6th Sunday in
Ordinary Time – A
Today’s reflection on the revised Mass orations is on the Byzantine missionary blood brothers, Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop, whose Feast Day is February 14. Born of a Greek father and Bulgarian mother, Saint Cyril
[827-869] is depicted in a hermit or monk’s garb; Saint Methodius
[815-884] wears episcopal vestments and holds an Eastern-Rite Bishop’s crozier. Venerated by Eastern Rite Churches for centuries, they were only added to the Latin
Rite calendar in 1880; one hundred years later they were made Co-patrons of Europe along with Saint Benedict … by the-now Saint John Paul II.
To bring the Gospel to the current day Ukraine and other Slavic peoples, Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius devised what we now call the Cyrillic alphabet, still used in Russia and many Slavic lands, depicted by a pen and scroll. In those days, the Western or Latin Rites of the Catholic Church [ironically, ‘catholic’ means ‘universal!’] only recognized Hebrew, Greek and Latin for worship and sacred studies. These were considered ‘sacred’ languages since the sign ‘INRI,’
the acronym for ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,’ atop Christ’s Cross [C.f. John 19:19] was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin.
Collect – Saints Cyril & Methodius
O God, who enlightened the Slavic peoples through the brothers
Saints Cyril and Methodius,
grant that our hearts may grasp the words of your teaching, and perfect us as a people of one accord in true faith and right confession.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
NEW LANGUAGE TO PREACH THE GOSPEL.
As these brilliant brothers had to create a new alphabet to proclaim the Good News, we may also need to find new ways to ‘promote’ the Gospel to the many who no longer practice the faith or see no reason to believe or join the Church. These unchurched people are often in our own home, among our own family and friends, and in neighborhood and workplaces. Of course, the best way to preach the Gospel is by example and deed, not merely words!
Prayer over the Offerings – Saints Cyril & Methodius
Look, O Lord, upon the offerings which we bring before your majesty in commemoration
of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and grant that these gifts may become the sign of a new humanity, reconciled to you in loving charity.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE NEW SIGN OF HUMANITY.
The Church uniquely proclaims to all that in Christ we have all become brothers and sisters, children of one Father, as the next oration states. Sadly, the Church’s divisions: East and West, Protestant and Catholic, seriously hinders and tragically lessens our ‘sign-value’ to the world as one family. It is the fervent and consistent faith of Catholicism that the Eucharist is THE KEY to unity; that is one main reason why we cannot yet allow intercommunion among all Christians. For it is essential that we be united in our faith in our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and all it demands of us – and for which Saints Cyril and Methodius devoted their ministry and their life. What are you doing to better understand and participate in the Eucharist?
Prayer after Communion – Saints Cyril & Methodius
O God, Father of all nations, who make us sharers in the one Bread and the one Spirit
and heirs of the eternal banquet,
grant in your kindness
on this feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius,
that the multitude of your children,
persevering in the same faith,
may be united in building up
the Kingdom of justice and peace.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
UNITING EAST AND WEST.
The Great Schism of 1054, which split Christianity into two branches, the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, had its roots in 800, when Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne the Holy Roman Emperor. While Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople simultaneously lifted the 900-year-old mutual excommunication in 1965, we must still pray and work for the reunion of East and West. May Saints Cyril and Methodius pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS