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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:44-52

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 20, 2014

Mat 13:44  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure. The treasure, α. As the preceding parables illustrate the efficient force of the kingdom, so do the two following describe its moral power or its desirability [Cajetan]; but there is this difference between them. that in one parable the kingdom is sought, while in the other it is found as if by accident [Cajetan, Jansenius, Sylveira, Schegg, Schanz, Fillion Knabenbauer]; in the one we see its beauty, in the other its many advantages [Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas].

The “kingdom” is like a treasure, because it incloses countless and numberless goods, as the treasure implies countless and numberless riches [cf. Ps. 19:11; 119:127; Prov. 8:11; Job 28:15–19; Wisd. 7:9]. It is like a “hidden” treasure because its value is not recognized by a soul not illumined by supernatural grace [cf. Acts 9:6; St Bruno]. The finder “hid it,” and thus in the supernatural order the finder must make a careful use of grace [Maldonado]. “For joy thereof” [Vulgate, Chrysostom, Euthymius, Fillion] rather emphasizes “his” joy according to the analogy of “his” fear [cf. Mt. 14:26; Lk. 24:41; Acts 12:14; recent commentators], than the joy over the treasure. But while the treasure and the joy it causes are expressions of the excellency of the kingdom, the sacrifices it demands are indicated by the fact that the finder “selleth all that he hath.” Though according to Rabbinic law [Surenhus. leg. mischn. iv. p. 113] the treasure belongs to the buyer of the field, Jesus does not pronounce his judgment on the manner in which the finder of the treasure acted, just as he employed the parable of the unjust steward without approving of his proceedings [cf. Lk. 16:8].

“The kingdom of heaven” in this parable and the following is Christ himself as the head of the Church [Hilary, Jerome, Paschasius, Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron], or the canon of Sacred Scriptures [Jerome, Origen, Paschasius, Alb.], or the revealed truths of faith in general [Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius], or the desire after heavenly things [Gregory], or charity, or the state of the evangelical counsels [Salmeron, Sylveira Barradas, Lapide, Schegg, etc.]. 

Mat 13:45  Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls.
Mat 13:46  Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it. 

Again the kingdom of heaven. The pearl. The seeking after the pearl presupposes a general knowledge of its excellency together with an ignorance of the individual object; thus should all men endowed with ordinary intellectual faculties appreciate in general the worth of truth and goodness, though they may doubt, for a time, about what is really true and good. The parable insists on the necessity of being a prudent merchant, of investing all one’s goods in the purchase of the precious pearl [cf. St Bruno, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Gregory hom. xi. in evang.], which is according to the evangelist the “one pearl of great price,” and therefore worthy of notice even among the pearl-kind. The relation of this parable to the foregoing, and the various meanings of “the kingdom” have been considered in the last section.

Mat 13:47 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes.  ‎
Mat 13:48 Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth.  ‎
Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just.  ‎
Mat 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  ‎

Again the kingdom of heaven. The net. This parable refers principally to the state of the Messianic kingdom “at the end of the world” [cf. v. 49], and shows that preaching on the part of the ministers and faith on the part of the hearers are not sufficient for salvation [cf. Chrysostom, Jansenius, Barradas]. The “net” is a drag, or draw-net, which sweeps the bottom of the water and permits nothing to escape it; it represents the teaching and believing Church [Origen, Hilary, Chrysostom], and may be conceived as being woven of the apostolic doctrine, the testimony of miracles, and the predictions of the prophets [Theophylact, Jerome]. The fishermen implied in the parable are the apostles and their successors in the ministry [cf. Mt. 4:19; Mk. 1:17; Lk. 5:10]. “The sea” is the world with its storms, its instability, and its many bitternesses [cf. Jansenius, Chrysologus, serm. 47], and in particular the waters of baptism may be regarded as the waters in which the fish are caught [St Bruno]. The net was “cast into the sea” when our Lord gave his disciples the commission to teach all nations [St Bruno]; it is a “gathering together of all kinds of fishes” because there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, rich and poor. The net will be “filled,” when after the fulness of the Gentiles has entered, all Israel shall be saved [cf. Rom. 11:25-26], when the gospel shall have been preached to all nations Mt. 24:14]. The gospel does not say that all fish, or men, shall be caught, but that the net shall be full. Then follows the process of separation in the Church as well as in the fisherman’s trade: “they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad [i. e. the putrid and maimed] they cast forth”; there is this difference, however, that in the Church the separation is effected by “the angels” [verse 50], not by the fishermen, and again that the wicked are not merely rejected from the kingdom, but “cast into the furnace of fire, [where] there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The torment and despair indicated by this expression have been pointed out above; we may add here that Jesus repeats this threat of eternal punishment with a frightful frequency [cf. Mt. 5:20 ff.; 8:12; 10:28; 12:32; 13:42, 50], so that these words must be feared rather than explained [Gregory].

Mat 13:51 Have ye understood all these things? They say to him: Yes.  ‎52 He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old. 
Mat 13:52 He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.

Have ye understood. Conclusion of the Sermon. As if to show that for the present there is no need of further parables, the evangelist records here our Lord’s question concerning the disciples’ understanding of what has been said, and the disciples’ affirmative answer which is true of their limited knowledge before the coming of the Holy Ghost. Jesus then continues, and draws a practical conclusion regarding the use the apostles must make of their knowledge. “Therefore” is not merely an asseverative particle in the Greek original [cf. Euthymius]; nor does it connect with the parable of the treasure-trove, as if the apostles had to be like the householder because the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure [cf. Augustine, qu. in evang. Mt. 16; Maldonado]; but it connects with the affirmative answer of the apostles [Chrysostom, Jansenius, Sylveira, Barradas, Arnoldi, Schanz, Fillion, Knabenbauer]. “Every scribe” is not every scribe in the Jewish sense, but the scribe “instructed in the kingdom of heaven,” or better “enrolled as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven.” Concerning the Greek word here rendered “instructed,” cf. Mt. 27:57; 28:19; Acts 14:21; in the Greek text the kingdom is construed personally as if it were the teacher of the apostles, so that Euthymius explains it as “the king of heaven.” The “new things and old” represent the revelation of the New and Old Testament [cf. Origen, Hilary, Jerome, Chrysostom, Cyril, Euthymius, Paschasius, Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius the Carthusian, Salmeron, Cajetan, Maldonado], or the teaching of the New Testament confirmed by the authority of the Old [Theophylact], or the Old Testament in the light of the revelations of the New [Thomas], or the truths referring to the old and the new man, i. e. to the unregenerate and the regenerate [Alb. Paschasius, Salmeron], or the truths concerning the horrors of punishment and those referring to the happiness of the kingdom [Gregory], or truths already known and truths as yet unknown, but explained by means of the known [Barradas, Sylveira], or truths in plenty and abundance of all kinds [cf. Jansenius, Maldonado, Barradas, Lapide, Calmet, Lam. Arnoldi, Fillion, Knabenbauer; Cant. 7:13]. According to this last view the expression is proverbial [cf. Maldonado]. The order “new things and old” is either owing to the proverbial character of the expression, or to the importance of the subject [Augustine, civ. dei, xx. 4], or to the order to be observed in teaching, or even to that followed in learning [cf. Knabenbauer].

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:28-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 20, 2014

This post opens with an Analysis of Romans chapter 8 followed by the notes on verses 28-30. Text in purple indicates a paraphrasing of the biblical text being commented on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

ANALYSIS OF ROMANS CHAPTER 8
In this chapter, after inferring from the foregoing that the baptized have nothing deserving of damnation, except so far as they consent to the motions of concupiscence (Rom 8: 1), the Apostle tells us that we are rescued from the dominion of concupiscence by the grace of the Gospel (Rom 8:2-4.) He shows the different motions and effects of the flesh and of the spirit (Rom 8:4–9). He exhorts us to live according to the spirit, and points out the spiritual and eternal life of both soul and body, resulting from such a course (Rom 8:9–11). He next exhorts us to follow the dictates of the spirit, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh, in order to escape death and obtain life (Rom 8:12-13)—to act up to our calling as sons of God, and to conform to the spirit of charity and love, which we received, unlike to that of the Jews of old, and by thus acting as sons of God, to secure the Heavenly inheritance, which we shall certainly obtain, on condition, however, of suffering (Rom 8:13–17). Lest this condition should dishearten them, he points out the greatness of God’s inheritance,—so great indeed is it, that he personifies inanimate creatures, and represents them as groaning for this glorious consummation. The very Christians themselves, although in the infancy of the Church, they received the sweet pledge of future glory in the choice gifts of the Holy Ghost, were sighing for it (Rom 8:17–24). The Holy Ghost, besides the assurance he gave them of being sons of God, was also relieving their necessities and prompting them to pray with ineffable ardour of spirit (Rom 8:26-27). The Apostle encourages them to patient suffering by pointing out to them that they were predestined for these sufferings as the means of their sanctification and future glorification (Rom 8:28–30), and, finally, he excites them to confidence in God (Rom 8:31–38).

