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,
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

 


Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time



“While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.” (Matthew 9:10.)

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

“Jesus’ sitting at table has more significance for Matthew than just dining. Jesus will be feasting not on food but on the return of sinners. He will call them back through feasting, collegiality and human affection, enjoying himself with their pleasant conversation while reclining at table. He knew that if they recognized him as a powerful judge they would be shattered by the terror of his majesty and overwhelmed by the sheer presence of God unveiled (nuda). Thus, veiled in a human body he was able to communicate with humans. He who wanted to assist the guilty hides the fact that he was a judge. He who did not deny dignity to faithful servants conceals his lordship. He who desired the weak to be embraced by a parent’s love covers his majesty.” (Sermons, 29.)



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,
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


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In his human nature Jesus Christ is descended from the line of David



Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from his work On the Predestination of the Saints

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The greatest glory of predestination and grace is the Savior himself, the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. What, I ask you, did his human nature do in the way of good works or of faith to merit beforehand this glory? Give me an answer to this question: How did his humanity merit to be taken up by the Word, coeternal with the Father, into unity with his person and so to be the only-begotten Son of God? What goodness, of whatever kind, did he possess beforehand? What had he done, what faith had he shown, what request had he made, that he should attain to that point of preeminence, beyond all human power of description? Was it not through the action of the Word in taking this humanity to himself that, from the moment when he came into existence, this human being came into existence as the only Son of God?

We must keep before our eyes the very source of grace, taking its origin in Christ, our head, and flowing through all his members according to the capacity of each. The grace which makes any man a Christian from the first moment of his coming to believe is the same grace which made this man the Christ from his coming to be as man. The Spirit through whom men are reborn is the same Spirit through whom Christ was born. The Spirit by whom we receive forgiveness of sins is the same Spirit who brought it about that Christ knew no sin. Clearly, God knew that he would do all this. The predestination of the saints is the same predestination that reached its greatest glory in the Saint above all other saints. Who can deny this among those who understand correctly the utterances of Truth? For we have been taught that inasmuch as the son of God became man, the Lord of glory himself was the object of predestination.

Jesus then was predestined. He who was to be the son of David in his human nature was to be the Son of God in power through the action of the Spirit of holiness, for he was born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. This unique taking to himself of a human nature by God the Word came about in such a way, too mysterious for our understanding, that with truth and accuracy the Word could be called at one and the same time the Son of God and the son of man: son of man because of the human nature that was taken, and Son of God because it was the only-begotten God who took that human nature. We are not to believe in God as a quaternity but as a trinity.

Human nature was in this case predestined to so marvelous, so sublime, so perfect a dignity that it could not be raised higher; just as the divine nature itself could not demean itself any lower than by taking human nature with all its weakness, even to dying on a cross. Just as one Christ was predestined to be our head, so we, the many, were predestined to be his members. Let there be no mention here of human merits; they were lost through Adam. Let God’s grace reign supreme, as it does through Jesus Christ, our Lord, the only Son of God, the one Lord. If anyone can find in Christ, our head, any merits preceding his unique birth, he may look also for merits in ourselves preceding our rebirth as his many members.



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

 




Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time



“And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”” (Matthew 9:2.)

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

“Note in this regard, my brothers, that God does not inquire into the wants of those who are deliriously ill. He does not wait to see the faith of the ignorant or probe the senseless wishes of the sick. Yet he does not refuse to help the faith of another, so that by grace alone he confers whatever is proper of the divine will. In fact, my brothers, when does a doctor ever inquire into or examine the wishes of those who are ailing, for a patient is prone to be of a contrary mind in his wishes and demands?” (Sermons, 50.)



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,
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


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I will enter God’s marvelous dwelling place



Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermon on Psalm 41 addressed to the Newly Baptized

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

As the deer longs for running water, so my soul longs for you, my God. Just as the deer longs for running water, so do our newly baptized members, our young deer, so to speak, also yearn for God. By leaving Egypt and the world, they have put Pharaoh and his entire army to death in the waters of baptism. After slaying the devil, their hearts long for the springs of running water in the Church. These springs are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah testifies that the Father is like a fountain when he says: They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, to dig for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. In another passage we read about the Son: They have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. And again, John says of the Holy Spirit: Whoever drinks the water I will give him, that water shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life. The evangelist explains that the Savior said this of the Holy Spirit. The testimony of these texts establishes beyond doubt the three fountains of the Church constitute the mystery of the Trinity.

These are the waters that the heart of the believer longs for, these are the waters that the heart of the newly baptized yearns for when he says: My heart thirsts for God, the living fountain. This is not a weak, faint desire to see God; rather the newly baptized actually burn with desire and thirst for God. Before they received baptism, they used to ask one another: When shall I go and see the face of God? Now their quest has been answered. they have come forward and they stand in the presence of God. They have come before the altar and have looked upon the mystery of the Savior.

Having received the body of Christ, and being reborn in the life-giving waters, they speak up boldly and say: I shall go into God’s marvelous dwelling place, his house. The house of God is the Church, his marvelous dwelling place, filled with joyful voices giving thanks, and praise, filled with all the sounds of festive celebration.

