Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dominica VIII post Pentecosten: "The Lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely though wickedly"



From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 16:1-9
At that time, Jesus spake this parable unto His disciples: There was a certain rich man, which had a steward and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And so on.

Homily by St. Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Letter 151. to Algasia.
The Lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely though wickedly. The lord, although himself defrauded by it, could not but praise the shrewdness of his dishonest servant, because he had cheated him with profit to himself. How much more will our Master Christ, Who is above any defrauding by us, and is Himself the Great Forgiver, praise us if we win a blessing from Him by dealing indulgently with those who are to believe in Him?-- 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dominica VII post Pentecosten: "there are many in whom sheep's clothing is but a mask to hide wolfish ravening"


From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 7:15-21
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. And so on.

Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Comment. on Matth. ch. vi.
The Lord here warneth us that we must rate the worth of soft words and seeming meekness, by the fruits which they that manifest such things bring forth in their works, and that we should look, in order to see what a man is, not at his professions, but at his deeds. For there are many in whom sheep's clothing is but a mask to hide wolfish ravening. But "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Thus, the Lord teacheth us, is it with men also evil men bring not forth good fruits, and hereby are we to know them. Lip-service alone winneth not the kingdom of heaven, nor is every one that saith unto Christ: "Lord, Lord," an heir thereof.-- 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Sunday 13B: "God did not make death"

God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.

WIS 1:13-15; 2:23-24


Death is a consequence of sin. The Church's Magisterium, as authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death entered the world on account of man's sin.571 Even though man's nature is mortal God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin.572 "Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned" is thus "the last enemy" of man left to be conquered. CCC 1008

Death is transformed by Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, also himself suffered the death that is part of the human condition. Yet, despite his anguish as he faced death, he accepted it in an act of complete and free submission to his Father's will.574 The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing. CCC 1009

Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others. CCC 1021


Friday, June 29, 2018

Pretiosissimi Sanguinis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 19:30-35
At that time: When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said: It is finished. And He bowed His Head, and gave up the ghost. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
120th Tract on John.
One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His Side, and forthwith came thereout Blood and Water. The Evangelist speaketh carefully. He saith not that he smote the Side, nor yet that he wounded It, nor yet anything else, but pierced It, to fling wide the entrance unto life, whence flow the Sacraments of the Church, those Sacraments without which there is no entrance unto the life which is life indeed. That Blood which was shed there was shed for the remission of sins, that Water is the water that mantleth in the cup of salvation. Therein are we washed, and thereof do we drink. Of this was it a type when it was said unto Noah: The door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof and of every living thing of all flesh shalt thou bring into the ark to keep them alive. Gen. vi. 16, 19. A figure this of the Church. Thus was it that the first woman was made from the side of her husband while he slept, and she was called (Eve, which is, being interpreted,) Life, because she was the mother of all living. Gen. iii. 20. This name set forth a great good, before it became associated with the bitter fruit of a great evil. And here we have the Second Adam bowing His Head, and the deep sleep of death falling upon Him upon the Cross, and He sleepeth, that the Lord God may take a thing out of His side, and may make thereof a wife for Him. O what a death was His, which quickeneth the dead! What is cleaner than His Blood? What more health-giving than His wounding?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

In Nativitate S. Ioannis Baptistae: "To receive a name from God is one of the honours of the Saints"





Luke 1:57-69
Elisabeth's fullness of time came that she should deliver, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had showed great mercy upon her, and they rejoiced with her. And so on.



From the Sermons of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
20th on the Saints.
Outside the most holy Birthday of the Lord, we find celebrated in the Gospel the birth of only one other, namely, that of the blessed Baptist, John. As regardeth all others among God's holy and chosen ones we know that that day is observed whereon, with their work finished, and the world conquered and finally trampled down, they were born from this into a better life, even one of everlasting blessedness. In others is honoured the crowning of the struggle on their last day of dying life, but in John is honoured the first day; in him the very beginning is found hallowed. And the reason of this is, without doubt, because he was sent from God to bear witness to the coming of the Light, lest when It came It might take the darkness by surprise, and the darkness might not comprehend It. Now, John was a figure of the Old Testament, and showed in his own person a typical embodiment of the Law; and therefore John heralded beforehand the coming of the Saviour, even as the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to the grace of Christ. 
Gal. iii. 24.

