Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Thursday in the third week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 4:38-44:

And Jesus rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon' s house. And Simon' s wife' s mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought him for her.  And standing over her, he commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them.  And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them to him. But he laying his hands on every one of them, healed them.  And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them he suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ.  And when it was day, going out he went into a desert place, and the multitudes sought him, and came unto him: and they stayed him that he should not depart from them.  To whom he said: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God: for therefore am I sent.  And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

The Matins readings are by St Ambrose:

Reading 1: Behold here how long-suffering is the Lord our Redeemer! Neither moved to anger against them, nor sickened at their guilt, nor outraged by their attacks, did He leave the Jews' country. Nay, forgetting their iniquity, and mindful only of His mercy, He strove to soften their hard and unbelieving hearts, sometimes by His teaching, and sometimes by freeing some of them, and sometimes by healing them. St Luke doth well to tell us first of the man who was delivered from an unclean spirit, and then of the healing of a woman. The Lord indeed came to heal both sexes, but that must be healed first which was created first, and then must not she be passed by whose first sin arose rather from fickleness of heart than from depraved will.

R. And when his brethren saw Joseph afar off, they said one to another Behold, this dreamer cometh. * Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
V. And when his brethren saw that their father loved Joseph more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him; therefore they said
R. Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

Reading 2: That the Lord began to heal on the Sabbath-day showeth in a figure how that the new creation beginneth where the old creation ended. It showeth, moreover, that the Son of God, Who is come not to destroy the law but to fulfil the law, is not under the law, but above the law. Neither was it by the law, but by the Word, that the world was created, as it is written "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made." The law, then, is not destroyed, but fulfilled, in the Redemption of fallen man. Whence also the Apostle saith: "Put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

R. Judah said unto his brethren Behold, the Ishmaelites pass by; come, let us sell him, and let not our hands be defiled. * For he is our flesh, and our brother.
V. What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? It is better to sell him.
R. For he is our flesh, and our brother.

Reading 3: It was well that He began to heal on the Sabbath, that He might show Himself to be the Creator, weaving in one with another of His works, and continuing that which He had already begun, even as a workman, being to repair an house, beginneth not to take down that which is old from the foundations, but from the roof. Thus doth the Lord begin to lay to His hand again, in that place whence last He hath lifted it; then He beginneth which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. with things lesser, that He may go on to things greater. Even men are able to deliver other men from evil spirits, albeit with the word of God to command the dead to rise again is for God's power alone. Perchance, also, this woman, the mother-in-law of Simon and Andrew, was a type of our nature, stricken down with the great fever of sin, and burning with unlawful lusts after divers objects. Nor would I say that the passion which rageth in the mind is a lesser fire than that fever which burneth the body. Covetousness, and lust, and uncleanness, and vain desires, and strivings, and anger these be our fevers.

R. They drew up Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ismaelites for twenty pieces of silver. * And Reuben returned unto the pit, and when he found not Joseph, he rent his clothes, and wept, and said The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?
V. And they took Joseph's coat, and dipped it in the blood of a kid of the goats, and they sent one that brought the coat unto their father, and said See now whether this be thy son's coat or no.
R. And Reuben returned unto the pit, and when he found not Joseph, he rent his clothes, and wept.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And Reuben said The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?

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