friday 24 JANUARY 2020
St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622)
St. Francis is the patron saint of writers and journalists, who would do well to imitate his love and his moderation: as he said, “whoever wants to preach effectively must preach with love.”
Entrance Antiphon Cf. Sir 15: 5
In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory.
O God, who for the salvation of souls willed that the Bishop St. Francis de Sales become all things to all, graciously grant that, following his example, we may always display the gentleness of your charity in the service of our neighbour. 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 24:3-21
Saul took three thousand men chosen from the whole of Israel and went in search of David and his men east of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheepfolds along the route where there was a cave, and went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were sitting in the recesses of the cave; David’s men said to him, Today is the day of which the Lord said to you, “I will deliver your enemy into your power, do what you like with him.”’ David stood up and, unobserved, cut off the border of Saul’s cloak. Afterwards David reproached himself for having cut off the border of Saul’s cloak. He said to his men, ‘The Lord preserve me from doing such a thing to my lord and raising my hand against him, for he is the anointed of the Lord.’ David gave his men strict instructions, forbidding them to attack Saul. Saul then left the cave and went on his way. After this, David too left the cave and called after Saul, ‘My lord king!’ Saul looked behind him and David bowed to the ground and did homage. Then David said to Saul, ‘Why do you listen to the men who say to you, “David means to harm you”? Why, your own eyes have seen today how the Lord put you in my power in the cave and how I refused to kill you, but spared you. “I will not raise my hand against my lord,” I said “for he is the anointed of the Lord.” O my father, see, look at the border of your cloak in my hand. Since I cut off the border of your cloak, yet did not kill you, you must acknowledge frankly that there is neither malice nor treason in my mind. I have not offended against you, yet you hunt me down to take my life. May the Lord be judge between me and you, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be laid on you. (As the old proverb says: Wickedness goes out from the wicked, and my hand will not be laid on you.) On whose trail has the king of Israel set out? On whose trail are you in hot pursuit? On the trail of a dead dog! On the trail of a single flea! May the Lord be the judge and decide between me and you; may he take up my cause and defend it and give judgement for me, freeing me from your power.’ When David had finished saying these words to Saul, Saul said, ‘Is that your voice, my son David?’ And Saul wept aloud. ‘You are a more upright man than I,’ he said to David ‘for you have repaid me with good while I have repaid you with evil. Today you have crowned your goodness towards me since the Lord had put me in your power yet you did not kill me. When a man comes on his enemy, does he let him go unmolested? May the Lord reward you for the goodness you have shown me today. Now I know you will indeed reign and that the sovereignty in Israel will be secure in your hands.’
R/ Have mercy on me, God, have mercy.
- Have mercy on me, God, have mercy for in you my soul has taken refuge. In the shadow of your wings I take refuge till the storms of destruction pass by.
- I call to God the Most High, to God who has always been my help. May he send from heaven and save me and shame those who assail me.
- O God, arise above the heavens; may your glory shine on earth! For your love reaches to the heavens and your truth to the skies.
Gospel Acclamation : cf. 2 Th 2:14
Alleluia, alleluia! Through the Good News God called us to share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 3:13-19
Jesus went up into the hills and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to preach, with power to cast out devils. And so he appointed the Twelve: Simon to whom he gave the name Peter, James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom he gave the name Boanerges or ‘Sons of Thunder’; then Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him.
Prayer over the Offerings
Through this saving sacrifice which we offer you, O Lord, kindle in our hearts that divine fire of the Holy Spirit with which you wonderfully inflamed the most gentle soul of St. Francis de Sales. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon Cf. Lk 12: 42
Behold a faithful and prudent steward to give them their allowance of food at the proper time.
Prayer after Communion
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that through the Sacrament we have received, we may imitate on earth the charity and meekness of St. Francis de Sales and so attain like him the glory of heaven. Through Christ our Lord.
I have known people who dropped out of the Church because a priest or a pastor treated them badly. It is true that a priest can hurt somebody. But is that a good reason for discontinuing the practice of the faith? Saul might have been a bad person, but he was all the same God’s chosen king. That was the reason why David forgave him and did not kill him when he could have. A priest may be a bad person, but he is still God’s anointed one and the spiritual leader of his flock. As Christians, we are messengers of God’s forgiving love. One way of fulfilling our call is to forgive our priests for their shortcomings.