Isaiah, Chapter 8, verse 5-7
The Choice: The Lord
or Assyria. 5Again
the Lord spoke to me: 6Because
has rejected the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, And melts with FEAR
at the display of Rezin and Remaliah’s son, 7Therefore the Lord is
bringing up against them the waters of the River, great and mighty, the king of
Assyria and all his glory.
Isaiah here is admonishing the people that if they give in to fear and seek the aid of neighboring kings, they are making a choice. The Lord or Assyria. Isaiah encouraged them to have courage and trust in God rather than men. The people repeated the same error as in the time of Moses for they lacked courage failing to trust in God and while Moses was on Mount Ararat receiving the Ten Commandments the people made a graven image to protect them. Ultimately King Ahaz and Israel lacked courage and sought the aid of the strong warrior nation of Assyria which resulted in their ultimate failure.
We must learn from this verse to put our trust solely in God and mark our actions and thoughts with total confidence in the power of God.
in the previous chapter had strived to get King Ahaz to make an act of faith in
God's power: "Ask a sign of the Lord your God." However, the king refused; for he preferred
to seek salvation in human aid, the prophet made this prediction: "Hear
then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary
my God also? Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin
shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel"(Is
7:13-14). Courage requires us to have the vision of Christ for: “For where there is no vision,
the people perish.”
The fulfilment of the Sabbath
62. It is the duty of Christians therefore to remember that, although the practices of the Jewish Sabbath are gone, surpassed as they are by the "fulfilment" which Sunday brings, the underlying reasons for keeping "the Lord's Day" holy — inscribed solemnly in the Ten Commandments — remain valid, though they need to be reinterpreted in the light of the theology and spirituality of Sunday: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Then you shall do no work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your servant, or your maid, or your ox, or your ass, or any of your beasts, or the foreigner within your gates, that your servant and maid may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God commanded that you keep the Sabbath day" (Dt 5:12-15). Here the Sabbath observance is closely linked with the liberation which God accomplished for his people.
"We are going up to Jerusalem" -- a setting of the stage for the pilgrimage of Lent, and the one thing we must bring with us: charity. [Also, traditional time for going to confession]
In the Roman Catholic Church, the terms for this Sunday (and the two immediately before it — Sexagesima and Septuagesima Sundays) were eliminated in the reforms following the Second Vatican Council, and these Sundays are part of Ordinary Time. According to the reformed Roman Rite Roman Catholic calendar, this Sunday is now known by its number within Ordinary Time — fourth through ninth, depending upon the date of Easter. The earlier form of the Roman Rite, with its references to Quinquagesima Sunday, and to the Sexagesima and Septuagesima Sundays, continues to be observed in some communities. In traditional lectionaries, the Sunday concentrates on Luke 18:31–43, "Jesus took the twelve aside and said, 'Lo, we go to Jerusalem, and everything written by the prophets about the Son of Man shall be fulfilled' ... The disciples, however, understood none of this," which from verse 35 is followed by Luke's version of Healing the blind near Jericho. The passage presages the themes of Lent and Holy Week.
ON this Sunday the Church, in the Introit, calls upon God for help, with a sorrowful but confident heart. Be Thou unto me a protector and place of refuge; save me, for Thou art my strength and refuge, and for Thy name’s sake Thou wilt be my leader, and wilt nourish me. In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded; deliver me in Thy justice, and set me free; (Ps. xxx. 3, 4, 2).
Mercifully hear our prayers, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and, absolving us from the bonds of sin, preserve us from all adversity. Amen.
EPISTLE, i. COT. xiii. 1-13.
Brethren: If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal; and if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain, faith, hope, charity: these three, but the greatest of these is charity.
Explanation. St. Paul here teaches the Romans, and us in them, the necessity, the qualities, and the advantages of charity: The necessity because all natural and supernatural gifts all good works, virtues, and sacrifices even martyrdom itself cannot save us if we have no charity. By charity only are we and our works pleasing to God. The qualities of charity which are good-will without envy, suspicion, perversity, or malice; pure intention without selflove, ambition, immodesty, or injustice; untiring patience without hastiness; and, finally, humble submission to God, Who is all to him that possesses charity. The advantages of charity in that it gives to good works their value, and that it never fails; for while all things else cease while faith passes into seeing, hope into possession, knowledge in part into knowledge of the whole charity is ever lasting, and therefore the greatest of the three. Faith, “says St. Augustine,”; lays the foundation of the house of God; hope builds up the walls; charity covers and completes it.”
Aspiration. O God of love pour into my heart the spirit of charity, that, according to the spirit of St. Paul, I may always endeavor to be in the state of grace, that so all my works may be pleasing to Thee, and of merit to me. Amen.
GOSPEL. Luke xviii. 31-43.
At that time: Jesus took unto Him the twelve, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man; for He shall be delivered to the gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing commanded him to be brought unto Him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people when they saw it gave praise to God.
Why did Our Savior so often predict His sufferings to His apostles?
1. To show that He already knew of them, thereby indicating His omniscience; and that,
2. He desired to suffer.
3. In order that His disciples should not be scandalized at His humiliation, nor think evil of Him as if He had deceived them, but by remembering His words, be rather confirmed in their belief in Him as the Son of God and Redeemer of the world.
Did not the apostles understand anything of what He thus predicted in regard to His sufferings?
They may have known that He was to suffer, for St. Peter undertook to dissuade Him from it (Matt. xvi. 22), but they could not reconcile these predictions with their expectation of a future glorious kingdom. Nor would we be able to cast off our prejudices, and understand the truths of the faith, however plainly taught, were we not enlightened by the Holy Ghost.
What should we learn from this history of the blind man?
1. The inexpressible misfortune of blindness of the heart a state in which we know not our God, our Redeemer and Sanctifier, and see neither the way of divine life, nor the hindrances to our salvation, but grope about in the darkness of ignorance and sin.
2. Where to find One Who will save us from this awful condition, in Jesus Christ healing and enlightening us through and in His Church.
3. The holy zeal and perseverance with which we should seek and call upon Him for deliverance, disregarding alike the bad examples, persecutions, and mockery of the world.
4. How fervently we should thank God, and how faithfully we should follow Him, after He has opened the eyes of our soul and freed us, by His grace, from the spiritual blindness of sin.
Eastern Orthodox Church
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, its equivalent, the Sunday before Great Lent, is called "Forgiveness Sunday", "Maslenitsa Sunday", or "Cheesefare Sunday". The latter name comes because this Sunday concludes Maslenitsa, the week in which butter and cheese may be eaten, which are prohibited during Great Lent. The former name derives from the fact that this Sunday is followed by a special Vespers called "Forgiveness Vespers" which opens Great Lent. On this day the Eastern Orthodox Church Christians at the liturgy listen to the Gospel speaking of forgiveness of sins, fasting, and the gathering of treasures in heaven. On this day, all Orthodox Christians ask each other for forgiveness to begin the Great Lent with a good heart, to focus on the spiritual life, to purify the heart from sin in confession, and to meet Easter - the day of the Resurrection of Jesus with a pure heart. This is the last day before Lent when non-lenten food is eaten.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: Protection of Life from Conception until natural death.Unite in the work of the
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 12
 Pope John Paul II's General Audience on January 31, 1996, Vatican Press, February 7, 1996.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.