Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dominica XVI post Pentecosten: "He who humbles himself will be exalted.”

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 14:1-11i

One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. Then he took him and healed him, and let him go. And he said to them, “Which of you, having an ass[a] or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a sabbath day?” And they could not reply to this.

Humility and Hospitality

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come, and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. vii. on Luke xiv.
Now is healed this man sick of the dropsy, in whom too much watery matter had well-nigh drowned the functions of life, and quenched the fire of understanding. Anon, a lesson is given in lowly-mindedness, when it is forbidden to the guests at a marriage feast to go and sit down unasked in the highest room, albeit the Lord spake gently, that the teaching of courtesy might forestall a harsh rebuke, reason prevail by dint of persuasion, and the desires be bent to follow the instruction. And upon this, as next-door neighbour, cometh courtesy, which is so called by the Lord, when it is shown to the poor and weak, since to show it to them from whom we are to receive aught, is but a movement of self-interest.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dominica XV post Pentecosten: "that souls are called to life every day is the joy of our Mother the Church"



Reading 3
From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 7:11-16
At that time: Jesus went into a city called Nain and His disciples went with Him, and much people. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
44th Discourse on the Words of the Lord.
That her son was called again to life was the joy of that widowed mother; that souls of men are every day called to life is the joy of our Mother 
the Church. He was dead in body they have been dead in mind. His death was outward, and was outwardly bewailed; their inward. Death hath been neither mourned for nor seen. But He hath sought for them, Who hath seen that they are dead, and He only hath seen that they are dead, Who hath been able to make them alive. If He had not come to raise the dead, the Apostle had not said: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Eph. v. 14.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 19:25-27
At that time: There stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother's sister, Mary (the wife) of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
On Virgins, 7.
There stood by the Cross His Mother. Men had forsaken Him, but she stood there fearless. Behold how the Mother of Jesus could break through her shrinking modesty, but could not belie her heart. With the eyes of a mother's love she gazed upon the Wounds of her Son, those Wounds through Which she knew that redemption for all mankind was flowing. The Mother, who feared not the executioners, was able to endure the sight of their work. Her Son was hanging upon the Cross, and she braved His tormentors.

From the same 25th Epistle to the Church of Vercelli.
Mary, the Mother of the Lord, stood by the Cross of her Son. My only informant of this fact is the holy Evangelist John. Others have written that when the Lord suffered, the earth quaked, the heavens were veiled in darkness, the sun was hidden, and the thief received, after a good confession, the promise of Paradise. John hath taught us what the others have not taught us. Upon the Cross He called her Mother. It is reckoned (by John) a greater thing that in the moment of triumph over agony, He should have discharged the watchful duty of a Son to His Mother, than that He should have made gift of the kingdom of heaven. For if it be a sacred thing to have forgiven the thief, this so great kindness of the Son to the Mother is to be worshipped as the outcome of a tenderer and more touching love.

Behold, saith the Lord, thy son: Behold thy Mother! Christ bore witness from the Cross, and divided the offices of his tender love between his Mother and his disciple. Thus doth the Lord give us a testament, not only of his love for souls, but also of his natural affection. Moreover, the testimony which John doth give us concerning this same testament, is a worthy testimony to the original Testator himself. It is a good testament, not of earthly riches, but of eternal life, written not in ink, but in the Spirit of the living God, who speaketh of such testimony in the Psalms, saying: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Dominica XIV post Pentecosten: "No man can serve two masters"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 6:24-33
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: No man can serve two masters. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. ii. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, ch. xiv.

"These words of our Lord, No man can serve two masters, are explained by the following: For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. We ought carefully to weigh these words, for our Lord shows who the two masters are, saying: You cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon is a term which the Hebrews are said to use for riches. It is also a Carthaginian word, for the Punic word for gain is mammon. He that serves mammon that is, loves riches serves that evil one who has perversely chosen to be the lord of these earthly things, and is called by the Lord the prince of this world (John xiv. 30). Of these two masters man will either hate the one, and love the other that is, God or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. He that serves mammon sustains a hard and pernicious master; for, led captive by his lust, he is a slave of the devil, though he love him not. Is there any one who loves the devil? Yet there are those who sustain him."

Twenty-third Sunday, A: "Tell your brother his fault"

Twenty-third Sunday
Ezekiel 33, 7-9; Psalm 95; Romans 13, 8-10;
Matthew 18, 15-20
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We know many who have fallen away from Sunday Mass and others who have never attended. If they do not know Christ we are called to introduce them. We are also in a position at times to share the truth, to let them know the serious sin they commit by choosing to not attend Mass on the Lord's Day. When we become aware that a neighbor has departed from the way of salvation in Christ fraternal correction is the response of one who loves Christ and others.

We can invite others to life in Christ by sharing the gift that is ours in a life of obedience to God.

