Friday of the Second Week After Easter
|℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia.||℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.|
|℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia.||℟. let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.|
Let us, today, turn to another subject. Let us think upon that unfortunate Jerusalem, which, a few days hence, re-echoed with the blasphemous cry: Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him! Is the City impressed by the great events that have taken place in her midst? Is the report still afloat of the Sepulcher’s being found empty? Have Jesus’ enemies succeeded in tranquilizing the public mind by their lying scheme? They have summoned the soldiers who were set to guard the Tomb, and have bribed them to say that they neglected their duty, that they fell asleep, and that the Disciples came, in the meanwhile, and stole away their Master’s corpse. As to the punishment due to this infraction of military discipline, the soldiers are told that they need be under no apprehension, inasmuch as they are assured that every excuse shall be made to the Governor, in case of need.
Such is the final effort made by the Synagogue for making the world forget the name of Jesus of Nazareth! She would make out that he was a mere contemptible impostor, who deserved the ignominious end he came to, and will now be execrated for the posthumous attempt at a Resurrection! And yet, in a few years hence, the name of Jesus will be known and loved far beyond the walls of Jerusalem, or the territory of Judea:—it will be held in blessing in the furthermost parts of the earth. Let a hundred years pass, and the adorers of this Jesus will be found in every country. After three centuries, paganism will own itself beaten; the idols will roll in the dust; the majesty of the Cæsars will humble itself before the Cross. And thou, O blind and obstinate Jew! wilt have it that He, whom thou didst blaspheme and crucify, is not risen, although he be now the King of the earth—the loved Monarch of a boundless empire! Read thy heaven-given prophecies, which thou hast handed down to us. Do they not tell thee that the Messias is to be despised—reputed with the wicked, and treated as one of them? But do they not likewise tell that his Sepulcher shall be glorious? For all other men, the grave puts an end to their name and their glory; whereas with Jesus, his Sepulcher is the trophy of his victory; we proclaim him to be the Messias, the King of ages, the Son of God, because by his own death he conquered Death.
But Jerusalem is carnal-minded; and the humble Nazarene has not flattered her pride. His miracles were undeniable; the wisdom and authority of his words surpassed everything that had ever been heard; his goodness and compassion even exceed the miseries he is come to allay:—but Israel has seen nothing, heard nothing, understood nothing; and now, he remembers nothing. Alas! his fate is sealed, and it is himself that has sealed it. Five centuries before this, Daniel had thus prophesied: The people that shall deny him (Christ) shall not be his. Let them, therefore, that would escape the most terrible chastisement ever sent upon man, lose no time in recognizing the Risen Jesus as the Messias.
A heavy atmosphere broods over the deicide City. Her people have said: Let his Blood be upon us and upon our children!—so indeed it is; it hangs like a storm cloud of vengeance over Jerusalem and, forty years hence, will send forth its thunderbolts of slaughter, fire, destruction, and a desolation which shall continue even to the end. Impostors shall rise up, given themselves out as the Messias. Jerusalem knows that the time for the fulfillment of the Prophecies is come; and hence the credulity of her people in siding with these Pretenders. Seditions are the consequence of this fanaticism. At length, Rome is obliged to interfere. She sends her Legions; and having drowned the rebellion with a deluge of blood, she banishes Israel from his country, making him a Cain-like wanderer on the face of the earth.
Why do not these unhappy Jews acknowledge, as the Messias, this Jesus whom they have crucified? Why still expect a fulfillment which has been so evidently accomplished? Why pass by, with sullen unrepentance, this empty Sepulcher which is ever protesting against them? Have they not clamored for the shedding of innocent Blood? They have but to confess this crime—this fruit of their pride—and they will be pardoned. But if they persist in defending what they have done, there is no hope for them: their chastisement will be blindness of heart, they will walk on in darkness even to the abyss, and hell will be their eternity. Bethphage and Mount Olivet are still echoing with the cry of Hosanna to the Son of David! O Israel! thou hast yet time! repeat this acclamation of thy loyalty! The hours are passing swiftly by; the Pentecost Solemnity will soon be upon us. On that day, the Law of the Son of David is to be promulgated, and the Law of Moses will be abrogated, for its work is done and its figures are turned into realities. On that day, thou wilt feel two peoples within thy womb: one, weak in number but destined to conquer all nations by leading them to the true God, will humbly and lovingly acknowledge for their King this Crucified and Risen Son of David; the other, proud and haughty, will obstinately blaspheme its Messias, and will become, by its ingratitude, the type of voluntary hardness of heart. It denies, even to this day, the Resurrection of its Victim; but the chastisement, which is to lie upon it to the end of time, proves that he who punishes is God—the God of truth, whose anathemas are infallible.
Let us honor the Resurrection of our divine Messias by offering him this Easter Sequence of the ancient Missals of Saint Gall’s.
|Let our most beautiful praise magnify|
|Magni regis novam
In cruce victoriam,
|The new victory of the great King on the Cross.|
|In qua triumphatus
Est mortis principatus,
|On the Cross was conquered the empire of death;|
Est peccati veteris
|On the Cross was made void the hand-writing of the sin that was of old;|
|Qua paschalis Agni
|On the Cross was sacrificed the Paschal Lamb for the flock;|
|Qua torcular calcat
De Edom qui venerat,
Et de Bosra.
|On the Cross was the wine-press trodden by him that came from Edom and Bosra.|
|It is the antidote that cures the sting of the serpent’s wound.|
|Per crucem Deo
Per lignum nunc redemptus,
Per lignum in Adam venditus.
|By the Cross is the world brought back into God’s favor; it was, in Adam, sold by a tree, and by a tree is now redeemed.|
|Per crucem Astris
Restaurans cœli dispendia.
|By the Cross, the last made of creatures is associated with the Morning Stars, and repairs heaven’s losses.|
|Crux vitæ lignum,
Vitam mundi portans
Tu vectis es botri
Nati in vineis
|O Cross! thou Tree of Life, that bearest the Life and Ransom of the world,—thou art the staff, bearing upon thee the Cluster of Grapes from the vineyards of Engaddi.|
|Christus pax nostra
Iis qui erant prope
Et his qui a longe.
|Christ is our Peace, who taketh enmities away, and giveth peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh.|
|O virtus crucis,
Hinc inde brachiis.
|O mighty Cross! thou drawest the whole world to thyself, and, with thy two arms, embracest all mankind.|
|O excelsa crus,
Vinctos, quos absolvis,
Ad summa erigis.
|O lofty Cross! thou penetratest into the depths below, and raisest to heaven the captive thou loosest.|
|Christus carnis templum
Hac dierum summa constructum,
Adam græce colligit,
In te dissolvendum obtulit
Sed, ut mundum
Reædificat post triduum.
|On thee, Christ offered the Temple of his Flesh,—which had been built in the number of days expressed by the four Greek letters composing Adam’s name,—he offered it that it might be destroyed; but he raised it up again in three days, that he might save the four quarters of the world.|
|Agne Patris summi,
Cruce tollens crimina mundi,
Da, ut in augmento
Charitatis, fidei, spei,
Crucis sacrosanctæ valeamus,
Cum sanctis omnibus,
|O Lamb of the Sovereign Father! that, by the Cross, takest away the sins of the world! grant, that by our growth in faith, hope, and charity, we may be able to comprehend, with all the Saints, the measure of the Holy Cross;|
|Et proximis condolentes,
Crucis almæ bajulos
Tua trahas post vestigia.
|That having compassion on our neighbors, and mortifying our flesh, we may carry the dear Cross, and be drawn by thee to walk in thy footsteps.|
|Quo hic tuti et indemnes,
Ibi ad tribunal, judex, tuum
Crucis per signaculum,
|Thus safe and protected in this life, grant, O Divine Judge that, by the sign of the holy Cross, we may be so, when standing before thy tribunal,|
|Annuntiantes in gentibus,
Quia regnavit a ligno Deus.
|And may proclaim aloud to all nations, “That the Lord hath reigned from the Wood.” Amen.|
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)