SATURDAY 28 January
SAINT Thomas d’Aquinas
He was born of a noble family in southern Italy, and was educated by the Benedictines. He studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great. He is the church’s one and only Angelic Doctor.
In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory.
O God, who made Saint Thomas Aquinas outstanding in his zeal for holiness and his study of sacred doctrine, grant us, we pray, that we may understand what he taught and imitate what he accomplished. 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 11: 1-2, 8-19
Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended. It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he arrived, as a foreigner, in the Promised Land, and lived there as if in a strange country, with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. They lived there in tents while he looked forward to a city founded, designed and built by God. It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise would be faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who was already as good as dead himself, more descendants than could be counted, as many as the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore. All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them. It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though the promises had been made to him and he had been told: It is through Isaac that your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.
Psalm: Luke 1: 69-75
R/ Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel! He has visited his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up for us a mighty saviour in the house of David his servant, as he promised by the lips of holy men, those who were his prophets from of old.
A saviour who would free us from our foes, from the hands of all who hate us. So his love for our fathers is fulfilled and his holy covenant remembered.
He swore to Abraham our father to grant us that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes, we might serve him in holiness and justice all the days of our life in his presence.
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Ps 26: 11
Alleluia, alleluia! Instruct me, Lord, in your way; on an even path lead me. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 4: 35-41
With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, “Master, do you not care? We are going down!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet now! Be calm!” And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, “Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?” They were filled with awe and said to one another, “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.”
Prayer over the Offerings
May the sacrifice which we gladly present on the feast day of blessed N., be pleasing to you, O God, for, taught by him, we, too, give ourselves entirely to you in praise. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Lk 12: 42
Behold a faithful and prudent steward to give them their allowance of food at the proper time.
Prayer after Communion
Through Christ the teacher, O Lord, instruct those you feed with Christ, the living Bread, that on the feast day of blessed N. they may learn your truth and express it in works of charity. Through Christ our Lord.
The Apostles’ cry of fear is a good example of our own bewilderment when we are lost. In the boat of life, we are sometimes overcome by feelings of doubt, panic and abandonment in the face of terror, distress and an uncertain future. When these situations arise, our human weakness leads us to wonder if God is still with us. Today’s Gospel teaches us two lessons. The first is to say to the Lord: “Master, we are going down”. The second is to see these storms as an opportunity to reaffirm our faith and to trust in the Lord, for it is He who blows away the winds and gives us peace of heart.