Rom 8:28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.

 But although out infirmity be so great as not to know what to pray for, or how to pray as we ought; still we should not be disheartened under crosses and sufferings. For, we know that by the disposition of an all-wise Providence, all things work together unto the good of those who love God; of those, I say, who have been, by his gratuitous decree, called by him to the profession and practice of sanctity, and obey his call.

“To such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” The word “saints” is not in the Greek: “called,” as appears from the Greek, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν, is not a participle, but a noun.

This passage is intended by the Apostle to stimulate the Romans to the patient endurance of the crosses of this life; for we know that all things, whether prosperity or adversity, nay, even their very sins (as is added by some of the Commentators), which serve the purpose of humiliation, work together unto the good of those who love God. And to show that this love regarded the faithful among the Romans, the Apostle explains it, by saying, “such as according to his purpose,” πρόθεσιν, i.e., his gratuitous decree, “are called to be saints.”

Commentators are greatly divided as to the object of this “purpose” or decree in question. Some assert that it regards the decree of giving glory; and even these are divided on this subject; one class of them says, that the decree of giving glory is prior to, and quite independent of, the good works of man. Those hold predestination to glory to be, ante prævisa merita (see note below). On the other hand, a second class maintain that the prevision of man’s future merits is prior, in the divine mind, to the decree of giving glory. These are the advocates of Predestination to glory, post prævisa merita (see note below). Others assert, that this decree in question regards not glory directly, but grace and sanctity (Father MacEvilly will treat of this position in the next paragraph, following my note). The advocates of the former opinion ground their interpretation: 1st, On the words “all things work together,” &c. Now, it is only of those called to glory, this could be true. 2ndly, They say, the word “purpose,” in Greek, πρόθεσιν, signifies a decree or infallible efficacy. 3rdly, The words, “called according to his purpose,” (for the words “to be saints,” are not in the Greek), are restrictive of the preceding. 4thly, The word “glorifies,” (verse 30), shows glory to be the term of the decree. Those who think the decree refers to grace and sanctity have a response to these four points. This response is given in the second paragraph below my note.

NOTE: The two Latin phrases, ante prævisa merita, and post prævisa merita, relate to the question “whether God’s eternal resolve of Predestination has been taken with (post) or without (ante) consideration (praevisa) of the merits (merita) of the man” [Ott, L. (1957). Fundamentals of Catholic dogma. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company.Text within parentheses are my additions].

The advocates of the interpretation, which makes the decree refer to grace and sanctity, ground it: 1st, On the words, “called to be saints,” which is the term of the decree, and the words mean, called to state and profession of sanctity—the meaning in which the same words are taken in the different introductory salutations in the Epistle of St. Paul, 2ndly, The very object of the Apostle introducing the concurrence of all things towards their good, as a motive to induce them to bear patiently the crosses of this life, would prove the same; since all whom he addresses were called to grace and sanctity, but they could not all regard themselves as called to glory. Finally, the general objects of the Apostle in this Epistle, which regards the gratuitous call to grace of the Romans (for it was regarding this alone there was any controversy), makes it probable that here, too, he refers to the same.

In reply to the arguments of the preceding interpretation (that the decree concerns glory), they say: 1st, That “all things,” may be restricted by the subject matter to mean, all sufferings; and that the words, “work together,” do not necessarily imply actual working together, but only that these sufferings are intended, according to the antecedent will of God, for their sanctification. And even though all sufferings may not work together for the good of such as fall away from justice; still the Apostle, in the fervour of his charity, abstracts from the possible chance of their not persevering, and to draw a line of distinction between those called to glory and those rejected from it, would only injure the object he has in view, by throwing some into despondency. 2ndly, They say the word “purpose,” does not involve absolute infallible efficacy (v.g. Acts, 11:23); and morever, even though it did, no inconvenience would result; because, the grace and sanctity, which, in their opinion, it regards, are infallibly conferred. 3rdly. These words are explanatory, not restrictive. 4thly, Glory is only the reward of justice, and are we to wonder if the great charity of the Apostle made him abstract from the possibility of their not persevering, who were called, and represent all those whom God predestined to sanctity, as receiving the crown of glory which is decreed only for those who persevere? The latter opinion seems far the more probable. Hence, we have nothing to do here with the relative probability or improbability of the opinions regarding the decrees of glory, ante prævisa merita, or post prævisa merita. No doubt, the latter opinion appears far more in accordance with the doctrine of the Apostles, asserting that “God wishes all men to be saved,” and “none to perish;” more in accordance with our ideas of the goodnesss of God manifested in the death of Christ for all, and his tears and labours for the conversion of sinners during his mortal life. It is still free for any Theologian to hold either opinion. It is, however, to be observed, that although we can hold, that in predestinating men to glory, God is actuated by the prevision of the good works of those whom he predestines—post prævisa merita—and this is even, as has been just stated, the more probable opinion; still, no one could hold, without falling into the semi-Pelagian heresy, that in predestining men to grace, God is actuated by the prevision of their correspondence with this grace, as the motive of his conferring it. And although we may hold, negative reprobation, or, the non-predestinating, and selecting men out of the mass of perdition, to be, ante prævisa demerita—no doubt a very improbable opinion—still, no one, without falling into the shocking heresy of Calvin, could hold positive reprobation, or the decree of devoting anyone to eternal punishment, to be, ante prævisa demerita. The reason is, that Predestination ante prævisa merita, being a free gratuitous act of goodness of the part of God, he could exercise it as he pleased; but it would be unjust to inflict a punishment without some fault. Hence, God would be cruel and unjust in marking out men for punishment without some fault, i.e., in reprobating them positively, ante prævisa demerita. Of all the errors of Calvin, this is, perhaps, the most shocking and blasphemous. Concerning the subject matter dealt with in the preceding paragraphs see here.

Rom 8:29 For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son: that he might be the Firstborn amongst many brethren.

Because these are they whom he foreknew, nay, even predestined to a conformity in patience with the model presented by his Son in patient suffering; in order that he who, in his Divine nature, is the only begotten Son of God, would, as Man, be the first begotten among many adopted brethren.

In this verse, the Apostle explains why all things work together unto the good of those “called according to the purpose,” or gratuitous decree of God. The construction of the verse, adopted by the generality of Commentators, is this, “for whom he foreknew (those) he also predestinated.” Such of them as make the passage refer to predestination to glory, by “foreknew,” understand “those whom he foreknew by a knowledge of love and predilection,” i.e., whom he loved from eternity, those he predestined. The others say the words mean, “those whom he foreknew would be conformable to the image of his Son, he predestined to be such.” A’Lapide, whose interpretation has been adopted in the Paraphrase, says that the Apostle in this verse enters on an explanation of the nature of predestination referred to here, and then resumes the word “predestinated,” in next verse (Rom 8:30) in which the sentence suspended is completed. This construction perfectly accords with the style of the Apostle, who, carried away by some idea that occurs to him, sometimes, defers, for a long time, the completion of a sentence (v.g. Rom 5:12; chap. 3. Epistle to the Ephesians). According to this construction, the words of our English version: “For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated,” should be rendered from the Vulgate, quos præscivit et prædestinavit, “whom he foreknew and predestinated;” and, then, a marked difference is clearly perceptible in the text, between the mode in which the words, “he foreknew,” and “predestinated,” in this verse are connected, and the connexion which exists between any of the verbs in next verse. He says here, “whom he foreknew and predestinated.” In the next verse, “whom he predestinated, them he also called—whom he called, them he also justified,” &c. And this interpretation of A’Lapide requires the introduction of no other word in the sentence. Hence, his interpretation is adopted in the Paraphrase, in preference to any other. He connects Rom 8:29 with Rom 8:28, thus: “all things work together, &c.” (verse 28). Because these are they whom God foreknew, and predestinated to be conformable to the image of his Son, or to the model which his Son presents (v. 29). This conformity is to exist in suffering and justice; no doubt, it will extend to glory also. According to A’Lapide, “also” or “and” has the meaning of “because,” “nay even,” as if to say, “he foreknew, because he predestined them to be conformable to the image of his Son,” in justice and suffering. “That he might be the first-born,” &c. This predestination redounds to the glory of Christ, who, as God, is the only begotten, and as Man, is the natural Son of God, and first-born among the others who are only his adopted sons.

