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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 02-16-14, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 02-16-14 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 02/15/2014 10:10:51 PM PST by Salvation

February 16, 2014

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

 

Reading 1 Sir 15:15-20

If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;
if you trust in God, you too shall live;
he has set before you fire and water
to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.
Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Immense is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power, and all-seeing.
The eyes of God are on those who fear him;
he understands man’s every deed.
No one does he command to act unjustly,
to none does he give license to sin.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34

R/ (1b) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
You have commanded that your precepts
be diligently kept.
Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Be good to your servant, that I may live
and keep your words.
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of your law.
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes,
that I may exactly observe them.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

reading 2 1 Cor 2:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
not a wisdom of this age,
nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age knew;
for, if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him,

this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

Gospel Mt 5:17-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife -  unless the marriage is unlawful -
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow
.
But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,' and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”

or Mt 5:20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a, 37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment.

“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow
.
But I say to you, do not swear at all.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes, ’and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”



TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; ordinarytime; prayer
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 02/15/2014 10:10:52 PM PST by Salvation
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2 posted on 02/15/2014 10:12:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Sirach 15:15-20

Free Will


[15] If you will, you can keep the commandments,
and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.
[16] He has placed before you fire and water:
stretch out your hand for whichever you wish.
[17] Before a man are life and death,
and whichever he chooses will be given to him.
[18] For great is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power and sees everything;
[19] his eyes are on those who fear him,
and he knows every deed of man.
[20] He has not commanded any one to be ungodly,
and he has not given any one permission to sin.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

15:11-20. The teacher of Israel stops to provide a few maxims about human free-
dom and responsibility. Verse 14 sums them up when it makes free will part of
man’s make-up, a gift God bestowed on him when he created him: “God willed
that man should ‘be left in the hand of his own counsel’ (Sir 15:14) so that he
might of his own accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and blessed
perfection by cleaving to him” (Vatican II, “Gaudium et spes”, 17); or, in the words
of a Father of the Church: “The soul shows its majesty and excellence [...] by its
self-control and freedom, when it is governed by its own will.

This action resembles nothing so much as the activity of a king [...]. Human na-
ture was created to rule over all other creatures through its likeness to the king
of the universe, and was made as a living image, which partakes of the dignity
and name of the Archetype” (St Gregory of Nyssa, “De hominis opificio”, 4).

But, along with free will, the Lord also gave man the commandments (v. 15). The
Law of God does not coerce human freedom, because it does not restrain man’s
ability to choose, but it does show him how to make best use of his free will. The
commandments of the Lord protect true freedom. Bl. John Paul II spells this out:
“Man’s ‘genuine moral autonomy’ in no way means the rejection but rather the ac-
ceptance of the moral law, of God’s command: ‘The Lord God gave this command
to the man ... ‘ (Gen 2:16). ‘Human freedom and God’s law meet and are called
to intersect’, in the sense of man’s free obedience to God and of God’s complete-
ly gratuitous benevolence towards man” (“Veritatis splendor”, 41).

Although on occasions temptation can make it difficult to make decisions, man
is always in a position to opt for good or evil: “Temptations can be overcome, sins
can be avoided, because together with the commandments the Lord gives us the
possibility of keeping them: ‘His eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows
every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has
not given any one permission to sin’ (Sir 15:19-20). Keeping God’s law in particu-
lar situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is
the constant teaching of the Church’s tradition, and was expressed by the Coun-
cil of Trent: ‘But no one, however much justified, ought to consider himself exempt
from the observance of the commandments, nor should he employ that rash state-
ment, forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the commandments of God
are impossible of observance by one who is justified. For God does not command
the impossible, but in commanding he admonishes you to do what you can and
to pray for what you cannot, and he gives his aid to enable you. His command-
ments are not burdensome (cf. 1 Jn 5:3); his yoke is easy and his burden light
(cf. Mt 11:30)’” ( “Veritatis splendor”, 102).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 02/16/2014 6:37:12 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Divine wisdom


[6] Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of
this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. [7] But we im-
part a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for
our glorification. [8] None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. [9] But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him,”
[10] God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches every-
thing, even the depths of God.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

6-8. After showing that the wisdom of the world serves no purpose and that
people need to submit to the cross of Christ, the Apostle teaches that the Gospel
is not contrary to reason; only, the wisdom it holds is much more profound, it is
divine wisdom. This is the wisdom he spreads “among the mature”, the “perfect”,
that is, those Christians who are well established in the faith, as distinct from the
“babes” referred to in 3:1, who still have need of brilliant arguments. These mature
Christians St Paul is referring to are not an inner core of privileged people, for all
the baptized are called to attain full knowledge of the Son of God (cf. Eph 4:11-16).

This wisdom is completely foreign to this world, this age, and its rulers, that is,
those who are responsible for the evil in the world: there is a reference here both
to those who directly caused our Lord’s death (the Sanhedrin, Herod, Pilate: cf. v.
8), and to the devil and the fallen angels, as can be seen from similar New Testa-
ment references (cf. Lk 4:6; Jn 12:31; Eph 2:2).

“Secret and hidden”: a reference to the content of divine wisdom and to its revela-
tion. It means the same as God’s plan of salvation, which extends to all men —
including the Gentiles (cf. Eph 3:6-8) and, in some way, to all creation (Eph 1:10);
man can never completely grasp its meaning, just as he can never totally under-
stand God; however, this secret and hidden wisdom can be known by means of
Revelation (cf. Lk 8:10; Col 1:26), which we are given in Christ (cf. Rom 16:25-26;
Eph 1:8-10; 3:3-7; Col 1:26-27), even though we can only fully grasp it in heaven.
There are, therefore, three ways of looking at this wisdom-mystery-salvation: it is
part of God’s plans from all eternity; it is manifested in Revelation and especially
in Jesus Christ, who died and is risen; we attain it partially in this life and fully in
heaven.

“Lord of glory”: here St Paul attributes to Christ on the cross a title which the Old
Testament reserved for God alone (cf. Ex 24:15; 40:34; Is 42:8), thereby making
it clear that Jesus Christ is God, equal to the Father.

9. These words of Isaiah 64:2-3 sum up the content of God’s plan — all those
gifts which man’s mind cannot grasp (cf. Eph 3:19) and which God has had ready
from all eternity for those who love him. These gifts are nothing less than God’s
love for men.

Because these gifts are only fully attained in the next life, Christian tradition sees
in these words a description of heaven: “How blessed, how marvellous, are the
gifts of God. Some of them, indeed, already lie within our comprehension – the
life that knows no death, the shining splendour of righteousness, truth in freedom,
trusting faith, the holiness of chastity. But what of the things that God has pre-
pared for those who hope in him? Only the Creator and Father of eternity knows
them. Let us strive earnestly to be counted among those who wait patiently in
order to earn a share in his promised gifts” (St Clement of Rome, “First Letter to
the Corinthians”, 35).

And the “Pius V Catechism”, for its part, teaches that “With this truth, the minds
of the faithful should be deeply impressed — that the happiness of the saints is
full to overflowing of all those pleasures which can be enjoyed or even desired in
this life, whether they have to do with the powers of the mind or of the perfection
of the body; although this must be in a manner more exalted than, to use the Ap-
ostle’s words, eye has seen, ear heard, or the heart of man conceived” (I, 13, 12).

10-12. “God has revealed to us through the Spirit”: meaning the Holy Spirit, the
third person of the Blessed Trinity, “which is from God” (v. 12) and knows the very
depths of God (vv. 10-11). These words reveal to us the divinity of the Holy Spirit;
knowing a person implies having intimacy with him; the Holy Spirit knows the
depths of God because by nature he is God, equal to the Father and the Son (cf.
Mt 11:25). “The Holy Spirit is equally God with the Father and the Son, equally
omnipotent and eternal, infinitely perfect, the supreme good, infinitely wise, and
of the same nature as the Father and the Son [. . .]. Scripture also attributes to
him the power to sanctify, to vivify, to search the depths of God, to speak through
the Prophets, and to be present in all places — all of which can be attributed to
God alone” (”St Pius V Catechism”, I, 9, 4).

Jesus had told his Apostles that “when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you
into all truth” (Jn 16:13); and on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit did open their
minds to understand the truth revealed by Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit also
acted in St Paul, so that he had the same knowledge of Revelation as the other
Apostles (cf. Gal 2:1-10). The same Spirit continues to act in the Church: “The
Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of truth, because he proceeds from the Father,
eternal Truth, and the Son, substantial truth, receives from each of them, along
with his essence, all truth, which he then communicates to the Church, helping
never to err” (Leo XIII, “Divinum illud munus”, 7).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 02/16/2014 6:37:57 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 5:17-37

Jesus and His Teaching, the Fulfillment of the Law


(Jesus said to His disciples,) [17] “Think not that I have come to abolish the law
and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. [18] For tru-
ly I say to you, till Heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass
from the law until all is accomplished. [19] Whoever then relaxes one of the least
of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the King-
dom of Heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in
the Kingdom of Heaven.”

[20] “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and
Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

[21] “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and
whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ [22] But I say to you that every one who
is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother
shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the
hell of fire. [23] So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember
that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there before the
altar and go; first to be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your
gift. [25] Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to
court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard,
and you be put in prison; [26] truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you
have paid the last penny.

[27] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ [28] But I
say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed
adultery with her in his heart. [29] If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out
and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your
whole body be thrown into hell. [30] And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut
it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that
your whole body go into hell.

[31] “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of
divorce.’ [32] But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the
ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced
woman commits adultery.”

[33] “Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear
falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ [34] But I say to you,
Do not swear at all, either by Heaven, for it is the throne of God, [35] or by the
earth, for it is His footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
[36] And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
[37] Let what you say be simply, ‘yes’ or ‘no’; anything more than this comes from
evil.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

17-19. In this passage Jesus stresses the perennial value of the Old Testament.
It is the word of God; because it has a divine authority it deserves total respect.
The Old Law enjoined precepts of a moral, legal and liturgical type. Its moral pre-
cepts still hold good in the New Testament because they are for the most part
specific divine-positive promulgations of the natural law. However, our Lord gives
them greater weight and meaning. But the legal and liturgical precepts of the Old
Law were laid down by God for a specific stage in salvation history, that is, up to
the coming of Christ; Christians are not obliged to observe them (cf. “Summa
Theologiae”, I-II, q. 108, a. 3 ad 3).

The law promulgated through Moses and explained by the prophets was God’s
gift to His people, a kind of anticipation of the definitive Law which the Christ or
Messiah would lay down. Thus, as the Council of Trent defined, Jesus not only
“was given to men as a redeemer in whom they are to trust, but also as a law-
giver whom they are to obey” (”De Iustificatione”, can. 21).

20. “Righteousness”: see the note on Matthew 5:6 (see below). This verse clari-
fies the meaning of the preceding verses. The scribes and Pharisees had distor-
ted the spirit of the Law, putting the whole emphasis on its external, ritual obser-
vance. For them exact and hyper-detailed but external fulfillment of the precepts
of the Law was a guarantee of a person’s salvation: “If I fulfill this I am righteous,
I am holy and God is duty bound to save me.” For someone with this approach
to sanctification it is really not God who saves: man saves himself through exter-
nal works of the Law. That this approach is quite mistaken is obvious from what
Christ says here; in effect what He is saying is: to enter the Kingdom of God the
notion of righteousness or salvation developed by the scribes and Pharisees
must be rejected. In other words, justification or sanctification is a grace from
God; man’s role is one of cooperating with that grace by being faithful to it. Else-
where Jesus gives the same teaching in an even clearer way (cf. Luke 18: 9-14,
the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector). It was also the origin of one
of St. Paul’s great battles with the “Judaizers” (see Galatians 3 and Romans 2-
5).

21. Verses 21-26 gives us a concrete example of the way that Jesus Christ
brought the Law of Moses to its fulfillment, by explaining the deeper meaning of
the commandments of that Law.

22. By speaking in the first person (”but I say to you”) Jesus shows that His au-
thority is above that of Moses and the prophets; that is to say, He has divine au-
thority. No mere man could claim such authority.

“Insults”: practically all translations of this passage transcribe the original Arama-
ic word, “raca” (cf. RSV note below). It is not an easy word to translate. It means
“foolish, stupid, crazy”. The Jews used it to indicate utter contempt; often, instead
of verbal abuse they would show their feelings by spitting on the ground.

“Fool” translates an ever stronger term of abuse than “raca” — implying that a per-
son has lost all moral and religious sense, to the point of apostasy.

In this passage our Lord points to three faults which we commit against charity,
moving from internal irritation to showing total contempt. St. Augustine comments
that three degrees of faults and punishments are to be noted. The first is the fault
of feeling angry; to this corresponds the punishment of “judgment”. The second
is that of passing an insulting remark, which merits the punishment of “the coun-
cil”. The third arises when anger quite blinds us: this is punished by “the hell of
fire” (cf. “De Serm. Dom. in Monte”, II, 9).

“The hell of fire”: literally, “Gehenna of fire”, meaning, in the Jewish language of
the time, eternal punishment.

This shows the gravity of external sins against charity—gossip, backbiting, calum-
ny, etc. However, we should remember that these sins stem from the heart; our
Lord focuses our attention, first, on internal sins—resentment, hatred, etc.— to
make us realize that that is where the root lies and that it is important to nip an-
ger in the bud.

23-24. Here our Lord deals with certain Jewish practices of His time, and in doing
so gives us perennial moral teaching of the highest order. Christians, of course,
do not follow these Jewish ritual practices; to keep our Lord’s commandment we
have ways and means given us by Christ Himself. Specifically, in the New and
definitive Covenant founded by Christ, being reconciled involves going to the Sa-
crament of Penance. In this Sacrament the faithful “obtain pardon from God’s
mercy for the offense committed against Him, and are, at the same time, recon-
ciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins” (”Lumen Gentium”,
11).

In the New Testament, the greatest of all offerings is the Eucharist. Although one
has a duty to go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, an essential
condition before receiving Holy Communion is that one be in the state of grace.

It is not our Lord’s intention here to give love of neighbor priority over love of God.
There is an order of charity: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the great and first command-
ment” (Matthew 22:37-38). Love of one’s neighbor, which is the second command-
ment in order of importance (cf. Matthew 22:39), derives its meaning from the first.
Brotherhood without parenthood is inconceivable. An offense against charity is,
above all, an offense against God.

[The note on Matthew 5:6 states:

6. The notion of righteousness (or justice) in Holy Scripture is an essentially re-
ligious one (cf. notes on Matthew 1:19 and 3:15; Romans 1:17; 1:18-32; 3:21-22
and 24). A righteous person is one who sincerely strives to do the Will of God,
which is discovered in the commandments, in one’s duties of state in life and
through one’s life of prayer. Thus, righteousness, in the language of the Bible,
is the same as what nowadays is usually called “holiness” (1 John 2:29; 3:7-10;
Revelations 22:11; Genesis 15:6; Deuteronomy 9:4).]

27-30. This refers to a sinful glance at any woman, be she married or not. Our
Lord fills out the precepts of the Old Law, where only adultery and the coveting
of one’s neighbor’s wife were considered sinful.

“Lustfully”: feeling is one thing, consenting another. Consent presupposes that
one realizes the evil of these actions (looking, imagining, having impure thoughts)
and freely engages in them.

Prohibition of vices always implies a positive aspect—the contrary virtue. Holy pu-
rity, like every other virtue, is something eminently positive; it derives from the
First Commandment and is also directed to it: “You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
“Purity is a consequence of the love that prompts us to commit to Christ our soul
and body, our faculties and senses. It is not something negative; it is a joyful affir-
mation” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 5). This virtue demands that we
use all the resources available to us, to the point of heroism if necessary.

“Right eye”, “right hand”, refers to whatever we value most. Our Lord lays it on
the line and is not exaggerating. He obviously does not mean that we should phy-
sically mutilate ourselves, but that we should fight hard without making any con-
cessions, being ready to sacrifice anything which clearly could put us in the way
of offending God. Jesus’ graphic words particularly warn us about one of the most
common occasions of sin, reminding us of how careful we need to be guarding
our sight. King David, by indulging his curiosity, went on to commit adultery and
crime. He later wept over his sins and led a holy life in the presence of God (cf.
2 Samuel 11 and 12).

“The eyes! Through them many iniquities enter the soul. So many experiences
like David’s!—If you guard your sight you will have assured the guard of your heart:
(St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 183).

Among the ascetical methods of protecting the virtue of holy purity are: frequent
Confession and Communion; devotion to our Lady; a spirit of prayer and mortifi-
cation; guarding of the senses; flight from occasions of sin; and striving to avoid
idleness by always being engaged in doing useful things. There are two further
means which are particularly relevant today: “Decorum and modesty are younger
brothers of purity” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 128). Decorum and modesty are a
sign of good taste, of respect for others and of human and Christian dignity. To
act in accord with this teaching of our Lord, the Christian has to row against the
current in a paganized environment and bring his influence for good to bear on it.

“There is need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and undo the
savage work of those who think that man is a beast. And that crusade is a mat-
ter for you” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 121).

31-32. The Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 24:1), which was laid down in ancient
times, had tolerated divorce due to the hardness of heart of the early Hebrews.
But it had not specified clearly the grounds on which divorce might be obtained.
The rabbis worked out different sorts of interpretations, depending on which
school they belonged to — solutions ranging from very lax to quite rigid. In all ca-
ses, only husband could repudiate wife, not vice-versa. A woman’s inferior posi-
tion was eased somewhat by the device of a written document whereby the hus-
band freed the repudiated woman to marry again if she wished. Against these
rabbinical interpretations, Jesus re-establishes the original indissolubility of mar-
riage as God instituted it (Genesis 1:27; 2:24; cf. Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 1:
31; 1 Corinthians 7:10).

[The RSVCE carries a note which reads “unchastity”: The Greek word used here
appears to refer to marriages which were not legally marriages, because they
were within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity (Leviticus 18:6-16) or contrac-
ted with a Gentile. The phrase “except on the ground of unchastity” does not oc-
cur in the parallel passage in Luke 16:18. See also Matthew 19:9 (Mark 10: 11-
12), and especially 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, which shows that the prohibition is un-
conditional.] The phrase, “except on the ground of unchastity”, should not be ta-
ken as indicating an exception to the principle of absolute indissolubility of ma-
rriage which Jesus has just re-established. It is almost certain that the phrase re-
fers to unions accepted as marriage among some pagan people, but prohibited
as incestuous in the Mosaic Law (cf. Leviticus 18) and in rabbinical tradition. The
reference, then, is to unions radically invalid because of some impediment. When
persons in this position were converted to the True Faith, it was not that their un-
ion could be dissolved; it was declared that they had never in fact been joined in
true marriage. Therefore, this phrase does not do against the indissolubility of
marriage, but rather reaffirms it.

