Universalis
Friday 20 September 2019    (other days)
Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Priest, and Paul Chong Hasang, and their Companions, Martyrs 
 on Friday of week 24 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
The martyrs living now with Christ
In suffering were tried,
Their anguish overcome by love
When on his cross they died.
Across the centuries they come,
In constancy unmoved,
Their loving hearts make no complaint,
In silence they are proved.
No man has ever measured love,
Or weighed it in his hand,
But God who knows the inmost heart
Gives them the promised land.
Praise Father, Son and Spirit blest,
Who guides us through the night
In ways that reach beyond the stars
To everlasting light.
Francis E. Mostyn (1860-1939)

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, pay attention to my wisdom.
℟. Listen carefully to my words of prudence.

First Reading
Ezekiel 16:3,5,6-7,8-15,35,37,40-43,59-63 ©
Jerusalem, God’s adulterous spouse
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
Is 54:6-8; Ezk 16:60
℟. 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
From the final exhortation of Saint Andrew Kim Taegŏn, priest and martyr
Faith is crowned by love and perseverance
My brethren and dear friends, think about this and reflect on it: from the beginning of time God has ordered the heavens, the earth, and all things. Consider the creation of man in this light and reflect on why he has created man, each man, in his image and likeness: why, and with what purpose.
  If, then, placed as we are in this world full of danger and misery, we do not know the Lord our creator, what is the point in having been born? Our life is pointless. Thanks to God, we have come into this world. Also thanks to God, we have received baptism, we have entered the Church, and we have received the glorious name of disciples of the Lord. But what use would that name be if it did not correspond to reality? If it does not, then it is in vain that we have come into the world and entered into the Church. Moreover, such a state of affairs would not serve the Lord and his grace. It would be better for us never to have been born than to receive the grace of the Lord and then sin against him.
  Look at the farmer sowing his field. He ploughs the earth at the appropriate time, then he manures it, and he cultivates the growing seed without caring how hard his work is under a hot sun. When harvest time arrives, if the ears are fat then he forgets his labour and his sweat because his heart is full of joy and he delights in the harvest. But if the grains are shrivelled and there is nothing but straw and empty husks, then the farmer remembers his sweat and heavy labour: the more he has worked the field, the more he turns his back on it.
  It is the same with the Lord. The Earth is his field; we men are his seed; his manure is grace. By the Incarnation and the Redemption he waters us with his blood so that we can grow and ripen. When the time for harvest comes at the Day of Judgement, if by his grace we are found to be ripe, we shall know the joy of the kingdom as the adoptive children of God. But if we are found to be unripe, we shall have become enemies of God instead of the adoptive sons we were, and we shall receive the eternal punishment we deserve.
  My very dear brethren, know this: our Lord Jesus, coming down here, himself suffered pains beyond counting: by his Passion he founded the Church and by the passion of his faithful he makes it grow. The powers of this world may well oppress it and attack it, but they will never have victory over it. After the Ascension of Jesus, from the time of the Apostles until now, the holy Church has grown everywhere in the middle of persecution.
  It is fifty or sixty years now since the holy Church entered our land of Korea. The faithful have endured persecution over and over again. Today it is beginning once more: many of our friends in faith, and I myself, are in prison. You too are under threat. Since we form one body, how can we not have sad hearts? How can we not, as human beings, feel the pain of separation?
  All the same, as Scripture tells us, God takes care of the least of the hairs of our head and nothing escapes his infinite knowledge. How then can we see this persecution except as something ordered by the Lord either as a prize or as a punishment? Follow therefore the will of God, fight with all your heart for our divine leader Jesus, and you will vanquish the demon of this world, who has already been vanquished by Christ.
  I implore you: do not forget fraternal love but help one another and persevere until the Lord takes pity on us and ends this persecution.
  There are twenty of us here and, thank God, all is well with us so far. If one of us is put to death I beg you not to forget his family.
  There are many other things I could say to you, but how to say them all in a letter? So I will end here. As for us, in a short time we will go into combat. I beg you to keep yourselves faithful so that we can all be reunited in the joys of heaven. With all my heart, I embrace you.
Responsory
℟. God looks on, his angels look on, Christ, too, looks on as we struggle and strive in the contest of faith.* What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to join battle in the presence of God, and to be crowned by Christ, the Judge!
℣. Let us be armed with a great determination and be prepared to face the combat, pure in heart, sound in faith, and full of courage.* What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to join battle in the presence of God, and to be crowned by Christ, the Judge!

Let us pray.
O God, you have created all nations and you are their salvation.
  In the land of Korea your call to Catholic faith formed a people of adoption,
  whose growth you nurtured by the blood of Andrew, Paul and their companions.
Through their martyrdom and their intercession
  grant us strength
  that we too may remain faithful to your commandments even until death.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

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

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