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Preface of Baptism
Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru through Martin de Porres, who brought its comfort even to slaves; through Rosa de Lima, who worked among the poorest of the poor; and through Toribio de Mogrovejo, who founded the first seminary in the Americas and baptized many: Help us to follow their example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of your grace to all downtrodden and outcast people, that your Church may be renewed with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The First Lesson
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 7:32–36
Stretch out your hand to the poor,
so that your blessing may be complete.
Give graciously to all the living;
do not withhold kindness even from the dead.
Do not avoid those who weep,
but mourn with those who mourn.
Do not hesitate to visit the sick,
because for such deeds you will be loved.
In all you do, remember the end of your life,
and then you will never sin.
9 The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, *
a refuge in time of trouble.
10 Those who know your Name will put their trust in you, *
for you never forsake those who seek you, O Lord.
11 Sing praise to the Lord who dwells in Zion; *
proclaim to the peoples the things he has done.
12 The Avenger of blood will remember them; *
he will not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13 Have pity on me, O Lord; *
see the misery I suffer from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gate of death;
14 So that I may tell of all your praises
and rejoice in your salvation *
in the gates of the city of Zion.
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”
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