The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for the ‘Notes On Revelation’ Category

St Bede the Venerable’s Notes on Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2013


Text in red are my additions.

Rev 7:2  And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

Ascending from the rising of the sun. That is, from the east. The Lord incarnate, Who is the Angel of the great counsel, that is, the Messenger of His Father’s will, has visited us, “the day-spring from on highk,” bearing the ensign of the cross, with which to seal His own in their foreheads. Most scholars, ancient and modern, would interpret the angel here as an actual angel, not the Lord. It should be noted that is some passages of scripture the appearance of an angel (messenger) is not clearly distinguishable from a manifestation of God (compare Gen 16:7, 11 with Gen 16:13; see also Ex 3:2-6; Judges 6:11-16).  This, coupled with the fact that the east was often associated with the coming of the Messiah or the manifestation of God (Ezek 43:2; Matt 2:2; Luke 1:78).

voice. The “loud voice of the Lord” is the cry which is lifted up on high, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” See Matt 4:17

Rev 7:3  Saying: Hurt not the earth nor the sea nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Hurt not. From the time that the Lord suffered, not only was the dominion of the enemy who opposed Him destroyed, but that of worldly power too, as we both see with our eyes, and read of in the image which the stone from the mountain “broke in pieces.” See Dan 2:34, 45.

foreheads. For to this end was the empire of the nations broken up, that the face of the saints might be freely marked with the seal of faith, which these had resisted. For, again, the figure of the cross itself represents the kingdom of the Lord extending everywhere, as the old saying proves:—

“Behold the world four-square, in parts distinct,
To shew the realm of faith possessing all.”

And not in vain was the sacred Name of the Lord, of four letters, written on the forehead of the High Priest, inasmuch as this is the sign on the forehead of the faithful, of which it is also sung in; the Psalm (Ps 8) “for the winepresses,” “O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is Thy Name in all the earth?” and the rest, until he says, “That thou mayest destroy the enemy and the defendero.”

Rev 7:4  And I heard the number of them that were signed. An hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel.

number. By this definite number is signified the innumerable multitude of the whole Church, which is descended from the patriarchs either by the lineage of nature, or the imitation of faith. For, he says, “if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed.” (Gal 3:29) And it tends to additional completeness, that the twelve also should be multiplied by twelve, and brought to a sum of thousands, which is the cube of the number ten, by which is represented the enduring life of the Church. And for this reason, too, it is often denoted by the number twelve, because throughout the foursquare world it subsists by faith in the Holy Trinity, for three times four are ten and two. Finally, also, when the Apostles were to preach the same faith to the whole world, twelve were chosen, as signifying by their number the mystery of their work.

Rev 7:9  After this, I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.

multitude. On the conclusion of the recapitulation, which had been interposed for the sake of example, he returns to the previous order, and announces the glory of those who are to overcome the wickedness of the last persecution. And that which follows, “From all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues,” may also be thus understood, that, after enumerating the tribes of Israel, to whom the Gospel was first preached, he desires to make mention of the salvation of the Gentiles as well.

robes. By “robes” he signifies baptism, by “palms” the triumph of the Cross, and he intimates that in Christ they have overcome the world. But robes may also double the glory which is given by the Holy Spirit.

Rev 7:10  And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb.

cried. They proclaim with a loud voice, that is, with great devotion, an unceasing praise, that on the throne, namely, in the Church, there reign the Father and the Son; the Holy Spirit, nevertheless, reigning together with them. For it is said, “To Him Who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb;” in the same manner as it is said in the Gospel, “And may know Thee, the true and only God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent” (Jn 17:3); in which place, “may know the only and true God” is understood.

Rev 7:11  And all the angels stood round about the throne and the ancients and the four living creatures. And they fell down before the throne upon their faces and adored God,

angels. In all the angels he has represented the persons of the great multitude worshipping the Lord. “All they,” he says, “who are round about Him will offer gifts.” (Ps 75:12)

fell. In this passage he relates, that neither the multitude, nor the living creatures, nor the elders worshipped, but the angels alone. For these are the multitude, these the living creatures and the elders. But it may also be understood of the angelic spirits themselves, of whom, as rejoicing together at the salvation of the Gentiles, it is saids, “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people” (Deut. 32:43; Rom. 15:10), and, “Let all the angels of God worship Him” (Deut 32:43, LXX; Heb 1:5).

Rev 7:12  Saying: Amen. Benediction and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, honour and power and strength, to our God, for ever and ever. Amen.

blessing. The Church offers the sevenfold praise of excellence unto the Lord, and in each of its members confesses to have received this from Him.

Rev 7:13  And one of the ancients answered and said to me: These that are clothed in white robes, who are they? And whence came they?

who? He asks for this end, that he may teach.

Rev 7:14  And I said to him: My Lord, thou knowest. And he said to me: These are they who are come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

tribulation. “Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), but who knows not that the tribulation of Antichrist will be greater than all the rest?

washed. He speaks not of martyrs alone. They are washed in their own blood. But the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, cleanses the whole Church from all sin, therefore are they before the throne of God. For they are accounted worthy to stand there together in the service of God, who in the midst of adverse things are faithful confessors of His Name.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Daily Lectionary, Devotional Resources, Notes On Revelation, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Video: Catholic Study of the Book of Revelation, Chapters 2 Through 6 (in two parts)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 7, 2013


This post contains two videos which combined look at chapters 2-6 of the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse).

LESSON 2, PART 1

LESSON 2, PART 2

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes On Revelation, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

J.J.L. Ratton’s Commentary on Revelation 1:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2012


Rev 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John.

ἀποκάλυψις (apokalupsis) is a Greek word which means a revelation of the future.  It is used in this sense by St Paul in 2 Cor 12:1, and eschatologically, in Rom 2:5.

This reading is confirmed by Rev 1:3 and 12:10, in which the Revelation is referred to as “the words of this prophecy.”  At Rev 12:9, an angel says I am “…of them who keep the words of the prophecy of this book.”  And at Rev 12:18-19, a solemn warning is issued against tampering with “the prophecy of this book” and “the book of this prophecy.”  The Apocalypse, or “Revelation,” is a prophecy, in the sense of a prediction of Jesus Christ,  That is its first note.

