Oswald of Northumbria

5 August -- Lesser Festival -- Martyr -- Red

Born around the year 605, the son of King Ælfrith of Northumbria, Oswald was forced to leave home after his father's death and move to Iona where, influenced by the monks of St Columba, he was baptised. Returning to Northumbria in 634, Oswald defeated the British king, setting up a cross as his standard and gathering his men around it to pray the night before the battle. A man of humility and generosity, Oswald worked closely with his friend St Aidan, travelling with him on his missionary journeys and acting as his interpreter. He died in battle on this day in 642 defending his kingdom from the Mercians.


Lord God almighty,
who so kindled the faith of King Oswald with your Spirit
that he set up the sign of the cross in his kingdom
and turned his people to the light of Christ:
grant that we, being fired by the same Spirit,
may always bear our cross before the world
and be found faithful servants of the gospel;
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 Wisdom of Solomon.

The righteous live forever, and their reward is with the Lord; the Most High takes care of them. Therefore they will receive a glorious crown and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord, because with his right hand he will cover them, and with his arm he will shield them. The Lord will take his zeal as his whole armour, and will arm all creation to repel his enemies; he will put on righteousness as a breastplate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet; he will take holiness as an invincible shield, and sharpen stern wrath for a sword, and creation will join with him to fight against his frenzied foes.

This is the word of the Lord.         Wisdom 5. 15-20

Responsorial Psalm

RBlessèd be the Lord my rock!
[my stronghold and my deliverer].
O Lord, what are we that you should care for us?
mere mortals that you should think of us?
We are like a puff of wind;
our days are like a passing shadow. R

Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
touch the mountains and they shall smoke.
Stretch out your hand from on high;
rescue me and deliver me from the great waters. R

O God, I will sing to you a new song;
I will play to you on a ten-stringed lyre.
You give victory to kings
and have rescued David your servant. R

Rescue me from the hurtful sword
and deliver me from the hand of foreign peoples,
whose mouths speak deceitfully
and whose right hand is raised in falsehood. R

Happy are the people of whom this is so:
happy are the people whose God is the Lord! R         From Psalm 144

A reading from the First Letter of Peter.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker.

Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. For the time has come for judgement to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?" Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God's will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 Peter 4. 12-19

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

Jesus's disciples said, "Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God." Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!"

This is the gospel of Christ.         John 16. 29-33

Post Communion

who gave us this holy meal
in which we have celebrated the glory of the cross
and the victory of your martyr Oswald:
by our communion with Christ
in his saving death and resurrection,
give us with all your saints the courage to conquer evil
and so to share the fruit of the tree of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.