About Today

Christ is risen By Andrey Mironov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday within the Octave of Easter

Solemnity

“But the angel said to the woman, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay’” (Mt 28:5-6). [1][2]

Today is the second day within the Octave of Easter; which began on Easter Sunday and lasts until the Second Sunday of Easter. In an octave celebration, we honor both the full 7 days in-between liturgical celebrations as well as the 8th day itself – as in the case of Easter, the Sunday of Divine Mercy.

This Hebrew style of festival celebration is mentioned during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Dedication of the Temple in the Old Testament; yet was not originally a Christian tradition. However, in the 4th century, Constantine declared octaves for the dedications of the churches in Tyre and Jerusalem. Celebrating with octaves grew in regularity; but the Second Vatican Council revised the practice to include octaves for Easter and Christmas only (2 Chron 7:9) (Lev 23:36). [3]

Also, from now until Pentecost or the 50 days of Eastertide, Christians are invited into mystagogy. It’s during this time that we “proceed from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the ‘sacraments’ to the ‘mysteries’”. [4]

Compiled by Sarah Ciotti
[1] Revised Standard Version, s.v. “Matthew, The Gospel According To.”
[2] Excerpts from the Lectionary for the Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, 2nd ed., 2001, 1998, 1997, 1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, D.C.
[3] Paul VI, Missale Romanum [Apolistic Constitution on New Roman Missal], 1969.
[4] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed.,1076.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Washington Monument by Camera Operator: SSGT. LONO KOLLARS [Public domain]

Independence Day (United States)

Today, in the United States of America, it is on the Fourth of July that we honor, reflect and celebrate our independence.

Our celebration has its own rituals: family picnics, parades, flags and fireworks. Why do we do this? Because a lot of struggle, work, vision and lives went into gaining independence and maintaining it.

One cannot reflect or celebrate anything without praising and thanking our triune God. That is where our trust should be and where our faith should lead.

The forefathers of this country of ours had faith and trust in God to form this one nation under God. Abraham, our father in faith, was willing to do anything and his faith was rewarded.

Let our faith in God lead us to a better celebration than the 4th! Eternal life now that is truly peace and justice for all!

Heavenly Father,
help us to trust that through righteousness,
we may have faith,
and then your Son will be the only way, to lead us,
to forgive us and to guide us!
Amen.

– Deacon James W. Chaufty[1]

[1] Text of About today from the Catholic Calendar and Daily Meditation Archive

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Divine Office is approved for use in US

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. – Psalm 105:1-2

Dear community,

By the grace of God, Divine Office Ministry has reached an agreement with The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) by which we receive a License to use their 1970 edition of the New American Bible for the next 3 years. The Divine Office has passed an audit and has satisfied all licensor claims for content currently in use, which means USCCB has approved the use of our work by all Catholics in the United States.

Let us offer thanks and praise to God for the manifold blessings that continue to nourish our faith and enhance our community.

In thanksgiving for God’s blessings,
The Divine Office Team

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Advent Wreath, Fourth Sunday By 3268zauber [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Fourth Sunday in the Season of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-24

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scriptures:

Today’s readings on this Fourth (and last) Sunday of Advent describe how God very dramatically and lovingly intervenes in human history when “there is no way out.”

In the first reading, God directly invites King Ahaz to ask for a sign that God would protect the southern kingdom of Judah from enemies that threaten to destroy it. Now, a wise leader would eagerly grasp at the opportunity. Not Ahaz, who in his pride has already decided on his own political solution! Isaiah decides to give him God’s sign anyway, saying, “The virgin shall conceive a child and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” Ahaz was not interested in God’s help. He foolishly trusted his own wisdom. As a result, the whole nation was defeated and sent into exile in Babylon.

The Gospel tells us of another man faced with a grave dilemma who did listen to God. Joseph, already bound by a solemn betrothal ceremony to take Mary as his wife, discovers to his dismay that she is with child. He can only suppose that she has been unfaithful to him, and is now subject to very severe laws that could result in her death if he exposes her. He takes the compassionate way out. He will divorce her quietly, exposing himself, not her, to shame. God intervenes through a dream in which an angel tells him the whole story. The angel tells Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for her child has God Himself as the Father! With incredible trust and humility, Joseph obediently agrees to the plan. What a contrast between this just man and crafty Ahaz!

