21 September 2014, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Introit: Salus populi, begin on F (as fa)
Offertory: The heavenly Word proceeding forth, p. 294, begin on G
Communion: Tu mandasti, begin on B (as do)
Recessional: God of mercy God of grace, p. 212, begin on G
Mass XI, PBC p. 58. Credo III, PBC p. 77
The Introit antiphon has three phrases:
- 1.Salus populi ego sum, dicit Dominus:
- 2.de quacumque tribulatione clamaverint ad me, exaudiam eos
- 3.et ero illorum Dominus in perpetuum.
The Ordinary Time Introits (EF: after Pentecost) thank God for graces bestowed and rejoice in His splendor and greatness. At the same time they are often prayers of petition and supplication. Today God answers all these cries; and He says: 'I am the salvation of the people.' So calmness and goodness are suggested by the seconds and the minor thirds in the first phrase: I am the salvation of the people, the savior in tribulation, the protector in dangers, the only true happiness of the people. In the Holy Eucharist God is 'our salvation, our life, and our resurrection.' He not only heals all the wounds of the soul; He implants in it the germ of immortality, of an eternal life in glory. The introduction shows some resemblance to the beginning of the Introit Protector noster that we sing on the 20th Sunday of the Year (EF: 14th Sunday after Pentecost). Similarly, ad me and eos in today's melody are related to una in the former; in perpe-(tuum) reminds us of super mil-(lia) in the same piece. Dominus finds a corresponding motif over (per)-petuum at the end of the melody. At the end of the first phrase, however, the clivis is converted to a pes, because the subsequent phrase begins on low d. The distribution of the neumes over Dominus here and in the third phrase, as well as over perpetuum, results from the fact that plainsong is not fond of dactylic endings, but prefers spondees.
The second phrase with its interval of a fourth and its harsh a b is not intended to portray distress, but rather to emphasize, clearly and definitely, that when the need is greatest God's assistance is nearest. Clamaverint ad me and exaudiam eos have almost the same melody: to the measure of our faith and confidence God's generosity will correspond. There is a slight but noteworthy difference, however. Over (ex)-au-(diam) we might have sung g ga g as over (cla)-ma-(verint); the equal accentuation on the two words would have suggested this. Since, however, a different construction was preferred, and the melody descends to e, the only one of this phrase, and has a quilisma after f, it is evidently intended to emphasize the words: 'I will hear them.' In its first half the third phrase harks back to the quiet style of the first. But there follows immediately a portrayal of God's eternal fidelity, of His indefatigable desire to help. Hence the fourth and the accent on high c. We may consider the closing neums over (Domi)-nus as a variation of those over (e)-go sum, ad me and eos. Since God declares Himself ready to assist us everywhere and at all times, we should also willingly accept the admonition to attend carefully to His law, for it assures us of both temporal and eternal happiness. And if He, the Lord, is so prepared to help us, then we ought to be proud to acknowledge His sovereignty always and in all things.
The Communion antiphon has two phrases; we'll divide the second one:
- 1.Tu mandasti mandata tua custodiri nimis
- 2.(a) utinam dirigantur viae meae,
(b) ad custodiendas justificationes tuas.
This song sets in on the dominant of the mode, thus emphasizing the first words: You have given us Your commandments, but these are in fact the source of our joy and happiness. Would that we come to understand this and walk faithfully along the way the commandments mark out for us. The first phrase begins majestically, and the drop of a fifth with cu-(stodiri) emphasizes the feeling. According to the manuscripts the notes over (ni)-mis are to be given a broad rendition.
By the frequent repetition of b♭ the second phrase is made tender, almost oppressively so, for we singers know that we have not always directed our steps according to God's ordinances. It pains us to realize, that, like the people in today's Gospel, we have given more care to our own business than to the invitation to the King's banquet. Bitterly we repents the fact that we have several times lost the wedding garment. Now, filled with contrition and the consciousness of our own weakness, we ask for God's grace. In the spirit of the following Postcommunion, we pray that we might feel the salutary effects of the Holy Eucharist in how we live (in our habits/morals). The second half of the third phrase has seconds exclusively. Justificati-(ones) faithfully repeats the melody of (cus)-todien-(das).