|Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost|
he Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, v. 25-26; vi. 1-10. Brethren: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying on another. And if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens; and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be some thing, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every one prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word, communicate to him that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
From this epistle we learn that humility should teach and admonish us to think little of ourselves - to shun self-confidence and vainglory; charity should incite us, on the other hand, to be meek, loving, compassionate, and kind to every man, even to sinners; to administer correction to the erring only with charity, for if this be done with impertinent and insolent zeal, we shall not only fail to correct offenders, but shall ourselves fall into the same temptations and sins; for God, by a common and just judgment, allows the proud, who look down upon others' sins, to fall into sin themselves, that they may learn to be humble, and to have compassion upon those who have gone astray.
O St. Paul, procure for me, by thy prayers, the grace of God, that I may continually walk in humility, may always love my neighbor, and, in particular, may bear with patience his faults and frailties, that so I may fulfil the law of God, and reap an abundant harvest.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, vii. 11-16. At that time Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.
Why did Christ have compassion on this widow?
To show us that God takes forsaken and afflicted widows under His care, and becomes Himself their comforter and helper, and to teach us that we should do likewise. Christ had, however, still other grounds for His compassion; for He foresaw in this dead youth of Naim the death of the sinner, and in the affliction of the mother the grief which the Church would suffer over the spiritual loss of so many children.
Why did Christ say to this widow, "Weep not"?
To imtimate that He would restore her son to her, and at the same time to teach us that we should not mourn and weep to excess for the dead. St. Paul therefore admonishes us not to be sorrowful in regard to the dead, as others who have no hope of resurrection (I. Thess. iv. 12).
Why did Christ command the bearers to stand still?
To awaken their confidence and to put it beyond doubt that the resurrection of the dead proceeded from Him. This should teach us that a soul that is dead cannot be restored to life so long as the passions which have caused its death, and borne it, as it were, to the grave, are not brought to a stop.
What more do we learn from this gospel?
That no one, however young, is safe from death; and that every one, therefore, should be always prepared for it.
What is often the cause of early death among young persons?
1. Gluttony and intemperance; for by surfeiting and intemperance more perish than by the sword (Ecclus. xxxvii. 34). 2. Lust. 3. Anger; "If you bite and devour one another, take heed you be not consumed one of another" (Gal. v. 15). From angry words often come strife and blows, and not unfrequently murder itself. 4. Disobedience. We have dreadful examples to show that God has taken out of the world, early and suddenly, disobedient children; for instance, Absalom. Not without reason does God say to children: "Honor thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, that thou mayest live a long time, and it may be well with thee in the land" (Deut. v. 16).
Certain it is that we shall die, but uncertain the hour of our death. Would that we might never forget this truth; that we might earnestly think of it every day! How different our lives would be! Have mercy, then, on thine own soul. Keep thyself in readiness; so live that thou mayest have no reason to fear death. Do in thy lifetime what in the hour of death you will wish that you had done. Die daily, with St. Paul, by crucifying the flesh with its desires and lusts, and by voluntarily loosening thy heart from the world, its good, and its vanities, before death does this for you by violence. In time of temptation and passion think of these truths, and resist; then to die will not be too hard.
I must one day die! How, then, can I live so carelessly? Why do I so cling to the world, which I must leave? Never again shall this be! And you, my dear friends and relatives, I will in future love only with a love and affection sanctified and directed to God; such as shall not cease in death, but, like God Himself, shall last for eternity.