February 26

Friday of the First Week of Lent

Mass Readings

Featured Saints

‘The Blessed in Heaven’, detail of ‘The Final Judgement’, by Fra Angelico – San Marco Museum, Florence (Italy)

St. Alexander, bishop (†326). A glorious elder, aflame with zeal for the Faith; as Bishop of Alexandria, he excommunicated the priest Arius for becoming corrupted by heresy and refusing divine truth. Afterwards, with 318 fathers, he condemned him in the First Nicene Council.

St. Faustinian, Bishop (†fourth century). Second Bishop of Bologna, Italy. The Church, oppressed by persecution, was strengthened and experienced growth because of his preaching.

St. Porfirius of Gaza, bishop (+421). He was born into a Thessalonian family and he lived as an anchorite in the desert. After being ordained Bishop of Gaza, Palestine, he ordered the demolition of many temples dedicated to idols and was instrumental in the conversion of many pagans to the Faith.

St. Victor, hermit (†seventh century). Praised in the sermons of St. Bernard, he died in Arcis-surAube, France, where he had led a life of prayer and contemplation.

St. Paula of St. Joseph Calasanz, virgin (†1889). Endowed with an extraordinary charism for education, she adopted the motto: Piety and Learning. She founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary, Sisters of the Pious Schools in Barcelona, Spain. 

Blessed­ Robert­ Drurypriest and martyr (†1607). Falsely accused of conspiracy against King James I, he suffered death by hanging at Tyburn, England.

Blessed Piety of the Cross Ortiz Real, virgin (†1916). She founded the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Alcantarilla, Spain, for the formation and religious instruction of poor children.

Mass Readings

First Reading – Ex 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD: If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live? None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die. You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8  (R.3)

R. If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.  R.

If You, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness,
that You may be revered.  R.

I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let Israel wait for the LORD.  R.

For with the LORD is kindness
and with Him is plenteous redemption;
And He will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities. R.

Gospel – Mt 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”


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