Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Tuesday

White
Double of the First Class

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus; exsultemus et lætemur in ea!

This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein!

Our Pasch is the Lamb, and we meditated upon the mystery yesterday: now let us attentively consider those words of sacred Scripture, where, speaking of the Pasch, it says: It is the Phase, that is, the passage of the Lord. God Himself adds these words: I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and will kill every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. So that the Pasch is a day of judgment, a day of terrible justice upon the enemies of God; but for that very reason, it is a day of deliverance for Israel. The lamb is slain; but his immolation is the signal of redemption to the holy people of the Lord.

The people of Israel are slaves to the cruel Pharaoh. Their bondage is the heaviest that can be. Their male children are about to be put to death. The race of Abraham, on which repose the promises of the world’s salvation, is doomed. It is time for God to interpose: the Lion of the tribe of Juda, He whom none can resist, must show Himself.

But in this, the Israelites are a type of another and a far more numerous people—the whole human race; and it is the slave of satan, a tyrant worse than Pharaoh. Its bondage is at its height. It is debased by the vilest idolatry. It has made every base thing its god; and the God that made all things is ignored or blasphemed. With a few rare exceptions out of each generation, men are the victims of hell. Has God’s creation of man, then, been a failure? Not so. The time is come for Him to show the might of His arm: He will pass over the earth, and save mankind.

Jesus, the true Israelite, the true Man come down from heaven, He too is made a captive. His enemies have prevailed against Him, and His bleeding, lifeless Body has been laid in the tomb. The murderers of the just One have even fixed a seal upon the sepulcher, and set a guard to watch it. Here again, the Lord must pass, and confound His enemies by His triumphant passage.

In that Egypt of old, each Israelite family was commanded to slay and eat the Paschal Lamb. Then, at midnight, the Lord passed, as He had promised, over this land of bondage and crime. The destroying Angel followed, slaying with his sword the first-born of the Egyptians, from the first-born of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive woman that was in prison, and all the first-born of the cattle. A cry of mourning resounded through Mesraïm: but God is just, and His people was made free!

The same victory was gained in the Resurrection which now gladdens us. The midnight was over, and the last shades of darkness were fleeing from before the rising light: it was then that our Lord passed through the sealed stone of His tomb, unperceived by His guards. His Resurrection was a stroke of death to His first-born people, who had refused to receive Him as their Messias, or to know the time of their visitation. The Synagogue was hard of heart, like Pharaoh; it would fain have held captive Him of whom the prophet had said, that He would be free among the dead. Hereupon, a cry of impotent rage was heard in Jerusalem: but God is just, and Jesus made Himself free!

And oh! what a happiness was this passage of our Lord for the human race! He had adopted us as His brethren, and loved us too tenderly to leave us slaves of satan: therefore, He would have His own Resurrection be ours too, and give us light and liberty. The first-born of satan were routed by such a victory; the power of hell was broken. Yet a little while, and the altars of the false gods shall everywhere be destroyed; yet a little while, and man, regenerated by the preaching of the Apostles, shall acknowledge his Creator and abjure his idols: for this is the day which the Lord hath made: it is the Phase, that is, the passage of the Lord!

But observe how the two mysteries—the Lamb and the Passover—are united in our Pasch. The Lord passes, and bids the destroying Angel slay the first-born in every house, the entrance of which is not marked with the blood of the lamb. This is the shield of protection; where it is, there divine justice passes by and spares. Pharaoh and his people are not signed with the blood of the lamb: yet have they witnessed the most extraordinary miracles, and suffered unheard-of chastisements. All this should have taught them that the God of Israel is not like their own gods, which have no power; but their heart is hard as stone, and neither the works nor the words of Moses have been able to soften it. Therefore does God strike them and deliver His people.

But this very people, this Israel, ungratefully turns against his deliverer; he is content with the types of the good things promised; he will have no other lamb but the material one. In vain do the prophets tell him that a Lamb is to be sent forth, who shall be King of the earth; that he shall come from the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion. Israel refuses to acknowledge this Lamb as his Messias; he persecutes Him and puts Him to death; and persists in putting all his confidence in the blood of victims that have no longer the power to propitiate the anger of God. How terrible will be the Passage of the Lord over Jerusalem when the sword of the Roman legions shall destroy a whole people!

