Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Occurring Scripture for the Hour of Matins

Second Week after the Octave of Easter
Our Lady of the Rosary
Sunday    Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday    Saturday


Sunday

Lesson i
A reading from the Acts of Apostles
Acts 13:13-20

    Now when Paul and they that were with him had sailed from Paphos, they came to Perge in Pamphylia. And John departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.  But  passing through Perge, they came to Antioch in Pisidia: and entering into the synagogue on the sabbath day, they sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying: "Ye men, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation to make to the people, speak."  Then Paul rising up, and with his hand beckoning silence, said: "You men of Israel, and you that fear God, give ear. The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they were sojourners in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought them out from thence, And for the space of forty years endured their behavior in the desert. And destroying seven nations in the land of Chanaan, divided their land among them, by lot, as it were, after four hundred and fifty years: and after these things, he gave unto them judges, until Samuel the prophet."

Lesson ii
Acts 13:21-25

    "And after that they desired a king: and God gave them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, forty years.  And when He had removed him, He raised them up David to be king: to whom giving testimony, He said: 'I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My own heart, who shall do all My will.'  Of this man's seed God according to His promise, has raised up to Israel a Savior, Jesus:  John first preaching, before his coming, the baptism of penance to all the people of Israel. And when John was fulfilling his course, he said: 'I am not he, whom you think me to be: but behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose'  (cf. Luke 3:16)."

Lesson iii
Acts 13:26-33

    "Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent.  For they that inhabited Jerusalem, and the rulers thereof, not knowing him, nor the voices of the prophets, which are read every sabbath, judging him have fulfilled them.  And finding no cause of death in Him, they desired of Pilate that they might kill Him. And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of Him, taking Him down from the tree, they laid Him in a sepulcher.  But God raised Him up from the dead the third day: Who was seen for many days, by them who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present are his witnesses to the people.  And we declare unto you, that the promise which was made to our fathers. This same God has fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus, as in the second psalm also is written: 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee (Psalms 2:7)'".

Lesson iv
From the Sermons of Pope Saint Leo the Great
The First, for the Lord's Ascension.

    Dearly beloved brethren, the days which passed between the Resurrection and the Ascension of the Lord, wore not idly by, but in them were established great Sacraments, and great Mysteries were revealed. In them was abolished the terror of that fearful death, and it was shown that not the soul only, but the body also, will not die eternally. In them the breathing of the Lord on His Apostles shed upon them the Holy Ghost, and the Blessed Apostle Peter, being given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, was chosen out of the rest to receive the chief care of the Lord's fold.

Lesson v

    It was during those days, that as two of His disciples were walking together, the Lord Himself joined them, and made Himself One of three companions. Then that, to clear away all shadow of doubt from our mind, He rebuked the slowness of such as still feared and trembled. Their hearts enlightened by faith, caught the flame; and, whereas they had before been cold, they glowed again as the Lord opened to them the Scriptures. In the breaking of bread their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. And, O, how much happier were they with their eyes opened, and gazing upon the glorification of our nature in His Person, than were the first father and mother of our race, upon which their own transgression had brought shame!

Lesson vi

    Amid these and other miracles, while the disciples were still troubled with fearful thoughts, the Lord manifested Himself in the midst of them, and said : Peace be unto you. And lest their reason should be deceived by the vain imaginations which lurked in their hearts, (for they thought that What they saw was a spirit [a ghost], and not Flesh,) He rebuked thoughts so inconsistent with the truth; and pointed out to the eyes of the doubters the marks of crucifixion which still remained in His Hands and His Feet, and bade them handle Him more closely. Those open Wounds made by the nails and spear in His Body remain ever open to close the wounds in unbelievers' hearts: that we may hold, not with doubtful faith, but with most firm and absolute knowledge, that the Manhood Which lay in the grave is the Same Which now sits at the right hand of God the Father.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 10: 11-16

    "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep.  But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and he flees: and the wolf catches, and scatters the sheep:  And the hireling flees, because he is a hireling: and he has no care for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; and I know Mine, and Mine know Me.  As the Father knows Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep.  And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."

A Homily of Pope Saint Gregory the Great
XIV on the Gospels

    Dearly beloved brethren, you have heard from the Holy Gospel what is at once your instruction, and our danger. Behold, how He Who, not by the varying gifts of nature, but of the very essence of His being, is Good, behold how He said: "I am the Good Shepherd." And then He explained the character of His goodness, even of that goodness of His which we must strive to copy: "The Good Shepherd gives up His life for the Sheep." As He had foretold, even so did He; as He had commanded, He gave His example. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, and made His own Body and His own Blood to be our Sacramental Food, feeding with His own Flesh the sheep whom He had bought.

