SATURDAY 25 febRuary
He was the first king in England to convert to Christianity. According to Bede, this happened shortly after St Augustine arrived on his mission to the English.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 68: 17
Answer us, Lord, for your mercy is kind; in the abundance of your mercies, look upon us.
Almighty ever-living God, look with compassion on our weakness and ensure us your protection by stretching forth the right hand of your majesty. 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: Isaiah 58: 9-14
The Lord says this: If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist, the wicked word, if you give your bread to the hungry, and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon. The Lord will always guide you, giving you relief in desert places. He will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never run dry. You will rebuild the ancient ruins, build up on the old foundations. You will be called “Breach-mender”, “Restorer of ruined houses?’ If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, and doing business on the holy day, if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’, and the day sacred to the Lord ‘Honourable’, if you honour it by abstaining from travel, from doing business and from gossip, then shall you find your happiness in the Lord and I will lead you triumphant over the heights of the land. I will feed you on the heritage of Jacob your father. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
R/ Show me, Lord, your way, so that I may walk in your truth.
Turn your ear, O Lord, and give answer for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am faithful; save the servant who trusts in you.
You are my God, have mercy on me, Lord, for I cry to you all the day long. Give joy to your servant, O Lord, for to you I lift up my soul.
O Lord, you are good and forgiving, full of love to all who call. Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my voice.
Gospel Acclamation: cf Ps 94: 8
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God! Harden not your hearts today, but listen to the voice of the Lord. Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Gospel: Luke 5: 27-32
Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything he got up and followed him. In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Accept, we pray, O Lord, the sacrifice of conciliation and praise, and grant that, cleansed by its working, we may offer minds well pleasing to you. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Mt 9: 13
I desire mercy, not sacrifice, says the Lord, for I did not come to call the just but sinners.
Prayer after Communion
Nourished with the gift of heavenly life, we pray, O Lord, that what remains for us a mystery in this present life may be for us a help to reach eternity. Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer over the People
Abide graciously, O Lord, with your people, who have touched the sacred mysteries, that no dangers may bring affliction to those who trust in you, their protector. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lent is that time during which we join to mortify ourselves with the one who continues to pay for our ransom with his blood. In the Gospel of today, Christ shows us God’s abundant and just favor and mercy for all: “It is not the healthy that are in need of a physician but the sick. I have come not to call the righteous but sinners.” He has come to restore sinners to good spiritual health. The call, conversion and mission of Levi (or Matthew) prove that God does not call us for who we are but rather for what he can use us for. The reading from Isaiah teaches us that if we are sympathetic like Levi, inviting other sinners to Christ and bringing relief to those who suffer, then God has a message addressed to each of us today: “your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon. The Lord will always guide you, giving you relief in desert places. He will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never run dry.” This is what we shall become at the end of Lent if we make the effort.