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First Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm III
First Sunday after Trinity Home

O GOD, the strength of all those who put their hope in thee; Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Gregory's Sacramentum. The traditional numbering of Sundays was after Trinity Sunday. Carnmer translated it as put their "trust" in thee in the first Prayer Book

Genesis v, Psalms 1, 5 | 2, 3, 4 , 1 St. John iv. 7   &   St. Luke xvi. 19

Homily of Augustine on Psalm III

LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise against me.


The title of this Psalm reads:

 A psalm of David, when he fled from the face of Abessalon his son. 

However, we see in the beginning that Augustine immediately approaches it in an allegorical sense as applying to Christ and his passion. Augustine wrote in reference to verse 5,

 The words, "I slept, and took rest; and rose, for the Lord will take me up," lead us to believe that this Psalm is to be understood as in the Person of Christ; for they sound more applicable to the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, than to that history in which David's flight is described from the face of his rebellious son. And, since it is written of Christ's disciples, "The sons of the bridegroom fast not as long as the bridegroom is with them;" it is no wonder if by his undutiful son be here meant that undutiful disciple who betrayed Him. From whose face although it may be understood historically that He fled, when on his departure He withdrew with the rest to the mountain; yet in a spiritual sense, when the Son of God, that is the Power and Wisdom of God, abandoned the mind of Judas; when the Devil wholly occupied him; as it is written, "The Devil entered into his heart," may it be well understood that Christ fled from his face; not that Christ gave place to the Devil, but that on Christ's departure the Devil took possession. Which departure, I suppose, is called a flight in this Psalm, because of its quickness; which is indicated also by the word of our Lord, saying, "That thou doest, do quickly." So even in common conversation we say of anything that does not come to mind, it has fled from me; and of a man of much learning we say, nothing flies from him. Wherefore truth fled from the mind of Judas, when it ceased to enlighten him. But Absalom, as some interpret, in the Latin tongue signifies, Patris pax, a father's peace. And it may seem strange, whether in the history of the kings, when Absalom carried on war against his father; or in the history of the New Testament, when Judas was the betrayer of our Lord; how "father's peace" can be understood. But both in the former place they who read carefully, see that David in that war was at peace with his son, who even with sore grief lamented his death, saying, "O Absalom, my son, would God I had died for thee!" And in the history of the New Testament by that so great and so wonderful forbearance of our Lord; in that He bore so long with him as if good, when He was not ignorant of his thoughts; in that He admitted him to the Supper in which He committed and delivered to His disciples the figure of His Body and Blood; finally, in that He received the kiss of peace at the very time of His betrayal; it is easily understood how Christ showed peace to His betrayer, although he was laid waste by the intestine war of so abominable a device. And therefore is Absalom called "father's peace," because his father had the peace, which he had not. 

Augustine brings the simple truth to light here, that the fact that a person may have received the sacrament of baptism or the "figure of his Body and Blood", is no indicator that the person is of Christ. We can only say that they are members of the visible church; and may be in the same state as was Judas. But let us go further, and hear the words of Peter:

" Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" [2 Pe 1:10]  Make your practice to be like that to which Christ has called us, and you shall enjoy the assurance of his kingdom to come.  

"O Lord, how are they multiplied that trouble me!" (ver. 1). So multiplied indeed were they, that one even from the number of His disciples was not wanting, who was added to the number of His persecutors. "Many rise up against me; many say unto my soul, There is no salvation for him in his God" (ver. 2). It is clear that if they had had any idea that He would rise again, assuredly they would not have slain Him. To this end are those speeches, "Let Him come down from the cross, if He be the Son of God;" and again, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save." Therefore, neither would Judas have betrayed Him, if he had not been of the number of those who despised Christ, saying, "There is no salvation for Him in His God." 

O Lord, how are they multiplied that bother us! Amen. From some quarters we hear the pundits in the pulpits disparage our Lord. Some deny Christ and his proclamation as the one and only Savior. Some attempt to mix the faith, and turn to cold statues of Buddha, or partake in pagan ceremonies. Yet others invite folk to partake of the evil that is an "abomination" to the Lord.

Yet, the psalm in its concluding verses comforts us, for it assures us that God is our defender. He is our shield, and we need not fear the ungodly because "Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people."


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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