Readings from Matins for Lent - Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Source: District of Great Britain

This is the perfect sermon for those who are tempted to despair over the crisis in the Church


Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 6:47-56)

In that time when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and Jesus himself alone on the land. And so on.

Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest (at Jarrow) and Doctor of the Church

(Bk. ii, cap. 6, on Mark vi, 45)

The toil of the disciples in rowing, and the wind contrary to them, is a figure of the diverse toils of the Holy Church, as, amid the waves of a world that fighteth against her, and the stormy blasts of unclean spirits, she laboureth to reach the rest of her Fatherland above, as a shore safe for her anchor. Here also it is well said that the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land; for sometimes it cometh to pass that the Church is, by the great pressure of the Gentiles, not only so afflicted, but also befouled, that it seemeth as though, if it were possible, her Redeemer had for the time forsaken her.

Whence it is that there cometh that cry of hers, when she is taken amid the waves, and the winds of temptations that break upon her, and with piteous entreaty she calleth on Him to protect her: Why standest Thou afar off, O Lord, why hidest Thou thyself in times of trouble? (Ps. ix. 22). And then, in the verses that follow, she telleth Him what saith the enemy that persecuted her, saying: For he hath said in his heart God hath forgotten; He hideth His face, He will never see it. 32.

Verily, He forgetteth not the prayer of the poor, neither turneth He His face away from any that putteth his trust in Him; yea, rather, to him whosoever is striving with the enemy, He giveth help to conquer, and, whosoever conquereth, to him He giveth an everlasting crown. For the which reason also it is here said plainly He saw them toiling in rowing. The Lord seeth them that are toiling in the sea, albeit He be Himself on the land. Although He seem for a moment to tarry in succouring the distressed, nevertheless the look of His love is strengthening them, all the while, lest they should faint and sometimes He setteth them free, even by an open deliverance, conquering all their adversaries for them, as when He walked upon the swelling of the waves, and stilled them.