SAINT AGNES CATHEDRAL 533 South Jefferson Springfield, MO 65806
EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS (LATIN)
CELEBRANT: Father Jeffery Fasching
July 21, 2013 9th Sunday after Pentecost
Epistle: 1 Cor. 10:6-13; Gospel: Luke 19:41-47
Mass Schedule July 22 through July 26
Mon 22 Saint Mary Magdalene, Penitent—No Latin Mass
Tue 23 Saint Apollinaris, Bishop & Martyr
Wed 24 Feria
Thu 25 Saint James the Greater, Apostle
Fri 26 Saint Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
God has called mankind in His gracious goodness to a destiny surpassing its natural powers. We were created for heaven and eternity. God has elevated our nature by endowing it with supernatural life! This is a sharing in His divine life! God gives us grace as a pure gift, but we must receive it and cooperate with it in order to grow in union with Him. In Catholic tradition, this free cooperation with grace that permits us to grow in divine life is called merit. Merit may be defined as a good work freely done that is worthy of a promised reward. It may be defined as the right to a promised reward because of a good work done.
When God, in His mercy, freely justifies the sinner and gives the life of grace, with this gift He bestows the capacity to cooperate with grace and thus grow in the life of grace. This capacity is what is meant by merit. For example, a man mows your yard and you pay him twenty dollars. When the person is done he deserves the amount you agreed to pay him. He has merited his work. An athlete wins a marathon. He runs faster than all the other runners. He has merited the coveted first place prize!
Although the noun “merit” is not a biblical term, it has been traditionally used to express a complex of ideas that are found in the Bible. It is similar in this respect to words like “Holy Trinity,” “Bible,” “Holy Eucharist,” “Holy Orders,” “ordination,” etc., which are also not found in the Bible but which express realities taught in the Bible. The reality of merit is expressed in the Bible under images such as reward, repayment, wages, prize, crown, which God as a just judge promises to give to men because of good works done during their life on earth.
Jesus Christ often speaks of the reward that will be given for good works. For example, to those who suffer persecution for His sake He says: “Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven” (Mt 5.11f).
“When you give pray, do it in secret, “and your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Mt 6.6). When you fast, do not appear to be fasting, “and your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you” (Mt 6.18).
He urges His disciples not to store up earthly treasure but instead to store up treasure in heaven (Mt 6.20). When Peter asked Jesus what the disciples can expect for having given up all things to follow Him, Jesus says: “Everyone who has given up home, brothers or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake will receive many times as much and inherit everlasting life” (Mt 19.27-29).
Fr. Jeff Fasching