Universalis
Thursday 20 November 2014    (other days)

 or Thursday of week 33 in Ordinary Time

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
Eternal Father, through your Word
You gave new life to Adam’s race,
And call us now to live in light,
New creatures by your saving grace.
To you who stooped to all who sin
We render homage and give praise:
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
Whose loving gift is endless days.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 17 (18)
Thanksgiving
The word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.
The Lord’s ways are pure;
  the words of the Lord are refined in the furnace;
  the Lord protects all who hope in him.
For what God is there, but our Lord?
  What help, but in the Lord our God?
God, who has wrapped me in his strength
  and set me on the perfect path,
who has made my feet like those of the deer,
  who has set me firm upon the heights,
who trains my hands for battle,
  teaches my arms to bend a bow of bronze.
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 word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.

Psalm 17 (18)
Lord, your right hand upheld me.
You have given me the shield of your salvation;
  your right hand holds me up;
  by answering me, you give me greatness.
You have stretched the length of my stride,
  my feet do not weaken.
I pursue my enemies and surround them;
  I do not turn back until they are no more.
I smash them to pieces, they cannot stand,
  they fall beneath my feet.
You have wrapped me round with strength for war,
  and made my attackers fall under me.
You turned my enemies’ backs on me,
  you destroyed those who hated me.
They cried out, but there was no-one to save them;
  they cried to the Lord, but he did not hear.
I have ground them up until they are dust in the wind,
  trodden them down like the mud of the street.
You have delivered me from the murmurings of the people
  and placed me at the head of the nations.
A people I do not even know serves me –
  at a mere rumour of my orders, they obey.
The children of strangers beg for my favour;
  they hide away and tremble where they hide.
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.
Lord, your right hand upheld me.

Psalm 17 (18)
Long life to the Lord! Praised be the God who saves me.
The Lord lives, my blessed Helper.
  Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
God, you give me my revenge,
  you subject peoples to my rule,
  you free me from my enraged enemies.
You raise me up from those who attack me,
  you snatch me from the grasp of the violent.
And so I will proclaim you among the nations, Lord,
  and sing to your name.
Time and again you save your king,
  you show your loving kindness to your anointed,
  to David and his descendants for ever.
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.
Long life to the Lord! Praised be the God who saves me.

Uncover my eyes, Lord,
and I will consider the wonders of your Law.

First Reading
Zechariah 11:4-12:8 ©
This is how the Lord spoke to me, ‘Pasture the sheep bred for slaughter, whose buyers kill them and go unpunished, whose sellers say of them, “Blessed be the Lord; now I am rich!” and their shepherds handle them without kindness. (For no longer am I going to show kindness to the inhabitants of the world – it is the Lord who speaks. But instead I mean to hand over every man to the next, and to his king. They shall devastate the world and I will not deliver them from their hands.)’ Then I began to pasture these sheep bred for slaughter for the sheepdealers. I took two staves: one I called Goodwill, the other Union. And so I began to pasture the sheep. I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. But I began to dislike the sheep, and they equally detested me. I then said, ‘I am going to pasture you no longer; let those that wish to die, die; let those that wish to perish, perish; and let those that are left devour each other’s flesh!’ I then took my staff, Goodwill, and broke it in half, to break the covenant the Lord had made with all the peoples. When it was broken, that day the dealers, who were watching me, realised that this had been a word of the Lord. I then said to them, ‘If you think it right, give me my wages; if not, never mind.’ And they weighed out my wages: thirty shekels of silver. But the Lord told me, ‘Throw it into the treasury, this princely sum at which they have valued me.’ Taking the thirty shekels of silver, I threw them into the Temple of the Lord, into the treasury. I then broke my second staff, Union, in half, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
  Next, the Lord said to me, ‘Now take the gear of an incompetent shepherd. For I am now going to raise an incompetent shepherd in this country. He will not bother about the lost; he will not look for the stray; he will not heal the wounded; he will not support the weary; but he will only eat the flesh of the fat beasts and tear off their hoofs.
‘Trouble is coming to the worthless shepherd
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm
and his right eye!
May his arm wither entirely,
may his eye be totally blinded!’
An oracle. The word of the Lord about Israel. It is the Lord who speaks, who spread out the heaven and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:
  ‘Look, I am going to make Jerusalem an intoxicating cup to all the surrounding peoples...
  ‘When that day comes, I mean to make Jerusalem a stone to be lifted by all the peoples; all who try to lift it will hurt themselves severely. (And all the nations of the earth will mass against her.) When that day comes – it is the Lord who speaks – I intend to strike all the horses with confusion and their riders with madness. (But on the House of Judah I will open my eyes.) And I will strike all the horses of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, “Strength for the citizens of Jerusalem is in the Lord of Hosts, their God.” When that day comes I mean to make the clans of Judah like a brazier burning in a pile of wood, like a flaming torch in stubble; and they will consume the peoples round them to right and left. And Jerusalem shall stand firm in her place. The Lord will save the tents of Judah first to forestall the arrogance of the House of David and the arrogance of the citizens of Jerusalem from rising to the detriment of Judah. When that day comes, the Lord will spread his protection over the citizens of Jerusalem; the one among them who was about to fall will be like David on that day, and the House of David will be like God (like the angel of the Lord) at their head.’
Responsory
They weighed out my wages: thirty pieces of silver, the princely sum at which they valued me.
Judas said to the chief priests: ‘What will you give me to betray Jesus to you?’ They agreed to pay him thirty pieces of silver, the princely sum at which they valued me.

Second Reading
St Gregory of Nyssa's commentary on the Song of Songs
A prayer to the Good Shepherd
Where are you pasturing your flock, O good Shepherd, who carry the whole flock on your shoulders? (for the whole of human nature is one sheep and you have lifted it onto your shoulders). Show me the place of peace, lead me to the good grass that will nourish me, call me by name so that I, your sheep, hear your voice, and by your speech give me eternal life. Answer me, you whom my soul loves.
  I give you the name ‘you whom my soul loves’ because your name is above every name and above all understanding and there is no rational nature that can utter it or comprehend it. Therefore your name, by which your goodness is known, is simply the love my soul has for you. How could I not love you, when you loved me so much, even though I was black, that you laid down your life for the sheep of your flock? A greater love cannot be imagined, than exchanging your life for my salvation.
  Show me then (my soul says) where you pasture your flock, so that I can find that saving pasture too, and fill myself with the food of heaven without which no-one can come to eternal life, and run to the spring and fill myself with the drink of God. You give it, as from a spring, to those who thirst – water pouring from your side cut open by the lance, water that, to whoever drinks it, is a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
  If you lead me to pasture here, you will make me lie down at noon, sleeping at peace and taking my rest in light unstained by any shade. For the noon has no shade and the sun stands far above the mountain peaks. You bring your flock to lie in this light when you bring your children to rest with you in your bed. But no-one can be judged worthy of this noonday rest who is not a child of light and a child of the day. Whoever has separated himself equally from the shadows of evening and morning, from where evil begins and evil ends, at noon he will lie down and the sun of righteousness will shine on him.
  Show me, then (my soul says), how I should sleep and how I should graze, and where the path is to my noonday rest. Do not let me fall away from your flock because of ignorance, and find myself one of a flock of sheep that are not yours.
  Thus my soul spoke, when she was anxious about the beauty that God’s care had given her and wanted to know how she could keep this good fortune for ever.
Responsory
I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Life to me is Christ, but then death would bring me something more. There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Let us pray.
Lord our God,
  give us grace to serve you always with joy,
because our full and lasting happiness
  is to make of our lives
  a constant service to the Author of all that is good.
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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