MONDAY 30 January
SAINT AEDAN OF FERNS
Born in 558, he was the son of an Irish tribal chieftain and studied under St Finian and St David. He was the first bishop of Ferns, in Ireland, and founded many churches and monasteries. He died in 632.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 105: 47
Save us, O Lord our God! And gather us from the nations, to give thanks to your holy name, and make it our glory to praise you.
Grant us, Lord our God, that we may honour you with all our mind, and love everyone in truth of heart. 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: 32-40
Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets – these were men who through faith conquered kingdoms, did what is right and earned the promises. They could keep a lion’s mouth shut, put out blazing fires and emerge unscathed from battle. They were weak people who were given strength, to be brave in war and drive back foreign invaders. Some came back to their wives from the dead, by resurrection; and others submitted to torture, refusing release so that they would rise again to a better life. Some had to bear being pilloried and flogged, or even chained up in prison. They were stoned, or sawn in half, or beheaded; they were homeless, and dressed in the skins of sheep and goats; they were penniless and were given nothing but ill-treatment. They were too good for the world and they went out to live in deserts and mountains and in caves and ravines. These are all heroes of faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had made provision for us to have something better, and they were not to reach perfection except with us.
Psalm 30(31): 20-24
R/ Let your heart take courage, all who hope in the Lord.
How great is the goodness, Lord, that you keep for those who fear you, that you show to those who trust you in the sight of men.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence from the plotting of men; you keep them safe within your tent from disputing tongues.
Blessed be the Lord who has shown me the wonders of his love in a fortified city.
‘I am far removed from your sight’ I said in my alarm. Yet you heard the voice of my plea when I cried for help.
Love the Lord, all you saints. He guards his faithful but the Lord will repay to the full those who act with pride.
Gospel Acclamation: Jn 17: 17
Alleluia, alleluia! Your word is truth, O Lord: consecrate us in the truth. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 5: 1-20
Jesus and his disciples reached the country of the Gerasene on the other side of the lake, and no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear by God you will not torture me!” – For Jesus had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit.” “What is your name?” Jesus asked. “My name is legion,” he answered, “for there are many of us.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district. Now there was there on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.” So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The swineherds ran off and told their story in the town and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his full senses – the very man who had had the legion in him before – and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave the neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, “Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.” So the man went off and proceeded to spread throughout the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.
Prayer over the Offerings
O Lord, we bring to your altar these offerings of our service: be pleased to receive them, we pray, and transform them into the Sacrament of our redemption. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 30: 17-18
Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your merciful love. O Lord, let me never be put to shame, for I call on you.
Prayer after Communion
Nourished by these redeeming gifts, we pray, O Lord, that through this help to eternal salvation true faith may ever increase. Through Christ our Lord.
The encounter of the possessed man with Jesus may seem frightening; but for us Christians, it is an affirmation of our Lord’s authority over the powers of evil. Although they were a legion of demons holding the man captive, they recognised the power of the Son of God. With this power and authority, the man is set free, and a profound change is visible in his life, for he goes forth to proclaim the Lord’s benefits to him. This whole scene illustrates the fullness of life to which we are called as children of God; a life without unclean spirits and free from captivity, a life that proclaims the wonders of the Lord.