Universalis
Friday 20 January 2017    (other days)
Saint Sebastian, Martyr 
 (Friday of week 2 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 37 (38)
The plea of a sinner in great peril
Do not punish me, Lord, in your rage.
Lord, do not rebuke me in your wrath,
  do not ruin me in your anger:
for I am pierced by your arrows
  and crushed beneath your hand.
In the face of your anger
  there is no health in my body.
There is no peace for my bones,
  no rest from my sins.
My transgressions rise higher than my head:
  a heavy burden, they weigh me down.
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 punish me, Lord, in your rage.

Psalm 37 (38)
O Lord, you know all my longing.
My wounds are corruption and decay
  because of my foolishness.
I am bowed down and bent,
  bent under grief all day long.
For a fire burns up my loins,
  and there is no health in my body.
I am afflicted, utterly cast down,
  I cry out from the sadness of my heart.
Lord, all that I desire is known to you;
  my sighs are not hidden from you.
My heart grows weak, my strength leaves me,
  and the light of my eyes – even that has gone.
My friends and my neighbours
  keep far from my wounds.
Those closest to me keep far away,
  while those who would kill me set traps,
  those who would harm me make their plots:
  they plan mischief all through the day.
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.
O Lord, you know all my longing.

Psalm 37 (38)
I confess my guilt to you, Lord; do not forsake me, my saviour.
But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
  like one who is dumb, I do not open my mouth.
I am like someone who cannot hear,
  in whose mouth there is no reply.
For in you, Lord, I put my trust:
  you will listen to me, Lord, my God.
For I have said, “Let them never triumph over me:
  if my feet stumble, they will gloat.”
For I am ready to fall:
  my suffering is before me always.
For I shall proclaim my wrongdoing:
  I am anxious because of my sins.
All the time my enemies live and grow stronger;
  they are so many, those who hate me without cause.
Returning evil for good they dragged me down,
  because I followed the way of goodness.
Do not abandon me, Lord:
  my God, do not leave me.
Hurry to my aid,
  O Lord, my saviour.
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.
I confess my guilt to you, Lord; do not forsake me, my saviour.

My eyes are weary with longing for your salvation
and for your words of justice.

First Reading
Deuteronomy 10:12-11:9,26-28 ©
Choose God alone
These are the words that Moses spoke beyond Jordan to the whole of Israel:
  ‘Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you? Only this: to fear the Lord your God, to follow all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and laws of the Lord that for your good I lay down for you today.
  ‘To the Lord your God belong indeed heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth and all it contains; yet it was on your fathers that the Lord set his heart for love of them, and after them of all the nations chose their descendants, you yourselves, up to the present day. Circumcise your heart then and be obstinate no longer; for the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, triumphant and terrible, never partial, never to be bribed. It is he who sees justice done for the orphan and the widow, who loves the stranger and gives him food and clothing. Love the stranger then, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. It is the Lord your God you must fear and serve; you must cling to him; in his name take your oaths. He it is you must praise, he is your God: for you he has done these great and terrible things you have seen with your own eyes; and though your fathers numbered only seventy when they went down to Egypt, the Lord your God has made you as many as the stars of heaven.
  ‘You must love the Lord your God and always keep his injunctions, his laws, his customs, his commandments. Mark, this day, how it was you who received the instruction, not your sons. They have not known or seen the lessons of the Lord your God, his greatness, the might of his hand, the strength of his arm, the signs and the deeds he performed in Egypt itself against Pharaoh and all his land; what he did to the armies of Egypt, to their horses and their chariots, how he poured the waters of the Sea of Reeds over them as they pursued you, leaving no trace of them to this day; what he did for you in the wilderness before you reached this place; what he did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab the Reubenite, how, right in the midst of all Israel, the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them with their households, their tents and all their retinue. It is your eyes that have seen all this great work that the Lord has done.
  ‘You must keep all the commandments I enjoin on you today, so that you may have the strength to conquer the land into which you are to cross to make it your own, and to live long in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers and their descendants, a land where milk and honey flow.
  ‘See, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: a blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord our God that I enjoin on you today; a curse, if you disobey the commandments of the Lord your God and leave the way I have marked out for you today, by going after other gods you have not known.’
Responsory
℟. We are to love God, because he loved us first. This is what loving God is – keeping his commandments;* and his commandments are not difficult.
℣. When anyone obeys what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him;* and his commandments are not difficult.

Second Reading
From an exposition of psalm 118 by Saint Ambrose, bishop
Faithful witnessing to Christ
To enter the kingdom of God we must endure many tribulations. If there are many persecutions, there are many testings; where there are many crowns of victory, there are many trials of strength. It is then to your advantage if there are many persecutors; among many persecutions you may more easily find a path to victory.
  Take the example of the martyr Sebastian, whose birthday in glory we celebrate today. He was a native of Milan. At a time when persecution either had ceased or had not yet begun or was of a milder kind, he realised that there was only slight, if any, opportunity for suffering. He set out for Rome, where bitter persecutions were raging because of the fervour of the Christians. There he endured suffering; there he gained his crown. He went to the city as a stranger and there established a home of undying glory. If there had been only one persecutor, he would not have gained a martyr’s crown.
  The persecutors who are visible are not the only ones. There are also invisible persecutors, much greater in number. This is more serious. Like a king bent on persecution, sending orders to persecute to his many agents, and establishing different persecutors in each city or province, the devil directs his many servants in their work of persecution, whether in public or in the souls of individuals. Of this kind of persecution Scripture says: All who wish to live a holy life in Christ Jesus suffer persecution. “All” suffer persecution; there is no exception. Who can claim exemption if the Lord himself endured the testing of persecution? How many there are today who are secret martyrs for Christ, giving testimony to Jesus as Lord! The Apostle knew this kind of martyrdom, this faithful witnessing to Christ; he said: This is our boast, the testimony of our conscience.
Responsory
℟. Fearless in the sight of wicked men, this saint died in defence of the law of God,* for he was built on rock.
℣. This is he who rejected the life of this world and gained the kingdom of heaven,* for he was built on rock.

Let us pray.
Grant us, Lord, the spirit of fortitude.
Teach us, by the example of Saint Sebastian,
  to render obedience to you rather than to men.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and 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.

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