Saturday, 29 October 2016

Matins readings for the feast of Christ the King

Nocturn I: Colossians 1:3-23

Reading 1: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. Hearing your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love which you have towards all the saints. For the hope that is laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard in the word of the truth of the gospel, Which is come unto you, as also it is in the whole world, and bringeth forth fruit and groweth, even as it doth in you, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth. As you learned of Epaphras, our most beloved fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ Jesus;Who also hath manifested to us your love in the spirit.

R. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom forever.* And His name shall be called God, the Mighty, the Prince of peace.
V. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful.
R. And His name shall be called God, the Mighty, the Prince of peace.

Reading 2: Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding: That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God:Strengthened with all might, according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins;

R. In the vision during the night I saw the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; and He was given kingship and glory.
* Nations and people of every language serve Him.
V. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed.
R. Nations and people of every language serve Him.

Reading 3: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. And he is before all, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.

R. You, Bethlehem-Ephrata, too small among the clans of Juda, from you shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel;* And He shall be Peace.
V. His origin is from old, from ancient times. He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord.
R. And He shall be Peace.

Reading 4:  And you, whereas you were some time alienated and enemies in mind in evil works: Yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unspotted, and blameless before him: If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I, Paul, am made a minister.

R. Rejoice heartily, o daughter Sion, and shout for you, o daughter Jerusalem! See your King shall come to you; a just Savior is He!
* And He shall proclaim peace to the nations.
V. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river, to the ends of the earth.
R. And He shall proclaim peace to the nations.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
R. And He shall proclaim peace to the nations.

Nocturn II: from the Encyclical of Pope Pius XI

Reading 5: Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the future. It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of "King," because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign "in the hearts of men," both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind.

R. He must reign, for God has put all things under His feet,* That God may be all in all!
V. When all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be made subject to the Father.
R. That God may be all in all!

Reading 6: He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his "charity which exceedeth all knowledge." And his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ. But if we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father "power and glory and a kingdom," since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.

R. He has made us to be a kingdom, and priest to God His Father;
* To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever!
V. He is the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
R. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever!

Reading 7: But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. Would that they who forget what they have cost their Savior might recall the words: "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled." We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us "with a great price"; our very bodies are the "members of Christ." Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due. Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love. He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. "For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son." In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.

R. The kingdom of this world has became the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ,
* And He shall reign for ever and ever.
V. All the families of the nations shall bow down before Him; for dominion is the Lord's.
R. And He shall reign for ever and ever.

Reading 8: This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices? It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power.

R. The ten horns that you saw are the kings. These will fight with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them.* For He is the Lord of lords and the King of Kings.
V. The Lord our God Almighty now reigns, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to Him.
R. For He is the Lord of lords and the King of Kings.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For He is the Lord of lords and the King of Kings.

Nocturn III: St Augustine

Reading 9 (Tract 51): But what honor was it to the Lord to be King of Israel? What great thing was it to the King of eternity to become the King of men? For Christ's kingship over Israel was not for the purpose of exacting tribute, of putting swords into His soldiers' hands, of subduing His enemies by open warfare; but He was King of Israel in exercising kingly authority over their inward natures, in consulting for their eternal interests, in bringing into His heavenly kingdom those whose faith, and hope, and love were centred in Himself. Accordingly, for the Son of God, the Father's equal, the Word by whom all things were made, in His good pleasure to be King of Israel, was an act of condescension and not of promotion; a token of compassion, and not any increase of power. For He who was called on earth the King of the Jews, is in the heavens the Lord of angels.

R. Thine, O Lord, is the power, thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted above all the heathen.
* Give peace in our time, O Lord.
V. O Lord God, Creator of all things, Who art fearful and strong, righteous and merciful.
R. Give peace in our time, O Lord.

Reading 10 (Tract 117): But is Christ king only of the Jews, or of the Gentiles also? Yes, of the Gentiles also. For when He said in prophecy, I am set king by Him upon His holy hill of Zion, declaring the decree of the Lord, that no one might say, because of the hill of Zion, that He was set king over the Jews alone, He immediately added, The Lord said unto me, You are my Son; this day have I begotten You. Ask of me, and I will give You the Gentiles for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession.

R. Behold, the Lord shall come, and all His saints with Him, and it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall be great; and they shall go out from Jerusalem like clean water; and the Lord shall be King for ever,
* Over all the earth.
V. Behold, the Lord cometh with an host, and in His hand are the kingdom, and power, and dominion.
R. Over all the earth.

Reading 11 (tract. 115 on John): Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. This it is which was the will of our Good Master that we should know: but first we were to be shown the vanity of the opinion concerning his kingdom, entertained by men, whether Gentiles or Jews,from whom Pilate had heard that: as if the reason why he must be punished by death, were that he had affected a kingdom to which he had no right; or because the reigning are wont to look with an evil eye upon those destined to reign; and there were indeed need to beware lest his kingdom should be adverse either to the Romans or the Jews.

(responsory not available)

Reading 12: Now the Lord might have answered at once: My kingdom is not from hence: to the first question put by the Governor, Art thou the King of the Jews ? But in putting a question in return, namely, whether he spake this of himself, or had been told it by others, it was his will to show by Pilate's reply that this had been laid up to him as a crime by the Jews in their conference with the Governor: thus laying open to us, The thoughts of men, which he knew: that they are vain: and to them after Pilate's answer, making a reply which was more reasonable and suitable both to Jews and to Gentiles: My kingdom is not of this world.

R. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up and the whole earth was full of His glory
* And His train filled the temple.
V. Above it stood the Seraphim each one had six wings.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
 R. And His train filled the temple.

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