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Curses Against the Pharisees – James Tissot, circa 1890Wikimedia Commons

(LifeSiteNews) — The station is in the church of Saint Mark, which was built in the fourth century, in honor of the evangelist, by the holy Pope Mark, whose relics are kept there.


We beseech thee, O Lord, mercifully to pour forth thy grace into our hearts ; that, as we abstain from flesh, so we may keep our senses from all noxious excesses. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lesson from the book of 2 Kings 5:1-15:

In those days: Naaman, general of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable: for by him the Lord gave deliverance to Syria, and he was a valiant man and rich, but a leper. Now there had gone out robbers from Syria, and had led away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid, and she waited upon Naaman’s wife. And she said to her mistress: I wish my master had been with the prophet that is in Samaria; he would certainly have healed him of the leprosy which he hath. Then Naaman went in to his lord, and told him, saying: Thus and thus saith the girl, that come from the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said to him: Go, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment, and brought the letter to the king of Israel, in these words: When thou shalt receive this letter, know that I have sent to thee Naaman my servant, that thou mayest heal him of his leprosy. And when the king of Israel had read the letter, he rent his garments, and said: Am I God, to be able to kill and to give life, that this man hath sent to me, to heal a man of his leprosy? Mark, and see how he seeketh occasions against me. And when Eliseus the man of God had heard this, to wit, that the king of Israel had rent his garments, he sent to him, saying: Why hast thou rent thy garments? Let him come to me, and let him know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus; and Eliseus sent a messenger to him, saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean. Naaman was very angry, and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing, would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me. Are not the Abama, and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, and be made clean? So as he turned, and was going away with indignation, his servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it; how much rather what he now hath said to thee, “Wash, and thou shalt be clean?” Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child, and was made clean. And returning to the man of God with all his train, he came and stood before him, and said: In truth I know there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel.

Yesterday, the Church made known to our Catechumens that the day of their baptism was at hand; today she reads them a passage from the Old Testament which relates a history that admirably symbolizes the saving font prepared for them by Divine Mercy.

Naaman’s leprosy is a figure of sin. There is but one cure for the loathsome malady of the Syrian officer: he must go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and he shall be made clean. The gentile, the infidel, the infant, with its stain of original sin – all may be made just and holy; but this can only be effected by water and the invocation of the Blessed Trinity.

Naaman objects to the remedy as being too simple; he cannot believe that one so insignificant can be efficacious; he refuses to try it; he expected something more in accordance with reason – for instance, a miracle that would have done honor both to himself and the prophet. This was the reasoning of many a gentile, when the apostles went about preaching the Gospel; but they that believed, with simple-hearted faith, in the power of water sanctified by Christ, received regeneration; and the baptismal font created a new people, composed of all nations of the earth.

Naaman, who represents the gentiles, was at length induced to believe; and his faith was rewarded by a complete cure. His flesh was restored like that of a little child, which has never suffered taint or disease. Let us give glory to God, who has endowed water with the heavenly power it now possesses; let us praise him for the wonderful workings of his grace, which produces in docile hearts that Faith whose recompense is so magnificent.


Sequence according to Luke 4:23-30:

At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: Doubtless you will say to me this similitude: Physician, heal thyself; as great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy own country. And he said: Amen, I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. In truth, I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the land; and to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarephta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger, and they rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they brought him to the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way.

Here again, we find our Savior proclaiming the mystery of the gentiles being called to take the place of the incredulous Jews; and he mentions Naaman as an example of this merciful substitution. He also speaks, in the same sense, of the widow of Sarephta, whose history we had a few days ago.

This terrible resolution of our Lord to transfer his light from one people to another irritates the Pharisees of Nazareth against the Messias. They know that Jesus, who has only just commenced his public life, has been working great miracles in Capharnaum: they would have him honor their own little city in the same way; but Jesus knows that they would not be converted.

Do these people of Nazareth so much as know Jesus? He has lived among them for eighteen years, during all which time he has been advancing in wisdom and age and grace before God and men; (Luke 2:52) they despise him, for he is a poor man, and the son of a carpenter. They do not even know that, though he has passed so many years among them, he was not born in their city, but in Bethlehem.

Not many days before this, Jesus had gone into the Synagogue of Nazareth, (Luke 4:16-22) and had explained, with marvelous eloquence and power, the Prophet Isaias; he told the audience that the time of mercy was come, and his discourse excited much surprise and admiration. But the Pharisees of the city despised his words. They have heard that he has been working great things in the neighborhood; they are curious to see one of his miracles; but Jesus refuses to satisfy their unworthy desire.

Let them recall to mind the discourse made by Jesus in their synagogue, and tremble at the announcement he then made to them, that the gentiles were to become God’s chosen people. But the divine prophet is not accepted in his own country; and had he not withdrawn himself from the anger of his compatriots of Nazareth, the blood of the just would have been shed that very day. But there is an unenviable privilege which belongs exclusively to Jerusalem; a Prophet cannot perish out of Jerusalem! (Luke 13:33)

Bow down your heads to God.

May thy mercy, O Lord, assist us, that by thy protection we may be delivered from the dangers of sin that surround us, and so brought to eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us, on this day, offer to God the following solemn Supplication, taken from the Gothic Missal.

(In Dominica Quadragesimæ.)

We beseech thee, O King Eternal! O holy God! have mercy now upon us, for have sinned against thee.

℣. Hear our cry, O Father most high God! and mercifully grant us our request Graciously hear us, Lord

℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. O good Redeemer! suppliantly beseech thee, and with our whole heart we pour out our tears before thee. We seek after thee; be propitious and show thyself unto us.

℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Stretch forth thy hand O Almighty God! and, in thy exceeding goodness, power fully protect us from on high.

℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Grant us fertility and peace, O most holy Redeemer Drive wars away from us, and deliver us from famine.

℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Grant pardon to the fallen; pardon them that have gone astray; forgive us our sins; cleanse us from our iniquities; deliver us who are here prostrate before thee.

℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. See our sighing; hear me weeping; stretch forth thy hand; redeem us sinners.

℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Receive, God, receive this our prayer for reconciliation; be appeased, and receive the petition of thy suppliants; and spare us, O most loving God!

℟. We beseech thee, King Eternal! O holy God! have mercy now upon us, for we have sinned against thee.

This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875). LifeSiteNews is grateful to The Ecu-Men website for making this classic work easily available online.