Universalis
Wednesday 20 June 2018    (other days)
Saints Alban, Julius, and Aaron, Martyrs 
 or Wednesday of week 11 in Ordinary Time 
 or Saint Alban, first martyr of England 

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
The martyrs living now with Christ
In suffering were tried,
Their anguish overcome by love
When on his cross they died.
Across the centuries they come,
In constancy unmoved,
Their loving hearts make no complaint,
In silence they are proved.
No man has ever measured love,
Or weighed it in his hand,
But God who knows the inmost heart
Gives them the promised land.
Praise Father, Son and Spirit blest,
Who guides us through the night
In ways that reach beyond the stars
To everlasting light.
Francis E. Mostyn (1860-1939)

Psalm 88 (89)
The Lord's kindness to the house of David
Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.
I will sing for ever of the kindnesses of the Lord:
  to generation upon generation
  my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said
  “My kindness shall be established for ever”;
  your faithfulness will be established in the heavens.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one.
  I have sworn to David my servant:
To all eternity I will set your descendants firm;
  I shall build your house to last for all generations.”
The heavens will proclaim your wonders, O Lord,
  the assembly of your holy ones will proclaim your faithfulness.
For who in the sky can be compared to the Lord?
  Who could resemble the Lord among all the sons of God?
God is to be feared in the council of his holy ones,
  great and terrible above all who surround him.
Lord God of hosts, who is like you?
  Yours is the power, and faithfulness surrounds you.
You subdue the pride of the sea:
  when its waves rise high, you calm them.
You have trampled Rahab underfoot, like a wounded man;
  through the strength of your arm you have scattered your enemies.
Yours are the heavens and yours is the earth,
  you set firm the globe and all it contains.
You made the north and the south,
  Tabor and Hermon will rejoice in your name.
Your arm it is that has the power,
  your hand is strong, your right hand held high.
Your throne is founded on justice and right,
  kindness and faithfulness are your attendants.
Happy the nation that knows the cry of praise!
  They will walk in the light of your presence, Lord,
  and rejoice in your name all the day –
for you are the splendour of their strength,
  and by your good will our standard is held high.
For our shields belong to the Lord,
  and our king to the Holy One 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.
Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.

Psalm 88 (89)
The Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.
In a vision you spoke to your holy ones.
  You said, “I have given strength to a warrior,
  I have raised a chosen one from the people.
I have found David my servant,
  I have anointed him with my holy oil.
For my hand will always give him support,
  my right arm will give him strength.
The enemy shall make no headway against him,
  the son of iniquity shall have no power over him.
I will crush his foes in his sight
  and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and kindness shall be with him
  and his strength will be triumphant through my name.
I shall extend his power over the sea,
  and his right hand over the rivers.
He will call upon me: ‘you are my father,
  my God and my safe refuge.’
And I shall make him my first-born,
  supreme over all the kings of the earth.
My kindness to him will continue for ever,
  my covenant with him will remain firm.
For all ages I shall establish his descendants,
  and for all the days of heaven his throne will stand.”
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 Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.

Psalm 88 (89)
Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.
“But if his children abandon my law
  and walk no more in the paths of my decrees;
if they profane my judgements
  and do not keep to my commandments,
I will punish their transgressions with a rod,
  I will punish their wickedness with a beating.
Even so, I will not turn my kindness away from him,
  nor will I be untrue to my word.
I will not profane my covenant,
  I will not go against the word I have spoken.
I have sworn in my sanctuary, once and for all:
  I will not lie to David.
His seed shall remain for ever,
  his throne firm as the sun in my sight,
just as the moon stays firm for ever,
  a faithful witness in the sky.”
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.
Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.

The words that you utter give light
and understanding to the simple.

