Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost—26 July AD 2015

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

“God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able
but will make also with temptation issue that you may be able to bear it.”[1]

    The Church has us read this particular epistle and Gospel together to give us a feel for the sinful nature of God’s people.  All of the events mentioned refer to God’s chosen People, and not to the pagans around them.

    You have to be moderately familiar with the Old Testament to recognize that Saint Paul was writing about a number of different events.  The people that “sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play … and there fell in one day three and twenty thousand” refers to the worshipping of the golden calf made while Moses was away on Mount Saini to receive the ten Commandments.[2]

    The Serpents were sent to punish them during the Exodus when they ungratefully complained about the manna which God sent them to eat every day.[3]  God sent poisonous snakes to bite them—but then God told Moses to make a snake out of brass and hold it up on a pole for the people to see—those who gazed upon it were healed from their snake bites.  In his Bible footnotes, Bishop Challoner says the brass snake “was a figure of Christ crucified, and of the efficacy of a lively faith in him, against the bites of the hellish serpent.[4] He quotes Saint John: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up.”[5]

    The “fornication” probably refers to the Israelites becoming involved with the women of Moab, and then following their false “god” Beelphegor.[6]  We read that they offered up their own sons and daughters in sacrifice to the false “god,” for which God commanded their death.[7]

    The “murmuring” refers to the continuous whining that God was not doing enough for them in the desert—murmuring that eventually led God to condemn everyone over the age of twenty to spend the rest of their lives wandering in the desert without attaining the Promised Land.[8]

    In the Gospel, our Lord prophesies the destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem because the people “did not know the time of their visitation”[9]—which is to say that they ignored God’s prophets[10], and ultimately ignored God’s only Son, but rather, put Him to death on the Cross.  The prophecy was fulfilled about 35 years after His death, when the Romans under Titus very thoroughly destroyed the city, and put very large numbers of the Jews to death.

    Jerusalem, with its Temple, was the holiest place then on Earth, for it was the unique dwelling place of God Himself.  The Temple was clearly intended to be a house of prayer, but the people had turned it into a house of commerce, “a den of thieves” suggesting that the trading conducted there was often dishonest.[11]

    So, in these two brief readings, we see the sinfulness of the Chosen People.  We must also see God’s eagerness to forgive sinners.  The brass snake lifted up on the pole healed those bitten by the serpents.  And the Son of God who was rejected “in the time of visitation” was lifted up on the Cross for the Redemption of mankind and the forgiveness of the repentant.

    That word, “repentant,” is of supreme importance.  We Catholics are God’s new Chosen People, but often we are no better behaved than the people we have just been talking about.  Ideally, we should have a hatred of sin, a hatred that would make us run from any opportunity to break God’s Law.  But the reality is that we often enjoy being tempted, and even seek out ways to sin.  When we are tempted to sin, we should reflect on the fact that our sins are the cause of our Lord’s horrible suffering on the Cross.  God is not bound by time or place—what we do today affects Jesus Christ.  (The philosopher, Blaise Pascal, is said to have remarked that “Our Lord Jesus Christ will be in agony until the end of time.”)

    It will probably take the end of the world—the end of time—to put an end to all sin, but seeing this connection to the agony of our Lord ought to make us repent of our evil behavior.  We must repent and resolve not to sin again.  We should repent for the love of Jesus Christ, but even our enlightened self-interest would be enough.  In spite of what the modernists want to believe, Hell is real—it is the eternal abode of evil people and fallen angels,

    And please recognize the need to repent here and now.  Yes, some people do repent on their death bed—some of them even get to receive the Last Rites of the Church.  But, certainly, many do not!  It is the height of presumption to expect to have the services of a priest in a hospital or at home—particularly on short notice.  (We had a parishioner who had two heart attacks, was taken both times to a “Catholic” hospital, and could not get a priest to hear his confession!)

    And, not everybody has the opportunity even to make an Act of Contrition before they die.  Do that if you can, but always remember the possibility of a sudden and unprovided death.  Suppose you were to leave here and be hit by a bus, struck by lightning, or taken down by a terrorist’s bullet.  Would you be ready to meet your Maker?  Okay, this is a church, and you may have just received the Sacraments, but what if your end came on Tuesday or Thursday?

    The answer is to live continuously in God’s grace.  Don’t look for temptation, reject it when you are tempted, repent when you sin and ask forgiveness in Confession.  Live in the state of Grace through frequent Confession and Holy Communion—through a vibrant prayer life.  Always resist temptation!

“God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able
but will make also with temptation issue that you may be able to bear it.”


[1]   Epistle: 1 Corinthians x: 6-13






Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!