Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter, Week 3: Saturday

“As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. " (John 6:66)

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

“The medical men called surgeons pass for being cruel but really deserve pity. For is it not pitiful to cut away the dead flesh of another person with merciless knives without being moved by his pain? Is it not pitiful that the one who is curing the patient is callous to his sufferings and has to appear as his enemy? Yet this is the order of nature. While truth is always bitter, a pleasant disposition waits upon evildoing. Isaiah goes naked without blushing as a type of the captivity to come. Jeremiah is sent from Jerusalem to the Euphrates (a river in Mesopotamia) and leaves his girdle to be marred in the Chaldean camp among the Assyrians hostile to his people. Ezekiel is told to eat bread made of mingled seeds and sprinkled with the dung of people and cattle. He has to see his wife die without shedding a tear. Amos is driven from Samaria. Why is he driven from it? Surely in this case, as in the others, because he was a spiritual surgeon who cut away the parts diseased by sin and urged people to repentance. The apostle Paul says, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” The Savior himself found it no different. Many of the disciples left him because his sayings seemed hard.” (Letter 40)

O God,
Who in the font of Baptism
have made new those who believe in You,
keep safe those reborn in Christ,
that, defeating every onslaught of error,
they may faithfully preserve the grace of Your blessing.
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!