This Sunday’s Music: Sunday III of Lent

This week, we at SFDS — and all parishes that have catechumens preparing for the Easter Vigil — will diverge from the rest of our Catholic brothers and sisters around the world so far as our readings are concerned. As explained in our blog post for the First Sunday in Lent (read further: http://bit.ly/2XZ6Jxq), we are now in Cycle A. Next week, we will, however, move back to Cycle C except for the 9:00 Mass.

So, what wealth of music is coming our way in light of our Cycle A readings? You can also check out our music on our weekly Youtube playlist below (and by visiting our growing Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDSd2zUrlJlm4W_wA5RqmQ):

PROCESSIONAL:
LENTEN PROCESSIONAL

Today we enter a new chapter of our Lenten Processional hymn. While the Attende, Domine continues almost eerily in the background as a countermelody — i.e. when a second melody is heard at the same time (or “against”) another melody —, we sing a new refrain that captures the gospel spirit of SFDS and the hopeful theme of Lent:

Renew me. Flow through me.
Lord, I’m ready.
Refuge I shall find within Thy goodness.
Renew me. Flow through me.
Jesus calls me.
Raise me up with Thee again.

Thematically reminiscent of the song during the Distribution of Ashes on Ash Wednesday, Rise from the Ashes, this refrain harkens on the Psalm from Sunday I of Lent and the Gospel from Sunday II. Let’s continue on our journey of renewal toward the Resurrection.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM:
PSALM 95

Somehow, this Psalm always has penitential undertones in people’s minds, but it truly is a bright affirmation of faith. In fact, it has a fixed place in the Divine Office that is recited daily by the ordained and the lay alike. Last week, we ended the Mass with Hush, Hush, Somebody’s Callin’ My Name, and along the same lines, today we sing: “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart[s]” (Psalms 95:7b-8a). Our Lord and Savior is always beckoning us that we may follow Him more closely. Brothers and sisters, if today we hear His voice, especially in the stillness of Lent, open yourselves up to the good news of salvation!

OFFERTORY:
PASS ME NOT, O GENTLE SAVIOR

This hymn with words by Fanny J. Crosby and music by William H. Doane is widely considered a spiritual because of its timeless popularity among especially African-American congregations across denominations and because of its melodic structure that moves characteristically like the melodic patterns associated with spirituals, but it does not hail from that stock of musical wealth. This weekend, we at SFDS will be introduced to this beautiful hymn, which has a place in our liturgical repertoire all year long and but especially during this Lenten season. In the fourth verse, we sing:

Thou the Spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
Whom in heav’n but Thee?
Savior, Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

In the Gospel, Jesus sets aside all cultural and religious norms by addressing the Samaritan woman and revealing to her the news that He is the Messiah. He chooses the least among us to be the greatest. Will He pass us by? No. We may feel at times that the Lord calls only on the greatest among us to do great things, but He knows the humble cry of the poor. His eye is on the sparrow, and He watches each and every one of us.

COMMUNION:
FILL MY CUP, LORD

This classic hymn has become a staple in the gospel repertoire, and today, we will echo the words of Richard Blanchard:

Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
For the things that could not satisfy;
And then, I heard my Savior speaking:
”Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”
Fill my cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more —
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

We are among those “millions in this world who are craving / The pleasure earthly things afford”, but if we place our full trust in our Lord, how will we ever go thirsty or hungry?

RECESSIONAL:
STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY

In today’s Introit, i.e. the antiphon traditionally sung at the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, we quote Psalm 25: “My eyes are ever toward the LORD; for He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn Thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted” (Psalms 25:15-16). In our recessional hymn, written in the first person from the perspective of our merciful God, we are reminded in the third verse:

How many times have you doubted My word?
How many times must I call your name?
And as you say “Yes,” letting Me love You,
I will be strength for the journey.

Just as the Israelites tested and doubted the Lord in our First Reading, so let us always remember that the Lord is on our side. We are now fully on our Lenten journey both as individual believers and as a family bound in the Christian faith. Let us not be like the Israelites who, along their journey to the Promised Land, doubted the Lord by complaining to Moses: “Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3). The Lord will always provide, and with that conviction, we sing this song, which is simple and fun. Sing loud and proud what has quickly become a standard in contemporary Christian music: Michael John Poirier’s Strength for the Journey.