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Thursday, 25 May 2023 09:07

Office of Readings

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Invitatory

Ant. Come, let us adore Christ Jesus, redeemer of the world:
he shed his blood for our salvation.


PSALM 95                                             Invitation to praise God
Encourage yourself daily while it is still “today” (Heb 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.)

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, 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.)

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.)

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.)

Glory to the Father and to the Son *
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever will be. Amen (Ant.)

Alternative Invitatory Psalms: 100, 67, 24


Hymn

Created for the glory of your name,
redeemed by your blood on the cross,
signed by the seal of your Spirit,
we beseech you: save us, O Lord!

You break the bonds of guilt,
protect the meek and free the oppressed.
You lead the people who believe in your love
to the restful meadows in heaven.

Praise and honor to you, good shepherd,
radiant beam of the eternal light,
who live with the Father and the Holy Spirit
in glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Or another suitable hymn approved by ecclesiastical authority.


Ant. 1 Here I am;
your commands for me are written in the scroll.
To do your will is my delight.

PSALM 2                                           The Messiah, victorious King

Why do the nations protest *
and the peoples grumble in vain?

Kings on earth rise up †
and princes plot together *
against the Lord and his anointed:

“Let us break their shackles *
and cast off their chains!”

The one enthroned in heaven laughs;*
the Lord derides them,

Then speaks to them in anger, *
terrifies them in wrath:
“I myself have installed my king *
on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord, †
who said to me, “You are my son; *
today I have begotten you.

Ant. 1 Here I am;
your commands for me are written in the scroll.
To do your will is my delight.

Ant. 2 He was pierced for our sins.
By his wounds we were healed.

PSALM 3                                                             The Lord sustains me

How many are my foes, Lord! *
How many rise against me!
How many say of me,*
“God will not save that one.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me;*
my glory, you keep my head high.
Whenever I cried out to the Lord, *
I was answered from the holy mountain.

Whenever I lay down and slept, *
the Lord preserved me to rise again.

I do not fear, then, thousands of people †
arrayed against me on every side. *
Arise, Lord! Save me, my God!

You will shatter the jaws of all my foes; *
you will break the teeth of the wicked.
Safety comes from the Lord! *
Your blessing for your people!

Ant. 2 He was pierced for our sins.
By his wounds we were healed.


Ant. 3
I will pour out upon the house of David
a spirit of grace and of consolation;
they will look upon him whom they have pierced.

PSALM 16                                                                                 The Lord is my inheritance

Keep me safe, O God; *
in you I take refuge
I say to the Lord, you are my Lord, *
you are my only good.

Worthless are all the false gods of the land. *
Accursed are all who delight in them.

They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. †
Blood libations to them I will not pour out *
nor will I take their names upon my lips.

Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, *
you have made my destiny secure.
Pleasant places were measured out for me; *
fair to me indeed is my inheritance.

I bless the Lord who counsels me; *
even at night my heart exhorts me.
I keep the Lord always before me; *
with the Lord at my right, I shall never be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, †
my soul rejoices; *
my body also dwells secure,

For you will not abandon me to Sheol, *
nor let your faithful servant see the pit.

You will show me the path to life, †
abounding joy in your presence,*
the delights at your right hand forever.


Ant. 3 I will pour out upon the house of David
a spirit of grace and of consolation;
they will look upon him whom they have pierced.


V. You have redeemed us, Lord, with your blood.
R. And have made us a kingdom for our God.


FIRST READING
From the letter to the Hebrews                                          9:11-22; 10:19-24

Christ seals the new covenant with his blood

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer's ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. Now where there is a will, the death of the testator must be established. For a will takes effect only at death; it has no force while the testator is alive. Thus not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. When every commandment had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves (and goats), together with water and crimson wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is 'the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you.'“ In the same way, he sprinkled also the tabernacle and all the vessels of worship with blood. According to the law almost everything is purified by blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.

RESPONSORY                                                          cf Ephesians 2:13-14

R. You who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. *
For he is our peace, he who made both one.
V. It pleased God to reconcile all things to himself through him.
R. For he is our peace, he who made both one.


