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Office of Readings

INVITATORY

The Invitatory is said when this is the first ‘hour’ of the day.

Go to the Hymn

Lord, + open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

The antiphon is repeated. In individual recitation, the antiphon may be said only at the beginning of the psalm; it need not be repeated after each strophe.

Go to Psalm 24

Go to Psalm 67

Go to Psalm 100

Psalm 95
A call to praise God


Encourage each other daily while it is still today (Hebrews 3:13).

Come, let us sing to the Lord *
  and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving *
  and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

The Lord is God, the mighty God, *
  the great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth *
  and the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea; it belongs to him, *
  the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship, *
  bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God and we are his people, *
  the flock he shepherds.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
  in the wilderness, *
when at Meriba and Massah
  they challenged me and provoked me, *
Although they had seen all of my works.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Forty years I endured that generation. *
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
  and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger, *
  “They shall not enter into my rest.”

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

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. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 24
The Lord’s entry into his temple


Christ opened heaven for us in the manhood he assumed (Saint Irenaeus).

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, *
the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas; *
on the waters he made it firm.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? *
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things, *
who has not sworn so as to deceive his neighbor.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

He shall receive blessings from the Lord *
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him, *
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors. *
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Who is the king of glory?
The Lord, the mighty, the valiant, *
the Lord, the valiant in war.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors. *
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Who is he, the king of glory?
He, the Lord of armies, *
he is the king of glory.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

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. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 67
People of all nations will worship the Lord


You must know that God is offering his salvation to all the world (Acts 28:28).

O God, be gracious and bless us *
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth *
and all nations learn your saving help.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Let the nations be glad and exult *
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples, *
you guide the nations on earth.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

The earth has yielded its fruit *
for God, our God, has blessed us.
May God still give us his blessing *
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

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. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 100
The joyful song of those entering God’s temple

The Lord calls his ransomed people to sing songs of victory (Saint Athanasius).

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness. *
Come before him, singing for joy.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.
He made us, we belong to him, *
we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Go within his gates, giving thanks.
Enter his courts with songs of praise. *
Give thanks to him and bless his name.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,
eternal his merciful love. *
He is faithful from age to age.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

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. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the Lamb of God, proclaimed by John.

If the Invitatory is not said, then the following is used:

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. Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
announces that the Lord is nigh;
awake and hearken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of kings.

Then cleansed be every breast from sin;
make straight the way for God within,
prepare we in our hearts a home
where such a mighty Guest may come.

For thou art our salvation, Lord,
our refuge and our great reward;
without thy grace we waste away
like flowers that wither and decay.

To heal the sick stretch out thine hand,
and bid the fallen sinner stand;
shine forth and let thy light restore
earth’s own true loveliness once more.

All praise, eternal Son, to thee,
whose advent doth thy people free;
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

Tune: Winchester New L.M.
Music: Musikalisches Handbuch, 1690
Text: Charles Coffin, 1736
Translation: John Chandler, 1837

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 The Lord called me before I was born; from my mother’s womb he named me.

Psalm 21:2-8, 14
Thanksgiving for the king’s victory


He accepted life that he might rise and live for ever (Saint Hilary).

O Lord, your strength gives joy to the king; *
how your saving help makes him glad!
You have granted him his heart’s desire; *
you have not refused the prayer of his lips.

You came to meet him with the blessings of success; *
you have set on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked you for life and this you have given, *
days that will last from age to age.

Your saving help has given him glory. *
You have laid upon him majesty and splendor,
you have granted your blessings to him for ever. *
You have made him rejoice with the joy of your presence.

The king has put his trust in the Lord: *
through the mercy of the Most High he shall stand firm.
O Lord, arise in your strength; *
we shall sing and praise your power.

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. Amen.

Psalm Prayer

Father, you have given us life on this earth and have met us with the grace of redemption. Bestow your greatest blessing on us, the fullness of eternal life.

Ant. The Lord called me before I was born; from my mother’s womb he named me.

Ant. 2 The Lord made my tongue a sharp sword; he hid me in the shadow of his hand.

