Ordinary Time Week 25: Friday

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecc 3:4)

Saint Gregory of Nyssa (part 2 of the background of Saint Gregory of Nyssa is found here) offers the following insight on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“Scripture refers the term “mourning” to any person subject to passion and who is grieved inwardly. Similarly, dancing signifies intense joy as we learn from the Gospel: “We piped to you, and you did not dance.” History says that the Israelites mourned Moses’ death while David preceded the ark in dance when the Philistines returned it from captivity. David expressed himself in harmonious songs by striking his harp while his feet and body moved to the rhythm which revealed his disposition. Since man’s nature is two-fold, body and soul, mourning is beneficial for our corporeal existence (there are many occasions for affliction in this existence) because it enables us to prepare our souls for this harmonious dancing [of David]. Although we abhor dejection, the occasions for gladness are certainly more numerous. Continence is confining, humility is sad, suffering is burdensome and sorrow cannot equal these. However, “He who humbles himself shall be exalted,” and he who afflicts himself by poverty will be crowned. The person who subjects himself to violence and proves himself worthy through affliction in everything will rest in the patriarch’s [Abraham] bosom. This is our rightful place through the mercy of him who saved us, Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Homilies on Ecclesiastes, 6)

O God,
Who founded all the commands of Your sacred Law
upon love of You and of our neighbor,
grant that, by keeping Your precepts,
we may merit to attain eternal 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.

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