Saturday, January 16, 2010

Prayer of the Day

Prayers to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist

"My Body"

"This is My Body, given up for you." Lord Jesus, we hear Your words each day at Mass. You have used these words to teach us the meaning of Your love for us, a love that brought You to the cross to give Your life so we might live. You use these words also to teach us the meaning of our love for one another, a love which leads us to give ourselves away that others might live.

"This is my body." Lord, we also hear these words used by those who think they can take life, just because that life is growing within their body. We hear these words distorted by those who support abortion.

Grant that all Your people may learn that human fulfillment is never found by pushing someone else out of the way, but only and always by pushing ourselves out of the way. May all Your people live their lives according to Your most sacred words, "This is my body, given up for you!"


Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, Your Sacred Body, by which You unite us as one body in You. "For we, many though we are, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf"(1 Cor. 10:17) As we receive You, O Lord, You also receive us. As You draw us up to Yourself, You draw us also into one another. "You are the Body of Christ, and individually members of it" (1 Cor. 12:27).

Lord, grant that we may never exclude any of the other members of Your Body from our love. As we receive Your Body in Communion, so let us receive and welcome all the members of Your Body, no matter how inconvenient they may be. Help us especially to welcome those who have become the most unwelcome members of our world, namely, those who have just entered it. Bless our brothers and sisters in the womb. Rid our world of the sin of abortion, which divides parents from their own children, from one another, from their very selves, and from You, O Lord.

Grant that the power of Unity which we find in the Eucharist may overcome the fear of the unborn child, and may enable us to welcome that child as a brother, a sister, a member of Your Body. Amen.


Lord Jesus, I firmly believe that the Blessed Sacrament is Your very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Senses cannot grasp this marvel. Faith, however, reaches beyond what the eyes can see and assures us that You are present.

Grant, O Lord, that our faith in the Eucharist may also strengthen our ability to recognize the dignity of every human life. We know that the senses can fool us there as well. Some may not be attractive, others may seem too small, some may appear as less than human.

But we, who can see You in the Sacred Host, can certainly see you in our brothers and sisters. We can also see You, O Lord, in the children in the womb. In a day when so many have forgotten these children, and dismiss them as less valuable than those who are born, grant that we may grow all the more convinced of their dignity and worth.

Then grant, O Lord, that we may act accordingly.


Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I
1 Sm 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1

There was a stalwart man from Benjamin named Kish,
who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror,
son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite.
He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man.
There was no other child of Israel more handsome than Saul;
he stood head and shoulders above the people.

Now the asses of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off.
Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you
and go out and hunt for the asses.”
Accordingly they went through the hill country of Ephraim,
and through the land of Shalishah.
Not finding them there,
they continued through the land of Shaalim without success.
They also went through the land of Benjamin,
but they failed to find the animals.

When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him,
“This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people.”

Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said,
“Please tell me where the seer lives.”
Samuel answered Saul: “I am the seer.
Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today.
In the morning, before dismissing you,
I will tell you whatever you wish.”

Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head;
he also kissed him, saying:
“The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage.
You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel,
and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.

“This will be the sign for you
that the LORD has anointed you commander over his heritage.”

Responsorial Psalm
21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

O LORD, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart’s desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips.

R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him
length of days forever and ever.

R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
For you made him a blessing forever;
you gladdened him with the joy of your face.

R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Mk 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Saint of the Day

January 16

St. Berard and Companions (d. 1220)

Preaching the gospel is often dangerous work. Leaving one’s homeland and adjusting to new cultures, governments and languages is difficult enough; but martyrdom sometimes caps all the other sacrifices.

In 1219 with the blessing of St. Francis, Berard left Italy with Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis to preach in Morocco. En route in Spain Vitalis became sick and commanded the other friars to continue their mission without him.

They tried preaching in Seville, then in Muslim hands, but made no converts. They went on to Morocco where they preached in the marketplace. The friars were immediately apprehended and ordered to leave the country; they refused. When they began preaching again, an exasperated sultan ordered them executed. After enduring severe beatings and declining various bribes to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, the friars were beheaded by the sultan himself on January 16, 1220.

These were the first Franciscan martyrs. When Francis heard of their deaths, he exclaimed, "Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor!" Their relics were brought to Portugal where they prompted a young Augustinian canon to join the Franciscans and set off for Morocco the next year. That young man was Anthony of Padua. These five martyrs were canonized in 1481.

Office of Readings

O Lord, open my lips.
– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Antiphon: The Lord’s is the earth and its fulness: come, let us worship.

(repeat antiphon*)

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

(repeat antiphon*)

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

(repeat antiphon*)

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

(repeat antiphon*)

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

(repeat antiphon*)

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

(repeat antiphon*)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


(repeat antiphon*)

Childlike trust in God
Psalm 130 (131)

Whoever makes himself as humble as one of these little ones will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.
Lord, I do not puff myself up or stare about,
or walk among the great or seek wonders beyond me.
Truly calm and quiet I have made my spirit:
quiet as a weaned child in its mother’s arms –
like an infant is my soul.

