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some one said, of praying for fine weather when the wind is quite in the wrong quarter? We are equally hopeless at times about the conversion of souls. If we had been near St. Monica when she had ended fifteen of her seventeen years of prayer for her son, we might have said to her heartlessly, as the peevish kinsmen of Tobias said to him: Where is thy hope, for which thou gavest alms, and buriedst the dead? Or with his wife, It is evident thy hope is come to nothing, and thy alms now appear. Yet our Lord's promise stands firm : Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by My Father Who is in Heaven (St. Matt. xviii. 19). It is true, however, that He added with regard to the youth possessed by that terrible dumb spirit which the Apostles could not cast out: This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting (St. Mark ix.). So that there are certain difficult cases which require prayer and penance. But if some of those countless hours
so often wasted by Christian men and women and hang so heavily on their hands, were spent in hearty and combined prayer for some sinners, can
we doubt but we should often be able to say in gladness, 6. Thanks to our good God, Salvation has come this day to this house"?
What a rich harvest of souls has been gained in this country during the last half century through the joint effort of so many communities and congregations on the Continent that were offering prayers for England ! Badly wanted is the Apostleship of Prayer to rouse us not to lose hope for those whose case seems as desperate as the case of Zacheus seemed to be on the morning of his conversion ; or the case of Saul when he set out on his journey to Damascus. Who can measure what the harvest would be if, with united hearts, we devoted some of the hours now wasted, to prayer for the conversion of poor sinners!
B. For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
“ Attendite." Do not hasten on. Stay here a long time to fix well in your mind and heart this idea of our Blessed Lord's office, that He is essentially Jesus--a Saviour, Who has to earn this blessed Name, the Name above all names, by saving us from our sins. He said a similar word when once before He called a publican to Him and made him one of His Apostles, I came not to call the just, but sinners (St. Mark ii.).
C. Again, His Sacred Heart reveals this same secret to us when He tells us that He is the Good Shepherd Who leaves the ninety-nine sheep in the desert and forsakes them till He finds the one lost, and brings it home on His shoulders; and then in gladness calls together his friends and neighbours saying, Rejoice with Me, because I have found My sheep that was lost. I say to you, His compassionate Heart adds, I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in Heaven upon one sinner doing penance, more than upon ninety-nine just (St. Luke xv.).
D. The same most necessary truth He again impresses upon us when He surpasses all human eloquence in His parable, to tell us how He looks out for the prodigal when He is afar off, and runs to meet him, and falls on his neck (ibid.).
“this most necessary truth,” because Satan knows well that salvation is sure so long as hope in the infinite mercy and compassion of God our Father and God our Redeemer endures, and he therefore labours incessantly to prove to each of us that our case is exceptionally bad; that God is indeed very good, but that we have so often resisted His graces that we must have tired out His mercy. But when we go round and find that Satan has whispered that same lie into a thousand times ten thousand other souls, what becomes of God's goodness and mercy if we are to give ear to this slander and blasphemy? How is God to be our infinitely compassionate Father, if His mercy only reaches certain good children and has no pity for all of us poor sinners ?
What became afterwards of Zacheus ? Some writers have imagined that he was the St. Matthias afterwards elected as the substitute for Judas; but this supposition clashes with Acts i. 21, 22.
The Apostles were to choose one who had companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among
There is more authority for the account which was formerly read in the Breviary of Tulle, in France, on September 3rd, that-according to an ancient tradition supported by innumerable testimonies and still more by a Bull of Pope Martin V. dated 1427-Zacheus emigrated to France, to a wild spot still called Roc Amadour, in the diocese of Cahors; and that there he is honoured under the name of St. Amadour or Amator, a name which, we may assume, he adopted to signify his love for our Lord. Another tradition tells us that he was the husband of Veronica.
JERICHO TO JERUSALEM. As they were hearing these things, He added and spoke a
parable because He was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately be manifested (St. Luke xix. 11).
He is come out from the house of Zacheus, on the morning, probably, of Wednesday in Passion Week, and speaks this parable, before starting, to the great crowd gathered round Him.
