Saturday, 12 April 2014

Psalm Sunday

Today's Gospel at Mass is the reading of the Passion according to St Matthew, Matthew 26:36-75 and Matthew 27:1-66.  As this is very long indeed, I won't reproduce it here in full here, but will let you read it on the New Advent pages (if you prefer the Douay-Rheims to the Knox translation, you can find it starting here).

At Matins in the older forms of the Benedictine and Roman Office, however, the Gospel is St Matthew 21:1-9 (used in the blessing of palms ceremony, or as last Gospel at a Mass without the ceremony):

Et cum appropinquassent Jerosolymis, et venissent Bethphage ad montem Oliveti: tunc Jesus misit duos discipulos, 2 dicens eis: Ite in castellum, quod contra vos est, et statim invenietis asinam alligatam, et pullum cum ea: solvite, et adducite mihi: 3 et si quis vobis aliquid dixerit, dicite quia Dominus his opus habet: et confestim dimittet eos. 4 Hoc autem totum factum est, ut adimpleretur quod dictum est per prophetam dicentem: 5 Dicite filiæ Sion: Ecce rex tuus venit tibi mansuetus, sedens super asinam, et pullum filium subjugalis. 6 Euntes autem discipuli fecerunt sicut præcepit illis Jesus. 7 Et adduxerunt asinam, et pullum: et imposuerunt super eos vestimenta sua, et eum desuper sedere fecerunt. 8 Plurima autem turba straverunt vestimenta sua in via: alii autem cædebant ramos de arboribus, et sternebant in via: 9 turbæ autem, quæ præcedebant, et quæ sequebantur, clamabant, dicentes: Hosanna filio David: benedictus, qui venit in nomine Domini: hosanna in altissimis. 

And when they drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, [2] Saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them and bring them to me. [3] And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them: and forthwith he will let them go. [4] Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: [5] Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke.[6] And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. [7] And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. [8] And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: [9] And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

The Patristic readings

The Matins readings on the Gospel are from St Ambrose:

Reading 9: Beautiful is the type, when the Lord, about to leave the Jews, and to take up His abode in the hearts of the Gentiles, goeth up into the Temple; a figure of His going to the true Temple wherein He is worshipped, not in the deadness of the letter, but in spirit and in truth, even that Temple of God whereof the foundations are laid, not in buildings of stone, but in faith. He leaveth behind Him such as hate Him, and getteth Him to such as will love Him. And therefore cometh He unto the Mount of Olives that He may plant upon the heights of grace those young olive-branches, whose Mother is the Jerusalem which is above. 

Reading 10: Upon this mountain standeth He, the Heavenly Husbandman, that all they which be planted in the House of the Lord may be able each one to say: "But I am like a fruitful olive-tree in the House of God.And perchance that mountain doth signify Christ Himself. For what other is there that beareth such fruit of olives as He doth, not rich with store of loaded branches, but spiritually fruitful with the fulness of the Gentiles? He also it is on Whom we go up, and unto Whom we go up; He is the Door; He is the Way; He is He Which is opened and Which openeth; He is He upon Whom knocketh whosoever entereth in, and to Whom they that have entered in, do worship. 

Reading 11: A figure also was it that the disciples went into a village, and that there they found an ass tied and a colt with her neither could they be loosed, save at the command of the Lord. It was the hand of His Apostles which loosed them. He whose work and life are like theirs will have such grace as was theirs. Be thou also such as they, if thou wouldest loose them that are bound.Now, let us consider who they were, who, being convicted of transgression, were banished from their home in the Garden of Eden into a village, and in this thou wilt see how Life called back again them whom death had cast out. 

Reading 12: For this reason, we read in Matthew that there were tied both an ass and her colt; thus, as man was banished from Eden in a member of either sex, so is it in animals of both sexes that his re-call is figured. The she-ass is a type of our sinful Mother Eve, and the colt of the multitude of the Gentiles; and it was upon the colt that Christ took His seat. And thus it is well written of the colt, Luke xix. 30, that thereon never yet had man sat, for no man before Christ ever called the Gentiles into the Church which statement thou hast in Mark also xi. 2: Whereon never man sat.

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