COURAGE! THE FATHER KNOWS YOU
St. Benedict’s time, between 480 and 550 A.D., was one of crisis much like ours, with the whole world of his era changing face. The Roman Empire was crumbling in the West, and whole peoples were migrating from continent to continent. Spiritual confusion was even greater. To the order of monks he founded, he gave a rule that is a model of balance and appealing to human capacities. Benedictine monasteries became for much of Europe centers of civilization and culture. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe and of Western monasticism.
All-wise and loving God,
St Benedict wisely told his monks
to combine work with prayer.
Never let us forget either of these two.
Let our prayer inspire what we do
to take up our task in life conscientiously
and to use our God-given talents
in the service of you and of people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
1 Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft. They cried one to the other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it and said, “See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!”
Responsorial Psalm 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5
R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength. R.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD. R.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days. R.
Alleluia: 1 Peter 4:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 10:24-33
Jesus said to his Apostles: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
– For the Church, that free from all paralyzing fears it may have the courage born of faith to bear witness to the demands of the gospel, we pray: Lord hear our prayer
– For presiders in the liturgy, that they may have a deep sense of God’s holiness and of their own limitations and shortcomings, we pray:
– For all of us, that we may not fear those who threaten or ridicule us for our faith, as we live in trust of God who carries us in his hands, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Believable and trustworthy God,
your Son Jesus Christ committed himself
to the fight against evil and persecution,
yet he himself was its victim.
As he encounters us here
in these signs of bread and wine,
may he help us to understand better
that the disciple is not above the master,
that we cannot make your kingdom come true
without being torn apart
nor without being contested by the world.
We trust in you through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer after Communion
Our holy God,
we have shared the table of your Son;
we are willing to share his life and mission.
Make us unafraid, as he was fearless.
Help us to be convinced
in the deepest of ourselves
that our life and death are in your hands
and that our crosses bear within themselves
the seeds of joy and happiness.
Give us this faith and strength
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us go to the Holy Father for some words of consolation.
WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Peter did not know what to say: ‘Yes, this man went away, but what about us?’. In any case, “Jesus’ answer is clear: ‘I say to you, there is no one who has left everything who has not also received everything’. “We have left everything” — “You will receive everything”. There is however, “that overflowing measure” with which God gives his gifts: “You will receive everything: ‘there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life’”. Thus, “everything”. This is the answer: “The Lord does not know how to give less than everything; when he gives something, he gives himself, which is everything”. (Santa Marta, 28 February 2017)
Do not be afraid of professing your faith or of living it. Trust in God, who stands behind you. May God strengthen and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!