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Archive for April 4th, 2012

Wednesday in Holy Week

COLLECT OF THE DAY:

Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him, that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

READINGS

Isaiah 62:11-63:7

Psalm 70 (antiphon: v. 5)

Romans 5:6-11

Luke 22:1-23:56 or John 13:16-38

VERSE:   The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.       (John 12:23b)

Cross Reflections:  Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory is set in the 1920s Mexico when the Roman Catholic Church has been suppressed.  Priests are not allowed to say Mass.  The main character is an unnamed priest, given to whiskey, who goes about the country saying clandestine Masses.  In the scene quote below he is in a shed and mestizo is crawling in the shack and grabs the priest’s ankles.  He wants the priest to hear his confession about adultery and “boys”, as his confession comes forth between his yellowed teeth, the priest reflects:

“How often the priest had heard the same confession–Man was so limited: he hadn’t even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater the glory lay around the death; it was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or civilization–it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.” 

Greene is illustrating the Scripture text appointed for Holy Wednesday from Romans:

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

For God and country, a man will dare to die.  Even for a “good person”.  It is true we can not even invent a new vice.  When I think of the petty larcenies and lusts lurking in the attic of my heart, it’s shameful.  I do not know if the priest absolved the penitent in the novel.  Christ Jesus has for all who know they need fixing in their hearts.  He will. No amount of fixing on our part will do it.

In the prayer of the day, we pray, ” Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him, that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil”.    In Advent there is a collect with the petition that “our hearts may be fixed where true joy is found.”  Fix:  eyes on the prize or corrected, healed.  Which is it?  I suppose the former but the former makes for the latter.  Our eyes fixed upon Him and we are fixed, by steadfast faith in Him.  It seems to me that sin, death and devil dogs us when we are not so steadfast in faith.  Our true condition apart from Him is just as it is written in Romans 5:  weak, sinner, enemy.  His power and glory has been shown upon the Cross and on the third day and today.

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