Saturday, 12 November 2016

Matins readings for the Sixth Sunday remaining after Epiphany (Nocturn III and Gospel)

Nocturn III: Homily of St Jerome

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time, Jesus said to to the people a parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. And so on.

The kingdom of heaven is the proclamation of the Gospel, and that knowledge of the Scriptures, which leadeth unto life, and whereof it is said to the Jews: The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Therefore is this kingdom like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field.

R. Blessed is the people* Whom the Lord of hosts hath blessed, saying O Israel thou art the work of Mine own hands, thou art Mine own inheritance.
V. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.
R. Whom the Lord of hosts hath blessed, saying O Israel thou art the work of Mine own hands, thou art Mine own inheritance.

Reading 10: By the man that sowed it in his field, many understand to be meant the Saviour, because He is the Sower That soweth in the souls of believers; others understand every man that soweth good seed in his own field, that is, in himself and in his own heart.  Who is he that soweth, but our own mind and soul, which take the grain from preaching, and by nourishing it in the soil, cause it to sprout in the field of our own breast?

R. The Lord hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that * They have not hurt me forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me.
V. God hath sent forth His mercy and His truth, (and delivered) my soul from among the lions' whelps.
R. They have not hurt me forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me.

Reading 11: The preaching of the Gospel is the least of all doctrines. He that preacheth, for his first lesson, God made man, Christ dead, and the stumbling-block of the Cross, receiveth at first but little credit. Compare such teaching as this with the doctrines of the Philosophers, with their books, their magnificent eloquence, and their rounded sentences, and thou shalt see how the grain of the Gospel, when it is sown, is the humblest of all seeds.

R. I will show thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to * Do justice and judgment, and to walk humbly with thy God.
V. Trust in the Lord, and do good, and dwell in the land.
R. Do justice and judgment, and walk humbly with thy God.

Reading 12: But when the doctrines of men grow up, there is therein nothing piercing, nothing healthy, nothing life-giving. The plant is drooping, and delicate, and soft. There are herbs and grass whereof it may truly be said that the grass withereth and the flower fadeth. . But the grain of Gospel seed, though, when it was sown, it seemed to be the least of all seeds, when once it is rooted in the soul of man, or in the whole world, groweth not into an herb, but becometh a tree so that the birds of the air (whereby we may understand, either the souls of believers, or the (angelic) powers bound to the service of God,) come and lodge in the branches thereof. I consider that the branches of the Gospel tree, which groweth from the grain of mustard-seed, are the divers developments of doctrine, on which the birds above mentioned find resting-places.

R. One Seraph cried unto another:* Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.
V. There are Three That bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these Three are One.
R. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The whole earth is full of His glory.

Gospel: Matt 13:31-35

Another parable he proposed unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof.  Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.  All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables he did not speak to them.  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

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