Wednesday 20 December 2023    (other days)
20 December 

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The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.

Year: B(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

O clavis David!

O clavis David
  et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui áperis et nemo claudit;
claudis et nemo áperit:
veni et educ vinctum de domo cárceris,
sedéntem in ténebris et umbra mortis.
“O key of David and sceptre of Israel, you who open and nobody then can close, who close and nobody then can open: come and lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
  The last antiphon celebrated the descent of Jesus from the family of David; today’s antiphon, the middle of the sequence of seven great ‘O Antiphons’ at Vespers, does not recall his descent but looks forward to his royal power, of which David’s was only a shadow and prefiguration.
  Here is the prophecy spoken by Isaiah: “He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the House of Judah. I place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; should he open, no one shall close, should he close, no one shall open. I drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a throne of glory for his father’s house.” The prophecy was made not about a king but about a mere Master of the Palace, Eliakim, whose family eventually sank into obscurity. But like so many Old Testament prophecies, this one receives a new lease of life as it is illuminated by the light of the rising Sun.

Other saints: Blessed Scubilion (1797 - 1867)

20 Dec (where celebrated)
Born in France in 1797, Jean-Bernard Rousseau felt the call to share his faith and his knowledge with others. He joined the Brothers of the Christian Schools (the de la Salle Brothers) and was given the name Scubilion. In 1833 he was sent to the Isle of Réunion, where he remained until his death in 1867. In Réunion he was named “the catechist of the slaves” on account of his ministry among them. His memorial is celebrated today, the anniversary of the abolition of slavery on the island.

Other saints: Saint Fachanan of Kilfenora

He is the patron saint of Kilfenora diocese. Little is known about him but he is associated with the foundation of the first monastic settlement in Kilfenora.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 - 1153)

Bernard was born near Dijon, in France, in 1090, of a noble family. In 1112 he joined the new monastery at Cîteaux. This had been founded fourteen years before, in a bid to reject the laxity and riches of much of the Benedictine Order of the time (as exemplified by the great monasteries such as Cluny) and to return to a primitive poverty and austerity of life.
  Bernard arrived at Cîteaux with four of his five brothers and two dozen friends. Within three years he had been sent out to found a new monastery at Clairvaux, in Champagne, where he remained abbot for the rest of his life. By the time of his death, the Cistercian Order (“the Order of Cîteaux”) had grown from one house to 343, of which 68 were daughter houses of Clairvaux itself.
  Bernard was a man of great holiness and wisdom, and although he was often in very poor health, he was active in many of the great public debates of the time. He strongly opposed the luxurious lives of some of the clergy, and fought against the persecution of the Jews. He was also a prolific writer, and the Liturgy of the Hours uses extracts from many of his sermons.

Liturgical colour: violet

Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Jeremiah 23:5 ©
See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David, who will reign as true king and be wise, practising honesty and integrity in the land.

Noon reading (Sext)Jeremiah 23:6 ©
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel dwell in confidence. And this is the name he will be called: ‘The Lord our righteousness.’

Afternoon reading (None)(Ezekiel 34:15-16) ©
I will pasture my sheep, I will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

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Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
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