7 April 2018, Sabbato in Albis
EF Missa Cantata, 9am
Introit: Eduxit Dominus
Alleluia: Haec dies
Alleluia: Laudate pueri,
Sequence: Victimae paschali laudes
Offertory: Benedictus qui venit
Communion: Omnes qui in Christo
Dismissal: Ite missa est, alleluia, alleluia.
Recessional: Regina Caeli (simple)
The Introit has two phrases:
- Eduxit dominus populum suum in exultatione alleluia
- et electos suos in laetitia, alleluia alleluia.
The Mass today maintains a strong focus on the newly baptized who are wearing their white robes one last full day before they lay them aside tomorrow morning. As we sang in the Easter Vigil, God has led his people forth in exultation, and his chosen ones in joy, for the pupose of singing his praises and giving him due worship and honour. The high point of the melody is over populum suum, as we are called (newly baptized) or reminded of our calling (those of us baptized in earlier years) as a people chosen for the greater glory of God—and hence our own future glory if we respond to his grace.
The text of the first Alleluia is the same text as the Easter Sunday gradual, which is here adapted to a Mode 8 formulaic melody for an Alleluia. This quotation from Psalm 117, the Easter psalm par excellence, is the most often repeated text of the Easter season, but especially of the Octave, when we heard it several times a day in the Mass, the Office, and at the prayers before Meals.
The second Alleluia verse has two phrases:
- Laudate pueri Dominum,
- laudate nomen Domini.
The jubilus has the form a a. Text and melody are also heard on feast of the Holy Innocents, and we hear the melody over Alleluia also on the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. Similarly, Laudate pueri recurs in the typical melody of the fourth mode, for example, in the Alleluia-verse of the third Sunday of Advent. Again, the text refers to the newly baptized. They are like newborn children, as we will sing tomorrow morning. So there is a word play on the double meaning of pueri: children and servants. The new ‘children’ cry to us and ask us to sing with them as they join the ranks of servants: Servants of the Lord, praise the Lord!
The Offertory has three phrases:
- Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
- Benediximus vobis de domo Domini :
- Deus Dominus, et illuxit nobis.
Again we have text from Psalm 117, paired with classic Easter verses Haec dies and Lapidem quem reprobaverunt in older manuscripts. The melody soars to a high e (mi) over no(-mine), Deus, and (il-lu-(xit), making a clear connection between the shining white robes of the neophytes being led in procession at the Offertory with the bright light of the Risen Lord that now shines upon all of us.
The Communion antiphon has two phrases:
- Omnes qui in Christo baptizati estis
- Christum induistis, alleluia.
We are again in Mode 2, as we were at the start of the Christmas cycle with Dixit Dominus. And like that Introit, this antiphon uses intermediate cadences on c to punctuate phrase endings. We have a very programmatic, almost playful melody. In the first phrase, deep drops over Om-(nes) and (e)-stis reflect the plunges into the waters of baptism. In the second phrase, we have a melodic rising and falling that bring to mind the movements of lifting and pulling to put on the baptismal garment. So the melody reminds us that the outward sign of baptism is the very physical action of washing and then clothing, while the text from chapter 3 of St Paul’s letter to the Galatians reminds us that the wonderfully clean sensation and good feelings we have being cleansed are always ultimately linked to our participation in the mystery of the cross. (Gal 3,1)