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: Wednesday of Holy Week|
“For my part, I made no resistance,
neither did I turn away.
I offered my back to those who struck me,
my check to those who tore at my beard;
I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.” (Is 50: 6)
In the third Song of the Servant, read today, the theme of the Servant suffering insult and persecution, and the theme of a legal trial begin to be voiced, though not as strongly as in the fourth Song. Equally strong are the themes of the obedience of the Servant and the Servant’s confidence in divine help. The positioning of the Gospel passages is beginning to get a little wobbly! The Church wishes us to hear the important passages, but cannot fit them all onto the correct days. The disciples are sent to make the preparations, surely on the day when the Supper will be eaten in the evening. There is an air of mystery about the preparations: both in getting the donkey for Palm Sunday and in preparing the room for the Passover Jesus sends two disciples into the city with instructions about meeting an unknown man. That both of these missions work out smoothly surely indicates that Jesus has complete foreknowledge and control.
The situation is more complicated because the temporal inter-relationship of the Great Events and of the Passover is unclear. The Jewish day begins at sundown, so the Passover supper begins the Day of Passover. In the synoptic Gospels Jesus eats the Passover with his disciples the evening before he suffers, so that the Day of Passover should be the day of his death. In John the Jewish leaders refuse to enter Pilate’s palace to avoid the uncleanness which will prevent them eating the Passover. Therefore according to John’s timing Jesus’s Last Supper occurs twenty four hours before the Passover supper and Jesus dies as the Passover lambs are being slaughtered just in time for the supper. There are sound theological reasons for each of these: the synoptics stress that the Last Supper is a Passover; John stresses that Jesus is the paschal lamb.
Throughout the life of Jesus, but especially in the narrative of the Passion, the fulfilment of Scripture is important. The most ancient tradition of the Church, seen in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, was clear that Jesus died “according to the scriptures” and rose “according to the scriptures”. This event, the “Hour” of Jesus was the climax of Israel’s history, to which the whole thrust of the story was tending. Therefore it is stressed by many quotations from the scriptures that it was bound to be so. The thirty silver pieces for which Jesus was sold may be an allusion to Exodus 21:32, the compensation for a slave gored by an ox. Many details of the narrative may have their chief point in fulfilling just such a scriptural text.
Is there anyone whom I need to forgive and to whom I can show love?
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 Timothy 2:4-6 ©|
God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Romans 15:3 ©|
Christ did not think of himself. The words of scripture apply to him: the insults of those who insult you fall on me.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Hebrews 9:28 ©|
Christ offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.