The Basilica of St. George still stands on the further side of the pons Senatorum, in the region of the Velabrum.
The titulus Cecilice is in Trastevere, in the actual house of the martyr. In 1595, the sarcophagus under the altar containing her relics was opened, and the body of the holy virgin was found in the same position as it had assumed after the fatal blow of the executioner, lying on one side, with the knees slightly bent and her arms stretched along the side.
The Old Testament lesson is from the book of Esther. The book was intended as a consolation for Israel, a reminder that God’s providence continually watches over them, never abandoning them when they serve him faithfully or turn to him in sincere repentance. Esther saved her (Jewish) people from a progrom of Haman the Agagite, jealous and powerful vizier of King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) of Persia (485-464 B.C.), to destroy in a single day all the Jews living in the Persian Empire. He is moved to this out of hatred for the Jewish servant Mordecai, who for religious motives refuses to render him homage. However Esther is chosen as Queen by King Xerxes in place of Vashti and she overturns the decree of extermination by lot of Haman. Her uncle Mordecai then replaces Haman, and together with Esther, works for the welfare of their people. God is faithful to those who are faithful to him.
The Gospel, Behold we go, &c. Jesus here, for the third time, foretells his death; (the first time, Matthew xvi. 21; the second time, Matthew xvii. 21.) Our salvation and happiness are owing to the death of Christ; neither is there any thing that more loudly calls for our gratitude than his sufferings and death. Jesus takes the twelve apart, and reveals to them the mystery of his passion. He had previously declared it in public, but in ambiguous terms, saying: destroy this temple, &c. A sign shall not be given, but the sign of Jonas the prophet; but here he manifestly expounds to his disciples the mystery: behold we go up to Jerusalem, &c. This discourse of our Saviour is remarkable for an energetic strength of expression. (St. Chrysostom) — Jesus had repeatedly spoken to his apostles of his passion; but as much of what he had said had escaped their memory, now that he is upon the road to Jerusalem in company with his disciples, he brings it back to their recollection, to fortify them against the scandal they might take at his ignominious death. (St. Jerome) The privilege which Jesus concedes to His chosen friends is that of drinking His chalice. The draught is bitter, but it gives strength to the soul. Love is nourished on sacrifice and pain. The more we love Jesus, the more we shall suffer for Him.
INTROIT Psalm 37:22-23
Forsake me not, O Lord; my God, be not far from me! Hasten to help me, O Lord, my salvation! Ps 37:2 O Lord, in Your anger punish me not, in Your wrath chastise me not. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Forsake me not, O Lord; my God, be not far from me! Hasten to help me, O Lord, my salvation!
Look mercifully upon Your people, we beseech You, O Lord, and grant that they whom You command to abstain from food, may also refrain from harmful vices. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Second Collect for the Intercession of Thy Saints
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body; that through the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and blessed N. (Here mention the titular saint of the church), and all the saints, mercifully grant us safety and peace; that all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
Third Collect for the Living and the Dead
O almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over both the living and the dead, and hast mercy on all whom Thou forekowest shall be Thine by faith and good works : we humbly beseech Thee that all for whom we have resolved to make supplication whether the present world still holds them in the flesh or the world to come has already received them out of the body, may, through the intercession of all Thy saints, obtain of Thy goodness and clemency pardon for all their sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Esther 13:8-11; 15-17.
In those days, Mardochai prayed to the Lord, saying, O Lord, Lord, almighty King, for all things are in Your power, and there is none that can resist Your will, if You determine to save Israel. You have made heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of heaven. You are Lord of all, and there is none that can resist Your Majesty. And now, O Lord, O King, O God of Abraham, have mercy on Your people, because our enemies resolve to destroy us, and extinguish Your inheritance. Despise not Your portion, which You have redeemed for Yourself out of Egypt. Hear my supplication, and be merciful to Your lot and inheritance, and turn our mourning into joy, that we may live and praise Your Name, O Lord, and shut not the mouths of those who sing to You, O Lord our God.
GRADUAL Psalm 27: 9, 1
Lord, save thy people, and bless thy chosen flock. V. To thee, Lod, I cry aloud; do not leave my cry unanswered, or I am no better than a dead man, sinking to the grave.
TRACT Psalm 102: 10
Lord, do not treat us as our sins deserve; do not exact the penalty of our wrong-doing. V. Ps. 78: 8-9 Lord, forget the long record of our sins, and hast in mercy to our side; never was need so sore as this. v. O God, our Saviour, help us: deliver us, Lord, for the glory of thy Name, and pardon our sins for the sake of thy own renown.
GOSPEL Matt. 20:17-28
At that time, as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them, Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the Scribes; and they will condemn His to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day He will rise again. Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons; and worshipping, she made a request of Him. He said to her, What do you want? She said to Him, Command that these my two sons may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left hand, in Your kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, You do not know what you are asking for. Can you drink of the cup of which I am about to drink? They said to Him, We can. He said to them, Of My cup you shall indeed drink; but as for sitting at My right hand and at My left, that is not Mine to give you, but it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father. And when the ten heard this, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Him, and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. Not so is it among you. On the contrary, whoever wishes to become great among shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; even as the Son the Man has not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
OFFERTORY Psalm 24:1-3
To You I lift up my soul, O Lord. In You, O my God, I trust; let me not be put to shame, let not my enemies exult over me. No one who waits for You shall be put to shame.
Look with favour upon the sacrificial gifts we offer You, O Lord, and through this holy exchange loosen the bonds of our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Second Secret to implore the Intercession of the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Savior, and by the virtue of this sacrament protect us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing on us both grace in this life and glory hereafter.
Third Secret for the Living and the Dead
O God, Who alone knowest the number of the elect to be admitted to the happiness of Heaven, grant, we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of all Thy saints, the names of all who have been recommended to our prayers and of all the faithful, may be inscribed in the book of blessed predestination. Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries; that, fixed upon things divine we may serve Thee in both body and mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
PREFACE of Lent
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION Ps 10:8
The Lord is just, He loves just deeds; the upright shall see His face.
Having received Your sacrament, O Lord, may we make progress, we beseech You, toward our everlasting salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Second Postcommunion to implore the Intercession of the Saints
May the oblation of this divine sacrament cleanse and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and, through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, blessed N. (here mention the titular saint of the church), and all the saints, purify us from all our sins and deliver us from all adversity.
Third Postcommunion for the Living and the Dead
Let us pray. May the sacraments which we have received purify us, we beseech Thee, O almighty and merciful Lord; and through the intercession of all Thy saints, grant that this Thy sacrament may not be unto us a condemnation, but a salutary intercession for pardon; may it be the washing away of sin, the strength of the weak, a protection against all dangers of the world, and a remission of all the sins of the faithful, whether living or dead. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Let us pray. Bow down your heads before God.
O God, restorer and lover of innocence, direct the hearts of Your servants towards You, so that, filled with the fervour of Your spirit, they may be found steadfast in faith and rich in good works Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.