On the basis of Jesus’ teaching and guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church has ru-
led that in the specially grave case of adultery it is permissible for a married cou-
ple to separate, but without the marriage bond being dissolved; therefore, neither
party may contract a new marriage.

The indissolubility of marriage was unhesitatingly taught by the Church from the
very beginning; she demanded practical and legal recognition of this doctrine, ex-
pounded with full authority by Jesus (Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16: 18)
and by the Apostles (1 Corinthians 6:16; 7:10-11; 39; Romans 7:2-3; Ephesians
5:31f).

Here, for example, are just a few texts from the Magisterium on this subject:
“Three blessings are ascribed to matrimony [...]. The third is the indissolubility
of matrimony — indissoluble because it signifies the indivisible union of Christ
with the Church. Although a separation from bed may be permitted by reason
of marital infidelity, nevertheless it is not permitted to contract another matrimo-
ny since the bond of a marriage lawfully contracted is perpetual” (Council of Flo-
rence, “Pro Armeniis”).

33-37. The Law of Moses absolutely prohibited perjury or violation of oaths (Exo-
dus 20:7; Numbers 30:3; Deuteronomy 23:22). In Christ’s time, the making of
sworn statements was so frequent and the casuistry surrounding them so intri-
cate that the practice was being grossly abused. Some rabbinical documents of
the time show that oaths were taken for quite unimportant reasons. Parallel to
this abuse of oath-taking there arose no less ridiculous abuses to justify non-ful-
fillment of oaths. All this meant great disrespect for the name of God. However,
we do know from Sacred Scripture that oath-taking is lawful and good in certain
circumstances: “If you swear, ‘As the Lord lives’, in truth, in justice, and in up-
rightness, then nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him shall they glo-
ry (Jeremiah 4:2).

Jesus here lays down the criterion which His disciples must apply in this connec-
tion. It is based on re-establishing, among married people, mutual trust, nobility
and sincerity. The devil is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Therefore, Christ’s
Church must teach that human relationships cannot be based on deceit and in-
sincerity. God is truth, and the children of the Kingdom must, therefore, base mu-
tual relationships on truth. Jesus concludes by praising sincerity. Throughout His
teaching He identifies hypocrisy as one of the main vices to be combatted (cf.,
e.g., Matthew 23:13-32), and sincerity as one of the finest virtues (cf. John 1:47).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 02/16/2014 6:38:38 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass


First reading

Ecclesiasticus 15:16-21 ©

If you wish, you can keep the commandments,

  to behave faithfully is within your power.

He has set fire and water before you;

  put out your hand to whichever you prefer.

Man has life and death before him;

  whichever a man likes better will be given him.

For vast is the wisdom of the Lord;

  he is almighty and all-seeing.

His eyes are on those who fear him,

  he notes every action of man.

He never commanded anyone to be godless,

  he has given no one permission to sin.


Psalm

Psalm 118:1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34 ©

They are happy who follow God’s law!

They are happy whose life is blameless,

  who follow God’s law!

They are happy who do his will,

  seeking him with all their hearts.

They are happy who follow God’s law!

You have laid down your precepts

  to be obeyed with care.

May my footsteps be firm

  to obey your statutes.

They are happy who follow God’s law!

Bless your servant and I shall live

  and obey your word.

Open my eyes that I may see

  the wonders of your law.

They are happy who follow God’s law!

Teach me the demands of your statutes

  and I will keep them to the end.

Train me to observe your law,

  to keep it with my heart.

They are happy who follow God’s law!


Second reading

1 Corinthians 2:6-10 ©

We have a wisdom to offer those who have reached maturity: not a philosophy of our age, it is true, still less of the masters of our age, which are coming to their end. The hidden wisdom of God which we teach in our mysteries is the wisdom that God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began. It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; we teach what scripture calls: the things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.

  These are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God.


Gospel Acclamation

1S3:9,Jn6:68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening:

you have the message of eternal life.

Alleluia!

Or

Mt11:25

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessed are you, Father,

Lord of heaven and earth,

for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom

to mere children.

Alleluia!

EITHER:

Gospel

Matthew 5:17-37 ©

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.

  ‘For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.

  ‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

  ‘Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne; or by the earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great king. Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’

OR:

Alternative Gospel

Matthew 5:20-22,27-28,33-34,37 ©

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.

  ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

  ‘Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’


6 posted on 02/16/2014 6:43:03 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
7 posted on 02/16/2014 6:46:06 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
8 posted on 02/16/2014 6:46:19 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

9 posted on 02/16/2014 6:48:45 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


10 posted on 02/16/2014 6:49:54 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

11 posted on 02/16/2014 6:50:42 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


12 posted on 02/16/2014 6:51:30 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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February Devotion: The Holy Family

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of February has been primarily asociated with the Holy Family, probably due to the feast of Our Lord's presentation at the temple, celebrated on February 2. At the very outset of Christ's work on earth, God showed the world a family in which, as Pope Leo XIII teaches, "all men might behold a perfect model of domestic life, and of all virtue and holiness." The harmony, unity, and holiness which characterized this holy Family make it the model for all Christian families.

INVOCATION
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph most kind, Bless us now and in death's agony.

FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into everlasting dwellings: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Roman Missal

CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY FAMILY
O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace, and concord in Christian love: in order that, by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Thy family, we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by thy kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

O Saint Joseph, most holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, three times.

IN HONOR OF THE HOLY FAMILY
O God, heavenly Father, it was part of Thine eternal decree that Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a holy family with Mary, His blessed mother, and His foster father, Saint Joseph. In Nazareth home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Holy Family Chaplet

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, be with me in my last hour.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul
in peace with you.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Amen.

Say 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary's, and 3 Glory be's.

The Holy Family Icon by Nicholas Markell

PRAYER TO
THE HOLY FAMILY
=====================================================================================

GOD our Heavenly Father, You call all peoples to be united as one family in worshipping You as the one and true God. You willed that Your Son become man, giving Him a virgin mother and a foster father to form the Holy Family of Nazareth.

WE pray: may the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, image and model of every human family unit walk in the spirit of Nazareth and grow in the understanding of its particular mission in society and the Church. May our families be living cells of love, faithfulness and unity, thus reflecting God's covenant with humanity and Christ's redeeming love for His Church.

JESUS, Mary and Joseph protect our families from all evil; keep us, who are away from home, one in love with our dear ones.

The Holy Family


 
"The Holy Family with the infant St. John the Baptist ( the Doni tondo )" by Michelangelo c.1506, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Parent's Prayer

Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, and Son of Mary, I thank you for the gift of life you have entrusted to my care. Help me be a parent both tender and wise, both loving and forgiving.

Mary, Holy Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and our Motherly Queen of Heaven, nourish our family with your heavenly grace. Help us to remain faithful to The Most Holy Trinity, in all our sorrows and joys.

Joseph, Earthly father to our Lord God, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm. Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety.

Holy Family of Nazareth, help our family to walk in your footsteps. May we be peace-loving and peace-giving.
Amen.
 

Imitating the Holy Family: Four Traits that Make It Possible
[Catholic Caucus] On the Holy Family [Angelus]
Biblical Teachings on Marriage and Family. A Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Recovering God’s Plan for Marriage and Family: A Sermon on the Feast of the Holy Family

“Why were you looking for me?" (On the Feast of The Holy Family)
U.S. Postal Service Issues Holy Family Forever Stamp
On Prayer in the Life of the Holy Family
The Holy Family - held together by Love through all their problems [Ecumenical]
Feast of the Holy Family: The Christian Family is a Domestic Church
Chesterton on "The Human Family and the Holy Family"
Joseph, Mary and Jesus: A Model Family
ADVICE TO PARENTS by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
The Holy Family
St. Joseph as Head of the Holy Family (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

Feast of the Holy Family
Feast of the Holy Family (Dom Guéranger OSB)
The Feast of the Holy Family
The Holy Family vs. The Holy Innocents: A Christmas season reflection [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican creche to place Holy Family in Joseph's carpentry workshop
The Redemption and Protection of the Family [Feast of the Holy Family]
Study Backs Tradition of Loreto House - Stones in Altar Match Those in Nazareth, It Says
Unraveling Jesus' mystery years in Egypt
Gaudi’s Church of the Holy Family to be ready for worship in 2008
Imitating the Holy Family; Four Traits that Make It Possible
Lots of Graphics: Post your favorite image of the St. Mary and Child, the Holy Family...

13 posted on 02/16/2014 6:52:12 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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February 2014 Year A

Pope's Intentions:

Universal: That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people.

For Evangelization: That priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.

14 posted on 02/16/2014 6:53:00 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Daily Gospel Commentary

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

Commentary of the day
Vatican Council II
Constitution on the Church « Lumen gentium », § 9

«Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill"

At all times and in every race God has given welcome to whosoever fears Him and does what is right.(Acts 10,35) God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. He therefore chose the race of Israel as a people unto Himself. With it He set up a covenant. Step by step He taught and prepared this people, making known in its history both Himself and the decree of His will and making it holy unto Himself.

All these things, however, were done by way of preparation and as a figure of that new and perfect covenant, which was to be ratified in Christ, and of that fuller revelation which was to be given through the Word of God Himself made flesh. "Behold the days shall come saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the house of Judah . . . I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . For all of them shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord” (Jer 31,31f) Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood,(1Cor 11,25) calling together a people made up of Jew and gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God...: "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation... the people of God" (1Pt 2,9).

Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert, was already called the Church of God.(2Esd 13,1; Nb 20,4; Dt 23,1f) So likewise the new Israel which while living in this present age goes in search of a future and abiding city (Heb 13,14) is called the Church of Christ.(Mt 16,18) For He has bought it for Himself with His blood,(Acts 20,28) has filled it with His Spirit and provided it with those means which befit it as a visible and social union.


15 posted on 02/16/2014 6:56:48 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Information: St. Onesimus

Feast Day: February 16

Died: 95

16 posted on 02/16/2014 7:00:23 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Interactive saints for Kids

St. Onesimus


Feast Day: February 16
Born/Died: First Century

Onesimus was born in Phrygia and was a slave who robbed his master Philemon and ran away to Rome. In Rome he went to see the great apostle, St. Paul, who was a prisoner for his faith.

Paul received Onesimus with the kindness and love of a good father. Paul helped the young man realize he had done wrong to steal. But more than that, he led Onesimus to believe in Jesus and baptized him.

After Onesimus became a Christian, Paul sent him back to his master. Philemon had earlier been converted by Paul and was Paul's friend. But Paul did not send the slave back alone and defenseless.

He "armed" Onesimus with a short, powerful but beautiful letter that we know as the Epistle to Philemon. Paul hoped his letter would set everything right for his new friend, Onesimus.

Paul wrote to Philemon: "I plead with you for my own son, for Onesimus. I am sending him back to you. Welcome him as though he were my very heart." Paul asked Philemon to accept him "no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me. And if he has done you any injustice or owes you anything, charge it to me".

That touching letter is in the New Testament of the Bible. Philemon accepted Paul's letter and Paul's advice. When Onesimus returned to his master, he was set free. Afterwards, he went back to St. Paul and became his faithful helper.

St. Paul made Onesimus a priest and then a bishop. Later, as Saint Jerome and other Fathers tell us, he became a fervent preacher of the Good News that had changed his life forever.

He was cruelly tortured in Rome, for eighteen days, by a governor of that city, who became angry by his preaching of the Gospel. His legs were broken and he was then stoned to death.


17 posted on 02/16/2014 7:05:28 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Day 70 - Why did Jesus work miracles?

 

But why did Jesus work miracles?

The miracles that Jesus worked were signs that the kingdom of God was beginning. They expressed his love for mankind and reaffirmed his mission.

Jesus' miracles were not self-aggrandizing displays of magic. He was filled with the power of God's healing love. Through his miracles he showed that he is the Messiah and that the kingdom of God begins in him. Thus it became possible to experience the dawn of the new world: he freed people from hunger (Jn 6:5-15), injustice (Lk 19:8), sickness, and death (Mt 11:5). By driving out demons, he began his victorious advance against the "ruler of this world" (meaning Satan; see Jn 12:31). Nevertheless, Jesus did not remove all misfortune and evil from the world. He directed his attention principally to freeing man from the slavery of sin. His central concern was faith, which he also elicited through miracles. (YOUCAT question 91)


Dig Deeper: CCC section (549-550) and other references here.


18 posted on 02/16/2014 11:09:01 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Part 1: The Profession of Faith (26 - 1065)

Section 2: The Profession of the Christian Faith (185 - 1065)

Chapter 2: I Believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God (422 - 682)

Article 3: "He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the Virgin Mary" (456 - 570)

Paragraph 3: The Mysteries of Christ's Life (512 - 570)

III. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' PUBLIC LIFE

The signs of the kingdom of God

1503
440
(all)

549

By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death,274 Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below,275 but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God's sons and causes all forms of human bondage.276

274.

Cf. Jn 6:5-15; Lk 19:8; Mt 11:5.

275.

Cf. Lk 12:13-14; Jn 18:36.

276.

Cf. Jn 8:34-36.

1673
2816
394
440
(all)

550

The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."277 Jesus' exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over "the ruler of this world".278 The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: "God reigned from the wood."279

277.

Mt 12:26, 28.

278.

Jn 12:31; cf. Lk 8:26-39.

279.

LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla Regis: "Regnavit a ligno Deus."


19 posted on 02/16/2014 11:11:47 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
From Zenit.org

The Law of Liberty

Lectio Divina: 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Paris, February 14, 2014 (Zenit.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo | 532 hits

1) The law[1] and its fulfillment[2].

 

     In today's Gospel Jesus says that he wants to bring " to fulfillment the Law and the Prophets"[3] (Mt 5:17). In fact, the Christ, the Word made flesh for love of us, is not only the Word of the Law, namely the Way through which we have to go, but it is also the Truth that fulfills the law, and the Life that rewards its accomplishment.

    What is then the “fulfillment” of the law? Fulfilling of the law is obedience to the commandment of love (cf. Rm 13: 9-10). Obedience becomes the sign that one lives under the grace of love. “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), because love does not replace the law, but complies with it and “accomplishes” it.

     Indeed, love is the only force that can really observe the law. We can say even more: " Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, as he fulfills its authentic meaning by the total gift of himself: He himself becomes a living, personal "[4] and bright law.

     Already Psalm 19 compares the law of God to the light of the sun, when it says that "the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye" (19: 9).

     The Book of Proverbs also states that “the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light “(6:23).           Finally, we must not forget that Jesus himself presents his person as the definitive revelation using the same image "I am the light of the world whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (Jn 8: 12), namely the light of love. Christ is the Light without which we can walk only groping around. He is the Light that makes us know ourselves, understand the world and know where to go.

     Walking in the light of Christ means taking up our daily cross and receive peace. Peace of heart is the strength of the believer: if we are steadfast in obeying the commands of God, our perseverance will be source of happiness.

     Let’s  pray to our Father in Heaven that Christ , our Law [5],  may enlighten our hearts, fortify our souls and give us the wisdom of the simple so that we can always walk in His light, even when there are difficulties , troubles and dangers.

     Jesus didn’t begin to preach, saying, " Repent and believe the gospel so that the Kingdom may come to you ". He began by saying: " The kingdom of God has come among you: repent and believe the gospel." Not first conversion then salvation, but first the gift of salvation and then conversion.

     In Christianity there are duties and commandments, but the plan of the commandments, including the greatest of all that is to love God and the neighbor, is not the first plan, but the second one. Before it there is the plan of the gift, the plan of grace. “We love because he first loved us “(1 Jan 4:19). It is from the gift that the duty flows, not vice versa.

2) The law is a gift.

     Christ tells us not only "what to do ", but “who we should be," and therefore teaches us how we should live to realize the communion in the love for God and for our brothers and sisters. With the observance of the commandments we obey with love to the law that is rooted in the love of God and that indicates the will of God to rule our lives with his command of charity. With this observance to the law of freedom we become more "human", making shining in us the image and likeness of God who created us for the life with Him.

     The law is the word of God that indicates his desire for life. Jesus is the first that has fulfilled this will, which is a gift that God gives us to live as new people in love. The one who loves fulfills the law, the journey of life, being always observing it.

      Saying that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, Jesus intends to take away the fear of punishment and to root us in confident love. He is the Man and knows the man, understanding his weakness. He knows that a law imposed by fear of punishment is fulfilled, we can say, three times out of ten. He also knows that a law that guarantees a prize is observed seven times out of ten. He wants to help us to observe it ten times out of ten. As a good older brother He reminds us that not only the law was given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai among thunder and lightning, but it came from the Thought of God, who gave it to us thanks to his Love and proclaimed it with his Word.  Jesus, the Man who has God as Father, teaches us that holiness is not a "job" for a few, but the vocation of all the baptized.

     Holiness is not separation from the everyday life and from the daily toil to live, but to live in the trust and confidence as children do in their mother's arms.

     A significant example is that of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. What did this woman that we cannot do? This small, great Saint answered to love as a young woman of 24 years can do. She didn’t do great things[6].

     The greatness of our actions depends on the faith we have in His love. Let’s imitate Little Teresa, who believed with the certainty of being loved by God. She shook the Heaven with her "simple, small” acts of love, with a smile, with another step in the garden, with the offer of its pain due to bone cancer so that a missionary might have the strength to return to the path of evangelization.

     Even her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Martin , lived like little Therese Martin of the Child Jesus and I think that they taught the lifestyle that the Carmelite Saint traveled as the " little way" . The little way of the spiritual childhood of Therese of Lisieux requires the pure and poor heart of a simple person like little Therese who knew how to stand empty-handed before God, without any hold except “trust and nothing else than trust”.  Holiness and happiness are also a possible goal for us; it is “enough" to live every moment of our daily life offering it to God

     This lifestyle is practiced in particular by the consecrated Virgins, who are simple women that express their talents in dedication to God and in service to others in their everyday lives. It is in the daily donation that these women can see their deepest vocation to take charge of life, even where no human eye but only the eyes of God sees.

