OREMUS: 24 March 2011

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Wed Mar 23 17:00:00 GMT 2011


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OREMUS for March 24
Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Blessed are you, O Lord;
How wonderful the work of your hands!
As a mother tenderly gathers her children
you embraced a people as your own.
When they turned away and rebelled
your love remained steadfast.
>From them you raised up Jesus our Savior, born of Mary,
to be the living bread,
in whom all our hungers are satisfied.
He offered his life for sinners
and with a love stronger than death
he opened wide his arms on the cross.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

http://www.oremus.org/lentocan.html

Psalm 116

I love the Lord,
   because he has heard the voice of my supplication,*
 because he has inclined his ear to me
   whenever I called upon him.
The cords of death entangled me;
   the grip of the grave took hold of me;*
 I came to grief and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:*
 'O Lord, I pray you, save my life.'
Gracious is the Lord and righteous;*
 our God is full of compassion.
The Lord watches over the innocent;*
 I was brought very low and he helped me.
Turn again to your rest, O my soul,*
 for the Lord has treated you well.
For you have rescued my life from death,*
 my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord*
 in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I said,
   'I have been brought very low.'*
 In my distress I said, 'No one can be trusted.'
How shall I repay the Lord*
 for all the good things he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation*
 and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord*
 in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord*
 is the death of his servants.
O Lord, I am your servant;*
 I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
   you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving*
 and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord*
 in the presence of all his people.
In the courts of the Lord's house,*
 in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
   Alleluia!

Psalm 117

Alleluia!
Praise the Lord, all you nations;*
 laud him, all you peoples.
For his lovingkindness towards us is great,*
 and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
   Alleluia!

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;*
 his mercy endures for ever.
Let Israel now proclaim,*
 'His mercy endures for ever.'
Let the house of Aaron now proclaim,*
 'His mercy endures for ever.'
Let those who fear the Lord now proclaim,*
 'His mercy endures for ever.'
I called to the Lord in my distress;*
 the Lord answered by setting me free.
The Lord is at my side, therefore I will not fear;*
 what can anyone do to me?
The Lord is at my side to help me;*
 I will triumph over those who hate me.
It is better to rely on the Lord*
 than to put any trust in flesh.
It is better to rely on the Lord*
 than to put any trust in rulers.
All the ungodly encompass me;*
 in the name of the Lord I will repel them.
They hem me in, they hem me in on every side;*
 in the name of the Lord I will repel them.
They swarm about me like bees;
   they blaze like a fire of thorns;*
 in the name of the Lord I will repel them.
I was pressed so hard that I almost fell,*
 but the Lord came to my help.
The Lord is my strength and my song,*
 and he has become my salvation.
There is a sound of exultation and victory*
 in the tents of the righteous:
'The right hand of the Lord has triumphed!*
 the right hand of the Lord is exalted!
   the right hand of the Lord has triumphed!'
I shall not die, but live,*
 and declare the works of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me sorely,*
 but he did not hand me over to death.
Open for me the gates of righteousness;*
 I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the Lord.
'This is the gate of the Lord;*
 whoever is righteous may enter.'
I will give thanks to you, for you answered me*
 and have become my salvation.
The same stone which the builders rejected*
 has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing,*
 and it is marvellous in our eyes.
On this day the Lord has acted;*
 we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Hosanna, Lord, hosanna!*
 Lord, send us now success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;*
 we bless you from the house of the Lord.
God is the Lord; he has shined upon us;*
 form a procession with branches
   up to the horns of the altar.
'You are my God and I will thank you;*
 you are my God and I will exalt you.'
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;*
 his mercy endures for ever.

FIRST READING [Genesis 24:1–31]:

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, 'Put your hand under my thigh and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.' The servant said to him, 'Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?' Abraham said to him, 'See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, "To your offspring I will give this land", he will send his angel before you; you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.' So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter. 

Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, taking all kinds of choice gifts from his master; and he set out and went to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor. He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was towards evening, the time when women go out to draw water. And he said, 'O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. I am standing here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I shall say, "Please offer your jar that I may drink", and who shall say, "Drink, and I will water your camels"—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.' 

Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, coming out with her water-jar on her shoulder. The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, 'Please let me sip a little water from your jar.' 'Drink, my lord,' she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, 'I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.' So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful. 

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a half-shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, and said, 'Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?' She said to him, 'I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.' She added, 'We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.' The man bowed his head and worshipped the Lord and said, 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness towards my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the way to the house of my master's kin.' 

Then the girl ran and told her mother's household about these things. Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran out to the man, to the spring. As soon as he had seen the nose-ring, and the bracelets on his sister's arms, and when he heard the words of his sister Rebekah, 'Thus the man spoke to me', he went to the man; and there he was, standing by the camels at the spring. He said, 'Come in, O blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside when I have prepared the house and a place for the camels?' 

HYMN 
Words: John Clare (1793-1864)
Tune: Sidmouth, Surrey (88 88 88)

A stranger once did bless the earth
who never caused a heart to mourn,
whose very voice gave sorrow mirth;
and how did earth his worth return?
it spurned him from its lowliest lot:
the meanest station owned him not.

An outcast thrown in sorrow's way,
a fugitive that knew no sin,
yet in lone places forced to stray;
men would not take the stranger in.
Yet peace, though much himself he mourned,
was all to others he returned.

His presence was a peace to all,
he bade the sorrowful rejoice.
Pain turned to pleasure at his call,
health lived and issued from his voice;
he healed the sick, and sent abroad
the dumb rejoicing in the Lord.

The blind met daylight in his eye,
the joys of everlasting day;
the sick found health in his reply,
the cripple threw his crutch away.
Yet he with troubles did remain,
and suffered poverty and pain.

It was for sin he suffered all
to set the world-imprisoned free,
to cheer the weary when they call;
and who could such a stranger be?
the God, who hears each human cry,
and came, a Saviour, from on high.

SECOND READING [Mark 7:24–37]:

>From there Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, 'Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs.' But she answered him, 'Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.' Then he said to her, 'For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.' So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. 

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, 'Ephphatha', that is, 'Be opened.' And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, 'He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.' 

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Prayer:
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. 

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen.
		
Almighty God,
whose Son became incarnate among the poor
and lived, worked and died in the midst of a city,
give us grace to follow the example of your servant Oscar Romero
and proclaim the message of life,
that we all may come to know
the eternal truth of your Gospel,
as revealed in your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Trusting in the compassion of God,
let us pray as our Savior taught us:

- The Lord's Prayer

May Christ, who calls us,
make us ready witnesses to him
and multiply the number of those who acknowledge you
and celebrate your holy Name. Amen.
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The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving is from _Common Order_ and the closing sentence is adapted from _Celebrating the Christian Year_ (c) Canterbury Press, Norwich.

The intercession is by Oscar Romero. 

Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez was born in a small village in El Salvador in 1917. Ordained priest, he was known as a quiet and unassuming pastor. By 1977, amidst the political and social turmoil suffered by his country, he was therefore seen as a neutral choice to be its Archbishop. Courageously, however, he began to speak out against violence and his homilies supported the demands of the poor for economic and social justice. He refused to be silenced and continued to preach even under threat of assassination. On this day in 1980, whilst presiding at Mass, Archbishop Romero was assassinated by a gunman. He has since been widely regarded as a martyr for the faith. [Exciting Holiness]


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