Satan too, and his wicked angels, had scoffed at this Lamb, they had despised Him, as being too meek and humble to be dreaded; and when they saw Him shedding His Blood on the cross, a shout of exultation rang through the regions of hell. But what was their dismay when they saw this Lamb descending like a lion into limbo, and setting free from their bondage the countless prisoners of the four thousand previous years? and after this returning to our earth, and inviting all mankind to receive the liberty of the glory of the children of God?

O Jesus! how terrible is Thy Passover to Thine enemies! but how glorious for them that serve Thee! The people of Israel feared it not, because their houses were marked with the blood of the figurative lamb. We are more favored than they: our Lamb is the Lamb of God, and Thy Blood is signed, not upon our dwellings, but upon our souls. Thy prophet foretold the great mystery when he said that on the day of Thy vengeance upon Jerusalem, they would be spared whose foreheads should be marked with the Tau. Israel despised the prophecy, which is our joy. The Tau is the sign of Thy cross, dear Jesus! It is Thy cross that shields and protects and gladdens us in this Pasch of Thy Passover, wherein Thy anger is all for Thine enemies, and Thy blessing all for us!

At Rome, the Station for today is in the basilica of Saint Paul. The Church is impatient to lead her white-robed troop of neophytes to the Apostle of the Gentiles. Though he is not the foundation of the Church, yet is he companion of Peter’s labors in Rome, his fellow martyr, and the preacher of the Gospel to the Gentiles. As he says of himself he has labored to form children in God:—who could tell the number he has given to Christ? How must he rejoice to see these newly made Christians approach his sacred shrine, there to receive instruction from his epistles, wherein he still speaks to all generations!

Mass.—The Introit, taken from the book of Ecclesiasticus, celebrates the sublime wisdom of St. Paul, who is the ever pure source, whereat the people of God drink instruction and strength, and so prepare their souls for eternal life.

Introit

Aqua sapientiæ potavit eos, alleluis: firmabitur in illis, et non flectetur, alleluia: et exaltabit eos in æternum. Alleluia, alleluia.

He hath given them the water of wisdom to drink, alleluia: this wisdom shall be strengthened in them, and shall not be moved, alleluia: and it shall raise them up for ever. Alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Confitemini Domino, et invocate Nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus. ℣. Gloria Patri. Aqua sapientieæ.

Ps. Praise the Lord, and call upon his Name: declare his deeds among the Gentiles. ℣. Gloria, &c. He hath given, &c.

In the Collect, the Church gives thanks to God for rendering her fruitful, and thus giving her, every Easter, a mother’s ‘joy. She then prays for her new children, that they may have the grace to persevere in the imitation of their risen Lord.

Collect

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam novo semper fœtu multiplicas: concede famulis tuis, ut sacramentum vivendo teneant, quod fide perceperunt. Per Dominum.

O God, who by a new increase, dost continually enlarge thy Church: grant that thy servants may keep up, by their manner of living, the mystery they have received by believing. Through, &c.

Epistle
Lectio Actuum Apostolorum. Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.
Cap. XIII. Ch. XIII.

In diebus illis: Surgens autem Paulus, et manu silentium indicens, ait: Viri Isrælitæ, et qui timetis Deum, audite: Viri fratres, filii generis Abraham, et qui in vobis timent Deum, vobis verbum salutis hujus missum est. Qui enim habitabant Jerusalem, et principes ejus hunc ignorantes, et voces prophetarum, quæ per omne sabbatum leguntur, judicantes impleverunt, et nullam causam mortis invenientes in eo, petierunt a Pilato, ut interficerent eum. Cumque consummassent omnia quæ de eo scripta erant, deponentes eum de ligno, posuerunt eum in monumento. Deus vero suscitavit eum a mortuis tertia die: qui visus est per dies multos his, qui simul ascenderant cum eo de Galilæa in Jerusalem: qui usque nunc sunt testes ejus ad plebem. Et nos vobis annuntiamus eam, quæ ad patres nostros repromissio facta est: quoniam hanc Deus adimplevit filiis nostris resuscitans Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.

In those days: Paul rising up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Ye men of Israel, and you that fear God, give ear. Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent. For they that inhabited Jerusalem, and the rulers thereof, not knowing him, nor the voices of the prophets, which are read every sabbath, judging him have fulfilled them. And finding no cause of death in him, they desired of Pilate, that they might kill him. And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of him, taking him down from the tree, they laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him up from the dead the third day: Who was seen for many days, by them who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present are his witnesses to the people. And we declare unto you, that the promise which was made to our fathers, This same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus Christ our Lord.

This discourse, which was made at Antioch in Pisidia, in the synagogue, shows us that the Doctor of the Gentiles followed the same method in his instructions as did the Prince of the Apostles. The great subject of their preaching was the Resurrection of Christ; for it is the fundamental truth, it is the fact above all others which proves the divine mission of the Son of God upon earth. It is not enough to believe in Christ crucified; we must also believe in Christ risen. The Resurrection is not only the indisputable fact on which rests the whole certainty of our faith, but it is also the dogma which energizes the whole Christian world. Nothing ever happened on this earth which produced a like impression. See how throughout the whole world it is now celebrated by millions of men of every race and nation! Nineteen centuries have passed away since the relics of St. Paul were first laid in this tomb on the Ostian Way; during that time, how many events have happened which, in their time, were looked on as of momentous importance and are now completely forgotten? For more than two hundred years the storm of persecution was almost ceaseless over Christian Rome; it even became necessary, in the third century, to remove these sacred remains and hide them, for a time, in the catacombs. After this came Constantine, who built this basilica, and erected the triumphal arch near this altar, under which lies the body of the Apostle. Since then, how many changes have taken place in the world! Dynasties, empires, forms of government, have succeeded each other, and only one institution has stood unchanged—the Church. Every year, during these fifteen centuries, she has gone to the basilica of St. Paul, and there, near his tomb, has read this discourse, in which the Apostle proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ to the Jews. Seeing such perpetuity, such unchangeableness, even in things like this, we cannot help exclaiming: Oh! truly, Christ is risen! He is the Son of God! for man could never have given duration to any work of his hand. Our Pasch alone tells us who Jesus is. Let us learn from the circumstance suggested to us by today’s Epistle, how the dazzling beauty of our risen Jesus is reflected even in the minutest details of our happy worship, the Liturgy.

Gradual

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus, et lætemur in ea.

This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

℣. Dicant nunc, qui redempti sunt a Domino, quos redemit de manu inimici, et de regionibus congregavit eos.

℣. Let them now say so, that have been redeemed by the Lord from the hand of the enemy: and he hath gathered them out of the countries.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro, qui pro nobis pependit in ligno.

℣. The Lord hath risen from the tomb, who, for our sake was nailed to the cross.

The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, is from Easter Sunday.

Gospel
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam. Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
Cap. XXIV. Ch. XXIV.

In illo tempore: Stetit Jesus in medio eorum, et dicit eis: Pax vobis: ego sum, nolite timere. Conturbati vero et conterriti, existimabant se spiritum videre. Et dixit eis: Quid turbati estis, et cogitationes ascendunt in corda vestra? videte manus meas, et pedes, quia ego ipse sum; palpate et videte, quia spiritus carnem et ossa non habet, sicut me videtis habere. Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et pedes. Adhuc autem illis non credentibus, et mirantibus præ gaudio, dixit: Habetis hic aliquid quod manducetur? At illi obtulerunt ei partem piscis assi et favum mellis. Et cum manducasset coram eis, sumens reliquias dedit eis. Et dixit ad eos: Hæc sunt verba quæ locutus sum ad vos cum adhuc essem vobiscum, quoniam necesse est impleri omnia quæ scripta sunt in lege Moysi, et prophetis, et Psalmis de me. Tunc aperuit illis sensum ut intelligerent Scripturas, et dixit eis: Quoniam sic scriptum est, et sic oportebat Christum pati, et resurgere a mortuis tertia die: et prædicari in nomine ejus poenitentiam, et remissionem peccatorum in omnes gentes.

