Thursday, July 06, 2006

Octave Day of Ss Peter and Paul after Roman Breviary

Matt ch.14; 22-24
And forthwith Jesus obliged his disciples to go up into the boat, and to go before him over the water, till he dismissed the people. And having dismissed the multitude, he went into a mountain alone to pray. And when it was evening, he was there alone. But the boat in the midst of the sea was tossed with the waves: for the wind was contrary.

A Homily by St. Jerome the Priest
The Lord commanded his disciples to cross over to the other side, and constrained them to get into a ship.  By these expressions we perceive that they were unwilling to leave the Lord, the love of their Teacher making them desire not to lose a moment of his company.  And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray.  Perchance, if Peter, and James, and John, who had seen him in the glory of the Transfigurátion, had been with him, they would have gone up into the mountain with him, but the common herd could not follow him, save when he taught them on the sea shore, or fed them in the wilderness.He went up into a mountain apart to pray, not as he who, with five loaves had satisfied five thousand men, besides women and children, but as he, who when he heard of the death of John, departed into a desert place apart.  Not that we make two Persons in the Lord ; but some of his works he did as God, and some as man.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves.  The Apostles were right to be slow and unwilling to leave the Lord, for, when he was not with them, they were in peril of shipwreck.Whilst the Lord abode alone upon the top of the mountain, a contrary wind arose, and the sea raged, and the Apostles were endangered ; and yet the threatening shipwreck held off, until Jesus came.  And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  The watches of soldiers are divided into three.  When therefore it is said that the Lord came unto them in the fourth watch, it appeareth that they had been in peril all night, and that it was at the end of the night, as it will again be at the end of the world, that he came to the rescue of his disciples.

The Lesson is taken from a Sermon by St. John Chrysostom

O blessed Apostles, who have toiled so much for us, what thanks shall we give you?  When I remember thee, O Peter, I am lost in amazement.  O Paul, when I think of thee, my heart overwhelmeth me, and I weep.  When I look at your sufferings I know not what to say or what to speak.  How many prisons have ye made holy?  How many fetters have ye made honourable?  How many torments have ye endured?  How many reproaches have ye borne?  How have ye carried Christ?  How have ye made the Churches glad by your preaching?  Verily, your tongues were blessed instruments ; it was for the Church's sake that your limbs were bloody.  Ye have been made in all things followers of Christ.  Your sound is gone out through all the earth, and your words to the end of the world. Rejoice, O Peter, who hast been gladdened by the wood of the Cross of Christ.  It was a shewing forth of thy Teacher that thou didst will to be crucified, not like the Lord Christ, standing upright, but with thine head toward the earth, as one that made a way from earth to heaven.  Blessed are the nails which pierced thine holy limbs.  With sure and certain hope didst thou commend thy spirit into the hands of the Lord, thou who hadst been a faithful servant to him and to his Bride the Church, thou who in thy warm heart hadst loved the Lord more loyally than all the Apostles. Rejoice thou also, O blessed Paul, whose head was cut off by the sword, thou whose fearless devotion no words can express.  What sword was that which divided thine holy neck, that instrument of the Lord's work, worthy that heaven should wonder at it, and earth worship it?  What place was that which drank in thy blood, that appeared like drops of milk upon the raiment of him who smote thee, and made the savage and his comrades to become strangely gentle and faithful?  Would that I could have that sword for a crown, and the nails of Peter set therein as the jewels of the diadem