Universalis
Friday 31 March 2017    (other days)
Friday of the 4th week of Lent 

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.

Hymn
Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering overpast,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.

Psalm 77 (78)
The history of salvation: the Lord's goodness, his people's infidelity (I)
Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord and the marvellous deeds he has done.
Listen, my people, to my teaching;
  open your ears to the words of my mouth.
I shall open my mouth in explanation,
  I shall tell of the secrets of the past.
All that we have heard and know –
  all that our fathers told us –
  we shall not hide it from their descendants,
but will tell to a new generation
  the praise of the Lord, and his power,
  and the wonders that he worked.
He set up a covenant with Jacob,
  he gave a law to Israel;
he commanded our ancestors to pass it on to their children,
  so that the next generation would know it,
  the children yet to be born.
They shall rise up and tell the story to their children,
  so that they put their trust in God,
so that they do not forget the works of God,
  so that they keep his commandments;
so that they do not become like their fathers,
  rebellious and troublesome,
a generation of fickle hearts,
  of souls unfaithful to God.
The sons of Ephraim, the bowmen,
  fled when it came to battle;
they did not keep their covenant with God,
  they refused to follow his law.
They forgot his deeds
  and the wonders he had shown them.
In front of their ancestors he had worked his wonders,
  in the land of Egypt, in the plains of Tanis.
He divided the sea and led them across,
  he held back the waters as if in a bag.
He led them in a cloud by day;
  and through the night, in the light of fire.
He split the rock in the desert
  and gave them water as if from bottomless depths.
He brought forth streams from the rock
  and made the waters flow down in rivers.
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.
Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord and the marvellous deeds he has done.

Psalm 77 (78)
The sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink from the rock which followed them.
Still they insisted on sinning against him,
  they stirred up the wrath of the Most High in the desert.
They put God to the test in their hearts,
  asking for food, their desire.
They spoke out against God, saying
  “Can God lay a table in the wilderness?”
He struck the rock, and the waters poured out,
  and the streams were full to overflowing;
“But can he give us bread?
  Can he give meat to his people?”
The Lord heard all this, and he flared up in anger.
  Fire blazed against Jacob,
  his wrath rose up against Israel.
All this, because they had no faith in God,
  they had no trust in his saving power.
He commanded the clouds nevertheless,
  and opened the doors of the heavens.
Manna rained down for them to eat:
  he gave them the bread of heaven.
Men ate the food of angels;
  he gave them provisions in abundance.
In heaven he stirred up the east wind,
  he brought the south wind, by his power:
he rained meat on them as if it were dust,
  winged birds, like the sands of the sea,
to fall in the middle of their camp,
  all around their tents.
They ate and were full to bursting,
  and so he gave them their desire.
In the middle of their enjoyment,
  when the food was still in their mouths,
the wrath of God rose up against them,
  and slew the healthiest among them,
  and laid low the flower of Israel.
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 sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink from the rock which followed them.

Psalm 77 (78)
They remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer.
All this – and still they sinned,
  still they had no faith in his wonders.
He made their days vanish in a breath,
  their years in a headlong rush.
Whenever he was killing them, they sought him,
  repented and came back to him at dawn:
they remembered that God is their helper,
  that God, the Most High, is their saviour;
but their speech to him was only flattery:
  they lied to him with their tongues,
their hearts were dishonest towards him,
  they did not keep his covenant.
But the Lord is merciful:
  he forgives sin, he does not destroy.
Always he turned aside his anger,
  held back from unleashing all his wrath.
He remembered that they were flesh –
  a breath, that goes and does not return.
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.
They remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer.

Turn back to the Lord your God,
because he is tenderness and compassion.

