Sexagesima Sunday, is the name for the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday in the Gregorian Rite liturgical calendar of the Western Catholic Church, and also in that of some Protestant denominations, particularly those with Anglican and Lutheran origins.
The name “Sexagesima” is derived from the Latin sexagesimus, meaning “sixtieth,” and appears to be a back-formation of Quinquagesima, the term formerly used to denote the last Sunday before Lent (the latter name alluding to the fact that there are fifty days between that Sunday and Easter, if one counts both days themselves in the total). Through the same process, the Sunday before Sexagesima Sunday was formerly known as Septuagesima Sunday, and marked the start of the Pre-Lenten Season which eventually became the time for carnival celebrations throughout Europe, this custom being later exported to places settled and/or colonized by Europeans. While Quinquagesima (50th day) is mathematically correct (allowing for the inclusive counting), Sexagesima and Septuagesima are only approximations (the exact number of days is 57 and 64 respectively). The earliest Sexagesima can occur is January 25 and the latest is February 28 (or February 29 in a leap year).
A major theme of the liturgy is the Word of God. We give thanks that we have heard the Word (Introit), which Saint Paul faithfully preached despite so many obstacles (Epistle). The Gospel is all about hearing the Word of God in a way that produces good fruit, and not in a way that wastes or kills the seed offered to us by God through His holy Word. In the Offertory, we ask God to hear our words of petition, but only after we have first heard His holy Word. The liturgy for Sexagesima Sunday is a call for man to prepare for Lenten repentance by becoming attuned to God’s Word.
INTROIT Psalm 43: 23-26
Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why turnest Thou Thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? our belly hath cleaved to the earth : arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. (Ps. 43: 2 ) ) We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us. 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. Repeat Arise, why sleepest…
O God, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do; mercifully grant that by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversity. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen
Collect for the Saints
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body: and through the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever Virgin, mother of God, of St Joseph, of Thy holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy loving-kindness grant us safety and peace; that, all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
For the Church
Graciously accept the prayers of Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, overcoming all hostility and error, She may serve Thee in safety and freedom. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen
EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 11: 19-33; 12: 1-9
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren: you gladly suffer the foolish : whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. They are Hebrews, so am I. They are Israelites, so am I. They are the seed of Abraham, so am I. They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise), I am more: in many ore labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes save one. Thrice I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea : in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren : in labor and painfulness, in much watching, in hunger and cold and nakedness; : besides those thing which are without, my daily instance, the solicitude for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me : and through a window in a basked was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, whether in the body I know not, of out of the body I know not, God knoweth; such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body I know not, God knoweth: that he was caught up unto paradise, and heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. For such an one I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish : for I will say the truth : but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, thee was given ne a sting of my flesh, an angel of satan, to buffet me. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And He said to me; My grace is sufficient for thee, for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
GRADUAL Psalm 82: 19, 14 TRACT Psalm 59: 4, 6
Let the Gentiles know that God is Thy name : Thou alone are the most High over all the earth. V. O my God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind.
Thou hast moved the earth, O Lord, and hast troubled it. V. Heal Thou the breaches thereof, for it has been moved. V. That they may flee from before the bow : that Thine elect may be delivered.
GOSPEL St. Luke 8: 4-15
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities unto Jesus, He spoke by a similitude: ‘The sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it choked it. And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up yielded fruit a hundredfold.’ Saying these things, He cried out:’He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.’ And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be. To whom He said: ‘To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables : that seeing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no roots: for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.’
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 16: 5-7
Perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps be now moved : incline Thy ear, and hear my words : show forth Thy wonderful mercies, Thou who savest them that trust in Thee, O Lord.
May the sacrifice offered to Thee, O Lord, ever quicken and protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God. Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Secret for the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, and, by virtue of this Sacrament, defend us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing upon us Thy grace here and Thy glory hereafter.
For the Church
Protect us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries, that holding fast to things divine, we may serve Thee both in body and soul. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen
PREFACE Holy Trinity
It it 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, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art 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: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 42: 4
I will go in to the altar of God, to God Who giveth joy to my youth.
We humbly beseech Thee, almighty God to grant that they whom Thou refreshest with Thy sacraments may serve Thee worthily by a life well pleasing unto Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Postcommunion for the Saints
May the gift of this Divine Sacrament which we have offered, cleanse us and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord; and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, of St. Joseph, of Thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, free us from all iniquity and deliver us from all adversity.
For the Church
We beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that Thou wouldst not allow to be exposed to human perils, those whom Thou hast been pleased to make sharers of these divine mysteries. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen