Sunday, April 10, 2011

Whither Violet Veils?

Today, the Western church celebrates the Fifth Sunday of Lent. This was known in the traditional Roman calendar as “Passion Sunday.” The reading of the Gospel is the account of Our Lord being confronted by His detractors. This is excerpted from John 8:46-59:

The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am." They therefore took up stones to cast as Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out from the temple.

For this reason, it is customary to cover all crucifixes and images of angels and saints with violet shrouds. The images of the crucifix are unveiled on Good Friday, while the others are left covered until the Easter Vigil.

And yet, for the reformed Roman liturgy, the following Gospel accounts are read for the three-year cycle of the lectionary.

Cycle A: John 11:1-45. Jesus learns of the death of His friend Lazarus, visits his tomb, and raises him from the dead.

Cycle B: John 12:20-33. As Jesus and His followers prepare to enter Jerusalem, He indicates to them the fate that awaits Him. "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified ..."

Cycle C: John 8:1-11. The scribes and Pharisees confront Jesus with a woman caught in adultery, in an attempt to trip him up, and the tables are turned.

None of these accounts have anything to do with the veiling of sacred images. Believe it or not, I did not realize this omission existed until now, and while I am not one to engage in "Novus Ordo-bashing," this does give me one more reason to prefer the Traditional form of the Roman Mass.

But hey, that's just me.

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