Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|Other saints: St Deogratias (d. 457)|
The Christians of the diocese of Carthage, who had remained without a bishop for fourteen years, welcomed the appointment of Deogratias with great joy. He was an outstanding priest, very much loved and supported by the people because of his charity and preaching. During his ministry as bishop he cared for all the people, especially for the many captives that had been taken to Northern Africa by the Vandal king Genseric. Bishop Deogratias was a pastoral leader, full of love for his people and ready to respond to their practical and spiritual needs. He died in the year 457.
|Other saints: St Nicholas Owen (c.1550-1606)|
Birmingham: 23 Jan
Brentwood: 2 Mar
Nicholas Owen was born around 1550 into a Catholic family and grew to manhood during the time of the Penal Laws. He became a carpenter, and for thirty years or more built hiding-places for priests in the homes of Catholic families. He frequently travelled from one house to another, under the name of “Little John”, accepting only the necessities of life as payment before starting off for a new project. To minimize the likelihood of betrayal he often worked at night, and always alone. The number of hiding-places he constructed will never be known. Early in 1606 he was arrested, giving himself up voluntarily in the hope of distracting attention from some priests who were hiding nearby. After being committed to the Marshalsea, Owen was then removed to the Tower. He was executed on 2 March 1606. It was written of him that “no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular.”
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Thursday, 5th week of Lent|
“You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations.” (Gn 17:5)
This is the third account of God’s promise to Abraham. The first, in Genesis 12:1-3, concentrates on the call to Abram to leave his comfort zone and go out in faith. The second, in Genesis 15:1-21 describes a mysterious ritual of sacrifice. This third account centres on circumcision as the sign of the covenant. As Paul makes clear in the Letter to the Romans, circumcision does not earn inclusion in the covenant; it simply marks out those who are included. It was, of course, originally a preparation for marriage, but among the Hebrews it took on this special significance, linked to the continuance of the covenant from generation to generation, and its spread to other nations.
This third account is significant for two other reasons. First, the change of the name from “Abram” to “Abraham”. The change is probably no more than from one dialect to another, but the imposition of a name is an act of ownership, making Abraham God’s own possession: furthermore, a father imposes a name. Secondly, Abraham is himself to be father of many nations. In the first blessing in Genesis 12 his name is to be used as a blessing, but now this is clarified. It is a remarkable piece of theology that from the very first the covenant of salvation is not merely with the Hebrews but with a multitude of nations, who will receive their blessing through Abraham.
The Gospel reading of the day is Jn 8:51-59.
Next Thursday is Maundy Thursday. Prepare by reading the account of the Last Supper (Mt 26:17-35) and praying about it.
This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, published by the Catholic Truth Society and used by permission. “40 Days and 40 Ways” has meditations for each day in Lent. To find out more about the booklet, or to buy it, please visit the CTS web site.
The Universalis Readings at Mass page shows the readings for today’s Mass.
|Liturgical colour: violet|
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Hebrews 4:14-15 ©|
Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Hebrews 7:26-27 ©|
The ideal high priest would have to be holy, innocent and uncontaminated, beyond the influence of sinners, and raised up above the heavens; one who would not need to offer sacrifices every day, as the other high priests do for their own sins and then for those of the people, because Jesus Christ our Lord has done this once and for all by offering himself.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Hebrews 9:11-12 ©|
Now Christ has come, as the high priest of all the blessings which were to come. He has passed through the greater, the more perfect tent, which is better than the one made by men’s hands because it is not of this created order; and he has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us.