Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany. The Roman Breviary, part 3: Winter, Burns Oates&Washbourne Ltd, London 1936

Matins, Lesson IV-VI
Sermon 8 of St. Augustine, Bishop, on the words of the Apostle,

This is a saying made for man, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Listen to the Gospel: The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. If man had not been lost, the Son of man would not have come. Man, then, was lost, God came, being made man, and man was found. Man had perished by his own free-will; God made man came by the grace which was to set man free.

Do you ask, how free-will can do evil? Call to mind a sinner. Do you ask what God made man can do to help him? Consider that in him is the grace that sets man free. What the will of man can do when, ruled by pride, it tries to avoid evil without the help of God, could never be better or more clearly shown that in the first man. Behold, the first man perished, and where would he have been if the second man had not come? Because he who was lost was a man, therefore he who came to save him was made man; that was why we said it was a saying made for man.

And neither does the sweetness of grace and the generosity of God's almightness anywhere appear so clearly as in the man Christ Jesus, mediator between God and man. For what do we say, my brethren? I speak to those brought up in the Catholic faith, or to those who have won to Catholic peace. We know and we hold that the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, inasmuch as he was man, was of the same nature as we are. For our flesh is not of another nature than his soul. He took upon himself this nature which he had determined to save.

Lessons VII-IX
Homily of St Augustine, Bishop
Book of questions on the Gospel of Matthew, cap.II, tom.4

When they who were set over the Church grew careless, or since the Apostles have slept the sleep of death, the devil came, and oversowed those whom the Lord designates as wicked children. But, ye ask, are these heretics, or Catholics living bad lives? For even heretics might be called the children of the wicked one, who, although they have sprung up from the seed of the Gospel, and have been begotten in the name of Christ, have turned aside to false doctrines through listening to erroneous opinions.

When it is said that they were sown among the wheat, it would seem that only those are meant who are of the same communion with us. Yet since the Lord interpreted this field as signifying, not the Church, but the world, the cockle may well be understood to mean heretics, because in this world they are mingled with the good, not in the fellowship of the one Church, or of the one faith, but only as sharing the name of Christian. But the wicked who are of the same faith are to be considered as straw rather than cockle; for the straw grows up together with the wheat and has one common root.

By the net in which were gathered together fish both bad and good, bad Catholics may reasonably be understood. For, on the one hand, the sea is a more fitting symbol of the world; and, on the other hand, the net seems to point to the communion of one faith, or of one Church. The difference between heretics and bad Catholics is, that the former believe false doctrine, while the latter, though believing aright, do not live according to to their faith.

Blessing for the lesson 9:
May our sins be blotted out by the words of the gospel.
R. Amen.