31 January 2021
“But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing about, and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here all the day idle?’” Mt. 20:6
This Sunday begins the period in the Church’s liturgy that indicates a transition between the joys of Christmas and Epiphany and the rigours of Lent. Pope St. Gregory the Great established these Sundays before Easter: Septuagesima (70 days), Sexagesima (60 days) and Quinquagesima (50 days) in order to prepare the faithful, both in body and spirit, for the Lenten period of penance. “The Church through the appropriate liturgical texts, tries to make the Christian realize the misery of their state as sinners and their own weakness, in order to prepare them for the need of penance and unite them to the one sacrifice of Christ, which is commemorated in the Lenten cycle.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 586-7) The period of Septuagesima has been compared to the seventy years of Babylonian captivity where the Jews wept for their sins and longed to return to Jerusalem. So, too, the Church calls us to weep for our sins and long for the joys of the resurrection and of heaven. We see how this is true in today’s Epistle (I Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5) wherein St. Paul reminds the Corinthians to deprive themselves like good athletes in order to prepare for the struggle for the crown of eternal salvation: “...but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps after preaching to others I myself should be rejected.” I Cor. 9:27 In the Gospel (Mt. 20:1-16) parable of “The Labourers in the Vineyard,” Jesus shows us how important it is to labour in His vineyard, that is, the temporal world, for the reward of the kingdom of heaven. All are invited to work in the vineyard: “Why do you stand here all the day idle?” Mt. 20:6 All are invited to work for their eternal salvation, and no one should be idle and careless in doing the things which will bring this great reward.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race, all indeed run, but one receives the prize? So run to obtain it.” I Cor. 9 24
St. Paul uses the analogy of the runner to show how one must train vigorously to win the prize of a heavenly crown. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Christian runs a spiritual race that demands great effort: “Even in the spiritual race, one only receives the prize—he who perseveres to the end. Run, then, for victory; (this) indicates first the effort, then the purpose, lastly the prize.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 588) Like all good athletes, St. Paul demands that the faithful who are aiming at the goal of eternal life should do penance and chastise their bodies lest they lose the eternal crown: “...but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps after preaching to others I myself should be rejected.” I Cor. 9:27 St. Paul reminds his followers that it is not enough to belong to the chosen race. He reminds them that the Jews were brought out of Egypt and received great graces from God, but some sinned and died in the desert: “Yet with most of them God was not well-pleased, for ‘they were laid low in the desert.’” I Cor. 10:5 The lesson from St. Paul is self-evident: “The Christian is an athlete; and it is not enough for him to cry Lord, Lord, from the gallery. He must be in the arena to fight for his life!” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 489)
“Even so the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few are chosen.” Mt. 20:16
These mysterious words of Our Lord become clear when one considers the spiritual meaning of this parable in its allegorical sense. The vineyard is our life in the world where we must strive for the reward of our labours: instead of a denarius for our day’s work, we will gain eternal life. Quoting St. Gregory the Great and St. Augustine, Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Life Vol. 4 says that the various hours of the day represent the stages of life: “It signifies the calling given by God to each of us individually, pressing us to labour, during this life, for the kingdom prepared for us. The morning is our childhood. The third hour, according to the division used by the ancients in counting their day at sunrise; it is our youth. The sixth hour, by which name they called our midday, is manhood. The eleventh hour, which immediately preceded sunset, is old age. The Master of the house calls His labourers at all these various hours.” Gueranger, p. 126 All those called must go at the time when they are summoned as they are not certain that they will be called later. The same happens to us in life: no one is certain that he will live to old age. We need to accept the call to live our faith when we are called. We also need to accept the wage which we are promised. Interestingly, the denarius is a coin comprising ten other coins; so the good Christian must keep the Ten Commandments if he hopes to save his life. Jesus calls all to the kingdom of heaven, but not everyone accepts the invitation. Some who thought that they were special because they came first, may be last; and those who were called last, may be first in the kingdom of heaven.
