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Thought for today Saint of the day Today's Readings Sunday's Readings
Thought for today

Extract from the prayer “Eyes”



May my eyes be firm and steady,

but may they also know how to soften in pity and be

capable of tears.


May my gaze not soil the one it touches,

may it not disturb, but may it bring peace.

May it not sadden, but rather may it transmit joy.

May it not attract in order to hold captive,

but rather may it persuade others to rise above

themselves to you.


May my eyes disquiet the sinner because in them they

will see your light,

but may their reproach lead to encouragement.

Grant that my eyes may be startling because they are

an encounter,

an encounter with God.


Grant that they be a call,

a clarion call,

that brings all the world to its doorstep,

not because of me, Lord,

but because you are to pass by.  […]


Source: “Keeping Hope, Favourite Prayers for Modern Living” by Fr. Michel Quoist.
Saint of the day

Feb 20 - St Robert Southwell (1561-95)

Robert SRobert Southwell was only thirty-three, "the same age as Jesus", as he told his trial judge, when he was condemned to death under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in England. He is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Patrick Duffy tells his story.

Early life
Robert was born at Horsham St. Faith in Norfolk, the youngest of eight children of Catholic gentry and educated first at Douai, then at Paris. He wished to join the Jesuits at seventeen, but was turned down because he was too young. He then walked to Rome, was admitted to the Jesuits there in 1578 and sent for his two-year novitiate to Tournai. He returned to Rome to complete his studies of philosophy and theology, was ordained priest in 1584 and then was made prefect of studies in the Venerable English College at Rome.

To England
In 1584 an act was passed forbidding any English-born subjects of Queen Elizabeth, who had entered into priests' orders in the Roman Catholic Church since her accession, to remain in England longer than forty days on pain of death. But Southwell, asked to be sent to England in 1586 as a Jesuit missionary and the Jesuits agreed that he go with another Jesuit campanion Henry Garnett. Robert stayed with Catholic families, administering the sacraments and in 1589 became domestic chaplain to Ann Howard, whose husband, Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel (1557-95), was in prison, convicted of treason. It was to Philip Howard that Southwell addressed his Epistle of Comfort.

Arrest and imprisonment
After ministering successfully for six years, Southwell was arrested. His prison conditions were so wretched that his father petitioned Queen Elizabeth that he either be brought to trial and put to death, if found guilty, or removed in any case from the filthy hole he was in. He was then lodged in the Tower of London, and allowed clothes and a bible and the works of St Bernard. His imprisonment lasted for three years, during which he was tortured on ten occasions so that he might give evidence about other priests.. In 1595 he was charged with treason, and removed from the Tower to Newgate prison, where he was put in to a hole called Limbo.

His trial and execution
A few days later he was indicted as a traitor under the law mentioned above. Southwell admitted the facts but denied "entertaining any designs or plots against the queen or kingdom". His only purpose, he said, had been to administer the sacraments according to the rite of the Catholic Church to those who desired them. When asked to enter a plea, he declared himself, "not guilty of any treason whatsoever".  However, he was found guilty and next day, February 20, 1595, he was drawn in a cart to Tyburn. A notorious highwayman was being executed at the same time, at a different place - perhaps to draw the crowds away - but many people came to witness the priest's death. He was allowed to address them at some length.  Htyburne confessed that he was a Jesuit priest and prayed for the salvation of the queen and his country. He then commended his soul to God with the words of the psalm In manus tuas. He was hanged, drawn and quartered.

His poetry and prose
During his imprisonment Southwell wrote many poems of high literary merit. His prose works, such as A Short Rule of Good Life, Triumphs over Death, Mary Magdalen's Tears and A Humble Supplication to Queen Elizabeth, were religious tracts. He had no fear of death. He saw his sufferings as occasions of grace, an opportunity to express his love for God. He used his poetry and his religious tracts, which were widely circulated to stir up the same religious faith in others. Here are three well known quotations from his poems:

Hoist up saile while gale doth last,
Tide and wind stay no man's pleasure.
from St. Peter's Complaint

Southwell,May never was the month of love,
For May is full of flowers;
But rather April, wet by kind,
For love is full of showers."
from Love's Servile Lot

O dying souls, behold your living spring;
O dazzled eyes, behold your sun of grace;
Dull ears, attend what word this Word doth bring;
Up, heavy hearts, with joy your joy embrace.
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despair:
This life, this light, this Word, this joy repairs.
...from The Nativity of Christ.
Today's Readings

First Reading                Ecclesiasticus 1:1-10
Before all other things wisdom was created,.

All wisdom is from the Lord,
and it is his own for ever.
The sand of the sea and the raindrops,
and the days of eternity, who can assess them?
The height of the sky and the breadth
of the earth, and the depth of the abyss, who can probe them?
Before all other things wisdom was created,
shrewd understanding is everlasting.
For whom has the root of wisdom ever been uncovered?
Her resourceful ways, who knows them?
Only the wise, terrible indeed,
seated on his throne,
the Lord. He himself has created her, looked on her and assessed her,
and poured her out on all his works
to be with all mankind as his gift,
and he conveyed her to those who love him.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm     Ps 92
Response                           The Lord is King, with majesty enrobed.

1. The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed;
the Lord.has robed himself with might,
he has girded himself with power.        Response

2.  The world you made firm, not to be moved;
your throne has stood firm from of old.
From all eternity, O Lord, you are.       Response

3.  Truly your decrees are to be trusted.
Holiness is fitting to your house,
O Lord, until the end of time.                Response

Gospel  Acclamation  I Pt 1: 2:5
Alleluia, alleluia!
The word of the Lord remains for ever:
What is your word?
It is the Good News that has been brought to you.

or                                       Jn 15: 15
Alleluia, alleluia!
I call you friends, says the Lord,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.

Gospel                         Mark 9:14-29
I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!

When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. 'What are you arguing about with them?' he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, 'Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.' 'You faithless generation' he said to them in reply. 'How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.' They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, 'How long has this been happening to him?' 'From childhood,' he replied 'and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.' 'If you can?' retorted Jesus. 'Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.' Immediately the father of the boy cried out, 'I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!' And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. 'Deaf and dumb spirit,' he said 'I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.' Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, 'He is dead'. But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, 'Why were we unable to cast it out?' 'This is the kind' he answered 'that can only be driven out by prayer.'

The Gospel of the Lord

Gospel Reflection (Mon, 20th Feb 2017, Week 7 in Ord. Time)   
The story we have just heard from Mark’s gospel comes immediately after the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus went up the mountain to pray, taking with him, Peter, James and John. While he prayed, he was transfigured. The time of prayerful calm on the mountain is immediately followed by a somewhat chaotic and hectic moment at the foot of the mountain. In the midst of it all, we hear the simple prayer of the desperate father of a very sick boy, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have’. The prayer of this man is one with which many people have identified over the centuries. ‘I believe. Help my unbelief’. It is a prayer which recognizes that our faith always needs strengthening and that it is the Lord alone who can strengthen and deepen our faith. At the end of the gospel reading the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to heal the boy, and Jesus replied, ‘this is the kind that can only be driven out by prayer’. Jesus was saying to his disciples that the reason they were powerless before this boy’s serious ailment was because they had not prayed enough. The prayerfulness of the boy’s father had something to teach the disciples, and all of us. Our prayerful communion with the Lord helps us to face and deal with the various forces that seem to threaten and overwhelm us.


The scripture readings are taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with permission of the publishers.
The Gospel reflection comes from Martin Hogan’s book: WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 published by  The Messenger c/f

An Chéad Léacht          Shíorach 1:1-10
Cruthaíodh an eagna roimh gach ní eile.

Ón Tiarna an uile eagna,
agus is leis í go brách.
Gaineamh na mara agus braonta na fearthainne,
agus laethanta na síoraíochta, cé dhéanfaidh iad a áireamh?
Airde na spéire, agus leithead na cruinne,
agus [doimhne an dubhaigéin], cé ransóidh iad?
Cruthaíodh an eagna roimh gach ní eile,
agus tá bua na tuigse ann ón tsíoraíocht anall.
 (Briathar Dé ar neamh foinse na heagna,
agus is iad na dlíthe síoraí a bealaí.)
Cé dó ar foilsíodh fréamh na heagna?
cé arb eol dó a hildána?
(Cé dó ar foilsíodh eolas na heagna,
agus a fuair tuiscint ar a hilbhealaí?)
Níl ach aon eagnaí amháin ann; is sáruamhnach é,
agus é ina shuí ina ríchathaoir;
Eisean an Tiarna, a chruthaigh [an eagna];
eisean a chonaic agus a mheas í,
agus a dhoirt amach í ar a oibreacha go léir.
Thug sé mar bhronntanas í don chine daonna ar fad,
agus dháil sé í ar na daoine a bhfuil grá acu dó.

Salm le Freagra           Sm 92 
Freagra                            Tá an Tiarna ina Rí:
 tá sé gléasta le maorgacht.
1. Tá an Tiarna ina Rí: tá sé gléasta le maorgacht;
    chlúdaigh sé é féin le neart,
    chrioslaigh sé é féin le cumhacht.           Freagra

2. Bhunaigh tú an domhan go dobhogtha;
    tá do chathaoir arna daingniú ó na cianta.
    Ón tSíoraíocht atá tusa ann, a Thiarna.Freagra

3. Is dearfa go deimhin do reachtanna.
    Is do do theachsa is cuí an naofacht,
   a Thiarna, go brách an breithe.                 Freagra
An Soiscéal                Marcas 9:14-29
Creidim, tar i gcabhair ar mo dhíchreideamh.

San am sin, Íosa , ar theacht anuas ón sliabh le Peadar, Séamus agus Eoin tháinig sego dtí na deisceabail, chonaic slua mór ina dtimpeall, agus scríobhaithe ag argóint leo. Agus an túisce a chonaic siad é, bhí an slua go léir le hiontas, agus rith siad chuige ag beannú dó.  D’fhiafraigh sé díobh: “Cén argóint atá agaibh leo?”  Agus d’fhreagair duine den slua é: “A Mháistir, thug mé chugat mo mhac a bhfuil spiorad balbh ann:  agus cibé uair a bheireann sé air, teilgeann sé ar lár é, agus bíonn cúr lena bhéal agus díoscán ar a fhiacla agus é stalctha righin. D’iarr mé ar do dheisceabail é a chaitheamh amach agus chuaigh sé díobh.”  Dúirt sé leo á bhfreagairt: “Ó a ghlúin dhíchreidmheach, cá fhad a bheidh mé faraibh? Cá fhad a bheidh mé ag cur suas libh? Tugaigí chugam é.”  Thug siad chuige é, agus an túisce a chonaic an spiorad é, bhain sé rachtanna as an ógánach, agus thit sé ar an talamh á únfairt féin agus cúr lena bhéal.  D’fhiafraigh Íosa dá athair: “Cá fhad atá sé seo air?” Dúirt seisean: “Ó bhí sé ina pháiste,  agus bíonn sé á chaitheamh isteach sa tine go minic agus san uisce freisin chun é a mhilleadh. Ach má fhéadann tú rud ar bith a dhéanamh bíodh trua agat dúinn agus cuidigh linn.”  Dúirt Íosa leis: “Má fhéadann tú! – Is féidir an uile ní don té a chreideann.”  Ghlaoigh athair an pháiste amach láithreach: “Creidim, tar i gcabhair ar mo dhíchreideamh.” 

Nuair a chonaic Íosa slua ag bailiú go tapa, labhair sé go bagrach leis an spiorad míghlan agus dúirt leis: “A spioraid bhailbh bhodhair, táim á ordú duit, gabh amach as agus ná tar ann go deo arís.”  Scread sé amach, bhain sé rachtanna as go dolba, agus d’imigh amach as; agus bhí sé mar a bheadh duine marbh, sa chaoi go ndúirt a bhformhór: “Tá sé marbh.”  Ach rug Íosa ar láimh air agus thóg sé suas é, agus d’éirigh sé ina sheasamh.  Ar dhul isteach sa teach dó, d’fhiafraigh a chuid deisceabal de ar leithligh: “Cén fáth nárbh fhéidir dúinne é a chaitheamh amach?”  Agus dúirt sé leo: “Ní féidir leis an sórt seo dul amach trí ní ar bith ach amháin trí ghuí (agus trí throscadh).”

© An Sagart
Sunday's Readings
First Reading                          Isaiah 49:14-15
I will never forget you.

JerusalemZion was saying, The Lord has abandoned me,
the Lord has forgotten me'.
Does a woman forget her baby at the breast,
or fail to cherish the son of her womb?
Yet even if these forget,
I will never forget you.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm         Ps 61
Response                                In God alone is my soul at rest.

1. In God alone is my soul at rest;
    my help comes from him.
    He alone is my rock, my stronghold,
    my fortress: I stand firm.                 Response

2. In God alone be at rest, my soul;
    for my hope comes from him.
    He alone is my rock, my stronghold,
    my fortress: I stand firm.                 Response

3. In God is my safety and glory,
    the rock of my strength.
   Take refuge in God all you people. 
   Trust him at all times.
   Pour out your hearts before him.  Response

Second Reading                      1Cor 4:1-5
The Lord will reveal the secret intentions of men's hearts.

eople must think of us as Christ's servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. What is expected of stewards is that each one should be found worthy of his trust. Not that it makes the slightest difference to me whether you, or indeed any human tribunal, find me worthy or not. I will not even pass judgement on myself. True, my conscience does not reproach me at all, but that does not prove that I am acquitted: the Lord alone is my judge. There must be no passing of premature judgement. Leave that until the Lord comes; he will light up all that is hidden in the dark and reveal the secret intentions of men's hearts. Then will be the time for each one to have whatever praise he deserves, from God.

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel Acclamation          Jn 17: 17
Alleluia, alleluia!
Your word is truth, O Lord,
consecrate us in the truth.

or                                                 1 Jn 2:5
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Word of God is something alive and active;
it can judge secret emotions and thoughts.

Gospel                                      Matthew 6:24-34
Do not worry about tomorrow.

esus said to his disciples: 'No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

Emmanuel'That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, "What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?" It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.'

The Gospel of the Lord.

Taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used by permission of the publishers.
An Chéad Léacht                  Íseáia 49:14-15
Ní dhéanfaidh mise dearmad ortsa go deo!

Mar bhí Síón á rá: “Tá mé tréigthe ag an Tiarna, Jerusalem
tá mé ligthe i ndearmad ag mo Dhia.”
An ndéanann bean dearmad ar leanbh a cíche,
an mbíonn deireadh lena grá do mhac a broinne?
Agus dearmad dá ndéanfadh féin,
ní dhéanfaidh mise dearmad ortsa go deo!

Salm le Freagra                   Sm49
Freagra:                                   Bíodh do shuaimhneas i nDia amháin, a anam liom.

