Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage

15 September -- Lesser Festival -- Martyr -- Red

Born in Carthage in about the year 200, Cyprian was a teacher of rhetoric and a lawyer in the city before his conversion to Christianity. He gave away his pagan library and set his mind to study the sacred Scriptures and the commentaries that were beginning to proliferate. He became a priest and then, in the year 248, was elected Bishop of Carthage by the people of the city, together with the assembled priests and other bishops present. He showed compassion to returning apostates, whilst always insisting on the need for unity in the Church. During the persecution of Valerian, the Christian clergy were required to participate in pagan worship; Cyprian refused and was first exiled and then condemned to death. He died on this day in the year 258.

Collect

Holy God,
who brought Cyprian to faith in Christ,
made him a bishop in the Church
and crowned his witness with a martyr's death:
grant that, after his example,
we may love the Church and her teachings,
find your forgiveness within her fellowship
and so come to share the heavenly banquet
   you have prepared for us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
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 Ezekiel.

Thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ezekiel 34. 11-16

Responsorial Psalm

RI will rejoice for ever;
[I will sing praises to my God].
We give you thanks, O God, we give you thanks,
calling upon your name
and declaring all your wonderful deeds. R

"I will appoint a time," says God;
"I will judge with equity.
Though the earth and all its inhabitants are quaking,
I will make its pillars fast." R

For judgement is neither from the east nor from the west,
nor yet from the wilderness or the mountains.
It is God who judges;
who puts down one and lifts up another. R

For in the Lord's hand there is a cup,
full of spiced and foaming wine, which he pours out,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drink and drain the dregs. R         From Psalm 75

A reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 Corinthians 12. 4-13, 27

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

Jesus said to them all, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 9. 23-26

Post Communion

God our Redeemer,
whose Church was strengthened
   by the blood of your martyr Cyprian:
so bind us, in life and death, to Christ's sacrifice
that our lives, broken and offered with his,
may carry his death and proclaim his resurrection in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.