Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

When worldliness becomes a scandalous gaping wound in the Body of Christ, let us not forget that persecutions condemning the mystery of the Church will inevitably accompany it.  When wrongs have been committed by leaders of the Church, we may be tempted to lower our hands in disappointment, disgust, discouragement, and sadness.  It is important to perceive with the eyes of faith that not only are the guilty being condemned by the scandal that they caused, but the innocent one – Jesus – whose Body we are, is also being persecuted.  Faith leads us forward in our attachment to Christ and to one another, recognizing the part that belongs to scandal and the part that belongs to persecution.


Everything wrong with our bodies in this life will be healed in the resurrection.1


If a seed dies and comes back again with so much additional benefit to the human race, why is it incredible that a human body should rise again, by the power of God, with an equally improved substance?2


In due time I yielded to better and more enlightened minds, or rather, to truth itself, as I heard in the words of the apostle the groaning of the saints in their battle against carnal concupiscence. Although the saints are spiritually minded, they are still carnal in the corruptible body which remains a weight upon the soul. They will, however, be spiritual also in body when the body sown animal will rise spiritual. They are still prisoners under the wall of sin, in as much as they are subject to stimulation by desires to which they do not consent. Thus I came to understand this matter as did Hilary, Gregory, Ambrose, and other holy and renowned teachers of the church, who saw that the apostle, by his own words, fought strenuously the same battle against carnal concupiscences he did not wish to have yet in fact did have.3


As the Spirit, when it serves the flesh, is not improperly said to be carnal, so the flesh, when it serves the spirit, will rightly be called spiritual—not because changed into spirit, as some suppose who misinterpret the text, “What is sown a natural body rises a spiritual body,” but because it will be so subject to the spirit that, with a marvelous pliancy of perfect obedience, it will accept the infallible law of its indissoluble immortality, putting aside every feeling of fatigue, every shadow of suffering, every sign of slowing down. This “spiritual body” will not only be better than any body on earth in perfect health but will surpass even that of Adam or Eve before their sin.4


Adam is formed from mire by the hands of God. Christ is formed in the womb by the Spirit of God.5


The seed is the Word of God. Those on the way are they who have heard. Afterwards, the devil comes and takes away the Word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved. We see in a moment that the hardness of the ground causes the seed on the pathways to be snatched away. A pathway always is hard and untilled, because it is exposed to every one’s feet. It does not admit any seed into it, but it lies rather upon the surface, ready for any birds that will to snatch it away. All whose minds are hard and unyielding, and so to speak, pressed together, do not receive the divine seed. The divine and sacred admonition does not find an entrance into them. They do not accept the words that would produce in them the fear of God and by means of which they could bring forth as fruits the glories of virtue. They have made themselves a beaten and trampled pathway for unclean demons, yes, for Satan himself, such as never can bear holy fruit. Let those who are awake, whose heart is sterile and unfruitful, open your mind, receive the sacred seed, be like productive and well-tilled soil, bring forth to God the fruits that will raise you to an incorruptible life.6


Let us consider those others of whom Christ said, “And those upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, and they have no root. These believe for a while and in time of temptation depart away.” There are men whose faith has not been proved. They depend simply on words and do not apply their minds to examining the mystery. Their piety is sapless and without root. When they enter the churches, they feel pleasure often in seeing so many assembled. They joyfully receive instruction in the mysteries from him whose business it is to teach and laud him with praises. They do this without discretion or judgment, but with unpurified wills. When they go out of the churches, at once they forget the sacred doctrines and go about in their customary course, not having stored up within themselves any thing for their future benefit. If the affairs of Christians go on peacefully and no trial disturbs them, even then they scarcely maintain the faith, and that, so to speak, in a confused and tottering state. When persecution troubles them and the enemies of the truth attack the churches of the Savior, their heart does not love the battle, and their mind throws away the shield and flees.7


“Those that fell among the thorns are they who have heard, and go, and are choked by cares and wealth and pleasures of the world, and yield no fruit.” The Savior scatters the seed that acquired a firm hold in the souls that received it. It already shot up and just began to be visible when worldly cares choke it and it dries up, being overgrown by empty occupations. The prophet Jeremiah said, “It becomes a handful, that can produce no meal.” In these things, we must be like skillful farmers who patiently cleared away the thorns and uprooted whatever is hurtful, and then we scatter the seed in clean furrows. One can say with confidence that doubtless “they will come with joy, bearing their sheaves.” If a person scatters seed in ground that is fertile in thorns, fruitful in briars and densely covered with useless stubble, he sustains a double loss. First, he loses his seed, and second, his work. In order that the divine seed may blossom well in us, let us first cast out of the mind worldly cares and the unprofitable anxiety which makes us seek to be rich.8


Alms and faith must not leave you. Remember that every day death is near and act as if the tomb already enclosed you. Do not care for this world, since anxiety for the world and the desire for riches are thorns that choke the good seed.9


When the divine word falls upon a pure mind skillful in cleansing itself from things hurtful, it fixes its root deeply and shoots up like an ear of corn. It brings its fruit to perfection being strong in blade and beautifully flowered.10


  1. COMMENTARY ON THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS 15.  Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (pp. 169–170). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. COMMENTARY ON PAUL’S EPISTLES.  Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 170). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. AGAINST JULIAN 70.  Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 172). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. City of God 13.20.  Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (pp. 173–174). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. SERMON 50.2.  Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 176). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 41.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 133). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 41.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 134). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  8. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 41.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 134). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  9. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS OF THE GREEK FATHERS 43.2.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 134). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  10. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 41.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (pp. 134–135). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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