|Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost|
he Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, iii. 13-21. Brethren: I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God. Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us; To him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, world without end. Amen.
St. Paul was in prison at Rome when he wrote this epistle, and was anxious lest the Ephesians might think that the Faith, the proclaimers of which were thus persecuted, was not from God. He therefore exhorts them to remain firm in their belief; assures them that his sufferings would be for their glory if they remained as firm as he; and prays that they may be enlightened to know the love of God - that is, what Christ had done and suffered for us. Hence we learn to ask earnestly of God grace to understand the mysteries of faith.
O heavenly Father, according to the example of St. Paul, I humbly pray that Thy spirit, Thy knowledge, Thy charity, may be deeply implanted in us, that Thou mayest possess our hearts, and that we, filled with all the fulness of Thy grace, may serve Theee more perfectly, and give Thee thanks forever.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, xiv. 1-11. At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the sabbath day, to eat bread, that they watched him. And behold, there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? But they held their peace. But he taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out, on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him to these things. And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.
Why did the Pharisees watch Jesus so closely?
To discover something in Him for which they might censure and accuse Him. How like them are those Christians who watch every step of their neighbors, and particularly of priests, hoping to find something for which to blame them, and represent them as evil persons!
Who is, spiritually, like the man with the dropsy?
The avaricious man; for as a dropsical person is never satisfied with drinking, so the avaricious man never has enough; and like the dropsy, too, avarice is hard to cure, since it grows worse with age, and generally does not leave a man till he comes to the grave.
Why is avarice reckoned among the seven deadly sins?
Because it is the root of many evils; for it leads to usury, theft, the use of false weights and measures, to the retaining of unjustly gotten goods, to the oppression of the poor, of widows and orphans, to the denial and suppression of justice, to apostacy from the faith, and to dispair. Hence the Apostle says: "They that will become rich fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition" (I. Tim. vi. 9).
An efficacious remedy for avarice is the consideration that we are only the stewards, and not the owners of our goods, of which we can take nothing with us at the hour of our death (I. Tim. vi. 7); and that one day God will require of us a strict account of what we have had.
INSTRUCTION ON KEEPING HOLY
SUNDAYS AND HOLY-DAYS OF OBLIGATION.
How must we sanctify the Sundays and holy-days?
As the third commandment enjoins, that is, on Sundays and holy-days, we must not only abstain from servile labor, but we must, as far as possible, attend divine service, both in the forenoon and afternoon; for God has not said, thou shalt be idle on the Sabbath-day, but thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath day. God will not suffer those who desecrate His holy-day to go unpunished; He will cover them with disgrace and scorn (Mal. ii. 3), and will send upon them all the evils of the time.