Clement, Bishop of Rome

23 November -- Lesser Festival -- Martyr -- Red

Clement was active as an elder in the Church in Rome towards the end of the first century and was reputed to have been a disciple of the apostles. He wrote an epistle to the Corinthians which witnessed to ministry in the Church and concerned their authority and duties. That letter clearly showed the authority of one senior presbyter intervening in a conflict in another Church and is full of valuable information about the history of the developing Church and its ministry at this time. His hierarchical view of Church order set a future pattern for episcopal practice and ministry. Clement seems to have been president of a council of presbyters which governed the Church in Rome and his letters are clearly written on their behalf. A fourth-century document has Clement being exiled to the Crimea where he was then put to death by being thrown into the sea with an anchor around his neck, his relics being recovered some centuries later by Cyril and Methodius.

Collect

Creator and Father of eternity,
whose martyr Clement bore witness with his blood
to the love he proclaimed and the gospel that he preached:
give us thankful hearts as we celebrate your faithfulness
   revealed to us in the lives of your saints
and strengthen us in our pilgrimage as we follow 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.

A reading from the book Proverbs.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

This is the word of the Lord.         Proverbs 15. 1-4

Responsorial Psalm

RHear my teaching, O my people;
[incline your ears to the words of my mouth].
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times,
that which we have heard and known,
and what our forebears have told us. R

We will not hide it from their children,
we will recount it to generations yet to come:
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord,
and the wonderful works he has done. R

God gave his decrees to Jacob and established a law for Israel,
so that they might put their trust in God,
and not forget the deeds of God,
but keep his commandments to do them. R         From Psalm 78

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians.

Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

This is the word of the Lord.         Philippians 3.17 - 4.3

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

When Jesus noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 14. 7-11

Post Communion

God our Redeemer,
whose Church was strengthened
   by the blood of your martyr Clement:
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.