But as touching this, that he prophesied while yet in the hidden depths of his mother's womb, and while himself lightless bore testimony to the truth, we are to understand it as a figure how that while himself wrapped round with the veil and carnal ordinances of the letter, he by the spirit preached unto the world a Redeemer, and testified that Jesus is our Lord even while for himself, working under the law, the birth of the new dispensation was still in the womb of the future, and not come to day. The Jews were estranged from the womb, that is from the Law, that womb heavy with the Christ That was to be; they went astray from the belly, speaking lies, Ps. lvii. 4; and therefore John came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. John i. 7.


But as for this, that when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples Matth. xi. 2; this is the Law sending to the Gospel. For John here was a figure of the Law, imprisoned in ignorance, lying in the dark, and in a hidden place, and he was fettered through Jewish misunderstanding within the bonds of the letter. But of him was it said, as is written in the Blessed Evangelist He was a burning and a shining light that is to say, that, when the whole world was wrapt in the night of ignorance, this Saint was kindled by the fire of the Holy Ghost, to show before men the light of salvation, and at the hour of the thickest darkness of sin, appeared like a bright morning star to herald the rising of that Sun so right gloriously radiant, the Son of righteousness, Christ our Lord. And this is why John said of himself: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord. John i. 15.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. ii. Comm. on Luke i.
Elizabeth's full time came that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours rejoiced with her. The birth of a Saint is a joy for many, for it is a good to all. Righteousness is an help to all, and therefore when a righteous man is born it is an heralding of his life, which is still to come, that the helpful excellency of his future should be hailed by the, as it were, prophetic joy of the neighbours. It is well that we should be told concerning the prophet, while he was yet in the womb, that we may know how that Mary was there; but we hear nothing of his childhood, because,we know that it was safe and strong through the nearness of the Lord, Himself then in that womb which was free from the sorrows of pregnancy. And therefore we read in the Gospel nothing touching him save his coming, the annunciation thereof to his father, the leap which he gave in the womb, and his crying in the wilderness.

It was not for him to feel childishness, who beyond all use of nature or of his age, when as yet he lay in his mother's womb, leapt at once unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Eph. iv. 13. It is strange how that the Holy Evangelist hath judged meet to tell us that they thought to call the child Zacharias, after the name of his father, that thou mayest notice that the mother would have none of the names whereby their kindred were called, but only that name which the Holy Ghost had dictated, and which the Angel had told before unto Zacharias. The dumb man had certainly not been able to tell his wife by what name to call the child, and Elizabeth must needs have learnt by revelation what she could not have heard from her husband.

His name is John; that is, it is not for us to choose a name now for him to whom God hath given a name already. He hath a name, which we know, but it is not one of our choosing. To receive a name from God is one of the honours of the Saints. Thus was it that Jacob's name was no more called Jacob but Israel, because he saw God face to face. Gen. xxxii. 28. Thus was it that our Lord Jesus was named before He was born, with a name not given by an Angel, but by the Father. Thou seest that Angels tell that which they have been bidden to tell, not matters of their own choosing. Nor oughtest thou to wonder that Elizabeth named a name which she had not heard, since it had been revealed to her by the same Holy Ghost Who had commanded the Angel to tell it