We do indeed "meet Christ in the liturgy". Learning this truth and living by it, every Catholic can learn to love the liturgy more and to participate in it more deeply, responding to the infinite graces that are present in each Mass. Many, unfortunately, are unaware that an encounter with Christ happens each time the liturgy is offered. Many allow themselves to become bored, are put off by the obligation to attend Mass, and many fall away. Yes, we must attend Mass each week in order to fulfill the commandment to keep the Lord's Day holy, but it is more perfect to do so out of love of God and the desire to praise Him. He is ever worthy of all praise and glory because of He is God. It is our great calling as creatures to find fulfillment and happiness in coming to know and love our Creator,and to worship Him.


The teaching of the Church about the presence of Christ in the Mass, or liturgy, comes from Christ's own teaching. Christ is present in the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, really, truly and substantially. The Eucharist is the great sign of the Church and the guarantee of Lord's abiding presence in the Church and in the sacrament.

Christ is also present through the authority of the Church to teach in matters of faith and morals in his name and, as it were, with his own voice. In today's Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter eighteen, verses fifteen to twenty, we hear again that the Church has been given Christ's power to bind or loose, to forgive or not forgive sins. All of the Church's faithful enjoy Christ's presence, through the Holy Spirit, while assembled to praise and worship him and to pray in His name. The Catechism helps us in our understanding. Christ, glorified at the right of the Father in heaven, is now present among us in a number of ways, including in the earthly liturgy, or the Mass. "Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, 'the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,' but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised 'where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.' " (Mt. 18: 20) (CCC 1088)


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Dominica XIII post Pentecosten: "Go, show yourselves unto the priests."

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 17:11-19
It came to pass, as Jesus went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And, as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
Bk. ii. Gospel Questions, ch. 40.

"The ten lepers 'lifted up their voices and said: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.' And when He saw them, He said unto them 'Go, show yourselves unto the Priests'. And it came to pass that, as they went, they were cleansed." Question why did the Lord send them unto the Priests, that, as they went, they might be cleansed. Lepers were the only class among those upon whose bodies He worked mercy, whom we find that He sent unto the Priests. It is written in another place that He said to a leper whom He had cleansed: 'Go, and show thyself to the Priest, and offer for thy cleansing according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them' Luke v. 14, Lev. xiv. seq. We ask then, of what leprosy was a type, whereof they that were ridded were called, not 'healed,' but 'cleansed.' It is a disease which doth first appear in the skin, but destroyeth not immediately the strength, nor the use of feeling and the limbs.

"The lepers maybe taking mystically for those who, having no knowledge of the true faith, profess various erroneous doctrines. For they do not conceal their ignorance, but blazen it forth as the highest wisdom, making a vain show of it with boasting words. But since leprosy is a blemish in color, when true things appear clumsily mixed up with false in a single discourse or narration, as in the color of a single body, they represent a leprosy streaking in disfiguring as it were with true and false dyes the color of the human form. Now these lepers must be so put away from the church being as far removed as possible they may with the loud shouts call upon Christ.  But by either calling him teacher I think it is playing the implied the leprosy is truly the false doctrine which the good teacher may wash away.

"Now we find that of those upon whom our Lord bestowed bodily mercies, not one did He send to the priests, save the lepers, for the Jewish priesthood was a figure of that priesthood which is in the Church. All vices our Lord corrects and heals by His own power working inwardly in the conscience, but the teaching of infusion by means of the Sacrament, or of catechizing by word of mouth, was assigned to the Church.

"And as they went they were cleansed; just as the Gentiles to whom Peter came, having not yet received the sacrament of baptism, whereby we come spiritually to the priests, are declared cleansed by the infusion of the Holy Spirit. Whoever then follows true and sound doctrine in the fellowship of the Church,  proclaiming himself to be free from the confusion of lies, as it were a leprosy, yet still  ungrateful to his Cleanser does not prostrate himself with pious humility of thanksgiving, is like to those of whom the Apostle says, 'that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, nor were thankful.'"


Sunday 22A: "Get behind me, Satan!"

Christ faced many temptations along the road to Calvary and the fulfillment of the Father's perfect will. Among these, the encounter with Satan in the desert. And not only there, also in those who align themselves with Satan by denying Christ's role as Savior from sin. Avoiding the pain and suffering of the passion and death would be just such a denial of His true mission as Redeemer. Hence Christ's words which seem to identify Peter with the Devil.
"Jesus' temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. (Mt 16:21-23) This is why Christ vanquished the tempter for us: 'For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.' " (Heb 4:15) By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert." (CCC 540)
Authentic faith enables us to desire above all to see ourselves honestly, in the way that God sees us, to repent of our sins and then to live according to our need for God. "Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Total dedication to Christ and to His Gospel is rewarded with the total gift of God's love and embrace in the heavenly kingdom. Heaven begins with Christian commitment here and now, without delay or excuses. -Fr. Cusick