Let Israel hope in the Lord, now and for all time.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


Whoever makes himself as humble as one of these little ones will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.
Psalm 131 (132)

God's promise to the house of David
My God, in the simple honesty of my heart I have happily offered up everything.
Lord, remember David
and how he served you.
He swore to the Lord,
vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not go into my tent, my home,
nor go up to my bed of rest;
I will not let my eyes sleep
or my eyelids grow heavy
until I have found a place for the Lord,
a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We heard that it was in Ephratha,
we found it in the plains of Jaar.
So let us go into his dwelling-place
and let us worship before his footstool.
Rise up, Lord, and come to your place of rest.
Come with the Ark of your power.
Let your priests be robed in your justice,
and let your chosen ones rejoice.
Remember what David did for you,
and do not turn your face from your Anointed.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


My God, in the simple honesty of my heart I have happily offered up everything.
Psalm 131 (132)

The Lord swore David a true oath: he has established his kingdom for ever.
The Lord swore David a true oath,
he will not go back on his word:
“The fruit of your body
I will place on your throne.
If your children keep my covenant and the commands I teach them,
their children’s children will occupy your throne for ever.”
For the Lord has chosen Zion,
taken it for his dwelling-place:
“Here will I take my rest for all time:
here will I live, such is my desire.
I will bless its crops with my blessing,
I will fill its poor with bread.
I will clothe its priests with righteousness.
Its chosen ones will exult with joy.
There will I plant the sign of David,
and prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
I will wrap his enemies in confusion,
but over his head my crown will shine.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


The Lord swore David a true oath: he has established his kingdom for ever.
Come and see the works of the Lord,
– who has done wonders on the earth.

Reading Ecclesiasticus 44:1-2,16-45:6

Praise of the patriarchs from Enoch to Moses
Let us praise illustrious men,
our ancestors in their successive generations.
The Lord has created an abundance of glory,
and displayed his greatness from earliest times.
Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up,
an example for the conversion of all generations.
Noah was found perfectly virtuous,
in the time of wrath he became the scion:
because of him a remnant was preserved for the earth
at the coming of the Flood.
Everlasting covenants were made with him
that never again should every living creature perish by flood.
Abraham, the great forefather of a host of nations,
no one was ever his equal in glory.
He observed the Law of the Most High,
and entered into a covenant with him.
He confirmed the covenant in his own flesh,
and proved himself faithful under ordeal.
The Lord therefore promised him on oath
to bless the nations through his descendants,
to multiply him like the dust on the ground,
to exalt his descendants like the stars,
and give them the land for their inheritance,
from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.
To Isaac too, for the sake of Abraham his father,
he assured the blessing of all mankind;
he caused the covenant to rest on the head of Jacob.
He confirmed him in his blessings
and gave him the land for his inheritance;
he divided it into portions,
and shared it out among the twelve tribes.
From him he produced a generous man
who found favour in the eyes of all mankind,
beloved by God and men,
Moses, of blessed memory.
He made him the equal of the holy ones in glory
and made him strong, to the terror of his enemies.
At the word of Moses he made the miracles stop,
he raised him high in the respect of kings;
he gave him commandments for his people,
and showed him something of his glory.
For his loyalty and gentleness he sanctified him,
choosing him alone out of all mankind;
he allowed him to hear his voice,
and led him into the darkness;
he gave him the commandments face to face,
the law of life and knowledge,
to teach Jacob his ordinances
and Israel his decrees.

Reading From a letter to the Corinthians by Saint Clement I, pope
From the first, faith has been God's means of justifying men

God’s blessing must be our objective, and the way to win it our study. Search the records of ancient times. Why was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because his upright and straightforward conduct was inspired by faith? As for Isaac’s faith, it was so strong that, assured of the outcome, he willingly allowed himself to be offered in sacrifice. Jacob had the humility to leave his native land on account of his brother, and go and serve Laban. He was given the twelve tribes of Israel.

Honest reflection upon each of these examples will make us realise the magnitude of God’s gifts. All the priests and levites who served the altar of God were descended from Jacob. The manhood of the Lord Jesus derived from him. Through the tribe of Judah, kings, princes and rulers sprang from him. Nor are his other tribes without their honour, for God promised Abraham: “Your descendants shall be as the stars of heaven.”

It is obvious, therefore, that none of these owed their honour and exaltation to themselves, or to their own labours, or to their deeds of virtue. No; they owed everything to God’s will. So likewise with us, who by his will are called in Christ Jesus. We are not justified by our wisdom, intelligence, piety, or by any action of ours, however holy, but by faith, the one means by which God has justified men from the beginning. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

What must we do then, brothers? Give up good works? Stop practising Christian love? God forbid! We must be ready and eager for every opportunity to do good, and put our whole heart into it. Even the Creator and Lord of the universe rejoices in his works. By his supreme power he set the heavens in their place; by his infinite wisdom he gave them their order. He separated the land from the waters surrounding it and made his own will its firm foundation. By his command he brought to life the beasts that roam the earth. He created the sea and all its living creatures, and then by his power set bounds to it. Finally, with his own holy and undefiled hands, he formed man, the highest and most intelligent of his creatures, the copy of his own image. “Let us make man,” God said, “in our image and likeness. And God made man, male and female he made them.” Then, when he had finished making all his creatures, God gave them his approval and blessing: “Increase and multiply,” he charged them.

We must recognise, therefore, that all upright men have been graced by good works, and that even the Lord himself took delight in the glory his works gave him. This should inspire us with a resolute determination to do his will and make us put our whole strength into the work of living a Christian life.

Concluding Prayer

In your love, Lord, answer the prayers of your people:
make us see what we have to do
and give us the strength to do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.