Homily June 27th, 2023

Tuesday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time – Mt 7:6, 12-14

Although brief, today’s Gospel contains a number of extremely important teachings: we can break it down into three sections: the first, regarding the warning with dogs and swine, the second, the Golden Rule, and, third, the warning about the narrow and broad gates.

Regarding the first, not to give what is holy to dogs, or to cast pearls before swine, the meaning is not entirely clear. However, the early Church took it to mean that only Christians could be admitted to the Eucharist, and non-believers were to be excluded. There is also the possibility that it was a common saying, a warning against doing things that were out of place. In this case, it could mean not to try to give the whole truth to those who are unable or unwilling to receive it. For our lives, it reminds us that we should always prepare ourselves to receive the Eucharist. Many saints who would receive communion once a week would spend three days in preparation, receive communion, and then spend three days in thanksgiving. Is that our attitude towards Christ’s presence in the Eucharist? Likewise, we’re reminded that, as Saint Paul tells us, that some people can only handle the milk of the faith, and not yet solid food. We have to give to each person what they are able to handle.

The second part is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do to you.” Although this Rule was sometimes found in other cultures prior to Christ, what is novel is that Christ’s formulation is positive, meaning, He is telling us what to do, and not simply what to avoid, as was the case with other cultures. The Christian has the obligation to be Christ for others, to treat others with the same love and respect that they would want for themselves. Of course, sometimes what is most loving is to correct a sinner, but always in charity and from love.

The last section reminds us that holiness is a lifetime of work; there is no easy path to heaven. It takes work, just like all things that are worth doing in this life. For instance, “Plato’s Republic begins with a simple sentence: ‘I went down to the Piraeus yesterday with Glaucon, the son of Ariston, that I might offer up prayer to the goddess.’ On Plato’s own manuscript, in his own handwriting, there were no fewer than thirteen different versions of that opening sentence. The master writer had labored at arrangement after arrangement that he might get the cadences exactly right.”[1] Holiness takes effort, but, by God’s grace, we can achieve it.

Today, we can ask ourselves: how well do we treat others? How hard are we struggling on the path to holiness? Are we making progress? Why or why not? Let us pray, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Heaven, for the grace to live out the Sermon on the Mount, and thus imitate Christ.


[1] Cited in Barclay’s commentary. See Fuentes, Maturity According to Jesus Christ, where this commentary is cited extensively.

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