     The Ordo Virginum is a gift to the Church of today, to make visible the Kingdom of God among us. These women are called to “do the ordinary extraordinarily well “because the consecrated virginity in the world has no operational defined tasks if not the clear and courageous testimony of the Gospel in every environment. They give themselves completely to God while remaining in the world. They have as a distinctive sign to show the compassion of God which is manifested by their discreet presence. This presence that donates itself, allows others to meet the Presence, which is a gift.

     Their life testifies that not only we can do to others what we want done to us, but to do to others what God does in us , loving with clean and vigorous love. The law of love is not giving a lot or a little, but to give with a lot of love. With the mouth we talk ,  with the eyes we see , with the hands we do; with the consecrated life the mouth speaks words of praise to God , the eyes contemplate the love of God and the hands come together to pray to God and open to donate.

---

Roman Rite - VI Sunday in Ordinary Time - February 16, 2014

Sir 15:15-20, Ps 119, 1 Cor 2:6 to-10: Mt 5: 17- 37


20 posted on 02/16/2014 11:16:54 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Arlington Catholic Herald

GOSPEL COMMENTARY MT 5:17-37

An encounter of love

Fr. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Healthy personal relationships with people — a mother or father, a friend, a child — are part of our lives as social beings. Establishing such a relationship requires 1) a personal encounter and 2) a response of love and affection. So how can we form a “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ? How is it possible to encounter someone we cannot see? And without an encounter, how can we love?

Our initial encounter with Christ must come from hearing. Somebody needs to tell us about Christ as Lord and Savior and we must believe what we hear. This is the beginning of faith. In the Book of Hebrews we read: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Christ, “the way, the truth and the life,” is the reason for our hope in everlasting life in Him. The First Vatican Council further defines faith with scholastic precision: Faith is that act by which “we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.”

Hence our encounter with Christ is built on the bedrock of faith in divine revelation as we receive it through the teaching church. Encountering Christ in faith by meditating on the Gospels is crucial to establishing our personal relationship with Him. We are of course free to use our imagination and affections, continuously purified by efforts to avoid errors, to enter into the divine narrative we receive in the Scriptures. But that is not enough. Sceptics could argue that a similar “personal relationship” might be found by meditatively reading the biography of a famous person or the writings of a philosopher. They have a point, at least from a natural psychological point of view. But what the secular encounter lacks is the reality of God’s grace animating our souls as we read. The mysterious awareness of God’s presence, even without an emotional response, helps us begin to understand the action of God’s grace upon us.

There are many opportunities for placing ourselves in the presence of God. Whenever we prayerfully and consciously make the sign of the cross, for example, we come in touch, however dimly, with the divine presence and even His love. It is important to know that God acts before we do. St. John writes, “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10). When we encounter this truth a response is unavoidable — but to remain in a personal relationship with Christ the response must be with one of love and affection.

St. Augustine poignantly expresses his own response to the searching love of God, a prayer we can borrow for holy Communion: “Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient, O Beauty so new. Too late have I loved you! You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you! In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The things you have made kept me from you — the things which would have no being unless they existed in you! You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness. You have radiated forth, you have shined out brightly, and you have dispelled my blindness. You have sent forth your fragrance, and I have breathed it in, and I long for you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you. You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace” (Confessions, X, 27, 38).

When we love a mother, we do our best to please her. So it is with Christ. After the Resurrection, Christ teaches: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him” (Jn 14:21). This is the key to understanding this Sunday’s Gospel where Christ reveals that He did not “come to abolish the law or the prophets” but He has “come not to abolish but to fulfill.” He is teaching us how to love and providing the recipe for true moral transformation. The law, in Christ, must become part of us and define who we are. It is not enough to forgo murder; we must renounce interior hatred. It is not enough to avoid the act of adultery. We must renounce the interior lust that leads to acts of sexual impurity. And so it goes for all of the Ten Commandments. To love others is to love Christ. Acts of Christian charity for others in good morality indeed completes our “personal relationship” with Him.

To sum up, the path to a “personal relationship” with Christ is 1) faith 2) based on our hope for salvation, and 3) expressed in love for God and neighbor. The formula is familiar and accessible to the most simple of souls: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13).

Fr. Pokorsky is pastor of St. Michael Church in Annandale.


21 posted on 02/16/2014 11:23:40 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Matthew
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Matthew 5
17 Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Nolite putare quoniam veni solvere legem, aut prophetas : non veni solvere, sed adimplere. μη νομισητε οτι ηλθον καταλυσαι τον νομον η τους προφητας ουκ ηλθον καταλυσαι αλλα πληρωσαι
18 For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. Amen quippe dico vobis, donec transeat cælum et terra, jota unum aut unus apex non præteribit a lege, donec omnia fiant. αμην γαρ λεγω υμιν εως αν παρελθη ο ουρανος και η γη ιωτα εν η μια κεραια ου μη παρελθη απο του νομου εως αν παντα γενηται
19 He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Qui ergo solverit unum de mandatis istis minimis, et docuerit sic homines, minimus vocabitur in regno cælorum : qui autem fecerit et docuerit, hic magnus vocabitur in regno cælorum. ος εαν ουν λυση μιαν των εντολων τουτων των ελαχιστων και διδαξη ουτως τους ανθρωπους ελαχιστος κληθησεται εν τη βασιλεια των ουρανων ος δ αν ποιηση και διδαξη ουτος μεγας κληθησεται εν τη βασιλεια των ουρανων
20 For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Dico enim vobis, quia nisi abundaverit justitia vestra plus quam scribarum, et pharisæorum, non intrabitis in regnum cælorum. λεγω γαρ υμιν οτι εαν μη περισσευση η δικαιοσυνη υμων πλειον των γραμματεων και φαρισαιων ου μη εισελθητε εις την βασιλειαν των ουρανων
21 You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. Audistis quia dictum est antiquis : Non occides : qui autem occiderit, reus erit judicio. ηκουσατε οτι ερρεθη τοις αρχαιοις ου φονευσεις ος δ αν φονευση ενοχος εσται τη κρισει
22 But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Ego autem dico vobis : quia omnis qui irascitur fratri suo, reus erit judicio. Qui autem dixerit fratri suo, raca : reus erit concilio. Qui autem dixerit, fatue : reus erit gehennæ ignis. εγω δε λεγω υμιν οτι πας ο οργιζομενος τω αδελφω αυτου εικη ενοχος εσται τη κρισει ος δ αν ειπη τω αδελφω αυτου ρακα ενοχος εσται τω συνεδριω ος δ αν ειπη μωρε ενοχος εσται εις την γεενναν του πυρος
23 If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Si ergo offers munus tuum ad altare, et ibi recordatus fueris quia frater tuus habet aliquid adversum te : εαν ουν προσφερης το δωρον σου επι το θυσιαστηριον και εκει μνησθης οτι ο αδελφος σου εχει τι κατα σου
24 Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift. relinque ibi munus tuum ante altare, et vade prius reconciliari fratri tuo : et tunc veniens offeres munus tuum. αφες εκει το δωρον σου εμπροσθεν του θυσιαστηριου και υπαγε πρωτον διαλλαγηθι τω αδελφω σου και τοτε ελθων προσφερε το δωρον σου
25 Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes, whilst thou art in the way with him: lest perhaps the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Esto consentiens adversario tuo cito dum es in via cum eo : ne forte tradat te adversarius judici, et judex tradat te ministro : et in carcerem mittaris. ισθι ευνοων τω αντιδικω σου ταχυ εως οτου ει εν τη οδω μετ αυτου μηποτε σε παραδω ο αντιδικος τω κριτη και ο κριτης σε παραδω τω υπηρετη και εις φυλακην βληθηση
26 Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing. Amen dico tibi, non exies inde, donec reddas novissimum quadrantem. αμην λεγω σοι ου μη εξελθης εκειθεν εως αν αποδως τον εσχατον κοδραντην
27 You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Audistis quia dictum est antiquis : Non mœchaberis. ηκουσατε οτι ερρεθη ου μοιχευσεις
28 But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. Ego autem dico vobis : quia omnis qui viderit mulierem ad concupiscendum eam, jam mœchatus est eam in corde suo. εγω δε λεγω υμιν οτι πας ο βλεπων γυναικα προς το επιθυμησαι αυτην ηδη εμοιχευσεν αυτην εν τη καρδια αυτου
29 And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell. Quod si oculus tuus dexter scandalizat te, erue eum, et projice abs te : expedit enim tibi ut pereat unum membrorum tuorum, quam totus corpus tuum mittatur in gehennam. ει δε ο οφθαλμος σου ο δεξιος σκανδαλιζει σε εξελε αυτον και βαλε απο σου συμφερει γαρ σοι ινα αποληται εν των μελων σου και μη ολον το σωμα σου βληθη εις γεενναν
30 And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell. Et si dextra manus tua scandalizat te, abscide eam, et projice abs te : expedit enim tibi ut pereat unum membrorum tuorum, quam totum corpus tuum eat in gehennam. και ει η δεξια σου χειρ σκανδαλιζει σε εκκοψον αυτην και βαλε απο σου συμφερει γαρ σοι ινα αποληται εν των μελων σου και μη ολον το σωμα σου βληθη εις γεενναν
31 And it hath been said, Whoseoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. Dictum est autem : Quicumque dimiserit uxorem suam, det ei libellum repudii. ερρεθη δε οτι ος αν απολυση την γυναικα αυτου δοτω αυτη αποστασιον
32 But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. Ego autem dico vobis : quia omnis qui dimiserit uxorem suam, excepta fornicationis causa, facit eam mœchari : et qui dimissam duxerit, adulterat. εγω δε λεγω υμιν οτι ος αν απολυση την γυναικα αυτου παρεκτος λογου πορνειας ποιει αυτην μοιχασθαι και ος εαν απολελυμενην γαμηση μοιχαται
33 Again you have heard that it was said to them of old, Thou shalt not forswear thyself: but thou shalt perform thy oaths to the Lord. Iterum audistis quia dictum est antiquis : Non perjurabis : reddes autem Domino juramenta tua. παλιν ηκουσατε οτι ερρεθη τοις αρχαιοις ουκ επιορκησεις αποδωσεις δε τω κυριω τους ορκους σου
34 But I say to you not to swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God: Ego autem dico vobis, non jurare omnino, neque per cælum, quia thronus Dei est : εγω δε λεγω υμιν μη ομοσαι ολως μητε εν τω ουρανω οτι θρονος εστιν του θεου
35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool: nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king: neque per terram, quia scabellum est pedum ejus : neque per Jerosolymam, quia civitas est magni regis : μητε εν τη γη οτι υποποδιον εστιν των ποδων αυτου μητε εις ιεροσολυμα οτι πολις εστιν του μεγαλου βασιλεως
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. neque per caput tuum juraveris, quia non potes unum capillum album facere, aut nigrum. μητε εν τη κεφαλη σου ομοσης οτι ου δυνασαι μιαν τριχα λευκην η μελαιναν ποιησαι
37 But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil. Sit autem sermo vester, est, est : non, non : quod autem his abundantius est, a malo est. εστω δε ο λογος υμων ναι ναι ου ου το δε περισσον τουτων εκ του πονηρου εστιν

22 posted on 02/16/2014 5:46:05 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
17. Think not that I have come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
18. For verily I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

GLOSS. Having now exhorted His bearers to undergo all things for righteousness' sake, and also not to hide what they should receive, but to learn more for others' sake, that at they may teach others, He now goes on to tell them what they should teach, as though he had been asked, What is this which you would not have hid; and for which you would have all things endured? Are you about to speak any thing beyond what is written in the Law and the Prophets; hence it is he says, Think not that I am come to subvert the Law or the Prophets.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. And that for two reasons. First, that by these words he might admonish His disciples, that as he fulfilled the Law, so they should strive to fulfill it. Secondly, because the Jews would falsely accuse them as subverting the Law, therefore he answers the calumny beforehand, but in such a manner as that He should not be thought to come simply to preach the Law as the Prophets had done.

REMIG. He here asserts two things; He denies that he was come to subvert the Law, and affirms that he was come to fulfill it.

AUG. In this last sentence again there is a double sense; to fulfill the Law, either by adding something which it had not, or by doing what it commands.

CHRYS. Christ then fulfilled the Prophets by accomplishing what was therein foretold concerning Himself - and the Law, first, by transgressing none of its precepts; secondly, by justifying by faith, which the Law could not do by the letter.

AUG. And lastly, because even for them who were under grace, it was hard in this mortal life to fulfill that of the Law, You shall not lust, He being made a Priest by the sacrifice of His flesh, obtained for us this indulgence, even in this fulfilling the Law, that where through our infirmity we could not, we should be strengthened through His perfection, of whom as our head we all are members. For so I think must be taken these words, to fulfill the Law, by adding to it, that is, such things as either contribute to the explanation of the old es, or to enable to keep them. For the Lord has showed us that even a wicked motion of the thoughts to the wrong of a brother is to be accounted a kind of murder. The Lord also teaches us, that it is better to keep near to the truth without swearing, than with a true oath to come near to blasphemy. ID. But how, you Manichaeans, do you not receive the Law and the Prophets, seeing Christ here says, that He is come not to subvert but to fulfill them? To this the heretic Faustus replies, Whose testimony is there that Christ spoke this? That of Matthew. How was it then that John does not give this saying, who was with Him in the mount, but only Matthew, who did not follow Jesus till after He had come down from the mount? To this Augustine replies, If none can speak truth concerning Christ, but who saw and heard Him, there is no one at this day who speaks truth concerning Him. Why then could not Matthew hear from John's mouth the truth as Christ had spoken, as well as we who are born so long after can speak the truth out of John's book? In the same manner also it is, that not Matthew's Gospel, but also these of Luke and Mark are received by us, and on no inferior authority. Add, that the Lord Himself might have told Matthew the things He had done before He called him. But speak out and say that you do not believe the Gospel, for they who believe nothing in the Gospel but what they wish to believe, believe themselves rather than the Gospel. To this Faustus rejoins, We will prove that this was not written by Matthew, but by some other hand, unknown, in his name. For below he says, Jesus saw a man sitting at the toll-office, Matthew by name. Who writing of himself says, 'saw a man,' and not rather 'saw me?'

AUG; Matthew does no more than John does, when he says, Peter turning round saw that other disciple whom Jesus loved; and it is well known that his is the common manner of Scripture writers, when writing their own actions. Faustus again, But what say you to this, that the very assurance that He was not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets was the direct way to rouse their suspicions that He was? For He had yet done nothing that could lead the Jews to think that this was His object.

AUG; This is a very weak objection, for we do not deny that to the Jews who had no understanding, Christ might have appeared as threatening the destruction of the Law and the Prophets. Faustus; But what if the Law and the Prophets do not accept this fulfillment, according to that in Deuteronomy, These commandments that I give to you, you shall keep, you shall not add anything to them, nor take away.

AUG; Here Faustus does not understand what it is to fulfill the Law, When he supposes that it must be taken of adding words to it. The fulfillment of the Law is love, which the Lord has given in sending His Holy Spirit. The Law is fulfilled either when the things there commanded are done, or when the things there prophesied come to pass. Faustus; But in that we confess that Jesus was author of a New Testament, what else is it than to confess that He has done away with the Old?

AUG; in that Old Testament were figures of things to come, which when the things themselves were brought in by Christ, ought to have been taken away, that in that very taking away the Law and the Prophets might be fulfilled wherein it was written that God gave a New Testament. Faustus; Therefore if Christ did say this thing, he either said it with some other meaning, or he spoke falsely, (which God forbid,) or we must take that other alternative, he did not speak it at all. But that Jesus spoke falsely none will aver, therefore he either spoke it with another meaning, or he spoke it not at all. For myself I am rescued from the necessity of this alternative by the Manichaean belief, which from the first taught me not to believe all those things which are read in Jesus' name as having been spoken by Him; for that there be many tares which to corrupt the good seed some nightly sower has scattered up and down through nearly the whole of Scripture.

AUG; Manicheus taught an impious error, that you should receive only so much of the Gospel as does not conflict with your heresy, and not receive whatever does conflict with it. We have learned of the Apostle that religious caution, Whoever preaches to you another Gospel than that we have preached, let him be accursed. The Lord also has explained what the tares signify, not things false mixed with the true Scriptures, as you interpret, but men who are children of the wicked one. Faustus; Should a Jew then inquire of you why you do not keep the precepts of the Law and the prophets which Christ here declares he came not to destroy but to fulfill, you will be driven either to accept an empty superstition, or to repudiate this chapter as false, or to deny that you are Christ's disciple.

