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





Ordinary Time Week 16: Sunday

“While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.” (Matthew 13:25)

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

”But while people are asleep they do not act according to the command of Jesus, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation.” At that point the devil on the watch sows what are called tares — that is, evil opinions over and among the good seeds that are from the Word. According to this the whole world might be called a field, and not the church of God only. For the Son of Man sowed the good seed throughout the entire world, but the wicked one sowed tares — that is, evil words — which, springing from wickedness, are children of the evil one.” (Commentary on Matthew, 10)




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 15: Saturday

“But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put Him to death. When Jesus realized this, He withdrew from that place. Many [people] followed him, and he cured them all.” (Matthew 12:14-15)

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

”To the extent that one draws near to Jesus, one does not hold counsel, for no counselor of evil things draws near to Jesus. But when others go out, departing from Jesus, they hold counsel to destroy Jesus, to destroy the Light, the good Way, the Life, the Treasure, the Pearl, Love itself and Peace. If anyone destroys these, he is called a “son of destruction.” But “Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there.” He had no reason to remain around the sons of destruction. They sought to destroy him, but we, who were not seeking, have found him. This recalls the words of the prophet: “I am found by those who do not seek for me; I have been made manifest to those who were not asking after me.” For he came “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” who had forgotten their own Shepherd. So Jesus withdraws, not fearing their judgment but to dispel evil. And, lest anyone should suppose that it was through fear that he had withdrawn, Jesus healed everyone, displaying his almighty power. But, as one who does what is fitting, without pride, he sent them away, telling them not to publicize this.” (Fragment, 252)




Collect
O God, Who show the light of Your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the Right Path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever
is contrary to the Name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor.
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 15: Friday

“When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” (Matthew 12:2)

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

“For where nothing great or noble happens, the Pharisees remain quiet. But where they see certain people being healed, they are more offended than anyone else. In this way they are the enemies of humanity’s salvation and without understanding of the sacred writings. If the new covenant announced of old by Jeremiah differs from the first covenant, it ought by all means to make use not of old laws but of new ones. But the Pharisees, not willing to comprehend this, lay snares for the holy apostles and say about them to Christ: “Look here, we see those you’ve schooled opposing themselves to the stipulations of the law. For where the law commands everyone to rest on the sabbath and to touch no manner of work, your disciples pluck ears of wheat with their hands.” But tell me, O Pharisee, when you have set the sabbath table for yourself, don’t even you break the bread? Why then do you blame others?” (Fragment 152)




Collect
O God, Who show the light of Your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the Right Path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever
is contrary to the Name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor.
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 15: Thursday

“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 at Mass today:

”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 show the light of Your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the Right Path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever
is contrary to the Name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor.
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 15: Wednesday

“At that time Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Matthew 11:25)

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

”Jesus says, “My Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” Father of him through whom all things were made. Surely all creation is embraced by these two nouns heaven and earth. Therefore the first book of God’s Scripture says, “In the beginning God made heaven and earth.” And “my help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” By the name of heaven is understood whatever is in heaven, and by the name of earth is understood whatever is on earth. Thus, by mentioning these two parts of creation no aspect of creation is overlooked, since the created object is either here or there. Moreover, when the Son speaks to his Father his confession, Jesus admonishes us that confession is owed to God not for our sins alone. For very often when it is heard in the Scriptures, “You shall confess to the Lord,” many who hear this beat their breasts in remorse. They do not recall that the term confession means anything else except their accustomed use when they show repentance, confessing their sins and awaiting their just deserts from God, not because they deserve to suffer but because God deems it worthy to act mercifully. But if there were not confession in the act of praise, Jesus would not say, “I confess to you, Father,” since he had no sin to confess. It is said in another book of the Scripture: “You shall confess to the Lord” and say in your confession that “all the works of the Lord are very good.” This is certainly a confession of praise and not of fault.” (Sermon 68)




Collect
O God, Who show the light of Your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the Right Path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever
is contrary to the Name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor.
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 15: Tuesday
— Memorial of Saint Bonaventure —

“But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:24)

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

“The wise reader may inquire and say, “If Tyre, Sidon and Sodom could repent at the admonishment of our Savior and at his wonderful miracles, they are not to blame because they did not at first believe. But the fault of silence rests in the one who did not want to preach even to those who were likely to repent.” To this charge the response is easy and clear: We do not fathom the decisions of God. We do not know the secrets of his singular acts of dispensation. Chorazin and Bethsaida were condemned because they did not want to believe in our Lord even when he was with them in person. Meanwhile Tyre and Sidon were pardoned because they believed the apostles. So do not try to fathom the precise time or place when you may expect the salvation of the believers. It was unexpectedly in Capernaum, a very beautiful town, that unbelieving Jerusalem was condemned. To this city there was an ironic reply in Ezekiel: “Sodom has been vindicated on account of you.” (Commentary on Matthew, 2)



Sanctoral Collect
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, just as we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of the Bishop Saint Bonaventure,
we may benefit from his great learning
and constantly imitate the ardor of his charity.
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