Tuesday 19 September 2017    (other days)
Saint Januarius, Bishop, Martyr 
 or Tuesday of week 24 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.

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.

O God of truth and Lord of power,
whose word their course to things assigns,
whose splendour lights the morning hour,
whose fiery sun at noonday shines:
Within us quench the flames of strife,
the harmful heat of passion quell;
give health of body to our life
and give true peace of soul as well.
In this, most loving Father, hear,
and Christ, co-equal Son, our prayer:
with Holy Ghost, one Trinity,
you reign for all eternity.

Psalm 101 (102)
Prayers and vows of an exile
Let my cry come to you, Lord: do not hide your face from me.
Lord, listen to my prayer
  and let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me:
  whenever I am troubled,
  turn to me and hear me.
Whenever I call on you,
  hurry to answer me.
For my days vanish like smoke,
  and my bones are dry as tinder.
My heart is cut down like grass, it is dry –
  I cannot remember to eat.
The sound of my groaning
  makes my bones stick to my flesh.
I am lonely as a pelican in the wilderness,
  as an owl in the ruins,
  as a sparrow alone on a rooftop:
  I do not sleep.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
  they burn with anger and use my name as a curse.
I make ashes my bread,
  I mix tears with my drink,
  because of your anger and reproach –
you, who raised me up, have dashed me to the ground.
My days fade away like a shadow:
  I wither like grass.
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.
Let my cry come to you, Lord: do not hide your face from me.

Psalm 101 (102)
Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.
But you, Lord, remain for ever
  and your name lasts from generation to generation.
You will rise up and take pity on Zion,
  for it is time that you pitied it,
  indeed it is time:
for your servants love its very stones
  and pity even its dust.
Then, Lord, the peoples will fear your name.
  All the kings of the earth will fear your glory,
when the Lord has rebuilt Zion
  and appeared there in his glory;
when he has listened to the prayer of the destitute
  and not rejected their pleading.
These things shall be written for the next generation
  and a people yet to be born shall praise the Lord:
because he has looked down from his high sanctuary,
 – the Lord has looked down from heaven to earth –
and heard the groans of prisoners
  and freed the children of death
so that they could proclaim the Lord’s name in Zion
  and sing his praises in Jerusalem,
where people and kingdoms gather together
  to serve the Lord.
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.
Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.

Psalm 101 (102)
You founded the earth, Lord, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
He has brought down my strength in the midst of my journey;
  he has shortened my days.
I will say, “My God, do not take me away
  half way through the days of my life.
Your years last from generation to generation:
  in the beginning you founded the earth,
  and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will pass away but you will remain;
  all will grow old, like clothing,
  and like a cloak you will change them, and they will be changed.
“But you are always the same,
  your years will never run out.
The children of your servants shall live in peace,
  their descendants will endure in your sight.”
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.
You founded the earth, Lord, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Listen, my people, to my teaching;
open your ears to the words of my mouth.

First Reading
Ezekiel 8:1-6,16-9:11 ©
A judgement against a sinful Jerusalem
In the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month, I was sitting at home and the elders of Judah were sitting with me, when the hand of the Lord fell on me.
  I looked and saw something that looked like a man. Downwards from what seemed to be his loins he was fire; and upwards from his loins he seemed to shine like polished bronze. He stretched out what seemed to be a hand and took me by the hair; and the spirit lifted me into the air and, in visions from God, took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the inner north gate, where the idol of Jealousy stands, provoking jealousy. There I saw the glory of the God of Israel, as I had seen it in the valley. He said, ‘Son of man, raise your eyes to the north.’ I raised my eyes to the north, and there, to the north of the altar gate, stood this statue of Jealousy at the entrance. He said, ‘Son of man, do you see what they are doing? Do you see all the filth practised here by the House of Israel, to drive me out of my sanctuary? You will see filthier practices yet.’
  He then led me to the inner court of the Temple of the Lord. And there, at the entrance to the sanctuary of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the sanctuary of the Lord and their faces turned to the east. They were bowing to the east, towards the sun. He said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see that? Is it not bad enough for the House of Judah to do the filthy things that they are doing here? But they fill the country with violence and provoke my anger further; look at them now putting that branch to their nostrils. My anger forces me to it; I will show neither pity nor mercy. They may shout as loud as they like; I will not listen to them.’
  Then as I listened he shouted, ‘Come here, you scourges of the city, and bring your weapons of destruction.’ Immediately six men advanced from the upper north gate, each holding a deadly weapon. In the middle of them was a man in white, with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt. They came in and halted in front of the bronze altar. The glory of the God of Israel rose off the cherubs where it had been and went up to the threshold of the Temple. He called the man in white with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt and said, ‘Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth practised in it.’ I heard him say to the others, ‘Follow him through the city, and strike. Show neither pity nor mercy; old men, young men, virgins, children, women, kill and exterminate them all. But do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead. Begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the old men in front of the Temple. He said to them, ‘Defile the Temple; fill the courts with corpses, and go.’ They went out and hacked their way through the city.
  While they were hacking them down, I stayed behind; I fell face downwards and exclaimed, ‘Ah, Lord, are you going to annihilate all that is left of Israel as you turn your anger on Jerusalem?’ He said, ‘The guilt of the House of Israel and Judah is immense, boundless; the country is full of bloodshed, the city overflows with wickedness, for they say, “The Lord has abandoned the country, the Lord cannot see.” Right, then, I too will show no pity, I too will not spare. I mean to call them to account for all their behaviour.’ The man in white with the scribe’s ink horn in his belt then came back and made his report, ‘I have carried out your orders.’
Mt 24:15,21-22; Rv 7:3
℟. When you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the holy place, there will be a time of great distress. If that time were not cut short, no living thing could survive;* but for the sake of God’s chosen that time of trouble will be cut short.
℣. Do no damage to sea or land until we have set the seal of our God upon the foreheads of his servants;* but for the sake of God’s chosen that time of trouble will be cut short.

