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Arch Bishop Micheal Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Spiritual Reading

  • Thursday 9 June 2022

    Thursday of week 10 in Ordinary Time 
    or Saint Ephraem, Deacon, Doctor 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Thursday of week 10 in Ordinary Time

    A sermon by Origen
    The conquest of Jericho

    Jericho is besieged and surrounded but has yet to fall. How is it to be conquered? Not with arrows or swords or battering-ram. Nothing is deployed but the priests’ trumpets, and the walls of Jericho crumble.
    In Scripture we often find Jericho used as a symbol of the world. Even in the Gospel, when the traveller from Jerusalem to Jericho is set upon by robbers, is he not an image of Adam, thrown out of paradise into exile in this world? And again, those blind men who were in Jericho, when Jesus came to them to give them sight, are they not an example of those who live in this world, oppressed by the blindness of ignorance until the Son of God enlightens them?
    And so this Jericho – this world – must fall. The consummation of this present age has long been prophesied by the sacred books.
    How will this consummation come about? By what means? Scripture tells us, at the sound of the trumpet. What trumpet is that? Paul gives you the key to this secret. Listen to him: The trumpet will sound, and the dead who are in Christ will be raised, imperishable. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Then, therefore, our Lord Jesus will come with trumpets to conquer Jericho and throw it down, so that out of all its people there will survive only the prostitute and her household. Our Lord Jesus will come down, come down with the sound of the trumpet.
    May he save that one woman who gave succour to his spies, who received his Apostles in trust and obedience and hid them in her roof. May he take that prostitute and give her a share with the house of Israel. But let us not go over this story again and label her with the name of her past sin. She may have been a prostitute once but now she is a chaste virgin, joined to her chaste spouse, who is Christ. Listen to what St Paul says about her: I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband. And he was still speaking of her when he said: There was a time when we too were ignorant, disobedient and misled and enslaved by different passions and luxuries.
    Do you want to know more about how the prostitute ceased to be a prostitute? Listen again to Paul: These are the sort of people you were once, but now you have been washed clean, and sanctified, and justified through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God. To enable her to escape the destruction of Jericho she received from the spies a powerful sign of safety, the scarlet rope. For it is through the blood of Christ that the whole Church is saved, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom belong glory and power throughout all the ages. Amen.


    Other choices for today:

    Saint Ephraem, Deacon, Doctor

    Miniature of Ephrem the Syrian, from a 16th-century Russian manuscript.

    From a sermon of St Ephraem
    The divine ordering of the world is an image of the spiritual world

    O Lord, drive away the darkness from our minds with the light of your wisdom, so that enlightened in this way we may serve you with renewed purity. The beginning of the sun’s passage through the sky marks the beginning of the working day for us mortals: we ask you, Lord, to prepare in our minds a place where the day that knows no end may give its light. Grant that we may have within us this light, the life of the resurrection, and that nothing may take away our delight in you. Mark us with the sign of that day that does not begin with the movement and the course of the sun, by keeping our minds fixed on you.
    In your sacraments we welcome you every day and receive you in our bodies. Make us worthy to experience within us the resurrection for which we hope. By the grace of baptism we conceal within our bodies the treasure of your divine life. This treasure increases as we eat at the table of your sacraments. Let us rejoice in your grace. We have within us, Lord, a memorial of you, which we receive at your spiritual table; may we possess the full reality in the life to come.
    Let us appreciate the great beauty that is ours through the spiritual beauty that your immortal will arouses in our mortal nature.
    Your crucifixion, Lord, was the end of your bodily life: help us to crucify our will to give birth to the spiritual life. May your resurrection, Jesus, fill our spirits with greatness: may we see in your sacraments a mirror in which we may be able to recognise the resurrection.
    Your divine ordering of the world, O Saviour, is the image of the spiritual world: let us live in it as truly spiritual men. Do not take away from our minds, Lord, the signs of your spiritual presence and do not withdraw from our bodies the warmth and delight of your presence. The mortal nature of our bodies is a source of corruption within us: let the outpouring of the spirit of your love wipe away the effect of mortality from our hearts. Grant, Lord, that we may hasten to our true home, and, like Moses on the mountain-top, let us have a glimpse of it.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Saint Columba (Colum Cille), Abbot

    Columba banging on the gate of Bridei, son of Maelchon, King of Fortriu, 1906, by Joseph Ratcliffe Skelton (1865–1927).

    From the Life of Columba, by Adomnan
    Columba's mission

    From his boyhood Colum Cille devoted himself to the Christian combat and to the search for wisdom. By God’s grace he preserved integrity of body and purity of soul, so that he seemed like one ready for the life of heaven though still on earth; for in appearance he was like an angel, refined in his speech, holy in his works, pre-eminent in character, great in counsel.
    In the forty-second year of his age he sailed away from Ireland to Britain, wishing to be a pilgrim for Christ. During his life of thirty-four years as a soldier of Christ on the island of lona, he could not let even one hour pass that was not given to prayer or reading or writing or some other good work. Night and day he so unwearyingly gave himself to fasts and vigils that the burden of each single work seemed beyond the strength of man. Yet through all he was loving to everyone, his holy face was always cheerful, and in his inmost heart he was happy with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
    When the end of his years was at hand, he gave his last commands to his brothers, saying: ‘I commend to you, my children, these last words of mine, that you keep among you unfeigned love with peace.’ Then when the bell was rung for the midnight office he arose quickly and went to the church, where he went in alone before the others and knelt down in prayer before the altar. Diormuit his attendant followed, and the whole community of monks ran in with lights; when they saw that their father was dying they began to lament. Then Diormuit raised the saint’s holy right hand, to bless the monastic company. At the same time the venerable father himself moved his hand, as well as he was able, and immediately after he had so expressed his holy blessing he breathed his last.


    Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest

    The Encyclical "Mediator Dei" of Pope Pius XII
    Christ, Priest and Victim

    Christ is a Priest indeed; however, he is a Priest not for himself but for us, since, in the name of the whole human race, he brings our prayers and religious dispositions to the eternal Father; he is also a victim, but a victim for us, since he substitutes himself for sinners.
    Now the exhortation of the Apostle, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” demands that all Christians should possess, as far as is humanly possible, the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when he offered himself in sacrifice: that is to say, they should with a humble attitude of mind, offer adoration, honour, praise and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God.
    Moreover, it demands that they must assume in some way the condition of a victim, that they deny themselves as the Gospel commands, that freely and of their own accord they do penance and that each detests and makes satisfaction for his sins.
    It demands, in a word, that we must all undergo with Christ a mystical death on the Cross so that we can apply to ourselves the words of St Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:19).

    Copyright © 1996-2022 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.