Is there a better way to cap off the Octave of Easter, than by remembering the great mercy the Lord has had upon us?
You must put aside, then, every trace of ill-will and deceitfulness, your affectations, the grudges you bore, and all the slanderous talk; you are children new-born, and all your craving must be for the soul’s pure milk, that will nurture you into salvation, once you have tasted, as you have surely tasted, the goodness of the Lord.
Draw near to him; he is the living antitype of that stone which men rejected, which God has chosen and prized;
you too must be built up on him, stones that live and breathe, into a spiritual fabric; you must be a holy priesthood, to offer up that spiritual sacrifice which God accepts through Jesus Christ.
So you will find in scripture the words, Behold, I am setting down in Sion a corner-stone, chosen out and precious; those who believe in him will not be disappointed.
Prized, then, by you, the believers, he is something other to those who refuse belief; the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief stone at the corner,
a stone to trip men’s feet, a boulder they stumble against. They stumble over God’s word, and refuse it belief; it is their destiny.
Not so you; you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for himself; it is yours to proclaim the exploits of the God who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Time was when you were not a people at all, now you are God’s people; once you were unpitied, and now his pity is yours.
Beloved, I call upon you to be like strangers and exiles, to resist those natural appetites which besiege the soul.
Your life amidst the Gentiles must be beyond reproach; decried as malefactors, you must let them see, from your honorable behavior, what you are; they will praise God for you, when his time comes to have mercy on them.
For love of the Lord, then, bow to every kind of human authority; to the king, who enjoys the chief power,
and to the magistrates who hold his commission to punish criminals and encourage honest men.
To silence, by honest living, the ignorant chatter of fools; that is what God expects of you.
Free men, but the liberty you enjoy is not to be made a pretext for wrong-doing; it is to be used in God’s service.
Give all men their due; to the brethren, your love; to God, your reverence; to the king, due honor.
Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.