WEEK 10 - THURSDAY
Office of Readings
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: Come into the Lord's presence, singing for joy.
God, come to my assistance.
- Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
- as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Beneath the shadow of your throne
Your saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is your arm alone,
And our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting you are God,
To endless years the same.
A thousand ages in your sight
Are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all our lives away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be now our guide while life shall last,
And our eternal home.
Text: Isaac Watts; Melody: St. Anne C. M.
Lord, you are our Savior; we will praise you for ever.
The misfortune of God's people
We triumph over all these things through him who loved us (Romans 8:37)
We heard with our own ears, O God,
our fathers have told us the story
of the things you did in their days,
you yourself, in days long ago.
To plant them you uprooted the nations;
to let them spread you laid peoples low.
No sword of their own won the land;
no arm of their own brought them victory.
It was your right hand, your arm
and the light of your face; for you loved them.
It is you, my king, my God,
who granted victories to Jacob.
Through you we beat down our foes;
in your name we trampled down our aggressors.
For it was not in my bow that I trusted
nor yet was I saved by my sword:
it was you who saved us from our foes,
it was you who put our foes to shame.
All day long our boast was in God
and we praised your name without ceasing. Glory...
Lord, you are our Savior; we will praise you for ever.
Antiphon 2 Spare us, O Lord; do not bring your own people into contempt.
Yet now you have rejected us, disgraced us;
you no longer go forth with our armies.
You make us retreat from the foe
and our enemies plunder us at will.
You make us like sheep for the slaughter
and scatter us among the nations.
You sell your own people for nothing
and make no profit by the sale.
You make us the taunt of our neighbors,
the laughing stock of all who are near.
Among the nations, you make us a byword,
among the peoples a thing of derision.
All day long my disgrace is before me;
my face is covered with shame
at the voice of the taunter, the scoffer,
at the sight of the foe and avenger. Glory...
Spare us, O Lord; do not bring your own people into contempt.
Antiphon 3 Rise up, O Lord, and save us, for you are merciful.
This befell us though we had not forgotten you,
though we had not been false to your covenant,
though we had not withdrawn our hearts;
though our feet had not strayed from your path.
Yet you have crushed us in a place of sorrows
and covered us with the shadow of death.
Had we forgotten the name of our God,
or stretched out our hands to another god
would not God have found this out,
he who knows the secrets of the heart?
It is for you that we face death all day long
and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
Awake, O Lord, why do you sleep?
Arise, do not reject us for ever!
Why do you hide your face
and forget our oppression and misery?
For we are brought down low to the dust;
our body lies prostrate on the earth.
Stand up and come to our help!
Redeem us because of your love! Glory...
Rise up, O Lord, and save us, for you are merciful.
Lord, to whom shall we go?
- You have the words of eternal life.
From the Book of Joshua 5:13-6:21
The enemy's most powerful city is destroyed
While Joshua was near Jericho, he raised his eyes and saw one who stood facing him, drawn sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you one of us or of our enemies?" He replied, "Neither. I am the captain of the host of the Lord and I have just arrived." Then Joshua fell prostrate to the ground in worship, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" The captain of the host of the Lord replied to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy." And Joshua obeyed.
Now Jericho was in a state of siege because of the presence of the Israelites, so that no one left or entered. And to Joshua the Lord said, "I have delivered Jericho and its king into your power. Have all the soldiers circle the city, marching once around it. Do this for six days, with seven priests carrying ram's horns ahead of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, and have the priests blow the horns. When they give a long blast on the ram's horns and you hear that signal, all the people shall shout aloud. The wall of the city will collapse, and they will be able to make a frontal attack."
Summoning the priests, Joshua, son of Nun, then ordered them to take up the ark of the covenant with seven of the priests carrying ram's horns in front of the ark of the Lord. And he ordered the people to proceed in a circle around the city, with the picked troops marching ahead of the ark of the Lord. At this order they proceeded, with the seven priests who carried the ram's horns before the Lord blowing their horns, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. In front of the priests with the horns marched the picked troops; the rear guard followed the ark, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually as they marched. But the people had been commanded by Joshua not to shout or make any noise or outcry until he gave the word: only then were they to shout. So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going once around it, after which they returned to camp for the night.
