Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
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INSTRUCTION ON THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

From Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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The Introit of the Mass implores with great confidence the mercy of God in the words of Ps. Ixxxv.: Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day; for thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee. Bow down thy ear to me, O Lord, and hear me, for I am needy and poor. Glory be to the Father, &c.


PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Let Thy grace, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever precede and follow us, and make us continually intent upon good works. Through &c


EPISTLE. (Ephes. iii. 13—21.) Brethren. I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you. which are your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God. Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us: to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

Quote:EXPLANATION. In the epistle of the following Sunday St. Paul tells us, that he was at the time of writing this letter in prison at Rome, whither he was brought upon the false accusations of the Jews. From prison he wrote to the Ephesians, whom he had converted to Christianity, and who zealously obeyed his counsels, in order to confirm them in their zeal and to console them in their grief on account of his sufferings which he bore for Christ's sake. These sufferings which I bear, he writes, redound to your honor, since I, your spiritual father, am considered by God worthy to suffer like His Son; yes, I thank the Father of our Lord Jesus for it, and beg Him on my knees, that He vouchsafe to strengthen you with His Holy Spirit, so that you overcome your evil inclinations and passions, cleanse your hearts more and more, and sanctify your souls, that if you live thus according to your faith, you may be made the habitations of Christ. He begs God also to give them a well-grounded charity, which not only loves God on account of the reward, but also on account of our sufferings, thus to become like to Christ, the Crucified. By this constant love for Jesus, even in adversities, we only comprehend with the saints the greatness of the love of Jesus, the Crucified; its breadth ; since all the members of His body, all the powers of His soul were tormented with all sorts of tortures, on account of the sins of all men; the length, since He had all these sufferings for thirty-three years before His eyes, and bore them in His soul; the depth, since these tortures surpassed in intensity all which men ever suffered or will suffer; the height, since Christ on the cross saw, with the most perfect knowledge, the malice of each single sin, and the terrible insult offered to the sublime Majesty of God, and He bore the punishment for them in Himself, and did penance for them. Other holy Fathers say that by these words the whole mystery of our redemption is to be understood, and, indeed, the breadth thereof is, that it is for all men; the length, that it lasts for all centuries, and reaches into eternity; the height, that its contemplation takes us away from earth and raises us to heaven; the depth, that it even penetrates the kingdom of the dead.

By contemplating these mysteries we learn to know the infinite love of God, to love Him more and more, and thus make ourselves partakers of His graces. — Obey the teaching of this holy apostle, contemplate the suffering Saviour and His love, endeavor to become like to Him by suffering, and when you see how the Church, her ministers, the bishops and priests, are persecuted and in tribulation, be not disheartened, but consider that the discipleship of Jesus consists particularly in suffering, that therefore, the Church and her ministers must suffer, since their Head, Jesus, has suffered. The holy Church has borne the crown of thorns of Jesus for eighteen hundred years and drank from His chalice; but^ like Jesus, her Head, she will triumph over all her enemies, and whilst these are hastening to destruction, she will continually live victorious until the end of time, and will triumph eternally in heaven.

GOSPEL. (Luke xiv. i — 11.) At that time, When Jesus went into the house of one of the chiefs of the Pharisees on the Sabbath-day to eat bread, they watched him. And behold there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? But they held their peace: but he taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbath-day? And they could not answer him to these things. And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee cometh he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee; because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


Why did Jesus eat with the Pharisees?

To take occasion, as St. Cyril says, to instruct them that it is allowed to heal the sick on the Sabbath, and to show, how those who give invitations to a supper, and those who are invited, should conduct themselves. The Pharisees' invitation to Jesus was not actuated by kindness, but by the desire to find something in His actions, which they might criticise; Jesus, however, approaches them with meekness and endeavors to inspire them with a better intention. Beware of the spirit of criticism, and like Jesus, make use of every occasion to do good, even to your enemies.


Who may be understood by the dropsical man?

The debauchees and misers; for the more a dropsical person drinks the more his thirst increases, so the debauchee never succeeds in satisfying his shameful lusts; the same is the case with the miser. And just as the dropsical are hard to cure, so the debauchee and miser are difficult to convert.


Why is covetousness classed among the seven deadly sins?

Because it is the root of many evils, (i Tim. vi. 10.) for it leads to usury, theft, to the employment of false weights and measures, to the suppression of justice in courts, to perjury, to the oppression of widows and orphans, nay, even to the denial of faith, as was the case with Judas. Therefore the apostle says: They that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition; and admonishes us: to fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness, (i Tim. vi. 9, 11.) A powerful remedy against avarice is to consider that we are not owners of what we possess, and can take nothing with us in death, but must render a strict account of the use we made of our riches.


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INSTRUCTION ON KEEPING SUNDAY HOLY
Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? (Luke xiv. 3.)


Why did Christ put this question?

BECAUSE the Jews, particularly the Pharisees, were so very superstitious in keeping the Sabbath, they would not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, while He healed on the Sabbath, which was really a good work. But it the Jews were so conscientious, through superstition and hypocrisy, and considered the performing of an external good work on this day as a sin, some Christians, on the contrary, blinded by avarice and worldly pleasure, place themselves heedlessly, nay, insolently above the commandment to observe the Sabbath, and do not consider those things wrong which are sometimes very grievous sins.

Consider, my dear Christian, you serve your body the whole week, you use all your powers for temporal business, to support yourself and your family, and God blesses you, if you work with a good intention. Now God chose one day in the week, Sunday, and in the year several other holy days, which you should devote to His service and the salvation of your soul; is it, therefore, not the greatest ingratitude to steal these days from God and your soul, and employ them to gain a transient good, or to indulge in vain, sinful pleasures? At certain times man gives rest to irrational animals, and you give the powers of your body and soul none of the rest they would and should find in quiet devotion, in prayer and meditation, in attending divine service, in receiving the holy Sacraments, &c. If you inquire, whence these shameful violations of Sundays and holidays come, you will find that there is no other reason than love of gain and avarice, sinful love of pleasure, and often complete want of faith and confidence in God's providence.

We wish to become rich by all means, and we do not reflect that this will not happen without the blessing of God, and that wealth is a net, in which thousands entangle themselves to their eternal perdition. We wish to live merrily and enjoy ourselves, but we do not consider that our life is only a time of penance, to attain that eternally blissful rest, of which Sunday is an emblem. We spend Sundays and holydays in idleness, vain conversations, buying and selling, servile work, or in still worse things, without experiencing the slightest scruple. But God will cover the violators of His sacred days with confusion and shame, (Malach. ii. 3.) and permit many temporal evils to come upon them, as proved by daily experience. The blessing of God can never rest upon those who never care for it, but rather make themselves unworthy to receive it, by violating days consecrated to God. Let this be a warning to you.

PRAYER. O good Saviour! how manifest are meekness, and wisdom in all Thy words and actions! O, grant, that we may regulate all our actions in such a manner, that they may be acceptable to Thee and tend to the edification of our neighbor. Give us the grace to employ all the days, consecrated to Thee, for Thy honor and our salvation, that we may never raise ourselves above others, but follow Thee in all humility.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
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Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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The resuscitation of the son of the widow of Naim, on which our thoughts were fixed last Sunday, has reanimated the confidence of our beloved Mother the Church; her prayer goes up all the more earnestly to her Spouse, who leaves her on earth, for a time, that she may grow dearer to him, by sufferings and tears. Let us, of course, enter into these her sentiments, which guided her in the choice of today’s Introit.

Introit
Miserere mihi, Domine, quoniam ad te clamavi tota die: quia tu, Domine, suavis ac mitis es, et copiosus in misericordia omnibus invocantibus te.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried unto thee all the day; for thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.

Ps. Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam mihi, et exaudi me: quoniam inops et pauper sum ego. Gloria Patri. Miserere.
Ps. Incline thine ear unto me, O Lord, and hear me: for I am needy and poor. Glory, &c. Have mercy.


Such is our inability in the work of salvation that, unless Grace prevent, that is, anticipate us, we cannot have so much as the thought of doing what is holy; and again, unless is follow up the inspirations it has given us, and lead them to a happy termination, we shall never be able to pass from the simple thought to the act of any virtue whatsoever. If, on the other hand, we be faithful to Grace, our life will be one uninterrupted tissue of good works. Let us, in our Collect, ask both for ourselves and for all our neighbors, the persevering continuity of this most precious aid.

Collect
Tua nos, quæsumus Domine, gratia semper et præveniat et sequatur: ac bonis operibus jugiter præstet esse intentos. Per Dominum.
May thy grace, we beseech thee, O Lord, ever go before us, and follow us; and may it ever make us intent upon good works. Through, etc.

The other Collects, as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.


Epistle
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul, the Apostle, to the Ephesians. Ch. iii.

Brethren: I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, All paternity: Or, the whole family. God is the Father, both of angels and men; whosoever besides is named father, is so named with subordination to him. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity, You may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us; To him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

Quote:My heart hath uttered a good word! I speak my works to my King! The enthusiasm of the royal Psalmist, when singing the glorious Nuptial Song, has taken possession of our Apostle’s whole soul, and inspires him with this marvellous Epistle, which seems to put into music, into a song of love, the sublime teachings of all his other Letters. When he wrote this to his Ephesians, he was Nero’s prisoner; but it shows that the word of God is anything but hampered by the chains that make an Apostle a captive.

Although the Epistle to the Ephesians is is far from being the longest of his Letters, yet it is from it that the Church borrows most, during these Sundays after Pentecost; and we may argue from such choice that it gives, more than any other of St. Paul’s Epistles, that leading subject, upon which the Church is particularly anxious to direct her children’s thoughts, during this season of the Liturgical Year. Let us, therefore, thoroughly master the mystery of the Gospel, by hearkening to the herald who received it, as his special mission, to make known to the Gentiles the treasure that had been hidden from eternity in God. It is as Ambassador that he comes to us; and the chains which bind him, far from weakening the authority of his message, are but the glorious badge which accredit him with the disciples of the Christ, who died on Calvary.

For God alone, as he tells us in the music we have just heard, can strengthen in us the inward man enough to make us understand, as the Saints do, the “dimensions,” (breadth, length, height, and depth) of the great mystery of Christ dwelling in man, and dwelling in him for the purpose of filling him with the plenitude of God. Therefore is it that, falling on his knees before Him from Whom flows every perfect gift, and who has begotten us in the truth by his love, he, Paul, our Apostle, asks this God to open, by faith and charity, the eyes of our heart, that so we may be able to understand the splendid riches of the inheritance he reserves to his children, and the exceeding greatness of the divine power used in our favor, even in this life.

