On the Friday in Ember Week the Station was always made in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, situated at the foot of the Quirinal, for the examination of candidates for ordination. Thus were the future priests and deacons put under the protection of the whole Apostolic College. This basilica, one of the oldest in Rome, was built shortly after the time of Constantine by Julius I., on the occasion of the translation of the bodies of the Apostles Philip and James the Less, which rested there. John III made of it a votive monument for the freeing of Rome from the Goths of Totila.
Addressing henelf to the public penitents in the first centuries of Christianity, the Church told them by the mouth of Ezechiel that God was ready to forgive them because they repented (Epistle). Like the sick who assembled in the porches of the pond situated on the north of the Temple in Jerusalem they waited at the doors of the church, and on the great day of the Sabbath, which is the Feast of Easter, Jesus cured them, as He healed the paralytic spoken of in the Gospel.
Our souls, washed in the waters of baptism, but since fallen back into sin, must atone for their faults, and Jesus, through the instrumentality of His priests, will pardon them in the holy tribunal of Penance.
The excuse, “I have no man,” will not avail us, for if we remain stricken with the palsy of sin, it is because we do not have recourse to the ministry of priesthood, which is always at our disposal.
Let us pray to Almighty God to “receive us with his kind assistance” (Collect), that our vices being “cleansed away” by penance (Postcommunion), our souls may once more be shown “the light of His grace” (Prayer over the people).
Introit: Psalm xxiv 17, 18
De necessitatibus meis eripe me, Domine: vide humilitatem meam et laborem meum, et dimitte omnia peccata mea. * Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confido, non erubescam.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my necessities: see my abjection and my labour, and forgive me all my sins. * To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed.
Esto, Domine, propitius plebi tuae: et quam tibi facis esse devotam, benigno refove miseratus auxilio.
Be gracious, O Lord, unto Thy people, and even as Thou makest them devoted to Thee, so mercifully revive them with Thy kind assistance.
Epistle: Ezechiel XIII. 20-28
Gospel: John v. 1-15
“Moses”, says St. Augustine, “fasted for forty days, and Elias and our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, for the same space of time. But the Law is only fulfilled by the observance of the twofold precept of charity, so it is not to be wondered at that this man, to whom only two years were lacking out of forty, remained still in his infirmity.”
By virtue of this mystery, O Lord, may our vices be cleansed away, and our righteous desires accomplished. Through our Lord.
(These readings are taken from SAINT ANDREW DAILY MISSAL)