— St Andrew Dŭng-Lạc and Companions —
Ordinary Time Week 34: Monday
 

“When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.” (Luke 21:1-2)

Pope Saint Leo the Great offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“Although the spite of some people does not grow gentle with any kindness, nevertheless the works of mercy are not fruitless, and kindness never loses what is offered to the ungrateful. May no one, dearly beloved, make themselves strangers to good works. Let no one claim that his poverty scarcely sufficed for himself and could not help another. What is offered from a little is great, and in the scale of divine justice, the quantity of gifts is not measured but the steadfastness of souls. The “widow” in the Gospel put two coins into the “treasury,” and this surpassed the gifts of all the rich. No mercy is worthless before God. No compassion is fruitless. He has given different resources to human beings, but he does not ask different affections.” (Sermon 20)


Collect
O God, source and origin of all fatherhood,
who kept the Martyrs Saint Andrew Dung-Lac
and his companions
faithful to the Cross of your Son,
even to the shedding of their blood,
grant, through their intercession,
that, spreading your love
among our brothers and sisters,
we may be your children both in name and in truth.
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
— Our Lord Jesus Christ —
King of the Universe
 

Antiphon
How worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and divinity,
and wisdom and strength and honor.
To him belong glory and power for ever and ever.
(Revelation 5:12, 1:6).


Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. (Psalm 23).


Scripture Excerpt
“And he will separate (ἀφορίσει, aphorisei) them one from another, as a shepherd separates (ἀφορίζει, aphorizei) the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:32).”


Reflection
For the past few weeks, we have heard about various kings, masters, landowners and grooms going, coming and definitely delayed. We have listened to accounts in various forms urging particular mindsets and behaviors while the ‘chief’ was away and delayed. As we gather this Sunday under the aegis of Jesus Christ our Savior King, the goings, comings and delays cease. The Son of Man, gloriously enthroned with His angels upon His return, initiates a particular work triggered by his return that is popularly known as the “Last Judgment.” A close reading of the Text, however, finds no mention of the word judgment only the word separate. Judgment or “Last Judgment” certainly does no harm to grasping the salvific truth of this last discourse in the Matthean Gospel. But in a world that has grown inordinately hypersensitive to the word judgment, there is a risk of this Gospel account becoming a turn-off to many.

Along these lines, it is important not to miss the imperative that Jesus sounds when it comes to tending to a fellow person in need, whatever that need is in the particularity of time and place. In this teaching, how one responds to a person in need is the fulcrum point of salvation: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the ill and visit the imprisoned are the points on which salvation is balanced. This is rather remarkable given some of Jesus’ earlier teachings, particularly the Antitheses in the “Sermon on the Mount (chapter 5:21-48).” The actions of feeding, slaking, clothing, caring and visiting were concrete expressions of hospitality in the Ancient Near East. More than simply a ‘nice sentiment,’ hospitality was a virtue upon which life itself flourished or decayed to the point of death. In a world where food, water, clothing (protection) and connections with other were not guaranteed, the generously hospitable offer of these staples became a matter of life triumphing over death (see Genesis 18). The fact that humans literally hold the life of another human in their hands is an awesome responsibility and certainly Jesus’ audience – both Jew and Gentile (hence the assembly of “all the nations”) – would have known this message. This is, what one might call, a universal ethic. No matter what one believes/doesn’t believes, practices/doesn’t practice; no matter what one’s worldview is: EVERYONE (whether one believes it or not) will have to give an accounting for how one tended to the needs of her or his sister or brother. Feeding, slaking, clothing, welcoming, caring and visiting are not actions for a select few. All – by virtue of being human – MUST do these corporal works of mercy.


So what happens when a person or a community feeds the hungry, gives drink to the thirsty, clothes the naked, welcomes the stranger, cares for the ill and visits the imprisoned? In the end, he or she is separated. The work of feeding, etc. puts one in a ‘different place’ because the work of separation is essentially rooted in Creation. Separation in this context is a Divine work that breathes and brings forth life. It is the complement to God creating from nothing (creatio ex nihilo). The Greek verb to separate (ἀφορίζω, aphorizo) is not a dividing in an evil or diabolic way. This verb describes the action of establishing boundaries in the created order so that life in the created order may flourish. Sometimes, the separating is between goods (e.g. in Genesis 1:7, separating water above the dome from water below). Other times, as in this Sunday’s Gospel, the separating is between actions that enable life from actions (or lack thereof) that cause death. Either way, separating – particularly in the end – is about life.

