Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Cf. Ps 17 (16): 6, 8

To you I call, for you will surely heed me, O God;
turn your ear to me; hear my words.
Guard me as the apple of your eye;
in the shadow of your wings protect me.


May your grace not forsake us, O Lord, we pray,
but make us dedicated to your holy service
and at all times obtain for us your help.
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.


Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

DN 3:25, 34-43

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

"For your name's sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord."

Responsorial Psalm
PS 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9

R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.

R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.

R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.

R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Verse Before The Gospel
JL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

MT 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?"

Jesus answered,

"I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him,
'You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?'
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."

March 21

Saint Benedicta Cambiagio Frassinello (1791 - 1858)

Benedetta received the jewel of good christian formation from her devout parents. Always a devoted youngster, she received the gift of a profound mystical experience at age twenty, which left her with the desire to pursue a vocation as a religious. However, her parents preferred strongly that she marry, and in filial piety, Benedetta bowed to their wishes, and married Giovanni Frassinello, in 1816. They lived together for two years as man and wife. In 1818, the couple agreed to live together chastely, dedicated to God. At this same time, they took Benedetta's younger sister Martha into their home to nurse her through her final fight with Cancer. When Martha died, in 1825, the two entered religious orders, Benedetta joining the Ursiline Congregation, and Giovanni the order founded by St Jerome Emiliani.

Benedetta was forced to return home because of failing health only a year later, but obtained a miraculous cure through the intercession of Saint Jerome Emiliani. Now she felt called to undertake a new work of devoting herself to the education of young girls. She obtained her bishop's approval, and the bishop also requested that Giovanni leave the seminary in order to assist Benedetta with the work, because of the scope of the task. The two took a vow of perfect chastity into the hands of their bishop, and set out on their joint task.

Benedetta perservered in following God's will through a very unusual set of circumstances. Her courage and conviction helped to transform women's education in the region. Although after first setting out, Giovanni and Benedetta had to endure gossip and calumny that could have destroyed their work, Benedetta was wise enough to withdraw and place her beginnings in the hands of the bishop to prevent this, leaving to live as a nun in Ronco Scrivia.

Eventually, Bendetta was able to found the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence. 
The guiding charism of her order is their focus on the education of young girls and confidence in and abandonment to God in the living out of their vows.

After correctly predicting the time of her death, 
Benedicta died peacefully in Ronco Scrivia at her motherhouse, on March 21 1858.

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.

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


Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering overpast,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.

Psalm 67 (68)
The Lord's triumphal journey

Let God arise,
let those who hate him flee before him.

God arises and his enemies are scattered:
those who hate him flee from his sight.
You blow them away like wisps of smoke;
as wax melts in front of a fire,
so the wicked melt away before God.
The righteous are glad and exult in God’s sight;
they rejoice in their gladness.
Sing to the Lord and celebrate his name!
Make a road for him who rides upon the clouds –
“The Lord” is his name.
Rejoice in his sight,
the father of orphans, defender of widows,
God in his holy dwelling-place,
God, who gives the lonely a house to dwell in,
God, who leads captives out into prosperity;
but the rebellious shall live in a desert land.
God, when you set out in the sight of your people,
when you crossed the wilderness – the earth shook.
The heavens sent down dew at your coming –
the God of Sinai, the God of Israel.
At your bidding the rains came, O God,
your inheritance was worn out but you refreshed it.
All your creatures took up residence there,
in your goodness you made a place for the needy.

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 God arise,
let those who hate him flee before him.

Psalm 67 (68)

This God of ours is a God who saves.
The Lord holds the keys of death.

The Lord gives out the word,
and a great army of maidens brings the news:
“The kings of the armies are fleeing, they are fleeing,
and the fair one at home is dividing the spoils.
While you sleep among the sheepfolds,
the wings of the dove shine with silver,
her feathers glow with green gold.
Through her the Almighty scatters the kings,
and the mountain of Zalmon is white with snow.”
The mountain of Bashan is God’s mountain;
the mountain of God is a high-peaked mountain.
Why do you envy it, you high-peaked mountains,
envy the mountain that God has chosen?
The Lord will dwell there for ever.
The chariots of God are ten thousand thousand:
the Lord has come from Sinai to his holy sanctuary.
You have scaled the heights, you have taken captives,
you have received men as gifts
so that even the rebels live with the Lord God.
Blessings on the Lord, day after day!
God will carry us, God our savior.
Our God is a God of salvation,
our Lord is a Lord who rescues from death.
Truly God will break the heads of his enemies,
take the scalps of those who tread the path of crime.
The Lord has spoken:
“I shall bring them back from Bashan,
I shall bring them back from the depths of the sea,
so that your feet may be dipped in blood

and the tongues of your dogs receive food from your enemies.”
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.

