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Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Triduum 2014: Good Friday, morning.

“Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.” (John 18:18)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from the Passion according to Saint John:

“The Evangelist John says, “It was cold.” If we consider the season, it could not have been cold. But it was cold where Jesus was not acknowledged, where there was none to see the light, where the consuming fire was denied. Peter stood beside the brazier, because he felt he was freezing. Evil is the ... flame [that night]. It burns but does not warm. Evil is the hearth that scatters a soot of error even on the minds of the saints because even the inner eyes of Peter were darkened.” (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 10)




Remember your mercies, O Lord,
and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants,
for whom Christ your Son,
by the shedding of his Blood,
established the Paschal Mystery.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Triduum 2014: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

“Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feetd and dry them with the towel around his waist.” (John 13:5)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from this evening’s Gospel:

“I find the Lord divesting himself of his garments and girding himself with a towel, pouring water into a basin, washing the feet of his disciples. This water was that heavenly dew with which, it was prophesied, the Lord Jesus would wash the feet of his disciples. And now let the feet of our souls be extended. The Lord Jesus wishes to wash our feet also. There is a kind of water that we pour into the basin of our soul, water from the fleece and from the Book of Judges, water from the Book of Psalms. The water is the dew of the heavenly message. Therefore, Lord Jesus, let this water come into my soul, into my flesh, that by the moisture of this rain the valleys of our minds and the fields of our inmost heart may grow green. Let your drops come on me, sprinkling grace and immortality. Wash the steps of my mind that I may not sin again. Wash off the heel of my spirit that I may be able to abolish the curse so that I may not feel the bite of the serpent on my inner foot, but, as you yourself have ordered your followers, that I may have the power with uninjured foot to tread on the serpents and scorpions. You have redeemed the world. Redeem the soul of one sinner.” (On the Holy Spirit, 1)




O God, who have called us to participate
in this most sacred Supper,
in which your Only Begotten Son,
when about to hand himself over to death,
entrusted to the Church
a sacrifice new for all eternity,
the banquet of his love,
grant, we pray,
that we may draw from so great a mystery,
the fullness of charity and of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.







Preface
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
through Christ our Lord.

For he is the true and eternal Priest,
who instituted the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice
and was the first to offer himself as the saving Victim,
commanding us to make this offering as his memorial.
As we eat his flesh that was sacrificed for us,
we are made strong,
and, as we drink his Blood that was poured out for us,
we are washed clean.

And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts . . .




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Voices ever ancient, ever new. Holy Week 2014: Thursday, The Chrism Mass

“Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.” (Luke 4:20

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at today’s Chrism Mass:

“When Jesus had read this passage, he rolled up “the scroll, gave it to the servant, and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.” Now too, if you want it, your eyes can be fixed on the Savior in this synagogue, here in this assembly. When you direct the principal power of seeing in your heart to wisdom and truth and to contemplating God’s Only-Begotten, your eyes gaze on Jesus. Blessed is that congregation of which Scripture testifies that “the eyes of all were fixed on him!” How much would I wish that this assembly gave such testimony. I wish that the eyes of all (of catechumens and faithful, of women, men and children)—not the eyes of the body, but the eyes of the soul—would gaze upon Jesus. When you look to him, your faces will be shining from the light of his gaze. You will be able to say, “The light of your face, Lord, has made its mark upon us.” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 32)






O God,
Who anointed your Only Begotten Son
with the Holy Spirit
and made him Christ and Lord,
graciously grant
that, being made sharers in his consecration,
we may bear witness to your Redemption in the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.






Please remember all priests in your prayers today. During the Chrism Mass, priests will renew the promises each made the day he was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ in the line of Melchizedek. The bishop will ask:


Beloved sons,
on the anniversary of that day
when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood
on his Apostles and on us,
are you resolved to renew,
in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people,
the promises you once made?

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus
and more closely conformed to him,
denying yourselves and confirming those promises
about sacred duties towards Christ’s Church
which, prompted by love of him,
you willingly and joyfully pledged
on the day of your priestly ordination?

Are you resolved
to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God
in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites
and to discharge faithfully
the sacred office of teaching,
following Christ the Head and Shepherd,
not seeking any gain,
but moved only by zeal for souls?

