It's Shake-n-Bake, and I Helped!
In the United States:
The Twenty-Eighth Thursday of Ordinary Time; or, the Memorial of Saint Paul of the Cross, Priest.*
Lessons from the secondary feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Ephesians 3: 14-21.
• Psalm 33: 1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19.
• Luke 12: 49-53.
When a Mass for St. Paul of the Cross is taken, lessons from the feria as above, or from the proper:
• I Corinthians 1: 18-25.
• Psalm 117: 1-2.
• Matthew 16: 24-27.
…or, any lessons from the common of Pastors, or the common of Holy Men & Women for Religious.
Outside the United States:
The Twenty-Ninth Thursday of Ordinary Time.
Lessons from the feria as above.
The Third Class Feast of Saint John Cantius, Confessor.*
First & second lessons from the proper, third from the common "Os Justi…" of a Confessor not a Bishop, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• James 2: 12-17.
• Psalm 106: 8-9.
• Luke 12: 35-40
The Nineteenth Thurday after Pentecost; and, the Feast of the Holy Great Martyr Artimius.**
First & third lessons from the pentecostarion, second & fourth from the menaion, according to the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite:
• Philippians 2: 24-30.
• II Timothy 2: 1-10.
• Luke 10: 1-15.
• John 15: 17—16: 2.
6:00 AM 10/20/2017 — The founder of the Passionist Fathers, Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) was born in Liguria in Italy, and was a renowned preacher, remembered for his devotion to the sick and for his penitential way of life. The community he founded was unique in that it combined the giving of retreats and parish missions with a penitential monasticism. His memorial is observed optionally in the United States because of the strong presence of that community in this country. World wide, they number about 2,160 members today, including a number of houses of strictly cloistered nuns who support the work of the fathers through their prayers. A convent of Passionist Nuns near the Saint Pius X Seminary in Kentucky, where I studied philosophy, was often frequented by the seminarians, who also benefited from the prayers of the sisters there. Now, to today’s lessons:
Interesting how today’s Gospel lesson begins: the crowds flocking to hear our Lord preach are so great that some of them are getting trampled by others, yet when He speaks, Saint Luke says that His words were intended only for His own disciples. It’s just a single verse, easily passed over, but reveals something significant. Those of us who want to be counted among our Lord’s friends are always special to Him, no matter how crowded the Church of Christ seems to us; and, even during those times when we may feel little more than just one more ant in the ant farm, our Lord always keeps His gaze fixed on us. I remember saying something back during Passion Week, that our Lord didn’t come to save “us,” He came to save “you,” He came to save “me.” And even in those difficult times when our lack of faith and hope cause us to doubt his concern for us as individuals, He never forgets us. That’s just something we have to take on faith.
More to the point, however, of today’s lesson, our Lord uses the word “leaven” to identify the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Don’t be confusing it with a reverence to baking; the leaven of the baker is so called because what leaven really means is the prime influential characteristic of something. In the case of bread, it’s what makes it rise. In the case of a Pharisee, it’s what makes him duplicitous.
The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek Φαρισαίων, and was actually a theatrical term used in the ancient Greek theater. The hypocrite was an actor who wore a mask and a costume in order to assume the identity of someone he wasn’t for the sake of a performance. Whether he was impersonating a king or a beggar or a tradesman, a hero or a villain, his success in assuming the character was measured by the applause of the audience. Our Lord applies this word to the Pharisees because they lived for the approval of men rather than God; their lives were as false and hollow as an actor’s mask, as his performance on a stage.
I wonder if we, sometimes, fall into living this way: always worrying about what others may think, measuring our words, our actions, how we relate to others, based on what others will think of us. We all do from time to time, I’m sure, as it’s part of our fallen nature. The problem is that, when we do it enough, we may end up forgetting who we really are. Virtue, after all, springs forth from humility, and humility arises from a real and honest assessment of who we really are before God, not who we think we should be before others. And it’s all so futile, this worrying over what others will think or say. Like I said to you once before: we wouldn’t waste so much time worrying about what others think of us if only we realized how seldom they do.
Let us ask our Blessed Lord today to wrest us away from the sin of pride, to give us a clear vision of ourselves, not only when we examine our consciences in preparation for confession, but always, throughout the day in all of our daily encounters, and most particularly when we approach Him in Holy Communion. It’s only by facing up to who we really are outside the vision of others that we see clearly to make those changes we may need to make to be more pleasing to the one Person whose opinion alone matters.
* A native of Kenty, Poland, John Cantius was a priest and professor at the University of Cracow, famous for his heroic charity and zeal. He died in the year 1473.
** Artimius was a noble citizen of Alexandria and a personal friend of Constantine the Great. He was martyred for Christ in Antioch under Emperor Julian the Apostate. The Maronite Church celebrates his memory under the name Shallita.