he Church offers to our consideration, during this week of Sexagesima, the history of Noah
and the deluge. Man has not profited by the warnings already given him. God
is obliged to punish him once more, and by terrible chastisement. There is found out of the whole human race one just man; God makes a covenant with him, and with us through him. But, before He draws up this new alliance, He would show that He is the sovereign Master, and that man, and the earth whereon he lives, subsist solely by His power and permission.
At Rome the Station is in the basilica of St. Paul outside the walls. It is around the tomb of the Doctor of the Gentiles, the zealous sower of the divine seed, the father by his preaching of so many nations, that the Roman Church assembles her children on this Sunday, whereon she is about to announce to them how God spared the earth on the condition that it should be peopled with true believers and with faithful adorers of His name.
St. Gregory the Great justly remarks, that this parable needs no explanation, since eternal Wisdom Himself has told us its meaning. All that we have to do, is to profit by this divine teaching, and become the good soil, wherein the heavenly seed may yield a rich harvest. How often have we, hitherto, allowed it to be trampled on by them that passed by, or to be torn up by the birds of the air! How often has it found our heart like a stone, that could give no moisture, or like a thorn plot, that could but choke! We listened to the word of God; we took pleasure in hearing it; and from this we argued well for ourselves. Nay, we have often received this word with joy and eagerness. Sometimes, even, it took root within us. But, alas! Something always came to stop its growth. Henceforth, it must both grow and yield fruit. The seed given to us is of such quality, that the divine Sower has a right to expect a hundred-fold. If the soil, that is, our heart, be good; if we take the trouble to prepare it, by profiting by the means afforded us by the Church; we shall have an abundant harvest to show our Lord on that grand day, when rising triumphant from His tomb, He will come to share with His faithful people the glory of His Resurrection.
On these Sundays the Gloria in excelsis and Alleluia are omitted, except when the Mass of a Feast is said, and purple vestments are used.
Certain perverse teachers of Judazing tendency were endangering the very existence of the Corinthian Church. By comparing his own ministry with theirs, St. Paul destroys the influence of these false prophets, who were entangling God's people in a spiritual bondage. But the Apostle ends this self-praise with an act of humility by which he shows that he glorifies himself only in Christ Jesus. We may say of the Apostle, as the Gospel does of our Lord, that he passed by scattering the seed of truth.
Reflections for Sexagesima Sunday