Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Thursday in the Second Week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 16:19-31:

 There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen; and feasted sumptuously every day.  And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores,
 Desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man' s table, and no one did give him; moreover the dogs came, and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham' s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.  And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:  And he cried, and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.  And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.  And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father' s house, for I have five brethren,  That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments.  And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance.  And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.

Matins readings (Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great)

Reading 1 : Whom, dearly beloved brethren, whom are we to understand as signified by that rich man which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, whom, I ask, are we to understand, but the Jewish people, who had all the outward life of religious ordinances, and who turned the treasure of the law they had received to show and not to use? What but the herd of the Gentiles is figured in Lazarus, full of sores? Whosoever turneth himself to God and is not ashamed to confess his sin, hath his sores on the skin, for in a sore on the skin breaketh out the corruption, which is drawn from within.

R. Take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and bring me some of thy venison, that I may eat, * and my soul may bless thee.
V. And when thou hast taken somewhat, make me thereof savoury meat, that I may eat.
R. And my soul may bless thee.

Reading 2: What is, then, the confession of our sins but the breaking out of our sores? The corrupt matter of sin is healthily opened in confession, instead of remaining in the mind to rot it. Open sores on the skin bring the poisonous matter to the surface, and when we confess our sins, what do we but open up the evil that there is lurking in us? But Lazarus desired to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table, and no man gave unto him; even so did that proud people scorn to admit a Gentile to the knowledge of their law.

R. See the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed may my God multiply thee as the sand of the sea * and give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven
V. And God Almighty bless thee, and multiply thee
R. And give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven.

Reading 3: The teaching of the law moved them to pride, and not to love, as though they swelled with self-importance at the thought of their riches, and the words which some Gentiles caught of their knowledge were as crumbs falling from their sumptuous table. On the other hand, the dogs came and licked the sores of the beggar that was laid at their gate. Sometimes in Holy Writ, under the figure of dogs, preachers are understood. A dog's tongue healeth the sore which it licketh, and so do holy teachers, when we confess our sins, and they speak to us, mollify by their tongues the sores of our souls.

R. God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth. Let people and nations serve thee. * Be lord over thy brethren.
V. And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.

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