But if holiness is requisite in order to obtain the full development of the divine life spoken of by the Apostle—let us also take notice how the desire and the prayer of St. Paul are for all men; and how, therefore, no one is excluded from that divine vocation. Indeed, as St. John Chrysostom observes, the Christians, to whom he sends his Epistle, are people living in the world, married, having children and servants, for he gives them rules of conduct with regard to each point. The Saints of Ephesus, as of all other places, are no others than the the Faithful of Christ Jesus, that is to say, they are those who faithfully follow the diving precepts, in the condition of life proper to each. Now, it depends on us to follow God’s grace; nothing else but our own resistance prevents the Holy Ghost from making Saints of us. Those sublime heights, to which the progressive movement of the sacred Liturgy has, since Pentecost, been leading the Church, are open to all of us. If the new order of ideas introduced by this movement strike us, at times, as being beyond our practical attainment, the probable reason of such cowardice is, and a short examination of conscience will bear witness against us—that we neglected, ever since Advent and Christmas, to profit, as we should have done, of the teachings and graces of every kind, which were given us as means for advancing in light and Christian virtue. The Church, at the commencement of the Cycle, offered her aid to every one of us, and that aid she adapted to each one’s capabilities; but she could never remain stationary, because some of us were too lazy to move onwards; she could never consent, out of a regard for our laggings and sluggishness, to neglect leading men of good will to that divine Union which, they were told, crowns both the Year of the Church, and the faithful soul that has spent the Year under the Church’s guidance. But on no account must we lose courage. The Cycle of the Liturgy runs its full course in the heavens of the Church each Year. It will soon be starting afresh, again adapting the power of its graces to each one’s necessities and weaknesses. If, with that new Year of Grace, we learn a lesson from our past deficiencies; if we do not content ourselves with a mere theoretical admiration of the exquisite poetry, and loveliness, and charms, of its opening seasons; if we seriously set ourselves to grow with the growth of that light (which is no other than Christ himself)—if that is, we profit of the graces of progress which that Light will again infuse into our souls—then the work of sanctification having been this time prepared, has a cheering and “a new chance of receiving that completeness, which had been retarded by the weakness of human nature.”

Even now, though our dispositions may not be all they should be, yet the Holy Ghost, that Spirit of loving mercy who reigns over this portion of the Cycle, will not refuse the humble prayer we make to Him, and will supply, at least in some measure, our sad shortcomings. Great, after all, has been our gain in this, that the eye of our faith has had new supernatural horizons opened out to it, and that it has reached those peaceful regions which the dull vision of the animal man fails to discover. It is there that divine Wisdom reveals to the perfect that great secret of love, which is not known by the wise and the princes of this world—secret, which the eye had not before seen, nor the ear heard, nor the heart even suspected as possible. From this time forward, we shall the better understand the divine realities, which fill up the life of the servants of God; they will seem to us, as they truly are, a thousand times preferable, both in importance and greatness, to those vain frivolities and occupations, in the midst of which is spent the existence of so-called practical men. Let us take delight in thinking upon that divine choice which, before time was, selected us for the fullness of all spiritual benedictions, of which the temporal blessings of the people of old were but a shadow. The world was not as yet existing, and already God saw us in his Word; to each one among us he assigned the place he was to hold in the Body of his Christ; already his fatherly eye beheld us clad with that grace, which made him well pleased with the Man-God; and he predestinated us, as being members of this his beloved Son, to sit with him, on his right hand, in the highest heavens.

Oh! how immense are our obligations to the Eternal Father, whose good pleasure has decreed to grant such wondrous gifts to our earth! His will is his counsel; it is the one rule of all his acts; and his will is all love. It is from the voluntary and culpable death of sin that he calls us to that Life which is his own Life. It is from the deep disgrace of every vice that, after having cleansed us in the Blood of his Son, he has exalted us to a glory which is the astonishment of the Angels and makes them tremble with adoring admiration. Let us then be holy for the sake of giving praise to the glory of such grace. Christ, in its divinity, is the substantial brightness and eternal eternal glory of his Father; if he has taken to himself a Body, if he has made himself our Head, it was for no other purpose than that he might sing the heavenly canticle in a new way. Not satisfied with presenting, in his sacred Humanity, a sight most pleasing to his Father—that is, the sight of the created reflex of divine, and therefore infinite, perfections—he wished, moreover, that the whole of creation should give back to the adorable Trinity an echo of the divine harmonies. It was on this account that he, in his own Flesh, broke down the old enmities existing between Gentile and Jew; and then, bringing together these that were once enemies, he made of them all one spirit, and one body, so that their countless human voices might, through Him, blend in unison of love with the angelic choirs, and thus, standing around God’s throne, might attune the one universal song of their praise to that of the infinite Word Himself. Thus shall we become forever to God, like this divine Word, the praise of his glory, as the Apostle thrice loves to express himself in the beginning of this his Epistle to the Ephesians. Thus, too, is to be wrought that mystery which, from all eternity, was the object of God’s eternal designs, mystery, that is, of divine union, realized by our Lord Jesus uniting, in his own one Person, an infinite love, both earth and heaven.

