Separating the wheat from the cockle in God's time
Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
Editor's Note: This special feature provided by John Gregory with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible continues during November. 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. For the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost the Propers are taken from the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany this year (2010). Father Haydock provides in his commentaries in St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians the essence of why holy Mother Church had, until Vatican II, so wisely and prudently guarded Sacred Scripture for fear of misinterpretation which led, as we know to Protestantism and heretical sects that today number over 33,000. While the Remnant has been whittled to but a few, God, in His mercy, will not separate the wheat from the chaff until that time when He will judge by placing the good wheat in His barn (Heaven) and the rest of the cockle, bundled into hell as Jesus relates via His parable in St. Matthew 13. Then many will realize that not all those who say 'Lord, Lord' will enter His kingdom, but only those who have done His holy will as Christ affirmed in St. Matthew 7 in assuring us we would know them by their fruits and the bad trees would be cast into the eternal fire.
Epistle: Colossians 3: 12-17
Put ye on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience:
Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also.
But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection:
Commentary on Verse 14 Above all these things have charity, the love of God, and of your neighbor, which is the bond of perfection, the end of all virtues, which unites the hearts of all to God. (Witham)
And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful.
Commentary on Verse 15 The peace of Christ rejoice: reign, conquer, bear away the prize. (Witham)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom, teaching, and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God.
Commentary on Verse 16 Employ yourselves in studying and reading the Scriptures; meditate on what our Savior has done and suffered for you. It is a calumny of our enemies, that we forbid the reading of the Testament. But the Church, fearing lest the faithful should read to their own destruction what was ordained for their salvation, wisely ordains that they should have recourse to their pastors, and receive from them those versions which she approves as most conformable to the Latin Vulgate, which has received the sanction of the holy Catholic Church, and at the same time forbids them those which might corrupt their faith. In this she acts the part of a good and provident mother, conducting her children to the rich and salutary pastures of peace and plenty, and carefully guarding them from others where tempting but noxious weeds luxuriantly grow up, watered with the baneful streams of polluted and poisoned sources.
If pure be the steams from the fountain,
As purely the river will flow;
If noxious the stream from the mountain,
It poisons the valley below.
All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
Commentary on Verse 17 Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let all be done for his honour and glory. See 1 Corinthians x. 31. (Witham)
Gospel: St. Matthew 13: 24-30
At that time, Jesus spoke to the multitudes this parable: The kingdom of Heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seeds in his field.
Commentary on Verse 24 He spoke to the multitudes this parable. As in the preceding parable our Lord spoke of those who did not receive the word, so in this He speaks of those who receive the corrupted word; for it is a diabolical machination to confound error with truth. (St. John Chrysostom in St. Thomas Aquinas) --- There are three things worthy of observation in this parable. 1st. That the Church of God on earth consists of both good and bad; the 2nd, that God is not the author of evil; and the 3rd, that God does not always punish the wicked on the spot, but patiently bears with them. (Menochius)
But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat, and went his way.
Commentary on Verse 25 Were asleep. When the superiors or pastors of the Church were lulled asleep or negligent, or, when the apostles were dead, as St. Augustine expounds it, the devil spread the tares or error and sin amongst a great number of Christians. These falling from the state of grace, or becoming heretics, are yet mingled with the rest of the faithful in the same outward profession of Christianity, not unlike the good corn and cockle in the same field.
And when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle.
Then the servants of the master of the house came and said to him: 'Master, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it cockle?'
Commentary on Verse 27 Then the servants. St. John Chrysostom observes, there are many circumstances in the parables that have no connection with the instruction designed to be conveyed in the parables, and which are merely added to connect the different parts together.
And he said to them: 'An enemy hath done this.' And the servants said to him: 'Wilt thou that we go and gather it up?'
And he said: 'No, lest perhaps while ye gather up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it.'
No, lest, &c. The prayers of repenting sinners are never despised. We are taught also by this example not to cut off too hastily a fallen brother; for, whatever he may be today, tomorrow perhaps he may see his error and embrace the truth. (St. Jerome). --- Jesus Christ exhorts us to bear with infidels and heretics, not on our own account only, as wicked men are frequently of use to the virtuous, but also on their account; for sometimes the persons who have been corrupted and perverted, will return to the paths of virtue and truth. Let, therefore, both grow until the harvest, i.e. to the day of judgment, when the power of rectifying another's error shall be no more. (St. Augustine in St. Thomas Aquinas) --- When many are implicated in one misfortune, what remains but to bewail their condition. Let us then be willing to correct our brethren to the utmost of our power, but let it be always with mercy, charity and compassion; what we cannot correct, let us bear with patience, permitting what God permits, and interceding with Him to move and convert their hearts. But when an opportunity offers, let us publicly advocate the truth, and condemn error. (St. Jerome) --- St. Augustine affirms, that no one should be compelled by force to an unity of religious tenets: such as dissent for us must be persuaded by words, overcome by argumentation, and convinced by reason. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
'Let both grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but gather the wheat into my barn.'
Haydock Commentary for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost (5th Sunday after Epiphany)