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Arch Bishop Micheal Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Office Readings

  • Monday 14 September 2020

    The Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Feast 

    Office of Readings

    Introduction (without Invitatory)

    If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, use the version with the Invitatory Psalm instead.

    O God, come to our aid.
    O Lord, make haste to help us.
    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. Alleluia.



    Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
    Sing the last, the dread affray;
    O’er the Cross, the Victor’s trophy
    Sound the high triumphant lay:
    How, the pains of death enduring,
    Earth’s Redeemer won the day.

    He, our Maker, deeply grieving
    That the first-made Adam fell,
    When he ate the fruit forbidden
    Whose reward was death and hell,
    Marked e’en then this Tree the ruin
    Of the first tree to dispel.

    Thus the work of our salvation
    Was of old in order laid.
    That the manifold deceiver’s
    Art by art might be outweighed.
    And the lure the foe put forward
    Into means of healing made.

    Therefore, when at length the fullness,
    Of the appointed time was come,
    He was sent, the world’s Creator,
    From the Father’s heavenly home;
    And was found in human fashion,
    Offspring of the Virgin’s womb.

    Lo! He lies an Infant weeping,
    Where the narrow manger stands,
    While the Mother-Maid his members
    Wraps in mean and lowly bands,
    And the swaddling clothes is winding
    Round his helpless feet and hands.

    To the Trinity be glory
    Everlasting, as is meet:
    Equal to the Father, equal
    To the Son, and Paraclete:
    God the Three in One, whose praises
    All created things repeat.


    Psalm 2
    The Messiah, king and victor

    “They rose up together against your servant Jesus, whom you had anointed” (Acts 4:27).

    Behold the cross of the Lord: let his enemies flee before him. The lion of Judah, of the stock of David, is victorious. Alleluia.

    Why this tumult among nations,
    among peoples this useless murmuring?
    They arise, the kings of the earth,
    princes plot against the Lord and his Anointed.
    ‘Come, let us break their fetters,
    come, let us cast off their yoke.’

    He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord is laughing them to scorn.
    Then he will speak in his anger,
    his rage will strike them with terror.
    ‘It is I who have set up my king
    on Sion, my holy mountain.’

    I will announce the decree of the Lord:
    The Lord said to me: ‘You are my Son.
    It is I who have begotten you this day.
    Ask and I shall bequeath you the nations,
    put the ends of the earth in your possession.
    With a rod of iron you will break them,
    shatter them like a potter’s jar.’

    Now, O kings, understand,
    take warning, rulers of the earth;
    serve the Lord with awe
    and trembling, pay him your homage
    lest he be angry and you perish;
    for suddenly his anger will blaze.

    Blessed are they who put their trust in God.

    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.

    Behold the cross of the Lord: let his enemies flee before him. The lion of Judah, of the stock of David, is victorious. Alleluia.


    Lord God, you gave the peoples of the world as the inheritance of your only Son; you crowned him as King of Zion, your holy city, and gave him your Church to be his Bride. As he proclaims the law of your eternal kingdom, may we serve him faithfully, and so share his royal power for ever.


    Psalm 8
    The greatness of God, the dignity of man

    “He has put all things under his feet, and appointed him to be the head of the whole Church” (Eph 1:22).

    The holy name of the Lord has been exalted on the cross above heaven and earth. Alleluia.

    How great is your name, O Lord our God,
    through all the earth!

    Your majesty is praised above the heavens;
    on the lips of children and of babes
    you have found praise to foil your enemy,
    to silence the foe and the rebel.

    When I see the heavens, the work of your hands,
    the moon and the stars which you arranged,
    what is man that you should keep him in mind,
    mortal man that you care for him?

    Yet you have made him little less than a god;
    with glory and honour you crowned him,
    gave him power over the works of your hand,
    put all things under his feet.

    All of them, sheep and cattle,
    yes, even the savage beasts,
    birds of the air, and fish
    that make their way through the waters.

    How great is your name, O Lord our God
    through all the earth!

    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.

    The holy name of the Lord has been exalted on the cross above heaven and earth. Alleluia.


    Almighty Lord, how wonderful is your name. You have made every creature subject to you; make us worthy to give you service.


