The Church's Year
ON THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
The Church continues to rejoice
and praise God for the Resurrection of Christ and sings accordingly
at the Introit of this day's Mass:
Shout with joy to God all the earth, alleluia: Sing ye a psalm to
his name, alleluia. Give glory to his praise, alleluia, allel. allel.
(Ps. LXV.) Say unto God: How terrible are thy works, O Lord! In
the multitude of thy strength thy enemies shall lie to thee. Glory
O God, who showest the light of Thy truth to such as go astray,
that they may return to the way of righteousness, grant that all,
who profess the Christian name, may forsake whatever is contrary
to that profession, and closely pursue what is agreeable to it.
(I Peter II. 11-19.) Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers
and pilgrims to refrain yourselves from carnal desires, which war
against the soul, having your conversation good among the Gentiles:
that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may, by
the good works which they shall, behold in you, glorify God in the
day of visitation. Be, ye subject therefore to every human creature
for God's sake: whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors
as sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise
of the good: for so is the will of God, that by doing well you may
put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not as
making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honor
all men: Love the brotherhood: Fear God: Honor the king. Servants,
be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and
gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thanks‑worthy,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
St. Peter here urges the Christians to regard themselves as strangers
and pilgrims upon this earth, looking upon temporal goods only as
borrowed things, to which they should not attach their hearts, for
death will soon deprive them of all. He then admonishes them as
Christians to live in a Christian manner, to edify and lead to truth
the Gentiles who hated and calumniated them. This should especially
be taken to heart by those Catholics who live among people of a
different religion; for they can edify them by the faithful and
diligent practice of their holy religion, and by a pure, moral life
lead them to the truth; while by lukewarmness and an immoral life,
they will only strengthen them in their error, and thus inure the
Church. St. Peter also requires the Christians to obey the lawful
authority, and therefore, to pay all duties and. taxes faithfully,
because it is the will of God who has in: stituted lawful authority.
Christ paid the customary tribute for Himself and Peter, (Matt.
XVII. 26.) and St. Paul expressly commands that toll and taxes should
be paid to whomsoever they are due. (Rom. XIII, 7.) St. Peter finally
advises servants to obey their masters whether these are good or
bad, and by so doing be agreeable to God who will one day reward
Grant me the grace, O Jesus! to consider myself a pilgrim as long
as I live and as such to use the temporal goods. Give me patience
in adversities, and so strengthen me, that I may willingly obey
the lawful authority, though its laws and regulations should come
hard and its tribute press upon me.
(John XVI. 16‑22.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples:
A little while, and now you shall not see me: and again a little
while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. Then some
of his disciples said one to another: What is this that he saith
to us: A little while, and you shall not see me: and again a little
while, and you shall see me, and, because I go to the Father? They
said therefore: What is this that he saith, A little while? We know
not what he speaketh. And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask
him, and he said to them: Of this do you inquire among yourselves,
because I said: A little while, and you shall not see me: and again
a little while and you shall see me. Amen, amen I say to you, that
you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice: and you
shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is
come: but when she hath brought
forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that
a man is born into the world. So also you now indeed have sorrow,
but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice: and your
joy no man shall take from you.
the meaning of Christ's words: A little while and you shall not
see me; and again a little while and you shall see me?
St. Chrysostom applies these
words, which Christ spoke to His apostles a few hours before His
passion, to the time between the death of Jesus and His Resurrection;
but St. Augustine, to the time between the Resurrection and the
Ascension, and then to the Last judgment at the end of the world,
and he adds: "This little while seems long to us living, but
ended, we feel how short it is." In affliction we should console
ourselves by reflecting, how soon it will terminate, and that it
cannot be compared with the future glory, that is awaiting eternally
in heaven him who patiently endures.
our Saviour tell His disciples of their future joys and sufferings?
That they might the more
easily bear the sufferings that were to come, because we can be
prepared for sufferings which we know are pending; because He knew
that their sufferings would be only slight and momentary in comparison
with the everlasting joy which awaited them, like the pains of a
woman in giving birth to a child which are great indeed, but short,
and soon forgotten by the mother in joy at the birth of the child.
"Tell me" says St. Chysostom, "if you were elected
king but were obliged to spend the night preceding your entrance
into your capital city where you were to be crowned, if you were
compelled to pass that night in much discomfort in a stable, would
you not joyfully endure it in the expectation of your kingdom? And
why should not we, in this valley of tears, willingly live through
adversities, in expectation of one day obtaining the kingdom of
Enlighten me, O Holy Spirit! that I may realize that this present
life and all its hardships are but slight and momentary, and strengthen
me that I may endure patiently the adversities of life in the hope
of future heavenly joys.
IN TRIALS AND ADVERSITIES
You shall lament and weep. (John XVI. 20.)
That Christian is, most foolish
who fancies that the happiness of this world consists in honors,
wealth, and pleasures, while Christ, the eternal Truth, teaches
the contrary, promising eternal happiness to the poor and oppressed,
and announcing eternal affliction and lamentation to those rich
ones who have their comfort in this world. How much, then, are those
to be pitied who as Christians believe, and yet live as if these
truths were not for them, and who think only how they can spend
their days in luxury, hoping at the same time to go to heaven where
all the saints, even Christ the Son of God Himself, has entered
only by crosses and sufferings.
IN TRIBULATION O good Jesus! who hast revealed, that
we can enter heaven only by many tribulations, (Acts XIV. 21 .)
hast called them blessed who in this world are sad, oppressed, and
persecuted, but patiently suffer, and who hast also taught us, that
without the will of Thy Heavenly Father, not one hair of our head
can perish: (Luke XXI. 18.) I therefore submit entirely to Thy divine
will, and beg Thy grace to endure all adversities for Thy sake,
that after this life of misery I may enjoy eternal happiness with
Thee in heaven.