Ordinary Time Week 17: Wednesday

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

”Now a man who comes to the field, whether to the Scriptures or to the Christ who is formed both from things manifest and from things hidden, finds the hidden treasure of wisdom whether in Christ or in the Scriptures. For, going round to visit the field and searching the Scriptures and seeking to understand the Christ, he finds the treasure in it. Having found it, he hides it, thinking that it is not without danger to reveal to everybody the secret meanings of the Scriptures or the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. And, having hidden it, he goes away. Now he is focused on the heavy labor of devising how he shall buy the field, or the Scriptures, that he may make them his own possession, receiving from the people of God the oracles of God with which the Jews were first entrusted. But when one taught by Christ has bought the field, the kingdom of God, according to another parable, is like a vineyard that is “taken from” the first and given to other nations bringing forth its fruits. The one who bought the field in faith, as the fruit of his having sold all else that he had, no longer was keeping anything that was formerly his. For they would be a distracting source of evil to him.


And you will give the same application, if the field containing the hidden treasure is Christ. Those who give up all things and follow him have, as it were in another way, sold their possessions. Thus by having sold and surrendered them and having received in their place a noble resolution from God their helper, they may purchase, at great cost worthy of the field, the field containing the hidden treasure.” (Commentary on Matthew, 10)




Collect
O God,
Protector of those who hope in You,
without whom nothing has firm foundation,
nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance Your mercy upon us
and grant that, with You as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.
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





— Memorial of Saint Martha —
Ordinary Time Week 17: Tuesday

“... and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

”The Savior does not inquire “Do you believe this?” in ignorance as to whether Martha did or did not believe what was said. Rather, he did so in order that we, or indeed those who were then present, might learn from her answer what her disposition was. But another will say that it is not a question but a statement: “You believe this.” In this case, Martha then completes the Savior’s statement saying, Yes, Lord, and not only do I believe what you now say, but I believe now that you are the Christ, something I also believed before. And I believe that you are the Son of God who comes into the world and lives with all who believe in you.” (Fragment 81 on the Gospel of John)




Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
Whose Son was pleased to be welcomed
in Saint Martha’s house as a Guest,
grant, we pray,
that through her intercession,
serving Christ faithfully
in our brothers and sisters,
we may merit to be received by You
in the halls of heaven.
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 17: Monday

“He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field." (Matthew 13:31)

Saint Jerome offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“The man who sows in his field is interpreted by many as the Savior. He sows in the souls of believers. By others he is interpreted as one who sows in his field — that is to say, in himself and in his heart. Who is it that sows if not our mind and heart? They take up the grain of preaching and nurture the plant with the moisture of faith, making it sprout and shoot up in the field of the heart. The preaching of faith in the gospel appears to be least among all tasks. Indeed, anyone who preaches the God-man of truth, Christ who died, and the stumbling block of the cross may not think immediately of mere faith as the primary doctrine. Put this particular doctrine side by side with the teachings of the philosophers, their books, their splendid eloquence and fine discourses, and you will see just how small it is compared with the other seeds of the gospel plant. When those teachings grow, they have nothing to show that is pungent or vigorous or vital. Everything turns out weak and withering in a plant and in herbs that quickly dry up and fall to the ground. But when this tiny gospel teaching that seemed insignificant at the beginning has been planted either in the soul of the believer or throughout the world, it does not turn out to be just a plant. It grows into a tree, so that the birds of the air, which we interpret as the souls of believers or deeds dedicated to the service of God, come and dwell on its branches.” (Commentary on Matthew, 2)




Collect
O God,
Protector of those who hope in You,
without whom nothing has firm foundation,
nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance Your mercy upon us
and grant that, with You as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.
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 17: Sunday

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” (Matthew 13:47)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

”Now, these things being said, we must hold that “the kingdom of heaven is similar to a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind,” in order to set forth the varied character of the principles of action among people, which are as different as possible from each other. The expression “gathered from every kind” embraces both those worthy of praise and those worthy of blame in respect of their inclinations toward the forms of virtues or of vices. And the kingdom of heaven is compared with the broad and variegated texture of a net, with reference to the old and the new Scripture, which are woven together of thoughts of widely varied kinds.


