WEDNESDAY BEFORE EPIPHANY
or January 4

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: I love you Lord; you are my strength.

Psalm 18:2-30
Thanksgiving for salvation and victory
At that time there was a violent earthquake (Revelation 11:15)

                I
I love you, Lord, my strength,
my rock, my fortress, my savior.
My God is the rock where I take refuge;
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.
The Lord is worthy of all praise,
when I call I am saved from my foes.

The waves of death rose about me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
the snares of the grave entangled me;
the traps of death confronted me.

In my anguish I called to the Lord;
I cried to God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears. Glory...

Antiphon 1 I love you Lord; you are my strength.


Antiphon 2 The Lord has saved me; he wanted me for his own.

                II
Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the mountains were shaken to their base:
they reeled at his terrible anger.
Smoke came forth from his nostrils
and scorching fire from his mouth:
coals were set ablaze by its heat.

He lowered the heavens and came down,
a black cloud under his feet.
He came enthroned on the cherubim,
he flew on the wings of the wind.

He made the darkness his covering,
the dark waters of the clouds, his tent.
A brightness shone out before him
with hailstones and flashes of fire.

The Lord thundered in the heavens;
The Most High let his voice be heard.
He shot his arrows, scattered the foe,
flashed his lightnings and put them to flight.

The bed of the ocean was revealed;
the foundations of the world were laid bare
at the thunder of your threat, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your anger.

From on high he reached down and seized me;
he drew me forth from the mighty waters.
he snatched me from my powerful foe,
from my enemies whose strength I could not match.

They assailed me in the day of my misfortune,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me forth into freedom,
he saved me because he loved me. Glory...

Antiphon 2 The Lord has saved me; he wanted me for his own.


Antiphon 3 Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness.

               III
He rewarded me because I was just,
repaid me, for my hands were clean,
for I have kept the way of the Lord,
and have not fallen away from my God.

For his judgments are all before me:
I have never neglected his commands.
I have always been upright before him;
I have kept myself from guilt.

He repaid me because I was just
and my hands were clean in his eyes.
You are loving with those who love you:
you show yourself perfect with the perfect.

With the sincere you show yourself sincere,
but the cunning you outdo in cunning.
For you save a humble people
but humble the eyes that are proud.

You, O Lord, are my lamp,
my God who lightens my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier,
with my God I can scale any wall. 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 Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness.


In Christ was life.
- And that life was the light of mankind.


FIRST READING

From the letter to the Colossians          3:17-4:1

The life of the Christian family

Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.

Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.

Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality.
 
Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, realizing that you too have a Master in heaven.


RESPONSORY          Colossian 3:17
Whatever you do in word and deed,
- do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Give thanks to our God and Father through his Son.
- Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.



SECOND READING

From the Five Hundred Chapters by Saint Maximus the Confessor, abbot
(Centuria 1, 8-13: PG 90, 1182-1186)

A mystery ever new

The Word of God, born once in the flesh (such is his kindness and his goodness), is always willing to be born spiritually in those who desire him. In them he is born as an infant as he fashions himself in them by means of their virtues. He reveals himself to the extent that he knows someone is capable of receiving him. He diminishes the revelation of his glory not out of selfishness but because he recognizes the capacity and resources of those who desire to see him. Yet, in the transcendence of mystery, he always remains invisible to all.

For this reason the apostle Paul, reflecting on the power of the mystery, said: Jesus Christ, yesterday and today; he remains the same for ever. For he understands the mystery as ever new, never growing old through our understanding of it.

Christ is God, for he had given all things their being out of nothing. Yet he is born as man by taking to himself our nature, flesh endowed with intelligent spirit. A star glitters by day in the East and leads the wise men to the place where the incarnate Word lies, to show that the Word, contained in the Law and the Prophets, surpasses in a mystical way knowledge derived from the senses, and to lead the Gentiles to the full light of knowledge.

For surely the word of the Law and the Prophets when it is understood with faith is like a star which leads those who are called by the power of grace in accordance with his decree to recognize the Word incarnate.

Here is the reason why God became a perfect man, changing nothing of human nature, except to take away sin (which was never natural anyway). His flesh was set before that voracious, gaping dragon as bait to provoke him: flesh that would be deadly for the dragon, for it would utterly destroy him by the power of the Godhead hidden within it. For human nature, however, his flesh would restore human nature to its original grace.

Just as the devil had poisoned the tree of knowledge and spoiled our nature by its taste, so too, in presuming to devour the Lord’s flesh he himself is corrupted and is completely destroyed by the power of the Godhead hidden within it.

The great mystery of the divine incarnation remains a mystery for ever. How can the Word made flesh be essentially the same person that is wholly with the Father? How can he who is by nature God become by nature wholly man without lacking either nature, neither the divine by which he is God nor the human by which he became man?

Faith alone grasps these mysteries. Faith alone is truly the substance and foundation of all that exceeds knowledge and understanding.


RESPONSORY          John 1:14,1
The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
- We have seen his glory,
the glory of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
- We have seen his glory,
the glory of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.


COLLECT
Grant us, almighty God, that the bringer of your salvation,
who for the world’s redemption came forth with newness of heavenly light,
may dawn afresh in our hearts and bring us constant renewal.
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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