Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

Season of Septuagesima

With the season of Septuagesima begins the second cycle of the Church's year. The Christmas cycle is centered round the birth of our Saviour; the Easter cycle is centered round his passion and Resurrection. In both, however, the theme is the same - the radical transformation of our lives by Christ's coming into this world. But whereas Christmas represents salvation coming from on high, the transformation of our life by the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, Easter is salvation won by our Lord Jesus Christ's passion and death. Christmas means the coming of our Saviour-already we experience the joy of being saved, since our Saviour has come among us. Easter means our Lord in conflict with the devil and the powers of evil from which he issues triumphant, crushing Satan and rising in glory taking us in his wake to our heavenly home; Easter means the redemption of man obtained at the price of the cross. The liturgical season which begins with Septuagesima and continues until the end of Lent is marked as a period of struggle and toil which we must undergo with Christ, leading, by his grace, to the victory and triumphant joy of Easter. On the days after Easter comes the gladness of the baptized raised up with Christ to a new life. Taken as a whole the Easter cycle puts before us the most fundamental and striking aspect of our life: men's sin and weakness expiated and mastered by Christ's redemption. It reminds us that Christ came to us as our Redeemer; we need redemption. And it is as the redeemed that our real realtionship with God is to be found; the felix culpa of the Easter vigil has no other meaning than the overflowing joy of the redeemed who exult in their redemption. (St. Andrew Missal)

Choose liturgy here:

Septuagesima
Sexagesima
Quinquagesima

Septuagesima

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 9. 24-27, 10. 1-5; Gospel: St. Matthew 20, 1-16

"For many are called, but few are chosen." (Mt. 20, 16)

The calling of all mankind, the vocation of all, is to holiness.

God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.(CCC 1)

But few are chosen. The "chosen" ones are those who respond to God's call perfectly spoken forth in Christ the eternal Word. These few persevere in "doing the will of their heavenly Father", professing the orthodox Catholic faith, living the faith in "fraternal sharing" and celebrating the faith in liturgy and prayer.

Those who with God's help have welcomed Christ's call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer. (Cf. Acts 2:42) (CCC 3)

Thus, the parable of the vineyard is the Lord's call to all those who have received Him in word and sacrament to share generously with all men what they themselves have received. All share equally in the task, whether called early or late in the day, to build up the kingdom of God in this world.

Let's pray for each other until, again next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Fr. Cusick
(Publish with permission.) http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/


Sexagesima

  Epistle: 2 Corinthians 11. 19-33, 12. 1-9; Gospel: St. Luke 8, 4-15

How are we to avoid being as those "who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasure of life"? (Lk 8, 14)
How are we to be those people called by the Lord to be "good soil", "those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience"?
(Lk 8 15)

Prayer.

The tradition of Christian prayer is one of the ways in which the tradition of faith takes shape and grows, especially through the contemplation and study of believers who treasure in their hearts the events and words of the economy of salvation, and through their profound grasp of the spiritual realities they experience. (CCC 2651)

Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sacred Tradition) within "the believing and praying Church,"
(Dei Verbum 8) the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray. (CCC 2650)

The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases,
(Cf. Mt 6:7) but holds fast to the word and "brings forth fruit with patience." (Cf. Lk 8:15) This prayer is possible "at all times" because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus. (CCC 2668)

Let's pray for each other until, again next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Fr. Cusick
(Publish with permission.) http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/
(See also CCC 368, 2731, 2847)


Quinquagesima

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 13. 1-13; Gospel: St. Luke 18, 31-43

The Twelve failed to understand that the Lord must suffer. Only later, with the gift of the Holy Spirit, will they grasp that "what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled" (Acts 3:18) Christians unite themselves with all that Christ experienced, including his suffering, and certainly all can see that he shared in our death.

St. John Chrysostom writes about the Passion of the Lord. It

"had been foretold by Isaiah when he said, 'I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting' (Is 50:6), and the same prophet even foretold the punishment of the Cross with these words: 'He poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors' (Is 53:12). And therefore the text adds, 'They will scourge him and kill him'; but David had also announced his resurrection when he said, 'Thou dost not let thy godly one see the Pit' (Ps 16;10). In fulfillment of this the Lord adds, 'And on the third day he will rise" (Hom. on St. Matthew, 66).

Only Christians can accept suffering not as the punishment of an angry God, but as the inescapable consequence of original sin.

Now, however, "we walk by faith, not by sight"; (2 Cor 5:7) we perceive God as "in a mirror, dimly" and only "in part." (1 Cor 13:12) Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice, and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it. (CCC 164)

In solidarity with the blessed Passion of the Lord, every human person can accept suffering as a gift and aing as a gift and a grace unto salvation. In particular this is made possible by the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. One of the effects of the sacrament is of union with the passion of Christ.
(CCC 1521)

By the grace of this sacrament, the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.
(CCC 1521)

Let's pray for each other until, again next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Fr. Cusick
(Publish with permission.) http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/