“Woe to the bloody city. ”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Nahum (Nahum 1:15; 2:2; 3: 1 -3.6-7)
Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah, fulfil your vows, for never again shall the wicked come against you, he is utterly cut off. (For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob as the majesty of Israel, for plunderers have stripped them and ruined their branches.) Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and booty — no end to the plunder! The crack of whip, and rumble of wheel, galloping horse and bounding chariot! Horsemen charging, flashing sword and glittering spear, hosts of slain, heaps of corpses, dead bodies without end — they stumble over the bodies! I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt, and make you an object of scorn. And all who look on you will shrink from you and say, Wasted is Nineveh; who will moan over her? whence shall I seek comforters for her?
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Dt 32:35cd-36ab.39abcd.41 (R. 39c)
R/. I kill and I make alive.
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
and their doom comes swiftly.
For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants. R/.
“See now that I, even I, am he,
and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal.” R/.
R/. I kill and I make alive.
“If I sharpen my glittering sword,
and my hand takes hold on judgement,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries,
and Will repay those who hate me.” R/.
ALLELUIA Matthew 5:10
Alleluia. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Alleluia.
“What shall a man give in return for his life?”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 16:24-28)
At that time: Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
We get relief from suffering when we are protected by someone who is powerful. What greater belief we shall feel when our protector is God, the very Lord of life, who says, “it is I who bring both death and life!” he has the power to bring life out of death. It is the will of Jesus that those who wish to follow him should do so by dying to themselves. This means that we must surrender our entire life to Christ and live for others, believing that even though we lose something in the process, the Lord will restore us fully.