SATURDAY 18 febRuary
Saint Bernadette Soubirous
She was born in 1844 to a destitute family in Lourdes, in France. On 11 February 1858 she received the first of a series of visions of the Mother of God which led to Lourdes becoming a place of pilgrimage and healing. In 1866 she became a nun at Nevers, where she died on 16 April 1879.
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: Hebrews 11: 1-7
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 is by faith that we understand that the world was created by one word from God, so that no apparent cause can account for the things we can see. It was because of his faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and for that he was declared to be righteous when God made acknowledgement of his offerings. Though he is dead, he still speaks by faith. It was because of his faith that Enoch was taken up and did not have to experience death: he was not to be found because God had taken him. This was because before his assumption it is attested that he had pleased God. Now it is impossible to please God without faith, since anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and rewards those who try to find him. It was through his faith that Noah, when he had been warned by God of something that had never been seen before, felt a holy fear and built an ark to save his family. By his faith the world was convicted, and he was able to claim the righteousness which is the reward of faith.
Psalm 144(145): 2-5, 10-11
R/ I will bless your name for ever, O Lord.
I will bless you day after day and praise your name for ever. The Lord is great, highly to be praised, his greatness cannot be measured.
Age to age shall proclaim your works, shall declare your mighty deeds, shall speak of your splendour and glory, tell the tale of your wonderful works.
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord, and your friends shall repeat their blessing. They shall speak of the glory of your reign and declare your might, O God.
Gospel Acclamation: Ps 147: 12, 15
Alleluia, alleluia! O praise the Lord, Jerusalem! He sends out his word to the earth. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 9: 2-13
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: “Rabbi,” he said, “it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.” Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them anymore but only Jesus. As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what “rising from the dead” could mean. And they put this question to him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?” “True,” he said. “Elijah is to come first and to see that everything is as it should be; yet how is it that the scriptures say about the Son of Man that he is to suffer grievously and be treated with contempt? However, I tell you that Elijah has come and they have treated him as they pleased, just as the scriptures say about him.”
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.
Faith is holding on to what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see. The examples we are given show that faith cannot just remain within us as an intimate conviction. What matters is to act according to faith and make decisions inspired by it. That is what the Father’s voice is telling us as the disciples witness the Transfiguration of Jesus in the Gospel. Listen to him even more than Moses and Elijah were listened to. Jesus has announced his death and now the Father shows a foretaste of the Post Resurrection that they will live. The apostles have witnessed Jesus argue and fall out with the Pharisees, the Chief Priests and the Scribes. They might have felt like asking themselves if Jesus was not mistaken. Now they have the opportunity to confirm that Jesus and his teaching are authentic. Listen to him. The shinning cloud and the dazzling white clothes are external signs that give us a clue about mystery of Jesus. This will be confirmed at his resurrection.