At Christmas, God is asking of us what He asked of Mary and Joseph–complete trust in His plans. He wants each of us to help Him save His world again! He richly rewards those who say “Yes!” and accept His plans for their lives. It’s even more incredible that Jesus the God-man, in turn, entrusted His life to Joseph and Mary. Again, God entrusts the success of His plans to those who can love enough and sacrifice their plans for His own.

Advent has been all about getting ready to agree to let Joseph and Mary use our hearts for a manger. From there, Jesus can help our poor country and our poor world to rebuild His kingdom. He needs our witness, our courage in speaking His truth, and sharing His love. He so wants us to be part of a much larger Advent, when all those prophecies we heard read in the last few weeks will be brought to fulfillment. If we can only give a simple, unqualified “yes” as Mary and Joseph did, some amazing things may happen through us in the world we live in.[1][2]

[1] Scripture for Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word
[2] Text of About today from The Journey a Catholic perspective of life’s journey

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Salvator Mundi attributed to Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday within the Octave of Easter

Solemnity

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man that had been healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition…‘But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to any one in this name.’…But Peter and John answered, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’”(Acts 4:13-14,17, 19-20). [1][2]

Compiled by Sarah Ciotti
[1] Revised Standard Version, s.v. “John, The Gospel According To.”
[2] Excerpts from the Lectionary for the Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, 2nd ed., 2001, 1998, 1997, 1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, D.C.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes by Konrad Witz / Public domain

Friday within the Octave of Easter

Solemnity

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any fish?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.” (Jn 21:4-6). [1]

Compiled by Sarah Ciotti
[1] Revised Standard Version, s.v. “John, The Gospel According To.”
[2] Excerpts from the Lectionary for the Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, 2nd ed., 2001, 1998, 1997, 1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, D.C.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

The Supper at Emmaus by Jean Baptiste de Champaigne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

Solemnity

“As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you.’ But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have’” (Lk 24-36-39). [1][2]

Compiled by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version, s.v. “Luke, The Gospel According To.”
[2] Excerpts from the Lectionary for the Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, 2nd ed., 2001, 1998, 1997, 1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, D.C.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Entry into Jerusalem by Pedro Orrente [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary” (Isaiah 50:4).

Today is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. As Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, he humbly embraced his mission to care for all God’s people. Just as Jesus willingly accepted his mission, we too, are asked to accept a mission to care for all God’s creation. As today’s reading from Isaiah highlights, this is the work to which the Lord calls us. As Christians, we have been taught a way to peace and have a duty to uplift those around us.[1][2]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Edition, s.v., “Isaiah, The Book of.”
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) 121-123.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem by Francesco Bartolozzi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

March 18

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Optional Memorial

“Already there is a scent of blessedness upon you. Already you who are soon to be enlightened are gathering spiritual flower from which, to weave heavenly crowns: already the fragrance of the Holy Spirit has breathed upon you: already you have gathered round the vestibule of the King’s palace. May you also be led in by the King! For blossoms now have appeared upon the trees; may the fruit also be found perfect!” [1]

St. Cyril of Jerusalem was a bishop in the fourth century. There survive 24 catechetical instructions that he delivered to prepare catechumens and the newly baptized for life in Christ. St. Cyril was bishop for 35 years, over 16 of which were spent in exile. He was first sent into exile by Acacius, Bishop of Caesarea, an ardent Arian who claimed jurisdiction over Jerusalem. St. Cyril was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1883 by Pope Leo XIII. [2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
[1] St. Cyril, “The Catechetical Letters,” in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed. Philip Schaff (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893), 1, adapted.
[2] F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press, 1974), 369.
[3] Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, The Martyrology of the Monastery of the Ascension, 2008.
Note: Optional Memorials and Commemorations are optional celebrations and, at present, we do not include content specific to these special days. This “About Today” is provided so that you can celebrate this Saint as you worship Christ.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Madonna of the people by Federico Barocci, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Monday after Pentecost

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Memorial

Having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety, Pope Francis has decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and be now celebrated every year.

