The Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity
Home, 21st Sunday after Trinity

Grant, we beseech thee merciful Lord, to thy faithful people indulgence and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Gelasius of Rome [494AD]. Cranmer in 1549 translated the Latin "indulgence" as the English "pardon". The call for "peace" in this collect has been ascribed to the fact that at the time, Rome was under heavy assault that threatened to break Pax Romana. This collect is used in the place of an absolution when the office is conducted by a layman. Dr. Peter Toon translated the original Latin as follows: "Be reconciled, we beseech thee, Lord, to thy faithful ones, and grant them bountifully indulgence and peace, that they may be cleansed from all offences, and at the same time do unto thee devoted service without distraction of mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Isaiah lix. 15b, Psalms: 120, 121, 122 | 133, 134, 135, Ephesians vi. 10   &   St. John iv. 46
Homily of Augustine on Psalm 133

BEHOLD, how good and joyful a thing it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity!


2 Samuel v.

Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.

Psalm 120, 121, 122 | 133, 134, 135

Ephesians vi. 10

MY brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

St. John iv. 46

THERE was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.


1. This is a short Psalm, but one well known and quoted. "Behold, how good and how pleasant is it, that brethren should dwell together in unity" (ver. 1). So sweet is that sound, that even they who know not the Psalter, sing that verse. ...

2. For these same words of the Psalter, this sweet sound, that honeyed melody, as well of the mind as of the hymn, did even beget the Monasteries. By this sound were stirred up the brethren who longed to dwell together. This verse was their trumpet. It sounded through the whole earth, and they who had been divided, were gathered together. The summons of God, the summons of the Holy Spirit, the summons of the Prophets, were not heard in Judah, yet were heard through the whole world. They were deaf to that sound, amid whom it was sung; they were found with their ears open, of whom it was said, "They shall see him, who were not told of him; they shall understand who heard not." [5628] Yet, most beloved, if we reflect, the very blessing hath sprung from that wall [5629] of circumcision. For have all the Jews perished? and whence were the Apostles, the sons of the Prophets, the sons of the exiles? [5630] He speaks as to them who know. Whence those five hundred, who saw the Lord after His resurrection, whom the Apostle Paul commemorates? [5631] Whence those hundred and twenty, [5632] who were together in one place after the resurrection of the Lord, and His ascension into heaven, on whom when gathered into one place the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost, sent down from heaven, sent, even as He was promised? [5633] All were from thence, and they first dwelt together in unity; who sold all they had, and laid the price of their goods at the Apostles' feet, as is read in the Acts of the Apostles. [5634] And distribution was made to each one as he had need, [5635] and none called anything his own, but they had all things common. And what is "together in unity"? They had, he says, one mind and one heart God-wards. [5636] So they were the first who heard, Behold how good and how pleasant is it, that brethren dwell together. They were the first to hear, but heard it not alone....

3. From the words of this Psalm was taken the name of Monks, that no one may reproach you who are Catholics by reason of the name. When you with justice reproach heretics by reason of the Circelliones, [5637] that they may be saved by shame, they reproach you on the score of the Monks....

4. Moreover, beloved, there are they who are false Monks, and we know men of this kind; but the pious brotherhood is not annulled, because of them who profess to be what they are not. There are false Monks, as there are false men among the Clergy, and among the faithful. [5638] ...

5. Since the Psalm says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant is it, that brethren should dwell together in one," why then should we not call Monks so? for Monos [5639] is one. Not one in any manner, for a man in a crowd is one, but though he can be called one along with others, he cannot be Monos, that is, alone, for Monos means "one alone." They then who thus live together as to make one man, so that they really possess what is written, "one mind and one heart," [5640] many bodies, but not many minds; many bodies, but not many hearts; can rightly be called Monos, that is, one alone. [5641] ...

6. Let the Psalm tell us what they are like. "As the ointment on the head, which descended to the beard, to Aaron's beard, which descended to the fringe of his garment" (ver. 2). What was Aaron? A priest. Who is a priest, except that one Priest, who entered into the Holy of Holies? Who is that priest, save Him, who was at once Victim and Priest? save Him who when he found nothing clean in the world to offer, offered Himself? The ointment is on his head, because Christ is one whole with the Church, but the ointment comes from the head. Our Head is Christ crucified and buried; He rose again, and ascended into heaven; and the Holy Spirit came from the head. Whither? To the beard. The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man. Thus that ointment descended first upon the Apostles, descended upon those who bore the first assaults of the world, and therefore the Holy Spirit descended on them. For they who first began to dwell together in unity, suffered persecution, but because the ointment descended to the beard, they suffered, but were not conquered....

7. "As the dew of Hermon, which fell upon the hills of Sion" (ver. 3). He would have it understood, my brethren, that it is of God's grace that brethren dwell together in unity.... v

8. But ye should know what Hermon is. It is a mountain far distant from Jerusalem, that is, from Sion. And so it is strange that he says thus: As the dew of Hermon, which fell upon the mountains of Sion, since mount Hermon is far distant from Jerusalem, for it is said to be over Jordan. Let us then seek out some interpretation of Hermon. The word is Hebrew, and we learn its meaning from them who know that language. Hermon is said to mean, a light set on a high place. For from Christ comes the dew. No light is set on a high place, save Christ. How is He set on high? First on the cross, afterwards in heaven. Set on high on the cross when He was humbled; humbled, but His humiliation could not but be high. The ministry of man grew less and less, as was signified in John; the ministry of God in our Lord Jesus Christ increased, as was shown at their birth. The former was born, as the tradition of the Church shows, on the 24th of June, when the days begin to shorten. The Lord was born on the 25th of December, when the days begin to lengthen. Here John himself confessing, "He must increase, but I must decrease." [5642] And the passion of each shows this. The Lord was exalted on the cross; John was diminished by beheading. Thus the light set on high is Christ, whence is the dew of Hermon....But if he have the dew of Hermon, which fell on the hill of Sion, he is quiet, peaceable, humble, submissive, pouring forth prayer in place of murmuring. For murmurers are admirably described in a certain passage of the Scriptures, "The heart of a fool is as the wheel of a cart." [5643] What is the meaning of "the heart of a fool is as the wheel of a cart"? It carries hay, and creaks. The wheel of a cart cannot cease from creaking. Thus there are many brethren, who do not dwell together, save in the body. But who are they who dwell together? They of whom it is said, "And they had one mind and one heart towards God." [5644]

9. "Because there the Lord commanded blessing." Where did He command it? Among the brethren who dwell together. There He enjoined blessing, there they who dwell with one heart bless God. For thou blessest not God in division of heart....Art thou straitened on earth? Depart, have thy habitation in heaven. How shall I, a man clothed in flesh, enslaved to the flesh, thou wilt say, have my habitation in heaven. First go in heart, whither thou wouldest follow in the body. Do not hear, "Lift up your hearts," with a deaf ear. Keep thy heart lifted up, and no one will straiten thee in heaven.

Let us pray in the words of Augustine.

Turn we to the Lord God, the Father Almighty, and with pure hearts offer to him, so far as our meanness can, great and true thanks, with all our hearts praying his exceeding kindness, that of his good pleasure he would deign to hear our prayers, that by his Power he would drive out the enemy from our deeds and thoughts, that he would increase our faith, guide our understandings, give us spiritual thoughts, and lead us to his bliss, through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with him, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[A prayer which he was wont to use after his Sermons and Lectures.]

NPNF (V1-08) St. Augustine


A public discourse, in which he defends the Monks against the Donatists. [5628] Isa. lxv. 1. [5629] Alluding to the two walls, Jewish and Gentile, meeting in the corner. See on Ps. lix. S: 5, p. 243, and on Ps. xcv. S: 6, p. 468. [5630] Ps. cxxvii. 4. Excussi, a literal translation of the Greek LXX. ektetinagmenoi. This translation of the ambiguous Hebrew root R+E+aN+o which means to shake out, or expel, and R+E+aG+ a young man, is preferred by the LXX. to the "young men" of our version. St. Augustin's interpretation see on Ps. cxxvii. S: 7, p. 608. [5631] 1 Cor. xv. 6. [5632] Acts i. 15. [5633] Acts ii. 1-4. [5634] Acts iv. 34, 35. [5635] Acts ii. 45. [5636] Acts iv. 32. [5637] The Circumcelliones were a wandering kind of Anchorites, who lived under no rule, and were guilty of various irregularities, and who were censured by the forty-second Canon of the Council of Trullo. Confer also Papias: St. Jerome, Ep. 22, S: 34; Hunneric's Edict. Vict. Vitens. lib. 3. A number of these, in Africa, took up the cause of Donatus in a fanatical manner, and perpetrated various acts of violence under pretence of religion, robbing and beating whom they would, sending threatening notices, etc., and sometimes seeking death, or even committing suicide under the name of Martyrdom. See on Ps. xi. p. 42, note 4, on Ps. lv. p. 218, note 1, on Ps. xcvi. p. 473, note 8, and S. Optatus, b. iii. c. iv. p. 59, where a historical account is given. Ducange refers to St. Augustin, Ep. 48, 50, 61, 68; Contra Parmenian, b. i. cap. 11; Contra Crescon. b. iii. c. 42, 47; Collat. Carthag. 3, cap. 174, 281; Possidius, Life of St. Augustin, c. 10, 11; Auctor Praedestinati, b. i. haeres 69, etc. Also Cod. Theod. Cen. 52, De Haereticis, but doubtfully as to its application. [See Gibbon, D. and F. cap. xxi. note 157, ed. Milman.--C.] [5638] [See A.N.F. vol. vi. p. 279.--C.] [5639] monos, Gr. [5640] Acts iv. 32. [5641] [The institution has perished even in many parts of unreformed Europe, only because of the intolerable evils of their corrupt and degenerate condition.--C.] [5642] John iii. 30. [5643] Ecclus. xxxiii. 5. [5644] Acts iv. 32.