Saturday 01 August 2020
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696 – 1787)
He was a Neapolitan lawyer who became a priest. He preached in the rural districts around Naples. His bishop asked him to establish an order of missionaries to work in the countryside, and the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) was formally established in 1749. Alphonsus lived an exceptionally holy life.
Entrance Antiphon: Sir 15: 5
In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory.
O God, who constantly raise up in your Church new examples of virtue, grant that we may follow so closely in the footsteps of the Bishop Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls as to attain the same rewards that are his in heaven. 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 26:11-16, 24
The priests and prophets addressed the officials and all the people, ‘This man deserves to die, since he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.’ Jeremiah, however, replied to the people as follows: ‘The Lord himself sent me to say all the things you have heard against this Temple and this city. So now amend your behaviour and actions, listen to the voice of the Lord your God: if you do, he will relent and not bring down on you the disaster he has pronounced against you. For myself, I am as you see in your hands. Do whatever you please or think right with me. But be sure of this, that if you put me to death, you will be bringing innocent blood on yourselves, on this city and on its citizens, since the Lord has truly sent me to you to say all these words in your hearing.’ The officials and all the people then said to the priests and prophets, ‘This man does not deserve to die: he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.’ Jeremiah had a protector in Ahikam son of Shaphan, so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
Psalm 68(69):15-16, 30-31, 33-34
R/ In your great love, answer me, O God.
- Rescue me from sinking in the mud; save me from my foes. Save me from the waters of the deep lest the waves overwhelm me. Do not let the deep engulf me nor death close its mouth on me.
- As for me in my poverty and pain let your help, O God, lift me up. I will praise God’s name with a song; I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
- The poor when they see it will be glad and God-seeking hearts will revive; for the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains.
Gospel Acclamation: Lk 8:15
Alleluia, alleluia! Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12
Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus, and said to his court, ‘This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’ Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had told him, ‘It is against the Law for you to have her.’ He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet. Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and so delighted Herod that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked. Prompted by her mother she said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish.’ The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.
Prayer over the Offerings
Be pleased, O Lord, to enkindle our hearts with the celestial fire of your Spirit, just as you granted that Saint Alphonsus should celebrate these mysteries and by them offer himself to you as a holy sacrifice. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Lk 12: 42
Behold a faithful and prudent steward to give them their allowance of food at the proper time.
Prayer after Communion
O God, who gave us Saint Alphonsus to be a faithful steward and preacher of this great mystery, grant that your faithful may receive it often and, receiving it, praise you without end. Through Christ our Lord.
Going through this passage we are faced with this same event. We try to carve something out of it. Often, we do not seem to. But we do understand that it was because of such waywardness of ours that Christ had to come into the world. Just before the beginning of his public ministry, he made us understand that he came to redeem mankind. He did this by fighting against the ills of his time. We too should do likewise. He handed to us the task to complete. For W. E. Orchard, it may take a crucified church to bring a crucified Christ to the world. But let us ask ourselves: how involved are we in the commands of the Gospel?