Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tuesday in the Octave of Pentecost, Class I

Codex Egberti, c980
Today's readings at Mass are Acts 8 (Peter and John go to Samaria to confirm the Christians there) and John 10:1-10 (enter via the gate, do not climb over the walls like a thief).  St Augustine's sermon set for Matins today, deals with the importance of true conversion to Christ, and hence of evangelization:

"In today's discourse our Lord proposes a similitude concerning His flock and the door whereby one enters His fold. The pagans, therefore, may say, "We lead good lives," but if they enter not through the door, what advantage is that to them whereof they boast? For only to this end should it profit anyone to lead a good life, namely, that it be given him to live forever; for to him to whom it is not given to live forever, what profit is there in living a good life? Nor should they be said to live good lives who either from blindness know not the end of a good life, or from pride despise it.

And no one has a true and certain hope of life everlasting unless he know the Life, which is Christ, and enter through the door into the sheepfold. Now, there are many of such a nature that they seek even to persuade men to lead good lives, yet without being Christians. They wish to climb up another way, to rob and to kill—not, as the Good Shepherd, to protect and to save.

Accordingly, some philosophers have treated of many subtleties concerning the virtues and vices, making distinctions, defining, reasoning out the most ingenious conclusions, stuffing books with their ideas, advertising their wisdom with braying trumpets; and they even dared to say to men: "Follow us; embrace our way of life if you wish to live happily!" But they entered not through the door; they wished to corrupt, to plague, and to kill.

What shall I say of them? Behold, the Pharisees themselves read of Christ and talked of Christ; they looked for His coming. But when He was present, they knew Him not. They boasted that they themselves were among the Seers, that is, among the wise ones, but they denied Christ, and entered not through the door. Therefore if perhaps they seduced some, they seduced them only to afflict and to destroy—not to free. But let us pass these over, and let us see if perhaps they who glory in the name of Christ Himself (who pride themselves in the name of Christian) enter through the door. For there are countless numbers who not only boast that they are Seers, but who wish to be considered enlightened by Christ—but they are heretics.

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