St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891 – 1942)
She was born into a Jewish family. She had a distinguished career as a philosopher and received a doctorate at Freiburg. She entered a Carmelite monastery in Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Teresa Benedicta was taken to Auschwitz and killed on 9 August 1942.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 69: 2, 6
O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me! You are my rescuer, my help; O Lord, do not delay.
Draw near to your servants, O Lord, and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness, that, for those who glory in you as their Creator and guide, you may restore what you have created and keep safe what you have restored. 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 Jeremiah 31:31-34
See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant of mine, so I had to show them who was master. It is the Lord who speaks. No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people. There will be no further need for neighbour to try to teach neighbour, or brother to say to brother, ‘Learn to know the Lord!’ No, they will all know me, the least no less than the greatest – it is the Lord who speaks – since I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind.
R/A pure heart create for me, O God.
- A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
- Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervour sustain me, that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you.
- For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice, a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.
Gospel Acclamation: Ps144:13
Alleluia, alleluia! The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-23
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’ Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and Scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Graciously sanctify these gifts, O Lord, we pray, and, accepting the oblation of this spiritual sacrifice, make of us an eternal offering to you. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Wis 16: 20
You have given us, O Lord, bread from heaven, endowed with all delights and sweetness in every taste.
Prayer after Communion
Accompany with constant protection, O Lord, those you renew with these heavenly gifts and, in your never-failing care for them, make them worthy of eternal redemption. Through Christ our Lord.
In the first reading, Yahweh shows his love for the people of Israel and those of Judah. He promises to make “a new covenant” with them and assures them that he will forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs. What a consoling promise and a clear demonstration of divine love, compassion, and mercy. We gather from Yahweh’s attitude that he can do anything for us if we have faith in him and follow his commandments. We only have to go closer to him and he will get close to us. Also, we see St. Peter declaring and professing Jesus as the Christ, and Christ blesses him and makes him leader of his Church. We are called upon to confess Christ and profess his name as Peter did in order to be blessed by him.