Wednesday 21 March 2018    (other days)
Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent 

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.

Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering overpast,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.

Psalm 17 (18)
Thanksgiving for salvation and victory
I love you, Lord, my strength.
I will love you, Lord, my strength:
  Lord, you are my foundation and my refuge,
  you set me free.
My God is my help: I will put my hope in him,
  my protector, my sign of salvation,
  the one who raises me up.
I will call on the Lord – praise be to his name –
  and I will be saved from my enemies.
The waves of death flooded round me,
  the torrents of Belial tossed me about,
the cords of the underworld wound round me,
  death’s traps opened before me.
In my distress I called on the Lord,
  I cried out to my God:
from his temple he heard my voice,
  my cry to him came to his ears.
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.
I love you, Lord, my strength.

Psalm 17 (18)
The Lord saved me because he loved me.
The earth moved and shook,
  at the coming of his anger the roots of the mountains rocked
  and were shaken.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
  consuming fire came from his mouth,
  from it came forth flaming coals.
He bowed down the heavens and descended,
  storm clouds were at his feet.
He rode on the cherubim and flew,
  he travelled on the wings of the wind.
He made dark clouds his covering;
  his dwelling-place, dark waters and clouds of the air.
The cloud-masses were split by his lightnings,
  hail fell, hail and coals of fire.
The Lord thundered from the heavens,
  the Most High let his voice be heard,
  with hail and coals of fire.
He shot his arrows and scattered them,
  hurled thunderbolts and threw them into confusion.
The depths of the oceans were laid bare,
  the foundations of the globe were revealed,
at the sound of your anger, O Lord,
  at the onset of the gale of your wrath.
He reached from on high and took me up,
  he lifted me from the many waters.
He snatched me from my powerful enemies,
  from those who hate me, for they were too strong for me.
They attacked me in my time of trouble,
  but the Lord was my support.
He led me to the open spaces,
  he was my deliverance, for he held me in favour.
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.
The Lord saved me because he loved me.

Psalm 17 (18)
You, O Lord, are my lamp, my God who lightens my darkness.
The Lord rewards me according to my uprightness,
  he repays me according to the purity of my hands,
for I have kept to the paths of the Lord
  and have not departed wickedly from my God.
For I keep all his decrees in my sight,
  and I will not reject his judgements;
I am stainless before him,
  I have kept myself away from evil.
And so the Lord has rewarded me according to my uprightness,
  according to the purity of my hands in his sight.
You will be holy with the holy,
  kind with the kind,
with the chosen you will be chosen,
  but with the crooked you will show your cunning.
For you will bring salvation to a lowly people
  but make the proud ashamed.
For you light my lamp, O Lord;
  my God brings light to my darkness.
For with you I will attack the enemy’s squadrons;
  with my God I will leap over their wall.
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, O Lord, are my lamp, my God who lightens my darkness.

Repent and do penance.
Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

First ReadingHebrews 6:9-20 ©
God’s fidelity is our hope
You, my dear people – in spite of what we have just said, we are sure you are in a better state and on the way to salvation. God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love that you have for his name or the services you have done, and are still doing, for the saints. Our one desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same earnestness to the end, to the perfect fulfilment of our hopes, never growing careless, but imitating those who have the faith and the perseverance to inherit the promises.
  When God made the promise to Abraham, he swore by his own self, since it was impossible for him to swear by anyone greater: I will shower blessings on you and give you many descendants. Because of that, Abraham persevered and saw the promise fulfilled. Men, of course, swear an oath by something greater than themselves, and between men, confirmation by an oath puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God wanted to make the heirs to the promise thoroughly realise that his purpose was unalterable, he conveyed this by an oath; so that there would be two unalterable things in which it was impossible for God to be lying, and so that we, now we have found safety, should have a strong encouragement to take a firm grip on the hope that is held out to us. Here we have an anchor for our soul, as sure as it is firm, and reaching right through beyond the veil where Jesus has entered before us and on our behalf, to become a high priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.
Heb 6:19-20, 7:24-25
℟. Jesus has entered through the veil before us and on our behalf, to become a high priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.* He is living for ever to intercede for us.
℣. He can never lose his priesthood. It follows, then, that his power to save those who come to God through him is utterly certain.* He is living for ever to intercede for us.

Second Reading
From a commentary on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
Jesus Christ prays for us and in us and is the object of our prayers
God could give no greater gift to men than to make his Word, through whom he created all things, their head and to join them to him as his members, so that the Word might be both Son of God and son of man, one God with the Father, and one man with all men. The result is that when we speak with God in prayer we do not separate the Son from him, and when the body of the Son prays it does not separate its head from itself: it is the one Saviour of his body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who prays for us and in us and is himself the object of our prayers.
  He prays for us as our priest, he prays in us as our head, he is the object of our prayers as our God.
  Let us then recognise both our voice in his, and his voice in ours. When something is said, especially in prophecy, about the Lord Jesus Christ that seems to belong to a condition of lowliness unworthy of God, we must not hesitate to ascribe this condition to one who did not hesitate to unite himself with us. Every creature is his servant, for it was through him that every creature came to be.
  We contemplate his glory and divinity when we listen to these words: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made. Here we gaze on the divinity of the Son of God, something supremely great and surpassing all the greatness of his creatures. Yet in other parts of Scripture we hear him as one sighing, praying, giving praise and thanks.
  We hesitate to attribute these words to him because our minds are slow to come down to his humble level when we have just been contemplating him in his divinity. It is as though we were doing him an injustice in acknowledging in a man the words of one with whom we spoke when we prayed to God. We are usually at a loss and try to change the meaning. Yet our minds find nothing in Scripture that does not go back to him, nothing that will allow us to stray from him.
  Our thoughts must then be awakened to keep their vigil of faith. We must realise that the one whom we were contemplating a short time before in his nature as God took to himself the nature of a servant; he was made in the likeness of men and found to be a man like others; he humbled himself by being obedient even to accepting death; as he hung on the cross he made the psalmist’s words his own: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  We pray to him as God, he prays for us as a servant. In the first case he is the Creator, in the second a creature. Himself unchanged, he took to himself our created nature in order to change it, and made us one man with himself, head and body. We pray then to him, through him, in him, and we speak along with him and he along with us.
℟. So far you have asked nothing in my name.* Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.
℣. I tell you the truth: my Father will give you anything you ask of him in my name.* Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.

Let us pray.
God of mercy,
  shed your light on hearts that have been purified by penance,
and in your goodness give us a favourable hearing
  when you move us to pray.
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.

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.

You can also view this page in Latin and English.

Copyright © 1996-2018 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.
This web site © Copyright 1996-2018 Universalis Publishing Ltd (contact us) Cookies