This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God. [1]

[1] From the Decree on the celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church in the General Roman Calendar, for the full text see press.vatican.va

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Advent Wreath, Second Sunday By PHILIP János (e-mail from the author) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Second Sunday of Advent

“Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting.” (Bar 5: 1-2).[1]

Today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent. In today’s readings at Mass, we are reminded of two holy preparations; the preparation of the coming of Christ at Christmas and the preparation of the coming of our Lord on the last day. Both are highlighted in the second week, encouraging us to recognize the life that is to come. We are called to ‘stand upright’ in thoughts and deeds while we wait and as St. Paul suggests, have patient courage to live in harmony with one another. As we light today’s candle on the Advent wreath, may the love of the season fill our hearts, minds, and homes as we prepare the way. [2]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “Baruch.”

[1] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany (Collegeville, MN: The Order of St. Benedict, Inc., 1977), 119-137.


The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Advent Wreath, First Sunday By Micha L. Rieser (Own work by uploader (wreath and picture)) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

First Sunday in the Season of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scriptures:

Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent and begin a new liturgical cycle, year A. This is a time of prayer and preparation — a time-out from hectic distractions, and a time-in for quiet nourishment from the beautiful Advent scriptures. It’s a time for inner activity of prayer, and outer works of generosity to our neighbor.

In the first reading from Isaiah, God invited the divided kingdom of Israel to climb the holy mountain to His house. There He will melt down their swords, and turn their hearts to thoughts of peace. What seemed to them an impossible dream actually came true seven hundred years later when Jesus was born. The kingdom was united, and peace ruled the whole world, Scripture tells us.

The message for us is clear. We must continually strive to work for a peaceful and just world, so that Christ may have room in all hearts. Peace starts in the hearts of believers.

The second reading from Paul to the Romans insists that we wake up, and throw off the works of darkness. If we follow Paul’s advice to walk in the light, then Advent is a time for sincere riddance of sinful ways and sluggish response to the teaching of Jesus and His Church.

In the Gospel, Jesus warns us that we must be prepared, for “at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” We wonder for how many people, this Christmas will be the last time they celebrate it on this earth. We need to take this Advent seriously, for the coming of the Lord will be not just a beautiful Christmas, but the actual day of judgment. As the inscription on an old sundial in an English garden says, “It’s later than you think!” With joy, let us climb the mountain of the Lord![1][2]

[1] Scripture for Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word
[2] Text of About today from the Catholic Calendar and Daily Meditation Archive

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Deposition of Christ by Luca Giordano [Public domain]

Holy Saturday

“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”[1]

Holy Saturday is a day of silence, rest, and prayer. Today God is concealed, which creates a divine pause, stilling our hearts. Traditionally, there are no liturgical celebrations until the Vigil as the Church waits for the return of the Servant. As the people of God, we are asked to enter into Christ’s rest, a form of self-emptying. As Pope Francis said, “Holy Week is not so much a time of sorrow, but rather a time to enter into Christ’s way of thinking and acting. It is a time of grace given us by the Lord so that we can move beyond a dull or mechanical way of living our faith, and instead open the doors of our hearts.”[2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Unknown, The Lord’s Descent into Hell, ed Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas, Vatican.va.
[2] Francis I, March 27, 2013.
[3] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 94-98.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

The Last Supper by Francisco Ribalta [Public domain]

Holy Thursday

“When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you?’ You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you (John 13:12-15).[1]

Today, while the Lectionary pauses from the Servant songs of Isaiah on Holy Thursday, the Gospel reading from John continues the theme of servanthood. Jesus, knowing his hour has come, gives and performs a new commandment. [2] In the washing of feet and the sacrament of the Eucharist, we see, “the same mystery of a divine expression of love.”[3] Those who believe in Jesus, beginning with Peter and the disciples in the Upper Room, are commanded to do the works that he does; participating in the Divine Supper, serving one another, and seeking to unify the scattered children of God. When they do these things, Jesus promises that He and his Father will come and dwell with them.

