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 ‘Scripture’ Category

Dec 26~The Feast of St Stephen The Church’s First Martyr

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2014


Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59.

Word-Sunday Notes on Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59.


Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 31.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 31.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 31.


Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 10:17-22. Actually, this post is on verses 16-23.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 10:17-22. Actually, this post is on verses 16-23.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 10:17-22. On 16-23.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 10:17-22. On 16-23.

Word-Sunday Notes on Matthew 10:17-22.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 10:17-22.

Pope Benedict XVI on St Stephen.

Sermon on St Stephen. By John HenryCardinal Newman (preached while still an Anglican). Pdf format.

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Dec 12~Commentaries for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2014

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING, Choice 1: Zechariah 2:14-17.

My Notes on Zechariah 2:14-17.

Word-Sunday Notes on Zechariah 2:14-17.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Zechariah 2:14-17.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING, Choice 2: Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab.

Word-Sunday Notes on Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab.

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

Navarre Bible Commentary on Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab.


Word-Sunday Notes on Judith 13:18-19.

Pending (maybe). My Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Judith 13:18-19).


Aquinas’  Catena Aurea on Luke 1:26-38.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.

Word-Sunday Notes on Luke 1:26-38.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.


Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-47.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-47.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:39-47.

Word-Sunday Notes on Luke 1:39-47.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:39-47.

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Commentaries for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2014


Father Maas’ Notes on Isaiah 61:1-10.

Word-Sunday Notes on Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54. Actually, the post is on the entire canticle.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54. On entire canticle.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54. Actually, the post is on the entire canticle.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54. On entire canticle.

Word-Sunday Notes on Luke 46-48, 49-50, 53-54. On 46-55.


My Notes on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24. On verses 12-28.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24.

Word-Sunday Notes on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24.


Father Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on John 1:6-8, 19-28.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 1:6-8, 19-28.

Father Callan’s Commentary on John 1:6-8, 19-28.

Word-Sunday Notes on John 1:6-8, 19-28.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 1:6-8, 19-28.









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Father Maas on Isaiah 61

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2014


1. The Prophecy and its Context.—The chapter belongs to the second division of the Book of Isaias, forming the fourth canto of its third part. In the first canto, or chapter 58, the prophet proposes renovation of heart and mind as the way of reaching salvation. The second canto, ch. 59, repeating nearly the same lesson, contends that sin alone impedes the advent of the divine kingdom which God himself will restore since man cannot. In the third canto, ch. 60, he describes God’s kingdom by pointing to the glory of Jerusalem, over which God’s splendor will rise, attracting thither all the nations of the earth. In the fourth canto the Messias is represented as the one who will lift up Jerusalem to its glory, and lay the foundations of a theocracy. The Messias himself explains to whom he is to bring salvation, and how its benefits may be shared.

2. Messianic Character of the Prophecy.—a. According to the Chaldee version Isaias himself is the subject of chapter 61, for it adds: ” the prophet said.” St. Thomas (Schegg, Loch, Calmet) is of opinion that either Christ or the prophet is the subject of the chapter; while the greater number of non- Catholic interpreters regard the prophet as the subject of the prophecy. In point of fact, vv. 1, 2 contain nothing that might not be predicated of a prophet.

b. Verse 3 settles the question as to the subject of the chapter; for in it salvation is no longer predicted but has effectually come to pass. A mere prophet might foretell but could not effect Messianic salvation, which is peculiar to the Messias alone. That the Messias is the subject of the predictions follows also from the connection of ch. 61 with the preceding ones, so that the possibility of a mere prophetic reference is excluded. Again, in the fourth verse we have various predictions that are repetitions of preceding Messianic prophecies. And since these predictions have reference to the time of the Messias, it follows that we cannot interpret ch. 61 as referring literally to Isaias and the return from the captivity, and only typically to Christ.

c. The New Testament, also, supposes the Messianic reference of the prophecy, since, according to Luke 4:21, Christ himself says: ” This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears.”

d. The testimonies of the Fathers regarding the Messianic reference of this prophecy may be seen in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica (ed. Tailhan, i. p. 390); St. Ephrem should have been added to the number of witnesses, for he gives only a Messianic explanation of the chapter.

e. Jewish tradition, too, explains the chapter as having a Messianic meaning. Yalkut on Ex. 12:48 reads: “A teacher of Elias’s (Elijah’s) school said: Once I went from place to place, and I found an old man who said to me: What will become of the nations of the world in the days of the Messias? I said to him: My son, every nation and every kingdom that hath persecuted and mocked Israel shall see the blessing of Israel, and shall return to their dust and have
no share in life; for it is said: The wicked shall see it and be grieved (Ps. 112:10). But every nation and every kingdom that did not persecute and mock Israel will come in the days of the Messias; for it is said: And strangers shall stand and shall feed your flocks, and . . . (Is. 61:5-6).”

The following passage of the Pesikta (ed. Buber), p. 1 49, col. 1, refers to our prophecy : ” He hath clothed mewith the garments of salvation (Is. 61:10). There are seven garments which the Holy One, blessed be his name! has put on since the world began, or will put on before the hour when he will visit with his wrath the godless Edom. When he created the world, he clothed himself in
honor and glory; for it is said: Thou art clothed with honor and glory (Ps. 104:1). When he showed himself at the Red Sea, he clothed himself in majesty; for it is said: The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty (Ps. 104:1). When he gave the law, he clothed himself with might; for it is said: Jehovah is clothed with might, wherewith he hath girded himself (Ps. 93:1). As often as he forgave Israel its sins, he clothed himself in white; for it is said: His garment was white as snow (Dan. 7:9). When he punishes the nations of the world, he puts on the garments of vengeance, as it is said: He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak (Is. 49:17). He will put on the sixth robe when the Messias is revealed. Then will he clothe himself in righteousness; for it is said: For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation on his head (ibid.). He will put on the seventh robe when he punishes Edom. Then will he clothe himself in red; for it is said: Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel? (Is. 63:2.) But the robes with which he will clothe the Messias will shine from one end of the world to the other; for it is said: As a bridegroom decked with a crown (Is. 61:10). And the sons of Israel will rejoice in his light, and will say: Blessed be the hour when the Messias was born; blessed the womb which bore him; blessed the eyes that were counted worthy to see him. For the opening of his lips is blessing and peace; his speech is rest to the soul; the thoughts of his heart are confidence and joy; the speech of his lips is pardon and forgiveness; his prayer is like the sweet-smelling savor of a sacrifice; his supplications are holiness and purity. how blessed is Israel, for whom such a lot is reserved; for it is said: How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee (Ps. 31:19).” Of.
Beinke, Mess. Weissagungen, ii. p. 294; Galatinus, de arcanis cath. veritatis, lib. ii. cap. vi. p. 61, ed. Basil. 1550; Barheb; Hebraica, vol. iv. pp. 49, 50.


