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: C(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: Aphraates (c.280 - c.345)|
Aphraates or Aphrahat was a Syriac Christian writer of the early fourth century. He lived through the Persian persecutions which followed the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire. His “Demonstrations” are a collection of twenty-three sermons, each expounding an aspect of Christian life or doctrine. They are solid and straightforward, not straying far from biblical sources, and they are valuable not only in themselves but also as a witness to Syriac Christian belief before the outbreak of the Arian heresy. Demonstration 11, which is used in the Office of Readings, is one of a set of four which examine Judaism, perhaps because some members of the Persian Church wanted to incorporate more Jewish elements into Christianity.
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Wednesday, 1st week of Lent|
God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened. (Jon 3:10)
The sign of Jonah is obviously understood by Matthew in the Gospel reading to mean the Resurrection of Jesus after three days in the tomb, just as Jonah emerged from the belly of the sea beast after three days. But the story of Jonah has lovely value also for itself. The nub of the whole Book of Jonah comes in today’s reading. It is a joke book, written of course by a Jew, but mocking the Jews for their complacency and their conviction that the Chosen Race were the only ones to be saved.
Jonah was summoned by the Lord to a task and did his best to avoid it by taking ship in the opposite direction. When the storm is at its height he even admits that his disobedience is responsible for the period to the sailors. They, on the other hand, are full of care for him, and thoroughly unwilling to obey his instructions to throw him overboard. When the Lord gives Jonah a second chance he grumpily goes to convert nineveh, and is further annoyed to see that they are converted and do exaggerated penance. Even the animals wear sackcloth and refrain from eating or drinking. Meanwhile Jonah watches over the city from the neighbouring hilltop, eagerly waiting for it to be destroyed. All he wants is for nineveh to be destroyed; he cares much more about himself being proved right – even though his threat was provisional – than about the salvation of the ninevites. The message is obvious: the gentiles are more responsive to the word of God than the Jew – and he a prophet at that!
The Gospel reading for the day is Lk 11:29-32.
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)||Ezekiel 18:30-32 ©|
Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!
|Noon reading (Sext)||Zechariah 1:3-4 ©|
Return to me, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the prophets in the past cried ‘Turn back from your evil ways and evil deeds’ but they would not listen.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Daniel 4:24 ©|
By virtuous actions break with your sins, break with your crimes by showing mercy to the poor, and so live long and peacefully.