Which God gave to him to make known to his servants,” follows the teaching of St John in which the Son derives revelation from the Father (Jn 5:20; 7:16; 8:28).  “To make known to his servants,” raises the question who were the Servants of God.  Much light is thrown on this point by the Revelation, and especially by the concluding words of this passage, “His servant John.”  St John is given to us as an example of the individuals meant by “servants.”  The Apostles commonly used this title.  The Second Epistle of St Peter begins, “Simon, Servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ.”  St Paul’s Epistle to Titus begins, “Paul a servant of God, and an Apostle of Jesus Christ.”  These two great Apostles make “servant” their first title.  See also Philippians and Romans (1:1).  The Catholic Epistle of St James begins, “James the Servant of God and of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”  That of St Jude begins, “Jude the Servant of Jesus Christ.”  In Rev 10:7, there is reference to “His Servants, the prophets,” a very common phrase in the O.T.  At Rev 19:10 an “Angel,” who is also a prophet (22:9) declares himself to be a fellow servant of John.  The dignity of the expression survives in the title of the Popes, who style themselves officially, “The Servant of the servant of God” (see Jn 15:20).

The Revelation was not sent to everybody in the Church, in the year 67.  It was, for grave reasons, confined to the safe hands of the Servants of God, who were men of Apostolic character, leaders of the Church.  The denunciation of Caesar worship, and the political forecasts of the Roman Empire required this precaution.  The immediate object of the book was to reveal the fate of Jerusalem and Rome to the servants of God.  “The things which must shortly come to pass,” were the fall of Nero in A.D. 68, and the fall of Jerusalem and the out-standing of the Kingdom of Christ in A.D. 70.  It does not mean that everything foretold in the Book must shortly happen.  Though it does mean that the chief predictions of the Book would begin to come to pass quickly.  The death of Nero was followed by Civil wars of opposing Imperators, which led to the crumbling of the Empire.

“And signified sending by his Angel to his Servant John.”  Prof. M. Stuart points out that σημαίνω (semaino), “signified,” is derived from σῆμα (sēma), a “sign” or “symbol” indicating symbolic representation.  An angel appears and interprets the symbolic visions at Rev 17:1 and 19:10).

This angel seems to have been St John the Baptist.  We read in the Gospel of St John, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  This man came for a witness to give testimony of the light” (Jn 1:6-7).  He preached the gospel of penance “for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:1).  “Behold, I send my angel before thy face” (Mk 1:2).  He is referred to at Rev 22:16, I, Jesus, have sent my angel.”  And he declares himself to be a fellow servant of St John, and one of his brethren the prophets (Rev 19:10; 22:9).  St John recognizes him apparently as his old teacher, the Baptist, and falls down before him.  When Epiphanius wrote “The disciples of Christ being warned by an angel, fled to Pella,” he seems to have had Rev 1:1 in view.  That would explain his reference to Claudius.

These opening lines for the title page of the Book.  We might appreciate them better perhaps if they were displayed in accordance with modern custom, as thus:

THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
which
GOD GAVE UNTO HIM

To make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass, and signified
SENDING BY HIS ANGEL

To
HIS SERVANT JOHN.

Here we see at once the title of the Book, its source, its Author, its object, its subject, the Intermediary, and the Writer-John.

The real title of the Book, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” commands our attention.

Rev 1:2  Who hath given testimony to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen.

μαρτυρία (marturia)-’to bear witness’-and  μαρτυρέω (martureō)-”evidence” are words frequently found in the Apocalypse.  St John says of himself, “Who hath given testimony,”-εμαρτυρησεν-using the aorist tense of martureo, referring to the past.  He gave testimony in the past “to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ,” by preaching and example, and by his Epistles, one or two of which were written before this time.  “What things soever he hath seen” would seem to limit this testimony, to his knowledge of “the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus.”  But martyr-”a witness”-in the early Church connoted suffering for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  Hence the word “martyr” in English.  St John had suffered many things at the hands his countrymen for the testimony of Jesus.  He as scourged and imprisoned in common with the other Apostles.  Writing to his intimate followers at Ephesus, St John takes it for granted that no one will question the testimony of John.  The brethren knew he was at Patmos, whence this Revelation came.  Possibly they knew that he went there to receive it (see Rev1:9 notes).

Rev 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy: and keepeth those things which are written in it. For the time is at hand.

There are many correspondences between the beginning and the end of Revelation. We have in the last chapter “Blessed is he that heareth and keepeth the words of the prophecy of this Book” (Rev 22:7). αναγινωσκων means “to recognize,” “to distinguish,” “to discern.” It does not mean ordinary reading. Our Lord addressing His Apostles with reference to the destruction of the Temple, said, “When you shall see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, he that readeth let him understand” (Mark 13:14). Where the Greek for “he that readeth” is αναγινωσκων, precisely as above, meaning the interpretation of the signs of the coming fall of Jerusalem and the Empire. The fact that the angel sent to John, declared himself John’s fellow servant, “and of those who keep the words of the prophecy of this Book (Rev 22:9), would seem to indicate that those “who kept the words,” were limited and exalted class.

The Book is to a great extent a cryptograph, requiring labor and intelligence to discern its meaning. Hence, blessed are they who labor patiently to solve the mystery.  “He that heareth” has an esoteric meaning, and refers to one who, by the exercise of reason, gets to know things recondite.  “He that heareth,” is again referred to at Rev 22:17-18. And at the end of each of the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, we find, “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches” (Rev 2:7, with notes).

The Book claims to be a Revelation of future events. Blessed are they who understand and keep this revelation in mind. Why? For the time is at hand. What time? The fall of the Temple of Jerusalem, the symbol of the Old Law, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Chirst. This warning appears to have been addressed particularly to the leaders of the Nazarene’s Church, which was in danger. St John uses the verb τηρέω, “to give heed to,” “to watch narrowly,” in his Gospel several times (Jn 8:51, Jn 14:23), e.g., “Remember my word that I said to you…if they have kept my word they would keep your also” (Jn15:20).

Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace, from him that is and that was and that is to come: and from the seven spirits which are before his throne:

St John opens his address to the Seven Churches in the Apostolic Style. Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ…to the Church of God that is at Corinth (2 Cor 1:1, cf., Gal 1:1; 1 Thess 1:1). We have considered the meaning of the Seven Churches elsewhere. Seven is a mystic number and these are mystic Churches. In the NT Asia means Mysia, Lydia, Caria, Lycia, and Phrygia, which constituted Roman or Proconsular Asia, see Map, pg. 102.

“From him that is and that was,” is from God the Father. In Exodus 3:14 Moses enquiring by what name he should announce God to His people, is told, “I am, who am.”

“That is to come,”  ο ερχομενος is a Hebraic usage.   It refers to Jesus Christ. We have ερχομαι ταχυ–”I come quickly” (Rev 3:11; Rev 22:7), and  ιδου ερχεται–”Behold he cometh” (Rev 1:7), and  ιδου ερχομαι–”Behold I come (Rev 16:15). At the close of the Book, a kind of recapitulation occurs in which we find ιδου ερχομαι ταχυ at Rev 22:7, and again at Rev 22:12 and Rev 22:20.

St John invokes a blessing on the Church from the Father, Son, and from the Seven Spirits, where the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isa 11:2), are put for the Holy Spirit. St John here affirms the doctrine of the Trinity. He lays stress on the coming of the Holy Spirit in his Gospel. “But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things” (Jn 14:26). See also Jn 14:16-17, and Jn 15:26. The Seven Spirits are again referred to at Rev 4:5 and Rev 5:6.

Rev 1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth, who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood

We must suppose a full stop at the end of the last verse. και-”and”-begins a new thought frequently in the Revelation; which use of και shows a Hebrew writer steeped in the OT Scriptures. It goes back to continue and unfold “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1).

“Jesus Christ.” “Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). “Christ,” is–”the anointed.”

“The faithful witness.”  ο μαρτυς ο πιστος, the faithful witness, where μαρτυς connotes witnessing for the faith by martyrdom. Accordingly we read, “who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” He washed away the stain of original sin, and opened the gates of heaven to the waiting saints of old. He descended into Limbo, and was the first to arise therefore. Therefore is He, “the first begotten of the dead.” “Prince of the Kings of the earth” –αρχων–”chief over all.” “Lord of lords and King of kings” (see Rev 17:14). This lead to the consideration of His Kingdom (Rev 1:6-8).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes On Revelation, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Father E.S. Berry’s Commentary on Revelation 1:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2012


Text in red are my additions.

Rev 1:1. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John,

The revelation (apocalypse) of Jesus Christ. The Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalupsis) signifies a revelation; a making known. It also means the revealing of one’s self, a coming. Both meanings are appropriate here. It is a revelation which Christ has made concerning His Coming in power and majesty. It is also a prophecy of events leading up to this second coming.

These things must shortly come to pass. They comprise the whole history of the Church from the time of Christ until the end of the world. Hence their accomplishment was already beginning in the days of St. John.

This revelation has been confided to Jesus Christ by God the Father. Christ in turn sends an angel to impart it to His servant John. Angels are the natural intermediaries between God and man. They often fulfilled this mission before the time of Christ. Today their ministry is less needed for this purpose since we have the unerring Church of Christ as our teacher and guide in all things pertaining to salvation.

It should be noted that since the establishment of Christ as the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5) both the angels and the Church function only through that mediation. Some think that since Christ is the one mediator between God and man that there can be no others. This is true in the sense that a man, angel, or the Church, cannot approach God directly on behalf of others, but they can approach “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5) on behalf of others. For men or angels there is no mediation equal to that of Christ’s, but there is a mediation subordinate and dependent upon His mediation; were it not so we could not pray for one another, nor could angels act on our behalf.

Rev 1:2 who hath given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen.

By writing these revelations St. John has given testimony to God and to Jesus Christ. Testimony may be given by word or by works, especially by martyrdom. St. John here gives testimony by written word.

Rev 1:3. Blessed is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy: and keepeth those things which are written in it. For the time is at hand.

Whoever reads this book, opens his heart to its teachings, and conforms his life to its precepts is worthy of eternal happiness. Let no one say that the book was written for future ages only. It is already being fulfilled and every Christian should find therein a rule of life suited to the circumstances in which God has placed him.

Rev 1:4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be to you and peace from him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.

St. John begins by laying down a rule of conduct for those of his own times. He is an Apostle, and in particular, the Apostle of Asia Minor. Hence he addresses himself to the bishops and churches of that province; yet his words are of universal application. Through the churches of Asia Minor, he addresses all churches through out the world for all time.

Some interpreters take the seven churches as types of seven ages in the Church. Much can be said in favor of this opinion, but it is difficult to distinguish periods in the Church corresponding to the characteristics of these seven churches as described in the Apocalypse. Thus, for example, the church of Ephesus, characterized by lack of fervor and zeal, would represent the Apostolic period of the Church. But it cannot be said with any historical accuracy that the Church in that age was especially noted for lack of fervor and zeal.

The simpler and, as we believe, the more correct view likens these letters of St. John to many of St. Paul s Epistles which were written to particular churches for particular purposes, but intended by the Holy Ghost to be documents of warning and instruction for all churches and for all times. The universal character is much more evident in these seven letters than in the Epistles of St. Paul. They were not sent as separate letters to the individual churches, but form an integral part of the Apocalypse which was sent to each church as one complete document.

In Holy Scripture “seven” is the most sacred of numbers. The seventh day of the week was consecrated to God in a special manner. The Paschal feast lasted seven days. Seven weeks later came the feast of Pentecost when seven lambs were offered in sacrifice. Seven sprinklings of blood were prescribed for sin. In the Holy Place stood the seven-branched candlestick with its seven lights. In fact the number seven is found on almost every page of Holy Scripture. It is the perfect number, the symbol of perfection, fullness, or universality. It seems to have acquired this meaning from the fact that God completed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh which He blessed and sanctified (Gen 2:1-3).

