We salute their courage and fortitude - and faith.
Today is Quinquagesima Sunday
Roughly 50 days before Easter and brings in the last few days before Quadragesima (40 days) for this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday - the start of Lent and the Season of Septuagesima winds to a close.
After today, we have two more days of preparation for Lent. Have you decided what you will be offering up for Lent this year? Have you considered ADDING something to your Lenten practice this year? Yes, the purpose in doing some sort of penance for Lent is to help you grow in holiness toward becoming a saint - so another consideration would be to ADD a practice, such as one of the corporal acts of mercy, during Lent. See the post from this year's Sexagesima Sunday for more on that.
Shrove or Fat Tuesday
How serious are you about Lent? One traditional practice for Lent is to get rid of all eggs and leaven on or by Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) - and not partake in either until Easter Sunday. This tradition is still followed by Orthodox Christians and many in the Eastern Rite of Catholicism too. This is also where we get the tradition of Easter Eggs! Since you could not eat eggs during Lent, in order to preserve them longer - boil them! Then decorate them and on Easter Sunday, hide them around the house or the yard and let the children go hunting for them!
Ash Wednesday - Quadragesima Begins
The Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, Quadragesima meaning "40 days." Some will say, "but wait, there's more than 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday!" Well, that is true - BUT - every Sunday, even Sundays during Lent, are "feast days" and are treated as a solemnity - and there is no penance on a solemnity. So, if you do not count the Sundays during Lent, it IS 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday of Holy Week!
The Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday begins:
Luke 18:31-34 - At that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon; and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said.
As the Season of Septuagesima draws near to an end, this Sunday, Quinquagesima (roughly 50 days before Easter) the Gospel lesson has Jesus telling His Apostles what will become of Him when they get to Jerusalem - and yet they did not understand Him.
In the last part of the Quinquagesima Gospel reading, verses Luke 18:41-43, is the story of a blind man who cried out to the Lord that his sight might be restored. He believed Jesus could restore his sight, and Jesus tells him that by his faith, he has been made whole.
When offering up something for Lent, it may start off as a relatively easy task, but toward the end of the 40 days of Quadragesima (Lent), even this simplest of offerings can become difficult. Let us have faith and believe that through our uniting of our suffering, as minor or great as it might be, to that of the Passion of Jesus Christ - that we too can be made whole and enter into Eastertide in the state of Grace and renewal.
In today's gospel it is the Parable of the Sower - Luke 8:4-15 - God's Word is compared to the seed. Some seed falls along the wayside, some upon rocky soil, some among thorns - very little falls on good soil. The different types of soil represent the different types of people who hear the Word of God. Those who are like the wayside are easily distracted, and when others come to take them away, they go. Those who are like the rocky soil, hear the Word of God, but as it starts to grow - it does not take root, withers and dies away. Those who are like the soil with thorns, the seeds take root, but as they begin to grow they are choked out - this would be like having friends and associates who take you away from the Word of God. Those who are like the good soil, hear the Word of God, it takes root and flourishes in their soul.
A Word From Father
In today's sermon, Father taught that Lent is not just about giving something up - it is about making one's self into a saint. Doing some form of penance is nice - but even better would be to start a good habit, such as a corporal act of mercy.
The seven corporal acts of mercy: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to give shelter to travelers, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, and to bury the dead - as represented in the following painting:Develop a habit this Lent, then next year start another good habit - and you are working your way to sainthood! In essence, the taking on of a good habit helps to cultivate your "soil" so that the Word of God can flourish within you.
Blessings on your preparations for Lent!
Scripture of the Week
From my professor:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." - 1 Peter 5:6
Again, another great reminder of what we should be doing for the Season of Septuagesima! If we truly humble ourselves and approach Lent with a tabla rasa, we can choose a fitting penance to offer up for the Season of Lent. Enduring suffering is something we do as Christians not because the Church has ordered it - but because we know that through uniting our suffering to Christ's Passion and death, even as minor as our's may be in comparison, is the path to becoming more like Christ - it is the path to salvation.
I noticed that we had a visitor to an article written back in 2005, during Advent - the "Reason for the Season," so I took a moment to revise it and add an image to it.
Three weeks of preparation for Lent begins today, Septuagesima Sunday. Septuagesima represents 70, as in 70 days before Easter. The reality is, it is 63 days - so why call it "70?" This is because when referring to the days before Easter they once referred to them as decades of days. Therefore, the 63rd day before Easter falls in the decade between 61 and 70 - and here we get Septuagesima.
This is the verse provided to me by my professor:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
Interestingly, this being the last week in the Epiphany Season with tomorrow starting the Septuagesima Season, which is a rather short season - lasting only 3 weeks - afterward starts Lent. Now is the time we prepare for Lent, making straight our paths - and making straight the path of the Lord as we are told to do in Isaiah 40:3 - prepare yourself for a great Lenten Season!
Yes, it is STILL the ordinal (counting) time after Epiphany - through today! Tomorrow begins Septuagesima. It seems like Christmas was just here - and in a sense, it was just ten days ago. Christmastide ended on Candlemas (Feb. 2nd) and today is the last day we have reference to the Christchild. In some traditions, Christmastide lasts all the way through the ordinal weeks of Epiphany.
Septuagesima is a preparatory time for Lent. While it is still recognized and celebrated in the Extraordinary Rite, the Ordinary Rite no longer does. For the Ordinary Rite, tomorrow is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Church needs her special seasons - and not just "ordinary time." Knowing the season helps keep us focused on Christ and His Church.
Some ask "Why do we call it Septuagesima, which means "70" when there are only 63 days until the end of Lent?" Fr. Zuhlsdorf answers succinctly:
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight His path.
Tomorrow, Septuagesima Sunday marks the ninth Sunday before Easter - and the start of the Septuagesima Season. The Season of Septuagesima is the pre-Lent season. While the penitential time of Lent has not fully begun, Septuagesima is a time for preparation for Lent. The name comes from "70" as in 70 days before Easter - which it's really 63 days.
This is the last week of this liturgical year that both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Rites are on the same "counting" (ordinal) week.
For the Ordinary Rite, they continue the ordinal counting up to the start of Lent; for the Extraordinary, next Sunday marks the start of the Septuagesima Season, the season before Lent. Septuagesima means relates to 70 days before Easter (it's not exactly 70 days). More on Septuagesima in a later posting.
The Gospel for This Week
Luke 5:1-11 - The Miracle of the Fishes - Peter, James and John, after fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus told Peter to put out the nets again. Reluctantly, Peter does so - and the catch is so large it begins sinking his boat and he calls to his partners, James and John, the Sons of Zebedee, to help him. Peter (then still called Simon) said to Jesus that he was not worthy - but Jesus told him, "From now on I will make you fishers of men."
Matthew 13:24-30 - The Parable of the Cockle Sown Among the Wheat - A parable of the Kingdom of Heaven. The farmer and his men had just sown wheat in the field and while they slept an enemy came in and spread cockle among the wheat. This deed was discovered when the seedlings began sprouting up and the men said to the farmer, should we remove the cockle? The farmer said "No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow together until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat, gather ye into my barn.To note: In the Extraordinary Rite the remaining Weeks After Epiphany are not forgotten! These are used as the "extra" counting (ordinal) weeks before the Last Sunday After Pentecost. The number of weeks in the year does not change, but with Easter's date being movable, the Ordinal Weeks (counting weeks) must be adjusted to accommodate.
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