Sat 15 January

Sat 15 January

Saint Ita, Virgin

First reading

Song of Songs 8:6-7

The flash of love is a flame of the Lord himself

Set me like a seal on your heart,
like a seal on your arm.
For love is strong as Death,
jealousy as relentless as Sheol.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of the Lord himself.
Love no floods can quench,
no torrents drown.

Were a man to offer all the wealth of his house to buy love,
contempt is all he would purchase.

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 44(45):11-12,14-17

Listen, O daughter, give ear to my words:
 forget your own people and your father’s house.
So will the king desire your beauty:
 He is your lord, pay homage to him.

The daughter of the king is clothed with splendour,
 her robes embroidered with pearls set in gold.
She is led to the king with her maiden companions.

They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
 they pass within the palace of the king.
Sons shall be yours in place of your fathers:
 you will make them princes over all the earth.

Gospel

Matthew 19:3-12

Husband and wife are no longer two, but one body

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and to test him they said, ‘Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’
They said to him, ‘Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?’ ‘It was because you were so unteachable’ he said ‘that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning. Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’
The disciples said to him, ‘If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to marry.’ But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

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Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.

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