Wednesday, January 27, 2016



May the Virgin Saint Angela never fail to commend us
to your compassion, O Lord, we pray,
that, following the lessons of her charity and prudence,
we may hold fast to your teaching
and express it in what we do.
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.


Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

2 SM 7:4-17

That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house
from the day on which I led the children of Israel
out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’

“Now then, speak thus to my servant David,
‘The LORD of hosts has this to say:
It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong,
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements;
but I will not withdraw my favor from him
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul,
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30

R. Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
and establish your throne through all ages.”

R. Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.

“He shall cry to me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock that brings me victory!’
I myself make him firstborn,
Most High over the kings of the earth.”

R. Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.

“Forever I will maintain my love for him;
my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever,
his throne as the days of the heavens.”

R. Forever I will maintain my love for my servant.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live forever.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

MK 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,

“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

He added,

“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.

He answered them,

“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

Jesus said to them,

“Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

January 27

St. Angela Merici (1470?-1540)

Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women.

As a young woman she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order), and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like St. Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. 
Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. 
Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood.

She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the center of a group of people with similar ideals.

She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, 
her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost.

At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. 
The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.

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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

Let us adore the Lord, 

for it is he who made us.

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

Let us adore the Lord, 

for it is he who made us.

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

Let us adore the Lord, 

for it is he who made us.

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.

Let us adore the Lord, 

for it is he who made us.

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.

Let us adore the Lord, 

for it is he who made us.


Bright as fire in darkness,
Sharper than a sword,
Lives throughout the ages
God’s eternal word.
Father, Son and Spirit,
Trinity of might,
Compassed in your glory,
Give the world your light.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 88 (89)
The Lord's kindness to the house of David

Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.

I will sing for ever of the kindnesses of the Lord:
to generation upon generation
my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said
“My kindness shall be established forever”;
your faithfulness will be established in the heavens.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one.
I have sworn to David my servant:
To all eternity I will set your descendants firm;
I shall build your house to last for all generations.”
The heavens will proclaim your wonders, O Lord,
the assembly of your holy ones will proclaim your faithfulness.
For who in the sky can be compared to the Lord?
Who could resemble the Lord among all the sons of God?
God is to be feared in the council of his holy ones,
great and terrible above all who surround him.
Lord God of hosts, who is like you?
Yours is the power, and faithfulness surrounds you.
You subdue the pride of the sea:
when its waves rise high, you calm them.
You have trampled Rahab underfoot, like a wounded man;
through the strength of your arm you have scattered your enemies.
Yours are the heavens and yours is the earth,
you set firm the globe and all it contains.
You made the north and the south,
Tabor and Hermon will rejoice in your name.
Your arm it is that has the power,
your hand is strong, your right hand held high.
Your throne is founded on justice and right,
kindness and faithfulness are your attendants.
Happy the nation that knows the cry of praise!
They will walk in the light of your presence, Lord,
and rejoice in your name all the day –
for you are the splendor of their strength,
and by your good will our standard is held high.
For our shields belong to the Lord,
and our king to the Holy One of Israel.

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.

Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.

Psalm 88 (89)

The Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.

In a vision you spoke to your holy ones.
You said, “I have given strength to a warrior,
I have raised a chosen one from the people.
I have found David my servant,
I have anointed him with my holy oil.
For my hand will always give him support,
my right arm will give him strength.
The enemy shall make no headway against him,
the son of iniquity shall have no power over him.
I will crush his foes in his sight
and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and kindness shall be with him
and his strength will be triumphant through my name.
I shall extend his power over the sea,
and his right hand over the rivers.
He will call upon me: ‘you are my father,
my God and my safe refuge.’
And I shall make him my first-born,
supreme over all the kings of the earth.
My kindness to him will continue for ever,
my covenant with him will remain firm.
For all ages I shall establish his descendants,
and for all the days of heaven his throne will stand.”

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 Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.

Psalm 88 (89)

Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant:
his dynasty shall last forever.

“But if his children abandon my law
and walk no more in the paths of my decrees;
if they profane my judgements
and do not keep to my commandments,
I will punish their transgressions with a rod,
I will punish their wickedness with a beating.
Even so, I will not turn my kindness away from him,
nor will I be untrue to my word.
I will not profane my covenant,
I will not go against the word I have spoken.
I have sworn in my sanctuary, once and for all:
I will not lie to David.
His seed shall remain for ever,
his throne firm as the sun in my sight,
just as the moon stays firm for ever,
a faithful witness in the sky.”

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.

Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant:
his dynasty shall last forever.

The words that you utter give light
– and understanding to the simple.

First Reading
Deuteronomy 29:1-5,9-28

Curses on the breakers of the covenant

Moses called the whole of Israel together and said to them: ‘You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, to his servants and to his whole land, the great ordeals your own eyes witnessed, the signs and those great wonders. But until today the Lord has given you no heart to understand, no eyes to see, no ears to hear.

