Universalis
Friday 24 June 2016    (other days)
The Birthday of Saint John the Baptist 
Solemnity

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
God has spoken by his prophets,
Spoken his unchanging word,
Each from age to age proclaiming
God the One, the righteous Lord.
Mid the world’s despair and turmoil,
one firm anchor holdeth fast:
God is King, his throne eternal,
God the first and God the last.
God has spoken by Christ Jesus,
Christ, the everlasting Son,
Brightness of the Father’s glory,
With the Father ever one;
Spoken by the Word incarnate,
God of God, ere time began,
Light of Light, to earth descending,
Man, revealing God to man.

Psalm 20 (21)
Thanksgiving for victory
The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
Lord, the king will rejoice in your strength,
  he will triumph in your saving power.
You have granted him his heart’s desire,
  you have not denied the wish that he spoke.
For you showered him with blessings
  even before he asked for them.
  You have placed a crown of purest gold upon his head.
He asked you for life,
  and you granted it to him,
  length of days for ever and for ever.
Great is his glory through your help:
  you cover him with splendour and majesty.
You lay a blessing upon him that will last for ever,
  you make him rejoice in joy before you.
For the king hopes in the Lord,
  and through the kindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Stand high above us, Lord, in your power;
  and we will sing and celebrate your might.
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 called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

Psalm 91 (92)
Praise of God, the Creator
The Lord made my mouth a sharp sword, and protected me with his outstretched arm.
It is good to praise the Lord,
  and to sing psalms to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your mercy in the morning
  and your faithfulness by night;
on the ten-stringed lyre and the harp,
  with songs upon the lyre.
For you give me joy, Lord, in your creation:
  I rejoice in the work of your hands.
How great are your works, O Lord,
  how immeasurably deep your thoughts.
The fool does not hear,
  the slow-witted do not understand.
When the wicked sprout up like grass,
  and the doers of evil are in full bloom,
it will come to nothing, for they will perish for ever and ever;
  but you, Lord, are the Highest eternally.
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 made my mouth a sharp sword, and protected me with his outstretched arm.

Psalm 91 (92)
This is the testimony of John: there is one coming after me who existed before me.
For behold, Lord, your enemies,
  how your enemies will perish,
  how wrongdoers will be scattered.
You will give me strength as the wild oxen have;
  I have been anointed with the purest oil.
I will look down upon my enemies,
  and hear the plans of those who plot evil against me.
The just will flourish like the palm tree,
  grow tall like the cedar of Lebanon.
They will be planted in the house of the Lord;
  in the courts of our God they will flourish.
They will bear fruit even when old,
  fresh and luxuriant through all their days.
They will proclaim how just is the Lord, my refuge,
  for in him there is no unrighteousness.
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.
This is the testimony of John: there is one coming after me who existed before me.

He came to bear witness to the light,
so that all might believe through him.

First Reading
Jeremiah 1:4-10,17-19 ©
The word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying,
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations.’
I said, ‘Ah, Lord; look, I do not know how to speak: I am a child!’
But the Lord replied,
‘Do not say, “I am a child.”
Go now to those to whom I send you
and, say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to protect you –
it is the Lord who speaks!’
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me:
‘There! I am putting my words into your mouth.
Look, today I am setting you
over nations and over kingdoms,
to tear up and to knock down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.
‘So now brace yourself for action.
Stand up and tell them
all I command you.
Do not be dismayed at their presence,
or in their presence I will make you dismayed.
I, for my part, today will make you
into a fortified city,
a pillar of iron,
and a wall of bronze
to confront all this land:
the kings of Judah, its princes,
its priests and the country people.
They will fight against you
but shall not overcome you,
for I am with you to deliver you –
it is the Lord who speaks.’
Responsory
℟. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I consecrated you.* I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.
℣. I am putting my words into your mouth: I am setting you over nations and kingdoms.* I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

Second Reading
From a sermon by Saint Augustine
The voice of one crying in the wilderness
The Church observes the birth of John as in some way sacred; and you will not find any other of the great men of old whose birth we celebrate officially. We celebrate John’s, as we celebrate Christ’s. This point cannot be passed over in silence, and if I may not perhaps be able to explain it in the way that such an important matter deserves, it is still worth thinking about it a little more deeply and fruitfully than usual.
  John is born of an old woman who is barren; Christ is born of a young woman who is a virgin. That John will be born is not believed, and his father is struck dumb; that Christ will be born is believed, and he is conceived by faith.
  I have proposed some matters for inquiry, and listed in advance some things that need to be discussed. I have introduced these points even if we are not up to examining all the twists and turns of such a great mystery, either for lack of capacity or for lack of time. You will be taught much better by the one who speaks in you even when I am not here; the one about whom you think loving thoughts, the one whom you have taken into your hearts and whose temple you have become.
  John, it seems, has been inserted as a kind of boundary between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. That he is somehow or other a boundary is something that the Lord himself indicates when he says, The Law and the prophets were until John. So he represents the old and heralds the new. Because he represents the old, he is born of an elderly couple; because he represents the new, he is revealed as a prophet in his mother’s womb. You will remember that, before he was born, at Mary’s arrival he leapt in his mother’s womb. Already he had been marked out there, designated before he was born; it was already shown whose forerunner he would be, even before he saw him. These are divine matters, and exceed the measure of human frailty. Finally, he is born, he receives a name, and his father’s tongue is loosed.
  Zachary is struck dumb and loses his voice, until John, the Lord’s forerunner, is born and releases his voice for him. What does Zachary’s silence mean, but that prophecy was obscure and, before the proclamation of Christ, somehow concealed and shut up? It is released and opened up by his arrival, it becomes clear when the one who was being prophesied is about to come. The releasing of Zachary’s voice at the birth of John has the same significance as the tearing of the veil of the Temple at the crucifixion of Christ. If John were meant to proclaim himself, he would not be opening Zachary’s mouth. The tongue is released because a voice is being born – for when John was already heralding the Lord, he was asked, Who are you and he replied I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
  John is the voice, but the Lord in the beginning was the Word. John is a voice for a time, but Christ is the eternal Word from the beginning.
Responsory
℟. You, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.* You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him.
℣. You shall make known to his people their salvation through forgiveness of all their sins.* You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him.

HymnTe Deum
God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.
And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
The final part of the hymn may be omitted:
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Let us pray.
Almighty God and Father,
  you sent Saint John the Baptist to the people of Israel
  to make them ready for Christ the Lord.
Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit,
  and guide the hearts of all the faithful
  in the way of salvation and peace.
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.

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