Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sixth Day in the Octave of Ss. Peter and Paul

The Lesson is taken from the Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans by St. John Chrysostom

Since the Apostle Paul maketh his prayer that we may have the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (from which same cometh all good things), it remaineth for us to shew ourselves worthy of such a protection, that like as we heed the voice of Paul in this life, even so we may pass out of this world and find ourselves made worthy to see this athlete of Christ.  Yea, if we listen to him here, we shall certainly see him there, even though we may not be worthy to stand close to him.  But we shall at least see him nigh the shining throne of the divine Majesty, where the Cherubim glorify God, and round which the six-winged Séraphim make their flight.  There we shall see Paul, standing with Peter, the prince and leader of the choir of Saints ; and we shall take delight in their brotherly love.When he was here in this life, he so loved mankind that, although he desired to depart and be with Christ, he nevertheless chose to remain on earth.  How much more, therefore, doth he now in heaven burn with fraternal charity!  It is for this reason that I do love Rome, even though I could praise her on other grounds ; to wit, her antiquity, her beauty, her greatness of population and empire, her wealth, her bravery in war.  But I pass over such things, and hail her rather as blessed for this one reason : that Paul during his lifetime felt so kindly disposed towards her people ; that he so much loved them ; that there in person he preached to them ; and that at last he ended his life among them.  They still possess his holy body, and by this alone that city is made more renowned than by its worldly glories.  For like as a noble and mighty bodily frame is chiefly known by its two shining eyes, even so Rome is made known for its beauty by the relicks of two Saints who were Apostles. The sky is not more resplendent, with the shining sun, than is this Roman city, with its two shining lights which do still shine over all the earth.  From this city Paul will rise from the dead, and here Peter also will rise up.  Consider and tremble at that sight which Rome shall see!   Paul, with Peter, on a sudden shall rise from the tomb, and be borne on high to meet the Lord.  What a flower of glory will Rome then offer to Christ!  Yea, what twin crowns do already adorn that City!  Wherefore I marvel, not because of her wealth, nor for any of the great beauties which the world seeth in her, but because of those two pillars of the Church which are her special possession!  Would that I could even now embrace the corpse of Paul, that I could cling to his grave, that I could see the dust of that body, which filled up those things that were behind of the sufferings of Christ, which bore about in it the marks of the Lord Jesus and which went everywhere carrying the seed of the

Matt. ch 19, 27-29
Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.

Gospel Homily by St. Venerable Bede the Priest

At the judgement to come, the elect will be in two classes.  One class are they who have forsaken all, and followed the Lord : and these shall judge along with him.  The other class are they who have not equally forsaken all that they had, but who have been careful daily to give alms of their goods to the poor of Christ : these shall be the subjects of judgement, and these are they who shall then hear these words : Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ; for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. Of the reprobate also we gather, from the words of the Lord, that there will be two classes.  One class are they who, being made partakers in the mystery of the Christian Faith, have neglected to shew their faith by their works.  These are they to whom it will be said at the judgement : Depart from me, ye cursed, unto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels : for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat.  The other class are they who either have never received the faith and mysteries of Christ, or who, having received, have apostátised, and abandoned it : and touching these it is said : But he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God. And now that we have touched for a moment, with fear and just dread, upon these things, let us rather turn our hearing to the right joyful promises of our Lord and Saviour.  Let us see what, in his great mercy, he will give to such as follow him ; not the eternal rewards of life hereafter only, but gifts exceeding precious in this life also.  Everyone, saith he, that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my Names' sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  For every one that shall forsake earthly affections and goods, to go and be Christ's disciple, the further he goeth on in Christ's love, the more shall he find who will rejoice to give him a place in their hearts, and to minister to him of their substance.

after Roman Breviary