Saturday, 29 March 2014

Fourth Sunday of Lent

This Sunday's Gospel is St John 6:1-15:

1 Post hæc abiit Jesus trans mare Galilææ, quod est Tiberiadis: 2 et sequebatur eum multitudo magna, quia videbant signa quæ faciebat super his qui infirmabantur. 3 Subiit ergo in montem Jesus et ibi sedebat cum discipulis suis. 4 Erat autem proximum Pascha dies festus Judæorum. 5 Cum sublevasset ergo oculos Jesus, et vidisset quia multitudo maxima venit ad eum, dixit ad Philippum: Unde ememus panes, ut manducent hi? 6 Hoc autem dicebat tentans eum: ipse enim sciebat quid esset facturus. 7 Respondit ei Philippus: Ducentorum denariorum panes non sufficiunt eis, ut unusquisque modicum quid accipiat. 8 Dicit ei unus ex discipulis ejus, Andreas, frater Simonis Petri: 9 Est puer unus hic qui habet quinque panes hordeaceos et duos pisces: sed hæc quid sunt inter tantos? 10 Dixit ergo Jesus: Facite homines discumbere. Erat autem fœnum multum in loco. Discumberunt ergo viri, numero quasi quinque millia. 11 Accepit ergo Jesus panes: et cum gratias egisset, distribuit discumbentibus: similiter et ex piscibus quantum volebant. 12 Ut autem impleti sunt, dixit discipulis suis: Colligite quæ superaverunt fragmenta, ne pereant. 13 Collegerunt ergo, et impleverunt duodecim cophinos fragmentorum ex quinque panibus hordeaceis, quæ superfuerunt his qui manducaverant. 14 Illi ergo homines cum vidissent quod Jesus fecerat signum, dicebant: Quia hic est vere propheta, qui venturus est in mundum.15 Jesus ergo cum cognovisset quia venturi essent ut raperent eum, et facerent eum regem, fugit iterum in montem ipse solus. 

[1] After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. [2] And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. [3] Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. [4] Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. [5] When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?[6] And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do. [7] Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. [8] One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: [9] There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many? [10] Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand.[11] And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. [12] And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. [13] They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. [14] Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. [15] Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.

The Matins readings on it are from St Augustine (from Divinum Officium):

Reading 9: The miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did were the very works of God, and they enlighten the mind of man by mean of things which are seen, that he may know more of God. God is Himself of such a Substance as eye cannot see, and the miracles, by the which He ruleth the whole world continually, and satisfieth the need of everything that He hath made, are by use become so common, that scarce any will vouchsafe to see that there are wonderful and amazing works of God in every grain of seed of grass. According to His mercy He kept some works to be done in their due season, but out of the common course and order of nature, that men might see them and be astonished, not because they are greater, but because they are rarer than those which they lightly esteem, since they see them day by day.

Reading 10: Or it is a greater miracle to govern the whole universe, than to satisfy five thousand men with five loaves of bread; and yet no man marvelleth at it. At the feeding of the five thousand, men marvel, not because it is a greater miracle than the other, but because it is rarer. For Who is He Who now feedeth the whole world, but He Who, from a little grain that is sown, maketh the fulness of the harvest? 

Reading 11: God worketh in both cases in one and the same manner. He Who of the sowing maketh to come the harvest, is He Who of the five barley loaves in His Hands made bread to feed five thousand men; for Christ's are the Hands which are able to do both the one and the other. He Who multiplieth the grains of corn multiplied the loaves, only not by committing them to the earth whereof He is the Maker.

Reading 12: This miracle, then, is brought to bear upon our bodies, that our souls may thereby be quickened; shown to our eyes, to give food to our understanding; that, through His works which we see, we may marvel at that God Whom we cannot see, and, being roused up to believe, and purified by believing, we may long to see Him, yea, may know by things which are seen Him Who is Unseen. Nor yet sufficeth it for us to see only this meaning in Christ's miracles. Let us ask of the miracles themselves what they have to tell us concerning Christ for, soothly, they have a tongue of their own, if only we will understand it. For, because Christ is the Word of God, therefore the work of the Word is a Word for us.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Feast of the Annunciation

The Gospel for the feast of the Annunciation is St Luke 1:26-38:

26 In mense autem sexto, missus est angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilææ, cui nomen Nazareth, 27 ad virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David: et nomen virginis Maria. 28 Et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit: Ave gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus. 29 Quæ cum audisset, turbata est in sermone ejus, et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio. 30 Et ait angelus ei: Ne timeas, Maria: invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum. 31 Ecce concipies in utero, et paries filium, et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum: 32 hic erit magnus, et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris ejus: et regnabit in domo Jacob in æternum, 33 et regni ejus non erit finis. 34 Dixit autem Maria ad angelum: Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco? 35 Et respondens angelus dixit ei: Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. 36 Et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filium in senectute sua: et hic mensis sextus est illi, quæ vocatur sterilis: 37 quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. 38 Dixit autem Maria: Ecce ancilla Domini: fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Et discessit ab illa angelus.

[26] And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. [28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. [31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. [33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [36] And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: [37] Because no word shall be impossible with God. [38] And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

The Matins readings are from St Ambrose:

Reading 9: The mysteries of God are unsearchable, and it is especially declared by a Prophet, that a man can hardly know His counsels. Wisd. ix. 13. Nevertheless, some things have been revealed to us, and we may gather from some of the words and works of the Lord our Saviour, that there was a special purpose of God, in the fact that she who was chosen to be the mother of the Lord was espoused to a man. Why did not the power of the Highest overshadow her before she was so espoused? Perhaps it was lest any might blasphemously say that she had conceived in fornication the Holy One.

Reading 11: And the angel came in unto her. Let us learn from this Virgin how to bear ourselves, let us learn her modesty, let us learn by her devout utterance, above all let us learn by the holy mystery enacted. It is the part of a maiden to be timid, to avoid the advances of men, and to shrink from men's addresses. Would that our women would learn from the example of modesty here set before us. She upon whom the stare of men had never been fixed was alone in her chamber, and was found only by an angel. There was neither companion nor witness there, that what passed might not be debased in gossip and the angel saluted her.