AUG; The Catholics are not in any difficulty on account of this chapter as though they did not observe the Law and the Prophets; for they do cherish love to God and their neighbor, on which hang all the Law and the Prophets. And whatever in the Law and the Prophets was foreshown, whether in things done, in the celebration of sacramental rites, or in forms of speech, all these they know to be fulfilled in Christ and the Church. Wherefore we neither submit to a false superstition, nor reject the chapter, nor deny ourselves to be Christ's disciples. He then who says, that unless Christ had destroyed the Law and the Prophets, the Mosaic rites would have continued along with the Christian ordinances, may further affirm, that unless Christ had destroyed the Law and the Prophets, he would yet be only professional as to be honor, to suffer, to rise again. But inasmuch as He did not destroy, but rather fulfill them, His birth, passion, and resurrection, are now no more promised as things future, which were signified by the Sacraments of the Law; but he is preached as already born, crucified, and risen, which are signified by the Sacraments now celebrated by Christians. It is clear then how great is the error of those who suppose, that when the signs or sacraments are changed, the things themselves are different, whereas the same things which the Prophetic ordinance had held forth as promises, the Evangelic ordinance points to as completed. Faustus; Supposing these to be Christ's genuine words, we should inquire what was His motive for speaking thus, whether to soften the blind hostility of the Jews, who when they saw their Holy things trodden under foot by Him, would not have so much as given Him a hearing; or whether he really said them to instruct us, who of the Gentiles should believe, to submit to the yoke of the Law. If this last were not His design, then the first must have been; nor was there any deceit or fraud in such purpose. For of laws there be three sorts. The first that of the Hebrews, called the law of sin and death, by Paul; the second that of the Gentiles, which he calls the law of nature, saying, By nature the Gentiles do the deeds of the law; the third, the law of truth, which he names, The law of the Spirit of life. Also there are Prophets some of the Jews, such as are, well-known; others of the Gentiles as Paul speaks, A prophet of their own had said; and others of the truth, of whom Jesus speaks, I send to you wise men and prophets. Now had Jesus in the following part of this sermon brought forward any of the Hebrew observances to show how he had fulfilled that, no one would have doubted that it was of the Jewish Law and Prophets that he was now speaking; but when he brings forward in this way only those more ancient precepts, You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, which were promulgated of old to Enoch, Seth, and the other righteous men, who does not see that he is here speaking of the Law and Prophets of truth? Wherever He has occasion to speak of anything merely Jewish, He plucks it up by the very roots, giving precepts directly the contrary; for example, in the case of that precept, An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

AUG; Which was the Law and which the Prophets, that Christ came not to subvert but to fulfill, is manifest, to wit, the Law given by Moses. And the distinction which Faustus draws between the precepts of the righteous men before Moses, and the Mosaic Law, arming that Christ fulfilled the one but annulled the other, is not so. We affirm that the Law of Moses was both well suited to its temporary purpose, and was now not subverted, but fulfilled by Christ, as will be seen in each particular. This was not understood by those who continued in such obstinate error, that they compelled the Gentiles to Judaize - those heretics, I mean, who were called Nazarenes.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. But since all things which should befall from the very beginning of the world to the end of it, were in type and figure foreshown in the Law, that God may not be thought to be ignorant of any of those things that take place, he therefore here declares, that heaven and earth should not pass till all things thins foreshown in the Law should have their actual accomplishment.

REMIG. Amen is a Hebrew word, and may be rendered in Latin, 'vere,' ' fidenter,' or 'fiat;' that is, 'truly,' 'faithfully,' or ' so be it.' The Lord uses it either because of the hardness of heart of those who were slow to believe, or to attract more particularly the attention of those that did believe.

HILARY; From the expression here used pass, we may suppose that the constituting elements of heaven and earth shall not be annihilated

REMIG. But shall abide in their essence, but pass through renewal.

AUG. By the words, one iota or one point shall not pass from the Law, we must understand only a strong metaphor of completeness, drawn from the letters of writing, iota being the least of the letters, made with one stroke of the pen, and a point being a slight dot at the end of the same letter. The words there show that the Law shall be completed to the very least matter.

RABAN. He fitly mentions the Greek iota, and not the Hebrew jot, because the iota stands in Greek for the number ten, and so there is an allusion to the Decalogue of which the Gospel is the point and perfection.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. If even an honorable man blushes to be found in a falsehood, and a wise man lets not fall empty any word he has once spoken, how could it be that the words of heaven should fall to the ground empty? Hence He concludes, Whoever breaks the least of these commandments, &c. And, I suppose, the Lord goes on to reply Himself to the question, Which are the least commandments? Namely, these which I am now about to speak.

CHRYS. He speaks not this of the old laws, but of those which He was now going to enact, of which he says, the least, though they were all great. For as he so oft spoke humbly of Himself, so does he now speak humbly of His precepts.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. Otherwise; the precepts of Moses are easy to obey; You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. The very greatness of the crime is a check upon the desire of committing it; therefore the reward of observance is small, the sin of transgression great. But Christ's precepts, You shall not be angry, You shall not lust, are hard to obey, and therefore in their reward they are great, in their transgression, 'least.' It is thus he speaks of these precepts of Christ, such as You shall not be angry, You shall not lust, as 'the least;' and they who commit these lesser sins, are the least in the kingdom of God; that is, he who has been angry and not sinned grievously is secure from the punishment of eternal damnation; yet he does not attain that glory which they attain who fulfill even these least.

AUG. Or, the precepts of the Law are called 'the least,' as opposed to Christ's precepts which are great. The least commandments are signified by the iota and the point. He, therefore, who breaks them, and teaches men so, that is, to do as he does, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Hence we may perhaps conclude, that it is not true that there shall none be there except they be great.

GLOSS. By 'break,' is meant, that not doing what one understands rightly, or the not understanding what one has corrupted, or the destroying the perfectness of Christ's additions.

CHRYS. Or, when yon hear the words, least in the kingdom of heaven, imagine nothing less than the punishment of hell. For He oft uses the word 'kingdom,' not only of the joys of heaven, but of the of the resurrection. and of the terrible coming of Christ.

GREG. Or, by the kingdom of heaven is to be understood the Church, in which that teacher who breaks a commandment is called least, because he whose life is despised, it remains that his preaching be also despised.

HILARY; Or, He calls the passion, and the cross, the least, which if one shall not confess openly, but be ashamed of them, he shall be least, that is, last, and as it were no man; but to him that confesses it He promises the great glory of a heavenly calling.

JEROME; This had is closely connected with the preceding. it is directed against the Pharisees, who, despising the commandments of God, set up traditions of their own, and means that their teaching the people would not avail themselves, if they destroyed the very least commandments in the Law. We may take it in another sense. The learning of the master if joined with sin however small, loses him the highest place, nor does it avail any to teach righteousness, if he destroys it in his life. Perfect bliss is for him who fulfills in deed what he teaches in word.

AUG. Otherwise; he who breaks the least of these commandments, that is, of Moses' Law, and teaches men so, shall be called the least; but he who shall do (these least), and so teach, shall not indeed be esteemed great, yet not so little as he who breaks them. That he should be great, he ought to do and to teach the things which Christ now teaches.

20. For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
21. You have heard that it was said by them of old, You shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22. But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire.

HILARY; Beautiful entrance He here makes to a teaching beyond the works of the Law, declaring to the Apostles that they should have no admission to the kingdom of heaven without a righteousness beyond that of Pharisees.

CHRYS. By righteousness is here meant universal virtue. But observe the superior power of grace, in that he requires of His disciples who were yet uninstructed to be better than those who were masters under the Old Testament. Thus He does not call the Scribes and Pharisees unrighteous, but speaks of their righteousness. And see how even herein he confirms the Old Testament that He compares it with the New, for the greater and the less are always of the same kind.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. The righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees are the commandments of Moses; but the commandments of Christ are the fulfillment of that Law. This then is His meaning; Whosoever in addition to the commandments of the Law shall not fulfill My commandments, shall not enter into to the kingdom of heaven. For those indeed save from the punishment due to transgressions of the Law, but do not bringing into the kingdom; but My commandments both deliver from punishment, and bring into the kingdom. But seeing that to break the least commandments and not to keep them are one and the same, why does He say above of him that breaks the commandments, that he shall be the least in the kingdom of heaven, and here of him who keeps them not, that he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven? See now to be these least into the kingdom is the same with not entering into the kingdom. For a man to be in the kingdom is not to reign with Christ, but only to be numbered among Christ's people; what he says then of him that breaks the commandments is, that he shall indeed be reckoned among Christians yet the least of them. But he who enters into the kingdom, becomes partaker of His kingdom with Christ. Therefore he who does not enter into the kingdom of heaven, shall not indeed have a part of Christ's glory, yet shall he be in the kingdom of heaven, that is, in the number of those over whom Christ reigns as King of heaven.

AUG. Otherwise, unless your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, that is, exceed that of those who break what themselves teach, as it is elsewhere said of them, they say, and do not; just as if he had said, Unless your righteousness exceed in this way that you do what you teach, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. We must therefore understand something other than usual by the kingdom of heaven here, in which are to be both he who breaks what he teaches, and he who does it, but the one least, the other great; this kingdom of heaven is the present Church. In another sense is the kingdom of heaven spoken of that place where none enters but he who does what he teaches, and this is the Church as it shall be hereafter. ID. This expression, the kingdom of heaven, so often used by our Lord, I know not whether anyone would find in the books of the Old Testament. It belongs properly to the New Testament revelation, kept for His mouth whom the Old Testament figured as a King that should come to reign over His servants. This end, to which its precepts were to be referred, was hidden in the Old Testament, though even that had its saints who looked forward to the revelation that should be made.

GLOSS. Or, we may explain by referring to the way in which the Scribes and Pharisees understood the Law, not to the actual contents of the Law.

AUG. For almost all the precepts which the Lord gave, saying, But I say to you, are found in those ancient books. But because they knew not of any murder, besides the destruction of the body, the Lord shows them that every evil thought to the hurt of a brother is to be held for a kind of murder.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. Christ willing to show that he is the same God who spoke of old in the Law, and who now gives commandments in grace, now puts first of all his commandments, that one which was the first in the Law, first, at least, of all those that forbade injury to our neighbor

AUG. We do not, because we have heard that, You shall not kill, deem it therefore unlawful to pluck a twig, according to the error of the Manichees, nor consider it to extend to irrational brutes; by the most righteous ordinance of the Creator their life and death is subservient to our needs. There remains, therefore, only man of whom we can understand it, and that not any other man, nor you only; for he who kills himself does nothing else but kill a man. Yet have not they in any way done contrary to this commandment who have waged wars under God's authority, or they who charged with the administration of civil power have by most just and reasonable orders inflicted death upon criminals. Also Abraham was not charged with cruelty, but even received the praise of piety, for that he was willing to obey God in slaying his son. Those are to be excepted from this command whom God commands to be put to death, either by general law given, or by particular admonition at any special time. For he is not the slayer who ministers to the command, like a hilt to one smiting with a sword, nor is Samson otherwise to be acquitted for destroying himself along with his enemies, than because he was so instructed privily of the Holy Spirit, who through him wrought the miracles.

CHRYS. This, it was said by then; of old time, shows that it was long ago that they had received this precept. He says this that he might rouse His sluggish hearers to proceed to more sublime precepts, as a teacher might say to an indolent boy, Know you not how long time you have spent already in merely learning to spell? In that, I say to you, mark the authority of the legislator, none of the old Prophets spoke thus; but rather, Thus said the Lord. They as servants repeated the commands of their Lord; He as a Son declared the will of His Father, which was also His own. They preached to their fellow servants; He as master ordained a law for his slaves.

AUG. There are two different opinions among philosophers concerning the passions of the mind: the Stoics do not allow that any passion is incident to the wise man; the Peripatetics affirm that they are incident to the wise man but in a moderate degree and subject to reason; as, for example, when mercy is shown in such a manner that justice is preserved. But in the Christian rule we do not inquire whether the mind is first affected with anger or with sorrow, but whence.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. He who is angry without cause shall be judged; but he who is angry with cause shall not be judged. For if there were no anger, neither teaching would profit, nor judgments hold, nor crimes be controlled. So that he who on just cause is not angry, is in sin; for an unreasonable patience sows vices, breeds carelessness, and invites the good as well as the bad to do evil.

JEROME; Some people add here the words, without cause; but by the true reading the precept is made unconditional, and anger altogether forbidden. For when we are told to pray for them that persecute us, all occasion of anger is taken away. The words without cause then must be erased, for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. Yet that anger which arises from just cause is indeed not anger, but a sentence of judgment. For anger properly means a feeling of passion; but he whose anger arises from just cause does not suffer any passion, and is rightly said to sentence, not to be angry with.

AUG. This also we affirm should be taken into consideration, what is being angry with a brother; for he is not angry with a brother who is angry at his offense. He then it is who is angry without cause, who is angry with his brother, and not with the offense. ID. But to be angry with a brother to the end that he may be corrected, there is no man of sound mind who forbids. Such sort of motions as come of love of good and of holy charity, are not to be called vices when they follow right reason.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. But I think that Christ does not speak of anger of the flesh, but anger of the heart; for the flesh cannot be so disciplined as not to feel the passion. When then a man is angry but refrains from doing what his anger prompts him, his flesh is angry, but his heart is free from anger.

AUG. And there is this same distinction between the first case here put by the Savior and the second: in the first case there is one thing, the passion; in the second two, anger and speech following thereupon, He who says to his brother, Raca, is in danger of the council. Some seek the interpretation of this word in the Greek, and think that Raca means ragged, from the Greek paxos, a rag. But more probably it is not a word of any meaning, but a mere sound expressing the passion of the mind, which grammarians call an interjection, such as the cry of pain, 'heu.'

CHRYS. Or, Racha is a word signifying contempt and worthlessness. For where we in speaking to servants or children say, Go thou, or, Tell you him, in Syriac they would say Racha for 'thou.' For the Lord descends to the smallest trifles even of our behavior, and bids us treat one another with mutual respect.

JEROME; Or, Racha is a Hebrew word signifying, 'empty,' 'vain'; as we might say in the common phrase of reproach, 'empty-pate.' Observe that he says brother; for who is our brother, but he who has the same Father as ourselves?

PSEUDO- CHRYS. And it were an unworthy reproach to him who has in him the Holy Spirit to call him 'empty.'

AUG. In the third case are three things: anger, the voice expressive of anger, and a word of reproach, You fool. Thus here are three different degrees of sin; in the first when one is angry, but keeps the passion in his heart without giving any sign of it. If again he suffers any sound expressive of the passion to escape him, it is more than had he silently suppressed the rising anger; and if he speaks a word which conveys a direct reproach, it is a yet greater sin.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. But as none is empty who has the Holy Spirit, so none is a fool who has the knowledge of Christ; and if Racha signifies 'empty,' it is one and the same thing, as far as the meaning of the, word goes, to say Racha, or 'thou fool.' But there is a difference in the meaning of the speaker; for Racha was a word in common use among the Jews, not expressing wrath or hate, but rather in a light careless way expressing confident familiarity, not anger. But you will perhaps say, if Racha is not an expression of wrath, how is it then a sin? Because it is said for contention, not for edification; and if we ought not to speak even good words but for the sake of edification, how much more not such as are in themselves bad?

AUG .Here we have three arraignments: the judgment, the council, and hell-fire, being different stages ascending from the lesser to the greater. For in the judgment there is yet opportunity for defense; to the council belongs the respite of the sentence, what time the judges confer among themselves what sentence ought to be inflicted; in the third, hell-fire, condemnation is certain, and the punishment fixed. Hence is seen what a difference is between the righteousness of the Pharisees and Christ; in the first, murder subjects at man to judgment; in the second, anger alone, which is the least of the three degrees of sin.

RABAN. The Savior here names the torments of hell, Gehenna, a name thought to be derived from a valley consecrated to idols near Jerusalem, and filled of old with dead bodies, and defiled by Josiah, as we read in the Book of Kings.

CHRYS. This is the first mention of hell, though the kingdom of Heaven had been mentioned some time before, which shows that the gifts of the one comes of His love, the condemnation of the other of our sloth. Many thinking this a punishment too severe for a mere word, say that this was said figuratively. But I fear that if we thus cheat ourselves with words here, we shall suffer punishment in deed there. Think not then this too heavy a punishment, when so many sufferings and sins have their beginning in a word; a little word has often begotten a murder, and overturned whole cities. And yet it is not to be thought a little word that denies a brother reason and understanding by which we are men, and differ from the brutes.

PSEUDO- CHRYS. In danger of the council; that is (according to the interpretation given by the Apostles in their Constitutions), in danger of being one of that Council which condemned Christ.

HILARY; Or, he who reproaches with emptiness one full of the Holy Spirit, will be arraigned in the assembly of the Saints, and by their sentence will be punished for an affront against that Holy Spirit Himself.

AUG. Should any ask what greater punishment is reserved for murder, if evil-speaking is visited with hell-fire? This obliges us to understand, that there are degrees in hell.

CHRYS. Or, the judgment and the council denote punishment in this word: hell fire future punishment. He denounces punishment against anger, yet does not mention any special punishment , showing therein that it is not possible that a man should be altogether free from the passion. The Council here means the Jewish senate, for He would not seem to be always superseding all their established institutions, and introducing foreign.

AUG. In all these three sentences there are some words understood. In the first indeed, as many copies read without cause, there is nothing to be supplied. In the second, He who says to his brother, Racha, we must supply the words, without cause, and again, in He who says, You fool, two things are understood: to his brother, and, without cause. And this forms the defense of the Apostle, when he calls the Galatians fools, though he considers them his brethren; for he did it not without cause.

23. Therefore if you bring any gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you,
24. Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

AUG. If it be not lawful to be angry with a brother, or to say to him Racha, or You Fool, much less is it lawful to keep in the memory anything which might convert anger into hate.

JEROME; It is not, if you have anything against your brother, but, If your brother has anything against you, that the necessity of reconciliation may be more imperative.

AUG. And he has somewhat against us when we have wronged him; and we have somewhat against him when he has wronged us, in which case there were no need to go to be reconciled to him, seeing we had only to forgive him, as we desire the Lord to forgive us.

PSEUDO-CHRYS But if it is he that has done you the wrong, and yet you be the first to seek reconciliation, you shall have a great reward.

CHRYS. If love alone is not enough to induce us to be reconciled to our neighbor, the desire that our work should not remain imperfect, and especially in the holy place, should induce us.

GREG. Lo, He is not willing to accept sacrifice at the hands of those who are at variance. Hence then consider how great an evil is strife, which throws away what should be the means of remission of sin.

PSEUDO-CHRYS See the mercy of God, that He thinks rather of man's benefit than of His own honor; He loves concord in the faithful more than offerings at His altar; for so long as there are dissensions among the faithful, their gift is not looked upon, their prayer is not heard. For no one can be a true friend at the same time to two who are enemies to each other. In like manner, we do not keep our fealty to God, if we do not love His friends and hate His enemies. But such as was the offense, such should also be the reconciliation. If you have offended in thought, be reconciled in thought; if in words, be reconciled in words; if in deeds, in deeds be reconciled. For so it is in every sin, in whatsoever kind it was committed, in that kind is the penance done.

HILARY; He bids us when peace with our fellow men is restored, then to return to peace with God, passing from the love of men to the love of God; then go and offer your gift.

