Saturday 17 March 2018    (other days)
Saturday of the 4th week of Lent 
 (optional commemoration of Saint Patrick, Bishop, Missionary)

Office of Readings

If you have already recited the Invitatory Psalm today, you should use the alternative opening.

Lord, open our lips.
  And we shall praise your name.
Invitatory PsalmPsalm 94 (95)
Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
(repeat antiphon*)
Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
  let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
  let us acclaim him with songs.
(repeat antiphon*)
For the Lord is a great God,
  a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
  and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
  and his hands formed the dry land.
(repeat antiphon*)
Come, let us worship and bow down,
  bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
  the sheep that follow his hand.
(repeat antiphon*)
If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
  “Do not harden your hearts
  as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
  when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
  although they had seen my works.”
(repeat antiphon*)
“For forty years they wearied me,
  that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
  they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
  they will never enter my place of rest.”
(repeat antiphon*)
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.
Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.*

* If you are reciting this on your own, you can choose to say the antiphon once only at the start of the psalm and not repeat it.

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 77 (78)
The history of salvation: the Lord's goodness, his people's infidelity (II)
The Lord saved them from their foe.
How often they rebelled in the wilderness!
  How often they grieved him in the desert!
Again and again they put God to the test
  and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They forgot his strength, they forgot the time
  when he saved them from the oppressor’s power.
When he showed his signs in Egypt,
  his wonders in the plain of Tanis,
he turned their rivers into blood
  and the streams: there was nothing they could drink.
He sent biting flies to eat them up,
  and frogs to bring devastation.
He gave their fruit to the caterpillar,
  the fruit of their labours to the locust.
He killed their vines with hail,
  he killed their sycamores with frost.
He gave their herds as victims to hail;
  their flocks, to lightning.
He loosed upon them the heat of his anger:
  rage, fury, and destruction;
  he sent his destroying angels among them.
He cleared a path for his anger:
  he did not spare them from death,
  but cut off their lives in pestilence.
He struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt,
  the first-fruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
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.
The Lord saved them from their foe.

Psalm 77 (78)
The Lord brought them to his holy mountain.
He led his people away like sheep,
  like a flock through the wilderness.
They were led in hope, they did not fear –
  and the sea covered up their enemies.
He brought them within the borders he had sanctified,
  to the mountain that his right hand had conquered.
He drove out the nations before them
  divided their land, to be an inheritance,
  and made Israel dwell in their tents.
Still they tested and angered God, the Most High,
  and would not keep his decrees.
They went back to their unfaithfulness,
  like their fathers before them:
  they twisted round, like a crooked bow.
They stirred him to anger by their worship in high places:
  they provoked him to jealousy with their idols.
God heard, and burned with anger:
  then truly he spurned Israel.
He abandoned his dwelling-place in Shiloh,
  the tent where he had lived among men.
He gave up his power to captivity,
  his glory to the hands of the enemy.
He gave up his people to the sword,
  he burned hot against his own inheritance.
Fire burned up their youths,
  and their maidens remained unwed.
Their priests fell to the sword,
  and their widows died unmourned.
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.
The Lord brought them to his holy mountain.

Psalm 77 (78)
He chose the tribe of Judah and David his servant to be shepherd of Israel, his own possession.
The Lord awoke as a sleeper awakes,
  like a warrior fuddled with wine.
He attacked his foes from behind,
  he put them to everlasting shame.
He rejected the tents of Joseph,
  he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
but the tribe of Judah he chose,
  and his beloved mountain of Zion.
He built his sanctuary as a high place,
  firm as the earth he had founded for ever.
He chose David for his servant
  and raised him up from his flocks.
He took him from following the pregnant ewes
  to be the shepherd of Jacob, his people,
  and of Israel, his inheritance.
He pastured them with a pure heart
  and led them with skilful hands.
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.
He chose the tribe of Judah and David his servant to be shepherd of Israel, his own possession.

He who lives by the truth comes to the light
and whatever he does is seen by all.