Isa 61:1. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. The servant of the Lord declares that he has been instructed and sent by the Spirit of the Lord to announce freedom and redemption to the afflicted, and to console them with all Messianic blessings. The Spirit of the Lord rests abidingly upon him, because the Lord himself has anointed him. We may remember that in the Old Testament priests were anointed (Ex. 29:7; cf. Lev. 4:3; 7:35; 16:32; 21:10; Ex. 28:41; 40:13; Num. 3:3) ; the sacred vessels were consecrated (Num. 7:1ff.); kings were anointed, so that they are at times called the anointed or the Christs of the Lord (1 Sam 9:16; 10:1; 16:1; 2 Sam 1:14; 2:4; 3:38; 5:3; 1 Kings 1:34; 2 Kings 11:12; 23:30, etc.; prophets, too, were at times anointed, as is seen in the case of Eliseus (Elisha). Still this is the only instance in which a prophet was anointed outwardly, because God had reserved for himself the choice and the installing of the individual prophets on whom he poured the fulness of the Spirit. The anointing itself signified a divine election to a theocratic office, and symbolized the Spirit of God, infused into the soul of the chosen one, rendering it fit for the particular office in question. It may be noticed all through that God’s salvation and help are especially promised to the weak and the mourning.

Isaiah 61:4. And they shall build the places. The desert and waste regions, not merely of the captivity, but also of the old covenant, shall be inhabited and fruitful; strangers shall be the servants of the chosen people, which shall then be enriched with the wealth of the nations; the people of God shall enjoy such an abundance of happiness and holiness that they shall be everywhere praised as the blessed of God.

Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice. This part contains praises and thanksgivings for the Messianic benefits, and a prayer that the praise and glory of God may become known everywhere. The only difficulty in this passage regards the person who is introduced as speaking: a. The Messias himself speaks (Malvenda, Rohling, Trochon, Delitzsch, Naegelsbach, Orelli). But it is evident that the Messias cannot be the speaker, since in v. 3 the Messias gives the crown to the afflicted, while the speaker in the present passage has received the crown, etc. b. The speaker is the Church (Ephrem, Jerome, Cyril, Theodoret, Thomas, Sasbout, Pintus, Sanchez, Sa, Lapide, Menochius, Tirinus, Gordon, Calmet, Bade, Loch, Reinke), or the people (Mariana, Schegg), or the prophet speaking in the name of the Church (Maldonatus), or the apostolic college, or the spiritual Jerusalem (Foreiro). It is evident from the text itself that one of these latter opinions is the true one, since the speaker is represented as clothed with the garments of salvation and covered with the robe of justice. Now Sion or Jerusalem is repeatedly represented in the Old Testament under this aspect (Is. 49:21; 51:17; 54:1; 60:5; 62:1). Again, it is natural that those should be represented as giving thanks for the Messianic blessings who have actually received them ; but the latter are none other than the members of the Church or of the new Sion.


a. It follows from the present passage that only those that mourn with the afflicted people of God will receive the benefits of the Messianic blessings. Those who are happy and satisfied in the midst of the Babylonian captivity or of the inferior condition of the chosen people are not mentioned among the sharers of future happiness.

b. Moreover, holy Simeon’s words (Luke 2:34), “this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel,” find their exact parallel in Isaias’ words: “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.”

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Commentaries for the Thrity-First Week in Ordinary Time

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2014



Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 2:1-4.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Philippians 2:1-4.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippians 2:1-4.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Philippians 2:1-4.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 131.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 131.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 131.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 131.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:12-14.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 14:12-14.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 14:12-14.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 14:12-14.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St John Chrysostom’s First Homiletic Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11. Deeply doctrinal. Many may find it difficult.

St John Chrysostom’s Second Homiletic Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11. Lighter in doctrinal depth.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on Today’s 1st Reading (In Two Parts):

Part 1: Philippians 2:5-8.

Part 2: Philippians 2:9-11. On 9-13 actually.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11. On 6-11.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 22.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 22.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:15-24.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 14:15-24.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 14:15-24.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s First Reading (In Two Parts).

Part 1. Philippians 2:12-13. On 9-13 actually.

Part 2. Philippians 2:14-18. On 14-30 actually.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippains 2:12-18 .

Navarre Bible Commentary on Philippians 2:12-18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 27.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 27.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:25-33.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 14:25-33.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 14:25-33.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 14:25-33.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 3:3-8.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Philippians 3:3-8. On 1-9a actually.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Philippians 3:3-8.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 105.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 105.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 15:1-10.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 15:1-10).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 15:1-10.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 15:1-10.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 3:17-4:1.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Philippians 3:17-4:1.

Pending: St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Philippians 3:17-4:1.

My Notes on Philippians 3:17-4:1.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 122.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 122.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 122.

Pseudo-St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 122.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 122.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 16:1-8. On 1-9.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 16:1-8.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 16:1-8.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippians 4:10-19.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 4:10-19.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Philippians 4:10-19.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Philippians 4:10-19.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 112.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 112.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 16:9-15.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 16:9-15.


Pending: Commentaries for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica


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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 16:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2014

16:1-9. And He said unto His disciples, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward, and they accused him of scattering his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, What is this that I hear of you? Give up the account of your stewardship: for you can be no longer steward. And the steward said within himself What shall I do, for my lord takes away from me the stewardship? I cannot dig: and to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that when I am removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called each one of his lord’s debtors, and said unto the first; How much do you owe unto my lord? And he said, A hundred baths of oil. And he said unto him, Take your writing, and sit down, and write fifty quickly. And afterwards he spoke to the second, And how much do you owe? And he said, A hundred cors 2 of wheat. And he said unto him, Take your writing, and write eighty. And the lord praised the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wise in their generation more than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make for yourselves friends of the unrighteous mammon: that when it has failed, they may receive you into eternal tabernacles.