First Reading
Judges 6:33-7:8,16-22 ©
Gideon conquers with a smaller army
Then all Midian and Amalek and the sons of the East joined forces, crossed the Jordan and encamped in the plain of Jezreel. And the spirit of the Lord came on Gideon; he sounded the horn and Abiezer rallied behind him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and Manasseh too rallied behind him; he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they too marched out to meet him.
  Gideon said to God, ‘If you really mean to deliver Israel by my hand, as you have declared, see now, I spread out a fleece on the threshing-floor; if there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is left dry, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have declared.’ And so it happened. Gideon rose the next morning, squeezed the fleece and wrung enough dew out of the fleece to fill a drinking cup. Then Gideon spoke to God again, ‘Do not be angry with me if I speak once again. Let me make trial with the fleece just once more. Let the fleece alone be dry, and let there be dew on the ground all round it.’ And God did so that night. The fleece alone stayed dry, and there was dew on the ground all round it.
  Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) got up very early, as did all the people with him; he pitched camp at En-harod; the camp of Midian was north of his, under the Hill of Moreh in the valley. Then the Lord said to Gideon, ‘There are too many people with you for me to put Midian into their power; Israel might claim the credit for themselves at my expense: they might say, “My own hand has rescued me.” Therefore, make this proclamation now to the people: “Let anyone who is frightened or fearful go home!”’ Gideon put them to the test. Twenty-two thousand men went home, and ten thousand were left.
  The Lord said to Gideon, ‘There are still too many people. Take them down to the waterside and I will sift them there. If I say of a man: He is to go with you, that man is to go with you. And if I say of a man: He is not to go with you, that man is not to go.’ So Gideon took the people down to the waterside, and the Lord said to him, ‘All those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, place these on one side. And all those who kneel down to drink, place these on the other side.’ The number of those who lapped with their tongues was three hundred; all the rest of the people had knelt to drink. Then the Lord said to Gideon, ‘With the three hundred who lapped the water I will rescue you and put Midian into your power. Let all the others go back, every man to his own home.’ Gideon made the people give him what pitchers and horns they had, then sent away all the Israelites, each to his own tent, keeping only the three hundred with him. The camp of Midian was below his own in the valley.
  Gideon then divided his three hundred men into three companies. To each man he gave a horn and an empty pitcher, with a torch inside each pitcher. He said to them, ‘Watch me, and do as I do. When I reach the edge of the camp, whatever I do, you do too. When I sound the horn, I and those with me, then you too must sound your horns all round the camp and shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”’
  Gideon and his hundred companions reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when the new sentries had just been posted; they sounded their horns and smashed the pitchers in their hands. The three companies sounded their horns and smashed their pitchers; with their left hands they grasped the torches, with their right hands the horns ready to blow; and they shouted, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’ And they stood still, spaced out all round the camp. Then the whole camp woke and the Midianites fled, shouting. While the three hundred kept sounding their horns, the Lord made every man in the camp turn his sword against his comrade. They all fled as far as Beth-shittah towards Zarethan, as far as the bank of Abel-meholah opposite Tabbath.
Responsory
2 M 8:18; 1 Jn 5:4
℟. God chose what the world considers weak in order to bring down powerful men. He chose what the world looks down on, despises and counts as nothing; he uses it to overthrow the existing order.* This means that pride has no place in God’s presence.
℣. The Lord has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.* This means that pride has no place in God’s presence.

Second Reading
From the Ecclesiatical History of St Bede the Venerable
No greater love than this
Saint Alban, ‘born in fertile Britain’s land’, suffered during the reign of Diocletian and Herculian. Whilst still a pagan, he gave shelter to a Christian priest who was fleeing from his persecutors. When Alban saw the holy man spending all his time in prayer and vigils, he was suddenly touched by the grace of God. He was moved to follow the priest’s example, and began to emulate his faith and devotion. In the course of time he thoroughly imbibed the priest’s salutary teaching, renounced the darkness of idolatry and wholeheartedly professed the Christian faith. Soon, however, word got out that Alban was sheltering a Christian, and when the soldiers arrived to search the house, Alban dressed himself in the priest’s clothes and gave himself up in the place of his guest and teacher.
  The judge was incensed that Alban should have surrendered himself in place of his guest; and when he refused to offer sacrifice to idols, ordered him to be scourged, in the hope that he could shake his constancy by torture. But Alban bore all his severe torments with joyful patience for Christ’s sake. When the judge saw that no torture could break him or induce him to repudiate his faith in Christ, he ordered him to be beheaded.
  Saint Alban suffered on the twenty-second day of June near the city of Verulamium. When the peace of Christian times was restored, a beautiful church worthy of his martyrdom was built.
  In the same persecution Julius and Aaron suffered, citizens of the city of Legions, and many others of both sexes throughout the land.
Responsory
℟. The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God; no torment shall ever touch them. Although in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality;* slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.
℣. God tested them and found them worthy of himself.* Slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.

Let us pray.
Grant, Lord, that your Church may ever rely on the prayers,
  as well as on the example of fortitude,
  of blessed Alban, Julius and Aaron,
  who were, with others, the first in our land to confess your Son our Lord Jesus Christ
  by the shedding of their blood.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of 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 apps, programs and downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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