Universalis
Tuesday 6 December 2016    (other days)
Saint Nicholas, Bishop 
 or Tuesday of the 2nd week of Advent 

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
The Advent of our God
  With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
  His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
  Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
  He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
  To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
  The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
  As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
  With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
  Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
  God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
  Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
  To all eternity.

Psalm 36 (37)
The fate of the evil and the righteous
Commit your life to the Lord, and he will act on your behalf.
Do not envy the wicked;
  do not be jealous of those that do evil.
They will dry up as quickly as hay;
  they will wither like the grass.
Put your trust in the Lord and do good,
  and your land and habitation will be secure.
Take your delight in the Lord,
  and he will give you what your heart desires.
Entrust your journey to the Lord, and hope in him:
  and he will act.
He will make your uprightness shine like the light,
  your judgement like the sun at noon.
Take your rest in the Lord, and hope in him:
  do not envy the one who thrives in his own way,
  the man who weaves plots.
Abstain from wrath, abandon anger:
  do not envy him who turns to evil,
for those who do evil will be destroyed,
  but those on the side of the Lord
  will inherit the earth.
A moment yet – and the sinner will be gone:
  you will look where he was and find nothing.
But the meek will inherit the land
  and delight in abundant peace.
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.
Commit your life to the Lord, and he will act on your behalf.

Psalm 36 (37)
Turn away from evil and do good: the Lord will support the just.
The wicked will plot against the righteous
  and gnash his teeth at him;
but the Lord will deride him in his turn,
  for the Lord has seen what awaits him.
The wicked have pulled out their swords,
  the wicked have drawn their bows,
to throw down the poor and the destitute,
  to murder whoever follows the straight path.
But their swords will enter their own hearts,
  and their bows will splinter.
For the righteous, the little they have is better
  than the abundant wealth of the wicked.
The limbs of the wicked will be broken
  while the Lord gives his strength to the just.
The Lord knows when the day of the perfect will come;
  and their inheritance will be eternal.
They will not be troubled in evil times,
  and in times of famine they will have more than enough.
For the wicked will perish:
  the enemies of the Lord will be like the flowers of the fields,
  and like smoke they will vanish away.
The wicked man borrows and does not return;
  but the righteous takes pity and gives.
The blessed ones of the Lord will inherit the earth,
  but those whom he curses will be cut off.
It is the Lord who strengthens the steps of man
  and chooses his path.
Even if he trips he will not fall flat,
  for the Lord is holding his hand.
I was young and I have grown old,
  but I have not seen the righteous man abandoned
  nor his children seeking for bread.
All day long he takes pity and lends,
  and his seed will be blessed.
Shun evil and do good,
  and you will live for ever.
For the Lord loves right judgement,
  and will not abandon his chosen ones.
The unjust will be destroyed for ever,
  and the seed of the wicked will be cut off,
but the righteous will inherit the earth
  and live there from age to age.
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.
Turn away from evil and do good: the Lord will support the just.

Psalm 36 (37)
Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.
The mouth of the righteous will speak wisdom,
  and his tongue will utter right judgement.
The law of his God is in his heart
  and his steps will not stumble.
The wicked man watches the just
  and seeks to kill him;
but the Lord will rescue the just man from his hands
  and not condemn the just in the time of judgement.
Put your hope in the Lord and follow his paths,
  and he will raise you up and make the land your inheritance,
  let you watch as the wicked are cut off.
I have seen the sinner triumph,
  flourish like a green cedar,
but he is gone, he is there no longer:
  I have looked for him but have not found him.
Preserve innocence, follow uprightness:
  for the future belongs to the man of peace.
The unrighteous will be destroyed altogether,
  their posterity will be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,
  and their protection in time of trouble.
The Lord will come to their help and free them,
  rescue them from the wicked and save them,
  because they have put their trust in him.
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.
Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.

A voice crying in the wilderness: prepare a way for the Lord.
Make straight the paths of our God.

First Reading
Isaiah 24:19-25:5 ©
Yes, the sluicegates above will open,
and the foundations of the earth will rock.
The earth will split into fragments,
the earth will be riven and rent.
The earth will shiver and shake,
the earth will stagger like a drunkard,
sway like a shanty;
so heavy will be its sin on it, it will fall
never to rise again.
That day, the Lord will punish
above, the armies of the sky,
below, the kings of the earth;
they will be herded together,
shut up in a dungeon,
confined in a prison
and, after long years, punished.
The moon will hide her face, the sun be ashamed,
for the Lord of Hosts will be king
on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem,
and his glory will shine in the presence of his elders.
O Lord, you are my God,
I extol you, I praise your name;
for you have carried out your excellent design,
long planned, trustworthy, true.
For you have made the town a heap of stones,
the fortified city a ruin.
The citadel of the proud is a city no longer,
it will never be rebuilt.
Hence a mighty people gives you glory,
the city of pitiless nations holds you in awe;
for you are a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in distress,
a shelter from the storm,
a shade from the heat;
while the breath of pitiless men
is like the winter storm.
Like drought in a dry land
you will repress the clamour of the proud;
like heat by the shadow of a cloud
the singing of the despots will be subdued.
Responsory
℟. O Lord, you are my God, I will exalt you.* I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things.
℣. You have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in their distress.* I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things.

Second Reading
A treatise on John by St Augustine
Let the power of love conquer the terror of death
When the Lord asks Peter if he loves him, he is asking something he already knows. Yet he does not ask only once, but a second and third time. Each time Peter’s answer is the same: You know I love you. Each time the Lord gives him the same command: Tend my sheep.
  Peter had denied Christ three times, and to counter this he must profess his faith three times. Otherwise his tongue would seem quicker to serve fear than love, and the threat of death would seem to have made him more eloquent than did the presence of life. If denying the shepherd was proof of fear, then the task of love is to tend his flock.
  When those who are tending Christ’s flock wish that the sheep were theirs rather than his, they stand convicted of loving themselves, not Christ. And the Lord’s words are a repeated admonition to them and to all who, as Paul writes sadly, are seeking their own ends, not Christ’s.
  Do you love me? Tend my sheep. Surely this means: “If you love me, your thoughts must focus on taking care of my sheep, not taking care of yourself. You must tend them as mine, not as yours; seek in them my glory, not yours; my sovereign rights, not yours; my gain, not yours. Otherwise you will find yourself among those who belong to the ‘times of peril’, those who are guilty of self-love and the other sins that go with that beginning of evils.”
  So the shepherds of Christ’s flock must never indulge in self-love; if they do they will be tending the sheep not as Christ’s but as their own. And of all vices this is the one that the shepherds must guard against most earnestly: seeking their own purposes instead of Christ’s, furthering their own desires by means of those persons for whom Christ shed his blood.
  The love of Christ ought to reach such a spiritual pitch in his shepherds that it overcomes the natural fear of death which makes us shrink from the thought of dying even though we desire to live with Christ. However distressful death may be, the strength of love ought to master the distress. I mean the love we have for Christ who, although he is our life, consented to suffer death for our sake.
  Consider this: if death held little or no distress for us, the glory of martyrdom would be less. But if the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, has made so many of those same sheep martyrs and witnesses for him, then how much more ought Christ’s shepherds to fight for the truth even to death and to shed their blood in opposing sin? After all, the Lord has entrusted them with tending his flock and with teaching and guiding his lambs.
  With his passion for their example, Christ’s shepherds are most certainly bound to cling to the pattern of his suffering, since even the lambs have so often followed that pattern of the chief shepherd in whose one flock the shepherds themselves are lambs. For the Good Shepherd who suffered for all mankind has made all mankind his lambs, since in order to suffer for them all he made himself a lamb.
Responsory
℟. The Lord enhanced his reputation with kings. He gave him commandments for his people,* and showed him a vision of his own glory.
℣. The Lord chose him to be his servant, to be the shepherd of Israel his possession,* and showed him a vision of his own glory.

Let us pray.
We implore your love and mercy, Lord,
  to protect us from all danger.
Through the prayer of Saint Nicholas,
  lead us to salvation by paths that are swift and sure.
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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