OUR Lord Jesus Christ, revealing His glory to the Jewish multitudes, or rather to all those who have believed on Him, said; “I am the light of the world:” and again, “I am come a light into this world.” For He fills the mind of those who fear Him with a divine and intellectual light, that they may |507 not wander from the right way by walking in gloom and darkness; but may rather know how to advance uprightly in every good work, and in whatsoever aids a man in leading a saintly life. He would have us therefore to be good, and ready to communicate, loving one another, and merciful, and adorned with the honours of charity. Most wisely therefore did He prepare for us the present parable: which we being anxious to explain to the best of our ability, of necessity speak as follows to those who love instruction.

The parables then indirectly and figuratively explain to us much that is for our edification, provided only we consider their meaning in a brief and summary manner. For we are not to search into all the parts of the parable in a subtle and prying way, lest the argument by its immoderate length weary with superfluous matter even those most fond of hearing, and tire men with a crowd of words. For if, for instance, any one were to undertake to explain, who is to be regarded by us as the man who had a steward, who was accused unto him; or who possibly it is that accused him; and who too those are who owed the debts, and subtracted a portion from them; and for what reason one is said to have owed oil, and the other wheat; he will render his discourse at once obscure and redundant. All the parts of the parable therefore are not necessarily and in every respect useful for the explanation of the things signified, but, so to speak, have been taken to form an image of some important matter, which figuratively sets forth some lesson for the profit of the hearers.

The sense therefore of the present parable is something like the following: “The God of all wills that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” For this reason “He also gave the law for a help,” according to the expression of the prophet. And the law in such passages we say means, not of course that which was ministered by Moses, but rather the whole inspired Scripture, by means of which we learn the path which leads straight unto every good and saving thing. The Lord of all therefore requires us to be thoroughly constant in our exertions after virtue, and to fix our desires upon the better and holy life, setting ourselves free |508 from the distractions of the world, and from all love of riches, and of the pleasure which wealth brings, that we may serve Him continually, and with undivided affections. For He also says by the harp of the Psalmist; “Be constant, and know that I am God.” And further, by His own mouth, the Saviour of all says to those who possess worldly riches, “Sell your possessions, and give alms: make for you purses that grow not old: a treasure for ever, unfailing in heaven.” Now the commandment is indeed for our salvation, but the mind of man is very weak, fixed constantly, so to speak, upon things which are of earth chiefly, and unwilling to withdraw itself from the delight of riches. It loves vain boasting; is soothed much by the praises of flatterers; longs for beautiful equipments, and counts nothing better than temporal honour. And knowing this, the Saviour has Himself somewhere said of them, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” And further, “that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man into the kingdom of God.” For as long as a man lives in wealth and pleasure, he is careless about piety to God. For wealth renders men contemptuous, and sows in the minds of those that possess it the seeds of all voluptuousness.

Is there then no way of salvation for the rich, and no means of making them partakers of the hope of the saints? Have they fallen completely from God’s grace? Is hell and the fire necessarily prepared for them, such as is the fitting lot of the devil and his angels? Not so: for lo! the Saviour has shown them a means of salvation in the present parable. They have been entrusted with worldly wealth by the merciful permission of Almighty God: according nevertheless to His intention |509 they have been appointed stewards for the poor. But they discharge not their stewardship rightly, in that they scatter, so to speak, what has been given them of the Lord: for they waste it solely on their pleasures, and purchase temporal honours, not remembering God, Who says, “You shall open wide your mercy unto your brother, even to him that has need of you.” Nor moreover Christ Himself, the Saviour of us all, Who says, “Be you merciful, even as your Father Who is in heaven is merciful.” But they, as I said, make no account whatsoever of showing mercy to their brethren, but study only their own pride. And this it is which accuses them before the Lord of all. And of course upon the approach of death they must cease from their stewardship, withdrawing them as it does from human affairs. For the net of death no man can escape from. What therefore would Christ have them to do? It is, that while they are yet in this world, if they are unwilling to divide all their wealth among the poor, that at least they should gain friends by a part of it; and numerous witnesses to their charitableness, even those who have received well at their hands: that when their earthly wealth fails them, they may gain a place in their tabernacles. For it is impossible for love to the poor ever to remain unrewarded. Whether therefore a man give away all his wealth, or but a part, he will certainly benefit his soul.

It is an act therefore that becomes the saints, and is worthy of perfect praises, and that wins the crowns above, to set no store by earthly wealth, but distributing it among those that are in need, to gather rather that which is in heaven, and obtain purses that grow not old, and possess a treasure that fails not: and next in order comes the employment of a sort of artifice, so as to obtain those for friends who are especially near unto God, by giving them some portion of their wealth, and comforting the many who are afflicted with poverty, that so they may share what is theirs. And something of this sort the very wise Paul also advises, saying unto those who love wealth: “Let your abundance be for their want, that their abundance also may be for your want.”

It is our duty therefore, if we are right-minded; if we fix the eye of the mind on what will be hereafter; if we remember |510 the sacred Scripture, which says plainly, “that we shall all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive retribution for the things done by means of the body, according to that he has done, whether good or bad;” if we fear the cruel and unappeasable flame; to remember God, Who requires us to show mercy upon the brethren, to suffer with those that are sick, to open our hand wide to those that are in need, and to honour the saints, of whom Christ says, “He that receives you receives Me: and he that receives Me, receives Him That sent Me.” For that mercy towards the brethren is not without profit and benefit, the Saviour Himself teaches us, saying; “Whosoever shall give only a cup of cold [water] to drink in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward.” For the Saviour of all is bounteous in giving: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen. |511 (source)

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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:1-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 19, 2014

Mk 1:1 THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Most writers regard this verse as the title of the book.

Gospel, i.e. the tidings of salvation, or the story of the life of Jesus
Christ (see Intro., p. 15).

Concerning the word “Gospel” the Glossary of the Catechims of the Catholic Church notes:

“GOSPEL: The “good news” of God’s mercy and love revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It is this Gospel or good news that the Apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the entire world (571, 1946). The Gospel is handed on in the apostolic tradition of the Church as the source of all-saving truth and moral discipline (75). The four Gospels are the books written by the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John which have for their central object Jesus Christ, God’s incarnate Son: his life, teachings, Passion and glorification, and his Church’s beginnings under the Spirit’s guidance (124, 514).”

Jesus = Saviour. Christ = Anointed. Kings, priests and prophets were anointed, and Jesus was all three.

Concerning the name Jesus see the Catechism of the Catholic Church 430-435 (hereafter CCC). Concerning the title Christ see CCC 436-440. Concerning “Son of God” see CCC 441-445.

