Saturday, August 31, 2013

PRAYER OF THE DAY

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint Joseph of Arimathea

Dear Lord Jesus,
we pray for the intercession and guidance of Saint Joseph of Arimathea,
that we will we see clearly as he did
and not be spiritually blind as so many of his brethren were.

Amen.

DAILY MASS READINGS

Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Reading
1 THES 4:9-11

Brothers and sisters:

On the subject of fraternal charity
you have no need for anyone to write you,
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more,
and to aspire to live a tranquil life,
to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your own hands,
as we instructed you.


Responsorial Psalm
PS 98:1, 7-8, 9

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.


Gospel
MT 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

SAINT OF THE DAY

August 31

Sts. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

The actions of these two influential Jewish leaders give insight into the charismatic power of Jesus and his teachings—and the risks that could be involved in following him.

Joseph was a respected, wealthy civic leader who had become a disciple of Jesus. Following the death of Jesus, Joseph obtained Jesus' body from Pilate, wrapped it in fine linen and buried it. For these reasons Joseph is considered the patron saint of funeral directors and pallbearers. More important is the courage Joseph showed in asking Pilate for Jesus' body. Jesus was a condemned criminal who had been publicly executed. 
According to some legends, Joseph was punished and imprisoned for such a bold act.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, an important first-century Jew. We know from John's Gospel that Nicodemus went to Jesus at night—secretly—to better understand his teachings about the kingdom. Later, Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus at the time of his arrest and assisted in Jesus' burial. We know little else about Nicodemus.

OFFICE OF READINGS

O Lord, open our lips.
And we shall praise your name.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness:
come, let us adore him.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness:
come, let us adore him.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness:
come, let us adore him.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts for ever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness:
come, let us adore him.

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.
Amen.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness:
come, let us adore him.


Hymn

How great the tale, that there should be,
In God’s Son’s heart, a place for me!
That on a sinner’s lips like mine
The cross of Jesus Christ should shine!
Christ Jesus, bend me to thy will,
My feet to urge, my griefs to still;
That e’en my flesh and blood may be
A temple sanctified to Thee.
No rest, no calm my soul may win,
Because my body craves to sin;
Till thou, dear Lord, thyself impart
Peace on my head, light in my heart.
May consecration come from far,
Soft shining like the evening star.
My toilsome path make plain to me,
Until I come to rest in thee.


Psalm 130 (131)
Childlike trust in God

Whoever humbles himself like a little child
will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.

Lord, I do not puff myself up or stare about,
or walk among the great or seek wonders beyond me.
Truly calm and quiet I have made my spirit:
quiet as a weaned child in its mother’s arms –
like an infant is my soul.
Let Israel hope in the Lord, now and for all time.

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.
Amen.

Whoever humbles himself like a little child
will be greater in the kingdom of heaven.


Psalm 131 (132)
God's promise to the house of David

With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully,
O my God.

Lord, remember David
and how he served you.
He swore to the Lord,
vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not go into my tent, my home,
nor go up to my bed of rest;
I will not let my eyes sleep
or my eyelids grow heavy
until I have found a place for the Lord,
a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We heard that it was in Ephratha,
we found it in the plains of Jaar.
So let us go into his dwelling-place
and let us worship before his footstool.
Rise up, Lord, and come to your place of rest.
Come with the Ark of your power.
Let your priests be robed in your justice,
and let your chosen ones rejoice.
Remember what David did for you,
and do not turn your face from your Anointed.

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.
Amen.

With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully,
O my God.


Psalm 131 (132)

The Lord swore an oath to David
and he will not go back on his word;
he made his kingdom firm for ever.

The Lord swore David a true oath,
he will not go back on his word:
“The fruit of your body
I will place on your throne.
If your children keep my covenant and the commands I teach them,
their children’s children will occupy your throne for ever.”
For the Lord has chosen Zion,
taken it for his dwelling-place:
“Here will I take my rest for all time:
here will I live, such is my desire.
I will bless its crops with my blessing,
I will fill its poor with bread.
I will clothe its priests with righteousness.
Its chosen ones will exult with joy.
There will I plant the sign of David,
and prepare a lamp for my anointed one.
I will wrap his enemies in confusion,
but over his head my crown will shine.

