Liturgy for Sundays and Main Feasts
Reflection on the Liturgy of the Day – from L’Année Liturgique, by Dom Prosper Guéranger
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried onto Thee all the day; for Thou, Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon Thee. Psalm. Incline Thine ear unto me, O Lord, and hear me: for I am needy and poor. Glory be to the Father… Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried onto Thee all the day.
May Thy grace, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever go before us, and follow us; and may it ever make us intent upon good works. Through Christ Our Lord.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians, Chapter III.
Brethren: I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit with might unto the inward man. That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the Saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that works in us: to Him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.
Reflection on the Epistle
Let us, therefore, thoroughly master the mystery of the Gospel, by hearkening to Saint Paul, the herald who received it as his special mission to make known to the Gentiles the treasure that had been hidden from eternity in God. It is as ambassador that he comes to us; and the chains which bind him, far from weakening the authority of his message, are but the glorious badges which accredit him with the disciples of the Christ who died on Calvary.
For, God alone, as he tells us in the music we have just heard, can strengthen in us the inward man enough to make us understand, as the Saints do, the dimensions (breadth, length, height, and depth) of the great mystery of Christ dwelling in man, and dwelling in him for the purpose of filling him with the plenitude of God. Therefore is it, that falling on his knees before Him from Whom flows every perfect gift, and who has begotten us in the truth by His love, our apostle asks God to open, by faith and charity, the eyes of our heart, that so we may be able to understand the splendid riches of the inheritance He reserves to His children, and the exceeding greatness of the divine power used in our favour, even in this life.
Oh! how immense are our obligations to the eternal Father, whose good pleasure has decreed to grant such wondrous gifts to our earth! His will is His counsel, it is the one rule of all His acts; and His will is all love. It is from the voluntary and culpable death of sin that He calls us to that life which is His own life. It is from the deep disgrace of every vice that, after having cleansed us in the Blood of His Son, He has exalted us to a glory, which is the astonishment of the angels, and makes them tremble with adoring admiration. Let us then be holy for the sake of giving praise to the glory of such grace.
The Gentiles, O Lord, shall fear Thy name, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory. For the Lord has built up Sion; and He shall be seen in His glory. Alleluia, alleluia. Sing to the Lord a new canticle: for the Lord has done wonderful things. Alleluia.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to saint Luke, Chapter XIV.
At that time: When Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the pharisees on the Sabbath-day to eat bread, they watched Him. And behold there was a certain man before Him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and pharisees saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? But they held their peace. But He taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, He said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit; and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbath-day? And they could not answer Him to these things. And He spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When you are invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than you be invited by him: and who that invited you and him, come and say to you: Give this man place; and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go, sit down in the lowest place, that when he who invited you comes, he may say to you: Friend, go up higher. Then shall you have glory before them that sit at table with you; because every one that exalts himself shall be humbled; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
Reflection on the Gospel
Holy Church here tells us, and in a most unmistakable way, what has been her chief aim for her children ever since the feast of Pentecost. The wedding spoken of in today’s Gospel is that of heaven, of which there is a prelude given here below, by the union effected in the sacred banquet of holy Communion. The divine invitation is made to all; and the invitation is not like that which is given on occasion of earthly weddings, to which the bridegroom and bride invite their friends and relatives as simple witnesses to the union contracted between two individuals. In the Gospel wedding, Christ is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the bride. These nuptials are ours, inasmuch as we are members of the Church; and the banquet-hall, in this case, is something far superior to that of a commonplace marriage.
But, that this union be as fruitful as it ought to be, the soul, in the sanctuary of her own conscience, must bring with her a fidelity which is to be an enduring one, and a love which is to be active, even when the feast of the sacred mysteries is past. Divine union, when it is genuine, masters one’s entire being. It fixes one in the untiring contemplation of the beloved Object, in the earnest attention to His interests, in the continual aspiration of the heart towards Him, even when He seems to have absented Himself from the soul. The bride of the divine nuptials should be no less intent on her God, than those of earth are on their earthly spouse. It is on this condition alone, that the Christian soul can be said to have entered on the unitive life, or can yield its precious fruits.