Mk 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee.

As it is written in Isaiah:  St Mark actually begins by a quotation from Malachi: Behold, I send My angel, and he shall -prepare the way before My face (Mal 3:1). Our Lord Himself applies these words to St John. This is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send, etc. (St Matt. 11:10.). For the Isaiah quotation see on verse 2.

The texts of Malachi and Isaiah are similar inasmuch as they both allude to the Exouds with it’s reference to an angel which will go before the people (Ex 23:20). Both also speak about preparing the way before the Lord.

St Mark, as historian, only quotes the Old Testament twice; here and in Mk 15:28, And with the wicked He was reputed. The passage concerning the angel who should prepare the way, referred primarily to the return of the Jews from their exile in Babylon, but the doctors of the law saw in this prophecy a secondary allusion to the Messiah.

Mk 1:3 A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.

A voice of one crying. A reference to a herald preceding a monarch and proclaiming his coming.

in the desert. The desert in which St John preached, was a tract of very thinly-inhabited land, lying east of Jerusalem and north of the Dead Sea.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord. St John exhorted his hearers to do this, by confessing their sins and bringing forth worthy fruits of penance. See Mk 1:5 and especially Luke 3:3, 7-14.

make straight his paths. An allusion to the Eastern custom of sending out workmen to prepare the roads for the passage of a monarch. It consisted in filling valleys, levelling hills, and making devious paths straight and even.

Isaiah 40:3 is almost certainly a mockery of the gods of Babylon. In ancient times highways were rebuilt for kings and gods (idols) so that they might enter their capital city in splendor, often as a celebration for the victory of the king and his gods over foreign people and their gods. The people of God and the utensils of worship taken from the Jerusalem Temple at the time of the Babylonian conquest and the exile that followed were, no doubt, led along such a road as they entered Babylon, with their conquerors celebrating their and their god’s victory over them and their God. Of course, they failed to understand that what they deemed the defeat of Israel’s God was, in fact, part of a plan orchestrated by him. The King of Babylon, like the King of Assyria before him, thought that he had conquered just another god, and for this both suffered the consequences (Isa 10:10-11; 14:13-15). Here God is declaring that he will have his own victory procession, triumphantly leading his people out of the pagan city he-not the gods of Babylon-had led them into. On this processional highway “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” and “all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken”  (verse 5). His word stands forever (unlike “flesh”, see Isa 40:6-8) and accomplishes his will (Isa 55:10-11). Thus at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel we see a note of triumph and victory hinted at. Jesus will be confronted by Satan, the prince of demons and the one whose power is behind every false god, and He will be victorious (implied in Mk 1:12-13; explicit in Mt 4:1-11, Lk 4:1-13).

For the use of the Isaiah passage in reference to John the Baptist here and in Matt 11:10 see the CCC 719. One may also wish to consult the footnote to Mk 1:2-3 in the NABRE.

Mk 1:4 John was in the desert, baptizing and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins.

baptizing. The use of the present participle denotes an action frequently repeated. John was extremely busy with baptizing and preaching given the huge numbers who went out to him (see the next verse; also Mt 3:5 and note the reference to “crowds” [plural] in Luke 4:7, 10).

preaching. St John preached before he baptized; the order is here inverted. Baptizing was the characteristic feature of his ministry.

baptism of penance. Not the Sacrament of Baptism but a penitential rite to prepare them for the preaching of our Lord. This “baptism of penance” could not, of itself, take away sin.

Mk 1:5 And there went out to him all the country of Judea and all they of Jerusalem and were baptized by him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

all the country, etc. This is one of St Mark s graphic touches. The other Gospels mention the various classes of people who listened to St John soldiers, tax-gatherers (St Luke 3:10-14).

river of Jordan = the river Jordan.

confessing their sins, i.e. “declaring their deeds.” These words do not refer to the Sacrament of Penance, which was not then instituted. The Law of Moses prescribed a detailed confession of certain sins, e.g. unjust or rash oaths. Leviticus: Let him do penance for his sin, and offer of the flocks an ewe lamb or a she-goat, and the priest shall pray for him and for his sin (Lev 5:5-6).

Mk 1:6 And John was clothed camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and he ate locusts and wild honey.

camel’s hair. A. rough cloth made from coarse camel s hair. St John the
Baptist led a life of penance, hence his clothes and food were of the poorest.

leathern girdle. The rich wore expensive girdles; the poor used a plain leathern strap such as the Arabs of the desert still wear. Recall Jesus’ words in reference to the Baptist in Mt 11:8~But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings. The Baptist’s dress calls to mind the prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1:8).

locusts. A rather large-winged insect considered “clean” by the Jews. The food of the poor. The locusts were dried in the sun and sometimes made into cakes.

wild honey was found in quantities in the clefts of the rocks in the desert, or the term may mean the tree-honey, a gum found exuding from certain trees.

Mk 1:7 And he preached, saying: There cometh after me one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.

after me. St John the Baptist was born about six months before our Lord. As no Jew was allowed to preach before his thirtieth year, Jesus began His public life about six months later than St John. I doubt the phrase there cometh after me one, &c, has anything to do with age. More likely it’s picking up on the theme of “before” in verses 2~Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee. John is prophesying the coming fulfillment of the foundational purpose of his ministry. Indeed, in Mk 1:9 Jesus will come to the already ministering  Baptist, be baptized by him and then start his own ministry for which the Baptist’s was a prelude.

mightier than I. Note the Baptist’s humility, Jesus is “the Mighty One.” The Greek word ισχυροτερος (ischyroteros) means mighty or powerful one. As the Mighty One Jesus has come to subdue “the strong man” (ισχυρου = ischyrou) Satan (see Mk 3:23-27).

to stoop down. A minute detail proper to St Mark.

and loose. To loose and carry the shoes was the work of the slave, who performed this office for his master, when the latter entered a temple or banqueting hall.

Mk 1:8 I have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

I have baptised you with water, etc. The Baptist exalts Christ’s baptism, which conferred the Holy Ghost, and regenerated the soul.


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Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 1:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 19, 2014

This post contains commentary on Philippians 1:1-11 along with two introductory summaries. The fist on Phil 1:1-2; the second on Phil 1:3-11. Underlined words indicate that a definition or note will be given. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

 A Summary of Philippians 1:1-2

St. Paul together with Timothy, his trusted companion and probably his amanuensis at this time, addresses in artless and affectionate terms the beloved faithful of Philippi and their spiritual leaders, wishing them, in combined Greek and Hebrew forms, grace and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus, their Saviour.

amanuensis: one who writes down the dictation of another; a secretary.

artless: simple, natural, unpretentious.

