Christ has appeared to us: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: White.
|Other saints: St Nathalan (-678)|
Nathalan, or Nachlan or Nauchlan, was born in the village of Tullich (now in Aberdeenshire), for which he was eventually appointed bishop. As well as the church in Tullich, he also built churches at Bothelim and Colle. He possessed a large estate, which he cultivated and distributed his harvest generously to the poor. He was one of the apostles of the region.
|Other saints: St Peter Thomas (1305-1366)|
8 Jan (where celebrated)
Peter Thomas was born into a poor peasant family in the southern Périgord region in France. His piety and skill as a teacher attracted the attention of the Carmelite prior of Bergérac, who invited him to join the Carmelite community there at age twenty-one. He taught in various houses of study until he was sent to University in Paris for advanced scholarship. While his studies were still in progress he was elected by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345.
Peter Thomas proved to be a brilliant diplomat, all the while committed to an austere, simple and prayerful life of a Carmelite friar. He was known to have a disarming humility that enabled him to converse with peasants, soldiers and sailors just as easily as high government officials. After being made Bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches. He held positions of Papal Legate for the East, Archbishop of Crete and Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, all the while working for peace and unity between churches of East and West. His work ended in 1366 when he died of a fever at Famagosta on Cyprus, where his body was then buried in the Carmelite church there.
St Peter Thomas lived as a devout Carmelite and was a diplomatic healer and reconciler, reminding us that finding common ground and bringing reconciliation are always possible with God’s help.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: Saint Hippolytus ( - 235)|
Hippolytus was a priest and a learned man, the most important writer of the Church at Rome in the early third century. He strongly attacked the popes of the time, and was set up as a rival Pope to St Callistus. Some time later, in Maximin’s persecution, he was sent to labour in the quarries of Sardinia. There he met the then Pope, Pontian, and was reconciled with him. (Pontian was made Pope in 231, and was sent to the quarries in 235, where he resigned the papacy and died; Hippolytus must have died at about the same time).
Pontian’s successor, Fabian, had both bodies brought back to Rome for burial, and Pontian and Hippolytus were already being venerated by the Roman Church by the start of the fourth century. Hippolytus was the most important theologian and the most prolific religious writer of the Roman Church in the pre-Constantinian era. Unfortunately most of his works have been lost or are known only through scattered fragments, while much has survived only in old translations into Oriental and Slavonic languages, tangled up with the writings of other authors. The fact that Hippolytus wrote in Greek means that later, when that language was no longer understood in Rome, the Romans lost interest in his writings, while in the East they were read long after, and made the author famous.
The “Discourse on the Theophany” [or Epiphany] was probably wrongly attributed to Hippolytus, which makes it hard to get a sense of him as a preacher; but it is of a similar period and outlook.
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)||Isaiah 45:13 ©|
I roused him to victory, I levelled the way for him. He will rebuild my city, will bring my exiles back without ransom or indemnity, so says the Lord of Hosts.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 48:20 ©|
Declare this with cries of joy and proclaim it, send it out to the ends of the earth. Say, ‘The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.’
|Afternoon reading (None)||Isaiah 65:1 ©|
I was ready to be approached by those who did not consult me, ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘I am here, I am here’, to a nation that did not invoke my name.