DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     November 19-21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 220

DAILY LITURGY

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Friday, November 19, 1999

      First Reading: 1 Machabees 4: 36-37, 52-59
      Psalms: 1 Chronicles 29: 10-13
      Gospel Reading: Luke 19: 45-48

Saturday, November 20, 1998

    Saturday November 20:
    Thirty-third Saturday in Ordinary Time and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: 1 Maccabees 6: 1-13
      Psalms: Psalm 9: 2-4, 6, 16, 19
      Gospel Reading: Luke 20: 27-40

Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

        Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne (see archives December 23, no. 25 issue). He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

SUNDAY, November 21, 1999

      First Reading: Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-17
      Psalms: Psalm 23: 1-6
      Second Reading:1 Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 31-46

SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING

       This feast fittingly climaxes the Church's liturgical year on the last Sunday before Advent. A relatively new feast, Pope Pius XI established it be celebrated on the last Sunday in October. It was changed after Vatican II to transplant the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, a fitting time to celebrate the apex of all we strive for - Jesus Christ, our Spiritual King - the Lord and Giver of life, Maker of law, the supreme judge and ruling Authority in the minds, wills and hearts of all mankind. Jesus began His public ministry by announcing in Mark 1: 14, "the kingdom of God is at hand" and just before His crucifixion affirmed to the high priests His rightful title as King of Heaven and earth, "you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of Heaven." By celebrating this feast on the final Sunday of the liturgical year we are paying homage to our Sovereign King as His subjects in fulfilling the words of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:32-33, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be King over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." The cycle is completed with this feast which leads into a new year with the First Sunday of Advent and preparation for His coming. A time to prepare for Christ the King, Whom as a little child the three kings bowed down to, as we should always as His loyal, humble and obedient servants.

Monday, November 22, 1999

      First Reading: Daniel 1: 1-6, 8-20
      Psalms: Daniel 3: 52-56
      Gospel Reading: Luke 21: 1-4

Feast of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

        Born into a Patrician family in Rome and raised a Christian, Saint Cecilia still was afforded all the luxury of a family of wealth in pagan Rome. Though she had disgarded this way of life,l vowing herself to virginity, her father thought otherwise and forced her to marry a young pagan man by the name of Valerian. During the pagan nuptial ceremony songs of merriment and sensuality were played, but Cecilia didn't hear it for her heart was dedicated to God alone and that was her song as the Acts of of St. Cecilia proclaim, "While instruments were playing (at her wedding feast) profane music, Cecilia sang rather to God in her heart." Because of this she has been chosen patron saint of music and musicians. On their wedding night Cecilia disclosed her vow to her new husband and rather than going into a rage, Valerian, who loved her dearly, was converted by a vision of St. Cecilia's guardian angel and forever honored her vow of virginity, not consummating their marriage. He became so enraptured with Christianity that he converted his brother Tiburtius. Both dedicated their lives to carrying for the survivors of loved ones who had been martyred as well as burying the martyrs. Caught by the Roman guards burying the martyrs they were arrested by the prefect Almachius who ordered them to sacrifice to the gods. When they refused both Valerian and Tiburtius were beheaded along with Saint Maximus who was converted on the spot, so impressed by their faith and determination. When Cecilia brought the three bodies back to her villa along the Appian Way to be buried there, she, too, was arrested. The guards tried to suffocate her in her room, but she miraculously survived. When brought before the prefect, Almachius tried to dissuade her from her ideals as he did with her husband, but Cecilia would have nothing to do with the world, the flesh and the devil. He then ordered that she also be decapitated, but the executioner bungled the job and Cecilia was not killed instantly, but rather lingered in pain for three days before expiring around September 16, 235. Dates vary among historians, some placing it as early as 230, others 250 but research shows Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus died during the end of the reign of the Roman Emperor Alexander who ruled between 222 and 235. Therefore the most accurate date would be 235. Commemoration of St. Cecilia began in the 600's after they discovered facts about her inscribed on the walls of the catacomb of Saint Callistus. Pope Paschal I dedicated the basilica of St. Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome in 824 where he transfered her relics and commissioned a mosaic depicting Cecilia standing between Valerian and Tiburtius.

November 19-21, 1999       volume 10, no. 220
LITURGY

DAILY CATHOLIC

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