Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Matins readings for Ember Wednesday of Lent

Today's Gospel at Mass in the EFTraditional Benedictine calendar is St Matthew 12:38-50:
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying: Master we would see a sign from thee.  Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.  For as Jonas was in the whale' s belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Ninive shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here.  The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here.  And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none.  Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.  Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation.  As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.  And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.  But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?  And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Matins readings (Homily of St Ambrose)

Reading 1: After the condemnation of the Jewish people, the mystery of the Church is plainly declared in the figures of the repentant Ninevites, and of the Queen of the South. Like that Queen, the Church cometh from the uttermost parts of the earth, to hear the wisdom of the true Solomon, the Prince of Peace. A Queen she is, and a Queen of one indivisible realm, wrought into one body out of all nations, however divers and distant.

R. Rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; * For He is gracious and merciful.
V. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return' unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him.
R. For He is gracious and merciful.

Reading 2: And thus cometh that great mystery of Christ and the Church, a mystery more excellent now in the fulness of truth, than in the ancient type. For there they had in Solomon only a type of that which Christ is now in His own Person. And the Church is of two classes, whereof the one knoweth not how to sin, and the other sinneth no more. To wash away sin is the work of repentance, to eschew it that of wisdom.

R. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor and the wanderer to thine house.
* Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.
V. When thou seest the naked, cover him; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh.
R. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.

Reading 3: Lastly, the sign of the Prophet Jonas, as it was a figure of the Lord's sufferings, was also a witness to the gravity of those sins which the Jews committed. At the same time, we see in these words of the Lord a declaration at once of His power, and of His love; for, by turning our eyes on the Ninevites, He showeth us a way of escape, while He setteth before us the horror of what will otherwise be our punishment. Even the Jews need not cease to hope for pardon, if only they would repent.

R: Hide your alms in the breast of the poor and this will speak for you to the Lord * For just as water extinguishes a fire, alms extinguish sins
V: Give alms and behold all things are clean to you.
R: For just as water extinguishes a fire, alms extinguish sins.
V: Glory be...
R: For just as water extinguishes a fire, alms extinguish sins.

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