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: 4. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: Saint Athanasius (295 - 373)|
Athanasius was born in Alexandria. He assisted Bishop Alexander at the Council of Nicaea, and later succeeded him as bishop. He fought hard against Arianism all his life, undergoing many sufferings and spending a total of 17 years in exile. He wrote outstanding works to explain and defend orthodoxy.
The matters in dispute with the Arians were vital to the very nature of Christianity; and, as Cardinal Newman put it, the trouble was that at that time the laity tended to be champions of orthodoxy while their bishops (seduced by closeness to imperial power) tended not to be. The further trouble (adds Chadwick) is that the whole thing became tangled up with matters of power, organization and authority, and with cultural differences between East and West. Athanasius was accused of treason and murder, embezzlement and sacrilege. In the fight against him, any weapon would do.
Arianism taught that the Son was created by the Father and in no way equal to him. This was in many ways a “purer” and more “spiritual” approach to religion, since it did not force God to undergo the undignified experience of being made of meat. Islam is essentially Arian. But Arianism leaves an infinite gap between God and man, and ultimately destroys the Gospel, leaving it either as a fake or as a cruel parody. Only by being orthodox and insisting on the identity of the natures of the Father and the Son and the Spirit can we truly understand the goodness of creation and the love of God, and live according to them. For this reason many extracts from the works of St Athanasius have been adopted as Second Readings in the Office of Readings.
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Friday, 4th week of Lent|
Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yes we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from. (Jn 7:25-27)
Ws 2:1a, 12-22
The Gospel reading for today presents one of the clashes between Jesus and the Temple authorities. In the Johannine account the Cleansing of the Temple is the first major event in Jesus’s ministry. Clearly it sets the tone for the rest of Jesus’s ministry in Jerusalem. It is followed by two further attempts by the authorities to arrest Jesus, each of them unsuccessful, “for his Hour had not yet come.” Jesus attests that they know where he comes from and knowingly refuse to acknowledge him. This puts them in the same position as the malicious taunters of the first reading.
The first reading from the Book of Wisdom presents the taunts of the “godless” who reject any idea of life after death and believe that the world came into being by pure chance. They scoff at the faithful who claim to be children of God. Matthew 27:43 actually puts a phrase from this text into the mouth of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees as they mock the dying Jesus on the cross, “He put his trust in God; now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am God’s Son’.” Thus Matthew focuses on their deliberate malice, pointing out that it is a direct fulfilment of Scripture.
The Gospel reading of the day is Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30.
Say a couple of decades of the Rosary for someone else’s intentions.
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)||Isaiah 55:3 ©|
Come to me and listen to my words: hear me, and you shall have life. I will make a covenant with you, this time for ever, to love you faithfully as I have loved David.
|Noon reading (Sext)||(Jeremiah 3:12,14) ©|
Come back, says the Lord, and I will frown on you no more, since I am merciful and I shall not keep my resentment for ever. Come back, disloyal children, says the Lord.
|Afternoon reading (None)||James 1:27 ©|
In the eyes of God our Father, pure unspoilt religion is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.