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Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Friday 2014

“Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.” (John 20:13)

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“Mystically, the broiled fish is Christ who suffered. And he is the bread that came down from heaven. The church is united to his body in order to participate in everlasting blessedness. This is why he says, “Bring of the fish that you have now caught,” in order to signify that all of us who have this hope and are in that number seven of disciples, which represents the universal church here, partake of this great sacrament and are admitted to this bliss.” (Tractate on the Gospel of John, 123)




Almighty ever-living God,
who gave us the Paschal Mystery
in the covenant you established
for reconciling the human race,
so dispose our minds, we pray,
that what we celebrate by professing the faith
we may express in deeds.
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. Amen.



The Lord is risen! Alleluia!
He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Thursday 2014

“While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, He [Jesus] asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of baked fish; He took it and ate it in front of them.” (Luke 24:41-43)

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“While they were still flustered for joy, they were rejoicing and doubting at the same time. They were seeing and touching, and scarcely believing. What a tremendous favor grace has done us! We have neither seen nor touched, and we have believed. While they were still flustered for joy, he said, “Have you got here anything to eat? Certainly you can believe that I am alive and well if I join you in a meal.” They offered him what they had: a portion of grilled fish. Grilled fish means martyrdom, faith proved by fire. Why is it only a portion? Paul says, “If I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Imagine a complete body of martyrs. Some suffer because of love, while others suffer out of pride. Remove the pride portion, offer the love portion. That is the food for Christ. Give Christ his portion. Christ loves the martyrs who suffered out of love.” (Sermon 229)




O God, who have united the many nations
in confessing your name,
grant that those reborn in the font of Baptism
may be one in the faith of their hearts
and the homage of their deeds.
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. Amen.



The Lord is risen! Alleluia!
He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Wednesday 2014.

“... but their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him [Jesus].” (Luke 24:16)

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

““We,” they said, “had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” O my dear disciples, you had hoped! So now you no longer hope? Look, Christ is alive! Is hope dead in you? Certainly, certainly, Christ is alive! Christ, being alive, found the hearts of his disciples dead, as he appeared and did not appear to their eyes. He was at one and the same time seen and concealed. I mean, if he wasn’t seen, how could they have heard him questioning them and answered his questions? He was walking with them along the road like a companion and was himself the leader. Of course he was seen, but he wasn’t recognized. For their eyes were restrained, as we heard, so that they wouldn’t recognize him. They weren’t restrained so that they wouldn’t see him, but they were held so that they wouldn’t recognize him.

Ah yes, brothers and sisters, but where did the Lord wish to be recognized? In the breaking of bread. We’re all right, nothing to worry about — we break bread, and we recognize the Lord. It was for our sake that he didn’t want to be recognized anywhere but there, because we weren’t going to see him in the flesh, and yet we were going to eat his flesh. So if you’re a believer, any of you, if you’re not called a Christian for nothing, if you don’t come to church pointlessly, if you listen to the Word of God in fear and hope, you may take comfort in the breaking of bread. The Lord’s absence is not an absence. Have faith, and the one you cannot see is with you. Those two, even when the Lord was talking to them, did not have faith, because they didn’t believe he had risen. Nor did they have any hope that he could rise again. They had lost faith, lost hope. They were walking along, dead, with Christ alive. They were walking along, dead, with life itself. Life was walking along with them, but in their hearts life had not yet been restored.” (Sermon 235)



O God, who gladden us year by year
with the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection,
graciously grant
that, by celebrating these present festivities,
we may merit through them to reach eternal joys.
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. Amen.





Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Tuesday 2014.

“Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”” (John 20:15)

Saint Gregory the Great offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“Perhaps this woman was not as mistaken as she appeared to be when she believed that Jesus was a gardener. Was he not spiritually a gardener for her when he planted the fruitful seeds of virtue in her heart by the force of his love? But why did she say to the one she saw and believed to be the gardener, when she had not yet told him whom she was seeking, “Sir, if you have taken him away?” She had not yet said who it was who made her weep from desire or mentioned him of whom she spoke. But the force of love customarily brings it about that a heart believes everyone else is aware of the one of whom it is always thinking. After he had called her by the common name of “woman,” he called her by her own name, as if to say, “Recognize him who recognizes you.” And so because Mary was called by name, she acknowledged her creator and called him at once “Rabboni,” that is, “teacher.” He was both the one she was outwardly seeking and the one who was teaching her inwardly to seek him.” (Forty Gospel Homilies, 25)




O God, who have bestowed on us paschal remedies,
endow your people with heavenly gifts,
so that, possessed of perfect freedom,
they may rejoice in heaven
over what gladdens them now on earth.
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.



Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Monday 2014.

“And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.” (Matthew 28:9)

Saint John Chrysostom comments on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“After they had departed with fear and joy, Jesus met them, saying, “Hail!” They ran to him with great joy and gladness. They “took hold of his feet.”

Thus they received by his touch an irrefutable proof of his resurrection, with full personal assurance of it. And they “worshiped him.”

What does he then say? “Do not be afraid.” Again, Jesus himself casts out their fear, making room for faith: “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Note well how he himself sends good tidings to his disciples by these women. He thereby brings honor to women, as I have so often said, honor to that sex which is most prone to be dishonored. Through these women he brings good hope and the healing of that which was diseased.

Some among you may desire to be like these faithful women. You too may wish to take hold of the feet of Jesus. You can, even now. You can embrace not only his feet but also his hands and even his sacred head. You too can today receive these awesome mysteries with a pure conscience. You can embrace him not only in this life but also even more fully on that day when you shall see him coming with unspeakable glory, with a multitude of the angels. If you are so disposed, along with him, to be compassionate, you shall hear not only these words, “All hail!” but also those others: “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world.” (The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 89)





O God, who give constant increase
to your Church by new offspring,
grant that your servants may hold fast in their lives
to the Sacrament they have received in faith.
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.





Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient ever new, Easter: the First Sunday

“Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.” (Matthew 28:8)

Saint John Chrysostom comments on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“He calls upon them not only to behold the evidence but to attest it further to others: “Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.” The angel here is preparing the women to take the good news to the other disciples. They are to tell of the evidence that made them believe — the empty tomb. Furthermore, “He is going before you to Galilee.” He says this to relieve them from anxieties and the fear of danger, that their faith not be hindered.” (The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 89)





O God, who on this day,
through your Only Begotten Son,
have conquered death
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant, we pray, that we who keep
the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
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.





Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Triduum 2014: Holy Saturday morning

“Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9)

Saint John Chrysostom comments on this verse from today’s Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings:

“He says that there are “three” rests: one, that of the sabbath, in which God rested from works; the second, that of Palestine, in which, when the Jews had entered, they would be at rest from their hardships and labors; the third, that which is rest indeed, the kingdom of heaven, where those who obtain it do indeed rest from their labors and troubles. Of these three then he makes mention here. And why did he mention the three, when he is speaking only of the one? That he might show that the prophet is speaking concerning this one. For he did not speak, he says, concerning the first. For how could he, when that had taken place long before? Nor yet again concerning the second, that in Palestine. For how could he? For he says, “They shall not enter into my rest.” It remains, therefore, that it is this third.” (On the Epistle to the Hebrews, 6)





All-powerful and ever-living God,
Your only Son went down among the dead
and rose again in glory.
In Your goodness
raise up your faithful people,
buried with him in baptism,
to be one with Him
in the everlasting life of heaven,
where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.





Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Triduum 2014: Good Friday, morning.

“Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm.” (John 18:18)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from the Passion according to Saint John:

“The Evangelist John says, “It was cold.” If we consider the season, it could not have been cold. But it was cold where Jesus was not acknowledged, where there was none to see the light, where the consuming fire was denied. Peter stood beside the brazier, because he felt he was freezing. Evil is the ... flame [that night]. It burns but does not warm. Evil is the hearth that scatters a soot of error even on the minds of the saints because even the inner eyes of Peter were darkened.” (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 10)




Remember your mercies, O Lord,
and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants,
for whom Christ your Son,
by the shedding of his Blood,
established the Paschal Mystery.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.




Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter Triduum 2014: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

“Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feetd and dry them with the towel around his waist.” (John 13:5)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from this evening’s Gospel:

“I find the Lord divesting himself of his garments and girding himself with a towel, pouring water into a basin, washing the feet of his disciples. This water was that heavenly dew with which, it was prophesied, the Lord Jesus would wash the feet of his disciples. And now let the feet of our souls be extended. The Lord Jesus wishes to wash our feet also. There is a kind of water that we pour into the basin of our soul, water from the fleece and from the Book of Judges, water from the Book of Psalms. The water is the dew of the heavenly message. Therefore, Lord Jesus, let this water come into my soul, into my flesh, that by the moisture of this rain the valleys of our minds and the fields of our inmost heart may grow green. Let your drops come on me, sprinkling grace and immortality. Wash the steps of my mind that I may not sin again. Wash off the heel of my spirit that I may be able to abolish the curse so that I may not feel the bite of the serpent on my inner foot, but, as you yourself have ordered your followers, that I may have the power with uninjured foot to tread on the serpents and scorpions. You have redeemed the world. Redeem the soul of one sinner.” (On the Holy Spirit, 1)




O God, who have called us to participate
in this most sacred Supper,
in which your Only Begotten Son,
when about to hand himself over to death,
entrusted to the Church
a sacrifice new for all eternity,
the banquet of his love,
grant, we pray,
that we may draw from so great a mystery,
the fullness of charity and of life.
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.







Preface
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
through Christ our Lord.

For he is the true and eternal Priest,
who instituted the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice
and was the first to offer himself as the saving Victim,
commanding us to make this offering as his memorial.
As we eat his flesh that was sacrificed for us,
we are made strong,
and, as we drink his Blood that was poured out for us,
we are washed clean.

And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts . . .




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Voices ever ancient, ever new. Holy Week 2014: Thursday, The Chrism Mass

“Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.” (Luke 4:20

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at today’s Chrism Mass:

“When Jesus had read this passage, he rolled up “the scroll, gave it to the servant, and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.” Now too, if you want it, your eyes can be fixed on the Savior in this synagogue, here in this assembly. When you direct the principal power of seeing in your heart to wisdom and truth and to contemplating God’s Only-Begotten, your eyes gaze on Jesus. Blessed is that congregation of which Scripture testifies that “the eyes of all were fixed on him!” How much would I wish that this assembly gave such testimony. I wish that the eyes of all (of catechumens and faithful, of women, men and children)—not the eyes of the body, but the eyes of the soul—would gaze upon Jesus. When you look to him, your faces will be shining from the light of his gaze. You will be able to say, “The light of your face, Lord, has made its mark upon us.” (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 32)






O God,
Who anointed your Only Begotten Son
with the Holy Spirit
and made him Christ and Lord,
graciously grant
that, being made sharers in his consecration,
we may bear witness to your Redemption in the world.
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.






Please remember all priests in your prayers today. During the Chrism Mass, priests will renew the promises each made the day he was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ in the line of Melchizedek. The bishop will ask:


Beloved sons,
on the anniversary of that day
when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood
on his Apostles and on us,
are you resolved to renew,
in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people,
the promises you once made?

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus
and more closely conformed to him,
denying yourselves and confirming those promises
about sacred duties towards Christ’s Church
which, prompted by love of him,
you willingly and joyfully pledged
on the day of your priestly ordination?

Are you resolved
to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God
in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites
and to discharge faithfully
the sacred office of teaching,
following Christ the Head and Shepherd,
not seeking any gain,
but moved only by zeal for souls?

As for you, dearest sons and daughters,
pray for your Priests,
that the Lord may pour out his gifts
abundantly upon them,
and keep them faithful
as ministers of Christ, the High Priest,
so that they may lead you to him,
who is the source of salvation.

And pray also for me,
that I may be faithful to the apostolic office
entrusted to me in my lowliness
and that in your midst I may be made day by day
a living and more perfect image of Christ,
the Priest, the Good Shepherd,
the Teacher and the Servant of all.

May the Lord keep us all in his charity
and lead all of us,
shepherds and flock,
to eternal life.



Preface
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For by the anointing of the Holy Spirit
you made your Only Begotten Son
High Priest of the new and eternal covenant,
and by your wondrous design were pleased to decree
that his one Priesthood should continue in the Church.

For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood
the people he has made his own,
but with a brother’s kindness he also chooses men
to become sharers in his sacred ministry
through the laying on of hands.

They are to renew in his name
the sacrifice of human redemption,
to set before your children the paschal banquet,
to lead your holy people in charity,
to nourish them with the word
and strengthen them with the Sacraments.

As they give up their lives for you
and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters,
they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself
and offer you a constant witness of faith and love.

And so, Lord, with all the Angels and Saints,
we, too, give you thanks, as in exultation we acclaim:




Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!