Second Reading
A sermon of St Augustine on the anniversary of his ordination
For you I am a bishop, with you I am a Christian
From the moment this burden, about which such a difficult account has to be rendered, was placed on my shoulders, anxiety about the honour shown to me has always haunted me. What is to be dreaded about the office I hold, if not that I may take more pleasure (which is so dangerous) in the honour shown to me than in what bears fruit in your salvation? Whenever I am terrified by what I am for you, I am given comfort by what I am with you. For you I am a bishop, but with you I am, after all, a Christian. The former signifies an office undertaken, the latter, grace; the former is a name for danger, the latter a name for salvation.
  Finally, as if on the open sea, I am being tossed about by the stormy activity involved in being a bishop; but as I recall by whose blood I have been redeemed, I enter a safe harbour in the tranquil recollection of being a Christian. Thus, while toiling away at my own proper office, I take my rest in the marvellous benefit conferred on us all in common. So I hope that the fact that I have been bought, together with you, gives me more pleasure than my having been placed at your head; then, as the Lord has commanded, I will be more effectively your servant, and be preserved from ingratitude for the price for which I was bought to be, not too unworthily, your fellow-servant. I am certainly obliged to love the Redeemer, and I know what he said to Peter: Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep. Once he said it, twice, a third time. Love was being questioned and toil demanded, because where the love is greater, the work is less of a burden.
  What shall I pay back to the Lord for all that he has paid back to me? If I say that I am paying back by herding his sheep, even then it is not I who am doing it, but the grace of God within me. So when can I be found to be paying back to him, if he is always there before me? And yet, because we give our love freely, because we are herding his sheep, we look for a reward. How can this be? How can it be consistent to say “I give my love freely, which is why I am herding sheep” and at the same time “I request a reward because I am herding sheep”? This could not possibly happen: in no way at all could a reward be sought from one who is loved freely, unless the reward actually were the very one who is being loved. I mean, if what we are paying back for his having redeemed us is our herding his sheep, being his shepherds, what are we paying back for the fact of his having made us shepherds? Being bad shepherds, you see (may God preserve us from it) is something that we are through our own badness, whereas being good shepherds (God grant it may be so!) is something that can come only through his grace. So it is, my brethren, that we command and implore you not to receive the grace of God in vain. Make my ministry fruitful. You are God’s agriculture. From the outside, receive the work of the planter and the waterer; but from the inside, receive the work of the One who makes you grow. Please, give me your help by both your prayers and your obedience, so that I may find my delight not in being in charge of you but in being of use to you.
℟. Januarius was a true martyr, who shed his blood for the name of Christ. He had no worldly ambitions, nor was he afraid of the threats of magistrates,* and he has now attained the kingdom of heaven.
℣. The Lord guided him on a straight path and showed him that God is king,* and he has now attained the kingdom of heaven.

Let us pray.
Lord God,
  as, by your grace, we keep the memory of Saint Januarius,
grant that we may share with him
  the eternal joy you have promised us.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

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

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