Phil 1:1. Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ; to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.

Paul, the author of this letter. He omits the title “apostle” here because there is no reason to require insistence on his divine authority and mission. See on Rom 1:1. There Fr. Callan writes:

Called to be an apostle, i.e., called by a special vocation (κλητός= klētos) to go and preach the Gospel. The term “apostle” means one sent, as a messenger, a commissioned agent. Thus all the Apostles were messengers sent by Christ to announce the kingdom of God, to proclaim the good tidings of redemption and salvation. St. Paul was equal in dignity to the twelve, because like them, he was called and instructed immediately by Christ Himself (Gal 1:1). Sometimes in an opening address St Paul had to insist on his apostolic status because of trouble makers in the church (e.g., 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1). Sometimes it was more directly necessitated by the fact that he was not acquainted firsthand with the church he is writing to (e.g., Rom 1:1-7; Col 1:1).  In these two letters both issues may have contributed. The greeting in the two letters to Thessalonica have no descriptive title at all. Here in Philippians he describes himself as a slave or servant of Jesus Christ because he wishes to associate the Phillippians service to him with his own service (see Phil 1:3-7, 29-30; 2:25, 29-30).

Timothy, who was with Paul at this time and perhaps wrote down the present Epistle, and who had helped the Apostle in founding the Church at Philippi (Acts 16:1ff). For further particulars about Timothy, see Introduction to 1 Timothy in this volume.

Servants. Literally, “slaves,” but in a redeemed and figurative sense of that degrading word.

Jesus Christ. There is more evidence for the reverse order of these terms, “Christ Jesus.” This title of our Lord is peculiarly Pauline, occurring in the two orders about 165 times in his Epistles.

All the saints, i.e., all those who by their religious profession have separated themselves from the world and consecrated themselves to God. The Apostle says “all,” showing no distinction, and no cause of distinction, such as factions or sects.

Philippi. See Introduction, No. 1. Read it here.

With the bishops, etc. This is the only time St, Paul mentions the clergy in the inscription of a letter. In early times the title “bishop” was given to the heads of the various local churches, whether they were bishops In the strict sense of the word or only priests; the term here being in the plural doubtless means priests or presbyters. See Acts 21:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Tim. 3:1-13, 5:17, where the terms “bishops” and “presbyters” are interchanged. St. Paul names the bishops and deacons most likely because they took the principal part in sending gifts and helps to him.

Phil 1:2. Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace . . . peace. See on Eph. 1:2.

God our Father, etc. The Father is the ultimate source of all blessings, and Christ, His co-equal Son, is the medium and channel. See also on Eph. 1:2.

A Summary of  Philippians 3:3-11

Here the Apostle begins to speak in the first person singular, showing that the letter is his own, and not a joint work between him and Timothy. He thanks God for the part the Philippians have had in the work of the Gospel and in the merits of his sufiferings (Phil 1:3-8), and he prays that they may continually progress in spiritual knowledge and in the grace of Him to whom they owe their spiritual life, so as to be perfect when the heavenly Bridegroom comes to call them to their eternal rewards (Phil 1:9-1 1).

3. I give thanks to my God in every remembrance of you,
4. Always in all my prayers, making supplication for you all, with joy,

3-4. The Apostle assures his readers that in all his remembrance of them he thanks God, who is the source of all their spiritual blessings, and that in all his petitions it is a cause of joy to him to make requests for them.

In all my prayers. Better, “In every request of mine.”

5. For your communication in the gospel of Christ from the first day unto now,

He assigns the reason for his supplication with joy In their behalf, namely, their “communication in the gospel, etc.,” i.e., their co-operation with him in the work of spreading the Gospel from the first day they heard it preached up to the time this letter was written. The reference is to the devotedness, labors, sufferings, gifts, etc., by which they had participated with the Apostle in the propagation and furtherance of the Gospel.

6. Being confident of this very thing, that he, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.

The Apostle now tells the Philippians that he feels certain that God the Father who began in them the work of their redemption and sanctification will complete the process, bringing it to perfection against the day of their deliverance from the present life. Thus, he teaches the necessity of grace, not only to begin a good work in the supernatural order, but also to continue it and to persevere in it until death (cf. Conc. Trid., sess. VI, cap. 13).

A good work, i.e., their conversion to Christianity, which was followed by their labor and zeal in behalf of the Gospel and St. Paul.

The day of Christ Jesus is a frequent expression with St. Paul, and refers to our Lord’s coming in judgment, whether at the death of the individual or at the end of time to judge the world. The similar expression of the Old Testament, “the day of the Lord,” meant the day of God’s visitation of the earth in judgment and redemption.

7. Indeed it is right for me to be so minded in regard of you all, for that I have you in my heart; that in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my grace.

He gives the reason for the confidence expressed in the preceding verse. It is perfectly right and natural that he should feel thus toward the Philippians, because of his intimate and tender love for them, and because, through the help they have given him, they are sharers in the “grace” of his apostolate, whether exercised in “bonds,” i.e., in prison, or in “defence” of himself and of his preaching against the accusations and calumnies of the Jews, or “in confirmation of the gospel,” i.e., in explaining and proving the truth of the Gospel before Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23 ff.). “For that I have you in my heart” may also be rendered “for that you have me in your heart,” i.e., he is mindful of them because they also remember him.

The gaudii mei of the Vulgate should be gratiæ meæ, to agree with the Greek.

8. For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the heart of Christ Jesus.

As a proof of his ardent love for the faithful of Philippi St. Paul now invokes God, who reads the heart, as his witness; he loves them all with the love wherewith Christ loves them; his heart is one with the heart of his Master.

In visceribus of the Vulgate means with the most ardent love, the Greek of which is properly rendered in English by “heart,” as it refers to the seat of tender and noble affections. The Greek also reverses the order of Jesu Christi of the Vulgate here.

9. And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge and in all discernment,

In verse 4 the Apostle told his readers that he prayed for them all with joy. Now he tells them what he requested for them, namely, that their “charity” (i.e., their love of God and their neighbor) might continually increase and become ever more perfect “in knowledge,” i.e., in full, developed understanding (επιγνωσει) of Christian virtues, and “in all discernment,” i.e., practical judgment (αισθησει) as to the application of those virtues in dealing with their neighbor.