    Lord, creator of all that is, you made your Son one of us, a little less than the angels. When you crowned him with honour and glory, you raised the dignity of man beyond the skies. Always care for us, your royal children in your Son, the new Adam, so that one day we may be radiant with his splendour.


    Psalm 95 (96)
    The Lord, the universal King and judge

    “They were singing a new hymn in front of the throne, in the presence of the Lamb” (cf Rev 14:3).

    O blessed cross, which alone was found worthy to bear the King of heaven and the Lord! Alleluia.

    O sing a new song to the Lord,
    sing to the Lord all the earth.
    O sing to the Lord, bless his name.

    Proclaim his help day by day,
    tell among the nations his glory
    and his wonders among all the peoples.

    The Lord is great and worthy of praise,
    to be feared above all gods;
    the gods of the heathens are naught.

    It was the Lord who made the heavens,
    his are majesty and state and power
    and splendour in his holy place.

    Give the Lord, you families of peoples,
    give the Lord glory and power;
    give the Lord the glory of his name.

    Bring an offering and enter his courts,
    worship the Lord in his temple.
    O earth, tremble before him.

    Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’
    The world he made firm in its place;
    he will judge the peoples in fairness.

    Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,
    let the sea and all within it thunder praise,
    let the land and all it bears rejoice,
    all the trees of the wood shout for joy

    at the presence of the Lord for he comes,
    he comes to rule the earth.
    With justice he will rule the world,
    he will judge the peoples with his truth.

    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 blessed cross, which alone was found worthy to bear the King of heaven and the Lord! Alleluia.


    Lord, you have renewed the face of the earth. Your Church throughout the world sings you a new song, announcing your wonders to all. Through a virgin, you have brought forth a new birth in our world; through your miracles, a new power; through your suffering, a new patience; in your resurrection, a new hope, and in your ascension, new majesty.


    Lord Jesus, the incarnate Word, when you consented to dwell with us, the heavens were glad and earth rejoiced. In hope and love we await your return. Help us to proclaim your glory to those who do not know you, until the whole earth sings to you a new song.


    ℣. Moses held up the serpent in the desert.
    ℟. In the same way the Son of Man must be raised up from the earth.


    The one-year and two-year cycles of readings are identical today.

    First Reading
    Galatians 2:19-3:7,13-14,6:14-16

    Through the Law I am dead to the Law, so that now I can live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake. I cannot bring myself to give up God’s gift: if the Law can justify us, there is no point in the death of Christ.
    Are you people in Galatia mad? Has someone put a spell on you, in spite of the plain explanation you have had of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? Let me ask you one question: was it because you practised the Law that you received the Spirit, or because you believed what was preached to you? Are you foolish enough to end in outward observances what you began in the Spirit? Have all the favours you received been wasted? And if this were so, they would most certainly have been wasted. Does God give you the Spirit so freely and work miracles among you because you practise the Law, or because you believed what was preached to you?
    Take Abraham for example: he put his faith in God, and this faith was considered as justifying him. Don’t you see that it is those who rely on faith who are the sons of Abraham? Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being cursed for our sake, since scripture says: Cursed be everyone who is hanged on a tree. This was done so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might include the pagans, and so that through faith we might receive the promised Spirit.
    As for me, the only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. It does not matter if a person is circumcised or not; what matters is for him to become an altogether new creature. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, who form the Israel of God.


    ℟. We ought to boast about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have our salvation, life and resurrection:* through him we have been redeemed and saved.
    ℣. He is crowned now with glory and honour because he suffered death.* Through him we have been redeemed and saved.


    Second Reading
    From a discourse by Saint Andrew of Crete
    The cross is Christ's glory and triumph

    We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.
    Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.
    Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honourable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation – very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honourable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.
    The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognise it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once. And again: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be. And once more: “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself. Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.


    ℟. O wonderful cross, upon whose branches hung the treasure and redemption of captive men,* through you the world is redeemed by the blood of the Lord.
    ℣. Hail, O cross, consecrated by the body of Christ, whose limbs, like precious jewels, adorn your wooden timbers.* Through you the world is redeemed by the blood of the Lord.



