Home l Liturgy & Sacraments l Liturgical Calendar

Sexagesima Sunday – Sunday, February 4, 2024

Sexagesima Sunday

The Church offers to our consideration, during this week of Sexagesima, the history of Noah and the deluge. Man has not profited by the warnings already given him. God is obliged to punish him once more, and by a terrible chastisement. There is found out of the whole human race one just man God makes a covenant with him, and with us through him. But, before he draws up this new alliance, he would show that he is the Sovereign Master, and that man, and the earth whereon he lives, subsist solely by his power and permission.

This awful chastisement of the human race by the Deluge was a fresh consequence of sin. This time, however, there was found one just man; and it was through him and his family that the world was restored. Having once more mercifully renewed his covenant with his creatures, God allows the earth to be re-peopled, and makes the three sons of Noah become the Fathers of the three great families of the human race.

This is the Mystery of the Divine Office during the week of Sexagesima. The Mystery expressed in to-day’s Mass is of still greater importance, and the first is but a figure of the second. The earth is deluged by sin and heresy. But the Word of God, the Seed of life, is ever producing a new generation, a race of men, who, like Noah, fear God. It is the Word of God that produces those happy children, of whom the Beloved Disciple speaks, saying: they are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God [St. John, 1. 13]. Let us endeavor to be of this family; or, if we already be numbered among its members, let us zealously maintain our glorious position. What we have to do, during these days of Septuagesima, is to escape from the Deluge of worldliness, and take shelter in the Ark of salvation; we have to become that good soil, which yields a hundred-fold from the heavenly Seed. Let us flee from the wrath to come, lest we perish with the enemies of God: let us hunger after that Word of God, which converteth and giveth life to souls [Ps. xviii].

With the Greeks, this is the seventh day of their week Apocreös, which begins on the Monday after our Septuagesima Sunday. They call this week Apocreös, because they then begin to abstain from flesh-meat, which abstinence is observed till Easter Sunday.

Whilst the earth is being moved, and is suffering those terrible revolutions, which, deluge-like, come first on one nation and then on another, – the Church prays for her Faithful Children, in order that they may be spared, for they are the elect, and the hope of the world. It is thus she prays in the following Tract which precedes the Gospel of the Word.

St. Gregory the Great justly remarks, that this Parable needs no explanation. since Eternal Wisdom himself has told us its meaning. All that we have to do, is to profit by this divine teaching, and become the good soil, wherein the heavenly Seed may yield a rich harvest. How often have we not, hitherto, allowed it to be trampled on by them that passed by, or to be torn up by the birds of the air? How often has it not found our heart like a stone, that could give no moisture, or like a thorn plot, that could but choke? We listened to the Word of God; we took pleasure in hearing it; and from this we argued well for ourselves. Nay, we have often received this Word with joy and eagerness. Sometimes, even, it took root within us. But alas! something always came to stop its growth. Henceforth, it must both grow and yield fruit. The Seed given to us is of such quality, that the Divine Sower has a right to expect a hundred-fold. If the soil, that is, if our heart, be good; if we take the trouble to prepare it, by profiting of the means afforded us by the Church; we shall have an abundant harvest to show our Lord on that grand Day, when, rising triumphant from his Tomb, he shall come to share with his faithful people the glory of His Resurrection.

Copyright © 2015-2024 Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Latin Mass Parish, 602 S 34th St., Tacoma, WA 98418. All Rights Reserved.

Website comments or questions: info@saintjosephtacoma.org