Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin
She was born in Darfur (Sudan). She was kidnapped and sold as a slave. Rescued by an Italian family she became a Christian and joined the Canossian Daughters of Charity. She died in 1947.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 94: 6-7
O come, let us worship God and bow low before the God who made us, for he is the Lord our God.
Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection. 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 11:4-13
When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and his heart was not wholly with the Lord his God as his father David’s had been. Solomon became a follower of Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom, the Ammonite abomination. He did what was displeasing to the Lord, and was not a wholehearted follower of the Lord, as his father David had been. Then it was that Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the god of Moab on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem, and to Milcom the god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrifice to their gods. The Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord the God of Israel who had twice appeared to him and who had then forbidden him to follow other gods; but he did not carry out the Lord’s order. The Lord therefore said to Solomon, ‘Since you behave like this and do not keep my covenant or the laws I laid down for you, I will most surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. For your father David’s sake, however, I will not do this during your lifetime, but will tear it out of your son’s hands. Even so, I will not tear the whole kingdom from him. For the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen, I will leave your son one tribe.’
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105(106): 3-4, 35-37, 40
R/ O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.
They are happy who do what is right, who at all times do what is just. O Lord, remember me out of the love you have for your people.
But instead they mingled with the nations and learned to act as they did. They worshipped the idols of the nations and these became a snare to entrap them.
They even offered their own sons and their daughters in sacrifice to demons, till his anger blazed against his people; he was filled with horror at his chosen ones.
Gospel Acclamation : Ps144:13
Alleluia, alleluia! The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds. Alleluia!
Gospel : Mark 7:24-30
Jesus left Gennesaret and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straightaway and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was a pagan, by birth a Syrophoenician, and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, ‘The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ But she spoke up: ‘Ah yes, sir,’ she replied ‘but the house-dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps.’ And he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go home happy: the devil has gone out of your daughter.’ So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.
Prayer over the Offerings
O Lord, our God, who once established these created things to sustain us in our frailty, grant, we pray, that they may become for us now the Sacrament of eternal life. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 106: 8-9
Let them thank the Lord for his mercy, his wonders for the children of men, for he satisfies the thirsty soul, and the hungry he fills with good things.
Prayer after Communion
O God, who have willed that we be partakers in the one Bread and the one Chalice, grant us, we pray, so to live that, made one in Christ, we may joyfully bear fruit for the salvation of the world. Through Christ our Lord.
Jesus’ reputation runs fast, and he had just made Pharisees think of their traditions in terms of mercy and love. Now he faces an even greater dilemma; a Gentile woman came looking for mercy. Jesus gives the desperate mother a response that would crush the hopes of any ordinary plea. His response seems so unnecessarily harsh that one wonders if Jesus’ compassion has faded into racism. Wild dogs were considered a nuisance and dangerous to life, particularly to unattended little children. So there appears to be no hope for this woman. But Jesus’ response wasn’t born out of hatred or racism. Jesus tests her to show her and us the fullness of God’s mercy and love. The determined woman gives an answer that rivals any wise saying in Scripture. She understands the heart of God better than those who were more than willing to let their sick people suffer for the sake of their traditions. The woman appealed to the heart of Jesus and found the mercy of God. Come to Jesus and be satisfied.