Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time



“... so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Matthew 9:38.)

In commenting on this verse from today’s Gospel, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“He shows how great the gift is when he says, “Ask from the Lord of the harvest.” And in an inconspicuous manner Jesus indicates that he himself is the one who holds this authority. Then to signify how promising is the harvest, Jesus calls them to “pray therefore the Lord of the harvest.” In doing so he indirectly declares this lordship to be his own prerogative. For after having said, “pray therefore the Lord of the harvest” when they had not made any request or prayer, he himself at once appoints them, reminding them also of the sayings of John, about the threshing floor, the separation of the husks from the kernels of grain, the husks that are left over, and of the One who is winnowing. From this it is clear that he himself is the farmer, he himself is the Lord of the harvest, he himself is the master of the prophets. For if he sent them to gather the harvest, it is clear that they do not harvest what belongs to someone else. Instead, they harvest the things that he sowed through the prophets. In calling their ministry a harvest, he was encouraging them but also empowering them to this ministry.” (The Gospel of Matthew Homily 32.)


Collect
O God,
Who in the abasement of Your Son
have raised up a fallen world,
fill Your faithful with holy joy,
for on those You have rescued
from slavery to sin
You bestow eternal gladness.
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








Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the Church are our brothers



Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from his A Discourse on the Psalms, 32.

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

We entreat you, brothers, as earnestly as we are able, to have charity, not only for one another, but also for those who are outside the Church. Of these some are still pagans, who have not yet made an act of faith in Christ. Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say our Father.

The prophet refers to some men saying: When they say to you: You are not our brothers, you are to tell them: You are our brothers. Consider whom he intended by these words. Were they the pagans? Hardly; for nowhere either in Scripture or in our traditional manner of speaking do we find them called our brothers. Nor could it refer to the Jews, who do not believe in Christ. Read Saint Paul and you will see that when he speaks of “brothers,” without any qualification, he refers always to Christians. For example, he says: Why do you judge your brother or why do you despise your brother? And again: You perform iniquity and common fraud, and this against your brothers.

Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptize us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognizing our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.

If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.

And so, dear brothers, we entreat you on their behalf, in the name of the very source of our love, by whose milk we are nourished, and whose bread is our strength, in the name of Christ our Lord and his gentle love. For it is time now for us to show them great love and abundant compassion by praying to God for them. May he one day give them a clear mind to repent and to realize that they have nothing now but the sickness of their hatred, and the stronger they think they are, the weaker they become. We entreat you then to pray for them, for they are weak, given to the wisdom of the flesh, to fleshly and carnal things, but yet they are our brothers. They celebrate the same sacraments as we, not indeed with us, but still the same. They respond with the same Amen, not with us, but still the same. And so pour out your hearts for them in prayer to God.


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








Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time



“A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.” (Matthew 9:20.)

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

“The Gospel says that the ruler’s daughter was twelve years old. Note also that the woman concerned, who was from the Gentiles, began to get sick at a place believed to be in a Jewish district. Except by way of contrast between physical conditions, the girl’s ailment is not indicated. As for the woman who had a hemorrhage, she approached the Lord not in her home or in the town (because according to the law she was excluded from towns) but while the Lord was walking by, so that in the course of going to one woman, another was cured. The apostles say in this regard, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Commentary on Matthew, 1.)


Collect
O God,
Who in the abasement of Your Son
have raised up a fallen world,
fill Your faithful with holy joy,
for on those You have rescued from slavery to sin
You bestow eternal gladness.
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


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Seek the good of all, not personal advantage



Apostolic Father, Bishop of Rome and Martyr

An excerpt from his Letter to the Corinthians

Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The command has been written: Cling to the saints, for those who cling to them will be sanctified. There is a passage in Scripture as well which states: With the innocent man you will be innocent, and with the chosen one you will be chosen also; likewise with the perverse you will deal perversely. Devote yourselves, then, to the innocent and the just; they are God’s chosen ones. Why are there strife and passion, schisms and even war among you? Do we not possess the same Spirit of grace which was given to us and the same calling in Christ? Why do we tear apart and divide the body of Christ? Why do we revolt against our own body? Why do we reach such a degree of insanity that we forget that we are members of one another? Do not forget the words of Jesus our Lord: Woe to that man; it would be better for him if he had not been born rather than scandalize one of my chosen ones. Indeed it would be better for him to have a great millstone round his neck and to be drowned in the sea than that he lead astray one of my chosen ones. Your division has led many astray, has made many doubt, has made many despair, and has brought grief upon us all. And still your rebellion continues.

