monday 20 JANUARY 2020
Pope St. Fabian (- 250)
Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, Priest (1903 – 1964)
Fabian became Pope in 236 and was martyred on 20 January 250, during the persecution of the Emperor Decius.
Fr Tansi from Nigeria lived the monastic life with great faith and humility. Absorbed in prayer, he was a living example of patience and charity.
Entrance Antiphon Ps 65: 4
All the earth shall bow down before you, O God, and shall sing to you, shall sing to your name, O Most High!
Almighty ever-living God, who govern all things, both in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the pleading of your people and bestow your peace in our times. 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 15:16-23
Samuel said to Saul, ‘Stop! Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.’ Saul said, ‘Tell me.’ Samuel continued, ‘Small as you may be in your own eyes, are you not head of the tribes of Israel? the Lord has anointed you king over Israel. The Lord sent you on a mission and said to you, “Go, put these sinners, the Amalekites, under the ban and make war on them until they are exterminated.” Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you fall on the booty and do what is displeasing to the Lord?’ Saul replied to Samuel, ‘But I did obey the voice of the Lord. I went on the mission which the Lord gave me; I brought back Agag king of the Amalekites; I put the Amalekites under the ban. From the booty the people took the best sheep and oxen of what was under the ban to sacrifice them to the Lord your God in Gilgal.’ But Samuel replied: ‘Is the pleasure of the Lord in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Yes, obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams. Rebellion is a sin of sorcery, presumption a crime of teraphim.‘Since you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.’
R/ I will show God’s salvation to the upright.
- ‘I find no fault with your sacrifices, your offerings are always before me. I do not ask more bullocks from your farms, nor goats from among your herds.
- ‘But how can you recite my commandments and take my covenant on your lips, you who despise my law and throw my words to the winds,
- ‘You do this, and should I keep silence? Do you think that I am like you? A sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me and I will show God’s salvation to the upright.’
Gospel Acclamation: cf. 1 Th 2:13
Alleluia, alleluia! Accept God’s message for what it really is: God’s message, and not some human thinking. Alleluia!
Gospel : Mark 2:18-22
One day when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Why is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of fasting while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they could not think of fasting. But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then, on that day, they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; if he does, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine, fresh skins!’
Prayer over the Offerings
Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that we may participate worthily in these mysteries, for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated, the work of our redemption is accomplished. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon Cf. Ps 22: 5
You have prepared a table before me, and how precious is the chalice that quenches my thirst.
Prayer after Communion
Pour on us, O Lord, the Spirit of your love, and in your kindness, make those you have nourished by this one heavenly Bread, one in mind and heart. Through Christ our Lord.
King Saul had been commanded by God to wage a holy war against the Amalekites. Nothing of their possessions was to be spared. But Saul made a mistake, with good intentions, of course, but in disobedience. He did not destroy the best of the sheep and oxen in order to sacrifice them to God. But Samuel reprimanded him, saying: ‘obedience is better than sacrifice’. In the gospel Jesus spoke out against a form of fasting which had become nothing more than an external act lacking any real devotion to God. He insisted that this old form of religion had to go, to be replaced with a worship of God which came from the heart.