The Church, which is showing herself in the midst of the Gentiles, bears on herself the mark of her divine Architect; God shows himself, in her, in all majesty; and by her, his fear is made to be felt by the kings of the earth.

Gradual
Timebunt gentes nomen tuum, Domine, et omnes reges terræ gloriam tuam.
The Gentiles, O Lord, shall fear thy name, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

℣. Quoniam ædificavit Dominus Sion: et videbitur in majestate sua.
℣. For, the Lord hath built up Sion; and he shall be seen in his glory.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Cantate Domino canticum novum: quia mirabilia fecit Dominus. Alleluia.
℣. Sing to the Lord a new canticle: for the Lord hath done wonderful things. Alleluia.


Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke. Ch. xiv.

At that time: When Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the sabbath day, to eat bread, that they watched him. And behold, there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? But they held their peace. But he taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out, on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him to these things. And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

Quote:Holy Church here tells us, and in a most unmistakable way, what has been her chief aim for her children ever since the Feast of Pentecost. The Wedding spoken of in today’s Gospel is that of heaven, and of which there is a prelude given here below, by the Union effected in the sacred banquet of Holy Communion. The divine invitation is made to all; and the invitation is not like that which is given on occasion of earthly weddings, to which the Bridegroom and Bride invite their friends and relatives as simple witnesses to the union contracted between two individuals. In the Gospel Wedding, Christ is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the Bride. These nuptials are ours, inasmuch as we are members of the Church; and the banquet hall, in this case, is something far superior that that of a common-place marriage.

But that this Union be as fruitful as it ought to be, the soul, in the sanctuary of her own conscience, must bring alone with her a fidelity which is to be an enduring one—a love which is to be active, even when the feast of the sacred mysteries is past. Divine Union, when it is genuine, masters one’s entire being. It fixes one in the untiring contemplation of the Beloved Object, in the earnest looking after His interests, in the continual aspiration of the heart towards Him, even when He seems to have absented Himself from the soul. The Bride of the divine Nuptials—could she be less intent on her God, than those of earth are on their earthly Spouse? It is on this condition alone that the christian soul can be said to have entered on the Unitive Life or can show its precious fruits.

But for the attaining all this—that is, that our Lord Jesus Christ may have that full control over the soul and its powers, which makes her to be truly His, and subjects her to Him as the Bride is to her Spouse—it is necessary that all alien competition be entirely and definitively put aside. Now, there is one sad fact, which everyone knows: the divinely noble Son of the Eternal Father, the Incarnate Word whose beauty enraptures the heavenly citizens, the Immortal King, whose exploits and power and riches are beyond all that the children of men can imagine—yes, He has rivals, human rivals, who pretend to have stronger claims than He to creatures whom he has redeemed from slavery and, that done, has invited them to share with Him the honors of his throne. Even in the case of those whom his loving mercy succeeds in winning over wholly to Himself, is it not almost always the way, that He is kept waiting, for perhaps years, before they can make up their minds to be wise enough to take Him? During that long period of unworthy wavering, he loses not his patience, he does not turn elsewhere as he might in all justice do, but he keeps on asking them to be wholly His, mercifully waiting for some secret touch of one of his graces, joined with the unwearied labor of the Holy Ghost, to get the better of all this inconceivable resistance.

Let us not be surprised at the Church’s bringing the whole influence of her Liturgy to bear on the winning souls over to Christ, for every such conquest she makes for Him is a fresh and closer bond of union between herself and her Lord. This explains how, in some of these previous Sundays, she has given us such admirable instructions regarding the efforts of the triple concupiscence. Earthly pleasures, pride, and covetousness, are really the treacherous advisers, who excite within us, against God’s claims, those impertinent rivals of whom we were just now speaking. Having now reached the sixteenth week of this Season of the reign of the Holy Ghost, and taking it for granted that her Sons and Daughters are in right good earnest about their christian perfection—the Church hopes that they have fairly unmasked the enemy. She comes, therefore, to us today hoping that her teaching will not fail to impress us, and that we shall no longer put off that most loving Jesus of ours, whose great mystery of love is preached to us in the allegory of our Gospel, and of which he himself said: The Kingdom of heaven is likened to a King, who made a marriage for his Son.

But after all, her anxiety as Mother and Bride never allows her to make quite sure of even her best and dearest children, so long as they are in this world. In order to keep them on their guard against falling into sin, she bids them listen to St. Ambrose, whom she has selected as her homilist for this Sunday. He addresses himself to the christian who has become a veteran in the spiritual combat, and tell even him that Concupiscence has snares without end, even for him! Alas! yes, he may trip any day; he has got far, perhaps very far, on the road to the Kingdom of God, but even so, he might go wrong and be forever shut out from the Marriage Feast, together with heretics, pagans, and Jews. Let him be on the watch, then, or he may get tainted with those sins from which, hitherto, he has kept clear, thanks to God’s grace. Let him take heed, or he might become like the man mentioned in today’s Gospel, who had the dropsy; and dropsy, says our saintly preacher of Milan, is a morbid exuberance of humors, which stupify the soul and induce total extinction of spiritual ardor. And yet, even so, that is, even if her were to get such a fall as that, let him not forget that the heavenly physician is ever ready to cure him. The Saint, in this short Homily, condenses the whole of St. Luke’s 14th chapter, of which we have been reading but a portion; and he shows, a little further on, that attachment to the goods of this life is no less opposed to the ardor which should carry us on the wings of the spirit, towards the heaven where lives and reigns our Love.

