Saturday in the Second Week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 15:11-32:

And he said: A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance.  And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously.  And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine.  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.  And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father' s house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger?  I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee:  I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.  And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him. And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son.  And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry:  Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.  Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing: And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him.  And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends:  But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.  But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.  But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.

Matins readings (St Ambrose)

Reading 1: Thou seest how that the heavenly goods are given to such as seek them. Neither oughtest thou to think the father to blame, because he gave to his younger son. In the kingdom of God there is no age of weakness, neither doth faith wax infirm with years. He, surely, who asked, deemed himself of sufficient age. And would that he had not left his father! then had he been ignorant of the obstacle of his age! But after that he had left his father's house, and had gone into a far country, he began to be in want. Well is he said to have wasted his substance, who hath cut himself off from the Church!

R. Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. * Make me as one of thine hired servants.
V. How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him
R. Make me as one of thine hired servants.

Reading 2: He took his journey into a far country. No man can go farther than to abandon his own better self, to leave, not his country, but his morals, and, as it were, in an hideous fever of lust after the world, to divorce himself from the ties that bind him to holy things. Yea, he that turneth his back on Christ, banisheth himself from his Fatherland, and becometh a citizen of the world. But we are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God, since we who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. Let us not envy the pleasures of them who remain in the far country. We too have once been there, but, as saith Isaiah, they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. And that far country is the land of the shadow of death.

R. I have seen God face to face* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.
R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 3: But we to whom the Lord Christ is the breath of life, are alive under the shadow of Christ. And therefore it is that the Church saith I sat down under His shadow with great delight. The prodigal son by riotous living wasted all the gifts of nature. Take warning, O thou who art made in the image and likeness of God, lest thou waste the same by brutish wallowing. Thou art the work of God; say not to a stock Thou art my father, lest thou grow into the likeness of a stock, as it is written They that make them are like unto them.

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape. * Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

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