Universalis
Friday 19 September 2014    (other days)
Friday of week 24 in Ordinary Time
 or Saint Januarius, Bishop, Martyr

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
God has spoken by his prophets,
Spoken his unchanging word,
Each from age to age proclaiming
God the One, the righteous Lord.
Mid the world’s despair and turmoil,
one firm anchor holdeth fast:
God is King, his throne eternal,
God the first and God the last.
God has spoken by Christ Jesus,
Christ, the everlasting Son,
Brightness of the Father’s glory,
With the Father ever one;
Spoken by the Word incarnate,
God of God, ere time began,
Light of Light, to earth descending,
Man, revealing God to man.

Psalm 54 (55)
Against a faithless friend
Do not reject my plea, O God, for wicked men assail me.
Open your ears, O God, to my prayer,
  and do not hide when I call on you:
  turn to me and answer me.
My thoughts are distracted and I am disturbed
  by the voice of my enemy and the oppression of the wicked.
They let loose their wickedness on me,
  they persecute me in their anger.
My heart is tied in a knot
  and the terrors of death lie upon me;
fear and trembling cover me;
  terror holds me tight.
I said, “Will no-one give me wings like a dove?
  I shall fly away and rest.
I shall flee far away
  and remain all alone.
I shall wait for him who will save me
  from the stormy wind and the tempest.”
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.
Do not reject my plea, O God, for wicked men assail me.

Psalm 54 (55)
The Lord will free us from the hand of our enemies and from those who wish us harm.
Scatter them, Lord, and separate their tongues,
  for I see violence and conflict in the city.
By day and by night they circle it
  high on its battlements.
Within it are oppression and trouble;
  scheming and fraud fill its squares.
For if my enemy had slandered me,
  I think I could have borne it.
And if the one who hated me had trampled me,
  perhaps I could have hidden.
But you – a man just like me,
  my companion and my friend!
We had happy times together,
  we walked together in the house of God.
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 will free us from the hand of our enemies and from those who wish us harm.

Psalm 54 (55)
Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you.
Let death break in upon them!
  Let them go down alive to the underworld,
  for wickedness shares their home.
As for me, I will call upon God,
  and the Lord will rescue me.
Evening, morning, noon – I shall watch and groan,
  and he will hear my voice.
He will redeem my soul
  and give it peace from those who attack me –
  for very many are my enemies.
God will hear and will bring them low,
  God, the eternal.
They will never reform:
  they do not fear God.
That man – he stretched out his hand against his allies:
  he corrupted his own covenant.
His face was smoother than butter,
  but his heart was at war;
his words were softer than oil,
  but they were sharp as drawn swords.
Throw all your cares on the Lord
  and he will give you sustenance.
  He will not let the just be buffeted for ever.
No – but you, Lord, will lead the wicked
  to the gaping mouth of destruction.
The men of blood and guile
  will not live half their days.
But I, Lord, will put my trust in you.
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.
Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you.

My son, attend to my wisdom,
and turn your ears to my words of prudence.

First Reading
Ezekiel 16:3,5,6-7,8-15,35,37,40-43,59-63 ©
The Lord says this:
  By origin and birth you belong to the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. You were exposed in the open fields; you were as unloved as that on the day you were born. I saw you struggling in your blood as I was passing, and I said to you as you lay in your blood: Live, and grow like the grass of the fields.
  You developed, you grew, you reached marriageable age. Then I saw you as I was passing. Your time had come, the time for love. I spread part of my cloak over you and covered your nakedness; I bound myself by oath, I made a covenant with you – it is the Lord who speaks – and you became mine. I bathed you in water, I washed the blood off you, I anointed you with oil. I gave you embroidered dresses, fine leather shoes, a linen headband and a cloak of silk. I loaded you with jewels, gave you bracelets for your wrists and a necklace for your throat. I gave you nose-ring and earrings; I put a beautiful diadem on your head. You were loaded with gold and silver, and dressed in fine linen and embroidered silks. Your food was the finest flour, honey and oil. You grew more and more beautiful; and you rose to be queen. The fame of your beauty spread through the nations, since it was perfect, because I had clothed you with my own splendour – it is the Lord who speaks.
  You have become infatuated with your own beauty; you have used your fame to make yourself a prostitute; you have offered your services to all comers. Well then, whore, hear the word of the Lord. For all this, I am going to band together all the lovers who have pleasured you, both those you liked and those you disliked. They will then whip up the crowd against you; you will be stoned and run through with a sword; they will set your houses on fire and execute justice on you with crowds of women looking on; I will put an end to your whoring: no more paid lovers for you. I will exhaust my fury against you. My jealousy will then leave you; I shall be appeased and my anger will stop. Since you have never remembered your youth, since in all this you have done nothing but provoke me, I in my turn intend to bring your conduct down on your own head–it is the Lord who speaks. Have you not been disgusting with all your filthy practices?
  For the Lord says this: I will treat you as you deserve, you who have despised your oath even to the extent of breaking a covenant, but I will remember the covenant that I made with you when you were a girl, and I will conclude a covenant with you that shall last for ever. And you for your part will remember your past behaviour and be covered with shame when I take your elder and younger sisters and make them your daughters, although this was not included in this covenant. I am going to renew my covenant with you; and you will learn that I am the Lord, and so remember and be covered with shame, and in your confusion be reduced to silence, when I have pardoned you for all that you have done–it is the Lord who speaks.
Responsory
I called you like a wife forsaken. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you; now, with everlasting love, I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.
I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant: now, with everlasting love, I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.