But above all, it is the constant attitude and exercise of Humility, to which he must especially direct his attention, who would secure a prominent place in the divine Feast of the Nuptials. All Saints are ambitious for future glory of this best kind; but they were well aware that in order to win it, they must go low down during the present life into their own nothingness; the higher in the world to come, the lower in this. Until the great day dawn, when each one is to receive according to his works, we shall lose nothing by putting ourselves, meanwhile, below everybody. The position reserved for us in the kingdom of heaven depends not in the least either upon our own thoughts about ourselves, or upon the judgment passed on us by other people; it depends solely on the will of that God who exalteth the humble, and bringeth down the mighty from their seat. Let us hearken to Ecclesiasticus. The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things, and thou shalt find grace before God; for great is the power of God alone, and he is honored by the humble. Were it only a motive, then, from a motive of self-interest, let us follow the advice of the Gospel and, in all things, claim, as our own, the last place. Humility is not sterling, and cannot please God unless, to the lowly estimation we have of ourselves, we join an esteem for others, preventing everyone with honor, gladly yielding to all in matters which do not affect our conscience; and all this from a deep-rooted conviction of our own misery and worthlessness in the sight of Him who searches the reins and heart. The surest test of our Humility before God is that practical charity for our neighbor, which in the several circumstances of everyday life, induces us, and without affectation, to give him the precedence to ourselves.

On the contrary, one of the most unequivocal proofs of the falseness of certain so-called spiritual ways, into which the enemy sometimes leads incautious souls, is the lurking contempt wherewith he inspires them for one or more of their acquaintance; dormant, perhaps, habitually—but which, when occasion offers, and it frequently offers, they allow it to influence their thoughts and words and actions. To a greater or less extent, and it may be with more or less unconsciousness, self-esteem is the basis of the structure of their virtues; but as for the illuminations and mystical sweetnesses, which these people sometimes tell their intimate friends they enjoy, they may be quite sure that such favors do not come to them from the Holy Spirit. When the substantial light of the Sun of Justice shall appear in the valley of the Judgment, all counterfeits of this kind will be made evident, and they who trusted to them and spent their lives in petting such phantoms will find them all vanishing in smoke. The having then to take a much lower place than the one they dreamt of may have this one solace, that some place may be still given them in the divine banquet. They will have to thank God that their chastisement goes no further than the one of seeing, with shame, those very people passing high up in honor above them for whom, during life, they had such utter contempt.

The greater the conquests made by the Church, the greater are the efforts of hell to destroy the souls of her dear children. This fearful danger calls for her fervent prayers; and our Offertory-Anthem is one of these.

Offertory
Domine, in auxilium meum respice: confundantur et revereantur, qui quærunt animam meam, ut auferant eam: Domine, in auxilium meum respice.
Look down, O Lord, to help me: let them be put to confusion and shame, that seek after my soul, to take it away: look down, O Lord, to help me.


The Secret reminds us how the Sacrifice, at which we are present, and which is to be consummated in a few moments by the words of Consecration, is the most direct and efficacious of all the immediate preparations that we can make for the Communion of the Body and Blood which that Sacrifice produces on the Altar.

Secret
Munda nos, quæsumus, Domine, sacrificii præsentis effectu, et perfice miseratus in nobis, ut ejus mereamur esse participes. Per Dominum.
Cleanse us, O Lord, we beseech thee, by the efficacy of this present Sacrifice: and, by thy mercy, make us worthy to partake thereof. Through, etc.

The other Secrets, as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.


Now that the Church is filled, by the holy Communion just received, with the true substantial Wisdom of the Father, she promises God, as her thank-offering in the Communion Antiphon, that she will keep his justice, which is his law, and that she will labor to make his divine teaching produce its fruits.

In the Postcommunion, let us pray, with the Church, that we may be renewed by the purity, which these heavenly Mysteries bring to us, who are well prepared for the gift: the effect of such a gift tells upon our bodies, both in this and the next life.

Communion
Domine, memorabor justitiæ tuæ solius: Deus, docuisti me a juventute mea, et usque in senectam et senium: Deus, ne derelinquas me.
I will remember thy justice alone, O Lord: O God, thou hast instructed me from my youth, and unto old age and gray hairs: O God, forsake me not.


Postcommunion
Purifica, quæsumus Domine, mentes nostras benignus, et renova cœlestibus sacramentis: ut consequenter et corporum præsens pariter, et futurum capiamus aulilium. Per Dominum.
Mercifually, O Lord, we beseech thee, purify our souls, and renew them by these heavenly mysteries; that we may receive help thereby, both while we are in these mortal bodies, and hereafter. Through, etc.