Early the next morning, Joshua had the priests take up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests bearing the ram's horns marched in front of the ark of the Lord, blowing their horns. Ahead of these marched the picked troops, while the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually. On this second day they again marched around the city once before returning to camp; and for six days in all they did the same. On the seventh day, beginning at daybreak, they marched around the city seven times in the same manner; on that day only did they march around the city seven times.
The seventh time around, the priests blew the horns and Joshua said to the people, "Now shout, for the Lord has given you the city and everything in it. It is under the Lord's ban. Only the harlot Rahab and all who are in the house with her are to be spared, because she hid the messengers we sent. But be careful not to take, in your greed, anything that is under the ban; else you will bring upon the camp of Israel this ban and the misery of it. All silver and gold, and the articles of bronze or iron, are sacred to the Lord. They shall be put in the treasury of the Lord." As the horns blew, the people began to shout. When they heard the signal horn, they raised a tremendous shout. The wall collapsed, and the people stormed the city in a frontal attack and took it. They observed the ban by putting to the sword all living creatures in the city: men and women, young and old, as well as oxen, sheep and asses.
RESPONSORY See Isaiah 25:1,2; Hebrews 11:30
O Lord, you are my God:
I will extol you and praise your name.
You have reduced the city to a heap of stones, never to be rebuilt.The town which you have made a ruin will never be rebuilt. It was through faith that the walls of Jericho fell down when the people had marched round them for seven days. The town which you have made a ruin will never be rebuilt.
A sermon of Origen
(Hom. 6, 4: PG 12, 855-856)
The capture of Jericho
Jericho is besieged and surrounded but has yet to fall. How is it to be conquered? Not with arrows or swords or battering-ram. Nothing is deployed but the priests’ trumpets, and the walls of Jericho crumble.
In Scripture we often find Jericho used as a symbol of the world. Even in the Gospel, when the traveller from Jerusalem to Jericho is set upon by robbers, is he not an image of Adam, thrown out of paradise into exile in this world? And again, those blind men who were in Jericho, when Jesus came to them to give them sight, are they not an example of those who live in this world, oppressed by the blindness of ignorance until the Son of God enlightens them?
And so this Jericho – this world – must fall. The consummation of this present age has long been prophesied by the sacred books.
How will this consummation come about? By what means? Scripture tells us, at the sound of the trumpet. What trumpet is that? Paul gives you the key to this secret. Listen to him: The trumpet will sound, and the dead who are in Christ will be raised, imperishable. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Then, therefore, our Lord Jesus will come with trumpets to conquer Jericho and throw it down, so that out of all its people there will survive only the prostitute and her household. Our Lord Jesus will come down, come down with the sound of the trumpet.
May he save that one woman who gave succour to his spies, who received his Apostles in trust and obedience and hid them in her roof. May he take that prostitute and give her a share with the house of Israel. But let us not go over this story again and label her with the name of her past sin. She may have been a prostitute once but now she is a chaste virgin, joined to her chaste spouse, who is Christ. Listen to what St Paul says about her: I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband. And he was still speaking of her when he said: There was a time when we too were ignorant, disobedient and misled and enslaved by different passions and luxuries.
Do you want to know more about how the prostitute ceased to be a prostitute? Listen again to Paul: These are the sort of people you were once, but now you have been washed clean, and sanctified, and justified through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God. To enable to escape the destruction of Jericho she received from the spies a powerful sign of safety, the scarlet rope. For it is through the blood of Christ that the whole Church is saved, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom belong glory and power throughout all the ages. Amen.
RESPONSORY Isaiah 49:22,26; John 8:28
See, I will lift up my hand to the nations
and raise up my signal for the peoples;
- All mankind shall know that I, the Lord, am your saviour
your redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
When you have lifted up the Son of Man from the earth,
you will know that I am he. - All mankind shall know that I, the Lord, am your saviour
your redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
O God, from whom all good things come,
grant that we, who call on you in our need,
may at your prompting discern what is right,
and by your guidance do it.
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.