Christ is the spouse of the Church: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
The Dedication of Middlesbrough Cathedral
Each year we commemorate the dedication of our Cathedral, the mother church of our diocese. On this day we celebrate the local Church of the Diocese of Middlesbrough, which is God’s people in this part of the country.
The Cathedral is no mere construction of bricks and mortar, it is a place of salvation where the Gospel is proclaimed and the holy Mysteries are celebrated. It is a ‘sign’ to believers and unbelievers alike that God calls all people to journey in faith on the pilgrimage of life.
In the Cathedral, as in all those other churches where our different communities gather, we find a home where God’s people are nourished by his Word and Sacraments. There the waters of baptism overwhelm the shame of sin so that we may live in grace. There we gather to celebrate the Paschal Lamb and be fed with the Word and the Body of Christ. There the poor find justice, the victims of oppression discover true freedom, and the whole world is invited to enter with gladness into the way of peace (see the ‘Prayer of Dedication of a Church’).
Christ founded the Church in the world so that she might put the world in touch with God. In carrying out this mission she shows us the meaning of our own existence and encourages all those who follow Christ (the perfect human being) to become more fully human themselves. Her one purpose is to lead all people to salvation in the Kingdom of God, and this spiritual mission leads her like her Master to offer herself in service to the whole community of humankind.
On today’s feast, when we recall the day the Cathedral was dedicated to God’s service, may this vision of the mystery of the Church grow in our minds and hearts that we may give him worship and rejoice in his presence.
Other saints: St Isidore the Farmer (1070 - 1130)
Philippines, United States
He was born near Madrid to very poor parents. He was a labourer and later a bailiff on the estates of a landowner called Juan de Vargas. He was noted for his piety. He died on 15 May 1130.
The biographical sources are unreliable, being essentially a catalogue of miracles. There is no reason, however, to doubt that he was a saint: devotion to him started shortly after his death, when many people who had known him were still alive. He is patron saint of Madrid.
Other saints: Saint Carthage (c.555 - 637)
He is also known as Mochuda. He was born in what is now County Kerry, in Ireland. After being a swineherd he joined a monastery and was ordained a priest. In 580 he determined to lead a hermit’s life, but after a few years his hermitage had become a place of pilgrimage and he was expelled from it by the local abbots or bishops. After some time spent travelling and founding churches, he settled at Rahan near Tullamore and in 590 set up a monastery, composing a rule for his monks to follow. In 635 Carthage and his monks were expelled from Rahan at the instigation of jealous neighbours. He founded a new monastery at Lismore, and was the first bishop of the town that grew up round it. See the article in Wikipedia
Other saints: Bl. Giles of Vaozela OP (~1184 - 1265)
15 May (where celebrated)
Dominican Friar and Priest
Blessed Giles was born at Vaozela, near Coimbra, Portugal, about the year 1184. Although destined for a church career by his father, Giles was more attracted by medicine which he studied and taught at Paris. According to tradition he was converted from a dissolute life through the intervention of the Blessed Virgin. He entered the newly founded Order of Preachers at Valencia around 1224 and became a celebrated preacher and an able superior. Noted for his humble service to his brethren, he died at Santarem on May 14, 1265.
Other saints: Bl. Andrew Abellon OP (1375 - 1450)
15 May (where celebrated)
Dominican Friar and Priest
Blessed Andrew was born in 1375 at Saint Maximin, France, and received the Dominican habit at the priory of St. Mary Magdalene there. He was outstanding for his teaching, for his preaching throughout Provence, and for his zeal in restoring regular observance. In addition he exercised his talents as an artist in many of the Dominican churches of southern France. He died at Aix-en-Provence on May 15, 1450.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Origen (184 - 254)
Origen is a giant among early Christian thinkers. He was knowledgeable in all the arguments of the Greek philosophical schools but believed firmly in the Bible as the only source of true inspiration. He is thus a representative of that curious hybrid called “Christianity”, which on the one hand maintains (like the Jews) an ongoing direct relationship with the living God, who is the principle and source of being itself, but on the other hand maintains (like the Greeks) that everything makes sense rationally and it is our duty to make sense of it. As the Gospels say (but the Pentateuch does not), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind”.
A first stage in this, when it comes (for example) to disputations with the Jews over their view of Christianity as a recently-founded syncretizing heresy of Judaism, is to decide what Scripture is and what it says. If I argue from my books and you argue from yours, we will never meet; but if we share an agreed foundation, there is some chance. Accordingly Origen compiled a vast synopsis of the different versions of the Old Testament, called the Hexapla. Not all Origen’s specific judgements on soundness were generally accepted, even at the time, but the principle remains a necessary one, indispensable for any constructive meeting of minds.
Origen’s principle of interpretation of Scripture is that as well as having a literal meaning, its laws, stories and narratives point us to eternal and spiritual truths. The prime purpose of Scripture is to convey spiritual truth, and the narrative of historical events is secondary to this. While we still accept that “Scripture provides us with the truths necessary for salvation”, this view does leave room for over-interpretation by the unscrupulous, and in the controversies of succeeding centuries people would either claim Origen as an authority for their own interpretations or accuse their opponents of Origenizing away the plain truths of Scripture. Even today, the literalist view taken by some heretics of narratives in Genesis which most of us accept as allegorical shows that this controversy will never die.
As part of his programme of founding everything on Scripture, Origen produced voluminous commentaries – too many of them for the copyists to keep up, so that today some of them have perished. But what remains has definite value, and extracts from his commentaries and also his sermons are used as some of our Second Readings in the Office of Readings.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ©|
Do you not realise that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God is living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.
|Noon reading (Sext)||2 Corinthians 6:16 ©|
The temple of God has no common ground with idols, and that is what we are – the temple of the living God. We have God’s word for it: I will make my home among them and live with them; I will be their God and they shall be my people.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Haggai 2:6,7,9 ©|
The Lord of Hosts says this: I will shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations shall flow in, and I will fill this Temple with glory, says the Lord of Hosts. The new glory of this Temple is going to surpass the old, and in this place I will give peace – it is the Lord of Hosts who speaks.