St Josaphat (c.1580 – 1623)
He was born in Ukraine of Orthodox parents. Josaphat joined the first monastery of the order of St Basil to be united to the Catholic Church: he was the first person to do so. He was ordained priest and, eventually and reluctantly, appointed bishop of Polotsk in 1617. Josaphat was murdered by a mob in 1623 while on a pastoral visit to Vitebsk.
Entrance Antiphon :
Because of the Lord’s covenant and the ancestral laws, the Saints of God persevered in loving brotherhood, for there was always one spirit in them, and one faith.
Stir up in your Church, we pray, O Lord, the Spirit that filled Saint Josaphat as he laid down his life for the sheep, so that through his intercession, we too may be strengthened by the same Spirit and not be afraid to lay down our life for others. 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: Titus 1:1-9
From Paul, servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion; and to give them the hope of the eternal life that was promised so long ago by God. He does not lie and so, at the appointed time, he revealed his decision, and, by the command of God our Saviour, I have been commissioned to proclaim it. To Titus, true child of mine in the faith that we share, wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our saviour. The reason I left you behind in Crete was for you to get everything organised there and appoint elders in every town, in the way that I told you: that is, each of them must be a man of irreproachable character; he must not have been married more than once, and his children must be believers and not uncontrollable or liable to be charged with disorderly conduct. Since, as president, he will be God’s representative, he must be irreproachable: never an arrogant or hot-tempered man, nor a heavy drinker or violent, nor out to make money; but a man who is hospitable and a friend of all that is good; sensible, moral, devout and self-controlled; and he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it.
R/ Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.
- The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, the world and all its peoples. It is he who set it on the seas; on the waters he made it firm.
- Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? Who shall stand in his holy place? The man with clean hands and pure heart, who desires not worthless things.
- He shall receive blessings from the Lord and reward from the God who saves him. Such are the men who seek him, seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Gospel Acclamation: Ph2:15-16
Alleluia, alleluia! You will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. Alleluia!
Gospel: Luke 17:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Obstacles are sure to come, but alas for the one who provides them! It would be better for him to be thrown into the Sea with a millstone put round his neck than that he should lead astray a single one of these little ones. Watch yourselves! If your brother does something wrong, reprove him and, if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, “I am sorry,” you must forgive him.’ The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Most merciful God, pour out your blessing upon these offerings, and confirm us in the faith that Saint Josaphat professed by the shedding of his blood. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon : Mt. 10: 39
Whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it in eternity, say the Lord.
Prayer after Communion
May this heavenly table, O Lord, bestow on us a spirit of fortitude and peace, so that, following Saint Josaphat’s example, we may willingly spend our lives working for the honour and unity of the Church. Through Christ our Lord.
We have heard it said, “To err is human; to forgive is divine”. This means that we do not need any effort to err, but we need God’s grace to forgive, even if the decision to forgive comes from our heart. Sometimes, the frequency or the gravity of the error of another makes it very difficult for us to forgive, because it is as if the other intended inflicting pain on us at all cost. The Gospel passage of today has a very clear message for us: we have no option but to forgive a brother or sister who wrongs us seven times a day and comes back seven times to say, “I am sorry”. For us, Christians, therefore, forgiveness is a duty. We are not free to not forgive. We pray therefore, that the Lord may grant us the grace to see things his way and so be merciful towards our brothers and sisters.