Universalis
Saturday 20 January 2018    (other days)
Saint Sebastian, Martyr 
 or Saturday of week 2 in Ordinary Time 
 or Saint Fabian, Pope, Martyr 
 or Saturday memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

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
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great Name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish, like leaves on the tree,
Then wither and perish; but naught changeth thee.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
‘Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

Psalm 135 (136)
A paschal hymn
The Lord alone has wrought marvellous works, for his love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
  for his love is for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
  for his love is for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
  for his love is for ever.
He alone works wonders,
  for his love is for ever.
In his wisdom he made the heavens,
  for his love is for ever.
He set the Earth upon the waters,
  for his love is for ever.
He created the great lights,
  for his love is for ever.
The sun, to rule over the day,
  for his love is for ever.
The moon and stars, to rule over the night,
  for his love is for ever.
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 alone has wrought marvellous works, for his love endures for ever.

Psalm 135 (136)
He brought Israel out from Egypt, with arm outstretched, with power in his hand.
He struck down the first-born of Egypt,
  for his love is for ever.
He led Israel out from their midst,
  for his love is for ever.
With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
  for his love is for ever.
He divided the Red Sea in two,
  for his love is for ever.
He led Israel out through the sea,
  for his love is for ever.
He overthrew Pharaoh and his army,
  for his love is for ever.
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.
He brought Israel out from Egypt, with arm outstretched, with power in his hand.

Psalm 135 (136)
To the Lord of heaven give thanks: he set us free from our foes.
He led his people through the wilderness,
  for his love is for ever.
He struck down great kings,
  for his love is for ever.
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
  for his love is for ever.
And Og, the king of Bashan,
  for his love is for ever.
He gave their land to his people,
  for his love is for ever.
A heritage for Israel his servant,
  for his love is for ever.
He remembered us in our affliction,
  for his love is for ever.
He rescued us from our enemies,
  for his love is for ever.
He gives food to all creatures that live,
  for his love is for ever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
  for his love is for ever.
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.
To the Lord of heaven give thanks: he set us free from our foes.

Lord, show me your ways,
and teach me your paths.

First Reading
Deuteronomy 16:1-17 ©
The feasts of Israel
Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover for the Lord your God, because it was in the month of Abib that the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. You must sacrifice a passover from your flock or herd for the Lord your God in the place where the Lord chooses to give his name a home. You must not eat leavened bread with this; for seven days you must eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of emergency, for it was in great haste that you came out of the land of Egypt; so you will remember, all the days of your life, the day you came out of the land of Egypt. For seven days no leaven must be found in any house throughout your territory, nor must any of the meat that you sacrifice in the evening of the first day be kept overnight until morning. You may not sacrifice the passover in any of the towns that the Lord your God gives you; but only in the place where the Lord your God chooses to give his name a home, there you must sacrifice the passover, in the evening at sunset, at the hour at which you came out of Egypt. You must cook it and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses, and in the morning you are to return and go to your tents. For six days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the seventh day there shall be an assembly for the Lord your God; and you must do no work.
  You are to count seven weeks, counting these seven weeks from the time you begin to put your sickle into the standing corn. You must then celebrate the feast of weeks for the Lord your God with the gift of a voluntary offering from your hand in proportion to the way that the Lord your God has blessed you. You must rejoice in the presence of the Lord your God in the place where the Lord your God chooses to give his name a home, you and your son and daughter, your serving men and women, the Levite who lives in your towns, the stranger, the orphan and the widow who live among you. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and carefully observe these laws.
  You must celebrate the feast of Tabernacles for seven days, at the time when you gather in the produce of your threshing-floor and winepress. You must rejoice at your feast, you and your son and daughter, your serving men and women, the Levite, the stranger, the orphan and the widow who live in your towns. For seven days you are to celebrate the feast for the Lord your God in the place the Lord chooses, for the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and all your handiwork, and you will be filled with joy.
  Three times a year all your menfolk are to appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses: at the feast of Unleavened Bread, at the feast of Weeks, at the feast of Tabernacles. No one must appear before the Lord empty-handed, but every man must give what he can, in proportion to the blessing that the Lord your God gives you.
Responsory
Dt 16:14-15; Na 1:15
℟. You must rejoice at your feast, you and your son and daughter, the Levite, the stranger, the orphan and the widow,* and the Lord will bless you, and you will be filled with joy.
℣. See on the mountains the feet of the herald who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah,* and the Lord will bless you, and you will be filled with joy.

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 in the unity of 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 apps, programs and downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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