WEDNESDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF LENT
STATION AT ST. CECILIA’S
(Indulgence of 10 years and 10 quarantines)
The Station is in the basilica of Saint Cecily. This church, one of the most venerable in Rome, was the house of the illustrious virgin and martyr whose name it bears. The body of Saint Cecily is under the high altar, together with those of Saints Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, and of the holy Popes Urban and Lucius, all martyrs.
By Fr. Leonard Goffine
INTROIT – Psalm 37:22-23, 2
Ne derelínquas me, Dómine, Deus meus, ne discédas a me: inténde in adjutórium meum, Dómine, virtus salútis meæ. Ps 37:2. Dómine, ne in furóre tuo árguas me: neque in ira tua corrípias me. Glória Patri.
Forsake me not, O Lord; my God, be not far from me! Hasten to help me, O Lord, my salvation! Ps. O Lord, in Your anger punish me not, in Your wrath chastise me not. Glory be to the Father.
Look mercifully upon Your people, we beseech You, O Lord, and grant that they whom You command to abstain from food, may also refrain from harmful vices. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Esther 13:8-11,15-17
In those days, Mardochai prayed to the Lord, saying: O Lord, Lord, almighty King, for all things are in Your power, and there is none that can resist Your will, if You determine to save Israel. You have made heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of heaven. You are Lord of all, and there is none that can resist Your Majesty. And now, O Lord, O King, O God of Abraham, have mercy on Your people, because our enemies resolve to destroy us, and extinguish Your inheritance. Despise not Your portion, which You have redeemed for Yourself out of Egypt. Hear my supplication, and be merciful to Your lot and inheritance, and turn our mourning into joy, that we may live and praise Your Name, O Lord, and shut not the mouths of those who sing to You, O Lord our God.
Aman, one of the favorites of the Persian King Assuerus, aspired in his pride and conceit to divine honors. Mardochai, a Jew and foster-father of Queen Esther, refused them to him, because they are due only to God. In revenge Aman sought to destroy all the Jews, and bring Mardochai to the gallows, which he had already erected for him. In this strait Mardochai prayed to God, and his prayer was heard. Aman himself, when his evil intentions became known, was hung on the very gallows he had prepared for Mardochai. Consider the effect of Mardochai’s prayer, and on the truth that God ruins the proud (Luke i. 52.), and that he who diggeth a pit for his neighbor, generally falls in it himself.
GRADUAL – Psalm 27: 9, 1
Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance. Unto Thee have I cried, O Lord my God; be not Thou silent to me, lest I become like to them that go down into the pit.
TRACT – Psalm 102: 10; 78: 8, 9
O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes. Ps. O Lord, remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may Your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low. [Kneel.] V. Help us, O God, our Saviour, because of the glory of Your Name, O Lord; deliver us and pardon our sins for Your Name’s sake.
GOSPEL – Matthew 20:17-28
At that time, as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them: Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the Scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day He will rise again. Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons; and worshipping, she made a request of Him. He said to her: What do you want? She said to Him: Command that these my two sons may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left hand, in Your kingdom. But Jesus answered and said: You do not know what you are asking for. Can you drink of the cup of which I am about to drink? They said to Him: We can. He said to them: Of My cup you shall indeed drink; but as for sitting at My right hand and at My left, that is not Mine to give you, but it belongs to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father. And when the ten heard this, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Him, and said: You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. Not so is it among you. On the contrary, whoever wishes to become great among shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; even as the Son the Man has not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
For the last time the Saviour goes to Jerusalem, and, on His way, announces His death on the cross to the twelve apostles. Of this St. Chrysostom says: “The salvation of men is all in the death of Christ, and there is nothing for which we should thank God more than for the death of His Son. Therefore, Christ took the twelve apostles aside, and told them of the mystery of His death, that this precious treasure might be enclosed in the best hearts, that is, in the hearts of the apostles,” that they might give it to all men.
To the ambitious request of the mother of James and John, Jesus replied, that they must indeed suffer, but to sit on His right hand He could not give. Of this St. Remigius and St. Bede write: “It is not suitable for me to give them the place on my right hand, because you are ambitious. This place is prepared for the humble. If you are humble, it is also ready for you.” See how necessary is humility, for even martyrdom is not rewarded without it.