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The Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity


Augustine on Psalm 125
Home, 22nd Sunday after Trinity 

LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Gregory of Rome [604 AD] The Latin used the word familia, which points to the traditional Roman family that was the basic and most important element of society. It included all in the household, including slaves, and was headed by the pater familias who was responsible for the welfare of all. This concept of the household is the basis of the Gospel story today.

Psalm: 123, 124, 125, 136, 138;   Philippians i. 3   &  St. Matthew xviii. 21 
Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXXV

As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD
shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be
upon Israel.

This week we consider the homily of Augustine on Psalm 125. I encourage all 
to read it. In one paragraph he considers the Christian Roman soldiers who served under the apostate Julian, those martyrs who refused to sacrifice to the idols, but who never waived at the evil emperor's commands to defend the state. We may look more closely at that and other parts of the homily another day, but today I would like to direct your focus to the verse above, and Augustine's treatment of it following:

Whence the Psalmist at once addeth: "As for such as turn aside, the Lord shall lead them forth unto strangling with the workers of unrighteousness" : that is, those whose deeds they have imitated; because they took delight in their present pleasures, and did not believe in their punishments to come. What then shall they have, who are righteous in heart, and who turn not back? Let us now come to the heritage itself, brethren, for we are sons. What shall we possess? What is our heritage? what is our country: what is it called? Peace. In this we salute you, this we announce to you, this the mountains receive, and the little hills receive as righteousness.  Peace is Christ: "for He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us." Since we are sons, we shall have an inheritance. And what shall this inheritance be called, but peace? And consider that they who love not peace are disinherited. Now they who divide unity, love not peace. Peace is the possession of the pious, the possession of heirs. And who are heirs? Sons....Since then Christ the Son of God is peace, He therefore came to gather together His own, and to separate them from the wicked. From what wicked men? From those who hate Jerusalem, who hate peace, who wish to tear unity asunder, who believe not peace, who preach a false peace to the people, and have it not. To whom answer is made, when they say, "Peace be with you," "And with thy spirit:" but they speak falsely, and they hear falsely. Unto whom do they say, Peace be with you? To those whom they separate from the peace of the whole earth. And unto whom is it said, "And with thy spirit"? To those who embrace dissensions, and who hate peace. For if peace were in their spirit, would they not love unity, and leave dissensions? Speaking then false words, they hear false words. Let us speak true words, and hear true words. Let us be Israel, and let us embrace peace; for Jerusalem is a vision of peace, and we are Israel, "and peace is upon Israel." 

These are strenthening and comforting words for God's household, as the collect of the day uses the term from the Latin familia as used by Gregory and those before him. Comforting to us "for we are sons" , but they are only so comforting as the knowledge and assurance that we are truly of his household.  Few of us know the hour or day of our death, and so we must watch, pray, and be always vigilant in our practice of faith, duty, and love of Christ. 

Augstine then addresses the heretics of his day who are not of the familia. Our churches these days have their share of hertics who have given up any pretension of ortodoxy, but still play the clerk and say, "Peace be with you.", to many blind sheep who parrot back, "and also with you", but they know no peace for they deny Jesus as Savior. Just as Augustine points out, they speak falsely, and their minions hear falsely.  Let us follow Augustine's advice and speak true words, words of the orthodox and catholic faith since the beginning of the apostolic church.

God's Peace be with his saints, now and evermore.

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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