The Apostle prays for peace and grace; not such peace as the world can give, but peace and grace from God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, do I give unto you” (Jn 14:27).  This peace from heaven is proclaimed upon earth by the seven spirits who stand before the throne of God. Three of them are known by name. They are the Archangels Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael. St. Raphael said: “I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tobit 12:15).  He was sent with a message of peace to Tobias of old. St. Gabriel announced peace to Daniel, to the Priest Zacharias, and to the Blessed Virgin (Dan 9:21; Lk 1:19-26). St. Michael, the special protector of the Jewish nation, (Dan 12:1) now guards the Church against her enemies that she too, may enjoy the peace that comes from God (Rev 12:7).

Rev 1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth, who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood

The seven spirits also represent the ministers of the church who preach the Gospel of peace and grace to all nations. Jesus Christ, their Master, is the Prince of Peace, and becomes for us the source of all grace through the merits of His life, death and resurrection. All earthly kings and rulers must accept His law and govern according to His precepts because He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Through the infinite love of Jesus Christ we have been redeemed and cleansed from sin by His Blood. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (Jn 13:1). “And the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from  all sin” (1 Jn 1:7).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes On Revelation, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Father E.S. Berry on Today’s 1st Reading (Rev 3:1-6, 14-22)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 16, 2010


The following commentary is more of a spiritual/moral meditation than a doctrinal/literal exegesis. For those looking for a good, non-technical commentary on the Revelation I recommend these:

COMING SOON by Michael Barber.

THE APOCALYPSE, by Adela Yarbro Collins.

CRISIS AND CATHARSIS, by Adela Yarbro Collins.

REVELATION, by Father Wilfred J. Harrington, S.J.

A Podcast Study of Revelation by Dr. Peter Williamson.

1. And to the angel of the church of Sardis write: These things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast the name of being alive: and thou art dead.

Sardis, the capital of Lydia, was a city of considerable importance. It was about thirty miles south of Thyatira on the Pactolus, which flowed through its
market-place. It was noted for its commercial activities and for the manufacture of carpets and woolen goods. It was also the residence of the famous Croesus. The straggling village of Sart now marks the site of this ancient city.

He who has the seven spirits is the sovereign Lord of the seven spirits who stand before the throne of God. Some interpreters take these words to mean
that Christ possesses the fulness of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.  And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude the spirit of knowledge and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord Isa 11:2-3).

He who has the seven stars is Christ who exercises a special care for the ministers of His Church. He is now manifesting this solicitude for the bishop of Sardis. Christ, the searcher of hearts and reins, knows the true state of this bishop s soul. He appears to be a faithful servant of God and a true shepherd of souls, but in reality he is spiritually dead. These words imply a state of moral sin and a sad neglect of pastoral duty. As noted in an earlier post, many commentators-ancient and modern-understand the seven angels of the seven churches as a reference to their respective bishops; this is an interpretation I don’t subscribe to.

2. Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God.
3. Have in mind therefore in what manner thou hast received and heard: and observe, and do penance. If then thou shalt not watch: I will come to thee as athief, and thou shalt not know at what Lour I will come to thee.
4. But thou hast a few names in Sardis, which have not denied their garments: and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.
5. He that shall overcome shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my  Father, and before the angels.
6. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith to the churches.

Through the ministry of St. John, Christ now exhorts the bishop of Sardis to arouse himself to a realization of his sad plight. He must do penance for the past  and stir up his zeal to save the few members of his flock who remain faithful.

The pastor of souls is responsible to God for their salvation. He must teach and guide them by word and example, for the lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth, because he is the angel of the Lord of hosts (Mal 2:7). He is like a watchman set upon a watch-tower; if he see the sword coming, and sound not the trumpet and the people look not to themselves, and the sword come, and cut oft a soulfrom among them; he indeed is taken away in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at the hand of the watchman (Isa 33:6).

These words of the prophet are also a warning that no one can make an unworthy pastor an excuse for his sins. He still has the teachings of the Church and the grace of the Sacraments which are always efficacious whether administered by a worthy or an unworthy pastor. Even when the watchman does not give warning the soul that perishes is taken away in his iniquity.

The pastor who is negligent in the care of his people is exposed to the danger of being snatched away by sudden death without the grace of the Sacraments. Unfortunately, the church of Sardis is in very sad condition, yet it numbers a lew faithful souls who shall be saved. They shall be clothed with the white garments of eternal happiness.

14. And to the angel of the church of Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of
God:

Laodicea was an important city of Phrygia about 50 miles southeast of Philadelphia on the river Lycus. Antiochus II colonized it about 250 B. C. and
gave it the name of his wife, Laodice. Laodicea was a centre of industries and commerce and especially famous for its woolen goods and sandals. It was also the seat of a medical school.

The Gospel had been preached in Laodicea by St. Paul’s disciple Epaphras. The house of Nymphas was used as a place of worship for the little Christian community (Col 4:13-15). The Constitutions of the Apostles mentions
St. Nymphas as the first bishop of Laodicea (Apost. Const. VII, 46). St. Paul
wrote a letter to the Christians of Laodicea which has been lost (Col 4:16).

Jesus Christ is the Amen, the unchangeable and eternal. By Him were all things created: Thou in the beginning, Lord, didst found the earth. And the
works of thy hands are the heavens (Heb 1:10).

15. I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would that thou wert cold or hot.
16. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.
17. Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

The bishop of Laodicea is lukewarm and indifferent. Hence our Lord is about to reject him. He withdraws the graces that have been neglected. Christ would prefer to find the bishop entirely cold, because there would be more hopes for him. He would more easily realize his condition and do penance. Tepid souls easily deceive themselves, believing they are rich in God s grace when in reality they are in a miserable state, stripped of God s grace and blinded to their true condition.

The reference to riches may also imply that the bishop of Laodicea had given himself too much to the acquisition of worldly goods. He thus became the very opposite of St. Polycarp who was poor in material goods, but rich in the grace and love of God.

18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold fire-tried, that thou mayest be made rich: and mayest be clothed in white garments, and that the shame of thy nakedness may not appear: and anoint thy eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.

