Thursday 30 th June 2022
The First Martyrs
of the See of Rome
When the city of Rome had been devastated by fire in the year 64, the Emperor Nero launched a persecution against the Christians, who were thrown to the wild beasts in the arena or soaked in tar and used as living torches. Their deaths are documented in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus and in Pope St Clement’s letter to the Corinthians.
Entrance Antiphon : Ps 46: 2
All peoples, clap your hands. Cry to God with shouts of joy!
O God, who through the grace of adoption, chose us to be children of light; grant, we pray, that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth. 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 : Amos 7:10-17
Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel as follows. ‘Amos is plotting against you in the heart of the House of Israel; the country can no longer tolerate what he keeps saying. For this is what he says, “Jeroboam is going to die by the sword, and Israel go into exile far from its country.”’ To Amos, Amaziah said, ‘Go away, seer;’ get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’ ‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was the Lord who took me from herding the flock, and the Lord who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” So listen to the word of the Lord. ‘You say: ‘“Do not prophesy against Israel, utter no oracles against the House of Isaac.” ‘Very well, this is what the Lord says, ‘“Your wife will be forced to go on the streets, your sons and daughters will fall by the sword, your land be parcelled out by measuring line, and you yourself die on unclean soil and Israel will go into exile far distant from its own land.”’
R/ The decrees of the Lord are truth and all of them just.
- The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted, it gives wisdom to the simple.
- The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.
- The fear of the Lord is holy, abiding for ever. The decrees of the Lord are truth and all of them just.
- They are more to be desired than gold, than the purest of gold and sweeter are they than honey, than honey from the comb.
Gospel Acclamation : Mt11:25
Alleluia, alleluia! Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children. Alleluia!
Gospel : Matthew 9:1-8
Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.
Prayer over the Offerings
O God, who graciously accomplish the effects of your mysteries, grant, we pray, that the deeds by which we serve you may be worthy of these sacred gifts. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon : Cf. Ps 102: 1
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all within me, his holy name.
Prayer after Communion
May this divine sacrifice we have offered and received fill us with life, O Lord, we pray, so that, bound to you in lasting charity, we may bear fruit that lasts for ever. Through Christ our Lord.
In the face of the necessities of human life, Jesus allows his divine identity to reveal itself: ‘My child, your sins are forgiven you’. The Jews know very well that only God forgives sins. By using this prerogative Jesus tells them in other words that he is God. Their lack of faith and their rejection of this identity makes them see these words as blasphemy, and after Jesus perfoms a miracle, fear invades their hearts. Our interpretation of God’s works is diluted when we fail to believe in him and the wonders he performs in our lives and those of our loved ones. Without faith, these wonders do not bring joy and peace but for fear. May we ask Jesus to increase our faith, so that we may always recognise him as God’s Son and be his witnesses among men.