The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 1. 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
Other saints: Saint Erik of Sweden (-1160)
Denmark, Finland, Sweden
Historical records of 12th-century Scandinavia are scanty. Erik existed; he was king; he was a Christian; he is said to have done much to consolidate Christianity in his realm. He led the first Swedish crusade into Finland – an act implicitly confirmed by a Papal bull of the 1170s. He was killed fighting Danish invaders. A chronicle of 1240 says: “The twelfth king was Erik. He was rashly killed in an unhappy moment. He always gave a good example while he lived, and God rewarded him well. Now his soul is at rest with God and his angels, and his bones rest in Uppsala. And he has, with God’s help, made and manifested many precious miracles.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: The Letter to Diognetus
A 13th-century manuscript of the Letter from the Disciple to Diognetus was discovered in Constantinople in 1436, where it was being used as wrapping-paper in a fishmonger’s shop. It found its way to the abbey of Munster, and the first edition of it was published in 1592. The suppression of religious communities by the French Revolution in 1793 led to it being deposited in the municipal library at Strasbourg, where it was destroyed in 1870 by a fire started by German artillery. Two copies of the manuscript survive which were made in the 16th century.
The Letter to Diognetus is a Christian apologetic work dating from the 2nd century, probably from late in that century. It was initially attributed to Justin Martyr but is now agreed to be by an unknown author. Whoever it was by, the letter seems to have passed out of general knowledge very early, since none of the standard authorities such as Eusebius mention it. The identity of the recipient is equally unknown. It is valuable as showing the nature of Christian belief in those very early days, and it is different from other Christian apologies in that it seems not to be a spontaneous work of explanation or justification, but a detailed response to a detailed series of questions.
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)||(Romans 4:24-25) ©|
We believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Jesus who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 John 5:5-6 ©|
Who can overcome the world? Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ came by water and blood: not with water only, but with water and blood.
|Afternoon reading (None)||(Ephesians 4:23-24) ©|
Let your spirits be renewed so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth.