ExForm Reflections on the Readings for the 19th Sunday After Pentecost...

In previous weeks I would write reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. I have to admit that my intention was to prepare myself for Mass on Sunday. The problem was every time I would write a reflection, I would end up going to Mass in the Extraordinary Form (ExForm). The thing is that the ExForm does not make use of the same set of readings as the Ordinary Form (OForm).

I also noticed that even though there are quite a few reflections on the upcoming readings, there are not that many for the ExForm. So, I am going to start doing reflections for the ExForm. For those who have not been to Mass in the ExForm, there are only two readings, Epistle and Gospel. The Epistle reading is called the Lesson and is separated from the Gospel by the Gradual and the Alleluia Verse. The Gradual is the origin of the Responsorial Psalm in the OForm.

So here is my reflection for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost:

Putting on Christ...

The Lesson comes from Eph 4:23-28. It opens with:

Brethren: Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which has been created according to God in justice and holiness of truth.
What does it mean to "be renewed in the spirit of your mind?" The word that St. Paul uses here is, "ananeousthai." It literally translates as "again-new-the-act-of" or "the-act-of-making-new-again," which we translate as "renew." What about the "spirit of your mind?" It, I believe, can only be properly interpreted by the following phrase, "put on the new man." This sort of terminology can be found elsewhere in St. Paul's writings. In 1 Cor 15:45, 47 St. Paul says:
"So also it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul.' The last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving spirit... The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven."
The idea is that Christ is the New Adam. Adam was a sort of prefigurement of Christ. Adam's sin was in his disobedience, so Christ's justification is in His obedience (cf. Rom 5:19). So, the new spirit of the mind is not our own mind simply. It is our mind informed by the spirit of the mind of Christ. It is in this sense Christ's mind. We put on the mind of Christ. We put on the New Adam.

All this is to say that in order to put on the new man, we have to adopt the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is instructive; it informs our actions (cf. 1 Cor 2:16). What is the mind of Christ? What is it in the mind of Christ that informs our actions?

The Greatest Commandments...

We know Christ's mind because we know that His obedience means our justification. His obedience is summarized in the Gospel of Matthew (22:37-40):
And He said to him,  "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
These two commands are mutually dependent. Love of God depends on love of neighbor and vice versa. This "Love" (Charity) is the mind of Christ.

It is ultimately Charity that gives life and Charity that informs all of our actions. Faith with out Charity is dead (cf. Jm 2). Charity is necessary for a Faith that saves.

The Wedding Feast of Charity...

The Gospel Matt 22:1-14, which is one with which most of us are familiar, describes a wedding feast being thrown. Some are invited and reject the invitation. Then, strangers are invited. One shows up wearing inappropriate attire, and he is cast out into the outer darkness.

Pope Saint Gregory the Great asks, "What ought we to understand by the wedding garment, but charity? For this the Lord had upon Him, when He came to espouse the Church to Himself. He then enters in to the wedding feast, but without the wedding garment, who has faith in the Church, but not charity" (Hom. in Ev. xxxviii, 2).

All baptized Christians are truly in the wedding hall. Some of us have showed up, however, without truly putting on the mind of Christ, the garment of charity. It is the garment that unites us to Christ Himself. Without this garment, we have no life within us. By donning this garment we put off our old ways of deceit, anger, theft, envy, greed, etc... We put on truth, kindness, gentleness, chastity, etc... We put on Love, and we forgive as He has forgiven us.

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