Let us rejoice in the Lord, with songs let us praise him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Oswald (c.604 - 642)
Saint Oswald was born at the very beginning of the 7th century. He was the youngest son of the pagan Ethelfrid, the first king of a united Northumbria. After his father’s death in battle, the young Oswald fled to Iona for safety and was baptised there and became a devoted Christian.
In 633 Oswald returned to Northumbria to regain his father’s kingdom. It was said that he set up a wooden cross as his standard and dedicated himself and his people to God’s protection before engaging himself in battle with the occupying Welsh King Cadwallon, not far from the present Hexham. He defeated and killed Cadwallon and at once invited the monks from Iona to begin the evangelisation of his kingdom which extended from the Forth to the Humber. After initial difficulties, the monk Aidan was sent to lead these Irish missionaries and Oswald found him to be both a valued adviser and a good friend. Oswald took seriously the work of bringing Christianity to his people and was even known to accompany Aidan on his missionary expeditions and to act as interpreter during the time Aidan was learning the language of the English. He was also well known both for his personal prayerfulness and his charity to those in need.
Sadly the reign of King Oswald lasted only eight years. In 642 he was killed in battle by Penda the pagan king of the Mercians. It was said that as he fell in death he was heard to pray for those who died with him. Oswald was a popular hero and his reputation as a saint was widespread even into mainland Europe.
Other saints: St Germanus of Auxerre (c.378 - 448)
Wales: 3 Aug
Plymouth: 30 Jul
After pursuing a legal career and being governor of a province, he was consecrated bishop of Auxerre in Gaul. In 429 he was selected as one of the leaders of a mission to Britain to combat the growing heresy of Pelagianism. His mission was successful, and he also led the native Britons to a victory against the invading pagan Picts and Saxons. He visited Britain a second time in the 440s, to combat Pelagianism once more, and he died at Ravenna in the late 440s, while on a mission to the emperor to obtain pardon for the citizens of Armorica, which had rebelled against the Roman government.
Other saints: Saint Æthelwold (-984)
Together with St Dunstan, Ethelwold (or Æthelwold) ranks as one of the great figures of 10th-century monastic reform. Born in Winchester sometime between 904 and 909, he spent his youth at the court of King Athelstan. He became Prior of Glastonbury and in 955 received from King Ædred the Abbey of Abingdon which he re-established. On 29 November 963 he was ordained Bishop of Winchester by St Dunstan. There he installed monks in the cathedral, and restored the two Winchester foundations of the New Minster and Nunnaminster. He also restored the monasteries at Milton (Dorset) and Chertsey, and made new foundations at Ely, Peterborough and Thorney (East Anglia), in the course of which he made himself unpopular with secular clergy who were turned out of monasteries to make way for genuine monks.
He was a renowned scholar, compiling the Regularis Concordia and translating the Rule of Benedict into Old English. He used some of the wealth he accumulated to build new churches and was a great patron of ecclesiastical art. He died on 1 August 984 at Beddington in Surrey, and was buried in the Old Minster at Winchester. After a miraculous cure attributed to him some twelve years later, his body was moved from the crypt to the choir and he was recognized as a saint, though never formally canonized.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: The 'Epistle of Barnabas'
The so-called Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle written between AD 70 and 132. It was respected enough to be included in early codices of the Bible, such as the famous Codex Sinaiticus. Some early Fathers of the Church ascribed it to the Barnabas who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, but it is now generally attributed to an otherwise unknown early Christian teacher, perhaps also called Barnabas. Like the Epistle of James, the later letters of Peter and John, the Apocalypse and the Shepherd of Hermas, it was accepted as canonical by some people but not by others. As time went on, the status of these various books was settled. Although the Epistle of Barnabas has not in the end been found to be part of scripture, it is still a valuable way of reflecting on scripture itself, especially in the way that it applies specifically Jewish modes of exposition to the events of the New Testament and their prefiguring in the Old. It is used several times in the Liturgy of the Hours.
Liturgical colour: green
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Jeremiah 31:33 ©|
This is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Jeremiah 32:40 ©|
I will make an everlasting covenant with them. I will not cease in my efforts for their good, and I will put respect for me into their hearts, so that they turn from me no more.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Ezekiel 34:31 ©|
You, my sheep, are the flock I shall pasture, and I am your God – it is the Lord who speaks.