Friday of the Third Week of Lent
St. Theophanes, monk (†817). Defender of the veneration of sacred images, he died of privation on the Isle of Samothracia, Turkey, where he had been exiled by the Iconoclast Emperor, Leo the Armenian.
Blessed Angela Salawa, virgin (†1922). Franciscan tertiary, she achieved sanctity while employed as a domestic servant in Krakow, Poland, where she died in poverty at forty years of age.
St. Innocent I, Pope (†417). He condemned Pelagianism, defended St. John Chrysostom, consoled St. Jerome, and approved St. Augustine.
St. Luigi Orione, priest (†1940). A student and spiritual disciple of St. John Bosco who went on to found the Little Work of Divine Providence and the Congregation of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity in Italy, for the education of youth and care of the destitute. He died in San Remo, Italy.
St. Joseph Zhang Dapeng, martyr (†1815). After being baptized in Guiyang, China, he welcomed missionaries and catechists into his home. He was imprisoned, condemned and led to his death on a cross; he shed tears for having been considered worthy to die for Christ.
Blessed Justine Bézzoli Francúcci, virgin (+1369). Benedictine religious who was outstanding in the practice of austere penances. Her body was found to be incorrupt in the monastery of the Holy Spirit in Arezzo, Italy.
Blessed Fina of San Gimignano, virgin (†1253). Afflicted by a serious disease at ten years of age, she died five year later, having endured her sufferings with admirable patience.
St. Paul Aurelian, Bishop (†sixth century). First Bishop of Saint-Polde-Léon, in present-day France.
First Reading – Hos 14:2-10
Thus says the LORD: Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Forgive all iniquity, and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls. Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount. We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in You the orphan finds compassion.”
I will heal their defection, says the LORD, Iwill love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them. I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lily. He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; they shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols? I have humbled him, but I will prosper him. “I am like a verdant cypress tree”– Because of me you bear fruit! Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 81:6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14 and 17 (R. cf.11 and9a)
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
“I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you.” R.
“Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear Me?” R.
“There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.” R.
“If only my people would hear Me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.” R.
Gospel – Mk 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked Him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than He.
And to love Him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
He said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask Him any more questions.