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dominica IV post Pentecosten: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 5:1-11
At that time, while the crowds were pressing upon Jesus to hear the word of God, He was standing by Lake Genesareth. And He saw two boats moored by the lake, but the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. And getting into one of the boats, the one that was Simon’s. He asked him to put out a little from the land. And sitting down, He began to teach the crowds from the boat. But when He had ceased speaking, He said to Simon, Put out into the deep, and lower your nets for a catch. And Simon answered and said to Him, Master, the whole night through we have toiled and have taken nothing; but at Your word I will lower the net. And when they had done so, they enclosed a great number of fishes, but their net was breaking. And they beckoned to their comrades in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish they had made; and so were also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, Do not be afraid; henceforth you shall catch men. And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all and followed Him.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. iv. on Luke v.
When the Lord wrought so many works of healing, neither time nor place could restrain the people from seeking health. Evening came, and they still followed Him He went down to the lake, and they still pressed upon Him and therefore He entered into Peter's ship. This is that ship, which spiritually up to this very hour, according to the expression of Matthew, is buffeted by tempests, but still, according to Luke, is filled with fishes, this signifying, that, for a while, to labour is present to the Church, but, hereafter, it shall be to rejoice. The fishes are they which swim in the troublous waters of human life. In this ship also spiritually doth Christ, for His disciples, still sleep, and still command; for He sleepeth for the lukewarm, and watcheth for the perfect.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Eleventh Sunday, B: “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God?"

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

MK 4:26-34


The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations.251 To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word:
The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.252
544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to "preach good news to the poor";253 he declares them blessed, for "theirs is the kingdom of heaven."254 To them - the "little ones" the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned.255 Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation.256 Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.257
545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."258 He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father's boundless mercy for them and the vast "joy in heaven over one sinner who repents".259 The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life "for the forgiveness of sins".260
546 Jesus' invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching.261 Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything.262 Words are not enough, deeds are required.263 The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word?264 What use has he made of the talents he has received?265 Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to "know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven".266 For those who stay "outside", everything remains enigmatic.267

567 The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. "This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dominica tertia post Pentecosten: "this Man receiveth sinners and eateth with them"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 15:1-5
"Now the publicans and sinners drew near unto him to hear him.
And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And he spoke to them this parable, saying:
What man of you that hath an hundred sheep: and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders, rejoicing:"

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
34th on the Gospels.
Ye have heard, my brethren, from the Gospel which hath but now been read, how that the publicans and sinners drew near unto our Redeemer, and how that He received them, not only to converse, but also to eat with Him. And when the Pharisees and Scribes saw it, they murmured. From this learn ye, that true righteousness is merciful, and false righteousness is contemptuous, albeit that the righteous also oft-times feel moved with just indignation at sinners. But it is one thing to feel thus indignant through pride, and another to feel so through love of law.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sunday 10B: "How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand."

Jesus came home with his disciples.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, "He is out of his mind."
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said,
"He is possessed by Beelzebul,"
and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons."

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
"How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself
and is divided, he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder the house.
Amen, I say to you,
all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be
forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin."
For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."

Mark 3; 20-35

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.266 Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".267 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."268
392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.269 This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God."270 The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".271
393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."272
394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father.273 "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil."274 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."275

(CCC)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dominica Sanctissime Trinitatis: "Teach all nations"

Matt 28:18-20
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And so on.

Homily by St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Patriarch of Constantinople.
Treatise on the Faith.
There is no Catholic but knoweth that the Father is a Very Father, the Son a Very Son, and the Holy Ghost a Very Holy Ghost, even as the Lord Himself saith unto His Apostles: "Go ye and baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." This is that Perfect Trinity Who is but One being, and of Whom therefore we testify that His Substance is one. For we make no division in God, as divisions are made in bodies, but we testify, that, according to the power of the Divine Nature, Which standeth not in matter, the Persons named have a real existence, and that God is One.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Dominica post Ascensionem: "He is with us alway even unto the end of the world"


John 15:26-27; 16:1-4
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: When the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, Which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Tract 92 John.
The Lord Jesus, in that discourse which He addressed to His disciples after the Last Supper, when He was on the very eve of the Passion, when He was, as it were, about to go away and leave them as touching His bodily Presence, albeit as touching His spiritual Presence, He is with us alway even unto the end of the world, Matth. xxviii. 20, in that discourse He exhorted them to bear patiently the persecution of wicked men, of whom He speaketh as "the world", out of which world, nevertheless, He saith that He hath chosen even His disciples themselves, xv. 19, that they might know that it was by the grace of God that they were what they were, 1 Cor. xv. 10, whereas it was by their own sins that they had been what they had been.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ascension: "the disciples' slowness to believe that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead, was not so much their weakness as our strength"

