Readings from Divine Office

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First reading
From the book of the prophet Isaiah
46:1-13
The Lord opposes the idols of Babylon

Bel bows down, Nebo stoops,
their idols are upon beasts and cattle;
They must be borne up on shoulders,
carried as burdens by the weary.
They stoop and bow down together;
unable to save those who bear them,
they too go into captivity.
Hear me, O house of Jacob,
all who remain of the house of Israel,
My burden since your birth,
whom I have carried from your infancy.
Even to your old age I am the same,
even when your hair is gray I will bear you;
It is I who have done this, I who will continue,
and I who will carry you to safety.

Whom would you compare me with, as an equal,
or match me against, as though we were alike?
There are those who pour out gold from a purse
and weigh out silver on the scales;
Then they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god
before which they fall down in worship.
They lift it to their shoulders to carry;
when they set it in place again, it stays,
and does not move from the spot.
Although they cry out to it, it cannot answer;
it delivers no one from distress.

Remember this and be firm,
bear it well in mind, you rebels;
remember the former things, those long ago:
I am God, there is no other;
I am God, there is none like me.

At the beginning I foretell the outcome;
in advance, things not yet done.
I say that my plan shall stand,
I accomplish my every purpose.
I call from the east a bird of prey,
from a distant land, one to carry out my plan.
Yes, I have spoken, I will accomplish it;
I have planned it, and I will do it.

Listen to me, you fainthearted,
you who seem far from the victory of justice:
I am bringing on my justice, it is not far off,
my salvation shall not tarry;
I will put salvation within Zion,
and give to Israel my glory.

RESPONSORY Isaiah 46:12,13

Listen to me, you faint hearted, who are far from justice.
— I will grant salvation in Zion, and give my glory to Israel.

I am bringing my justice near at hand;
it shall not be delayed,
nor shall my salvation tarry.
— I will grant salvation in Zion, and give my glory to Israel.

Second reading
From a letter to Diognetus
God has revealed his love through the Son

No man has ever seen God or known him, but God has revealed himself to us through faith, by which alone it is possible to see him. God, the Lord and maker of all things, who created the world and set it in order, not only loved man but was also patient with him. So he has always been, and is, and will be: kind, good, free from anger, truthful; indeed, he and he alone is good.

He devised a plan, a great and wonderful plan, and shared it only with his Son. As long as he preserved this secrecy and kept his own wise counsel he seemed to be neglecting us, to have no concern for us. But when through his beloved Son he revealed and made public what he had prepared from the very beginning, he gave us all at once gifts such as we could never have dreamt of, even sight and knowledge of himself.

When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire. Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them. Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness. When we had been shown to be undeserving of life, his goodness was to make us worthy of it. When we had made it clear that we could not enter God’s kingdom by our own power, we were to be enabled to do so by the power of God.

When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death. The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!). He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals. For what else could have covered our sins but his sinlessness? Where else could we – wicked and sinful as we were – have found the means of holiness except in the Son of God alone?

How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing! The wickedness of the many is covered up in the holy One, and the holiness of One sanctifies many sinners.

RESPONSORY Acts 4:12; Isaiah 9:6

There is no salvation in any other person or place;
— nor is there any other name under heaven given to men,
by which we should be saved.

His name shall be Wonder-counselor, God of strength, Father of future ages, Prince of peace.
— Nor is there any other name under heaven given to men,
by which we should be saved.

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