St Martin of Tours (c.316 – 397)
He was born in the Roman province of Pannonia. He spent some time as a hermit on an island off the Ligurian coast, founded a monastery at Ligugé in western France. The famous story about St Martin is that while a soldier in Amiens he gave half of his military cloak to a beggar and later had a dream in which the beggar revealed himself as Christ. He died in 397.
Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Ps 87: 3s
Let my prayer come into your presence. Incline your ear to my cry for help, O Lord.
Almighty and merciful God, graciously keep from us all adversity, so that, unhindered in mind and body alike, we may pursue, in freedom of heart, the things that are yours. 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: 1 Kings 17:10-16
Elijah the Prophet went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, ‘Please bring a little water in a vessel for me to drink.’ She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please,’ he said, ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’ ‘As the Lord your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’ But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel: “Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.”’ The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.
R/ My soul, give praise to the Lord.
- It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever, who is just to those who are oppressed. It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free,
- It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down, the Lord, who protects the stranger, and upholds the widow and orphan.
- It is the Lord who loves the just, but thwarts the path of the wicked. The Lord will reign for ever, Zion’s God, from age to age.
Second reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was only modelled on the real one; but it was heaven itself, so that he could appear in the actual presence of God on our behalf. And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself. Since men only die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, too, offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.
Gospel Acclamation: Rv 2:10
Alleluia, alleluia! Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 12:38-44
In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the Scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’ He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Look with favour, we pray, O Lord, upon the sacrificial gifts offered here, that, celebrating in mystery the Passion of your Son, we may honour it with loving devotion. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon : Cf. Ps 22: 1-2
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose, near restful waters he leads me.
Prayer after Communion
Nourished by this sacred gift, O Lord, we give you thanks and beseech your mercy, that, by the pouring forth of your Spirit, the grace of integrity may endure in those your heavenly power has entered. Through Christ our Lord.
The readings of today present two widows, each of whom gives wholeheartedly from her poverty. In the first reading, the widow of Sidon, at the insistence of the Prophet Elijah, shares what she considered her last jar of meal with the Prophet, and there was still something left to sustain her and her son. In the Gospel passage, there is the poor widow who puts into the treasury all she has to live on. In both cases, we have a perfect example of trustful surrender in the hands of a Provident God who hears the cry of the poor. The generosity of the two widows reminds us that it is in giving that we receive; it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. As the Lord blesses the two widows, so does he bless everyone who gives wholeheartedly, everyone who gives without counting the cost. May the Provident Lord bless us and grant us the grace to give without counting the cost, to give wholeheartedly like the two widows.