Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wednesday in Holy Week: Reading from the Breviary

First reading
From the letter to the Hebrews
12:14-29
You have come to the mountain of the living God
Strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no one can see the Lord. See to it that no man falls away from the grace of God; that no bitter root springs up through which many may become defiled; that there be among you no fornicator or godless person like Esau, who sold his birthright for a meal. You know that afterward he wanted to inherit his father’s blessing, but he was rejected because he had no opportunity to alter his choice, even though he sought the blessing with tears.
You have not drawn near to an untouchable mountain and a blazing fire, nor gloomy darkness and storm and trumpet blast, nor a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that they be not addressed to them, for they could not bear to hear the command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”...
Second reading
From a treatise on John by Saint Augustine, bishop
The perfection of love
Dear brethren, the Lord has marked out for us the fullness of love that we ought to have for each other. He tells us: No one has greater love than the man who lays down his life for his friends. In these words, the Lord tells us what the perfect love we should have for one another involves. John, the evangelist who recorded them, draws the conclusion in one of his letters: As Christ laid down his life for us, so we too ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. We should indeed love one another as he loved us, he who laid down his life for us.
This is surely what we read in the Proverbs of Solomon: If you sit down to eat at the table of a ruler, observe carefully what is set before you; then stretch out your hand, knowing that you must provide the same kind of meal yourself. What is this ruler’s table if not the one at which we receive the body and blood of him who laid down his life for us? What does it mean to sit at this table if not to approach it with humility? What does it mean to observe carefully what is set before you if not to meditate devoutly on so great a gift? What does it mean to stretch out one’s hand, knowing that one must provide the same kind of meal oneself, if not what I have just said: as Christ laid down his life for us, so we in our turn ought to lay down our lives for our brothers? This is what the apostle Paul said: Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we might follow in his footsteps.
This is what is meant by providing “the same kind of meal.” This is what the blessed martyrs did with such burning love. If we are to give true meaning to our celebration of their memorials, to our approaching the Lord’s table in the very banquet at which they were fed, we must, like them, provide “the same kind of meal.”...
Finally, even if brothers die for brothers, yet no martyr by shedding his blood brings forgiveness for the sins of his brothers, as Christ brought forgiveness to us. In this he gave us, not an example to imitate but a reason for rejoicing. Inasmuch, then, as they shed their blood for their brothers, the martyrs provided “the same kind of meal” as they had received at the Lord’s table. Let us then love one another as Christ also loved us and gave himself up for us.

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