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Wednesday 22 November 2017 Saint Cecilia, Virgin, Martyr

Entrance Antiphon

Behold, now she follows the Lamb who was crucified for us,powerful in virginity, modesty her offering,a sacrifice on the altar of chastity.

Collect

O God, who gladden us each yearwith the feast day of your handmaid Saint Cecilia,grant, we pray,that what has been devoutly handed down concerning hermay offer us examples to imitateand proclaim the wonders worked in his servants by Christ your Son.Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First reading : 2 Maccabees 7:1,20-31

There were seven brothers who were arrested with their mother. The king tried to force them to taste pig’s flesh, which the Law forbids, by torturing them with whips and scourges. But the mother was especially admirable and worthy of honourable remembrance, for she watched the death of seven sons in the course of a single day, and endured it resolutely because of her hopes in the Lord. Indeed she encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors; filled with noble conviction, she reinforced her womanly argument with manly courage, saying to them, ‘I do not know how you appeared in my womb; it was not I who endowed you with breath and life, I had not the shaping of your every part. It is the creator of the world, ordaining the process of man’s birth and presiding over the origin of all things, who in his mercy will most surely give you back both breath and life, seeing that you now despise your own existence for the sake of his laws.’Antiochus thought he was being ridiculed, suspecting insult in the tone of her voice; and as the youngest was still alive he appealed to him not with mere words but with promises on oath to make him both rich and happy if he would abandon the traditions of his ancestors; he would make him his Friend and entrust him with public office. The young man took no notice at all, and so the king then appealed to the mother, urging her to advise the youth to save his life. After a great deal of urging on his part she agreed to try persuasion on her son. Bending over him, she fooled the cruel tyrant with these words, uttered in the language of their ancestors, ‘My son, have pity on me; I carried you nine months in my womb and suckled you three years, fed you and reared you to the age you are now (and cherished you). I implore you, my child, observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of what did not exist, and that mankind comes into being in the same way. Do not fear this executioner, but prove yourself worthy of your brothers, and make death welcome, so that in the day of mercy I may receive you back in your brothers’ company.’She had scarcely ended when the young man said, ‘What are you all waiting for? I will not comply with the king’s ordinance; I obey the ordinance of the Law given to our ancestors through Moses. As for you, sir, who have contrived every kind of evil against the Hebrews, you will certainly not escape the hands of God.’

Psalm : Ps16:1,5-6,8,15

R/ I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

  1. Lord, hear a cause that is just,pay heed to my cry. Turn your ear to my prayer:no deceit is on my lips.
  2. I kept my feet firmly in your paths;there was no faltering in my steps. I am here and I call, you will hear me, O God.Turn your ear to me; hear my words.
  3. Guard me as the apple of your eye.Hide me in the shadow of your wings As for me, in my justice I shall see your face, and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory.

 

Gospel Acclamation : 1Jn2:5

Alleluia, alleluia!Whenever anyone obeys what Christ has said,God’s love comes to perfection in him.Alleluia!

Gospel : Luke 19:11-28

While the people were listening, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and they imagined that the kingdom of God was going to show itself then and there. Accordingly he said, ‘A man of noble birth went to a distant country to be appointed king and afterwards return. He summoned ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds. “Do business with these” he told them “until I get back.” But his compatriots detested him and sent a delegation to follow him with this message, “We do not want this man to be our king.”Now on his return, having received his appointment as king, he sent for those servants to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made. The first came in and said, “Sir, your one pound has brought in ten.” “Well done, my good servant!” he replied “Since you have proved yourself faithful in a very small thing, you shall have the government of ten cities..” Then came the second and said, “Sir, your one pound has made five.” To this one also he said, “And you shall be in charge of five cities.” Next came the other and said, “Sir, here is your pound. I put it away safely in a piece of linen because I was afraid of you; for you are an exacting man: you pick up what you have not put down and reap what you have not sown.” “You wicked servant!” he said “Out of your own mouth I condemn you. So you knew I was an exacting man, picking up what I have not put down and reaping what I have not sown? Then why did you not put my money in the bank? On my return I could have drawn it out with interest.” And he said to those standing by, “Take the pound from him and give it to the man who has ten pounds.” And they said to him, “But, sir, he has ten pounds . . .” “I tell you, to everyone who has will be given more; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.“But as for my enemies who did not want me for their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence.”’When he had said this he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

Prayer over the Offerings

May the offerings we bring in celebration of Saint Cecelia win your gracious acceptance, O Lord, we pray,just as the struggle of her suffering and passionwas pleasing to you.Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon: Rv 7: 17

The Lamb who is at the center of the thronewill lead them to the springs of the waters of life.

