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Ave Maria!
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost—12June AD 2016


Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English


Fourth Sunday after Pentecost—12 June A.D. 2016
Ave Maria!

“I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy
to be compared with the glory to come….”[1]

    I firmly believe that the Scriptures are more understandable when read in context.  For that reason, I am going to read today’s epistle with the two verses that come before and after the text given in your missals.[2]

A reading of Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans

    [16] For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. [17] And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. [18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us. [19] For the expectation of the creature waits for the revelation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope:  [21] Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. [22] For we know that every creature groans and travails in pain, even till now. [23] And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for? [25] But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.[3]


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke

    [1] And it came to pass, that when the multitudes pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth, [2] And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. [3] And going into one of the ships that was Simon' s, he desired him to draw back a little from the land. And sitting he taught the multitudes out of the ship. [4] Now when he had ceased to speak, he said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. [5] And Simon answering said to him: Master, we have labored all the night, and have taken nothing: but at thy word I will let down the net. [6] And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. [7] And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. [8] Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. [9] For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. [10] And so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon' s partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men.  [11] And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him. [4]

“For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit,
that we are the sons of God”

    At the risk of sounding too modern, I will emphasize that all of the passages in the Bible that refer to becoming “sons’ or “heirs” of God, we are to understand the words referring to women equally as to men.  Women are very much a part of “mankind” or “humankind.” So, in all these cases we should hear something like “the adopted sons and daughters of God.”  So, ladies, please pay attention to this.

    In his notes in the Douay-Rheims Bible, Bishop Challoner tells us that the Holy Ghost assures us that we are the sons and daughters of God “By the inward motions of divine love, and the peace of conscience, which the children of God experience, they have a kind of testimony of God's favour.”[5]  This would seem to be the inner peace that we feel after making a good Confession or in receiving our Lord in Holy Communion.  It might be the love of God for us which we recognize in reading the accounts of our Lord’s death for us on the Cross.  Challoner goes on to say that these feelings strengthen our hope of salvation, but that on earth there are rarely any guarantees of salvation .  The Catechism tells us that:

    Hope is the virtue by which we firmly trust that God, who is all-powerful and faithful to His promises, will in His mercy give us eternal happiness and the means to obtain it.[6]

     “Eternal happiness and the means to attain it.”  That is to say that God’s graces are sufficient for us to achieve heaven—they are sufficient if we cooperate with them—but they are not magical—one cannot just go and “get saved” as some of the heretical sects claim.  Salvation is a life-long process, which may include some pain and suffering.  But as Saint Paul says: “the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come.”  Life goes on for a few years—“seventy is the number of our years or eighty if we are strong”—no one lives two hundred years.[7]  And then we are confronted by eternity—a never ending, forever, which cannot be changed or taken away from us—“the glory to come.”

    “The glory to come,” but only for those who have chosen to cooperate with God’s graces. 

    In today’s epistle Saint Paul implies that all creation has been somehow damaged by sin: “every creature groans and travails in pain, even till now.”  Not just men and women, but all creation,” for the animal, mineral, and vegetable world was created to support men and women as they work out their years on earth, cooperating with God’s graces.

    As all of creation groans, we “groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.  For we are saved by hope.”  We have Hope, precisely because we have Faith.  We believe what God has revealed to us.  Faith and Hope are not visible, tangible things.  They are virtues that depend on the intellect and the will.  But that is what makes them powerful for our salvation—we are giving over our intellect and our will in a sort of sacrificial gift to God.

    We have our Lord’s word that he that believes “in Him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day.”[8]  “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live….”[9] 

    But what about the rest of creation?  The answer is in Saint John’s Apocalypse, where toward the end John has a vision:

    And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more….  And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new.

    Faithful men and women will live in ageless, glorified bodies, free from suffering, sin, pain, and death.  They will live in a renewed creation, with all creatures living in the harmony envisioned by God before sin entered into the world.  Best of all, they will live with God Himself, enjoying the Beatific Vision of a restored reality in God Himself.  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

“I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy
to be compared with the glory to come….”


[5]   Challoner note to Romans viii: 16.

[7]   Psalm lxxxix: 10   Confraternity translation.


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