Pick up the letter of blessed Paul the apostle. What did he write to you at the beginning of his ministry? Even then you had developed factions. So Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote to you concerning himself and Cephas and Apollos. But that division involved you in less sin because you were supporting apostles of high reputation and a person approved by them.

We should put an end to this division immediately. Let us fall down before our master and implore his mercy with our tears. Then he will be reconciled to us and restore us to the practice of brotherly love that befits us. For this is the gate of justice that leads to life, as it is written: Open to me the gates of justice. When I have entered there, I shall praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the just shall enter through it. There are many gates which stand open, but the gate of justice is the gateway of Christ. All who enter through this gate are blessed, pursuing their way in holiness and justice, performing all their tasks without discord. A person may be faithful; he may have the power to utter hidden mysteries; he may be discriminating in the evaluation of what is said and pure in his actions. But the greater he seems to be, the more humbly he ought to act, and the more zealous he should be for the common good rather than his own interest.



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

 


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time



“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves...” (Matthew 11:29.)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed during today’s Mass:

“You are to “take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” You are not learning from me how to refashion the fabric of the world, nor to create all things visible and invisible, nor to work miracles and raise the dead. Rather, you are simply learning of me: “that I am meek and lowly in heart.” If you wish to reach high, then begin at the lowest level. If you are trying to construct some mighty edifice in height, you will begin with the lowest foundation. This is humility. However great the mass of the building you may wish to design or erect, the taller the building is to be, the deeper you will dig the foundation. The building in the course of its erection rises up high, but he who digs its foundation must first go down very low. So then, you see even a building is low before it is high and the tower is raised only after humiliation.” (Sermon 69)


Collect
O God,
Who in the abasement of Your Son
have raised up a fallen world,
fill Your faithful with holy joy,
for on those You have rescued
from slavery to sin
You bestow eternal gladness.
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



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A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit



Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermon 19

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I acknowledge my transgression, says David. If I admit my fault, then you will pardon it. Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others. This was not the way that David showed us how to pray and make amends to God, when he said: I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me. He did not concentrate on others’ sins; he turned his thoughts on himself. He did not merely stroke the surface, but he plunged inside and went deep down within himself. He did not spare himself, and therefore was not impudent in asking to be spared.

Do you want God to be appeased? Learn what you are to do that God may be pleased with you. Consider the psalm again: If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it; in burnt offerings you will take no delight. Are you then to be without sacrifice? Are you to offer nothing? Will you please God without an offering? Consider what you read in the same psalm: If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it; in burnt offerings you will take no delight. But continue to listen, and say with David: A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God does not despise a contrite and humble heart. Cast aside your former offerings, for now you have found out what you are to offer. In the days of your fathers you would have made offerings of cattle—these were the sacrifices. If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it. These then, Lord, you do not want, and yet you do want sacrifice.

You will take no delight in burnt offerings, David says. If you will not take delight in burnt offerings, will you remain without sacrifice? Not at all. A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God does not despise a contrite and humble heart.

You now have the offering you are to make. No need to examine the herd, no need to outfit ships and travel to the most remote provinces in search of incense. Search within your heart for what is pleasing to God. Your heart must be crushed. Are you afraid that it might perish so? You have the reply: Create a clean heart in me, O God. For a clean heart to be created, the unclean one must be crushed.

We should be displeased with ourselves when we commit sin, for sin is displeasing to God. Sinful though we are, let us at least be like God in this, that we are displeased at what displeases him. In some measure then you will be in harmony with God’s will, because you find displeasing in yourself what is abhorrent to your Creator




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

 


Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time



“Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?” (Matthew 9:14.)