Prayer after Communion

O God, who bestowed on Saint Cecelia a crown among the Saintsfor her twofold triumph of virginity and martyrdom,grant, we pray, through the power of this Sacrament,that, bravely overcoming every evil,we may attain the glory of heaven.Through Christ our Lord.

God has endowed us with numerous gifts and talents. It is our responsibility to put these talents to use for the common good of our brothers and sisters. Our gift is not for self-glorification or self-aggrandizement. We are not expected to hoard or pile up earthly goods. Earthly goods piled up get corroded over time. We are expected to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven where neither thief can steal them nor rot corrode them by employing our talents for the wellbeing of others.

Tuesday 21 November 2017 Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Entrance Antiphon

Hail, Holy Mother, who gave birth to the King who rules heaven and earth for ever.

Collect

As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession, that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

First reading : 2 Maccabees 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost teachers of the Law, a man already advanced in years and of most noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth wide to swallow pig’s flesh. But he, resolving to die with honour rather than to live disgraced, went to the block of his own accord, spitting the stuff out, the plain duty of anyone with the courage to reject what it is not lawful to taste, even from a natural tenderness for his own life. Those in charge of the impious banquet, because of their long-standing friendship with him, took him aside and privately urged him to have meat brought of a kind he could properly use, prepared by himself, and only pretend to eat the portions of sacrificial meat as prescribed by the king; this action would enable him to escape death, by availing himself of an act of kindness prompted by their long friendship. But having taken a noble decision worthy of his years and the dignity of his great age and the well earned distinction of his grey hairs, worthy too of his impeccable conduct from boyhood, and above all of the holy legislation established by God himself, he publicly stated his convictions, telling them to send him at once to Hades. ‘Such pretence’ he said ‘does not square with our time of life; many young people would suppose that Eleazar at the age of ninety had conformed to the foreigners’ way of life, and because I had played this part for the sake of a paltry brief spell of life might themselves be led astray on my account; I should only bring defilement and disgrace on my old age. Even though for the moment I avoid execution by man, I can never, living or dead, elude the grasp of the Almighty. Therefore if I am man enough to quit this life here and now I shall prove myself worthy of my old age, and I shall have left the young a noble example of how to make a good death, eagerly and generously, for the venerable and holy laws.’With these words he went straight to the block. His escorts, so recently well disposed towards him, turned against him after this declaration, which they regarded as sheer madness. Just before he died under the blows, he groaned aloud and said, ‘The Lord whose knowledge is holy sees clearly that, though I might have escaped death, whatever agonies of body I now endure under this bludgeoning, in my soul I am glad to suffer, because of the awe which he inspires in me.’This was how he died, leaving his death as an example of nobility and a record of virtue not only for the young but for the great majority of the nation.

Psalm : Psalm 3:2-7

R/ The Lord upholds me.

  1. How many are my foes, O Lord!How many are rising up against me! How many are saying about me:‘There is no help for him in God.’
  2. But you, Lord, are a shield about me,my glory, who lift up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord.He answers from his holy mountain.
  3. I lie down to rest and I sleep.I wake, for the Lord upholds me. I will not fear even thousands of people, who are ranged on every side against me.

Gospel Acclamation : cf.Ps129:5

Alleluia, alleluia!My soul is waiting for the Lord,I count on his word.Alleluia!

Gospel : Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’

Prayer over the Offerings

Receive, O Lord, we ask, the prayers of your people with the sacrificial offerings, that, through the intercession of Blessed Mary, the Mother of your Son, no petition may go unanswered, no request be made in vain. Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon : Cf. Lk 11: 27

Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the eternal Father.

Prayer after Communion

As we receive this heavenly Sacrament, we beseech, O Lord, your mercy, that we, who rejoice in commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary, may by imitating her serve worthily the  mystery of our redemption. Through Christ our Lord.


Some rich people have said to me; I am a very rich person but there is a feeling of emptiness inside of me and I just can’t say why. In today’s Gospel Jesus encounters a rich tax collector named Zacchaeus who felt in spite of his riches he was missing something. He knew there was more to life than riches. When he heard that Jesus was in town he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of him. Seeing Zacchaeus Jesus asks him to come down from the tree because today he will stay in his house. People complained that Jesus has gone to stay with a sinner but this encounter was a life changing experience for Zacchaeus. He repented of his sins and did restitution to those he had cheated. Riches do not make us happy but God does. You may look at the rich and ungodly and you think they are happy yet they go to bed at night and can’t sleep. They turn and toss because of issues and worries that money cannot resolve. They can buy a king-size bed but cannot buy sleep. They can buy a house but not a home, which is a place of love, happiness and peace.  It is only Jesus that can give you that inner peace and fulfilment.

