New Liturgical Movement: The Golden Mass of Ember Wednesday

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

When examined as a group, the Gospels for the Masses of Advent may seem to be ordered in a rather peculiar way. They are in fact arranged chronologically backwards. On the First Sunday of Advent, the Church reads from St Luke Christ’s account of the signs that will precede His return in glory at the end of the world. (21, 25-33) This sets a theological note that will be repeated throughout the season; the first coming of Christ to redeem the world is often contrasted to the second coming, when He shall return to judge it. On the Second Sunday, John the Baptist, imprisoned by King Herod, sends his disciples to ask Christ if He is indeed the Redeemer whose coming the world has long awaited. His answer is that the signs of the first coming are already happening, as foretold in the prophets. (Matthew 11, 2-10). The Gospel of the Third Sunday recounts an episode from the early days of John’s ministry, before his imprisonment. When men were moved to ask him if he was the Messiah, John confessed that he was but the Forerunner of another who stood in their midst; Christ Himself does not appear or speak in this Gospel. (John 1) The Gospel of the Fourth Sunday is the very beginning of John’s mission, St Luke speaks once again, and draws us further back in time, to the prophets who foretold not only the coming of Christ, but also that of the Forerunner. This is the only Gospel of the liturgical year in which Christ Himself makes no appearance at all. (3, 1-6) (Pictured right: St John the Baptist, from the St Bavo altarpiece by Jan van Eyck, 1430-32)

New Liturgical Movement: The Golden Mass of Ember Wednesday

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