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Second Sunday after Pentecost – Parable of the guests who make excuses

The father of the family said to his servant, “Go quickly through the squares and streets of the city and bring here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.”

The Eucharist has no other purpose than the unceasing application here below of the great Sacrifice of our Redeemer; and we must consider this Sacrifice of the Man-God in itself, in order to better admire the marvelous continuation of it in the Church. But for this purpose it is important to clarify first of all the general notion of the Sacrifice.

God is entitled to the homage of His creature. If the kings and lords of the earth have the right to demand this solemn recognition of their suzerainty from the vassals of their domination, the sovereign domain of the first Being, the first cause and last end of all things, imposes it more justly on the beings called from nothing by His omnipotent goodness.

And just as the homage of serfs and vassals, by the royalty which accompanies it, carries with it the admission of their subjection, the effective declaration of the goods and rights which they acknowledge to hold from their lord; so the act by which man lowers himself in this capacity before his Creator must sufficiently manifest, by itself, that he recognizes Him as Lord of all things and Author of life.

But it may happen that the creature has, of his own doing, conferred on God’s justice against himself rights no less serious and no less formidable than those of His omnipotence and goodness. Infinite mercy can then, it is true, suspend or commute the execution of the vengeance of the Supreme Lord; but the act of homage of the created being who has become a sinner will only be complete on condition that he henceforth expresses, no less than his dependence as a creature, the admission of his fault and of the justice of the punishment incurred by the transgression of the divine precepts; The overly justified debt of the unfaithful serf, the supplicating oblation of the revolted slave, must show, by its very nature, that God is no longer only for him the Author of life, but the arbiter of death.

Such is, in its essence, the true notion of the Sacrifice, so called because it separates from the multitude of beings of the same nature, and makes sacred the offering by which it is expressed: an interior and purely spiritual oblation in spirits freed from matter; a spiritual and sensible oblation at the same time for man, who, composed of a soul and a body, owes homage to God for both.

The Sacrifice can only be offered to the one true God, as being the effective recognition of the sovereign domain of the Creator and of that glory which He does not give to another. On the other hand, it is of the essence of religion in any state of fallenness or innocence. Religion, in fact, that queen of moral virtues whose object is the worship due to the Lord, finds its final expression only in Him. Eden would have seen it celebrated by the innocent man in adoration, thanksgiving and trusting prayer; offering its most beautiful fruits, symbols of the divine fruit promised by the tree of life, sin would not have left its sinister imprint in blood. After the fall, it became the only way of propitiation, and it appeared more and more as the necessary center of all religion in the land of exile; this is how all peoples understood it until Luther, and the modern reformers, by wanting to exclude the Sacrifice from religion, have destroyed it at the base. Moreover, it is imposed in heaven on the already glorified creature, who, not less and more even in the splendors of the vision than under the shadows of faith, owes to Him who crowned it the homage of his gifts.

It is through the Sacrifice that God achieves the goal He proposed in creation: His own glory.

Introït

The Lord has made Himself my protector; He has set me free, and He has saved me, because He loved me. – Psalm. I will love You, O Lord, who are my strength; the Lord is my support, my refuge and my deliverer. Glory be to the Father…

The Church asks for us, in the Collect, the fear and love of the sacred Name of the Lord. The fear of which we are speaking here, the fear of sons towards their father, does not exclude love; on the contrary, it strengthens it, by preserving it from the negligence and deviations to which a false familiarity too often leads certain souls.

Collect.

Lord, may we always have the fear and love of Your holy Name, because You never cease to direct those whom You establish in the solidity of Your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Memory of the Blessed Sacrament

O God, who has left us the memorial of Your Passion in a wonderful Sacrament, grant us the grace to venerate as we ought the sacred Mysteries of Your Body and Blood, so that we may constantly feel in ourselves the fruit of Your Redemption. You who live and reign forever and ever.

Epistle

Reading from the Epistle of Blessed John, Apostle. I, chap. III.

My beloved, do not be surprised if the world hates you. For we know by our love for our brothers that we have passed from death to life. He who does not love remains in death: every man who hates his brother is a murderer. But you know that no murderer has eternal life in himself. We have recognized God’s love for us, in that He gave His life for us, and we too must give our lives for our brothers. He who possesses the good of this world, if seeing his brother in need, he closes his heart to him, how can the love of God remain in him? My little children, let us love, not in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

Reflection on the Epistle

These touching words of the beloved disciple could not be better remembered by the faithful people than in the radiant Octave that continues to unfold. God’s love for us is the model as well as the reason for that which we owe to our fellow men; divine charity is the type of our own. “I have set you an example, says the Savior, so that, as I have done to you, you yourselves may do.” If, then, He went so far as to lay down His life, we must know how to lay down our own on occasion to save our brethren. All the more reason must we help them according to our means in their necessities, love them not by word or tongue, but effectively and in truth.

Now is the divine memorial, which shines upon us in its splendor, anything but the eloquent demonstration of infinite love, the real monument and permanent representation of that death of a God to which the Apostle refers?

So the Lord waited to promulgate the law of brotherly love which He had come to bring to the world, until the institution of the divine sacrament which was to provide this law with its powerful support. But no sooner had He created the august Mystery than He gave Himself under the sacred species: “I give you a new commandment, He said at once; and My commandment is that you love one another as I have loved you.” A new precept, indeed, for a world in which selfishness was the only law; a distinguishing mark which was to make the disciples of Christ recognized among all, and at the same time to doom them to the hatred of the human race rebellious to this law of love. It is to the hostile reception given by the world of that time to the new people that the words of Saint John in our Epistle respond: “Beloved, do not be surprised that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. He who does not love remains in death.ˮ

The union of the members with each other through the divine Head is the condition of existence of Christianity; the Eucharist is the substantial food of this union, the powerful bond of the mystical body of the Savior, which through it grows daily in charity. Charity, peace, concord, is therefore, along with love of God himself, the most indispensable and best preparation for the sacred Mysteries. This explains the Lord’s recommendation in the Gospel: “If, when you present your offering at the altar, you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and present your offering.

The Gradual, taken from the Psalms, gives thanks to the Lord for His protection in the past, and implores the continuation of His mighty help against the ever relentless enemies.

Gradual.

When I was in tribulation, I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me. – Lord, deliver my life from the attack of unrighteous lips and a deceitful tongue. Alleluia, Alleluia. – Lord my God, I have hoped in You; save me from all those who persecute me, and deliver me. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Saint Luke, chap. XIV.

At that time, Jesus told the Pharisees this parable: A man made a great supper, and invited many people. And when it was time for supper, he sent his servant to tell them to come, because everything was ready. And they all began to apologize. And the first said to him, I have bought a country house, and I must go and see it: I beg you to excuse me. And the second said, I have bought five pairs of oxen, and I am going to try them out: I beg your pardon. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And the servant returned and reported all this to his master. Then the father of the family was angry and said to his servant, “Go quickly through the squares and streets of the city and bring here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.” And the servant said, “Lord, it has been done as you commanded, and there is still room.” And the master said to the servant, “Go along the roads and hedges and force people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of these people who were invited will taste of my supper.”

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