Rom 8:30 And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Those (I say), whom he predestined to a conformity in suffering with his Son, he called to these sufferings; and whom he called, he has justified by these sufferings; and whom he justified, he has glorified.

“And whom he predestinated.” Resuming the sentence suspended last verse, he says, “those (I say) whom he predestinated” to a conformity with the Son in suffering, he called to the same; “whom he called, he justified” by these sufferings, “and whom he justified, he glorified” by the same. The Apostle uses the past tense, though some of the events are future in regard to many, to show the certainty of the future events marked out in God’s decrees. We are not to suppose each of the terms which express the order in which the decrees of God are executed to be equally extensive, so that all are glorified, who are called. The words only mean, that out of the “called” are the “justified,” and out of the “justified” the “glorified.”

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalms 9 and 10 (Psalm 9 in LXX and Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 16, 2014

In the Greek Septuagint (LXX) and the Latin Vulgate Psalms 9 and 10 are treated (correctly) as a single psalm, numbered 9. Most modern bibles treat them as two separate psalms, numbered 9 and 10. Father Boylan follows the LXX/Vulgate numbering. What he refers to as part one of the psalm corresponds to the modern psalm number 9. Part two corresponds to the modern psalm number 10.

A SONG OF THANKS FOR THE OVERTHROW OF ENEMIES

THE first part of this psalm (verses 2-21) is a song of thanks giving for the rescue of Israel from foreign enemies; the second part (22-39) i s a prayer for protection against troubles which have arisen within the Hebrew State.

Part I. The Lord has held judgment over the heathen strangers. He has reduced their cities to ruins, and blotted out their name forever. Israel, avenged and victorious, sings glad songs of praise and thanks in Jerusalem. The heathens have met with that same fate which they had planned for Sion. The first part ends with a strong appeal to the Lord to set a masterful ruler over the heathens that they may realise that they are but mere men.

Part II begins with a complaint that the Lord is not helping in the hour of need. He seems to stand afar off, and to give no thought to His friends. The friends of the Lord are here the poor and the God-fearing, who are pursued and oppressed by godless Israelites. The oppression of the weaker Israelites by the wealthy and insolent and God-defying aristocrats is vividly described. The psalmist prays to God, as the sole refuge of the weak and lowly, to break the power of their ruthless oppressors.

The concluding verses (37-39) serve as a conclusion to both parts of the psalm. The foreign enemies have been ruined, and the oppressors within Israel have learned the lesson that man is but man, and that God is the shield of the weak and oppressed. The two parts of the poem end with the same thought.

In this analysis it is assumed that the two parts constitute a single poem. The Hebrew text regards them as two separate poems. The combined arrangement is, however, supported by certain features of the Hebrew text itself. This psalm is one of the alphabetical psalms, and the alphabetical structure is continued through the two parts. The two parts form a single psalm in the Greek versions, and in Jerome s version. The Hebrew text of the second part (Ps. 10 Hebrew) has no title as if it had been set in isolation by some accident. As we see, the two parts, besides being connected by the acrostic arrangement, end similarly, and the situation of Part I is implied in the conclusion of Part II. The Vulgate arrangement of the two parts as one poem is, therefore, to be retained. Since, however, Part II forms a separate psalm in the Hebrew text, the Vulgate numbering of the psalms will henceforth, for the most part, be different from that of the Massoretic text (and therefore also, of the Revised Version).

The occasion of this poem cannot be determined. David had many experiences of victories abroad and troubles at home. Yet it is very difficult to find in any known incidents of his reign a background for the ninth Psalm. The tendency of many modern commentators
is to parallel Part I with the prophecy of Nahum, and to explain the defeat of the heathen as referring to the fall of Niniveh. More radical critics would find the inspiration for the two parts in events of the Maccabean period. If we set aside the Vulgate ascription of the psalm to David, we shall have nothing to guide us in placing the poem but mere subjectivism. The words of the title: Pro occultis filii may point back to a consonantal Hebrew text which could be translated, According to the death of the Son but this again, would give us no help in discovering the historical context of the psalm.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 12:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 16, 2014

Matt 12:1 AT that time Jesus went through the corn on the sabbath: and his disciples being hungry, began to pluck the ears, and to eat.

“At that time.” This form of words is frequently found in the Gospels, to refer, in merely a general way, to the period of our Redeemer’s preaching and public mission, without specifying any particular time, or marking out any connected order of events. From Mark (2) and Luke (6) it seems quite clear, that the events recorded here by St. Matthew, occurred before the mission of the Apostles (10).

“Went through the corn,” that is, the corn-fields, where the corn was ripe for the sickle.

“On the Sabbath.” The word, “Sabbath,” literally means, rest, in allusion to the rest of God, after perfecting the works of creation. (Heb. 4) It commonly denotes the seventh day, specially appointed, in the Jewish law, to be kept holy, and free from servile works of any kind (Exod. 35:3). It also was intended to denote all feasts among the Jews, and was employed, too, to designate the entire week. Hence, the words, first, second, third, &c., days of the Sabbath.

Here, the word would seem to be taken in its strict signification, as denoting the seventh day of the week, which, by a perpetual law, whether from creation, or, at least, from the time of Moses, was appointed to be kept “holy.” That it refers not to the great festivals, or the days of the week, seems very probable, from the fact, that it was allowed, on these festival days, to prepare meat, &c.; and, hence, the Pharisees would have no ground for accusing our Redeemer’s disciples, which, with all their malice, they would hardly do, if the letter of the law was not infringed upon; and, although our Redeemer’s reply does not expressly admit, that the letter of the Jewish law was violated by His disciples.—He does not openly say, that pulling of ears of corn was a servile work,—still, it indicates that His disciples did what was justified only by the necessity of the case. It was only on the Sabbath, strictly so called, such mode of acting was unlawful.

St. Luke (6:1), terms it, “the second first Sabbath.” What this “second first” means is much disputed. Some understand by it, a Sabbath on which another great festival had fallen, or with which such a festival concurred. So that it was doubly solemn—doubly a day of rest. “Secundo,” i.e., bis primum (St. Chrysostom). And, as it was a time when the ears of corn were ripe, it must be either the Pasch, or its seventh day (for, the seventh day of the Pasch was a solemn festival), or Pentecost. According to some, it was at the Paschal time; for, then the sheaf of first fruits was usually presented (Lev. 23:10). And at the Feast of Pentecost, that is, full seven weeks after the Pasch (Lev. 23:15), they were to offer two loaves of the first fruits (Lev. 23:17). Hence, it must fall on either Pasch or Pentecost; for, with these only could the season of ripe corn correspond. The feasts of new moons were only festivals in the temple, but not of obligation among the people.

Others say, that the word, “second first” (δευτεροπρώτῳ—secundo-primo), means, the Sabbath that concurred with the Feast of Pentecost, or fell within the week of Pentecost, which had no octave, like the Pasch (which had seven days), or the Feast of Tabernacles (which had eight days), and it was called “second first” or first, in the second place; because, the Sabbath that fell within the week of the Pasch, was first first, or πρωτοπρωτον, or, absolutely, the first of all the great Sabbaths of the year. Hence, St. John says of it, “it was a great Sabbath day” (John 19:31). So that as the Pasch was the greatest of all festivals, the Sabbath that fell within the Pasch was the greatest, or first first, Sabbath; and as Pentecost was the second greatest festival, so the Sabbath that fell within it was next in dignity to the Sabbath within the Pasch. Hence, “second first.” The three great festivals were termed, πρωτα, or first. Pasch had the πρωτοπρωτον, the first first Sabbath, by excellence. Pentecost, δευτεροπρωτον, the second first. Tabernacles, the third, τριτοπρωτον. Others, by second first, understand the octave day of the festival having an octave, which, it was commanded, should be celebrated with solemnity equal to that of the feast itself (Lev. 23; Num. 29:35).

“Sabbath.” St. Mark (2:23), has the plural, and so has the Greek here, τοις σαββατοις, on the Sabbaths, which, by a Hebrew idiom, is used for the singular, and means, on one of the Sabbath days.

“And His disciples being hungry.” Very likely, owing to the concourse of the multitude, they forgot to make any provision for their corporal wants.

