A true lover, God takes the initiative in the shepherding of souls. It is God who seeks, and man who is sought. When God has chosen man, only then does the individual respond. That is the moment of mercy. Such a moment is given to every soul at some time in life, for God "wishes all men to be saved" (I Tim. 2:4). "In this is the love, not that we have loved God, but that He has first loved us" (I John 4:10). This is part of the "light of life" that is Jesus. It means that, when a person wants to love God, God has already given him the grace to love Him. It means that, when someone desires God's mercy, he has already received mercy. God loves with "an everlasting love."
INTROIT Isa. 55:1
"All you who thirst, come to the waters," said the Lord, "and you who have no money, come and drink with joy."
Ps. 77:1. Hearken, My people, to My law; incline your ears to the words of My mouth.
V. Glory be . . .
O Lord, may Your grace bring us the fruitful effects of our devoted love, for the lenten fast that we observe will be of profit to us only if it pleases You. Through Our Lord . . .
Thus saith the Lord: "In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee: and I have preserved thee, and given thee to be a covenant of the people, that thou mightest raise up the earth, and possess the inheritances that were destroyed: That thou mightest say to them that are bound: 'Come forth': and to them that are in darkness: 'Shew yourselves.' They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in every plain. They shall not hunger, nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun strike them: for he that is merciful to them, shall be their shepherd, and at the fountains of waters he shall give them drink. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my paths shall be exalted.
Behold these shall come from afar, and behold these from the north and from the sea, and these from the south country."
Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth, ye mountains, give praise with jubilation: because the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his poor ones. And Sion said: "The Lord hath forsaken me, and the Lord hath forgotten me." "Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee," says the Lord almighty.
GRADUAL Ps. 9:14, 1-2
The poor man is dependent upon You, O Lord; You are the helper of the fatherless.
V. Why, O Lord, do You stand aloof? Why disdain us in time of distress? While the wicked man is puffed up, the needy man is consumed.
GOSPEL John 8:12-20
At that time, Jesus spoke to the multitudes of Jews, saying: "I am the light of the world. He that followeth me walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The Pharisees therefore said to him: "Thou givest testimony of thyself. Thy testimony is not true."
Jesus answered and said to them: "Although I give testimony of myself, my testimony is true: for I know whence I came and whither I go. You judge according to the flesh: I judge not any man. And if I do judge, my judgment is true: because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. And in your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that give testimony of myself: and the Father that sent me giveth testimony of me." They said therefore to him: "Where is thy Father?" Jesus answered: "Neither me do you know, nor my Father. If you did know me, perhaps you would know my Father also." These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 17:3
The Lord is my support, my refuge, and my deliverer; in Him I will place my trust.
Accept our gifts as a peace offering, O Lord, and by the constraint of Your mercy make our rebellious wills submit to You. Through our Lord . . .
The Lord rules over me, I shall want for nothing. He has set me in a place of pasture; He has led me to refreshing waters.
We pray You, O Lord, purify us through this Sacrament and make us pleasing to You by its grace. Through our Lord . . .
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
O God, it is Your will to show mercy rather than anger to those who trust in You. May we have proper sorrow for our sins so that we may be worthy of Your comfort. Through our Lord . . .