Lesson viii

    He, by despising death, has shown us how to do likewise; He has set before us the mould in which it behooves us to be cast. Our first duty is, freely and tenderly to spend our outward things for His sheep, but lastly, if need be, to serve the same by our death also. From the light offering of the first, we go on to the stern offering of the last, and, if we be ready to give our life for the sheep, why should we scruple to give our substance, seeing how much more is the life than meat?

Lesson ix

    And some there be who love the things of this world better than they love the sheep; and such as they deserve no longer to be called shepherds. These are they of whom it is written: "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees . He is not a shepherd but a hireling who feeds the Lord's sheep, not because he loves their souls, but because he gains earthly wealth by doing so. He that takes a shepherd's place, but seeks not the gain of souls, that same one is but a hireling; such a one is ever ready for creature comforts, he loves his pre-eminence, he grows sleek upon his income, and he likes to see men bow down to him.

    .Let us pray:  O God, Whose Son has humbled Himself, and Who hast through Him raised up the whole world, grant to thy faithful people everlasting joy; and as Thou hast delivered them from the bitter pains of eternal death, make them to be glad forever in thy presence. Through the same.

Monday

Lesson i
A reading from the Acts of Apostles
Acts 15:5-12

    But there arose some of the sect of the Pharisees that believed, saying: "They must be circumcised, and be commanded to observe the law of Moses."  And the apostles and ancients assembled to consider of this matter.  And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: "Men, brethren, you know, that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel, and believe. And God, who knows the hearts, gave testimony, giving unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as to us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  Now therefore, why do you tempt God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, as likewise they are also saved."  And all the multitude held their peace; and they heard Barnabas and Paul telling what great signs and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

Lesson ii
Acts 15:13-21

    And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying: "Men, brethren, hear me. Simon hath related how God first visited to take of the Gentiles a people to His name. And with this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written: 'After these things I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and the ruins thereof I will rebuild, and I will set it up:  That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all nations upon whom my name is invoked, said the Lord, who does these things' (cf. Amos 9:11-12)  To the Lord was His own work known from the beginning of the world. For this reason, I judge that they, who from among the Gentiles are converted to God, are not to be disquieted. But that we write unto them, that they refrain themselves from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.  For Moses of old time had in every city those who preached him in the synagogues, where he is read every sabbath."

Lesson iii
Acts 15:22-29

    Then it pleased the apostles and ancients, with the whole church, to choose men of their own company, and to send to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas, who was surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren. Writing by their hands: "The apostles and ancients, brethren, to the brethren of the Gentiles that are at Antioch, and in Syria and Cilicia, greeting. Forasmuch as we have heard, that some going out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment: It hath seemed good to us, being assembled together, to choose out men, and to send them unto you, with our well beloved Barnabas and Paul: Men that have given their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also will, by word of mouth, tell you the same things. For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things: That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. Fare ye well."

Tuesday

Lesson i
A reading from the Acts of Apostles
Acts 17:22-27

    But Paul standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. For passing by, and seeing your idols, I found an altar also, on which was written: 'To the unknown God.' What therefore you worship, without knowing it, that I preach to you: God, who made the world, and all things therein; He, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; Neither is He served with men's hands, as though He needed any thing; seeing it is He who gives to all life, and breath, and all things: And has made of one, all mankind, to dwell upon the whole face of the earth, determining appointed times, and the limits of their habitation. That they should seek God, if happily they may feel after Him or find Him, although He be not far from every one of us: "

Lesson ii
Acts 17:28-33

    "For in Him we live, and move, and are; as some also of your own poets said: For we are also His offspring.  Being therefore the offspring of God, we must not suppose the divinity to be like unto gold, or silver, or stone, the graving of art, and device of man.  And God indeed having winked at the times of this ignorance, now declares unto men, that all should every where do penance. Because He has appointed a day wherein He will judge the world in equity, by the Man whom He has appointed; giving faith to all, by raising Him up from the dead." And when they had heard of the resurrection of the dead, some indeed mocked, but others said: "We will hear thee again concerning this matter." So Paul went out from among them.

Lesson iii
Acts 17:34, 18:1-43

    But certain men adhering to him, did believe; among whom was also Dionysius, the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. After these things, departing from Athens, he came to Corinth. And finding a certain Jew, named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with Priscilla his wife, (because Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome,) he came to them. And because he was of the same trade, he remained with them, and wrought; (now they were tentmakers by trade.) And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, bringing in the name of the Lord Jesus; and he persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Wednesday
SOLEMNITY OF SAINT JOSEPH

Lesson i
A reading from from the book of Genesis
Genesis 39:1-6

    And Joseph was brought into Egypt, and Putiphar an eunuch of Pharao, chief captain of the army, an Egyptian, purchased him of the Ismaelites, by whom he was brought.  And the Lord was with him, and he was a prosperous man in all things: and he dwelt in his master's house,  Who knew very well that the Lord was with him, and made all that he did to prosper in his hand.  And Joseph found favor in the sight of his master, and ministered to him: and being set over all by him, he governed the house committed to him, and all things that were delivered to him:  And the Lord blessed the house of the Egyptian for Joseph's sake, and multiplied all his substance, both at home, and in the fields.  Neither knew he any other thing, but the bread which he ate. And Joseph was of a beautiful countenance, and comely to behold.

Lesson ii
Genesis 41:37-43

    The counsel pleased Pharao and all his servants.  And he said to them: "Can we find such another man, that is full of the spirit of God?"  He said therefore to Joseph: "Seeing God has shown thee all that thou has said, can I find one wiser and one like unto thee?  Thou shall be over my house, and at the commandment of thy mouth all the people shall obey: only in the kingly throne will I be above thee."  And again Pharao said to Joseph: "Behold, I have appointed thee over the whole land of Egypt."  And he took his ring from his own hand, and gave it into his hand: and he put upon him a robe of silk, and put a chain of gold about his neck.  And he made him go up into his second chariot, the crier proclaiming that all should bow their knee before him, and that they should know he was made governor over the whole land of Egypt.

Lesson iii
Genesis 41:44-49

    And the king said to Joseph: I am Pharao; without thy commandment no man shall move hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And he turned his name, and called him in the Egyptian tongue, "The savior of the world." And he gave him to wife Aseneth the daughter of Putiphare priest of Heliopolis. Then Joseph went out to the land of Egypt:  (Now he was thirty years old when he stood before King Pharao) and he went round all the countries of Egypt.  And the fruitfulness of the seven years came: and the corn being bound up into sheaves was gathered together into the barns of Egypt.  And all the abundance of grain was laid up in every city.  And there was so great abundance of wheat, that it was equal to the sand of the sea, and the plenty exceeded measure.

Lesson iv
First sermon on Saint Joseph from the Sermons of Saint Bernardine of Siena.

    When any special favors are conferred upon a reasonable being, it is the common rule that whenever the grace of God elects such and such a one for such and such a grace, or for such and such an high post of duty, the person so elected receives all the gifts of grace which be needful for him in that state of life to which he is called, and receives them abundantly. Of this there is an excellent example in the case of the holy Joseph, the so-called father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the real husband of her, who is Queen of the world, and Lady of Angels. He had been elected by the Eternal Father to be the faithful nurse and warder of His two chief treasures, that is, His Son, and Joseph's own Wife. This duty Joseph faithfully discharged, and consequently the Lord has said to him: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matthew 25: 21).

Lesson v

    This man Joseph, if we compare him with the Universal Church of Christ, is he not that elect and chosen one, through whom, and under whom, Christ is orderly and honestly brought into the world? If, then, the Holy Universal Church be under a debt to the Virgin Mother, because it is through her that she hath been made to receive Christ, next to Mary she owes love and worship to Joseph. Joseph is the key of the assembly of the Saints which were under the Old Testament, in whose person the noble structure of Patriarchs and Prophets reaches her completion and realizes her promises. He is the only one of them who actually enjoyed in full fruition what God had been pleased to promise before to them. It is, therefore, with good reason that we see a type of him in that Patriarch Joseph who stored up corn for the people. But the second Joseph hath a more excellent dignity than the first, seeing that the first only gave to the Egyptians bread for the body, but the second was the watchful guardian for all the elect of that Living Bread Which came down from heaven, of Which whosoever eats will never die.

Lesson vi

    There can be no doubt that Christ still treats Joseph in heaven with that familiarity, honor, and most high condescension which He paid him, like a Son to a father, while He walked among men; nay, rather, that He hath now crowned and completed those habits. We may very reasonably suspect that it was with a peculiar meaning that Christ said (to him) "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." The joy of being blessed for ever enters into the heart of man, but when the Lord said (to Joseph), "Enter thou into joy," He probably meant mystically to bid him realize a joy which should not be within him only, but outside him also, above him, and below him, and all round about him, and overflowing him as it were a great bottomless pit of joy to swallow him up altogether.   Therefore, O thou blessed Joseph! remember us! In thy helpful prayers, make intercession for us with Him Who vouchsafed to be supposed thy Son! Likewise, obtain some pity for us from that most blessed Maiden who was thy wife, and the Mother of Him, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 3 21-23

    Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him; and a voice came from heaven: "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat....

An Homily by Saint Augustine, Bishop.
Book ii., on the Harmony of the Gospels

    "And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the Son of Joseph." These words, as was supposed, were evidently here written for the correction of such as might think that the Lord was the Son of Joseph, in the same sense as other men are called the children of their fathers. Those who find any trouble in the fact that the ancestors reckoned downward by Matthew from David to Joseph, are other than those reckoned upward by Luke from Joseph to David, such, I say, as are troubled by this, may get over it by supposing that Joseph had two fathers; one, that is, who begat him, and another who adopted him. The custom of adopting children, whereby those who have none of their own surround themselves with a family, is very ancient, even among the people of God. Hence, Luke is understood to have included in his Gospel, under the name of father of Joseph, that, not of the father by whom he was begotten, but of him by whom he was adopted, and it is the ancestors of this adoptive father who are reckoned up as far as David.

Lesson viii

    Thus since we do well to believe that what each of the Evangelists said was true, Matthew as well as Luke; and therefore that one of them names the father who begat, and the other, the father who adopted, Joseph; we naturally suppose that the Evangelist, who names the adoptive father, was he who abstains from using the term "beget."  Matthew begins "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob," and so on, always with the use of this word "begat," till he cometh to: "and Jacob begat Joseph." By the word which he uses he sufficiently indicates that the genealogy which he is giving is that of him who "begat."

Lesson ix

    Luke said Joseph was the son of Heli, not Joseph was begotten of Heli; but even if he had said the latter, it would not have troubled this interpretation of ours, that one Evangelist names the natural, and the other the adoptive father of Joseph. It is not an outrageous thing to say that one who adopts another has begotten him, albeit he has done it, not carnally, but by love. Even so hath God given to us the power to become His sons, albeit He hath not begotten us of His Own Nature and Substance, as He hath His Only - Begotten Son, but only reckoned us, in His love, among His children.

Let us pray. God, Who in Thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of Thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be helped by the support of his prayers to Thee on our behalf; Who lives and reigns.

Thursday

Lesson i
A reading from the Acts of Apostles
Acts 24:10-16

    Then Paul answered, (the governor making a sign to him to speak:) "Knowing that for many years thou has been judge over this nation, I will with good courage answer for myself. For thou may understand, that there are yet but twelve days, since I went up to adore in Jerusalem: And neither in the temple did they find me disputing with any man, or causing any concourse of the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. But this I confess to thee, that according to the way, which they call a heresy, so do I serve the Father and my God, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets: Having hope in God, which these also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust. And herein do I endeavor to have always a conscience without offence toward God, and towards men.

Lesson ii
Acts 24:17-21

    Now after many years, I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings, and vows.  In which I was found purified in the temple: neither with multitude, nor with tumult. But certain Jews of Asia, who ought to be present before thee, and to accuse, if they had any thing against me:  Or let these men themselves say, if they found in me any iniquity, when standing before the council, Except it be for this one voice only that I cried, standing among them, "Concerning the resurrection of the dead am I judged this day by you."

Lesson iii
Acts 24:22-27

    And Felix put them off, having most certain knowledge of this way, saying: "When Lysias the tribune shall come down, I will hear you. And he commanded a centurion to keep him, and that he should be easy, and that he should not prohibit any of his friends to minister unto him. And after some days, Felix, coming with Drusilla his wife, who was a Jew, sent for Paul, and heard of him the faith, that is in Christ Jesus. And as he treated of justice, and chastity, and of the judgment to come, Felix being terrified, answered: "For this time, go thy way: but when I have a convenient time, I will send for thee. Hoping also withal, that money should be given him by Paul; for which cause also oftentimes sending for him, he spoke with him. But when two years were ended, Felix had for successor Portius Festus. And Felix being willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

Lesson iv (In places where the Octave of Saint Joseph is observed)
From a Sermon by Saint Bernardine of Siena on Saint Joseph Joseph

