First Sunday of Advent


But the majesty of the Son of God, in which he is equal with the Father in its garb of a slave’s humility, feared no diminution, required no augmentation. And the very effect of his mercy, which he expended on the restitution of humanity, he was able to bring about solely by the power of his Godhead, thus rescuing the creature that was made in the image of God from the yoke of his cruel oppressor. But because the devil had not shown himself so violent in his attack on the first man as to bring him over to his side without the consent of his free will, the voluntary sin and hostile desires of humanity had to be destroyed in such a way that the standard of justice should not stand in the way of the gift of grace. And therefore in the general ruin of the entire human race there was but one remedy in the secret of the divine plan which could help the fallen, and that was that one of the sons of Adam should be born free and innocent of original transgression, to prevail for the rest both by his example and his merits. Still further, because this was not permitted by natural generation, and because there could be no offspring from our faulty stock without seed, of which the Scripture says, “Who can make a clean thing conceived of an unclean seed? Is it not you who are alone?” David’s Lord was made David’s Son, and sprang from the fruit of the promised branch—One without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one Person, that by one and the same conception and birth might spring our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true humanity for the endurance of sufferings. read more

Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time


But his meaning is like this: If ordinary persons knew when they were going to die, they would surely be striving earnestly at that hour. In order therefore that they may strive, not at that hour only, he does not tell them the hour or day. He wants to keep them on their toes looking for it, that they may be always striving. This is why he made the end of each person’s life so uncertain.

Hilary of Poitiers:

To teach us that our ignorance of the date of his return (which his silence has kept hidden from everyone) is not without its usefulness, Christ warns us to keep all his commandments. We should also be occupied with constant prayer in order to guard against the coming of the thief. For the thief is the devil who seeks to invade our bodily homes with the darts of his thoughts and allurements in order to ruin us while we are sleepy and careless. It is good therefore that we be prepared. Our ignorance of the day of Christ’s return should provoke us to be careful as we eagerly await his coming. read more

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

Mark 6:17a (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Tertullian: Set aside for a moment the term “prison.” Just call it a temporary retirement. Even though the body is imprisoned, even though the flesh is confined, everything still remains open to the spirit. Walk back and forth, my spirit, not thinking of shady walks or long cloisters, but of the road that leads directly to God. As often as you shall walk in this way in the spirit, so often shall you find yourself not in prison. On Martyrdom 2.

Mark 6:18 (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Chrysostom: John saw a man that was a tyrant overthrowing the divine commands on marriage. With boldness, he proclaimed in the midst of the forum, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother Philip’s wife.” So we learn from him to admonish our fellow servant as an equal. Do not shrink from the duty of chastising a brother, even though one may be required to die for it. read more