saturday 01 APRIL
He became hereditary bishop of Armagh in 1105 and made many reforms; not least on his deathbed, when he abolished the hereditary principle by appointing St Malachy as his successor.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 21: 20, 7
O Lord, do not stay afar off; my strength, make haste to help me! For I am a worm and no man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
O God, who have made all those reborn in Christ a chosen race and a royal priesthood, grant us, we pray, the grace to will and to do what you command, that the people called to eternal life may be one in the faith of their hearts and the homage of their deeds. 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: Ezekiel 37:21-28
The Lord says this: “I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.”
Canticle: Jeremiah 31:10-13
R/ The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
O nations, hear the word of the Lord, proclaim it to the far-off coasts. Say: “He who scattered Israel will gather him and guard him as a shepherd guards his flock.”
For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, has saved him from an overpowering hand. They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion, they will stream to the blessings of the Lord.
Then the young girls will rejoice and dance, the men, young and old, will be glad. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console them, give gladness for grief.
Gospel Acclamation: Ezk18:31
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Shake off all your sins – it is the Lord who speaks –and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Gospel: John 11:45-56
Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. “Here is this man working all these signs” they said “and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.” One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, “You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So, Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples. The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, “What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?”
Prayer over the Offerings
May the gifts we offer from our fasting be acceptable to you, O Lord, we pray, and, as an expiation for our sins, may they make us worthy of your grace and lead us to what you promise for eternity. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Jn 11: 52
Christ was handed over, to gather into one the scattered children of God.
Prayer after Communion
We entreat your majesty most humbly, O Lord, that, as you feed us with the nourishment which comes from the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, so you may make us sharers of his divine nature. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Prayer over the People
Have mercy, Lord, on your Church, as she brings you her supplications, and be attentive to those who incline their hearts before you: do not allow, we pray, those you have redeemed by the Death of your Only Begotten Son, to be harmed by their sins or weighed down by their trials. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
As the day of our redemption approaches, Jesus’ fate seems to be more and more sealed. “From that day on, they decided to kill him”; but more important than his death is its fundamental meaning at the heart of the revelation made to the priest Caiaphas: “It is better that one man should die for the people, than that the whole nation should perish”. There had been many sacrifices in the past that prefigured the supreme sacrifice of Christ, but these were not sufficient to reconcile God’s people with Him. By accepting to offer his own life as an offering to the Father, Christ presents himself as the holy and flawless victim that the Father could finally accept, the only offering that could obtain forgiveness of the sins of the whole world. He had to die for the nation; and it was not only for the nation, but much more, in order to gather in unity, all the scattered children of God. Jesus is willing to give his life for us; let us welcome his death as a means of our reconciliation with the Father and of unity with our brothers and sisters.