One may conclude therefore that if separating is about life and ultimately the Life given by the Creator, then the actions connected to separating are creative as well. Thus feeding, slaking, clothing, welcoming, caring and visiting are creative actions and ways in which humanity now participates in God the Father’s ongoing plan of creation that looks to the saving fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Engaging with Jesus in these works “places” or puts one on the side of life. Omitting this work from one’s life, puts one in another place – a place of no creation, a place of no life, a place of death. The chilling challenge here is that one has not necessarily done a specifically bad action or series of bad actions/deeds. One has simply omitted the very actions that brings life and puts one in the place or spot of life.


Collect
Almighty ever-living God,
Whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render Your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim Your praise.
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.


Preface
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For you anointed your Only Begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, with the oil of gladness
as eternal Priest and King of all creation,
so that, by offering himself on the altar of the Cross
as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace,
he might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption
and, making all created things subject to his rule,
he might present to the immensity of your majesty
an eternal and universal kingdom,
     a kingdom of truth and life,
     a kingdom of holiness and grace,
     a kingdom of justice, love and peace.
And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim ...


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 Cecilia —
Ordinary Time Week 33: Saturday
 

“Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to him ...” (Luke 19:27)

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

“The Sadducees were a particular sect of the Jews that did not believe in the resurrection. When the Sadducees posed this problem, the Jews were uncertain, hesitant and could not really answer it, because they assumed that flesh and blood could possess the kingdom of God, that is, the perishable could possess imperishability. Along comes Truth. The misguided and misguiding Sadducees questioned him and posed that problem to the Lord. The Lord, who knew what he was saying and who wished us to believe what we did not know, gives an answer by his divine authority which we are to hold by faith. The apostle, for his part, explained it to the extent that it was granted him. We must try to understand this as fully as we can.” (Sermon 362)


Collect
O God, who gladden us each year
with the feast day of your handmaid Saint Cecilia,
grant, we pray,
that what has been devoutly handed down concerning her
may offer us examples to imitate
and proclaim the wonders worked in his servants
by Christ your Son.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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





Presentation of the
— Blessed Virgin Mary —
Ordinary Time Week 33: Friday
 

“Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’” (Luke 19:46-47)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“God does not want his temple to be a trader’s lodge but the home of sanctity. He does not preserve the practice of the priestly ministry by the dishonest duty of religion but by voluntary obedience. Consider what the Lord’s actions impose on you as an example of living. He taught in general that worldly transactions must be absent from the temple, but he drove out the moneychangers in particular. Who are the moneychangers, if not those who seek profit from the Lord’s money and cannot distinguish between good and evil? Holy Scripture is the Lord’s money.” (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 9)



Collect
As we venerate the glorious memory
of the most holy Virgin Mary,
grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession,
that we, too, may merit to receive
from the fullness of your grace.
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. Amen.


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 33: Thursday
 

“As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41-42)

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

“When our Lord and Savior approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept. By his example, Jesus confirms all the Beatitudes that he speaks in the Gospel. By his own witness, he confirms what he teaches. “Blessed are the meek,” he says. He says something similar to this of himself: “Learn from me, for I am meek.” “Blessed are the peacemakers.” What other man brought as much peace as my Lord Jesus, who “is our peace,” who “dissolves hostility” and “destroys it in his own flesh?” “Blessed are those who suffer persecution because of justice.” No one suffered such persecution because of justice as did the Lord Jesus, who was crucified for our sins. The Lord therefore exhibited all the Beatitudes in himself. For the sake of this likeness, he wept, because of what he said, “Blessed are those who weep,” to lay the foundations for this beatitude as well. He wept for Jerusalem “and said, ‘If only you had known on that day what meant peace for you! But now it is hidden from your eyes,’” and the rest, to the point where he says, “Because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Homily on the gospel of Luke, 38)



Collect
Almighty and merciful God,
graciously keep from us all adversity,
so that, unhindered in mind and body alike,
we may pursue in freedom of heart
the things that are yours.
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. Amen.


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 33: Wednesday
 

“Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding person; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.” (Luke 19:20-21)

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

“In the Gospel, you have heard both the reward of the good servants and the punishment of the bad. The fault of that servant who was reproved and severely punished was this and only this: that he would not put to use what he had received. He preserved it intact, but his master was looking for a profit from it. God is greedy for our salvation. If such condemnation befalls the servant who did not use what he had received, what should they who lose it expect? We therefore are dispensers. We expend, but you receive. We expect a profit on your part—living good lives—for that is the profit from our dispensing. Do not think that you are free from the obligation of dispensing. Of course, you cannot dispense your gifts as from this higher station of ours, but you can dispense them in whatever station you happen to be. When Christ is attacked, defend him. Give an answer to those who complain. Rebuke blasphemers, but keep yourselves far from any fellowship with them. If in this way you gain anyone, you are putting your gifts to use.” (Sermon 94)


Collect
Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
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. Amen.


