Saturday of 2nd Week of the Year, January 21, 2023

>>> St AGNES – Pray for Us!
Few saints have been as popular in Rome as the twelve-year old girl martyr St. Agnes. At a time of massive defections from the faith, in 305 she endured the torture with idealism and patient faithfulness. Even the young can make hard decisions. As her name comes either from Greek “agnos” (pure) or from Latin “agnus” (lamb), she is celebrated today by the pope blessing unblemished lambs from whose wool the pallium (liturgical vestment of archbishops) will be woven.

Opening Prayer
God our Father,
youth and innocence are no obstacle
to understand the message of your Son
and to follow him with courage.
Let the quiet strength of St. Agnes inspire us
not to be ashamed of your Son
and of his message of life and freedom
even in the face of contradiction.
As we bear the name of your Son,
help us to be ever faithful to him,
for he is our Lord for ever. Amen!

1 Reading HEBREWS 9:2-3, 11-14
A tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own Blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

Responsorial PSALM 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth. R.

God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise. R.

For king of all the earth is God:
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne. R.

Alleluia cf. ACTS 16:14b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MARK 3:20-21
Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Living at a time when priests move out of a parish with trucks loaded with books, furniture, electronics, generators and utensils, even when those things are available in their next location, the radical urgency with which Jesus carried out His ministry on earth is presented to us as a model to emulate. Jesus and His disciples were so engaged with the work of the kingdom that it was “impossible for them to even eat. When His relatives heard of this they set out to seize Him, for they said, He is out of his mind.” I remember some exemplary missionaries who were so committed to their mission that they had little or no clothes to wear or time to wash even the clothes they do have. Some people even thought of them as failures while some thought of them as crazy. This model of ministry exercised by Jesus more than two thousand years ago remains the essential missionary model for all who are committed to following the footsteps of Jesus in the world today.

– For ourselves and our communities, that all of us may be less demanding but more attentive to one another and serve one another’s needs and more, we pray:
– For the many who serve us in various needs, servants, repairmen, drivers, nurses, and all the others, too many to name, that we may be grateful to them, we pray:
– For those wounded and belittled by our words and conduct, that they may forgive us and inspire us to respect others more, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
with bread and wine we remember
how your Son laid down his life
for us, his friends.
Let him fill us with fresh courage
to go his way and to be close to him
in life and in death,
for he is our Lord for ever. Amen!

Prayer after Communion
Lord, almighty God,
by what is young and frail
you put to shame those who think
they are experienced and strong.
By the word and the body of Jesus Christ
give us the courage to live up
to the demands of the gospel.
Like to St. Agnes,
may your Son mean so much to us
that he is our life even in death
and that with him we rise
above pain and sorrow,
for he is our Lord for ever. Amen!

The people left Jesus and his disciples no time to eat. How eager are we to know Jesus and his Good News? May we come to know him well; then we will also know well what our life is all about. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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