From the Holy Gospel according to Mark
Mark 16:14-20
At that time, Jesus appeared unto the eleven disciples as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great
29th on the Gospels
I may be allowed to say that the disciples' slowness to believe that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead, was not so much their weakness as our strength. In consequence of their doubts, the fact of the Resurrection was demonstrated by many infallible proofs. These proofs we read and acknowledge. What then assureth our faith, if not their doubt? For my part, I put my trust in Thomas, who doubted long, much more than in Mary Magdalene, who believed at once. Through his doubting, he came actually to handle the holes of the Wounds, and thereby closed up any wound of doubt in our hearts.

Now confirm to our minds the trustworthiness of the fact that our Lord did indeed rise again from the dead, it is well for us to remark one of the statements of Luke Acts i. 4. "Eating together with them, He commanded them that they should not 1 John xiv. 16, 17 xvi. 7. depart from Jerusalem and a little afterward: "While they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." Consider these words, note well these mysteries. After "eating together with them He was taken up." He ate and ascended: that the fact of His eating might show the reality of the Body in Which He went up. But Mark telleth us that before the Lord ascended into heaven, He upbraided His disciples; with their unbelief and hardness of heart. From this I know not why we should gather, but that the Lord then upbraided His disciples, for whom He was about to be parted in the body, to the end that the words which He spoke unto them as He left them might be the deeper imprinted on their hearts.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Dominica V post Pascha: "whatsoever is asked, which tendeth not to salvation, is not asked in the Name of the Saviour"

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 16:23-3
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Amen, Amen, I say unto you: Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
102nd Tract on John.
We have now to consider these words of the Lord "Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you." It hath already been said in the earlier part of this discourse of the Lord, for the sake of some who ask the Father in Christ's Name and receive not, that whatsoever is asked, which tendeth not to salvation, is not asked in the Name of the Saviour. By the words "In My Name" we must not understand the vocalization of letters and syllables, but the meaning of what is said, the honest and true meaning.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dominica III post Pascha: "I go to the Father"

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 16:16-22
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: A little while, and now you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Tract 101 of John
This little while is the whole duration of this present world. In the same sense this same Evangelist saith in his Epistle ii. 18: It is the last time. The words, because I go to the Father, refer to the first clause of the text, namely, A little while and ye shall not see Me, and not to the latter clause, that is, and again a little while, and ye shall see Me. By His going to the Father He was about to bring it to pass that they should see Him no more. And thus it was that He said, not that He was about to die, and that after His death they should not see Him until He rose again, but that He was going to the Father, which He did when, after that He was risen again and had manifested Himself to them for forty days, He ascended up into heaven. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Dominica II post Pascha: "I am the Good Shepherd"


From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 10:11-16
At that time, Jesus said unto the Pharisees: "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth His life for His sheep." And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
14th on the Gospels
Dearly beloved brethren, ye have heard from the Holy Gospel what is at once your instruction, and our danger. Behold, how He Who, not by the varying gifts of nature, but of the very essence of His being, is Good, behold how He saith: I am the Good Shepherd. And then He saith what is the character of His goodness, even of that goodness of His which we must strive to copy: The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the Sheep. As He had foretold, even so did He; as He had commanded, so gave He example. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, and made His Own Body and His Own Blood to be our Sacramental Food, pasturing upon His Own Flesh the sheep whom He had bought.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Dominica in Albis: "That Body of the Lord, Which came into the assembly of the disciples through closed doors, was the Same, Which at Its birth, had become manifest to the eyes of men by passing out of the cloister of the Virgin's womb"