AUG. If this direction be taken literally, it might lead some to suppose that this ought indeed to be so done if our brother is present, for that no long time can be meant when we are bid to leave our offering there before the altar. For if he be absent, or possibly beyond sea, it is absurd to suppose that the offering must be left before the altar, to be offered after we have gone over land and sea to seek him. Wherefore we must embrace an inward, spiritual sense of the whole, if we would understand it without involving any absurdity. The gift which we offer to God, whether learning, or speech, or whatever it be, cannot be accepted of God unless it be supported by faith. If then we have in anything harmed a brother, we must go and be reconciled with him, not with the bodily feet, but in thoughts of the heart, when in humble contrition you may cast yourself at your brother's feet in sight of Him whose offering you are about to offer. For thus in the same manner as though He were present, you may with unfeigned heart seek His Forgiveness; and returning thence, that is, bringing back again your thoughts to what you had first begun to do, may make your offering.

25. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison.
26. Verily I say to you, you shall by no means come out thence, till you have paid the uttermost farthing.

HILARY; The Lord suffers us at no time to be wanting in peaceableness of temper, and therefore bids us be reconciled to our adversary quickly, while on the road of life, lest we be cast into the season of death before peace be joined between us.

JEROME; The word here in our Latin books is 'consentiens,' in Greek, which means, 'kind,' 'benevolent.'

AUG. Let us see who this adversary is to whom we are bid to be benevolent. It may then be either the Devil or man or the flesh or God or His commandments. But I do not see how we can be bid be benevolent or agreeing with the Devil; for where there is good will, there is friendship, and no one will say that friendship should be made with the Devil, or that it is well to agree with him, having once proclaimed war against him when we renounced him; nor ought we to consent with him, with whom had we never consented, we had never come into such circumstances.

JEROME; Some, from that verse of Peter, Your adversary the Devil, &c. (1 Peter 5:8) will have the Savior's command to be, that we should be merciful to the Devil, not causing him to endure punishment for our sakes. For as he puts in our way the incentives to vice, if we yield to his suggestions, he will be tormented for our sakes. Some follow a more forced interpretation, that in baptism we have each of us made a compact with the Devil by renouncing him. If we observe this compact, then we are agreeing with our adversary, and shall not be cast into prison.

AUG. I do not see again how it can be understood of man. For how can man be said to deliver us to the Judge, when we know only Christ as the Judge, before whose tribunal all must be sisted. How then can he deliver to the Judge, who has himself to appear before Him? Moreover if any has sinned against any by killing him, he has no opportunity of agreeing with him in the way, that is in this life; and yet that hinders not but that he may be rescued from judgment by repentance Much less do I see how we can be bid be agreeing with the flesh; for they are sinners rather who agree with it; but they who it into subjection, do not agree with it, but compel it to agree with them.

JEROME. And how can the body be cast into prison if it agree not with the spirit, seeing soul and body must go together, and that the flesh can do nothing but what the soul shall command?

AUG. Perhaps then it is God with whom we are here enjoined to agree. He may be said too be our adversary, because we have departed from Him by sin, and He resists the proud. Whosoever then shall not have been reconciled in this life with God through the death of His Son, shall be by Him delivered to the Judge, that is, the Son, to whom He has committed all judgment. And man may be said to be in the way with God, because He is everywhere. But if we like not to say that the wicked are with God, who is everywhere present, as we do not say that the blind are with that light which is everywhere around them, there only remains the law of God which we can understand by our adversary. For this law is an adversary to such as love to sin, and is given us for this life that it may be with us in the way. To this we ought to agree quickly, by reaching, hearing, and bestowing on it the summit of authority, and that when we understand it, we hate it not because it opposes our sins, but rather love it because it corrects them; and when it is obscure, pray that we may understand it.

JEROME; But from the context the sense is manifest; the Lord is exhorting us to peace and concord with our neighbor; as it was said above, Go, be reconciled to your brother.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.The Lord is urgent with us to hasten to make friends with our enemies while we are yet in this life, knowing how dangerous for us that one of our enemies should die before peace is made with us. For if death bring us while yet at enmity to the Judge, he will deliver us to Christ, proving us guilty by His judgment. Our adversary also delivers us to the Judge, when he is the first to seek reconciliation; for he who first submits to his enemy, brings him in guilty before God.

HILARY; Or, the adversary delivers you to the Judge, when the abiding of your wrath towards him convicts you.

AUG. By the Judge I understand Christ, for the Father has committed all judgment to the Son; and by the officer or minister, an Angel, for, Angels came and ministered to Him; and we believe that He will come with His Angels to judge.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. The officer, that is, the ministering Angel of punishment, and he shall cast you into the prison of hell.

AUG. By the prison I understand the punishment of the darkness. And that none should despise that punishment, He adds, Verily I say to you, you shall not come out thence till you have paid the very last farthing.

JEROME; A farthing is a coin containing two mites. What He says then is, 'You shall not go forth thence till you have paid for the smallest sins.'

AUG. Or it is an expression to denote that there is nothing that shall go unpunished; as we say 'To the dregs,' when we are speaking of anything so emptied that nothing is left in it. Or by the last farthing may be denoted earthly sins. For the fourth and last element of this world is earth. Paid, that is in eternal punishment; and until used in the same sense as in that, Sit on my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool; for He does not cease to reign when His enemies are put under His feet. So here, until you have paid, is as much as to say, you shall never come out thence, for that he is always paying the very last farthing while he is enduring the everlasting punishment of earthly sins.

PSEUDO-CHRYS Or, if you will make your peace yet in this world, you may receive pardon of even the heaviest offenses; but if once damned and cast into the prison of hell, punishment will be exacted of you not for grievous sins only, but for each idle word, which may be denoted by the very last farthing.

HILARY; For because charity covers a multitude of sins, we shall therefore pay the last farthing of punishment, unless by the expense of charity we redeem the fault of our sin.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.Or, the prison is worldly misfortune which God often sends upon sinners.

CHRYS. Or, He here speaks of the judges of this world, of the way which leads to this judgment, and of human prisons; thus not only employing future but present inducements, as those things which are before the eyes affect us most, as St. Paul also declares, If you do evil, fear the power, for He bears not the sword in vain.

27. You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery;
28. But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

CHRYS.The Lord having explained how much is contained in the first commandment, namely, You shall not kill, proceeds in regular order to the second.

AUG. You shall not commit adultery, that is, You shall go nowhere but to your lawful wife. For if you exact this of your wife, you ought to do the same, for the husband ought to go before the wife in virtue. It is a shame for the husband to say that this is impossible. Why not the husband as well as the wife? And let not him that is unmarried suppose that he does not break this commandment by fornication; you know the price wherewith you have been bought; you know what you eat and what you drink; therefore keep yourself from fornicationd. Forasmuch as all such acts of lust pollute and destroy God's image (which you are), the Lord who knows what is good for you, gives you this precept that you may not pull down His temple which you have begun to be.

ID. He then goes on to correct the error of the Pharisees, declaring, Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart. For the commandment of the Law, You shall not lust after your neighbor's wife, the Jews understood of taking her away, not of committing adultery with her.

JEROME; Between actual passion and the first spontaneous movement of the mind, there is this difference: passion is at once a sin; the spontaneous movement of the mind, though it partakes of the evil of sin, is yet not held for an offense committed. When then one looks upon a woman, and his mind is therewith smitten, there is pro-passion; if he yields to this he passes from pro-passion to passion, and then it is no longer the will but the opportunity to sin that is wanting. Whoever, then, looks on a woman to lust after her, that is, so looks on her as to lust, and cast about to obtain, he is rightly said to commit adultery with her in his heart.

AUG. For there are three things which make up a sin: suggestion either through the memory, or the present sense; if the thought of the pleasure of indulgence follows, that is an unlawful thought, and to be restrained; if you consent then, the sin is complete. For prior to the first consent, the pleasure is either none or very slight, the consenting to which makes the sin. But if consent proceeds on into overt act, then desire seems to be satiated and quenched. And when suggestion is again repeated, the contemplated pleasure is greater, which previous to habit formed was but small, but now more difficult to overcome.

GREG.But whoever casts his eyes about without caution will often be taken with the pleasure of sin, and ensnared by desires begins to wish for what he would not. Great is the strength of the flesh to draw us downwards, and the charm of beauty once admitted to the heart through the eye is hardly banished by endeavor. We must therefore take heed at the first, we ought not to look upon what it is unlawful to desire. For that the heart may be kept pure in thought, the eyes, as being on the watch to hurry us to sin, should be averted from wanton looks.

CHRYS. If you permit yourself to gaze often on fair countenances you will assuredly be taken, even though you may be able to command your mind twice or thrice. For you are not exalted above nature and the strength of humanity. She too who dresses and adorns herself for the purpose of attracting men's eyes to her, though her endeavor should fail, yet shall she be punished hereafter, seeing she mixed the poison and offered the cup, though none was found who would drink thereof. For what the Lord seems to speak only to the man, is of equal application to the woman, inasmuch as when He speaks to the head, the warning is meant for the whole body.

29. And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out, and cast it from yourself; for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.
30. And if your right hand offends you, cut it off, and cast it from yourself; for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.

GLOSS. Because we ought not only to avoid actual sin, but even put away every occasion of sin, therefore having taught that adultery is to be avoided not in deed only but in heart, He next teaches us to cut off the occasions of sin.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. But if according to that of the Prophet, there is no whole part in our body (Ps 38:3), it is needful that we cut off every limb that we have that the punishment may be equal to the depravity of the flesh. Is it then possible to understand this of the bodily eye or hand? As the whole man when he is turned to God is dead to sin, so likewise the eye when it has ceased to look evil is cut off from sin. But this explanation will not suit the whole; for when He says, your right eye offends you, what does the left eye do? Does it contradict the right eye, and it is preserved innocent?

JEROME; Therefore by the right eye and the right hand we must understand the love of brethren, husbands and wives, parents and kinsfolk; which if we find to hinder our view of the true light, we ought to sever from us.

AUG. As the eye denotes contemplation, so the hand aptly denotes action. By the eye we must understand our most cherished friend, as they are wont to say who would express ardent affection, 'I love him as my own eye.' And a friend too who gives counsel, as the eye shows us our way. The right eye, perhaps, only means to express a higher degree of affection, for it is the one which men most fear to lose. Or, by the right eye may be understood one who counsels us in heavenly matters, and by the left one who counsels in earthly matters. And this will the sense: Whatever that is which you love as you would your own right eye if it offends you, that is, if it be a hindrance to your true happiness, cut it off and cast it from you. For if the right eye was not to be spared, it was superfluous to speak of the left. The right hand also is to be taken of a beloved assistant in divine actions, the left hand in earthly actions.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.Otherwise; Christ would have us careful not only of our own sin, but likewise that even they who pertain to us should keep themselves from evil. Have you any friend who looks to your matters as your own eye, or manages them as your own hand, if you know of any scandalous or base action that he has done, cast him from you; he is an offense; for we shall give account not only of our own sins, but also of such of those of our neighbors as it is in our power to hinder.

HILARY; Thus a more lofty step of innocence is appointed us, in that we are admonished to keep free, not only from sin ourselves, but from such as might touch us from without.

JEROME. Otherwise, as above he had placed lust in the looking on a woman, so now the thought and sense straying here and there He calls 'the eye.' By the right hand and the other parts of the body, He means the initial movements of desire and affection.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.The eye of flesh is the mirror of the inward eye. The body also has its own sense, that is, the left eye, and its own appetite, that is, the left hand. But the parts of the soul are called right, for the soul was created both with free will and under the law of righteousness, that it might both see and do rightly. But the members of the body being not with free will, but under the law of sin, are called the left. Yet He does not bid us cut off the sense or appetite of the flesh; we may retain the desires of the flesh, and yet not do thereafter, but we cannot cut off the having the desires. But when we willfully purpose and think of evil, then our right desires and right will offend us, and therefore He bids us cut them off. And these we can cut off, because our will is free. Or otherwise, everything, however good in itself that offends ourselves or others, we ought to cut off from us. For example, to visit a woman with religious purposes, this good intent towards her may he called a right eye, but if often visiting her I have fallen into the net of desire, or if any looking on are offended, then the right eye, that is, something in itself good, offends me. For the right eye is good intention, the right hand is good desire.

GLOSS. Or, the right eye is the contemplative life which offends by being the cause of indolence or self-conceit, or in our weakness that we are not able to support it unmixed. The right hand is good works, or the active life, which offends us when we are ensnared by society and the business of life. If then anyone is unable to sustain the contemplative life, let him not slothfully rest from all action; or on the other hand while he is taken up with action, dry up the fountain of sweet contemplation.

REMIG. The reason why the right eye and the right hand are to be cast away is subjoined in that, For it is better, &c.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. For as we are everyone members one of another, it is better that we should be saved without some one of these members, than that we perish together with them. Or, it is better that we should be saved without one good purpose, or one good work, than that while we seek to perform all good works we perish together with all.

31. It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement;
32. But I say to you, That whoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.

GLOSS. The Lord had taught us above that our neighbor's wife was not to be coveted; He now proceeds to teach that our own wife is not to be put away.

JEROME; For touching Moses's allowance of divorce, the Lord and Savior more fully explains in conclusion, that it was because of the hardness of the hearts of the husbands, not so much sanctioning discord, as checking bloodshed.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. For when Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, they were indeed Hebrews in race, but Egyptians in manners. And it was caused by the Gentile manners that the husband hated the wife; and if he was not permitted to put her away, he was ready either to kill her or mistreat her. Moses therefore suffered the bill of divorcement, not because it was a good practice in itself, but was the prevention of a worse evil.

HILARY; But the Lord who brought peace and good-will on earth, would have it reign especially in the matrimonial bond.

AUG. The Lord's command here that a wife is not to be put away, is not contrary to the command in the or Law, as Manichaeus affirmed. Had the Law allowed any who would to put away his wife, to allow none to put away were indeed the very opposite of that. But the difficulty which Moses is careful to put in the way, shows that he was no good friend to the practice at all. For He required a bill of divorcement, the delay and difficulty of drawing out which would often cool headlong rage and disagreement, especially as by the Hebrew custom, it was the scribes alone who were permitted to use the Hebrew letters, in which they professed a singular skill. To these then the law would send him whom it bid to give a writing of divorcement, when he would put away his wife, who mediating between him and his wife, might set them at one again, unless in minds too wayward to be moved by counsels of peace. Thus then He neither completed, by adding words to it, the law of them of old time, nor did He destroy the Law given by Moses by enacting things contrary to it, as Manichaeus affirmed, but rather repeated and approved all that the Hebrew Law contained, so that whatever He spoke in his own person more than it had, had in view either explanation, which in diverse obscure places of the Law was greatly needed, or the more punctual observance of its enactments. ID. By interposing this delay in the mode of putting away, the lawgiver showed as clearly as it could be shown to hard hearts, that He hated strife and disagreement. The Lord then so confirms this backwardness in the Law, as except only one case, the cause of fornication; every other inconvenience which may have place, He bids us bear with patience in consideration of the plighted troth of wedlock.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.If we ought to bear the burdens of strangers in obedience to that of the Apostle, Bear you one another's burdens (Gal 6:2), how much more that of our wives and husbands? The Christian husband ought not only to keep himself from any defilement, but to be careful not to give others occasion of defilement; for so is their sin imputed to him who gave the occasion. Whoever then by putting away his wife gives another human occasion of committing adultery, is condemned for that crime himself.

AUG. Yea more, He declares the man who marries her who is put away an adulterer.

CHRYS. Say not here, it is enough her husband has put her away; for even after she is put away she continues the wife of him that put her away.

AUG. The Apostle has fixed the limit here, requiring her to abstain from a fresh marriage as long as her husband lives. After his death he allows her to marry. But if the woman may not marry while her former husband is alive, much less may she yield herself to unlawful indulgences. But this command of the Lord, forbidding to put away a wife, is not broken by him who lives with her not carnally but spiritually, in that more blessed wedlock of those that keep themselves chaste. A question also here arises as to what is that fornication which the Lord allows as a cause of divorce; whether carnal sin or, according to the Scripture use of the word, any unlawful passion, as idolatry, avarice, in short all transgressions of the Law by forbidden desires. For if the Apostle permits the divorce of a wife if she be unbelieving (though indeed it is better not to put her away), and the Lord forbids any divorce but for the cause of fornication, unbelief even must be fornication. And if unbelief be fornication, and idolatry unbelief, and covetousness idolatry, it is not to be doubted that covetousness is fornication. And if covetousness be fornication who may say of any kind of unlawful desire that it is not a kind of fornication?

ID. Yet I would not have the reader think this disputation of ours sufficient in a matter so arduous; for every sin is spiritual fornication, nor does God destroy every sinner, for He hears His saints daily crying to Him Forgive us our debts; but every man who goes a whoring and forsakes Him, him He destroys. Whether this be the fornication for which divorce is allowed is a most knotty question - for it is no question at all that it is allowed for the fornication by carnal sin.

ID. If any affirm that the only fornication for which the Lord allows divorce is that of carnal sin, he may say that the Lord has spoken of believing husbands and wives, forbidding either to leave the other except for fornication. Not only does He permit to put away a wife who commits fornication, but whoso puts away a wife by whom he whom he is driven to commit fornication, puts her away for the cause of fornication, both for his own sake and hers.

ID. He also rightly puts away his wife to whom she shall say, 'I will not be your wife unless you get me money by robbery' or should require any other crime to be done by him. If the husband here be truly penitent, he will cut off the limb that offends him.

ID. Nothing can be more unjust than to put away a wife for fornication, and yourself to be guilty of that sin, for then is that happened, Wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself (Rom 2:1). When He says, And he who marries her who is put away, commits adultery, a question arises: does the woman also in this case commit adultery? For the Apostle directs either that she remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. There is this difference in the separation, namely, which of them was the cause of it. If the wife put away the husband and marry another, she appears to have left her first husband with the desire of change, which is an adulterous thought. But if she has been put away by her husband, yet he who marries her commits adultery, how can she be quit of the same guilt? And further, if he who marries her commits adultery, she is the cause of his committing adultery, which is what the Lord is here forbidding.

33. Again you have heard that it has been said by them of old time, You shall not forswear yourself, but shall perform to the Lord your oaths;
34. But I say to you, Swear not at all, neither by Heaven, for it is God's throne;
35. Nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36. Neither shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.
37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil.