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 33: Tuesday
 

“So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.” (Luke 19:4)

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

“Zacchaeus climbed away from the crowd and saw Jesus without the crowd getting in his way. The crowd laughs at the lowly, to people walking the way of humility, who leave the wrongs they suffer in God’s hands and do not insist on getting back at their enemies. The crowd laughs at the lowly and says, “You helpless, miserable clod, you cannot even stick up for yourself and get back what is your own.” The crowd gets in the way and prevents Jesus from being seen. The crowd boasts and crows when it is able to get back what it owns. It blocks the sight of the one who said as he hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” He ignored the crowd that was getting in his way. He instead climbed a sycamore tree, a tree of “silly fruit.” As the apostle says, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block indeed to the Jews, [now notice the sycamore] but folly to the Gentiles.” Finally, the wise people of this world laugh at us about the cross of Christ and say, “What sort of minds do you people have, who worship a crucified God?” What sort of minds do we have? They are certainly not your kind of mind. “The wisdom of this world is folly with God.” No, we do not have your kind of mind. You call our minds foolish. Say what you like, but for our part, let us climb the sycamore tree and see Jesus. The reason you cannot see Jesus is that you are ashamed to climb the sycamore tree.

Let Zacchaeus grasp the sycamore tree, and let the humble person climb the cross. That is little enough, merely to climb it. We must not be ashamed of the cross of Christ, but we must fix it on our foreheads, where the seat of shame is. Above where all our blushes show is the place we must firmly fix that for which we should never blush. As for you, I rather think you make fun of the sycamore, and yet that is what has enabled me to see Jesus. You make fun of the sycamore, because you are just a person, but “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.”” (Sermon 174)


Collect
Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
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. Amen.


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





— St Elizabeth of Hungary —
Ordinary Time Week 33: Monday
 

“He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.” (Luke 18:43)

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

“With supreme authority, he said, “Receive your sight.” The expression is wonderful, worthy of God and transcending the bounds of human nature! Which of the holy prophets ever spoke like this or used words of so great authority? Observe that he did not ask of another the power to restore vision to him who was deprived of sight. He did not perform the divine miracle as the effect of prayer to God but rather attributed it to his own power. By his almighty will, Christ did whatever he would. “Receive,” he said, “your sight.” The word was light to him that was blind, because it was the word of him who is the true Light.” (Commentary on Luke, «Homily 126»)



Collect
O God, by Whose gift Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
recognized and revered Christ in the poor,
grant, through her intercession,
that we may serve with unfailing charity
the needy and those afflicted.
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. Amen.


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 33: Sunday
 

“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.” (Matthew 25:14)

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

“The man who is the landowner is actually the Creator and Lord of all. The Word compares the time the landowner spends away from home in the parable to either the ascension of Christ into heaven or at any rate to the unseen and invisible character of the divine nature. Now one must conceive of the property of God as those in each country and city who believe in him. He calls his servants those who according to the times Christ crowns with the glory of the priesthood. For the holy Paul writes, “No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God.” He hands over [his property] to those who are under him, to each giving a spiritual gift so that he might have character and aptitude. We think that this distribution of the talents is not supplied to the household servants in equal measure because each is quite different from the other in their understanding. Immediately they head out for their labors, he says, directly indicating to us here that apart from the procrastination of one they are fit to carry out the work of God. Surely those who are bound by fear and laziness will end up in the worst evils. For he buried, Jesus says, the talent given to him in the earth. He kept the gift hidden, making it unprofitable for others and useless for himself. For that very reason the talent is taken away from him and will be given to the one who is already rich. The Spirit has departed from such as these and the gift of the divine gifts. But to those who are industrious an even more lavish gift will be presented.” (Fragment 283)



Collect
Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
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. Amen.


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 32: Saturday

“Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.” (Luke 18:1)

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

“He prays for those who pray and appeals with those who appeal. He does not, however, pray for servants who do not pray continuously through him. He will not be the Advocate with God for his own if they are not obedient to his instructions that they always should pray and not lose heart. It says, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they should always pray and not lose heart. In a certain city there was a judge, etc.” Who would hesitate a moment to be persuaded to pray if he believes that the mouth of Jesus cannot lie, when he says, “Ask, and it will be given you for everyone who asks, receives”? (On Prayer, 10)



Collect
Almighty and merciful God,
graciously keep from us all adversity,
so that, unhindered in mind and body alike,
we may pursue in freedom of heart
the things that are yours.
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. Amen.


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