BOOK OF COMMON
Edited by JOHN HENRY BLUNT
Rivingtons, London, 1884
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
On this Sunday the risen Saviour is presented to us as the strength
of the regenerate, the Fountain of spiritual ability for all Christians,
as well as of pastoral ability for His ministers. For the mystical
Presence of Christ is the power by which those who are admitted into the
Christian body are able to eschew evil and follow good, and it was this
Mystical Presence of which Christ spoke in the words of the Gospel.
During the period which is now being commemorated, the Lord Jesus was
seen again by His disciples; and yet they must have been possessed by a
conviction that it was not for long, and that their Master was to be taken
away from their head as Elijah was from Elisha. At such a time, and
as their faith grew with the Resurrection Life of their Lord, the words
He had formerly spoken to them must have recurred to their minds as words
which had already been in part fulfilled, and of which a still more glorious
fulfilment was in prospect. Because He was going to the Father to
present His natural Body as an ever-living Intercession, He could not be
seen by the bodily eyes of His little flock; but because He was going to
the Father to be a continual Mediator and Intercessor, the benefits of
His Presence would be manifestly given to the many, even as if the eyes
of all the faithful rested upon His visible Presence.
Thus had the Good Shepherd comforted His flock before His death: and
thus in the Divine Service of His Church He is ever at this season speaking
to us, and bidding us look to Him as a Saviour present in His Church, and
to be beheld by the eyes of those who will look for Him in faith.
A Presence which Christ could speak of in such terms as those of this day's
Gospel may well be called Real, and in such a Presence His people may well
look for that strength of the regenerate which will enable them to fulfil
the duties of the regenerate.
When the Collect was first composed, the words, "them that are admitted
into the fellowship of Christ's religion" referred especially to those
who had been baptized at Easter.