|Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost|
he Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, iii. 16-22. Brethren: To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not: And to his seeds, as of many: but as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God: the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years, doth not annul, to make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come, to whom He made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one. Was the law then against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe.
St. Paul shows the Galatians that they could not be justified by the Mosaic law, but only by active faith. The promise, he says, which God gave Abraham, that all nations should be saved through faith in one of his seed, pointed to Christ. Even the Scriptures tell us that, notwithstanding the law and its sacrifices, the Jews remained sinners; it could not, therefore, by itself, justify man. It follows, therefore, that salvation was to be gained only through Jesus, Who delivered men from the Jewish law. Let us, then, by active faith in Him, make use of this grace for eternity.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, xvii. 11-19. At that time, as Jesus was going to Jerusalem, He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off; and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Whom when He saw, He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks; and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said: Were not ten made clean? and where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger. And He said to him: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.
What, in a spiritual sense, does leprosy mean?
In a spiritual sense leprosy means sin, especially the sin of impurity. The Jewish law divided leprosy into three kinds, namely, that of the flesh, that of garments, and that of houses. The leprosy of the flesh may be likened to the impure, who easily corrupt others; the leprosy of garments, to luxury of dress and scandalous fashions, by which not only souls are seduced into sin, but many families and communities are brought to poverty and plunged into eternal ruin; the leprosy of houses, to places where wicked and immoral servants are kept; where immodest dances and plays occur, where licentious acts are committed, where meetings are allowed and encouraged to the injury of virtue and of our neighbor's honor, where assistance or advice is given in wicked undertakings of any sort.
Why did the lepers stand afar off?
Because it was thus commanded by the Jewish law, so that no one might catch contagion from them. From this we learn that we must as carefully shun scandalous persons, companies, and houses, as we would the plague. "He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled with it, and he that hath fellowship with the proud shall put on pride" (Ecclus. xiii. 1).
Why did Jesus ask for the nine others who also were made clean?
To show how greatly ingratitude displeases Him. Injuries to Himself He generally submitted to in silence; but this ingratitude He would not suffer to pass uncondemned. So great a sin is ingratitude. On this account St. Bernard says, "Ingratitude is an enemy of the soul that destroys merit, corrupts virtue, and prevents grace. It is a scorching wind that dries up the fountain of the goodness and the mercy of God."
Why does God require us to be grateful?
This question St. Chrysostom answers very beautifully by saying: "God requires gratitude of us only that He may confer on us new graces." Then let us not forget to thank Him morning and evening; before and after meals; as often as you recognize His blessings in your house, in your children, in your property, your cattle, your fields, your fruits. St. Augustine says: "We cannot think, speak, or write anything better or more acceptable than, 'Thanks be to God!'"
O Jesus Christ, Who, while upon earth, didst for our example and encouragement give thanks to thy Heavenly Father for all things, by Thy thankfulness I beseech of Thee graces to give thanks through Thee to our Father in heaven, at all times, for all things.