Third Sunday of Lent
Introit Mine eyes are ever towards the Lord: for He shall pluck my feet out of the snare: look upon me, and have mercy on me; for I am alone and poor. Psalm. To You, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in You, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed. ℣. 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.
Collect We beseech You, almighty God, look upon the desires of the humble: and stretch forth the right hand of Your Majesty to be our defence.
Epistle (Ephesians 5:1-9) Brethren: Be followers of God, as most dear children: and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and has delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacriﬁce to God for an odour of sweetness. But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becomes saints: or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather (only speak of) giving of thanks.
For know you this, and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person, which is a serving of idols, has inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things the anger of God falls upon the children of unbelief. Be not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness: but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice, and truth.
Gradual Arise, Lord; let not man be strengthened; let the gentiles be judged in Your sight. When my enemy shall be turned back, they shall be weakened and perish before Your face.
Tract To You have I lifted up mine eyes, who dwells in heaven. Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters. And as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until He have mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Gospel (Luke 11:14-28) At that time Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb. And when He had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke, and the multitudes were in admiration at it. But some of them said: “He casts out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.” And others, tempting, asked of Him a sign from heaven.
But He, seeing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall. And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I by the ﬁnger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keeps his court, those things are in peace which he possesses. But if a stronger one than he is come upon him and overcome him, he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathers not with Me scatters. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through places without water, seeking rest: and not ﬁnding, he says: I will return into my house whence I came out. And when he is come, he ﬁnds it swept and garnished. Then he goes and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the ﬁrst.”
And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the paps that gave You suck.” But he said: “Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.”
Offertory The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts, and His judgments are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb: for Your servant keeps them.
Secret May this Victim, O Lord, we beseech You, cleanse away our sins: and by sanctifying Your servants in body and mind, make them ﬁt to celebrate this Sacriﬁce.
Communion The sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtle a nest, where she may lay her young ones: Thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God: blessed are they that dwell in Your house, they shall praise You for ever and ever
Postcommunion In Your mercy, we beseech You, O Lord, do Thou from all guilt and peril absolve us, whom You grant to be sharers in so great a Mystery.
from PARADOXES OF CATHOLICISM
Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson
The mysteries of the Church, a materialistic scientist once announced … are child’s play compared with the mysteries of nature. He was completely wrong, of course, yet there was every excuse for his mistake. For, as he himself tells us in effect, he found everywhere in that created nature which he knew so well, anomaly piled on anomaly and paradox on paradox, and he knew no more of theology than its simpler and more explicit statements.
We can be certain therefore—we who understand that the mysteries of nature are, after all, within the limited circle of created life, while the mysteries of grace run up into the supreme Mystery of the eternal and uncreated Life of God—we can be certain that, if nature is mysterious and paradoxical, grace will be incalculably more mysterious….
We need look no further … to find these mysteries than to that tiny mirror of the Supernatural which we call our self, to that little thread of experience which we name the “spiritual life.” How is it, for example, that while in one mood our religion is the lamp of our shadowy existence, in another it is the single dark spot upon a world of pleasure—in one mood the single thing that makes life worth living at all, and in another the one obstacle to our contentment? What are those sorrowful and joyful mysteries of human life, mutually contradictory yet together resultant (as in the Rosary itself) in others that are glorious? Turn to that master passion that underlies these mysteries—the passion that is called love—and see if there be anything more inexplicable than such an explanation. What is this passion, then, that turns joy to sorrow and sorrow to joy—this motive that drives a man to lose his life that he may save it, that turns bitter to sweet and makes the Cross but a light yoke after all, that causes him to find his centre outside his own circle, and to please himself best by depriving himself of pleasure? What is that power that so often fills us with delights before we have begun to labour, and rewards our labour with the darkness of dereliction?