WDTPRS – 25th Ordinary Sunday: tick… tick… tick… tick…

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This week’s Collect for Mass for the 25th Ordinary Sunday (Novus Ordo, obviously), was introduced into the Missale Romanum with the Novus Ordo but it is influenced by a prayer in the ancient Veronese Sacramentary.

Deus, qui sacrae legis omnia constituta in tua et proximi dilectione posuisti, da nobis, ut, tua praecepta servantes, ad vitam mereamur pervenire perpetuam.


Father, guide us, as you guide creation according to your law of love. May we love one another and come to perfection in the eternal life prepared for us.


O God, who placed all things of the sacred law which were constituted in the love of You and of neighbor, grant us that we, observing Your precepts, may merit to attain to eternal life.


O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbor, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life.

This Collect seems to be founded on the exchange between Jesus and a lawyer:

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets’” (Matthew 22:34-40).

St Thomas Aquinas (+1274) glossed this verse in his Commentary on Saint Matthew:

When man is loved, God is loved, since man is the image of God.

In 1 John 4:21 there is a good explanation of this double precept: “This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.”

All of the Law is summed up in Jesus’ two-fold command of love of God and neighbor.

The first part of the two-fold law is about unconditional love of God. The second follows as its consequence.

We must cultivate our different loves in their proper order.

God comes first, always.


A married person must love God more even than a spouse. We must never put any creature, no matter how proximate to us in our hearts, closer than the God in whose image and likeness we are made. When this logical priority is properly in place, love of God and neighbor will not conflict or compete. Each love fuels the other, when love of God is first.

HEY!  YOU out there promoting an agenda that really can’t be reconciled with the Church’s teaching!  You are putting something in God’s place.  That’s perilous.

Today’s Collect reestablishes that we have a special relationship with each person who lives, and not merely with God alone. People are made in God’s image. They are our neighbors, though some are closer to us than others.

But there is no person on earth who is not in some way our neighbor, even enemies.

This reciprocal relationship calls to mind another act of reciprocity which the Lord teaches us: forgive or you will not be forgiven.

When our Savior taught us how to pray what we now call the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), the first thing he then explained and stressed was forgiveness:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (vv 14-15).

It is often hard to forgive.

The second section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [US HERE – UK HERE ] digs into the Lord’s Prayer. When we get to the examination of “…as we forgive those who trespass against us” we read (2842):

“This ‘as’ is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: ‘You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’; ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’; ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.’ It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make ‘ours’ the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves ‘forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us.’”

QUAERITUR: When it is your time to go to Your Lord, will you be well-reconciled with the neighbors you leave behind?

Our time will come. Let us pray daily that we will not die without the solace and strengthening of the sacraments and an opportunity to make peace with our neighbor.

Do you have unfinished business?

Time is running out.

Reconcile with your neighbor.  Get right with God and others.


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6 Responses to WDTPRS – 25th Ordinary Sunday: tick… tick… tick… tick…

  1. Anneliese says:

    Father, this is a very good post. You’re touching on two issues that I’m struggling with right now: love of God and forgiving others. How do we love God? What steps do we have to take to love God? And do we forgive those who inflict suffering on us for years? What if we fear those we must forgive, how do we/can we forgive?

  2. Fr. Reader says:

    I wonder what does the sentence
    “slavishly accurate liturgical translations”
    want to transmit, something like faithful?

  3. fra.david.michael says:

    I’m curious to know if there is any document with the guiding principles as to why, in many circumstances, the Collects changed (not only the Collects, but sometimes even the other euchological elements). For example, why is the Collect different between the two Forms of the Roman Rite for particular Saints and Sundays. What was deemed “lacking” in the previous euchology that has been allegedly recovered in the Euchology of the Ordinary Form? I’m doing a comparative study of the Euchology for one of the Feasts in the Mercedarian Proper, but I am left with the question: “why? Why were the prayers changed, added, reduced, or modified? what were the guiding principles and norms that governed the new Latin Euchological formulas?”

    God Bless,
    Fr. David

  4. beelady says:

    Anneliese –

    I’m sorry for your difficult situation.
    I’d like to suggest that you get in contact with the Pope John Paul II Healing Center.

    I visited a parish last weekend that was just concluding a retreat done by a team from that center. The priest couldn’t recommend them highly enough! He brought them to his parish because he had been helped so much by one of their retreats. He said that the healing he received transformed his life and his ministry.

    I pray that they can help you too.

  5. Jennifer P says:

    Great post.

    I’d like to comment on your “Brutally Literal Attempt” of the collect. It it is far better than the 2011 ICEL translation. Yes, more literal from the Latin. But also easier to read and understand. Nearly all of your translations are better than the official ICEL ones. [LOL – Almost anyone with a Latin/English dictionary could do better than the 1973!]

    I read this site almost daily. I offer prayers and encouragement to all those seeking quality liturgy, whether in the Ordinary or Extraordinary Forms. I also ask your prayers for us Byazantine-Ruthenian Catholics. In 2007 our American bishops banned the normative form of the Byzantine Liturgy replaced it with what they call the “Revised Divine Liturgy”. Think of your obsolete 1973 texts on steroids add across-the-board gender-neutral language. Add to it a revised style of setting chant that emphasizes keeping every note regardless of whether the accents are correct in English. It’s no wonder why we have lost a substantial number of our people. [When will bishops realize that even liberal reformers run from politically-correct liturgy?]

  6. PTK_70 says:

    “A married person must love God more even than a spouse. We must never put any creature, no matter how proximate to us in our hearts, closer than the God in whose image and likeness we are made.”

    Let me say this about that: on a *practical* level, it is easy, I think, for someone (especially for someone who is high-minded) to conflate a perceived religious imperative with the Almighty Himself. Thus, a man might say to himself, “I must see to providing for my family, this is what God wants from me.” Then, the imperative – as it exists in one’s own mind, independent of spousal input – comes to replace God and the result is that the imperative (not God, but the imperative!) gets prioritized over and against the spouse. Sad.

    I am neither a psychologist nor a confessor, but it seems to me that prayerful and God-fearing spouses must be on guard not to systematically de-prioritize one another for ostensibly “religious” reasons. To do so surely would go against the spirit and intent of the paradigmatic teaching in Ephesians 5.

    [On a “practical” level, never place anything above God on the throne of your heart. Only with God in His place of primacy can we then love all other people and things properly.]