“Began to pluck the ears,” &c. St. Luke says (6:1), “they rubbed the ears in their hands.” It was allowed the Jews to do this, when passing through their neighbour’s field (Deut. 23:25). This whole passage indicates the austere and mortified life led by our Redeemer and His disciples, who were content with the simplest fare, with what came next to hand, sometimes suffering the pangs of hunger, poor, without scrip or staff. It contains a clear refutation of the implied charge, made against our Lord and His disciples, on the subject of not fasting (9:14; Luke 5:33). Hence, the occurrence recorded here, is narrated by St. Mark (2:23), after the charge referred to.

Matt 12:2 And the Pharisees seeing them, said to him: Behold thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days.

The Pharisees do not make it a charge, or subject of accusation, against our Lord’s disciples, that they plucked the ears of corn, or were guilty, in any way, of theft. Their charge is confined to the violation of the Sabbath, as if this was a servile work, included in the prohibition of the law.

“Said to Him.” St. Luke, “said to them.” Probably, they charged both Him and them; or, it may be said, that in reproaching our Redeemer with the act of His disciples, they charged Him, at the same time. It was not for walking on the Sabbath, they reproached them. A walk to a certain distance was allowed on the Sabbath. The law permitted “a Sabbath-day’s journey.”

Matt 12:3 But he said to them: Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him:

Our Redeemer adduces several reasons to exculpate, or justify, the conduct of His disciples; the first is, the plea of necessity. A law of a higher order, and of more binding force, the law of Nature, which prompted them to sustain life and appease the pangs of hunger, predominated over the positive enactment regarding the abstention from servile work on the Sabbath. He quotes the conduct of David—a man according to God’s own heart—which had the sanction and approval of the high priest at the time, as a case in point.

“Have you not read,” in which He reproaches them with their ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures, their knowledge of which they made a subject of boasting.

“What David did.” (See 1 Kings 21:1–6)

“And they that were with him.” From the passage referred to (v. 1), it would seem David was alone. “Why art thou alone,” says Achimelech, “and no one with thee?” The answer is, that David was alone when he went to Achimelech (“and no one with thee”); but that he brought the holy bread to his attendants, whom “he appointed to such and such a place” (21:2).

Matt 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the loaves of proposition, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for them that were with him, but for the priests only?

“How he entered into the house of God.” This was at Nobe. It does not mean the temple which was not then built, but the place, or hall, contiguous to the Tabernacle, which was kept at Nobe, a sacerdotal city (1 Sam 22:19). The ark was not there; it was kept at Silo. St. Mark 2:26 says, this occurred “under Abiathar the high priest.” In the 1 Sam 21:1, Achimelech is said to be the high priest in question. Some expositors, with St. Chrysostom (Hom. 40, in Mattheum), Theophylact, Jansenius, &c., undertake to reconcile both accounts by saying, that Achimelech, the father, and Abiathar, his son, had each the two names. So that each was called Achimelech and Abiathar. For (2 Sam 8:17), it is said, that when David mounted the throne, Achimelech, the son of Abiathar, was high priest with Sadoc, the son of Achitob. Now, by Abiathar here, is meant he who is called Achimelech (1 Sam 21:1). For, Achimelech, the father, was slain by Saul (1 Sam 22:18); and his son, Abiathar, was high priest during the whole of David’s reign, and during a part of Solomon’s. Hence, by Achimelech, is meant Abiathar; and so, both had the two names in common.

Others, with Venerable Bede, Cajetan, &c., say, Abiathar was present and sanctioned the act; and, so made it his own. Likely, he was associated with his father in the priestly functions, which old age prevented him from fully exercising.

Others say, the words, “under Abiathar,” should be rendered, “in the chapter called Abiathar;” because, the Jews divided the SS. Scriptures into parts, and called the parts from the principal person spoken of in them. Thus, “in Elias” (Rom. 11:2), means, the part called “Elias.”

“And did eat the loaves of proposition,” called in Hebrew, “bread of the face,” because placed in the Holy, in the Tabernacle, six on each side, before the face or throne of God, which was in Holy of Holies. These breads, corresponding in number with the twelve tribes of Israel, served as a constant memorial, and perpetual recognition, on the part of the Jewish people, that they were continually fed and supported by the Lord.

“Nor for them that were with him.” David, although a king and a prophet—and as such entitled to extraordinary privileges—had no privilege whatever, any more than his attendants had, to partake of this holy bread. The privilege of partaking of it was exclusively reserved for the priests.

The argument from David’s case is very strong. First, not only did David himself partake of these breads, but so did also his followers; and the high priest had no scruple in giving them, under the circumstances of necessity. Secondly, there seems to be greater deordination for laics in partaking of holy bread, which priests alone were allowed to eat, than in working on the Sabbath; and if necessity justified, or excused, the former, how much more the latter.

Matt 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple break the sabbath, and are without blame?

He adduces another, and still clearer, example, to show that His disciples did not act unlawfully, as was alleged.

“Read in the law,” of Moses. (The fact of David might be referred to the Prophets.)

“That on the Sabbath-days, the priests,” &c. This is not expressly said in the law; but, it is substantially contained in several parts of it, v.g., Numbers (28) and elsewhere, where the rite of sacrificing, which necessarily involves great servile labour, in slaying, burning, offering the victims, is sanctioned.

“How that on the Sabbath-days the priests,” &c. Every word is expressive—the time, “Sabbath-days;” the place, “in the temple;” the persons, of all others, who should be most observant, “the priests.”

“Break,” a stronger phrase than, observe not. They did so materially; but, still, they acted, according to the precepts of the law.

“And are without blame.” The law itself allowed, in this case, this apparent departure from its general enactments. The act of sacrificing, &c., was, per se, a servile act. But it was allowed by the law; otherwise, it would be against the general provisions of the law of Moses.

Matt 12:6 But I tell you that there is here a greater than the temple.

They might object, and say: You are no priest; nor is the work done for the service of the temple. He replies, and shows how the alleged example of Sabbath breaking in the temple applies in the present case. If the sanctity of the temple excused those who laboured in its service, how much more will ministering to, and waiting upon, the Lord of the temple, excuse those who are employed in this meritorious office. If the service of the temple justified the priests in violating the letter of the law, how much more can I, who am still greater than the temple, nay, the Lord of the temple, to serve whom is still more meritorious, dispense My disciples from the Sabbatical law, while attending on Me. In this unavoidable attendance on Him, His disciples were excused as much, by so doing, as were the priests of the Old Law, in sacrificing, owing to their unavoidable attendance at the temple, on the Sabbath. This is an argumentum a minori ad majus (argument from the minor to the major). The law relating to the observance of the Sabbath, admits of the interpretation, or rather limitation, that it does not extend to the labours of the temple. For, the priests in the temple perform works which, in se, and looking to the mere letter of the law, would seem to be a violation of the Sabbath. And, still, they are excused; because, they perform works prescribed by the Legislator Himself on the Sabbath. How much more ought My disciples be blameless, when, merely plucking a few ears of corn, to appease hunger, while ministering to Me, who am Lord of the temple.

Matt 12:7 And if you knew what this meaneth: I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: you would never have condemned the innocent.

Another reason to excuse His disciples. If the Pharisees properly understood the words of God, quoted by the Prophet Hosea 6:6, I prefer mercy, i.e., the exercise of humanity, and benevolence, and charity towards the poor, to sacrifice, and all other external observances, they would not have condemned the disciples, when in the exercise of mercy to the souls of their brethren, whom they wished to rescue from eternal perdition, they did what seemed to be a mere material violation of the letter of the law. Or, “mercy,” might contain an allusion to the conduct of the Pharisees, who, devoid of all feelings of humanity and benevolence, were accusing the disciples, out of excessive zeal for the law. They were preferring sacrifice to mercy, which they failed to exercise. If the disciples, while suffering from hunger, were prevented from plucking a few ears of corn to appease hunger, this would be against charity and mercy; and if they gave over the sacred ministry, in obedience to ceremonial precepts, they would be preferring sacrifice to mercy. Had the Pharisees attended to this, they “would never have condemned the innocent” disciples.

Matt 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath.

“For the Son of man,” &c. This is the final reason adduced to justify the disciples. They were dispensed by Himself, who, as Man God, “was Lord even of the Sabbath,” and could dispense with its observance; or, could command it to be observed in what way soever He pleased.

“Even of the Sabbath,” that is, of the Sabbath, as well as of everything else. “Even,” is rejected by several MSS. The particle, “for,” shows this to be an additional reason to prove the innocence of the disciples; because, they were dispensed by legitimate authority—viz., by Himself, “the Son of man,” His peculiar designation in the New Testament.

