GOSPEL COMMUNION: Third Sunday of Lent

March 24th: Third Sunday of Lent (C)

Of the two antiphons provided in the Missal and Graduale, the first relates to Year A only, while the second (Passer invenit) is the one traditionally assigned to the 3rd Sunday of Lent in the preconciliar rite (but with no clear relationship to the scriptures of the day). The Psallite composers accordingly looked elsewhere, to Psalm 91, the psalm in time of trial and temptation, one of the default psalms of the Lenten season.

Psalm 91 opens with our call: “My refuge, my stronghold, my God in whom I trust” (verse 2). Psalm 91 ends with God’s response (the antiphon), in the NRSV translation:
            Those who love me, I will deliver;
           I will protect those who know my name.
            When they call to me, I will answer them;
           I will be with them in trouble,
           I will rescue them and honor them.

This communion psalm (Psalm 91 in its entirety) promises and shows that in communion God delivers, protects, answers, and is with those who know his name, the name given to Moses in the first reading. The name of God is “I shall be there for you as who I am shall I be there for you” (John Courtney Murray). God is with us in our slaveries and our wanderings and our cluelessness and in our slowness to bear fruit.

Those celebrating the Scrutinies will use the Year A antiphon:

The antiphon derives from the Gospel of the Woman at the Well, and the associated verses are taken from John 4 and a large extract from Psalm 34.

One comment

  1. I used to laugh at the frequent silliness of the voice-of-God critics where liturgical texts were concerned. I’m relieved their complaints are muted these days, especially having overlooked Psalm 91:11-13.

    Not finding a harmonization with cycle C readings is one of the seasonal fails of the antiphonary or the gradual. Psalm 40 puts a plea for mercy into the mouths of worshipers. Turning to the prophets for lyrical inspiration, Ezekiel seems to match the mood. Maybe parts of the 36th chapter.

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