Friday, June 9, 2017


Cf. Ps 25 (24): 16, 18

Turn to me and have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I am alone and poor.
See my lowliness and suffering
and take away all my sins, my God.


Pour into our hearts O Lord, we pray, the Holy Spirit,
at whose prompting the Deacon Saint Ephrem
exulted in singing of your mysteries
and from whom he received the strength
to serve you alone.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

TB 11:5-17

Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come.
When she saw him coming, she exclaimed to his father,
"Tobit, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!"

Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father:
"I am certain that his eyes will be opened.
Smear the fish gall on them.
This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes;
then your father will again be able to see the light of day."

Then Anna ran up to her son, threw her arms around him,
and said to him,
"Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!"
And she sobbed aloud.

Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate.
Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand,
and holding him firmly, blew into his eyes.
"Courage, father," he said.
Next he smeared the medicine on his eyes, and it made them smart.
Then, beginning at the corners of Tobit's eyes,
Tobiah used both hands to peel off the cataracts.

When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him and wept.
He exclaimed, "I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!"
Then he said:

"Blessed be God,
and praised be his great name,
and blessed be all his holy angels.
May his holy name be praised
throughout all the ages,
Because it was he who scourged me,
and it is he who has had mercy on me.
Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!"

Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice
for everything that had happened.
Tobiah told his father that
the Lord God had granted him a successful journey;
that he had brought back the money;
and that he had married Raguel's daughter Sarah,
who would arrive shortly,
for she was approaching the gate of Nineveh.

Tobit and Anna rejoiced
and went out to the gate of Nineveh
to meet their daughter-in-law.
When the people of Nineveh saw Tobit walking along briskly,
with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed.
Before them all Tobit proclaimed
how God had mercifully restored sight to his eyes.
When Tobit reached Sarah, the wife of his son Tobiah,
he greeted her: "Welcome, my daughter!
Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter!
Blessed is your father, and blessed is my son Tobiah,
and blessed are you, daughter!
Welcome to your home with blessing and joy.
Come in, daughter!"
That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 146:1B-2, 6C-7, 8-9A, 9BC-10

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts
The LORD shall reign forever,
your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

MK 12:35-37

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,

"How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?
David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:

The Lord said to my lord,
'Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.'

David himself calls him 'lord';
so how is he his son?"

The great crowd heard this with delight.

June 9

Saint Ephrem (d. 373)

Ephrem (or Eprhaim) the Syrian left us hundreds of hymns and poems on the faith that inflamed and inspired the whole Church, but few facts about his own inspiring life. Most historians infer from the lines quoted above that Ephrem was born into a Christian family -- although not baptized until an adult (the trial or furnace), which was common at the time. Other than that little is known about his birth and youth although many guess he was born in the early fourth century in Mesopotamia, 
possibly in Nisibis where he spent most of his adult life.

Ephrem served as teacher, and possibly deacon, under four bishops of Nisibis, Jacob, Babu, Vologeses, and Abraham. According to tradition, Ephrem began to write hymns in order to counteract the heresies that were rampant at that time. For those who think of hymns simply as the song at the end of Mass that keeps us from leaving the church early, it may come as a surprise that Ephrem and others recognized and developed the power of music to get their points across. Tradition tells us that Ephrem heard the heretical ideas put into song first and in order to counteract them made up his own hymns. When Shapur defeated the Roman emperor Jovian, he demanded the city as part of the treaty. Jovian not only gave him the city but agreed to force the Christians to leave Nisibis. Probably in his fifties or sixties at that time, 
Ephrem was one of the refugees who fled the city in 363.

Sometime in 364 he settled as a solitary ascetic on Mount Edessa, at Edessa (what is now Urfa) 100 miles east of his home. Tradition tells us that during the famine that hit Edessa in 372, Ephrem was horrified to learn that some citizens were hoarding food. When he confronted them, he received the age-old excuse that they couldn't find a fair way or honest person to distribute the food. Ephrem immediately volunteered himself and it is a sign of how respected he was that no one was able to argue with this choice. He and his helpers worked diligently to get food to the needy in the city and the surrounding area. The famine ended in a year of abundant harvest the following year and Ephrem died shortly thereafter, as we are told, at an advanced age. We do not know the exact date or year of his death but June 9, 373 is accepted by many.

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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

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

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

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

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

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

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

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

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

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

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

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

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

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.

