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Primera Lectura Is 53, 10-11

El Señor quiso triturar a su siervo con el sufrimiento.
Cuando entregue su vida como expiación,
verá a sus descendientes, prolongará sus años
y por medio de él prosperarán los designios del Señor.
Por las fatigas de su alma, verá la luz y se saciará;
con sus sufrimientos justificará mi siervo a muchos,
cargando con los crímenes de ellos.

Salmo Responsorial Salmo 32, 4-5. 18-19 20 y 22

R. Muéstrate bondadoso con nosotros, Señor.
Sincera es la palabra del Señor 
y todas sus acciones son leales.
El ama la justicia y el derecho,
la tierra llena está de sus bondades. R.
R. Muéstrate bondadoso con nosotros, Señor.
Cuida el Señor de aquellos que lo temen
y en su bondad confían; 
los salva de la muerte 
y en épocas de hambre les da vida. R.
R. Muéstrate bondadoso con nosotros, Señor.
En el Señor está nuestra esperanza,
pues él es nuestra ayuda y nuestro amparo. 
Muéstrate bondadoso con nosotros, 
puesto que en ti, Señor, hemos confiado. R.
R. Muéstrate bondadoso con nosotros, Señor.

Segunda Lectura Heb 4, 14-16

Hermanos: Puesto que Jesús, el Hijo de Dios, es nuestro sumo sacerdote, que ha entrado en el cielo, mantengamos firme la profesión de nuestra fe. En efecto, no tenemos un sumo sacerdote que no sea capaz de compadecerse de nuestros sufrimientos, puesto que él mismo ha pasado por las mismas pruebas que nosotros, excepto el pecado.

Acerquémonos, por lo tanto, con plena confianza al trono de la gracia, para recibir misericordia, hallar la gracia y obtener ayuda en el momento oportuno.

Aclamación antes del Evangelio Cfr Mc 10, 45

R. Aleluya, aleluya.
Jesucristo vino a servir
y a dar la vida por la salvación de todos.
R. Aleluya.

Evangelio Mc 10, 35-45

En aquel tiempo, se acercaron a Jesús Santiago y Juan, los hijos de Zebedeo, y le dijeron: “Maestro, queremos que nos concedas lo que vamos a pedirte”. Él les dijo: “¿Qué es lo que desean?” Le respondieron: “Concede que nos sentemos uno a tu derecha y otro a tu izquierda, cuando estés en tu gloria”. Jesús les replicó: “No saben lo que piden. ¿Podrán pasar la prueba que yo voy a pasar y recibir el bautismo con que seré bautizado?” Le respondieron: “Sí podemos”. Y Jesús les dijo: “Ciertamente pasarán la prueba que yo voy a pasar y recibirán el bautismo con que yo seré bautizado; pero eso de sentarse a mi derecha o a mi izquierda no me toca a mí concederlo; eso es para quienes está reservado”.

Cuando los otros diez apóstoles oyeron esto, se indignaron contra Santiago y Juan. Jesús reunió entonces a los Doce y les dijo: “Ya saben que los jefes de las naciones las gobiernan como si fueran sus dueños y los poderosos las oprimen. Pero no debe ser así entre ustedes. Al contrario: el que quiera ser grande entre ustedes que sea su servidor, y el que quiera ser el primero, que sea el esclavo de todos, así como el Hijo del hombre, que no ha venido a que lo sirvan, sino a servir y a dar su vida por la redención de todos”.

O bien: 
Mc 10, 42-45

En aquel tiempo, Jesús reunió entonces a los Doce y les dijo: “Ya saben que los jefes de las naciones las gobiernan como si fueran sus dueños y los poderosos las oprimen. Pero no debe ser así entre ustedes. Al contrario: el que quiera ser grande entre ustedes que sea su servidor, y el que quiera ser el primero, que sea el esclavo de todos, así como el Hijo del hombre, que no ha venido a que lo sirvan, sino a servir y a dar su vida por la redención de todos”.