The bishop is commanded to arouse himself from this spiritual lethargy. Instead of the base gold of earthly riches, he must obtain the pure gold of charity and zeal, a gold purified in the fire of trials and temptations. Thus shall he clothe himself with the white garments of grace. Then will his eyes be opened to a proper knowledge of the things of God.

19. Such as I love I rebuke and chastize. Be zealous therefore and do penance.
20. Behold, I stand at the gate and knock. If any man shall hear my voice and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Trials and afflictions are proof of God’s mercy and love. They arouse the soul to greater fervor. Christ is ever patient and loving. He stands at the door of our soul ready to bestow His graces and blessings. But the soul must cooperate; it must open the door to Him.

21. To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne: as I also have overcome, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith to the churches.

A share in the glories of Christ in heaven is promised to those who cooperate with His graces and persevere unto the end.

These warnings to the churches show Christ s solicitude for our salvation. They also prove His deep concern for those charged with the care of souls.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes On Revelation, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Nov 15: Father E.S. Berry on Today’s 1st Reading (Rev 1:1-4; 2:1-5)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 15, 2010


1:1. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John,

The revelation (apocalypse) of Jesus Christ. The Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalupsis) signifies a revelation; a making known. It also means the revealing of one’s self, a coming. Both meanings are appropriate here. It is a
revelation which Christ has made concerning His Coming in power and majesty. It is also a prophecy of events leading up to this second coming.

These things must shortly come to pass. They comprise the whole history of the Church from the time of Christ until the end of the world. Hence their accomplishment was already beginning in the days of St. John.

This revelation has been confided to Jesus Christ by God the Father. Christ in turn sends an angel to impart it to His servant John. Angels are the natural intermediaries between God and man. They often fulfilled this mission before the time of Christ. Today their ministry is less needed for this purpose since we have the unerring Church of Christ as our teacher and guide in all things pertaining to salvation.

It should be noted that since the establishment of Christ as the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5) both the angels and the Church function only through that mediation. Some think that since Christ is the one mediator between God and man that there can be no others. This is true in the sense that a man, angel, or the Church, cannot approach God directly on behalf of others, but they can approach “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5) on behalf of others. For men or angels there is no mediation equal to that of Christ’s, but there is a mediation subordinate and dependent upon His mediation; were it not so we could not pray for one another, nor could angels act on our behalf.

1:2 who hath given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen.

By writing these revelations St. John has given testimony to God and to Jesus Christ. Testimony may be given by word or by works, especially by martyrdom. St. John here gives testimony by written word.

3. Blessed is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy: and keepeth those things which are written in it. For the time is at hand.

Whoever reads this book, opens his heart to its teachings, and conforms his life to its precepts is worthy of eternal happiness. Let no one say that the book was written for future ages only. It is already being fulfilled and every Christian should find therein a rule of life suited to the circumstances in which God has placed him.

1:4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be to you and peace from him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.

St. John begins by laying down a rule of conduct for those of his own times. He is an Apostle, and in particular, the Apostle of Asia Minor. Hence he addresses himself to the bishops and churches of that province; yet his words are of universal application. Through the churches of Asia Minor, he addresses all churches through out the world for all time.

Some interpreters take the seven churches as types of seven ages in the Church. Much can be said in favor of this opinion, but it is difficult to distinguish periods in the Church corresponding to the characteristics of these seven churches as described in the Apocalypse. Thus, for example, the church of Ephesus, characterized by lack of fervor and zeal, would represent the Apostolic period of the Church. But it cannot be said with any historical accuracy that the Church in that age was especially noted for lack of fervor and zeal.

The simpler and, as we believe, the more correct view likens these letters of St. John to many of St. Paul s Epistles which were written to particular churches for particular purposes, but intended by the Holy Ghost to be documents of warning and instruction for all churches and for all times. The universal character is much more evident in these seven letters than in the Epistles of St. Paul. They were not sent as separate letters to the individual
churches, but form an integral part of the Apocalypse which was sent to each church as one complete document.

In Holy Scripture “seven” is the most sacred of numbers. The seventh day of the week was consecrated to God in a special manner. The Paschal feast lasted seven days. Seven weeks later came the feast of Pentecost when seven lambs were offered in sacrifice. Seven sprinklings of blood were prescribed for sin. In the Holy Place stood the seven-branched candlestick with its seven lights. In fact the number seven is found on almost every page of Holy Scripture. It is the perfect number, the symbol of perfection, fullness, or universality. It seems to have acquired this meaning from the fact that God completed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh which He blessed and sanctified (Gen 2:1-3).

The Apostle prays for peace and grace; not such peace as the world can give, but peace and grace from God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, do I give unto you” (Jn 14:27).  This peace
from heaven is proclaimed upon earth by the seven spirits who stand before the throne of God. Three of them are known by name. They are the Archangels Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael. St. Raphael said: “I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tobit 12:15).  He
was sent with a message of peace to Tobias of old. St. Gabriel announced peace to Daniel, to the Priest Zacharias, and to the Blessed Virgin (Dan 9:21; Lk 1:19-26). St. Michael, the special protector of the Jewish nation, (Dan 12:1) now guards the Church against her enemies that she too, may enjoy the peace
that comes from God (Rev 12:7).

1. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith he, who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks:
2. I know thy work, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them that are evil, and thou hast tried them who say they are apostles,
are not, and hast found them liars;
3. And thou hast patience, and hast endured for my name and hast not fainted.
4. But I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity.

The angels addressed by St. John are the bishops of the churches to which he writes. The Greek word αγγελω means “one sent,” a “messenger.”  Bishops
are ministers sent by Christ to rule His Church. Note: The understanding that the Angels to whom the 7 letters were addressed  were bishops is quite ancient but is not the only interpretation. Both ancient and modern scholars take the reference as designating actual angels acting as guardians of the various churches. I find this interpretation far more plausible than what follows.

Ephesus was an important city on the western coast of Asia Minor. It was chiefly noted for the temple of Diana which was counted among the seven wonders of the world. The temple was stripped of its riches by Nero and
finally destroyed by the Goths in 262 A. D. St. Paul preached the Gospel in Ephesus for three years and left his disciple, St. Timothy, as bishop, to carry on the work. St. John also spent his last years at Ephesus where he wrote the fourth Gospel. An ancient tradition says that Mary Magdalene a] so died at Ephesus.