Second Reading
St Augustine's sermon On Pastors
Prepare your soul for temptation
You have already been told about the wicked things shepherds desire. Let us now consider what they neglect. You have failed to strengthen what was weak, to heal what was sick, and to bind up what was injured (that is, what was broken). You did not call back the straying sheep, nor seek out the lost. What was strong you have destroyed. Yes, you have cut it down and killed it. The sheep is weak, that is to say, its heart is weak, and so, incautious and unprepared, it may give in to temptations.
  The negligent shepherd fails to say to the believer: My son, come to the service of God. Stand fast in fear and in righteousness, and prepare your soul for temptation. A shepherd who does say this strengthens the one who is weak and makes him strong. Such a believer will then not hope for the prosperity of this world. For if he has been taught to hope for worldly gain, he will be corrupted by prosperity. When adversity comes, he will be wounded or perhaps destroyed.
  The builder who builds in such manner is not building the believer on a rock but upon sand. But the rock was Christ. Christians must imitate Christ’s sufferings, not set their hearts on pleasures. He who is weak will be strengthened when told: “Yes, expect the temptations of this world, but the Lord will deliver you from them all if your heart has not abandoned him. For it was to strengthen your heart that he came to suffer and die, came to be spit upon and crowned with thorns, came to be accused of shameful things, yes, came to be fastened to the wood of the cross. All these things he did for you, and you did nothing. He did them not for himself, but for you.”
  But what sort of shepherds are they who for fear of giving offence not only fail to prepare the sheep for the temptations that threaten, but even promise them worldly happiness? God himself made no such promise to this world. On the contrary, God foretold hardship upon hardship in this world until the end of time. And you want the Christian to be exempt from these troubles? Precisely because he is a Christian, he is destined to suffer more in this world.
  For the Apostle says: All who desire to live a holy life in Christ will suffer persecution. But you, shepherd, seek what is yours and not what is Christ’s, you disregard what the Apostle says: All who want to live a holy life in Christ will suffer persecution. You say instead: “If you live a holy life in Christ, all good things will be yours in abundance. If you do not have children, you will embrace and nourish all men, and none of them shall die.” Is this the way you build up the believer? Take note of what you are doing and where you are placing him. You have built him on sand. The rains will come, the river will overflow and rush in, the winds will blow, and the elements will dash against that house of yours. It will fall, and its ruin will be great.
  Lift him up from the sand and put him on the rock. Let him be in Christ, if you wish him to be a Christian. Let him turn his thoughts to sufferings, however unworthy they may be in comparison to Christ’s. Let him centre his attention on Christ, who was without sin, and yet made restitution for what he had not done. Let him consider Scripture, which says to him: He chastises every son whom he acknowledges. Let him prepare to be chastised, or else not seek to be acknowledged as a son.
Responsory
God has approved us as fit to be entrusted with the gospel, and on those terms we speak. We do not curry favour with men: we seek only the favour of God.
The appeal we make never springs from error or base motive: there is no attempt to deceive. We do not curry favour with men: we seek only the favour of God.

Let us pray.
Look upon us, Lord, creator and ruler of the whole world:
  give us grace to serve you with all our heart
  that we may come to know the power of your forgiveness and love.
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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