Saturday, 5 December 2015

Matins readings for for the Second Sunday of Advent

The readings for Matins of the Second Sunday of Advent in the traditonal form of the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I

Reading 1 - Isaiah 11: 1-4a
Reading 2 - Isaiah 11: 4b-7
Reading 3 - Isaiah 11: 8-10
Reading 4 - Isaiah 11: 11-13

Nocturn II (Commentary of St Jerome on Isaiah, Bk 4, 11; v, 1-2)

Reading 5: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse. From the beginning of the Book of this Prophet till the xiiith chapter, where commenceth the vision, or burden of Babylon, the whole of the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, is one continual prophecy of Christ. We must explain it part by part, for if we were to take it all at once, the memory of the reader would be confused. According to the Jewish commentators, the rod and the flower would both relate to the Lord Himself. They take the rod to mean the sceptre of His Royal dominion, and the flower the loveliness of His beauty.

Reading 6: We, however, understand that the rod out of the root of Jesse signifieth the holy Virgin Mary. She was a clean stem that had as yet put forth no shoot; as we have read above Behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son. (Isa. vii. 14.) And the flower we believe to mean the Lord our Redeemer, Who hath elsewhere compared Himself to a flower; I am a flower of the plain, and a lily of the valleys. 

Reading 7: The Spirit of the Lord then shall rest upon this flower; this flower which shall come forth from the stem and roots of Jesse by means of the Virgin Mary. And truly the Spirit of the Lord did rest upon our Redeemer. It is written that In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. CThe Spirit was not shed on Him by measure, as it is upon the Saints. To Him we may apply the words of the Hebrew Gospel used by the Nazarenes; The whole fountain of the Holy Ghost shall be poured forth upon Him The Lord is a spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Reading 8: In the same Gospel of St Matthew we read: "Behold my Son whom I have chosen; my elect in whom my soul is well pleased; I shall place my Spirit over him and he will mete out judgment to the Gentiles."  This is to be understood of the Savior, on whom the Spirit of the Lord rested, that is, remained eternally.

Nocturn III (Homily 6 of St Gregory the Great n1&2)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matt 11:2-10): In that time when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And so on. The sight of so many signs and so many mighty works should have been a source of wonder, and not a stumbling-block. And yet the unfaithful found these very works a rock of offence, when they afterwards saw Him Who had worked so many miracles dying on the Cross. Hence Paul saith We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Gentiles foolishness. 

Reading 10: It is indeed folly in the eyes of men to say that the Author of life died for men and thus men put as a stumbling-block to hinder them from coming to Jesus, the very thing that doth oblige them the most unto Him. For the more humbling God hath undergone for man's sake, the more worthy is He that man should worship Him.

Reading 11: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. Now what is this, but a plain mention of that time, when He afterwards humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross? It is as if He said I indeed do wonderful works, but the day will come when I shall not refuse to suffer shame and evil treatment. Take heed then, ye who now worship Me for the works' sake, that when I come to die ye despise Me not for My death's sake.

Reading 12: And, as the disciples of John departed, what did Jesus say unto the multitudes concerning this same John? Let us hear. What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? Here our Lord teacheth not by assertion, but by negation. Now a reed is a thing so made that as soon as the wind bloweth upon it, it bendeth it over toward the opposite quarter. And the fleshly-minded man is like a human reed. As he is praised or blamed so he bendeth himself in the one direction or the other.

The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent is St Matthew 11:2-10:

"...cum audisset in vinculis opera Christi, mittens duos de discipulis suis, 3 ait illi: Tu es, qui venturus es, an alium exspectamus? 4 Et respondens Jesus ait illis: Euntes renuntiate Joanni quæ audistis, et vidistis. 5 Cæci vident, claudi ambulant, leprosi mundantur, surdi audiunt, mortui resurgunt, pauperes evangelizantur: 6 et beatus est, qui non fuerit scandalizatus in me.7 Illis autem abeuntibus, cœpit Jesus dicere ad turbas de Joanne: Quid existis in desertum videre? arundinem vento agitatam? 8 Sed quid existis videre? hominem mollibus vestitum? Ecce qui mollibus vestiuntur, in domibus regum sunt. 9 Sed quid existis videre? prophetam? Etiam dico vobis, et plus quam prophetam. 10 Hic est enim de quo scriptum est: Ecce ego mitto angelum meum ante faciem tuam, qui præparabit viam tuam ante te."


"Now when [John] had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: [3] Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? [4] And Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. [5] The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them. [6] And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me. [7] And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? [8] But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings. [9] But what went you out to see? a prophet? yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. [10] For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.

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