Thursday 23 May 2024    (other days)
Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest 

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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)
Let us give glory to Christ who has an eternal priesthood.
(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.
(repeat antiphon*)

* 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.

Jesus, our High Priest, only Mediator,
mercifully bringing prayers before the Father:
from every nation, justly we extol you,
singing your praises.
Formed by the Spirit in the womb of Mary,
Son of the Virgin, your right arm embraces
all of creation, Sacrifice and Victim,
worthy of blessing.
Named by the Father Priest and King for ever,
you were anointed with the oil of gladness,
brought to high heaven and his throne of glory,
height of all honour.
God most exalted, mortal flesh assuming,
offering your life-blood, precious gift all cleansing,
you paid the ransom, price of our redemption,
death’s curse removing.
Christ, who uplifted on the Cross of sorrow,
drew all creation, piercing hearts with ardour,
grant we may ever praise you and the Father,
one with the Spirit.

Psalm 2
The Messiah, king and victor

I asked my Father, and he has given me the nations as an inheritance.
Why are the nations in a ferment?
  Why do the people make their vain plans?
The kings of the earth have risen up;
  the leaders have united against the Lord,
  against his anointed.
“Let us break their chains, that bind us;
  let us throw off their yoke from our shoulders!”
The Lord laughs at them,
  he who lives in the heavens derides them.
Then he speaks to them in his anger;
  in his fury he throws them into confusion:
“But I – I have set up my king on Zion,
my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the Lord’s decrees.
The Lord has said to me: “You are my son: today I have begotten you.
  Ask me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance,
  the ends of the earth for you to possess.
You will rule them with a rod of iron,
  break them in pieces like an earthen pot.”
So now, kings, listen: understand, you who rule the land.
  Serve the Lord in fear, tremble even as you praise him.
Learn his teaching, lest he take anger,
  lest you perish when his anger bursts into flame.
Blessed are all who put their trust in the Lord.
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.
I asked my Father, and he has given me the nations as an inheritance.

Psalm 39 (40)
Thanksgiving and a prayer for help

Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
I waited, I waited for the Lord;
  and he heard me.
He heard my voice when I cried,
  he led me from the pit of misery,
  he led me from the mire of filth.
He set my feet on firm rock,
  he steadied my footsteps.
He filled my being with a new song,
  a song to the Lord.
Many shall see what has happened, and trust,
  and honour the Lord.
Happy the man who puts his trust in the Lord,
  who pays no heed to the proud,
  who pays no heed to liars.
Many are your wonders, O Lord my God,
  and great is your care for us:
  there is no-one like you.
If I wanted to tell the things you have done for us –
  they are too many to count.
You have refused sacrifice and oblation,
  but you have opened your ears to me.
You have refused burnt-offerings, even for sin –
  so I said “I am coming.
The books of scripture have written of me.
It is your will, my God, that I wish to perform:
  your law is next to my heart.”
I have proclaimed your judgement in the great assembly:
  I will not close my lips – Lord, you know it.
I have not hidden your judgements in my heart;
  I have not hidden your faithfulness from the assembly of the people.
But you, Lord, do not keep your mercy from me:
  let your kindness and faithfulness always sustain me.
For evils besiege me, uncountable evils;
  my transgressions surround me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
  and my heart has failed me.
Make it your will, Lord, to rescue me:
  Lord, hurry to help me.
Let all who seek you rejoice in you:
  let them say always, “Great is the Lord,”
  all who delight in your salvation.
Though I am poor and destitute,
  the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my liberator:
  my God, do not delay.
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.
Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

Psalm 84 (85)
Our salvation is very near

Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her, to make her holy.
You looked kindly, O Lord, on your land:
  you ended the captivity of Jacob.
You forgave your people’s unrighteousness
  and covered over their sins.
You reined back all of your anger
  and renounced your indignant fury.
Rescue us, God, our saviour,
  and turn your anger away from us.
Do not be angry for ever
  – or will you let your wrath last from one generation to the next?
Surely you will turn round and give us life
  – so that your people can rejoice in you?
Show us, Lord, your kindness
  and give us your salvation.
I will listen to whatever the Lord God tells me,
  for he will speak peace to his people and his chosen ones,
  and to those who repent in their hearts.
Truly his salvation is close to those who fear him,
  so that glory may dwell in our land.
Kindness and faithfulness have met together,
  justice and peace have kissed.
Faithfulness has sprung from the earth,
  and justice has looked down from heaven.
Truly the Lord will give generously,
  and our land will be fruitful.
Justice will walk before him
  and place its footsteps on his path.
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 loved the Church and handed himself over for her, to make her holy.

℣. Christ offered one sacrifice for sins.
℟. And has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

First Reading
Hebrews 4:14-5:10 ©

Jesus Christ the great High Priest

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.
  Every high priest has been taken out of mankind and is appointed to act for men in their relations with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins; and so he can sympathise with those who are ignorant or uncertain because he too lives in the limitations of weakness. That is why he has to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honour on himself, but each one is called by God, as Aaron was. Nor did Christ give himself the glory of becoming high priest, but he had it from the one who said to him: You are my son, today I have become your father, and in another text: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.
  During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation and was acclaimed by God with the title of high priest of the order of Melchizedek.
ResponsoryHeb 5:7-9
℟. Although he was the son of God, Christ learnt to obey through suffering,* and he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.
℣. During his life on earth, he offered up prayer aloud, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard,* and he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Second Reading
The Encyclical "Mediator Dei" of Pope Pius XII

Christ, Priest and Victim

Christ is a Priest indeed; however, he is a Priest not for himself but for us, since, in the name of the whole human race, he brings our prayers and religious dispositions to the eternal Father; he is also a victim, but a victim for us, since he substitutes himself for sinners.
  Now the exhortation of the Apostle, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” demands that all Christians should possess, as far as is humanly possible, the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when he offered himself in sacrifice: that is to say, they should with a humble attitude of mind, offer adoration, honour, praise and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God.
  Moreover, it demands that they must assume in some way the condition of a victim, that they deny themselves as the Gospel commands, that freely and of their own accord they do penance and that each detests and makes satisfaction for his sins.
  It demands, in a word, that we must all undergo with Christ a mystical death on the Cross so that we can apply to ourselves the words of St Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:19).
ResponsoryCf. Gal 2:20
℟. I live by faith in the Son of God, * Who has loved me and has given himself up for me.
℣. I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me * Who has loved me and has given himself up for me.

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.
O God, who for the glory of your majesty and the salvation of the human race
  made your Only-Begotten Son the Eternal High Priest,
grant that, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
  those whom he has chosen as ministers and stewards of his mysteries
  may be found faithful in carrying out the ministry they have received.
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.

The psalms and canticles here are our own translation from the Latin. 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 apps and programs do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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