10. That you may approve the better things, that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ,

This full knowledge and judgment St. Paul requests for the Philippians in order that they may be able to appraise things according to their true worth; that, distinguishing between the moral values of their actions, they “may approve, etc.,” i.e., that they may test and choose those which are more excellent, with the result that they “may be sincere” (i.e., pure and innocent in the sight of God) “and without offence” (i.e., that their conduct may be no obstacle or stumbling block to their neighbor).

Unto the day of Christ, i.e., when the Lord comes to judge and reward them according to their works. See on verse 6 above.

11. Filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

The Apostle wishes the faithful not only to be innocent and blameless, but also to be “filled with the fruit of justice,” i.e., with good works, which can be done only through the grace of Christ. “Justice” here is better rendered “justness” or “righteousness,” which implies a complete harmony between the soul and God; it is given through Christ. “Only so far as the life of the believer is absorbed in the life of Christ, does the righteousness of Christ become his own” (Lightfoot). Hence our Lord said: “I am the true vine, etc.” (John 15:1 ff.).

Unto the glory, etc. The glory and praise of God is the last end and true goal of all our charity, justice, good works, etc., as the Apostle here reminds us.

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St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 144

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 19, 2014

1. The title of this Psalm is brief in number of words, but heavy in the weight of its mysteries. “To David himself against Goliath.” This battle was fought in the time of our fathers, and ye, beloved, remember it with me from Holy Scripture.… David put five stones in his scrip, he hurled but one. The five Books were chosen, but unity conquered. Then, having smitten and overthrown him, he took the enemy’s sword, and with it cut off his head. This our David also did, He overthrew the devil with his own weapons: and when his great ones, whom he had in his power, by means of whom he slew other souls, believe, they turn their tongues against the devil, and so Goliath’s head is cut off with his own sword.

2. “Blessed be the Lord my God, who teacheth my hands for battle, my fingers for war” (ver. 1). These are our words, if we be the Body of Christ. It seems a repetition of sentiment; “our hands for battle,” and “our fingers for war,” are the same. Or is there some difference between “hands” and “fingers”? Certainly both hands and fingers work. Not then without reason do we take “fingers” as put for “hands.” But still in the “fingers” we recognise the division of operation, yet still a sort of unity. Behold that grace! the Apostle saith,6 To one, this; to another, that; “there are diversities of operations; all these worketh one and the self-same Spirit;” there is the root of unity. With these “fingers” then the Body of Christ fighteth, going forth to “war,” going forth to “battle.” … By works of Mercy our enemy is conquered, and we could not have works of mercy unless we had charity, and charity we could have none unless we received it by the Holy Ghost; He then “teacheth our hands for battle, and our fingers for war:” to Him rightfully do we say, “My Mercy,” from whom we have also that we are merciful: “for he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy.”7

3. My Mercy and my Refuge, my Upholder and my Deliverer” (ver. 2). Much toileth this combatant, having his flesh lusting against his spirit. Keep what thou hast. Then shalt thou have in full what thou wishest, when “death shall have been swallowed up in victory;”8 when this mortal body has been raised, and is changed into the condition of the angels, and rises aloft to a heavenly quality.… There is life, there are good days, where nought lusteth against the spirit, where it is not said, “Fight,” but “Rejoice.” But who is he that lusteth for these days? Every man certainly saith, “I do.” Hear what followeth. I see that thou art toiling, I see that thou art engaged in battle, and in danger; hear what followeth: … “Depart from evil, and do good:” let not the poor first weep under thee, that the poor may rejoice through thee. For what reward, since now thou art fighting? “Seek peace, and ensue it.” Learn and say, “My Mercy and my Refuge, mine Upholder and my Deliverer, my Protector:” “mine Upholder,” lest I fall; “my Deliverer,” lest I stick; “my Protector,” lest I be stricken. In all these things, in all my toil, in all my battles, in all my difficulties, in Him have I hoped, “who subdueth my people under me.” Behold, our Head speaketh together with us.

4. “Lord, what is man, that Thou hast become known unto him?” (ver. 3). All is included in “that Thou hast become known unto him.” “Or the son of man, that Thou valuest him?” Thou valuest him, that is, Thou makest him of such importance, Thou countest him of such price, Thou knowest under what Thou placest him, over what Thou placest him. For valuing is considering the price of a thing. How greatly did He value man, who for him shed the blood of His only-begotten Son! For God valueth not man in the same way as one man valueth another he, when he findeth a slave for sale, giveth a higher price for a horse than for a man. Consider how greatly He valued thee, that thou mayest be able to say, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” And how greatly did He value thee, “who spared not His own Son”? “How shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?”1 He who giveth this food to the combatant, what keepeth He in store for the conqueror?…

5. “Man is made like unto vanity: his days pass away like a shadow” (ver. 4). What vanity? Time, which passeth on, and floweth by. For this “vanity” is said in comparison of the Truth, which ever abideth, and never faileth: for it too is a work of His Hand, in its degree. “For,” as it is written, “God filled the earth with His good things.”2 What is “His”? That accord with Him. But all these things, being earthly, fleeting, transitory, if they be compared to that Truth, where it is said, “I Am That I Am,”3 all this which passeth away is called “vanity.” For through time it vanisheth, like smoke into the air. And why should I say more than that which the Apostle James said, willing to bring down proud men to humility, “What is,” saith he, “your life? It is even a vapour, which appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”4 … Work then, though it be in the night, with thine hands, that is, by good works seek God, before the day come which shall gladden thee, lest the day come which shall sadden thee. For see how safely thou workest, who art not left by Him whom thou seekest; “that thy Father which seeth in secret may reward thee openly.”5 …

6. “Lord, bow Thy heavens, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke” (ver. 5). “Flash Thy lightning, and Thou shalt scatter them; send forth Thine arrows, and Thou shalt confound them” (ver. 6). “Send forth Thy Hand from above, and deliver me, and draw me out of many waters” (ver. 7). The Body of Christ, the humble David, full of grace, relying on God, fighting in this world, calleth for the help of God. What are “heavens bowed down”? Apostles humbled. For those “heavens declare the glory of God;” and of these heavens declaring the glory of God it is presently said, “There is neither speech nor language, but their voices are heard among them,” etc.6 When then these heavens sent forth their voices through all lands, and did wonderful things, while the Lord flashed and thundered from them by miracles and commandments, the gods were thought to have come down from heaven to men. For certain of the Gentiles, thinking this, desired even to sacrifice to them.… But they commended to these the Lord Jesus Christ, humbling themselves, that God might be praised; because “the heavens” were “bowed,” that “God” might “come down.” … “Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.” So long as they are not touched, they seem to themselves great: they are now about to say, “Great art Thou, O Lord:”7 the mountains also are about to say, “Thou only art the Most Highest over all the earth.”8