At that time: Jesus stood in the midst of them, and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet. But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations.

Jesus shows Himself to all His Apostles, on the evening of the day on which He rose from the grave; and He greets them with the wish of peace. He wishes the same to us, during this Feast of the Pasch. He desires to establish peace among us—peace between man and God, peace in the conscience of the repentant sinner, peace between man and man by the forgiveness of injuries. Let us welcome this wish of our risen Lord, and jealously preserve the peace He thus deigns to bring us. At His birth in Bethlehem, the Angels announced this peace to men of good will; but now, it is Jesus Himself who brings it to us, for He has accomplished His work of pacification by dying for us on the cross. The first word He addresses to His Apostles, and through them to us, is Peace! Let us lovingly accept the blessing, and show ourselves to be, in all things, children of peace.

The conduct of the Apostles, on this occasion, deserves our attention. They believe in their Lord’s Resurrection; they eagerly announced the great event to the two disciples of Emmaus: but how weak is their faith! They are troubled and frighted at Jesus’ sudden apparition; and when He graciously permits them to handle Him, they are overpowered with joy, and yet there is a certain inexplicable doubt still lingering in their minds. Our Lord has to condescend even to eat in their presence, in order fully to convince them that it is really Himself, and not a phantom. What a strange inconsistency there is in all this! Had they not already believed and confessed the Resurrection of their Master, before receiving this visit? We have a lesson to learn here: it is that there are some people who believe, but their faith is so weak, that the slightest shock would endanger it; they say they have faith, but it is of the most superficial kind. And yet, without a lively and vigorous faith, what can we do in the battle we have to be incessantly waging against the devil, the world, and our own selves? He who wrestles with an enemy is desirous to have a sure footing; if he stand on slippery ground, he is sure to be thrown. Nothing is so common nowadays as unstable faith, which believes as long as there is nothing to try it: but let it be put to the test, and it gives way.

One principal cause of this weakness of faith is that subtle naturalism, which now fills the atmosphere in which we live, and which it is so difficult not to imbibe. Let us earnestly pray for an invincible and supernatural faith, which may be the ruling principle of our conduct, which may never flinch, and may triumph over both our internal and external enemies. Thus shall we be able to apply to ourselves those words of the Apostle St. John: This is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.

In the Offertory, the Church speaks to us in the words of the royal prophet of the fountains of water which sprang up at the thunder of God’s bidding. This voice of the Most High was made known to the earth by the preaching of the Apostles, and, in a special manner, by that of St. Paul. The fountains are the baptismal fonts, from which our neophytes came regenerated unto life everlasting.

Offertory

Intonuit de cœlo Dominus, et Altissimus dedit vocem suam: et apparuerunt fontes aquarum, alleluia.

The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High sent forth his voice, and the fountains of waters appeared, alleluia.

The Church prays, in the Secret, that the Sacrifice she is about to offer may aid us to pass safely on to that infinite glory to which Baptism first opened to us the way.

Secret

Suscipe, Domine, fidelium preces cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut per hæc piæ devotionis officia, ad cœlestem gloriam transeamus. Per Dominum.

Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of the faithful, together with these oblations: that by these duties of piety they may pass to eternal life. Through, &c.

In the Communion-Anthem, we have St. Paul himself speaking to the neophytes, and telling them what manner of life they must henceforth lead, in order to resemble their divine model, their risen Jesus.

Communion

Si consurrexistis cum Christo, quæ sursum sunt quærite, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens, alleluia: quæ sursum sunt sapite, alleluia.

If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, alleluia: mind the things that are above, alleluia.

The Church makes the above words of the Apostle the subject of her concluding Prayer: she begs that her new children, who have just partaken of the Paschal Mystery, may persevere in the new life of which this holy Sacrament is the chief support.

Postcommunion

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut paschalis perceptio Sacramenti, continua in nostris mentibus perseveret. Per Dominum.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that the virtue of the Paschal Sacrament, which we have received, may always remain in our souls. Through, &c.

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