Friday, October 29, 2010

Gracious And Merciful Is The LORD.

Friday of the Thirtieth Week
in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Philippians 1:1-11
Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus,
to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus
who are in Philippi,
with the bishops and deacons:
grace to you and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God
at every remembrance of you,
praying always with joy
in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the Gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right that I should think this way
about all of you,
because I hold you in my heart,
you who are all partners with me in grace,
both in my imprisonment
and in the defense
and confirmation of the Gospel.
For God is my witness,
how I long for all of you
with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase
ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure
and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.
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Psalm 111
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people
the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
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Luke 14:1-6
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law
and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you,
if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately
pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.

St. Narcissus of Jerusalem
(d. 215)

Life in second- and third-century Jerusalem couldn’t have been easy, but St. Narcissus managed to live well beyond 100. Some even speculate he lived to 160.

Details of his life are sketchy, but there are many reports of his miracles. The miracle for which he is most remembered was turning water into oil for use in the church lamps on Holy Saturday when the deacons had forgotten to provide any.

We do know that Narcissus became bishop of Jerusalem in the late second century. He was known for his holiness, but there are hints that many people found him harsh and rigid in his efforts to impose church discipline. One of his many detractors accused Narcissus of a serious crime at one point. Though the charges against him did not hold up, he used the occasion to retire from his role as bishop and live in solitude. His disappearance was so sudden and convincing that many people assumed he had actually died.

Several successors were appointed during his years in isolation. Finally, Narcissus reappeared in Jerusalem and was persuaded to resume his duties. By then, he had reached an advanced age, so a younger bishop was brought in to assist him until his death.

Saint of the Day

1 comment:

Sarah in the tent said...

Another website (Nominis) explains that St Narcissus presided at the Council of Palestine in 195 AD during which it was decided to celebrate Easter always on a Sunday rather than on whichever day of the week the 14th Nisan fell each year. I suppose the Easter flower, narcissus, might have been named for this saint.

I'm currently reading Bede and it's striking how angered he was, writing around 700 AD, by any disunity about the date on which to celebrate Easter, because he believed the Council of Nicea (325 AD) had finally settled the matter.

However today, whereas Easter in the west is a March/April feast (like the Jewish Passover) in the east it falls in April/May. This is because in 1582 the western Church switched to the Gregorian calendar, while the eastern Church retained the Julian calendar for calculating Easter. It's strange how an intended reformation of the date of Easter reinforced the split between the eastern and western Church at just the same time as an intended reformation of the western Church was shattering it into thousands of sects.

In 2010 and 2011 the eastern and western Church celebrate Easter together. It is most unusual for two consecutive years to deliver the same date for Easter and people hope that this foretaste will be an appetizer for permanent unity of date. If it is, it will be a wonderful sign.

According to 'Nominis', after the death of St Narcissus at 113 years of age, his replacement wrote: "He still governs the church with his prayers. He is now 116 years old and he exhorts you, as I also do, to live in harmony and peace."

Perhaps we should pray to St Narcissus as we hope for harmonization of the date of Easter.