Some years ago, Pope Francis told representatives of Orthodox churches and other Ecclesiastical communities: “There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favour justice, promote reconciliation and build peace. But before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional vision of the human person, a vision which reduces human beings to what they produce and to what they consume: this is one of the most insidious temptations of our time.”[4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “John, The Gospel According to.”
[2] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 202-220.
[3] John Paul II, Homily, April 17, 2003.
[4] Francis I, Address, March 20, 2013.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

The Feast in the house of Simon by Frans Francken the Younger [Public domain]

Wednesday of Holy Week

“And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheek to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced (Isaiah 50:5-7).” [1]

Today we continue our focus on Holy Week and our meditations on the four Servant songs in Isaiah. Monday we heard the Lord announce a chosen Servant, to bring sight and justice to the nations. Tuesday we read about the Savior’s mission to bring salvation to the very ends of the earth. Today’s Servant song shows the agony present in the task. Foreshadowing the Passion, we see a Servant who is suffering and insulted. Despite adversaries and darkness, the Servant remains steadfast. These three texts prepare us for death and the Cross. In the midst of these foreboding premonitions, we are reminded, though, that the Servant is not disgraced and God is ever-present, one with the mission.

In a homily Pope Francis echoed this divine mystery: “Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus does for us on the throne of the Cross. Christ’s Cross embraced with love never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved…” [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “Isaiah, The Book of.”
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 119-125.
[3] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 198-203.
[4] Pope Francis, Homily, March 24, 2013.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Ceuta Saints procession 2013 Santos Christ with cross by Mario Sánchez Bueno [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Tuesday of Holy Week

“And now the Lord says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has become my strength—he says: ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth’” (Isaiah 49:5-6). [1]

Today is Tuesday of Holy Week. This Servant song in Isaiah heralds the divine appointment of the Savior. The Lord says his servant’s mission reaches beyond Israel to all the nations, to the very ends of the earth. The church sees in this a foreshadowing of Jesus’ mission to bring salvation to the whole world. As Pope Francis said in one of his homilies, we share in that mission: “My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.” [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “ Isaiah, The Book of.”
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 121-123.
[3] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 161-166.
[4] Pope Francis, Homily, March 14, 2013.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Christ cleansing the Temple by El Greco [Public domain]

Monday of Holy Week

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1).[1]

Monday of Holy Week’s Old Testament reading speaks of a chosen Savior, a Lord who will be a light to the nations. He will open the eyes of the blind and bring out the prisoners. The passage in Second Isaiah, one of the four Servant songs, foretells of a Savior who cares about justice. Biblical justice highlights what ‘ought to be’ in the kingdom of God.[2] Harmony and equality are virtues this servant of the Lord values. As Pope Francis said in a 2013 address, “There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.” [3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Edition, s.v., “Isaiah, The Book of.”
[2] Ken Wytsma, Pursuing Justice (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2013), 1-71.
[3] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 121-123.
[4] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 161-166.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

April 9

Saturday – A Prelude to Holy Week

Holy Week starts tomorrow, a sacred journey beginning with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and continuing through the Easter Triduum. During this mystical time, we are invited to remember the terminal events of Jesus’ life and prayerfully reflect on their meaning. Therefore, throughout the next week, look for reflective insets as well as sequential scripture highlighting Holy Week. This particular collection journeys through commitment and personal growth.

Today, as a prelude to the week ahead, we see Jesus making an absolute commitment to complete his Father’s work. Speaking to his disciples prior to the Palm Sunday procession, we hear Jesus say,

18Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death,19 and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day” (Matt 20:18-19).[1]

Jesus’ resolute tone helps us understand the importance of commitment. In the week ahead, can we identify and prioritize a singular goal and commit, as Jesus did, to see it through to completion? What are the choices ahead of us? Where in our lives is new life budding forth?

Inherent in decision is an opposing force, a paradox. We know we have to commit to create; yet we oftentimes fear the singular choice. New life can only come through a partnership with dedication, but we long to reserve other options.[2]

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;…” (Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”)[3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
[1] Revised Standard Version, s.v. “Matthew, The Gospel According To.”
[2] Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharistic, “The Mysteries of Holy Week,” Retreat, Pocatello, ID, March 2012.
[3] Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken,” Courtesy of Bartleby.com.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Liturgy of the Hours for December 05