Tuesday, 6 February 2018 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Kings 8 : 22-23, 27-30

Then Solomon stood before the Altar of YHVH in the presence of all the assembly of Israel. He raised his hands towards heaven and said, “O YHVH, God of Israel, there is no God like You either in heaven or on earth! You keep Your Covenant and show loving kindness to Your servants who walk before You wholeheartedly.”

“But will God really live among people on earth? If neither heavens nor the highest heavens can contain You, how much less can this House which I have built! Yet, listen to the prayer and supplication of Your servant, o YHVH my God; hearken to the cries and pleas which Your servant directs to You this day. Watch over this House of which You have said, ‘My Name shall rest there.’ Hear the prayer of Your servant in this place.”

“Listen to the supplication of Your servant and Your people Israel when they pray in this direction; listen from Your dwelling place in heaven and, on listening, forgive.”

Monday, 5 February 2018 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

1 Kings 8 : 1-7, 9-13

Then Solomon assembled before him in Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, as well as the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of YHVH from the city of David, which is Zion.

All the Israelites assembled near king Solomon in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month. When all the elders of Israel arrived, the priests carried the Ark of YHVH and brought it up together with the Tent of Meeting and all the holy vessels that were in the tent.

After the priests and Levites had brought them up, king Solomon with the entire congregation of Israel that had assembled before him and were with him before the Ark, sacrificed so many sheep and oxen that they could neither be counted nor numbered.

Then the priests laid the Ark of the Covenant of YHVH in its place in the inner Sanctuary of the house – the Most Holy Place – underneath the wings of the Cherubim. The Cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the Ark, providing a covering above the Ark and its poles.

There was nothing in the Ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses placed there at Horeb, where YHVH made a Covenant with the Israelites when they came out of the land of Egypt. And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, such a cloud filled YHVH’s House that the priests could not continue to minister. Indeed, the glory of YHVH filled His House.

Then Solomon said, “YHVH has said that He would dwell in thick darkness. So the House I have built You will be Your House, a place for You to dwell in forever.”

Thursday, 24 December 2015 : 4th Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

2 Samuel 7 : 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

When the king had settled in his palace and YHVH had rid him of all his surrounding enemies, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I live in a house of cedar but the Ark of God is housed in a tent.”

Nathan replied, “Do as it seems fit to you for YHVH is with you.” But that very night, YHVH’s word came to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, this is what YHVH says : Are you able to build a house for Me to live in?”

“This is what YHVH of host says : I took you from the pasture, from tending the sheep, to make you commander of My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, cutting down all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great as the name of the great ones on earth.”

“I will provide a place for My people Israel and plant them that they may live there in peace. They shall no longer be harassed, nor shall wicked men oppress them as before. From the time when I appointed judges over My people Israel it is only to you that I have given rest from all your enemies.”

“YHVH also tells you that He will build you a house. When the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you and I will make his reign secure. I will be a Father to him and he shall be My son. Your house and your reign shall last forever before Me, and your throne shall be forever firm.”

Wednesday, 23 September 2015 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezra 9 : 5-9

I remained seated and dismayed until the evening sacrifice; and then, at the time for the evening offering, I rose from my fasting, and with my clothes and mantle torn, I knelt down, spreading out my hands to YHVH, my God.

I said, “My God! I am ashamed and confused, my God, I do not dare raise my eyes to You for our sins have increased over our heads and our crimes reach up to the heavens.”

“From the days of our ancestors to this day, our guilt has been great. We, our kings and priests have been given into the hands of foreign kings because of our crimes; we have been delivered to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and put to shame as on this day.”

“However, for a brief moment, the mercy of YHVH, our God, has been shown to us. He made a remnant of our people survive, and allowed the survivor to settle once again in His Holy Place; He has given us joy and life, though we are in bondage. We are no more than slaves, but in the midst of our slavery, God has not abandoned us, He has extended a merciful hand over us to support us before the kings of Persia. He has revived our life, enabled us to rebuild the House of our God, and to have walls in Jerusalem and in the other cities of Judah.”

Alternative reading

Ezra 1 : 1-6

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, YHVH willed to fulfil the word He had said through the prophet Jeremiah, so He moved the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his kingdom, “Thus speaks Cyrus, king of Persia : YHVH, the God of heavens, who has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, has ordered me to build Him a Temple in Jerusalem, in the land of Judah.”

“To everyone belonging to His people, may his God be with him! Let them go up to Jerusalem with the help of their God and there build the House of YHVH, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. In every place where the rest of the people of YHVH live, let the people of those places help them for their journey with silver, gold and all kinds of goods and livestock. Let them also give them voluntary offerings for the House of YHVH which is in Jerusalem.”

