THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.
Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.
The Liturgical Year – Dom Gueranger, O.S.B.
This Sunday goes under the name of the Good Shepherd Sunday, because, in the Mass, there is read the Gospel of St. John, wherein our Lord calls him self by this name. How very appropriate is this passage of the Gospel to this present Season, when our Divine Master began his work of establishing and consolidating the Church, by giving it the Pastor, or Shepherd, who was to govern it to the end of time! In accordance with the eternal decree, the Man- God, on the fortieth day after his Resurrection, is to withdraw his visible presence from the world. He is not to be again seen upon the earth till the Last Day, when he will come again to judge the living and the dead. And yet, he could never abandon mankind, for which he offered himself on the Cross, and which he delivered from death and hell by rising triumphantly from the Grave. He will continue to be its Head after his Ascension into heaven: but what shall we have, on earth, to supply his place? We shall have the Church. It is to the Church that he will leave all his own authority to rule us; it is into the hands of the Church that he will entrust all the truths he has taught ; it is the Church that he will make the dispenser of all those means of salvation, which he has destined for the world. This Church is a society, unto which all mankind is invited. It is composed of two classes of Members; the governing and the governed; the teaching and the taught; the sanctifying and the sanctified. This Society is the Spouse of Christ; it is by her that he produces his elect. She is the one only Mother of the elect; out of her bosom, there is no salvation. But how is this society to subsist? How is it to persevere through the long ages of time, even to the Last Day? Who is to give it unity and adhesion of its parts? What is to be the visible link between its members, — the palpable sign of its being the true Spouse of Christ, in the event of other societies rising up and disputing her titles? If Jesus himself could have remained with us, we should have had nothing to fear, for where he is, there also are truth and life; but, as he says, he is going, and we may not as yet follow him. Give ear, then, and learn what is the primary quality of the true Spouse of Christ. Jesus was one day, previous to his Passion, in the country of Cesarea Philippi; his Apostles were standing around him, and he began questioning them about what they thought of him. One of them, Simon the son of John or Jonas, and brother to Andrew, answered in the name of all, and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God! Jesus expressed his pleasure at receiving Simon’s testimony, which was not the result of any human knowledge, but the expression of a divine revelation there and then granted to him; and he immediately told this Apostle, that from that time forward he was to be, not Simon, but Peter (which means a Rock). Christ had been spoken of by the Prophets under the name of a Rock, or Stone; by thus solemnly conferring upon his Disciple a title so characteristically that of the Messias, Jesus would give us to understand, that Simon was to have a something in common with himself, which the other Apostles were not to have. After saying to him: Thou art Peter, (that is, thou art the Rock,) — he added: And upon this Rock I will build my Church. Let us weigh the force of these words of the Son of God: / will build my Church. He has, then, a project in view, — he intends to build a Church. It is not now that he will build it, but at some future period; but one thing we already know as a certainty, — it is, that this Church will be built on Peter. Peter will be its foundation; and whosoever is not on that foundation, will not belong to the Church. Let us again give ear to the Text: And the gates of hell shall not prevail against my Church. In scriptural language, gates signify the powers: the Church of Christ, therefore, is to be proof against all the efforts of hell. And why? Because the foundation, which Jesus is to give to it, shall- be one that no power can shake. The Son of God continues: And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus implied this: I will make thee the King of “my Church, of which thou art to be the Foundation!” Nothing could be clearer. But let us remember, that all these magnificent promises regard the future.* That future has now become the present. We are now come to the last days of Jesus’ visible presence here below. The time is come for him to make good his promise, and found the Kingdom of God, — that Church which he was to build upon the earth. The Apostles, in obedience to the order sent them by the Angels, are come into Galilee. Our Lord appears to them on the shore of the lake of Tiberias: after providing them with a mysterious repast, and whilst they are all attentive to his words, he suddenly addresses himself to Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me/ Observe, he does not call him Peter; he, as it were, goes back to the day when he said to him : Simon, son of Jonas, thou art Peter; he would have his Disciples note the connection between the promise and its actual fulfillment. Peter, with his usual eagerness, answers his Master’s question: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus resumes, with a tone of authority: Feed my Lambs! Then repeating the question, he says: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter is surprised at his Master’s urging such an inquiry; still, he answers with the same simplicity as before: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee: and as soon as he had given answer, Jesus repeats the words of in vestiture: Feed my lambs! The Disciples respectfully listen to this dialogue; they see plainly, that, here again, Peter is made an object of Jesus’ partiality, and is receiving some thing which they themselves are not to receive. They remember what happened at Cesarea Philippi, and how, ever since that day, Peter has been treated by their Master with especial honour. And yet, there is another privilege or office to be added to this of feeding the Lambs. A third time, then, Jesus says to Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? This is too much for the Apostle. These three questionings of his love bring to his mind the three denials he had so sinfully made to the servant girl of Caiphas. He feels the allusion to his recent infidelity; and this third time, his answer implies a prayer for forgiveness; his reply bespeaks humility rather than assurance: Lord says he, thou knowest all things! Thou knowest that I love thee! Then, making Peter’s authority complete, Jesus pronounces these imposing words: Feed my Sheep Here, then, we have Peter made Shepherd by Him, who says of himself: l am the good Shepherd. Firstly, our Lord gives his Apostle, and twice over, the care of his Lambs; — this does not make him the complete Shepherd: but when he bids him feed his Sheep too, the whole Flock is subjected to his authority. Now, therefore, let the Church show herself, let her take her stand, let her spread herself through the length and breadth of the nations; Simon, the son of John, is proclaimed its visible Head. Is the Church a Building? He is the Foundation-Stone, the Petra, the Rock. Is she a Kingdom? He holds the Keys, that is, the sceptre. Is she a Fold? He is the Shepherd. Yes, this Church, — which Jesus is now organizing, and is to be proclaimed to the world on the day of Pentecost, — is to be a Fold. The Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is come down from heaven, that he may gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed; and the time is at hand when there shall be but one Fold and one Shepherd.
