Twenty-Third Sunday of the Year (Year A)

August 30, 2011

St. Augustine:

Do you see how dangerous it is to keep silent? He dies, and rightly dies; he dies in his own wickedness and sin; his own heedlessness kills him. Yes, the one who says “I live, says the Lord,” would like to find a living shepherd. But since he has been heedless, not being warned by the one who was given charge and made a watchman for this very purpose of warning him, he will die justly, and the other will be justly condemned. It is our business not to keep quiet; it is your business, even if we do keep quiet, to listen to the words of the shepherd from the holy Scriptures.

St. Thomas Aquinas:

Brotherly correction is meant to serve our brother’s recovery, so it is commanded only when it is necessary for that purpose, not everywhere and at every possible opportunity. Just as a man who owes money must seek his creditor out when the time comes to repay him, so a man spiritually responsible for another must seek him out to correct him. But the good turns we owe to all in general don’t have to be sought out; it is enough to be ready when they seek us out as though by chance, as Augustine puts it. Brotherly correction is an act of charity, and we all owe it in charity to anyone we see doing wrong. But the circumstances must be observed, and when subjects correct superiors they should do it modestly and reverently, not impudently and harshly.

Bl. John Paul II:

The faithful are obliged to acknowledge and respect the specific moral precepts declared and taught by the Church in the name of God, the Creator and Lord. When the Apostle Paul sums up the fulfillment of the law in the precept of love of neighbor as oneself, he is not weakening the commandments but reinforcing them, since he is revealing their requirements and their gravity. Love of God and of one’s neighbor cannot be separated from the observance of the commandments of the Covenant renewed in the blood of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Spirit. It is an honor characteristic of Christians to obey God rather than men and to accept even martyrdom as a consequence.

Pope Benedict XVI:

We must have the courage to dare to say: Yes, man must seek the truth; he is capable of truth…. That is why the humility to recognize the truth and to accept it as a standard has to be relearned and practiced again…. In the name of tolerance, tolerance is being abolished; this is a real threat we face. The danger is that reason…claims that it has now really recognized what is right and thus makes a claim to totality that is inimical to freedom…. It is very important for us to oppose such a claim of absoluteness conceived as a certain sort of “rationality.”… As Saint Augustine said: World history is a battle between two forms of love. Love of self-to the point of destroying the world. And love of others-to the point of renouncing oneself. This battle…is in progress now, too.

Fr. Servais Pinckaers, O.P.:

Sin’s root lies in turning in upon oneself, or in self-love as spiritual writers call it. This kind of love is not necessarily always turned inward, however. It can become extremely active and move out to conquer the universe. But in the end it sucks everything into itself. Its supreme goal is domination, the utilization of all things for its own advantage. Being diametrically opposed to charity, its ultimate end is always its own interest, pleasure, pride of place. Self-love is self-centered even when it looks generous…. The crowning activity of egoism is to assume the garb of justice and religion and to gain control of their best projects so as to deflect them from God and use them for its own glory and honor.

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