Then they rose up – the heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, and all those whose spirit God had stirred up – and they decided to go and build the House of YHVH. And all their neighbours gave them all kinds of help : gold, silver, livestock and precious objects in great quantity, besides every kind of voluntary offering.

Monday, 4 August 2014 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Vianney, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 28 : 1-17

Early in the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah spoke to me. Hananiah son of Azzur from Gibeon proclaimed in YHVH’s House in the presence of the priests and the people, “This is what YHVH the God of hosts and the God of Israel says : I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”

“Within two years I will bring back to this place all the objects that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took away from YHVH’s House and carried to Babylon. I will likewise bring back Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all who were taken from Judah and deported to Babylon. For I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon – word of YHVH.”

Then Jeremiah replied to Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people, “So be it! May YHVH fulfill the words you have spoken and bring back from Babylon to this place the objects taken from the House of YHVH and all the exiles. Yet hear now what I say in your hearing and the hearing of all the people.”

“The prophets who came before you and me continually prophesied war, disaster and plague to many nations and great kingdoms. So the prophet who prophesies peace will not be recognised as truly sent by YHVH, until his predictions are fulfilled.”

Then Hananiah took the yoke from the neck of Jeremiah and broke it. Hananiah proclaimed in the presence of all the people, “YHVH says this : In the same manner within two years I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar from the neck of all the nations.” Then Jeremiah the prophet went on his way.

Some time later, a word of YHVH came to Jeremiah, “Go and tell this to Hananiah : This is what YHVH says : You have broken a wooden yoke but in its place you will get a yoke of iron. For this is what YHVH the God of hosts and the God of Israel says : I am placing a yoke of iron on the neck of all the nations to make them serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and they will serve him. I will even give him control over the wild animals.”

Then Jeremiah said to Hananiah, “Listen! Hananiah, you have not been sent by YHVH and yet you have deceived these people, giving them false hope with your lies. That is why YHVH says with regard to you : I am removing you from the face of the earth. You will die this very year because you have counselled rebellion against YHVH.”

And in the seventh month of that year Hananiah died.

Friday, 1 August 2014 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 26 : 1-9

At the beginning of the reign of Judah’s king Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the word of YHVH came to Jeremiah : YHVH says this, “Stand in the courtyard of YHVH’s House and say to all who come from the towns of Judah to worship in YHVH’s House – all that I command you to say; do not omit anything!”

“Perhaps they will listen to you. Perhaps each one will turn from his wicked ways. Then I will change My mind and forget the destruction that I have planned to inflict on them because of their wicked deeds.”

“Tell them : This is what YHVH says : ‘You have not obeyed Me and you have failed to walk according to My Law which I have set before you. You have not heeded My servants, the prophets, whom I have persistently sent to you. If you stubbornly close your ears to them, I will treat this House of Mine as I treated the sanctuary of Shiloh and let all the nations see that Jerusalem is a cursed city.”

The priests, the prophets and all the people heard what Jeremiah said in YHVH’s House. When Jeremiah finished saying all that YHVH had commanded, he was besieged by the priests and prophets saying, “You are bound to die! How dare you speak in YHVH’s Name telling us that this House will be treated like Shiloh and this city is to become a deserted ruin.”

And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the House of YHVH.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of the Sick (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Marian feast)

1 Kings 8 : 22-23, 27-30

Then Solomon stood before the Altar of YHVH in the presence of all the assembly of Israel. He raised his hands towards heaven and said, “O YHVH, God of Israel, there is no God like You either in heaven or on earth! You keep Your covenant and show loving-kindness to Your servants who walk before You wholeheartedly.”

“But will God really live among people on earth? If neither heavens nor the highest heavens can contain You, how much less can this House which I have built! Yet, listen to the prayer and supplication of Your servant, o YHVH my God; hearken to the cries and pleas which Your servant directs to You this day.”

“Watch over this House of which You have said, ‘My Name shall rest there.’ Hear the prayer of Your servant in this place. Listen to the supplication of Your servant and Your people Israel when they pray in this direction; listen from Your dwelling place in heaven and, on listening, forgive.”

Alternative Reading (Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Isaiah 66 : 10-14c

Rejoice for Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her. Be glad with her, rejoice with her, all you who were in grief over her, that you may suck of the milk from her comforting breasts, that you may drink deeply from the abundance of her glory.

For this is what YHVH says : I will send her peace, overflowing like a river; and the nations’ wealth, rushing like a torrent towards her. And you will be nursed and carried in her arms and fondled upon her lap. As a son comforted by his mother, so will I comfort you.

At the sight of this, your heart will rejoice; like grass, your bones will flourish.