For forty years I led you in the wilderness; the clothes on your back did not wear out and your sandals did not wear off your feet. You had no bread to eat, you drank no wine, no strong drink, learning thus that I, the Lord, am your God.

All of you stand here today in the presence of the Lord your God: your heads of tribes, your elders, your scribes, all the men of Israel, with your children and your wives (and the stranger too who is in your camp, whether he cuts wood or draws water for you), and you are about to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, a covenant ratified with dire sanctions, which he has made with you today, and by which, today, he makes a nation of you and he himself becomes a God to you, 
as he has promised and as he has sworn to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

‘Not with you alone do I make this covenant today and pronounce these sanctions, but with him also who is not here today, 
as well as with him who stands with us here in the presence of the Lord our God.

Yes, you know those among whom we lived in Egypt, those through whose lands we journeyed, the nations through whom we have passed. You have seen their abominations and their idols, the wood, the stone, 
the silver and gold they have in their countries.

Let there be no man or woman among you, no clan or tribe, whose heart turns away from the Lord your God today to go and serve the gods of those nations. Let there be no root among you bearing fruit that is poisonous and bitter. If, after hearing these sanctions, such a man should bless himself in his heart and say, “I may follow the dictates of my own heart and still lack nothing; much water drives away thirst,” the Lord will not pardon him. The wrath and jealousy of the Lord will blaze against such a man; every curse written in this book will fall on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. The Lord will single him out from all the tribes of Israel to his destruction, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in the Book of this Law.

The future generation, your children who are to come after you, as also the stranger from a distant country, will see the plagues of that land and the diseases the Lord will inflict on it, and will exclaim, “Sulphur, salt, scorched earth, the whole land through! No one will sow, nothing grow, no grass spring ever again. Like this, Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger and his wrath.” And all the nations will exclaim, “Why has the Lord treated this land like this? Why this great blaze of anger?” And people will say, “Because they deserted the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they went and served other gods and worshipped them, gods they had not known, gods that were no part of their heritage from him, for this the anger of the Lord has blazed against this land, bringing on it all the curses written in this book. In anger, in fury, in fierce wrath the Lord has torn them from their country and flung them into another land where they are today.”

Things hidden belong to the Lord our God but things revealed are ours and our children’s for all time, 
so that we may observe all the words of this Law.


Christ was accursed for our sake so that the blessing of Abraham might include the pagans,
so that through faith we might receive the promised Spirit.

God brought us out of the land of Egypt;
he delivered us from the house of slavery,
so that through faith we might receive the promised Spirit.

Second Reading
From a sermon on the Song of Songs
by Saint Bernard, abbot

Where sin abounded grace has overflowed

Where can the weak find a place of firm security and peace, except in the wounds of the Saviour? Indeed, the more secure is my place there, the more he can do to help me. The world rages, the flesh is heavy, and the devil lays his snares, but I do not fall, for my feet are planted on firm rock. I may have sinned gravely. My conscience would be distressed, but it would not be in turmoil, for I would recall the wounds of the Lord: he was wounded for our iniquities. What sin is there so deadly that it cannot be pardoned by the death of Christ? And so if I bear in mind this strong, effective remedy, 
I can never again be terrified by the malignancy of sin.

Surely the man who said: My sin is too great to merit pardon, was wrong. He was speaking as though he were not a member of Christ and had no share in his merits, so that he could claim them as his own, as a member of the body can claim what belongs to the head. As for me, what can I appropriate that I lack from the heart of the Lord who abounds in mercy? They pierced his hands and feet and opened his side with a spear. Through the openings of these wounds I may drink honey from the rock and oil from the hardest stone: that is, I may taste and see that the Lord is sweet.

He was thinking thoughts of peace, and I did not know it, for who knows the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor? But the piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door, that I may see the good will of the Lord. And what can I see as I look through the hole? Both the nail and the wound cry out that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The sword pierced his soul and came close to his heart, so that he might be able to feel compassion for me in my weaknesses.

Through these sacred wounds we can see the secret of his heart, the great mystery of love, the sincerity of his mercy with which he visited us from on high. Where have your love, your mercy, your compassion shone out more luminously than in your wounds, sweet, gentle Lord of mercy? More mercy than this no one has than that he lay down his life for those who are doomed to death.

My merit comes from his mercy; for I do not lack merit so long as he does not lack pity. And if the Lord’s mercies are many, then I am rich in merits. For even if I am aware of many sins, what does it matter? Where sin abounded grace has overflowed. And if the Lord’s mercies are from all ages for ever, I too will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever. Will I not sing of my own righteousness? No, Lord, I shall be mindful only of your justice. Yet that too is my own; for God has made you my righteousness.


He was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins.
On him lies a punishment that brings us peace:
through his wounds we are healed.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
Through his wounds we are healed.

Let us pray.

All-powerful, ever-living God,
direct our steps in the way of your love,
so that our whole life may be fragrant
with all we do in the name of Jesus, your beloved Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

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