Christ is the spouse of the Church: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.
Dedication of All Churches of the Vicariate
The Church, the holy people of God are made one in Christ, to offer pure worship to the Father in the Spirit through him. Thus, the building in which they gather to encounter the Lord who speaks through his word, gives grace through his sacraments, and blesses with his sacramental Presence, is fittingly named a “church”. As a visible building, it is a special sign of the pilgrim Church on earth and reflects the company of saints in the heavenly Jerusalem, the dwelling of God among humanity. As the various stones make up the building, so the parish church reflects the unity of a parish community gathered with their priests to worship the Triune God. The Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church is the joyful remembrance of the day that the building was first used for divine worship. In the particular circumstances of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, there are also the added aspects of the church as a sign of hope for the migrant faithful, and of thanksgiving for the freedom of public worship enjoyed in these lands.
For these reasons, the liturgical books direct that the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Parish Church be celebrated in each parish with the rank of Solemnity. To standardise the liturgical calendar among different parishes, and avoid liturgical complications, each parish community celebrates the dedication of the parish church on the Sunday before All Saints. The choice of this date highlights the bond between the Church on earth, and the Church in heaven, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Other saints: Saint Alfonso Rodríguez
31 Oct (where celebrated)
Alfonso Rodriguez (1533-1617) was born in Segovia, Spain. His family played host to Saint Peter Faber, who prepared the young Alfonso for his First Communion. He left school at age 14 to help his widowed mother run the family wool business. At age twenty-seven, he married and had three children. Five years later, he found himself a widower with one surviving child, who died Soon after. He joined the Society of Jesus as a Brother at the age of thirty-eight. He spent the next forty-six years of his religious life as guest master and doorkeeper of the Jesuit college in Majorca, where he exercised a marvellous influence not only on the members of the college, but upon a great number of people who came to him for spiritual advice. He was a friend and advisor to Saint Peter Claver, encouraging him to go to the missions in South America. His daily routine, though ordinary, offered him opportunities for holiness of life: each time the bell rang, he looked at the door and envisioned that it was God who was standing outside. He was often heard to say “I’m just coming, Lord.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Origen (184 - 254)
Origen is a giant among early Christian thinkers. He was knowledgeable in all the arguments of the Greek philosophical schools but believed firmly in the Bible as the only source of true inspiration. He is thus a representative of that curious hybrid called “Christianity”, which on the one hand maintains (like the Jews) an ongoing direct relationship with the living God, who is the principle and source of being itself, but on the other hand maintains (like the Greeks) that everything makes sense rationally and it is our duty to make sense of it. As the Gospels say (but the Pentateuch does not), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind”.
A first stage in this, when it comes (for example) to disputations with the Jews over their view of Christianity as a recently-founded syncretizing heresy of Judaism, is to decide what Scripture is and what it says. If I argue from my books and you argue from yours, we will never meet; but if we share an agreed foundation, there is some chance. Accordingly Origen compiled a vast synopsis of the different versions of the Old Testament, called the Hexapla. Not all Origen’s specific judgements on soundness were generally accepted, even at the time, but the principle remains a necessary one, indispensable for any constructive meeting of minds.
Origen’s principle of interpretation of Scripture is that as well as having a literal meaning, its laws, stories and narratives point us to eternal and spiritual truths. The prime purpose of Scripture is to convey spiritual truth, and the narrative of historical events is secondary to this. While we still accept that “Scripture provides us with the truths necessary for salvation”, this view does leave room for over-interpretation by the unscrupulous, and in the controversies of succeeding centuries people would either claim Origen as an authority for their own interpretations or accuse their opponents of Origenizing away the plain truths of Scripture. Even today, the literalist view taken by some heretics of narratives in Genesis which most of us accept as allegorical shows that this controversy will never die.
As part of his programme of founding everything on Scripture, Origen produced voluminous commentaries – too many of them for the copyists to keep up, so that today some of them have perished. But what remains has definite value, and extracts from his commentaries and also his sermons are used as some of our Second Readings in the Office of Readings.
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)||1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ©|
Do you not realise that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God is living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.
|Noon reading (Sext)||2 Corinthians 6:16 ©|
The temple of God has no common ground with idols, and that is what we are – the temple of the living God. We have God’s word for it: I will make my home among them and live with them; I will be their God and they shall be my people.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Jeremiah 7:2,4-5,7 ©|
Listen to the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship the Lord. Put no trust in delusive words like these: ‘This is the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord!’ Since if you amend your behaviour and your actions, I will permit you to remain in this place and live in it.