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The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (Optional Memorial)
The souls of the Saints are rejoicing in heaven,
the Saints who followed the footsteps of Christ,
and since for love of him they shed their blood,
they now exult with Christ for ever.
Holy men shed their glorious blood for the Lord;
they loved Christ in their life,
they imitated him in their death,
and therefore were crowned in triumph.
O God, who consecrated
the abundant first fruits of the Roman Church
by the blood of the Martyrs,
grant, we pray, that with firm courage
we may together draw strength from so great a struggle
and ever rejoice at the triumph of faithful love.
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.
Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12
Hear this word, O children of Israel, that the Lord pronounces over you, over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt:
You alone have I favored,
more than all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you
for all your crimes.
Do two walk together
unless they have agreed?
Does a lion roar in the forest
when it has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from its den
unless it has seized something?
Is a bird brought to earth by a snare
when there is no lure for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground
without catching anything?
If the trumpet sounds in a city,
will the people not be frightened?
If evil befalls a city,
has not the Lord caused it?
Indeed, the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants, the prophets.
The lion roars—
who will not be afraid!
The Lord God speaks—
who will not prophesy!
I brought upon you such upheaval
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
Yet you returned not to me,
says the Lord.
So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel!
and since I will deal thus with you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight. R.
You hate all evildoers;
you destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the Lord abhors.OR
But I, because of your abundant mercy,
will enter your house;
I will worship at your holy temple
in fear of you, O Lord. R.
I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in his word. Ps 130:5
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive, holy Father, the offerings we bring
in commemoration of the holy Martyrs,
and grant that we, your servants,
may be found steadfast in confessing your name.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is you who have stood by me in my trials;
and I confer a kingdom on you, says the Lord,
that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. Lk 22:28-30
See how rich is the Saints’ reward from God;
they died for Christ and will live for ever.
Prayer after Communion
O God, who in your holy Martyrs
have wonderfully made known the mystery of the Cross,
that, drawing strength from this sacrifice,
we may cling faithfully to Christ
and labor in the Church for the salvation of all.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Meditation: Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel. (Amos 4:12)
What an ominous message! Of course, the people weren’t “meeting their God” for the first time—they had centuries of oral history of his covenant with them as a people. But God knew they needed a new meeting, a reintroduction to him. And it didn’t sound like it would be a pleasant meeting. So God sent Amos to warn them.
Amos prophesied during the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel (786–746 BC). A shepherd and farmer from the southern kingdom of Judah, Amos urged the people of the north to return to God. Israel’s wealth and military success had led them astray; sadly, they began to live like the nations around them instead of following the Lord’s commands. In their prosperity, Israel’s moral standards collapsed. The rich oppressed the poor, might made right, and corruption ran rampant. Even worse, the people fell into idolatry and worshipped foreign gods. Amos warned the people of God’s coming judgment: “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).
It’s safe to say that none of us would enjoy receiving a message like that. Yet it was rooted in God’s covenant love for his people. God knew the disasters awaiting them: the overthrow of their sanctuary, the fall of Jeroboam’s house, and the deportation and captivity of the people. Amos spoke hard words to warn them in the hope that they would return to the Lord.
Like the Israelites, we can drift away from God and his commands. We can forget that the God we worship is holy and worthy of our obedience. None of us are worthy to stand in God’s presence; we have all sinned. Even so, we never have to be afraid to meet him. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we know for certain that God will always welcome us. He will always gather us in his loving arms, just as the father did in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
How blessed we are! Because of God’s steadfast covenant love, we can approach him with confidence. How amazing that our God welcomes us into his presence! With the psalmist, we can marvel, “I, because of your abundant mercy, will enter your house” (5:8).
“Lord, by your steadfast love, I will enter your presence today.”
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