GLOSS.The Lord has taught to abstain from injuring our neighbor, forbidding anger with murder, lust with adultery, and the putting away a wife with a bill of divorce. He now proceeds to teach to abstain from injury to God, forbidding not only perjury as an evil in itself but even all oaths as the cause of evil, saying, You have heard it said by them of old, You shall not forswear yourself it is written in Leviticus, You shall not forswear yourself in My name (Lev 19:12); and that they should not make gods of the creature, they are commanded to render to God their oaths, and not to swear by any creature, Render to the Lord your oaths; that is, if you shall have occasion to swear, you shall swear by the Creator and not by the creature. As it is written in Deuteronomy, You shall fear the Lord your God, and shall swear by His name (Deut 6:13).

JEROME; This was allowed under the Law, as to children; as they offered sacrifice to God, that they might not do it to idols, so they were permitted to swear by God; not that the thing was right, but that it were better done to God than to demons.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. For no man can swear often, but he must sometimes forswear himself; as he who has a custom of much speaking will sometimes speak foolishly.

AUG. Inasmuch as the sin of perjury is a grievous sin, he must be further removed from it who uses no oath, than he who is ready to swear on every occasion, and the Lord would rather that we should not swear and keep close to the truth, than that swearing we should come near to perjury.

ID. This precept also confirms the righteousness of the Pharisees, not to forswear; inasmuch as he who swears not at all cannot forswear himself. But as to call God to witness is to swear, does not the Apostle break this commandment when he says several times to the Galatians, The things which I write to you, behold, before God, I lie not (Gal 1:20). So the Romans, God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit (Rom 1:9). Unless perhaps someone may say, it is no oath unless I use the form of swearing by some object; and that the Apostle did not swear in saying, God is my witness. It is ridiculous to make such a distinction; yet the Apostle has used even this form, I die daily, by your boasting. That this does not mean, 'your boasting has caused my dying daily,' but is an oath, is clear from the Greek.

ID. But what we could not understand by mere words, from the conduct of the saints we may gather in what sense should be understood what might easily be drawn the contrary way, unless explained by example. The Apostle has used oaths in his Epistles, and by this shows us how that ought to be taken, I say to you, Swear not at all, namely, lest by allowing ourselves to swear at all we come to readiness in swearing, from readiness we come to a habit of swearing, and from a habit of swearing we fall into perjury. And so the Apostle is not found to have used an oath but only in writing, the greater thought and caution which that requires not allowing of slip of the tongue. Yet it is the Lord's command so universal, Swear not at all, that He would seem to have forbidden it even in writing. But since it would be an impiety to accuse Paul of having violated this precept, especially in his Epistles, we must understand the words at all as implying that, as far as lays in your power, you should not make a practice of swearing, not aim at it as a good thing in which you should take delight.

ID.Therefore in his writings, as writing allows of greater circumspection, the Apostle is found to have used an oath in several places, that none might suppose that there is any direct sin in swearing what is true; but only that our weak hearts are better preserved from perjury by abstaining from all swearing whatever.

JEROME; Lastly, consider that the Savior does not here forbid to swear by God, but by the Heaven, the Earth, by Jerusalem, by a man's head. For this evil practice of swearing by the elements the Jews had always, and are thereof often accused in the prophetic writings. For he who swears, shows either reverence or love for that by which he swears. Thus when the Jews swore by the Angels, by the city of Jerusalem, by the temple and the elements, they paid to the creature the honor and worship belonging to God; for it is commanded in the Law that we should not swear but by the Lord our God.

AUG. Or, it is added, By the Heaven, &c. because the Jews did not consider themselves bound when they swore by such things. As if He had said, When you swear by the Heaven and the Earth, think not that you do not owe your oath to the Lord your God, for you are proved to have sworn by Him whose throne the heaven is, and the earth His footstool; which is not meant as though God had such limbs set upon the heaven and the earth, after the manner of a man who is sitting; but that seat signifies God's judgment of us. And since in the whole extent of this universe it is the heaven that has the highest beauty, God is said to sit upon the heavens as showing divine power to be more excellent than the most surpassing show of beauty; and He is said to stand upon the earth, as putting to lowest use a lesser beauty. Spiritually by the heavens are denoted holy souls, by the earth the sinful, seeing He that is spiritual judges all things (1 Cor 2:15). But to the sinner it is said, Earth you are, and to earth you shall return (Gen 3:19). And he who would abide under a law, is put under a law, and therefore He adds, it is the footstool of His feet. Neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King; this is better said than 'it is mine,' though it is understood to mean the same. And because He is also truly Lord, whoso swears by Jerusalem, owes his oath to the Lord. Neither by your head. What could any think more entirely his own property than his own head? But how is it ours when we have not power to make one hair black or white? Whose then swears by his own head also owes his vows to the Lord; and by this the rest may be understood.

CHRYS. Note how he exalts the elements of the world, not from their own nature, but from the respect which they have to God, so that there is opened no occasion of idolatry.

RABANUS;Having forbidden swearing, He instructs us how we ought to speak, Let your speech be yea, yea; nay, nay. That is, to affirm anything it is sufficient to say, 'It is so'; to deny, to say, 'It is not so.' Or, yea, yea; nay, nay, are therefore twice repeated, that what you affirm with the mouth you should prove in deed, and what you deny in word you should not establish by your conduct.

HILARY; Otherwise, they who live in the simplicity of the faith have not need to swear, with them ever, what is is, what is not is not; by this their life and their conversation are ever preserved in truth.

JEROME; Therefore Evangelic verity does not admit an oath, since the whole discourse of the faithful is instead of an oath.

AUG. And he who has learned that an oath is to be reckoned not among things good, but among things necessary, will restrain himself as much as he may, not to use an oath without necessity, unless he sees men loathe to believe what it is for their good they should believe, without the confirmation of an oath. This then is good and to be desired, that our conversation be only, yea, yea; nay, nay; for what is more than this comes of evil; that is, if you are compelled to swear, you know that it is by the necessity of their weakness to whom you would persuade anything; which weakness is surely an evil. What is more than this is thus evil; not that your do evil in this just use of an oath to persuade another to something beneficial for him; but it is an evil in him whose weakness thus obliges you to use an oath.

CHRYS. Or, of evil, that is, from their weakness to whom the Law permitted the use of an oath. Not that by this the old Law is signified to be from the Devil, but He leads us from the old imperfection to the new abundance.

Catena Aurea Matthew 5
23 posted on 02/16/2014 5:46:43 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Savior Pantocrator

Late 15c., Novgorod

24 posted on 02/16/2014 5:47:11 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Christ and the Samaritan woman

25 posted on 02/16/2014 5:47:44 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Christ as teacher

from the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus
ca. 359 AD St. Peter's, Rome

26 posted on 02/16/2014 5:48:06 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Sunday, February 16

Liturgical Color: Green

Today the Church honors St. Elias,
martyr. During the persecution of
Maximus, St. Elias ministered to
Christians condemned to working in the
mines. He was discovered and arrested
for being a Christian. He was beheaded
in 309 A.D.

27 posted on 02/16/2014 9:33:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

 

Daily Readings for:February 16, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace as to become a dwelling pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

RECIPES

o    Spring, Fall or Winter Sunday Dinner Menu

ACTIVITIES

o    Teaching Children About Sickness and Death

PRAYERS

o    Prayer for a Sick Person

o    Ordinary Time, Pre-Lent: Table Blessing 2

o    Book of Blessings: Blessing Before and After Meals: Ordinary Time (2nd Plan)

o    Litany for the Sick and Afflicted

LIBRARY

o    Mental Illness: 'A Real and Authentic Social Health Care Emergency' | Pope Benedict XVI

·         Ordinary Time: February 16th

·         Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: Septuagesima Sunday

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.


Sunday Readings
The first reading is taken from Sirach 15:15-20. Today's reading comes from the section of Sirach's writing on man's free will and responsibility.

The second reading is from St. Paul 1 Corinthians 2:6-10. Last week we heard Saint Paul address how his preaching illustrates the fact that man's strength and wisdom are nothing compared to those of God. Today we hear him tell of the true wisdom of God.

The Gospel is from St. Matthew 5:17-37. In this Sermon on the Mount, we have various sayings of Christ, actually spoken on different occasions. Matthew, in his systematic manner, has gathered these sayings into one continuous discourse here. This makes it easier for his readers, who were Jewish converts, to grasp the new order of salvation as inaugurated by Christ. They knew the ten commandments, but they knew them as their rabbis had taught them. These rabbis, for the most part Pharisees, put all the stress on the letter of the law and on its external observance. Christ's opening statement, that the attitude of his followers towards the commandments (and other precepts of the law) must be different, and superior to that of the scribes and Pharisees, clearly indicates how Christianity must differ from, and supersede, Judaism.

Christ is not abolishing the ten commandments, but he is demanding of his followers a more perfect, a more sincere, fulfillment of them. The whole moral value of any legal observance (the Mosaic law included), comes from the interior disposition of him who observes or keeps the law. No man serves or honors God by any exterior acts, be they ever so arduous or continuous, unless these acts proceed from an intention and a will to honor and please God. This is the charter, the constitution, of the new law, Christianity. The old law is not abolished, but deepened and given a new life.

Avoiding murder therefore is not enough; the true Christian must remove any inclination to murder by building up true, brotherly love for all men in his heart.

We must not only not injure our neighbor or fellowman in his person, or in his character, but we must be ever ready to help him and prevent injury to him, whenever and wherever we can. We must not only not commit adultery, but must also develop a Christian respect and esteem for purity, the virtue which will preserve us not only from adultery but even from thoughts of adultery, or any other abuse of our sexual gifts given us by God for his sublime purpose.

We must be truthful always, and men of our word. This virtue is not only necessary for man's salvation, but is the basis of rational intercourse between men in civilized society. While our civil courts still deem it necessary to impose oaths on contestants and witnesses (since they have, unfortunately, to take account of the liars and deceivers who still are a menace to society), the truthful man need not be afraid of insulting or dishonoring God by calling him as his guarantor, if asked to do so.

True and loyal service of God therefore begins in the heart and has its value from this interior disposition. Keeping the ten commandments is our way of proving to God that we are grateful, obedient and loyal to him who gave us all we have and who has promised us future gifts infinitely greater still. And just as our love for God is proved by our true love for our neighbor, so the last seven of the commandments impose on us obligations regarding our neighbor. It is only by fulfilling these seven that we can fulfill the first three which govern our relations with God.

This truth is expressed by our Lord in the words: It you are offering your gift at the altar, and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there . . . first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.

— Excerpted from The Sunday Readings Cycle A, Fr. Kevin O' Sullivan, O.F.M.


28 posted on 02/16/2014 10:14:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

A Slide Show of Sanctity – A Homily for the 6th Sunday of the Year

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

In the Gospel for this Weekend’s Mass we are well into the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and today we cover a good deal of Chapter 5. In a way the Lord is drawing a picture for us of the transformed human person. He is presenting a kind of slide show of what sanctity really is. In understanding this rather lengthy text we do well to reflect on it in three parts.

I. The Power of New Life in Christ – We have discussed before that an important principle of the Christian moral vision is to understand that it is essentially received, not achieved. Holiness is a work of God. The human being acting out the power of his flesh alone cannot keep, and surely not fulfill, the Law. The experience of God’s people in the Old Testament bears this out. True holiness (and not mere ethical rule keeping) is possible only by and through God’s grace.

In this sense we must understand the moral vision given by Jesus as a description rather than a mere prescription. Notice what the text says here: I have come not to abolish but to fulfill [the Law]. It is Jesus who fulfills the Law. And we, who are more and more in him, and He in us do what He does. It is His work.

Thus, what Jesus is doing here is to describe what a transformed human being is like:

This is a work of God, the power is in the Blood and the cross. The power comes to us by grace. It is all a work of God.

Hence, Jesus, in today’s Gospel is not giving us a rigorous set of rules to follow (and they are rigorous) but, is describing what the transformed human person is like. Clearly his description is not some merely impossible ideal, but is set forth as the normal Christian life. The normal Christian is a transformed human person. The normal Christian, to use Jesus description from today’s Gospel, has authority over his anger and sexuality, loves his wife and family and is a man of his word. All this comes to him as the fruit of God’s grace.

It is very important to understand that this is a life offered to us by God. Otherwise we are simply left with moralism here: “Stop being so angry and unchaste, stop getting divorced, and stop lying.” Rather, what is offered here is new life in Christ where, on account of an inner transformation by the power of grace, we see anger abate, unchastity diminish, the love of others increase, and we speak the truth in love. So the power to do this is not from our flesh, but from the Lord, through the power of his cross to put sin to death and bring forth new life in us.

II. The Principle of New Life in Christ – The key word in Jesus’ moral vision is that, by his grace we do not merely keep the Law, but fulfill it. The key word is “fulfill” and to fulfill means to fill something full, to meet more than what is minimally required and to enter into the full vision and meaning of the Law.

Thus, to use Jesus’ examples in today’s Gospel:

In all these ways the law is not merely kept, it is fulfilled. It is filled full in that all this implications are abundantly and joyfully lived as Jesus Christ transforms me. Christ came to fulfill the Law and in Christ, as our union with him grows more perfect we also fulfill the Law. For what Christ does we do, for we are in him and he is in us. As he says, I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

III. The Picture of New Life in Christ. – The Lord then goes on to six pictures of what a transformed human being looks like. In the Gospel for today’s Mass we look at only four. These pictures are often called “antitheses” since they are all formulated as: You have heard that it was said……but I say to you. But the key point is to see then as pictures of what happens to a person in whom Jesus Christ is really living. Let’s look at each.

A. On Anger – The text begins: You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with brother will be liable to judgment; and whoever says to brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Thus the Lord teaches us that the commandment not to kill has a deeper meaning that must be filled full. For, what leads to murder? Is it not the furnace of anger, retribution, and hatred within us? We may all experience a flash of anger and it passes. Further there is such a thing as righteous anger which is caused by the perception of injustice and sin. The Lord himself exhibited this sort of anger a lot. These sorts of anger are not condemned. Rather the anger that is condemned is the anger that is born on hate and a desire for revenge, an anger that goes so far as to wish the other were dead and to deny that they possess any real human dignity. This is what leads to murder.

That the Lord has this sort of anger in mind is revealed in the examples he uses of the expression of this anger: Raqa and fool. These words express contempt and hatred. Raqa is untranslatable, but seems to have had the same impact as the “N-word” today. It is a very hurtful word expressing deep contempt. Now this has to go. It cannot remain in a person in whom the Lord authentically lives. And it will go, to the degree that we allow Christ to live in us. If that be the case then increasingly we cannot hate others, for the Lord is in us and he died for all out of love. How can I hate someone he loves?

The Lord makes it clear that if this doesn’t go, we are going to jail: Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. Thus, either we allow the Lord to effect this reconciliation in us or we’re off to jail. Whether the jail is hell or purgatory (for it would seem there is release from this jail after the last penny is paid), jail it is. We are not going to heaven until and unless this matter is resolved. Why delay the issue? Let the Lord work it now. Don’t go to jail because of your grudges and stubborn refusal to admit your own offenses.

B. On LustThe text begins: You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Thus the Lord teaches us that the commandment against adultery has a deeper meaning beyond merely transgressing marriage bounds. To fill this Law full means to be chaste in all matters and in mind and heart.

It is wrong to engage in any illicit sexual union, but if one is looking at pornography, and fanticizing about others, sexually, beyond the bounds of marriage, one is already in adultery. What the Lord is offering us here is a clean mind and pure heart. He is offering us authority over our sexuality and thoughts. To some in the world, such a promise seems impossible. But God is able to do and increasingly for those who are in Christ, self-mastery increases and purity of mind and heart become a greater reality. Our flesh alone cannot do this, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory in Christ. It is his work in us to give us these gifts.

The text goes on to say: If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. Therefore we have to be serious about these matters. The Lord is using hyperbole, but he is using it to make a firm point. It is to say that it is more serious to sin in this matter than to lose your eyesight, or limbs from your body.

Now, most moderns don’t think this way. They make light of sin, and sexual sin, in particular. But God does not make light of it. Jesus here teaches that it is worse to lose our soul than to lose parts of our body. If we were losing our eyesight or a limb to cancer we would probably be begging the Lord to deliver us. But why do we not think of sin in this way? Why are we not horrified by sexual sin in the same degree? We are clearly skewed in our thinking. Jesus is clear that these sorts of sins can land us in hell (which is here called Gehenna). Lustful thinking, pornography, masturbation, fornication, adultery, contraception and homosexual acts have to go. They are not part of life in Christ who wants to give us freedom and authority over our sexual passions.

Let’s be clear, a lot of people today are in some pretty serious bondage when it comes to sexuality. Jesus stands before us all and says, “Come let me live in you and give you the gift of sexual purity. It will be my gift to you, it will be my work in you to set you free from all disordered passion.”

C. On Divorce – The text says, It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife – unless the marriage is unlawful – causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery – At the time of the Lord Jesus, divorce was permitted in Israel, but a man had to follow the rules. But the Lord says to fulfill marriage law is to love your wife, love your husband. He teaches that when He begins to live his life in us, love for our spouse will grow, love for our children will deepen. The thought of divorce won’t even occur! Who wants to divorce someone they love?

If the Lord can help us to love our enemy he can surely cause us to love our spouse. It is a true fact that some of the deepest hurts can occur in marriage. But the Lord can heal all wounds and help us to forget the painful things of the past.

Here too the Lord is blunt. He simply refuses to recognize all this little pieces of paper people run about with saying that some human judge approved their divorce. God is not impressed with the legal document and may well still consider the person married!

Here too the Lord says, “Come to me, bring me your broken marriage, your broken heart and let me bring healing. It is a true fact that sometimes one has a spouse who simply leaves or refuses to live in peace. Here too the Lord can heal by removing the loneliness and hurt that might drive one to a second marriage where (often) there is more trouble waiting. Let the Lord bring strength, healing and restore unity. He still works miracles, and sometimes that is what it is going to take.

D. On Oaths – The text says, Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one. The people of Jesus’ time had lots of legalism associated with oaths and lots of tricky ways of watering down the truth. The Lord says, just cut it all out, and be a man or a woman of your word. When Jesus begins to live his life in us, we speak the truth in Love. When we make commitments we are faithful to them, we do not lie and we don’t play games with the truth. God is truth, and as he lives in us, we too become the truth, speak the truth and live the truth. This is the gift that Jesus offers us here.

So then, Here are four pictures of a transformed human being. Remember, the Sermon on the Mount is filled with promises more than prescriptions, descriptions more than prescriptions. The Lord is promising us here what he can and will do for us.

