tuesday 30 June 2020
The First Martyrs of the See of Rome
When the city of Rome had been devastated by fire in the year 64, the Emperor Nero launched a persecution against the Christians, who were thrown to the wild beasts in the arena or soaked in tar and used as living torches. Their deaths are documented in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus and in Pope St Clement’s letter to the Corinthians.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 46: 2
All peoples, clap your hands. Cry to God with shouts of joy!
O God, who through the grace of adoption chose us to be children of light, grant, we pray, that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth. 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: Amos 3:1-8,4:11-12
Listen, sons of Israel, to this oracle the Lord speaks against you, against the whole family I brought out of the land of Egypt: You alone, of all the families of earth, have I acknowledged, therefore it is for all your sins that I mean to punish you. Do two men take the road together if they have not planned to do so? Does the lion roar in the jungle if no prey has been found? Does the young lion growl in his lair if he has captured nothing? Does the bird fall to the ground if no trap has been set? Does the snare spring up from the ground if nothing has been caught? Does the trumpet sound in the city without the populace becoming alarmed? Does misfortune come to a city if the Lord has not sent it? No more does the Lord do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets. The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid? The Lord speaks: who can refuse to prophesy? I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a bran snatched from the blaze; and yet you never came back to me. It is the Lord who speaks. This therefore, Israel, is what I plan to do to you, and because I am going to do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God!
R/ Lead me, O Lord, in your justice.
- You are no God who loves evil; no sinner is your guest. The boastful shall not stand their ground before your face.
- You hate all who do evil; you destroy all who lie. The deceitful and bloodthirsty man the Lord detests.
- But I through the greatness of your love have access to your house. I bow down before your holy temple, filled with awe.
Gospel Acclamation: Ps 147:12, 15
Alleluia, alleluia! O praise the Lord, Jerusalem! He sends out his word to the earth. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 8:23-27
Jesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?’ And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’
Prayer over the Offerings
O God, who graciously accomplish the effects of your mysteries, grant, we pray, that the deeds by which we serve you may be worthy of these sacred gifts. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 102: 1
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all within me, his holy name.
Prayer after Communion
May this divine sacrifice we have offered and received fill us with life, O Lord, we pray, so that, bound to you in lasting charity, we may bear fruit that lasts forever. Through Christ our Lord.
This episode in today’s Gospel communicated hope and a sense of relief to the early Christian communities that were facing persecutions from many fronts. This and many other episodes in the life of Jesus helped the community to discover, in the midst of an apparent absence, the welcoming and powerful presence of Jesus who conquers and dominates the sea. The central theme, therefore, was to assure the Christian communities that there was no need for fear. The disciples get to know Jesus bit by bit, through his teaching and works but today in the Gospel they discover another face of Jesus. Only a person with divine powers can control the forces of nature. After Jesus finished teaching, he went into the boat and the disciples followed. Following the master is a very symbolic gesture as well, an important aspect of discipleship. The disciples cry out in fear, does this show a clear picture of myself when I fear that Jesus is asleep while the troubles in life threaten to overwhelm me? We can all identify many moments in life when Jesus seems to be uninterested and uncaring. Through prayer, Jesus calms us too and comes in when we really need Him.