The other Postcommunions, as in the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#3
Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost: Impurity

"Homo quidam hydropicus erat ante illum."
"And behold, there was a certain man before him, who had the dropsy."--Luke, xiv. 2

The man who indulges in impurity is like a person laboring under the dropsy. The latter is so much tormented by thirst, that the more he drinks the more thirsty he becomes. Such, too, is the nature of the accursed vice of impurity; it is never satiated. "As," says St. Thomas of Villanova, "the more the dropsical man abounds in moisture, the more he thirsts; so, too, is it with the waves of carnal pleasures." I will speak today of the vice of impurity, and will show, in the first point, the delusion of those who say that this vice is but a small evil: and, in the second, the delusion of those who say that God takes pity on this sin, and that he does not punish it.


1. Delusion of those who say that sins against purity are not a great evil.

The unchaste, then, say that sins contrary to purity are but a small evil. Like the sow wallowing in the mire, they are immersed in their own filth, so that they do not see the malice of their actions; and therefore they neither feel nor abhor the stench of their impurities, which excite disgust and horror in all others. Can you, who say that the vice of impurity is but a small evil--can you, I ask, deny that it is a mortal sin? If you deny it, you are a heretic; for as St. Paul says: Do not err. Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, etc., shall possess the kingdom of God. It is a mortal sin; it cannot be a small evil. It is more sinful than theft, or detraction, or the violation of the fast. How then can you say that it is not a great evil? Perhaps mortal sin appears to you to be a small evil? Is it a small evil to despise the grace of God, to turn your back upon Him, and to lose His friendship, for a transitory, beastly pleasure?

St. Thomas teaches, that mortal sin, because it is an insult offered to an infinite God, contains a certain infinitude of malice. "A sin committed against God has a certain infinitude, on account of the infinitude of the Divine Majesty." Is mortal sin a small evil? It is so great an evil, that if all the angels and all the saints, the apostles, martyrs, and even the Mother of God, offered all their merits to atone for a single mortal sin, the oblation would not be sufficient. No; for that atonement or satisfaction would be finite; but the debt contracted by mortal sin is infinite, on account of the infinite Majesty of God which has been offended. The hatred which God bears to sins against purity is great beyond measure. If a lady find her plate soiled she is disgusted, and cannot eat. Now, with what disgust and indignation must God, who is purity itself, behold the filthy impurities by which his law is violated: He loves purity with an infinite love; and consequently he has an infinite hatred for the sensuality which the lewd, voluptuous man calls a small evil. Even the devils who held a high rank in heaven before their fall disdain to tempt men to sins of the flesh.

St. Thomas says that Lucifer, who is supposed to have been the devil that tempted Jesus Christ in the desert, tempted him to commit other sins, but scorned to tempt Him to offend against chastity. Is this sin a small evil? Is it, then, a small evil to see a man endowed with a rational soul, and enriched with so many divine graces, bring himself by the sin of impurity to the level of a brute?" "Fornication and pleasure," says St. Jerome, "pervert the understanding, and change men into beasts." In the voluptuous and unchaste are literally verified the words of David: And man, when he was in honor, did not understand: he is compared to senseless beasts, and is become like to them. St. Jerome says, that there is nothing more vile or degrading than to allow one's self to be conquered by the flesh. Is it a small evil to forget God, and to banish him from the soul, for the sake of giving the body a vile satisfaction, of which, when it is over, you feel ashamed? Of this the Lord complains by the Prophet Ezechiel: Thus saith the Lord God: Because thou hast forgotten Me, and hast cast Me off behind thy back (Ezech. xxiii. 35). St. Thomas says, that by every vice, but particularly by the vice of impurity, men are removed far from God.

Moreover, sins of impurity on account of their great number, are an immense evil. A blasphemer does not always blaspheme, but only when he is drunk or provoked to anger. The assassin, whose trade is to murder others, does not, at the most, commit more than eight or ten homicides. But the unchaste are guilty of an unceasing torrent of sins, by thoughts, by words, by looks, by complacencies, and by touches; so that when they go to confession they find it impossible to tell the number of the sins they have committed against purity. Even in their sleep the devil represents to them obscene objects, that, on awakening, they may take delight in them; and because they are made the slaves of the enemy, they obey and consent to his suggestions; for it is easy to contract a habit of this sin. To other sins, such as blasphemy, detraction, and murder, men are not prone; but to this vice nature inclines them. Hence St. Thomas says, that there is no sinner so ready to offend God as the votary of lust is, on every occasion that occurs to him. The sin of impurity brings in its train the sins of defamation, of theft, hatred, and of boasting of its own filthy abominations. Besides, it ordinarily involves the malice of scandal. Other sins, such as blasphemy, perjury, and murder, excite horror in those who witness them; but this sin excites and draws others, who are flesh, to commit, it, or, at least, to commit it with less horror.

St. Cyprian says that the devil through impurity triumphs over the whole of man. By lust the evil triumphs over the entire man, over his body and over his soul; over his memory, filling it with the remembrance of unchaste delights, in order to make him take complacency in them; over his intellect, to make him desire occasions of committing sin; over the will, by making it love its impurities as his last end, and as if there were no God. I made, said Job, a covenant with my eyes, that I would not so much as think upon a virgin. For what part should God from above have in me (Job, xxxi.)? Job was afraid to look at a virgin, because he knew that if he consented to a bad thought God should have no part in him. According to St. Gregory, from impurity arises blindness of understanding, destruction, hatred of God, and despair of eternal life." St. Augustine says, though the unchaste may grow old, the vice of impurity does not grow old in them. Hence St. Thomas says, that there is no sin in which the devil delights so much as in this sin; because there is no other sin to which nature clings with so much tenacity. To the vice of impurity it adheres so firmly, that the appetite for carnal pleasures becomes insatiable. Go now, and say that the sin of impurity is but a small evil. At the hour of death you shall not say so; every sin of that kind shall then appear to you a monster of hell. Much less shall you say so before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ, who will tell you what the Apostle has already told you: No fornicator, or unclean, hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, and God? The man who has lived like a brute does not deserve to sit with the angels.