I am a witness to the transformative power of Jesus’ grace and love. And I promise you brethren, in the Lord Jesus Christ, that everything he offers us here, he will do. It is already happening and taking deep root in my life. How about you? Are you a witness?

This song speaks of the power of Jesus to transform us and of our need for that grace. The text says:

You breathe in me, And I’m alive with the power of your holiness.
You breathe in me, And you revive feelings in my soul
That I have laid to rest

-

Chorus: So breathe in me, I need you now.
I’ve never felt so dead within, So breathe in me. Maybe somehow
You can breathe new life in me again

-

I used to be so sensitive to the light that leads to where you are
Now I’ve acquired these callouses with the darkness of a cold and jaded heart
.

 


29 posted on 02/16/2014 10:31:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday Gospel Reflections

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Reading I: Sirach 15:15-20 II: 1Cor 2:6-10


Gospel
Matthew 5:17-37

17 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.'
22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire.
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison;
26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
28 But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
31 "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'
32 But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33 "Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.'
34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
37 Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil.


Interesting Details
One Main Point

Jesus brings God's law to perfection. When Jesus uses four points here or eight points in the beatitudes, he is not setting specific rules, but uses these points as poetic and vivid ways to express a central message. The central message here is that Jesus brings the Old Testament law to perfection.


Reflections
  1. Imagine each of the four examples Jesus uses. For example, how hateful would a murderer be, and what changes does Jesus desire?
  2. Take any law, such as going to Church on Sunday. What would be perfect and imperfect ways of doing it? Which way do I follow?
  3. God's supreme law is love. What is perfect love in my life now?

30 posted on 02/16/2014 10:38:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday, February 16, 2014
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Sirach 15:15-20
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Matthew 5:17-37

Yet if it were a delusion (as you assert) which tells us that the soul is immortal, and that there is a judgment after death and a reward of virtue at the resurrection, and that God is the Judge, we would gladly be carried by such a lie as that, which has taught us to lead good lives awaiting the hope of the future even while suffering adversities.

-- St Apollonius


31 posted on 02/16/2014 10:40:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

32 posted on 02/16/2014 10:41:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


33 posted on 02/16/2014 10:42:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Christian Pilgrim

p>(A biblical refection on THE 6th ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR A], 16 February 2014)

02-sermon-on-the-mount-1800

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:17-37

First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20; Psalms: Psalm 119:1-5,17-18,33-34; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 2:6-10

The Scripture Text
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is His footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or “No’; anything more than this comes from evil. (Matthew 5:17-37 RSV)

Bloch-SermonOnTheMount

Jesus would not allow Himself to be placed in opposition to the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). Through these means, God spoke to His beloved, chosen people. Instead, He made it clear that His teachings and His miracles were fully in line with the law, so much so that He should be seen as its fulfilment – the One who would perfect the law to the highest degree.

Jesus perfected the law by fulfilling God’s purpose in giving the law in the first place: that we would be able to relate to God in a pure and upright manner and to neighbour in like fashion. By reconciling us to the Father through His triumph on the cross, Jesus has made it possible for everyone to stand blameless in God’s presence. Redeemed by His blood and brought to new life in the waters of baptism, we can be filled with the power of His Spirit, who shapes our hearts and teaches us the way of obedience.

Free from fear of punishment, convinced in an ever-deepening way of God’s love for us, we can now receive divine life. From the power of that life, we can please Him by our acts of faith and trust. Laws remain necessary because of the continuous struggle between flesh and spirit, but their goal and purpose have been raised to a far greater height. Christ has given us new life which transforms us, drawing us ever further away from sin and ever closer to the Father. And so when Jesus echoed and fulfilled the commandments regarding murder, adultery, and divorce (Matthew 5:21,27,31), He was not calling us just to live better moral lives, but was inviting us into the very life of God, beginning even now on this earth.

God is glorified when we come to fullness of life, and fullness of life for us is to know and love God. Let us pray today that Christ, the fulfilment of all of God’s laws, would come more deeply into our hearts and bring us to fulfilment in Him. Let us approach the Eucharist today with a greater hunger and thirst for His life, which is our life and our joy.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, the loving plan of Your wisdom took flesh in Jesus Christ, and changed mankind’s history by His command and perfect love. May our fulfilment of His command reflect Your wisdom and bring Your salvation to the ends of the earth. Amen.

34 posted on 02/16/2014 10:48:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Christian Pilgrim

EMBODY THE LAW
(A biblical refection on THE 6th ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR A], 16 February 2014)

First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20; Psalms: Psalm 119:1-5,17-18,33-34; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 2:6-10; Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:17-37

Harold_Copping_The_Sermon_On_The_Mount_525In Gilbert and Sullivan’s light opera Princess Ida, one of the characters sings: “The law is the true embodiment of everything that’s excellent. It has no kind of fault or flaw. And I, my Lords, embody the law.”

If we shift from comic operas to serious Gospel, this rhyme helps us to understand the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.

Law and prophets here was a summary description of God’s revealed word in Scripture. Being a good Jew, Jesus recognized that they were “the true embodiment of everything that’s excellent.”

For example, the Ten Commandments embody reverence for God, His name and His Sabbath day. They embody respect for parents, marriage, life, property, human rights and truth.

It is this kind of reverence and respect that Jesus came to fulfill. But He would do so in a new way, with a new teaching and with a new authority.

First, Jesus does it in a new way because He embodies in His own being all that is excellent in the law. By word and deed Jesus shows us what it means to respect the weak and protect the poor. Some satire is involved when Gilbert and Sullivan’s character sang: “And I embody the law.” But with Jesus it becomes a serious statement.

Second, Jesus fulfills the law with a new teaching. His demands for discipleship far surpass the demands of Old Testament law. A deeper kind of holiness is expected of His followers. Not only is a crime of violence like murder forbidden, but even the anger that is the root cause of such a criminal act. Not only is the act of adultery to be shunned, but even lustful looks that are the beginnings of adultery. Not only are false oaths to be avoided, but any words that might compromise our honesty.

Indeed, these are new teachings that go beyond the letter of the law to its spirit; that no longer stress legalism, but love; that transform one’s attitude from “What should I not do?” into “What more can I do?”

Third, Jesus brings the law to fulfillment with a new authority. In a series of six contrasting statements Jesus begins by saying, “You have heard it said of old”, and then He finishes with His escalated demands, “But what I say to you is”. Can you imagine how shocking this was to His listeners? For them the supreme authority was the revealed word of God in Scripture. They must have thought that Jesus was either mad or a megalomaniac to claim an authority greater than the Scriptures.

It was only after He died and rose again that His claims would be understood. Only then would His disciples see that Jesus did in fact fulfill the law. Only then would they realize that He did embody in Himself all that was excellent in the law because He was the Son of God.

As disciples of Jesus, to what extent do we fulfill the law and the prophets? Are we satisfied with a minimal legalism, like going to Mass once a week and not killing our neighbor? Or are we striving for quality and excellence the other six days of the week?

Do our thoughts reflect honesty and integrity? Are our motives lofty and noble? If not, then we’re no better than the scribes and Pharisees. Do our words show respect and care? Are we demonstrating by our actions unselfishness and love? If not, then our Christian witness is weak.

We may not be without faults and flaws, but at least we must try to embody God’s laws and persevere in our pursuit of excellence.

Source: Fr. Albert Cylwicki CSB, HIS WORD RESOUNDS, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 52-53.

35 posted on 02/16/2014 10:51:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Marriage=One Man and One Woman 'Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for February 16, 2014:

“Go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift,” Jesus says to his disciples. (Mt 5:24) Is there anyone you need to reconcile with? Perhaps your spouse? A child? A parent or parent-in-law? Pray for opportunities for healing a broken or tense relationship.

36 posted on 02/16/2014 10:56:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday Scripture Study

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A

February 16, 2014

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20

Psalm: 119:1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10  

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:17-37

 

QUESTIONS:

Closing Prayer

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  §§ 1967, 577, 578, 581, 678, 764, 1034, 1424, 2053—54, 2153

 

On the question of relating to our fellowman - our neighbor's spiritual need transcends every commandment. Everything else we do is a means to an end. But love is an end already, since God is love.    -St. Edith Stein

37 posted on 02/17/2014 7:31:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Lessons from the Garden

Pastor’s Column

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A

February 16, 2014

Anyone who has been in the back yard of the rectory can see that I love plants! Things are always evolving and changing in a garden. Two of my favorite potted plants came with me from Tillamook and are filled with beautiful flowers for almost a month every spring. After growing these plants for about ten years, they slowly began to develop strange growths. At first, I would pick them off, but they would always come back. It appeared to be some kind of parasitic issue. This reminded me of mistletoe, a common parasite in desert cottonwoods that feed off the life of the host plant and eventually kill it. And this was exactly the kind of “infection” the plants had.

Despite all efforts, this parasite eventually killed them both, even though it was largely invisible.

The Lord spoke to my heart one day while I was pondering this in the garden. Most of us battle numerous sins, spiritual “infections” or issues that God allows in our lives. We are often victorious through prayer, help from others, modern medicine, hard work and grace. Sometimes we are able to deal with these things one by one.

Occasionally, however, the Lord seems to not answer our prayers right away. We can have issues that won’t go away or battle the same thing multiple times or in multiple places. Sometimes this is because there is a lesson that we must learn before we can be healed or victorious. Unresolved anger, for example, will be expressed in many seemingly unrelated forms. Impatience will manifest in diverse ways without perhaps the one so afflicted ever realizing the underlying cause may be self-centeredness and pride. When we are dealing with certain spiritual issues, often there is a deeper connecting infection or issue that must be resolved in order to affect a broader cure.

The Lord will allow us to suffer until this insight is realized, for he sees the whole picture, not just the individual problem we are dealing with today. We can go through life attempting to pick off the fruits of this infection one by one, like mistletoe sapping the life of a tree, or mushrooms on the forest floor, but unseen are the connections between all the others. As long as that underlying cause is not dealt with, the plant thus afflicted will slowly continue to die.

If the Lord seems to take his time in answering or healing us, it is because he has a greater purpose in mind! “All things work together for good in those who love God, and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

Father Gary


38 posted on 02/17/2014 7:39:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Reflections from Scott Hahn

Affair of the Heart: Scott Hahn Reflects on the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Dr. Scott Hahn on 02.14.14 |

Sirach 15:15–20
Psalm 119:1–2, 4–5, 17–18, 33–34
1 Corinthians 2:6–10
Matthew 5:17–37

Jesus tells us in the Gospel this week that he has come not to abolish but to “fulfill” the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.

His Gospel reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of the Ten Commandments and the moral Law of the Old Testament. But his Gospel also transcends the Law. He demands a morality far greater than that accomplished by the most pious of Jews, the scribes and Pharisees.

Outward observance of the Law is not enough. It is not enough that we do not murder, commit adultery, divorce, or lie.

The law of the new covenant is a law that God writes on the heart (see Jer. 31:31–34). The heart is the seat of our motivations, the place from which our words and actions proceed (see Matt. 6:21; 15:18–20).

Jesus this week calls us to train our hearts, to master our passions and emotions. And Jesus demands the full obedience of our hearts (see Rom. 6:17). He calls us to love God with all our hearts, and to do his will from the heart (see Matt. 22:37; Eph. 6:6)

God never asks more of us than we are capable. That is the message of this week’s First Reading. It is up to us to choose life over death, to choose the waters of eternal life over the fires of ungodliness and sin.

By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has shown us that it is possible to keep his commandments. In baptism, he has given us his Spirit that his Law might be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4).

The wisdom of the Gospel surpasses all the wisdom of this age that is passing away, St. Paul tells us in the Epistle. The revelation of this wisdom fulfills God’s plan from before all ages.

Let us trust in this wisdom, and live by his Kingdom law.

As we do in this week’s Psalm, let us pray that we grow in being better able to live his Gospel, and to seek the Father with all our heart.


39 posted on 02/17/2014 7:44:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Feb 17, 2014

Prayer on President's Day



 





Although "President's Day" is not a religious holiday but a cross between the birthday of George Washington (Feb. 12) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 22), nonetheless it is clear that I think no one needs prayer more in this Country than our elected Leader.  Regardless of politics and policies, he, or someday likely she, will need our prayerful support. Hopefully, the President agrees with that and is open to recognize his own human limitations and rely in the end on the providence of God.

The prayer below is entitled a "Prayer for the Nation" and was composed in 1791 by the first Catholic Bishop in this Country, John Carroll of Baltimore. This might well be a good day to pray this prayer with heartfelt concern not only for the President but also for this Nation.  We have lost a sense of the Divine in the public sector.  God is not seen as an ally but as an inconvenience, a "separation" to be kept away from the public marketplace, a hindrance to progressive policy such as so called reproductive rights (abortion on demand) for women which demeans women all the more, a threat to free thinking, and a power in religion that is basically self-serving. 

May God hear our plea, reward our efforts to do good, and may he look with mercy and kindness on the common good of all people.

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope Francis, the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop,
N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his[/her] excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance.

To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Father Tim


40 posted on 02/17/2014 7:50:07 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Insight Scoop

Jesus: Liberal Rabbi or Incarnate Messiah?

"Palestine. Sermon the Mount." by Vasily Polenov (c. 1900; WikiPaintings.org)

A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, February 16, 2014 | Carl E. Olson

Readings:
• Sir 15:15-20
• Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
• 1 Cor 2:6-10
• Mt 5:17-37

“Was Jesus in reality a liberal rabbi—a forerunner of Christian liberalism? Is the Christ of faith, an therefore the whole faith of the Church, just one big mistake?”

Those are fascinating questions, asked by Benedict XVI in his book, Jesus of Nazareth (Doubleday, 2007), in a lengthy chapter, “The Sermon on the Mount”. It is my favorite chapter of the book, filled with surprising insights into the greatest sermon ever given. But the Sermon on the Mount is more than just a “sermon”, as we normally think of that term, for as the Holy Father explains, it is “the Torah of the Messiah”—that is, the Law of Jesus Christ.

This Torah of the Messiah, writes Benedict XVI in a passage directly relating to today’s Gospel reading, “is totally new and different—but it is precisely by being such that fulfills the Torah of Moses”. And the “interpretative key” is a declaration by Jesus that has caused no small amount of confusion and consternation: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

Growing up as a fundamentalist Protestant, I recall hearing many times that Jesus had “done away” with the Law, having supposedly shown that it was no longer of any value or purpose. But that doesn’t make sense at all of Jesus’ strong statement: “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”

This is, Benedict notes, a “statement that never ceases to surprise us.” That is the case, in part, because we often hear or assume a simple, but incorrect, contrast: The Law is bad, but Jesus is good. This often comes about through a misunderstanding of Paul’s writings about the Law. But neither Jesus nor Paul said the Law was bad, but that bad things happen when people try to make the Law into something it isn’t. It is as if someone took an airplane, which is made to fly, and tried to fly it to the moon. Keeping with the analogy, Jesus did not come to destroy the plane, but to transform the plane into something unimagined and impossible prior. This fulfillment, the Pope writes, “demands a surplus, not a deficit, of righteousness.” In other words, Jesus did not come to do away with a Law that was impossible to keep, but to provide the way and means for the Law to be radically fulfilled and lived.

This is made clear by the series of “You have heard that … but I say to you…” statements make by Jesus about murder, adultery, divorce, and oaths. This is not a case of “they said, he said”, as if two lawyers are arguing in court, but of authoritative interpretation, as when a judge renders a final ruling. But even that analogy limps, for Jesus makes it clear that he is “on the same exalted level as the Lawgiver—as God.” This is why Matthew writes, at the end of the Sermon: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Mt 7:28-29).

This could only mean one of two things: that Jesus was an imposter of immense proportion, or he was, in fact, the Son of God, the Messiah, giving the new Torah from the mountain.

It is ironic that fundamentalist and liberal Protestants generally agree that Jesus took on the legalistic Judaism of his day by rendering the Law void and unnecessary. This misses the authoritative nature of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5, and the fact that, as Benedict notes, “Jesus understands himself as the Torah.” Far from being a liberal rabbi abolishing the Law, Jesus is the Incarnate Word who is—in his very person—the new and everlasting Law.

(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the February 13, 2011, issue of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)


41 posted on 02/17/2014 11:01:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Vultus Christi

Salvum me fac in tua misericordia

Sunday, 16 February 2014 07:38

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Septuagesima Sunday 2014

The sorrows of death surrounded me,
the sorrows of hell encompassed me;
and in my affliction I called upon the Lord,
and He heard my voice from His holy temple.
Ps. I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength:
the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer.  (Introit of the Mass of Septuagesima Sunday, Psalm 17: 5–7, 2–3)

The Heart’s Cry

The language of the psalms is the heart’s cry of all humanity and of every man. The Psalter is the universal prayerbook: a prayerbook inspired by the Holy Ghost, entrusted to the children of Israel, presented to the Son of God in the flesh, sanctified in His Heart and on His lips, transmitted whole and entire to His Bride the Church, and quickened with her breath and her life–blood, day after day, in the sacred liturgy.

The Sorrows of Hell

In praying today’s Introit from Psalm 17, it is the voice of old father Adam and old mother Eve that echoes in the Church and, through her, reaches the ear of God: “The sorrows of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me” (Psalm 17:5). It is the voice of all the just of ages past who, like the holy prophet Job, endured the loss of things dear to them, suffered every manner of affliction, and found themselves surrounded on all side by — the psalmist says it — “the sorrows of death” and “the sorrows of hell”.  There are hundreds of thousands of people who are feeling this very thing today. There may be people very close to us and dear to our hearts, loved ones who are enduring the relentless assault of the sorrows of death, the sorrows of hell; sensitive souls scorched by what they experience as the brutality of everyday life.

Praying Out of the Eye of the Storm

The second part of the Introit is no less the prayer of those who are beset by suffering on all sides: “In my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice from His holy temple” (Psalm 17:7). Prayer made out of the maelstrom of suffering, out of the eye of the storm, as it were, is rarely measured and neatly composed. It is a cry of terror. It has about it something savage, something primal, something that wrenches the heart. This is the very sort of prayer that God finds irresistible. This is the prayer that reaches Him even in the silence of His holy temple. And what, then, does the psalmist say?  “He heard my voice from His holy temple” (Psalm 17:7).