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Reading I Is 53:10-11

The LORD was pleased
    to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
    he shall see his descendants in a long life,
    and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
    he shall see the light in fullness
        of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
    and their guilt he shall bear.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

R. (22)    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
    and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
    of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
    upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
    and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
    who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
    who have put our hope in you.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Reading II Heb 4:14-16

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin. 
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Alleluia Mk 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 10:35-45 or 10:42-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" 
They answered him, "Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." 
Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. 
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 
They said to him, "We can." 
Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared." 
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. 
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt. 
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. 
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

OR:

Jesus summoned the twelve and said to them,
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt. 
But it shall not be so among you. 
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. 
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Feast date: Oct 17

On Oct. 17, the Roman Catholic Church remembers the early Church Father, bishop, and martyr Saint Ignatius of Antioch, whose writings attest to the sacramental and hierarchical nature of the Church from its earliest days. Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate his memory on Dec. 20.

In a 2007 general audience on St. Ignatius of Antioch, Pope Benedict XVI observed that “no Church Father has expressed the longing for union with Christ and for life in him with the intensity of Ignatius.” In his letters, the Pope said, “one feels the freshness of the faith of the generation which had still known the Apostles. In these letters, the ardent love of a saint can also be felt.”

Born in Syria in the middle of the first century A.D., Ignatius is said to have been personally instructed – along with another future martyr, Saint Polycarp – by the Apostle Saint John. When Ignatius became the Bishop of Antioch around the year 70, he assumed leadership of a local church that was, according to tradition, first led by Saint Peter before his move to Rome.

Although St. Peter transmitted his Papal primacy to the bishops of Rome rather than Antioch, the city played an important role in the life of the early Church. Located in present-day Turkey, it was a chief city of the Roman Empire, and was also the location where the believers in Jesus' teachings and his resurrection were first called “Christians.”

Ignatius led the Christians of Antioch during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, the first of the emperors to proclaim his divinity by adopting the title “Lord and God.” Subjects who would not give worship to the emperor under this title could be punished with death. As the leader of a major Catholic diocese during this period, Ignatius showed courage and worked to inspire it in others.

After Domitian's murder in the year 96, his successor Nerva reigned only briefly, and was soon followed by the Emperor Trajan. Under his rule, Christians were once again liable to death for denying the pagan state religion and refusing to participate in its rites. It was during his reign that Ignatius was convicted for his Christian testimony and sent from Syria to Rome to be put to death.

Escorted by a team of military guards, Ignatius nonetheless managed to compose seven letters: six to various local churches throughout the empire (including the Church of Rome), and one to his fellow bishop Polycarp who would give his own life for Christ several decades later.

Ignatius' letters passionately stressed the importance of Church unity, the dangers of heresy, and the surpassing importance of the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality.” These writings contain the first surviving written description of the Church as “Catholic,” from the Greek word indicating both universality and fullness.

One of the most striking features of Ignatius' letters, is his enthusiastic embrace of martyrdom as a means to union with God and eternal life. “All the pleasures of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing,” he wrote to the Church of Rome. “It is better for me to die in behalf of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth.”

“Now I begin to be a disciple,” the bishop declared. “Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ.”

St. Ignatius of Antioch bore witness to Christ publicly for the last time in Rome's Flavian Amphitheater, where he was mauled to death by lions. “I am the wheat of the Lord,” he had declared, before facing them. “I must be ground by the teeth of these beasts to be made the pure bread of Christ.” His memory was honored, and his bones venerated, soon after his death around the year 107.

Question: Who wrote Love and Responsibility, Memory and Identity, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, and The Jeweler's Shop?

Reading I Rom 4:13, 16-18

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith, 
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.

Responsorial Psalm 105:6-7, 8-9, 42-43

R.    (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
    sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
    throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
    which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
    and by his oath to Isaac.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
For he remembered his holy word
    to his servant Abraham.
And he led forth his people with joy;
    with shouts of joy, his chosen ones.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Alleluia Jn 15:26b, 27a

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“I tell you,
everyone who acknowledges me before others
the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
But whoever denies me before others
will be denied before the angels of God.

“Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven.
When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities,
do not worry about how or what your defense will be
or about what you are to say. 
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Primera Lectura Rom 4, 13. 16-18

Hermanos: La promesa que Dios hizo a Abraham y a sus descendientes, de que ellos heredarían el mundo, no dependía de la observancia de la ley, sino de la justificación obtenida mediante la fe.

