(251 – 356)
St Antony is the originator of the monastic life. He was born in Egypt: when his parents died, he listened to the words of the Gospel and gave all his belongings to the poor. He lived to be over a hundred years old, and died in 356.
Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Ps 91: 13-14
The just will flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a Lebanon cedar, planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
O God, who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony to serve you by a wondrous way of life in the desert, grant, through his intercession, that, denying ourselves, we may always love you above all things. 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 : 1 Samuel 17: 32-33, 37, 40-51
David said to Saul, ‘Let no-one lose heart on his account; your servant will go and fight the Philistine.’ But Saul answered David, ‘You cannot go and fight the Philistine; you are only a boy and he has been a warrior from his youth.’ ‘The Lord who rescued me from the claws of lion and bear’ David said ‘will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.’ Then Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’ He took his staff in his hand, picked five smooth stones from the river bed, put them in his shepherd’s bag, in his pouch, and with his sling in his hand he went to meet the Philistine. The Philistine, his shield-bearer in front of him, came nearer and nearer to David; and the Philistine looked at David, and what he saw filled him with scorn, because David was only a youth, a boy of fresh complexion and pleasant bearing. The Philistine said to him, ‘Am I a dog for you to come against me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, ‘Come over here and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.’ But David answered the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have dared to insult. Today the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I shall kill you; I will cut off your head, and this very day I will give your dead body and the bodies of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord gives the victory, for the Lord is lord of the battle and he will deliver you into our power.’ No sooner had the Philistine started forward to confront David than David left the line of battle and ran to meet the Philistine. Putting his hand in his bag, he took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead; the stone penetrated his forehead and he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone and struck the Philistine down and killed him. David had no sword in his hand. Then David ran and, standing over the Philistine, seized his sword and drew it from the scabbard, and with this he killed him, cutting off his head. The Philistines saw that their champion was dead, and took to flight.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm143(144): 1-2, 9-10 R/ Blessed be the Lord, my rock.
- Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my arms for battle, who prepares my hands for war.
- He is my love, my fortress; he is my stronghold, my savior my shield, my place of refuge. He brings peoples under my rule.
- To you, O God, will I sing a new song; I will play on the ten-stringed lute to you who give kings their victory, who set David your servant free.
Gospel Acclamation : Heb4:12
Alleluia, alleluia! The word of God is something alive and active: it can judge secret emotions and thoughts Alleluia!
Gospel : Mark 3:1-6
Jesus went into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was better. The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.
Prayer over the Offerings
May these offerings of our service, placed on your altar in commemoration of Saint Anthony, be acceptable to you, O Lord, we pray, and grant that, released from earthly attachments, we may have our riches in you alone. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon : Cf. Mt 19: 21
If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have, give to the poor, and follow me, says the Lord.
Prayer after Communion
Nourished for our healing by your Sacraments, O Lord, may we escape every snare of the enemy unharmed, just as by your grace Saint Anthony won glorious victories over the powers of darkness. Through Christ our Lord.
In the Gospel, we see the Pharisees whose understanding of religion and scrupulous observance of the Sabbath code deprives healing and life of their people. In Jewish law, it was permitted to heal on the Sabbath day if life was threatened. But the man with the paralysed hand was not in any danger of death, so Jesus’ opponents could accuse him of breaking the law. However, the law was originally meant to help people to do God’s will. By Jesus’ time a multitude of traditions had made the law more prohibitive. By interpreting the law so strictly like the Pharisees did, Jesus’ opponents missed the opportunity to do good. And that is tantamount to doing evil! Properly interpreted the law cannot stand in the way of God’s benefits. Jesus gave his opponents a sign of God’s power by healing the man.