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oil, who oweth to God the perfection of spiritual good. But much of this belongs to one's neighbour, which is owing to God; for we offend him much if we give not to our neighbour faith, justice, and charity. .
"And he said to him, take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.” As if he said, what you owe to me I forgive; what you owe to God, take thy bill—and because you stand proudly, “ sit down quickly” and humble thyself, and lest thou wouldst hold this light and let it pass from your memory, write it in the tables of thy heart, and keep it in thy memory, and often do penance and expiate the past, till He himself forgive thee. But do it quickly, that is, defer it not from day to day. “Write fifty;" a number signifying penance and remission, for the fiftieth year was the year of remission, and the fiftieth is a penitential psalm. Fifty are written down, and fifty remitted ; an equal number, to show a like offence against God and man; whence our Lord says in his Gospel, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment; and the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (St. Matth. xxii. 37.) And like as is the love, so also is the offence.
“Then he said to another; and how much dost thou owe? who said, a hundred quarters of wheat." A barrel is a liquid, the quarter a dry measure. It is much to be feared that we owe more corporal goods to our neighbour than we can pay. What then must we do?—if we cannot pay all to others, let us forgive at least what is owing to us. Whence it follows: “Who said to him, take thy bill, and write eighty." Here the fifth part is remitted, corresponding to the five senses. “ And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely.” Verily he did wisely, for he forgave a little, that he might receive much—he forgave the temporal that he might receive the eternal, for he had heard : “Forgive and you shall be forgiven." (St. Luke vi. 37.) And, “ Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” (St. Matth. vi. 12.) Verily, he did wisely, that he may receive from God the remission of what is due to him, He did wisely to appease him, that of a hard he might become a lenient exactor; that he might say trustfully, Forgive as I have forgiven, and grant me pardon, as I have pardoned.
• For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” The children of this world labour, and scarcely come to their reward—they run and hardly reach the gaol—they are in travail, and scarcely escape. The children of this world, after their
frauds, deceits, and unseemly morals-forgive, and God becomes their debtor; they spare, and are spared; they forgive and are forgiven : so are the children of this world wiser in their generation than the children of light, that is, when they are regenerated to God, and renewed to a spiritual life.
“And I say unto you, make you friends of the mammon of iniquity;" i, e. riches. Let us make friends of the riches of iniquity by distributing to the poor, “ that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings." He here explains what he meant by being “received into their houses ;" for the mansions of the eternal house are for those who have shown mercy. They receive us into their houses ; who prepare for us everlasting mansions—they are reputed ours, although we receive them but through them; and these are given for benefits by them received, and for the temporal mercies they receive they give in return those that are eternal, through Him who forgives them what is owing to Himself, even our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen.
HOMILY OF POPE ST. GREGORY, FOR THE NINTI
SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.
from thy eyes.
GOSPEL—Luke xix. 41-47.-At that time, when He drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden
For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them ; it is written, 'My house is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.' And He was teaching daily in the Temple.”
This short lesson from holy Scripture I will briefly explain, in the hope that the purpose of God may be extended in the heart of those who have learned to think much, though little be said. Here our Lord weeping, describes the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place under the princes Vespasian and Titus, as he foretells when he saith
“ The days shall come into thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee." And when he adds—"and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone,”—he attests the removal of the city ; for what now exists, was built without the walls where our Lord was crucified, and the old Jerusalem was destroyed; and the reason of this destruction is given in what follows: “ Because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation." For the Creator of all has vouchsafed to visit this city by the mystery of His incarnation, and yet she remembered not His fear nor his love : for by the mouth of the prophet, even the birds of the air gave witness against her: "The kite in the air hath known her time, the turtle, and the swallow, and the stork have observed the time of their coming ; but my people have not known the judgment of the Lord." (Jer. viii. 7.)
“ And seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known." Our merciful Redeemer wept over the ruin of the perfidious city, which knew not what was to come. “ And that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace;" for he that giveth himself up to the pleasures of the flesh, seeth not the evils to come, nor in his day, hath “the things that are to his peace. But now they are hidden from thy
“And entering into the temple, he began to cast out those that sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them : It is written, ‘My house is the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.” He who had but just foretold the evils to come, forth with entered into the temple, and cast out those that bought and sold; whereby He truly notes, that the ruin of the people was chiefly the fault of the priests. For having described the destruction, he scourged those that bought and sold in the temple, showing by his manner, whence the root of ruin sprung. In another Gospel it is said they sold doves- that is, the gifts of the Holy Ghost ; they persecuted those that brought not gifts, and those that brought them they slew spiritually. “My house is a house of prayer, but
have made it a den of thieves :" but that our Lord might show what the real gift of grace was, it is said immediately, “ And He was teaching daily in the temple."
