Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prayer of the Day

Sweet Heart of Jesus

Sweet Heart of my Jesus, grant that I may ever love Thee more.

Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
Neh 2:1-8

In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,
when the wine was in my charge,
I took some and offered it to the king.
As I had never before been sad in his presence,
the king asked me, “Why do you look sad?
If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.”
Though I was seized with great fear, I answered the king:
“May the king live forever!
How could I not look sad
when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins,
and its gates have been eaten out by fire?”
The king asked me, “What is it, then, that you wish?”
I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king:
“If it please the king,
and if your servant is deserving of your favor,
send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves,
to rebuild it.”
Then the king, and the queen seated beside him,
asked me how long my journey would take
and when I would return.
I set a date that was acceptable to him,
and the king agreed that I might go.

I asked the king further: “If it please the king,
let letters be given to me for the governors
of West-of-Euphrates,
that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah;
also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park,
that he may give me wood for timbering the gates
of the temple-citadel and for the city wall
and the house that I shall occupy.”
The king granted my requests,
for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps.

R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

Though there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!”

R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten!

R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy.

R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!

Lk 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Saint of the Day

September 30

St. Jerome (345-420)

Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known."

St. Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible which came to be called the Vulgate. It is not the most critical edition of the Bible, but its acceptance by the Church was fortunate. As a modern scholar says, "No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men for many centuries afterwards were so well qualified to do the work." The Council of Trent called for a new and corrected edition of the Vulgate, and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia). After his preliminary education he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time, and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers.

After these preparatory studies he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ's life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. On September 30 in the year 420, Jerome died in Bethlehem. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Office of Readings

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

Antiphon: Rejoice in God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.

(repeat antiphon*)

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

(repeat antiphon*)

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.


(repeat antiphon*)

A prayer in sickness
Psalm 38 (39)

We groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.
I said, “I will watch my ways,
I will try not to sin in my speech.
I will set a guard on my mouth,
for as long as my enemies are standing against me.”
I stayed quiet and dumb, spoke neither evil nor good,
but my pain was renewed.
My heart grew hot within me,
and fire blazed in my thoughts.
Then I spoke out loud:
“Lord, make me know my end.
Let me know the number of my days,
so that I know how short my life is to be.”
All the length of my days is a handsbreadth or two,
the expanse of my life is as nothing before you.
For in your sight all men are nothingness:
man passes away, like a shadow.
Nothingness, although he is busy:
he builds up treasure, but who will collect it?

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.


We groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.
Psalm 38 (39)

Listen, Lord, to my prayer: see my tears.
What, now, can I look forward to, Lord?
My hope is in you.
Rescue me from all my sins,
do not make me a thing for fools to laugh at.
I have sworn to be dumb, I will not open my mouth:
for it is at your hands that I am suffering.
Aim your blows away from me,
for I am crushed by the weight of your hand.
You rebuke and chastise us for our sins.
Like the moth you consume all we desire
– for all men are nothingness.
Listen, Lord, to my prayer:
turn your ear to my cries.
Do not be deaf to my weeping,
for I come as a stranger before you,
a wanderer like my fathers before me.
Turn away from me, give me respite,
before I leave this world,
before I am no more.

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.


Listen, Lord, to my prayer: see my tears.
Psalm 51 (52)
Against calumny

But I hope in the kindness of God forever.
Why do you take pride in your malice,
you expert in evil-doing?
All day long you plan your traps,
your tongue is sharp as a razor –
you master of deceit!
You have chosen malice over kindness;
you speak lies rather than the truth;
your tongue is in love with every deceit.
For all this, in the end God will destroy you.
He will tear you out and expel you from your dwelling,
uproot you from the land of the living.
The upright will see and be struck with awe:
they will deride the evil-doer.
“Here is the man who did not make God his refuge,
but put his hope in the abundance of his riches
and in the power of his stratagems.”
But I flourish like an olive in the palace of God.
I hope in the kindness of God,
for ever, and through all ages.
I shall praise you for all time for what you have done.
I shall put my hope in your name and in its goodness
in the sight of your chosen ones.

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.


But I hope in the kindness of God forever.
My soul waits for his word;
– my soul puts its hope in the Lord.

Reading Philippians 2:12-30

My dear friends, continue to do as I tell you, as you always have; not only as you did when I was there with you, but even more now that I am no longer there; and work for your salvation ‘in fear and trembling.’ It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. This would give me something to be proud of for the Day of Christ, and would mean that I had not run in the race and exhausted myself for nothing. And then, if my blood has to be shed as part of your own sacrifice and offering-which is your faith I shall still be happy and rejoice with all of you, and you must be just as happy and rejoice with me.

I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you soon, and I shall be reassured by having news of you. I have nobody else like him here, as wholeheartedly concerned for your welfare: all the rest seem more interested in themselves than in Jesus Christ. But you know how he has proved himself by working with me on behalf of the Good News like a son helping his father. That is why he is the one that I am hoping to send you, as soon as I know something definite about my fate. But I continue to trust, in the Lord, that I shall be coming soon myself.

It is essential, I think, to send brother Epaphroditus back to you. He was sent as your representative to help me when I needed someone to be my companion in working and battling, but he misses you all and is worried because you heard about his illness. It is true that he has been ill, and almost died, but God took pity on him, and on me as well as him, and spared me what would have been one grief on top of another. So I shall send him back as promptly as I can; you will be happy to see him again, and that will make me less sorry. Give him a most hearty welcome, in the Lord; people like him are to be honoured. It was for Christ’s work that he came so near to dying, and he risked his life to give me the help that you were not able to give me yourselves.

Reading A commentary on Isaiah by St Jerome
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ

I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

Therefore, I will imitate the head of a household who brings out of his storehouse things both new and old, and says to his spouse in the Song of Songs: I have kept for you things new and old, my beloved. In this way permit me to explain Isaiah, showing that he was not only a prophet, but an evangelist and an apostle as well. For he says about himself and the other evangelists: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news, of those who announce peace. And God speaks to him as if he were an apostle: Whom shall I send, who will go to my people? And he answers: Here I am; send me.

No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of Scripture in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the Lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvellous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Saviour of all men. I need say nothing about the natural sciences, ethics and logic. Whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah. Of these mysteries the author himself testifies when he writes: You will be given a vision of all things, like words in a sealed scroll. When they give the writings to a wise man, they will say: Read this. And he will reply: I cannot, for it is sealed. And when the scroll is given to an uneducated man and he is told: Read this, he will reply: I do not know how to read.

Should this argument appear weak to anyone, let him listen to the Apostle: Let two or three prophets speak, and let others interpret; if, however, a revelation should come to one of those who are seated there, let the first one be quiet. How can they be silent, since it depends on the Spirit who speaks through his prophets whether they remain silent or speak? If they understood what they were saying, all things would be full of wisdom and knowledge. But it was not the air vibrating with the human voice that reached their ears , but rather it was God speaking within the soul of the prophets, just as another prophet says: It is an angel who spoke in me; and again, Crying out in our hearts, Abba, Father’, and I shall listen to what the Lord God says within me.

Concluding Prayer

O God, we see your almighty power most clearly in your forgiveness and compassion.
Pour out your Spirit upon us unceasingly:
make us hasten to receive your promises,
and give us a share in the joys of heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.