Easter, Week 2: Friday
Voices ever ancient, ever new: St Augustine
Memorial: St Athanasius of Alexandria, bishop

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” (John 6:9)

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

“To provide a brief explanation: the five loaves are understood as the five books of Moses; rightly they are not wheat but barley because they belong to the Old Testament. For you know that barley was created in such a way that one can scarcely get to its kernel. For this kernel is clothed with a covering of husk, and this husk is tenacious and adhering, so that it is stripped off with effort. Such is the letter of the Old Testament, clothed with the coverings of carnal mysteries; but if one gets to its kernel, it feeds and satisfies. And so a boy was carrying five loaves and two fishes. If we should seek to know who this boy was, perhaps he was the people of Israel, carrying the loaves and fish with a childlike understanding and not eating of them itself. For those things that it was carrying, when kept shut, were a burden, but when opened, were food. Moreover, the two fish seem to us to signify those two sublime personages in the Old Testament who were anointed to make holy and rule the people, the priest and king.” (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 24)

O God, hope and light of the sincere,
we humbly entreat you to dispose our hearts
to offer you worthy prayer
and ever to extol you
by dutiful proclamation of your praise.
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.

ever-living God,
Who raised up the Bishop
Saint Athanasius
as an outstanding
champion of
Your Son’s divinity,
mercifully grant,
that, rejoicing in his teaching and his protection,
we may never cease to grow in knowledge and love of You.
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.

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI devoted a General Audience to the life and significance of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (297-373) back in June 2007. On the Incarantion of the Word is one of Saint Athanasius’ more famous works wherein he defends the genuine humanity and divinity of Jesus, the Divine Person Who became flesh for our salvation.

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