    The marriage between Mary and Joseph was a real marriage, for it was contracted under divine inspiration. Now in marriage there is so close a union of souls that the bridegroom and the bride are said to be one person, for which reason marriage is like unto the very perfection of unity. Hence how can any discerning mind think that the Holy Spirit would unite, in a union of this intimacy, a mind such as the Virgin's, with the soul of a man who had not within him the operation of a godliness like unto hers? Wherefore I believe that this Joseph was holy, the most chaste of men and a virgin, completely humble, burning with a passion of charity towards God, and full of the highest graces of contemplation. And since the Virgin knew that he was given her by the Holy Spirit to be her spouse, and the faithful guardian of her virginity, and to share besides in devoted love and affectionate care towards that One who was in the most divine fashion the very offspring of God; therefore I believe that she sincerely loved Saint Joseph with all the affection of her heart.

Lesson v

    Now Joseph was most ardent in his love for Christ. For who, pray tell, would deny that Christ, whether as a child or as a grown man, would most deeply inspire ineffable affection, and the peculiar joys which He alone could give? And what would be the effect on one who held Him in his arms, and conversed at will with Him? And besides all this, who can reckon the bliss of receiving from the Christ Child those gazes of filial love? or His words spoken as a devoted son? or the giving of His trustful embraces? O how sweet were the kisses that Joseph received from Him! O how sweet to hear the Little One lisp the name of "father," and how delightful to feel His gentle carresses! Think again how often (when the Little Jesus was growing bigger, and was wearied with much walking on the journeys which they made) Joseph must have been filled with compassion, and so carried Him at rest in his bosom. For Joseph bore towards Jesus all the fullness of an adoptive love, as to a most dear son, given to him by the Holy Ghost in his Virgin bride.

Lesson vi

    Hence it was that a most prudent Mother, who knew the devotion of Joseph to Jesus, said to her Son, when she found him in the temple: "Son, why has thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing" (Luke 2:48. In order to understand this, we must note that Christ has within Himself, as it were, two savors, sweetness and bitterness. And since the most holy Joseph was in a wonderful manner (as we shall see) a partaker of these two savors, therefore the blessed Virgin doth bestow upon him in a special sense the title of Father of Christ. This is the only place where we read that she did call Saint Joseph the father of Jesus, doubtless because the bitterness of sorrow which he felt at the loss of Jesus showed the fatherly affection which he bore Him. For if according to human laws, which are approved by God, a man can adopt as his son the child of another family, how much more truly ought the Son of God to be called the Son of Joseph. For he was given to this Joseph by his most holy Spouse, in the wonderful mystery of a virginal marriage. And so it is also to be believed that in Joseph there were the two savors of Jesus, sweetness and bitterness, which were manifested as the sweetness of paternal love, and the bitterness of his compassion, towards his beloved Jesus.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 3 21-23

    Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him; and a voice came from heaven: "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat....

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Book II on the Agreement of the Gospels

    Joseph cannot be denied the name of father of Christ, merely because he did not beget him by bodily means. For he would have been called the father of any child whom he adopted, even if the child were not the issue of his wife, but from another family. It is true that Christ was supposed to be the son of Joseph in another sense; namely, in that of having been actually begotten by Joseph according to the flesh. But this supposition was made only by those from whom Mary's virginity was concealed. It is of this that Luke said: "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph" (Luke ibid.). However, Luke shows no hesitation in giving the name of parent, not to Mary only, but also to Joseph, when in another place he said: "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him: Now his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the Feast of Passover" (Luke 2:40-41).

Lesson viii

    But lest anyone should think that by the word "parents" there is here to understood Mary and her forbears only, we must take into account what Luke recorded earlier, "And His father and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him" (Luke 2:33). Since, therefore, Luke witnesses that Christ was born, not by the begetting of Joseph, but of the Virgin Mary, how can he call Joseph the father of Jesus, except in the sense that Joseph was a real husband to Mary by virtue of the true bond of marriage, saving only that there never was any carnal intercourse between them? And yet, on account of this bond of marriage, Joseph was the father of Jesus in a much closer sense (seeing that the Christ Child was born of his wife) than if Joseph had adopted Jesus from another family. Hence, also, if anyone could prove that Mary did not trace her origin from David, the same reasoning by which Joseph is called the father of Christ would be sufficient reason for giving Christ the name, Son of David.

