Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost—23 September A.D. 2018
Ave Maria!


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

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I give thanks to God … for the grace which has been given to you in Jesus Christ …that you lack no grace while awaiting the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will keep you secure unto the end, unimpeachable in the day of His coming....

    What Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians is equally important to us.  He wrote to them about what we call “final perseverance”—the idea of dying in the state of sanctifying grace, in order to spend eternity enjoying the Beatific Vision of God in Heaven. 

    Paul rejoiced in the fact that the Corinthian converts to Jesus Christ remained firm in the Faith of their Baptism, becoming richer and richer “in Him, in all utterance and all knowledge,” persevering until that day on which the Lord will come for our judgment.

    Ideally, all Christians should preserve their baptismal innocence untarnished by any stain of sin.  And that may have been more common in the early days of the Church.  For many people, becoming a Christian was a very dangerous proposition.  In various times and places they faced persecution by the Jews, the Romans, other pagan peoples, and perhaps even by their own families.  Under such conditions these early converts often possessed great enthusiasm for keeping their new religion—it made little or no sense to brave the threats of the persecutors and then lose the prize of eternal salvation by committing some stupid sin!

    The urgency wore off somewhat when the ratio between risk and reward became small (or even vanished).  When Christianity became legal—and even rewarded—by the Empire, the Church began to receive converts with far less zeal for keeping the Faith.  At this point some joined the Church simply to curry favor with their superiors.

    But even in ancient Corinth, there were people who were less than ideal Christians.  In the first few chapters of the epistles, Paul forcefully denounces specific sins his converts were committing.

    “You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of devils,”[2] Paul tells them.  Concerning Holy Mass, he tells them: “Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.”[3]

    Not surprisingly, the remedy for sin was the same in the early Church as it is for us today.  The sinner must examine his conscience, sorrowfully resolve to stop doing whatever he was doing wrong, confess his wrongdoing to the priest, and do penance for his sins.  Where he has harmed another, he must make his best effort to make restitution.  And finally, he must have a “firm purpose of amendment”—which is to say that he will strive diligently not to sin in the future.

    I have mentioned to you before that there is a connection between sin on the one hand, and sickness, suffering, and death on the other hand.  Adam and Eve would have lived in perfect comfort and health through the ages, had they not committed original sin and brought frailty on themselves and their progeny.

    In the Gospel, a couple of men are seen bringing a paralyzed man to Jesus on a sort of stretcher.[4]  The men have deep faith in Jesus’ ability to cure the paralytic—Jesus rewards their faith by forgiving the paralytic’s sins.  This shocks the Scribes (the lawyers of Jewish Law), accusing Jesus of blasphemy, because only God could forgive sins. 

 But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then said he to the man sick of palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. And he arose, and went into his house.  And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men.[5]

    Jesus had healed the paralytic man by forgiving his sins (and saying so)—He did not tell the man to “be healed” or any such thing.  To demonstrate that He had forgiven the man’s sins, he then told the man to take advantage of the fact that he had been healed—“pick up your stretcher and go home!”  Which the man did, and which caused the crowd to marvel and to glorify God, for they recognized that the forgiveness of sins had worked the cure.

    One last word is necessary.  The paralytic’s good fortune was due to the fact that he had people concerned for his well-being—family or friends, we don’t know.  The message is that whenever our friends or family members become ill—at the earliest possible moment—we must summon the priest to bring the Sacraments of the Church:  Sacramental Absolution, and the Anointing of the Sick to forgive sins and to heal the body, and the Apostolic Blessing to give a plenary indulgence at the moment of death, if death does occur.

    That way we help to insure that our friends or relatives—like Saint Paul’s Corinthians— “lack no grace while awaiting the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will keep them secure unto the end, unimpeachable in the day of His coming….”




Dei via est íntegra

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