friday 07 August 2020
Pope St Sixtus II and his companions (258)
Saint Cajetan, Priest
Sixtus was elected Pope in 257. Twelve months later, on 6th August, as he was celebrating Mass in the catacomb of St Calixtus, he was seized by the authorities and beheaded along with four of his deacons. He was buried in the same catacomb.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 69: 2, 6
O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me! You are my rescuer, my help; O Lord, do not delay.
Draw near to your servants, O Lord, and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness, that, for those who glory in you as their Creator and guide, you may restore what you have created and keep safe what you have restored. 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: Nahum 2:1, 3, 3:1-3, 6-7
See, over the mountains the messenger hurries! ‘Peace!’ he proclaims. Judah, celebrate your feasts, carry out your vows, for Belial will never pass through you again; he is utterly annihilated. Yes, the Lord is restoring the vineyard of Jacob and the vineyard of Israel. For the plunderers had plundered them, they had broken off their branches. Woe to the city soaked in blood, full of lies, stuffed with booty, whose plunderings know no end! The crack of the whip! The rumble of wheels! Galloping horse, jolting chariot, charging cavalry, flash of swords, gleam of spears… a mass of wounded, hosts of dead, countless corpses; they stumble over the dead. I am going to pelt you with filth, shame you, make you a public show. And all who look on you will turn their backs on you and say, ‘Nineveh is a ruin.’ Could anyone pity her? Where can I find anyone to comfort her?
Deuteronomy 32:35-36, 39, 41
R/ It is the Lord who deals death and life.
- It is close, the day of their ruin; their doom comes at speed. For the Lord will see his people righted, he will take pity on his servants.
- See now that I, I am He, and beside me there is no other god. It is I who deal death and life; when I have struck it is I who heal.
- When I have whetted my flashing sword I will take up the cause of Right, I will give my foes as good again, I will repay those who hate me.
Gospel Acclamation: 1 S 3:9, Jn 6:68
Alleluia, alleluia! Speak, Lord, your servant is listening: you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 16:24-28
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour. I tell you solemnly, there are some of these standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Graciously sanctify these gifts, O Lord, we pray, and, accepting the oblation of this spiritual sacrifice, make of us an eternal offering to you. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Wis 16: 20
You have given us, O Lord, bread from heaven, endowed with all delights and sweetness in every taste.
Prayer after Communion
Accompany with constant protection, O Lord, those you renew with these heavenly gifts and, in your never-failing care for them, make them worthy of eternal redemption. Through Christ our Lord.
We are confronted with an absolutely radical approach, and following Christ does not admit of any half measures: «If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me» (Mt 16:24). Followership of Christ is total and full; this is how we show our love for him. Often times we face hardships created by both us and/or by others. Our everyday experiences must be seen as acts of love and a constant journey towards our eternal resting place, for in them we participate in Christ’s suffering. We must not do anything to add neither to the sufferings of others nor our own, for man creates the sufferings he endures. As St. Augustine says: «When one loves, one does not suffer; but if one does suffer, the very suffering is loved».