First ReadingNumbers 14:1-25 ©
The people complain; Moses intercedes
At this, the whole community raised their voices and cried aloud, and the people wailed all that night. Then all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole community said, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt, or at least that we had died in this wilderness! Why does the Lord bring us to this land, only to have us fall by the sword, and our wives and young children seized as booty? Should we not do better to go back to Egypt?’ And they said to one another, ‘Let us appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.’ Before the whole assembled community of the sons of Israel, Moses and Aaron fell down, face to the ground. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had reconnoitred the country, tore their garments; and they said to the entire community of the sons of Israel, ‘The land we went to reconnoitre is a good land, an excellent land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into this land and give it to us. It is a land where milk and honey flow. Do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of this land; we shall gobble them up. Their tutelary shadow has gone from them so long as the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.’
  The entire community was talking of stoning them, when the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the sons of Israel. And the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will this people insult me? How long will they refuse to believe in me despite the signs I have worked among them? I will strike them with pestilence and disown them. And of you I shall make a new nation, greater and mightier than they are.’
  Moses answered the Lord: ‘But the Egyptians already know that you, by your own power, have brought this people out from their midst. They have said as much to the inhabitants of this country. They already know that you, the Lord, are in the midst of this people, and that you show yourself to them face to face; that it is you, the Lord, whose cloud stands over them, that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you destroy this people now as if it were one man, then the nations who have heard about you will say, “the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them, and so he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.” No, my Lord! It is now you must display your power, according to those words you spoke, “the Lord is slow to anger and rich in graciousness, forgiving faults and transgression, and yet letting nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons to the third and fourth generation.” In the abundance, then, of your graciousness, forgive the sin of this people, as you have done from Egypt until now.’
  The Lord said, ‘I forgive them as you ask. But – as I live, and as the glory of the Lord fills all the earth – of all the men who have seen my glory and the signs that I worked in Egypt and in the wilderness, who have put me to the test ten times already and not obeyed my voice, not one shall see the land I swore to give their fathers. Not one of those who slight me shall see it. But my servant Caleb is of another spirit. Because he has obeyed me perfectly, I will bring him into the land he has entered, and his race shall possess it. (The Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the plain.) Tomorrow you will turn about and go back into the wilderness, in the direction of the Sea of Suph.’
Responsory
℟. The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy; his wrath will come to an end: he will not be angry for ever.* As a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.
℣. He knows the stuff we are made of, he remembers that we are dust.* As a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.

Second Reading
From an Easter letter by Saint Athanasius, bishop
The Paschal sacrament brings together in unity of faith those who are far away
Brethren, how fine a thing it is to move from festival to festival, from prayer to prayer, from holy day to holy day. The time is now at hand when we enter on a new beginning: the proclamation of the blessed Passover, in which the Lord was sacrificed. We feed as on the food of life, we constantly refresh our souls with his precious blood, as from a fountain. Yet we are always thirsting, burning to be satisfied. But he himself is present for those who thirst and in his goodness invites them to the feast day. Our Saviour repeats his words: If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
  He quenched the thirst not only of those who came to him then. Whenever anyone seeks him he is freely admitted to the presence of the Saviour. The grace of the feast is not restricted to one occasion. Its rays of glory never set. It is always at hand to enlighten the mind of those who desire it. Its power is always there for those whose minds have been enlightened and who meditate day and night on the holy Scriptures, like the one who is called blessed in the holy psalm: Blessed is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked, or stood where sinners stand, or sat in the seat of the scornful, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
  Moreover, my friends, the God who first established this feast for us allows us to celebrate it each year. He who gave up his Son to death for our salvation, from the same motive gives us this feast, which is commemorated every year. This feast guides us through the trials that meet us in this world. God now gives us the joy of salvation that shines out from this feast, as he brings us together to form one assembly, uniting us all in spirit in every place, allowing us to pray together and to offer common thanksgiving, as is our duty on the feast. Such is the wonder of his love: he gathers to this feast those who are far apart, and brings together in unity of faith those who may be physically separated from each other.
Responsory
℟. Wait for me, says the Lord, for the day when I arise.* At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.
℣. I shall draw all men to myself, when I am lifted up from the earth.* At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.

Let us pray.
Lord God, you have prepared fitting remedies for our weakness:
  grant that we may reach out gladly for your healing grace,
  and thereby live in accordance with your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

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 apps, programs and downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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