En esta forma, por medio de la fe, que es gratuita, queda asegurada la promesa para todos sus descendientes, no sólo para aquellos que cumplen la ley, sino también para todos los que tienen la fe de Abraham. Entonces, él es padre de todos nosotros, como dice la Escritura: Te he constituido padre de todos los pueblos.

Así pues, Abraham es nuestro padre delante de aquel Dios en quien creyó y que da la vida a los muertos y llama a la existencia a las cosas que todavía no existen. Él, esperando contra toda esperanza, creyó que habría de ser padre de muchos pueblos, conforme a lo que Dios le había prometido: Así de numerosa será tu descendencia.

Salmo Responsorial Salmo 104, 6-7. 8-9. 42-43

R. El Señor nunca olvida sus promesas.
Descendientes de Abraham, su servidor,
estirpe de Jacob, su predilecto, 
escuchen: el Señor es nuestro Dios
y gobiernan la tierra sus decretos. 
R. El Señor nunca olvida sus promesas.
Ni aunque transcurran mil generaciones,
se olvidará el Señor de sus promesas,
de la alianza pactada con Abraham,
del juramento a Isaac, que un día le hiciera. 
R. El Señor nunca olvida sus promesas.
Se acordó de la palabra sagrada
que había dado a su siervo, Abraham,
y sacó a su pueblo con alegría,
a sus escogidos con gritos de triunfo. 
R. El Señor nunca olvida sus promesas.

Aclamación antes del Evangelio Jn 15, 26. 27

R. Aleluya, aleluya.
El Espíritu de verdad dará testimonio de mí, dice el Señor,
y también ustedes serán mis testigos.
R. Aleluya.

Evangelio Lc 12, 8-12

En aquel tiempo, Jesús dijo a sus discípulos: “Yo les aseguro que a todo aquel que me reconozca abiertamente ante los hombres, lo reconocerá abiertamente el Hijo del hombre ante los ángeles de Dios; pero a aquel que me niegue ante los hombres, yo lo negaré ante los ángeles de Dios.

A todo aquel que diga una palabra contra el Hijo del hombre, se le perdonará; pero a aquel que blasfeme contra el Espíritu Santo, no se le perdonará.

Cuando los lleven a las sinagogas y ante los jueces y autoridades, no se preocupen de cómo se van a defender o qué van a decir, porque el Espíritu Santo les enseñará en aquel momento lo que convenga decir’’.

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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Feast date: Oct 16

On Oct. 16, Roman Catholics celebrate the life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the French nun whose visions of Christ helped to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart throughout the Western Church.

Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in July of 1647. Her parents Claude and Philiberte lived modest but virtuous lives, while Margaret proved to be a serious child with a great focus on God. Claude died when Margaret was eight, and from age 9-13 she suffered a paralyzing illness. In addition to her father's death as well as her illenss, a struggle over her family's property made life difficult for Margaret and her mother for several years.

During her illness, Margaret made a vow to enter religious life. During adolescence, however, she changed her mind. For a period of time she lived a relatively ordinary life, enjoying the ordinary social functions of her day and considering the possibility of marriage.

However, her life changed in response to a vision she saw one night while returning from a dance, in which she saw Christ being scourged. Margaret believed she had betrayed Jesus, by pursuing the pleasures of the world rather than her religious vocation, and a the at the age of 22, she decided to enter a convent.

Two days after Christmas of 1673, Margaret experienced Christ's presence in an extraordinary way while in prayer. She heard Christ explain that he desired to show his love for the human race in a special way, by encouraging devotion to “the heart that so loved mankind.”

She experienced a subsequent series of private revelations regarding the gratitude due to Jesus on the part of humanity, and the means of responding through public and private devotion, but the superior of the convent dismissed this as a delusion.

This dismissal was a crushing disappointment, affecting the nun's health so seriously that she nearly died. In 1674, however, the Jesuit priest Father Claude de la Colombiere became Margaret's spiritual director. He believed her testimony, and chronicled it in writing.

Fr. de la Colombiere – later canonized as a saint – left the monastery to serve as a missionary in England. By the time he returned and died in 1681, Margaret had made peace with the apparent rejection of her experiences. Through St. Claude's direction, she had reached a point of inner peace, no longer concerned with the hostility of others in her community.

