Sunday, March 8, 2015



O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness,
who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving
have shown us a remedy for sin,
look graciously on this confession of our lowliness,
that we, who are bowed down by our conscience,
may always be lifted up by your mercy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


The Third Sunday of Lent

First Reading
Exodus 20:1-17

And God spoke all these words, saying,

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. "You shall have no other gods before me. "You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 

"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 
Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 

"You shall not kill. 

"You shall not commit adultery. 

"You shall not steal.

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant,
 or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's."

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 19: 8-11

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; 
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; 
the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; 
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 1: 22-25 

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

John 2:13-25

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 

And he told those who sold the pigeons, 

"Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." 

His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me." The Jews then said to him, "What sign have you to show us for doing this?"  

Jesus answered them, 

"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 

 The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?"  But he spoke of the temple of his body.  When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.  Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did;  but Jesus did not trust himself to them,  because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man.

March 8

St. John of God (1495-1550)

Having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. 
He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa, 
where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.

He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of St. John of Avila (May 10), 
he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.

Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by St. John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, 
and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.

He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. 
Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.

Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, 
now a worldwide religious order.

John became ill after 10 years of service but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. He died under the care of a spiritual friend and admirer, Lady Ana Ossorio.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

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

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

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

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

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

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts forever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

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.

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


Forty days and forty nights
thou wast fasting in the wild
forty days and forty nights
tempted still, yet undefiled.
Shall not we thy sorrow share,
and from earthly joys abstain,
fasting with unceasing prayer,
strong with thee to suffer pain?
And if Satan, vexing sore,
flesh or spirit should assail,
thou, his vanquisher before,
grant we may not faint or fail.
So shall we have peace divine;
holier gladness ours shall be;
round us too shall angels shine,
such as ministered to thee.
Keep, O keep us, Saviour dear,
ever constant by thy side;
that with thee we may appear
at the eternal Eastertide.

Psalm 144 (145)
The greatness and goodness of God

I will bless you day after day, O Lord.

I will praise you to the heights, O God, my king –
I will bless your name for ever and for all time.
I will bless you, O God, day after day –
I will praise your name for ever and all time.
The Lord is great, to him all praise is due –
he is great beyond measuring.
Generation will pass to generation the praise of your deeds,
and tell the wonders you have done.
They will tell of your overwhelming power,
and pass on the tale of your greatness.
They will cry out the story of your great kindness,
they will celebrate your judgements.
The Lord takes pity, his heart is merciful,
he is patient and endlessly kind.
The Lord is gentle to all –
he shows his kindness to all his creation.

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.

I will bless you day after day, O Lord.

Psalm 144 (145)

Your kingdom, Lord,
is an everlasting kingdom.

Let all your creatures proclaim you, O Lord,
let your chosen ones bless you.
Let them tell of the glory of your reign,
let them speak of your power –
so that the children of men may know what you can do,
see the glory of your kingdom and its greatness.
Your kingdom stands firm for all ages,
your rule lasts forever and ever.

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.

Your kingdom, Lord,
is an everlasting kingdom.

Psalm 144 (145)

The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds.

The Lord is faithful in all his words,
the Lord is holy in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who are falling,
the Lord lifts up all who are oppressed.
All look to you for help,
and you give them their food in due season.
In your goodness you open your hand,
and give every creature its fill.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
the Lord is kind in all that he does.
The Lord is near to those who call on him,
to all those who call on him in truth.
For those that honour him,
he does what they ask,
he hears all their prayers,
and he keeps them safe.
The Lord keeps safe all who love him,
but he dooms all the wicked to destruction.
My mouth shall tell the praises of the Lord.
Let all flesh bless his holy name,
forever and ever.

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 is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds.

He was given the bread of life to eat
– and the water of wisdom to drink.

First Reading
Exodus 22:19-23:9

The Lord said to Moses:

“Anyone who sacrifices to other gods shall come under the ban.

“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; 
my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.

“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: 
you must not demand interest from him.

“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; 
it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.

“You shall not revile God nor curse a ruler of your people.

