FRIday 17 MARCH
He was born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th century, and died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. He is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care of people.
Entrance Antiphon: cf. Ps 95: 2–3
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, for you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God.
Pour your grace into our hearts, we pray, O Lord, that we may be constantly drawn away from unruly desires and obey by your own gift the heavenly teaching you give us. 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: Hosea 14: 2-10
The Lord says this: Israel, come back to the Lord your God; your iniquity was the cause of your downfall. Provide yourself with words and come back to the Lord. Say to him, “Take all iniquity away so that we may have happiness again and offer you our words of praise. Assyria cannot save us, we will not ride horses any more, or say, ‘Our God!’ to what our own hands have made, for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion. – I will heal their disloyalty, I will love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned from them. I will fall like dew on Israel. He shall bloom like the lily, and thrust out roots like the poplar, his shoots will spread far; he will have the beauty of the olive and the fragrance of Lebanon. They will come back to live in my shade; they will grow corn that flourishes, they will cultivate vines as renowned as the wine of Helbon. What has Ephraim to do with idols any more when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him? I am like a cypress ever green, all your fruitfulness comes from me. Let the wise man understand these words. Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning. For the ways of the Lord are straight, and virtuous men walk in them, but sinners stumble.
Psalm 80(81): 6, 8-11, 14, 17
R/ I am the Lord your God: listen to my warning.
A voice I did not know said to me: ‘I freed your shoulder from the burden; your hands were freed from the load. You called in distress and I saved you.
I answered, concealed in the storm cloud; at the waters of Meribah I tested you. Listen, my people, to my warning. O Israel, if only you would heed!
Let there be no foreign god among you, no worship of an alien god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt.
O that my people would heed me, that Israel would walk in my ways! But Israel I would feed with finest wheat and fill them with honey from the rock.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower; whoever finds this seed will remain for ever. Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Gospel: Mark 12: 28-34
One of the Scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” The Scribe said to him, “Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.” Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to question him anymore.
Prayer over the Offerings
Look with favour, we pray, Lord, on the offerings we dedicate, that they may be pleasing in your sight and always be salutary for us. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Lk 22: 29
To love God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself, is worth more than any sacrifice.
Prayer after Communion
May your strength be at work in us, O Lord, pervading our minds and bodies, that what we have received by participating in this Sacrament may bring us the fullness of redemption. Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer over the People
Look graciously, O Lord, upon the faithful who implore your mercy, that, trusting in your kindness, they may spread far and wide the gifts your charity has bestowed. Through Christ our Lord.
Jesus teaches us that the greatest commandment we must observe in our lives is that of Love. Love is the foundation of everything that governs our life and our actions. Love of God, Love of self and Love of neighbour all go together. Today we live in a world full of individualism and self-centeredness, yet we claim to be good people and friends of God. Many of us pretend to know and do God’s will, whereas we are the actors and promoters of the miseries that our brothers and sisters suffer. We must watch out for all the loveless acts that we commit. To act without love is to be far from the essentials of life, it is to be far from the will of God.