Friday, May 09, 2014

The First Alleluia for the Fourth Sunday of Easter: Redemptionem misit Dominus ("He sent redemption to his people")

Here is this Alleluia; there's no information about the singers, but it sounds like the Solesmes choir to me:

Allelúja, allelúja. Vs. Redemptiónem misit Dóminus pópulo suo. from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

The text comes from Psalm (110/)111, verse 9; the text itself is just "Alleluia," along with the part in bold below:
[The LORD] sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant forever.
    Holy and awesome is his name!

Here's the full chant score:

The second Alleluia digs in to the theme of this Sunday:  Ego sum pastor bonus ("I am the good shepherd").  Here's a video of that chant, sung by the Benedictines of Sao Paolo:

The text is this well-known one:  
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.

As mentioned previously, "Good Shepherd Sunday" - defined by today's Gospel reading and (most of) these chant propers - was at one time the Third Sunday of Easter; I haven't been able to learn why this changed in the modern lectionary and propers.  In any case, the collect for today is this one:
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

And the Gospel for this year is from John 10:1-10:
Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

In fact, we read from the tenth chapter of John on each of the three lectionary years; each reading is on the theme of the Good Shepherd and his sheep.

It seems that "the Good Shepherd" was one of the earliest and most prevalent ways of thinking about Jesus, and of representing him in art.   This image comes from the Vatican website; it's included in an article about the catacombs, and is labeled "Rome, Catacombs of Priscilla – The Good Shepherd":

Here's the text that goes with the image, from the same site:
One of the images represented the most in the art of the catacombs is the Good Shepherd. While the model is taken from pagan culture, it immediately takes on a Christological significance inspired by the parable of the lost sheep. Christ is thus represented as a humble shepherd with a lamb on his shoulders as he watches over his little flock that is sometimes made up of only two sheep placed at his sides.

Here's another early one (mid-3rd century A.D.), from the ceiling of the S. Callisto catacomb:

And this one is "The Good Shepherd, mosaic in Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 1st half of 5th century": has all the propers for today, sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines:
Hebdomada quarta paschæ
Introitus: Ps. 32, 5.6 et 1 Misericordia Domini (cum Gloria Patri) (5m12.2s - 4882 kb) score
Alleluia: Ps. 110, 9 Redemptionem (1m42.2s - 1600 kb) score
Alleluia: Io. 10, 14 Ego sum pastor bonus (2m31.5s - 2370 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 62, 2.5 Deus, Deus meus (1m19.4s - 1242 kb) score
Communio: Io. 10, 11 Ego sum pastor bonus (47.3s - 742 kb) score

Here are posts about some of these on Chantblog:

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