Blessed George Napier (1610)
He was born in Oxford and ordained priest in 1596. He worked secretly as a priest in 1603 in Oxfordshire. He was arrested in 1610: the possession of the holy oils and a breviary was considered sufficient evidence of priesthood and he was condemned to death. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Oxford on 8 November 1610 and beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.
Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Ps 37: 22-23
Forsake me not, O Lord, my God; be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my strong salvation!
Almighty and merciful God,by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised. 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 Philippians 3:3-8
We are the real people of the circumcision, we who worship in accordance with the Spirit of God; we have our own glory from Christ Jesus without having to rely on a physical operation. If it came to relying on physical evidence, I should be fully qualified myself. Take any man who thinks he can rely on what is physical: I am even better qualified. I was born of the race of Israel and of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents, and I was circumcised when I was eight days old. As for the Law, I was a Pharisee; as for working for religion, I was a persecutor of the Church; as far as the Law can make you perfect, I was faultless. But because of Christ, I have come to consider all these advantages that I had as disadvantages. Not only that, but I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
R/ Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.
- O sing to the Lord, sing his praise; tell all his wonderful works! Be proud of his holy name, let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.
- Consider the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, the judgements he spoke.
- O children of Abraham, his servant, O sons of the Jacob he chose. He, the Lord, is our God: his judgements prevail in all the earth.
Gospel Acclamation : cf.Ps129:5
Alleluia, alleluia! My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word. Alleluia!
Gospel : Luke 15:1-10
The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the Scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them: ‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance. ‘Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it? And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” she would say “I have found the drachma I lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.’
Prayer over the Offerings
May these sacrificial offerings, O Lord, become for you a pure oblation, and for us a holy outpouring of your mercy. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon : Cf. Ps 15: 11
You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, O Lord.
Prayer after Communion
May the working of your power, O Lord, increase in us, we pray, so that, renewed by these heavenly Sacraments, we may be prepared by your gift for receiving what they promise. Through Christ our Lord.
In the first reading, despite all that qualifies Paul as a pure breed Hebrew, Paul notices that the greatest advantage of all is to know and embrace Christ Jesus. Conversion to Christ is therefore presented as a priceless jewel. In the Gospel passage, we have the parables of the lost sheep and the lost drachma. When each of the two lost items is found, there is great rejoicing. Jesus compares the joy of the owner to the joy that the angels experience at the conversion of one sinner. Both readings invite us to conversion, to union with Christ. And union with Christ necessarily implies union with one another. Just as the shepherd seeks to keep all the sheep together and the woman seeks to keep all her drachmae together, so too are we called to journey together in Christ Jesus our Lord.