February 23

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Mass Readings

Featured Saints

St. Polycarp of Smyrna together with his master St. John – Church of Notre Dame, Dijon (France)

St. Polycarp, bishop and martyr (+155). Apostolic Father, disciple of St. John the Evangelist and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch; he was martyred in Smyrna, in present-day Turkey.

St. John, monk (†eleventh century). His mother was brought as a slave by the Saracens to Palermo, Italy, shortly before his birth. She instructed him in the Christian Faith and when he had reached age fourteen, she sent him to his ancestral city. He joined the Basilian monks of that region, attracted by their heroic lives; he stood out for his virtue and contemplative spirit.

St.­ Milburga, virgin (†circa 722). Daughter of King Merewalh of Mercia, in present-day England. She abandoned worldly riches, embraced religious life and founded the Monastery of Wenlock of which she was abbess.

 Blessed Nicolas Tabouillot, priest and martyr (†1795). Parish priest of the Diocese of Verdun, imprisoned in a galley in Rochefort during the French Revolution where he became ill and died.

Blessed Louis Mzyk, priest and martyr (†1942). Religious from the Congregation of the Divine Word; during the Nazi occupation he was taken to Fort VII, in Poznan, Poland, where he was tortured and killed out of religious hatred.

Blessed Vincent Frelichowski, priest and martyr (†1945). His faith remained steadfast despite incarceration in several prisons. He died in the concentration camp of Dachau, Germany, after caring for many sick companions.

Blessed Rafaela Ybarra, religious (†1900). Mother of seven children, she obtained her husband’s permission to take religious vows and founded the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Guardian Angels in Bilbao, Spain.

St. Josephine Vannini, virgin (†1911). Foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Camillus in Rome

Mass Readings

First Reading – Is 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19  (R.18b)

R.  From all their distress God rescues the just.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and He answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.  R. 

Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.  R. 

The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.  R. 

When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress He rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. R.

Gospel – Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

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