I was informed that at NLM there is a great explanation of the Pentecost Roman Stations. I’ve gotten a few things wrong in previous posts. Don’t worry, they aren’t points for examination at the pearly gates.
I find these historical details interesting because we find traces of ancient things in the traditional rites even today.
In any event, if I am to be believed, the Pentecost Friday Roman Station is Dodici Apostoli, Twelve Apostles, because that’s where Friday Ember Day Stations are. Believe me.
The texts of the Mass today are rather calming, as befits summery pursuits. Crops are planted. Early harvest of first fruits and grains are in. Other plantings and fruits are maturing. The days are long, warm, languid. There is always something to be done, but there is daylight for leisure.
The reading from Joel is about the harvest, and grain and wine and the gifts of God. The Antiphons and Gradual are all pretty joyful.
The Gospel is about the man whose friends lower him through the roof to get him to Jesus, who heals him. It’s a great moment in the Gospels.
Today in our Collect we have a return of the theme of “the enemy”.
Grant to Your Church, we beseech You, almighty God, that, united by the Holy Spirit, she may in no way be harmed by any assault of the enemy.
But for the most part, the overwhelming attitude of the Mass is joyful contentment with the abundant gifts of God.
Perhaps the idea of the enemy in the Collect, making a disturbance of the peace, is offset by the images of the paralytic man’s friends making a disturbance. Enemies tear houses apart. The man’s friends tore a hole in the roof. Both make disturbances, but with different scopes in mind and different outcomes.
The Postcommunion seems to echo what happened in the Gospel, thus tying our minds in the moment of Communion to the healing, strengthening effects of the Eucharist:
“We who have received the gift of Your Blessed Sacrament, O Lord, humbly pray that what You have taught us to do in commemoration of You, may profit and help us in our weakness.”
As I write, I have a thought of all your priests being the friends who tear a hole in the roof to get you to the Lord. The friends lowered the man. The priests bring the Lord down to you. The fabric of the roof is torn open. The division of heaven from earth is ripped asunder and Christ is called down, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
But we have to turn this sock inside out. Even as this image takes form under my tapping fingers, it is really you lay people who are the ones who get that roof apart and get us priests to the Lord. You do the heavy… lowering. We would be lost without you, frozen, unable to move.
Thank you for being our stretcher bearers.