Readings for Liturgy

31 March. Holy Saturday

The Lamb slain in sacrifice rescued us from death

(from a homily of Melito of Sardis, on the Pasch) He descended from heaven to earth for the sake of suffering mankind, clothed himself with a human nature through the Virgin Mary, and appearing among us in human form with a body capable of suffering, took upon himself the suffering of those who suffered. (cf. The Divine Office vol. II, p. 284) By his Spirit which could not die, he slew death, the slayer of mortal human beings. Led forth like a lamb, slain like a sheep, he ransomed us from the slavery of the world, as he ransomed Israel from the land of Egypt. He freed us from the slavery of the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh; and he has marked our souls with the signs of his own blood. He has covered death in shame and has grieved the devil, as Pharaoh was shamed and grieved by Moses. He has punished wickedness and taken away the children of injustice, just as Moses punished Egypt and took away its children. He has brought us from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light, from death to life, from tyranny to an eternal kingdom. He is the Passover of our salvation. He was present in many so as to endure many things. In Abel he was slain; in Isaac bound; in Jacob a stranger; in Joseph sold; in Moses exposed; in David persecuted; in the prophets dishonoured. He became incarnate of the Virgin. Not a bone of his was broken on the tree. He was buried in the earth, but he rose from the dead, and was lifted up to the heights of heaven. He is the silent lamb, the slain lamb, who was born of Mary the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock and dragged away to slaughter. Towards evening he was sacrificed, and at night he was buried. But he who had no bone broken upon the cross, was not corrupted in the earth, for he rose from the dead and raised up man from the depths of the grave.
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