Sunday, March 18, 2018

Passion Sunday: "The Truth commandeth us to long for a Fatherland in heaven "

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 8:46-59
At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory (the Great)
18th on the Gospels.
Dearly beloved brethren, consider the gentleness of God. He came to take away sins, and He saith Which of you convinceth Me of sin? He Who, through the might of His Godhead, was able to justify sinners, was contented to show by argument that He was not Himself a sinner. But exceeding dread is that which followeth. He that is of God heareth God's words; ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God. If, then, whosoever is of God heareth God's words, and whosoever is not of Him cannot hear His words, let each one ask himself if he, in the ear of his heart, heareth God's words, and understandeth Whose words they are? The Truth commandeth us to long for a Fatherland in heaven, to bridle the lusts of the flesh, to turn away from the glory of the world, to seek no man's goods, and to give away our own. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our nature brings sin with it and all men, "according to the spirit", are thus "born blind".

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 9:1-38
At that time, Jesus, passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
44th Tract on John.
Dread and wondrous are all the things which our Lord Jesus Christ did, both His works and His words; the works, because He wrought them; the words, because they are deep. If, therefore, we consider the meaning of this work of His, we see that that man which was blind from his birth was a figure of mankind. This spiritual blindness was the consequence of the sin of the first man, from whom we all inherit by birth, not death only, but depravity also. For if blindness be unbelief, and faith, light, whom, when Christ came, did He find faithful? May, the Apostle who had himself been born of the race of which the Prophets came, saith: We also were by nature children of wrath, even as others. Eph. ii. 3. And if children of wrath, then children also of vengeance, children of damnation, children of hell. And wherefore so by nature, unless it were that the sin of the first man had made all his descendants to be born in sin, in that they partook of his nature? If, then, our nature bring sin with it, all men, according to the spirit, are born blind.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dominica IV in Quadragesima, "Laetare"

From the holy gospel according to St John

John 6:1-15

In that time, Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And so on. 

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. 24th Tract on John.

The miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did were the very works of God, and they enlighten the mind of man by mean of things which are seen, that he may know more of God. God is Himself of such a Substance as eye cannot see, and the miracles, by the which He ruleth the whole world continually, and satisfieth the need of everything that He hath made, are by use become so common, that scarce any will vouchsafe to see that there are wonderful and amazing works of God in every grain of seed of grass. According to His mercy He kept some works to be done in their due season, but out of the common course and order of nature, that men might see them and be astonished, not because they are greater, but because they are rarer than those which they lightly esteem, since they see them day by day.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Feria Quinta infra Hebdomadam III in Quadragesima

Luke 4:38
At that time Jesus arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
Bk. iv. on Luke iv.
Behold here how long-suffering is the Lord our Redeemer! Neither moved to anger against them, nor sickened at their guilt, nor outraged by their attacks, did He leave the Jews' country. Nay, forgetting their iniquity, and mindful only of His mercy, He strove to soften their hard and unbelieving hearts, sometimes by His teaching, and sometimes by freeing some of them, and sometimes by healing them. St. Luke doth well to tell us first of the man who was delivered from an unclean spirit, and then of the healing of a woman. The Lord indeed came to heal both sexes, but that must be healed first which was created first, and then must not she be passed by whose first sin arose rather from fickleness of heart than from depraved will.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

When not to make a fraternal correction: "But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone."

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 18:15-22
At that time, Jesus saith to his disciples: But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone.  And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
16th Sermon on the Words of the Lord, vol. x.
Why tell him his fault? Because he hath made thee smart by trespassing against thee? God forbid. If thou tell him his fault because thou lovest thyself, thou dost nothing. But if thou tell it him because thou lovest him, then dost thou do exceeding well. Hear now, in the words of the Gospel itself, for love of whom, thou oughtest to do it, of thyself, or of him. The Lord saith: If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Therefore it behoveth thee to do it for his sake, that thou mayest gain him; since, if thou so do, haply thou mayest gain him; whereas, if thou do it not, he may haply perish. Why then are there so many who reckon lightly of a trespass against their brother, and say I have done no great offence, for I have trespassed only against my fellow man? Deem it not light; thou hast trespassed, though it be against thy fellow man.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Dominica III in Quadragesima: "The Kingdom of God is upon you"

Luke 11:14-28
At that time, Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb: and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it. And so on.

Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest at Jarrow.
Bk. iv. 48 on Luke xi.
We read in Matthew xii. 22 that the devil, by which this poor creature was possessed, was not only dumb, but also blind; and that, when he was healed by the Lord, he saw as well as spake. Three miracles, therefore, were performed on this one man; the blind saw, the dumb spake, and the possessed was delivered. This mighty work was then indeed wrought carnally, but it is still wrought spiritually in the conversion of believers, when the devil is cast out of them, so that their eyes see the light of faith, and the lips, that before were dumb, are opened that their mouth may show forth the praise of God. But some of them said: He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. These some were not of the multitude, but liars among the Pharisees and Scribes, as we are told by the other Evangelist.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dominica Secunda in Quadragesima: "the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 17:1-9
At that time, Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Leo the Great. 
From a homily on the Transfiguration of the Lord.
Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and manifested forth the brightness of His glory. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in Him the Majesty of God, they knew not the power of that Body which veiled the Godhead. And therefore He had individually and markedly promised to some of the disciples that had stood by Him Matth. xvi. 28 that they should “not taste of death till they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom”, that is, in the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God, and which He willed to make visible to those three men. This it was that they saw, for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, Matth. v. 8 can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live.