Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Second Day of Saving Abstinence

Dear Parish Faithful,

Second Day of Great Lent, or, Only Thirty-nine Days to Go!

As we begin the second day of saving abstinence, we cry to Thee, O Lord: Pierce the hearts of us Thy servants with compunction and accept the prayers we offer Thee in fear. Grant us without stumbling to complete the course of the Fast, and bestow upon us cleansing and great mercy.
(Matins, Tuesday in the First Week, sessional hymn)

We chanted the first part of St. Andrew’s Canon of Repentance yesterday evening, and there was a good-sized group of penitents present in the church for the service. Hopefully, that will continue as the week develops.

The Book of Exodus

During Great Lent, we return to the Old Testament roots of the Gospel and appoint three books to be read from during the forty days: Genesis (historical), Isaiah (prophetic), and Proverbs (wisdom). We hear the appointed passages from Genesis and Proverbs during Vespers; while Isaiah is read at the Sixth Hour. These three are replaced during Holy Week by: Exodus (historical), Ezekiel (prophetic), and Job (wisdom).

Anticipating Holy Week and the typology of the Exodus event and the universal redemption that comes through Christ’s “exodus” through the Cross and Resurrection, the homilies during the five Sundays of Great Lent will be based on the Book of Exodus. Here is my tentative plan:

First Sunday – The call of Moses and the theophany in the Burning Bush (Ex. 1-3)

Second Sunday – The Ten Plagues in Egypt (Ex. 7-12)

Third Sunday – The Exodus from Egypt and the Crossing of the Sea (Ex. 12-15)

Fourth Sunday – Arrival at Mt. Sinai and the giving of the Law, especially the Ten Commandments; the Blood of the Covenant (Ex. 19 – 24)

Fifth Sunday – Building of the Tabernacle (Ex. 25-31)

Other key events will be included in the homilies: the manna from heaven; the golden calf,etc.

You may have already chosen a scriptural book for this Great Lent. If not, or in addition, you may want to read the given chapters outlined above as a preparation and background for the homilies.

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