First Lesson: Amos 7:1 – 8, 8:1 – 3
Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings.
And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
The Lord repented for this: It shall not be, saith the Lord.
Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord God called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.
Then said I, O Lord God, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
The Lord repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord God.
Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.
And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:
Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.
And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the Lord unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.
And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.
Canticle: Magnificat. St. Luke 1:46-55
Antiphon: These Last.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, * and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded * the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth * all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; * and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him * throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; * he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek;.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Antiphon: These last have wrought but one hour, and thou has made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Second Lesson: Galatians 1:1 – 10
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Canticle: Nunc dimittis. St. Luke 2:29-32
LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, * according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen * thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared * before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, * and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
A reading from a Sermon by St Augustine:
When Saul was persecuting the Church he was stumbling over the stone of stumbling. Christ was lying, lowly and humble, on the ground; he was also, to be sure, in heaven, his flesh that had been raised from the dead having been lifted up there. But unless Christ were also lying on the ground, he wouldn’t cry out to Saul, Why are you persecuting me?
But those now who stumbled over the stone of stumbling; what does the same Apostle say about them? Because not from faith, he says, but as though from works. Because they, as though through their own justice, stumbled at the stone of stumbling; as it is written: Behold, l am placing in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of scandal; and whoever believes in him shall not be confounded. Whoever believes in him, you see, will not have his own justice, which is from the Law, though the Law is good; but he will fulfil that very Law not with his own justice but with that given by God.
So those men stumbled over the stone of stumbling and the rock of scandal. And he says about them, Brothers, the good will of my heart and my prayer to God is for them unto salvation. The Apostle is praying for those who don’t believe, that they may believe; for those who have turned away, that they may turn back to God. You can see how not even this turning back or conversion happens without God’s help. My prayer, he says, to God is for them unto salvation. For I bear them witness that they have the zeal of God. Just as he too used to have it himself; he used to have the zeal of God. But not according to knowledge. What’s this, not according to knowledge? For being ignorant of God’s justice, and wishing to establish their own.
Remove yourself, remove, I repeat, yourself from yourself; you just get in your own way. If it’s you that are building yourself, it’s a ruin you’re building. Unless the Lord has built the house, they have laboured in vain, who build it. So stop wishing to have your own justice. It’s the Apostle Paul speaking; those who love their own justice mustn’t put the blame on me. Here’s where you can find him. Open it, read, listen, see. Don’t have your own justice; the Apostle counts it as dung, even though it’s from the Law, but still because it’s his own. For being ignorant of God’s justice, and wishing to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the justice of God.
Don’t think that just because you call yourself a Christian, you cannot for that reason stumble over the stone of stumbling. When you disparage his grace, you stumble over him. It’s less serious to stumble at Christ hanging on the Cross than at Christ seated in heaven. Let there be justice in you, but let it be from grace, let it come to you from God; don’t let it be your own. This is what the Apostle Paul preached: ‘Let it come to you from God.’ Sigh to obtain it, weep to obtain it, believe in order to obtain it. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord, he says, shall be saved.
St Augustine, Sermon 153; WSA (1992) tr. Hill.
And the Apostles Creed and the rest of the office.
O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.