Universalis
Wednesday 29 July 2015    (other days)
Saint Martha
 (Wednesday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity)

Office of Readings

If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, you should precede it with the Invitatory Psalm.


INTRODUCTION
O God, come to our aid.
  O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn
Bright as fire in darkness,
Sharper than a sword,
Lives throughout the ages
God’s eternal word.
Father, Son and Spirit,
Trinity of might,
Compassed in your glory,
Give the world your light.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 17 (18)
Thanksgiving for salvation and victory
I love you, Lord, my strength.
I will love you, Lord, my strength:
  Lord, you are my foundation and my refuge,
  you set me free.
My God is my help: I will put my hope in him,
  my protector, my sign of salvation,
  the one who raises me up.
I will call on the Lord – praise be to his name –
  and I will be saved from my enemies.
The waves of death flooded round me,
  the torrents of Belial tossed me about,
the cords of the underworld wound round me,
  death’s traps opened before me.
In my distress I called on the Lord,
  I cried out to my God:
from his temple he heard my voice,
  my cry to him came to his ears.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
I love you, Lord, my strength.

Psalm 17 (18)
The Lord saved me because he loved me.
The earth moved and shook,
  at the coming of his anger the roots of the mountains rocked
  and were shaken.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
  consuming fire came from his mouth,
  from it came forth flaming coals.
He bowed down the heavens and descended,
  storm clouds were at his feet.
He rode on the cherubim and flew,
  he travelled on the wings of the wind.
He made dark clouds his covering;
  his dwelling-place, dark waters and clouds of the air.
The cloud-masses were split by his lightnings,
  hail fell, hail and coals of fire.
The Lord thundered from the heavens,
  the Most High let his voice be heard,
  with hail and coals of fire.
He shot his arrows and scattered them,
  hurled thunderbolts and threw them into confusion.
The depths of the oceans were laid bare,
  the foundations of the globe were revealed,
at the sound of your anger, O Lord,
  at the onset of the gale of your wrath.
He reached from on high and took me up,
  he lifted me from the many waters.
He snatched me from my powerful enemies,
  from those who hate me, for they were too strong for me.
They attacked me in my time of trouble,
  but the Lord was my support.
He led me to the open spaces,
  he was my deliverance, for he held me in favour.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
The Lord saved me because he loved me.

Psalm 17 (18)
You, O Lord, are my lamp, my God who lightens my darkness.
The Lord rewards me according to my uprightness,
  he repays me according to the purity of my hands,
for I have kept to the paths of the Lord
  and have not departed wickedly from my God.
For I keep all his decrees in my sight,
  and I will not reject his judgements;
I am stainless before him,
  I have kept myself away from evil.
And so the Lord has rewarded me according to my uprightness,
  according to the purity of my hands in his sight.
You will be holy with the holy,
  kind with the kind,
with the chosen you will be chosen,
  but with the crooked you will show your cunning.
For you will bring salvation to a lowly people
  but make the proud ashamed.
For you light my lamp, O Lord;
  my God brings light to my darkness.
For with you I will attack the enemy’s squadrons;
  with my God I will leap over their wall.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
You, O Lord, are my lamp, my God who lightens my darkness.

All were astonished by the gracious words
that came from his lips.

