The Resumed Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany (celebrated on 15 November 2020)
Introit: (Jeremiah 29:11, 12, and 14) Thus says the Lord: “I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction: you shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places.” (Ps 84: 2) Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. Glory be … Thus says the Lord: “I think thoughts of peace …”
Collect: Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that thinking everything over in our minds, we may accomplish, both in words and works, that which is pleasing in Thy sight. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …
Epistle: (I Thessalonians 1:2-10) Brethren, We give thanks to God always for you all, making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing, being mindful of the work of your faith and labor and charity, and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father: knowing, brethren beloved of God, your election: for our Gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much fullness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but also in every place, your faith which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves relate of us what manner of entering in we had unto you; and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead), Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.
Gradual: (Psalm 43:8-9) Thou hast delivered us, O Lord, from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us. In God we will glory all the day: and in Thy name we will give praise for ever.
Alleluia: (Psalm 129:1-2) Allelúia, allelúia. From the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.
Gospel (Matthew 13:31-35) At that time, Jesus spoke to the multitudes this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: which is the least indeed of all seeds: but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and dwell in the branches thereof. Another parable He spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables He did not speak to them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.
Offertory (Psalms 129:1-2) From the depths I have cried out to Thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer: from the depths I have cried out to Thee, O Lord.
Secret: May this offering, O God, we beseech Thee, cleanse and renew us, guide and protect us. Through our Lord …
Antiphon: (Mark 11:24) Amen I say to you, whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive and it shall be done to you.
Postcommunion: We have been fed, O Lord, with heavenly delights, and beseech Thee, that we may ever hunger after those things by which we truly live. Through our Lord …
The Help We Need from the Angels
An ancient Roman text, from the very first ages of Christianity, The Shepherd of Hermas, taught that “Every person is accompanied by two angels: one, an angel of righteousness, the other one of righteousness, and the other of iniquity. … The angel of righteousness is gentle and modest, meek and peaceful. When, therefore, he ascends into your heart, forthwith he talks to you of righteousness, purity, chastity, contentment, and of every righteous deed and glorious virtue. … Trust him, then, and his works.” The fallen angel of iniquity, of course, does the opposite. We work is to listen to the good angel and ask for his assistance.
It is noticeable that when we have temptations, they often blame the devil, or bad company. But very rarely do we hear people attribute their good thoughts to their holy guardian angel. Yet, the Church has always taught that here on earth we are in between two kingdoms: that of God above, and that of the Dark One below. Our Lord Himself told us that there is an angel who watches over every child, and stands before the throne of God, speaking for that child. If we were aware that we needed the help of the angels, surely we would remember them more often, and turn to them. Can anyone doubt that the angels will help those who are humble and sincere, and who thank them?
Also from the very start of Christianity, we have known that the angels join at the Divine Sacrifice of the Mass. When you are in trouble, bring your problems to the Mass. Pray to the Lord, and ask the holy angels who are gathered around the altar to pray for you, too. When we are sick, we cannot rely on our own powers. We know that we are weak then, which makes sickness a very good time to pray to the angels. Ask your holy guardian angel to help you – he will always tell you to look up, never to look down; to be patient, not to resent. The angels will remind you of the cause you always have for joy – namely, that you have a soul, and that because you have a soul you can change, and you can respond to and return to God.
I will share a true story with you: this happened to a person I know very well, and whom I know to be truthful (she has given me permission to tell this story). One night, she was asleep, when she woken by the sound of the bedroom door opening. She looked around, and there was one of her sons, an autistic boy, walking towards her, and behind her son there was a golden angel. She felt no fear. She felt nothing but peace, joy, and security: and she knew that this angel was keeping her son safe. He tottered over to the side of the bed, she raised the covers to let him in, and as she turned to sleep, she looked back to the angel. The angel was beginning to vanish. She prayed. She thanked god. She thanked the angel. And she prayed for the safety of her son. Since that time, the angel has truly kept the child safe. He is a man now. The guardian angel is always with us. We need them when we are weak, anxious, and fearful; when we need someone to put good thoughts into my head, and good emotions into my heart. Pray to your holy guardian angel each day.