First Reading
Numbers 20:1-13,21:4-9 ©
The waters of Meribah and the bronze serpent
The sons of Israel, the whole community, arrived in the first month at the desert of Zin. The people settled at Kadesh. It was there that Miriam died and was buried.
  There was no water for the community, and they were all united against Moses and Aaron. The people challenged Moses: ‘We would rather have died,’ they said ‘as our brothers died before the Lord! Why did you bring the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, only to let us die here, ourselves and our cattle? Why did you lead us out of Egypt, only to bring us to this wretched place? It is a place unfit for sowing, it has no figs, no vines, no pomegranates, and there is not even water to drink!’
  Leaving the assembly, Moses and Aaron went to the door of the Tent of Meeting. They threw themselves face downward on the ground, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘Take the branch and call the community together, you and your brother Aaron. Then, in full view of them, order this rock to give water. You will make water flow for them out of the rock, and provide drink for the community and their cattle.’
  Moses took up the branch from before the Lord, as he had directed him. Then Moses and Aaron called the assembly together in front of the rock and addressed them, ‘Listen now, you rebels. Shall we make water gush from this rock for you?’ And Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the branch; water gushed in abundance, and the community drank and their cattle too.
  Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe that I could proclaim my holiness in the eyes of the sons of Israel, you shall not lead this assembly into the land I am giving them.’
  These are the waters of Meribah, where the sons of Israel challenged the Lord and he proclaimed his holiness.
  They left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’
  At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.
ResponsoryJn 3:14-15,17
℟. The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,* so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
℣. God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world but so that through him the world might be saved,* so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Second Reading
Vatican II: "Gaudium et Spes" on the Church in the modern world
All human activity is to find its purification in the Paschal mystery
Holy Scripture, with which the experience of the ages is in agreement, teaches the human family that human progress, though it is a great blessing for man, brings with it a great temptation. When the scale of values is disturbed and evil becomes mixed with good, individuals and groups consider only their own interests, not those of others.
  The result is that the world is not yet a home of true brotherhood, while the increased power of mankind already threatens to destroy the human race itself.
  If it is asked how this unhappy state of affairs can be set right, Christians state their belief that all human activity, in daily jeopardy through pride and inordinate self-love, is to find its purification and its perfection in the cross and resurrection of Christ.
  Man, redeemed by Christ and made a new creation in the Holy Spirit, can and must love the very things created by God. For he receives them from God, and sees and reveres them as coming from the hand of God,
  As he gives thanks for them to his Benefactor, and uses and enjoys them in a spirit of poverty and freedom, he enters into true possession of the world, as one having nothing and possessing all things. For all things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
  The Word of God, through whom all things were made, himself became man and lived in the world of men. As perfect man he has entered into the history of the world, taking it up into himself and bringing it into unity as its head. He reveals to us that God is love, and at the same time teaches us that the fundamental law of human perfection, and therefore of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love.
  He assures those who have faith in God’s love that the way of love is open to all men, and that the effort to restore universal brotherhood is not in vain. At the same time he warns us that this love is not to be sought after only in great things but also, and above all, in the ordinary circumstances of life.
  He suffered death for us all, sinners as we are, and by his example he teaches us that we also have to carry that cross which the flesh and the world lay on the shoulders of those who strive for peace and justice.
  Constituted as the Lord by his resurrection, Christ, to whom all power in heaven and on earth has been given, is still at work in the hearts of men through the power of his Spirit. Not only does he awaken in them a longing for the world to come, but by that very fact he also inspires, purifies and strengthens those generous desires by which the human family seeks to make its own life more human and to achieve the same goal for the whole world.
  The gifts of the Spirit are manifold. He calls some to bear open witness to the longing for a dwelling place in heaven, and to keep this fresh in the minds of all mankind; he calls others to dedicate themselves to the service of men here on earth, preparing by this ministry the material for the kingdom of heaven.
  Yet he makes all free, so that, by denying their love of self and taking up all earth’s resources into the life of man, all may reach out to the future, when humanity itself will become an offering acceptable to God.
℟. Christ died for all,* so that living men should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life for them.
℣. He was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us,* so that living men should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life for them.

Let us pray.
In your gentle mercy, Lord,
  guide our wayward hearts,
for we know that left to ourselves
  we cannot do your will.
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.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

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