    If time allows, those who celebrate the Office of Readings of a Sunday (or solemnity, or feast of the Lord) on the evening before, or at the crack of dawn on the day itself, may enrich the celebration with three Old Testament canticles and a Gospel reading.


    Te Deum

    We praise you, O God:
    we acclaim you as the Lord.

    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 song:

    Holy, Holy, Holy,
    is the Lord God of angel hosts!

    The heavens and the earth are filled
    with your majesty and glory.

    The glorious band of apostles,
    the noble company of prophets,

    the white-robed army who shed their blood for Christ,
    all sing your praise.

    And to the ends of the earth
    your holy Church proclaims her faith in you:

    Father, whose majesty is boundless,
    your true and only Son, who is to be adored,
    the Holy Spirit sent to be our Advocate.

    You, Christ, are the king of glory,
    Son of the eternal Father.

    When you took our nature to save mankind
    you did not shrink from birth in the Virgin’s womb.

    You overcame the power of death
    opening the Father’s kingdom to all who believe in you.

    Enthroned at God’s right hand in the glory of the Father,
    you will come in judgement according to your promise.

    You redeemed your people by your precious blood.
    Come, we implore you, to our aid.

    Grant us with the saints
    a place in eternal glory.

    The final part of the hymn may be omitted:

    Lord, save your people
    and bless your inheritance.

    Rule them and uphold them
    for ever and ever.

    Day by day we praise you:
    we acclaim you now and to all eternity.

    In your goodness, Lord, keep us free from sin.
    Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

    May your mercy always be with us, Lord,
    for we have hoped in you.

    In you, Lord, we put our trust:
    we shall not be put to shame.


    Let us pray.

    God our Father,
    in obedience to your will
    your Only-Begotten Son endured the cross for our salvation.
    Grant that as we have come to know the mystery of the cross here on earth,
    we may receive its rewards in heaven.
    Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.


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


    The week’s sequence of readings from Scripture has been interrupted today, because today’s feast has a First Reading of its own.
    The reading you would otherwise have seen is shown below. It is perfectly reasonable (and encouraged) to join it on to yesterday’s or tomorrow’s First Reading, if it goes well with one of them and you think this is a sensible way of avoiding a gap.

    Ezekiel 2:8-3:11,16-21
    The call of Ezekiel

    The voice said, ‘You, son of man, listen to the words I say; do not be a rebel like that rebellious set. Open your mouth and eat what I am about to give you.’ I looked. A hand was there, stretching out to me and holding a scroll. He unrolled it in front of me; it was written on back and front; on it was written ‘lamentations, wailings, moanings.’ He said, ‘Son of man, eat what is given to you; eat this scroll, then go and speak to the House of Israel.’ I opened my mouth; he gave me the scroll to eat and said, ‘Son of man, feed and be satisfied by the scroll I am giving you.’ I ate it, and it tasted sweet as honey.
    Then he said, ‘Son of man, go to the House of Israel and tell them what I have said. You are not being sent to a nation that speaks a difficult foreign language; you are being sent to the House of Israel. Not to big nations that speak difficult foreign languages, and whose words you would not understand – if I sent you to them, they would listen to you; but the House of Israel will not listen to you because it will not listen to me. The whole House of Israel is stubborn and obstinate. But now, I will make you as defiant as they are, and as obstinate as they are; I am going to make your resolution as hard as a diamond and diamond is harder than flint. So do not be afraid of them, do not be overawed by them for they are a set of rebels.’
    Then he said, ‘Son of man, remember everything I say to you, listen closely, and go to your exiled countrymen and talk to them. Tell them, “The Lord says this,” whether they listen or not.’
    After seven days the word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows, ‘Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from me, warn them in my Name. If I say to a wicked man, “You are to die,” and you do not warn him; if you do not speak and warn him to renounce his evil ways and so live, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man and he does not renounce his wickedness and his evil ways, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life. When the upright man renounces his integrity to do evil and I set a trap for him, he too shall die; since you failed to warn him, he shall die for his sin and the integrity he practised will no longer be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you warn the upright man not to sin and he abstains from sinning, he shall live, thanks to your warning, and you too will have saved your life.’

    Copyright © 1996-2020 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.