Easter Wednesday



Station at St. Laurence-without-the-Walls

Easter Wednesday
The Station was at St. Laurence outside the walls. The Church put before her new-born children as a model the illustrious Roman deacon to whom this basilica is dedicated.

Like St. Paul, yesterday, St. Peter tells us that the Prophets foretold the death of Jesus and that the Apostles were witnesses of His Resurrection (Epistle). The Alleluia further reminds us that "the Lord hath appeared to Peter" while the Gospel shows us St. Peter directing the fishing operations of his companions, in expectation of the hour now fast approaching when he will direct their labours as fishers of men. More devoted to Jesus than the others, he cast himself into the sea to rejoin Him, and it was he who drew to land the net full of one hundred and fifty three big fishes.


According to the Fathers, these fishes brought by Peter to the feet of the risen Christ represented the neophytes, for the catechumens were born to supernatural life in the font of Baptism. Called by God to receive His kingdom (Introit), they eat the bread of angels, the bread of heaven (Offertory, Secret), which transforms them into new creatures (Postcommunion), the "Agni novelli" or new-born lambs.

Let us celebrate these festivities of the Resurrection of our Lord in a spirit of holy rejoicing, a foretaste of the joy we shall experience at the eternal Pasch (Collect).

Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the Kingdom alleluia, which was prepared for you from the foundation of the world, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord through the whole earth.
(Matthew 25:34 and Psalm 95:1 from the Introit of Mass)

O God, who dost give us joy by the yearly solemnity of our Lord's resurrection, mercifully grant that we who celebrate this temporal feast may deserve to attain everlasting happiness. Through the same our Lord.

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The Lesson is taken from the Holy Gospel according to John
Chap. 21, 1-14

At that time: Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself: there were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus. And so on, and that which followeth. John: 21, 1-14

A Homily by St. Gregory the Pope

The Lesson from the Holy Gospel which hath but now been read in your ears, my brethren, knocketh loudly at the door of your hearts with a certain question, the answer whereto calleth for thought. This same question concerneth Peter, who before his conversion had been a fisherman; to wit, Wherefore did he, after his conversion, again go a-fishing? For the Truth hath said: No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Wherefore did Peter return to that which he had left? But if we take thought we can see the answer to this question. The trade which was harmless before his conversion, did not become harmful because he had been converted.

We know that Peter had been a fisherman, and Matthew a publican, and that Peter after his conversion went back to his fishing, but Matthew did not return to the receipt of custom. It is one thing to seek a livelihood by fishing, and another to amass money by the farming of taxes. Verily, there are many kinds of business that can hardly, or never, be practiced without committing sin; and to such kinds of business, he which hath once been converted must not again return.

It may likewise be asked why, when the disciples were toiling in the sea, the Lord, after his resurrection, stood on the shore; whereas, before his resurrection he had walked on the waves before them all. A mystical reason will be perceived if we bethink ourselves of the inner nature of the case. The sea is a figure of this present world, tossed to and fro by changing fortune, and continually ebbing and flowing with the divers tides of life. The fixedness of the shore is an image of the never-ending rest of the eternal home. Therefore, the disciples (who were as yet tossed to and fro upon the waves of a dying life), were toiling in the sea, but the Redeemer (who had already laid aside all that in this body is subject to corruption, and had risen again from the dead), stood safely upon the shore.

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