Having Reflected on What She Had Done, She Did Not Wish to Set Bounds on What She Should Do.

[Lessons from Matins.]

Passion Thursday.

Lessons from the feria, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Daniel 3: 25, 34-45.
• Psalm 95: 8-9.
• Luke 7: 36-50.

The Sixth Thursday of Lent.*

Lessons from the feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Genesis 17: 3-9.
• Psalm 105: 4-9.
• John 8: 51-59.

The Otdanije of the Annunciation;** and, the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel.

Lessons from the menaion, according to the typicon of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite:

[At the Sixth Hour...]
• Isaiah 65: 8-16.

[At Vespers...]
• Genesis 46: 1-7.
• Proverbs 23: 15—25: 5.


1:21 PM 3/26/2015 —

Lesson i
A Homily by Pope Saint Gregory.
Homily 33 on the Gospels.***

Whenever I ponder the penitential spirit of Mary Magdalene, I feel more like weeping than like speaking. For the tears of this sinful woman will soften even a heart of stone towards the idea of doing penance. Having reflected on what she had done, she did not wish to set bounds on what she should do. She came in, univited, after the meal had begun, and brought her tears to the banquet. See with what grief she must burn, when she is not ashamed to weep even at a banquet.

Lesson ii

This woman, who Luke calls "a sinful woman," is called Mary by John (11: 2). We think she is that Mary from whom, according to Mark's testimony, seven devils were driven (16: 9). What would be designated by seven devils but the totality of vice? The number seven is a fitting figure for a totality (for example, all time is perceived in terms of the seven days). And so Mary had seven devils, because she abounded in all the vices.

Lesson iii

But note that she looked at the stains of her sinfulness and then ran to be washed at the fountain of mercy. The diners did not embarrass her. For since she was inwardly so deeply ashamed of herself, she considered the outward embarrassment as nothing. What should we admire, brothers: Mary's coming or the Lord's receiving her? Receiving, should I say: drawing her to Himself and receiving her. For there is no doubt that He who in His gentleness received her outwardly was in His mercy drawing her inwardly.

* The Sixth Thursday of Lent is what the Missal refers to as "Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent." Cf. the note regarding the designation of days during Lent, found here.

** In the Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite, when a major feast has post-festive days attached to it, the last of these is called the Otdanije or "leave-taking" of the feast. The services on that day mirror those of the feast itself, almost as if the feast is being celebrated again.

*** It was in this homily that Saint Gregory the Great became the first to identify the woman in Luke 7 with Mary Magdalene. While Scripture scholars will continue to debate the issue—and Protestants, for the most part, reject it—the identification has become integral to Catholic devotion to the Magdalene (in spite of what Dan Brown said in The Da Vinci Code).