SECOND READING
From the writings of Saint Gaspar del Bufalo, priest

(“Some Reflections on the Confraternity of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ”, respectfully submitted to Pope Leo XIII: Scritti del Fondatore, vol. XII, ff. 80-81)

In the devotion to the Precious Blood we go to the heart of our faith


It cannot be denied that God, always rich in mercy, has at all times used efficacious means to recall souls to the study of Christ crucified and to apply to all the divine Blood of redemption.
The first centuries of the Church were fruitful in martyrs; the following centuries witnessed sporadic attacks on one or the other doctrine of the Church, and lack of appreciation of some of her traditions and practices on the part of one or other segment of the Catholic world. In our miserable times, however, the crisis among the people is a general one. The perversion of faith and morals offers insult to the redemption and renders useless, because of human malice, the application of the merits of Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us at the price of his Blood. Consequently, is it not time to stir up our apostolic zeal and follow the light given to souls especially favored by God in order to recall to the minds of people the inestimable price of our redemption and excite them to penance and tears? Does not Sacred Scripture itself trace for us this reform by making peace through the Blood of his cross for those in heaven as well as those on earth? Does not divine Wisdom say that those justified by his Blood shall be saved from God’s wrath?
It is not enough merely to pronounce the name of God to be saved: None of those who cry out Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Two things, therefore, must be taken care of in our day. We must, first of all, find a way of placating the eternal, divine Father. For that purpose we have the merits of the divine Blood: The cup of salvation I will take up. Secondly, we must seek its effective application to souls, especially by means of missions and spiritual retreats, as well as other salutary religious activities adapted to the needs of the times. These were exactly the reasons which moved the holy Pontiff Pius VII to erect an Arch-confraternity under the august title of the Divine Blood. Sinners are abusing it terribly, and the Lord in the excess of his love is saying: What gain is there from my Blood? There should be dedicated persons who, by means of solemn worship, provide adoration and reparation, and at the same time preach to the people the glories of the divine Blood, emphasizing the fact that in this devotion we go to the heart of our faith. Hence, we say in the consecration of the chalice, The Mystery of Faith. There is an intimate connection between the devotion to the Blood of Christ and the salvation of souls.
Such is its centripetal force that all the prophetic utterances, symbols, figures and sacrifices of the Old Testament converge on it as the spokes of a wheel on a hub: In wine he washes his garments, his robe in the blood of grapes. Exodus says that the Hebrews were ordered to stain their doorposts with the blood of the lamb in order to be freed from the chastisements of Egypt as a symbol of the liberation of our souls from the servitude of the devil. Skipping many other references which could be made, we note what Moses did to his people: Taking the blood he sprinkled the book and all the people saying: This is the Blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you…Almost everything is purified by blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. We hear the Apostle saying: For if the blood of goats and bulls can sanctify those who are defiled, how much more will the Blood of Christ cleanse our consciences from dead works? We must pass up other references. Indeed, the Holy Scriptures are filled with sacred references to it: Why is your apparel red?… He wore a garment sprinkled with blood.
This devotion calls to mind baptism, through which the divine Blood purifies our souls, and reminds us of penance and the other sacraments, because you have redeemed us with your Blood, you have made us a kingdom, and priests to serve our God.
Whereas all other devotions are aids to Catholic piety, this devotion is its foundation, support and essence. Other devotions, products of various times, have holy and praiseworthy beginnings, but they go back only so far. This devotion, on the other hand, goes back to the moment when Adam sinned. Therefore, Jesus was called the Lamb who was slain from the world’s beginning. St. Thomas says: The Blood of Christ is the key to Paradise. St. John Chrysostom affirms: The Blood of Christ is the salvation of souls…an excellent wine is the Blood of Christ.


RESPONSORY                                                                  1 John 5:6-7

R. This is the one who came in water and blood, Jesus Christ; *
not in water only, but in water and blood.
V. It is the Spirit who gives testimony, because the Spirit is truth;
R. not in water only, but in water and blood.

Or

From the writings of Saint Maria De Mattias, virgin

(Letters of Saint Maria De Mattias, nn. 77; 701; 328; 355; 407; 543; 812; 710; 874:
ed. 1944 and 1947)

The blood of Jesus is all our hope and all our good

May our hearts never withdraw from that perennial fountain flowing from the loving wound of the side of our most loving Spouse Jesus Crucified! Here all our poor labors borne for love of him will be sweetened.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Crucified and we can be sure he will not let us perish, provided we are faithful to him. Oh! What a beautiful honor is ours to serve God, to think always of God, to love God, to suffer in order to please God; in short, to live entirely in God. This he permits us in his infinite goodness. I say, he permits us, poor creatures and miserable worms that we are, to be elevated to union with him; nay more, he even commands it. How must not these reflections encourage the soul! She would never depart from the feet of her Lord in order to hear his most loving voice calling her to unite herself ever more to him. She does not tire of always blessing, loving, praising and thanking him with all her heart. She seeks nothing else but to give him pleasure. Her Lord’s good pleasure constitutes all her delight, and if she obtains that, she is rich and filled with so much consolation that she does not know how to express it.
Courage, therefore, and confidence in God, that, should everything else be wanting, it matters nothing, provided we enjoy the grace of our beloved Spouse, Jesus Crucified.
Let us pray very much for the Church and ardently love Jesus, our Savior, who founded it with his Precious Blood. Let us have faith in the most holy word of Jesus, who assures us that he will hear those who invoke him. We wish nothing else except his glory and the salvation of souls which cost his Blood; and therefore, let us hope firmly, for all our confidence lies in the merits of the Divine Redeemer who looks upon his spouse, the Holy Church, with tender love. And, if he now chastises her, he does so to purify her in order to make him dearer to his loving eyes. The design of our Lord Jesus Christ is to reunite all peoples in his Church, and therefore the chastisement is being felt everywhere. Oh! What a triumph! Oh! What a triumph! Let us pray, let us pray, let us pray.
What a beautiful consolation it is to see the Spouse of the Divine Lamb, the Adorers of his most Precious Blood, motivated by one sole will (the will of God), forming but one heart and one soul, and thus united, making the heavens resound with a hymn of thanksgiving to the infinite goodness of God, while at the same time they offer the Blood of his Son for the reconciliation of heaven with earth, of earth with heaven.
The Blood of Jesus is our only hope and our only Good – this Blood, shed with so much pain and so much love for our eternal salvation. Let our hearts be filled with courage, fearing nothing, not even death, so that at every moment the Precious Blood be glorified, loved and blessed by all!
My daughter, let us summon our spirit to union with God, in whom we shall find the person of his most holy Son given to us with infinite love, clothed with human flesh and covered with wounds and Blood, inviting us to contemplate him with fixed attention so that our hearts might respond to the delicacy of his most tender love.
Jesus loves us without any merit on our part. Let us love him very much because he is worthy of being loved. Let us love him also for the great gift of the redemption and for the Blood he willed to shed for us.
Let our only thought be to bring all, as far as is possible, to the knowledge of Jesus, our Crucified Love, who is covered with blood and wounds for our salvation.
Do not become disheartened. Courage and great confidence in the Blessed God. Much prayer. Jesus died for love of us; the merits of his sufferings are ours. Do not fear, my daughter. A loving glance at Jesus Crucified, and then take courage to labor for the school, for the salvation of souls, for the glory of his Precious Blood. I urge you to speak little and to pray much.
We shall pass through many tribulations in order to enter Heaven. Great confidence in the Precious Blood of Jesus. Let us ask God to make us understand the great value of sufferings. Suffering is dear to a soul that loves Jesus Christ, and it always seems to her that she does not suffer for Him who suffered so much and died crucified for love of us.


RESPONSORY                                                                                           cf Revelation 5:9-10; 19:5

R. You have redeemed us for God with your blood. * You have made us a kingdom for our God.
V. Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.
R. You have made us a kingdom for our God.


Hymn Te Deum

We praise you, O God; *
we acclaim you Lord and Master.
Everlasting Father, *
all the world bows down before you.

All the angels sing your praise, *
the hosts of heaven and all the angelic powers;
All the cherubim and seraphim *
call out to you in unending chorus:

Holy, holy, holy *
is the Lord God of angel hosts!
The heavens and the earth are filled, Lord, *
with your majesty and glory.

Your praises are sung *
by the renowned Apostles;
By all the prophets, *
who themselves deserve our praise;

By that mighty white-robed army *
who shed their blood for Christ.
And to the ends of the earth, *
the holy Church proclaims her faith in you:

Father, *
whose majesty is boundless;
Your only Son, *
who is true God and who is to be adored;

The Holy Spirit, *
sent to be our Advocate.
O Christ, the King of glory! *
You alone are the Father’s eternal Son.

When you were to become man so as to save humankind, *
you did not shrink back from the chaste Virgin’s womb.
When you triumphantly destroyed death’s sting, *
you opened up to believers the kingdom of haven.

You are now enthroned at God’s right hand, in the Father’s glory: *
We believe that you will come for judgment.
We therefore implore you to grant your servants grace and aid, *
for you shed your precious blood for their redemption.

Admit them all to the ranks of your saints *
in everlasting glory.
Be their Shepherd, Lord, *
uphold and exalt them forever and ever.

Day by day we praise you, *
daily we acclaim you.
We will confess and glorify your hold name, *
now and for all eternity.

In your great mercy, Lord, throughout this day *
keep us free from sin by your protection.
Have mercy on us, we humbly pray; *
Lord, have mercy on us.

May your mercy, Lord, your loving-kindness, always remain with us; *
for we have placed our confidence in you.
In you alone, Lord, I have hoped; *
may I not be disappointed.


PRAYER

Father, who through the blood of Jesus your Son, the Lamb sacrificed on the cross, redeemed us, sanctified us, and made us your people; grant that all may accept this gift of your love, celebrate it joyfully in the Spirit, and drink of it in the Eucharistic chalice, the sign of your covenant and blessing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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