Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

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

Office Readings

  • Friday 19 February 2021

    Friday after Ash Wednesday 

    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.



    Lord, who throughout these forty days
    for us didst fast and pray,
    teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
    and close by thee to stay.

    As thou with Satan didst contend
    and didst the victory win,
    O give us strength in thee to fight,
    in thee to conquer sin.

    As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
    so teach us, gracious Lord,
    to die to self, and chiefly live
    by thy most holy word.

    And through these days of penitence,
    and through thy Passiontide,
    yea, evermore in life and death,
    Jesus, with us abide.

    Abide with us, that so, this life
    of suffering overpast,
    an Easter of unending joy
    we may attain at last.


    Psalm 77 (78):1-16
    The history of salvation: the Lord's goodness, his people's infidelity (I)

    “These things all happened as warnings for us” (1 Cor 10:6).

    Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord and the marvellous deeds he has done.

    Give heed, my people, to my teaching;
    turn your ear to the words of my mouth.
    I will open my mouth in a parable
    and reveal hidden lessons of the past.

    The things we have heard and understood,
    the things our fathers have told us,
    these we will not hide from their children
    but will tell them to the next generation:

    the glories of the Lord and his might
    and the marvellous deeds he has done,
    the witness he gave to Jacob,
    the law he established in Israel.

    He gave a command to our fathers
    to make it known to their children
    that the next generation might know it,
    the children yet to be born.

    They too should arise and tell their sons
    that they too should set their hope in God
    and never forget God’s deeds
    but keep every one of his commands,

    so that they might not be like their fathers,
    a defiant and rebellious race,
    a race whose heart was fickle,
    whose spirit was unfaithful to God.

    The sons of Ephraim, armed with the bow,
    turned back in the day of battle.
    They failed to keep God’s covenant
    and would not walk according to his law.

    They forgot the things he had done,
    the marvellous deeds he had shown them.
    He did wonders in the sight of their fathers,
    in Egypt, in the plains of Zoan.

    He divided the sea and led them through
    and made the waters stand up like a wall.
    By day he led them with a cloud,
    by night, with a light of fire.

    He split the rocks in the desert.
    He gave them plentiful drink as from the deep.
    He made streams flow out from the rock
    and made waters run down like rivers.

    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.

    Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord and the marvellous deeds he has done.


    Psalm 77 (78):17-31

    The sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink from the rock which followed them.

    Yet still they sinned against him;
    they defied the Most High in the desert.
    In their heart they put God to the test
    by demanding the food they craved.

    They even spoke against God.
    They said: ‘Is it possible for God
    to prepare a table in the desert?

    It was he who struck the rock,
    water flowed and swept down in torrents.
    But can he also give us bread?
    Can he provide meat for his people?’

    When he heard this the Lord was angry.
    A fire was kindled against Jacob,
    his anger rose against Israel
    for having no faith in God;
    for refusing to trust in his help.

    Yet he commanded the clouds above
    and opened the gates of heaven.
    He rained down manna for their food,
    and gave them bread from heaven.

    Mere men ate the bread of angels.
    He sent them abundance of food;
    he made the east wind blow from heaven
    and roused the south wind by his might.

    He rained food on them like dust,
    winged fowl like the sands of the sea.
    He let it fall in the midst of their camp
    and all around their tents.

    So they ate and had their fill;
    and he gave them all they craved.
    But before they had sated their craving,
    while the food was still in their mouths,

    God’s anger rose against them.
    He slew the strongest among them,
    struck down the flower of Israel.

    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 sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink from the rock which followed them.


    Psalm 77 (78):32-39

    They remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer.

    Despite this they went on sinning;
    they had no faith in his wonders:
    so he ended their days like a breath
    and their years in sudden ruin.

    When he slew them then they would seek him,
    return and seek him in earnest.
    They would remember that God was their rock,
    God the Most High their redeemer.

    But the words they spoke were mere flattery;
    they lied to him with their lips.
    For their hearts were not truly with him;
    they were not faithful to his covenant.

    Yet he who is full of compassion
    forgave their sin and spared them.
    So often he held back his anger
    when he might have stirred up his rage.

    He remembered they were only men,
    a breath that passes never to return.

    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 remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer.


    Lord Jesus Christ, Shepherd of your Church, in order to strengthen our faith and to lead us to the kingdom, you renewed and far surpassed the marvels of the old law. Through the uncertainties of this earthly journey, lead us home to the everlasting pastures.


    ℣. Return to the Lord, your God.
    ℟. For he is gracious and merciful.


