10 - 14 minutes readThird Sunday after Pentecost ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger

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Third Sunday after Pentecost

The faithful soul has witnessed, through the sacred Liturgy, the close of the mysteries of our Redemption, which were wrought, in succession, by our Jesus, and applied to us, one after the other, by his Church, in her divine worship of them. The Holy Ghost has been sent, by the Father and Son, and he has lovingly and graciously come, to continue amongst us the work of the Incarnate Word. He, the Spirit of the Father and Son, is come to support the Christian in this second portion of both time and season; it is, as far as the Year of Grace is concerned, the second portion of that Year; and the Holy Spirit is to rule it; and he does so by bringing before us gradually, we might say, week by week of this Time after Pentecost, the fulness of the Christian life, as we received it from our Redeemer, who has now ascended into heaven, and thence has sent us this beautiful Paraclete, to form within us that life, to its full development. Amongst other gifts he gives us for the purpose, he shows us how to pray. Prayer, as our Jesus told us, must be continual; we must be always praying, and not faint or fail. And yet, we know not what we should pray for, nor how we should pray, so as to obtain. This is quite true; but He, the Holy Spirit, knows it all; and comes to us, helping our infirmity, yea, and himself asking for us, with unspeakable groanings. In the Introit and the whole Mass for this Sunday, we are taught that Prayer must have, amongst its other requisite qualities, that of humble repentance for our past sins, and of confidence in God’s infinite mercy.


This is the Third Sunday after Pentecost; it is the first which has no rubrical connection with the great Feasts we have been solemnizing; it is a Sunday with all the simplicity of the Office of the Time.

Respice in me, et miserere mei, Domine, quoniam unicus et pauper sum ego: vide humilitatem meam, et laborem meum: et dimitte omnia peccata mea, Deus meus. Look thou upon me, and have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am alone and poor; see my abjection and my labor: and forgive me all my sins, O my God.
Ps. Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confido, non erubescam. Gloria Patri. Respice. Ps. To thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in thee, O my God, I place my trust, let me not be ashamed. Glory, etc. Look thou.
Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum: multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam; ut, te rectore, te duce, sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamus æterna. Per Dominum. O God, the protector of those who hope in thee! without whose aid, nothing is strong, nothing holy: increase thy mercy towards us; that under thy direction and conduct, we may so pass through the blessings of this life, as not to lose those which are eternal. Through, etc.
Second Collect
A cunctis nos quæsumus, Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, cumque beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus Sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem; ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia tua secura tibi serviat libertate. Preserve us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all dangers of soul and body: and, by the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, the ever Virgin-Mother of God, of Blessed Joseph, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of Blessed N. (here is mentioned the Titular Saint of the Church), and of all the Saints, grant us, in thy mercy, health and peace; that, all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee with undisturbed liberty.

The third Collect is left to the Priest’s own choice.

Lectio Epistolæ beati Petri Apostoli. Lesson of the Epistle of St. Peter the Apostle.
I Cap. V. I Ch. V.
Charissimi, humiliamini igitur sub potenti manu Dei, ut vos exaltet in tempore visitationis: omnem sollicitudinem vestram projicientes in eum, quoniam ipsi cura est de vobis. Sobrii estote, et vigilate: quia adversarius vester diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit, quærens quem devoret: cui resistite fortes in fide: scientes eamdem passionem ei quae in mundo est vestræ fraternitati fieri. Deus autem omnis gratiae, qui vocavit nos in æternam suam gloriam in Christo Jesu, modicum passos ipse perficiet, confirmabit, solidabitque. Ipsi gloria, et imperium in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Dearly beloved: Be you humbled therefore 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 seeking 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 into his 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.

