SAINT Laurence of Brindisi
He was born in Brindisi, joined the Capuchin Friars, and studied at the University of Padua, where he learned a number of languages (including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, French, and German) and acquired a deep knowledge of the Bible. He preached all over Europe, not just to Catholics but to Protestants and to Jews.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 16:15
As for me, in justice I shall behold your face; I shall be filled with the vision of your glory.
O God, who show the light of your truth to those who go astray, so that they may return to the right path, give all who for the faith they profess are accounted Christians the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ and to strive after all that does it honour. 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: Exodus 11:10-12:14
Moses and Aaron worked many wonders in the presence of Pharaoh. But the Lord made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn, and he did not let the sons of Israel leave his country. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: “This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, ‘On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled, but roasted over the fire, head, feet and entrails. You must not leave any over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you are to burn. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt, I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.’”
R/ The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.
How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me? The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.
O precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful. Your servant, Lord, your servant am I; you have loosened my bonds.
A thanksgiving sacrifice I make; I will call on the Lord’s name. My vows to the Lord I will fulfil before all his people.
Gospel Acclamation: cf.Ps26:11
Alleluia, alleluia! Instruct me, Lord, in your way; on an even path lead me. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8
Jesus took a walk one Sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath.” But he said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbath day the Temple priests break the Sabbath without being blamed for it? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the Sabbath.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Look upon the offerings of the Church, O Lord, as she makes her prayer to you, and grant that, when consumed by those who believe, they may bring ever greater holiness. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 83: 4-5
The sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for her young: by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise.
Prayer after Communion
Having consumed these gifts, we pray, O Lord, that, by our participation in this mystery, its saving effects upon us may grow. Through Christ our Lord.
The Gospel of today revolves around the Sabbath. A day of praise to the Lord only, no doubt. But is this praise, or is this way of pretending to praise the Lord the right one when our hearts are filled with the desire for revenge, anger, hatred? Jesus invites his contemporaries and us, today, to praise the Lord with an upright and pure conscience, and not with external observances that cause death instead of promoting life. Lord, give us the power to praise you every day with actions and attitudes that promote life and salvation.