For the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, quite possibly the most powerful of affirmations is given by our Lord and Savior that it isn’t that difficult to tell who are the false prophets and heretics for by their fruits we shall know them. There is nothing ambiguous about Christ’s words that a bad tree will be chopped down and rooted out, then cast into the fire. What other kind of fire would the Son of Man be talking about in His parable but eternal hellfire? It dovetails with St. Paul’s words in the epistle that the wages of sin is death, as in mortal sin equals death to eternal life; and that eternal life is available only through the grace of God, our salvation merited by Christ’s offering Himself on the Cross, shedding every last drop of His Most Precious Blood for us. A most fitting commentary to the Epistle and Gospel for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost in these tumultuous times.
St. Elizabeth of Portugal was born in 1271, the daughter of Pedro III who would become king of Aragon. Isabel, the Spanish version of her name by which she is known in Portuguese history, was named for her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Like St. Elizabeth of Hungary, she followed the rule of life as a Third Order Franciscan after the death of her husband, living near a convent of Poor Clares she had founded at Coimbra.
From her youth, Elizabeth was a devout child who attended daily mass, prayed regularly, and fasted. These practices of piety and devotion equipped her with the strength and fortitude she would need when she was married at age 12 to Denis, King of Portugal. Though Denis was fond of his young wife, he did not share her piety and often strayed into sin, resulting in several illegitimate children. These children were lovingly cared for by Elizabeth along with her own two children, her daughter Constantia and son Affonso. This fact caused strife when Affonso felt slighted for the illegitimate children. Elizabeth served as peacemaker between her son and husband, resulting in their ultimate reconciliation.
This mediation was just one of many times Elizabeth was called upon for her ability to help feuding parties come to peace and resolution. The final time would be when her son, now king, headed for a battle he should not wage. The target of Affonso’s wrath this time was his own son-in-law. Elizabeth successfully reconciled the two parties, but as she was aged and suffering illness, the exertion took its toll on her physically. She died peacefully in 1336, urging her son to love holiness and peace.
INTROIT Psalm 46: 2
All ye nations, clap your hands: shout unto God with the voice of joy. (Ps. 46: 3) For the Lord is most high, He is terrible He is a great King over all the earth. v. Glory be…etc
O God, whose providence faileth not in its designs, we humbly entreat Thee, to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us all things which be profitable for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Collect of the Souls
From all perils of soul and body defend us, O Lord, we beseech thee, and by the intercession of blessed and gloriosus ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, graciously grant us safety and peace that all adversities and errors being overcome, thy Church may serve thee in security and freedom…
Collect for God’s Holy Church
Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy Church that, having overcome all adversity and every error, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
EPISTLE Romans 6: 19-23
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans, Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh for as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity for iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, is life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 33: 12, 6
Come, children, hearken to me I will teach you the fear of the Lord. V. Come ye to Him and be enlightened and your faces shall not be confounded. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 46. 2) O clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of joy. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 7: 15-21
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth; good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith of Me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven but he that doeth the will of My Father Who is in Heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Daniel 3: 40
As in holocausts of rams and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat lambs so let our sacrifice be made in Thy sight this day, that it may please Thee: for there is no confusion to them that trust in Thee, O Lord.
O God, who hast justified the variety of sacrifices of the Law by the perfection of this one Sacrifice: accept the Sacrifice of Thy servants who are dedicated to Thee, and sanctify it with a blessing like to that which Thou didst bestow upon the gifts of Abel, that what each one of us has offered to the honor of Thy Majesty, may profit us all unto salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
Of the souls
Hear us, O God, our salvation that through the power of this Sacrament thou mayest defend us from all enemies of soul and body and bestow upon us grace here and glory hereafter…
Secret for God’s Holy Church
Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries, that, cleaving to things divine, we may serve Thee both in body and in mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
PREFACE of the Blessed Trinity
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God. Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one Substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the angels and archangels, the cherubim also and seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 30: 3
Bow down Thine ear, make haste to deliver me.
May Thy healing work, O Lord, both mercifully free us from our perversities, and lead us to those things which are right. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
Of the souls
May the offering of this divine Sacrament cleanse and protect us, O Lord we beseech thee, and by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, may it purify us from all sin, and free us from all adversity…
Postcommunion for God’s Holy Church
O Lord our God, we pray Thee that Thou suffer not to succumb to human hazards those whom Thou hast been pleased to make sharers of divine mysteries. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, For ever and ever.