Rorate Caeli

The Prophet Jeremias Shown the Door: Too Violent!

St Peter & St Jeremias

Whenever I have the opportunity to attend the daily traditional Mass during Passiontide, I am struck by the choice of readings and the tenor of the prayers and antiphons: so different from what we find in the Novus Ordo!

In particular, the readings from the Prophet Jeremiah for Friday and Saturday of Passion Week (yesterday and today), even though they have been read for well over 1,000 years, were OMITTED ENTIRELY from the revised lectionary. Pourquoi, one asks? Well, have a look and see what you think.

“In those days Jeremias said: ‘O Lord, all that forsake thee shall be confounded: they that depart from thee, shall be written in the earth: because they have forsaken the Lord, the vein of living waters. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed: save me, and I shall be saved, for thou art my praise. Behold they say to me: Where is the word of the Lord? let it come. And I am not troubled, following thee for my pastor, and I have not desired the day of man, thou knowest. That which went out of my lips, hath been right in thy sight. Be not thou a terror unto me, thou art my hope in the day of affliction. Let them be confounded that persecute me, and let not me be confounded: let them be afraid, and let not me be afraid: bring upon them the day of affliction, and with a double destruction, destroy them.’” (Jeremias 17:13–18; Friday of Passion Week)

“In those days the wicked Jews said one to another: ‘Come, and let us invent devices against the just: for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet: come, and let us strike him with the tongue, and let us give no heed to all his words.’ Give heed to me, O Lord, and hear the voice of my adversaries. Shall evil be rendered for good, because they have digged a pit for my soul? Remember that I have stood in thy sight, to speak good for them, and to turn away thy indignation from them. Therefore deliver up their children to famine, and bring them into the hands of the sword: let their wives be bereaved of children and widows: and let their husbands be slain by death: let their young men be stabbed with the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard out of their houses: for thou shalt bring the robber upon them suddenly: because they have digged a pit to take me, and have hid snares for my feet. But thou, O Lord, knowest all their counsel against me unto death: forgive not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from thy sight: let them be overthrown before thy eyes, in the time of thy wrath do thou destroy them.” (Jeremias 18:18–23; Saturday of Passion Week)

The photo is from p. 41 in the indispensable Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite by Matthew Hazell: full of surprises for those who want to see what was added to—and what was removed from—the postconciliar lectionary. (The left column shows chapter and verse from Jeremias; the middle column refers to the new lectionary; the right column to the ancient lectionary.)