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.
Amen.

The Lord swore an oath to David
and he will not go back on his word;
he made his kingdom firm for ever.


Come and see the works of the Lord,
– who has done wonders on the earth.


First Reading
Jeremiah 7:1-20

The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord:

‘Go and stand at the gate of the Temple of the Lord and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship the Lord. The Lord Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behavior and your actions and I will stay with you here in this place. Put no trust in delusive words like these: This is the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord! But if you do amend your behavior and your actions, if you treat each other fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow (if you do not shed innocent blood in this place), and if you do not follow alien gods, to your own ruin, then here in this place I will stay with you, in the land that long ago I gave to your fathers for ever. Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know? – and then come presenting yourselves in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe – safe to go on committing all these abominations! 
Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind 
– it is the Lord who speaks.

‘“Now go to my place in Shiloh where at first I gave my name a home; see what I have done to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel! And now, since you have committed all these sins – it is the Lord who speaks – and have refused to listen when I spoke so urgently, so persistently, or to answer when I called you, I will treat this Temple that bears my name, and in which you put your trust, and the place I have given to you and your ancestors, 
just as I treated Shiloh. I will drive you out of my sight, as I drove all your kinsmen, the entire race of Ephraim.”

‘You, for your part, must not intercede for this people, nor raise either plea or prayer on their behalf; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. Cannot you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children collect the wood, the fathers light the fire, the women knead the dough, to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven; and, to spite me, they pour libations to alien gods. Is it really me they spite – it is the Lord who speaks –-is it not in fact themselves, to their own confusion? Therefore, the Lord says this: My anger and my wrath shall be poured out on this place, over man and beast, trees of the countryside, fruits of the soil; it shall burn, 
and not be quenched.’


Responsory

Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den?
My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.
You must not turn my Father’s house into a market-place.
My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.


Second Reading
From a homily on Matthew
by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop

Do not adorn the church and ignore your afflicted brother

Do you want to honor Christ’s body? Then do not scorn him in his nakedness, nor honor him here in the church with silken garments while neglecting him outside where he is cold and naked. For he who said: This is my body, and made it so by his words, also said: You saw me hungry and did not feed me, and inasmuch as you did not do it for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did not do it for me. What we do here in the church requires a pure heart, 
not special garments; what we do outside requires great dedication.

Let us learn, therefore, to be men of wisdom and to honor Christ as he desires. For a person being honored finds greatest pleasure in the honor he desires, not in the honor we think best. Peter thought he was honoring Christ when he refused to let him wash his feet; but what Peter wanted was not truly an honor, quite the opposite! Give him the honor prescribed in his law by giving your riches to the poor. For God does not want golden vessels but golden hearts.

Now, in saying this I am not forbidding you to make such gifts; I am only demanding that along with such gifts and before them you give alms. He accepts the former, but he is much more pleased with the latter. In the former, only the giver profits; in the latter, the recipient does too. A gift to the church may be taken as a form of ostentation, but an alms is pure kindness. Of what use is it to weigh down Christ’s table with golden cups, when he himself is dying of hunger? First, fill him when he is hungry; then use the means you have left to adorn his table. Will you have a golden cup made but not give a cup of water? What is the use of providing the table with cloths woven of gold thread, and not providing Christ himself with the clothes he needs? What profit is there in that? Tell me: If you were to see him lacking the necessary food but were to leave him in that state and merely surround his table with gold would he be grateful to you or rather would he not be angry? What if you were to see him clad in worn-out rags and stiff from the cold, and were to forget about clothing him and instead were to set up golden columns for him, saying that you were doing it in his honor? Would he not think he was being mocked and greatly insulted?

Apply this also to Christ when he comes along the roads as a pilgrim, looking for shelter. You do not take him in as your guest, but you decorate floor and walls and the capitals of the pillars. You provide silver chains for the lamps, but you cannot bear even to look at him as he lies chained in prison. Once again, I am not forbidding you to supply these adornments; I am urging you to provide these other things as well, and indeed to provide them first. No one has ever been accused for not providing ornaments, but for those who neglect their neighbor a hell awaits with an inextinguishable fire and torment in the company of the demons. Do not, therefore, 
adorn the church and ignore your afflicted brother, for he is the most precious temple of all.


