Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fourth & Fifth Weeks of October

The occurring Scripture assigned for the month of October consists entirely of the two* books of Maccabees. This year, all five liturgical weeks of October are observed in their entirety, but in 1962ville, only four weeks are possible.The first three weeks are given to the first book and the latter two weeks to the second book of Maccabees.

Here is the difference in treatment when only four weeks are possible:

1. Traditional - The occurring Scripture is read as given up to the Wednesday of the Fourth Week. Assuming no feasts with proper lessons in the first nocturne at Mattins, on Thursday of the same week, the readings assigned for the Fifth Sunday are read followed by the Monday and Tuesday of the Fifth Week taking the place of the Friday and Saturday, respectively, of the Fourth Week. Afterwards, the First Sunday of November then would coincide with the Feast of Christ the King on the civilly reckoned last Sunday of October.

2. 1962ville - The third week is omitted entirely, and the Fourth Sunday and its week are placed where the third week would have occurred. In all years, the Fifth Sunday coincides with Christ the King, thereby eliminating the former permanently per the Johaninne rubrics of commemorations. However, the one advantage of this system is that at least two weeks for each book are accorded in any given year, while the Traditional system accords a lopsided exposure to the first book over the second (3 weeks vs. 1 week).

The CTO proposes a hybrid of the two for the month of October, and hence, this is our first digression from the Tridentine treatment of the occurring Scripture. In September, it made sense to switch to the selections from Esther from the fifth week in those latter days of the fourth week since this dealt with an entirely new book of the Bible rather than the continuation of the same book as is the case in October and as was the case in August. In August, the Tridentine rubrics (and 1962ville too) simply omitted the fifth week (a continuation of Ecclesiasticus) when said week had no place.  The 1962 system of omitting the third week of continuing the readings from the first book of Maccabees makes better sense than omitting a disjointed selection of the second book while at the same giving a full three weeks to the first book.

The CTO naturally keeps the Traditional reckoning of the weeks, but proposes to have the third week of October omitted in years when all five weeks are not available. Under such reckoning, Christ the King can still coincide with either the Fifth Sunday of October or the First Sunday of November, thereby not relegating either Sunday to permanent reduction or exclusion.

* The CTO author has a Biblia Sacra Vulgata (neo-Vulgate unfortunately) in his possession in which an apocryphal third and fourth book of Maccabees are given, in Latin not Greek, in the appendices. He has yet to peruse them at any length.

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