by | Aug 17, 2023 | Evangelium

Saint Helena

She was a native of Bithynia, who married the then Roman general Constantius I. She converted to Christianity and performed many acts of charity, including building churches in Rome and in the Holy Land.

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 73: 20, 19, 22, 23

Look to your covenant, O Lord, and forget not the life of your poor ones for ever. Arise, O God, and defend your cause, and forget not the cries of those who seek you.


Almighty ever-living God, whom, taught by the Holy Spirit, we dare to call our Father, bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters, that we may merit to enter into the inheritance which you have promised. 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: Joshua 24:1-13

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; then he called the elders, leaders, judges and scribes of Israel, and they presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to all the people: “The Lord, the God of Israel says this, ‘In ancient days your ancestors lived beyond the River – such was Terah the father of Abraham and of Nahor – and they served other gods. Then I brought your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan. I increased his descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountain country of Seir as his possession. Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron and plagued Egypt with the wonders that I worked there. So I brought you out of it. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the Sea; the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen as far as the Sea of Reeds. There they called to the Lord, and he spread a thick fog between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea go back on them and cover them. You saw with your own eyes the things I did in Egypt. Then for a long time you lived in the wilderness, until I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan; they made war on you and I gave them into your hands; you took possession of their country because I destroyed them before you. Next, Balak son of Zippor the king of Moab arose to make war on Israel, and sent for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you. But I would not listen to Balaam; instead, he had to bless you, and I saved you from his hand. When you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, those who held Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites and Perizzites, the Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I put them all into your power. I sent out hornets in front of you, which drove the two Amorite kings before you; this was not the work of your sword or your bow. I gave you a land where you never toiled, you live in towns you never built; you eat now from vineyards and olive-groves you never planted.’”

Psalm 135(136):1-3, 16-18, 21-22, 24    R) Great is his love, love without end.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good.

Give thanks to the God of gods

Give thanks to the Lord of lords.

Through the desert his people he led.               

Nations in their greatness he struck.   

Kings in their splendour he slew.         

He let Israel inherit their land.

On his servant their land he bestowed.             

And he snatched us away from our foes.          

Gospel Acclamation: Ps 110:7, 8

Alleluia, alleluia! Your precepts, O Lord, are all of them sure; they stand firm for ever and ever. Alleluia!

Gospel: Matthew 19: 3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and to test him they said, “Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?” He answered, “Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?” “It was because you were so unteachable” he said “that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning. Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to marry.” But he replied, “It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

Prayer over the Offerings

Be pleased, O Lord, to accept the offerings of your Church, for in your mercy you have given them to be offered and by your power you transform them into the mystery of our salvation. Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon: Ps 147: 12, 14

O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord, who gives you your fill of finest wheat.

Prayer after Communion

May the communion in your Sacrament that we have consumed, save us, O Lord, and confirm us in the light of your truth. Through Christ our Lord.


This is not an easy text to hear in these times when marriage is so fragile, when people recoil from the lifelong commitment of marriage, and when divorce rates are rising everywhere. Yet it is clear that Jesus stands for a committed marriage and is against divorce. May we, together with Pope Francis, consider those living through difficult situations and further integrate them “into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal… (so that they may come) not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also… have a joyful and fruitful experience in it.” (Amoris Laetitia no. 299)