Total Pageviews


The Second Sunday after Easter

Homily of Augustine on the Martyrs' Cup of Suffering
Home for the Second Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source of Collect: Archbishop Cranmer [1549], The Collect calls forth the idea of a lamb in saying that Jesus became a sacrifice for us; and complements the image in the Gospel by following the steps of the Good Shepherd. In those days sheep were not driven; they followed [Barbee and Zahl]

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us,
 leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps

Psalm 21, 23 | 116, 117; 1 St. Peter ii. 19. St. John x. 11. 

Homily of Augustine 


The epistle for this Sunday is from 1st Peter, and was likely penned by Silas in the early 60s. The Apostle Peter wrote this letter from Rome (Babylon) to the Churches in Asia. It was a time when the persecutions of the Christians were beginning. Peter, in this verse, writes specifically to slaves who had to endure mistreatment at their master's hands, and encourages them with comforting words that their patience is to be like that of Christ.  It was prophetic, for soon Peter himself would suffer along with Paul at the hands of the Romans, likely under the rule of Nero, Peter being crucified upside-down according to tradition. 

Tacitus, a pagan historian, wrote of Nero and the Christian persecutions: 

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired."

Let us now turn to a portion of the Sunday's homily by Augustine,

On the cross, you see, Christ transacted a grand exchange; it was there that the purse containing our price was untied; when his side was laid open by the lance of the executioner, there poured out from it the price of the whole wide world. The faithful were bought, and the martyrs; but the faith of the martyrs has been proved, and their blood is the witness to it. The martyrs have paid back what was spent for them, and they have fulfilled what Saint John says: Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so we too should lay down our lives for the brethren. And in another place it says, You have sat down at a great table; consider carefully what is set before you, since you ought to prepare the same kind of thing yourself. It is certainly a great table, where the Lord of the table is himself the banquet. No-one feeds his guests on himself; that is what the Lord Christ did, being himself the host, himself the food and drink. Therefore the martyrs recognized what they ate and drank, so that they could give back the same kind of thing. 

In 2001 America saw nearly 3,000 fall to an attack that was directed against it in the name of Allah. Likewise Spain, England, and other countries have suffered due to the rise of Islamic-based terrorism. Most recently, hundreds of Christians were murdered in raids by Islamic sects in Africa. There is no place now that is beyond the reach of these terrorists.  

In addition, any Christian may suffer in some form as confessors by a world that is turning increasing hostile to traditional and orthodox Christian values. Today's collect prays that we might follow in Christ's steps; that includes his suffering. Take heart, be always ready, for this you were called. For our Lord said, 

  "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.  

Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."

Semper Paratus


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]


No comments: