VNO 34-37: Natural Situations

The following Masses, numbers 34 through 37, have no proper antiphons assigned to them: in time of earthquake, for rain, for fine weather, for an end to storms. The Lectionary does have a small suite of readings from which to choose.

Old Testament:

1) Esther 4:17b-17e, 17i-17l, sometimes listed as Esther C:1-4, 8-10 (Mordecai’s prayer for his people in a time of persecution)
2) Lamentations 3:17-26 (The favors and mercies of God; also a funeral reading)
3) Daniel 3:25, 34-43 (Daniel’s prayer for deliverance from his king’s edict)

The first and last strike me as more fitting for a situation of an unjust edict by human authority rather than natural dangers. The second, though usually proclaimed at a funeral, seems most fitting for a time when hope has drained away from a believer.

New Testament:

1) Romans 8:18-30 (the ultimate triumph of God)
2) Romans 8:31b-39 (how God’s love cannot be denied to us)
3) James 1:2-4, 12 (perseverance preached by James)
4) Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7 (new heaven and hew earth)

Again, readings that suggest something more of dire circumstances imposed by other human beings, but the interpretation may be a bit open.

Gospel passages:

1) Matthew 7:7-11 (ask, seek, and knock)
2) Mark 4:35-41 (Jesus calms the storm)
3) Luke 18:1-8 (the persistent widow)

Jesus was well aware that people were concerned with the power of the natural world to determine their very survival. The ancient world was not a time of climate control, green revolutions, weather predictions, or (except for Joseph’s  ingenuity) multinational preparation for hard times. Our satellites may tell us better weather is coming. News of an earthquake will spread around the world in minutes and hours and relief can be at hand, though recovery can be long and arduous.

In spite of our advanced civilization, I would wonder what sorts of songs we can sing. If we are looking to Psalm texts, there are three:

1) Psalm 80:2ac+3b, 5-7
2) Psalm 85:2-8
3) Psalm 123:1-2

The first two are frequent companions during the season of Advent. The third, an expression of humility and service which I presume we devote to God as one of his daughters or sons rather than as slave to master.

The summation for these four Masses in the Lectionary is “For any need,” and these readings cover various situations, natural or even human-fabricated well enough.I’m not sure how much attention we give these causes today–at least enough to merit a Mass to give us a time of dedicated prayer. Maybe it’s good to know they’re there when we need them.

Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to VNO 34-37: Natural Situations

  1. Pingback: VNO 48: In Any Need | Catholic Sensibility

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