In time, however, many who doubted her would become convinced as they pondered what St. Claude had written about the Sacred Heart. Eventually, her own writings and the accounts of her would face a rigorous examination by Church officials.

By the time that occurred, however, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had already gained what she desired: “To lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” She faced her last illness with courage, frequently praying the words of Psalm 73: “What have I in heaven, and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God?”

She died on October 17, 1690, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.

St. Gerard Majella

Feast date: Oct 16

On October 16, we celebrate the feast of St. Gerard Majella. St. Gerard was born the son of a tailor on April 6, 1726. He grew up about fifty miles south of Naples in Muro Lucano, Italy in a large, poor family. When St. Gerard was only 12, his father Dominic Majella entered eternal rest. Upon the death of his father, his mother, beholden to poverty, sent St. Gerard away to live with his uncle. St. Gerard thereafter became an apprentice to a tailor. This tailor treated him well; however, the foreman treated him poorly. After serving as a sewing apprentice for a couple years, he instead became a servant in the household of the bishop of Lacedonia, who was a cantankerous master. Upon the death of the bishop in 1745, he returned home. At the age of 21, he became a journeyman. He split his earnings for his mother and the poor, and made offerings for the holy souls in purgatory. Afterwards, he opened his own tailor shop.

At a young age, St. Gerard tried to join the local Capuchins, but he was turned down twice due to his youth and poor health. He also tried to become a hermit, but that too was not God's will for him. He then entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749 and professed of perpetual vows under the Redemptorist's founder, Saint Alphonsus Liguori, in 1751.

He served as tailor and infirmarian and became known for his extraordinary supernatural gifts of bilocation, prophecy, ecstasies, visions, and infused knowledge. Though not ordained to the holy order of priest, his spiritual direction and advice were sought by many among the clergy and communities of nuns, to which he also gave conferences. He was most successful in converting sinners, and was widely known for his sanctity and charity.

In 1754, he was calumniated and accused of lechery by a woman named Neria Caggiano. Caggiano later admitted her charge was a lie. Even before she admitted to her falsehood, St. Gerard did not deny her charges. As these charges were still up in the air, his superiors became suspicious, so they put him under surveillance and excluded him from communion for months until the girl admitted that she had lied. When asked by Saint Alphonsus why he had kept silent in such circumstances, St. Gerard replied that he thought such patience was required in the face of unjust accusations. As St. Gerard bore this calumny with such humility and patience, Saint Alphonsus said, "Brother Gerard is a saint."

St. Gerard was sent to Naples soon after, but when the house was inundated by visitors wanting to see him, he was sent to Caposele a few months later. He served as the porter there and ministered to the poor of the town. St. Gerard spent the last few months of his life raising funds for new buildings at Caposele.

Just prior to his death, St. Gerard visited his friends, the Pirofalo family. One of the daughters ran and called after him as he left the home, as he dropped his handkerchief. Speaking through the gift of prophecy, he replied, "Keep it. It will be useful to you someday." Years down the road, when this young women was in danger of childbirth, she recalled these words of St. Gerard, and requested the handkerchief. The handkerchief was applied to her, thus a miracle: her pain immediately ceased and she gave birth to a healthy child.

St. Gerard died of tuberculosis on October 16, 1755 at the age of 29 in Caposele. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on January 29, 1893, and was canonized on December 11, 1904 by Pope Saint Pius X. He is the patron saint of mothers, motherhood, expectant mothers, childbirth, children, pregnant women, unborn children, the pro-life movement, the falsely accused, good confessions, and lay brothers.

As she sold dried fish from her stand at the Kimironko market in Kigali, Rwanda, Therese Mukabunane narrated how hundreds of desperate residents in her hometown of Gikongoro died at the hands of priests and nuns during the 1994 genocide in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered by Hutu extremists.

An English cardinal led tributes to a Catholic member of Parliament who was knifed to death while meeting local people in his constituency. Sir David Amess, a member of the governing Conservative Party and one of the most prominent Catholic politicians in the U.K. Parliament, was stabbed repeatedly by a man who sprinted into his offices at noon Oct. 15.