Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Third Sunday in Lent. . . .

. . . .and we're not even half way to Easter. I have a little argument with myself at least once a day, using almost the same versicle and response each time:

V. I should have picked something more congenial for a Lenten penance. This is miserable.
R. And what would be the point of that?

And so we continue to Easter.

Today's Gospel, Luke 11: 14-28, provided an opportunity for Father to preach on the devil. This is the third time in the past eight days that I've heard a sermon or talk on Satan. Old Nick doesn't get much of a mention in the post-conciliar church. So three times in a week must be some sort of a modern record.

The liturgy also provided a collect which could be prayed most appropriately for Terri Schiavo:

Quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, vota humilium respice: atque ad defensionem nostram, dexteram tuæ miestatis extende. Per Dominum.

We beg Thee, Almighty God, regard our humble prayer, and extend the right arm of Thy Majesty in our defense. Through Christ our Lord.

And in an utterly trivial aside, the Latin of today's epistle, Ephesians 5: 1-9, pulls up one of my favourite Latin words: "stultiloquium". What a useful word in our own 21st century. Stupid talk.

Last Friday, "The Third Friday in Lent", in some calendars would have been the feast of the Holy Shroud. The feast has this lovely collect:

"O God, Who didst leave us traces of Thy sufferings on the Holy Shroud in which Thy sacred Body, taken from the cross, was wrapped by Joseph, mercifully grant that, by Thy death and burial, we may be brought to the glory of Thy resurrection: Who art God, living and reigning, in the unity of the Father and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen."

The proper Gospel is that of St Joseph of Arimathea at Mark 15: 42-46. Some of us used to think St Joseph of Arimathea would make the perfect patron of lost causes. He is a secret disciple of Our Lord when He is alive and preaching, working miracles and raising the dead. St Joseph waits to come out into the open until the very lowest point in Our Lord's earthly journey: He has been convicted and executed but has not yet risen from the dead. Was it just human sympathy? Or was St Joseph one of the few who was actually listening when Our Lord predicted his resurrection?