VNO 42: For Our Oppressors

Jesus urges his disciples to pray for those who persecute us. The Roman Missal provides multiple options from the Scriptures–not only from Jesus–to help us do this in a Mass dedicated to the task. Buried so deep in the Missal, I’m not sure this Mass would get used at all. So many people, Christians included, are inclined to fight and resist their oppressors–not pray for them. But let’s have a look, starting with the Lectionary offerings.

Old Testament:

  • 1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23 (David and Saul at war)
  • Isaiah 50:4-9a (Palm Sunday’s third Suffering Servant song)

New Testament:

  • Acts 7:55-60 (the martyrdom of Stephen and his citation of forgiveness)
  • Colossians 3:12-15 (love is the perfection of many virtues)

Gospels (passages on forgiveness from Jesus’ sermons on the Mount and Plain respectively):

  • Matthew 5:38-48
  • Luke 6:27-38

Lectionary Psalms:

  • Psalm 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 14, 17 (Listen, O Lord, to my pleading)
  • Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12 (The Lord is kind and merciful)

The propers are from the Gospels. Entrance is Luke 6:27-28

Love your enemies, says the Lord. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Communion from the Beatitudes, not uncommonly found in Ordinary Sundays,  Matthew 5:9-10

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Loving one’s enemies is more a hallmark of the New Testament. That’s not to say Christians have struggled mightily with it–sometimes against it. Psalm 86 is a lament against unjust persecutors. The prayer includes tossing adversaries into confusion–maybe that’s not such a bad prayer if it excludes bashing them on the head. The canticle 1 Peter 2:21-25 seems a good fit for these propers. Maybe one of the psalms from the Lectionary that go unused.

Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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