Fr. Leonard Goffine's
The Church's Year
SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
the Introit of this day see the Introit in the Mass of the third
Sunday after Epiphany]
On this Sunday
mention is made of the practice of Christian virtues, and of God's
sufferance of the wicked upon earth, that by them the just may be
exercised in patience.
Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy household by Thy continual mercy;
that as it leans only upon the hope of Thy heavenly grace, so it
may ever be defended by Thy protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
(Col. III. 12-17.) Brethren, put ye on, as the elect of God, holy
and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty,
patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if
any have a complaint against another; even as the Lord hath forgiven
you, so you also. But above all these things, have charity, which
is the bond of perfection: and let the peace of Christ rejoice in
your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body; and be ye
thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all
wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms, hymns,
and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God.
All whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things, do ye in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St. Paul call charity the bond of perfection?
comprises in itself and links all the virtues in which perfection
consists. For whoever truly loves God and his neighbor, is also
good, merciful, humble, modest, patiently bears the weakness of
his neighbor, willingly forgives offences, in a word, practices
all virtues for the sake of charity.
the peace of God rejoice in our hearts?
When we have
learned to conquer our evil inclinations, passions, and desires,
and have placed order and quiet in our hearts instead. This peace
then, like a queen, keeps all the wishes of the soul in harmony,
and causes us to enjoy constant peace with our neighbor, and thus
serve Christ in concord, as the members of one body serve the head.
The best means of preserving this peace are earnest attention to
the word of God, mutual imparting of pious exhortations and admonitions,
and by singing hymns, psalms, and spiritual canticles.
we do all in the name of Jesus?
then can our works have real worth in the sight of God, and be pleasing
to Him, when they are performed for love of Jesus, in His honor,
in accordance with His spirit and will. Therefore the apostle admonishes
us to do all things, eat, drink, sleep, work &c. in the name
of Jesus, and so honor God, the Heavenly Father, and show our gratitude
to Him. Oh, how grieved will they be on their death-bed who have
neglected to offer God their daily work by a good intention, then
they will see, when too late, how deficient they are in meritorious
deeds. On the contrary they will rejoice whose consciences testify,
that in all their actions they had in view only the will and the
honor of God! Would that this might be taken to heart especially
by those who have to earn their bread with difficulty and in distress,
that they might always unite their hardships and trials with the
sufferings and merits of Jesus, offering them to the Heavenly Father,
and thus imitating Christ who had no other motive than the will
and the glory of His Heavenly Father.
O God of love, of patience, and of mercy, turn our hearts to the
sincere love of our neighbor, and grant, that whatever we do in
thoughts, words and actions, we may do in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and through Him render thanks to Thee.
one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in
grade in your hearts to God." (Col. III. 16.)
The custom of
singing in the Church-choir* has its foundation as far back as the
Old Testament, when by the arrangement of David, Solomon, and Ezechias,
the psalms and other sacred canticles were sung by the priests and
Levites. This custom the Catholic Church has retained, according
to the precepts of the apostles, (I. Cor. XIV. 26; Eph. V. 19.)
and the example of Jesus who, after they had eaten the Pasch, intoned
a hymn of praise with His apostles, Matt XXVI. 30) that Christians
on earth, like the angels and saints in heaven, (Apoc. V. 8. 9.,
XIV. 3.) who unceasingly sing His praises, might at certain hours
of the day, at least, give praise and thanks to God. In the earliest
ages of the Church, the Christians sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving
during the holy Sacrifice and other devotional services, often continuing
them throughout the whole night; in which case the choir-singers
probably were bound to keep the singing in proper order and agreement.
In the course of time this custom of all the faithful present singing
together ceased in many churches, and became confined to the choir,
which was accompanied later by instruments in accordance with the
words of David who calls to the praise of the Lord with trumpets,
with timbrels, with pleasant psaltery and harps. (Ps, CL. 3, 4.,
LXXX. 3. 4.) In many churches, where the faithful still sing in
concert, if done with pure hearts and true devotion, it is as St.
Basil says, ďa heavenly occupation, a spiritual burnt offering;
it enlightens the spirit, raises it towards heaven, leads man to
communion with God, makes the soul rejoice, ends idle talk, puts
away laughter, reminds us of the judgment, reconciles enemies. Where
the singing of songs resounds' from the contrite heart there God
with the angels is present."