Today Ephesus is represented by Aya Solouk, a village of 3000 inhabitants. Below the village lie the ruins of the ancient city. Remains of the temple and theater are still pointed out to the visitor.

St. Timothy was probably the “angel” of Ephesus to whom St. John writes in the Apocalypse. He is praised for his untiring labors in preaching the Gospel and his zeal in rooting out false teachers. He has also suffered persecution for Christ’s name. St. Paul informs us that St. Timothy had been imprisoned for his faith, but he gives none of the circumstances (Heb 13:23).

St. Timothy is now reprimanded because he has lost much of his former zeal. St. Paul had recognized in his beloved disciple a gentleness of nature that easily leads to the lack of that zeal and firmness so necessary in a bishop. Hence he wrote to St. Timothy: Stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but
of power, and of love, and of sobriety. And again:  Preach the word. Be instant in season and out of season. Reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine (2 Tim 1:7 & 4:2).

What St. Paul feared has come to pass. The words of St. John leave the impression that there has been a serious falling off in fervor and zeal. The consequences will be all the greater now that persecution is at hand. St. John takes the place of the former master to warn St. Timothy. His words were fruitful and St. Timothy won the martyr s crown soon after. According to ancient martyrologies St Timothy was beaten to death by a mob of Pagans.

To persevere in fervor and zeal is one of the greatest difficulties of an apostolic life. Yet it is the strict duty of every apostle worthy the name.
5. Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance, and do thy first works. Or else I will come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance.

A terrible punishment awaits St. Timothy unless he regain his former zeal in the ministry. The nature of this chastisement indicates that the faithful were at fault even more than their bishop. “I will remove thy candle stick (church) out of its place” by means of persecution, heresy, schism, and apostacy. Only too often has this threat been carried out in the history of the Church. It is
a menace hanging over every church that loses its first fervor and abandons its first works.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes On Revelation, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday August 8-Saturday August 14

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 14, 2010


This post will remain at the top of my blog until sometime Saturday the 14th or Sunday the 15th.  Some links below are scheduled in advance and will not appear until the time indicated.

Sunday August 8:

Last Weeks Posts: August 1-August 7. In case you missed something.

Resources for Sunday Mass, August 8A weekly feature (usually). I try to post a list of resource for the coming Sunday Mass on on the preceding Wednesday or Thursday.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 9:1-13.

My Notes on Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab for Sunday Mass August 15, the Assumption.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Luke 1:39-56 for Sunday Mass, August 15, the Assumption.

Bishop MacEvily on Luke 1:39-56 for Sunday Mass, August 15, the Assumption.

Monday August 9:

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 17:22-27).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 17:22-27).

Father Maas on Today’s Gospel (Matt 17:22-27).

Tuesday August 10:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 11:27-28 for Vigil Mass of the Assumption (August 15).

Cornelius a Lapide on Luke 11:27-28 for Vigil Mass of the Assumption (August 15).

Cornelius a Lapide on 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 for Vigil Mass of the Assumption.

Bishop MacEvily on Today’s First Reading.

Nolan & Brown on Today’s Gospel (John 12:24-26).

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (John 12:24-26).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 12:24-26).

Wednesday August 11:

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 18:15-20).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 1:1.

Thursday August 12:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 18:21-19:1).

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 18:21-19:1).

Resources For Sunday Mass, August 15, Solemnity of the Assumption.

Friday August 13:

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 19:3-12).

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 9:14-33.

Saturday August 14:

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 10.

Bishop MacEvily on Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13 for Sunday Mass, August 22.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Hebrews, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on Matthew, Notes On Revelation, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Lectionary, Our Lady, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

My Notes on Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 8, 2010


Unless otherwise noted, all verses come from the Douay Rheims translation.  Quotes from the RSV are used in accord with the copyright policy of the copyright holder:

The [New] Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted. Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page of the work as follows:

“Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” (source)

Rev 11:19  And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple.

It is not just the temple which is opened, but the holy of holies, the most sacred part of the temple.  This is indicated by the fact that the ark of his testament was seen, a reference to the ark of the covenant which stood in the holy of holies.

The Catholic Encyclopedia:

(T)he Ark… should rather be regarded as a token of the choice that Yahweh had made of Israel for his people, and a visible sign of his invisible presence in the midst of his beloved nation.The Ark was first destined to contain the testimony, that is to say the tables of the Law (Exodus 40:18; Deuteronomy 10:5). Later, Moses was commanded to put into the tabernacle, near the Ark, a golden vessel holding a gomor of manna (Exodus 16:34), and the rod of Aaron which had blossomed (Numbers 17:10). According to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (ix, 4), and the Jewish traditions, they had been put into the Ark itself. Some commentators, with Calmet, hold that the book of the Law written by Moses had likewise been enclosed in the Ark; but the text says only that the book in question was placed “in the side of the Ark” (Deuteronomy 31:26); moreover, what should be understood by this book, whether it was the whole Pentateuch, or Deuteronomy, or part of it, is not clear, though the context seems to favour the latter interpretations. However this may be, we learn from 1 Kings 8:9, that when the Ark was placed in Solomon’s temple, it contained only the tables of the Law.The holiest part of the Ark seems to have been the oracle, that is to say the place whence Yahweh made his prescriptions to Israel. “Thence”, the Lord had said to Moses,will I give orders, and will speak to thee over the propitiatory, and from the midst of these two cherubims, which shall be upon the Ark of the testimony, all things which I will command the children of Israel by thee” (Exodus 25:22). And indeed we read in Num., vii, 89, that when Moses “entered into the tabernacle of the covenant, to consult the oracle, he heard the voice of one speaking to him from the propitiatory, that was over the ark between the two cherubims”. Yahweh used to speak to his servant in a cloud over the oracle (Leviticus 16:2). This was, very likely, also the way in which he communicated with Josue after the death of the first leader of Israel (cf. Joshua 7:6-1). The oracle was, so to say, the very heart of the sanctuary, the dwelling place of God; hence we read in scores of passages of the Old Testament that Yahweh “sitteth on [or rather, by] the cherubim”

THE ARK IN CATHOLIC TRADITION Catholic tradition, led by the Fathers of the Church, has considered the Ark of the Covenant as one of the purest and richest symbols of the realities of the New Law. It signifies, in the first place, the Incarnate Word of God. “Christ himself”, says St. Thomas Aquinas, “was signified by the Ark. For in the same manner as the Ark was made of setim wood, so also was the body of Christ composed of the most pure human substance. The Ark was entirely overlaid with gold, because Christ was filled with wisdom and charity, which gold symbolizes. In the Ark there was a golden vase: this represents Jesus’ most holy soul containing the fulness of sanctity and the godhead, figured by the manna. There was also Aaron’s rod, to indicate the sacerdotal of Jesus Christ priest forever. Finally the stone tables of the Law were likewise contained in the Ark, to mean that Jesus Christ is the author of the Law”. To these point touched by the Angel of the Schools, it might be added that the Ascension of Christ to heaven after His victory over death and sin is figured by the coming up of the Ark to Sion. St. Bonaventure has also seen in the Ark a mystical representation of the Holy Eucharist. In like manner the Ark might be very well regarded as a mystical figure of the Blessed Virgin, called by the Church the “Ark of the Covenant”

Given the association of the Ark with the Divine Presence and the Incarnation it is not hard to understand how and why it is applied typologically to Our Lady. For Mary as a type of the Ark of the Covenant see Mary, Ark of the New Covenant and Mary, Ark of the New Covenant – Quotes from the Fathers, two word documents written by Stephen K. Ray.

Rev 12:1  And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

And in Greek is kai, a word having a copulative and sometimes a cumulative effect.  What is being related in this and the following verses is to be seen in conjunction with the previous verses.

A woman clothed with the sun,  &c. She has been variously interpreted as the Church, Israel, Jerusalem, the Heavenly Jerusalem and the Virgin Mary.  Most scholars think that at the literal level it should be taken as a reference to the Heavenly Jerusalem (see Rev 19:7-8; 21:9-10). One problem I see with this (and keep in mind I’m not a biblical scholar) is that the birth of this child and the reference to the rest of her offspring (verse 17, RSV), precedes the nuptials of the bride and the Lamb. If one understand the mother figure here as the bride mentioned later, and the male child as the Messiah who marries the bride…then some rather distasteful implication could arise.  Perhaps it is best to see the figure as a personification of the people of God, pregnant with the Messiah and his siblings since the promise to Eve.  Perhaps she should be understood as a transitional figure between the Old Covenant people and the New.  Since Mary gave birth physically to the Christ, and spiritually to Christians (John 19:25-27) it is not hard to see how the text can be applied typologically to her.

Rev 12:2  And being with child, she cried travailing in birth: and was in pain to be delivered.

A reference to Gen 3:16~To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee. Also Micah 4:10~Be in pain and labour, O daughter of Sion, as a woman that bringeth forth: for now shalt thou go out of the city, and shalt dwell in the country, and shalt come even to Babylon, there thou shalt be delivered: there the Lord will redeem thee out of the hand of thy enemies.

Rev 12:3  And there was seen another sign in heaven. And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads seven diadems.

Another sign in heaven. An antithesis between the two signs is being established, just as there is an antithesis between the harlot and the bride (compare 17:4-5 with 21:11-12). The description of the mother’s clothing in the previous verse also provides a contrast with the harlot, and a connection with the bride.

A great red dragon. See Genesis 3 and Wisdom 2:24.  Red is a translation of a Greek word (πυῤῥός = purrhos, pronounced: poor-hros’) meaning “fire like,” or ‘flamed colored.”  Red is a symbol of death, destruction and slaughter (Rev 6:4), highlighting the destructive nature of the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world (Rev 12:9, RSV); our adversary who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour (1 Pet 5:8).  Fire in the Revelation is a symbol of God’s punishment and wrath and so I see an ironic indication of the dragon’s end (Rev 20:9-10). The fiery red color of the dragon contrasts nicely with the woman who is clothed with the sun which in the Bible is often a symbol of life, glory, brightness and light.  It is also obedient to God’s will (Job 9:7; Matt 5:45). This last point may be the intended symbolism in light of 12:17~Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus (RSV).

There is also an allusion here to Isaiah 26 & 27 which speaks of Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent (RSV). “After speaking of a woman “in travail” in chapter 26:17, Isaiah describes the defeat of the wicked in terms of crushing the Leviathan.  Like Revelation 12, the Leviathan in Isaiah 27 is described as a ‘dragon’ (Is 27:1 ; Rev 12:3) and a ‘serpent’ (Is 27:1; Rev 12:9). COMING SOON, by Michael Barber, pg 156.  This is an excellent commentary.

Seven heads. For examples of many headed beasts in Scripture see Psalm 74:13-15 and Daniel 7:7.  Some see the reference to seven heads as indicating fulness of evil powers.  Father John MacKenzie in his DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE writes this concerning the article “Head”: Its metaphorical use is limited to persons or things which are first in order, rank, or quality…”

Ten horns.   There is an allusion here to Daniel 7:7-28.  Horns often symbolize strength, kingship (see Rev 17:12), power.  The monster from the sea (Rev 13:1) and the beast on which the harlot rides (Rev 17:3) also have ten horns; a second monster from the sea has two (Rev 13:11).

And on his head seven diadems. A symbol of kingship which also alludes to the fourth beast of Daniel 7:24.  This provides a contrast with Christ who has innumerable diadems (Rev 19:12-16).

Rev 12:4  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son.

The casting of the stars to earth may allude to Daniel 8:10.  The stars are often taken by scholars as symbolizing the teaching of the twelve Apostles.  Others see the stars a a symbol of angels and their being cast to earth as representing their fall, but this seems unlikely to me because the angels fell by their own free will and not the devil’s fury.  Given the context, the regal image of the woman, and the coming birth of her ruler/son I think the action against the crown of stars should be seen as an attack on the impending kingship and kingdom of Christ.

