Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Mass and Matins readings for Wednesday in the second week of Lent


The Gospel at Mass in the EF is St Matthew 20: 17-28:

Et ascendens Jesus Jerosolymam, assumpsit duodecim discipulos secreto, et ait illis: 18 Ecce ascendimus Jerosolymam, et Filius hominis tradetur principibus sacerdotum, et scribis, et condemnabunt eum morte, 19 et tradent eum gentibus ad illudendum, et flagellandum, et crucifigendum, et tertia die resurget. 20 Tunc accessit ad eum mater filiorum Zebed├Ži cum filiis suis, adorans et petens aliquid ab eo. 21 Qui dixit ei: Quid vis? Ait illi: Dic ut sedeant hi duo filii mei, unus ad dexteram tuam, et unus ad sinistram in regno tuo. 22 Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: Nescitis quid petatis. Potestis bibere calicem, quem ego bibiturus sum? Dicunt ei: Possumus. 23 Ait illis: Calicem quidem meum bibetis: sedere autem ad dexteram meam vel sinistram non est meum dare vobis, sed quibus paratum est a Patre meo. 24 Et audientes decem, indignati sunt de duobus fratribus. 25 Jesus autem vocavit eos ad se, et ait: Scitis quia principes gentium dominantur eorum: et qui majores sunt, potestatem exercent in eos. 26 Non ita erit inter vos: sed quicumque voluerit inter vos major fieri, sit vester minister: 27 et qui voluerit inter vos primus esse, erit vester servus. 28 Sicut Filius hominis non venit ministrari, sed ministrare, et dare animam suam redemptionem pro multis.

And now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and he took his twelve disciples aside on the way, and warned them, 18 Now we are going up to Jerusalem; and there the Son of Man will be given up into the hands of the chief priests and scribes, who will condemn him to death. 19 And these will give him up into the hands of the Gentiles, to be mocked and scourged and crucified; but on the third day he will rise again.[1] 20 Thereupon the mother of the sons of Zebedee brought them to him, falling on her knees to make a request of him. 21 And when he asked her, What is thy will? she said to him, Here are my two sons; grant that in thy kingdom one may take his place on thy right and the other on thy left. 22 But Jesus answered, You do not know what it is you ask. Have you strength to drink of the cup I am to drink of? They said, We have. 23 And he told them, You shall indeed drink of my cup; but a place on my right hand or my left is not mine to give; it is for those for whom my Father has destined it. 24 The ten others were angry with the two brethren when they heard it; 25 but Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that, among the Gentiles, those who bear rule lord it over them, and great men vaunt their power over them; 26 with you it must be otherwise; whoever would be a great man among you, must be your servant, 27 and whoever has a mind to be first among you, must be your slave. 28 So it is that the Son of Man did not come to have service done him; he came to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for the lives of many.

Matins (Homily by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. Bk. v. to Gratian, on Faith)

Reading 1: Consider what it was that the mother of Zebedee's children came to Christ desiring, with, and for her sons. She was a mother, who, longing for the honour of her sons, preferred a request immoderate, and yet pardonable. She was a mother who, albeit stricken in years and comfortless, at an age when she had sore need of the strength of her offspring to help and keep her, was yet so earnest in godliness and motherly love, that she had liefer suffer the loss of her sons, that they might gain the reward of following Christ still, as we read they had already done, when, at the first call of the Lord, they left their nets and their father.

R. The Angel said unto Jacob
* Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.
V. And when Jacob arose, behold there wrestled a man with him, until the breaking of the day and, when he saw that he prevailed not, he said unto him
R. Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.

Reading 2: She, then, yielding to the intensity of her motherly love, besought the Saviour, saying, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one at thy right hand and the other at thy left hand, in thy kingdom. Although it was a mistake, it was a mistake of love. For a mother's love knoweth no moderation. Yet, although it was a greedy prayer, that was a pardonable greed, which hungered, not for riches, but for grace. Neither was that request shameless which sought, not her own good, but her children's. Remember that she was a mother. Think how that she was a mother.

R. I have seen God face to face* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.
R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 3: Christ took into His consideration that mother's love of hers, which made her sons' reward the comfort of her own old age, and which could bear the loss of her loved ones, broken as she was by a mother's yearnings. Consider also that she was a woman, that is, of the weaker sex, to which the Lord had not yet given strength by His Passion. Consider, I say, that she was an heiress of Eve, and weakened by that transmission of the unbridled covetousness of the first woman, which the Lord had not yet disarmed by His Blood, even that craving for undue dignity, wherewith all our natures are imbued, and which Christ's Bloodshedding had not yet washed away. She erred indeed, but the mistake was an inherited weakness.

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape.
* Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

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