Jericho is in a state of excitement. The news that Jesus is going to Jerusalem is spread abroad. The people, knowing the deadly hatred of the Rulers there against Him, feel sure that bome important crisis is near. Jesus, the great Prophet, is, no doubt, going to strike a decisive blow, to liberate the people from the Roman yoke and restore the ancient theocracy. Jesus sees around Him the palace and the other splendid buildings raised about the time of His Birth by Herod and by Archelaus. Some commentators think that the story of Archelaus suggested the parable that follows. In one point his history does bear a resemblance to the parable, but in others it is as wide of it as it well can be. Archelaus, as we remember, was reigning in Judea when our Saviour was brought back from Egypt; and for this reason Joseph would not go to Judea, but went to Galilee. Why this preference of Galilee? If he feared Archelaus because he was a son of Herod, was not another son, Herod Antipas, reigning in Galilee? The reason may be that Archelaus was known to be an unscrupulous and bloodthirsty tyrant. He had been brought up at Rome at the Court of Cæsar. For the Romans were glad to have the sons of tributary princes with them as hostages and security for good conduct. Archelaus then obtained from the Emperor a part of his father's kingdom, in which he was to be Tetrarch. Judea was his portion. During his short reign he distinguished himself by rapacity, extravagance and cruelty. Any one who wanted either justice or mercy had to pay a high price for it. To build his grand palace at Jericho and a house called by his own name, he destroyed existing towns; and to revenge himself on some who had opposed in Rome his petition for sovereignty, he massacred three thousand of his subjects. The people of Judea could not endure his tyranny and appealed to Augustus Cæsar, begging to be made a Roman province. Archelaus was summoned to Rome. The messenger, who bore his own name, found him, Josephus tells us, feasting sumptuously. He had to obey at once the Emperor's mandate; and when he arrived at Rome, was deposed and banished, a complete pauper, to Vienne in Gaul, where he died.
The one point of resemblance between his story and the parable which our Saviour is about to utter, is that the people of Judea did not want Archelaus to reign over them.
The object, then, of our Saviour in His parable is to teach His disciples, (1) that the time for His entering into His Kingdom is not come yet; that they, during the interval, will have to be faithful and prudent servants; and (2) that those who refuse Him as their King will be terribly chastised.
A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for him
self a kingdom, and to return; and calling his ten servants he
gave them ten pounds, and said to them : Trade till I come (vv. 12, 13).
A. Our Blessed Saviour, therefore, is, during this present life, in a certain sense, absent from His earthly home: waiting for the time when He is to enter into full possession of His Kingdom, the time of which St. Paul writes to the Corinthians: Afterwards the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God and the Father, when He shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue --that is, the devils who had fallen from the different heavenly choirs. For He must reign until He hath put all His enemies
under His feet. And the enemy, death, shall be destroyed last. For He hath put all things under His feet (1 Cor. xv.).
On Calvary Christ conquered Satan and sin ; and by His Resurrection the last enemy,
death. B. Meanwhile, He sets each of us over some little part of His possessions, with the condition that if faithful over a few things He will place us over many. He gives each of us a pound (mna, which the learned calculate to have been worth between three and four pounds of our money). The pound means our mental faculties—will, understanding, memory; also our bodily senses_eyes, ears, and tongue; also our time, our money, our health; then, besides, our spiritual helps-sacraments, instructions, Holy Mass, prayer, etc.
Let us stay a little while to examine whether we are faithful and prudent stewards over our Master's goods.
But his citizens hated him, and they sent an embassage after
him, saying : We will not have this man to reign over us (v. 14).
A. Here we have in few words the history of the war between Lucifer and Christ. Lucifer persuades his dupes —the men who make up what is called the world—that they have their heaven here. Their creed and gospel is : Come let us enjoy the good things that are present (Wisdom ii.). Christ, on the contrary, teaches His followers an opposite Gospel. Do not with Dives try to have your heaven here. Use the creatures here as much as they help you to your home in Heaven ; but if they are a hindrance to your salvation, away with them. If thy right eye scandalise thee, pluck it out (St. Matt. v.). Satan's dupes, the men of this world, hate and abhor this doctrine and persecute all who hold it. Why so? Why cannot they enjoy present things themselves and let others practise self-denial ? Because they feel in their hearts and proclaim it aloud : Christ is become a