27 January 2013, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

27 January 2013, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Introit: Adorate Deum, begin on C# (as sol)

Offertory: Adoro Te devote, PBC, p. 90, begin on E

Communion: Comedite pinguia, begin on D (as re)

Recessional: Sent forth by God's blessing, Today’s Missal, #382, begin on C

Mass XI, PBC p. 58. Credo III, PBC p. 77.

The Introit antiphon has three phrases:

  1. Adorate Deum omnes Angeli ejus
  2. audivit, et laetata est Sion
  3. et exsultaverunt filiae Judae.

Generally the individual phrases of a plainsong chant either exhibit a regular gradation or they are so arranged that the central one marks the summit of the melody. But here the first phrase with its fourths and high pitch—perhaps induced by the thought of the angels in the celestial regions—predominates. It seems that the composer was concerned, above all, to call our attention to the adoring angels at the beginning of the holy Sacrifice. Here they are not so much a model for our own worship of God, as they are the source of our purest joy. For in them the Father has adorers according to His own mind, who with their intelligence immerse themselves in God's splendor and tremble before His immensity, and who acknowledge with their whole will their utter dependence upon God. One of their number wished to contest this, to destroy the harmony. But he was cast into hell. Now there is perfect accord, and all the angels offer their homage to God. The Church (Sion) hears it and shouts for joy. Here again we find expressed the two thoughts adorate and laetata est Sion.

Audivit shows some similarity to Judae: the former has its pressuson a, the latter on c. With laetata est Sion two-note groups are sung. In the third phrase et is to be treated as an anacrusis, and the following syllable receives a light secondary accent. After the solemn first phrase, the remaining two should be energetic. The text should still be sung in the bright light of Epiphany, in which Christ stands before us as Lord and King, with angels surrounding and adoring Him. A verse formerly sung with this Introit addressed Him with the words. ‘You are the Lord most high over all the earth: You are exalted exceedingly above all gods.’ The Church rejoices at His revelation, at the love with which He calls everyone into His kingdom, and at the gifts He dispenses.

The Communion antiphon has four phrases:

  1. Comedite pinguia et bibite mulsum
  2. et mittite partes eis qui non praeparaverunt sibi
  3. (a) sanctus enim dies Domini est;
    (b) nolite constristari
  4. gaudium etenim Domini est fortitudo nostra

This text, taken from today’s 1st Reading, is from the prophet Nehemiah, an apocalyptic text known as the 2nd book of Esdras in the Vulgate. The book(s) with this name have a very interesting evolution as some of them wound their way into the canonical Scriptures. But here, the marriage to the Lucan passage about Jesus’s declaration of his unique person and mission leaves no doubt about the Church’s understanding of who Jesus is and the impact of His public ministry on the world. His presence ushers in the end times, the prelude of the great Messianic banquet. In his great antiphon for 2nd Vespers of Corpus Christ, O sacrum convivium, St Thomas reminds us that we have a foretaste of that banquet in the Eucharist. Each time the tabernacle is closed after the distribution of Holy Communion, the Roman rite assigns that antiphon to be prayed silently, as a reminder that the great Day of the Lord is upon us already. The straightforward Mode 8 melody reaching its high point over bibite mulsum clearly points toward the Eucharist, a banquet richer than we could ever have prepared or even imagined, and that is the source of our joy and strength. For those who partake of it worthily, there is no place for worry or fear.

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