Psalm 92
Praise of God the Creator


Sing in praise of Christ’s redeeming work (Saint Athanasius).

I

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, *
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning *
and your truth in the watches of the night,
on the ten-stringed lyre and the lute, *
with the murmuring sound of the harp.

Your deeds, O Lord, have made me glad; *
for the work of your hands I shout with joy.
O Lord, how great are your works! *
How deep are your designs!
The stupid cannot know this *
and the fool cannot understand.

Though the wicked spring up like grass *
and all who do evil thrive,
they are doomed to be eternally destroyed. *
But you, Lord, are eternally on high.

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. Amen.

Ant. The Lord made my tongue a sharp sword; he hid me in the shadow of his hand.

Ant. 3 John testified: He who is to come after me existed before me.

II

See how your enemies perish; *
all doers of evil are scattered.

To me you give the wild ox’s strength; *
you anoint me with the purest oil.
My eyes looked in triumph on my foes; *
my ears heard gladly of their fall.
The just will flourish like the palm-tree *
and grow like a Lebanon cedar.

Planted in the house of the Lord *
they will flourish in the courts of our God,
still bearing fruit when they are old, *
still full of sap, still green,
to proclaim that the Lord is just. *
In him, my rock, there is no wrong.

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. Amen.

Psalm Prayer

Take our shame away from us, Lord, and make us rejoice in your saving works. May all who have been chosen by your Son always abound in works of faith, hope, and love in your service.

Ant. John testified: He who is to come after me existed before me.

He came to bear witness to the light.
That all might believe through him.

READINGS

FIRST READING

From the book of the prophet Jeremiah
1:4-10, 17-19

The call of the prophet


The word of the Lord came to me thus:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
   before you were born I dedicated you,
   a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

“Ah, Lord God!” I said,
   “I know not how to speak; I am too young.”

   But the Lord answered me,
Say not, “I am too young.”
   To whomever I send you, you shall go;
   whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Have no fear before them,
   because I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

   Then the Lord extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,
See, I place my words in your mouth!
   This day I set you
   over nations and over kingdoms,
To root up and to tear down,
   to destroy and to demolish,
   to build and to plant.

But do you gird your loins;
   stand up and tell them
   all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
   as though I would leave you crushed before them;

For it is I this day
   who have made you a fortified city,
A pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
   against the whole land:
Against Judah’s kings and princes,
   against its priests and people.
They will fight against you, but not prevail over you,
   for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

RESPONSORY
Jeremiah 1:5, 9, 10


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you were born I consecrated you,
and I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

I have placed my words in your mouth;
have set you over nations and over kingdoms.
And I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo 293, 1-3: PL 38, 1327-1328)

The voice of one crying in the wilderness


The Church observes the birth of John as a hallowed event. We have no such commemoration for any other fathers; but it is significant that we celebrate the birthdays of John and of Jesus. This day cannot be passed by. And even if my explanation does not match the dignity of the feast, you may still meditate on it with great depth and profit.

John is born of a woman too old for childbirth; Christ was born of a youthful virgin. The news of John’s birth was met with incredulity, and his father was struck dumb. Christ’s birth was believed, and he was conceived through faith.

Such is the topic, as I have presented it, for our inquiry and discussion. But as I said before, if I lack either the time or the ability to study the implications of so profound a mystery, he who speaks within you even when I am not here will teach you better; it is he whom you contemplate with devotion, whom you have welcomed into your hearts, whose temples you have become.

John, then, appears as the boundary between the two testaments, the old and the new. That he is a sort of boundary the Lord himself bears witness, when he speaks of the law and the prophets up until John the Baptist. Thus he represents times past and is the herald of the new era to come. As a representative of the past, he is born of aged parents; as herald of the new, he is declared to be a prophet while still in his mother’s womb. For when yet unborn, he leapt in his mother’s womb at the arrival of blessed Mary. In that womb he had already been designated a prophet, even before he was born; it was revealed that he was to be Christ’s precursor, before they ever saw one another. These are divine happenings, going beyond the limits of our human fraility. Eventually he is born, he receives his name, his father’s tongue is loosened. See how these events reflect reality

Zechariah is silent and loses his voice until John, the precursor of the Lord, is born and restores his voice. The silence of Zechariah is nothing but the age of prophecy lying hidden, obscured, as it were, and concealed before the preaching of Christ. At John’s arrival, it becomes clear when the one who was being prophesied is about to come. The release of Zechariah’s voice at the birth of John is a parallel to the rending of the veil at Christ’s crucifixion. If John were announcing his own coming, Zechariah’s lips would not have been opened. The tongue is loosened because a voice is born. For when John was preaching the Lord’s coming he was asked: Who are you? And he replied: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The voice is John, but the Lord in the beginning was the Word. John was a voice that lasted only for a time; Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.

RESPONSORY
Luke 1:76-77


You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.

To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
For you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.

If the Optional Vigil is not said, continue with the Te Deum.

Go to the Te Deum


OPTIONAL VIGIL

CANTICLES


Ant. Kings and princes will rise up and acknowledge you; they will adore the Lord God who chose you.

Canticle I: Jeremiah 17:7-8
Blessed are those who hope in the Lord


Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28).

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, *
whose hope is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted beside the waters *
that stretches out its roots to the stream:

It fears not the heat when it comes, *
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress, *
but still bears fruit

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. Amen.

Canticle II: Sirach 14:20; 15:3-52, 6b
The happiness of the wise man


Wisdom is justified by her children (Luke 7:35).

Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, *
and reflects on knowledge;

She will nourish him with the bread of understanding, *
and give him the water of learning to drink.

He will lean upon her and not fall, *
he will trust in her and not be put to shame.

She will exalt him above his fellows; *
and he will inherit an everlasting name.

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. Amen.

Canticle III: Sirach 31:8-11
Blessed are those who do not seek after gold


Make for yourselves a never-failing treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33).

Happy the rich man found without fault, *
who turns not aside after gain!

Who is he, that we may praise him? *
he, of all his kindred, has done wonders,
for he has been tested by gold and come off safe, *
and this remains his glory.

He could have sinned but did not, *
 could have done evil but would not,
So that his possessions are secure, *
and the assembly recounts his praises.

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. Amen.

Ant. Kings and princes will rise up and acknowledge you; they will adore the Lord God who chose you.

THE HOLY GOSPEL

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
1:5-17

Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John


In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
   there was a priest named Zechariah
   of the priestly division of Abijah;
   his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
   and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
   observing all the commandments
   and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
   and both were advanced in years.
Once when he was serving
   as priest in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
   he was chosen by lot
   to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
   at the hour of the incense offering,
   the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
   standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
   because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
   and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
   and many will rejoice at his birth,
   for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
John will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
   and he will turn many of the children of Israel
   to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
   to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
   and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
   to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

Or:

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
1:29-34

Behold the Lamb of God


John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
   “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
   ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
   because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
   but the reason why I came baptizing with water
   was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
   “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
   and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
   but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
   ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
   he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

Or:

+ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
3:22-30

The friend of the bridegroom rejoices at the bridegroom’s voice


Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
   where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
   because there was an abundance of water there,
   and people came to be baptized,
   for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
   about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
   “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
   to whom you testified,
   here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
   “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Messiah,
   but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
   the best man, who stands and listens for him,
   rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”

A homily on the Gospel may be given.


TE DEUM

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
   Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
   heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
   Father, of majesty unbounded,
   your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
   and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

V. Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
R. Govern and uphold them now and always.
V. Day by day we bless you.
R. We praise your name for ever.
V. Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
R. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
V. Lord, show us your love and mercy;
R. for we put our trust in you.
V. In you, Lord, is our hope:
R. and we shall never hope in vain.

The final part of the hymn may be omitted.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

God our Father,
you raised up John the Baptist
to prepare a perfect people for Christ the Lord.
Give your Church joy in spirit
and guide those who believe in you
into the way of salvation and peace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Or:

O God, who raised up Saint John the Baptist
to make ready a nation fit for Christ the Lord,
give your people, we pray,
the grace of spiritual joys
and direct the hearts of all the faithful
into the way of salvation and peace.
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.
Amen.

ACCLAMATION

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

******

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