FRIday 31 MARCH
St. Benjamin was a saint of great faith and trust in the Lord, and one of the first Christian martyrs. St. Benjamin is a great example of having courage in declaring one’s faith, and is the patron saint of deacons.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 30: 10, 16, 18
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in distress. Deliver me from the hands of my enemies and those who pursue me. O Lord, let me never be put to shame, for I call on you.
Pardon the offences of your people, we pray, O Lord, and in your goodness set us free from the bonds of the sins we have committed in our weakness. 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: Jeremiah 20: 10-13
Jeremiah said: “I hear so many disparaging me, ‘Terror from every side! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’ All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error. Then we will master him and take our revenge!’ But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs. But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.”
R/In my anguish I called to the Lord, and he heard my voice.
I love you, Lord, my strength, my rock, my fortress, my saviour. My God is the rock where I take refuge; my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold. The Lord is worthy of all praise, when I call, I am saved from my foes.
The waves of death rose about me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the snares of the grave entangled me; the traps of death confronted me.
In my anguish I called to the Lord; I cried to God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Jn 6: 63, 68
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God! Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life. Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Gospel: John 10: 31-42
The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, “I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.” Jesus answered: “Is it not written in your Law: I said, you are gods? So the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and Scripture cannot be rejected. Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, You are blaspheming,” because he says, ‘I am the Son of God.’ If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them. He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, “John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true,” and many of them believed in him.
Prayer over the Offerings
Grant, O merciful God, that we may be worthy to serve ever fittingly at your altars, and there to be saved by constant participation. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon:1 Pt 2: 24
Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that dead to sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds we have been healed.
Prayer after Communion
May the unfailing protection of the sacrifice we have received never leave us, O Lord, and may it always drive far from us all that would do us harm. Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer over the People
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that your servants, who seek the grace of your protection, may be free from every evil and serve you in peace of mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
On this day, St. John once again presents Jesus to us in a confrontation with the Jews who are determined to take his life. They unjustly accuse Jesus of blasphemy. They claim that he is not from God. But Jesus produces the fruits of God by the signs and wonders he performs, and they cannot deny this evidence. This makes us understand why the presence of Jesus disturbs them. And for this reason, they want to put him away. Enemies of the light and of the truth, they look for unfounded reasons to accuse Jesus. Like those Jews, we too often make such accusations against our brothers and sisters, or we fall prey to them. Let us stop jealousy and slander in our lives. When a brother or sister does the right thing, let us encourage them instead of throwing trapping them to a fall. This is not worthy of a Christian.