FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
February 5, 2017
Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care,
that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace,
they may be defended always by your protection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
This collect comes from the Hadrian Sacramentary, where it is a prayer over the people to conclude the Mass. In some early sacramentaries, this collect used to open the Mass on the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany which usually calculates this day.
The collect identifies the protection and keeping the family of God by His heavenly grace. We are members of the family of God and asking to keep us with a parent-like, “unfailing care.” Also, the collect asks that, as members of that family, the Lord might protect us and that through our Christian hope we might be upheld in safety. In the New Testament speaks about what it means to be members of God’s “whole family in heaven and on earth” (Eph 3:15), the “household of faith” (Gal 6:10), and “children of God” (Jn 1:12). We know that this membership is through no efforts of our own and in fact that it does not even come through natural birth, but only through our rebirth in the waters of Baptism. We also know that, as in all families, our membership in the Lord’s family, the Church, comes with certain responsibilities and expectations: “Do good to everyone” (Gal 6:10), be “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph 3:17), “live according to the Spirit with things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5). Thus, living as a member of the Family of God, we do indeed have access to that “grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God” (Rom 5:2).