Boniface [Wynfrith] of Crediton, Bishop, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754
The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, the compass of the world and all who dwell therein. For he has founded it upon the seas and set it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, or who can rise up in his holy place?’
‘Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who have not lifted up their soul to an idol, nor sworn an oath to a lie;
‘They shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a just reward from the God of their salvation.’
Such is the company of those who seek him, of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is the King of glory?’
‘The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord who is mighty in battle.’
Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
‘Who is this King of glory?’ ‘The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.’
Give the king your judgements, O God, and your righteousness to the son of a king. Then shall he judge your people righteously and your poor with justice.
May the mountains bring forth peace, and the little hills righteousness for the people.
May he defend the poor among the people, deliver the children of the needy and crush the oppressor.
May he live as long as the sun and moon endure, from one generation to another.
May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, like the showers that water the earth. In his time shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
May his dominion extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May his foes kneel before him and his enemies lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts. All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall do him service. For he shall deliver the poor that cry out, the needy and those who have no helper.
He shall have pity on the weak and poor; he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
Long may he live; unto him may be given gold from Sheba; may prayer be made for him continually and may they bless him all the day long.
May there be abundance of grain on the earth, standing thick upon the hilltops; may its fruit flourish like Lebanon and its grain grow like the grass of the field.
May his name remain for ever and be established as long as the sun endures; may all nations be blest in him and call him blessed.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever. May all the earth be filled with his glory. Amen. Amen.
Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face towards the wilderness. Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying:
‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with eyes uncovered: how fair are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel!
Like palm groves that stretch far away, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall have abundant water, his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God, who brings him out of Egypt, is like the horns of a wild ox for him; he shall devour the nations that are his foes and break their bones. He shall strike with his arrows. He crouched, he lay down like a lion, and like a lioness; who will rouse him up? Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you.’
Then Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, ‘I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times. Now be off with you! Go home! I said, “I will reward you richly”, but the Lord has denied you any reward.’ And Balaam said to Balak, ‘Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, “If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say”? So now, I am going to my people; let me advise you what this people will do to your people in days to come.’ So he uttered his oracle, saying:
‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered:
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near - a star shall come out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the borderlands of Moab, and the territory of all the Shethites.
Edom will become a possession, Seir a possession of its enemies, while Israel does valiantly.
One out of Jacob shall rule, and destroy the survivors of Ir.’
Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying:
‘First among the nations was Amalek, but its end is to perish for ever.’
Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Enduring is your dwelling-place, and your nest is set in the rock; yet Kain is destined for burning. How long shall Asshur take you away captive?’
Again he uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Alas, who shall live when God does this? But ships shall come from Kittim and shall afflict Asshur and Eber; and he also shall perish for ever.’
Then Balaam got up and went back to his place, and Balak also went his way.
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me’—for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
God our redeemer,
who called your servant Boniface to preach the gospel among the German people and to build up your Church in holiness:
grant that we may preserve in our hearts that faith which he taught with his words and sealed with his blood,
and profess it in lives dedicated to your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.