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


O Three in One, and One in Three,
Who rulest all things mightily,
Bow down to hear the songs of praise
Which, freed from bonds of sleep, we raise.
While lingers yet the peace of night,
We rouse us from our slumbers light;
That might of instant prayer may win
The healing balm for wounds of sin.
If, by the wiles of Satan caught,
This night-time we have sinned in aught,
That sin thy glorious power today,
From heaven descending, cleanse away.
Let naught impure our bodies stain,
No laggard sloth our souls detain,
No taint of sin our spirits know,
To chill the fervour of their glow.
Wherefore, Redeemer, grant that we
Fulfilled with thine own light may be:
That, in our course, from day to day,
By no misdeed we fall away.
Grant this, O Father ever One
With Christ, thy sole-begotten Son,
And Holy Ghost, whom all adore,
Reigning and blest for evermore.

Psalm 34 (35)
The Lord, a saviour 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.

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.

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.

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.

Job 40:1-14,42:1-6

The Lord turned to Job, and he said:

Is Shaddai’s opponent willing to give in?
Has God’s critic thought up an answer?
Job replied to the Lord:
My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?
I had better lay my finger on my lips.
I have spoken once... I will not speak again;
more than once... I will add nothing.
The Lord gave Job his answer from the heart of the tempest. He said:
Brace yourself like a fighter,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
Do you really want to reverse my judgement,
and put me in the wrong to put yourself in the right?
Has your arm the strength of God’s,
can your voice thunder as loud?
If so, assume your dignity, your state,
robe yourself in majesty and splendour.
Let the spate of your anger flow free;
humiliate the haughty at a glance!
Cast one look at the proud and bring them low,
strike down the wicked where they stand.
Bury the lot of them in the ground,
shut them, silent-faced, in the dungeon.
I myself will be the first to acknowledge
that your own right hand can assure your triumph.
This was the answer Job gave to the Lord:
I know that you are all-powerful:
what you conceive, you can perform.
I am the man who obscured your designs
with my empty-headed words.
I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand,
on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.
Listen, I have more to say,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
I knew you then only by hearsay;
but now, having seen you with my own eyes,
I retract all I have said,
and in dust and ashes I repent.


I have heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you, therefore I disown what I have said, 
and in dust and ashes I repent.

Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again; though twice, I will do so no more. 
I put my hand over my mouth, and in dust and ashes I repent.

A treatise of Bishop Baldwin of Canterbury

The Lord sees our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts

The Lord knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Without a doubt, every one of them is known to him, while we know only those which he lets us read by the grace of discernment. The spirit of man does not know all that is in man, nor all of the thoughts which he has, willingly or unwillingly. Man does not always perceive his thoughts as they really are. Having clouded vision, 
he does not discern them clearly with his mind’s eye.

Often under the guise of devotion a suggestion occurs to our mind – coming from our own thoughts or from another person or from the tempter – and in God’s eyes we do not deserve any reward for our virtue. For there are certain imitations of true virtues as also of vices which play tricks with the heart and bedazzle the mind’s vision. As a result, the appearance of goodness often seems to be in something which is evil, and equally the appearance of evil seems to be in something good. This is part of our wretchedness and ignorance, 
causing us anguish and anxiety.

It has been written: There are paths which seem to man to be right, but which in the end lead him to hell. To avoid this peril, Saint John gives us these words of advice: Test the spirits to see if they are from God. Now no one can test the spirits to see if they are from God unless God has given him discernment of spirits to enable him to investigate spiritual thoughts, inclinations and intentions with honest and true judgement. Discernment is the mother of all the virtues; everyone needs it either to guide the lives of others or to direct and reform his own life.

In the sphere of action, a right thought is one ruled by the will of God, and intentions are holy when directed single-mindedly toward him. In a word, we could see clearly through any action of ours, or into our entire lives, if we had a simple eye. A simple eye is an eye, and it is simple. This means that we see by right thinking what is to be done, and by our good intention we carry it out with simple honesty, because deceitful action is wrong. Right thinking does not permit mistakes; a good intention rules out pretence. This then is true discernment, a combination of right thinking and good intention.

Therefore, we must do all our actions in the light of discernment as if in God and in his presence.


The Lord has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

If you trust in the Lord and do good, then you will live in the land; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Let us pray.

Lord God,
by whom our lives are governed with unfailing wisdom and love,
take away from us all that is harmful
and give us all that will be for our good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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