When Prayer Seems Impossible

Many people have said to me over the years, “I cannot pray, I don’t know how to prayer, prayer is impossible for me.” And I respond, “Can you cry out when you are injured? Can you weep when you are grieved? Can you call for help when you are in danger?” If one can do any of things, one can still pray. God is not remote and hard–hearted; He is not shut up in an inviolable sanctuary where none but His angels and saints can risk a whispered plea. God is very near, and His heart is divinely sensitive to our pain. The sanctuary, heavily veiled and closed off to all but a few select mortals of the tribe of the Aaron, has given way to the sanctuary of a Heart pierced through by a soldier’s lance, a Heart rent by a bloody gash that is eternally open and that will never close itself to sinners.

I Will Love Thee, O Lord

Knowing this, how can one not say with the psalmist in today’s Introit: Diligam te Domine, I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer. There are many souls, whose sufferings are known to me, to whom I want to say, “Take today’s Introit and make it your prayer; repeat it until it becomes familiar, until it lodges itself in your mind and in you heart. And then, let us talk again. You will have changed. This I can promise you.”

Happiness Is Not Where You Think It Is

The Collect says that we are justly afflicted for our sins. What does this mean? Is God an omnipotent and callous torturer who takes satisfaction in meting out punishments day after day? Sadly, there are people who have this distorted image of God; the very mention of God causes them to cringe, waiting for a rain of blows that, they think, must surely be destined for them. Affliction — suffering — came into the world not as a punishment, but as the necessary coordinate of a world gone off its axis as a result of man’s greed for power, self–determination, and riches. When God permits us to experience suffering, it is His way of saying, “Child, happiness is not where you think it is. For you, happiness does not lie here. You may think yourself capable of charting your own way to happiness but I, from where I am, see a better way. Trust me.” God will, as the Collect says, mercifully deliver us, but He will do so in His own way, in His own time, and for reasons that we, from where we stand, cannot begin to fathom.

Yet Will I Trust Him

God has not destined us for endless suffering. There is no suffering the end of which God does not have in view. There is no affliction for which He has not a surpassing consolation in store. There is no calamity for which he has no remedy prepared. There is no grief that He does not intend to drown in joy. The one thing God asks us to do is to cling to hope in Him and to say with the prophet Job, and with Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, “Even though he slay me yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

The Rock That Is Christ

The Epistle (1 Corinthians 9:24–27; 10:1–5) tells us that all the while the chosen people were wandering in the desert — forty years of unrest, of hunger, thirst, illness, scorpions, and temptation — God was with them. Mysteriously, it was already Christ, the Bread of Life and the Giver of Living Water, who followed them as they moved from place to place. Saint Paul speaks of the rock that displaced itself, and from this I would conclude that the rock in its successive displacements is the sign of a God who never fails to give us the assurance of His presence, even in the shifting sands of an unfamiliar desert landscape.

The Gradual (Psalm 9:10–11) and the Tract (Psalm 129:1–4), like the Introit, give us the very substance of our prayer this week. I cannot dwell on these texts now, but I invite you to return to them, to repeat them, and to hold them in your heart later today, or tomorrow, or during the week.

God Does Not Think As Men Do

The Gospel today (Matthew 20:1–16) is intended to unsettle us. Jesus would have us understand that God does not think as men do, nor is He in any way bound to our limited and near–sighted ways of measuring out what we think right and just. To his prophet Isaias God said, “Not mine to think as you think, deal as you deal; by the full height of heaven above earth, my dealings are higher than your dealings, my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaias 59:8–9). How often are we tempted to cry out to God, “This is not right,” and again, “This is not just,” or even “God, Thou art wrong,” and “Thou art not just.” The wise man, that is to say the humble man, learns to say — and sometimes at great personal cost — “I do not understand what Thou art doing nor why Thou art doing it, but I will trust Thee. I will trust Thee even when trusting Thee feels to me like utter madness.”

My Trust Shall Never Leave Me

Yesterday was the feast of Saint Claude La Colombière, the priest who encouraged Saint Margaret Mary to trust her own experience of the Heart of Jesus.  Saint Claude’s life was marked by sufferings and contradictions of all sorts.  He found himself up against a wall. It was a question of trusting God or of altogether losing hope, and this is what he wrote:

My God, I believe most firmly
that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee,
and that we can want for nothing
when we rely upon Thee in all things;
therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties,
and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors;
sickness may take from me my strength
and the means of serving Thee;
I may even lose Thy grace by sin;
but my trust shall never leave me.
I will preserve it to the last moment of my life,
and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.

Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents;
let them trust to the purity of their lives,
the severity of their mortifications,
to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers;
as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope.

I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty,
and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee.
Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations;
that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assaults of the evil one,
and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies.
I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me,
and that I shall love Thee unceasingly.

The Light of His Face

The man who trusts God in this way will understand why the Church gives us today’s Communion Antiphon in such marked contrast with the Introit that opened the Mass: “Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant, and save me in Thy mercy: let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon Thee” (Psalm 30:17–18). If, from our side, when all is darkness, we give the last word to trust, from God’s side, the last word will be one of mercy, and with it will come the light of His Face.


42 posted on 02/17/2014 11:02:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Regnum Christi

Fraternal Reconciliation

| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Father Matthew Kaderabek, LC

Matthew 5:20-22, 27-28, 33-34, 37

Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ´Raqa,´ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ´You fool,´ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God´s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Let your ´Yes´ mean ´Yes,´ and your ´No´ mean ´No.´ Anything more is from the Evil One. "

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I can be so cold to your salvific presence as I hurry about living the moment and becoming so sufficient unto myself. There is little wonder that I find it hard to bring myself to prayer—to use faith to know you, divine love to live in you, and theological hope to trust in you. I approach you now, wanting only to be a more faithful disciple of your Kingdom.

Petition: Christ, help me to be reconciled with others.

1. It Was Said to Your Ancestors That You Shall Not Kill … But I Say to You: In the Old Testament God gave the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This seems difficult enough to do, but in the New Testament, Our Lord requires much more. The night before he died, Jesus said to his disciples—and he says now to us—, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How did Jesus love us? We have only to look at the crucifix. He laid down his life for us so that, purified by his Precious Blood, we might be united with the Most Blessed Trinity in the eternal happiness of heaven.

2. “Be Reconciled with Your Brother” - Jesus does not say “neighbor,” but “brother.” In taking upon himself our human nature, Jesus Christ became our brother and the head of the whole human race. He has raised us all, through him, to the dignity of the divine adoption, in such a manner that all Christians compose only one family of which God is the Father and Jesus the first-born Son. Each person we meet is—or is potentially—our brother or sister in Christ. Each is—or is potentially—a member of the family. Therefore, Jesus teaches us that, “whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me.”

3. “Go First and Be Reconciled With Your Brother, and Then Come and Offer Your Gift.” - The great St. Thomas More was about to offer God the gift of his martyrdom. It was the month of July 1535. As soon as the unjust court pronounced the sentence of death, Sir Thomas asked to say a few words. He reminded these noblemen that St. Paul and St. Stephen were once on opposite sides and yet, as saints now in heaven, they remain friends forever. He continued: “I shall therefore rightly pray, that though your lordships have now here on earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven all meet together, to our everlasting salvation.” What heroic charity! How was it possible? It was possible because St. Thomas saw his judges with the eyes of Christ. He sees them as human beings who are beloved of God and destined for heaven. So he prays that they will repent of their injustice and receive God’s mercy.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to see my brother as you see him: a person so valuable that you laid down your life for him. Help me to love my brother as you have loved us, with humility and generosity, without counting the cost. I pray especially for those who have injured me or those whom I have injured.

Resolution: I will offer this day for the eternal salvation of all those whom God has, in some way, entrusted to my care.

 


43 posted on 02/17/2014 11:03:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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There’s No Hall Pass for Sin

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February 16
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021614.cfm

We humans love to escape responsibility. When Mom runs to the room where sounds of a fight are coming from, she finds brothers pointing fingers at each other. When confronted with our trespasses, it is easy to blame someone else. Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent. But one roundabout way of denying responsibility is to claim that we did not have freedom in the first place, that our hand was forced, that we couldn’t help but do what we did. This moral argument comes in many forms: that a person’s upbringing was so bad that he wasn’t really free, that all of human life is physical material and so our moral outcomes are dictated by our DNA and our environment, not by our choices.

“God made me do it”

In this Sunday’s first reading, a novel version of this argument is being confronted: the idea that God forced me into a situation where evil was my only choice, that my sin is God’s fault. In Sirach 15:11, just before our reading’s selection, the false idea is quoted as “It was God’s doing that I fell away,” and in v. 12, “He himself has led me astray” (NABRE). Sirach responds that God does not do what he hates and that he doesn’t need the wicked. While the idea that God would lead one into sin might seem silly at first, think about friends who have lost their faith in a time of trial and suffering. Sometimes the harshness of life can tempt people to reject God, as if he was the cause of all their ills. This rejection does not follow strict logic, but it expresses deep pain in the human heart. We must reach out in loving care to those who grieve so deeply, but ultimately not let our grief overwhelm our faith.

Lead us not into Temptation

When Jesus teaches us how to pray, he too responds to the false accusation of God. He teaches us to say, “Lead us not into temptation…” If we sit down to think about it, we can come to see that God doesn’t ever lead us into temptation, but we need the reaffirmation of this reality in our speaking to God. If God did lead us into temptation, some of us would be pre-destined to Hell. But the Church has explicitly condemned the idea that anyone is predestined to Hell (Catechism, 1037). God does not desire our destruction, but our life. He does not force us to wicked behavior, but helps us to act righteously.

A Matter of Life and Death

Sirach paints the constant choice before us in the starkest of colors: life and death, good and evil, fire and water. The choice is ours. God does not force our hand. Keeping the commandments leads to God’s blessings and life, but breaking the commandments leads to curse and death. This depiction of the “two ways” is repeated in many fashions in the Bible: the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy, the two paths of Psalm 1, the narrow vs. broad way in the Gospels. While not every moment in our lives is as dramatic as fire and water, every decision we make draws us closer to God or pushes us away from him.

God’s Wisdom Sees through Our Designs

In the context of refuting the idea that God tempts people, Sirach explains to us the immensity of God’s wisdom. God sees all, knows all, understands all. He “knows our works” as it says in Revelation. He also knows our motivations. When we sin, we reject our moral responsibility and can pretend to ourselves that we weren’t really responsible for our actions. But God knows the game we’re trying to play. He knows what’s really going on in our hearts. He never commands us to do something morally wrong. He never asks us to act unjustly. Instead, St. Paul reassures us that even in the most terribly tempting situation, he provides us with a way of escape (see 1 Cor 10:13).

No License to Sin

Lastly, Sirach tells us that God never gives out a “license to sin.” This idea reminds me of a mistaken view of the sacrament of Confession, where a guy goes to Confession before the weekend to confess all the sins that he is about to commit, before he’s committed them. God does not hand out “hall passes” for sin. He knows that sin destroys us, that it is contrary to the way we are built, that we do ourselves no favors by engaging in it. Confession, in fact, requires a purpose of amendment, that is, a firm resolution not to sin. A priest can’t grant absolution ahead of time. It only works for sins that have already been committed, and that the sinner is now pledging not to do again.

Sirach points out to us our own tendency to run from responsibility, to hide our sinfulness from ourselves, or to blame others, even God. What he’s asking us to do is own up to our responsibility, to realize that ultimately we have no one to blame but ourselves. God does not tempt us to sin, he prompts us to live courageous and righteous lives. He doesn’t want us to escape from responsibility, but to carry out our responsibilities with joy.


44 posted on 02/17/2014 11:04:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture Speaks: Law for the Heart

 

Jesus told the crowd listening to Him on a mountain that their righteousness must “surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees.”  Why?

Gospel (Read Mt 5:17-37)

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave His followers extended, detailed instructions about life in the kingdom of God.  He started with the Beatitudes, describing “blessedness” in terms those hearing Him had never heard before.  Lest they begin to think that He was completely overturning all they knew about life as God’s people, Jesus reassured them:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”  What did He mean?

In this Sermon, Jesus reveals that God’s law always aimed at the heart.  It was meant to lead His people into true righteousness and, thus, true happiness.  However, in their long history, the Jews learned how hard it was to keep the law that way, from the heart.  Their obedience was externalized (when it was there at all) to such a degree that by Jesus’ day, the religious elites (scribes and Pharisees) were regularly guilty of hypocrisy and hearts so hard that they could not recognize Jesus as God’s Messiah.  This problem didn’t appear overnight, of course.  Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet, Jeremiah, declared that God would someday make a new covenant with His people, because they failed so miserably to keep the first one:  “But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:  I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts” (see Jer 31:31-34).  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins to explain what that promise meant.

Using the phrase, “you have heard that it was said,” repeatedly, Jesus tells us that keeping the law of God must begin in the heart, fully embracing the intention of the law, as well as its specific direction.  Therefore, the law that prohibits killing is the external expression of an internal law aimed at love and respect for neighbor.  It is not enough to refrain from killing someone who has wronged us.  Letting anger smolder within us, making judgments about people, and even slandering them verbally all violate the intention of the law against killing (murder starts in the heart).  This is certainly righteousness that “surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees”!

Jesus comments on other parts of the law, both the Ten Commandments (“you shall not commit adultery”) and the Mosaic law.  These were temporal statutes given by Moses to govern the national life of Israel, such as divorce; they were meant to restrain sin in hard-hearted people.  In every case, He looks to the heart, not just the external behavior.  If the people listening to him began to wonder how their hearts could ever be good enough to live this way, then His Sermon was hitting the mark.

Jesus came to enable us to see how desperately we all needed God to keep that promise made through Jeremiah so long ago.  The New Covenant in His Blood gives us a new heart, because in baptism, we receive God’s Holy Spirit.  He is the power of transformation in us, the Spirit of love Who gives us eyes to see that true love of God and neighbor, both in our hearts and in our behavior, is the path to life and happiness.

The law of God is no longer written on tablets of stone.  Jesus fulfilled and transformed that law, so that now the Holy Spirit writes it in our hearts and enables us to keep it.  Hope!

Possible response:  Heavenly Father, I know You desire my love in all that You ask of me, not just the legalism of keeping rules.  What a difference that makes.

First Reading (Read Sir 15:15-20)

Sirach describes for us the remarkable decision every human being has to make:  “Before men are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.”  God always wants us to choose well:  “No one does He command to act unjustly, to none does He give license to sin.”  Yet it is clear that God created man as a free creature who must make the choice “to keep the commandments” and to “trust in God” for himself.  Jesus takes up this truth, too, later in the Sermon on the Mount.  After laying out the instructions for living God’s way, He ends His teaching with a grand choice:  “Everyone, then, who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock … everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand” (see Mt 7:24-27).

How can we choose well?  By choosing Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Possible response:  Heavenly Father, each new day brings me a new series of choices.  Please help me choose the good and reject the evil, out of love for You.

Psalm (Read Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34)

The psalmist sings his desire for God’s help to “walk in the law of the Lord” and thus to know true blessedness.  Here is the longing of the true Israelite—to keep God’s law from the heart:  “Give me discernment, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart.”  This is the very desire that Jesus takes up and explains in our Gospel reading.  Those who truly love God know that life in His kingdom is much more than simply keeping rules:  “Blessed are they who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their heart.”  Our obedience to His law must issue out of our great hunger for God Himself—to know and love and please Him.  Then we will know the truth of our antiphon:  “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.”

Possible response:  The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings.  Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read 1 Cor 2:6-10)

St. Paul writes to his friends about a wisdom not “of this age.”  God’s wisdom sets the wisdom of this world on its head.  That is very much the same thing that the Sermon on the Mount does, beginning with the Beatitudes.  The life of God’s kingdom can only be understood and lived “through the Spirit.  For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.”

St. Paul assures us that as difficult as this life in the kingdom can seem—difficult because it costs us everything—there is great reward in it:  “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Who can resist a promise like this?

Possible response:  Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Spirit, Who makes the impossibly good life of the Sermon on the Mount possible for us.


45 posted on 02/17/2014 11:05:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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One Bread One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 30, Issue 2

<< Sunday, February 16, 2014 >>

6th Sunday Ordinary Time

 

Sirach 15:15-20
1 Corinthians 2:6-10

View Readings

Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Matthew 5:17-37

Similar Reflections

 

THE HIGHEST MORAL STANDARDS

 

"You have heard the commandment, 'You shall not commit adultery.' What I say to you is: anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts.' " —Matthew 5:27-28

 

Jesus did not believe in working on the sabbath, but He did cause a controversy by healing on the sabbath. He was also not ultra-strict about washing His hands before eating (see Mt 15:2). Moreover, Jesus did not require His disciples to fast until after He ascended into heaven (see Mt 9:14ff). He also stopped an adulteress from being put to death (Jn 8:3ff).

Some people misunderstood Jesus' actions. They thought He was trying to be popular by being permissive. However, Jesus set the record straight by proclaiming: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfill them" (Mt 5:17). Jesus then proceeded to set the highest moral standards in history. He condemned not only murder but growing angry (Mt 5:22). He forbade not only adultery but also lustful glances and thoughts (Mt 5:28). Jesus also opposed divorce although it was accepted in the Bible (Mt 5:32). He even commanded us to love our enemies and to offer no resistance to injury (Mt 5:44, 39).

Jesus is not permissive; He is impossibly demanding. We will be hopelessly frustrated in trying to fulfill Jesus' moral standards. Our only hope is to come to Jesus (see Mt 11:28) and turn our lives over to Him. We cannot meet His standards, but we can "let it be done" to us according to His word (see Lk 1:38). "He Who calls us is trustworthy, therefore He will do it" (1 Thes 5:24).

 

Prayer: Father, I must be, but cannot be, holy. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me from this impossible situation.

Promise: "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him." —1 Cor 2:9

Praise: Alleluia! Jesus has conquered death for us! Alleluia!

 


46 posted on 02/17/2014 11:06:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Cause of African-American deaths since 1973:
heart disease-2,266,789
cancer- 1,638,350
accidents- 370,723
AIDS- 203,695
violent crimes- 306,313
for a total of 4,785,870

African-American abortions since 1973: roughly 13,000,000

(statistics from the National Black Catholic Congress’ website)


47 posted on 02/17/2014 11:11:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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