Wednesday 7 March 2018    (other days)
Wednesday of the 3rd week of Lent 
 (optional commemoration of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs)

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: 3. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

Saints Perpetua and Felicity (- 203)
They were martyred at Carthage in 203 during the persecution of Septimius Severus. With so many martyrs of the third and fourth centuries we have to say “they were martyred but nothing else is known about them.” That is not the case here. We have a detailed contemporary account of their arrest, trial, sufferings and martyrdom, written partly by the saints themselves and partly by an eye-witness. Devotion to them spread rapidly and they are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article contains links to the original account of their martyrdom.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: Saint Theophilus of Antioch (- c.184)
He was born a pagan, somewhere near the Tigris and Euphrates, and was led to Christianity by studying the Scriptures and especially the prophets. He became Bishop of Antioch in about 169. The Apology to Autolycus is his sole surviving work. In it he explains and defends Christianity to a pagan friend, drawing most of his evidence and arguments from the Old Testament.

40 Days and 40 Ways: Wednesday, 3rd week of Lent
Take care what you do and be on your guard. Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children’s children. (Dt 4:9)
  Dt 4:1, 5-9
  The Book of Deuteronomy is an unexpected work. It is the fifth and last book of the great Pentateuch which formed the basis of Israel’s life and worship. notionally it was discovered in the Temple during the great reform of Josiah, towards the end of the seventh century BC, but some sections are earlier and some later than this date. It is unexpected because it is principally a law book, and yet it is vibrant with the love of God; we do not normally associate law and love. However, for the People of Israel the Law is a loving gift of God, designed to lead Israel in the ways of God, and so keep Israel close to God. Since it shows Israel the ways of God it is itself a revelation of God’s nature, and so additionally precious. To obey the Law is, of course, an obligation, but – much more important – it is also a loving response to an act of love.
  How passionate this love is becomes clear from the Shema, those verses of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, recited daily by every observant Jew, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart,” etc. which Jesus himself says is the greatest of all the commandments. In today’s reading this is summed up, “What great nation has its gods as near as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him?”
  The Gospel reading of the day is Mt 5:17-19.
  Give something to the food bank for the needy.
Dom Henry Wansbrough

This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, 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 18:30-32 ©
Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!

Noon reading (Sext)Zechariah 1:3-4 ©
Return to me, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the prophets in the past cried ‘Turn back from your evil ways and evil deeds’ but they would not listen.

Afternoon reading (None)Daniel 4:24 ©
By virtuous actions break with your sins, break with your crimes by showing mercy to the poor, and so live long and peacefully.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
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