MONDAY 20 febRuary
Born in England, he became a priest and was excessively materialistic and worldly. After meeting with a beggar, he underwent a personal conversion and became a hermit at Haselbury; He then devoted himself to rigorous austerities and was known for his miracles and prophecies.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 12: 6
O Lord, I trust in your merciful love. My heart will rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord who has been bountiful with me.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is 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: Ecclesiasticus 1: 1-10
All wisdom is from the Lord, and it is his own for ever. The sand of the sea and the raindrops, and the days of eternity, who can assess them? The height of the sky and the breadth of the earth, and the depth of the abyss, who can probe them? Before all other things wisdom was created, shrewd understanding is everlasting. For whom has the root of wisdom ever been uncovered? Her resourceful ways, who knows them? One only is wise, terrible indeed, seated on his throne, the Lord. He himself has created her, looked on her and assessed her, and poured her out on all his works to be with all mankind as his gift, and he conveyed her to those who love him.
Psalm 92(93): 1-2, 5
R/ The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.
The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed; the Lord has robed himself with might, he has girded himself with power.
The world you made firm, not to be moved; your throne has stood firm from of old. From all eternity, O Lord, you are.
Truly your decrees are to be trusted. Holiness is fitting to your house, O Lord, until the end of time.
Gospel Acclamation: 1P 1:25
Alleluia, alleluia! The word of the Lord remains for ever: What is this word? It is the Good News that has been brought to you. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 9: 14-29
When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and re-joined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing about with them?” he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, “Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.” “You faithless generation!” he said to them in reply. “How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” “From childhood,” he replied. “And it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” “If you can?” retorted Jesus. “Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!” And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. “Deaf and dumb spirit,” he said, “I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.” Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, “Why were we unable to cast it out?” “This is the kind,” he answered, “that can only be driven out by prayer.”
Prayer over the Offerings
As we celebrate your mysteries, O Lord, with the observance that is your due, we humbly ask you, that what we offer to the honour of your majesty may profit us for salvation.
Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 9: 2-3
I will recount all your wonders, I will rejoice in you and be glad, and sing psalms to your name, O Most High.
Prayer after Communion
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may experience the effects of the salvation which is pledged to us by these mysteries. Through Christ our Lord.
The Book of Ecclesiasticus is a poetic Wisdom book. The writer begins with a profession of faith. To all those who pretend to be modern because they seek to know human doctrines and wisdom, Sirach simply says that true wisdom lies in the fear of the Lord; it is putting one’s confidence in God. He talks of the fear of the Lord like the psalmist does, noting that this fear of the Lord is different from pagan ways that imagine God as a God of retributions. To fear God is to have him in all we do, to reverence him and act in his presence. Anyone who loves God is conscious of the fact that God is near and will hesitate to offend him. The Gospel brings out one of those few instances where Jesus expresses his disappointment in his disciples, trained and commissioned but unable to cast out a demon. These disciples must have presumed the power and influence they had in their first mission, but neglected the essential; prayer and fasting. No matter their incantations, their burned candles or dancing steps, they could do nothing. The child’s father sought Jesus and Jesus responded to his plea. He will respond to yours if you have faith and a prayerful life.