St. Mark (2:27), adduces an additional reason: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The Sabbath rest was instituted for man’s benefit and advantage, in order that he would be free, and obtain a respite from bodily labour, and might thus be at leisure to attend to God’s worship, and meditate on His heavenly law and benefits, “and not man for the Sabbath.” So that if man’s corporal or spiritual necessity or utility required it, man would be free to dispense with the Sabbath observances and obligations. In a word, man’s benefit, his life, his salvation, and whatever serves to forward both, being the end for which the Sabbatical rest was instituted, are, therefore, superior to it. Hence, whenever the end or object of the Sabbatical ordinances becomes incompatible with the observance of the Sabbath, or Sabbatical observances become injurious to man’s corporal or spiritual interests, these latter, as being more important, are to be consulted for in preference. St. Mark seems to make this (5:8) an inference from the foregoing, “THEREFORE, the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.” St. Luke (6:5), records them, as does St. Matthew here without making them an inference: “And he said to them: The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

Our Redeemer having, in four ways, excused His disciples, assigns four causes for transgressing a law. 1. Its opposition to the law of nature. 2. Its opposition to another particular and superior law. 3. Its opposition to humanity and love of our neighbour. 4. A dispensation from it by legitimate authority. (Jansenius Gandav.)

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Commentaries for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 14, 2014

READINGS AND OFFICE:

Today’s Mass Readings (NABRE). Translation used in the USA.

Today’s Mass Readings (NJB). Scroll down slightly. The NJB is used in most other English speaking countries.

Today’s Divine Office.

Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12.

My Notes on 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12. On verses 4-13.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12.

Word-Sunday Notes on 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 119.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 119.

Pending: My Notes on Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 119.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Romans 8:28-30.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:28-30.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:28-30.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:28-30.

Word-Sunday Notes on Romans 8:28-30.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READINGS: Matthew 13:44-52.

Father Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 13:44-52.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 13:44-52.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 13:44-52.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:44-52.

 

 

 

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Commentaries for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 13, 2014

READINGS AND OFFICE: Today’s Gospel allows for a longer or shorter reading.

Today’s Mass Readings (NABRE). Translation used in the USA.

Today’s Mass Readings (NJB). Scroll down slightly. The NJB is used in most other English speaking countries.

Today’s Divine Office.

Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Wisdom 12:13, 16-19.

Word-Sunday Notes on Wisdom 12:13-, 16-19.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 86.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 86.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 86.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 86.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Romans 8:26-27.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:26-27.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:26-27.

Word-Sunday Notes on Romans 8:26-27.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:26-27.

Homilist’s Catechism on Romans 8:26-27.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Romans 8:26-27. Readings from a couple of translations followed by commentary.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 13:24-43.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 13:24-43.

Word-Sunday Notes on Matthew 13:24-43.

Pending: Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:24-43.

Shorter Reading: Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 13:24-30.

Shorter Reading: Homilist’s Catechism on Matthew 13:24-30.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 13:24-43

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 13, 2014

Mat 13:24 Another parable he proposed to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field.

In the foregoing parable (of the Sower, Mt 13:1-8, 18-23), our Lord conveys, that the Gospel seed does not always produce fruit in the hearers; that three-fourths of the seed produced no fruit at all, on account of the soil on which it fell. Only a fourth part, that fell on good soil, was productive. He now proposes another parable, closely connected with the subject of the foregoing. In this parable of “the cockle” He wishes to inform us, that even on the good soil—God’s Church—not all are good or virtuous. The good are sometimes mixed with hypocrites and wicked men; that the good seed which produced such abundant fruit, referred to, in the preceding verse, is not always free from weeds, which are sometimes mixed up with it.

“The kingdom of heaven,” viz., the Church of Christ, “is likened to a man that sowed good seed,” &c. The kingdom of heaven is not precisely like the man who sows seed. The meaning of this and similar forms of expression is: Something happens in regard to the kingdom of heaven, similar to what follows, &c.; and in reference to the present example, this is clearly expressed by St. Mark 4:26, “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the earth.” In the application of parables to the principal subject, which they are intended to illustrate, it is neither necessary, nor, sometimes, expedient, to apply all the parts of the parable to the parts of the subject of illustration; but, only the whole subject, or, rather, the principal parts, of the parable, to the whole subject to be illustrated; since, there are several parts of the parable that have no signification or force whatever in the mind of the speaker, and are introduced for ornament’s sake, and for the purpose of rendering the narrative in the parable complete, consistent, and true to nature throughout, in regard to the, literal and original texture of the parable itself. The parts of the parable to be applied can be easily seen from the scope of those who employ it, and from the context. Thus, we see that in the explanation and application of this parable of the cockle, by our Blessed Lord (v. 37), at the earnest prayer of His Apostles, He says nothing whatever of the servants, who wished to pluck up the cockle, and gather it up, nor of the sleep of the husbandman, during which the enemy sowed the cockle, &c.; because, probably, these parts had nothing to do with the main object He had in view in introducing the parable.

Mat 13:25 But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way.

“But while men were asleep,” simply means, during the darkness of the night, when the world is at rest. Others understand it, of the indolent neglect of the pastors of the Church. “His enemy came.” The sower of the good seed was the first to sow the seed in his field, and this in the light of day; the enemy came furtively in the night, to sow cockle over it, where the good seed had been previously sown.

Mat 13:26 And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle.

When the good seed was on the point of maturity, the cockle appeared.

Mat 13:27 And the servants of the good man of the house coming said to him. Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? Whence then hath it cockle?

Who “the servants” are, our Redeemer does not say, in His exposition of the parable; probably, because this did not fall within the general scope of the parable, but was introduced merely to fill up the parabolical narrative.

By “servants,” some understand, the angels (St. Jerome). Others, with St. Augustine, understand by them, good men, zealous in the cause of justice.

Mat 13:28 And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up?

“Wilt thou?” &c., shows the zeal of the servants of God, who would have no wicked men in the world, nor cockle in the field of the Lord.

Mat 13:29 And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it.

Our Lord restrains their zeal, lest, in the indiscriminate destruction of the wicked, the good also should suffer. From the words of this verse, it by no means follows, that the disseminators of false doctrines, or of wicked principles, should be permitted, whenever there is power to restrain them, to circulate their false and wicked principles, without hindrance or punishment. All that follows from this passage is, that no persons are warranted, of their own private authority, to punish such men, any more than they are permitted to punish evil-doers, in other respects, of their own authority. But those vested with public authority are not prohibited, for the general good, to visit transgressors, whether against faith or morals, with due punishment. The laws of all civilized and Christian states punish gross violations of the moral law. Moreover, we are not to apply to the subject all the parts of a parable. But, even supposing this part were applied, all that would follow is, that, in general, the wicked of all classes, are to be tolerated and permitted to live among the good. Besides, so far as the reason assigned here, by the father of the family, is concerned, the toleration towards them holds only when there is any doubt about them, and they are not manifestly guilty, and distinguishable from the good; but whenever their guilt is so manifest, that such people have no defenders, and there can be no fear of evil consequences, then, so far as the reason assigned here is concerned, there is nothing against extirpating and punishing the incorrigible and perverse enemies of religion and society; and this particularly holds when the punishment of miscreants, who scatter broadcast principles subversive of all order, of civil society, as well as of religion, is necessary for the preservation of the good seed.

Mat 13:30 Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.

Verse 30 is fully explained by our Lord Himself, (vv. 39, 40, &c.) He explains the parable of the cockle (vv. 37–43).

Mat 13:31 Another parable he proposed unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field.

This is the fourth parable, which in St. Mark (4:30), is thus introduced: “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? or to what parable shall we compare it?”
The spread of the Church, and the Gospel doctrine—the meaning of, “kingdom of heaven”—is, “like to a grain of mustard seed,” &c.

Mat 13:32 Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof.

“Which is indeed the least of all seeds.” There are some smaller seeds. The words mean, it is one of the least of all seeds. It is quite a common form of expression, when speaking of something small, to speak of it in the superlative, and to say of it, it is the least, or, a very small, thing. “But when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs.” In hot countries, the mustard seed grows into a small tree, exceeding in height the human stature (Lucas Brugensis), “so that the birds of the air come and dwell,” that is, perch, “in the branches thereof.” The Greek word, κατασκηνοῦν, would convey the idea, of nestling, or fixing their abode. But the word, “dwell,” may mean, to rest, or perch, on the branches.

