Behold, he comes to his holy temple, our Lord and Master: come, let us adore him.
Liturgical Colour: White.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Sophronius of Jerusalem (c.560 - 638)|
Sophronius was born in Damascus around 560. He became an ascetic in Egypt about 580 and subsequently entered the monastery of St Theodosius near Bethlehem. He was active in the battle against the heretics who rejected the nature of Christ as both God and man. He became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 634. At that time the Saracen armies under the caliph Umar I were advancing into Palestine, and Jerusalem itself fell in 637, Sophronius negotiating with Umar the terms of a surrender which gave religious freedom to Christians and preserved the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a Christian church.
Sophronius’ writings show little sign of these grand historical events. He wrote a series of poems in classical style on Christian subjects, and a number of sermons and doctrinal works.
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)||Isaiah 8:14 ©|
The Lord is the sanctuary and the stumbling-stone and the rock that brings down the two Houses of Israel; a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 42:13 ©|
The Lord advances like a hero,
his fury is stirred like a warrior’s.
He gives the war shout, raises the hue and cry,
marches valiantly against his foes.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Isaiah 12:5-6 ©|
Sing of the Lord, for he has done marvellous things, let them be made known to the whole world. Cry out for joy and gladness, you dwellers in Zion, for great in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.