Saint Peter Chrysologus comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“What did John’s disciples have in common with the Pharisees if not a bond of ill will uniting those whom discipline had separated? In this case jealousy loses its bearings: Accustomed to separating people, it united them. The Jews were not disposed to esteem Moses less than the Lord, and John’s disciples were by no means willing to prefer Christ to John. Thus they grumbled in common spite against Christ. “Why do we and the Pharisees often fast, whereas your disciples do not fast?” Why? Because with you, fasting is a matter of the law and not of the will. Fasting does not reflect the one who fasts but the one who orders the fast. And what is the fruit of fasting to you who fast unwillingly?” (Sermons, 31.)


Collect
O God,
Who through the grace of adoption
chose us to be children of light,
grant, we pray,
that we may not be wrapped
in the darkness of error
but always be seen to stand
in the bright light of 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


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Acknowledge your sins at a time of God’s favor



Bishop and Father of the Church

An excerpt from his work, Catechetical Instruction: Catechesis 1

Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

If there is any slave of sin here present, he should at once prepare himself through faith for the rebirth into freedom that makes us God’s adopted children. He should lay aside the wretchedness of slavery to sin, and put on the joyful slavery of the Lord, so as to be counted worthy to inherit the kingdom of heaven. By acknowledging your sins strip away your former self, seduced as it is by destructive desires, and put on the new self, renewed in the likeness of its Creator. Through faith receive the pledge of the Holy Spirit, so that you may be welcomed into the everlasting dwelling places. Draw near to be marked with the supernatural seal, so that you may be easily recognized by your master. Become a member of Christ’s holy and spiritual flock, so that one day you may be set apart on his right hand, and so gain the life prepared as your inheritance.

Those whose sins still cling to them like a goatskin will stand on his left hand because they did not approach Christ’s fountain of rebirth to receive God’s grace. By rebirth I mean, not rebirth of the body, but the spiritual rebirth of the soul. Our bodies are brought into being by parents who can be seen, but our souls are reborn through faith: the Spirit breathes where he wills. At the end, if you are made worthy, you may hear the words: Well done, good and faithful servant, when, that is, you are found with no stain of hypocrisy on your conscience.

If anyone here present is thinking of putting God’s grace to the test, he is deceiving himself, and he does not understand the nature of things. You are but a man; there is one who searches out men’s thoughts and hearts. You must keep your soul innocent and free from deceit.

The present is a time for the acknowledgment of sins. Acknowledge what you have done, in word or deed, by night or day. Acknowledge your sins at a time of God’s favor, and on the day of salvation you will receive the treasures of heaven.

Wash yourself clean, so that you may hold a richer store of grace. Sins are forgiven equally for all, but communion in the Holy Spirit is given in the measure of each one’s faith. If you have done little work, you will receive little; if you have achieved a great deal, great will be your reward. The race you are running is for your own advantage; look after your own interests.

If you have a grudge against anyone, forgive him. You are drawing near to receive forgiveness for your own sins; you must yourself forgive those who have sinned against you.

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 Thomas, Apostle



“Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:21)

Saint Jerome offers the following insight on these verses from today’s First Reading:

“It is maintained by some that the whole edifice built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets comprises not only human souls but also angelic powers, so that all equally will become the abode of God. They argue that it would be absurd if angels and all the blessed forces who serve God in heaven would have no part in this blessedness. For in this is a building, put together harmoniously, that is growing into a holy temple of God to be an abode of God in the Spirit.” (Epistle to the Ephesians, 1)


Collect
Grant, almighty God,
that we may glory in the
feast of the blessed Apostle Thomas, so that
we may always be sustained by his intercession
and, believing, may have life
in the Name of Jesus Christ Your Son,
whom Thomas acknowledged as the Lord.
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

 

My Lord and my God



Bishop of Rome and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from his Homily 26

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief.

Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvelous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection.

Touching Christ, he cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Paul said: Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what can not be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: You have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: My Lord and my God. Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see.

What follows is reason for great joy: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. There is here a particular reference to ourselves; we hold in our hearts one we have not seen in the flesh. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practices what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. Therefore James says: Faith without works is dead.



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