Pentecost III Sunday: Missa “Respice in me“
The liturgy celebrates today the mercy of God towards us, poor sinners. (Collect, Postcommunion) Jesus has come not to call the just but sinners, and the Holy Ghost comes to establish the reign of God in our sinful, unclean hearts.
The Sanctifier continues in our hearts the action of Christ, coming to establish the reign of God in sinful souls. He therefore proclaims by the mouth of Peter, the Head of the Church, our weakness before the devil, who, like roaring lion, seeks to devour us (Epistle). The human race has fallen into sin. It is represented by the lost sheep which the divine Shepherd bore on His shoulders, and by the lost drachma struck with the effigy of the King of Heaven and which the Church found again (Gospel).
“Without God, nothing is strong, nothing is holy” (Collect). He alone can give us, in the midst of temptation “an unshakable stability” (Epistle). Therefore on Him we must “throw all our thoughts and cares.” (Epistle, Gradual)
The breviary lessons are concerned with the history of Saul. After Heli’s death the Israelites obeyed Samuel like a new Moses but when he became old they asked for a king. There was living, at that time, in the tribe of Benjamin a man named Cis, who had a son called Saul. No boy in Israel was his equal in appearance. His father’s asses having gone astray, Saul went to look for them and coming to Ramatha, where Samuel lived, he said to himself: “The man of God will tell me where I shall find them”. No sooner was he in Samuel’s presence, than God told the latter that this was the man whom He had chosen to reign over His people. Samuel told Saul that the asses he had lost three days ago had been found. The next day Samuel took a horn of oil and having poured it on Saul’s head, kissed him and said: “Behold the Lord hath anointed thee to be prince over His inheritance: and thou shalt deliver His people out of the hands of their enemies that are round about them.”
“Saul,” says St. Gregory, “was only anointed with a little vessel of oil because he was to be rejected in the end.” For since the vessel contained but a little oil, Saul received little, and he adds elsewhere: “In every respect Saul represents the obstinate and the proud.” St. Gregory says that Saul, who was sent by his father” to look for the lost asses, is a type of our Lord whom His Father sent to seek lost souls”.
He goes on to say that enemies are round about as blessed Peter said: “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about.” Saul was anointed to deliver his people from the enemies who were attacking them, but Christ the Anointed in the highest sense, came to deliver us from the devils who seek our destruction. This enables us to understand the choice of the epistle and gospel of this Mass.
The gospel shows us the lost sheep and the Good Shepherd seeking it, placing it on His shoulders and returning with it to the fold. It is one of the oldest representations in Christian iconography found in the catacombs. The epistle explains the dangers to which men, expressed by the lost sheep, are exposed. “Watch because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour; whom resist ye, strong in faith1” (Epistle). He will shelter you from the attack of your enemies (Gradual), who is the protector of all who hope in Him (Collect), and who never forsakes them that seek Him (Offertory) Remembering Saul’s fate who, at first little in his own eyes, afterwards became puffed up with pride on account of his royal dignity, disobeyed God and would not acknowledge his faults, let us “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God” (Epistle), saying: O my God, look upon me and have mercy… in Thee I put my trust; let me be not ashamed (Introit): and since without Thee nothing is strong, nothing is holy, make us in such manner to use temporal goods, that we lose not those which are eternal (Collect). Give us, then, an immovable constancy in the midst of temptation of every kind (Epistle).
INTROIT Psalm 17: 19-20
Look Thou upon me , O Lord, and have mercy on me: for I am alone and poor.See my abjection and my labor and forgive me all my sins, O my God. (Ps. 24: 1,2) To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat Look Thou upon me…
Make us, O Lord, to have both a perpetual fear and a love of Thy holy Name: for Thou dost never deprive of Thy guidance those whom Thou dost establish steadfastly in Thy love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
EPISTLE I Peter 5: 6-11
Lesson from the first Epistle of Blessed Peter the Apostle. Dearly Beloved, Be you humbled under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in the time of visitation casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you. Be sober and, watch, because, your adversary the, devil, as, a roaring lion, goeth about seekinq whom he may devour, Whom resist ye, strong in faith knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto the eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever, Amen.
GRADUAL Psalm 54: 23, 17, 19
Cast thy care upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. V. When I cried to the Lord He heard my voice, from them that draw near to me. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 7: 12) God is a just judge, strong and patient: is He angry every day? Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 15: 1-10
At that time, the publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus to hear Him: and the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them. And He spoke to them this parable, saying: ” What man is there of you that hath a hundred sheep, and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing and coming home, call together his friends and neighbors, saying to them; Rejoice with me because I have found my sheep that was lost? I say to you that even so there shall be joy in Heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need no penance. Or what woman having ten groats, if she lose one groat doth not light a candle and sweep the house,and seek diligently until she find it? And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbors, saying: Rejoice with me because I have found the groat which I had lost? So I say to you, there shall be joy before the Angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 9: 11, 12, 13
Let them trust in Thee who know Thy name, O Lord: for Thou hast not forsaken them that seek Thee; sing ye to the Lord, Who dwelleth in Sion: for He hath not forgotten the cry of the poor.
May the offering, to be dedicated to thy Name, O Lord, purify us, and day by day, carry us on the observances of a heavenly life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, Forever and ever.
PREFACE of the Trinity
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 15: 10
I say to you: there is joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.
May Thy holy Gifts, O Lord, which we have received, give us life: and having purified us, prepare us for thine everlasting mercy. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
world without end.