|Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost|
he Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, iv. 23-28. Brethren: Be renewed in the spirit of your mind: and put on the new man, who, according to God, is created in justice, and holiness of truth. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.
The epistle of today particularly concerns such as live in falsehood, hatred, anger, injustice, impurity, or other sins. Perhaps we have often renewed our spirit at a jubilee, or a mission, or a spiritual retreat; we seemed then to be converted, and to have become new men, but how long did our spiritual renovation last? Alas, how soon were we sinners again! We thought that, after making a general confession, everything was done; instead of zealously using all means to preserve ourselves in this happy state of spiritual renewal, we allowed ourselves once more to resort to bad company and dangerous occasions, and gave ourselves up, as before, to idleness and indulgence. When shall we be lastingly converted?
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Matthew, xxii. 2-14. At that time Jesus spoke to the chief priests and Pharisees in parables, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. But they neglected, and went their own ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise. And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
Remark - This parable is, in many respects, the same as that for the Second Sunday after Pentecost, and has the same meaning. See, therefore, the explanation of that gospel; in addition to this, consider also the following
1. In the present parable the king is our heavenly Father. Who has espoused His only-begotten Son to the Church. 2. The feast is made up of the doctrines of the Gospel, the holy sacraments, with the other means of salvation, and of eternal joys. 3. The servants sent to invite the guests are the prophets, apostles, and disciples of Christ. 4. Those invited are the Jews, who, despising the honor intended for them, put to death the prophets and apostles. 5. In their place others, that is, the heathen, were called from all quarters of the earth, who, having been in the broad road to destruction, now occupy the place of the Jews in the marriage-feast of the Church, and will one day occupy their place in heaven. 6. The wedding garment signifies charity, which shows itself by good works; without this, faith avails nothing.
That the man without a wedding garment was silent when questioned by the king shows us that no one will be able to excuse himself before God for not having charity, since every one may have it if he only ask it from God, and be willing to practise it.
I thank Thee, O Jesus, that, through Thy incarnation, passion, and death, Thou hast gained for me eternal happiness; give me also the wedding garment of charity, that I may be admitted to the heavenly marriage-feast, and not be cast into the exterior darkness.
Lessons of Consolation from the Joys of Heaven.
In what these joys consist, St. Paul himself, though more than once caught up to heaven and allowed to see and taste them, could not describe. He only says that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" (I. Cor. ii 9). In heaven all beauties, all delights, all joys, are found in the highest and most perfect degree; free from all evil, free from all anxiety and disgust, and free from all fear of ever losing them. In a word, in heaven man shall possess God Himself, the source of all joy and happiness, and shall, with Him, enjoy God's own happiness for all eternity. "We shall be like to Him" (I. John iii. 2).
Is there need of anything more to give us the highest conception of heaven?
"How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God" (Ps. lxxxiii). "How weary of the world am I when I contemplate heaven!"