Universalis
Thursday 27 November 2014    (other days)

 or Thursday of week 34 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
Where true love is dwelling, God is dwelling there:
Love’s own loving Presence love does ever share.
Love of Christ has made us out of many one;
In our midst is dwelling God’s eternal Son.
Give him joyful welcome, love him and revere:
Cherish one another with a love sincere.

Psalm 43 (44)
In time of defeat
It was you who saved us, Lord: we will praise your name without ceasing.
Our own ears have heard, O God,
  and our fathers have proclaimed it to us,
  what you did in their days, the days of old:
how with your own hand you swept aside the nations
  and put us in their place,
  struck them down to make room for us.
It was not by their own swords that our fathers took over the land,
  it was not their own strength that gave them victory;
but your hand and your strength,
  the light of your face,
  for you were pleased in them.
You are my God and my king,
  who take care for the safety of Jacob.
Through you we cast down your enemies;
  in your name we crushed those who rose against us.
I will not put my hopes in my bow,
  my sword will not bring me to safety;
for it was you who saved us from our afflictions,
  you who set confusion among those who hated us.
We will glory in the Lord all the day,
  and proclaim your name for all ages.
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.
It was you who saved us, Lord: we will praise your name without ceasing.

Psalm 43 (44)
Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.
But now, God, you have spurned us and confounded us,
  so that we must go into battle without you.
You have put us to flight in the sight of our enemies,
  and those who hate us plunder us at will.
You have handed us over like sheep sold for food,
  you have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for no money,
  not even profiting by the exchange.
You have made us the laughing-stock of our neighbours,
  mocked and derided by those who surround us.
The nations have made us a by-word,
  the peoples toss their heads in scorn.
All the day I am ashamed,
  I blush with shame
as they reproach me and revile me,
  my enemies and my persecutors.
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.
Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.

Psalm 43 (44)
Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.
All this happened to us,
  but not because we had forgotten you.
We were not disloyal to your covenant;
  our hearts did not turn away;
  our steps did not wander from your path;
and yet you brought us low,
  with horrors all about us:
  you overwhelmed us in the shadows of death.
If we had forgotten the name of our God,
  if we had spread out our hands before an alien god —
would God not have known?
  He knows what is hidden in our hearts.
It is for your sake that we face death all the day,
  that we are reckoned as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, Lord, why do you sleep?
  Rise up, do not always reject us.
Why do you turn away your face?
  How can you forget our poverty and our tribulation?
Our souls are crushed into the dust,
  our bodies dragged down to the earth.
Rise up, Lord, and help us.
  In your mercy, redeem 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.
Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.

Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.

First Reading2 Peter 2:9-22 ©
The Lord can rescue the good from the ordeal, and hold the wicked for their punishment until the day of Judgement, especially those who are governed by their corrupt bodily desires and have no respect for authority.
  Such self-willed people with no reverence are not afraid of offending against the glorious ones, but the angels in their greater strength and power make no complaint or accusation against them in front of the Lord. All the same, these people who only insult anything that they do not understand are not reasoning beings, but simply animals born to be caught and killed, and they will quite certainly destroy themselves by their own work of destruction, and get their reward of evil for the evil that they do. They are unsightly blots on your society: men whose only object is dissipation all day long, and they amuse themselves deceiving you even when they are your guests at a meal; with their eyes always looking for adultery; men with an infinite capacity for sinning, they will seduce any soul which is at all unstable. Greed is the one lesson their minds have learnt. They are under a curse. They have left the right path and wandered off to follow the path of Balaam son of Beor, who thought he could profit best by sinning, until he was called to order for his faults. The dumb donkey put a stop to that prophet’s madness when it talked like a man. People like this are dried-up rivers, fogs swirling in the wind, and the dark underworld is the place reserved for them. With their high-flown talk, which is all hollow, they tempt back the ones who have only just escaped from paganism, playing on their bodily desires with debaucheries. They may promise freedom but they themselves are slaves, slaves to corruption; because if anyone lets himself be dominated by anything, then he is a slave to it; and anyone who has escaped the pollution of the world once by coming to know our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, and who then allows himself to be entangled by it a second time and mastered, will end up in a worse state than he began in. It would even have been better for him never to have learnt the way of holiness, than to know it and afterwards desert the holy rule that was entrusted to him. What he has done is exactly as the proverb rightly says: The dog goes back to his own vomit and: When the sow has been washed, it wallows in the mud.
Responsory
All that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure – fill all your thoughts with these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Be alert; stand firm in the faith; be valiant and strong, and the God of peace will be with you.

Second Reading
A homily by St John Chrysostom
If we are sheep, we overcome; if wolves, we are overcome
As long as we are sheep, we overcome and, though surrounded by countless wolves, we emerge victorious; but if we turn into wolves, we are overcome, for we lose the shepherd’s help. He, after all, feeds the sheep not wolves, and will abandon you if you do not let him show his power in you.
  What he says is this: “Do not be upset that, as I send you out among the wolves, I bid you be as sheep and doves. I could have managed things quite differently and sent you, not to suffer evil nor to yield like sheep to the wolves, but to be fiercer than lions. But the way I have chosen is right. It will bring you greater praise and at the same time manifest my power.” That is what he told Paul: My grace is enough for you, for in weakness my power is made perfect. “I intend,” he says, “to deal in the same way with you.” For, when he says, I am sending you out like sheep, he implies: “But do not therefore lose heart, for I know and am certain that no one will be able to overcome you.”
  The Lord, however, does want them to contribute something, lest everything seem to be the work of grace, and they seem to win their reward without deserving it. Therefore he adds: You must be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. But, they may object, what good is our cleverness amid so many dangers? How can we be clever when tossed about by so many waves? However great the cleverness of the sheep as he stands among the wolves – so many wolves! – what can it accomplish? However great the innocence of the dove, what good does it do him, with so many hawks swooping upon him? To all this I say: Cleverness and innocence admittedly do these irrational creatures no good, but they can help you greatly.
  What cleverness is the Lord requiring here? The cleverness of a snake. A snake will surrender everything and will put up no great resistance even if its body is being cut in pieces, provided it can save its head. So you, the Lord is saying, must surrender everything but your faith: money, body, even life itself. For faith is the head and the root; keep that, and though you lose all else, you will get it back in abundance. The Lord therefore counselled the disciples to be not simply clever or innocent; rather he joined the two qualities so that they become a genuine virtue. He insisted on the cleverness of the snake so that deadly wounds might be avoided, and he insisted on the innocence of the dove so that revenge might not be taken on those who injure or lay traps for you. Cleverness is useless without innocence.
  Do not believe that this precept is beyond your power. More than anyone else, the Lord knows the true natures of created things; he knows that moderation, not a fierce defence, beats back a fierce attack.
Responsory
Remember that I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, says the Lord. Be cunning as serpents and harmless as doves.
While you still have the light, believe in the light and you will become sons of light. Be cunning as serpents and harmless as doves.

Let us pray.
Lord, strengthen the wills of your people
  to be more active in doing good works,
and so gain from your loving-kindness
  more abundant healing.
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.

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