Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

The leading thought in today’s liturgy is again that of trust in God in the midst of struggles and trials. The Apostle Paul describes in the Epistle the tribulations which overwhelm us, and shows up their glorious result. The whole of nature shares the punishment Of sin. As well as man, all beings groan and suffer. But at the Pentecostal Feasts, the Church has received the first-fruits of the Holy Ghost, Who has sanctified our souls and Who is the pledge of the resurrection of our bodies and of our enfranchisement from the material world. Our sufferings are then, as it were, our birth into divine life, and it is at this price that we purchase heaven.

But to reach heaven we must place our confidence in the Lord Who alone is our refuge, our salvation and our defender (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Communion), and in order that our enemies may not prevail against us (Offertory) let us ask of God “that the world may walk in peace according to the order established by Him, and the Church enjoy tranquilly the delights of piety” (Collect).

The visible protection of Providence which extends to the least events is shown to us in the Gospel. The Church (notice that the liturgy during the season after Pentecost is specially concerned with her) is represented by the barque of Peter. It is his that Jesus chose to preach from, it is Simon He commands to put off from the shore, and it is he who, at his Master’s bidding, casts his nets which are filled to breaking point. It is Peter indeed who, struck with astonishment and fright, adores his Master. He will be henceforth with his companions a fisher of men, for they have understood the lesson of confidence which the Saviour gives them and they follow Him.

In the barque of the Church, beaten by the waves and tempests of this world let us put our trust in God.

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