Sunday, 16 April 2017
O blessed day of the Resurrection, which of old time was called the Queen of Festivals, and raised among Christians an anxious, nay contentious diligence duly to honour it! Blessed day, once only passed in sorrow, when the Lord actually rose, and the disciples believed not; but ever since a day of joy to the faith and love of the Church! In ancient times, Christians all over the world began it with a morning salutation. Each man said to his neighbour, 'Christ is risen'; and his neighbour answered him, 'Christ is risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon'. Even to Simon, the coward disciple who denied him thrice, Christ is risen; even to us, who long ago vowed to obey him, and have yet so often denied him before men, so often taken part with sin, and followed the world, when Christ called us another way.
'Christ is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!': to Simon Peter the favoured Apostle, on whom the Church is built, Christ has appeared. He has appeared to his Holy Church first of all, and in the Church he dispenses blessings, such as the world knows not of. Blessed are they if they knew their blessedness, who are allowed, as we are, week after week, and Festival after Festival, to seek and find in that Holy Church the Saviour of their souls! Blessed are they beyond language or thought, to whom it is vouchsafed to receive those tokens of his love, which cannot otherwise be gained by man, the pledges and means of his special presence, in the Sacrament of his Supper; who are allowed to eat and drink the food of immortality, and receive life from the bleeding side of the Son of God!
[Extract from today's reading from the sermons of Blessed John Henry Newman in The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, p.319.]