The First Sunday in Advent

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ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Source: Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549 Prayer Book. Based on Romans 13:8-12 and Mathew 21:1-13 which are appointed for this Sunday [Barbee and Zahl]

Zachariah ix.1, Romans xiii. 8   &  St. Matthew xxi. 1
Psalms viii, l | xcvi, xcvii

Admonition and Exhortation for Communion
ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her

Homily of Augustine on the Gospel


Zechariah ix. 1

The burden of the word of the Lord, in the land of Sedrach, and his sacrifice [shall be] in Damascus; for the Lord looks upon men, and upon all the tribes of Israel. And in Emath, [even] in her coasts, [are] Tyre and Sidon, because they were very wise. And Tyrus built strong-holds for herself, and heaped up silver as dust, and gathered gold as the mire of the ways. And therefore the Lord will take them for a possession, and will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be consumed with fire. Ascalon shall see, and fear; Gaza also, and shall be greatly pained, and Accaron; for she is ashamed at her trespass; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ascalon shall not be inhabited. And aliens shall dwell in Azotus, and I will bring down the pride of the Philistines. And I will take their blood out of their mouth, and their abominations from between their teeth; and these also shall be left to our God, and they shall be as a captain of a thousand in Juda, and Accaron as a Jebusite. And I will set up a defence for my house, that they may not pass through, nor turn back, neither shall there any more come upon them one to drive them away: for now have I seen with mine eyes. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; proclaim [it] aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King is coming to thee, just, and a Saviour; he is meek and riding on an ass, and a young foal. And he shall destroy the chariots out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow of war shall be utterly destroyed; and [there shall be] abundance and peace out of the nations; and he shall rule over the waters as far as the sea, and the rivers [to] the ends of the earth.
[LXX Brenton]

Psalms Morning | Evening viii L | xcvi xcvii

Romans xiii. 8

OWE no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

St. Matthew xxi. 1.

WHEN they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name 'of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

The Collects of Thomas Cranmer, Barbee and Zalh



Chapter LXVI.—Of the Colt of the Ass Which is Mentioned by Matthew, and of the Consistency of His Account with that of the Other Evangelists, Who Speak Only of the Ass.

Matthew goes on with his narrative in the following terms: “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her;” and so on, down to the words, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark also records this occurrence, and inserts it in the same order. Luke, on the other hand, tarries a space by Jericho, recounting certain matters which these others have omitted,—namely, the story of Zacchæus, the chief of the publicans, and some sayings which are couched in parabolic form. After instancing these things, however, this evangelist again joins company with the others in the narrative relating to the ass on which Jesus sat. And let not the circumstance stagger us, that Matthew speaks both of an ass and of the colt of an ass, while the others say nothing of the ass. For here again we must bear in mind the rule which we have already introduced in dealing with the statements about the seating of the people by fifties and by hundreds on the occasion on which the multitudes were fed with the five loaves. Now, after this principle has been brought into application, the reader should not feel any serious difficulty in the present case. Indeed, even had Matthew said nothing about the colt, just as his fellow-historians have taken no notice of the ass, the fact should not have created any such perplexity as to induce the idea of an insuperable contradiction between the two statements, when the one writer speaks only of the ass, and the others only of the colt of the ass. But how much less cause then for any disquietude ought there to be, when we see that the one writer has mentioned the ass to which the others have omitted to refer, in such a manner as at the same time not to leave unnoticed also the colt of which the rest have spoken! In fine, where it is possible to suppose both objects to have been included in the occurrence, there is no real antagonism, although the one writer may specify only the one thing, and another only the other. How much less need there be any contradiction, when the one writer particularizes the one object, and another instances both! Again, although John tells us nothing as to the way in which the Lord despatched His disciples to fetch these animals to Him, nevertheless he inserts a brief allusion to this colt, and cites also the word of the prophet which Matthew makes use of. In the case also of this testimony from the prophet, the terms in which it is reproduced by the evangelists, although they exhibit certain differences, do not fail to express a sense identical in intention. Some difficulty, however, may be felt in the fact that Matthew adduces this passage in a form which represents the prophet to have made mention of the ass; whereas this is not the case, either with the quotation as introduced by John, or with the version given in the ecclesiastical codices of the translation in common use. An explanation of this variation seems to me to be found in the fact that Matthew is understood to have written his Gospel in the Hebrew language. Moreover, it is manifest that the translation which bears the name of the Septuagint differs in some particulars from the text which is found in the Hebrew by those who know that tongue, and by the several scholars who have given us renderings of the same Hebrew books. And if an explanation is asked for this discrepancy, or for the circumstance that the weighty authority of the Septuagint translation diverges in many passages from the rendering of the truth which is discovered in the Hebrew codices, I am of opinion that no more probable account of the matter will suggest itself, than the supposition that the Seventy composed their version under the influence of the very Spirit by whose inspiration the things which they were engaged in translating had been originally spoken. This is an idea which receives confirmation also from the marvellous consent which is asserted to have characterized them.1136 Consequently, when these translators, while not departing from the real mind of God from which these sayings proceeded, and to the expression of which the words ought to be subservient, gave a different form to some matters in their reproduction of the text, they had no intention of exemplifying anything else than the very thing which we now admiringly contemplate in that kind of harmonious diversity which marks the four evangelists, and in the light of which it is made clear that there is no failure from strict truth, although one historian may give an account of some theme in a manner different indeed from another, and yet not so different as to involve an actual departure from the sense intended by the person with whom he is bound to be in concord and agreement. To understand this is of advantage to character, with a view at once to guard against what is false, and to pronounce correctly upon it; and it is of no less consequence to faith itself, in the way of precluding the supposition that, as it were with consecrated sounds, truth has a kind of defence provided for it which might imply God’s handing over to us not only the thing itself, but likewise the very words which are required for its enunciation; whereas the fact rather is, that the theme itself which is to be expressed is so decidedly deemed of superior importance to the words in which it has to be expressed, that we would be under no obligation to ask about them at all, if it were possible for us to know the truth without the terms, as God knows it, and as His angels also know it in Him.

NPNF (V1-06) Philip Schaff

Let us pray in the words of Augustine.

Turn we to the Lord God, the Father Almighty, and with pure hearts offer to him, so far as our meanness can, great and true thanks, with all our hearts praying his exceeding kindness, that of his good pleasure he would deign to hear our prayers, that by his Power he would drive out the enemy from our deeds and thoughts, that he would increase our faith, guide our understandings, give us spiritual thoughts, and lead us to his bliss, through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with him, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[A prayer which he was wont to use after his Sermons and Lectures.]



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