Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Gospel

Statue of the Good Shepherd,  3rd c. AD, Vatican's Pio Cristiano Museum
From a sermon by St. Peter Chrysologus:
We are his people and the sheep of his pasture. In many passages we are told of the joy with which the Shepherd will come from heaven to recall his wandering sheep to life-giving pastures—sheep who have grown weak and sick through feeding on noxious weeds. Enter his gates, says the psalmist, giving thanks. Praise is the only way to enter the gates of faith. Let us enter his courts to the accompaniment of song, declaring his greatness, praising and blessing his holy name. It is through that name that we are saved, it is at the sound of that name that all in heaven and on earth and beneath the earth shall bend the knee, and every creature confess his love for the Lord his God.
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Third Sunday of Easter

Man of Sorrows, by Hans Memling
A meditation from a homily by St. Augustine:

Christ rose from the tomb with his wounds healed, though their scars remained. He knew it would be good for his disciples if he retained the scars, for those scars would heal the wound in their hearts.

What wound do I mean? The wound of disbelief; for even when he appeared before their eyes and showed them his true body, they still took him for a disembodied spirit. So he showed himself to his disciples.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday within the Octave of Easter

This Sunday's Gospel tells the story of Doubting Thomas:

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria, writing about this scene in his Commentary on John’s Gospel says, "As always, Christ has to be patient with Thomas when he said he would not believe, and with the other disciples too when they thought they were seeing a ghost. Because of his desire to convince the whole world, he most willingly showed them the marks of the nails and the wound in his side; because he wished those who needed such signs as a support for their faith to have no possible reason for doubt, he even took food although he had no need for it."

May our faith, like that of Thomas and the other disciples, ever increase, and may we always say to the risen Christ, "My Lord and my God!"

The disbelief of Saint Thomas. Detail of ivory dyptic, North Italian school, ca. 500 AD. From Milan Cathedral.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday

A Holy and Blessed Easter to all! Christ is risen, Alleluia!



A translation of the Easter Sequence Victimae paschali laudes,
by Wipo of Burgundy (d. 1050?)

Christians, to the Paschal victim
offer your thankful praises!

A lamb the sheep redeemeth:
Christ, who only is sinless,
reconcileth sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
what thou sawest, wayfaring:

"The tomb of Christ, who is living,
the glory of Jesus' resurrection;

"Bright angels attesting,
the shroud and napkin resting.

"Yea, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he will go before you."

Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining;
have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!