This God of ours is a God who saves.
The Lord holds the keys of death.

Psalm 67 (68)

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, praise the Lord.

They have seen your processions, O God,
the processions of God, my king, to his sanctuary.
First came the singers, last the musicians,
between them the maidens playing their drums.
“Bless God in the assemblies:
bless the Lord, you who spring from Israel!”
There was young Benjamin, leading them,
the princes of Judah in their rich robes,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
O God, command in your strength;
make firm what you have achieved in us.
From your temple in Jerusalem,
kings shall bring you tribute.
Rebuke the wild beast of the reeds,
the herd of bulls, the lords of peoples.
Let them lie prostrate before you with tribute of silver.
Scatter the peoples that delight in war.
Nobles will come from Egypt,
Ethiopia will stretch out its hands to God.
Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
celebrate the Lord.
Sing to God who rides on the highest heavens,
at the origin of all things.
Listen! – he speaks, a voice of power.
Acknowledge the strength of the Lord:
his majesty is over Israel,
his strength is in the clouds.
God inspires awe in his holy place;
he, the God of Israel, gives power to his people;
he gives them strength.
Blessed be God!

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.

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, praise the Lord.

Now is the favorable time.
– Now is the day of salvation.

First Reading
Exodus 32:1-20

The golden calf

When the people saw that Moses was a long time before coming down the mountain, they gathered round Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make us a god to go at the head of us; this Moses, the man who brought us up from Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ Aaron answered them, ‘Take the gold rings out of the ears of your wives and your sons and daughters, and bring them to me.’ So they all took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took them from their hands and, in a mould, melted the metal down and cast an effigy of a calf. ‘Here is your God, Israel,’ they cried ‘who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ Observing this, Aaron built an altar before the effigy.
‘Tomorrow’ he said ‘will be a feast in honor of the Lord.’

And so, early the next day they offered holocausts and brought communion sacrifices;
then all the people sat down to eat and drink, and afterwards got up to amuse themselves.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses,
‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now,
my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them;
of you, however, I will make a great nation.’

But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’
So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Moses made his way back down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, tablets inscribed on both sides, inscribed on the front and on the back. These tablets were the work of God,
and the writing on them was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting. ‘There is the sound of battle in the camp’, he told Moses. Moses answered him:

‘No song of victory is this sound,
no wailing for defeat this sound;
it is the sound of chanting that I hear.’

As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the groups dancing, Moses’ anger blazed. He threw down the tablets he was holding and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He seized the calf they had made and burned it, grinding it into powder which he scattered on the water;
and he made the sons of Israel drink it.


They exchanged the God who was their glory for the image of a bull that eats grass;
they forgot the God who was their Savior,
who had done such great things in Egypt,
such marvels at the Red Sea.

Their empty minds were darkened;
they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for a worthless imitation;
they forgot the God who was their Savior,
who had done such great things in Egypt,
such marvels at the Red Sea.

Second Reading
From a sermon
by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop

Prayer knocks, fasting obtains, mercy receives

There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.

Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others.
If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself.

When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.

Let this be the pattern for all men when they practise mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you.
Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf,
one speech in our defence, a threefold united prayer in our favor.

Let us use fasting to make up for what we have lost by despising others. Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting. There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy: A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit;
God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart.

Offer your soul to God, make him an oblation of your fasting, so that your soul may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God.
Whoever fails to give this to God will not be excused,
for if you are to give him yourself you are never without the means of giving.

To make these acceptable, mercy must be added. Fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to earth. However much you may cultivate your heart, clear the soil of your nature, root out vices, sow virtues,
if you do not release the springs of mercy, your fasting will bear no fruit.

When you fast, if your mercy is thin your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn. Therefore, do not lose by saving, but gather in by scattering. Give to the poor, and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others.


Prayer which is joined to fasting and almsgiving is good,
for almsgiving will purge away every sin.

Almsgiving is the winning of mercy and of life eternal,
for almsgiving will purge away every sin.

Let us pray.

Do not withdraw your grace from us, Lord:
by it alone we can give ourselves wholly to your service
and obtain your help in our every need.
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.