Thus have I run through, in a brief manner, the contents of this Gospel. Seeing the destruction of the temple, he wept over it, saying
“ If thou also hadst known;" this he said once over the devoted city. This daily our Redeemer ceases not to do over his elect, when he sees
them fall from a good life to reprobate habits; he weeps over those who know not why they are struck, “ who are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in most wicked things” (Prov. ii. 14); who if they but knew the destruction that hangs over them, would have wept with the tears of the elect. Well then does what follows agree to the perishing soul: “And that in this thy day, the things that are for thy peace, but now they are hidden from thy eyes.” Here the perverse soul has its dayin which for a passing time it is glad; in which it has what are for its peace-its temporal affairs in which it rejoices; whilst it is puffed up with honours, whilst it is abandoned to the pleasures of the flesh, whilst it fears not the coming wrath and punishment, it has peace in its day, which in another shall possess the heavy curse of damnation. There will it be afflicted, where the just are made glad; and there all things that are now for its peace shall be turned into the bitterness of strife. “But now all these things are hidden from its eyes,” for the perverse soul is wholly given to present things; in earthly pleasures it buries the coming evil,- it flies from a provision for the future, for fear of disturbing its present joy; but yet, while it gives itself up to the delights of this life, what is it but with closed eyes to walk into the fire. Hence it is well written, “In the day of good things be not unmindful of evils” (Eccles. xi. 27); and by the mouth of St. Paul, “ that they that rejoice, be as if they rejoice not (1 Cor. vii. 30); so as to fear even in the time of rejoicing, and to be mindful of the wrath to come, for “ Blessed is the man that is always fearful; but be that is hardened in mind shall fall into evil" (Prov. xxviii. 14); for the wrath of the judgment shall be so much the more strict, the less that the fear of committing sin is felt here.
“For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side.” The evil spirits shall straiten thee on every side, and press thee with words, and deeds, and thoughts ; "and shall beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee.” They shall beat thee to the ground, when thy body shall fall in the dust ; and thy childrenthat is, thine unlawful thoughts, shall betray thee, as it is written, “ In that day all their thoughts—shall perish” (Psal. cxlv. 4); even thy hard thoughts, as stones, for “they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone,"-—and this “ because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation;" nor “whilst thou art in the way sought to be delivered from thy adversary, lest perhaps he draw thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the exacter, and the exacter cast thee into prison." (St. Luke xii. 58.)
· And entering into the temple, he began to cast out those that sold therein." As the temple is in the city, so is the life of religious men among the faithful; for though some assume the habit of religion, and make a traffic of holy religion for gain sake, to such he says truly " My house is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”
“ And he was teaching daily in the temple;" when he teacheth carefully the mind of the faithful to beware of evil, he daily teacheth truth in the temple. But we must know this, that we are taught truly with the words of truth, if we look forward to our last evils, with fear continually, according to the words of the wise man: “In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin." (Eccles. vii. 40.) For we ought every day to think of what we have heard from the voice 'of our Redeemer. “ And that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace, but now they are hidden from thy eyes.” For while yet the 'strict judge endures, while yet his hand delays to strike, whilst yet we have the security of time against the retribution of vengeance, we ought to think of the evil to come; as we think, to mourn, as we mourn, to avoid ; to look on the sins we have committed continually, looking to weep, and weeping wipe away. Let no joy of passing pros: perity unhinge us, nor any transitory enjoyment lure the eyes of our mind, to withdraw our sight from what shall lead us blindfold to hell ; for if we fixedly thought of what weight the reproach that comes from the mouth of truth shall be felt, when he shall say to the negligent and to him who looks not to the future—and that “in this thy day, the things that are for thy peace, but now they are hidden from thy eyes ;" we would meditate deeply and often on how terrible that hour shall be, what fear of mind shall then rise within us, how keen the remembrance of all our evils, what forgetfulness of past delights, what terror in the contemplation of our Judge. He will say, “I will not speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not any thing." (St. John xiv. 30.) The prince of this world saw that our Lord was a mortal man, and thought to have found his part in him ; but without a stain of sin he went out of this world, as he came without sin into the world.
This could not even St. Peter reply to the Prince of this world, although he deserved to hear, “ Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven.” (St. Matthew xvi. 19.) Neither dare St. John say this : “ Albeit he leaned on his Redeemer's breast at supper" (St. John xiii. 20); neither the Psalmist who ex