And this net has been cast into the waves of the sea. The waves toss about persons in every part of the world as they swim in the bitter affairs of life. Before the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, this net was not wholly filled. The net expected by the Law and the Prophets had to be completed by him who says, “Don’t think that I came to destroy the law and the prophets; I came not to destroy but to fulfill.” The texture of the net has been completed in the Gospels and in the words of Christ through the apostles. On this account, therefore, “the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered every kind of fish.” In addition to what has been said, the expression “gathered from every kind” may refer to the calling of the Gentiles out of every nation.” (Commentary on Matthew, 12)




Collect
O God,
Protector of those who hope in You,
without whom nothing has firm foundation,
nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance Your mercy upon us
and grant that, with You as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.
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 16: Saturday
— Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne —
(Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

“Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:30)

Origen of Alexandria comments on these verses from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

”And at the end of things, which is called “the consummation of the age,” there will of necessity be a harvest, in order that the angels of God who have been appointed for this work may gather up the bad opinions that have grown upon the soul, and overturning them may give them over to fire which is said to burn, that they may be consumed. And so the angels and servants of the Word will gather from Christ’s entire kingdom all things that cause a stumbling block to souls and their reasonings that create iniquity, which they will scatter and cast into the burning furnace of fire. Then those who become conscious that they have received the seeds of the evil one in themselves, because of their having been asleep, shall wail and, as it were, be angry with themselves. This is the “gnashing of teeth.” Similarly it is said in the Psalms, “They gnashed me with their teeth.” Then above all “shall the righteous shine,” no longer differently as at the first but all “as one sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Then, as if to indicate that there was indeed a hidden meaning, perhaps in all that is concerned with the explanation of the parable, maybe most of all in the saying “Then shall the righteous shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” the Savior adds, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” The Lord thereby teaches those who are attentive that in the exposition, the parable has been set forth with such perfect clearness that it can be understood by the novice.” (Commentary on Matthew, 10)




Collect
O Lord, God of our Fathers,
Who bestowed on
Saints Joachim and Anne this grace,
that of them should be born the Mother of
Your incarnate Son,
grant, through the prayers of both,
that we may attain the salvation
You have promised to Your people.
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





Feast of Saint James, Apostle

“Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” (Matthew 20:22)

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

“The cup and baptism are not one. For the cup is suffering, but baptism is death itself. Moreover, baptism is said to closely resemble dyed wool. For just as wool, having a natural color, is dipped so that it be colored purple or some other color, so we also descend into death as corporeal beings and rise again as spiritual beings. As the apostle said, “We are sown in infirmity; we rise in strength; we are sown in baseness, we rise in glory; it is sown an animal body, it will rise a spiritual body.” Indeed, every death contains in itself suffering, but every suffering does not also contain in itself death. For there were many who suffered and were not killed; such are the confessors. They all indeed drank the cup of the Lord but were not baptized by his baptism.

They say, “We are able.” They say this not so much by the boldness of their own hearts as by the ignorance of the trial. For to the unknowing, war is a desirable thing, just as to the inexperienced, the trial of suffering and death seems to be a light thing. For if the Lord, when he had entered into the trial of his suffering, was saying, “Father, if it can be done, let this cup pass from me,” by how much more would the disciples not have said “we are able” if they had known what the trial of death was like? Great indeed is the grief that suffering holds, but death holds even greater fear.” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 35»)




Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
Who consecrated the first fruits
of Your Apostles by the blood of
Saint James,
grant, we pray,
that Your Church may be strengthened
by his confession of faith and
constantly sustained by his 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 Time Week 16: Thursday

“He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.” (Matthew 13:11)

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

“To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” In light of these words some might put the blame on God for their own negligence, saying: “It isn’t my fault if I don’t know what God has not given me to know.” And they don’t say this dolefully, because they do not understand anything about God. Rather, they are only seeking an excuse for their sins. The Psalm says concerning them: “Incline not my heart to any evil, to finding excuses for my wicked deeds in company with those who work iniquity.” Therefore let us speak more clearly on this point. Every intellect is from the Holy Spirit and is a God-given grace. It is one thing that God has given his grace to all humanity. It is another thing to refine this by saying that the grace he gives is not given to all people irrespective of their responses but to those who are more worthy and excellent and fit to be chosen.