Lesson ix

    Luke gives the genealogy, not at the beginning of his Gospel, but after the account of the Baptism of Christ. And he gives it, not in the descending order, but in the ascending order, pointing more to Christ as Priest, making atonement for sins. This was the occasion when the voice spoke in testimony from heaven. And also at this time John himself gave testimony, saying: "Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). By thus beginning with Jesus and tracing back, Luke passes up through Abraham and eventually comes to God, to whom we are reconciled after purification and atonement. Rightly then does Luke give the origin by adoption, for through adoption and faith in the Son of God we become God's sons. In this fashion, Luke showed clearly enough why he named Joseph as the son of Heli; that is, not because Joseph was begotten by Heli, but because he was adopted by him. For Luke called Adam himself the son of God, and this because he was made by God, being set in the paradise of Eden as a son by virtue of the grace which afterwards he lost in sinning.

Friday

Lesson i
A reading from the Acts of Apostles
Acts 25:1-5

    Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests, and principal men of the Jews, went unto him against Paul: and they besought him, requesting favor against him, that he would command him to be brought to Jerusalem, laying wait to kill him in the way. But Festus answered: That Paul was kept in Caesarea, and that he himself would very shortly depart thither. "Let them, therefore," he said, "among you that are able, go down with me, and accuse him, if there be any crime in the man."

Lesson ii
Acts 25:6-8

    And having tarried among them no more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he sat in the judgment seat; and commanded Paul to be brought.7 Who being brought, the Jews stood about him, who were come down from Jerusalem, objecting many and grievous causes, which they could not prove; Paul making answer for himself: "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I offended in any thing."

Lesson iii
Acts 25:9-12

    But Festus, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, answering Paul, said: "Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then Paul said: "I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no injury, as thou very well knowest. For if I have injured them, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die. But if there be none of these things whereof they accuse me, no man may deliver me to them: I appeal to Caesar."  Then Festus having conferred with the council, answered: "Hast thou appealed to Caesar? To Caesar, then, shall thou go.

Lesson iv (In places where the Octave of Saint Joseph is observed)
An Homily of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop
IV on Matthew

    It was the custom in ancient times for betrothed brides to dwell in the houses of their bridegrooms. And it would seem that Mary thus dwelt with her Spouse. And herein we find answer to the question: Why did not the virginal conception take place before Mary was wedded? In order that the mystery might be hid in the meantime, and that the Virgin might escape all danger of evil suspicion. For Joseph had the best right to be moved by jealousy. Yet we see that he not only refrained from sending away his Espoused, or branding her with infamy, but that he received her as his own, and did cherish her after she conceived. And verily, it is evident that he would never have kept her in his house, or ministered to all her needs, if he had not clearly come to know that she had conceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Lesson v

    Joseph being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. After the Evangelist hath told us that she was with child, of the Holy Ghost, and not of any sexual commerce, Luke brings testimony from another source to confirm the statement. For lest anyone should say: And how can this be proved? who saw it? who ever heard of any such thing having happened? and lest you might think that a disciple had invented this tale to please his Master, the Evangelist thus brings forward the grief of Joseph, and what he did thereafter, to confirm the story, as if to say: If ye will not believe me, or if ye hold my testimony in suspicion, at least believe the husband.

Lesson vi

    He said: "Joseph her husband, being a just man." To be just, as the word is here used, implies that full growth of righteousness which cometh from the habitual service of God. Being therefore a just man (that is, a worthy and good man), he was minded to put her away privately. Thus the Evangelist recorded the grief of this just man before he knew the secret of the virginal conception, lest thou should have doubts concerning what happened after he knew that secret. And certainly if Mary had been such as suspicion would make her out to be, she would have deserved not only to be denounced, but to be punished by the authority of the Law. But Joseph was not only unwilling to condemn her, but even to denounce her. Here we see an instance of a man full of spiritual understanding, and free from the tyranny of suspicion. But was this a matter of mere suspicion, seeing that the very swelling of her body seemed to prove a fact? Nonetheless, this man was so pure, and free from that kind of jealousy, that he would not cause the Virgin even the slightest grief. And although he lived under the Law, his spiritual understanding was above the Law. For now that the reign of grace was approaching, it was fitting that there should be a shining example of a more sublime spirituality than was common under the Law.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 3 21-23

    Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him; and a voice came from heaven: "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat....

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Book XXIII contra Faustum,  chapters 7-8

    The words uttered from heaven over the river Jordan: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" : were said also on the Mount of the Transfiguration. Now these words should not be understood to imply that he was not the Son of God before the voice from heaven was heard. For we know that he who received the form of a servant from the Virgin's womb, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Philippians 2:6). Indeed, the same Apostle Paul clearly declared elsewhere: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a Woman, made under the Law, that he might redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4-5). He therefore is the Son of God, who is according to his divinity the Lord of David, and at the same time according to the flesh the Son of David, and of the seed of David.

