Friday 25 June 2021    (other days)
Friday of week 12 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.

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.

God has spoken by his prophets,
Spoken his unchanging word,
Each from age to age proclaiming
God the One, the righteous Lord.
Mid the world’s despair and turmoil,
one firm anchor holdeth fast:
God is King, his throne eternal,
God the first and God the last.
God has spoken by Christ Jesus,
Christ, the everlasting Son,
Brightness of the Father’s glory,
With the Father ever one;
Spoken by the Word incarnate,
God of God, ere time began,
Light of Light, to earth descending,
Man, revealing God to man.

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.
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.
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.
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
1 Samuel 25:14-24,28-39 ©

David and Abigail

Now one of the servants had brought the news to Abigail, Nabal’s wife. He said, ‘David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he flared out at them. Now these men were very good to us; they did not molest us and we did not find anything missing all the time we were out in the fields while we were in their neighbourhood. They were a protection to us night and day, all the time we were in their neighbourhood minding the sheep. Now bear this in mind and see what you can do, for the ruin of our master and of his whole House is decided on, and he is so ill-tempered no one can say a word to him.’
  Abigail hastily took two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep ready prepared, five measures of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs and loaded them on donkeys. She said to her servants, ‘Go on ahead of me, I will follow you’ – but she did not tell her husband.
  As she was riding her donkey down behind a spur of the mountain, David and his men happened to be coming down in her direction; and she met them. Now David had decided, ‘It was a waste of time guarding all this man’s property in the wilderness. Nothing was missing of all he had, and yet he returned evil for good. May God do this to David and more if by morning I leave one male alive of all those who belong to him!’ As soon as Abigail saw David she quickly dismounted from the donkey and, falling on her face before David, bowed down to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, ‘Let me take the blame, my lord. Let your servant speak in your ear; listen to the words of your servant. I ask you to forgive your servant’s fault, for then the Lord will grant my lord a lasting dynasty, for my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and in all your life there is no wickedness to be found in you. Should men set out to hunt you down and try to take your life, my lord’s life will be kept close in the satchel of life with the Lord your God, while as for the lives of your enemies he will fling them away, as from a sling. When the Lord has done for my lord all the good he has promised you, when he has made you prince over Israel, you do not want to have any reason to grieve or feel remorse at having shed blood needlessly and avenged yourself with your own hand. And when the Lord has shown his goodness to my lord, then remember your servant.’
  David said to Abigail, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! Blessed be your wisdom and blessed you yourself for restraining me today from the crime of bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand! But as the Lord the God of Israel lives, he who kept me from harming you, had you not hurried out to meet me, I swear that Nabal would not have had one male left alive by the morning.’ David then accepted from her what she had brought him and said, ‘Go home in peace; see, I have listened to you and have granted your request.’
  Abigail returned to Nabal. He was holding a feast, a princely feast, in his house; Nabal was in high spirits, and as he was very drunk she told him nothing at all till it was daylight. In the morning then, when the wine had left him, his wife told him all that had happened and his heart died inside him and he became like a stone. About ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
  When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, ‘Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at Nabal’s hands and has restrained his servant from doing evil; the Lord has brought Nabal’s wickedness down on his own head.’
  David then sent Abigail an offer of marriage.
1 S 25:32-33; Mt 5:7
℟. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today!* You have restrained me today from the crime of bloodshed, and from avenging myself with my own hand.
℣. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.* You have restrained me today from the crime of bloodshed, and from avenging myself with my own hand.

Second Reading
A homily on the Beatitudes by St Gregory of Nyssa

The hope of seeing God

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. God’s promise is so great that it passes the furthest limits of happiness. Given such a blessing, who could desire more, having already received all things by the fact of seeing God? Remember that in Scriptural usage ‘seeing’ means ‘having.’ May you see the good things of Jerusalem means ‘may you find them.’ Let the ungodly be taken away and not see the glory of the Lord means, in the prophet’s words, ‘not share in the glory of the Lord.’
  So whoever ‘sees God’ receives, in this act of seeing, possession of everything that is good: incorruptible life without end, blessedness that cannot fail, a kingdom without end, happiness without limit, true light, the true voice of the Spirit, glory never before reached, perpetual rejoicing, and all else that is good.
  The promise of this Beatitude gives us the right to hope for these great things. All this sight of God is conditional on having a pure heart – and thinking of this, my mind is once more teetering on a dizzy peak. What if purity of heart is one of those unattainable things that are simply beyond our human nature? If, on the one hand, it is by purity of heart that God can be seen, and if, on the other hand, Moses and Paul did not see God and said that he could never be seen, it follows logically that purity of heart must be impossible, so that in pronouncing this Beatitude, the Word is putting forward something that simply cannot be.
  How can we benefit from knowing the means by which God can be seen, if that means is impossible for us?
  Suppose, for instance, that someone told us it was good to find oneself in heaven because there one would see things that cannot be seen in this world. Now if he also told us how a journey to heaven might be undertaken, there might be some use in telling us about its delights. But as long as the journey is impossible, what use is it to think about the happiness that might lie at the end of it? We would simply suffer and be sad at the thought of the things that await us somewhere where we cannot go.
  Does the Lord really encourage us to do something that is beyond our nature and our powers to accomplish? Surely not. Look at the birds: God has not created them without wings. Look at sea creatures: God has not designed them as land animals. Wherever we look, the law of each creature’s being does not demand that it should do something that it is beyond its own nature to do.
  Let us reflect on this and realise that we should not despair of the purity of heart that the Beatitude speaks of. John, Paul and Moses did not, in the end, lack the sublime blessing of seeing God. Paul said There is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just judge, will render to me; John lay on Jesus’ breast; and Moses heard God say to him, I have known you above all. It is certain that those who said that the contemplation of God was beyond human power were themselves blessed. But blessedness comes from the contemplation of God, and seeing God is something that comes to those who are pure of heart. It follows logically that purity of heart cannot be an unattainable thing.
  So if some, with Paul, truly say that the contemplation of God is beyond human power, yet the Lord himself contradicts them by promising the sight of God to those who are pure of heart.
℟. For you my soul is thirsting:* my flesh faints for you, O God, my God.
℣. In my justice I shall see your face; and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory:* my flesh faints for you, O God, my God.

Let us pray.
Lord God,
  teach us at all times to fear and love your holy name,
for you never withdraw your guiding hand
  from those you establish in your love.
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.

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

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