Friday, January 29, 2010

Prayer of the Day

Prayer for Fidelity to Work

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God, disregarding difficulties and weariness; to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes death, and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, patriarch Joseph. This will be my watchword in life and in death.


Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17

At the turn of the year, when kings go out on campaign,
David sent out Joab along with his officers
and the army of Israel,
and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
David, however, remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David rose from his siesta
and strolled about on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
David had inquiries made about the woman and was told,
“She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam,
and wife of Joab’s armor bearer Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers and took her.
When she came to him, he had relations with her.
She then returned to her house.
But the woman had conceived,
and sent the information to David, “I am with child.”
David therefore sent a message to Joab,
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
So Joab sent Uriah to David.
When he came, David questioned him about Joab, the soldiers,
and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well.
David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.”
Uriah left the palace,
and a portion was sent out after him from the king’s table.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace
with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down
to his own house.
David was told that Uriah had not gone home.
On the day following, David summoned him,
and he ate and drank with David, who made him drunk.
But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his bed
among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his home.
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab
which he sent by Uriah.
In it he directed:
“Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce.
Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.”
So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah
to a place where he knew the defenders were strong.
When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab,
some officers of David’s army fell,
and among them Uriah the Hittite died.

Responsorial Psalm
51:3-4, 5-6a, 6bcd-7, 10-11

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

I have done such evil in your sight
that you are just in your sentence,
blameless when you condemn.
True, I was born guilty,
a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed shall rejoice.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Saint of the Day

January 28

Servant of God Brother Juniper (d. 1258)

"Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers," said Francis of this holy friar.

We don’t know much about Juniper before he joined the friars in 1210. Francis sent him to establish "places" for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When St. Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity.

Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig’s feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper’s superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!

Another time Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn’t give the man his tunic, but he wouldn’t prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away.

He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.

Office of Readings

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

Antiphon: Let us give thanks to the Lord, for his mercy lasts for ever.

(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*)

I am consumed with zeal for your house
Psalm 68 (69)

I am exhausted with crying, but still I put my hope in my God.
Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I am stuck in bottomless mud;
I am adrift in deep waters
and the flood is sweeping me away.
I am exhausted with crying out, my throat is parched,
my eyes are failing as I look out for my God.
Those who hate me for no reason
are more than the hairs of my head.
They are strong, my persecutors, my lying enemies:
they make me give back things I never took.
God, you know my weakness:
my crimes are not hidden from you.
Let my fate not put to shame those who trust in you,
Lord, Lord of hosts.
Let them not be dismayed on my account,
those who seek you, God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I am taunted
and covered in confusion:
I have become a stranger to my own brothers,
a wanderer in the eyes of my mother’s children –
because zeal for your house is consuming me,
and the taunts of those who hate you
fall upon my head.
I have humbled my soul with fasting
and they reproach me for it.
I have made sackcloth my clothing
and they make me a byword.
The idlers at the gates speak against me;
for drinkers of wine, I am the butt of their songs.

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.


I am exhausted with crying, but still I put my hope in my God.
Psalm 68 (69)

They gave me bitterness to eat; when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.
But I turn my prayer to you, Lord,
at the acceptable time, my God.
In your great kindness, hear me,
and rescue me with your faithful help.
Tear me from the mire, before I become stuck;
tear me from those who hate me;
tear me from the depths of the waters.
Do not let the waves overwhelm me;
do not let the deep waters swallow me;
do not let the well’s mouth engulf me.
Hear me, Lord, for you are kind and good.
In your abundant mercy, look upon me.
Do not turn your face from your servant:
I am suffering, so hurry to answer me.
Come to my soul and deliver it,
rescue me from my enemies’ attacks.
You know how I am taunted and ashamed;
how I am thrown into confusion.
You can see all those who are troubling me.
Reproach has shattered my heart – I am sick.
I looked for sympathy, but none came;
I looked for a consoler but did not find one.
They gave me bitterness to eat;
when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink.

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.


