thursday 23 April 2020
St George (- c.303)
St Adalbert of Prague
He was martyred at Lydda (now in Israel) in about 303, during the persecution of Diocletian. His cult spread quickly through both the East and the West.
Entrance Antiphon; Ps 67: 8-9, 20
O God, when you went forth before your people, marching with them and living among them, the earth trembled, heavens poured down rain, alleluia.
O God, who for the salvation of the world brought about the paschal sacrifice, be favourable to the supplications of your people, so that Christ our High Priest, interceding on our behalf, may by his likeness to ourselves bring us reconciliation, and by his equality with you free us from our sins. 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: Acts 5:27-33
When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’ This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.
R/ This poor man called and the Lord heard him.
1) I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips; Taste and see that the Lord is good. He is happy who seeks refuge in him.
2) The Lord turns his eyes to the just and his ears to their appeal. They call and the Lord hears and rescues them in all their distress.
3) The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; those whose spirit is crushed he will save. Many are the trials of the just man but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
Alleluia, alleluia! Christ has risen, he who created all things, and has granted his mercy to men. Alleluia!
Gospel: John 3:31-36
John the Baptist said to his disciples: ‘He who comes from above is above all others; he who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven bears witness to the things he has seen and heard, even if his testimony is not accepted; though all who do accept his testimony are attesting the truthfulness of God, since he whom God has sent speaks God’s own words: God gives him the Spirit without reserve. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him. Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him.’
Prayer over the Offerings
May our prayers rise up to you, O Lord, together with the sacrificial offerings, so that, purified by your graciousness, we may be conformed to the mysteries of your mighty love. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Mt 28: 20
Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, alleluia.
Prayer after Communion
Almighty ever-living God, who restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Christ, increase in us, we pray, the fruits of this paschal Sacrament and pour into our hearts the strength of this saving food. Through Christ our Lord.
Dear brothers and sisters, both St George and St Adalbert showed great courage and trust in God. They witnessed to their faith and stood their grounds against heretics and those who taught the wrong doctrine. Today, in the midst of a cacophony of various religious movements in our society, each of us must be ready to set the record straight and teach the right doctrine as we received from the Church. Unfortunately we have some Christians, especially our youth, who leave the Catholic church and go into some deleterious sects and cults. Many come back to their senses when the harm has already been done; but some never ever get it straight again.
In our First Reading, the Apostles make it clear to the Jewish leaders that obedience to God comes before obedience to man. The will of God must always be done even if this will set us against the best of our friends. There is a price to pay for being a good disciple of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist tells his disciples that there is someone coming after him, the Lamb of God , who is greater and more important. Anyone who believes in this Lamb of God will have eternal life. We admire the humility of John who gave the right place to Jesus. He, John is only the harbinger, the forerunner, not the Messiah himself. Many of us lack the humility of readily accepting to play second fiddle. But John teaches us that there is greatness in sincere humility.