Universalis
Monday 27 March 2017    (other days)
Monday of the 4th 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.


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.

Hymn
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 72 (73)
Why should the just suffer?
How good God is to Israel, to those who are pure of heart.
How good God is to the upright,
  to those who are pure of heart!
But as for me, my feet nearly stumbled,
  my steps were on the point of going astray,
as I envied the boasters and sinners,
  envied their comfort and peace.
For them there are no burdens,
  their bellies are full and sleek.
They do not labour, like ordinary men;
  they do not suffer, like mortals.
They wear their pride like a necklace,
  their violence covers them like a robe.
Wickedness oozes from their very being,
  the thoughts of their hearts break forth:
they deride, they utter abominations,
  and from their heights they proclaim injustice.
They have set their mouth in the heavens,
  and their tongue traverses the earth.
Thus they sit in their lofty positions,
  and the flood-waters cannot reach them.
They ask, “How can God know?
  Does the Most High have any understanding?”
Behold, then, the wicked, always prosperous:
  their riches growing 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.
How good God is to Israel, to those who are pure of heart.

Psalm 72 (73)
Their rejoicing will be turned to weeping, their joy to sorrow.
I said, “It was pointless to purify my heart,
  to wash my hands in innocence –
for still I suffered all through the day,
  still I was punished every morning.”
If I had said, “I will speak like them,”
  I would have betrayed the race of your children.
I pondered and tried to understand:
  my eyes laboured to see –
until I entered God’s holy place
  and heard how they would end.
For indeed you have put them on a slippery surface
  and have thrown them down in ruin.
How they are laid waste!
  How suddenly they fall and perish in terror!
You spurn the sight of them, Lord,
  as a dream is abandoned when the sleeper awakes.
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.
Their rejoicing will be turned to weeping, their joy to sorrow.

Psalm 72 (73)
All those who abandon you shall perish; but to be near God is my happiness.
My heart was sore, my being was troubled –
  I was a fool, I knew nothing;
  I was like a dumb beast before you.
But still I stay with you:
  you hold my right hand.
You lead me according to your counsel,
  until you raise me up in glory.
For who else is for me, in heaven?
  On earth, I want nothing when I am with you.
My flesh and heart are failing,
  but it is God that I love:
  God is my portion for ever.
Behold, those who abandon you will perish:
  you have condemned all who go whoring away from you.
But for myself, I take joy in clinging to God,
  in putting my trust in the Lord, my God,
to proclaim your works at the gates of the daughters of Zion.
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.
All those who abandon you shall perish; but to be near God is my happiness.

Repent and believe in the Good News,
for the kingdom of God is close at hand.

