The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin and English
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany celebrated after Pentecost
Dóminica Quinta quæ superfuit post Epiphaniam
“The kingdom of
heaven is likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.”
Holiness is one of the marks of the True
Church of Jesus Christ. Together with unity, universality, and apostolic
origin, holiness is one of the atteributes of the true Church found in the
“Et unum, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam.”
If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and if He founded the Church—and He was, and
He did—then that which He founded simply must be radically
Nonetheless, we are faced with two
serious realities: (1) We see an increased unholiness in our people, and (2) we
see an increased unholiness in our clergy. In years past, Catholics, and
especially priests and nuns, had a generally untarnished reputation for holiness
and morality. Today, not so much. Could this possibly mean that we were
mistaken about which Church was the True Church?
Well, to begin with, we should recognize
that none of the churches of Christendom have fared any better in the holiness
and morality of its clergy and people. They have all yielded to the “spirit of
the age.” For the most part, the non-Catholic churches simply resorted to
changing their doctrines to permit unholy and immoral behavior—that way, no one
would be guilty of transgressing moral rules that no longer applied! Here in
these United States it was the Protestants of previous centuries that made laws
against moral evils like prostitution, contraception, sodomy, divorce, and
abortion—Catholics lacked their political power—but it was these same Protestant
churches that gradually came to accept many of these evil behaviors, allowing
the laws of society to liberalize, and giving everyone the false idea that evil
had somehow become good. In some cases, it is now illegal to question the
goodness of these formerly acknowledged evils!
Our Lord anticipated this concern about
the holiness of His Church in this Gospel. He described His kingdom as a
mixture of good and bad—as “weeds among the wheat.”
The Church is holy in her founder, the Son of God Himself, and uniquly among all
religions, It is founded by God and not by sinful men. The householder in the
parable represents our Lord, who sowed good seed and has every right to expect a
weed‑free crop of wheat. It is only because an enemy has come into His field
that things have gone wrong—the devil and those foolish enough to follow the
devil have introduced the weeds of evilness in God’s holy Church.
The Church is holy in her doctrines.
This should surprise no one, for She teaches what Jesus Christ taught. She
counsels the observance of the Commandments, good works, and spiritual
perfection. She asks us to imitate Jesus Christ and His blessed Virgin Mother.
By making ourselves like Jesus and Mary it is impossible to be anything other
than holy. Yet there are those “weeds amongst the wheat” whom we must ignore.
No one, no matter how highly placed in the Church or civil society should be
allowed to sway us away from these Christ‑given principles of holiness. We have
the example of centuries of Catholics to emulate: those who suffered the
persecution of the Jews and the Romans or the false‑Christian persecutions of
the first millennium; those who suffered the persecutions of Protestantism and
the French Revolution, or the modern persecutions of socialism and communism.
Just as the Pope could not grant Henry VIII a divorce from his lawful wife—no
matter what Henry did—there can be no compromise of the Faith by modern
If we continue the metaphor of “weeds
among the wheat” we can say that the Church is equipped with some very powerful
“weed killers” that we should use frequently: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
the Sacraments and Sacramentals (especially the Rosary), the officially defined
Moral and Doctrinal principles, and the collected wisdom of the saints in
pursuit of holiness.
If the modern decline in holiness seems
overwhelming, remember that we are not alone. The Church
is holy in her members—at least those among the “wheat.” Those publicly
known—the canonized saints. Those unknown, yet saints in Heaven or those in
Purgatory who will be saints. Those holy people yet on
earth, who sacrifice and pray and devote their lives to doing God's will and
spreading His word. And all of these saints may be very important people or
just simple people like ourselves.
We are all called to be saints. Do not
be disturbed by the unholy in the Church. They are here in fulfillment of
prophecy—“the weeds among the wheat.” Simply strive to be sure that you are
counted among “the wheat,” rather than among “the weeds.”
Frequent Mass, Confession, Holy
Communion, a constant and regular prayer life. Keep the Commandments. Do good
works for the love of God. Love your neighbor.
Don't be among the cockle, bound into
bundles to be burned at the end of time. Be among the wheat, gathered into
Take Saint Paul’s words to heart:
you do, in word or in work...
...all things do you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
giving thanks to God and the Father,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”