Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Introit   Behold, O God, our protector, and look on the face of Thy Christ: for better is one day in Thy courts above thousands. Psalm. How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. Glory be …

Collect Favour Thy Church unceasingly, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and keep her safe: and because apart from Thee frail man is wont to fall, may she by Thy help be ever withdrawn from harm and guided in good. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, …

Epistle (Galatians 5:16-24) Brethren: Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh: for the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another; so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh  are manifest;  which  are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.

Gradual   It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man. It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes. Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 94:1.) Come, let us praise the Lord with joy; let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour. Alleluia.

Gospel (Matthew 6:24-33) At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat, and the body more than the raiment?

Behold the birds of the air; for they neither sow nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than they?  And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they labour not, neither do they spin; but I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.

Now if God so clothe the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more you, O ye of little faith! Be not solicitous therefore saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? for after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knows that you have need of all these things. Seek therefore first the Kingdom of God, and His justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Offertory   The Angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them: O taste and see that the Lord is sweet!

Secret  Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord: that through this saving Victim our sins may be cleansed and Thy might appeased. Through our Lord …

Communion Seek ye first the Kingdom of God: and all things shall be added unto you, says the Lord.

Postcommunion May Thy Sacraments, O God, ever cleanse and defend us: and lead us to the attainment of eternal salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …

Fundamentals of the Faith: Part IX

The starting point for understanding grace is the teaching that: “The God-Man Jesus Christ, by His vicarious atonement and His merit in the Redemption, achieved the reconciliation of humanity with God in principle and objectively.” Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 219. We say that the atonement made by the Lord was “vicarious” because He made it on behalf of humanity. Humanity was estranged from God after the Fall, and needed to make atonement, but had nothing of its own with which to atone. Only God Himself could make atonement for our sin. And in the person of the God-Man Jesus Christ, He did so.

This brings us to the next concept: “atonement.” What does it mean? The Macquarie Dictionary tells us that it means: “satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends;” and that in Christian theology, it means: “The reconciliation of God and mankind by means of the life, sufferings, and death of Christ.” Further, it tells us that the word atonement is derived from a phrase: “at one;” and that to that phrase was added the English ending –ment. which is added to word roots to form a new noun which means the “action or state” of the condition referred to by that word root. So, if being “at one” is a condition, then “atonement” is the state of being at one.

How can we be one with God? I think the ultimate answer is by sharing in His life, and we do that by keeping His word. This is the teaching of St John: Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6

Fr Ott goes on to say that: “The Objective Redemption must be accepted by each man so that thereby he may bring to fruition in himself the subjective Redemption.” What this means is that work performed by the Lord, which reconciled humanity to God, must be accepted by us so that we each achieve its benefit. That is its subjective  aspect: each one of us is a subject – will we accept the salvation offered to us or not? This may be a fair way of thinking of it: if a door is shut, someone can open the door for you, but you still have to walk through it. So too, I suggest, Our Lord opened the door to heaven, but it still remains for us to walk through it. All that is asked of us is to cooperate with the saving work of the Lord.

Incidentally, this interpretation is found in the hymn “O salutaris hostia,” wherein St Thomas Aquinas wrote of the saving host: “Quae caeli pandis ostium,” meaning “who opened the passage to heaven.” It is up to us to take advantage of this wonderful gift.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *