INTROIT (Ps, 122:2)
As the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, so are our eyes on the Lord, our God, until He have pity on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! Ps. 122:1. To You, who are enthroned in heaven, have I lifted up my eyes. V. Glory be . . .
O Lord of our salvation, change our hearts and enlighten us by Your heavenly teachings, that this Lenten fast may be profitable to us. Through Our Lord . . .
Commemoration of THE FORTY HOLY MARTYRS
The Forty Martyrs were soldiers belonging to various nationalities, who were quartered at Sebaste, Armenia, in A.D. 320. According to tradition, these Christians were condemned to lie naked on the frozen surface of a pond until they should die of exposure. The forty witnesses to Christ united in prayer, asking God that all of them might persevere to the end. Then one soldier weakened. But a pagan guard was inspired to confess Christ and take the place of the apostate, and again the number of forty martyrs was complete.
We pay honor to the bravery of Your glorious martyrs in bearing witness to You, O Almighty God. Grant that we may feel the power of their intercession with You. Through Our Lord . . .
LESSON (Ezech. 34:11-16)
For thus saith the Lord God: "Behold I myself will seek my sheep, and will visit them. As the shepherd visiteth his flock in the day when he shall be in the midst of his sheep that were scattered, so will I visit my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and will gather them out of the countries, and will bring them to their own land: and I will feed them in the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the habitations of the land. I will feed them in the most fruitful pastures, and their pastures shall be in the high mountains of Israel: there shall they rest on the green grass, and be fed in fat pastures upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my sheep: and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost: and that which was driven away, I will bring again: and I will bind up that which was broken, and I will strengthen that which was weak, and that which was fat and strong I will preserve, and I will feed them in judgment," says the Lord Almighty.
GRADUAL (Ps. 83:10, 9)
Behold our protector, O God, and look upon Your servants. V. O Lord, God of hosts, hear the prayers of Your servants.
TRACT (Ps. 102:10; 78:8-9)
O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. V. O Lord, remember not our iniquities of the past; let Your mercy come quickly to us, for we are being brought very low. (All Kneel.) V. Help us, O God our Savior, and for the glory of Your name, O Lord, deliver us; and pardon us our sins for Your names sake.
GOSPEL (Matt. 25:31-46)
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, "And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.' "Then shall the just answer him, saying: 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink? Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee?' And the king answering shall say to them: 'Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.' "Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: 'Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you covered me not: sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also shall answer him, saying: 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee?' Then he shall answer them, saying: 'Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.' And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON (Ps. 118:18, 26, 73)
I will lift up my eyes and consider Your wondrous deeds, O Lord, that You may teach me Your way of justice. Give me understanding that I may learn Your commandments.
Bless these gifts we offer You, O Lord. May they cleanse us from the stain of our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and rules with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
Commemoration of THE FORTY MARTYRS
Look favorably on the prayers and offerings of Your people, O Lord. May this celebration of the feast of Your saints please You and bring us Your merciful help. Through Our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON (Matt. 25:40, 34)
Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did for Me. Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
O Lord, may the banquet of salvation, of which we have partaken with joy, bring us a new life. Through our Lord . . .
Commemoration of THE FORTY MARTYRS
May the prayers of Your saints win forgiveness for us, O Lord. Grant that the Sacrifice we offer in this life may be our everlasting possession in the life to come. Through Our Lord . . .
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Free us from the slavery of our sins, O Lord, and mercifully shield us from the punishments these sins deserve. Through our Lord . . .