“Do not be slow to make offering from the abundance of your threshing-floor and your winepress. You must give me the first-born of your sons; you must do the same with your flocks and herds. The first-born must remain with its mother for seven days; 
on the eighth day you must give it to me.

“You are to be men consecrated to me. You must not eat the flesh of an animal that has been savaged by wild beasts; 
you must throw it to the dogs.

“You must not make false assertions. You must not support a guilty man by giving malicious evidence. You must not take the side of the greater number in the cause of wrong-doing nor side with the majority and give evidence in a lawsuit in defiance of justice; nor in a lawsuit must you show partiality to the poor.

“If you come on your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you must lead it back to him. If you see the donkey of a man who hates you fallen under its load, instead of keeping out of his way, go to him to help him.

“You must not cheat any poor man of yours of his rights at law. Keep out of trumped-up cases. See that the man who is innocent and just is not done to death, and do not acquit the guilty. You must not accept a bribe, 
for a bribe blinds clear-sighted men and is the ruin of the just man’s cause.

“You must not oppress the stranger; you know how a stranger feels, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.”


Do justice for the weak and the orphan,
defend the afflicted and the needy.
Rescue the weak and the poor;
set them free from the hand of the wicked.

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world
to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom?
Rescue the weak and the poor;
set them free from the hand of the wicked.

Second Reading
From a treatise on John
by Saint Augustine, bishop

A Samaritan woman came to draw water

A woman came. She is a symbol of the Church not yet made righteous. Righteousness follows from the conversation. She came in ignorance, she found Christ, and he enters into conversation with her. Let us see what it is about, let us see why a Samaritan woman came to draw water. The Samaritans did not form part of the Jewish people: they were foreigners. The fact that she came from a foreign people is part of the symbolic meaning, for she is a symbol of the Church. 
The Church was to come from the Gentiles, of a different race from the Jews.

We must then recognise ourselves in her words and in her person, and with her give our own thanks to God. She was a symbol, not the reality; she foreshadowed the reality, and the reality came to be. She found faith in Christ, who was using her as a symbol to teach us what was to come. She came then to draw water. She had simply come to draw water; 
in the normal way of man or woman.

Jesus says to her: Give me water to drink. For his disciples had gone to the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman therefore says to him: How is it that you, though a Jew, ask me for water to drink, though I am a Samaritan woman? 
For Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.

The Samaritans were foreigners; Jews never used their utensils. The woman was carrying a pail for drawing water. She was astonished that a Jew should ask her for a drink of water, a thing that Jews would not do. 
But the one who was asking for a drink of water was thirsting for her faith.

Listen now and learn who it is that asks for a drink. Jesus answered her and said: If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” 
perhaps you might have asked him and he would have given you living water.

He asks for a drink, and he promises a drink. He is in need, as one hoping to receive, yet he is rich, as one about to satisfy the thirst of others. He says: If you knew the gift of God. The gift of God is the Holy Spirit. But he is still using veiled language as he speaks to the woman and gradually enters into her heart. Or is he already teaching her? What could be more gentle and kind than the encouragement he gives? If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” perhaps you might ask and he would give you living water.

What is this water that he will give if not the water spoken of in Scripture: With you is the fountain of life? 
How can those feel thirst who will drink deeply from the abundance in your house?

He was promising the Holy Spirit in satisfying abundance. She did not yet understand. In her failure to grasp his meaning, what was her reply? The woman says to him: Master, give me this drink, so that I may feel no thirst or come here to draw water. Her need forced her to this labor, her weakness shrank from it. If only she could hear those words: Come to me, all who labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Jesus was saying this to her, so that her labors might be at an end; 
but she was not yet able to understand.


Jesus cried out,
If any man is thirsty,
let him come to me!
Let the man come and drink who believes in me!
From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.
He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.

Anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again.
He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.

Let us pray.

God our Father,
in your infinite love and goodness
you have shown us that
prayer, fasting, and almsgiving
are remedies for sin.
Accept the humble admission of our guilt,
and when our conscience weighs us down
let your unfailing mercy raise us up.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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