SAinT JOHN BOSCO
(1815 – 1888)
He was born in Piedmont of a peasant family, and he was brought up by his widowed mother. He became a priest, and his particular concern was for the young.
Entrance Antiphon: Cf. Ps 131: 9
Your priests, O Lord, shall be clothed with justice; your holy ones shall ring out their joy.
O God, who raised up the Priest Saint John Bosco as a father and teacher of the young, grant, we pray, that, aflame with the same fire of love, we may seek out souls and serve you alone. 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: 2 Samuel 24:2,8-17
King David said to Joab and to the senior army officers who were with him, ‘Now go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and take a census of the people; I wish to know the size of the population.’ Having covered the whole country, they returned to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab gave the king the figures for the census of the people; Israel numbered eight hundred thousand armed men capable of drawing sword, and Judah five hundred thousand men. But afterwards David’s heart misgave him for having taken a census of the people. ‘I have committed a grave sin’ David said to the Lord. ‘But now, Lord, I beg you to forgive your servant for this fault. I have been very foolish.’ But when David got up next morning, the following message had come from the Lord to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, ‘Go and say to David, “the Lord says this: I offer you three things; choose one of them for me to do to you.”’ So Gad went to David and told him. ‘Are three years of famine to come on you in your country’ he said ‘or will you flee for three months before your pursuing enemy, or would you rather have three days’ pestilence in your country? Now think, and decide how I am to answer him who sends me.’ David said to Gad, This is a hard choice. But let us rather fall into the power of the Lord, since his mercy is great, and not into the power of men.’ So David chose pestilence. It was the time of the wheat harvest. The Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from the morning till the time appointed and plague ravaged the people, and from Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of them died. The angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, but the Lord thought better of this evil, and he said to the angel who was destroying the people, ‘Enough! Now withdraw your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was beside the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. “When David saw the angel who was ravaging the people, he spoke to the Lord. ‘It was I who sinned;’ he said ‘I who did this wicked thing. But these, this flock, what have they done? Let your hand lie heavy on me then, and on my family.’
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31(32):1-2,5-7 R/ Forgive, Lord, the guilt of my sin.
- Happy the man whose offence is forgiven, whose sin is remitted. O happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no guile.
- But now I have acknowledged my sins; my guilt I did not hide. I said: ‘I will confess my offence to the Lord.’ And you, Lord, have forgiven the guilt of my sin.
- So let every good man pray to you in the time of need. The floods of water may reach high but him they shall not reach.
- You are my hiding place, O Lord; you save me from distress. You surround me with cries of deliverance.
Gospel Acclamation: Mt4:4
Alleluia, alleluia! Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 6:1-6
Jesus went to his hometown and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive, O Lord, we pray, the offerings placed on your altar in commemoration of Saint John Bosco, so that, as you brought him glory, you may, through these sacred mysteries, grant to us your pardon. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Mt 24: 46-47
Blessed is the servant whom the Lord finds watching when he comes. Amen I say to you: He will put that servant in charge of all his property.
Prayer after Communion
May partaking at the heavenly table, almighty God, confirm and increase strength from on high in all who celebrate the feast day of Saint John Bosco, that we may preserve in integrity the gift of faith and walk in the path of salvation you trace for us. Through Christ our Lord.
Jesus’ ministry suffered a setback when he came to his native place. They felt they knew him so well! Familiarity indeed breeds contempt! His ministry suffered a setback as his impact was relatively muted compared to his rising fame in other towns and villages due to his preaching and miracles. No wonder some pastors prefer to dwell in an ivory tower or keep a distance from their faithful as much as possible. They instinctively feel that “the less they know about me, the more respect and reverence I’d command before them”. However, Pope Francis encourages priests to be shepherds with the smell of sheep! Indeed, it comes with its dangers and challenges. But familiarity does not have to breed contempt when we minister truthfully to the people of God and remain true to our true selves and calling. Familiarity did not breed contempt in the family of the young people—Mary, Martha, and Lazarus—where Jesus felt relaxed and at home. Sadly, those who should gain more from people of the cloth through closeness lose the most due to overfamiliarity.