tuesday 23 June 2020
St Etheldreda (679)
She was born in Suffolk. She was the most venerated of the women saints of Anglo-Saxon England, renowned for her dedication to a life of chastity and for the austerity of the regime she imposed on herself in her later years.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 27: 8-9
The Lord is the strength of his people, a saving refuge for the one he has anointed. Save your people, Lord, and bless your heritage, and govern them forever.
Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of your love. 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: 2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36
Sennacherib, King of the Assyrians, sent messengers to Hezekiah saying, ‘Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, “Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you, when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria. You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?’ Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messenger and read it; he then went up to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of the Lord, ‘O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth. ‘Give ear, Lord, and listen. Open your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear the words of Sennacherib who has sent to insult the living God. ‘It is true, O Lord, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them. But now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, I pray you, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, the Lord.’ Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ‘The Lord, the God of Israel,’ he said, ‘says this, “I have heard the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.” Here is the oracle that the Lord has pronounced against him: ‘“She despises you, she scorns you, the virgin, daughter of Zion; she tosses her head behind you, the daughter of Jerusalem.” ‘This, then, is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: ‘“He will not enter this city, he will let fly no arrow against it, confront it with no shield, throw up no earthwork against it. By the road that he came on he will return; he shall not enter this city. It is the Lord who speaks. I will protect this city and save it for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”’ That same night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.
R/ God upholds his city forever.
- The Lord is great and worthy to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain rises in beauty, the joy of all the earth.
- Mount Zion, true pole of the earth, the Great King’s city! God, in the midst of its citadels, has shown himself its stronghold.
- O God, we ponder your love within your temple. Your praise, O God, like your name reaches the ends of the earth.
Gospel Acclamation : Mt 11:25
Alleluia, alleluia! Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 7:6,12-14
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces. ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets. ‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive, O Lord, the sacrifice of conciliation and praise and grant that, cleansed by its action, we may make offering of a heart pleasing to you. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 144: 15
The eyes of all look to you, Lord, and you give them their food in due season.
Prayer after Communion
Renewed and nourished by the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of your Son, we ask of your mercy, O Lord, that what we celebrate with constant devotion may be our sure pledge of redemption. Through Christ our Lord.
The Gospel passage today brings together three apparently unrelated teachings of Jesus. He begins by exhorting his followers to keep and guard jealously the gift of the faith which they have received. Jesus said, “do not give dogs what is holy…” Animals used in sacrifice could not be given to the dogs. Let us remember that dogs were unclean animals. We can remember the episode of the Syro-Phoenecian woman about not giving children’s food to the dogs. In a similar way, pigs were unclean and precious pearls should not be given to pigs. This moment is a reminder to us, Catholic Christians in our celebration of the sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist. The second part of the Gospel dwells on what is known as the “Golden Rule” which states “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.” This rule can be observed by doing good to others. The narrow gate is a sure path to Christ because it requires discipline, truth, principles, values and sacrifice, and truly, only a few people find it. The wide road will refer to living according to one’s instincts, whims and self-centeredness.