Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Saint Blaise, Bishop, Martyr

A sermon of St Augustine at the ordination of a bishop

Suffer for my sheep
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The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a redemption for many. There you have how the Lord served; there you have the sort of servants he commanded us to be. He gave his life as a redemption for many: he redeemed us.
  Which of us is fit to redeem anybody? It is indeed by his blood, by his death that we have been redeemed from death, by his humility when we were flat on our backs we have been set on our feet. But we too for our part ought to do our little bit for his members, because we have become his members; he is the head, we are the body.
  Finally, the apostle John urges us in his letter to follow the example of the Lord, who had said, Whoever wishes to be the greater among you shall be your servant; just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a redemption for many; he says, then, Christ laid down his life for us; in the same way we too ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
  The Lord himself too, speaking after the resurrection, said, Peter, do you love me? – and Peter answered, I do. This he said three times, this was the answer the other gave three times; and all three times the Lord added, Feed my sheep.
  How will you show that you love me, except by feeding my sheep? What benefit are you going to bestow on me by loving me, seeing that you look for everything from me? So then you have something you can do out of love for me: Feed my sheep.
  This once, and yet again, and a third time. Do you love me? – I do. – Feed my sheep. Three times, you see, he had denied out of fear; three times he confessed his love.
  Next, after the Lord had commended his sheep to him for a third time, as he answered with a confession of his love, thus condemning and blotting out his fear, he went on straightaway to add, When you were a young man, you used to gird yourself and go where you liked; but when you have grown older, another will gird you and carry you where you do not like. Now he said this to signify by what death he was going to glorify God. He prophesied his cross to him, he foretold to him his passion. So it was pointing in that direction that the Lord said, feed my sheep: suffer for my sheep.

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