Responsory

When I was hungry, you fed me,
when I was thirsty, you gave me drink;
when I was a stranger, you took me in to your home.
I will tell you this:
anything you did for one of my brothers here,
however humble, you did for me.

He who is generous to the poor lends to the Lord.
I will tell you this:
anything you did for one of my brothers here,
however humble, you did for me.

Let us pray.

Lord, by your grace we are made one in mind and heart.
Give us a love for what you command
and a longing for what you promise,
so that, amid this world’s changes,
our hearts may be set on the world of lasting joy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

Friday, August 30, 2013

PRAYER OF THE DAY

Vocation Prayer to St. Jeanne Jugan

Lord Jesus,
we praise and thank you for the life and vocation of
St. Jeanne Jugan.
From an early age she knew that you wanted her for yourself,
and she allowed herself to be formed in your image,
gentle and humble of heart.
In the school of St.
John Eudes she learned to make her life a continuation of yours
in prayer and charity.
At the appointed time
you revealed yourself to her in the person of an elderly woman in need.
Jeanne responded to your divine invitation and gave herself totally to you
in the service of the aged poor.
Helped by the Brothers of St. John of God,
she adopted the vow of hospitality and the practice of begging on behalf of the poor.
We turn to you, Good Shepherd and Lord of the Harvest:
Through the intercession of St. Jeanne Jugan,
give to your Church holy priests like St. John Eudes
and fervent religious like St. John of God,
who will give their lives for your glory and the salvation of souls.
Inspire many young women to follow in the footsteps of St. Jeanne Jugan,
living the Beatitudes in humility and simplicity of heart,
in the joy of hospitality to the elderly.
We make this prayer through the intercession of Mary,
your mother and ours, and of St. Joseph,
patron of the Universal Church.

Amen.

DAILY MASS READINGS

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Reading
1 THES 4:1-8

Brothers and sisters,

we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God–
and as you are conducting yourselves–
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

This is the will of God, your holiness:
that you refrain from immorality,
that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself
in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion
as do the Gentiles who do not know God;
not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter,
for the Lord is an avenger in all these things,
as we told you before and solemnly affirmed.
For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness.
Therefore, whoever disregards this,
disregards not a human being but God,
who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.


Responsorial Psalm
PS 97:1 AND 2B, 5-6, 10, 11-12

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

The LORD loves those who hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful ones;
from the hand of the wicked he delivers them.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!


Gospel
MT 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

SAINT OF THE DAY

August 30

St. Jeanne Jugan (1792-1879)

Born in northern France during the French Revolution
—a time when congregations of women and men religious were being suppressed by the national government, 
Jeanne would eventually be highly praised in the French academy for her community's compassionate care of elderly poor people.

When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight children (four died young) alone. At the age of 15 or 16, Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that not only cared for its own members, but also served poor, elderly people nearby. 
Ten years later, Jeanne became a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais. S
oon thereafter she joined a third order group founded by St. John Eudes (August 19).

After six years she became a servant and friend of a woman she met through the third order. They prayed, visited the poor and taught catechism to children. After her friend's death, Jeanne and two other women continued a similar life in the city of Saint-Sevran. In 1839, they brought in their first permanent guest. They began an association, received more members and more guests. Mother Marie of the Cross, as Jeanne was now known, founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849, all staffed by members of her association—the Little Sisters of the Poor. 
By 1853 the association numbered 500 and had houses as far away as England.

AbbĂ© Le Pailleur, a chaplain, had prevented Jeanne's reelection as superior in 1843; nine year later, 
he had her assigned to duties within the congregation, but would not allow her to be recognized as its founder. 
He was removed from office by the Holy See in 1890.

By the time Pope Leo XIII gave her final approval to the community's constitutions in 1879, there were 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor. Jeanne died later that same year, on August 30. Her cause was introduced in Rome in 1970, 
and she was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2009.

OFFICE OF READINGS

O Lord, open our lips.
And we shall praise your name.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 23 (24)

Give thanks to the Lord,
for his great love is without end.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.

Give thanks to the Lord,
for his great love is without end.

Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his savior.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Give thanks to the Lord,
for his great love is without end.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.

