But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it says:
“He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.”
What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.
Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.
So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess.
That is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.
RESPONSORY Matthew 19:29, 27
If you leave your home, your brothers or sisters, father or mother,
wife or children, or lands for love of me,
– you will have it all returned a hundredfold
and will inherit eternal life.
Lord, we have left everything to follow you;
what will become of us!
– You will have it all returned a hundredfold
and will inherit eternal life.
From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope
(Lib. 2, hom 36, 11-13: PL 76, 1272-1274)
In the world, yet not of it
I would like to urge you to forsake everything, but that I do not presume to do. Yet, if you cannot give up everything of this world, at least keep what belongs to the world in such a way that you yourself are not kept prisoner by the world. Whatever you possess must not possess you; whatever you own must be under the power of your soul; for if your soul is overpowered by the love of this world’s goods, it will be totally at the mercy of its possessions.
In other words, we make use of temporal things, but our hearts are set on what is eternal. Temporal goods help us on our way, but our desire must be for those eternal realities which are our goal. We should give no more than a side glance at all that happens in the world, but the eyes of our soul are to be focused right ahead; for our whole attention must be fixed on those realities which constitute our goal.
Whatever is vicious must be utterly eradicated, wrenched away not merely from being put into act but even from being so much as thought of. No carnal pleasure, no worldly curiosity, no surge of ambition must keep us from the Lord’s Supper. But further, our minds should merely skirt even the good deeds we perform in this life; in this way, the physical things which give us pleasure will serve our bodily needs without hindering the soul’s progress. You see, my brothers, I dare not say to you, give up everything. Yet, if you will, you can give everything up while keeping it, provided you handle temporal things in such a way that your whole mind is directed toward what is eternal. A man can use the world as if he were not using it, if he makes all external needs minister to the support of his life without allowing them to dominate his soul. They remain external to him and under his control, serving him without halting the soul’s drive to higher things. For such men, everything in this world is there for their use, not to be desired. Nothing should interfere with your soul’s longing; no created pleasure in the world should ensnare you.
If the object of love is what is good, then the soul should take its delight in the higher good, the things of heaven. If the object of fear is what is evil, then we should keep before ourselves the things that are eternally evil. In this way, if the soul sees that we should have a greater love and a greater fear about what concerns the next life, it will never cling to this life.
To help us to achieve all this we have the help of the mediator between God and man. Through him we shall obtain all this the more quickly, the more we burn with a great love for him, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
RESPONSORY 1 Corinthians7:29, 30, 31; 2:12
The time is growing short,
so we must rejoice as though we were not rejoicing;
we must work in the world yet without becoming immersed in it,
– for the world as we know it is passing away.
We have not adopted the spirit of the world.
– For the world as we know it is passing away.
Lord our God,
friend of the lowly,
who gave your servant, Saint André Bessette,
a great devotion to Saint Joseph
and a special commitment to the poor and afflicted,
help us through his intercession
to follow his example of prayer and love
and so come to share with him in your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours © 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.