"When we hear this passage of the Gospel read, a question straightway knocketh at the door of our mind. How was it that the Body of the Risen Lord was a real Body, if It was able to pass through closed doors into the assembly of His disciples? But we ought to know that the works of God are no more wonderful when they can be understood by man's reason, and faith has lost her worth when her subject-matter is the subject-matter of human demonstration. Nevertheless, those very works of our Redeemer which are in themselves impossible to be understood, must be thought over in connection with other of His works, that we may be led to believe in things wonderful, by mean of things more wonderful still. That Body of the Lord, Which came into the assembly of the disciples through closed doors, was the Same, Which at Its birth, had become manifest to the eyes of men by passing out of the cloister of the Virgin's womb without breaking the seal thereof. What wonder is it if that Body Which had come out of the Virgin's womb, without opening the matrix, albeit It was then on Its way to die, now that It was risen again from the dead and instinct for ever with undying life, what wonder is it, I say, if that Body passed through closed doors? "

- Homily by Pope St Gregory 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday: "Jesus has died for me."


"Jesus has died for me. He loves me so much that he sacrificed his life for me. Yet, so that I might not lose the memory of his love, he has willed to institute the Eucharistic Sacrifice, by which Calvary is commemorated and all its merits are applied to me. For this reason the Church celebrates every day the death of Jesus, as She, in the same way that as Eve came forth from the side of Adam while sleeping, springs forth from the adorable Heart of Jesus on the Cross. What profound mysteries are hidden in today's liturgy! Jesus dies and the Church is born. He breathes his last, naked, and pours forth his blood to the last drop to clothe the Church with the stole of immortality and to fill it with the joy of an everlasting youth. In response to Jesus’ excess of love we should profess a tender devotion to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, as well as to the image of the Divine Crucifix, which we should never heed without letting it soften our hearts unto tears of gratitude for so many blessings. Every time we behold the effigy of the Cross, the Eternal Father, as was revealed by St. Gertrude, is moved to great pity for us sinners."

Source: pre1955holyweek.com 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sabato infra Hebdomadam Passionis: "the chief priests thought to kill Lazarus"

John 12:10-36
In that time, the chief priests thought to kill Lazarus also: Because many of the Jews, by reason of him, went away, and believed in Jesus. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop (of Hippo)
50th Tract on John.
When they saw Lazarus who had been raised from the dead, and knew that the miracle which the Lord had worked was so great, spread about by so many witnesses, and so plain and manifest that it could neither be concealed nor denied, they invented an expedient; and see here what it was: “But the chief Priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death." What stupidity of thought, what blindness of cruelty is here! If the Lord Christ had raised up again a man who had died a natural death, could He not also raise up one that had died by violence? Would killing Lazarus paralyse the Lord? But if ye consider that there is a difference between a man dead of disease, and a man killed, behold, the Lord hath raised up both for He first raised up Lazarus, who had died a natural death, and then Himself, after a violent one.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Passion Sunday: "The Truth commandeth us to long for a Fatherland in heaven "

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 8:46-59
At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory (the Great)
18th on the Gospels.
Dearly beloved brethren, consider the gentleness of God. He came to take away sins, and He saith Which of you convinceth Me of sin? He Who, through the might of His Godhead, was able to justify sinners, was contented to show by argument that He was not Himself a sinner. But exceeding dread is that which followeth. He that is of God heareth God's words; ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God. If, then, whosoever is of God heareth God's words, and whosoever is not of Him cannot hear His words, let each one ask himself if he, in the ear of his heart, heareth God's words, and understandeth Whose words they are? The Truth commandeth us to long for a Fatherland in heaven, to bridle the lusts of the flesh, to turn away from the glory of the world, to seek no man's goods, and to give away our own. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our nature brings sin with it and all men, "according to the spirit", are thus "born blind".

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 9:1-38
At that time, Jesus, passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
44th Tract on John.
Dread and wondrous are all the things which our Lord Jesus Christ did, both His works and His words; the works, because He wrought them; the words, because they are deep. If, therefore, we consider the meaning of this work of His, we see that that man which was blind from his birth was a figure of mankind. This spiritual blindness was the consequence of the sin of the first man, from whom we all inherit by birth, not death only, but depravity also. For if blindness be unbelief, and faith, light, whom, when Christ came, did He find faithful? May, the Apostle who had himself been born of the race of which the Prophets came, saith: We also were by nature children of wrath, even as others. Eph. ii. 3. And if children of wrath, then children also of vengeance, children of damnation, children of hell. And wherefore so by nature, unless it were that the sin of the first man had made all his descendants to be born in sin, in that they partook of his nature? If, then, our nature bring sin with it, all men, according to the spirit, are born blind.