7. But there are some that conspire, that “gather themselves together against the Lord, and against His Christ.”9 They have come together, they have conspired. “Flash forth Thy lightnings, and Thou shalt scatter them.” Abound with Thy miracles, and their conspiracy shall be broken.… “Send forth Thine arrows, and Thou shalt confound them.” Let the unsound be wounded, that, being well wounded, they may be made sound; and let them say, being set now in the Church, in the Body of Christ, let them say with the Church, “I am wounded with Love.”10 “Send forth Thine Hand from on high.” What afterward? What in the end? How conquereth the Body of Christ? By heavenly aid. “For the Lord Himself shall come with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God shall He descend from heaven,”11 Himself the Saviour of the body, the Hand of God. What is, “Out of many waters”? From many peoples. What peoples? Aliens, unbelievers, whether assailing us from without, or laying snares within. Take me out of many waters, in which Thou didst discipline me, in which Thou didst roll me, to free me from my filth. This is the “water of contradiction.”12 … “From the hand of strange children.” Hear, brethren, among whom we are, among whom we live, from whom we long to be delivered. “Whose mouth hath spoken vanity” (ver. 8). All of you to-day, if ye had not gathered yourselves together to these divine shows1 of the word of God, and were not at this hour engaged in them, how great vanities would ye be hearing! “whose mouth hath spoken vanity:” when, in short, would they, speaking vanity, hear you speaking vanity? “And their right hand is a right hand of iniquity.” What doest thou among them with thy pastoral scrip with five stones in it? Say it to me in another form: that same law which thou hast signified by five stones, signify in some other way also. “I will sing a new song unto Thee, O God” (ver. 9). “A new song” is of grace; “a new song” is of the new man; “a new song” is of the New Testament. But lest thou shouldest think that grace departeth from the law, whereas rather by grace the law is fulfilled, “upon a psaltery of ten strings will I sing unto Thee.” Upon the law of ten commandments: therein may I sing to Thee; therein may I rejoice to Thee; therein may “I sing to Thee a new song;” for, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”2 But they who have not love may carry the psaltery, sing they cannot. Contradiction cannot make my psaltery to be silent.

8. “Who giveth salvation to kings, who redeemeth David His servant” (ver. 10). Ye know who David is; be yourselves David. Whence “redeemeth He David His servant”? Whence redeemeth He Christ? Whence redeemeth He the Body of Christ? “From the sword of ill intent deliver me.” “From the sword” is not sufficient; he addeth, “of ill intent.” Without doubt there is a sword of good intent. What is the sword of good intent? That whereof the Lord saith, “I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.”3 For He was about to separate believers from unbelievers, sons from parents, and to sever all other ties, while the sword cut off what was diseased, but healed the members of Christ. Of good intent then is the sword twice sharpened, powerful with both edges, the Old and New Testaments, with the narration of the past and the promise of the future. That then is the sword of good intent: but the other is of ill intent, wherewith they talk vanity, for that is of good intent, wherewith God speaketh verity. For truly “the sons of men have teeth which are spears and arrows, and their tongue is a sharp sword.”4 “From” this “sword deliver me” (ver. 11). “And take me out of the hand of strange children, whose mouth hath spoken vanity:” just as before. And that which followeth, “their right hand is a right hand of iniquity,” the same he had set down before also, when he called them “many waters.” For lest thou shouldest think that the “many waters” were good waters, he explained them by the “sword of ill intent.”

9. “Whose sons are like young vines firmly planted in their youth” (ver. 12). He wisheth to recount their happiness. Observe, ye sons of light, sons of peace: observe, ye sons of the Church, members of Christ; observe whom he calleth “strangers,” whom he calleth “strange children,” whom he calleth “waters of contradiction,” whom he calleth a “sword of ill intent.” Observe, I beseech you, for among them ye are in peril, among their tongues ye fight against the desires of your flesh, among their tongues, set in the hand of the devil wherewith he fighteth.5 … What vanity hath their mouth spoken, and how is their right hand a right hand of iniquity? “Their daughters are fitted and adorned after the similitude of a temple.” “Their garners are full, bursting out from one store to another: their sheep are fruitful, multiplying in their streets” (ver. 13): “their oxen are fat: their hedge is not broken down, nor their road, nor is their crying in their streets” (ver. 14). Is not this then happiness? I ask the sons of the kingdom of heaven, I ask the offspring of everlasting resurrection, I ask the body of Christ, the members of Christ, the temple of God. Is not this then happiness, to have sons safe, daughters beautiful, garners full, cattle abundant, no downfall, I say not of a wall, but not even of a hedge, no tumult and clamour in the streets, but quiet, peace, abundance, plenty of all things in their houses and in their cities? Is not this then happiness? or ought the righteous to shun it? or findest thou not the house of the righteous too abounding with all these things, full of this happiness? Did not Abraham’s house abound with gold, silver, children, servants, cattle? What say we? is not this happiness? Be it so, still it is on the left hand. What is, on the left hand? Temporal, mortal, bodily. I desire not that thou shun it, but that thou think it not to be on the right hand.… For what ought they to have set on the right hand? God, eternity, the years of God which fail not, whereof is said, “and Thy years shall not fail.”6 There should be the right hand, there should be our longing. Let us use the left for the time, let us long for the right for eternity. “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.”7 …

10. “They have called the people blessed who have these things” (ver. 15). O men that speak vanity! They have lost the true right hand, wicked and perverse, they have put on the benefits of God inversely. O wicked ones, O speakers of vanity, O strange children! What was on the left hand, they have set on the right. What dost thou, David? What dost thou, Body of Christ? What do ye, members of Christ? What do ye, not strange children, but children of God.… What say ye? Say ye with us, “Blessed is the people whose Lord is their God.”

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Ephesians 6:1-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 19, 2014

This post opens with Fr. Callan’s brief summary of Ephesians 6:10-20, followed by his comments on the individual verses.

A Summary of Ephesians 6:10-20.

