April 15 – Feria day
Mass of the preceding Sunday
Second Sunday after Easter
(Good Shepherd Sunday)
Semi-double – White vestments
Missa ‘Misericordia Dómini’
Commentary by Abbot Dom Guéranger
The Introit takes a tone of triumph. It celebrates in the words of the Royal Psalmist, the mercy of the Lord, which, by the foundation of the Church, has filled the whole earth. The Heavens, (by which, in the mysterious language of the Scripture, is frequently meant the Apostles,) were firmly established by the Word of the Lord, when Jesus, (the Word,) gave them Peter as their Shepherd and their Rock.
Psalm 32: 5-6
Misericordia Dómini plena est terra, alleiúia: verbo Dómini cæli firmáti sunt, allelúia, allelúia. Exsultáte, justi, in Dómino: rectos decet collaudátio. Glória Patri.
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: praise is comely for the upright. Glory be to the Father.
In the Collect, the Church asks the grace of holy joy for her children: it is the spirit of Eastertide. Surely, it is a duty to rejoice at our having been saved from death by our Jesus’ Resurrection! Moreover, these Paschal joys are a preparation for those of eternity.
Deus, qui in Fílii tui humilitáte jacéntem mundum erexísti: fidélibus tuis perpétuam concéde lætítiam; ut, quos perpétuæ mortis eripuísti cásibus, gáudiis fácias pérfrui sempitérnis. Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum.
O God, who, by the humility of Thy Son, hast raised up a fallen world, grant to Thy faithful people abiding joy; that those whom Thou hast delivered from the perils of eternal death, Thou mayest cause to enjoy endless happiness. Through the same Lord.
COLLECT IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we thy ‘servants may enjoy constant health of body and mind; and by the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, be delivered from all present sorrow, and come to that joy which is eternal.
COLLECT AGAINST THE PERSECUTORS OF THE CHURCH
Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy Church: that, all oppositions and errors being removed, she may serve thee with a secure liberty. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
1 Peter 2: 21-25
Carissimi: Christus passus est pro nobis, vobis relínquens exémplum, ut sequámini vestígia ejus. Qui peccátum non fecit, nec invéntus est dolus in ore ejus: qui cum maledicerétur, non maledicébat: cum paterétur, non comminabátur: tradébat autem judicánti se injúste: qui peccáta nostra ipse pértulit in córpore suo super lignum: út peccátis mórtui, justítiæ vivámus: cujus livóre sanáti estis. Erátis enim sicut oves errántes, sed convérsi estis nunc ad pastórem et epíscopum animárum vestrarum.
Dearly beloved, Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Who when He was reviled, did not revile: when He suffered, He threatened not, but delivered Himself to him that judged Him unjustly: who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray, but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.
It is the Prince of the Apostles, the visible Shepherd of the universal Church, who addresses these words to us. Observe, how he ends by turning our thoughts to the invisible Shepherd, whose Vicar he is; and how carefully he avoids any allusion to himself. So, also, when assisting his Disciple Mark to write his Gospel, he would not allow him to relate the history of Christ’s having made him the Shepherd of the whole Flock; whereas, he insisted on his telling every circumstance of his thrice denying Jesus to be his Master. See, too, how feelingly the Apostle here speaks of his Saviour, — of the sufferings he endured, of his patience, of his devotedness for those poor straying sheep of whom he was to form his fold! These words will one day be verified in Peter himself. The hour will come, when, like his Master, he will be fastened to a cross, and patiently endure every insult and cruelty. Jesus told him that it was to be so. After entrusting him with the care of the Sheep and Lambs, our Lord told him, that when he should have grown old, he would stretch forth his hands upon a cross, and suffer violence from men. This is to happen not merely to Peter, but to a considerable number of his successors, who are one with himself, and whom future generations are to see continually persecuted, exiled, imprisoned, and put to death. Let us, also, follow Jesus’ steps, by cheerfully suffering for justice’ sake: we owe it to Him, who, from all eternity, being equal who, from all eternity, being equal in glory to God the Father, deigned to come down to our earth, that he might be the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.
The first Alleluia- Versicle commemorates the repast at Emmaus: in a few moments, we also shall know Jesus in the breaking of the Bread of Life. The second proclaims, in Jesus’ own words, the dignity and qualities of a Shepherd, “his love for his Sheep, and the eagerness wherewith his Sheep recognize him as their Master.
Allelúia, allelúia. V. Cognovérunt discípuli Dóminum Jesum in fractióne panis.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. The disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread.
Allelúia V. Ego sum pastor bonus: et cognósco oves meas, et cognóscunt me meæ. Allelúia. Allelúia.
Alleluia. V. I am the good shepherd: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me. Alleluia. Alleluia.
At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd: and I know Mine, and Mine know Me, as the Father knoweth 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.
