service, placed on your altar in commemoration of St. 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. Ps 22: 5
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 St. Anthony won glorious victories over the powers of darkness. Through Christ our Lord.
See what forgiveness of sins does in the gospel text of today. It made a paralysed man to walk. Forgiveness of sins can change so many things in our life. The starting point of any renewal in our life is the experience of the forgiveness of God. Forgiveness heals. Sin is a form of paralysis. Jesus uses his authority to free us from sin, to cure the paralysis with which we are afflicted, the paralysis of sin. Cured of the paralysis of sin, we are able to walk on the path of holiness.