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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:14-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

This post contains the Bishop’s analysis of Romans 8 followed by his commentary on the reading (Rom 8:14-23). I’ve also included the Bishop’s paraphrase of the verses in purple text.

SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF ROMANS 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 (verse 1), the Apostle tells us that we are rescued from the dominion of concupiscence by the grace of the Gospel (2, 3, 4.) He shows the different motions and effects of the flesh and of the spirit (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (28–30), and, finally, he excites them to confidence in God (31–38).

Rom 8:14  For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

For, whosoever are efficaciously moved by the Holy Ghost, and under his influence mortify the flesh and live a spiritual life, they are truly sons of God, and will, therefore, enjoy the inheritance of life eternal.

This is a proof of the foregoing, viz., that by mortifying the deeds of the flesh “they shall live;” because, by acting up to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, they become “sons of God,” and as “sons of God,” they are his “heirs” (verse 17), i.e., they shall enjoy the never-ending inheritance of eternal life. Therefore, “they shall live” (verse 13). The Apostle supposes them to be baptized, as a condition of this divine filiation. The word “led,” implies only moral impulse, which by our own free will we might resist; it involves no loss of human liberty; for, in the preceding the Apostle supposes human liberty, when he speaks of “mortifying the deeds of the flesh,” &c. The same is observable, Phil. 11, 12, 13, where, after speaking of the operation of God, he tells them to “work out their salvation,” &c.

Rom 8:15  For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear: but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).

That you are the sons of God is clear from the spirit you received in baptism, for you have not received under the new dispensation, as the Jews did in the promulgation of the old on Sinai, the spirit of servitude, to inspire you with fear, but you have received the spirit of charity and loveadopting you as sons, under the influence of which, you freely and confidently call on God, or the entire Blessed Trinity, as the common Father of all the faithful, both Jews and Gentiles.

In this verse, he shows from the spirit they received that they are sons of God; or, perhaps, in it is conveyed an additional motive for them to walk according to the spirit, viz., in order to correspond with the spirit they received. “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear” (in Greek, εἴς φόβον, unto fear). He evidently refers to the spirit of fear which the Jews received on Sinai, and which was given them as a gift of the Holy Ghost, in order to deter them from violating God’s commandments. Ut probaret vos, venit Deus, et ut terror illius esset in vobis.—Exodus, 20. Although the fear proceeded from the Holy Ghost, the servility of the fear came from themselves. The graces whereby the Jews of old were justified, belonged not to the Old Law as such, but to the New Covenant. “But you have received the spirit of the adoption of sons.” He contrasts this latter gift of the Holy Ghost with the former gift, which it far excelled. “The spirit of adoption of sons,” the spirit of love, the sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost, by which we are become the adopted sons of God, and under the influence of which we confidently and freely call God Father. “Whereby we cry Abba (Father).” The more probable reason why the Apostle repeats the word “Father,” in Hebrew, “Abba,” and in Greek πατηρ, is to show that God is the common Father of all the believers, whether Jews, in whose language “Abba” means “Father;” or Gentiles, who call him πατηρ.

Rom 8:16  For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God.

And this same spirit of God, whom we have received, bears testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.

This same spirit, by whose influence “we cry out Abba, &c.,” by this filial affection whereby he inspires us to utter such a cry, “testifies together with our spirit,” (this is the meaning of the Greek word συμμαρτυρει), in other words, confirms the testimony of our spirit, “that we are sons of God.” The compound verb in the Greek may simply mean, to testify, as in Paraphrase. Verses 15, 16 are to be read within a parenthesis, and verse 17 immediately connected with verse 14. For in verse 15 there is given, incidentally, one proof of verse 14, viz., calling God Father; and in verse 16 another, viz., the testimony of the Holy Ghost.

OBJECTION.—Does it not follow, then, that each man is absolutely certain of his salvation?

RESP.—By no means. If we give the words, “giveth testimony,” the full meaning of the compound Greek word, συμμαρτυρει; in Latin, contestatur, all that would follow is, that the Holy Ghost confirms our own testimony, that we are the sons of God, by inspiring us to repeat the prayer in which we address God as our Father. This would certainly convey no absolute certainly of faith on the subject; or, as the Council of Trent describes, “certitudo fidei, cui non potest subesse falsum.”—(SS. vi., ch. ix.) If the words be understood in a simple form, all that would follow is, that we arrive at a moral, or rather conjectural certainty from the signs which come from the Holy Ghost—viz., horror of sin, love of virtue, peace and tranquillity of conscience, &c. Besides, the Apostle does not say that the Holy Ghost tells every individual by a revelation, that he is the son of God. This would be opposed to the clear order of his Providence, in which “no one knows whether he be worthy of love or hatred,” and to the command, “to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.”