Lesson viii

    Unless it were profitable to believe this, the same Apostle would not have exhorted Timothy so earnestly, saying: "Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, is risen again from the dead, according to my Gospel" (2 Timothy 2:8). Why then should any follower of the holy Gospel be troubled concerning this; to wit, that Christ, who was born of the Virgin without cohabitation with Joseph, hath his line of descent traced by the Evangelist Matthew through Joseph rather than through Mary; or again, that because of Joseph's descent from David, the Evangelist should call Christ the Son of David? For we know good reasons for this. The first is that the genealogy of her husband would be preferred to hers as a matter of honor to the male sex. For even though he was not joined to her in cohabitation, he was not on that account any the less her husband, since Matthew himself witnessed that Mary was called the wife of Joseph by the Angel, and yet he also said that she had conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Lesson ix

    Note that one and the same narrator both makes and approves all these statements: to wit, that Joseph was the husband of Mary; that the Mother of Christ was a Virgin; that Christ was of the seed of David; and that Joseph was in the line of Christ's ancestors from David. From all this we perceive several other reasons for the giving of Joseph's genealogy: to wit, that Mary was not without blood-relationship to David; and that in consideration of their union as souls, according to the due order of sex, she was not falsely given the title of Joseph's wife; and that Joseph, chiefly on account of his dignity as a man, was not to be separated from the line of their common genealogy, lest he should appear as separated from that Woman, to whom the affection of his soul bound him.

    Let us pray. God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be assisted by the remedy of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who livest.

Saturday

Lesson i
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
Acts 28:16-20

    And when we were come to Rome, Paul was suffered to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him.  And after the third day, he called together the chief of the Jews. And when they were assembled, he said to them: Men, brethren, I, having done nothing against the people, or the custom of our fathers, was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans;  Who, when they had examined me, would have released me, for that there was no cause of death in me;  But the Jews contradicting it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had any thing to accuse my nation of.  For this cause therefore I desired to see you, and to speak to you. Because that for the hope of Israel, I am bound with this chain.

Lesson ii
Acts 28:21-24

    But they said to him: We neither received letters concerning thee from Judea, neither did any of the brethren that came hither, relate or speak any evil of thee.  But we desire to hear of thee what thou think; as concerning this sect, we know that it is every where contradicted.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came very many to him unto his lodgings; to whom he expounded, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, out of the law of Moses and the prophets, from morning until evening.  And some believed the things that were said; but some believed not.

Lesson iii
Acts 28:25-31

    And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, Paul speaking this one word: "Well did the Holy Ghost speak to our fathers by Isaias the prophet,  Saying: 'Go to this people, and say to them: With the ear you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive.  For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears have they heard heavily, and their eyes they have shut; lest perhaps they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."  Be it known therefore to you, that this salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it. And when he had said these things, the Jews went out from him, having much reasoning among themselves.  And he remained two whole years in his own hired lodging; and he received all that came in to him,  Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, without prohibition.

Lesson iv (In places where the Octave of Saint Joseph is observed)
An Homily of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop
IV on Matthew

    "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife" (Matthew 1:20)  But what is: To take? Undoubtedly, to maintain, and that in his own house.  For he had already sent her away in his mind.  But now the Angel commanded: Her whom thou would send away, maintain; her, do thou, and not her parents, maintain, for God joins her to thee; her, God truly joins to thee, not in the sacred commerce of marriage, but in the fellowship of a common home; and her, God joins to thee through the ministry of my words. Just as Christ himself later entrusted her to the care of His disciple, so now the Angel gives her to her spouse; in such manner that she may have the consolation of his company without other conjugal rights.  By this means her confinement would be explained in a worthier and more honorable way, and suspicion would be allayed.  It is as though the Angel said: Not only was she not dishonored by an unlawful embrace, but indeed she is fruitful in a manner above nature and usage; therefore grieve not at the happy confinement of thy Bride, but break forth into greater joy! "For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." (ibid )

Lesson v

    "And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shall call his Name Jesus" (ibid 21). That is: Think not that the ministry of this great dispensation, because it is of the Holy Ghost, is a thing apart from thee. For even thought thou hast no part in His generation, since the Virgin remains inviolate, yet do I readily grant thee this, namely; that thine are all the rights of a father, in so far as they obscure not the dignity of the Virgin; thou shall certainly give the new-born his Name; thou shall be the first to call Him by His Name.  For even though He Who is born is not thy son, nonetheless thou shall show Him the care and solicitude of a parent; and therefore I unite thee to Him by this immediate giving of the Name.  But, lest anyone might think from this that Joseph was the begetter of Christ, the Angel was first careful to say: "She shall bring forth a Son" (ibid ).  He does not say: She shall bear thee a son: but makes his statement in an undetermined and indefinite way. For Mary did not bear a son to Joseph, but brought forth Christ to the whole world.

