Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

First Scripture Reading
Jeremiah 26: 11-16, 24
Gospel Reading
Matthew 14: 1-12

Opening Prayer

God who speaks, thunders and whispers in our human experience, Your prophets always get in trouble. Jeremiah is threatened because he speaks the truth the people do not want to hear. John the Baptist is beheaded for speaking the embarrassing truth. Sometimes, Your truth is dangerous for us, as we listen to You and experience it in our hearts. Make us prayerful prophets who listen to You in all the subtle and loud ways You speak – and who echo Your truth about life, dignity, justice and forgiveness to all we meet. May our words, actions, attitudes and silences this day speak of Your presence in the people and experiences of our journey. As Mary, your Mother helped save Rome from invasion, may she protect us from small-mindedness and mean-spiritedness which invades our righteous hearts, and excludes or destroys any of God’s children. We ask You this in the Name of Jesus Who is Your Word spoken in our midst.

Therese, it must have been frightening when you received the “last rites” this day in 1897.  Was it the signal that medical and Church people had given up and were preparing you for the final journey to God?  The grace of the sacrament must have helped you in those last dark weeks to know that God was still present even though you experienced His absence.  Give us your faith, Therese, to believe even when all seems dark and empty.

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