friday 07 February 2020
A Briton who came to Ireland with Saint Patrick, his uncle. He was ordained in Ardagh. He is one of the earliest Irish saints and gave the religious veil to Saint Brigid.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 105: 47
Save us, O Lord our God! And gather us from the nations, to give thanks to your holy name, and make it our glory to praise you.
Grant us, Lord our God, that we may honour you with all our mind, and love everyone in truth of heart. 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: Ecclesiasticus 47:2-13
As the fat is set apart from the communion sacrifice, so David was chosen out of all the sons of Israel. He played with lions as though with kids, and with bears as though with lambs of the flock. While still a boy, did he not slay the giant, and relieve the people of their shame, by putting out a hand to sling a stone which brought down the arrogance of Goliath? For he called on the Lord Most High, who gave strength to his right arm to put a mighty warrior to death, and lift up the horn of his people. Hence they gave him credit for ten thousand, and praised him while they blessed the Lord, by offering him a crown of glory; for he massacred enemies on every side, he annihilated his foes the Philistines, and crushed their horn to this very day. In all his activities he gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High, in words of glory; he put all his heart into his songs out of love for his Maker. He placed harps before the altar to make the singing sweeter with their music; he gave the feasts their splendour, the festivals their solemn pomp, causing the Lord’s holy name to be praised and the sanctuary to resound from dawn. The Lord took away his sins, and exalted his horn forever; he gave him a royal covenant, and a glorious throne in Israel.
R/ Praised be the God who saves me.
- The ways of God are perfect; the word of the Lord, purest gold. He indeed is the shield of all who make him their refuge.
- Long life to the Lord, my rock! Praised be the God who saves me, so I will praise you, Lord, among the nations: I will sing a psalm to your name.
- He has given great victories to his king and shown his love for his anointed, for David and his sons forever.
Gospel Acclamation : cf. Lk8:15
Alleluia, alleluia! Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance. Alleluia!
Gospel : Mark 6:14-29
King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, ‘John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Others said, ‘He is Elijah’; others again, ‘He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.’ But when Herod heard this he said, ‘It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.’ Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him. An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Prayer over the Offerings
O Lord, we bring to your altar these offerings of our service: be pleased to receive them, we pray, and transform them into the Sacrament of our redemption. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 30: 17-18
Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your merciful love. O Lord, let me never be put to shame, for I call on you.
Prayer after Communion
Nourished by these redeeming gifts, we pray, O Lord, that through this help to eternal salvation true faith may ever increase. Through Christ our Lord.
The beheading of John the Baptist is a typical example of how earthly powers that refuse to have any reference to God treat their subjects. They fail to realise that they are there for the people and erroneously think that the people are there for them. A true leader leads others as he/she would lead himself/herself, guided by the fear of God. Instead of pointing accusing fingers at Herod and Herodias, let us ask ourselves how we would behave if we found ourselves in the shoes of Herod and Herodias. What is our response to those who have a contrary opinion to ours? Our response to such persons and the deepest longing of our hearts tell us how we would behave if we were in the shoes of Herod and Herodias.