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: 1. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|Other saints: Bl Francis Palau y Quer (1811-1872)|
20 Mar (where celebrated)
Francis Palau y Quer was born in the year 1811 at Aitona in Spain. His early aspirations to live in the way of the Gospel led him to join the seminary in Lírida in 1828. During his seminary studies Francis came to know some Discalced Carmelite friars, whose way of life echoed with his own personal vocation. In 1832, spurred on by this appeal, he joined a Discalced Carmelite community at Barcelona and was later ordained in 1836.
Francis’ Carmelite life was marked by a rhythmic movement between life as a hermit and work as a missionary preacher in the region of Catalonia and southern France. Soon after his ordination he became a wandering preacher hoping to reignite the Catholic faith among the local people. He regularly spent periods of solitude living in caves in the region, following the pattern of the Desert Fathers. In 1840 Francis was named an Apostolic Missionary by the dioceses in which he preached. Soon after bans on religious communities were imposed in Spain, and so Francis crossed the Pyrenees to live in exile and to continue his solitary life and preaching in southern France. Over the next decade he would write three works exploring and defending the solitary life. His example inspired others to live as he did, and he became a spiritual guide for those seeking a solitary life in service of the Gospel.
Returning to Spain in 1851, Francis entered back into more active work as a spiritual director of seminarians and a parish catechist for adults. The movement between his missionary work and solitary life brought him to the insight that the Church, his Beloved, was God and neighbours together. His life continued in this pattern even during a six-year banishment by the Spanish government to the island of Ibiza. In his final years, Francis worked to establish the Teresian Missionary Carmelite Sisters and the Brothers of Charity (who later become re-affiliated with the Discalced Carmelite friars). Francis died on 20 March 1872, in the midst of his work that had sought to base the spiritual life on recognising and returning God’s love, rather than merely being caught up in the rational doctrines of his day.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: Pope St Leo the Great (- 461)|
Leo was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.
Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Tuesday, 5th week of Lent|
The people came and said to Moses, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.” Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, “Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.” So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived. (Nb 21:7-9)
This reading from the Book of numbers prepares for the Gospel reading about Jesus bringing salvation by being lifted up. In the early patriarchal stories there are occasional passages which pick up on ancient superstitious rites or pagan religious features. Another example is the mysterious, haunting story of Jacob/ Israel at the ford of the River Jabbok in Genesis 32:26- 30, which makes use of some ancient story about a semi-divine river-sprite. Both these stories pick up some ancient pre-Hebraic religious rite and bring it under the aegis of the God of Israel. We should not expect the Hebrew religion to spring into existence immediately, utterly clear of all trace of other beliefs and rites any more than Hebrew morality should be expected to conform from the first with Christian morals. In prayer the same is true, for Psalm 29 (Greek 28) probably takes over and applies what was originally a hymn to Baal, the god of storms and thunder. Similarly Psalm 104 (Greek 103):20- 26 praises the Creator of nature in terms similar to those used in an Egyptian hymn to Ahkenaton, the sun god.
The idea of the brazen serpent lifted up as a sort of charm may be connected with a sacred copper snake four inches long found in a temple of the ancient copper mines of Timnah, in the far south of Israel, not far from the probable route of the Exodus. Some such idolatrous bronze serpent was destroyed in the reforms of Hezekiah (716 BC).
The Gospel reading of the day is Jn 8:21-30.
Anything more for the food bank?
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)||1 Corinthians 1:18-19 ©|
The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God’s power to save. As scripture says: I shall destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing all the learning of the learned.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Corinthians 1:22-24 ©|
The Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, but we are preaching a crucified Christ; to the Jews an obstacle that they cannot get over, to the pagans madness, but to those who have been called, whether they are Jews or Greeks, a Christ who is the power and the wisdom of God.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Corinthians 1:25,27 ©|
God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. It was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning.