Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:16-24 for the Feast of St Luke (Extraordinary Form)
Posted by Dim Bulb on October 13, 2012
2Co 8:16 And thanks be to God, who hath given the same carefulness for you in the heart of Titus.
Thanks be to God. For having made Titus anxious for you and for your spiritual progress and gain, whereby he was led to exhort you to liberality towards the poor. “The same earnest care” refers to the fact that S. Paul as well as Titus was exhorting them to this liberality.
2Co 8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation: but, being more careful, of his own will he went unto you.
For indeed he accepted the exhortation. The duty of exhorting you to almsgiving (Anselm).
Of his own will. Without being bidden by me, he took on himself this task of exhorting you to this pious work.
2Co 8:18 We have sent also with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel through all the churches.
We have sent also with him the brother whose praise is in the Gospel. Barnabas, whose praise is in the preaching of the Gospel. He was ordained as S. Paul’s companion (Acts 13:3) (Theodoret, Chrysostom, Œcumenius); but since Barnabas and Paul were now separated, and Silas had taken S. Barnabas’ place at S. Paul’s side (Acts 15:40), it is better with Baronius to take the reference as being to Silas, or, with Anselm and Jerome, to Luke. S. Paul calls him brother, not Apostle, and this applies better to S. Luke, who wrote a Gospel, and was the inseparable companion of S. Paul. S. Ignatius, writing to the Ephesians, assigned this eulogy to Luke in the words: “As Luke testifies, whose praise is in the Gospel.”
2Co 8:19 And not that only: but he was also ordained by the churches companion of our travels, for this grace, which is administered by us, to the glory of the Lord and our determined will:
He was also ordained by the churches. For this work of grace of collecting the alms of the Church. The word rendered ordained is χειροτονηθεὶς, i.e., ordained by imposition of hands—consecrated either deacon or priest (χειροτονηθεὶς refers to the act of stretching out the hand. See Acts 6:6; 1 Tim 4:14 with the accompanying footnote in the NAB). It was the deacon’s office to have care of the poor, and to distribute the alms to them; but the priest’s to help the Apostle on his journeys in preaching and administration of the sacraments. The sacrament of Order is called by the Greeks χειροτονία, from the imposition of the Bishop’s hands on the ordinands. Cf. 1 Tim 4:14; 1Tim 5:22; Acts 14:22. From this it is evident that to lay hands on presbyters is to ordain them, and by ordaining to make them presbyters.
Which is administered by us, to the glory of the Lord. The Latin version reads, in the last clause of this verse, “to our destined mind;” the meaning of this is, to show the readiness of our mind in this pious service to God and the poor. The Greek is χειροτονία. “Destined,” therefore, as S. Thomas remarks, does not here mean “predestinated by God,” but ready, prompt, and cheerful. But the Greek MSS. give your, not our. We have received, says S. Paul, this grace, this ministry of almsgiving, to glorify God by it, and to make you more ready for it by the exhortations of Titus and Luke (Theophylact).
2Co 8:20 Avoiding this, lest any man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us.
Avoiding this. I have sent Titus and Luke to collect such large alms that no one may suspect me of collecting for my own private use (Anselm). The possession of large sums of money is wont to expose a man to suspicion of fraud, because it is easy to abstract a little secretly from a large amount without any one being aware of it.
2Co 8:21 For we forecast what may be good, not only before God but also before men.
For we forecast what may be good. (“Forecast” = “to show forth,” “to make known in advance”). I endeavour to act honourably, not only before God but also before men, lest suspicious persons should have some occasion for suspecting me of some wrongdoing. Wherefore, to show that I administer this collection honestly, I make Titus and Luke my witnesses, I make them the treasurers of it, and refrain from handling it myself. Hence learn this practical rule: We owe a good conscience to God, a good report to our neighbour. He who neglects good report acts cruelly towards his neighbour’s salvation (Anselm).
2Co 8:22 And we have sent with them our brother also, whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent: with much confidence in you,
And we have sent with them our brother. Who this is is uncertain. Some, says Anselm, think that it is Apollos; but they suspect only, for S. Paul neither names him nor describes him, but leaves the Corinthians to their personal knowledge of him.
With much confidence in you. Having great confidence and hope that, as is right, they will be received honourably and lovingly by you, and also partly out of love and respect for Titus, who is my companion and fellow-helper. Hence Titus was now at Corinth, having been sent there by S. Paul to collect these alms and to transact other business.
2Co 8:23 Either for Titus, who is my companion and fellow labourer towards you, or our brethren, the apostles of the churches, the glory of Christ.
Or our brethren. I trust that you will, as is right, receive them worthily, partly because of the brethren sent with Titus, and partly because of Titus himself.
The glory of Christ. The Apostles are the glory of Christ, inasmuch as they spread and make known His glory. “Whether, therefore,” says Chrysostom, “You will receive them as brethren, or as the Apostles of the Churches, or as those who promote the glory of Christ, you will have many reasons for showing them kindness.” By metonymy, glory is put for the cause and care of Christ’s glory.
2Co 8:24 Wherefore shew ye to them, in the sight of the churches, the evidence of your charity and of our boasting on your behalf.
Wherefore shew ye to them. Show to Titus and his companions that signal love which becomes you and your generous love, as well as my boasting of you.