And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son.

A possible allusion to Jeremiah 51:34~“Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me, he has crushed me; he has made me an empty vessel, he has swallowed me like a monster; he has filled his belly with my delicacies, he has rinsed me out (RSV).   Some see here an allusion to King Herod who sought to destroy the infant Messiah/King in Matthew 2.  Herod was an Edomite (i.e., a Idumean), a name which means “red.” Herod was a tool in Satan’s attempt to keep Jesus from attaining his kingly destiny (but see the note on who was to rule all nations below)

Rev 12:5  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her son was taken up to God and to his throne.

She brought forth a male child. See Isaiah 66:7~Before she was in labour, she brought forth; before her time came to be delivered, she brought forth a man child.

Who was to rule all nations with an iron rod.  Alluding to Psalm 2, a royal coronation.  I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps 2:7-9, RSV).

The words “you are my son, today I have begotten you” are important for understanding who the woman is at the literal level.  This Psalm passage is used or alluded to several times in the NT, but never in reference to the incarnation, rather, it always refers to Christ’s resurrection (see Acts 13:33; see also Romans 1:4; Heb 1:5. The birth event here is not to seen as the incarnation, rather, it is a symbolic description of Christ’s death and resurrection/messianic enthronement.  The woman is Mother Israel who has experienced the messianic birth pangs (see John 16:19-22) and become Mother Church, engendering new children (see John 19:25-27).  Mary is the paradigm.

Her son was taken up to God and to his throne.  An obvious reference to Christ’s ascension and messianic enthronement.

Rev 12:6  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God.

God’s providential care and protection of his people.

Rev 12:10ab  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ.

Verses 10 through 12 are a hymn celebrating what has come about as a result of the events in the preceding verses, 1-9.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes On Revelation, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Resources for Sunday Mass, May 9, (Both Forms Of The Rite)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 9, 2010


By Saturday this post will contain many resources for this Sunday’s Mass, including resources for the both Forms of the Rite.  These resources will include studies of the readings, podcasts, homilies and sermons.  Listed below are links to some resources currently available.  Many of the bible studies were posted on this site over the past few days.

ORDINARY FORM:

My Notes on Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 For Sunday Mass.

My Notes on Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23 for Sunday Mass.

UPDATE: Podcast Study of Revelation By Dr. Peter Williamson.  A study of the last two chapters (21-22) has yet to be posted.  Williamson is currently serving as one of the editors of new series on the New Testament entitled CATHOLIC COMMENTARY ON SACRED SCRIPTURE.  The first four volumes are currently available, including Dr. Williamson’s commentary on Ephesians.  I’ve read three (Mark, Pastorals, Ephesians) and am currently reading the fourth (2 Corinthians), and they are excellent, non-technical works.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary On Psalm 67 For Sunday Mass

Augustine’s Notes On Psalm 67 For Sunday Mass

Augustine’s Commentary On John 14:23-29 For Sunday Mass

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 14:23-29 For Sunday Mass

Aquinas’ Lectures on John 14Scroll UP slightly to find the beginning of Lecture 6, which starts at 14:22.  Read through Lectures 6-8.

Cornelius a Lapide on John 14:23-29 for Sunday Mass.

St Cyril of Alexandria on John 14:23-29 for Sunday Mass.

Scripture Study PodcastBy Jeff Crandall.  Usually very good.  The direct link may not play well on some computers (it may pause playing on occasion), go here and scroll down to find this weeks reading near the bottom of the page, then left click the mp3 link and select “save link as”, this will download it to your computer where you can access it for optimum quality.

UPDATE: Podcast Study of ActsIn ten parts.  also includes an introductory study of the captivity letters of St Paul.

Dr. Scott Hahn’s PodcastVery brief, designed to relate the theme(s) of the readings.

The Guidance Of The Holy SpiritHomily podcast by Fr. Robert Barron.

Scripture Readings with Haydock CommentaryDouay-Rheims translation with notes from the old Haydock Commentary.

Word Sunday: Readings with notes.

  • FIRST READING In Acts 15, St. Paul fought against Jewish Christian who insisted non-Jew convert before they became followers of the Christ. St. Paul won over the leadership in Jerusalem by insisting that God’s will superceded edicts of the Law.
  • PSALM Psalm 67 was a plea for blessing, so not only Israel, but all the earth could bless the name of YHWH.
  • SECOND READING In Revelation 21, the new, heavenly Jerusalem was described as a beautiful city, a community built upon the names of the Apostles.
  • GOSPEL As Easter season begins to ebb away, John’s gospel shifts to spiritual union, reception of the Spirit, God’s peace, and the return of the Christ at the end of time.

Lector NotesThese notes try to serve the Church by helping lectors prepare to proclaim the Scriptures in our Sunday assemblies. For each day’s first and second readings (and occasionally for the gospel), the Notes give the historical and theological background, plus suggestions on oral interpretation.

Thoughts From The Early Church Excerpt from St Bernard.

Scripture In DepthUsually very good.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM: The readings for the EF differ from those of the OF.

My Notes on James 1:22-27.

UPDATE: Aquinas’ Homily Notes on James 1:22-27Contains excellent points for homilies, meditation, or further study.

UPDATE: Aquinas on the Sin of backbitingFrom the Summa Theologica.

St Augustine: Tractate 102 on John. Covers chapter 16:23-28.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 16:23-30.

Aquinas’ Lectures on 16:23-30Scroll up slightly to find Lecture 6 and read through Lectures 6-8.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on John 16:23-30.  Contains excellent points for homilies, meditation, or further study.

Cornelius a Lapide on John 16:23-30 for Sunday Mass, May 9

Devout Instructions on the Epistle and Gospel. Contains the readings followed by instructions on them.  Prayers, aspirations, meditations, and a short explanation of the Lord’s Prayer.

Homily on the EpistleOn hearing the word of God.

Homily on the GospelChrist’s consoling promise to His disciples.

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Acts of Apostles, Notes On Revelation, Notes on St James, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, SERMONS, ST THOMAS AND THE SUMMA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 137 other followers

%d bloggers like this: