Saturday 24th September 2022
St Stephanie was martyred at Denderah in Egypt in the fourth century. Stephanie, who was only 18 years old, suffered death together with about 500 Christians who were accused of preferring Christ to the local gods. Their faith and courage are a great challenge for us today.
I am the salvation of the people, says the Lord. Should they cry to me in any distress, I will hear them, and I will be their Lord for ever.
O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbour, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life. 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 : Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:8
Rejoice in your youth, you who are young; let your heart give you joy in your young days. Follow the promptings of your heart and the desires of your eyes. But this you must know: for all these things God will bring you to judgement. Cast worry from your heart, shield your flesh from pain.
Yet youth, the age of dark hair, is vanity. And remember your creator in the days of your youth, before evil days come and the years approach when you say, ‘These give me no pleasure’, before sun and light and moon and stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; the day when those who keep the house tremble and strong men are bowed; when the women grind no longer at the mill, because day is darkening at the windows and the street doors are shut; when the sound of the mill is faint, when the voice of the bird is silenced, and song notes are stilled, when to go uphill is an ordeal and a walk is something to dread. Yet the almond tree is in flower, the grasshopper is heavy with food and the caper bush bears its fruit, while man goes to his everlasting home. And the mourners are already walking to and fro in the street before the silver cord has snapped, or the golden lamp been broken, or the pitcher shattered at the spring, or the pulley cracked at the well, or before the dust returns to the earth as it once came from it, and the breath to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, the Preacher says. All is vanity.
R/ O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.
- You turn men back to dust and say: ‘Go back, sons of men.’ To your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone, no more than a watch in the night.
- You sweep men away like a dream, like the grass which springs up in the morning. In the morning it springs up and flowers: by evening it withers and fades.
- Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart. Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever? Show pity to your servants.
- In the morning, fill us with your love; we shall exult and rejoice all our days. Let the favour of the Lord be upon us: give success to the work of our hands.
Gospel Acclamation : cf.Ac16:14
Alleluia, alleluia! Open our heart, O Lord, to accept the words of your Son. Alleluia!
Gospel : Luke 9:43-45
At a time when everyone was full of admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘For your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: “The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.”’ But they did not understand him when he said this; it was hidden from them so that they should not see the meaning of it, and they were afraid to ask him about what he had just said.
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive with favour, O Lord, we pray, the offerings of your people, that what they profess with devotion and faith may be theirs through these heavenly mysteries. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon : Ps 118: 4-5
You have laid down your precepts to be carefully kept; may my ways be firm in keeping your statutes.
Prayer after Communion
Graciously raise up, O Lord, those you renew with this Sacrament, that we may come to possess your redemption both in mystery and in the manner of our life. Through Christ our Lord.
Why do we think the disciples were so afraid to ask Jesus what they had not understood? Maybe they did not want to hear or think anything about this reality. But today, why do we run after Jesus? This is exactly what true discipleship means; facing the reality of our lives, and being ready to suffer for and with Jesus with our own crosses. We may not necessarily have soldiers behind us with a whip, – like Jesus. Our cross may be seeing a loved one suffer, knowing that we are going to lose someone through an operation, that we will bury a loved one, that we ourselves, may suffer from an accident or the loss of some valuable property necessary for our job or everyday use; it may consist in enduring a period of sociopolitical instability while looking for firm and lasting resolutions, struggling with a friend or relative who is addicted to some poor habit, etc. Jesus assures us of the victory over the reality of our daily crosses.