2017 Nov 19 SUN: THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Entrance Antiphon : Jer 29: 11, 12, 14

The Lord said: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction.You will call upon me, and I will answer you,and I will lead back your captives from every place.

Collect

Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,the constant gladness of being devoted to you,for it is full and lasting happinessto serve with constancythe author of all that is good.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First readingProverbs 31:10-13,19-20,30-31

A perfect wife – who can find her?She is far beyond the price of pearls.Her husband’s heart has confidence in her,from her he will derive no little profit.Advantage and not hurt she brings himall the days of her life.She is always busy with wool and with flax,she does her work with eager hands.She sets her hands to the distaff,her fingers grasp the spindle.She holds out her hand to the poor,she opens her arms to the needy.Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty;the woman who is wise is the one to praise.Give her a share in what her hands have worked for,and let her works tell her praises at the city gates.

Psalm 127:1-5

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

  1. O blessed are those who fear the Lordand walk in his ways!By the labour of your hands you shall eat.You will be happy and prosper.
  2. Your wife like a fruitful vinein the heart of your house;your children like shoots of the olive,around your table.
  3. Indeed thus shall be blessedthe man who fears the Lord.May the Lord bless you from Zionall the days of your life!

Second reading1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’, since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it.But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.

 

Gospel AcclamationRv2:10

Alleluia, alleluia!Even if you have to die, says the Lord,keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life.Alleluia!

Gospel Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out.‘The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.‘Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.”‘His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”‘Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”‘Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”’

Prayer over the Offerings

Grant, O Lord, we pray,that what we offer in the sight of your majestymay obtain for us the grace of being devoted to youand gain us the prize of everlasting happiness.Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon : Ps 72: 28

To be near God is my happiness,to place my hope in God the Lord.

Prayer after Communion

We have partaken of the gifts of this sacred mystery,humbly imploring, O Lord,that what your Son commanded us to doin memory of himmay bring us growth in charity.Through Christ our Lord.

The Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with gifts and graces and he gives his subjects the freedom to use them as they think best. With each gift and talent, God gives sufficient the means (grace and wisdom) for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it's not worth trying. God honours those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have. There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you earnestly seek to serve God with the gifts, talents, and graces he has given to you?

Monday 20 November 2017

Entrance Antiphon : Jer 29: 11, 12, 14

The Lord said: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction.You will call upon me, and I will answer you,and I will lead back your captives from every place.

Collect

Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,the constant gladness of being devoted to you,for it is full and lasting happinessto serve with constancythe author of all that is good.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First reading : 1 Maccabees 1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62-64

There grew a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus; once a hostage in Rome, he became king in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. It was then that there emerged from Israel a set of renegades who led many people astray. ‘Come,’ they said ‘let us reach an understanding with the pagans surrounding us, for since we separated ourselves from them many misfortunes have overtaken us.’ This proposal proved acceptable, and a number of the people eagerly approached the king, who authorised them to practise the pagan observances. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, such as the pagans have, disguised their circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant, submitting to the heathen rule as willing slaves of impiety.Then the king issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each renouncing his particular customs. All the pagans conformed to the king’s decree, and many Israelites chose to accept his religion, sacrificing to idols and profaning the sabbath. The king erected the abomination of desolation above the altar; and altars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah and incense offered at the doors of houses and in the streets. Any books of the Law that came to light were torn up and burned. Whenever anyone was discovered possessing a copy of the covenant or practising the Law, the king’s decree sentenced him to death.Yet there were many in Israel who stood firm and found the courage to refuse unclean food. They chose death rather than contamination by such fare or profanation of the holy covenant, and they were executed. It was a dreadful wrath that visited Israel.

Psalm : Psalm 118:53,61,134,150,155,158

 

R/ Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your will.

  1. I am seized with indignation at the wicked, who forsake your law.Though the nets of the wicked ensnared me, I remembered your law.
  2. Redeem me from man’s oppression, and I will keep your precepts.Those who harm me unjustly draw near;they are far from your law.
  3. Salvation is far from the wicked, who are heedless of your statutes.I look at the faithless with disgust;they ignore your promise.

Gospel Acclamation : Jn8:12

Alleluia, alleluia!I am the light of the world, says the Lord;anyone who follows me will have the light of life.Alleluia!

Gospel : Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about, and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by. So he called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’ The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Sir,’ he replied ‘let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.’ And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God for what had happened.

Prayer over the Offerings

Grant, O Lord, we pray,that what we offer in the sight of your majestymay obtain for us the grace of being devoted to youand gain us the prize of everlasting happiness.Through

Communion Antiphon : Ps 72: 28

To be near God is my happiness,to place my hope in God the Lord.

Prayer after Communion

We have partaken of the gifts of this sacred mystery,humbly imploring, O Lord,that what your Son commanded us to doin memory of himmay bring us growth in charity.Through Christ our Lord.

In today’s gospel we see Jesus leaving Jericho accompanied by his disciples and a huge crowd heading towards Jerusalem. Bartimaeus, a blind roadside-beggar, hearing that it was Jesus cried out in faith, “Jesus, son of David have pity on me. Even though the crowds tried to silence him he persisted and insisted. Jesus calls Bartimaeus and the very crowds that tried to muffle him said, “take courage, he is calling you”.In a conversation with Jesus Bartimaeus expresses his desire to be able to see and immediately, he received his sight. Thanks to his persistent faith and insistent plea he was led out of darkness into light. Today we are challenged to never give up and never lose sight of faith when we talk to God. Not even when people try to discourage us and stop us from crying out to God. Be persistent in prayer and be confident that God hears the cry of the poor (Ps. 22:25). No matter how long it takes, the good news is that God will surely hear and answer us at his own time. And when God grants your petition the very people who tried to discourage and silence you will join your fan club and celebrate.

Saturday 18 November 2017 Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Entrance Antiphon : Cf. Ps 87: 3

Let my prayer come into your presence.Incline your ear to my cry for help, O Lord.

Collect

Almighty and merciful God,graciously keep from us all adversity,so that, unhindered in mind and body alike,we may pursue in freedom of heartthe things that are yours.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.

First reading : Wisdom 18:14-16,19:6-9

When peaceful silence lay over all,and night had run the half of her swift course,down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word;into the heart of a doomed land the stern warrior leapt.Carrying your unambiguous command like a sharp sword,he stood, and filled the universe with death;he touched the sky, yet trod the earth.For, to keep your children from all harm,The whole creation, obedient to your commands,was once more, and newly, fashioned in its nature.Overshadowing the camp there was the cloud,where water had been, dry land was seen to rise,the Red Sea became an unimpeded way,the tempestuous flood a green plain;sheltered by your hand, the whole nation passed across,gazing at these amazing miracles.They were like horses at pasture,they skipped like lambs,singing your praises, Lord, their deliverer.

Psalm : Ps104:2-3,36-37,42-43

R/ Remember the wonders the Lord has done.

  1. O sing to him, sing his praise;tell all his wonderful works! Be proud of his holy name,let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.
  2. He struck all the first-born in their land,the finest flower of their sons. He led out Israel with silver and gold.In his tribes were none who fell behind.
  3. For he remembered his holy word,which he gave to Abraham his servant. So he brought out his people with joy,his chosen ones with shouts of rejoicing.

 

Gospel Acclamation : Jm1:21

Alleluia, alleluia!Accept and submit to the wordwhich has been planted in youand can save your souls.Alleluia!

Gospel : Luke 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’

Prayer over the Offerings

Look with favour, we pray, O Lord,upon the sacrificial gifts offered here,that, celebrating in mystery the Passion of your Son,we may honour it with loving devotion.Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon : Cf. Ps 22: 1-2

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose,near restful waters he leads me.

 

Prayer after Communion

Nourished by this sacred gift, O Lord,we give you thanks and beseech your mercy,that, by the pouring forth of your Spirit,the grace of integrity may endure in those your heavenly power has entered.Through Christ our Lord.

What can a shameless and unjust judge pitted against a crusty and pestering woman teach us about justice and vindication in the kingdom of God? Jesus tells a story that is all too true - a defenceless widow is taken advantaged of and refused her rights. Through sheer persistence she wears down an unscrupulous judge until he gives her justice. Persistence pays off, and that's especially true for those who trust in God. Jesus illustrates how God as our Judge and Vindicator is much quicker to come to our defence and to bring us his justice, blessing, and help when we need it. But we can easily lose heart and forget to ask our heavenly Father for his grace and help.