Monday, March 25, 2013

PRAYER OF THE DAY

PRAYER FOR MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK

God of love,
My prayer is simple:
Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me.
I know only
that I cannot have real strength
unless I rely on you.
I cannot feel protected
from my many weaknesses
until I turn to you
for forgiveness and your unalterable love.
Help me to share this
strength, protection and love with others.

DAILY MASS READINGS

Monday of Holy Week

Reading
IS 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.


Responsorial Psalm
PS 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,
My foes and my enemies
themselves stumble and fall.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.


Gospel
JN 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages
and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.

So Jesus said,

“Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.

SAINT OF THE DAY

March 25

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

The feast of the Annunciation, now recognized as a solemnity, was first celebrated in the fourth or fifth century. Its central focus is the Incarnation: God has become one of us. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human. Now, as Luke 1:26-38 tells us, the decision is being realized. The God-Man embraces all humanity, indeed all creation, to bring it to God in one great act of love. Because human beings have rejected God, Jesus will accept a life of suffering and an agonizing death: 
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

Mary has an important role to play in God’s plan. From all eternity God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. We could say that God’s decrees of creation and redemption are joined in the decree of Incarnation. Because Mary is God’s instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to play with Jesus in creation and redemption. It is a God-given role. It is God’s grace from beginning to end. Mary becomes the eminent figure she is only by God’s grace. She is the empty space where God could act. 
Everything she is she owes to the Trinity.

She is the virgin-mother who fulfills Isaiah 7:14 in a way that Isaiah could not have imagined. 
She is united with her son in carrying out the will of God 
(Psalm 40:8-9; Hebrews 10:7-9; Luke 1:38).

Together with Jesus, the privileged and graced Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarnation is meant to accomplish for all of us.

OFFICE OF READINGS

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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us:
come, let us adore him.

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.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us:
come, let us adore him.

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.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us:
come, let us adore him.

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.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us:
come, let us adore him.

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.”

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us:
come, let us adore him.

“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.”

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us:
come, let us adore him.

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.
Amen.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us:
come, let us adore him.


Hymn

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
sing the last, the dread affray;
o’er the cross, the victor’s trophy,
sound the high triumphal lay,
how, the pains of death enduring,
earth’s Redeemer won the day.
When at length the appointed fulness
of the sacred time was come,
he was sent, the world’s Creator,
from the Father’s heavenly home,
and was found in human fashion,
offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Now the thirty years are ended
which on earth he willed to see.
Willingly he meets his passion,
born to set his people free:
on the cross the Lamb is lifted,
there the sacrifice to be.
There the nails and spear he suffers,
vinegar and gall and reed.
From his sacred body pierc├Ęd
blood and water both proceed:
precious flood, which all creation
from the stain of sin hath freed.
Faithful Cross, above all other,
one and only noble Tree.
none in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peer may be.
Sweet the wood and sweet the iron,
and thy load, most sweet is he.
Bend, O lofty Tree, thy branches,
thy too rigid sinews bend;
and awhile the stubborn harshness,
which thy birth bestowed, suspend;
and the limbs of heaven’s high Monarch
gently on thine arms extend.
Thou alone wast counted worthy
this world’s ransom to sustain,
that a shipwrecked race for ever
might a port of refuge gain,
with the sacred Blood anointed
of the Lamb for sinners slain.
Praise and honour to the Father,
praise and honour to the Son,
praise and honour to the Spirit,
ever Three and ever One:
One in might and One in glory,
while eternal ages run.


Psalm 30 (31)
Trustful prayer in time of adversity

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

In you, Lord, I put my trust: may I never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free,
Turn your ear to me,
make haste to rescue me.
Be my rampart, my fortification;
keep me safe.
For you are my strength and my refuge:
you will lead me out to the pastures,
for your own name’s sake.
You will lead me out of the trap that they laid for me –
for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit:
you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
You hate those who run after vain nothings;
but I put my trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your kindness,
for you have looked on me, lowly as I am.
You saw when my soul was in need:
you did not leave me locked in the grip of the enemy,
but set my feet on free and open ground.

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.
Amen.

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.


Psalm 30 (31)

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.

Take pity on me, Lord, for I am troubled:
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
the very centre of my being is disturbed.
For my life is worn out with distress,
my years with groaning;
my strength becomes weakness,
my bones melt away.
I am a scandal and a disgrace,
so many are my enemies;
to my friends and neighbours,
I am a thing to fear.
When they see me in the street,
they run from me.
I have vanished from their minds as though I were dead,
or like a pot that is broken.
I know this – for I have heard the scolding of the crowd.
There is terror all around,
for when they come together against me
it is my life they are resolved to take.
But I put my trust in you, Lord;
I say: “You are my God,
my fate is in your hands.”
Tear me from the grip of my enemies,
from those who hound me;
let your face shine upon your servant,
in your kindness, save me.

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.
Amen.

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.


Psalm 30 (31)

Blessed be the Lord,
who has shown me the wonders of his love.

How very many are the pleasures, Lord,
that you have stored up for those who fear you.
You have made these things ready for those who trust in you,
to give them in the sight of all men.
Far away from the plottings of men
you hide them in your secret place.
You keep them safe in your dwelling-place
far from lying tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has shown me his wonderful kindness
within the fortified city.
In my terror, I said
“I am cut off from your sight”;
but you heard the voice of my prayer
when I called to you.
Love the Lord, all his chosen ones.
The Lord keeps his faithful ones safe,
heaps rich revenge on the arrogant.
Be brave, let your hearts be strong,
all who trust in the Lord.

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.
Amen.

Blessed be the Lord,
who has shown me the wonders of his love.


When I am lifted up from the earth
– I shall draw all things to myself.


First Reading
Hebrews 10:19-39

Brothers, through the blood of Jesus we have the right to enter the sanctuary, by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his body. And we have the supreme high priest over all the house of God. So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our minds sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is faithful. Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. Do not stay away from the meetings of the community, as some do, but encourage each other to go; 
the more so as you see the Day drawing near.

If, after we have been given knowledge of the truth, we should deliberately commit any sins, then there is no longer any sacrifice for them. There will be left only the dreadful prospect of judgement and of the raging fire that is to burn rebels. Anyone who disregards the Law of Moses is ruthlessly put to death on the word of two witnesses or three; and you may be sure that anyone who tramples on the Son of God, and who treats the blood of the covenant which sanctified him as if it were not holy, and who insults the Spirit of grace, will be condemned to a far severer punishment. We are all aware who it was that said: Vengeance is mine; I will repay. And again: The Lord will judge his people. 
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Remember all the sufferings that you had to meet after you received the light, in earlier days; sometimes by being yourselves publicly exposed to insults and violence, and sometimes as associates of others who were treated in the same way. For you not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but you happily accepted being stripped of your belongings, knowing that you owned something that was better and lasting. Be as confident now, then, 
since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.

Only a little while now, a very little while,
and the one that is coming will have come; he will not delay.
The righteous man will live by faith,
but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.

You and I are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it;
we are the sort who keep faithful until our souls are saved.


Responsory

Do not lose courage.
You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.

Your endurance will win you your lives.
You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.


Second Reading
From a sermon
by Saint Augustine

Let us too glory in the cross of the Lord

The passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience.

What may not the hearts of believers promise themselves as the gift of God’s grace, 
when for their sake God’s only Son, co-eternal with the Father, 
was not content only to be born as man from human stock but even died at the hands of the men he had created?

It is a great thing that we are promised by the Lord, but far greater is what has already been done for us, and which we now commemorate. Where were the sinners, what were they, when Christ died for them? When Christ has already given us the gift of his death, who is to doubt that he will give the saints the gift of his own life? 
Why does our human frailty hesitate to believe that mankind will one day live with God?

Who is Christ if not the Word of God: in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God? This Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He had no power of himself to die for us: he had to take from us our mortal flesh. This was the way in which, though immortal, he was able to die; the way in which he chose to give life to mortal men: he would first share with us, and then enable us to share with him. 
Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did he of himself have the power to die.

In other words, he performed the most wonderful exchange with us. 
Through us, he died; through him, we shall live.

The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, 
such as we cannot have of ourselves.

He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself?

Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.

The apostle Paul saw Christ, and extolled his claim to glory. He had many great and inspired things to say about Christ, but he did not say that he boasted in Christ’s wonderful works: in creating the world, since he was God with the Father, or in ruling the world, though he was also a man like us. Rather, he said: 
Let me not boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Responsory

Lord, we venerate your cross as we recall your blessed passion.
You who suffered for our sake, have compassion on us.

Come to the help of your servants, whom you redeemed with your precious blood.
You who suffered for our sake, have compassion on us.

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
grant that we who are constantly betrayed by our own weakness
may draw the breath of new life
from the passion and death of your Only-Begotten Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.