Universalis
Saturday 29 August 2015    (other days)
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
 (Saturday of week 21 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
How great the tale, that there should be,
In God’s Son’s heart, a place for me!
That on a sinner’s lips like mine
The cross of Jesus Christ should shine!
Christ Jesus, bend me to thy will,
My feet to urge, my griefs to still;
That e’en my flesh and blood may be
A temple sanctified to Thee.
No rest, no calm my soul may win,
Because my body craves to sin;
Till thou, dear Lord, thyself impart
Peace on my head, light in my heart.
May consecration come from far,
Soft shining like the evening star.
My toilsome path make plain to me,
Until I come to rest in thee.

Psalm 130 (131)
Childlike trust in God
Whoever humbles himself like a little child will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.
Lord, I do not puff myself up or stare about,
  or walk among the great or seek wonders beyond me.
Truly calm and quiet I have made my spirit:
  quiet as a weaned child in its mother’s arms –
  like an infant is my soul.
Let Israel hope in the Lord, now and for all time.
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.
Whoever humbles himself like a little child will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.

Psalm 131 (132)
God's promise to the house of David
With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully, O my God.
Lord, remember David
  and how he served you.
He swore to the Lord,
  vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not go into my tent, my home,
  nor go up to my bed of rest;
I will not let my eyes sleep
  or my eyelids grow heavy
until I have found a place for the Lord,
  a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We heard that it was in Ephratha,
  we found it in the plains of Jaar.
So let us go into his dwelling-place
  and let us worship before his footstool.
Rise up, Lord, and come to your place of rest.
  Come with the Ark of your power.
Let your priests be robed in your justice,
  and let your chosen ones rejoice.
Remember what David did for you,
  and do not turn your face from your Anointed.
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.
With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully, O my God.

Psalm 131 (132)
The Lord swore an oath to David and he will not go back on his word; he made his kingdom firm for ever.
The Lord swore David a true oath,
  he will not go back on his word:
“The fruit of your body
  I will place on your throne.
If your children keep my covenant and the commands I teach them,
  their children’s children will occupy your throne for ever.”
For the Lord has chosen Zion,
  taken it for his dwelling-place:
“Here will I take my rest for all time:
  here will I live, such is my desire.
I will bless its crops with my blessing,
  I will fill its poor with bread.
I will clothe its priests with righteousness.
  Its chosen ones will exult with joy.
There will I plant the sign of David,
  and prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
I will wrap his enemies in confusion,
  but over his head my crown will shine.
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 swore an oath to David and he will not go back on his word; he made his kingdom firm for ever.

Come and see the works of the Lord,
who has done wonders on the earth.

First ReadingJeremiah 7:1-20 ©
The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord:
  ‘Go and stand at the gate of the Temple of the Lord and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship the Lord. The Lord Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will stay with you here in this place. Put no trust in delusive words like these: This is the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord! But if you do amend your behaviour and your actions, if you treat each other fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow (if you do not shed innocent blood in this place), and if you do not follow alien gods, to your own ruin, then here in this place I will stay with you, in the land that long ago I gave to your fathers for ever. Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know? – and then come presenting yourselves in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe – safe to go on committing all these abominations! Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind – it is the Lord who speaks.
  ‘“Now go to my place in Shiloh where at first I gave my name a home; see what I have done to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel! And now, since you have committed all these sins – it is the Lord who speaks – and have refused to listen when I spoke so urgently, so persistently, or to answer when I called you, I will treat this Temple that bears my name, and in which you put your trust, and the place I have given to you and your ancestors, just as I treated Shiloh. I will drive you out of my sight, as I drove all your kinsmen, the entire race of Ephraim.”
  ‘You, for your part, must not intercede for this people, nor raise either plea or prayer on their behalf; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. Cannot you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children collect the wood, the fathers light the fire, the women knead the dough, to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven; and, to spite me, they pour libations to alien gods. Is it really me they spite – it is the Lord who speaks –-is it not in fact themselves, to their own confusion? Therefore, the Lord says this: My anger and my wrath shall be poured out on this place, over man and beast, trees of the countryside, fruits of the soil; it shall burn, and not be quenched.’
Responsory
Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.
You must not turn my Father’s house into a market-place. My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

Second Reading
From a homily by St. Bede the Venerable, priest
Precursor of Christ in birth and death
As forerunner of our Lord’s birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven. In the words of Scripture: Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality. We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendour of his own blood. We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom the testimony which he delivered on behalf of our Lord.
  There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: I am the truth? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.
  Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.
  Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men; he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. John was baptized in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptize the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him, and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.
  Since death was ever near at hand through the inescapable necessity of nature, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake. He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.
Responsory
King Herod ordered John’s arrest and had him chained and put in prison. Herod did this because of Herodias, whom he had married even though she was the wife of his brother Philip.
The king sent off a guard and had John’s head cut off in prison. Herod did this because of Herodias, whom he had married even though she was the wife of his brother Philip.

Let us pray.
God our Father,
  you appointed St John the Baptist
  to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ your Son.
Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth,
  so we also may courageously bear witness to your word.
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.

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