THURSDAY BEFORE EPIPHANY
or January 5

Office of Readings




Invitatory
The Invitatory opens the first Office of the day. If Morning Prayer is the first Office of the day, begin below.

Lord, open my lips.
 - And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Psalm 95 is the traditional Invitatory Psalm. Psalm 24, 67, or 100 may be substituted.

Antiphon: Christ is born for us. Come let us adore him.





Office of Readings
God, come to my assistance.
- Lord, make haste to help me.
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.


From Heaven high I come to you
Go tell it on the mountain
Oh, Come All Ye Faithful
Songs of praise the angels sang
Virgin-born, we bow before you
What Child is this
A Child is born in Bethlehem



PSALMODY

Antiphon 1: The word of the Lord is a strong shield for all who put their trust in him.

Psalm 18:31-51
Hymn of Thanksgiving
If God is on our side, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

               I
As for God, his ways are perfect;
the word of the Lord, purest gold.
He indeed is the shield
of all who make him their refuge.

For who is God but the Lord?
Who is a rock but our God?
the God who girds me with strength
and makes the path safe before me.

My feet you make swift as the deer's;
you have made me stand firm on the heights.
You have trained my hands for battle
and my hands to bend the heavy bow. Glory...

Antiphon 1 The word of the Lord is a strong shield for all who put their trust in him.


Antiphon 2 Your strong right hand has upheld me, Lord.

             II
You gave me your saving shield;
you upheld me, trained me with care.
You gave me freedom for my steps;
my feet have never slipped.

I pursued and overtook my foes,
never turning back till they were slain.
I smote them so they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.

You girded me with strength for battle;
you made my enemies fall beneath me,
you made my foes take flight;
those who hated me I destroyed.

They cried, but there was no one to save them;
they cried to the Lord, but in vain.
I crushed them fine as dust before the wind;
trod them down like dirt in the streets.

You saved me from the feuds of the people
and put me at the head of the nations.
People unknown to me served me:
when they heard of me they obeyed me.

Foreign nations came to me cringing:
foreign nations faded away.
They came trembling out of their strongholds. Glory...

Antiphon 2 Your strong right hand has upheld me, Lord.


Antiphon 3 May the living God, my Savior, be praised for ever.

              III
Long life to the Lord, my rock!
Praised be the God who saves me,
the God who gives me redress
and subdues people under me.

You saved me from my furious foes.
You set me above my assailants.
You saved me from violent men,
so I will praise you, Lord, among the nations:
I will sing a psalm to your name.

He has given great victories to his king
and shown his love for his anointed,
for David and his sons for ever. Glory...

Psalm Prayer: Lord God, our strength and salvation, put in us the flame of your love and make our love for you grow to a perfect love which reaches to our neighbor.

Antiphon 3 May the living God, my Savior, be praised for ever.


Christ is the true light.
- He gives light to all people.


FIRST READING

From the letter to the Colossians          4:2-18

The conclusion of the letter

Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; at the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I must speak.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one.

Tychicus, my beloved brother, trustworthy minister, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news of me. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us and that he may encourage your hearts, together with Onesimus, a trustworthy and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas concerning whom you have received instructions; if he comes to you, receive him, and Jesus, who is called Justus, who are of the circumcision; these alone are my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.

Epaphras sends you greetings; he is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, always striving for you in his prayers so that you may be perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I can testify that he works very hard for you and for those in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician sends greetings, as does Demas.

Give greetings to the brothers in Laodicea and to Nympha and to the church in her house.  And when this letter is read before you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and you yourselves read the one from Laodicea.  And tell Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord."

The greeting is in my own hand, Paul's. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.


RESPONSORY          Colossian 4:3; see Psalm 51:17
Let us pray for one another,
that God may give us an opportunity
- to proclaim the mystery of Christ.

May the Lord open our lips that we may declare God's praises.
- To proclaim the mystery of Christ.


SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo 194, 3-4: PL 38, 1016-1017)

The vision of the Word will fulfill all our desires

What man knows all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ, concealed in the poverty of his flesh? Scripture says: Although he was rich he became poor for our sake to enrich us by his poverty. He showed himself poor when he assumed our mortal nature and destroyed death, yet he promised us riches, for he had not been robbed of his wealth but was keeping it in reserve.

How great are the blessings of his goodness which he reserves for those who fear him and shows to those who hope in him! Until he gives them to us in their plentitude, we can have only the faintest conception of them; but to enable us to receive these blessings, he who in his divine nature is the equal of the Father assumed the condition of a slave and became like us, and so restored to us our likeness to God. The only Son of God became a son of man to make many men sons of God. He instructed slaves by showing himself in the form of a slave, and now he enables free men to see him in the form of God.

For we are the sons of God, and although what we shall be has not yet been revealed, we know that when he appears we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. For what are those treasures of wisdom and knowledge, what those divine riches, if not the one thing that can fulfill our longing? What are the great blessings of his goodness, if not the one thing that will content us? Therefore: Show us the Father, and all our desires will be satisfied.

Christ speaks both in us and for us when, in one of the psalms, he says to the Father: I shall be satisfied when your glory is revealed. For he and the Father are one, and whoever sees him sees the Father also. The Lord of hosts is himself the king of Glory. He will transform us and show us his face, and we shall be saved; all our longing will be fulfilled, all our desires will be satisfied.

But this has not yet been accomplished; he has not yet given us the vision that will satisfy every desire; we have not yet drunk our fill of the fountain of life. So while all this remains in the future and we still walk by faith, justice and, with inexpressible longing, yearn for Godís beauty, let us reverently celebrate the day he was born into our own servile condition.

Since we can as yet form no conception of his generation by the Father before the daystar, let us keep the festival of his birth of a virgin in the hours of the night. Since it is still beyond our understanding that his name endures for ever and existed before the sun, let us at least yet behold him as the only Son, abiding for ever in his Father, so let us recall his coming forth like a bridegroom from his chamber. We are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father, so let us contemplate the manger of Jesus Christ our Lord.


RESPONSORY          John 1:2;5-20
This life was made visible;
we have seen it and we proclaim to you the eternal life
- which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

We know that the Son of God has come and given us understanding,
that we might know the true God,
for we are in his Son, Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
- Which was with the Father and has appeared to us.



COLLECT
O God, who by the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son
wondrously began for your people the work of redemption,
grant, we pray, to your servants such firmness of faith,
that by his guidance they may attain the glorious prize you have promised.
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.
- And give him thanks.




The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours © 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 
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