WEEK 29 - TUESDAY
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 let us worship our mighty King and Lord.
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.
Who can tell the pleasure,
Who recount the treasure,
By Your word imparted
To the simple hearted?
Word of mercy giving
Succour to the living;
Word of Life supplying
Comfort to the dying.
O that we, discerning
Its most holy learning
Lord may love and fear You
Evermore be near you.
Text: Henry Williams Baker; Melody: Ravenshaw 66.66, M. Weisse, W.H. Monk; Midi: Cyberhymnal
The Lord is just, he will defend the poor.
Prayer of thanksgiving
Blessed are the poor; the kingdom of heaven is theirs (Luke 6:20)
Lord, why do you stand afar off
and hide yourself in times of distress?
The poor man is devoured by the pride of the wicked:
he is caught in the schemes that others have made.
For the wicked man boasts of his heart's desires;
the covetous blasphemes and spurns the Lord.
In his pride the wicked says: "He will not punish.
There is no God." Such are his thoughts.
His path is ever untroubled;
your judgment is far from his mind.
His enemies he regards with contempt.
He thinks: "Never shall I falter:
misfortune shall never be my lot."
His mouth is full of cursing, guile, oppression;
mischief and deceit are under his tongue.
He lies in wait among the reeds;
the innocent he murders in secret.
His eyes are on the watch for the helpless man.
He lurks in hiding like a lion in his lair;
he lurks in hiding to seize the poor;
he seizes the poor man and drags him away.
He crouches, preparing to spring,
and the helpless fall beneath such strength.
He thinks in his heart: "God forgets,
he hides his face, he does not see."
Antiphon 1 The Lord is just, he will defend the poor.
Antiphon 2 Lord, you know the burden of my sorrow.
Arise then, Lord, lift up your hand!
O God, do not forget the poor!
Why should the wicked spurn the Lord
and think in his heart: "God will not punish"?
But you have seen the trouble and sorrow,
you note it, you take it in hand.
The helpless trusts himself to you;
for you are the helper of the orphan.
Break the power of the wicked and the sinner!
Punish their wickedness till nothing remains!
The Lord is king for ever and ever.
The heathen shall perish from the land he rules.
Lord, you hear the prayer of the poor;
you strengthen their hearts; you turn your ear
to protect the rights of the orphan and oppressed:
so that mortal man may strike terror no more. Glory...
Lord, you know the burden of my sorrow.
Antiphon 3 The words of the Lord are true, like silver from the furnace.
A cry for God's help against powerful opponents
The Father sent His Son into the world to defend the poor (St. Augustine)
Help, O Lord, for good men have vanished;
truth has gone from the sons of men.
Falsehood they speak one to another,
with lying lips, with a false heart.
May the Lord destroy all lying lips,
the tongue that speaks high-sounding words,
those who say: "Our tongue is our strength;
our lips are our own, who is our master?"
"For the poor who are oppressed and the needy who groan
I myself will arise," says the Lord,
"I will grant them the salvation for which they thirst."
The words of the Lord are words without alloy,
silver from the furnace, seven times refined.
It is you, O Lord, who will take us in your care
and protect us for ever from this generation.
See how the wicked prowl on every side,
while the worthless are prized highly by the sons of men. Glory....
The words of the Lord are true, like silver from the furnace.
The Lord teaches the humble His way
- He guides the gentle hearted along the right path.
From the book of Esther 4:1-16
Haman seeks the destruction of the Jews
When Mordecai learned all that was happening, he tore his garments, put on sackcloth and ashes, and walked through the city crying out loudly and bitterly, till he came before the royal gate, which no one clothed in sackcloth might enter. (Likewise in each of the provinces, wherever the king's legal enactment reached, the Jews went into deep mourning, with fasting, weeping, and lament; they all slept on sackcloth and ashes.)
Queen Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her. Overwhelmed with anguish, she sent garments for Mordecai to put on, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he refused.
Esther then summoned Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs whom he had placed at her service, and commanded him to find out what this action of Mordecai meant and the reason for it. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the public square in front of the royal gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened, as well as the exact amount of silver Haman had promised to pay to the royal treasury for the slaughter of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction which had been promulgated in Susa, to show and explain to Esther. He was to instruct her to go to the king; she was to plead and intercede with him in behalf of her people.
"Remember the days of your lowly estate," Mordecai had him say, "when you were brought up in my charge; for Haman, who is second to the king, has asked for our death. Invoke the Lord and speak to the king for us: save us from death."
Hathach returned to Esther and told her what Mordecai had said. Then Esther replied to Hathach and gave him this message for Mordecai: "All the servants of the king and the people of his provinces know that any man or woman who goes to the king in the inner court without being summoned, suffers the automatic penalty of death, unless the king extends to him the golden scepter, thus sparing his life. Now as for me, I have not been summoned to the king for thirty days."
When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he had this reply brought to her: "Do not imagine that because you are in the king's palace, you alone of all the Jews will escape. Even if you now remain silent, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another source; but you and your father's house will perish. Who knows but that it was for a time like this that you obtained the royal dignity?"
Esther sent back to Mordecai the response: "Go and assemble all the Jews who are in Susa; fast on my behalf, all of you, not eating or drinking, night or day, for three days. I and my maids will also fast in the same way. Thus prepared, I will go to the king, contrary to the law. If I perish, I perish!"
Mordecai went away and did exactly as Esther had commanded.
RESPONSORY See Est. 14:14; Tb. 3:13; Jdt. 6:19
I have never trusted in anyone but you,
OGod of Israel;
- despite your anger, you will be compassionate
and forgive all the sins of those in distress.
Lord, God of heaven and earth,
have pity on the humiliation of our people.
- Despite your anger, you will be compassionate
and forgive all the sins of those in distress.
From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Ep. 130,11,21-12,22; CSEL 44,63-64)
On the Lord's Prayer
Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God.
And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.
When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels.
When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we mean “in this world.” Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.
When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.
When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.
When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these very words.
Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say (words which the one praying chooses so that his disposition may become clearer to himself or which he simply adopts so that his disposition may be intensified), we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer, provided of course we are praying in a correct and proper way. But if anyone says something which is incompatible with this prayer of the Gospel, he is praying in the flesh, even if he is not praying sinfully. And yet I do not know how this could be termed anything but sinful, since those who are born again through the Spirit ought to pray only in the Spirit.
RESPONSORY 2 Maccabees 1:5,3
May the Lord hear your prayers
and make peace with you;
- may the Lord God never abandon you in time of evil.
May he give to all of you a heart
to worship him and to do his will.
- May the Lord God never abandon you in time of evil.
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to yours
and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.
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.