TUESDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK IN LENT
Feria – Simple/Violet
The Station is in the Church of St. Balbina, This holy virgin of Rome was the daughter of the Tribune Quirinus, and suffered martyrdom during the pontificate of Alexander the First, in the second century. She consecrated her virginity to God, and led a life rich in good works.
Grant us, Lord, we beseech thee, thy assistance, whereby we may go through the observance of this holy fast, that what we have undertaken by thy appointment, we may accomplish by thy grace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lesson from the book of Kings.
3 Kings 17:8-16
In those days : The word of he Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying : Arise, and go to Sarephta of the Sidonians, and dwell there: for I have commanded a widow woman there to feed thee. He arose, and went to Sarephta. And when he was come to the gate of the city, he saw the widow woman gathering sticks, and he called her, and said to her: Give me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And when she was going to fetch it he called after her, saying: Bring me also, I beseech thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand. And she answered: As the Lord thy God liveth, I have no bread, but only a handful of meal in a pot, and a little oil in a cruse: behold I am gathering two sticks that I may go in and dress it, for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elias said to her: Fear not, but go, and do as thou hast said: but first make for me of the same meal a little hearth cake, and bring it to me: and after make for thyself and thy son. For thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: The pot of meal shall not waste, nor the cruse of oil be diminished, until the day wherein the Lord will give rain upon the face of the earth. She went and did according to the word of Elias: and he ate, and she, and her house: and from that day. The pot of meal wasted not, and the cruse of oil was not diminished, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke in the hand of Elias.
The instruction of the Catechumens is continued by means of the Gospel facts, which are each day brought before them; and the Church reads to them the prophecies from the Old Testament, which are to be fulfilled by the rejection of the Jews, and the vocation of the Gentiles. Elias, who is our faithful companion during Lent, is represented to us to-day as foreshadowing, in his own conduct, the treatment which God is one day to show towards His ungrateful people. A three years’ drought had been sent upon the kingdom of Israel; but the people continued, obstinate in their sins. Elias goes in search of some one that will provide him with food. It is a great ‘ privilege to entertain the Prophet; for God is with him. Then, whither will he go? Is it to any family in the kingdom of Israel? Or will he pass into the land of Juda? He neglects them both, and directs “his steps towards the land of the Gentiles. He enters the country of Sidon; and coming to the, gates of a city called Sareptha, he sees a poor widow; it is to her that he transfers the blessing which Israel had rejected. Our Lord himself has taken notice of this event in the Prophet’s life, which portrays, in such strong colors, the justice of God towards the Jews, and his mercy towards us Gentiles: In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel: and to none of them was he sent, but to Sareptha of Sidon, to a widow woman. So, then, this poor woman is a figure of the Gentiles, who were called to the faith. Let us study the circumstances of this prophetic event. The woman is a widow; she has no one to defend or protect her: she represents the Gentiles, who were abandoned by all, and had no one that could save them from the enemy of mankind. All the mother and her child had to live upon, was a handful of meal and a little; oil: it is an image of the frightful dearth of truth, in which the pagans were living at the time that the Gospel was preached to them. Notwithstanding her extreme poverty, the widow of Sareptha receives the Prophet with kindness and confidence; she believes what he tells her, and she and her child are saved. It was thus that the Gentiles welcomed the Apostles, when these shook the dust from their feet, and left the faithless Jerusalem. But what mean the two pieces of wood, which the widow holds in her hands? St. Augustine, St. Cesarius of Aries, and St. Isidore of Seville, (who, after all, are but repeating what was the tradition of the early Church,) tell us, that this wood is a figure of the Cross. With this wood, the widow bakes the bread that is to support her: it is from the Cross that the Gentiles receive life by Jesus, who is the Living Bread. Whilst Israel dies of famine and drought, the Gentile Church feeds abundantly on the heavenly Wheat, and on the Oil, which is the symbol of strength and charity. Glory then be to Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light of faith! But, let us tremble at witnessing the evils which the abuse of grace has brought upon a whole people. If God’s justice has not spared a whole nation, but cast it off; will he spare me or you, if we dare to resist his call?
The Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
Chapter 23: 1-12
At that time: Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying: The Scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works, do ye not; for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them. And all these works they do to be seen of men: for they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes. And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, and salutations in the market-place, and to be called by men, Rabbi. But be not you called Rabbi; for one is your master, and all you are brethren. And call none your father upon earth; for one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, Christ. He that is the greatest among you, shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted.
The doctors of the law were sitting on the Chair of Moses; therefore, Jesus bids the people abide by their teachings. But this Chair, which, in spite of the unworthiness of them that sit on it, is the Chair of truth, is not to remain long in Israel. Caiphas, because he is a High Priest for the year, will prophesy; but his crimes have rendered him unworthy, of his office and the Chair, on which he sits, is to be taken away and set in the midst of the Gentiles. Jerusalem, which is preparing to deny her Savior, is to be deprived of her honors and Rome, the very center of the Pagan world, is to possess within her walls that Chair which was the glory of Jerusalem, and from which were proclaimed the prophecies so visibly fulfilled in Jesus. Henceforth, this Chair is never to be moved, though all the fury of the gates of hell will seek to prevail against it; it is to be the unfailing source, at which all nations are to receive the teaching of revealed truths. The torch of faith has been removed from Israel, but it has not been extinguished. Let us live in its light, and merit by our humility that its rays ever shine upon us. What was it that caused Israel’s loss? His pride. The favors he had received from God excited him to self-complacency; he scorned to recognize any one for the Messias, who was not great in this world’s glory; he was indignant at hearing Jesus say, that the Gentiles were to participate of the grace of redemption; he sought to imbrue his hands in the blood of the God-Man, and this because he reproached him for the hardness of his heart. These proud Jews, even when they saw that the day of God’s judgment was close upon them, kept up their stubborn haughtiness. They despised the rest of the world as unclean and sinners. The Son of God became the Son of Man. He is our Master, and yet he ministered to us, as though he were our Servant. Does not this show us how precious a virtue is Humility? If our fellow-creatures call us Master or Father, let us not forget that no one is Master or Father but by God’s appointment. No one deserves to be called Master, but he by whose lips Jesus gives us the lessons of divine wisdom; he alone is truly a Father, who acknowledges that his paternal authority comes from God alone; for, as the Apostle says: I bow my knee to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named.
Very Ven. Dom Gueranger, O.S.B – The Liturgical Year – Volume V: Lent