Wednesday 15 December 2021    (other days)
Wednesday of the 3rd 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.
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.

The Advent of our God
  With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste upon 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 88 (89)
The Lord's kindness to the house of David

Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.
I will sing for ever of the kindnesses of the Lord:
  to generation upon generation
  my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said
  “My kindness shall be established for ever”;
  your faithfulness will be established in the heavens.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one.
  I have sworn to David my servant:
To all eternity I will set your descendants firm;
  I shall build your house to last for all generations.”
The heavens will proclaim your wonders, O Lord,
  the assembly of your holy ones will proclaim your faithfulness.
For who in the sky can be compared to the Lord?
  Who could resemble the Lord among all the sons of God?
God is to be feared in the council of his holy ones,
  great and terrible above all who surround him.
Lord God of hosts, who is like you?
  Yours is the power, and faithfulness surrounds you.
You subdue the pride of the sea:
  when its waves rise high, you calm them.
You have trampled Rahab underfoot, like a wounded man;
  through the strength of your arm you have scattered your enemies.
Yours are the heavens and yours is the earth,
  you set firm the globe and all it contains.
You made the north and the south,
  Tabor and Hermon will rejoice in your name.
Your arm it is that has the power,
  your hand is strong, your right hand held high.
Your throne is founded on justice and right,
  kindness and faithfulness are your attendants.
Happy the nation that knows the cry of praise!
  They will walk in the light of your presence, Lord,
  and rejoice in your name all the day –
for you are the splendour of their strength,
  and by your good will our standard is held high.
For our shields belong to the Lord,
  and our king to the Holy One of Israel.
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.
Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.

Psalm 88 (89)

The Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.
In a vision you spoke to your holy ones.
  You said, “I have given strength to a warrior,
  I have raised a chosen one from the people.
I have found David my servant,
  I have anointed him with my holy oil.
For my hand will always give him support,
  my right arm will give him strength.
The enemy shall make no headway against him,
  the son of iniquity shall have no power over him.
I will crush his foes in his sight
  and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and kindness shall be with him
  and his strength will be triumphant through my name.
I shall extend his power over the sea,
  and his right hand over the rivers.
He will call upon me: ‘you are my father,
  my God and my safe refuge.’
And I shall make him my first-born,
  supreme over all the kings of the earth.
My kindness to him will continue for ever,
  my covenant with him will remain firm.
For all ages I shall establish his descendants,
  and for all the days of heaven his throne will stand.”
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 Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.

Psalm 88 (89)

Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.
“But if his children abandon my law
  and walk no more in the paths of my decrees;
if they profane my judgements
  and do not keep to my commandments,
I will punish their transgressions with a rod,
  I will punish their wickedness with a beating.
Even so, I will not turn my kindness away from him,
  nor will I be untrue to my word.
I will not profane my covenant,
  I will not go against the word I have spoken.
I have sworn in my sanctuary, once and for all:
  I will not lie to David.
His seed shall remain for ever,
  his throne firm as the sun in my sight,
just as the moon stays firm for ever,
  a faithful witness in the sky.”
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.
Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.

℣. Lord our God, turn our hearts back to you.
℟. Let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

First Reading
Isaiah 31:1-3,32:1-8 ©

The reign of true justice

Woe to those who go down to Egypt
to seek help there,
who build their hopes on cavalry,
who rely on the number of chariots
and on the strength of mounted men,
but never look to the Holy One of Israel
nor consult the Lord.
Yet he too is skilled in working disaster,
and he has not gone back on his word;
he will rise against the house of the wicked,
and against the protectors of evil men.
The Egyptian is a man, not a god,
his horses are flesh, not spirit;
the Lord will stretch out his hand
to make the protector stumble;
the protected will fall
and all will perish together.
A king reigns by integrity
and princes rule by law;
each is like a shelter from the wind,
a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in dry places,
like the shade of a great rock in a thirsty land.
The eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
the ears of those who hear will be alert,
the heart of the hasty will learn to judge,
the tongue of stammerers will speak clearly,
the fool will no more be called noble,
nor the villain be styled honourable.
For the fool speaks folly,
and his heart meditates wickedness,
that he may practise godlessness
and speak wild words about the Lord,
and leave the hungry man’s craving unsatisfied,
and refuse drink to the thirsty.
And the villain – his villainies are evil;
he devises wicked plots
to ruin the poor with lies
even when the cause of these lowly ones is just;
but the noble man plans only noble things
and bears himself nobly.
Is 32:3-4; Jr 23:5
℟. The eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will hearken,* and the mind of the rash will have good judgement.
℣. I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and rule wisely,* and the mind of the rash will have good judgement.

Second Reading
From the treatise "Against the Heresies" by St Irenaeus

At Christ's coming, God will be visible to man

There is one God, who by the Word and Wisdom created and arranged all things.
  But God’s Word is our Lord Jesus Christ, who in these last times was made a man among men, that he might join the end to the beginning: that is, join man to God.
  For this reason the prophets, who received the prophetic gift from the same Word, preached his coming in the flesh, by which God and man would be blended and united according to the will of the Father. The Word of God foretold from the beginning that God would be seen by men and live on earth among them, and speak with them; that he should come to the help of what he had created and save it. He would be seen by his creation and would free us from the hands of all that hate us – that is, save it from every spirit of wickedness. He would lead us to serve him in holiness and righteousness through all our days so that man, having embraced the Spirit of God, might pass into the glory of the Father.
  The prophets foretold, therefore, that God would be seen by men; as indeed the Lord himself confirmed: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  But at the same time God is great and unspeakably glorious, so that no man shall see God and live, for God can never be completely understood. But God is loving and kind and omnipotent, and so he gives the sight of God, the greatest gift of all, to those who love him. Even this was foretold by the prophets: For those things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.
  For man does not see God by his own powers; but God is seen by men when it pleases him that this should be so. He decides by whom he should be seen, and when, and how for God is powerful in all things. He was seen in the past prophetically, through the Spirit, and now as it were by adoption, through the Son; and in the kingdom of heaven he will be seen as a true father. The Spirit prepares mankind for the Son of God, the Son leads it to God, and God gives it the gift of incorruptible eternal life, a life that everyone receives who sees God.
  Just as those who see light are within the light and share in its splendour, so those who see God are in God and share his splendour also. But God’s splendour gives life: and so those who see God receive life.
℟. I will raise up a prophet for my people, and I will put my words into his mouth:* he shall tell them all I command him.
℣. I will send them my own dear son. He is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world:* he shall tell them all I command him.

Let us pray.
Almighty God and Father,
  by our celebration of the coming feast of your Son’s birth,
heal our present ills
  and lead us to eternal joy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

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

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