Edward was born in 1003. He was the last Saxon king to rule (for more than a few months) in England. He is called “Edward the Confessor” to distinguish him from another King of England, Edward the Martyr (c962-979), who was assassinated (presumably by someone who wished to place Edward’s younger half-brother on the throne), and who came to be regarded, on doubtful grounds, as a martyr for the faith. In Christian biographies, the term “confessor” is often used to denote someone who has born witness to the faith by his life, but who did not die as a martyr. Edward was the son of King Ethelred the Unready. This does not mean that he was unprepared, but rather that he was stubborn and wilful, and would not accept “rede,” meaning advice or counsel.
Ethelred was followed by several Danish kings of England, during whose rule young Edward and his mother took refuge in Normandy. But the last Danish king named Edward as his successor, and he was crowned in 1042. Opinions on his success as a king vary. Some historians consider him weak and indecisive, and say that his reign paved the way for the Norman Conquest. Others say that his prudent management gave England more than twenty years of peace and prosperity, with freedom from foreign domination, at a time when powerful neighbors might well have dominated a less adroit ruler. He was diligent in public and private worship, generous to the poor, and accessible to subjects who sought redress of grievances.
While in exile, he had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if his family fortunes mended. However, his council told him that it was not expedient for him to be so long out of the country. Accordingly, he spent his pilgrimage money instead on the relief of the poor and the building of Westminster Abbey, which stands today (rebuilt in the thirteenth century) as one of the great churches of England, burial place of her kings and others deemed worthy of special honor.
He died on 5 January 1066, leaving no offspring; and after his death, the throne was claimed by his wife’s brother, Harold the Saxon, and by William, Duke of Normandy. William defeated and slew Harold at the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), and thereafter the kings and upper classes of England were Norman-French rather than Anglo-Saxon. Edward is remembered, not on the day of his death, but on the anniversary of the moving (“translation”) of his corpse to a new tomb in Westminster Abbey, a date which is also the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Hastings, the end of Saxon England.
INTROIT Psalm 36: 30-31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment: the law of his God is in his heart. (Ps. 36: 1) Be not emulous of evil-doers; nor envy them that work iniquity. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O God, Who hast crowned the blessed King Edward, Thy confessor, with the glory of eternity, make us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate him on earth that we may be able to reign with him in Heaven. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Dominica XXII Post Pentecosten
O God, our refuge and our strength, the very source of holiness, heed the devout prayers of Your Church, and grant that what we seek in faith we may obtain in fact. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Ecclus. 31: 8-11
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? For he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed, and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the church of the saints shall declare his alms.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just man shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. V. (Ps. 91: 3) To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Osee 14: 6) The just shall spring as the lily: and flourish forever before the Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 12: 35-40
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands, and you yourselves like to men, who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh, shall find watching. Amen, I say to you, that He will gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. And if He shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But this know ye, that if the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be ye then also ready; for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
We offer Thee, O Lord, sacrifices of praise in commemoration of Thy saints, by whom we trust to be delivered from evils both present and future. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Dominica XXII Post Pentecosten
Grant, O merciful God, that this saving sacrifice may always free us from sin, and protect us from all that works against us. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Most Holy Trinity
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, ever-lasting God: Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out with one voice saying:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 24: 46-47
Blessed is the servant, whom when the Lord shall come, He shall find watching: Amen I say to you, He shall set him over all his goods.
We, Thy suppliants, who are refreshed with Heavenly food and drink, beseech Thee, O our God, that we may be fortified by the prayers of him in whose commemoration we have par-taken of these gifts. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Dominica XXII Post Pentecosten
We who have received the gift of Your blessed sacrament, O Lord, humbly pray that what You have taught us to do in commemoration of You, may profit and help us in our weakness. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen
PROPER LAST GOSPEL Matt 22:15-21
At that time, the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might trap Jesus in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that You are truthful, and that You teach the way of God in truth, and that You care naught for any man; for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said, Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin of the tribute. So they offered Him a denarius. Then Jesus said to them, Whose are this image and the inscription? They said to Him, Caesar’s. Then He said to them, Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.
Reflection: Let us remember today that we must render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, i.e., observe the law of Justice, and render to God the things that are God’s, i.e., the soul made in the image of its Creator must render to Him the tribute of adoration and obedience.
On this Sunday, one of the last of the ecclesiastical year, the Church is full of thought “of the day of Christ” (Epistle) or of the approaching end of the world. “If the Lord considers our iniquities, who will stand before Him ?” (Introit). Wherefore the liturgy speaks to us of divine mercy (Introit, Secret). But, to obtain it we must be full of mercy ourselves. “It is good and pleasant indeed for brothers to be united” (Gradual). In the hour of danger, let us use the prayers of the Church which have an eminently social and fraternal character, and which will by heard by God, the author of all charity (Collect) as King Assuerus heard the prayers of Queen Esther (Offertory).
Remembering in these days that the love of God and of our neighbor gives to the mind a greater understanding of divine things, “let then our charity increase more and more in light and in intelligence” that we may resist the more terrible assaults of the enemy.
The Gospel recalls to us a scene which took place on one of the last days of Jesus’ life when He confounded, by a reply full of wisdom from above, His enemies who more than ever were compassing His ruin. The Jews, subject to the Romans, had to pay tribute to Caesar, an obligation all the more odious to them that it went counter to the spirit of universal domination promised to Israel as they imagined. What would the Master reply to the question of the Pharisees? He would excite the Jewish people against Him if He told them to pay tribute or the Roman authorities and the Herodians, if He told them not to do so. The enemies of Jesus already thought they had sufficient cause to have Him arrested.
The Savior ingeniously avoids the trap. “Whose image and superscription is this?” “Caesar’s,” they reply. The law required that to pay the tribute they should first change the national coin into coin bearing the effigy of the Roman Emperor. Jesus convicts them of having themselves answered the question by this very change. If you have procured coins with the effigy of Caesar, you must have had the intention of paying the tribute. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” And the Master completes His lesson by saying “and render to God, the things that are God’s” for the human soul, made to the image of its Creator, owes Him the tribute of its adoration and obedience.