Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time


When we have made the Lord’s yoke heavy and hard to us, we at once complain in a blasphemous spirit of the hardness and roughness of the yoke itself or of Christ who lays it on us.1


He has done well to put [the Spirit] third. For the first is to be called in Christ, the next to have love. But when both are true and they have already been called in Christ and enjoy the consolation of loving and being loved, without doubt the fellowship of the Spirit is there.…2


Selfishness is the cause of all sorts of evils. From it come strife and rivalry. From these come jealousy and contentiousness. Out of this that love grows cool when we are in love with human glory and become enslaved to the honors of popularity. One cannot be both a slave to popularity and a true servant of God.3


Our Lord Jesus Christ, when urging his disciples to undertake great works, makes himself an example. … This too the blessed Paul does, bringing Christ before their eyes when he urges them to practice humility.… For nothing so sustains the great and philosophic soul in the performance of good works as learning that through this one is becoming like God.4


“Which of these two did the will of the Father? They replied, ‘the first.’ ” Notice how, as we have already said above, attracted by the truth of the parable, they turned its meaning against themselves when they said that the first son, who represented the pagan Gentiles, had done the will of the father. It is better to do the righteousness of God without promising to do so than it is to promise and then to renege.5


The word “they go into the kingdom before you” is not meant to emphasize that some were following but as having a hope, if they were willing. For nothing so much as jealousy rouses our passions. Therefore he is forever saying things like “the first shall be last and the last first.” Thus he mentioned here both harlots and publicans that they might provoke them to jealousy. Taken together these two represent chief sins engendered by violent lust: the one of sexual desire, the other of the desire of money.6


You who are priests, because you know the commandments of Scripture and hold positions of leadership among the people, should have been the first to believe in Christ as an example to the people. Not only did you fail to believe in him, but even after you saw that the publicans and prostitutes believed in him, you were neither ashamed nor repentant. The publicans and prostitutes, whom no one expected to believe, did in fact believe, but you who appeared to be followers of every commandment persisted in your impudence, refusing to repent and believe or even to follow the example of those for whom you ought to have provided an example. Are we to believe that you did not believe in Christ because you were more sinless than those who did believe in him? Quite to the contrary, you did not believe because you were more contemptuous of God, more arrogant, lovers of vainglory, hard-hearted, wanting neither to lead them in faith nor to follow them. Truly great shame has come upon the priesthood and on the whole clergy when the laity can be found more faithful and more just than they are.7


  1. CONFERENCE 24.25. Stevenson, K., & Gluerup, M. (Eds.). (2008). Ezekiel, Daniel (p. 83). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS 2.1-4. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 234). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. HOMILY ON PHILIPPIANS 6.2.1–4. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 235). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. HOMILY ON PHILIPPIANS 7.2.5–8. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 236). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. HOMILY 40. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 136). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 67.3. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 137). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. HOMILY 40. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 137). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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