THURSDAY 16 febRuary
Daniel and his four companions (Elias, Isaias, Jeremy and Samuel) were Egyptians who visited condemned Christians working in the mines of Cilicia during Maximus persecution, to comfort them. Apprehended, they were all tortured and then beheaded.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 30: 3-4
Be my protector, O God, a mighty stronghold to save me. For you are my rock, my stronghold! Lead me, guide me, for the sake of your name.
O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace as to become a dwelling pleasing to you. 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: Genesis 9: 1-13
God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. Be the terror and the dread of all the wild beasts and all the birds of heaven, of everything that crawls on the ground and all the fish of the sea; they are handed over to you. Every living and crawling thing shall provide food for you, no less than the foliage of plants. I give you everything, with this exception: you must not eat flesh with life, that is to say blood, in it. I will demand an account of your life-blood. I will demand an account from every beast and from man. I will demand an account of every man’s life from his fellow men. He who sheds man’s blood shall have his blood shed by man, for in the image of God man was made. As for you, be fruitful, multiply, teem over the earth and be lord of it.” God spoke to Noah and his sons, “See, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. I establish my Covenant with you: nothing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.” God said, “Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth.”
Psalm 101(102): 16-21, 29, 22-23
R/ The Lord looked down from heaven to the earth.
The nations shall fear the name of the Lord and all the earth’s kings your glory, when the Lord shall build up Zion again and appear in all his glory. Then he will turn to the prayers of the helpless; he will not despise their prayers.
Let this be written for ages to come that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord; for the Lord leaned down from his sanctuary on high. He looked down from heaven to the earth that he might hear the groans of the prisoners and free those condemned to die.
The sons of your servants shall dwell untroubled and their race shall endure before you that the name of the Lord may be proclaimed in Zion and his praise in the heart of Jerusalem, when peoples and kingdoms are gathered together to pay their homage to the Lord.
Gospel Acclamation: James1:18
Alleluia, alleluia! By his own choice, the Father made us his children by the message of the truth, so that we should be a sort of first-fruits of all that he created. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 8: 27-33
Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way, he put this question to his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” And they told him. “John the Baptist,” they said. “Others, Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.” “But you,” he asked, “who do you say I am?” Peter spoke up and said to him, “You are the Christ.” And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him. And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.”
Prayer over the Offerings
May this oblation, O Lord, we pray, cleanse and renew us and may it become for those who do your will the source of eternal reward. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 77: 29-30
They ate and had their fill, and what they craved the Lord gave them; they were not disappointed in what they craved.
Prayer after Communion
Having fed upon these heavenly delights, we pray, O Lord, so that we may always long for that food by which we truly live. Through Christ our Lord.
Believing in Jesus is a personal commitment for each of us. “But you, who do you say I am?” Each of us is personally called to profess what we believe Jesus is for us. Peter professes on behalf of his fellow disciples, who he believes Jesus to be: the Messiah. However, when Christ tells him of the coming scandal of his cross, death and resurrection, Peter no longer adheres to him with confidence. Worse still, he tries, like the Devil, to dissuade Jesus from the prospect of his mission designed for him by God, his Father. Jesus, apostrophizing Satan, commands Peter to go behind him, since it is up to him, the disciple, to follow the Master and not the other way round. This is how he rebukes us when our faith refuses the scandal of the cross with him, and we try to escape it. May we bravely profess and bear our faith in Christ, accepting the vision of the cross with Him.