Give thanks to the Lord,
for his great love is without end.

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.

Give thanks to the Lord,
for his great love is without end.

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.
Amen.

Give thanks to the Lord,
for his great love is without end.


Hymn
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

In ancient times God spoke to us
Through prophets, and in varied ways,
But now he speaks through Christ his Son,
His radiance through eternal days.
To God the Father of the world,
His Son through whom he made all things,
And Holy Spirit, bond of love,
All glad creation glory sings.


Psalm 34 (35)
The Lord, a savior in time of persecution

O Lord, arise to help me.

Judge, Lord, those who are judging me:
attack those who are attacking me.
Take up your shield and come out to defend me.
Brandish your spear and hold back my pursuers.
Say to my soul, “I am your deliverance.”
Let them be thrown into confusion,
those who are after my life.
Let them be weakened and put to flight,
those who plan harm to me.
Let them be like chaff blowing in the wind,
when the angel of the Lord scatters them.
Let their paths be dark and slippery,
when the angel of the Lord harries them.
For it was without cause that they spread out their nets to ensnare me,
without cause that they dug a pit to take my life.
Let death come upon them suddenly,
may they be entangled in their own nets.
But my soul will exult in the Lord
and rejoice in his aid.
My bones themselves will say
“Lord, who is your equal?”
You snatch the poor man
from the hand of the strong,
the needy and weak
from those who would destroy them.

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.
Amen.

O Lord, arise to help me.


Psalm 34 (35)

Lord, plead my cause;
defend me with your strength.

Lying witnesses rose up against me;
they asked me questions I could not answer.
They paid me back evil for the good I did,
my soul is desolation.
Yet I – when they were ill, I put on sackcloth,
I mortified my soul with fasting,
I prayed for them from the depths of my heart.
I walked in sadness as for a close friend, for a brother;
I was bowed down with grief as if mourning my own mother.
But they – when I was unsteady, they rejoiced and gathered together.
They gathered and beat me: I did not know why.
They were tearing me to pieces, there was no end to it:
they teased me, heaped derision on me, they ground their teeth at me.

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.
Amen.

Lord, plead my cause;
defend me with your strength.


Psalm 34 (35)

My tongue shall speak of your justice,
all day long.

Lord, how long will you wait?
Rescue my life from their attacks,
my only life from the lions.
I will proclaim you in the great assembly,
in the throng of people I will praise you.
Let not my lying enemies triumph over me,
those who hate me for no reason,
who conspire against me by secret signs,
who do not speak of peace,
who plan crimes against the innocent,
who cry out slanders against me,
saying “Yes! Yes! We saw it ourselves!”
You see them, Lord, do not stay silent:
Lord, do not leave me.
Rise up and keep watch at my trial:
my God and my Lord, watch over my case.
Judge me according to your justice,
Lord: my God, let them not rejoice over me!
Let them not think to themselves,
“Yes! We have what we wanted!”
Let them not say,
“We have swallowed him up.”
But let those who support my cause rejoice,
let them say always “How great is the Lord,
who takes care of his servant’s welfare.”
And my tongue too will ponder your justice,
and praise you all day long.

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.
Amen.

My tongue shall speak of your justice,
all day long.


My son, keep my words in your heart.
– Follow my commandments and you will live.


