Universalis
Saturday 27 December 2014    (other days)
Saint John, Apostle, Evangelist
Feast

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
Jesu, the Ransomer of man,
who, ere created light began,
didst from the sovereign Father spring,
his power and glory equalling!
Salvation’s author, call to mind
how, taking form of humankind,
born of a Virgin undefiled,
thou in man’s flesh becam’st a Child.
The heavens above, the rolling main
and all that earth’s wide realms contain,
with joyous voice now loudly sing
the glory of their newborn King.
And we who, by thy precious Blood
from sin redeemed, are marked for God,
on this the day that saw thy birth,
sing the new song of ransomed earth.
O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

Psalm 18 (19)
Praise of God the creator
John bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, by telling everything he had seen.
The skies tell the story of the glory of God,
  the firmament proclaims the work of his hands;
day pours out the news to day,
  night passes to night the knowledge.
Not a speech, not a word,
  not a voice goes unheard.
Their sound is spread throughout the earth,
  their message to all the corners of the world.
At the ends of the earth he has set up
  a dwelling place for the sun.
Like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
  it rejoices like an athlete at the race to be run.
It appears at the edge of the sky,
  runs its course to the sky’s furthest edge.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
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.
John bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, by telling everything he had seen.

Psalm 63 (64)
A prayer against enemies
This is that disciple whom the Lord loved.
Listen, O God, to my voice;
  keep me safe from fear of the enemy.
Protect me from the alliances of the wicked,
  from the crowd of those who do evil.
They have sharpened their tongues like swords,
  aimed poisonous words like arrows,
  to shoot at the innocent in secret.
They will attack without warning, without fear,
  for they are firm in their evil purpose.
They have set out to hide their snares
 – for they say, “Who will see us?”
They have thought out plans to commit wicked deeds,
  and they carry out what they have planned.
Truly the heart and soul of a man
  are bottomless depths.
And God has shot them with his arrow:
  in a moment, they are wounded –
  their own tongues have brought them low.
All who see them will shake their heads;
  all will behold them with fear
and proclaim the workings of God
  and understand what he has done.
The just will rejoice and hope in the Lord:
  the upright in heart will give him glory.
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.
This is that disciple whom the Lord loved.

Psalm 98 (99)
The Lord our God is holy
This is the apostle John, who leaned on the breast of the Lord at the supper: blessed is the apostle to whom were revealed the secret things of heaven.
The Lord reigns! let the peoples tremble.
  He is enthroned on the cherubim: let the earth shake.
The Lord is great in Zion,
  he is high above all the peoples.
Let them proclaim his name – great and terrible it is,
  let them proclaim his holy name,
  the powerful king, who loves justice.
The laws you establish are just:
  you have given Jacob uprightness and right judgement.
Praise the Lord, our God,
  worship at his footstool,
  for he is holy.
Moses and Aaron were among his prophets,
  Samuel one of those who called on him.
They called on the Lord and he listened,
  and from the pillar of cloud he spoke to them.
They kept his decrees
  and the commands he gave them.
Lord our God, you listened to them;
  O God, you were gracious to them,
  but you punished their wrongdoing.
Praise the Lord, our God,
  worship on his holy mountain,
  for the Lord our God is holy.
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.
This is the apostle John, who leaned on the breast of the Lord at the supper: blessed is the apostle to whom were revealed the secret things of heaven.

They told of the Lord’s glory and might
and the wonders that he had performed.

First Reading1 John 1:1-2:3 ©
Something which has existed since the beginning,
that we have heard,
and we have seen with our own eyes;
that we have watched
and touched with our hands:
the Word, who is life –
this is our subject.
That life was made visible:
we saw it and we are giving our testimony,
telling you of the eternal life
which was with the Father and has been made visible to us.
What we have seen and heard
we are telling you
so that you too may be in union with us,
as we are in union
with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.
This is what we have heard from him,
and the message that we are announcing to you:
God is light; there is no darkness in him at all.
If we say that we are in union with God
while we are living in darkness,
we are lying because we are not living the truth.
But if we live our lives in the light,
as he is in the light,
we are in union with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin in us,
we are deceiving ourselves
and refusing to admit the truth;
but if we acknowledge our sins,
then God who is faithful and just
will forgive our sins and purify us
from everything that is wrong.
To say that we have never sinned
is to call God a liar
and to show that his word is not in us.
I am writing this, my children,
to stop you sinning;
but if anyone should sin,
we have our advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ, who is just;
he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away,
and not only ours,
but the whole world’s.
We can be sure that we know God
only by keeping his commandments.
Responsory
We proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made visible to us. We are writing this so that you may rejoice, and that your joy may be complete.
These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and, believing, may have life in his name; and that your joy may be complete.

Second Reading
A treatise by St Augustine on the epistle of John
The flesh revealed Life itself
We announce what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes, what we have touched with our own hands. Who could touch the Word with his hands unless the Word was made flesh and lived among us?
  Now this Word, whose flesh was so real that he could be touched by human hands, began to be flesh in the Virgin Mary’s womb; but he did not begin to exist at that moment. We know this from what John says: What existed from the beginning. Notice how John’s letter bears witness to his Gospel, which you just heard a moment ago: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.
  Someone might interpret the phrase the Word of life to mean a word about Christ, rather than Christ’s body itself which was touched by human hands. But consider what comes next: and life itself was revealed. Christ therefore is himself the Word of life.
  And how was this life revealed? It existed from the beginning, but was not revealed to men, only to angels, who looked upon it and feasted upon it as their own spiritual bread. But what does Scripture say? Mankind ate the bread of angels.
  Life itself was therefore revealed in the flesh. In this way what was visible to the heart alone could become visible also to the eye, and so heal men’s hearts. For the Word is visible to the heart alone, while flesh is visible to bodily eyes as well. We already possessed the means to see the flesh, but we had no means of seeing the Word. The Word was made flesh so that we could see it, to heal the part of us by which we could see the Word.
  John continues: And we are witnesses and we proclaim to you that eternal life which was with the Father and has been revealed among us – one might say more simply “revealed to us.”
  We proclaim to you what we have heard and seen. Make sure that you grasp the meaning of these words. The disciples saw our Lord in the flesh, face to face; they heard the words he spoke, and in turn they proclaimed the message to us. So we also have heard, although we have not seen.
  Are we then less favoured than those who both saw and heard? If that were so, why should John add: so that you too may have fellowship with us? They saw, and we have not seen; yet we have fellowship with them, because we and they share the same faith.
  And our fellowship is with God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. And we write this to you to make your joy complete – complete in that fellowship, in that love and in that unity.
Responsory
Today we honour John, the apostle who leant on the Lord’s breast during the Last Supper. Great is his happiness, to whom the secrets of heaven were revealed.
He drank the streams of the gospel from their very source, the sacred breast of the Lord. Great is his happiness, to whom the secrets of heaven were revealed.

CanticleTe Deum
God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.
And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
The final part of the hymn may be omitted:
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
  who through your apostle John
  unlocked for us the hidden treasures of your Word,
grant that we may grasp with fuller understanding
  the message he so admirably proclaimed.
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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