No Man Can Serve Two Masters
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary by Fr. George Leo Haydockprovided by John Gregory
Editor's Note: We continue with this special feature provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible. 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, with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock. For the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost we come to Our Lord's words from St. Matthew 6: 24 that no man can serve two masters; that one cannot serve both God and mammom, which means riches and worldly things. Therefore we realize the words of St. Paul in the epistle to walk in the spirit and rail against the flesh for the world, the flesh and the devil is our downfall unless we heed Christ's counsel. He chastises us not because He's mad, but because He loves us and reassures us here how much the heavenly Father does too with his reference to those wonderful things of nature God has placed here on earth for man's use as He intended.
Epistle: Galatians 5: 16-22
16 I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would.
Commentary on Verse 17 So that you do not the things that you would. He does not say, so that you cannot do, as others falsely translate; as if men were under an absolute necessity of sinning, or doing ill; which is also contradictory to the foregoing words, walk by the spirit, and you will not accomplish the works of the flesh. (Witham) --- Here some suppose, says St. Augustine, that the apostle denieth that we have free liberty of will: not understanding that this is said to them, if they will not hold fast the grace of faith conceived, by which only they can walk in the spirit, and not accomplish the lusts of the flesh. (St. Augustine, in chap. v. Gal.)
18 But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury,
20 Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects,
21 Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.
Commentary on Verse 19-21 Uncleanness, immodesty, luxury. In the Greek there are but two vices named; luxury is not mentioned; and, perhaps, the Latin interpreter put two words to explain one Greek word. (Witham) --- St. Augustine here sheweth that there are other damnable sins besides infidelity.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity,
23 Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law.
Commentary on Verse 22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is charity, &c. There are numbered twelve of these fruits in the Latin, though but nine in the Greek text, in St. Chrysostom; St. Jerome; St. Augustine, tract. lxxxvii. in Joan. p. 756. The difference may again happen by the Latin interpreter using two words to express one Greek word. It is observed, that longanimity and patience are in a manner the same; so are benignity and goodness; and so may be here continency and chastity. (Witham)
24 And they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences.
Gospel: St. Matthew 6: 24-33
24 At that time Jesus said to His disciples: No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Commentary on Verse 24 Behold here a fresh motive to detach you from the love of riches, or mammon. We cannot both serve God and the world, the flesh and the spirit, justice and sin. The ultimate end of action must be one, either for this or for the next life. (Haydock)
25 Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?
Commentary on Verse 25 A prudent provision is not prohibited, but that over-solicitude which draws the soul, the heart, and its affections from God, and his sweet all-ruling providence, to sink and degrade them in empty pursuits, which can never fill the soul. (Haydock) --- Be not solicitous; i.e. too solicitous with a trouble and anxiety of mind, as appears by the Greek. --- For your life; lit. for your soul, which many times is put for life. (Witham)
26 Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they?
27 And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit?
Commentary on Verse 27 Why should the children of God fear want, when we behold the very birds of the air do not go unprovided? Moreover, what possible good can this anxiety, this diffidence procure them? Almighty God gives life and growth, which you cannot do with all your solicitude, however intensely you think. Apollo may plant, Paul may water, but God alone can give the increase. (1 Corinthians iii. 6.) Of how much greater consequence is it then to love and serve Him, and to live for Him alone! (Haydock)
28 And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin.
29 But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.
30 And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?
Commentary on Verse 30 "O ye of little faith;" that is, of little confidence in God and his providence. (Menochius)
31 Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed?
32 For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.
Commentary on Verse 32 It is not without reason that men are in such great fear and distress, when they are so blind as to imagine that their happiness in this life is ruled by fate. But such as know that they are entirely governed by the will of God, know also that a store is laid up for them in his hands. (St. Chrysostom)
33 Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Commentary on Verse 33  Your Father knoweth; he does not say God knoweth, but your Father, to teach us to apply to him with greater confidence. (St. Chrysostom) --- He that delivers himself entirely into the hands of God, may rest secure both in prosperity and adversity, knowing that he is governed by a tender Father. (St. Thomas Aquinas) http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2014.htm#article5
Article 5. Whether the process of counsel is one of analysis?
It would seem that the process of counsel is not one of analysis. For counsel is about things that we do. But the process of our actions is not one of analysis, but rather one of synthesis, viz. from the simple to the composite. Therefore counsel does not always proceed by way of analysis.Objection 2.
Further, counsel is an inquiry of the reason. But reason proceeds from things that precede to things that follow, according to the more appropriate order. Since then, the past precedes the present, and the present precedes the future, it seems that in taking counsel one should proceed from the past and present to the future: which is not an analytical process. Therefore the process of counsel is not one of analysis.
Further, counsel is only of such things as are possible to us, according to Ethic. iii, 3. But the question as to whether a certain thing is possible to us, depends on what we are able or unable to do, in order to gain such and such an end. Therefore the inquiry of counsel should begin from things present.
On the contrary,
The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 3) that "he who takes counsel seems to inquire and analyze."
I answer that,
In every inquiry one must begin from some principle. And if this principle precedes both in knowledge and in being, the process is not analytic, but synthetic: because to proceed from cause to effect is to proceed synthetically, since causes are more simple than effects. But if that which precedes in knowledge is later in the order of being, the process is one of analysis, as when our judgment deals with effects, which by analysis we trace to their simple causes. Now the principle in the inquiry of counsel is the end, which precedes indeed in intention, but comes afterwards into execution. Hence the inquiry of counsel must needs be one of analysis, beginning that is to say, from that which is intended in the future, and continuing until it arrives at that which is to be done at once.
Reply to Objection 1.
Counsel is indeed about action. But actions take their reason from the end; and consequently the order of reasoning about actions is contrary to the order of actions.
Reply to Objection 2.
Reason begins with that which is first according to reason; but not always with that which is first in point of time.
Reply to Objection 3.
We should not want to know whether something to be done for an end be possible, if it were not suitable for gaining that end. Hence we must first inquire whether it be conducive to the end, before considering whether it be possible.