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Saint Francis of Assisi (Memorial)
Francis, the man of God, left his home behind,
abandoned his inheritance and became poor and penniless,
but the Lord raised him up.
O God, by whose gift Saint Francis
was conformed to Christ in poverty and humility,
grant that, by walking in Francis’ footsteps,
we may follow your Son,
and, through joyful charity,
come to be united with you.
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. Amen.
During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed: “Justice is with the Lord, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us. From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until the present day, we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God, and only too ready to disregard his voice. And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant, at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt to give us the land flowing with milk and honey, cling to us even today. For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God, in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us, but each one of us went off after the devices of his own wicked heart, served other gods, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.”
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth. R.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O Lord, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake. R.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts. Ps 95:8
Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
Prayer over the Offerings
As we bring you these offerings, O Lord,
we pray that we may be rightly disposed
for the celebration of the mystery of the Cross,
which Saint Francis so ardently embraced.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mt 5:3
Prayer after Communion
Grant us, we pray, O Lord,
through these holy gifts which we have received,
that, imitating the charity and apostolic zeal of Saint Francis,
we may experience the effects of your love
and spread them everywhere for the salvation of all.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Meditation: Baruch 1:15-22
We today are flushed with shame. (Baruch 1:15)
We can all probably relate to the Israelites in today’s first reading. Who hasn’t felt red-faced with embarrassment at making a mistake? Who hasn’t had the humbling experience of admitting we have done something truly wrong? We can all feel ashamed at times—and it goes beyond embarrassment or remorse.
Guilt is something we feel when we realize we have done something wrong. Shame, however, is something more. It’s what we feel when we let our wrongdoings cling to us and define us. It’s the feeling that comes when we think there is something disgraceful and unacceptable about who we are, not just what we have done. It can make us feel unlovable, and it can prevent us from turning to God for help.
That is where the Israelites found themselves in exile in Babylon. They realized that their sin had brought about the destruction of Jerusalem. Holding tightly to their faith, they still met to read God’s word and offer heartfelt prayers, but they were burdened with shame. They mourned the death of so many people, and they bemoaned the fact that they could have prevented the sack of Jerusalem if only they had obeyed God’s word.
But rather than remaining mired in shame, they turned to God in repentance. “Not on . . . just deeds . . . do we base our plea for mercy” (Baruch 2:19). They trusted that God would keep his covenant with them despite all their sins (2:27, 35). And he did. In time, their exile ended, and they came home to rebuild Jerusalem once more.
When he sent Jesus, God removed our guilt and our shame. Jesus took all our sins and “endured the cross, despising its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). Now he assures us that he doesn’t condemn us. We don’t need to be burdened by shame any longer.
If you, like the Israelites, are feeling burdened by shame, perhaps God is inviting you to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Unburden yourself. Confess whatever is weighing you down. Then ask God to remove your guilt and lift your shame. And breathe a sigh of relief and gratitude as you hear the priest say, “May God give you pardon and peace.”
“Lord, I come to you for healing and forgiveness. Help me to live free from shame.”
Psalm 79:1-5, 8-9
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