Twelfth Sunday of Pentecost
Introit O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me: let mine enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul. Let them be turned backward and blush for shame, who desire evils to me. ℣. Glory be to the Father …
Collect O almighty and merciful God, of whose gift it comes that Thy faithful do You worthy and laudable service: grant us, we beseech Thee, that we may run without stumbling towards the attainment of Thy promises. Through our Lord …
Epistle (2 Corinthians 3:4-9) Brethren: Such conﬁdence we have through Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God. Who also has made us ﬁt ministers of the New Testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit quickens. Now if the ministration of death, engraved with letters upon stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance; which is made void: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice abounds in glory.
Gradual I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall ever be in my mouth. In the Lord shall my soul be praised: let the meek hear, and rejoice. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 87:2.) O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried in the day and in the night before Thee. Alleluia.
Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.” And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting Him, and saying: “Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?” But He asked him: “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” He answering, said: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” And He said to him: “You have answered rightly: this do, and you shall live”. But he, wishing to justify himself, asked Jesus: “And who is my neighbour?”
Jesus answering, said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way, and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion, and going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him, and whatsoever you shall spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay you. Which of these three, in thine opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among robbers?” But he said: “He that showed mercy to him”. And Jesus said to him: “Go and do thou in like manner.”
Offertory Moses prayed in the sight of the Lord his God, and said: Why, O Lord, is Your indignation enkindled against Thy people? Let the anger of Thy mind cease; remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom You did swear to give a land ﬂowing with milk and honey. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which He had spoken of doing against his people.
Secret Graciously look upon the offerings, we beseech You, O Lord, which we present upon Your altar: that while they obtain pardon for us, they may give honour to Thy name. Through our Lord …
Communion The earth shall be ﬁlled with the fruit of Thy works, O Lord, that You may bring bread out of the earth, and that wine may cheer the heart of man; that he may make the face cheerful with oil; and that bread may strengthen man’s heart.
Postcommunion May the holy reception of this Mystery quicken us, we beseech Thee, O Lord: and may it win for us both pardon and protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …
Fundamentals of the Faith: VIII
Grace is one of the great mysteries of the faith. Ordinary reason cannot reach to it, hence the geniuses of Western philosophy do not know of it. To the best of my knowledge, no other religion has anything like the understanding of grace which the Catholic Church has. This is because, first of all, the Catholic concept of grace is intrinsically Trinitarian, and second, because Catholic thinkers have devoted careful study to this divine gift.
Bishop Morrow provides the standard Catholic definition of grace as: “a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation” (My Catholic Faith, 78). He goes on to state that it is a favour given to us. We have and can have no claim on God to a free gift, and so the granting of grace is an instance of the goodness of God.
In the Gospel of St John 1:16-17, it is written: “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” This refers, among other matters, to the fact that the reality of grace and its role in our salvation was not fully revealed in the Old Testament period. But it goes further than that: its meaning is that we have an inexhaustible supply of grace from God, and it is actually supplied to those who serve God in truth. This, of course, ties in with the sacramental emphasis in the Gospel of St John. Moving on, in the Epistle of St James 4:4-8, we read:
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But He gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
I have italicised some particularly relevant sections. This drawing near to us is by way of grace in a liturgical setting. It is not so obvious to us today, but the language of “drawing near” is the basis of practically all terms for sacrifice. Even our words “offer” and “oblation” come from Latin roots meaning “to bring near.” The work of the priests is a drawing near to the altar of God. Finally, when St James refers to adulterers and adulteresses, he does not mean only those people who commit all those sins. The ‘adultery” he refers to is abandoning God for false idols, and this would include materialism and hedonism.
Now, “sanctifying grace” is “that grace which confers on our souls a new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself” (79). This grace makes us holy and pleasing to God, and makes us adopted children of God so that the Holy Spirit enters our souls, and fits us for heaven. Sanctifying grace is, in short, the supernatural life of which St John spoke. God always gives us “sufficient grace” to be saved, and on occasions when we need it, supplies “actual grace,” strengthening our will in moments of temptation. We say that the Holy Spirit dispenses the graces of God – merited by Our Lord – and so it is Trinitarian in action.