Virgin and Martyr
Born in Japan, he joined the Society of Jesus. When a persecution of the Catholics arose he was arrested together with twenty-five others, bound to crosses and speared in Nagasaki in 1597.
The souls of the Saints are rejoicing in heaven, the Saints who followed the footsteps of Christ, and since for love of him they shed their blood, they now exult with Christ for ever.
O God, strength of all the Saints, who through the Cross were pleased to call the Martyrs Saint Paul Miki and companions to life, grant, we pray, that by their intercession we may hold with courage even until death to the faith that we profess. 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 Kings 8:22-23,27-30
In the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord and, stretching out his hands towards heaven, said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, not in heaven above nor on earth beneath is there such a God as you, true to your covenant and your kindness towards your servants when they walk wholeheartedly in your way. Yet will God really live with men on the earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built! Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, O Lord my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you today. Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said, “My name shall be there.” Listen to the prayer that your servant will offer in this place. ‘Hear the entreaty of your servant and of Israel your people as they pray in this place. From heaven where your dwelling is, hear; and, as you hear, forgive.’
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 83(84): 3-5, 10-11
R/ How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my soul ring out their joy to God, the living God.
The sparrow herself finds a home and the swallow a nest for her brood; she lays her young by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God.
They are happy, who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise. Turn your eyes, O God, our shield, look on the face of your anointed.
One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. The threshold of the house of God I prefer to the dwellings of the wicked.
Gospel Acclamation : Ps118:24
Alleluia, alleluia! Train me, Lord, to observe your law, to keep it with my heart.Alleluia!
Gospel : Mark 7:1-13
The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture: This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human regulations. You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said: Do your duty to your father and your mother, and, Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man says to his father or mother: Anything I have that I might have used to help you is Corban (that is, dedicated to God), then he is forbidden from that moment to do anything for his father or mother.” In this way you make God’s word null and void for the sake of your tradition which you have handed down. And you do many other things like this.’
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive, holy Father, the offerings we bring in commemoration of the holy Martyrs, and grant that we, your servants, may be found steadfast in confessing your name. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Lk 22: 28-30
It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, says the Lord, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.
Prayer after Communion
O God, who in your holy Martyrs have wonderfully made known the mystery of the Cross, graciously grant that, drawing strength from this sacrifice, we may cling faithfully to Christ and labour in the Church for the salvation of all. Through Christ our Lord.
Sometimes, we judge the merits of a tradition based on outward appearances. If it appears holy, then it must be. The Pharisees took part in a religious tradition of the washing of hands. This was not a matter of personal hygiene but an elaborate religious ritual full of symbolism. It consisted of thoroughly and vigorously washing hands up to the elbows while offering prayers and blessings as a religious ritual. This tradition made the Pharisees think themselves pure and others not. “Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders …?” I want us to note that apart from the authority and teaching of Jesus, any kind of religious practice cannot be acceptable to God, no matter how beautiful or popular. (Mt 28:18-20; Jn 14:6; Eph 1:22, 23). Worship in God’s eyes is not those acts which appeal to the eyes or flesh with glitter and pomp. It is simple, trusting hearts, yielding to his Son and expressing the soul’s adoration for him.