Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” (Matthew 19:12.)

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

“There are three kinds of eunuchs, two carnal and the third spiritual. One group are those who are born this way. Another are those who are made into eunuchs by captivity or for pleasuring older women. The third are those who “have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven” and who become eunuchs for Christ though they could be whole men. The last group are promised the reward. The other two, for whom chastity is not a matter of willing but necessity, are due nothing at all. We can put it another way. There are eunuchs from birth who are of a rather frigid nature and not inclined to lust. There are others who are made eunuchs by men, those who are made so by philosophers, others who are made weak toward sex from their worship of idols, and still others who by heretical persuasion feign chastity so as to falsely claim the truth of religion. None of the above is receptive to the kingdom of heaven. Only the person who for Christ seeks chastity wholeheartedly and cuts off sexual impurity altogether [is the genuine eunuch]. So he adds, “He who is able to receive this, let him receive it,” so that each of us should look to his own strength as to whether he can carry out the commands of virginity and chastity. Chastity in itself is agreeable and alluring; but one must look to one’s strength so that “he who is able to receive this may receive it.” It is as if the Lord with his words were urging on his soldiers to the reward of chastity with these words: He who is able to receive this let him receive it; he who is able to fight, let him fight and conquer.” (Commentary on Matthew, 3.)

Almighty ever-living God,
whom, taught by the Holy Spirit,
we dare to call our Father,
bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts
the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters,
that we may merit to enter into the inheritance
which you have promised.
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