Divine Shepherd of our souls! how great is thy love for thy Sheep! Thou givest even thy life to save them. The fury of wolves does not make thee flee from us; thou becomest their prey, that we may escape. Thou diedst in our stead, because thou wast our Shepherd. We are not surprised at thy requiring from Peter a greater love than thou requiredst from his Brother Apostles: thou willedst to make him their and our Shepherd. Peter answered thee, without hesitation, that he loved thee; and thou conferredst upon him thine own name, together with the reality of thy office, in order “that he might supply thy place after thy departure from this world. Be thou blessed, O Divine Shepherd! for thy having thus provided for the necessities of thy Fold, which could not be One, were it to have many Shepherds without one supreme Shepherd. In obedience to thy command, we bow down before Peter, with love and submission; we respectfully kiss his sacred feet; for it is by him that we are united to thee; it is by him that we are thy Sheep. Preserve us, O Jesus, in the Fold of Peter, which is thine. Keep far from us the hireling, who usurps the place and rights of the Shepherd. He has intruded himself, or been intruded by violence, into the Fold, and would have us take him as the master; but he knows not the Sheep, and the Sheep do not know him. Led, not by zeal, but by avarice and ambition, he flieth at the approach of danger. He that governs through worldly motives, is not a man to lay down his life for others. The schismatic Pastor loves himself; he does not love thy Sheep; how could he give his life for them? Protect us, O Jesus, from this hireling! He would separate us from thee, by separating us from Peter, whom thou hast appointed thy Vicar; and we are determined to recognize no other Anathema to him who would command us in thy name, and yet not be sent by Peter! Such a Pastor could be but an impostor; he would not rest on the Foundation; he would not have the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; to follow him would be our ruin. Grant, then, Good Shepherd, Jesus! that we may ever keep close to thee, and to Peter; that as he rests upon thee, we may rest upon him; and thus we may defy every tempest, for thou, dear Lord, hast said: A wise man built his house upon a Rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded on a rock.
Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great
Dearly beloved brethren, ye 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 saith: I am the Good Shepherd. And then He saith what is the character of His goodness, even of that goodness of His which we must strive to copy: The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the Sheep. As He had foretold, even so did He; as He had commanded, so gave He ensample. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, and made His Own Body and His Own Blood to be our Sacramental Food, pasturing upon His Own Flesh the sheep whom He had bought. He, by despising death, hath shown us how to do the like; He hath set before us the mould wherein it behoveth 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? And some there be which 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 a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth. He is not a shepherd but a hireling which feedeth the Lord’s sheep, not because he loveth their souls, but because he doth gain earthly wealth thereby. He that taketh a shepherd’s place, but seeketh not gain of souls, that same is but an hireling; such an one is ever ready for creature comforts, he loveth his pre-eminence, he groweth sleek upon his income, and he liketh well to see men bow down to him.
The Offertory is an aspiration to God, taken from the Royal Prophet.
Psalm 62: 2, 5
Deus, Deus meus, ad te de luce vígilo: et in nómine tuo levábo manus meas, allelúia.
O God, my God, to Thee do I watch at break of day: and in Thy name I will lift up my hands, alleluia.
In the Secret, the Church prays that the divine energy of the Mystery, about to be consummated on the Altar, may produce within us the effect we long for, — death to sin, and resurrection to grace.
Benedictionem nobis, Dómine, cónferat salutárem sacra semper oblátio: ut, quod agit mystério, virtúte perfíciat. Per Dóminum.
May this holy oblation, O Lord, ever draw down upon us Thy saving blessing; that it may perfect in virtue what it represents in mystery. Through our Lord.
IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
By thine own mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, may this oblation procure us peace and happiness, both in this life, and in that which is to come.
AGAINST THE PERSECUTORS OF THE CHURCH
Protect us, O Lord, while we assist at thy sacred mysteries: that, being employed in acts of religion, we may serve thee, both in body and mind. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
PREFACE FOR EASTER
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that at all times, but more especially at this season, we should extol Thy glory, O Lord, when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb that hath taken away the sins of the world. Who by dying hath overcome our death, and by rising again hath restored our life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dóminus, Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus, qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
The Communion-Anthem speaks to us of the beautiful Mystery of today, — the Good Shepherd. Let us once more offer our homage to the Son of God, who deigns to assume this endearing character; and let us ever be his devoted Sheep.
John 10: 14
Ego sum pastor bonus, allelúia: et cognósco oves meas, et cognóscunt me meæ, allelúia, allelúia.
I am the good shepherd, alleluia: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me, alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has given himself, in this divine banquet, to his Sheep: holy Church prays, in the Postcommunion, that we may ever be penetrated with sentiments of love for this august Sacrament; we ought to glory in it, as being the food that prepares us for immortality.
Præsta nobis, quǽsumus, omnípotens Deus, ut vivificatiónis tuæ grátiam consequéntes, in tuo semper múnere gloriémur. Per Dóminum.
Grant us, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who obtain from Thee the grace of a new life, may ever glory in Thy gift. Through our Lord.
IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Having received, 0 Lord, what is to advance our salvation; grant we may always be protected by the patronage of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, in whose honor we have offered this Sacrifice to thy Majesty.
AGAINST THE PERSECUTORS OF THE CHURCH
We beseech thee, O Lord our God, not to leave exposed to the dangers of human life, those whom thou hast permitted to partake of these divine mysteries. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.