“Have I not a right to do what I choose? Or art thou envious because I am generous?” Mt. 20:15
When the first labourers came for their wages, they reasoned that they should have a higher wage since they had worked all day. In reality, they were envious of the good fortune of those who worked only part of the day. It seems to be another example of the typical reaction of the Pharisees at Jesus’ generosity to sinners and other non-Jews. Fr. Boylan in “The Sunday Epistles and Gospels,” explains it thus: “The Pharisees were like the early hired workers; they had professed to walk in the ways of the Lord, and for their ‘works of the Law’, they thought themselves fully entitled
to demand payment, as wages earned, from God. Against this outlook the parable is a protest. The Kingdom of Heaven has been offered to all—but in the goodness and mercy of God, and not as a wage definitely earned by work done. Those who might have expected to enter it first of all are likely to be the last to do so, and those whom the Pharisees despised—the ‘people of the land’ and sinners—are among the first to enter the Kingdom.” p. 131 The Pharisees are the people to whom Jesus often refers in the scriptures who want special favours for being His followers yet they lack His spirit: “’We ate and drank in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets.’ And he shall say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity.” Lk. 13: 26-7 Let us be thankful for having been called to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and let us wish that all our fellow men would also accept Jesus’ call even if it is at “the eleventh hour”.
The Capital Sin of Envy
Envy implies sorrow at the happiness and prosperity of our neighbour. For which reason the envious man is never without sadness or trouble. Are his neighbour’s fields green and fertile? Is his house a happy one? Is he not lacking interior and spiritual happiness? All these signs of prosperity increase the illness and disturb the mind of the envious man. St. Basil tells of the evil effects of envy: “The envious man is hurt by the good fortune of a friend; the joy of his brothers causes him pain; he cannot look with favour on the riches of another and considers the prosperity of his neighbour as a misfortune for himself. If he wished to tell the truth, he would be forced to confess this; but since he does not wish to make it manifest, he keeps this hatred in his heart, where it gnaws away at his entrails.” St. Basil, “Homily 11 on Envy”
What are the Capital Sins? There are seven capital sins: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.
Which are the six sins against the Holy Ghost?
1.Presumption, 2. Despair, 3. Resisting the known truth, 4. Envy of another’s spiritual good, 5. Obstinacy in sin, 6. Final impenitence (From The Penny Catechism)
The First Friday, 5 February 2021
Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the devotion to the “Nine First Fridays” of the Month. The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary: "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." There is no better way of honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on the “Nine First Fridays.”.
12 PROMISES OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS TO ST. MARGARET MARY
I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will establish peace in their families. 3. I will comfort them in their trials. 4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death. 5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings 6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy. 7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent. 8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection. 9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honoured. 10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. 11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out. 12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
First Saturday: 6 February 2021
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep TheFive First Saturdays!
Our Lady to 'Gisella Cardia' on January 21st, 2020:
“Beloved children, thank you for being here in prayer and for having responded to my call in your hearts. My adored children, I urge you to decide which side you will stand on. I your Mother am here: I am waiting for a sign from you in order to give you many graces — I am speaking above all to humanity that has given itself over to the world. Call me, invoke me and I will always be ready to come to your aid. Children, the illumination is near; I ask my little remnant to clothe yourselves with light and put on finest armour and I will put you in the frontline. Now I need you: you will be protected and made invisible by my angels. Evil will continue to take away souls to hell, and thus you will need to be apostles and to evangelize with great courage and faith. Be courageous and shout out the truth; do not be afraid. Children, love and let yourselves be anointed; place all your pains in the most precious wounds of my Son. Now I leave you with my Maternal blessing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen”
Gisella is one of the few prophets/visionaries on 'Countdown to the Kingdom' considered authentic by Theologian Prof Daniel O'Connor, Author Mark Mallet
and Author Christine Watkins ...https://www.countdowntothekingdom.com/
The visionary, Marie Julie Jahenny, the Breton Stigmatist, said that the Warning would take place in February or March when the days are longer during the planting season.
For more information, Google “The Illumination of Conscience” a.k.a. “The Warning”