    Readings (official one-year cycle)

    First Reading
    Exodus 2:1-22
    Moses’ birth and flight

    There was a man of the tribe of Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the river’s edge. His sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.
    Now Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe in the river, and the girls attending her were walking along by the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and looked, and saw a baby boy, crying; and she was sorry for him. ‘This is a child of one of the Hebrews’ she said. Then the child’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to suckle the child for you?’ ‘Yes, go,’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her; and the girl went off to find the baby’s own mother. To her the daughter of Pharaoh said, ‘Take this child away and suckle it for me. I will see you are paid.’ So the woman took the child and suckled it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter who treated him like a son; she named him Moses because, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’
    Moses, a man by now, set out at this time to visit his countrymen, and he saw what a hard life they were having; and he saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his countrymen. Looking round he could see no one in sight, so he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. On the following day he came back, and there were two Hebrews, fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, ‘What do you mean by hitting your fellow countryman?’ ‘And who appointed you’ the man retorted, ‘to be prince over us, and judge? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Moses was frightened. ‘Clearly that business has come to light’ he thought. When Pharaoh heard of the matter he would have killed Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and made for the land of Midian. And he sat down beside a well.
    Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s sheep. Shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses came to their defence and watered their sheep for them. When they returned to their father Reuel, he said to them, ‘You are back early today!’ ‘An Egyptian protected us from the shepherds;’ they said ‘yes, and he drew water for us and watered the flock.’ ‘And where is he?’ he asked his daughters. ‘Why did you leave the man there? Ask him to eat with us.’ So Moses settled with this man, who gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage. She gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom because, he said, ‘I am a stranger in a foreign land.’

    Hb 11:24-27

    ℟. It was by faith that Moses, when he grew to manhood, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to be ill-treated in company with God’s people rather than to enjoy for a time the pleasures of sin,* because he had his eyes fixed on God’s reward.
    ℣. He reckoned that to suffer scorn for the Messiah was worth far more than all the treasures of Egypt; it was by faith that he left Egypt,* because he had his eyes fixed on God’s reward.


    Second Reading
    A homily of Pseudo-Chrysostom
    Prayer is the light of the soul

    The highest good is prayer and conversation with God, because it means that we are in God’s company and in union with him. When light enters our bodily eyes our eyesight is sharpened; when a soul is intent on God, God’s inextinguishable light shines into it and makes it bright and clear. I am talking, of course, of prayer that comes from the heart and not from routine: not the prayer that is assigned to particular days or particular moments in time, but the prayer that happens continuously by day and by night.
    Indeed the soul should not only turn to God at times of explicit prayer. Whatever we are engaged in, whether it is care for the poor, or some other duty, or some act of generosity, we should remember God and long for God. The love of God will be as salt is to food, making our actions into a perfect dish to set before the Lord of all things. Then it is right that we should receive the fruits of our labours, overflowing onto us through all eternity, if we have been offering them to him throughout our lives.
    Prayer is the light of the soul, true knowledge of God, a mediator between God and men. Prayer lifts the soul into the heavens where it hugs God in an indescribable embrace. The soul seeks the milk of God like a baby crying for the breast. It fulfils its own vows and receives in exchange gifts better than anything that can be seen or imagined.
    Prayer is a go-between linking us to God. It gives joy to the soul and calms its emotions. I warn you, though: do not imagine that prayer is simply words. Prayer is the desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not given by man but brought about by God’s grace. As St Paul says: For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself intercedes on our behalf in a way that could never be put into words.
    If God gives to someone the gift of such prayer, it is a gift of imperishable riches, a heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. Whoever tastes that food catches fire and his soul burns for ever with desire for the Lord.
    To begin on this path, start by adorning your house with modesty and humility. Make it shine brightly with the light of justice. Decorate it with the gold leaf of good works, with the jewels of faithfulness and greatness of heart. Finally, to make the house perfect, raise a gable above it all, a gable of prayer. Thus you will have prepared a pure and sparkling house for the Lord. Receive the Lord into this royal and splendid dwelling — in other words: receive, by his grace, his image into the temple of your soul.


    ℟. Will you still be forgetful of us, through the long years leave us forsaken?* Bring us back, Lord, and let us find our home.
    ℣. Lord, save us, or we perish.* Bring us back, Lord, and let us find our home.


    Let us pray.

    Give us the grace, Lord,
    to continue the works of penitence we have begun;
    so that the Lenten observance we have taken upon ourselves
    may be accomplished in sincerity of heart.
    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.


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

    Copyright © 1996-2021 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.