*The choir is
usually a gallery in the Church in which the singers are stationed;
the place where the clergy sing or recite their office, is also
called the choir.
(Matt. XIII. 24-30,) At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to the
multitudes: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed
good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came,
and oversowed cockle among the wheat, and went his way. And when
the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared
also the cockle. And the servants of the good man of the house coming,
said to him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence,
then, hath it cockle? And he said to them: An enemy bath done this.
And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it
up? And he said: No, lest perhaps, gathering up the cockle, you
root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until
the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers:
Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but
the wheat gather ye into my barn.
is understood by the kingdom of heaven ?
The Church of
God, or the collection of all orthodox Christians on earth, destined
What is meant
by the good seed, and by the cockle?
The good seed,
as Christ Himself says, (Matt. XIII. 38.) signifies the children
of the kingdom, that is, the true Christians, the living members
of the Church, who being converted by the word of God sown into
their hearts become children of God, and bring forth the fruit of
good works. The cockle means the children of iniquity, of the devil,
that is, those who do evil; also every wrong, false doctrine which
leads men to evil.
the good seed, and by the cockle?
The good seed
is sown by Jesus, the Son of Man not only directly, but through
His apostles, and the priests, their successors; the evil seed is
sown by the devil, or by wicked men whom he uses as his tools.
Who are the
men who were asleep?
in the Church; those bishops and pastors who take no care of their
flock, and do not warn them against seduction, when the devil comes
and by wicked men sows the cockle of erroneous doctrine and of crime;
and those men who are careless and neglect to hear the word of God
and the sacrifice of the Mass, who neglect to pray, and do not receive
the Sacraments. In the souls of such the devil sows the seeds of
bad thoughts, evil imaginations and desires, from which spring,
later, the cockle of pride, impurity, anger, envy, avarice, etc.
does not†God allow the cockle, that is, the wicked people, to be
rooted out and destroyed?
Because of His
patience and long suffering towards the sinner to whom He gives
time for repentance, and because of His love for the just from whom
He would not, by weeding out the unjust, take away the occasion
of practicing virtue and gathering up merits for themselves; for
because of the unjust, the just have numerous opportunities to exercise
patience, humility, etc.
When is the
time of the harvest?
The day of the
last judgment when the reapers, that is, the angels, will go out
and separate the wicked from the just, and throw the wicked into
the fiery furnace; while the just will be taken into everlasting
joy. (Matt. XIII. 29.)
O faithful Jesus, Thou great lover of our souls, who hast sown the
good seed of Thy Divine Word in our hearts, grant that it may be
productive, and bear in us fruit for eternal life; protect us from
our evil enemy, that he may not sow his erroneous and false doctrine
in our hearts, and corrupt the good; preserve us from the sleep
of sin, and sloth that we may remain always vigilant and armed against
the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, overcome
them manfully, and die a happy death. Amen.
INCLINATION TO EVIL
hath it cockle? (Matt. XIII. 27.)
comes the inclination to evil in man?
It is the sad
consequence of original sin, that is, of that sin which our first
parents, by their disobedience, committed in paradise, and which
we as their descendants have inherited. This inclination to evil
remains even in those who have been baptized, although original
sin with its guilt and eternal punishment is taken away in baptism,
but it is no sin so long as man does not voluntarily yield. (Cat.
Rom. Part. II. 2. .43.)
sin being removed, does the inclination remain?
To humble us
that we may know our frailty and misery, and have recourse to God,
our best and most powerful Father, as did St. Paul, when he was
much annoyed by the devil of the flesh; (II. Cor. XII. 7. 8.) that
the glory of God and the power of Christ should be manifested in
us, which except for our weakness could not be; that we might have
occasion to fight and to conquer. A soldier cannot battle without
opposition, nor win victory and the crown without a contest. Nor
can we win the heavenly crown, if no occasion is given us, by temptations,
for fight and for victory. "That which tries the combatant,"
says St. Bernard, "crowns the conqueror." Finally, the
inclination remains, that we may learn to endure, in all meekness,
the faults and infirmities of others and to watch ourselves, lest
we fall into the same temptations.