1. In Dia amháin a fhaigheann m'anam suaimhneas;
    is uaidh a thagann mo shlánú.
    Is é sin amháin mo charraig is mo shlánu
    is mo dhaingean: ní bhogfar me.                    Freagra

2. Bíodh de shuaimhneas i nDia amháin, a anam liom,
    óir is uaidh a thagann me dhóchas.
    Eisean amháin mé charraig is mé shlánú,
    eisean mé dhaingean: ní bhogfar mé.           Freagra

3. Ag Dia atá mo shlánú is mo ghlóir;
    is é carraig mo nirt é is mo dhídean.
    Cuirigí bhur ndóchas ann de shíor, a phobal;
    doirtigí bhur gcroí amach ina fhianaise.    Freagra

An Dara Léacht         1 Coirintigh 4:1-5
Tabharfaidh an Tiarna agus nochtfaidh sé rúin na gcroíthe.

A bhráithre, tuigeadh daoine gurb é atá ionainne, seirbhísigh do Chríost agus maoir ar rúndiamhara Dé. Éilítear ansin ar na maoir duine a bheith dílis. Is róchuma liomsa, más ea, sibhse nó cúirt daoine ar bith a thabhairt breithe orm. Go deimhin ní thugaim féin breith orm féin mar siúd is go bhfuil coinsias glan agam ní fhágann sin neamhchiontach mé. Is é an Tiarna féin a thugann breith ormsa. Ná bígíse, dá bhrí sin, ag tabhairt breithe roimh ré, nó go dtiocfaidh an Tiarna agus tabharfaidh seisean chun solais na nithe atá folaithe sa dorchadas agus nochtfaidh sé rúin na gcroíthe, agus ansin gheobhaidh cách a mholadh ó Dhia.

Alleluia Véarsa                   Eo 17: 17
Alleluia, alleluia!
Is fírinne do bhriathar. Déan sinn a naomhú san fhírinne.

An Soiscéal                           Matha 6: 24-34
Ná bígí imníoch faoin lá amárach.

San am sin dúirt Íosa lena dheisceabail: “Ní féidir do dhuine ar bith dhá mháistir a riaradh; óir beidh fuath aige do dhuine acu agus grá aige don duine eile, nó beidh sé ag déanamh dúthrachta do dhuine acu agus ag déanamh neamhshuime den duine eile. Ní féidir daoibh Dia a riaradh agus an t-airgead.

Jesus choice2Sin é an fáth a ndeirim libh: ná bígí imníoch faoi bhur mbeatha i dtaobh bia nó dí, na faoi bhur gcorp i dtaobh éadaigh. Nach mó le rá an bheatha ná an bia agus an corp ná an t-éadach? “Féachaigí éanlaith an aeir: ní dhéanann siad síolchur ná fómhar ná cnuasach sna sciobóil, agus tugann bhur nAthair neamhaí bia dóibh. Nach mó is fiú sibhse ná iad sin? Cé agaibh a d’fhéadfadh, le bheith ag déanamh imní, aon bhanlámh amháin a chur le fad a shaoil? Agus cé an fáth a bhfuil sibh imníoch i dtaobh an éadaigh? Tugaigí faoi deara lilí an bháin, mar a fhásann siad; ní dhéanann siad saothar ná sníomh. Ach deirim libh nach raibh ar Sholamh féin, dá mhéad a ghlóir, cóir éadaigh mar atá ar cheann díobh seo. Lus an bháin a bhíonn ann inniu agus atá le caitheamh sa sorn amárach, má éadaíonn Dia mar sin é, nach móide go mór dó sibhse a éadú, a lucht an bheagán creidimh? Dá bhrí sin, ná bígí go himníoch ag fiafraí: ‘Cá bhfaighimid bia, nó deoch, nó éadach?’ Nithe iad siúd uile a mbíonn na págánaigh ar a dtóir; rud eile, tá a fhios ag bhur nAthair neamhaí go bhfuil gá agaibh leis na nithe sin uile. Ach déanaigí ríocht Dé agus a fhíréantacht a lorg ar dtús, agus tabharfar na nithe sin uile daoibh chomh maith. Mar sin, ná bígí imníoch faoin lá amárach; beidh an lá amarach imníoch faoi féin. Is leor do gach lá a chuid féin den trioblóid.

© An Sagart