|Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost|
he First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, xv. 1-10. I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand, by which also you are saved: if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures: and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures: and that He was seen by Cephas, and after that by the eleven. Then was He seen by more than five hundred brethren at once, of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen by James, then by all the apostles: and last of all, He was seen also by me as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am: and His grace in me hath not been void.
This epistle teaches us that the holy apostle Paul was not elated with vanity by the revelations he had received from God, but rather felt himself unworthy of them, ascribing it to God's grace that he was what he was, even so the truly humble man thinks little of himself, is willing tp be despised by others, and gives glory to God alone.
Such humility is a most difficult lesson to our sensual nature. But are we not sinners, and far greater sinners than St. Paul was? and shall we then esteem ourselves highly? And granting that we have not to reproach ourselves with any great sins, and have even done much good, is it not presumption and robbery to claim for ourselves what belongs to grace? Let us learn, therefore, to be humble, and to count ourselves always unprofitable servants.
O most humble Saviour, banish from my heart the spirit of pride, and impart to me the most necessary grace of humility. Give me grace to know that, of myself, I can do nothing that is pleasing to Thee, that all my sufficiency for good comes from Thee, and that Thou workest in us both to will and to accomplish (II. Cor. iii. 5; Phil. ii. 13).
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Mark, vii. 31-37. At that time, Jesus, going out of the coasts of Tyre, came by Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring to Him one deaf and dumb: and they besought Him that He would lay His hand upon him. And taking him from the multitude apart, He put His fingers into his ears, and spitting, He touched his tongue: and looking up to heaven, He groaned, and said to him: Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened. And immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right. And He charged them that they should tell no man. But the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it: and so much the more did they wonder, saying: He hath done all things well; He hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
Who among Christians are like deaf and dumb of this gospel?
Those who are deaf to the voice of God, and dumb in prayer, in the praise of God, in the defence of religion, and of the good name of their neighbor, and in confessing their sins.
Why did Christ take the deaf and dumb man aside?
Because He did not seek the praise of men, and at the same time was loath to provoke too soon the hatred of His enemies.
Why did Jesus put His finger into the ears of the deaf and dumb, and spitting, touch his tongue?
To show this unfortunate person by signs that it was He Who freed him from his bodily evils, and that the healing power was not the consequence of secretly given remedies, but proceeded immediately from Himself.
Why did Jesus look up to heaven and groan?
1. To show that He acted not as mere man, but that He had received all power from His eternal Father. 2 That He might thereby awaken and animate the deaf and dumb man to confidence in His power and belief in His divine mission. Learn hence to practise the beautiful virtue of compassion for others' sufferings, and to acknowledge that every good gift is from above.
Why did Christ charge them that they should tell no man?
That we might learn not to seek the praise of men for our good deeds. Let us learn to make known the works of God to His glory; for He is continually working before our eyes every day so many wonders, in order that we may praise His benignity and omnipotence.
O Jesus, great physician of souls, open mine ears to attend to Thy holy will; loosen my tongue to proclaim and praise forever Thy love and goodness.