Ordinary Time Week 29: Saturday
 

“For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. [So] cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?” (Luke 13:7)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on these verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The Lord also has something very fitting to say about a fruitless tree, “Look, it is now three years that I have been coming to it. Finding no fruit on it, I will cut it down, to stop it blocking up my field.” The gardener intercedes. This tree is the human race. The Lord visited this tree in the time of the patriarchs, as if for the first year. He visited it in the time of the law and the prophets, as if for the second year. Here we are now; with the gospel the third year has dawned. Now it is as though it should have been cut down, but the merciful one intercedes with the merciful one. He wanted to show how merciful he was, and so he stood up to himself with a plea for mercy. “Let us leave it,” he says, “this year too. Let us dig a ditch around it.” Manure is a sign of humility. “Let us apply a load of manure; perhaps it may bear fruit.” Since it does bear fruit in one part, and in another part does not bear fruit, its Lord will come and divide it. What does that mean, “divide it”? There are good people and bad people now in one company, as though constituting one body.” (Sermon 254)


Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen



Ordinary Time Week 29: Friday
 

“He also said to the crowds, “When you see [a] cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain — and so it does...” (Luke 12:54)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reflects on this verse from today’s Gospel, writes:

“People focus their attention on things of this kind. From long observation and practice they tell beforehand when rain will fall or violent winds will blow. One especially sees that sailors are very skillful in this matter. He says that it would be suitable for those who can calculate things of this sort and may foretell storms that are about to happen to focus the penetrating eyes of the mind also on important matters. What are these? The law showed beforehand the mystery of Christ, that he would shine out in the last ages of the world on the inhabitants of the earth and submit to be a sacrifice for the salvation of all. It even commanded a lamb to be sacrificed as a type of him who died towards evening and at lighting of lamps. We might now understand that when, like the day, this world was declining to its close, the great, precious and truly saving passion would be fulfilled. The door of salvation would be thrown wide open to those who believe in him, and abundant happiness be their share. In the Song of Songs, we also find Christ calling to the bride described there. The bride personally represents the church, in these words, “Arise, come, my neighbor, my beautiful dove. Look, the winter is past, and the rain is gone. It has passed away. The flowers appear on the ground. The time of the pruning has come.” As I said, a certain springlike calm was about to arise for those who believe in him.” (Commentary on Luke, «Homily 95»)



Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen



Ordinary Time Week 29: Thursday
 

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Luke 12:49)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reflects on this verse from today’s Gospel, writes:

“We affirm that the fire that Christ sent out is for humanity’s salvation and profit. May God grant that all our hearts be full of this. The fire is the saving message of the gospel and the power of its commandments. We were cold and dead because of sin and in ignorance of him who by nature is truly God. The gospel ignites all of us on earth to a life of piety and makes us fervent in spirit, according to the expression of blessed Paul.1 Besides this, we are also made partakers of the Holy Spirit, who is like fire within us. We have been baptized with fire and the Holy Spirit. We have learned the way from what Christ says to us. Listen to his words: “Truly I say to you, that except a man be born of water and spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It is the divinely inspired Scripture’s custom to give the name of fire sometimes to the divine and sacred words and to the efficacy and power which is by the Holy Spirit by which we are made fervent in spirit.” (Commentary on Luke, «Homily 94»)


Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen



Ordinary Time Week 29: Wednesday
 

“Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” (Luke 12:41)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reflects on this verse from today’s Gospel, writes:

“What is our Lord’s reply? He makes use of a clear and very evident example to show that the commandment especially belongs to those who occupy a more influential position and have been admitted into the rank of teachers. “Who,” he says, “is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord will set over his household, to give the allowance of food at its season?” … This is the simple and plain meaning of the passage. If we now fix our mind accurately upon it, we will see what it signifies and how useful it is for the benefit of those who have been called to the office of apostle, that is, to the office of teacher. The Savior has ordained faithful men of great understanding, and well instructed in the sacred doctrines, as stewards over his servants who have been won by faith to the acknowledgment of his glory. He has ordained them, commanding them to give their fellow servants their allowance of food. He does not do this simply and without distinction but rather at its proper season. I mean spiritual food, as is sufficient and fitting for each individual.” (Commentary on Luke, «Homily 93»)


Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen



Ordinary Time Week 29: Tuesday
 

“Gird your loins and light your lamps...” (Luke 12:35)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reflects on this verse from today’s Gospel, writes:

“The girding of our loins signifies the readiness of the mind to work hard in every thing praiseworthy. Those who apply themselves to bodily labors and are engaged in strenuous toil have their loins girded. The lamp apparently represents the wakefulness of the mind and intellectual cheerfulness. We say that the human mind is awake when it repels any tendency to slumber off into that carelessness that often is the means of bringing it into subjection to every kind of wickedness. When sunk in stupor, the heavenly light within the mind is liable to be endangered, or even already is in danger from a violent and impetuous blast of wind. Christ commands us to be awake. To this, his disciple also arouses us by saying, “Be awake. Be watchful.” Further on, the very wise Paul also says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead: and Christ shall give you light.” (Commentary on Luke, «Homily 92»)


Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen



Ordinary Time Week 29: Monday
 

“And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods ...” (Luke 12:18)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on these verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“The redemption of a man’s soul is his riches.” This silly fool of a man did not have that kind of riches. Obviously he was not redeeming his soul by giving relief to the poor. He was hoarding perishable crops. I repeat, he was hoarding perishable crops, while he was on the point of perishing because he had handed out nothing to the Lord before whom he was due to appear. How will he know where to look, when at that trial he starts hearing the words “I was hungry and you did not give me to eat?” He was planning to fill his soul with excessive and unnecessary feasting and was proudly disregarding all those empty bellies of the poor. He did not realize that the bellies of the poor were much safer storerooms than his barns. What he was stowing away in those barns was perhaps even then being stolen away by thieves. But if he stowed it away in the bellies of the poor, it would of course be digested on earth, but in heaven it would be kept all the more safely. The redemption of a man’s soul is his riches.” (Sermon 36)


Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen



— The Lord’s Day —
Ordinary Time Week 29: Sunday
— Mission Sunday —
 

“He [Jesus] said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (Matthew 22:21-22)

In an ancient work known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew, an anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“The image of God is not depicted on gold but is imaged in humanity. The coin of Caesar is gold; that of God, humanity. Caesar is seen in his currency; God, however, is known through human beings. And so give your wealth to Caesar but reserve for God the sole innocence of your conscience, where God is beheld. For the hand of Caesar has crafted an image by likenesses and lives each year by renewable decree. However, the divine hand of God has shown his image in ten points.

What ten points? From five carnal ones and five spiritual ones through which we see and understand what things are useful under God’s image. So let us always reflect the image of God in these ways:

I do not swell up with the arrogance of pride;
nor do I droop with the blush of anger;
nor do I succumb to the passion of avarice;
nor do I surrender myself to the ravishes of gluttony;
nor do I infect myself with the duplicity of hypocrisy;
nor do I contaminate myself with the filth of rioting;
nor do I grow flippant with the pretension of conceit;
nor do I grow enamored of the burden of heavy drinking;
nor do I alienate by the dissension of mutual admiration;
nor do I infect others with the biting of detraction;
nor do I grow conceited with the vanity of gossip.

Rather, instead,
I will reflect the image of God in that I feed on love;
grow certain on faith and hope;
strengthen myself on the virtue of patience;
grow tranquil by humility;
grow beautiful by chastity;
am sober by abstention;
am made happy by tranquility;
and am ready for death by practicing hospitality.

It is with such inscriptions that God imprints his coins with an impression made neither by hammer nor by chisel but has formed them with his primary divine intention. For Caesar required his image on every coin, but God has chosen man, whom he has created, to reflect his glory.” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 40»)



Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
grant that we may always conform our will to Yours
and serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





— The Evangelist, Saint Luke —
Ordinary Time Week 28: Saturday

“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:3)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“He says this to the seventy disciples whom he appointed and sent out in pairs before his face. Why did he send them two by two? Pairs of animals were sent into the ark, that is, the female with the male, according to number, unclean but cleansed by the sacrament of the church. Those animals are opposites, so that the one eats the other. A good shepherd does not know how to fear wolves for his flock, and therefore he sends those disciples not against a prey but to grace. The forethought of the good Shepherd prevents the wolves from harming the lambs. He sends lambs among wolves in order that the saying may be fulfilled, “Then wolves and lambs shall feed together.” (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 7)


Collect
Lord God, who chose Saint Luke
to reveal by his preaching and writings
the mystery of your love for the poor,
grant that those who already glory in your name
may persevere as one heart and one soul
and that all nations may merit to see your salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





— Saint Ignatius of Antioch —
Ordinary Time Week 28: Friday

“Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)

Saint Cyril of Alexandria reflects on these verses from today’s Gospel, writes:

“To bestow yet another means of comfort on our minds, he forcibly added that five sparrows are scarcely perhaps worth a penny, and yet God does not forget even one of them. He also said that the separate hairs of your head are all numbered. Consider how great care he takes of those that love him. The Preserver of the universe extends his aid to things so worthless and descends to the smallest animals. How can he forget those who love him, especially when he takes so great care of them? He condescends to visit them, to know exactly each particular of their state, and even how many are the hairs of their heads. Let us not doubt that with a rich hand he will give his grace to those who love him. He will not permit us to fall into temptation. If, by his wise purpose he permits us to be taken in the snare in order that we may gain glory by suffering, he will most assuredly grant us the power to bear it.” (Commentary on Luke, «Homily 87»)


Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
who adorn the sacred body of your Church
with the confessions of holy Martyrs,
grant, we pray,
that, just as the glorious passion
of Saint Ignatius of Antioch,
which we celebrate today,
brought him eternal splendor,
so it may be for us unending protection
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen





Ordinary Times Week 28: Thursday
 

Saint Ephrem the Syrian
“Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” (Luke 11:52)

Saint Ephrem the Syrian offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“Woe to you, lawyers, because you have hidden the keys! That is, because they had hidden the knowledge of our Lord’s manifestation which was in the prophecies. If our Lord is the door, as he has said, it is clear that the keys of knowledge belong to him. The scribes and Pharisees did not want to enter through this door of life, in keeping with what he had said, “See, the kingdom is among you.” [He was referring to] himself, for he was standing in their midst.” (Commentary on Tatian's «Diatessaron», 18)

 
 
Collect
May your grace, O Lord, we pray,
at all times go before us and follow after
and make us always determined
to carry out good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen