This post is also available in: Français Español

Liturgy for Sundays and Main Feasts

The labourers of the vineyard
Septuagesima – The labourers in the vineyard

Reflexion on the Liturgy of the day – from L’Année Liturgique, by Dom Prosper Guéranger

Introit

The groans of death surrounded me, and the sorrows of hell encompassed me; and in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice from His holy temple. Psalm. I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer.

 

Collect

Mercifully hear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people; that we who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of Thy name.

Epistle

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, Chap. IX, X.

Brethren, know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things; and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest, perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all in Moses were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea: and did all eat the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ). But with the most of them God was not well pleased.

Reflexion on the Epistle

Reflexion on the Epistle

These stirring words of the apostle deepen the sentiments already produced in us by the sad recollections of which we are this day reminded. He tells us that, this world is a race, wherein all must run; but that they alone win the prize, who run well. Let us, therefore, rid ourselves of everything that could impede us, and make us lose our crown. Let us not deceive ourselves: we are never sure, until we reach the goal. Is our conversion more solid than was St. Paul’s? Are our good worts better done, or more meritorious, than were his? Yet he assures us that he was not without the fear that he might perhaps be lost; for which cause he chastised his body, and kept it in subjection to the spirit. Man, in his present state, has not the same will for all that is right and just, which Adam had before he sinned, and which, notwithstanding, he abused to his own ruin. We have a bias which inclines us to evil; so that our only means of keeping our ground is to sacrifice the flesh to the spirit. To many this is very harsh doctrine; hence, they are sure to fail; they never can win the prize. So true is it that nothing can make a salutary impression on a heart which is obstinately bent on fixing all its happiness in the things of this present life; and though it is forced, each day, to own that they are vain, yet each day it returns to them, vainly but determinedly loving them. The heart, on the contrary, that puts its trust in God, and mans itself to energy by the thought of the divine assistance being abundantly given to him that asks it, will not flag or faint in the race, and will win the heavenly prize. God’s eye is unceasingly on all them that toil and suffer.

Gradual

A helper in due time, in tribulation: let them trust in Thee, who know Thee, for Thou hast not forsaken them that seek Thee. For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end; the patience of the poor man shall not perish for ever: arise, O Lord, let not man prevail.

Tract

From the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of Thy servant. If Thou shalt observe iniquities, O Lord, Lord, who shall endure it? For with Thee is propitiation, and by reason of Thy law I have expected Thee, O Lord.

Gospel

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew. Ch, XX

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the market-place idle. And he said to them: Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he said to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They said to him: Because no man has hired us. He said to them: Go you also into my vineyard. And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward: Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first. When, therefore, they were come that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: and they also received every man a penny. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, saying: These last have worked but one hour, and you have made them equal to us that have borne the burden of the day, and the heats. But he answering said to one of them: Friend, I do you no wrong: Did you not agree with me for a penny? Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is your eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

Reflexion on the Gospel

It signifies the calling given by God to each of us individually, pressing us to labour, during this life, for the kingdom prepared for us. The morning is our childhood. The third hour, according to the division used by the ancients in counting their day, is sunrise; it is our youth. The sixth hour, by which name they called our midday, is manhood. The eleventh hour, which immediately preceded sunset, is old age. The Master of the house calls His labourers at all these various hours. They must go that very hour. They that are called in the morning may not put off their starting for the vineyard, under pretext of going afterwards, when the Master shall call them later on. Who has told them that they shall live to the eleventh hour? They that are called at the third hour may be dead at the sixth. God will call to the labours of the last hour such as shall be living when that hour comes; but, if we should die at midday, that last call will not avail us. Besides, God has not promised us a second call, if we excuse ourselves from the first.

Communion

Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; save me in Thy mercy. Let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon Thee.

Postcommunion

May Thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts; that by receiving them, they may ever hunger after them, and hungering after them, they may have their desires satisfied in the everlasting possession of them.