Christ the Lord has promised us the Holy Spirit: come, let us adore him, alleluia.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.
Pope St John I (- 526)
He was born in Tuscany and elected pope in 523. It was a time of high political and religious tension. Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the ruler of Italy, was an Arian, while many of his subjects were Catholics. Initially tolerant, he became increasingly suspicious of the Catholics’ influence and political allegiance – above all, because they naturally had strong links with the Catholicism of the surviving eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople. Moreover, Arians in the eastern Roman Empire were being persecuted by the Catholic emperor, Justin, and they appealed to Theodoric for help.
Pope John I was sent on an embassy to the emperor, to ask for better treatment for the Arians. In this he succeeded; but the enthusiasm with which he was greeted in Constantinople excited Theodoric’s suspicions, and when he returned to Italy Theodoric had him imprisoned and he died from ill-treatment there a few days later.
Pope John I’s career reminds us what tolerance is and is not. Arianism was a dangerous heresy (by making the Son subordinate to the Father it made the Atonement virtually pointless) and there could be no compromise with it – but this did not mean that Arians themselves were to be persecuted for their beliefs. Then, as so often now, it was the state and not the Church that tried to use force to impose uniformity. See the articles in Wikipedia
and the Catholic Encyclopaedia
Today's Gospel: "When you were young you walked where you liked"
“When you were young
you walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will take you
where you would rather not go” (John 21:18)
Christ’s prophecy in today’s Gospel might seem to be speaking merely of Peter’s martyrdom, but it has an additional message for us today.
In the bad old days people died young and they died, on the whole, quickly. Practically always, they died among the people they had lived with. In today’s kind world such things are receding into the past. Now we are deprived, one by one, of our faculties and all the achievements that made us adult and made us human. We are taken into hospitals or put into homes and imprisoned there by our weakness. If we are unlucky, we are subjected to systematic humiliation and daily petty cruelty from those who ought to be caring for us. If we are lucky, the kindness we receive is still a reminder that we are not the proud, independent beings we once were.
Let us pray for the weak and old and helpless. Let us pray for their carers (ourselves included), that they may lay their frustrations before Jesus and, by his grace, not take them out on those they should be caring for. Let us pray to St Peter that God may allow us to embrace death, like him, before our endurance fails.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Hilary of Poitiers (- 367)
Hilary was born at the beginning of the fourth century. He was elected Bishop of Poitiers in 350. He fought strongly against Arianism and was exiled by the Emperor Constantius. His works are full of wisdom and learning, directed to the strengthening of the Catholic faith and the right interpretation of Scripture. He died in 367. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1851.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Acts 2:32,36 ©|
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Galatians 3:27-28 ©|
All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Corinthians 5:7-8 ©|
Get rid of all the old yeast, and make yourselves into a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be. Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.