Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent
Optional Memorial of St. Patrick, bishop (†461). Patron of Ireland and its tireless apostle, who led a great part of her people to to embrace Christianity.
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, I will 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. see 11 and 9a)
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.
St. Agricola de Châlon-sur-Saône, bishop (†580). Governed the former Diocese of Chalonsur-Saône, suffragan of Lyons (France), for 48 years, unifying it through several councils.
St. Jan Sarkander, priest and marytr (†1620). Jesuit, pastor of Holesov, in Moravia. He was put to torture and finally killed by his Hussite enemies by for refusing to break the seal of Confession.
St. Gertrude, abbess (†659). Of noble origin, she professed her vows in the monastery of Nivelles, Belgium, where she lived a life of fasts and vigils distinguishing herself as an assiduous reader of Sacred Scripture.
Blessed John Nepomuceno Zegri y Moreno, priest (†1905). Born in Granada, he founded the Mercedarian Sisters of Charity in Malaga, Spain.
Blessed Conrad, hermit (†1154). Attracted by the sanctity of St. Bernard, he entered the Monastery of Clairvaux. He obtained permission to live as a hermit in the Holy Land.
Blessed Mary Barbara of the Blessed Trinity, virgin (†1873). Born in Vienna, she founded the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.