They gave me bitterness to eat; when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.
Psalm 68 (69)

Seek the Lord, and your heart shall live.
I am weak and I suffer,
but your help, O God, will sustain me.
I will praise the name of God in song
and proclaim his greatness with praises.
This will please the Lord more than oxen,
than cattle with their horns and hooves.
Let the humble see and rejoice.
Seek the Lord, and your heart shall live,
for the Lord has heard the needy
and has not despised his captive people.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that swims in them.
For the Lord will make Zion safe
and build up the cities of Judah:
there they will live, the land will be theirs.
The seed of his servants will inherit the land,
and those who love his name will dwell there.

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.


Seek the Lord, and your heart shall live.
The Lord will teach us his ways
– and we shall walk in his paths.

Reading Deuteronomy 31:1-15,23
The last words of Moses

Moses proceeded to address these words to the whole of Israel, ‘I am one hundred and twenty years old now, and can no longer come and go as I will. The Lord has said to me, “You shall not cross this Jordan.” It is the Lord your God who will cross it at your head to destroy these nations facing you and dispossess them; and Joshua too shall cross at your head, as the Lord has said. The Lord will treat them as he treated Sihon and Og the Amorite kings and their land, destroying them. The Lord will hand them over to you, and you will deal with them in exact accordance with the commandments I have enjoined on you. Be strong, stand firm, have no fear of them, no terror, for the Lord your God is going with you; he will not fail you or desert you.’

Then Moses summoned Joshua and in the presence of all Israel said to him, ‘Be strong, stand firm; you are going with this people into the land the Lord swore to their fathers he would give them; you are to give it into their possession. The Lord himself will lead you; he will be with you; he will not fail you or desert you. Have no fear, do not be disheartened by anything.’

Moses committed this Law to writing and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses gave them this command: ‘At the end of every seven years, at the time fixed for the year of remission, at the feast of Tabernacles, when the whole of Israel comes to look on the face of the Lord your God in the place he chooses, you must proclaim this Law in the hearing of all Israel. Call the people together, men, women, children, and the stranger who lives with you, for them to hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God and keep and observe all the words of this Law. Their children, who as yet do not know it, shall hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God for as long as you live in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.’

The Lord said to Moses, ‘And now the time draws near when you must die. Summon Joshua and take your stand at the Tent of Meeting, that I may give him his orders.’ And Moses and Joshua came and took their stand at the Tent of Meeting. And the Lord showed himself at the Tent in a pillar of cloud; the pillar of cloud stood at the door of the Tent.

He gave Joshua son of Nun this order: ‘Be strong and stand firm, for you are to bring the sons of Israel to the land I swore I would give them, and I myself will be with you.’

Reading A commentary on Psalm 101 by St John Fisher
The wonders of God

First of all God freed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, with many signs and wonders. Then he let them cross the Red Sea dry-shod; in the desert he fed them with food from heaven in the form of manna and quails; when they were thirsty he gave them an inexhaustible spring of water, bubbling from the rock. He gave them victory over enemies that attacked them; he made the Jordan flow backwards for them; he took the land he had promised them and divided it between them according to their tribes and clans. Although he had dealt with them so lovingly and generously, the ungrateful people abandoned the worship of God, as if they had utterly forgotten everything, and shackled themselves with the crime of idol-worship – not once but many times.

Then God took us, although we were pagans, and irresistibly drawn towards dumb idols, if anything. He cut us off from the wild olive tree of our gentile nature and grafted us on to the true olive tree of the Jewish people, pruning away its existing branches and making us sharers in its grace, its richness, and the nourishment that came from its roots. Finally God did not spare his own Son but gave him up to benefit us all, a victim and fragrant offering to God to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own.

All these things are not mere arguments but genuine signs of God’s love and God’s generosity. We men, on the other hand, are supremely ungrateful: we have gone far beyond the boundaries of all previous ingratitude. We pay no attention to God’s love, we do not recognise the scale of his generosity, but we spurn the source and giver of all these good things and practically hold him in contempt. Not even the outstanding mercy he shows to sinners moves us to order our lives and actions according to his holy law.

Clearly these acts of God deserve to be written down in the next generation, so that they are remembered for ever. Thus all who in future bear the name of Christians will recognise God’s goodness to us and will never at any time cease from offering praise to him.

Concluding Prayer

Almighty and ever-living God, guide our actions and make them pleasing to you,
so that in the name of your beloved Son
we may overflow with good works.
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.