Thirteenth Sunday af. Pentecost (23rd S. Ord. Time)
NATIVITY OF MARY
1 Maccabees, Chapter 8, Verse 12
They subjugated kings both near and far, and all who heard of their fame were afraid of them.
This verse is referring to the Romans (150 B.C.) and Judas Maccabee was impressed with the romans for, “Judas had heard of the reputation of the Romans. They were valiant fighters and acted amiably to all who took their side. They established a friendly alliance with all who applied to them. He was also told of their battles and the brave deeds that they performed against the Gaul’s.” (1 Maccabees 8:1-2) Judas sent envoys to Rome, probably before the death of Nicanor, to conclude a treaty of alliance between Rome and the Jewish nation. Without precise chronology, the pertinent data are gathered into a unified theme. The image of the Roman Republic greatly impressed the smaller Eastern peoples seeking support against their overlords, because of Roman success in war and effective aid to their allies. Numerous interventions by Rome in the politics of the Near East bear witness to its power and prestige in the second century B.C. With the increased Roman control of Palestine after 63 B.C., the Republic and later the Empire became heartily detested. The eulogy of Rome in this chapter is one of the reasons why 1 Maccabees was not preserved by the Palestinian Jews of the century that followed.
In 133 BC, Rome was a democracy. Little more than a hundred years later it was governed by an emperor. This imperial system has become, for us, a by-word for autocracy and the arbitrary exercise of power. At the end of the second century BC the Roman people was sovereign. True, rich aristocrats dominated politics. In order to become one of the annually elected 'magistrates' (who in Rome were concerned with all aspects of government, not merely the law) a man had to be very rich. Even the system of voting was weighted to give more influence to the votes of the wealthy. Yet ultimate power lay with the Roman people. Mass assemblies elected the magistrates, made the laws and took major state decisions. Rome prided itself on being a 'free republic' and centuries later was the political model for the founding fathers of the United States. The system was weighted to give more influence to the votes of the wealthy. By 14 AD, when the first emperor Augustus died, popular elections had all but disappeared. Power was located not in the old republican assembly place of the forum, but in the imperial palace. The assumption was that Augustus's heirs would inherit his rule over the Roman world - and so they did. This was nothing short of a revolution, brought about through a century of constant civil strife, and sometimes open warfare. This ended when Augustus - 'Octavian' as he was then called - finally defeated his last remaining rivals Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC and established himself on the throne.
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
UNITE your voice with the Church in the Introit of the Mass, and pray for assistance against her enemies. “Have regard, O Lord, to Thy covenant, and forsake not, unto the end, the souls of Thy poor: Arise, O Lord, and judge Thy cause, and forget not the voices of them that seek Thee. O God, why hast Thou cut us off unto the end? Why is Thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of Thy pasture”?
Prayer. O almighty and eternal God, grant to us an increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may deserve to obtain what Thou promisest, make us love what Thou commandest.
EPISTLE. Gal. iii. 16-22.
Brethren: To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He saith not: And to his seeds, as of many: but as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God: the law, which was made after four hundred and thirty years, doth not annul, to make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come, to whom He made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one. Was the law then against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Explanation. St. Paul shows the Galatians that they could not be justified by the Mosaic law, but only by active faith. The promise, he says, which God gave to Abraham, that all nations should be saved through faith in one of his seed, pointed to Christ. Even the Scriptures tell us that, notwithstanding the law and its sacrifices, the Jews remained sinners; it could not, therefore, by itself, justify man. It follows, therefore, that salvation was to be gained only through Jesus, Who delivered men from the Jewish law. Let us, then, by active faith in Him, make use of this grace for eternity.
GOSPEL. Luke xvii. 11-19
An increase in faith, hope, and love.
At that time, as Jesus was going to Jerusalem, He passed through the midst of Samaria in Galilee. And as he entered into a certain town, there met Him ten men that were lepers who stood afar oft: and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Whom when He saw, He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face, before His feet, giving thanks; and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said: Were not ten made clean? and where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger. And He said to him: Arise, go thy way: for thy faith hath made thee whole.
What, in a spiritual sense, does leprosy mean? In a spiritual sense leprosy means sin, especially the sin of impurity. The Jewish law divided leprosy into three kinds, namely, that of the flesh, that of garments, and that of houses. The leprosy of the flesh may be likened to the impure, who easily corrupt others; the leprosy of garments, to luxury of dress and scandalous fashions, by which not only souls are seduced into sin, but many families and communities are brought to poverty and plunged into eternal ruin; the leprosy of houses, to places where wicked and immoral servants are kept; where immodest dances and plays occur, where licentious acts are committed, where meetings are allowed and encouraged to the injury of virtue and of our neighbor’s honor, where assistance or advice is given in wicked undertakings of any sort.
Why did the lepers stand afar off? Because it was thus commanded by the Jewish law, so that no one might catch contagion from them. From this we learn that we must as carefully shun scandalous persons, companies, and houses, as we would the plague. He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled with it, and he that hath fellowship with the proud shall put on pride.” (Ecclus. xiii. 1).
Why did Jesus ask for the nine others who also were made clean? To show how greatly ingratitude displeases Him. Injuries to Himself He generally submitted to in silence; but this ingratitude He would not suffer to pass uncondemned. So great a sin is ingratitude. On this account St. Bernard says, “Ingratitude is an enemy of the soul that destroys merit, corrupts virtue, and prevents grace. It is a scorching wind that dries up the fountain of the goodness and the mercy of God.”
Why does God require us to be grateful? This question St. Chrysostom answers very beautifully by saying: “God requires gratitude of us only that He may confer on us new graces.” Then let us not forget to thank Him morning and evening; before and after meals; as often as you recognize His blessing in your house, in your children, in your property, your cattle, your fields, your fruits. St. Augustine says: “We cannot think, speak, or write anything better or more acceptable than, Thanks be to God!”
Instruction on The Sacrament of Holy Orders.
“Go, show yourselves to the priests” Luke xvii. 14.
What are Holy Orders? A sacrament in which the priestly power is conferred on the candidate, together with a special grace to discharge its sacred functions.
What is the outward sign of this sacrament? The laying on of hands and the prayer of the bishop, and the presentation of the chalice with bread and wine, together with the verbal communication of authority to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and to remit and retain sins.
When did Christ institute this sacrament? At the Last Supper, when, after changing the bread into His true body, and the wine into His true blood, He said to His apostles, “Do this for a commemoration of Me” (Luke xxii. 19).
Are Holy Orders reckoned a sacrament by the apostles? Yes; for St. Paul admonishes His disciple Timothy to stir up the grace of God received by the imposition of his hands. Hereby St. Paul teaches expressly that by the imposition of the hands of the apostles, or of the bishops, who are their successors, the grace of God is imparted to priests, in which consists the substance of the sacrament. Pray, then, for the priests; askng fervently of God, particularly on ember-days, to give His Church faithful pastors. Jesus Himself commands it, saying, the harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send laborers into His Harvest” (Luke x. 2).
Nativity of Mary
Hail, holy parent, who as a happy mother brought forth the King Who rules heaven and earth from eternity to eternity.
Let us honor Mary, especially by imitation of those virtues of hers which are to us, as St. John Damascene says, an open book of instruction; let us rejoice in her prerogatives and glory; let us encourage others in the veneration of her; let us, in our need, have recourse to her, who, according to the name Star of the Sea with which the Church salutes her, shines for all who sail upon the dangerous sea of the world. For this reason, St. Bernard calls out to each one of us, “Take not your eyes from the light of this star if you would not be overwhelmed by the waves; if the storms of temptation arise, if you are thrown upon the rocks of affliction, look to the star, and invoke Mary. Are you confounded at the enormity of your sins, are you ashamed at the defilement of your conscience, and are you terrified on account of the dreadful judgment, so that you begin to be overpowered by sadness, or even to sink into the abyss of despair, then turn your thoughts to Mary. In dangers, in distress, in doubt, call on Mary. She will not be far from your mouth, or your heart; and that you may obtain her intercession omit not to imitate her conduct. When you follow her, you will not go astray; when you invoke her, you will no longer be in doubt; when she supports you, you will not fall; when she leads you, you will surely come to eternal life, and will find by your own experience that she is justly called Maria that is, “Star of the Sea”.
Things to Do
· Learn prayers to Mary, such as the Angelus, Litany of Loreto, Memorare, Hail Mary, and Hail Holy Queen. Learn and sing various hymns to Mary, such as the Salve Regina, Immaculate Mary, Hail Holy Queen.
· Start researching and planning a Mary Garden, or a special plant or flower for each feast day of Mary. This can be for next spring, but if some bulbs are to be included, this is the time to plant them! Decorate the house, family table or family altar with flowers or special Marian decor.
· Contemplate on how all the feasts of Mary point to the mysteries of Christ and our salvation history. Biblical readings: Proverbs 8:22-35 and Matthew 1:1-16 (this points to the appreciation of the heritage and family of Jesus).
· Have a birthday party for Mary, with a specially decorated birthday cake and birthday decorations. Blue is the traditional color of Mary's mantle, so incorporating blue into the decor and food is quite appropriate. Try making an all white cake symbolizing Mary's purity, or cookies with white icing. White meringue cookies (or kisses) would also remind one of Mary's sinlessness. Birthday parties don't need special explanations for children. Have each child present a "gift" to their Mother Mary, such as spiritual bouquets, faults or virtues to work on, corporal works of mercy, etc. Learn to make string knot rosaries to give as "favors."
· Eat some form of blueberries on this day, particularly in the morning -- blueberry muffins or blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie or just fresh blueberries on your cereal. The blue is symbolic of Mary's blue mantle.
· Find out about the devotion to "Maria Bambina" or "Baby Mary."
· Women for Faith and Family have some wonderful ideas for this feastday.
35 Promises of God cont.
“Those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”-Proverbs 1:33
· Battle for the Soul of America-Day 22
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 3pm till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.