The parable of the mustard seed, exhibits the great virtue and active efficacy of the Gospel doctrine. It was a proverbial kind of saying among the Jews, when they spoke of anything very small, to compare it to a mustard seed. The parable of the mustard seed is not explained by our Divine Redeemer. We are left to explain it ourselves. The holy Fathers understand it, of the spread of the faith and of the Gospel. It exhibits to us also the great virtue and active efficacy of the Gospel doctrine. This doctrine of the Gospel, whereby the Church was founded, and gathered together, was, from a human point of view, the meanest and most contemptible of all other doctrines, whether we regard the subjects it propounded—the mysterious doctrines of original sin, and the other mysteries impervious to human reason—its maxims so opposed to flesh and blood; or, its original Founder, a crucified Man, the preaching of whose Divinity scandalized the Jews, and made the Gentiles cry, “folly;” or, the instruments employed in its propagation—a few illiterate, ignorant fishermen, without knowledge, station, or influence, who were to combat the wisdom of the philosopher, and the eloquence of the rhetorician; and yet, notwithstanding these obstacles, humanly speaking, insuperable, this small grain of mustard seed, after being some time buried in the earth, extended itself far and wide, encircling the habitable globe, covering, with its ample shade, the great ones of the world; those elevated above their fellows in learning, such as the philosophers; in power and station, such as kings and princes. Or, “birds,” may rather signify those elevated souls, whose aspirations tended aloft towards the happiness of heaven. This Gospel doctrine, after extending itself to the entire earth, produced numberless saints, out of all conditions of life, who exhibited the most striking examples of heroic virtue; so that the Church, propagated by this doctrine, far exceeds, in point of extent, permanency, and splendour, every sect existing in this world (Mauduit).

This parable represents the increase of the Church, by means of the Gospel doctrine. For, the Church—“the kingdom of heaven”—like to a grain of mustard, the least of seeds, which grows into a tree, was first very small when planted by Christ on earth; but, glowing with charity, it became a great tree, like that described by Daniel (4:7).

Mat 13:33 Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.

This parable has the same scope and object as the preceding. It shows the great and active efficacy of the Gospel doctrine, and the wonderful spread of the Church, from very small beginnings. The word, “leaven,” is often taken in a bad sense in Scripture. (Mark 8; Gal. 5; 1 Cor. 5) On account of its different properties of infecting the thing with which it is mixed up, it is susceptible of a good or bad signification. Hence, it is taken sometimes, as here, in a good signification.

“Which a woman took and hid.” It was the women that baked bread among the Jews (Lev. 26:26)

“In three measures”—“in tribus satis.” What quantity each of these measures in question contained, we cannot precisely know, as we have no corresponding measures. It was the seah of the Jews, the third part of an epha, containing, probably, about ten pints, the ordinary quantity baked at a time (Gen. 18:6).

The scope of the parable is to convey, that as the leaven, however small in quantity, affects the entire mass of the flour with which it is mixed, and fermenting the dough by its activity, makes it rise and become more savoury, so as to become wholesome nutriment for man; so, in like manner, the Gospel doctrine, however humble in its accompaniments, preached by a few fishermen, and embraced at first by only the lowly and the humble, shall, by its occult power, change and ferment the entire world, or whole human race, and, imbuing them with its own nature, and filling them with the love of God, shall make them fit subjects for heaven. As the preceding parable denoted the external and visible effects of the Gospel on the hearts of men; so does this, most probably, denote its internal and invisible effects, its fermentation and the active love of God, which it produces in the heart of man.

By the “woman,” referred to here, St. Jerome understands, the Church gathered from all nations. St. Augustine (Lib. 1, quest. Evan.), the power and wisdom of God.

Mat 13:34 All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables he did not speak to them.

“Spoke in parables,” to which Mark adds (4:33), “according as they were able to hear,” which, by some, is understood to mean, according as they were worthy of instruction. For, as the Scribes and Pharisees listened solely with the view of catching Him in His words; He, therefore, on account of their unworthiness, spoke to them in an obscure way; otherwise, they would have derived detriment, rather than profit, from His words, and would have treated them disrespectfully. This is in accordance with verse 12.

Others give the words a favourable interpretation. He accommodates Himself to the capacity of the simple people, by proposing, under the images of things with which they were conversant in their daily course of life, His abstruse doctrines, which they could not otherwise comprehend; and this form of conveying ideas in parables would stimulate the people to seek, from competent persons, the meaning of what they heard. According to this interpretation, another reason is assigned for the use of parables, quite different from that assigned verse 12.

“And without parables He did not speak to them,” may mean, that, generally speaking, parabolic language was mixed up with all the addresses of our Redeemer to the multitude; or the words may mean, that, on that occasion, at that time, He did not speak to them except in parables. For, on many other occasions, He discoursed to them in the simplest literal language. St. Mark says, “but apart He explained all things to His disciples,” as if to show, that all things our Redeemer then spoke to the multitude were in parables, requiring explanation, which was given to the disciples. In truth, parabolic language was not the mode of instruction ordinarily employed by our Redeemer.

Mat 13:35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

The result of our Redeemer’s addressing the people in parables was: that He fulfilled, and verified what was spoken by the Prophet mystically in his sacred Person. The Prophet, while primarily referring to the events recorded in the Psalm, represented Christ, and spoke, in His Person, in a mystical and still more recondite sense—the sense principally intended by the Holy Ghost—of the great blessings bestowed on the human race by the Gospel and the great work of Redemption.

“I will open my mouth,” a Hebrew form, for, “I will speak,” denoting, at the same time, some obscure and important subject, “in parables.” “I will utter things hidden from the foundation,” &c. The Septuagint of Psalm 78, to which reference is made, runs thus: “I shall utter PROBLEMS from the beginning.” The Hebrew has, “I shall utter enigmata (chidoth) from of old.” The words, problems and enigmata, which the Vulgate renders “propositiones,” have their meaning well conveyed in our version, “things hidden;” for, both problems and enigmata, and parables, agree in this: that they contain and suggest some obscure and latent meaning besides what the words literally express; and, then, “from the beginning,” is well expressed in the words, “from the foundation of the world.” These mysteries of grace and glory, revealed by Christ to His Church, were known to but few from creation. This is well expressed by the Apostle (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1).

The 78th Psalm, whoever was its author, whether spoken, in the first instance, in the person of David himself, or in that of Asaph, in its primary and literal sense, commemorated the benefits of God bestowed on the Hebrew people, “from the beginning,” from the first time He set them apart as His chosen inheritance, and from their egress out of Egypt—which is specially mentioned in this Psalm (vv. 12, 13)—to the time of David himself. This was done with the view of inspiring them with feelings of love and gratitude to God. But, in their mystical and more recondite sense—the sense principally intended by the Holy Ghost—the Psalm referred to the great benefits conferred by our Blessed Lord—of whom the Prophet exhibited a type—in the New Law, and to the chief features of His providential dealings with the human race. Indeed, it may be said, that, as “all things happened”—that ancient people—“in figure” (1 Cor. 10:6), the events recorded in Psalm 78 and the blessings there commemorated, from their egress out of Egypt, to the days of David, were so many types of the blessings conferred on the spiritual Israel of the New Law; and in recording these, the Prophet or Psalmist announced parables, in the general acceptation of the term.

Mat 13:36 Then having sent away the multitudes, he came into the house, and his disciples came to him, saying: Expound to us the parable of the cockle of the field.

He returned to His house at Capharnaum, which He left that day for the purpose of proceeding to the sea side. “The parable of the cockle in the field,” was the most abstruse, and contained the heaviest menaces. Hence, this is mentioned in particular.

Mat 13:37 Who made answer and said to them: He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man.

The sower is our Redeemer Himself, who, while on earth, preached the Word, and now employs the ministry of His servants for the same end.

Mat 13:38 And the field is the world. And the good seed are the children of the kingdom. And the cockle are the children of the wicked one.
Mat 13:39 And the enemy that sowed them, is the devil. But the harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels.

“The field is the world,” by which some understand, the Church, extended all over the earth; but, as “the children of the wicked one,” most probably include heretics, who are not in the Church, hence, it may be better to understand the word in its strict literal signification, unless it might be said in reply, that it only includes private heretics who are not distinguishable from the true believers.

“The good seed, the children of the kingdom,” viz., those who are destined for eternal life—those who observe the law of faith and morals. “The cockle, the children of the wicked one”—the devil, those who do his works, wicked works whether against faith or morals. Some understand, by “the children of the kingdom,” all believers, whether elect or not;—thus it is said of “the children of the kingdom” elsewhere, that they shall be cast “into outer darkness”—and, by “the children of the wicked one,” heretics.

Mat 13:40 Even as cockle therefore is gathered up, and burnt with fire: so shall it be at the end of the world.