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dominica IV in Quadragesima, "Laetare"

From the holy gospel according to St John

John 6:1-15

In that time, Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And so on. 

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. 24th Tract on John.

The miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did were the very works of God, and they enlighten the mind of man by mean of things which are seen, that he may know more of God. God is Himself of such a Substance as eye cannot see, and the miracles, by the which He ruleth the whole world continually, and satisfieth the need of everything that He hath made, are by use become so common, that scarce any will vouchsafe to see that there are wonderful and amazing works of God in every grain of seed of grass. According to His mercy He kept some works to be done in their due season, but out of the common course and order of nature, that men might see them and be astonished, not because they are greater, but because they are rarer than those which they lightly esteem, since they see them day by day.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Feria Quinta infra Hebdomadam III in Quadragesima

Luke 4:38
At that time Jesus arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
Bk. iv. on Luke iv.
Behold here how long-suffering is the Lord our Redeemer! Neither moved to anger against them, nor sickened at their guilt, nor outraged by their attacks, did He leave the Jews' country. Nay, forgetting their iniquity, and mindful only of His mercy, He strove to soften their hard and unbelieving hearts, sometimes by His teaching, and sometimes by freeing some of them, and sometimes by healing them. St. Luke doth well to tell us first of the man who was delivered from an unclean spirit, and then of the healing of a woman. The Lord indeed came to heal both sexes, but that must be healed first which was created first, and then must not she be passed by whose first sin arose rather from fickleness of heart than from depraved will.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

When not to make a fraternal correction: "But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone."

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 18:15-22
At that time, Jesus saith to his disciples: But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone.  And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
16th Sermon on the Words of the Lord, vol. x.
Why tell him his fault? Because he hath made thee smart by trespassing against thee? God forbid. If thou tell him his fault because thou lovest thyself, thou dost nothing. But if thou tell it him because thou lovest him, then dost thou do exceeding well. Hear now, in the words of the Gospel itself, for love of whom, thou oughtest to do it, of thyself, or of him. The Lord saith: If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Therefore it behoveth thee to do it for his sake, that thou mayest gain him; since, if thou so do, haply thou mayest gain him; whereas, if thou do it not, he may haply perish. Why then are there so many who reckon lightly of a trespass against their brother, and say I have done no great offence, for I have trespassed only against my fellow man? Deem it not light; thou hast trespassed, though it be against thy fellow man.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Dominica III in Quadragesima: "The Kingdom of God is upon you"

Luke 11:14-28
At that time, Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb: and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it. And so on.

Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest at Jarrow.
Bk. iv. 48 on Luke xi.
We read in Matthew xii. 22 that the devil, by which this poor creature was possessed, was not only dumb, but also blind; and that, when he was healed by the Lord, he saw as well as spake. Three miracles, therefore, were performed on this one man; the blind saw, the dumb spake, and the possessed was delivered. This mighty work was then indeed wrought carnally, but it is still wrought spiritually in the conversion of believers, when the devil is cast out of them, so that their eyes see the light of faith, and the lips, that before were dumb, are opened that their mouth may show forth the praise of God. But some of them said: He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. These some were not of the multitude, but liars among the Pharisees and Scribes, as we are told by the other Evangelist.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dominica Secunda in Quadragesima: "the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 17:1-9
At that time, Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Leo the Great. 
From a homily on the Transfiguration of the Lord.
Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and manifested forth the brightness of His glory. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in Him the Majesty of God, they knew not the power of that Body which veiled the Godhead. And therefore He had individually and markedly promised to some of the disciples that had stood by Him Matth. xvi. 28 that they should “not taste of death till they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom”, that is, in the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God, and which He willed to make visible to those three men. This it was that they saw, for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, Matth. v. 8 can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Saint Augustine on the impossibility of being saved without the Commandments