First Reading
Jeremiah 4:5-8,13-28

Announce it in Judah,
proclaim it in Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet in the countryside,
shout the message aloud:
Mobilise!
Take to the fortified towns!
Signpost the way to Zion;
Run! Do not delay!
I am bringing you disaster from the North,
an immense calamity.
The lion is up from his thicket,
the destroyer of nations is on his way,
he has come from his home
to reduce your land to a desert;
your towns will be in ruins, deserted.
So wrap yourselves in sackcloth,
lament and wail,
since the burning anger of the Lord
has not turned away from us.
“Look, he is advancing like the clouds,
his chariots like a hurricane,
his horses swifter than eagles.
Trouble is coming! We are lost!”
Wash your heart clean of wickedness, Jerusalem,
and so be saved.
How long will you harbor in your breast
your pernicious thoughts?
For a voice from Dan shouts the news,
proclaims disaster from the highlands of Ephraim.
Give warning of it, announce it in Judah,
proclaim it to Jerusalem:
“Enemies are coming from a distant country,
shouting their war cry against the towns of Judah;
they surround Jerusalem like watchmen round a field
because she has apostatized from me – it is the Lord who speaks.
Your own behavior and actions
have brought this on you.
This is your fate! How bitter!
How it pierces your heart!”
I am in anguish! I writhe with pain!
Walls of my heart!
My heart is throbbing!
I cannot keep quiet,
for I have heard the trumpet call
and the cry of war.
Ruin on ruin is the news:
the whole land is laid waste,
my tents are suddenly destroyed,
in one moment all that sheltered me is gone.
How long must I see the standard
and hear the trumpet call?
“This is because my people are stupid,
they do not know me,
they are slow-witted children,
they have no understanding:
they are clever enough at doing wrong,
but do not know how to do right.”
I looked to the earth, to see a formless waste;
to the heavens, and their light had gone.
I looked to the mountains, to see them quaking
and all the heights astir.
I looked, to see no man at all,
the very birds of heaven had fled.
I looked, to see the wooded country a wilderness,
all its towns in ruins,
at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of his burning anger.
Yes, thus speaks the Lord,
“The whole land shall be laid waste,
I will make an end of it once for all;
at which the earth will go into mourning,
and the heavens above grow dark.
For I have spoken and will not change my mind,
I have decided and will not go back on it.”


Responsory

The whole earth trembles, O God,
at the presence of your burning anger.
Lord, have mercy on us:
do not utterly destroy us.

Restore us again,
O God our Savior,
and turn away your anger from us:
do not utterly destroy us.


Second Reading
From a commentary on Joel
by St. Jerome, priest

Return to me

Return to me with all your heart and show a spirit of repentance with fasting, weeping and mourning; so that while you fast now, later you may be satisfied, while you weep now, later you may laugh, while you mourn now, you may some day enjoy consolation. It is customary for those in sorrow or adversity to tear their garments. The gospel records that the high priest did this to exaggerate the charge against our Lord and Savior; and we read that Paul and Barnabas did so when they heard words of blasphemy. I bid you not to tear your garments but rather to rend your hearts which are laden with sin. Like wine skins, unless they have been cut open, they will burst of their own accord. After you have done this, return to the Lord your God, from whom you had been alienated by your sins. Do not despair of his mercy, 
no matter how great your sins, for great mercy will take away great sins.

For the Lord is gracious and merciful and prefers the conversion of a sinner rather than his death. Patient and generous in his mercy, he does not give in to human impatience but is willing to wait a long time for our repentance. So extraordinary is the Lord’s mercy in the face of evil, that if we do penance for our sins, he regrets his own threat and does not carry out against us the sanctions he had threatened. So by the changing of our attitude, he himself is changed. But in this passage we should interpret “evil” to mean, not the opposite of virtue, but affliction, as we read in another place: Sufficient for the day are its own evils. And, again: If there is evil in the city, God did not create it.

In like manner, given all that we have said above – that God is kind and merciful, patient, generous with his forgiveness, and extraordinary in his mercy toward evil – lest the magnitude of his clemency make us lax and negligent, he adds this word through his prophet: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent and leave behind him a blessing? In other words, he says: “I exhort you to repentance, because it is my duty, and I know that God is inexhaustibly merciful, as David says: Have mercy on me, God, according to your great mercy, and in the depths of your compassion, blot out all my iniquities. But since we cannot know the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and knowledge of God, I will temper my statement, expressing a wish rather than taking anything for granted, and I will say: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent? “ Since he says, Who, it must be understood that it is impossible or difficult to know for sure.

To these words the prophet adds: Offerings and tribulations for the Lord our God. What he is saying to us in other words is that, God having blessed us and forgiven us our sins, we will then be able to offer sacrifice to God.


Responsory

Turn back to God,
each and every one of you,
with clean hands and a pure and sincere heart,
so that the record of your sins may be blotted out.

Rend your hearts and not your garments,
and turn back to the Lord your God,
so that the record of your sins may be blotted out.

Let us pray.

Lord, by your grace we are made one in mind and heart.
Give us a love for what you command
and a longing for what you promise,
so that, amid this world’s changes,
our hearts may be set on the world of lasting joy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.