As the cockle is gathered up, so the wicked shall be “bound in bundles”—the heretics with heretics, the unjust with unjust, the unclean with the unclean, &c., and cast into hell fire.

Mat 13:41 The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity.

“All scandals,” i.e., scandalous sinners, and those who commit every other species of iniquity. The application of the parable is briefly this: The Son of man has, both by Himself and His servants, placed in this world, as in His field, men pre-ordained for eternal life. But, the devil—the sworn enemy of the human race—has sown in their midst, and shall continue to do so, wicked men, placing them in the midst of the just, who, although unworthy of the society of the just, are still to be tolerated, until God, at the end of the world, shall cause the final separation, devoting the one class to eternal misery, rewarding the other with eternal glory.

Mat 13:42 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Weeping and gnashing of teeth,” is explained by some, of the extremes of heat and cold, as if this “gnashing of teeth” were caused by sudden transitions from one extreme to the other. The words are commonly understood to refer to hell. The words may be regarded as expressive of extreme torture of any kind. “Gnashing of teeth,” expressive of rage. Thus (Acts 7:54), the rage of the Jews is expressed in the words, “they gnashed with their teeth at Him.”

Mat 13:43 Then shall the just shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The incomparable happiness and glory of the Elect is clearly signified by the brightness of the sun. This glory, however, shall vary with the diversity of merits (1 Cor. 15:39–41). Our Redeemer had, probably, in view the words of the Prophet Daniel 12:3, “they that instruct many unto justice, shall shine as stars,” &c.

“He that hath ears,” &c. Our Redeemer employs this form of words to convey, that the subject treated of intimately concerns His hearers.

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Commentaries for the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 13, 2014

SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014
SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A

RESOURCES FOR THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.

Last Week’s Posts.

MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014
MONDAY O FTHE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 13:1-11. Readings from a couple of translations followed by commentary.

My Notes on Jeremiah 13:1-11.

St Jerome’s Commentary on Matthew 13:31-35.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 13:31-35.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 13:31-35.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 13:31-35.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 13:31-35.

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014
MEMORIAL OF ST MARTHA

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 14:17-22. Readings from a couple of translations followed by commentary.

My Notes on Jeremiah 14:17-22.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 79.

My Background to and Notes on Psalm 79:8, 9, 11, 13.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:36-43.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 13:36-43.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 13:36-43.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 13:36-43.

Navarre Bible Commentary Matthew 13:36-43.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014
WEDNESDAY OF THE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21.

My Notes on Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 59.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 13:44-46.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 13:44-46.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:44-46.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 13:44-46.

THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2014
MEMORIAL OF ST IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, PRIEST

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary oon Jeremiah 18:1-6. Readings from a couple of translations followed by commentary.

My Notes on Psalm 146.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 146.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 146.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 13:47-53.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 13:47-53.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 13:47-53.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:47-53.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 13:47-53.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014
MEMORIAL OF ST ALPHONSUS LIGUORI, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 26:1-9. Readings from a couple of translations followed by commentary.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 69.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 69.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:54-58.Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 13:54-58.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 13:54-58. Includes verse 53.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 13:54-58.

Navarre Bible Commentary Matthew 13:54-58.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 2014
SATURDAY OF THE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24. Readings from a couple of translations followed by commentary.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 69.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 69.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 14:1-12.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Matthew 14:1-12.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 14:1-12.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 14:1-12.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3, 2014
EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Pending: COMMENTARIES FOR THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

 

 

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Father MacEvilly’s commentary on Matthew 11:28-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 13, 2014

Mat 11:28 Come to me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.

“Come to Me,” approach Me, with the proper dispositions of faith, hope, devotion, &c., with a desire to observe all My precepts, who am equal to the Father in all things, the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, to whom all things were delivered by My Father, having, therefore, at My disposal the dispensation of every good gift, including the perfect liberation from all evils incident to human life; “all you that labour,” &c., groaning under the intolerable burden of sin, and its concomitant evils, viz., the tyranny of concupiscence and your corrupt passions, the remorse of conscience, and the dread of the fearful punishments of sin; and who, moreover, are groaning under the yoke of the Mosaic law.

“And I will refresh you.” The Greek word for “refresh” (αναπαυσω = anapauso), means, rest, cessation from trouble. Hence, the words signify: I will grant you respite and rest; respite from your temporal miseries, and vexatious sufferings, which I shall temper for you, by granting you grace to bear them patiently; rest, from the burdensome uneasiness ever attendant on sin, and the consequent remorse, with dread of punishment, by remitting them; rest, also, from the intolerable yoke of Mosaic ceremonies, which neither you nor your fathers, could bear (Acts 15:10). So that all are sweetly invited, without exception: Gentiles, whose burden of temporal miseries He alleviates, whose sins, both as to guilt and eternal consequences, He remits; and Jews, whom, in addition to the foregoing benefits, He frees, from the galling yoke of the Mosaic ceremonial law.

Mat 11:29 Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: And you shall find rest to your souls.

“Take My yoke upon you.” “My yoke,” in opposition to the yoke of the Mosaic law; and the heavy yoke of sin, concupiscence, and its consequences, under which you have been hitherto groaning, placed on your shoulders by your former spiritual taskmasters.

“My yoke,” which you will not be left to bear alone, which I shall help you to carry. “My yoke,” which I bore before you, and gave you an example to carry. By “yoke,” is meant the law of the Gospel in all its parts, called a “yoke,” because, like every other law, it binds us to certain duties, and forbids us to transgress certain limits. It is also called a “burden,” because, we are obliged to bear it, to live according to it, and to fulfil it. It consists in bringing the Intellect into the captivity of faith, and the Will into the captivity of obedience, so as to observe all His commandments.

“And learn of Me, because I am Meek,” &c., which some thus interpret: Among the virtues and precepts inculcated in My Gospel, there are two virtues in particular, which I am specially desirous you should learn of Me, as your Divine Master. These are, humility and meekness. These are the special virtues, which shall serve as the surest means of procuring perseverance in bearing My sweet yoke; which alone can secure that desirable peace and rest surpassing all understanding. It is to pride and the angry desire of vengeance—vices, the opposite of humility and meekness—that all the miseries of this world are to be attributed. These are the virtues which we can imitate our Lord in cultivating, and from which no one can be dispensed. This is the interpretation of St. Augustine: “Discite a me non mundum fabricare, non cuncta visibilia et invisibilia creare … sed quoniam mitis sum et humilis corde” (Learn of me not to raise the fabric of the world, not to create all things visible and invisible, not in the world so created to work miracles and raise the dead; but, “that I am meek and lowly in heart). Our Lord tells us to copy after Himself in the practice of these virtues in particular (Serm. 69).

Others, with Maldonatus, &c., say, the meaning is: Take upon you My yoke, &c.; be not afraid of approaching Me, be your unworthiness and sinfulness what it may; rather, come with confidence, and learn, from your experience of Me, that I am not, like the Scribes and Pharisees, a haughty, morose, repulsive tyrant, to scare you away; but, on the contrary, a meek and gentle master, who will receive you with the greatest kindness and benignity, with truly humble condescension and affability.

This latter interpretation would seem to accord better with the context. For, the words of this verse would seem to be but a fuller explanation and development of the subject of the preceding verse (28). “Come” (v. 28), by your dispositions of heart to observe My law and obey My will and ordinances, is more fully expressed in the words of this verse, “Take up My yoke upon you.” “To Me,” who will not repel you; “because, I am meek and humble of heart,” gentle, kind in My government and intercourse, and you will find Me to be such. “And I will refresh you” (v. 28), is the same as, “you will find rest to your souls.” (The Greek for “refresh” and “rest,” is the same, ἀνἀπαυσιν = anapausin. See verse 28). This rest, this refreshment, results not from the observance of the precepts regarding meekness and humility of heart merely, although these form a portion of God’s law very effectual for begetting peace and rest; but, from bearing the “yoke” of Christ in its fulness, embracing the observance of all His commandments, the love of God and our neighbour, all that regards faith and morals. This is quite clear from the words of Jeremias (6:16), to which our Lord here manifestly alludes, also from Sirach 51:34-35.

Mat 11:30 For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

If we adopt the interpretation of St. Augustine, given above, then the words will mean; by practising the virtues of meekness and humility, after His example, which are the surest means for enabling us to take up the yoke of Christ, and observe all His other precepts, we will be sure to enjoy peace of soul, because, they shall divest the yoke of Christ, or, the observance of His commandments, of bitter, galling irritation—the effect commonly produced by a “yoke.” They shall render the observance of God’s commandments, neither galling nor irritating; on the contrary, they shall beget in their observance, feelings of sweet benignity and contentment; and as a burden is oppressive from its weight, they shall render this “burden” “light” and easy to be carried, “and His commandments are not heavy” (1 John 5:3).