Lesson vi

    Therefore the Evangelist relates that the Angel brought His Name from heaven, so that thus might be shown how wonderful was His birth, seeing that He Himself taught His Name to Joseph by an Angel sent from God.  For this Name, which truly contains a thousand treasures of good, was not given without meaning.  Therefore the Angel  himself interprets it, thereby consoling Joseph's grief with good hopes; and also inviting him to believe these words.  For we are easily summoned to that which is pleasant, and give prompt belief to good tidings. Wherefore the Angel said: "He shall save his people from their sins" (ibid ). This also shows the novelty of the gift.  For he announces that this people are to be saved, not indeed from external wars, nor from the swords of barbarians, but from what is far greater than these: From their sins. And no mere man could ever accomplish this.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 3 21-23

    Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him; and a voice came from heaven: "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat....

An Homily of Saint Ambrose, Bishop
Exposition  on Luke, Book III

    No one should be troubled at the words: "As was supposed, the son of Joseph."  For it was no more than a supposition, seeing that Christ was not the son of Joseph by nature.  Albeit, it was so supposed because Mary who was espoused to her husband Joseph, gave Christ birth.  And so, referring to Joseph as father, it is written: "Is not this the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55) We have already discussed why the Lord of salvation chose to be born of a Virgin. We have also discussed why she was an espoused Virgin when her conception took place; and why it took place at the time of the enrollment for taxing.  Hence it is fitting to explain why Christ had a working-man for his father.  For thereby is figured Christ's divine Father, who as Maker of all things, framed the world. Even though human and divine matters be not equal to each other, yet is this figure a complete one.  Christ's Father works by fire and by breathing on things.  Yea, like a good carpenter of the soul, He chips away our defects.  Promptly doth He lay His axe to the barren trees and hew them down.  Skilful is He in correcting whatever is built scantily, and in buttressing whatever is to be built magnificently. He tempers the hardness of hearts as with fire, and with His gentle breath.  And by His divers workings he forms the quality of the human race.

Lesson viii

    We might wonder why the genealogy of Joseph, rather than of Mary, is given (since Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Ghost, and Joseph had not part in the Lord's conception), were it not that the Holy Scripture teaches us how it was the custom to trace descent on the male side.  For in this fashion the person of the man is set forth as pre-eminent, and his dignity maintained, even as it is wont to be done in the Senate and the other high places of the commonwealth.  And how unseemly it would have been to have passed over the lineage of the father, and to have given that of the mother, since doing so would have appeared to proclaim to all the people in the world that Christ had not a father. It is a world-wide custom to trace the genealogy of a family in the male line.  Therefore, do not be perplexed that the lineage of Joseph is given.  Forasmuch as Christ was born in the flesh, He was bound to follow this custom of the flesh. And He who came into the world had to be enrolled for taxing in the worldly manner, the more so that Joseph's descent was the same as Mary's.

Lesson ix

    But some explanation is required as to why Saint Matthew reckons Christ's descent from Abraham forward, whilst Saint Luke traces the same from Christ backward to the creation of Adam by God.  By this, Luke would have us understand that Christ's lineage should be traced to God, because God was Christ's true Progenitor, both as His Father whereof He was begotten, and as the Author, in the laver of baptism, of the mystical gift of the Spirit.  Wherefore Luke does not begin his Gospel with the reckoning of Christ's lineage, but records it after the account of the baptism, thereby showing forth in baptism the working of God, the Author of all things. Thus also Luke asserts that Christ came forth from God according to a certain rule of orderliness. For he weaves all things together to prove that Christ is by nature, by grace, and in the flesh, the Son of God.  But what more evident proof of Christ's divine descent could we have than what Luke gives? For before the Evangelist reckons the genealogy of Christ, he gives the words of the Father himself: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (cf. Luke 3:22).

Let us pray.
    God, Who in thine unspeakable foreknowledge didst choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be holpen by the succour of his prayers to thee on our behalf;
Who lives and reigns.

 


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