Saturday, July 06, 2024

The Octave of Ss Peter and Paul

From the homily of St Jerome read on the octave day of Ss Peter and Paul in the breviary of St Pius V, commenting on the Gospel of the day, Matthew, 14, 22-33.

The Lord commanded His disciples to cross over to the other side, and constrained them to get into a ship. By this it is shown that they departed unwillingly from the Lord, since for the love of their Teacher, they did not want to be separated from Him even for a moment. “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray. ... But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves.” The Apostles were right to be slow and unwilling to leave the Lord, lest in His absence they suffer shipwreck.

St Peter Walks Upon the Water. (Matthew 14, 22-33) The original mosaic was made by Giotto on a wall of the courtyard of the old St Peter’s Basilica in 1298, opposite the church’s façade. Only a few fragments were saved from the destruction of the old basilica; this copy is an oil painting made in 1628 from drawings of the original. In 1675, a new mosaic on the same design was mounted in the portico of the new basilica, facing the main door, as a reminder to pilgrims as they leave the church to pray for the Holy Father. (Public domain image from Wikimedia.)
Then, while the Lord abides upon the top of the mountain, suddenly, a contrary wind arises, and stirs up the sea, and the Apostles are endangered, and the threat of shipwreck remains imminent, until Jesus comes. But in the fourth watch of the night, He comes to them, walking upon the sea. The stations and watches of soldiers are divided into spaces of three hours; therefore, when the Gospel says that the Lord came to them in the fourth watch, it shows that they had been in danger all night, and that it was at the end of the night, as it will again be at the end of the world, that He came to the rescue of His disciples.

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