First Reading
Leviticus 16:2-28 ©
The day of atonement
The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:
  ‘Tell Aaron your brother that he must not enter the sanctuary beyond the veil, in front of the throne of mercy that is over the ark, whenever he chooses. He may die; for I appear in a cloud on the throne of mercy.
  ‘This is how he is to enter the sanctuary: with a young bull for a sacrifice for sin and a ram for a holocaust. He is to put on a tunic of consecrated linen, wear linen on his body, a linen girdle round his waist, and a linen turban on his head. These are the sacred vestments he must put on after washing himself with water.
  ‘He is to receive two goats for a sacrifice for sin and a ram for a holocaust from the community of the sons of Israel. After offering the bull as a sacrifice for his own sin and performing the rite of atonement for himself and his family, Aaron must take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to draw lots for the two goats and allot one to the Lord and the other to Azazel. Aaron is to offer up the goat whose lot was marked “For the Lord,” and offer it as a sacrifice for sin. The goat whose lot was marked “For Azazel” shall be set before the Lord, still alive, to perform the rite of atonement over it, sending it out into the desert to Azazel.
  ‘Aaron must offer the bull which is to be a sacrifice for his own sin, then he must perform the rite of atonement for himself and for his family, and immolate the bull. Then he is to fill a censer with live coals from the altar that stands before the Lord; and to take two handfuls of finely ground aromatic incense. He is to take these through the veil and then to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and with a cloud of incense he must cover the throne of mercy that is on the Testimony; if he does this, he shall not die. Then he must take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the eastern side of the throne of mercy; in front of the throne of mercy he must sprinkle this blood seven times with his finger.
  ‘He must then immolate the goat for the sacrifice for the sin of the people, and take its blood through the veil. With this blood he is to do as with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it on the throne of mercy and in front of it. This is how he is to perform the rite of atonement over the sanctuary for the uncleanness of the sons of Israel, for their transgressions and for all their sins.
  ‘This also is how he must deal with the Tent of Meeting which remains with them, surrounded by their uncleanness. Let no one stay in the Tent of Meeting, from the moment he enters to make atonement in the sanctuary until the time he comes out.
  ‘When he has made atonement for himself, for his family, and for the whole community of Israel, he is to come out and go to the altar which is before the Lord, and perform over it the rite of atonement. He must take some of the blood of the bull and of the goat, and put it on the horns around the altar. With this blood he must sprinkle the altar seven times with his finger. This is how he will render it clean and sacred, purified and separated from the uncleannesses of the sons of Israel.
  ‘When the atonement of the sanctuary, the Tent of Meeting and the altar is complete, he is to bring the other goat that is still alive. Aaron must lay his hands on its head and confess all the faults of the sons of Israel, all their transgressions and all their sins, and lay them to its charge. Having thus laid them on the goat’s head, he shall send it out into the desert led by a man waiting ready, and the goat will bear all their faults away with it into a desert place.
  ‘When he has sent the goat out into the wilderness, Aaron is to return to the Tent of Meeting and remove the linen vestments he wore to enter the sanctuary. He must leave them there and wash his body in a consecrated place. Then he is to put the vestments on again and go out to offer his own and the people’s holocaust. He must perform the rite of atonement for himself and for the people; he must burn up the fat of the sacrifice for sin on the altar.
  ‘The man who leads out the goat to Azazel must wash his clothing and his body, and then he can return to the camp. The bull and the goat offered as a sacrifice for sin, whose blood has been taken into the sanctuary for the rite of atonement, are to be taken out of the camp where their skin, flesh and dung are to be burnt. The man who burns them must wash his clothing and his body, and then he can return to the camp.
Responsory
℟. Christ, the high priest of all the blessings which were to come, has entered the sanctuary once and for all,* taking with him not the blood of goats and calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us.
℣. The sanctuary into which Jesus entered is not one made by human hands: he has entered heaven itself,* taking with him not the blood of goats and calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us.

Second Reading
From a homily on Leviticus by Origen, priest
Christ the High Priest makes atonement for our sins
Once a year the high priest, leaving the people outside, entered that place where no one except the high priest might enter. In it was the mercy-seat, and above the mercy-seat the cherubim, as well as the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense.
  Let me turn to my true high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. In our human nature he spent the whole year in the company of the people, the year that he spoke of when he said: He sent me to bring good news to the poor, to announce the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of forgiveness. Notice how once in that year, on the day of atonement, he enters into the holy of holies. Having fulfilled God’s plan, he passes through the heavens and enters into the presence of the Father to make him turn in mercy to the human race and to pray for all who believe in him.
  John the apostle, knowing of the atonement that Christ makes to the Father for all men, says this: Little children, I say these things so that you may not sin. But if we have sinned we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the just one. He is the atonement for our sins in his blood, through faith. We have then a day of atonement that remains until the world comes to an end.
  God’s word tells us: The high priest shall put incense on the fire in the sight of the Lord. The smoke of the incense shall cover the mercy-seat above the tokens of the covenant, so that he may not die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull-calf and sprinkle it with his finger over the mercy-seat toward the east.
  God taught the people of the old covenant how to celebrate the ritual offered to him in atonement for the sins of men. But you have come to Christ, the true high priest. Through his blood he has made God turn to you in mercy and has reconciled you with the Father. You must not think simply of ordinary blood but you must learn to recognise instead the blood of the Word. Listen to him as he tells you: This is my blood, which will be shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
  There is a deeper meaning in the fact that the high priest sprinkles the blood toward the east. Atonement comes to you from the east. From the east comes the one whose name is Dayspring, he who is mediator between God and men. You are invited then to look always to the east: it is there that the sun of righteousness rises for you, it is there that the light is always being born for you. You are never to walk in darkness; the great and final day is not to enfold you in darkness. Do not let the night and mist of ignorance steal upon you. So that you may always enjoy the light of knowledge, keep always in the daylight of faith, hold fast always to the light of love and peace.
Responsory
℟. Jesus has entered heaven before us and on our behalf, a lamb without blemish:* he has become high priest of the order of Melchizedek, for ever and ever.
℣. He is the King of Righteousness, whose descendants will have no end.* He has become high priest of the order of Melchizedek, for ever and ever.

Let us pray.
Lord God, you give the world new life
  by mysteries which are beyond our grasp.
May your Church not be deprived of earthly help
  while she makes progress by the strength of these eternal gifts.
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.

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