S. John of Matha, Priest & Confessor: Missa “Os iusti”
John was born in France in 1160. His parents were wealthy and sent him away to school so that he could receive the best education. He used the money his parents sent him to help the poor. He spent his free time performing other works of charity and paid visits to the local hospital to tend the sick.
When John graduated, he moved to a hermitage so he could spent his days in quiet prayer, but his friends visited him so often that he saw this as a sign from God that he was called to serve others as a priest. He entered the seminary and was ordained when he was 32 years old.
While Father Matha was celebrating his first Mass, he had a vision of Christ holding the hands of two men in chains—on one side was a Christian and on the other was a Moor. Father Matha lived during the time of the Crusades when Christians fought religious wars against the Moors. Thousands of Christians had been captured by the Moors and were forced into slavery, and some were tortured if they would not deny their faith. After his vision, John thought of a plan to rescue the Christian slaves. He would offer a ransom for them!
John went to Rome to ask Pope Innocent III for permission to put his plan into action. The pope was so impressed with John’s idea that he approved the founding of a new religious order led by John. The community was called the Order of the Holy Trinity. They became known as the Trinitarians.
The men who joined the order went to Morocco, Tunis, and Spain to ransom Christian slaves and return them to their homes. The Trinitarians collected the money to pay for the ransoms by begging for coins from average people and by asking for larger donations from wealthy benefactors.
John spent the rest of his life working for the freedom of Christians around the world. Today the members of the Trinitarian order work in more than 20 countries, bringing the word of God to men and women in prisons. They preach about the freedom Jesus brings to all who believe in him.
John de Matha died in 1213 in Rome. He was canonized in 1666.
INTROIT Psalm 36. 30, 31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. (Ps. 36. 1). Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity. V.: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart.
O God, Who graciously and by divine means founded through blessed John, the Order of the Most Holy Trinity to ransom captives from the hands of the Saracens, grant, we beseech You, that through Your help and the merits of his prayers we may be freed body and soul from captivity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Sir 31:8-11
Lesson from the Book of Ecclesiasticus. Happy the man found without fault, who turns not aside after gain, nor puts his trust in money nor in treasures! Who is he, that we may praise him? For he has done wonders in his life. He has been tested by gold and come off safe, and this remains his glory forever; he could have sinned but did not, could have done evil but would not, so that his possessions are secure in the Lord, and the assembly of the Saints shall recount his alms.
GRADUAL & TRACT Ps. 91:13; 91:14
The just man shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow in the house of the Lord. Ps 91:3 V. To proclaim Your kindness at dawn and Your faithfulness throughout the night. Ps 111:1-3. Happy the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. V. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed. V. Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever.
GOSPEL Luke 12:35-40
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, Let your loins be girt about and your lamps burning, and you yourselves like men waiting for their master’s return from the wedding; so that when he comes and knocks, they may straight-way open to him. Blessed are those servants whom the master, on his return, shall find watching. Amen I say to you, he will gird himself, and will make them recline at table, and will come and serve them. And if he comes in the second watch, and if in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But of this be assured, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would certainly have watched, and not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because at an hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man is coming.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88:25
My faithfulness and My kindness shall be with him, and through My name shall his horn be exalted.
We offer You sacrifices of praise, O Lord, in memory of Your Saints; trusting that by them we may be delivered from both present and future evils. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
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: 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 them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matt 24:46-47
Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, shall find watching. Amen I say to you, he will set him over all his goods.
Refreshed with heavenly food and drink, we humbly pray You, our God, that we also may be helped by his prayers in memory of whom we have partaken. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.