|Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost|
he Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians, iii. 17-21; iv. 1-3. Be followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of His glory, according to the operation whereby also He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. Therefore, my dearly beloved brethren, and most desired, my joy and my crown; so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia, and I beseech Syntyche, to be of one mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.
In these words the Apostle gives warning against the false teachers of his day, who, although outwardly receiving and preaching Christianity, in heart hated the strict requirements of Christian morals, and lived according to their sensual lusts. He therefore cautions the faithful not to take them for patterns, for they are only hastening to eternal perdition, but rather to be followers of him, and of those who imitate his life.
These warnings and admonitions apply also to us. For are there not among us enemies of the cross of Christ, who are called Christians, but who will have nothing to do with self-denial, mortification, chastity, and such like virtues? who indeed despise them, and count those who practice them fools? Let us not be led asreay by them. For what will be the end of them? Everlasting destruction. For he who does not crucify his flesh does not belong to Christ (Gal. v. 24); whoever does not bear about his body the dying of Christ, in his body the life of Christ, will never be made manifest (II. Cor. iv. 10). Whoever does not already walk in heaven, that is, direct his thoughts and desires to heavenly goods, will not find admission there after death.
O my God, would that I might say, with St. Paul, the world is crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal. vi. 14).
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Matthew, ix. 18-26. At that time, as Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored Him, saying: Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus rising up followed him, with His disciples. And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself: If I shall touch only His garment, I shall be healed. But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout, He said: Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, He went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.
The ruler and the woman here mentioned teach us that in diseases of body or of mind we should have recourse to Jesus with faith and confidence; and even when the malady continues, and seems to be incurable, we should not suffer our courage to sink.
ON MOCKERY AND RIDICULE.
When Jesus entered the house of Jairus, and said, "The girl is not dead, but sleepeth," the multitude laughed Him to scorn, because they understood neither the meaning of His words nor what He was about to do. Similar treatment sensual-minded men of the world often give to those servants of God who, by word and example, preach the contempt of honors, riches, pleasures, and the love of poverty, humility, and mortification. Permit not yourself to be led astray by those who ridicule your zeal for virtue; pay no heed to them, according to the example of Jesus, and trust in Him Who was Himself derided for your sake. Say to yourself: "I know, O dearest Jesus, that the servant is not greater than his master. When Thou wast so often mocked, why should it appear strange to me to be jeered at and called senseless for endeavoring to practice devotion and virtue? I would not fare differently from Thee, my Lord and my God."