|Eighth Sunday after Pentecost|
he Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans, viii. 12-17. Brethren: we are debtors not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba (Father). For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also: heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
"The works of the flesh are," according to St. Paul, "fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like" (Gal. v. 19,20). Those who practice such vices are not children of God, and will inherit, not heaven, but eternal death. Examine yourself, therefore, whether you are not living according to the flesh, and for the future resist sinful desires with God's assistance, and you will gain a crown in heaven.
Grant me, O Lord, Thy spirit, that I may always remember the happiness of Thy kingdom, may mortify the lusts of the flesh, and may walk as Thy child in holy chastity.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, xvi. 1-9. At that time Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship: for now thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. Therefore calling together every one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: An hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity; that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.
Who are meant by the rich man annd his steward?
By the rich man is meant God; by the steward, man. The goods intrusted to the steward are the different goods and gifts of soul and body, of nature and grace.
Why did Christ use this parable?
To teach us that God requires of every man a strict account of whatever has been given to him, to encourage us to be liberal to the poor, and to warn us against dissipation and injustice.
How are we to understand the direction "to make unto us friends of the mammon of iniquity"?
Riches are called the mammon of iniquity because they so easily lead us to injustice, avarice, excess, and dissipation. Jesus intends to say that we should, according to our ability, employ in doing good those worldly goods which so easily carry us into sin. But He is not to be understood as saying that we should steal, or cheat, or use goods otherwise unjustly obtained, to give alms.
What friends are we thus to make?
The friends are: the good works which render us pleasing to God, and open to us heaven; the poor, the saints of God; the angels, who rejoice in our benevolence, and become our intercessors; amd finally Christ, Who regards what is given to the poor as so much given to Himself (Matt. xxv. 40). "The hands of the poor," says St. Chrysostom, "are the hands of Christ; through them we send our goods to heaven beforehand and through their intercession we obtain the grace of salvation."
Grant me, O most just God and Judge, grace so to use the goods intrusted to me on earth, that with them I may make myself friends to receive me, at the end of my life, into everlasting habitations.
INSTRUCTION ON CALUMNY
Is calumny a grievous sin?
When the occasion is important, and the slander is deliberately uttered, with evil intention, when one's neighbor is thereby grievously injured, and his good name damaged, every one may see how grievous and detestable, in such case, this sin is.
Is it sinful to disclose the faults of our neighbor?
To make public the faults and sins of our neighbor uselessly, merely for the entertainment of idle persons, is always sinful. But if, after trying in vain to correct his faults and sins by brotherly admonition, we make them known to his parents or superiors, for his punishment and amendment, so far from being a sin, it is rather a good work and a duty of Christian charity.
Is it a sin also to listen willingly to calumny?
Yes; for thereby we furnish the calumniator an occasion for sin and give him encouragement. For which reason St. Bernard says: "Whether to calumniate be a greater sin than to listen to the calumniator I will not lightly decide."
What ought to restrain us from calumny?
The thought, 1, of the enormity of this sin; 2, of the number of sins occasioned thereby of which the calumniator, as the occasion of them, becomes partaker; 3, of the difficulty of correcting the harm done, since we cannot know the full extent of the injury, nor stop the tongues of people. Finally, we must think on the eternal punishment which follows sin. The holy Fathers say that of young persons who are condemned the greater part is for impurity, but of the old, for calumny.
Watch over me, O most loving Jesus, that I may not be so blinded, either through hatred or envy, as to destroy by calumny the good name of my neighbor, and thereby make myself guilty of so grievous a sin.