First Reading
2 Corinthians 10:1-11:6 ©
This is a personal matter; this is Paul himself appealing to you by the gentleness and patience of Christ – I, the man who is so humble when he is facing you, but bullies you when he is at a distance. I only ask that I do not have to bully you when I come, with all the confident assurance I mean to show when I come face to face with people I could name who think we go by ordinary human motives. We live in the flesh, of course, but the muscles that we fight with are not flesh. Our war is not fought with weapons of flesh, yet they are strong enough, in God’s cause, to demolish fortresses. We demolish sophistries, and the arrogance that tries to resist the knowledge of God; every thought is our prisoner, captured to be brought into obedience to Christ. Once you have given your complete obedience, we are prepared to punish any disobedience.
  Face plain facts. Anybody who is convinced that he belongs to Christ must go on to reflect that we all belong to Christ no less than he does. Maybe I do boast rather too much about our authority, but the Lord gave it to me for building you up and not for pulling you down, and I shall not be ashamed of it. I do not want you to think of me as someone who only frightens you by letter. Someone said, ‘He writes powerful and strongly-worded letters but when he is with you you see only half a man and no preacher at all.’ The man who said that can remember this: whatever we are like in the words of our letters when we are absent, that is what we shall be like in our actions when we are present.
  We are not being so bold as to rank ourselves, or invite comparison, with certain people who write their own references. Measuring themselves against themselves, and comparing themselves to themselves, they are simply foolish. We, on the other hand, are not going to boast without a standard to measure against: taking for our measure the yardstick which God gave us to measure with, which is long enough to reach to you. We are not stretching further than we ought; otherwise we should not have reached you, as we did come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. So we are not boasting without any measure, about work that was done by other people; in fact, we trust that, as your faith grows, we shall get taller and taller, when judged by our own standard. I mean, we shall be carrying the gospel to places far beyond you, without encroaching on anyone else’s field, not boasting of the work already done. If anyone wants to boast, let him boast of the Lord. It is not the man who commends himself that can be accepted, but the man who is commended by the Lord.
  I only wish you were able to tolerate a little foolishness from me. But of course: you are tolerant towards me. You see, the jealousy that I feel for you is God’s own jealousy: I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband. But the serpent, with his cunning, seduced Eve, and I am afraid that in the same way your ideas may get corrupted and turned away from simple devotion to Christ. Because any new-comer has only to proclaim a new Jesus, different from the one that we preached, or you have only to receive a new spirit, different from the one you have already received, or a new gospel, different from the one you have already accepted – and you welcome it with open arms. As far as I can tell, these arch-apostles have nothing more than I have. I may not be a polished speechmaker, but as for knowledge, that is a different matter; surely we have made this plain, speaking on every subject in front of all of you.
Responsory
Although we live in the world, we do not fight from worldly motives. The weapons of our warfare are not merely human weapons.
We take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The weapons of our warfare are not merely human weapons.

Second Reading
From a sermon by Saint Augustine
Blessed are they who deserved to receive Christ in their homes
Our Lord’s words teach us that though we labour among the many distractions of this world, we should have but one goal. For we are but travellers on a journey without as yet a fixed abode; we are on our way, not yet in our native land; we are in a state of longing, not yet of enjoyment. But let us continue on our way, and continue without sloth or respite, so that we may ultimately arrive at our destination.
  Martha and Mary were sisters, related not only by blood but also by religious aspirations. They stayed close to our Lord and both served him harmoniously when he was among them. Martha welcomed him as travellers are welcomed. But in her case, the maidservant received her Lord, the invalid her Saviour, the creature her Creator, to serve him bodily food while she was to be fed by the Spirit. For the Lord willed to put on the form of a slave, and under this form to be fed by his own servants, out of condescension and not out of need. For this was indeed condescension, to present himself to be fed; since he was in the flesh he would indeed be hungry and thirsty.
  Thus was the Lord received as a guest who came unto his own and his own received him not; but as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God, adopting those who were servants and making them his brothers, ransoming the captives and making them his co-heirs. No one of you should say: “Blessed are they who have deserved to receive Christ into their homes!” Do not grieve or complain that you were born in a time when you can no longer see God in the flesh. He did not in fact take this privilege from you. As he says: Whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you did to me.
  But you, Martha, if I may say so, are blessed for your good service, and for your labours you seek the reward of peace. Now you are much occupied in nourishing the body, admittedly a holy one. But when you come to the heavenly homeland will you find a traveller to welcome, someone hungry to feed, or thirsty to whom you may give drink, someone ill whom you could visit, or quarrelling whom you could reconcile, or dead whom you could bury?
  No, there will be none of these tasks there. What you will find there is what Mary chose. There we shall not feed others, we ourselves shall be fed. Thus what Mary chose in this life will be realised there in all its fullness; she was gathering fragments from that rich banquet, the Word of God. Do you wish to know what we will have there? The Lord himself tells us when he says of his servants, Amen, I say to you, he will make them recline and passing he will serve them.
Responsory
After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, they gave a dinner in his honour at Bethany, and Martha waited on the company at table.
Mary brought a quantity of very costly ointment and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, and Martha waited on the company at table.

Let us pray.
Almighty, ever-living God,
  your Son graciously came as a guest to the home of Saint Martha.
By her prayers give us grace to serve Christ faithfully in our brethren,
  and bring us to your home in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

The psalms and canticles here are our own translation. The Grail translation of the psalms, which is used liturgically in most of the English-speaking world, cannot be displayed on the Web for copyright reasons. The Universalis downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

You can also view this page in Latin and English.

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