Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thursday in Passion Week.
The Roman Breviary
Lesson i
The reading of the holy Gospel according to Luke c.7, 36-50
At that time: One of the Pharisees desired Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the house of the Pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment. And standing behind at his feet, she began to wash his feet, with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if he were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him, and she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have something to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it. A certain creditor had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou has judged rightly. And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hair hath wiped them. Thou gavest me no kiss: but she, since she came, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed my feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. And he said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.

Homily of St. Gregory, Pope
Homily 33 on the Gospel

Thinking upon the penitence of Mary Magdalen I am, more ready to weep than to say aught. For what heart of stone would not be softened to a like penance by the tears of this sinner? She considered what she had done, and would not be moderate in what she was doing then. She broke in upon the guests, she came unasked, she brought her tears to the banquet. You may understand with what sorrow she burns, in that she is not ashamed to weep even at a feast.
R. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner, and out of the hand of transgressor, and of the unjust: For thou art my patience.
V. O my God, be not thou far from me: O my God, make haste to help me.

Lesson ii
But this woman, whom Luke calls a woman that was sinner, is named by John, Mary; and we believe she was that Mary from whom, as Mark bears witness, seven devils were cast forth. And what is signified by seven devils, if not all the vices? For since all time is counted by periods of seven days, rightly by the number seven is signified completedness. Mary then had seven devils, because she was full of the vices.
R. They are multiplied who afflict me, and say:There is no salvation for him in his God: Arise, Lord, save me, O my God.
V. Lest my enemy say at any time, I have prevailed against him.

Lesson iii
But, behold, when she saw the stains of the foulness, she ran to wash herself at the fountain of mercy, and had no shame before the guests. Indeed, since she felt so much shame in herself, she counted it for nothing to be outwardly disgraced. What, therefore, shall we wonder at, brethren? That Mary came, or that the Lord received her? Received her, shall I say, or not rather, draw her? But it were better to say: both drew her and received her: for in his mercy he drew her inwardly, and in his meekness he received her outwardly.
R. How long shall enemy my enemy be exalted over me? Consider, and hear me, O Lord my God.
V. They that trouble me will rejoice when I am moved, but I have trusted in thy mercy.

Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God: that the dignity of human nature, which has been impaired by intemperance, may be restored by the practice of salutary self-denial

Be propitious to thy people, we beseech thee, O Lord: that, rejecting those things which displease thee, they may be filled with the delights of thy communion.