As for you, dearest sons and daughters,
pray for your Priests,
that the Lord may pour out his gifts
abundantly upon them,
and keep them faithful
as ministers of Christ, the High Priest,
so that they may lead you to him,
who is the source of salvation.

And pray also for me,
that I may be faithful to the apostolic office
entrusted to me in my lowliness
and that in your midst I may be made day by day
a living and more perfect image of Christ,
the Priest, the Good Shepherd,
the Teacher and the Servant of all.

May the Lord keep us all in his charity
and lead all of us,
shepherds and flock,
to eternal life.



Preface
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For by the anointing of the Holy Spirit
you made your Only Begotten Son
High Priest of the new and eternal covenant,
and by your wondrous design were pleased to decree
that his one Priesthood should continue in the Church.

For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood
the people he has made his own,
but with a brother’s kindness he also chooses men
to become sharers in his sacred ministry
through the laying on of hands.

They are to renew in his name
the sacrifice of human redemption,
to set before your children the paschal banquet,
to lead your holy people in charity,
to nourish them with the word
and strengthen them with the Sacraments.

As they give up their lives for you
and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters,
they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself
and offer you a constant witness of faith and love.

And so, Lord, with all the Angels and Saints,
we, too, give you thanks, as in exultation we acclaim:




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!





Voices ever ancient, ever new. Holy Week 2014: Wednesday

“... and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Matthew 26:15-16)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“Let us consider what Judas said to the Jewish priests: “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” He was willing to take money in exchange for handing over the Word of God. They do the same thing who accept sensual or worldly goods in exchange for handing over and casting out from their souls the Savior and Word of truth who came to dwell with them. Indeed, it would be fitting to apply Judas’s example to all who show contempt for the Word of God and betray him, as it were, by committing sin for the sake of money or for any selfish motive. People who behave in this way appear openly to be calling out to the powers of the enemy who offer worldly gain in return for the sin of betraying God’s Word, saying, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?”

And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.” The number of coins they gave Judas was equivalent to the number of years the Savior had sojourned in this world. For at the age of thirty, he was baptized and began to preach the gospel, like Joseph was thirty years old when he began to gather grain for his brothers. Just as at that time the grain was prepared by God for the sons of Israel but given also to the Egyptians, so also the gospel was prepared for the saints but preached also to the unfaithful and wicked.” (Commentary on Matthew, 78)




O God,
Who willed Your Son to submit for our sake
to the yoke of the Cross,
so that you might drive from us
the power of the enemy,
grant us, your servants,
to attain the grace of the resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Holy Week 2014: Tuesday.

“So he took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.” (John 13:30)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The Savior said to Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly,” and for once the betrayer obeys the teacher. For when he had received the morsel, he neither hesitated nor procrastinated, but as it is written, “he went out immediately” to do quickly the work of betrayal in accordance with Jesus’ command. And “he went out” truly, for he not only went out of the house in which the supper was held, according to the simpler meaning, but he also went out from Jesus in a final sense, analogous to the statement “they went out from us.

“And it was night,” has not been interjected in vain by the Evangelist. The perceptible night at that time was symbolic, being an image of the night that was in Judas’s soul when Satan, the darkness that lies over the abyss, entered him.” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 32)




Almighty ever-living God,
grant us so to celebrate
the mysteries of the Lord’s Passion
that we may merit to receive your pardon.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Holy Week 2014: Monday

“So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”” (John 12:7-8)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

So powerful is the praise of a good work of this kind that it exhorts all of us to fill the Lord’s head with fragrant and rich works so that it may be said also of us that we have done a good work on his head. Because as long as we are in this life we will always have the poor with us, and those who have advanced in word and have become rich in the wisdom of God need to care for them, but [this] cannot be equal to having always with them, by night and day, the Son of God, the Word and Wisdom of God, and whatever also the Lord our Savior is.” (Commentary on Matthew, 77)





Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, though in our weakness we fail,
we may be revived through
the Passion of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

“hen one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Matthew 26:14-16)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

Judas means “confessor.” Luke the Evangelist numbers both “Judas the son of James and Judas Iscariot” among the twelve apostles. Since two of Christ’s disciples were given this same name and since there can be no meaningless symbol in the Christian mystery, I am convinced that the two Judases represent two distinct types of confessing Christians. The first, symbolized by Judas the son of James, perseveres in remaining faithful to Christ. The second type, however, after once believing and professing faith in Christ, then abandons him out of greed. He defects to the heretics and to the false priests of the Jews, that is, to counterfeit Christians, and (insofar as he is able) delivers Christ, the “Word of truth,” over to them to be crucified and destroyed. This type of Christian is represented by Judas Iscariot, who “went out to the chief priests” and agreed on a price for betraying Christ.

