[Consonant with both Anglicanism’s and monasticism’s love of patristic theology-spirituality, I occasionally post selections from a two-year lectionary for the Divine Office that draws mostly from patristic writings. The lectionary was initially edited by Stephen Mark Holmes (University of Edinburgh School of Divinity) and subsequently re-edited and formatted by Michele Freyhauf (Durham University). Click here for the link to the lectionary. When there are lacunae in the Durham edition, I draw from R. M. Healey’s edition. Click here for the link to his formatting of the lectionary.]
Patristic Lectionary – 5 April 2021 – Monday in the Octave of Easter
1 Peter 1:1-21
Greetings and Thanksgiving
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the Exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.
The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
St. Melito of Sardis
On the Pasch 2-7, 100-103
You must understand, dearly beloved, how the mystery of the Pasch is new and old, eternal and transient, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal.
It is old according to the Law, but new according to the Word. It is transient in its prototype, but eternal in grace. It is corruptible in the immolation of the sheep, but incorruptible in the life of the Lord. It is mortal because of his burial in the earth, but immortal because of his resurrection from the dead.
The Law is old, but the Word new; the prototype is transient, but grace eternal; the sheep is corruptible, the Lord incorruptible, who was sacrificed as a lamb, but rose as God.
He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, but he was not a sheep; he was as a lamb without voice, but he was not a lamb. The figure has passed away, the reality has come: it is God who has come in place of the lamb, man in place of the sheep, and in the man is Christ, who contains all things.
So the immolation of the sheep, and the solemn rite of the Pasch, and the letter of the Law have come to accomplishment in Christ Jesus. Everything in the old Law, and more particularly everything in the new, was directed towards him
For the Law has become the Word and the old new (each coming from Sion and Jerusalem); the commandment has become grace, and the type reality, the lamb has become Son, the sheep a man, and man has become God.
Though Lord, he became man; he suffered for those who were suffering, he was bound for the captive, judged for the condemned, buried for the one who was buried; he rose from the dead and cried out: ‘Who shall contend with me? Let him stand up to face me. I have freed the condemned, brought the dead to life, raised up the buried. Who will speak against me?’ ‘I am the Christ’, he says, ‘It is I who destroyed death, who triumphed over the enemy, who trampled Hades underfoot, who bound the strong one and snatched man away to the heights of heaven; I am the Christ.’
‘Come then, all you nations of men defiled by sin, receive the forgiveness of sin. For it is I who am your forgiveness, the Pasch of your salvation, the lamb slain for you; it is I who am your ransom, your life, your resurrection, your light, your salvation, your king. I am bringing you to the heights of heaven, I will show you the Father who is from all eternity, I will raise you up with my right hand.’