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Fifty Days Until the Resurrection


O Lord, mercifully hear our prayers and having set us free from the bonds of our sins deliver us from every evil, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Christ heals the blind El Greco.jpg

An Overview

Quinquagesima, also called Estomihi (Be Unto Me) Sunday, marks the last Lord's Day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

After the high of Epiphany, we have been slowly descending the mountain of the Transfiguration and now find ourselves seeing Saul rejected as King, watching a blind man beg for healing from Jesus, and hearing Saint Paul tell us about the relationship between faith, hope, love, and eternity. 

While these readings and psalms may see detached at first glance, they are all swirling together to prepare us for the forty days in the wilderness in which we are to focus on love, the healing power of faith, and the harsh reality that the Lord rejects those who reject Him.

Artwork: Christ Healing the Blind, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). Greek, ca 1570. Met Museum of Art.

The Old Testament

1 Samuel 16:1-13

  • The LORD has rejected Saul from being King because of his many failures. Samuel is saddened by this, but knows that he must do as God commands, rather than following his own heart and choosing favorites. See especially 1 Samuel 13:8-14 & all of 1 Samuel 15.

  • The LORD tells Samuel to not look on this appearance (verse 7). Compare this with the physical description of Saul: "And Kish had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people," (1 Samuel 9:2)

  • The anointing is not merely an outward symbol, but brings with it the Holy Spirit (verse 13). This points us toward the Sacraments instituted by Christ, not merely being "symbols" but actual Signs of what they bring with them, namely the forgiveness of sins.

Translation Notes

  • The word "anoint" in Hebrew מָשַׁחְ (ma-SHACH) is the root word of "Messiah." The Word Messiah (or "Christ" in Greek) means "anointed one."

The Epistle

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

  • A familiar passage to many, this is not narrowly about romantic love, but rather love as the fulfillment of the Law.

  • Certainly romantic love does not insist on itself and is patient and kind, but we should first realize that this is describing God's love for us, which we are to mimic (though in a mirror dimly)

  • In this life we need Faith to justify, and Hope to give meaning to life, but Love -- which is the fulfillment of the Law -- will continue into eternity, when there is no need for faith or hope

Translation Notes

  • Verse 5: literally " does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable and does not make a catalog of evil "

  • Verse 12: the word often translated "dimly" is αἴνιγμα, (EYE-nig-mah) the root of our English word "enigma." We are looking in a mirror as though looking into a riddle or an enigma.

The Holy Gospel

Luke 18:31-43

  • This is an odd shift: after two weeks of agricultural parables, we are given a healing miracle. But this healing miracle is in the context of the disciples not understanding that Jesus must die and rise again

  • Our Lord makes it clear that the betray, arrest, mocking, scourging, death, and resurrection of The Son of Man, are not newly invented things, but were spoken of long ago by the prophets.

  • Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man, but the blind beggar calls Him "Son of David." He is confessing that Jesus is the true king of Israel.

Translation Notes

  • Verse 31:  Jesus says that all will be "accomplished" τελεσθήσεται. (tell-ess-THAY-seh-tai) This is the same word that He speaks from the cross when He says "It is finished," (John 19:30).

  • Verse 42: While it's possible that the Greek word σέσωκέν (SEH-soh-kehn) could mean "made well," a clearer translation is "go, your faith has saved you."

Poetry Used in the Liturgy of Quinquagesima

  • Psalm 31 - a song of protection from earthly enemies

  • Psalm 89 - A song by the lesser-known poet Ethan, praising God for defense against enemies.

  • Psalm 77- Penned by Asaph, and sung according to the music of Jeduthan, this song meditates on what it means to be in peril and both asks and answers whether or not the Lord is present in times of suffering.

  • Psalm 100 - A song of thanksgiving (you can easily commit this to memory during the week)






Artwork: Omnia Vincit Amor, or The Power of Love in the Three Elements, Benjamin West. American, 1809. Metropolitan Musuem of Art.

omnia vincint amor met nyc.jpg
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