“Let us consider what Judas said to the Jewish priests: “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” He was willing to take money in exchange for handing over the Word of God. They do the same thing who accept sensual or worldly goods in exchange for handing over and casting out from their souls the Savior and Word of truth who came to dwell with them. Indeed, it would be fitting to apply Judas’s example to all who show contempt for the Word of God and betray him, as it were, by committing sin for the sake of money or for any selfish motive. People who behave in this way appear openly to be calling out to the powers of the enemy who offer worldly gain in return for the sin of betraying God’s Word, saying, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?”

“And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.” The number of coins they gave Judas was equivalent to the number of years the Savior had sojourned in this world. For at the age of thirty, he was baptized and began to preach the gospel, like Joseph was thirty years old when he began to gather grain for his brothers. Just as at that time the grain was prepared by God for the sons of Israel but given also to the Egyptians, so also the gospel was prepared for the saints but preached also to the unfaithful and wicked.” (Commentary on Matthew, 78)




Almighty ever-living God,
who as an example of humility
for the human race to follow
caused our Savior to take flesh
and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed
His lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent, Week 5: Saturday

“So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.” (John 11:47)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“I think the phrase “this man” was used to diminish [Jesus’] glory because they did not believe what was said above about him being God. Notice both the audacity and the blindness of their evil. It was audacious because they had already witnessed the fact that he had performed many signs, and yet they thought they could plot against him — as if he could do nothing when they plotted against him. On the other hand, they were no less blind either because it makes more sense to be on the side of someone who performs such miracles than [to be a part of ] the plot of those who do not want to allow him to live. Or perhaps they thought that he performed signs that were not the result of divine power and that this was why he could not do all things or deliver himself from their plot. They resolved, therefore, not to let him live, thinking that they would place an impediment in the way of those who believed in him and also prevent the Romans from taking away their place and nation.” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 28)




O God, who have made all those reborn in Christ
a chosen race and a royal priesthood,
grant us, we pray, the grace to will and to do what you command,
that the people called to eternal life
may be one in the faith of their hearts
and the homage of their deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent, Week 5: Friday

“If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside...” (John 10:35)

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:


“If the word of God came to people, that they might be called gods, how can the very Word of God, who is with God, be other than God? If by the word of God people become gods, if by participation they become gods, can he in whom they participate not be God? If lights that are lit are gods, is the light that enlightens not God? If through being warmed in a way by saving fire they are constituted gods, is he who gives them the warmth other than God? You approach the light and are enlightened and numbered among the children of God. If you withdraw from the light, you fall into obscurity and are counted as being in darkness; but that light does not approach because it never recedes from itself. If, then, the word of God makes you gods, how can the Word of God be other than God?” (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 48)




Pardon the offenses of your peoples,
we pray, O Lord,
and in your goodness set us free
from the bonds of the sins
we have committed in our weakness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.





Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent, Week 5: Thursday

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” (John 8:51)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“For what is that death that has come into the world through sin if it is not the last enemy of Christ that will be destroyed? And what is that death that passed to all people because all have sinned if it is not this very death that also reigned from Adam to Moses? Now Moses, that is, the law, continued until the sojourn of our Lord Jesus and ruled by one man’s transgression through that one man, until those who have received the abundance of grace and righteousness should reign in life through the one Christ Jesus. Whoever, then, has kept the word of the Only Begotten and Firstborn of creation will never see this death, since it is the nature of the Word to prevent death from being seen. And this is how we must understand the words “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” It is as if he who speaks these words had given those who hear them light as a gift and said, If anyone keeps this light of mine, he will never see darkness.” (Commentary on John, 20)





Be near, O Lord, to those who plead before you,
and look kindly on those who place their hope in your mercy,
that, cleansed from the stain of their sins,
they may persevere in holy living
and be made full heirs of your promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!