Monday, May 08, 2006


The reading of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Lesson vii: c.18, 1-10
At that time: The disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, 3 And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. 6 But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. 8 And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 10 See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

6 "Shall scandalize"... That is, shall put a stumblingblock in their way, and cause them to fall into sin.
7 "It must needs be"... Viz., considering the wickedness and corruption of the world.
8 "Scandalize thee"... That is, cause thee to offend.

Homily of St. Hilary, Bishop
Commentary on Matthew, can.18

The Lord teaches that only those enter the kingdom of heaven who have returned to the nature of children: that is that through childlike simplicity the vices of our body and soul are to be done away with. To all who believe in the faith which cometh by hearing, he gave the name of children. For these follow their father, they love their mother, they know not how to wish evil to their neighbour, they care nothing about riches. They are not haughty, they do not hate, they do not lie, they believe what is told them, and what they hear they hold for true. Therefore we must return to the simplicity of babes; because if we are established in that, we shall carry about with us an image of the Lord's humility.

R.Fear not before the Gentiles, but fear the Lord and adore him in your hearts; For his Angel is with you, alleluia.
V. The Angel stood at the altar of the temple having a golden censer in his hand.

Lesson viii
Woe to this world because of scandals. The ignominy of the Passion is a scandal to the world. In this most of all is the ignorance of man held fast, in that because of the disgrace of the cross it would not receive the Lord of eternal glory. And what is so dangerous to the world, as not to have accepted Christ? Therefore indeed did he say it must needs be that scandals come; because to accomplish the mystery of giving back to us eternal life, all the ignominy of the Passion must be made complete in him.
R. The Archangel Michael came to the help of God's people, He stood firm to defend the souls of the just, alleluia.
V. The Angel stood at the altar of the temple having a golden censer in his hand.

Lesson ix
See that you despise not one of these little ones, that believe in me. A most fitting bond of mutual love did He lay, especially upon those who had truly believed in the Lord. For the Angels of the little ones daily see God: because the Son of man came to save what was lost. Therefore the Son of man saves, and the Angels see God, and the Angels of the little ones preside over the prayers of the faithful. That the Angels so preside, there is absolute authority. The Angels then daily offer to God the prayers of those who are saved through Christ. Therefore it is dangerous to despise him, whose desires and entreaties are carried to the eternal and invisible God by the eager service and ministry of Angels.