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 25:31-46
In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
On Faith and Works, xv. 4.
If, without keeping the commandments, it be possible to attain unto life by faith only, and faith, if it hath not works, is dead, James ii. 17, how can it be true that the Lord will say to such as He shall have set on His left hand Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels? He rebuketh them, not because they have not believed in Him, but because they have not wrought good works. Yea, lest any man should promise himself life eternal by faith only, (and faith, if it hath not works, is dead,) the Lord saith that He will gather together all nations, nations who have lived mingled together in the same countries, that we may seem to hear them which have believed indeed in Him, but have not wrought good works, (as though that their dead faith could, being alone, lead them into life eternal,) that we may seem to hear such crying unto Him, Lord, when saw we thee suffering such and such things, and did not minister unto thee?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dominica I in Quadragesima: Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil

Gospel: Matt 4:1-11.
In that time, Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
16 th on the Gospels.
Some persons are accustomed to question what Spirit it was of which Jesus was led up into the wilderness, on account of the words a little farther on Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city and again The devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain. But in truth, and without any searching, we may very fitly take it that we are to believe it was the Holy Ghost Who led Him up into the wilderness; His own Spirit led Him where the evil spirit found Him to tempt Him. When however it is said that He, God and man, was taken up by the devil either into an exceeding high mountain or into the holy city, the mind shrinketh from believing, and the ears of man tingle to hear it. Yet these things we know not to be incredible, when we consider certain other things concerning Him.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy for Dominica Quinquagesima: "we go up to Jerusalem"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 18:31-43
In that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
2nd on the Gospels.
Our Redeemer, foreseeing that the minds of His disciples would be troubled by His suffering, told them long before both of the pains of that suffering, and of the glory of His rising again, to the end that, when they should see Him die as He had prophesied, they might not doubt that He was likewise to rise again. But, since His disciples were yet carnal, and could not receive the words telling of this mystery, He wrought a miracle before them. A blind man received his sight before their eyes, that if they could not receive heavenly things by words, they might be persuaded of heavenly things by deeds. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sexagesima Sunday: "The seed is the Word."

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 8:4-15
At that time: When much people were gathered together, and were come to Jesus out of every city, he spake by a parable. A sower went out to sow his seed. And so on, and that which followeth.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
5th on the Gospels.
Dearly beloved brethren, the passage from the Holy Gospel which ye have just heard, needeth not so much that I should explain it, as that I should seek to enforce its lesson. The Truth Himself hath explained it, and, after that, it beseemeth not man's frailty to fritter away His exposition by any further comment. But there is, in that very explanation by the Lord, somewhat, which it behoveth us well to weigh. If it were but we who bade you believe that by the seed is signified the word; by the field, the world; by the birds, the devils; and by the thorns, riches ye would perchance doubt of the truth of our explanation. Therefore the Lord Himself hath vouchsafed to give this explanation, and that, not for this parable only, but that ye may know in what manner to interpret others, whereof He hath not given the meaning.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Candlemass: On the procession and blessed candles

"We walk while we sing to God to denote that to stand still in the paths of virtue is to go back. The lights we bear in our hands represent the divine fire of love with which our hearts ought to be inflamed, and which we are to offer to God without any mixture of strange fire, the fire of concupiscence, envy, ambition, or the love of creatures. We also hold these lights in our hands to honour Christ, and to acknowledge him as the true light."

- Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Second Sunday after Epiphany: "and there was a wedding at Cana Jesus was invited also"


From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 2:1-11
At that time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Tract. 9. in John.
Even setting aside any mystical interpretation, the fact that the Lord was pleased to be asked, and to go to a marriage, showeth plainly enough that He is the Author and Blesser of marriage. There were yet to be those of whom the Apostle hath warned us as forbidding to marry; who say that marriage is a bad thing in itself, and a work of the devil. Yet we read in the Gospel that when the Lord was asked, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? He answered that it was not lawful, except it were for fornication. In which answer ye will remember that He used these words: What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.