In the latter interpretation, the words of this verse are a proof, that they would find rest for their souls, in approaching Christ, in experiencing His meekness and humility, and in carrying “His yoke,” as explained above.

The “yoke” of Christ, far from galling or irritating, is “sweet,” comparatively, if contrasted with the yoke of the Mosaic law, “which neither they nor their fathers could bear;” and with the “yoke” of sin, and the slavery of the devil, which, though sweet and gratifying to corrupt nature, still leaves behind it bitterness, remorse of conscience, and ultimately plunges men for ever into hell.

It is “sweet” in itself, and “light,” because, His law is perfectly in accordance with the natural law, which the Gospel, with the mere addition of some positive precepts, more fully developes. Again, it is mild in regard to sinners, and has removed the rigorous punishments of the Old Law. Again, it carries with it abundant help and graces, not given in the Old Law, for self-fulfilment, and holds out promises the most consoling and abundant, of the fulfilment of which it gives us a sure earnest and foretaste here in the peace of God, which it bestows, exceeding all understanding. Finally, it proposes love and charity, as the sweet motive of our actions, and not, like the Old Law, the servile fear of punishments. “Ubi amatur, non laboratur; aut si laboratur, labor amatur” (St. Augustine).

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 11:25-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 13, 2014

Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.

“At that time.” According to St. Luke 10:21, this occurred on the return of the seventy-two disciples from their mission, and while they were boasting of the success that attended them, and of the miracles they wrought. From this, our Redeemer takes occasion to give expression to the following, and then He “answered.” However, the word, “answer,” is frequently used in the SS. Scriptures, when nothing in the form of a question demanding an answer, preceded; and merely means, to enter at once on some discourse. Here, then, it may be very probably connected with the foregoing denunciation of the Capharnaites (Capernaumite)   thus:—Jesus, considering within Himself the obstinate impenitence of the Capharnaites, &c., and the just judgment of God, withholding His lights and graces in punishment of their sins, consoles Himself with the thought, that such was according to the just dispensation of His Heavenly Father; and He exultingly bursts forth into acts of thanksgiving for His adorable dispensation. St. Luke says (Lk 10:21), “He rejoiced in the Holy Ghost,” and thus consoles Himself with the idea that His Father willed it so. “Answering,” may also have relation to the thoughts passing in our Saviour’s mind regarding this wonderful economy of God, and the obduracy of the Capharnaites.

“I confess to Thee,” i.e., I praise Thee, I extol Thee, I give Thee thanks.

“O Father,” of whom I am alone the eternal, consubstantial, well-beloved Son.

“Lord of heaven and earth,” having supreme dominion over all creatures, angels, and men. It is not, therefore, from infirmity or weakness that He has not subdued the rebellious wills of the Capharnaites. The words also convey, that He can do as He thinks proper, in heaven and on earth; and that, therefore, any disposition He makes regarding His creatures, is supremely just and equitable.

“Hast hid,” by not imparting powerful interior graces, and in punishment of their obstinate pride, withholding those lights which would efficaciously influence them to profit by the external graces of preaching, with which they were favoured.

“These things.” These mysteries of grace and glory preached by our Redeemer and His Apostles.

“From the wise and prudent,” viz., the Pharisees and others, who were endowed with human learning and abilities. These were the “wise,” to whom St. Paul refers (1 Cor. 1), as rejected in the work of the Gospel; worldly wise, “wise” in their own conceits, haughty and proud, devoid of the humble docility necessary for embracing the faith.

“And hast revealed them to little ones,” i.e., hast given Thy abundant, illuminating graces for embracing the difficult and abstruse truths of faith to the humble and the poor (the Greek for “little ones,” νηπίοις, means, infants), who, with the humble docility of children, embrace what is proposed to them.

These are the foolish, the weak, and the contemptible things, which God has chosen, to confound the wise, the strong, and the things of consideration in this world. (1 Cor. 1) Humble, unlearned fishermen, has He replenished with all knowledge, and placed on a level with the princes of His people.

But how could our Lord rejoice and praise his Father for having concealed these things from the proud? As a great evil, should it not be a subject for tears and sorrow? Resp. Thanksare not rendered precisely for having concealed these things; but, because, having concealed these truths from the wise, He was pleased to reveal them to the humble. Precisely, as it is said (Rom. 6:17), “But, thanks to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed,” &c., which means, thanks to God, that, having been formerly servants of sin, you have now obeyed, &c. He thanks His Father for having chosen men, like infants, and enlightened them to disseminate his faith, passing over the great ones of this world. Others say, thanks and praise are rendered for both. For, when “He hides these things,” He shows His Justice; and when “He reveals them to the little ones,” He displays His Mercy. The judgments of God, whether in the matter of Justice or Mercy, are ever equitable; ever deserving of praise.

Mat 11:26 Yea, Father: for so hath it seemed good in thy sight.

“Yea” (in Greek, ναι, nay), briefly repeats the former acts of praise, and is strongly commendatory of the workings of God’s adorable providence. “I confess,” is here understood, to be repeated, as if to say: Again and again, I thank Thee, O Father, for this ordination of Thy adorable providence, which is to be ever praised and glorified.

In all things, therefore, coming from the hands of God, we should humbly bow down and give Him thanks, and from our inmost heart, conform to His adorable will, saying always, even when things go against us, “Fiat voluntas tua sicut in cœlo,” &c (Thy will be done in heaven, &c). “Ita, Pater, quia sic placitum fait ante te.” (Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in thy sight) “Fiat, laudatur et superexaltetur in æternum, justissima, altissima et amabilissima voluntas Dei in omnibus.” (Let it be praised and exalted above all things forever, the most righteous, highest and most pleasing to the will of God in all things) God wills it, no further inquiries, reasoning, or murmurings about it.

Mat 11:27 All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him.

Lest it might be imagined, from our Lord’s thanking His Father, for having revealed the mysteries of grace to the little ones, &c., that Christ Himself had not this power, He adds, “all things,” all power, all dominion, all knowledge, &c., were communicated to Me “by My Father,” at My Incarnation. Others say, at My eternal generation. These interpretations, however, amount to the same; or, rather, the latter is included in the former. Since it is from His eternal generation, that the gifts bestowed on Him at His Incarnation flowed, therefore, if “My Father” be omnipotent and omniscient, so am I; and I can, therefore, reprobate or save. The mysteries of grace and glory have been concealed by My Father, and also by Me, from the wise, and imparted to the humble.

“And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father.” This may regard comprehensive, perfect, natural knowledge. This the Son also has, and the Holy Ghost. As the words, “and he to whom it shall please the Father to reveal Him,” although not expressed here, because they are included in verse 25, “hast revealed,” &c., are still implied, if we look to the words, “and to whom it shall please the Son to reveal,” it is better to understand it of the knowledge of the Father, known from revelation, as it is only of such knowledge, man is capable; such knowledge alone can be communicated to him.

“Neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him.” These latter words are not expressed above, regarding the Father; because, revelation was before attributed to the Father (v. 25), and, moreover, it is through the Son that God the Father reveals Himself and the Godhead to the world. “Manifestavi nomen tuum hominibus,” &c. (John 17:6) The equality of the Son with the Father is shown here. For, He knows all regarding the Father, as the Father does regarding Him, which is put more strongly by St. Luke (10:22), “And no one knoweth who the Son is but the Father; and who the Father is but the Son.” Again, “the Son reveals it to whom He pleases.” The Holy Ghost is not included, since the exceptive or exclusive words applied to one Person of the Trinity do not regard the other Divine Persons, who possess equally the Divine nature. They only regard creatures. No one knows the mysteries regarding the Father, nor those regarding the Son, except those to whom they may be pleased to reveal them. Hence, when the Father reveals (v. 25), the Son also reveals. St. Chrysostom observes that the words, “to whom it shall please the Son to reveal,” show the Son to be equal to the Father in power and dominion. For, although Christ reveals as man, and through His human nature, still, this nature subsists in a Divine Person; and this man, Christ is God also, and as God, equal to the Father. Others connect the words of this verse with the following verse, “come to Me,” &c. As all power of saving, all dominion, all knowledge, have been communicated to Me by My Father, to be imparted by Me to whomsoever I please, I do, therefore, invite you all to “come,” &c.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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