Most beloved brethren, let us continue to pray to God to deliver us from this vice; if we do not, we shall lose our souls. The sin of impurity brings with it blindness and obstinacy. Every vice produces darkness of understanding; but impurity produces it in a greater degree than all other sins. Fornication, and wine, and drunkenness take away the understanding (Os iv. II). Wine deprives us of understanding and reason; so does impurity. Hence St. Thomas says, that the man who indulges in unchaste pleasures, does not live according to reason. Now, if the unchaste are deprived of light, and no longer see the evil which they do, how can they abhor it and amend their lives? The Prophet Osee says, that blinded by their own mire, they do not even think of returning to God; because their impurities take away from them all knowledge of God. They will not set their thought to return to their God: for the spirit of fornication is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord (Os. v. 4)." Hence St. Laurence Justinian writes, that this sin makes men forget God. "Delights of the flesh induced forgetfulness of God." And St. John Damascene teaches that "the carnal man cannot look at the light of truth." Thus, the lewd and voluptuous no longer understand what is meant by the grace of God, by judgment, hell, and eternity. Fire hath fallen upon them, and they shall not see the sun! Some of these blind miscreants go so far as to say, that fornication is not in itself sinful. They say, that it was not forbidden in the Old Law; and in support of this execrable doctrine they adduce the words of the Lord to Osee: "Go, take thee a wife of fornication, and have of her children of fornication (Os. i. 2)." In answer I say, that God did not permit Osee to commit fornication; but wished him to take for his wife a woman who had been guilty of fornication: and the children of this marriage were called children of fornication, because the mother had been guilty of that crime. This is, according to St. Jerome, the meaning of the words of the Lord to Osee. "Therefore," says the holy Doctor, "they are to be called children of fornication, because born of a harlot." But fornication was always forbidden, under pain of mortal sin, in the Old, as well as in the New Law. St. Paul says: No fornicator or unclean hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Ephes. v. 5). Behold the impiety to which the blindness of such sinners carry them! From this blindness it arises, that though they go to the sacraments, their confessions are null for want of true contrition; for how is it possible for them to have true sorrow, when they neither know nor abhor their sins?

The vice of impurity also brings with it obstinacy. To conquer temptations, particularly against chastity, continual prayer is necessary. Watch ye, and pray, that ye enter not into temptation (Mark, xiv. 38). But how will the unchaste, who are always seeking to be tempted, pray to God to deliver them from temptation? They sometimes, as St. Augustine confessed of himself, even abstain from prayer, through fear of being heard and cured of the disease, which they wish to continue. "I feared," said the saint, "that Thou wouldst soon hear and heal the disease of concupiscence, which I wished to be satiated, rather than extinguished." St. Peter calls this vice an unceasing sin. Having eyes full of adultery and sin that ceasest not. Impurity is called an unceasing sin on account of the obstinacy which it induces.

Some person addicted to this vice says: I always confess the sin. So much the worse; for since you always relapse into sin, these confessions serve to make you persevere in the sin. The fear of punishment is diminished by saying: I always confess the sin. If you felt that this sin certainly merits hell, you would scarcely say: I will not give it up; I do not care if I am damned. But the devil deceives you. Commit this sin, he says: for you afterwards confess it. But, to make a good confession of your sins, you must have true sorrow of the heart, and a firm purpose to sin no more. Where are this sorrow and this firm purpose of amendment, when you always return to the vomit? If you had had these dispositions, and had received sanctifying grace at your confessions, you should not have relapsed, or at least you should have abstained for a considerable time from relapsing. You have always fallen back into sin in eight or ten days, and perhaps in a shorter time, after confession. What sign is this? It is a sign that you were always at enmity with God. If a sick man instantly vomits the medicine which he takes, it is a sign that his disease is incurable.

St. Jerome says that the vice of impurity, when habitual, will cease when the unhappy man who indulges in it is cast into the fire of hell. "O infernal fire, lust, whose fuel is gluttony, whose sparks are brief conversations, whose end is hell." The unchaste become like the vulture that waits to be killed by the fowler, rather than abandon the rottenness of the dead bodies on which it feeds. This is what happened to a young woman, who, after having lived in the habit of sin with a young man, fell sick, and appeared to be converted. At the hour of death she asked leave of her confessor to send for the young man, in order to exhort him to change his life at the sight of her death. The confessor very imprudently gave the permission, and taught her what she should say to her accomplice in sin. But listen to what happened. As soon as she saw him, she forgot her promise to the confessor and the exhortation she was to give to the young man. And what did she do? She raised herself up, sat in bed, stretched her arms to him, and said: Friend, I have always loved you, and even now, at the end of my life, I love you: I see that, on your account, I shall go to hell: but I do not care: I am willing, for the love of you, to be damned. After these words she fell back on the bed and expired. These facts are related by Father Segneri. Oh! how difficult is it for a person who has contracted a habit of this vice, to amend his life and return sincerely to God! how difficult is it for him not to terminate this habit in hell, like the unfortunate young woman of whom I have just spoken.


2. Illusion of those who say that God takes pity on this sin.

The votaries of lust say that God takes pity on this sin; but such is not the language of St. Thomas of Villanova. He says, that in the sacred Scriptures we do not read of any sin so severely chastised as the sin of impurity. We find in the Scriptures, that in punishment of this sin a deluge of fire descended from heaven on four cities, and in an instant, consumed not only the inhabitants, but even the very stones. "And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And He destroyed these cities, and all things that spring from the earth (Gen. xix. 24)." St. Peter Damian relates, that a man and a woman who had sinned against purity were found burnt and black as a cinder.

Salvian writes that it was in punishment of the sin of impurity that God sent on the earth the universal deluge, which was caused by continued rain for forty days and forty nights. In this deluge the waters rose fifteen cubits above the tops of the highest mountains; and only eight persons along with Noah were saved in the ark. The rest of the inhabitants of the earth, who were more numerous then that at present, were punished with death in chastisement of the vice of impurity. Mark the words of the Lord in speaking of this chastisement which he inflicted on that sin: My spirit shall not remain in man forever: because he is flesh (Gen. vi. 3). "That is," says Liranus, "too deeply involved in carnal sins." The Lord added: For it repenteth Me that I made man" The indignation of God is not like ours, which clouds the mind, and drives us into excesses: his wrath is a judgment perfectly just and tranquil, by which God punishes and repairs the disorder of sin. But to make us understand the intensity of his hatred for the sin of impurity, he represents himself as if sorry for having created man, who offended him so grievously by this vice. We, at the present day, see more severe temporal punishment inflicted on this than on any other sin.

Go into the hospitals, and listen to the shrieks of so many young men, who, in punishment of their impurities, are obliged to submit to the severest treatment and to the most painful operations, and who, if they escape death, are, according to the divine threat, feeble, and subject to the most excruciating pain for the remainder of their lives. Thou hast cast Me off behind thy back; bear thou also thy wickedness and thy fornications (Ezech. xxiii. 35).

St. Remigius writes that, if children be excepted, the number of adults that are saved is few on account of the sins of the flesh. In conformity with this doctrine, it was revealed to a holy soul that as pride has filled hell with devils, so impurity fills it with men. St. Isidore assigns the reason. He says that there is no vice which so much enslaves men to the devil as impurity. Hence St. Augustine says that with regard to this sin, "the combat is common and the victory rare." Hence it is that on account of this sin hell is filled with souls.

All that I have said on this subject has been said, not that any one present, who has been addicted to the vice of impurity, may be driven to despair, but that such persons may be cured. Let us, then, come to the remedies. These are two great remedies-- prayer, and the flight of dangerous occasions.

1. Prayer, says St. Gregory of Nyssa, is the safeguard of chastity. And before him, Solomon, speaking of himself, said the same. And as I knew that I could not otherwise be continent, except God gave, it . . . I went to the Lord, and besought Him (Wisd. viii. 21). Thus it is impossible for us to conquer this vice without God's assistance. Hence as soon as temptation against chastity presents itself, the remedy is to turn instantly to God for help, and to repeat several times the most holy names of Jesus and Mary, which have a special virtue to banish bad thoughts of that kind. I have said immediately, without listening to, or beginning to argue with, the temptation. When a bad thought occurs to the mind, it is necessary to shake it off instantly, as you would a spark that flies from the fire, and instantly to invoke aid from Jesus and Mary.

2. As to the flight of dangerous occasions, St. Philip Neri used to say that cowards that is, they who fly from the occasions gain the victory. Hence you must, in the first place, keep a restraint on the eyes, and must abstain from looking at young women. Otherwise, says St. Thomas, you can scarcely avoid the sin. Hence Job said: I made a covenant with my eves that I would not so much as think upon a virgin (Job, xxxi. I). He was afraid to look at a virgin; because from looks it is easy to pass to desires, and from desires to acts. St. Francis de Sales used to say that to look at a woman does not do so much evil as to repeatedly look at her a second time. If the devil has not gained a victory the first, he will gain the second time. And if it be necessary to abstain from looking at women, it is much more necessary to avoid conversation with them. Tarry not among women. We should be persuaded that, in avoiding occasions of this sin, no caution can be too great. Hence we must be always fearful, and fly from them. A wise man feareth and declineth from, evil; a fool is confident? A wise man is timid, and flies away: a fool is confident, and falls.



Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas for Purity

O good Jesus, I know that every perfect gift and, above all others, that of chastity depends on the powerful action of Thy divine Providence; I know that without Thee a creature can do nothing. This is why I beseech Thee to defend, by Thy grace, the purity of my soul and of my body. And if I have ever received any impression whatsoever of a sentiment capable of soiling this ineffable virtue, do Thou, O supreme Master of my faculties, blot it out from my soul, that with a clean heart I may advance in Thy love and in Thy service, offering myself chaste all the days of my life on the most pure altar of Thy divinity. It is the Cross that I adore. The Cross of the Lord is with me. The Cross is my refuge. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#4
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost


2014





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2018 - Two Sermons





2019





2021

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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