This is the way you should speak, you newly baptized, for you have now put on Christ. Under our guidance, by the word of God you have been lifted out of the dangerous waters of this world like so many little fish. In us the nature of things has been changed. Fish taken out of the sea die; but the apostles have fished for us and have taken us out of the sea of this world so we could be brought from death to life. As long as we were in the world, our eyes looked down into the abyss and we lived in filth. After we were rescued from the waves, we began to look upon the sun and look up at the true light. Confused in the presence of so much joy, we say: Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, in the presence of my savior and my 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

 

 

Though victims of jealousy, they gave the finest example



Optional Memorial — 30 June
The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church


Bishop and Doctor of the Church


An excerpt from his Letter Letter to the Corinthians



Let us leave behind the examples from times of old, and come to those who struggled closest to us; let us consider the noble models of our own generation. It was through jealousy and envy that the greatest and most upright pillars of the Church were persecuted and struggled unto death. Let us set before our eyes the good apostles. First of all, Peter, who because of unreasonable jealousy, suffered not merely once or twice but many times, and, having thus given his witness, went to the place of glory that he deserved. It was through jealousy and conflict that Paul showed the way to the prize for perseverance. He was put in chains seven times, sent into exile, and stoned; a herald both in the east and the west, he achieved a noble fame by his faith. He taught justice to all the world and, when he had reached the limits of the western world, he gave his witness before those in authority; then he left this world and was taken up into the holy place, a superb example of endurance.

Around these men with their holy lives gathered a great throng of the elect, who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures. Through jealousy women were tormented like Dirce or the daughters of Danaus, suffering terrible and unholy acts of violence. But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize. It was jealousy that separated wives from husbands, and violated the words of our father Adam: This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Jealousy and strife have overthrown great cities and uprooted mighty nations.

We are writing this, beloved, not only for your admonition but also as a reminder to ourselves; for we are placed in the same arena, and the same contest lies before us. Hence we ought to put aside vain and useless concerns and go straight to the glorious and venerable norm which is our tradition, and we should consider what is good, pleasing and acceptable in the sight of him who made us. Let us fix our gaze on the blood of Christ, realizing how precious it is to his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.



Collect
O God, Who consecrated
the abundant first fruits of the Roman Church
by the blood of the Martyrs,
grant, we pray, that with firm courage
we may together draw strength
from so great a struggle
and ever rejoice at the triumph of faithful love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
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

 





Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles



“Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”” (Matthew 16:19.)

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

“Peter did not say “you are a Christ” or “a son of God” but “the Christ, the Son of God.” For there are many christs by grace, who have attained the rank of adoption [as sons], but [there is] only one who is by nature the Son of God. Thus, using the definite article, he said, the Christ, the Son of God. And in calling him Son of the living God, Peter indicates that Christ himself is life and that death has no authority over him. And even if the flesh, for a short while, was weak and died, nevertheless it rose again, since the Word, who indwelled it, could not be held under the bonds of death.” (Fragment 190)


Collect
Grant, we pray, O Lord our God,
that we may be sustained
by the intercession of
the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul,
that, as through them
You gave Your Church
the foundations of Her heavenly office,
so through them
You may help Her to eternal salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
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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The martyrs realized what they taught



Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermon 295

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. We are, therefore, not talking about some obscure martyrs. For their voice has gone forth to all the world, and to the ends of the earth their message. These martyrs realized what they taught: they pursued justice, they confessed the truth, they died for it.

Saint Peter, the first of the apostles and a fervent lover of Christ, merited to hear these words: I say to you that you are Peter, for he had said: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Then Christ said: And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. On this rock I will build the faith that you now confess, and on your words: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church. For you are Peter, and the name Peter comes from petra, the word for “rock,” and not vice versa. “Peter” comes, therefore, from petra, just as “Christian” comes from Christ.

As you are aware, Jesus chose his disciples before his passion and called them apostles; and among these almost everywhere Peter alone deserved to represent the entire Church. And because of that role which he alone had, he merited to hear the words: To you I shall give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. For it was not one man who received the keys, but the entire Church considered as one. Now insofar as he represented the unity and universality of the Church, Peter’s preeminence is clear from the words: To you I give, for what was given was given to all. For the fact that it was the Church that received the keys of the kingdom of God is clear from what the Lord says elsewhere to all the apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit, adding immediately, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you retain, they are retained.

Rightly then did the Lord after his resurrection entrust Peter with the feeding of his sheep. Yet he was not the only disciple to merit the feeding of the Lord’s sheep; but Christ in speaking only to one suggests the unity of all; and so he speaks to Peter, because Peter is first among the apostles. Therefore do not be disheartened, Peter; reply once, reply twice, reply a third time. The triple confession of your love is to regain what was lost three times by your fear. You must loose three times what you bound three times; untie by love that which your fear bound. Once, and again, and a third time did the Lord entrust his sheep to Peter.

Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith.

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 Irenaeus
Bishop, Martyr and Doctor of the Church



“Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.” (Matthew 8:24.)

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

“The sea offered its heaving back for Christ to walk upon. Now it leveled its crests to a plain, checked its swelling and bound up its billows. It provided rocklike firmness, so he could walk across the waterway. Why did the seas heave so, and toss and pitch, even as if threatening its Creator? And why did Christ himself, who knows all the future, seem so unaware of the present that he gave no thought to the onrushing storm, the moment of its height and the time of its peril? While all the rest were awake, he alone was fast asleep even with utter doom threatening both himself and his dear ones. Why? It is not a calm sky, beloved, but the storm which tests a pilot’s skill. When the breeze is mild even the poorest sailor can manage the ship. But in the crosswinds of a tempest, we want the best pilot with all his skill.” (Sermons, 20.)



Collect
O God,
Who called the Bishop Saint Irenaeus
to confirm true doctrine and
the peace of the Church,
grant, we pray, through his intercession,
that, being renewed in faith and charity,
we may always be intent
on fostering unity and concord.
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


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