29 April 2018, 5th Sunday of Easter (Year B)
Introit: Cantate Domino
Offertory: Ye choirs of new Jerusalem, p. 250
Communion (Years B & C): Ego sum vitis
Recessional: Be joyful Mary, p. 248
Dismissal from Mass I, as in Paschaltide apart from the Octave and Pentecost, PBC, p. 48.
Mass I (Lux et origo) PBC, p. 46ff. Credo III, PBC, p. 77ff.
The Introit antiphon has three phrases:
The melody expands steadily. The first part of the first phrase has a range of a fourth, the second of a fifth; the second and third phrases have a range of a sixth. And there are many similarities with the Introit for Low Sunday, Quasimodo. Both have the same mode and the same range; the close of the first phrase and almost the entire second phrase show great similarity. The motif of Cantate Domino recurs over fecit Dominus and the following alleluia, recalling sine dolo. Compare: (novum) alleluia: quia mirabilia fecit Dominus, alleluia, and (infantes) alleluia: rationabiles, sine dolo. The small variant seen here shows the refined sense the ancients had for forming endings. The formula over sine dolo has its final torculus a third below the tonic, thus facilitating immediate continuance of the melody over lac. The alleluia after Dominus, however, brings the entire second phrase to a close; for this reason the final torculus, suggestive of pleasant rest, is placed a fourth below the tonic. This also provides a contrast to the endings of the first and third phrases.
The third phrase begins with a sort of inversion of the preceding motif, vigorously stresses revelavit, and accords still greater prominence to justitiam suam. According to melodic sense, the second last alleluia finds its fulfillment in the resolved major chord of the subdominant. The last alleluia is almost the same as the one which ends the first phrase. From the obvious similarity of this chant with the Introit Quasimodo, and from its restricted range, we can readily infer that it is not intended as a powerful song of victory, but rather a heartfelt song of thanksgiving for the wonder of wonders which the Father has wrought in the resurrection of His Son. The resurrection must also be ascribed to Christ Himself. For He indeed has the power to lay down His life and the power to take it up again. On the cross His right hand was cruelly pierced by a nail and His sacred arm was most painfully wrenched out of place. But by His own strength He overcame everything: sin, suffering, and death.
(Years B & C) Although the Communion antiphon is part of the 'authentic' Gregorian repertory, dating from at least the 10th century, it is not found in the older Graduale Romanum (1908, last updated 1961). In centuries past, it had been assigned to formularies for various martyrs and other saints, most notably the apostles Phillip and James. It has three phrases:
1. Ego sum vitis vera et vos palmites
2. qui manet in me et ego in eo
3. hic fert fructum multum, alleluia, alleluia
It is sung in Year B & C because we hear in Year B the Johannine pericope of the vine and branches. It speaks of some key Easter themes:
• The dying and raising of Jesus is the definitive pivotal event of human history.
• The apostles had a special role as primary witnesses to that event.
• In the light of the risen Saviour, all of salvation history and the Scriptures intended to announce and explain it are now subject a radically new understanding.
• Everything ultimately points to Jesus as the center point and meaning of human life; without Him, there is no life at all.
The declarative Mode 8 serves well the straightforward statement excerpted from the Gospel. The melody in the first phrase is very tightly bound, reflecting the connection of vine and branches. The only expansive neume is over ve-(ra), where the manuscripts also prescribe a strong emphasis over (ve)-ra, to better depict Him who is Truth. Next the melody rises as we are in Him, and descends as He remains in us. It becomes expansive again as the fruit we bear from union with Him begins to grow, and even more in the first alleluia, then ends with a restful alleluia in the cadence.