SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY; Missa “Circumdederunt me”
The venerated Abbe Dom Prosper Gueranger comments on today’s Epistle with these words: “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 St. Paul’s? Are our good works 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; thence, they are sure to fail; they never can win the prize. Like the Israelites spoken of by our apostle, they will be left behind to die in the desert, and so lose the promised land. Yet they saw the same miracles that Josue and Caleb saw! 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 the, vainly but determinedly loving them.
“The heart, on the contrary, that puts its trust in God, and mans itself to energy 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. These are the truths expressed in the Gradual.”
Gueranger adds his inspired wisdom to today’s Gospel: “It is of importance that we should well understand this parable of the Gospel, and why the Church inserts it in today’s liturgy. Firstly, then, let us recall to mind on what occasion our Savior spoke this parable, and what instruction He intended to convey by it to the Jews. He wishes to warn them of the fast approach of the day when their Law is to give way to the Christian Law; and He would prepare their minds against the jealousy and prejudice which might arise in them, at the thought that God was about to form a Covenant with the Gentiles. The vineyard is the Church in its several periods, from the beginning of the world to the time when God Himself dwelt among men, and formed all true believers into one visible and permanent society. The morning is the time from Adam to Noah; the third hour begins with Noah and ends with Abraham; the sixth hour includes the period which elapsed between Abraham and Moses; and lastly, the ninth hour opens with the age of the prophets, and closes with the birth of the Savior. The Messias came at the eleventh hour, when the world seemed to be at the decline of its day. Mercies unprecedented were reserved for this last period, during which salvation was to be given to the Gentiles by the preaching of the apostles. It is by this mystery of mercy that our Savior rebukes the Jewish pride. By the selfish murmurings made against the master of the house by the early laborers, our Lord signifies the indignation which the scribes and pharisees would show at the Gentiles being adopted as God’s children. Then He shows them how their jealousy would be chastised: Israel, that had labored before us shall be rejected for their obduracy of heart, and we Gentiles, the last comers, shall be made first, for we shall be made members of that Catholic Church, which is the bride of the Son of God.
“This is the interpretation of our parable given by St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great, and by the generality of the holy fathers. But it conveys a second instruction, as we are assured by the two holy doctors just named. It signifies the calling GIVEN BY God to each of us individually, pressing us to labor, 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, in 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 laborers 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 labors 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.”
INTROIT Psalm 17. 5-7
The sorrows of death surrounded me, the sorrow of hell encompassed me : and in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice from His holy Temple. (Ps. 17: 2,3 ) I will love Thee, o Lord, my strength : the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer. 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 The sorrows of death surround me…
O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of dangers so great that, by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always withstand ; grant to us health of mind and body, that being helped by Thee, we may overcome the things which we suffer for our sins. 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 1 Corinthians 9. 24-27; 10. 1-5
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. 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 everyone 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 most of them God was not well pleased.
GRADUAL (Ps 9: 10,11,19, 20) TRACT (Ps 129: 1-4)
A helper in due time in tribulation : let them trust in Thee who know Thee; for Thou has not forsaken them that seek Thee, O Lord. V. For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end : the patience of the poor shall not perish for ever : arise, O lord, let no man prevail.
Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my voice. V. Let Thine ears be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant. V. If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities : O Lord, who shall abide it? V. For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness, and by reason of Thy law I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
GOSPEL St. Matthew 20 1-16
At that time Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like to an householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the laborers 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 say 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 laborers 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 everyman 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 thou hast 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 thee no wrong: did thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what thine and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is thy eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.’
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 91: 2
It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O most High.
Having received our offerings and prayers, we beseech Thee, o Lord, cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries, and graciously hear 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
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 30: 17-18
Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant, and save me in Thy mercy: let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon Thee.
May Thy gifts, O God, detach us from earthy pleasures, and ever strengthen us with heavenly refreshment. 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.
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