Christ is the spouse of the Church: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 1. 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.
In other years: St John of Capistrano (1386 - 1456)
He was born in Capistrano in the Abruzzi in 1386. He studied law at Perugia and for some time held the office of a judge. He joined the Friars Minor and was ordained. He travelled throughout Germany, Poland, Transylvania, Moldavia, and Russia, leading an apostolic life, strengthening Christian morals and combating heresy.
When the Turks were invading Europe in the wake of the fall of Constantinople, they laid siege to Belgrade, then a border fort of the kingdom of Hungary. John preached a crusade against them and took part in the battle on 22 July 1456 in which John Hunyadi, his army and John’s peasant crusaders lifted the siege and defeated the Turks, keeping Christian Europe safe from Turkish invasion for the next 70 years.
Plague spread through the camp and John died of it, at Ilok, in what is now Croatia, on 23 October 1456. He is the patron saint of military chaplains.
Other saints: Saint Ethelflæda (10th century)
Ethelflæda was the daughter of Æthelwold of Wessex. She joined the Abbey of Romsey under the abbacy of Morwenna, and eventually became abbess herself. She practised an austere life, and on her death was buried in the Abbey beside St Morwenna.
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)||Haggai 2:6,7,9 ©|
The Lord of Hosts says this: I will shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations shall flow in, and I will fill this Temple with glory, says the Lord of Hosts. The new glory of this Temple is going to surpass the old, and in this place I will give peace – it is the Lord of Hosts who speaks.
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Office of Readings for Friday of week 29
Morning Prayer for Friday of week 29
Evening Prayer for Friday of week 29
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