O Jesus! Our Divine Shepherd! We bless thee, we give thee thanks. It is by thee that the Church, thou art now founding, subsists and lives through every age, congregating and saving all that put themselves under her guidance. Her authority, her strength, her unity, all come from thee, her infinitely powerful and merciful Shepherd! We likewise bless and thank thee for that thou hast secured this authority, this strength, this unity, by giving us Peter as thy Vicar, Peter our Shepherd in and by thee, Peter to whom all, both Sheep and Lambs, owe obedience, Peter in whom thou, our Divine Head, will be for ever visible, even to the end of the world!
Second Sunday after Easter – Good Shepherd Sunday
Semi-double / White Missa ‘Misericordia Dómini’
Misericordia Dómini plena est terra, alleiúia: verbo Dómini cæli firmáti sunt, allelúia, allelúia. Exsultáte, justi, in Dómino: rectos decet collaudátio. Glória Patri.
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: praise is comely for the upright. Glory be to the Father
O God, who, by the humility of Thy Son, hast raised up a fallen world, grant to Thy faithful people abiding joy; that those whom Thou hast delivered from the perils of eternal death, Thou mayest cause to enjoy endless happiness. Through the same Lord.
Dearly beloved, Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Who when He was reviled, did not revile: when He suffered, He threatened not, but delivered Himself to him that judged Him unjustly: who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray, but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.
At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd: and I know Mine, and Mine know Me, as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. Laus Tibi, Christe.
Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great
Dearly beloved brethren, ye have heard from the Holy Gospel what is at once your instruction, and our danger. Behold, how He Who, not by the varying gifts of nature, but of the very essence of His being, is Good, behold how He saith: I am the Good Shepherd. And then He saith what is the character of His goodness, even of that goodness of His which we must strive to copy: The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the Sheep. As He had foretold, even so did He; as He had commanded, so gave He ensample. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, and made His Own Body and His Own Blood to be our Sacramental Food, pasturing upon His Own Flesh the sheep whom He had bought. He, by despising death, hath shown us how to do the like; He hath set before us the mould wherein it behoveth us to be cast. Our first duty is, freely and tenderly to spend our outward things for His sheep, but lastly, if need be, to serve the same by our death also. From the light offering of the first, we go on to the stern offering of the last, and, if we be ready to give our life for the sheep, why should we scruple to give our substance, seeing how much more is the life than meat? And some there be which love the things of this world better than they love the sheep; and such as they deserve no longer to be called shepherds. These are they of whom it is written: But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth. He is not a shepherd but a hireling which feedeth the Lord’s sheep, not because he loveth their souls, but because he doth gain earthly wealth thereby. He that taketh a shepherd’s place, but seeketh not gain of souls, that same is but an hireling; such an one is ever ready for creature comforts, he loveth his pre-eminence, he groweth sleek upon his income, and he liketh well to see men bow down to him.
Sermon Padre Pfeiffer Saturday April 18, 2015
Psalm 62: 2, 5 O God, my God, to Thee do I watch at break of day: and in Thy name I will lift up my hands, alleluia.
May this holy oblation, O Lord, ever draw down upon us Thy saving blessing; that it may perfect in virtue what it represents in mystery. Through our Lord.
PREFACE FOR EASTER
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that at all times, but more especially at this season, we should extol Thy glory, O Lord, when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb that hath taken away the sins of the world. Who by dying hath overcome our death, and by rising again hath restored our life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dóminus, Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus, qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
I am the good shepherd, alleluia: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me, alleluia, alleluia.