Notice how Jesus says, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” He did not say “to you it is given” to someone who has no knowledge whatever of good and evil. All rational souls are given a chance to understand the difference between good and evil. Yet not all have the grace of knowing the mysteries of the kingdom. It is not the fault of God who does not give, because this general rational knowledge is available, but of the person who does not ask or make haste or work in order to be ready to receive the kingdom. If you pursue this general knowledge of good and evil — that is, if you make good use of what you can know — you will be ready to receive the special knowledge of knowing the mystery. But if you have hidden that general knowledge in the ground, that is meant to supply nature’s needs, how will you merit the special knowledge that is meant as a reward for good will or works?” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 31»)




Collect
Show favor, O Lord, to Your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of Your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping Your commands.
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 16: Wednesday

“And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow." (Matthew 13:3)

Saint Jerome offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“The crowd is not of a single mentality, for each person has a different frame of mind. He therefore speaks to them in many parables so they may receive different teachings depending on their frame of mind. Further, it should be noted that he did not speak everything to them in parables, but many things. For if he spoke everything to them in parables, the people would go away without gaining anything. Jesus mixes what is clear with what is obscure, so that through the things they understand they may be drawn toward the knowledge of the things they do not understand.” (Commentary on Matthew, 2)



Collect
Show favor, O Lord, to Your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of Your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping Your commands.
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 16: Tuesday
— Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene —

“Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” (John 20:15)

Saint Gregory the Great offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“Perhaps this woman was not as mistaken as she appeared to be when she believed that Jesus was a gardener. Was he not spiritually a gardener for her when he planted the fruitful seeds of virtue in her heart by the force of his love? But why did she say to the one she saw and believed to be the gardener, when she had not yet told him whom she was seeking, “Sir, if you have taken him away”? She had not yet said who it was who made her weep from desire or mentioned him of whom she spoke. But the force of love customarily brings it about that a heart believes everyone else is aware of the one of whom it is always thinking. After he had called her by the common name of “woman,” he called her by her own name, as if to say, “Recognize him who recognizes you.” And so because Mary was called by name, she acknowledged her creator and called him at once “Rabboni,” that is, “teacher.” He was both the one she was outwardly seeking and the one who was teaching her inwardly to seek him.” (Forty Gospel Homilies, 25)




O God,
Whose Only Begotten Son
entrusted Mary Magdalene before all others
with announcing the great joy of the Resurrection,
grant, we pray,
that through her intercession and example
we may proclaim the living Christ
and come to see Him reigning in Your glory.
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 16: Monday

“He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.” (Matthew 12:38)

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

“What is the sign of Jonah? The stumbling block of the cross. So it is not the disputers of knowledge who will be saved but those who believe true teaching. For the cross of Christ is indeed a stumbling block to those who dispute knowledge but salvation to those who believe. Paul testifies to this: “But we, for our part, preach the crucified Christ — to the Jews indeed a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Why do the Jews seek signs and the Greeks seek wisdom? God pointed to the sign of the stumbling block of the cross to both the Jews and the Greeks. Thus those who wish to find Christ not through faith but through wisdom will perish on the stumbling block of foolishness. Those who wish to know the Son of God not through faith but through a demonstration of signs will remain trapped in their disbelief, falling on the stumbling block of his death. It is no small wonder that the Jews, considering the death of Christ, thought he was merely a man, when even Christians — as they purport to be but really are not — because of his death are reluctant to declare the only begotten, the crucified, as incomparable majesty.” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 30»)




Collect
Show favor, O Lord, to Your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of Your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping Your commands.
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