Today’s station – Surrounded by the ruins of the empire that put its patron to death, the humble church of St. George in the Velabrum is a continuing reminder of the faith and sacrifice of that great saint..
The station at St. George’s was instituted by St. Gregory II (715-31), when the cultus of the great Cappadocian martyr had become exceedingly popular in Rome. A titular church already existed here in 482, as an inscription of that date mentions an Augustus lector de Belabru, but the dedication to St. George was certainly of later date.
Today’s Gospel, telling of the centurion of Capharnaum, alludes to the military character ascribed by tradition to St. George, which caused him to be specially invoked during the Middle Ages as the armed champion of the Christian family.
The Mass is a call to penance. The Lesson from Isaias recalls the warning given to Ezechias of his approaching death; the thought of death is a powerful inducement to us to change our mode of life. If we would only realize that the moment of our passing from this world to eternity may come unawares, we would implore earnestly a space of time in which to do penance, and resolve to lead a good life.
St Simeon of Jerusalem According to Eusebius (Church History, Book III, ch. 11), Saint Symeon is said to have been the son of Cleopas, otherwise called Alpheus, who was father also of Saint James the Lesser, of Saint Jude the Apostle, and of another son named Joseph. Alpheus, according to tradition, was Saint Joseph’s brother; thus Saint Symeon was the nephew of Saint Joseph and the cousin of our Savior.
However, Symeon is sometimes identified with Symeon, the “brother of the Lord”, who is mentioned in passing in the Bible (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) (although Aramaic had no term for “cousin”) and pointing to Hegesippus referring to him as the “second cousin” as bishop of Jerusalem. James the Brother of our Lord was the first bishop of Jerusalem. Other exegetes consider the brothers to be actual brothers and Hegesippus’ wording as subsuming both James and Symeon under a more general term.
We cannot doubt but that he was an early follower of Christ; tradition assigns the family’s residence to Nazareth. He certainly received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, with the Blessed Virgin and the Apostles. When the Jews massacred Saint James the Brother of our Lord, his brother Symeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. After this first bishop of Jerusalem had been put to death in the year 62, that is, twenty-nine years after Our Savior’s Resurrection, the Apostles and disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint a successor, and unanimously chose Saint Symeon, who had probably already assisted his brother in the government of that Church.
In the year 66 or 67, during which Saints Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, civil war broke out in Judea as a result of the hostility of the Jews against the Romans and their seditions. The Christians of Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city. With Saint Symeon at their head, they therefore left it in that year and retired beyond the Jordan to a small city called Pella, before Vespasian, Nero’s General, later Roman Emperor, entered Judea. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem they returned there once more, still under the leadership of Saint Symeon, and settled amid its ruins.
The Jerusalem church flourished again for a few years until razed by Adrian, and multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in its midst. The emperors Vespasian and Domitian had commanded all to be put to death who were of the race of David; but Saint Symeon escaped their searches. When Trajan renewed the same decree, however, certain heretics and Jews accused the Saint before the Roman governor in Palestine, as being both of the race of David and a Christian.
The holy bishop was condemned to be crucified. He died in the year 107, after having undergone during several days the usual tortures, though he was one hundred and twenty years old. He suffered these torments with so much patience that he won universal admiration. He had governed the Church of Jerusalem for about forty-three years.
INTROIT Psalm 54: 17, 19-20, 23
When I cried to the Lord, He heard my voice from them that draw near to me; and He humbled them, Who is before all ages, and remains forever: cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. (Ps. 54: 2, 3) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me and hear me. 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 When I cried to the Lord…
God, Who art offended by sin, and appeased by penance, graciously regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication to Thee, and turn aside the scourge of Thy anger, which we deserve for our sins. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Look mercifully, almighty God, upon our weakness, and since the burden of our sins weighs heavily upon us, may the glorious intercession of blessed Simeon, Your Martyr and Bishop, sustain 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.
Second Collect for the Intercession of Thy Saints
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body; that through the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and blessed N. (Here mention the titular saint of the church), and all the saints, mercifully grant us safety and peace; that all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom. 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.
Third ad libitum
EPISTLE Joel 2: 12-19
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.In those days, Ezechias, was sick even to death; and Isaias the son of Amos the prophet came unto him, and said to Him, Thus saith the Lord, Take order with thy house, for thou shalt die, and not live. And Ezechias turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, I beseech Thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before Thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Ezechias wept with great weeping. And the word of the Lord came to Isaias, saying, Go, and say to Ezechias, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father: I have heard thy prayer and I have seen thy tears: behold I will add to thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of the Assyrians, and I will protect it; said the Lord almighty.
GRADUAL Psalm 54: 23, 17-19
Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. V. When I cried to the Lord, He heard my voice from them that draw near to me.
GOSPEL Matthew 8: 5-13
At that time, when Jesus had entered into Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus said to him: “I will come and heal him.” And the centurion making answer said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this marvelled; and said to them that followed Him: “Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion: “Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.” And the servant was healed at the same hour.
OFFERTORY Psalm 24: 1-3
To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: In Thee, O my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded.
Be appeased, O Lord, We beseech Thee, and look upon the sacrifices here before Thee, that they may profit both our devotion and our salvation. 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.
Graciously accept, O Lord, the offerings dedicated to You by the merits of St. Simeon, Your Martyr and Bishop; and grant that they may be a perpetual help to 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.
Second Secret to implore the Intercession of the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Savior, and by the virtue of this sacrament protect us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing on us both grace in this life and glory hereafter. 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.
Third ad libitum
PREFACE of Lent
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, everlasting God: Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION Psalm 50: 21
Thou wilt accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations, and holocausts, upon Thy altar, O Lord.
Having received the blessing of the heavenly gift, we beseech and supplicate Thee, O almighty God, that the same may be the cause both of the sacrament and of salvation. 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.
We who have been refreshed by partaking of the divine sacrifice, beseech You, O Lord our God, that through the intercession of blessed Simeon, Your Martyr and Bishop, we may experience the effects of the worship we perform. 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.
Second Postcommunion to implore the Intercession of the Saints
Let us pray. May the oblation of this divine sacrament cleanse and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and, through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, blessed N. (here mention the titular saint of the church), and all the saints, purify us from all our sins and deliver us from all adversity. 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.
Third ad libitum
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Let us pray. Bow down your heads before God.
Spare, O Lord, spare Thy people; that having been punished with deserved scourges, they may find relief in Thy mercy. 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.