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: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|Other saints: St Deogratias (d. 457)|
The Christians of the diocese of Carthage, who had remained without a bishop for fourteen years, welcomed the appointment of Deogratias with great joy. He was an outstanding priest, very much loved and supported by the people because of his charity and preaching. During his ministry as bishop he cared for all the people, especially for the many captives that had been taken to Northern Africa by the Vandal king Genseric. Bishop Deogratias was a pastoral leader, full of love for his people and ready to respond to their practical and spiritual needs. He died in the year 457.
|Other saints: St Nicholas Owen (c.1550-1606)|
Birmingham: 23 Jan
Brentwood: 2 Mar
Nicholas Owen was born around 1550 into a Catholic family and grew to manhood during the time of the Penal Laws. He became a carpenter, and for thirty years or more built hiding-places for priests in the homes of Catholic families. He frequently travelled from one house to another, under the name of “Little John”, accepting only the necessities of life as payment before starting off for a new project. To minimize the likelihood of betrayal he often worked at night, and always alone. The number of hiding-places he constructed will never be known. Early in 1606 he was arrested, giving himself up voluntarily in the hope of distracting attention from some priests who were hiding nearby. After being committed to the Marshalsea, Owen was then removed to the Tower. He was executed on 2 March 1606. It was written of him that “no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Irenaeus (130 - 202)|
Irenaeus was born in Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Izmir in Turkey) and emigrated to Lyons, in France, where he eventually became the bishop. It is not known for certain whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is. The majority of this work was lost for many centuries and only rediscovered in a monastery on Mount Athos in 1842. Many passages from it are used in the Office of Readings.
|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)||Isaiah 55:3 ©|
Come to me and listen to my words: hear me, and you shall have life. I will make a covenant with you, this time for ever, to love you faithfully as I have loved David.
|Noon reading (Sext)||(Jeremiah 3:12,14) ©|
Come back, says the Lord, and I will frown on you no more, since I am merciful and I shall not keep my resentment for ever. Come back, disloyal children, says the Lord.
|Afternoon reading (None)||James 1:27 ©|
In the eyes of God our Father, pure unspoilt religion is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.