Mercy is a Two-Way Street

    Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
provided by
John Gregory

      Editor's Note: We continue this special feature provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible. With the type so small in most bibles, we publish it here in larger type in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass, with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock. For the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost Fr. Haydock provides a few commentaries, but the key is not in the commentaries but in the Scriptures themselves for St. Paul's words to the Ephesians are some of the most beautiful imagery he has employed in his epistles. In addition, today's Gospel is so applicable to the very situation going on today in Washington, Wall Street and throughout every home in America and the prospect that thought failure has been rewarded, those whose debts have been forgiven with a bailout are not passing that same mercy on to the common man. Even more pertinent is that few are realizing this whole crisis doesn't amount to a hill of beans in God's eyes if our hearts are not pure and therein the final verse from our Lord says it all: "So also shall My heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts."

Epistle: Ephesians 6: 10-17

10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of His power.

11 Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.

12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

    Commentary on Verse 12 Flesh and blood, which may either signify temptations of the flesh, or raised by mortal men. – Principalities and powers; i.e. devils, or apostate angels, who before their fall were in such ranks of spirits, and who are permitted to rule over the wicked in this world of darkness. (Wi.) – By which we are to understand the fallen angels. For as by nature, and from their creation, they were the governors of this corporeal world, and were deprived of this their power on account of their pride, they received it (though limited by certain restrictions) in order to tempt man. (Estius) –Rulers of the world of this darkness. By these are meant the devils who exercise their power and authority in our inferior and dark atmosphere, by raising winds, storms, tempests, & c. By darkness may be understood the wicked, in whom Satan reigns as in a citadel. (Menochius) – Our inferior world is called dark and misty in comparison of the world above, which is always bright, serene, and clear. Our atmosphere is called the cloudy and dark heavenly. Cicero, in his Tuscul Quaest. Prudentius likewise, in Hamartigenia, writes thus:
    Nonmentem sua membra premunt, nec terrea virtus
    Oppugnat sensus liquidos, bellove lacessit;
    Sed cum spiritibus tenebrosis nocte deique
    Congredimur quorum dominatibus humidus iste
    Et pigris densus nebulis obtemperat aer.
    Scilicet hoc medium coelum inter et infima terrae
    Quod patet ac vacuo nubes suspendit hiatu,
    Frena potestatum variorum susinet, ac suo
    Principe Belial rectoribus horret iniquis.
    His colluctamur praedoribus, at sacra nobis
    Oris Apostoli testis sentential prodit. –
    - Against the spirits of wickedness: or wicked spirits in the air, says Saint Jerome. Literally, in celestials. (Wi.) – High places. That is to say, in the air, the lowest of the celestial regions in which God permits these wicked spirits or fallen angels to wander. (Ch.)
13 Therefore take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice,

    Commentary on Verse 14 Your loins….with truth, both as to doctrine and a good life, keeping your baptismal promises. – Having on the breastplate of justice, not only of the particular virtue of justice, but of all virtues in general. (Wi.)
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:
    Commentary on Verse 15 Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel; i.e. prepared to walk in the ways of the gospel, as a soldier must be prepared and in readiness to march or fight. (Wi.)
16 In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.
    Commentary on Verse 16 The shield of faith. A lively faith working by charity, which will enable you to conquer your greatest enemies, and to escape their fiery darts, their greatest temptations, and attacks. (Wi.)

17 And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).

Gospel: St. Matthew 18: 23-35

23 At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable. Therefore is the kingdom of Heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents.

    Commentary on Verse 24 Ten thousand talents. It is put as an example for an immense sum. It is not certainly agreed what was the value of a talent. A talent of gold is said to be 4900lb.; of silver 375 lb. See Walton’s Prologomena, Dr. Harris’s Lexicon, & c. (Wi.) – The 10,000 talents, according to some authors, amount to L1,875,000 sterling, i.e., 740,000 times as much as his fellow-servant owed him; the hundred pence amounting to not more than L3 2s. 6d.

25 And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 And the lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt.

28 But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest.

29 And his fellow servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he paid the debt.

31 Now his fellow servants seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me:

33 Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?

34 And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt.

35 So also shall My heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

    Commentary on Verse 35 So also shall My heavenly Father do to you. In this parable the master is said to have remitted the debt, and yet afterwards to have punished the servant for it. God doth not in this manner with us. But we may here observe, once for all, that in parables, diverse things are only ornamental to the parable itself; and a caution and restriction is to be used in applying them. (Wi.) – Not that God will revoke a pardon once granted; for this would be contrary to His infinite mercy, and His works are without repentance. It means that God will not pardon, or rather that He will severely punish the ingratitude and inhumanity of the man, who, after having received from God the most liberal pardon of his grievous transgressions, refuses to forgive the slightest offence committed against him by his neighbor, who is a member, nay a son of his God. This ingratitude may justly be compared with the 10,000 talents, as every grievous offence committed against God, exceeds, in an infinite degree, any offence against man. (T.) – This forgiveness must be real, not pretended; from the heart, and not in word and appearance only; sacrificing all desire of revenge, all anger, hatred and resentment, at the shrine of charity.

Haydock Commentary for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost