SATURDAY 21 January
As with so many of the early Roman martyrs, very little is now known about Agnes’ life. Agnes was filled with the love of God from an early age, vowed herself to celibacy, and when the opportunity of martyrdom arose, she did not hide away but stepped forward and took it.
Behold, now she follows the Lamb who was crucified for us, powerful in virginity, modesty her offering, a sacrifice on the altar of chastity.
Almighty ever-living God, who choose what is weak in the world to confound the strong, mercifully grant, that we, who celebrate the heavenly birthday of your Martyr Saint Agnes, may follow her constancy in the faith. 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 9: 2-3, 11-14
There was a tent which comprised two compartments: the first, in which the lamp stand, the table and the presentation loaves were kept, was called the Holy Place; then beyond the second veil, an innermost part which was called the Holy of Holies. But now Christ has come, as the high priest of all the blessings which were to come. He has passed through the greater, the more perfect tent, which is better than the one made by men’s hands because it is not of this created order; and he has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer are sprinkled on those who have incurred defilement and they restore the holiness of their outward lives; how much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.
R/ God goes up with shouts of joy;
the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.
All peoples, clap your hands, cry to God with shouts of joy! For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear, great king over all the earth.
God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast. Sing praise for God, sing praise, sing praise to our king, sing praise.
God is king of all the earth, sing praise with all your skill. God is king over the nations; God reigns on his holy throne.
Gospel Acclamation: 2 Co 5: 19
Alleluia, alleluia! God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 3: 20-21
Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.
Prayer over the Offerings
May the offerings we bring in celebration of blessed Agnes. win your gracious acceptance, O Lord, we pray, just as the struggle of her suffering and passion was pleasing to you. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Rv 7: 17
The Lamb who is at the centre of the throne will lead them to the springs of the waters of life.
Prayer after Communion
O God, who bestowed on blessed Agnes. a crown among the Saints for her twofold triumph of virginity and martyrdom, grant, we pray, through the power of this Sacrament, that, bravely overcoming every evil, we may attain the glory of heaven. Through Christ our Lord.
Have you ever lacked the support of your friends and family? Such is the case of the misunderstood that Jesus faces in today’s Gospel. After giving new teachings, healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching by living an exemplary life, Christ is disowned by his very own. Following his example, we are called to persevere in our Christian life in a corrupt and unjust society. In adversity, we must redouble our efforts in promoting Christian values and, above all, preach by the example of our lives. Let us give thanks to the Lord for all those workers of the Gospel who, despite situations of abandonment, have not given up on enlightening the world.