The miseries of this present life are the test to which God puts his soldiers; he passes judgment upon them, and classifies them, according to the degree of courage they have shown. Therefore is it, that we all have our share of suffering. The combat has commenced. God is looking on, watching how each of us comports himself. The day is not far off, when the Judge will pass sentence on the merits of each combatant, and award to each one the recompense he has won. Combat, now; peace and rest and a crown, then. Happy they who, during these days of probation, have recognized the mighty hand of God in all the trials they have had, and have humbled themselves under its pressure, lovingly and confidingly! Against such Christians, who have been strong in faith, the roaring lion has not been able to prevail. They were sober, they were watchful, during this their pilgrimage. They were fully convinced of this, that every one has to suffer in the present life; they therefore never sighed and moaned, as though they were the only sufferers; they did not assume the attitude of victims, and call it Resignation! but they took each trial as it came, and, without talking to every one about it, they quietly and joyously united it with the sufferings of Christ. O true Christians! you will be joyous for all eternity, when there will be made the manifestation of that eternal glory in Christ Jesus, which he will pass on to them, that they may share it with him for ever!

The Gradual keeps up the same strain;—it encourages the faithful soul to confidence. Let him cast all his care upon his heavenly Father; has he not always graciously heard him in all his troubles and necessities? As to enemies, let him cast away the thought; God will think of that, and, if it so please him, will avenge the soul they persecuted.

Jacta cogitatum tuum in Domino: et ipse te enutriet. Cast thy care upon the Lord: and he shall sustain thee.
℣. Dum clamarem ad Dominum, exaudivit vocem meam ab his qui appropinquant mihi. ℣. When I cried out to the Lord, he graciously heard my voice against those who were coming upon me.
Alleluia, alleluia. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Deus judex justus, fortis et patiens, numquid irascitur per singulos dies? Alleluia. ℣. God is a just judge, strong and patient; is he angry every day?
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam. Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
Cap. XV. Ch. XV.
In illo tempore: erant autem appropinquantes ei publicani, et peccatores ut audirent illum. Et murmurabant pharisæi, et scribæ, dicentes: Quia hic peccatores recipit, et manducat cum illis. Et ait ad illos parabolam istam dicens: Quis ex vobis homo, qui habet centum oves, et si perdiderit unam ex illis, nonne dimittit nonaginta novem in deserto, et vadit ad illam quæ perierat, donec inveniat eam? Et cum invenerit eam, imponit in humeros suos gaudens: et veniens domum convocat amicos et vicinos, dicens illis: Congratulamini mihi, quia inveni ovem meam, quae perierat. Dico vobis quod ita gaudium erit in caelo super uno peccatore pœnitentiam agente, quam super nonaginta novem justis, qui non indigent poenitentia. Aut quae mulier habens drachmas decem, si perdiderit drachmam unam, nonne accendit lucernam, et everrit domum, et quaerit diligenter, donec inveniat? Et cum invenerit convocat amicas et vicinas, dicens: Congratulamini mihi, quia inveni drachmam quam perdideram. Ita, dico vobis, gaudium erit coram angelis Dei super uno peccatore pœnitentiam agente. At that time: the publicans and sinners drew near unto him to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spoke to them this parable, saying: What man of you that hath an 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 was 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 neighbours, 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 not 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 neighbours, 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.

This parable of the Sheep that is carried back to the fold on the Shepherd’s shoulders was a favorite one with the early Christians; and they made representations of it at almost every turn. The same is put before us in today’s Gospel, that our confidence may be strengthened in God’s infinite mercy. It reminds us, in its own beautiful way, of our Lord Jesus; whom we contemplated, a few weeks back, ascending triumphantly into heaven, carrying thither, in his arms, the lost human family, which he had won back from Satan and death and sin. For, as St. Ambrose says, “who is the Shepherd of our parable? It is Christ, who carries thee, poor man, in his own Body, and has taken all thy sins upon himself. The Sheep is one, not by number, but by its kind. Rich Shepherd this, of whose flock, all we human beings form but the hundredth part! for he has the Angels, and Archangels, and Dominations, and Powers, and Thrones, and all the rest,—all those other countless flocks, whom he has left yonder up the mountains, that he might run after the one Sheep he had lost.”

