Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers

13 January -- Lesser Festival -- Teacher of the Faith -- White

Hilary was born at Poitiers in about the year 315; his family, though pagan, gave him an excellent education and he was proficient in Latin and Greek. After extensive personal study, he tells us that he was baptised at the age of thirty. He was elected bishop of the city in the year 350 and immediately became caught up in the Arian controversy, himself asserting that mortals of this world were created to practise moral virtues thus reflecting the one in whose image they are made, the eternal and creative first cause, God, and that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, is of one substance with the Father. His learning and oratory led to his title of "Athanasius of the West". He was known as a gentle, kind friend to all, even though his writings seemed severe at times. He died in the year 367.


Everlasting God,
whose servant Hilary
steadfastly confessed your Son Jesus Christ
   to be both human and divine:
grant us his gentle courtesy
to bring to all the message of redemption
   in the incarnate Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah.

Listen, and hear my voice; Pay attention, and hear my speech. Do those who plough for sowing plough continually? Do they continually open and harrow their ground? When they have levelled its surface, do they not scatter dill, sow cummin, and plant wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border? For they are well instructed; their God teaches them. Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin; but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cummin with a rod. Grain is crushed for bread, but one does not thresh it forever; one drives the cart wheel and horses over it, but does not pulverise it. This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.

This is the word of the Lord.         Isaiah 28. 23-29

Responsorial Psalm

RSend us your light and truth, O God,
[that they may lead us back to you].
Give judgement for me, O God,
and defend my cause against an ungodly people;
deliver me from the deceitful and wicked
for you are the God of my strength. R

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling;
that I may go to the altar of God, to the God of my joy and gladness;
and on the harp I will give thanks to you, O God my God. R

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
and why are you so disquieted within me?
Put your trust in God, for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God. R         From Psalm 43

A reading from the First Letter of John.

Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge.

I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 John 2. 18-25

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

The Pharisees said to Jesus, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him." They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him." As he was saying these things, many believed in him. Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

This is the gospel of Christ.         John 8. 25-32

Post Communion

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
   of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servant Hilary
   to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.