Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Homily - Septuagesima Sunday - February 1, 2015

1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5

Today, we begin a pre-Lenten season of three Sundays before Ash Wednesday.  Today is Septuagesima Sunday, or roughly 70 days before Easter, and the readings are a real treasure of the 1962 Missal.

In the traditional Latin Mass, we have the Mass of the Catechumens, beginning with the prayers at the foot of the altar to the sermon, and the Mass of the Faithful, from the offertory to the last Gospel.  The catechumens attended only the beginning of Mass until they were baptized, received confirmation, and could receive the Eucharist.  Lent was originally the time of proximate preparation for their baptism, confirmation, and communion at Easter.  In time, as the already-baptized accompanied them in their Lenten practices of penance, the faithful also took part in order to renew their baptismal grace when all made the profession of faith at Easter.

This sheds light on the meaning of the Lenten Season as connected to our baptismal grace.  Any sacrifice has merit before God, however, the temptation is to choose a sacrifice which does not touch our lives very much.  In view of the origins and meaning of Lent, we should ask ourselves, “What is it which is in the way between me and my relationship with God?”  Whatever that is, great of small, is the way, the way for us to address it during the Lenten Season.

The Gospel and Epistle reflect this ancient baptismal meaning of the Lenten Season.  In the Gospel, we have the husbandman who hires workers throughout the day.  The first workers hired represent Israel of old, come to faith, and the last hired are ourselves, the Gentiles, called later to that same faith.  All receive the same daily wage.  What has been given to the Jews in justice as a result of the promise, is now given to all as a result of God’s mercy.  And He gives to all the whole of redemption.  It is a wonderful attribute of God that He cannot but give of His all, and whenever it is that we come to faith He gives His all to us.  Whether early or late, all have come by the grace of God.  Who can expect more than all?

The Epistle shows us both those preparing for baptism and the already-baptized.  For those preparing for baptism, St. Paul recalls Israel in the desert, who passed through the waters of the Red Sea in the Exodus, delivered from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land, a symbol of baptism.  They were accompanied in their desert sojourn by the column of fiery cloud, God’s protective presence, a sign of the Holy Ghost given us in confirmation, and the water from the rock, who was Christ, and the heavenly food, the manna, bread which appeared on the desert floor each day, a sign of the Eucharist.  Those preparing for these sacraments are the catechumens.

And it recalls the already-baptized, ourselves, who condition ourselves like athletes for the race.  Athletes practice all kinds of disciplines in order to win the prize, and so we, all the more, whose prize and reward is eternal life given to us in baptism, discipline ourselves in order to renew that grace in us and fix our eyes anew on our eternal reward.

Let us be encouraged then, as we prepare for the season of Lent, that no matter what our state, by our practices and penance, we shall not receive less.