But it is from St. Gregory the Great that the Church, in her Matins of this Sunday, took the Commentary of this Gospel. And, in the sequel of that Homily, the holy Doctor gives us the explanation of the Parable of the Woman and the ten Groats. “He,” says St. Gregory, “that is signified by the Shepherd, is also meant by the Woman. Jesus is God; he is the Wisdom of God. And because good coin must bear the image of the king upon it, therefore was it that the Woman lost her groat, when Man, who had been created after God’s image, strayed from that image by committing sin. But, the Woman lights a lamp; the Wisdom of God hath appeared in human flesh. A lamp is a light which burns in a vessel of clay; and Light in a vessel of clay, is the Divinity in our flesh. It is of the vessel of this Body, that this Wisdom says: My strength is dried up like a potsherd. For, just as clay is made hard by fire, so His strength was dried up like a potsherd, because it has strengthened unto the glory of his resurrection, in the crucible of sufferings, the Flesh which it (Wisdom) had assumed … Having found the groat she had lost, the Woman calleth together her friends and neighbors, saying: ‘Rejoice with me! because I have found the groat which I had lost.’ Who are these friends and neighbors, if not the heavenly Spirits, who are so near to divine Wisdom, by the favors they enjoy of the ceaseless vision? But we must not, meanwhile, neglect to examine why this Woman, who represents divine Wisdom, is described as having ten groats, one of which she loses, then looks for, and again finds it? We must know, then, that God made both Angels and Men, that they might know him; and that having made both immortal, they were both made to the image of God. The Woman, then, had ten groats, because there are nine orders of Angels, and Man, who is to fill up the number of the elect, is the tenth groat; he was lost by his sin, but was found again, because Eternal Wisdom restored him, by lighting the lamp, that is, by assuming his flesh, and, through that, working wonderful works, which led to his recovery.”

The Offertory is an outpouring of gratitude and love for the God who dwelleth in Sion; he does not abandon them that seek him; he does not forget the poor man’s prayer.

Sperent in te omnes, qui noverunt Nomen tuum, Domine: quoniam non derelinquis quærentes te: psallite Domino, qui habitat in Sion, quoniam non est oblitus orationem pauperum. Let them trust in thee, O Lord, who know thy name: for thou hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Sing ye to the Lord who dwelleth in Sion: for that he hath not forgotten the prayer of the poor.
Respice, Domine, munera supplicantis Ecclesiæ: et saluti credentium perpetua sanctificatione umenda concede. Per Dominum. Look down, O Lord, on the offerings of thy suppliant Church; and grant that thy faithful may always worthily partake thereof in order to their salvation. Through, etc.
Second Secret
Exaudi nos, Deus Salutaris noster: ut per hujus Sacramenti virtutem, a cunctis nos mentis et corporis hostibus tuearis, gratiam tribuens in præsenti, et gloriam in futuro. Graciously hear us, O God our Savior: that by virtue of this sacrament, thou mayest defend us from all enemies, of both soul and body: grant us grace in this life, and glory in the next.

The third Secret is left to the Priest’s own choice.

The Preface is that appointed for all Sundays during the year, for which no proper one is fixed, either of the Time, or for a Fast. It is given here.

The Communion-Anthem recalls to our minds, and with much appropriateness, the merciful teaching of today’s Gospel, now that Eternal Wisdom has regained full possession of the last groat, by means of the sacred Banquet, which He Himself had given to the repentant prodigal.

Dico vobis: gaudium est Angelis Dei super uno peccatore pœnitentiam agente. I say to you: there is joy among the Angels of God over one sinner doing penance.
Sancta tua nos, Domine, sumpta vivificent: et misericordiæ sempinternæ præparent expiatos. Per Dominum. May thy sacred mysteries, O Lord, which we have received, give us life; and cleansing us from our sins, make us worthy of thy eternal mercy. Through, etc.
Second Postcommunion
Mundet et muniat nos, quæsumus, Domine, divini Sacramenti munus oblatum, et intercedente beata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, cumque beatis Apostolis tuis Petro and Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus Sanctis, a cunctis non reddat et perversitationibus expiatos, et adversitatibus expeditos. May the oblation of this divine Sacrament, we beseech thee, O Lord, both cleanse and defend us; and by the intercession of Blessed Mary, the Virgin-Mother of God, of Blessed Joseph, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of Blessed N. and of all the Saints, free us from all sin, and deliver us from all adversity.


This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)