First Lesson: I Maccabees 2:49 – 64
Now when the time drew near that Mattathias should die, he said unto his sons, Now hath pride and rebuke gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation:
Now therefore, my sons, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers.
Call to remembrance what acts our fathers did in their time; so shall ye receive great honour and an everlasting name.
Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness?
Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment and was made lord of Egypt.
Phinees our father in being zealous and fervent obtained the covenant of an everlasting priesthood.
Jesus for fulfilling the word was made a judge in Israel.
Caleb for bearing witness before the congregation received the heritage of the land.
David for being merciful possessed the throne of an everlasting kingdom.
Elias for being zealous and fervent for the law was taken up into heaven.
Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, by believing were saved out of the flame.
Daniel for his innocency was delivered from the mouth of lions.
And thus consider ye throughout all ages, that none that put their trust in him shall be overcome.
Fear not then the words of a sinful man: for his glory shall be dung and worms.
To day he shall be lifted up and to morrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his dust, and his thought is come to nothing.
Wherefore, ye my sons, be valiant and shew yourselves men in the behalf of the law; for by it shall ye obtain glory.
Canticle: Magnificat. St. Luke 1:46-55
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.
Second Lesson: I Timothy 6:11 – 19
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
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 Homily by St. Gregory the Pope:
We hear that the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning, to hire labourers into his vineyard. Who indeed is more justly to be likened to an householder than our Maker, who is the head of the household of faith, bearing rule over them whom he hath made, and being Master of his chosen ones in the world, as a Master over those that are in his house? He it is that hath the Church for a vineyard, a vineyard that ceaseth not to bring forth branches of the True Vine, from righteous Abel to the last of the elect that shall be born into the world.
This householder, then, for the cultivation of his vineyard, goeth out early in the morning, and at the third hour, and the sixth hour, and the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour, to hire labourers into his vineyard. Thus the Lord, from the beginning to the end of the world, ceaseth not to gather together preachers for the instruction of his faithful people. The early morning of the world was from Adam until Noah ; the third hour from Noah until Abraham ; the sixth hour from Abraham until Moses ; the ninth hour from Moses until the coming of the Lord ; the eleventh hour from the coming of the Lord until the end of the world. At this eleventh hour are sent forth as preachers, the Holy Apostles, who have received full wages, albeit they be come in late.
For the cultivation of his vineyard (that is, the instruction of his people), the Lord hath never ceased to send into it labourers. First, by the Fathers, then, by the Prophets and Teachers of the Law, and lastly, by the Apostles. He hath dressed and tended the lives of his people, as the owner of a vineyard dresseth and tendeth it by means of workmen. Whoever in whatever degree joined to a right faith the teaching of righteousness, was so far one of God’s labourers in God’s vineyard. By the labourers at early morning, and at the third hour, and the sixth hour, and the ninth hour, may be understood God’s ancient people, the Hebrews, who strove to worship him with a right faith in company with his chosen ones from the very beginning of the world, and thus continually laboured in his vineyard. And now, at the eleventh hour, it is said unto the Gentiles also : Why stand ye here all the day idle?
From the Roman Breviary for the day.
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.