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Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

October 15, 2017

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EPISTLE

EPHESIANS 4 (23-28)

Fratres: Renovámini spíritu mentis vestræ, et indúite novum hóminem, qui secúndum Deum creátus est in justítia et sanctitáte veritátis. Propter quod deponéntes mendácium, loquímini veritátem unusquísque cum próximo suo: quóniam sumus ínvicem membra. Irascímini, et nolíte peccáre: sol non óccidat super iracúndiam vestram. Nolíte locum dare diábolo: qui furabátur, jam non furétur, magis autem labóret, operándo mánibus suis, quod bonum est, ut hábeat unde tríbuat necessitátem patiénti.

Brethren: Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbour, for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.

GOSPEL

MATTHEW 22 (1-14)

In illo témpore: Loquebátur Jesus princípibus sacerdótum et pharisæis in parábolis dicens: Símile factum est regnum cælórum hómini regi, qui fecit núptias fílio suo. Et misit servos suos vocáre invitátos ad núptias, et nolébant veníre. Iterum misit álios servos, dicens: Dícite invitátis: Ecce prándium meum parávi, tauri mei et altília occísa sunt, et ómnia paráta: veníte ad núptias. Illi autem neglexérunt: et abiérunt, álius in villam suam, álius vero ad negotiatiónem suam: réliqui vero tenuérunt servos ejus, et contuméliis afféctos occidérunt. Rex autem cum audísset, irátus est: et, missis exercítibus suis, pérdidit homicídas illos et civitátem illórum succéndit. Tunc ait servis suis: Núptiæ quidem parátæ sunt, sed qui invitáti erant, non fuérunt digni. Ite ergo ad éxitus viárum et quoscumque invenéritis vocáte ad núptias. Et egréssi servi ejus in vias, congregavérunt omnes quos invenérunt, malos et bonos: et implétæ sunt núptiæ discumbéntium. Intrávit autem rex ut vidéret discumbéntes, et vidit ibi hóminem non vestítum veste nuptiáli. Et ait illi: Amíce, quómodo huc intrásti non habens vestem nuptiálem? At ille obmútuit. Tunc dixit rex minístris: Ligátis mánibus et pédibus ejus, míttite eum in ténebras exterióres: ibi erit fletus et stridor déntium. Multi enim sunt vocáti, pauci vero elécti.

At that time, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son; and he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited: Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come ye to the marriage. But they neglected: and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise; and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry; and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready, but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good; and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests; and he saw there a man who had not a wedding garment: and he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? but he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

HOMILY

by St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars

INTEMPERANCE

"Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury." —Apocalypse iii. 16.

SYNOPSIS.—Drunkenness a great sin. A disgrace in the eyes of men. Conversion of the habitual drunkard most difficult. Many people prone to make light of this vice, and excuse the same. To undeceive these people, I will show

    I. The enormity of this vice.
    II. The folly to advance excuses for the same.

I. It is beyond the power of mortal man to describe the full extent of the havoc wrought by this vice. We are able to see, however, that great evil results from intemperance. We cannot be indifferent to the loss of good name, health, and salvation. The degradation of man by drink. The Holy Ghost tells us the drunkard should learn moderation from the beasts. What disgrace to human nature, if the beast is held up to it as example. This sin is not one that abates with advancing age. Drunkards not easily reformed. Disadvantages of the drunkard in social life. Ruin of his soul. The Council of Mayence holds that the drunkard transgresses all the ten commandments.

II. Some excuses advanced to justify excesses. Sociability. Some claim they can drink a great deal without getting intoxicated. Business. Reform. The means.

St. Paul assures us that the drunkard will not enter into the kingdom of heaven; drunkenness must, therefore, my dear brethren, be a very great sin. This is easily understood, for no matter how we look at it, this sin is even a disgrace among men, even in the eyes of the heathen, and Christians should be more afraid of this vice than of death. The Holy Ghost speaks of it in an awe-inspiring manner. He tells us: "Woe unto you who drink wine immoderately, and who become drunk, woe to those who arise in the morning with the thought of giving themselves up to drunkenness." Alas, dear friends, very few of those once addicted to this terrible vice, ever break themselves of it. There are persons who see no wrong in getting drunk upon every occasion; others imagine that so long as they do not get so drunk as to lose their reason, they do not commit a great sin; others again excuse themselves, saying they are led into it by their companions. To undeceive all those who hold these views I will show them:

    I. The enormity of this vice.
    II. The folly to excuse the same.

I.

To show you properly, my dear brethren, the enormity of the sin of drunkenness, I should have to show you the full extent of evil which this vice entails for time and eternity, and this is beyond mortal man to do, because it is known to God alone. Everything that I might say to you upon the subject will be insignificant in comparison to what the evil really is. In the first place you will agree with me that any one having a little common sense and religion, cannot be indifferent and insensible at the loss of their good name, their health, and their salvation. It is a plain fact that the drunkard, by his excesses, ruins his health, and draws down upon himself the loathing of men and the curse of God. I should think, dear friends, that this alone should be sufficient to inspire you with sufficient horror of it. What a disgrace for a person, especially a Christian, to let himself sink to the level of the vulgar and beastly sot. The Holy Ghost tells us in Holy Writ that the drunkard should be joined to the unreasoning cattle, that he may learn moderation in drinking from them. When we want to persuade a sinner to renounce his sins, we hold up to him the example of Jesus Christ and of the saints; but the drunkard is so low that the example of the beasts is held up to him, and we need not hesitate to select the uncleanest of them all. What a terrible blow is this to the dignity of human nature. St. Paul tells us that drunkards should not be tolerated amongst men, but that they should be driven forth into banishment amongst the animals of the wilderness. This vice is odious even in the eyes of the heathen. It is recorded in history that in the ancient city of Sparta, whose inhabitants were very abstemious, upon a certain day every year a slave was made drunk and brought upon the public square so as to show the young people how unworthy this vice was of reasonable creatures. When the young people beheld this man they were sufficiently disgusted to abstain entirely from intoxicating drink. You see, my friends, that although pagans they would not give way to a passion which reduced man to such disgraceful condition.

This sin is not one which is renounced with advancing age, and an habitual drunkard is seldom converted. The reason is this: intemperate people have no faith, no piety, no respect for anything sacred; nothing is capable of opening their eyes to their unhappy state. If you remind them of death, judgment, or hell, if you speak to them of the bliss which God has prepared for those who live a good life, the answer they give you is a scornful smile, which means: "Perhaps you think you can frighten me as you would little children; but I do not belong to those who believe everything that is said to them." And this is all you can obtain from them. They imagine with death everything is at an end. Their God is wine, and they cling to it. Beware, godless man, the Holy Ghost says to such as you, "the wine which thou drinkest immoderately, is a viper, which will cause thy death."

Behold, my friends, with what horror the Holy Ghost inspires us for this sin, for He tells us not to look upon the wine when it is red. If you drink immoderately, he says further, it will sting you like a snake, and poison you like a basilisk. Do you wish to know, St. Basil asks us, what a drunkard is? Well, he is a receptacle for the refuse of the saloon. The drunkard usually is sickly; he is incapable of doing anything else but to ruin his health. This passion must be a very ignoble one, for even the world, bad as it is, holds the drunkard in contempt, and looks upon him as a public nuisance. Is he not detested when, through his neglect, his business is ruined, and his family reduced to poverty? Is he not abhorred for the scandal that he gives by his shameful life? Where will you find a father who would give his daughter in marriage to a drunkard, if he knows him to be one? Where would you find a young girl to accept for a husband a young man given to drink? Where would you find a decent and respectable man who would let himself be seen in the company of a drunkard? St. Basil tells us that even the animals, if capable of understanding the real condition of a drunkard, would not suffer him in their company-they would consider themselves disgraced thereby. I think you can now, my dear brethren, form an idea of the enormity of the sin of intemperance. We find it very dreadful, and yet only have a very limited knowledge of the malice worked by this sin.

The council of Mayence proclaims that the drunkard transgresses all the ten commandments. If you desire to be convinced of this, examine them one after the other, and you will see that a drunkard is liable of doing everything forbidden by the ten commandments. St. John Chrysostom says in addressing the people of the city of Antioch : "Take care, my children, not to give way to drunkenness, because this sin so disgraces mankind, that it lowers them beneath the unreasoning animal. Alas, dear brethren, must not this sin be terrible in the sight of God?

II.

We shall see, my dear brethren, that drunkards have no excuses to justify their excesses. St. Augustine says that, although the drunkard is condemned by everybody, he believes that he has sufficient excuse for his misconduct. The one will say his friends are the cause of his intemperance. St. Augustine tells us: "What, miserable man, you have been drinking and making yourself the friend of drunkards, of ungodly men, whilst at the same time you became the enemy of God!" But it is not your friends, it is your own evil desire that makes you drink. There are others who claim that they can drink a great deal without feeling the effects of it, but, my friend, do not let this deceive you. Although you may not lose your senses, you are not less culpable if you drink to excess. There are those who say: "We do it for business, to transact money matters, etc." Alas, my friend, do you really believe you can properly attend to business matters, when under the influence of strong drink? Have you not heard of many men, who, dazed by drink, were lured into business transactions by which they lost their all - business, property, home, and honor? What conclusion should we draw from all this, my friends? Just this. That those addicted to intemperance should enter seriously into themselves and remember what the Lord has said through the mouth of the prophet Joel: "Arise, drunkard, because all kinds of evils await thee. Weep and lament at the sight of the punishments which the just wrath of God prepares for you in hell on account of your drunkenness." Arise, miserable man, at the cry of that wife of yours, whom you have ill treated in your cups. Wake up, drunkard, at the cry of your poor children, whom you drive to the poorhouse, and, probably, to death by privation. Listen, shameless drunkard, to this neighbor, who demands the money that you owe him, and which you squander in debauchery and in the saloon. He needs it for the support of his wife and children, who are suffering from want on account of your iniquity. Alas, miserable man, what did you promise so often to God in the Sacrament of Penance? You promised not to fall again into your disorderly ways. How have you kept this solemn promise? And what have you deserved? Nothing better than hell, there to burn for all eternity. You have deserved to be seated at the table of the evil spirits, there to be nourished and entertained with the rage which they, have towards Jesus Christ Himself. You will be the victim upon which the just anger of God will fall heavily for all eternity!

You perhaps never have pictured to yourselves the gravity of the sin of drunkenness, of the state to which it reduces those who are its slave, of the evils which it causes them in this life, and of the punishments which it prepares for them for the other life. Do penance, you drunkard, for your disorderly life, for the bad examples that you have given. Cry to heaven for mercy, that you may obtain pardon of the Lord. Let us ask God to preserve us from this awful sin, which makes it so difficult, in fact, almost impossible, for those addicted to it to save their souls. Lead temperate, good lives, so that you may be an ornament to your faith, your community, and to your family. Follow the path that guides to eternal happiness. Amen.

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