Saint Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr
I will give you the crown of life for your prize
I, John, heard the Lord say to me: ‘Write to the angel of the church in Smyrna and say, “Here is the message of the First and the Last, who was dead and has come to life again: I know the trials you have had, and how poor you are – though you are rich – and the slanderous accusations that have been made by the people who profess to be Jews but are really members of the synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of the sufferings that are coming to you: I tell you, the devil is going to send some of you to prison to test you, and you must face an ordeal for ten days. Even if you have to die, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life for your prize. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: for those who prove victorious there is nothing to be afraid of in the second death.”’
Psalm or canticle
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a mighty stronghold to save me,
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
For your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
It is you who will redeem me, Lord.
As for me, I trust in the Lord:
let me be glad and rejoice in your love.
My life is in your hands, deliver me
from the hands of those who hate me.
Let your face shine on your servant.
Save me in your love.
The world hated me before it hated you
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If the world hates you,
remember that it hated me before you.
If you belonged to the world,
the world would love you as its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
because my choice withdrew you from the world,
therefore the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.
If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;
if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.
But it will be on my account that they will do all this,
because they do not know the one who sent me.’