XI Sunday after Pentecost - II Class
Epistle: I Cor. 15:1-10 [The grace of God can work even the most extreme conversions.]
Gospel: Mk. 31-37 [Cure of a deaf-mute.]
Full Latin-English propers here.
In the Book of Proverbs, the story is told of a wise man beholding sinners (Prov. 7:1-27): A young woman "in harlot's attire, prepared to deceive souls" (v. 10) goes out to meet a young fool. She dresses in sexually appealing attire and lets him have her body. Why? Why do so many girls do this today? Why do they go about trying to be sexually appealing? The reason why they go about giving away their bodies so easily is to get men to respect them. They see that men care about nothing but sex, so they degrade themselves into objects, pieces of flesh to be used for pleasure, saying, "Come, let us be inebriated with the breasts, and let us enjoy the desired embraces, till the day appear." (v. 18) to get men to respect them and care for them. Now, this will never get men to respect them, it will only tell men to keep using her for pleasure. She degrades herself into a ditch and then gets stuck.
So the Scriptures state, "She entangled him with many words, and drew him away with the flattery of her lips. Immediately he followeth her as an ox led to be a victim, and as a lamb playing the wanton, and not knowing that he is drawn like a fool to bonds, Till the arrow pierce his liver: as if a bird should make haste to the snare, and knoweth not that his life is in danger." (Prov 7:21-23) The man wants only pleasure. He sees that this woman is easy, so he goes after her, degrading her from the purpose for which God created her, not knowing that God will one day judge him and that the curses of Psalm 108 will be upon him. The woman too is not innocent, as God gave her the gift of a body for a certain purpose, yet she degraded it to an object of pleasure. They both keep going and can't stop. They see how empty and passing the pleasure is, but can't say no to it and keep going back for more. They are addicted to their lives of sin, a far degradation from the purpose for which God created them.
What hope is there for such people? How can any of their lives be salvaged? They have already wasted the prime of their lives on sin. What can they possibly make of their lives now? It does not matter how degraded they are. It does not matter how used they are. God can always raise them up to the dignity for which they were created. We see a prime example of this in St. Augustine, a promiscuous and disgusting man with a bastard child who became a great bishop and Doctor of the Church. His feast would have been today if it wasn't Sunday. We see another example in St. Paul, who says in today's Epistle, "For I am the least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am and His grace in me hath not been void."