Universalis
Friday 5 February 2016    (other days)
Saint Agatha, Virgin, Martyr 
 (Friday of week 4 in Ordinary Time)

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 54 (55)
Against a faithless friend
Do not reject my plea, O God, for wicked men assail me.
Open your ears, O God, to my prayer,
  and do not hide when I call on you:
  turn to me and answer me.
My thoughts are distracted and I am disturbed
  by the voice of my enemy and the oppression of the wicked.
They let loose their wickedness on me,
  they persecute me in their anger.
My heart is tied in a knot
  and the terrors of death lie upon me;
fear and trembling cover me;
  terror holds me tight.
I said, “Will no-one give me wings like a dove?
  I shall fly away and rest.
I shall flee far away
  and remain all alone.
I shall wait for him who will save me
  from the stormy wind and the tempest.”
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.
Do not reject my plea, O God, for wicked men assail me.

Psalm 54 (55)
The Lord will free us from the hand of our enemies and from those who wish us harm.
Scatter them, Lord, and separate their tongues,
  for I see violence and conflict in the city.
By day and by night they circle it
  high on its battlements.
Within it are oppression and trouble;
  scheming and fraud fill its squares.
For if my enemy had slandered me,
  I think I could have borne it.
And if the one who hated me had trampled me,
  perhaps I could have hidden.
But you – a man just like me,
  my companion and my friend!
We had happy times together,
  we walked together in the house of God.
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 will free us from the hand of our enemies and from those who wish us harm.

Psalm 54 (55)
Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you.
Let death break in upon them!
  Let them go down alive to the underworld,
  for wickedness shares their home.
As for me, I will call upon God,
  and the Lord will rescue me.
Evening, morning, noon – I shall watch and groan,
  and he will hear my voice.
He will redeem my soul
  and give it peace from those who attack me –
  for very many are my enemies.
God will hear and will bring them low,
  God, the eternal.
They will never reform:
  they do not fear God.
That man – he stretched out his hand against his allies:
  he corrupted his own covenant.
His face was smoother than butter,
  but his heart was at war;
his words were softer than oil,
  but they were sharp as drawn swords.
Throw all your cares on the Lord
  and he will give you sustenance.
  He will not let the just be buffeted for ever.
No – but you, Lord, will lead the wicked
  to the gaping mouth of destruction.
The men of blood and guile
  will not live half their days.
But I, Lord, will put my trust in you.
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.
Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you.

My son, attend to my wisdom,
and turn your ears to my words of prudence.

First Reading
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 ©
To turn now, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him: please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumour or any letter claiming to come from us, implying that the Day of the Lord has already arrived. Never let anyone deceive you in this way.
  It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and the Rebel, the Lost One, has appeared. This is the Enemy, the one who claims to be so much greater than all that men call ‘god’, so much greater than anything that is worshipped, that he enthrones himself in God’s sanctuary and claims that he is God. Surely you remember me telling you about this when I was with you? And you know, too, what is still holding him back from appearing before his appointed time. Rebellion is at its work already, but in secret, and the one who is holding it back has first to be removed before the Rebel appears openly. The Lord will kill him with the breath of his mouth and will annihilate him with his glorious appearance at his coming.
  But when the Rebel comes, Satan will set to work: there will be all kinds of miracles and a deceptive show of signs and portents, and everything evil that can deceive those who are bound for destruction because they would not grasp the love of the truth which could have saved them. The reason why God is sending a power to delude them and make them believe what is untrue is to condemn all who refused to believe in the truth and chose wickedness instead.
  But we feel that we must be continually thanking God for you, brothers whom the Lord loves, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved by the sanctifying Spirit and by faith in the truth. Through the Good News that we brought he called you to this so that you should share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.
Responsory
The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the peoples of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Then the Rebel will appear openly and the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth, and all the peoples of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Second Reading
From a homily on Saint Agatha by Saint Methodius of Sicily, bishop
The gift of God, the source of all goodness
My fellow Christians, our annual celebration of a martyr’s feast has brought us together. She achieved renown in the early Church for her noble victory; she is well known now as well, for she continues to triumph through her divine miracles, which occur daily and continue to bring glory to her name.
  She is indeed a virgin, for she was born of the divine Word, God’s only Son, who also experienced death for our sake. John, a master of God’s word, speaks of this: He gave the power to become children of God to everyone who received him.
  The woman who invites us to this banquet is both a wife and virgin. To use the analogy of Paul, she is the bride who has been betrothed to one husband, Christ. A true virgin, she wore the glow of pure conscience and the crimson of the Lamb’s blood for her cosmetics. Again and again she meditated on the death of her eager lover. For her, Christ’s death was recent, his blood was still moist. Her robe is the mark of her faithful witness to Christ. It bears the indelible marks of his crimson blood and the shining threads of her eloquence. She offers to all who come after her these treasures of her eloquent confession.
  Agatha, the name of our saint, means “good.” She was truly good, for she lived as a child of God. She was also given as the gift of God, the source of all goodness to her bridegroom, Christ, and to us. For she grants us a share in her goodness.
  What can give greater good than the Sovereign Good? Whom could anyone find more worthy of celebration with hymns of praise than Agatha?
  Agatha, her goodness coincides with her name and way of life. She won a good name by her noble deeds, and by her name she points to the nobility of those deeds. Agatha, her mere name wins all men over to her company. She teaches them by her example to hasten with her to the true Good. God alone.
Responsory
The Lord has saved and strengthened me; with his help I will profess my loyalty to him to the end.
In his loving-kindness the sinless Lord has consecrated to himself a spotless handmaid; with his help I will profess my loyalty to him to the end.

Let us pray.
Lord God, let Saint Agatha,
  who became precious in your sight through her pure life and valiant martyrdom,
  plead for our forgiveness.
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.

Copyright © 1996-2016 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.

 
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