After giving particular precepts for the home circle, St. Paul now passes to the outer world and admonishes all Christians to be ready for the warfare which must be waged against the enemies of their salvation. He first exhorts his readers to prepare for the conflict (Eph 6:10-13); then describes the armor of the Christian warrior (Eph 6:14-17); and finally reminds them of the necessity of continual prayer and vigilance as the means of vanquishing Satan and his hosts, and asks in particular that they would pray unceasingly for himself and the spread of the Gospel (Eph 6:18-20).

Eph 6:10. Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power.

Finally. Literally, “For the rest,” i.e., as to what remains to be said regarding necessary precepts.

Brethren is wanting in the best MSS., and is probably not authentic, as it does not occur elsewhere as here used in this Epistle.

In the Lord, the one source of spiritual strength.

And in the might of his power, i.e., in His omnipotent power.

Eph 6:11. Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.

The armor of God, i.e., the spiritual panoply which God has provided for our spiritual warfare and by which the necessary strength is given us to win the combat against the secret attacks of the devil.

To stand, i.e., to resist his wiles and temptations.

The devil. See on Eph 2:2. That passage reads: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief.” Commenting on this Fr. Callan wrote:

Wherein, etc., i.e., in which state of moral death you lived and wrought in your pagan past.

According to the course of this world, i.e., according to the evil principles and customs of this present order of things, which is under the sway and influence of Satan, who is “the prince of the power of the air” (i.e., who is the ruler of the authority of the air, or the evil ruler whose sphere of authority is the air, and who exercises his nefarious influence “on the children, etc.,” on those who refuse to believe, or who reject the Gospel). Among the Jews the air was popularly regarded as the abode of evil spirits, as heaven was God’s abode and the earth the place of man’s sojourn. Moreover, Satan’s legitimate sphere of activity is no longer in heaven (Rev 12:9; Luke 1018); nor is it on the earth, which has been reclaimed by the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Hence, the Apostle speaks of it figuratively as being between heaven and earth—in the air.

Power is more probably to be taken in an abstract sense for domination, and “spirit,” a genitive in Greek, is governed by “prince,” and means the mind or tendency by which the evil spirit, Satan, is actuated.

Children of unbelief, or better, “sons of disobedience,” is a Hebraism to signify all those who do not accept the Gospel.

Eph 6:12. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

It is necessary that our armor be strong, for our struggle “is not against flesh and blood,” i.e., against weak mortal men, “but against principalities, etc.,” i.e., against the evil spirits of darkness; “against the rulers of the world, etc.,” i.e., against the demons who are the leaders of the world of sin and moral darkness; “against the spirits of wickedness,” i.e., evil spiritual beings and forces, “in the high places,” i.e., in the place where these evil spirits dwell and where our battle with them is waged (see on Eph 1:3, 2:2). For other allusions to the Evil One and his mysterious authority over the world of men, see Luke 4:6; John 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:18.

Eph 6:13. Therefore take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.

Therefore, i.e., since our fight is so unequal, being against evil spiritual forces and powers, the Apostle urges that we take up “the armor of God,” i.e., that we make use of grace and the spiritual resources at our disposal, so as to be “able to resist in the evil day,” i.e., at the time and moment of temptation and hostile attack, with the result that when the struggle passes we may be able “to stand in all things perfect,” i.e., firm and immovable in grace and virtue, ready for the next attack.

Eph 6:14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice,

The Apostle now begins to describe the various parts of the Christian soldier’s equipment, and his imagery is drawn partly from the dress of the Roman soldiers who in turn had charge of him in prison, and partly from two passages in Isaias where the Messiah is described as a warrior (Isa. 11:4, 49:17). He speaks first (Eph 6:14-17) of defensive and then of offensive arms, giving a spiritual meaning to each of the arms and each article of dress of the Roman soldier. The Christian soldier must “stand” (i.e., be ready for the conflict), having “truth” (i.e., sincerity and moral rectitude) for belt, and “justice” (i.e., loyalty in word and action to the law of God) as breastplate; for shoes he must have readiness and alacrity of soul to affirm “the gospel of peace”; “faith” must be his shield, and the inspired “word of God” his sword.

Eph 6:15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:

Preparation. The Greek for this word occurs here only in the New Testament, and it most probably means readiness and alacrity of soul to preach the Gospel. Spiritual equipment gives the meaning of the term as well as anything. St. Chrysostom says: “The preparation of the gospel is nothing else than the best life.”

Eph 6:16. In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

In all things, etc. A lesser reading has “above all things, etc.,” which would mean that, besides all that has been just said, we should take the shield of faith, etc. But “in all things, etc.” is the better reading; and it means that in all the circumstances of our life of warfare faith is our shield, the heavy armor of our souls, by which we can ward off “the fiery darts of the wicked one,” i.e., of Satan.

Eph 6:17. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).

“The helmet of salvation” means our salvation, the salvation offered us by Christ (Cajetan), or the hope of salvation (1 Thess. 5:8). The helmet protects the head, and the salvation offered us by our Lord is the pledge of our eternal inheritance. The “sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God,” i.e., the utterance of
God; the two phrases are in apposition here, and they explain each other: “The word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).

Eph 6:18. By all prayer and supplication, praying at all times in the spirit, and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints:

Here the Apostle admonishes that we must pray at all times, in all places, and for all persons, as a means of making really effectual the foregoing helps in the battle for salvation. All our help comes from God, and prayer opens the door to God’s treasure-house of graces.

Prayer and supplication are perhaps used together here for the sake of emphasis, though the former word can be distinguished from the latter as meaning a general offering of our thoughts and desires, while the latter has reference to our special petitions.

The Spirit. Literally, “in spirit,” i.e., in the fervor of our souls as animated and inspired by the Spirit of God.

For all the saints, as all are members of the same mystical body whose head is Christ.

Eph 6:19. And for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Eph 6:20. For which I am an ambassador in a chain, so that therein I may be bold to speak according as I ought.

The Apostle now asks a part in the prayers of his readers that he may be able courageously and efficaciously to preach “the mystery of the gospel,” i.e., the perfect equality of Jews and Gentiles in the Messianic kingdom, the universality of the salvation of Christ. It was for preaching this equal salvation for all men in Christ that the Apostle was cast into prison ; and this made him, though a prisoner, the representative of Christ the King in the imperial city, “an ambassador in a chain,” i.e., coupled by a chain around his right wrist to the left of a Roman soldier in his hired lodging in Rome.




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