Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)|
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death.
Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature. The Second Readings in the Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his sermons and commentaries and also from the Confessions.
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Monday of Holy Week|
He does not cry out or shout aloud,
or make his voice heard in the streets.
He does not break the crushed reed,
nor quench the wavering flame. (Is 42: 2-3)
Today we begin reading the Songs of the Servant in Isaiah. These four songs, read in succession as the first readings during Holy Week, hang together. They depict a servant of the Lord, wholly dedicated to the Lord, and pleasing to him, who will bring true justice to Israel and to the nations, and will suffer hideously and die in the Lord’s service, and will eventually be justified. Is the prophet speaking of himself, of the nation of Israel or of some particular individual among Israel? Whatever the original meaning, Christian tradition has applied these songs to Jesus and his mission. not without good reason, for the Voice from heaven to Jesus at the Baptism is at least alluding to Jesus with this opening of the first song, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights”. Following on from this, Jesus speaks frequently of his mission of service, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve”, and of the duty of his followers to serve in the same way. It could, therefore, be the whole clue to Jesus’s mission and proclamation, as he is “the light of the nations, to open the eyes of the blind”.
As it is six days before the Passover (counting inclusively), the Gospel reading is appropriately the story of the anointing of Jesus’s feet with costly ointment at Bethany. In Mark and Matthew the woman is unnamed, but John names her as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus. John is more familiar with Jerusalem and its environs than are the synoptics, and may have the family as his source. The response of Jesus to her act of loving, personal devotion and his rebuke to the eminently practical objection of Judas, raise the question repeatedly asked of the Church (and never definitively settled), how much money should be spent on gifts to adorn churches and their liturgy, and how much given to the poor and needy. How much did Jesus know of the future? His answer shows his awareness of the increasing tension.
Why did Judas betray his Master? Was it simply for thirty pieces of silver, or is his greed a subsequent development? It is not mentioned by the synoptic Gospels. Was it a goodwill gesture which went wrong? It has been suggested that he merely wanted to bring Jesus together with the high priest. Was Judas a convinced nationalist fighter (his name is nationalist) who abandoned Jesus in frustration when he perceived that Jesus’s concept of messiahship did not include expulsion of the Romans?
Have you treated anyone unfairly and is it possible to repair the damage?
This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Henry Wansbrough, 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 33:10,11 ©|
Our sins and crimes weigh heavily on us; we are wasting away because of them. How are we to go on living? As I live – it is the Lord who speaks – I take pleasure, not in the death of a wicked man, but in the turning back of a wicked man who changes his ways to win life.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Jeremiah 18:20 ©|
Remember how I stood in your presence to plead on their behalf, to turn your wrath away from them.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Jeremiah 31:2,3,4 ©|
The Lord says this: They have found pardon in the wilderness, those who have survived the sword. Israel is marching to his rest. I have loved you with an everlasting love, so I am constant in my affection for you. I build you once more; you shall be rebuilt, virgin of Israel.