saturday 04 April 2020
St Isidore of Servile
He was born in Spain in c. 560. As Archbishop of Seville, he was prolific in his writings and diligent in governing the Church, Isidore did not neglect the service of those in need. He was one of the eminent scholars of the Church; “School Master of the Middle Ages”. He died on April 4 of the year 636.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 21: 20, 7
O Lord, do not stay afar off; my strength, make haste to help me! For I am a worm and no man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
O God, who have made all those reborn in Christ a chosen race and a royal priesthood, grant us, we pray, the grace to will and to do what you command, that the people called to eternal life may be one in the faith of their hearts and the homage of their deeds. 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: Ezekiel 37:21-28
The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’
R/ The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
- O nations, hear the word of the Lord, proclaim it to the far-off coasts. Say: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him and guard him as a shepherd guards his flock.’
- For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, has saved him from an overpowering hand. They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion, they will stream to the blessings of the Lord.
- Then the young girls will rejoice and dance, the men, young and old, will be glad. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console them, give gladness for grief.
Gospel Acclamation: Ezk 18:31
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Shake off all your sins – it is the Lord who speaks – and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Gospel: John 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples. The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’
Prayer over the Offerings
May the gifts we offer from our fasting be acceptable to you, O Lord, we pray, and, as an expiation for our sins, may they make us worthy of your grace and lead us to what you promise for eternity. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Jn 11: 52
Christ was handed over, to gather into one the scattered children of God.
Prayer after Communion
We entreat your majesty most humbly, O Lord, that, as you feed us with the nourishment which comes from the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, so you may make us sharers of his divine nature. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
The Children of Israel were stubborn and fell out of God’s favour but Yahweh in the First reading this day wants to gather them back in order to show that He alone is Lord and Master. We can never outsmart God. Some of us think that because we do certain things and get away with them, then we will always have our way out of every situation. But God’s time is always the best and no one can know when God is going to strike and when He will let his will be established. If only we all understood that we were all created by God for a purpose, our lives would be different. But we tend to go our way and imagine that things will go the way we plan. In the Gospel, the Jews sought to kill Jesus because of the good things that he did. Evil seeks in vain to snuff out goodness and bad people want to destroy the good. But evil can never and will never triumph. God has his own ways of teaching us, but many of us are too thick headed to understand. On this day, before we enter the Holy Week, it is important for each of us to revisit our life style and make amends with our God; to turn from evil and do good. God is always ready to forgive and forget. Like prodigal children, let us throw aside our bitterness and evil intentions and come back to our God who loves us unconditionally.