The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: White.
Today's Mass reading: The God-fearers
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows us the ‘God-fearers’, the non-Jews who revered Judaism without actually becoming Jews themselves. We tend to forget them in our view of history because they don’t fit easily into our ‘either-or’ categories, but the Jews were aware of them to the extent – for example – of having rules about which parts of the Temple they were or were not allowed to enter.
In today’s pagan world there are also many who are ‘God-fearers.’ We have a duty to them just as the Jews did. On the one hand we must deny them nothing that might nourish them, on the other hand (just like the Jews) we must not pretend that there is no difference between them and us: to say that there is no difference would be to deny the very thing that they revere. On the other hand, to go all-out enthusiastic about bringing them into the fold is usually the best way of chasing them away from it. You lead a horse by walking beside it, not by pulling it from the front. To catch a fish, you do not jump into the water and splash around trying to grab it.
There is no simple instant formula. We don’t know what God’s plan for our friend’s soul is – nor for ours. But there is a plan, and one way or another each of us can be a means of grace for anyone, a channel through which the Spirit will do his work.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Clement I
Clement was Bishop of Rome after Peter, Linus and Cletus. He lived towards the end of the first century, but nothing is known for certain about his life. Clement’s letter to the Corinthian church has survived. It is the first known Patristic document, and exhorts them to peace and brotherly harmony.
Liturgical colour: white
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)||Acts 2:32,36 ©|
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Galatians 3:27-28 ©|
All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Corinthians 5:7-8 ©|
Get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.