Normally, when commenting on a day's liturgy, the Prudent Blogger will have got his line sussed well beforehand. But it was only as I actually read yesterday's propers, for Epiphany IV, that I started wondering. Let me share with you my work-in-progress.
In the Gospel, we had the Disciples, poor poppets, panicking about the storm as they baled out the boat. Earlier, we had those words in the Collect " ... nos in in tantis periculis constitutos ...".
You see, those dangers facing the Boat ... they reminded me of Boats in Danger in Classical Greek literature ... Homer ... OK ... but, more in particular, Alcaeus, a symposiast/political poet on the island of Lesbos. For him, the endangered ship may symbolise the imperilled political community (see Page on Z 2). Commentators here sometimes reach for the cliche 'Ship of State'. (There is an imitatio of this motif in Horace; Odes I xiv and see NH.)
Are we supposed to make a connection between Epiphany IV's "so great dangers" and this literary tradition? And what about those paintings of ships in the catacombs?
(1) It is rarely obvious that the mind which selected a Gospel was the same mind that provided the same day's Collect. But it is one of the characteritics of the Gesima Sundays ... what we now rather poshly seem to have been renamed the Pre-Lent Season ... that the two are related ... just as they are here on Epiphany IV. (2) And the theme of this Collect is strikingly similar to that of Gesima propers: that all these calamities are punishment for our sin; and we throw ourselves upon Divine Mercy. Compare, particularly, Epiphany IV Collect with that for Septuagesima.
I have found Sr Dr Haessly's pages suggestive here, especially 38-40 and 130sqq.
So, as far as Collect and Gospel are concerned, Epiphany IV has for me the curious appearance of a Gesima-outlier. As the 1970s blunderers and blusterers got to work, naturally it had to disappear so as to make the liturgy 'enriched' enough for Arthur Roche.
Anybody got a line on any of this, preferably rooted in the liturgical tradition?
Anyway, a most appropriate proper for the Church in temporibus his Bergoglianissimis.