WEDNESDAY 18 January
Bishop of Tours, France. A senator at Tours, he was initially married, supposedly to a most unpleasant wife. Named bishop of the city in 488, he was forced to leave the see in 496 by the Arian Visigoths, and went to Spain. He died perhaps in Toulouse, or in Spain, possibly as a martyr.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 65: 4
All the earth shall bow down before you, O God, and shall sing to you, shall sing to your name, O Most High!
Almighty ever-living God, who govern all things, both in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the pleading of your people and bestow your peace on our times. 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: Hebrews 7: 1, 1-3, 15-17
You remember that Melchizedek, king of Salem, a priest of God Most High, went to meet Abraham who was on his way back after defeating the kings, and blessed him; and also that it was to him that Abraham gave a tenth of all that he had. By the interpretation of his name, he is, first, ‘king of righteousness’ and also king of Salem, that is, ‘king of peace’; he has no father, mother or ancestry, and his life has no beginning or ending; he is like the Son of God. He remains a priest for ever. This becomes even more clearly evident when there appears a second Melchizedek, who is a priest not by virtue of a law about physical descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it was about him that the prophecy was made: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.
Psalm 109(110): 1-4
R/ You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.
The Lord’s revelation to my Master: ‘Sit on my right: your foes I will put beneath your feet.’
The Lord will wield from Zion your sceptre of power rule in the midst of all your foes.
A prince from the day of your birth on the holy mountains; from the womb before the dawn, I begot you.
The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change. ‘You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.’
Gospel Acclamation: Heb 4: 12
Alleluia, alleluia! The word of God is something alive and active: it can judge secret emotions and thoughts. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 3:1-6
Jesus went into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up out in the middle!” Then he said to them, “Is it against the law on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?” But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.
Prayer over the Offerings
Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that we may participate worthily in these mysteries, for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated the work of our redemption is accomplished. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 22
You have prepared a table before me, and how precious is the chalice that quenches my thirst.
Prayer after Communion
Pour on us, O Lord, the Spirit of your love, and in your kindness make those you have nourished by this one heavenly Bread one in mind and heart. Through Christ our Lord.
When Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath, it implies that love and compassion are above the Law and must moderate or guide it. Jesus invites us always to do good and to teach, by our actions, that appeasement must take precedence over confrontation. Christ healed the man with the withered hand and restored his dignity by calling him to stand among those present. As we can see, the scene takes place in the Synagogue, so the Church is the place where our human dignity and our dignity as children of God are restored. Today, let us listen to the voice of the Lord who wants to heal us of our atrophies, for it is to each one of us that he says again: “stretch out your hand”.