17 January 2016, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

17 January 2016, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Introit: Omnis terra

Alleluia: Laudate Deum

Offertory: For the beauty of the earth, V2H, p. 207

(Year C) Communion: Dicit Dominus: Implete, begin on F (as fa)

Recessional: Blest author of this earthly frame, V2H p. 239, begin on G

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

The Introit antiphon has two phrases:

  1. Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi:
  2. psalmum dicat nomini tuo, Altissime.

            We're now in the first portion of 'Ordinary Time' the season before and after the year's peak time of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. In Latin it is called the time 'per annum' [literally, 'through(out) the year'] but its alternate name has a deeper meaning. It's a time when the liturgy calls us to reflect on how the great events of salvation history, the coming, suffering, dying, rising, & ascending of our Saviour have radically changed what constitutes 'ordinary' in our world. Christ is the new 'order' in ordi-nary now, and we are invited to enter more deeply in His newness as the weeks unfold. How appropriate it is that this antiphon is in Mode 4, the contemplative mode, as we come to a time of calm reflection after the heady excitement of Christmas and Epiphany. Like the Introit of next Sunday (in Year C) and the following Sunday, this antiphon reminds us that even the most mundane and 'ordinary' elements of our lives are opportunities to transform ourselves and our world into living songs of praise to the God who works such wonders as we are privileged to see. So in the ascending fourth over terra, the melody calls us to rise up from the earth(ly). It reaches its peak over adoret, as adoring God should be the high point of our lives, and the manuscript tells us to hold on firmly as we sing the te before Deus. The same pattern of our earthly song ascending in praise to the throne of the Most High and ligering there in a moment of comtemplation is repeated over dicat nomini tuo. We will want to hold the phrasing together closely to keep the sense and mood flowing. Both times we address God directly (te Deus and Altissime) we finish on mi, a weak note that leaves us with a sense of something incomplete; orienting our lives to His work and worship is still a work in progress. This text also ties us back to the recently celebrated feast of the Baptism of the Lord, when it was sung in the Office of Readings. (Cf. 2nd antiphon and psalm).

The Alleluia verse has two phrases:

  1. Laudate Deum omnes Angeli ejus
  2. laudate eum omnes virtutes ejus.

The Introit had incited the entire world to adoration and to the praise of God; in the Gradual the eternal Word of God Himself fulfills this service of thanksgiving; in the Alleluia all the choirs of angels join this hymn. Here truly all sing along in the most profound adoration and blissful rapture, and the united hosts never weary of crying: Who is like God? Alleluia!

This melody presents a typical form of the fourth mode; we heard it for the first time on the third Sunday of Advent (q.v.). It does not, however, like all other pieces of this type, ascend to b♭ on the third syllable of the teat. Virtutes repeats the preceding formula of ejus.

(Year C) The Communion antiphon has four phrases.

1.Dicit Dominus: Implete hydrias aqua et ferte archilriclino.

2.Cum gustasset architriclinus aquam chief steward. vinum factum, dicit sponso

3.Servasti vinum bonum usque adhuc.

4.Hoc signum fecit Jesus primum coram discipulis suis.

The Communion summarizes the Gospel story succinctly. Its melody also is a model of realism. Contrast the first dicit, introducing the Saviour's words, with the second dicit, introducing those of the chief steward. Already from the intonation we can gather that we have here to do with something unusual. In the tone of extreme astonishment, the singer cries out: ‘Who can do such a thing?’ With the threefold repetition of the same high torculusone seems to see the man shaking his head as if unable to comprehend. Naturally, this passage needs to be lively. Then we want a notable pause, after which the second phrase, relating in reverent astonishment this first miracle, follows solemnly. It differs from the other phrases by reason of its almost syllabic character. The two parts that compose it are almost alike melodically. In the second part, however, the tritone, no doubt intentionally, comes into prominence, for here b is stressed, while in the first part it belongs rhythmically to the preceding accented c; besides, the effect of the tritone is almost cancelled by the twofold g.

In the first phrase there is nothing striking about the textual treatment of Dominus. It seems that the principle of counting the syllables was applied here, just as it appears in simple psalmody and at the intonation before some cadences, as well as in the solemn Introit-psalmody before the closing cadence of most of the modes. But here we have to do with only three syllables. With this passage compare in the Introit for the Sunday within the octave of Christmas: silentium and Domine; in the Introit for the third Sunday of Advent: hominibus and solliciti sitis; also, in the Introit for Epiphany, although the intervals here are different: Dominus and imperium. The low inception of implete necessitates the bending over of the last neume.

This chant displays very vivid contrasts. The expression beginning with implete recites on the tonic, but three times reaches down to the lower third; while that beginning with et ferte supports itself on the dominant a. Over the close of the second architriclinus we find the same figure repeated as occurs over the first. Thus in this first public miracle Christ revealed Himself as Lord and King of creation. An act of the will, a word from His lips, and nature obeys—the water changes into wine. Today we also have been witnesses of a miracle of change; but of one much more sublime then is here related. This was only a type of and preparation for the Eucharistic transubstantiation. With today’s miracle the Saviour began His public Messianic activity. The consecration at the Last Supper is the final miracle He wrought before His death, but it continues to the end of time. We are privileged to partake of that most excellent wine, the very blood of Jesus Christ, and thus have received a share in the supreme Godhead, as the secret of the fifth Sunday of Easter so beautifully puts it. Today He has prepared a marriage banquet for us. Until now, the last, the Messianic era, the Lord has reserved this good rich wine. But its inebriating powers only reveal themselves in us in the measure with which we correspond to our duties (implete hydrias) and give ourselves over wholly to Christ. This ‘good wine’is to prepare us for the change of the earthly man into the spiritual, for the eternal, blissful nuptials with the heavenly bridegroom, Christ. 

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