Rom 8:17  And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

But, if we are the sons of God, we are therefore, his heirs, that is to say, we are heirs of God, as his sons, and co-heirs of Christ, as his brethren. It is on condition, however, that we suffer with him, and in the same spirit with him, that we shall be partners in his glory.

God has wished that his children should have, besides the title of inheritance, the title of merit also, to eternal life. “Yet so, if we suffer with him,” the very adoption on which the title of inheritance is founded, is the reward of merit. While infants can only have the title of inheritance, adults must have the twofold title of inheritance and merit.

Rom 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.

(Nor should the annexed condition of suffering dishearten or discourage us. The difficulty vanishes when we consider the magnitude of the reward and inheritance), for I am firmly persuaded, that the sufferings of the present time, viewed in themselves, bear no proportion whatever to the future glory and happiness which shall be revealed in us.

He stimulates them to submit to the painful condition of suffering, without which no one will enter the kingdom of God, by pointing out the immensity of the reward. If you regard the substance of the works and sufferings of this life, they bear no proportion whatever to the future glory which is to be their reward. But, if they be regarded as emanating from God’s grace, and if we take into consideration God’s liberal promise, attaching eternal life to them, there is some proportion; but which, still, is neither exact nor adequate; the one being temporal, the other, eternal. It is the substance of the sufferings and their duration, that the Apostle here compares with the future glory, as in 2 Cor 4. “For, that which is at present momentary and light—worketh for us an eternal weight of glory.”

Rom 8:19  For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God.

So great is this future glory of the sons of God, that inanimate creatures themselves are anxiously yearning and earnestly looking forward to its manifestation, as they are to be sharers in it, in a certain way.

The Apostle employs a bold figure of speech, prosopopœia, to convey to us an idea of the magnitude of the bliss in store for the sons of God. He represents inanimate creatures themselves anxiously looking out for the manifestation of the glory of the sons of God. The Greek word for “creation,” κτισις (ktiseos), is taken in Scripture to denote inanimate nature (Rom. 1:25), and it is here distinguished from rational beings, verse 23.

Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanity: not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope.

For, inanimate nature is rendered subject to corruption and decay, notwithstanding the natural tendency of everything to attain its full perfection, in obedience to the will of him, who, in punishment of original sin, subjected it to corruption, but only for a time, with a hope, however, to which it anxiously looks,

For, inanimate creation was rendered subject to corruption and mutability, in punishment of the sin of man, for whose service it was destined; “not willingly,” i.e., notwithstanding the tendency of everything to attain its natural perfection, or, from no inherent defect of its own. “But by reason of him that made it subject,” i.e., by the ordination of God, who subjected it to vanity, i.e., to corruption and change, in punishment of the sin of man, at whose fall everything destined for his use became deteriorated. “In hope,” the object of the hope is expressed next verse.

Rom 8:21  Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

Of being emancipated from the slavery of corruption, and of being asserted into the glorious liberty suited to the glorified state of the sons of God, to whose service it will administer.

This is the object of the hope—viz., that it shall be rescued from the corruption in which it now is, serving sinful and mortal man, and be transferred to a state of incorruption suited to the glorious liberty of the sons of God, for whose service the “new heavens and the new earth in which justice dwells,” (2 Peter, 3:13), are destined.

Rom 8:22  For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.

When it shall be freed from these pangs and painful throes, which we know it has been suffering from creation to the present moment, in the hope of this happy and blessed deliverance.

He expresses, in the strongest form, the desire of inanimate nature to be rescued from corruption, by comparing it with the anxious desire, for a happy delivery, of a woman enduring the painful throes of childbirth.

Rom 8:23  And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit: even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.

And not only do inanimate creatures thus groan, but even we Christians, who have received the first fruits of the Holy Ghost, which are a sure earnest of our being on a future day glorified, groan within ourselves, anxiously expecting the consummation of our adoption as sons of God, when this body of sin and death shall be endowed with glorious immortality.

“But ourselves also,” is referred by some to the Apostle. It more probably, however, has reference to all Christians in the days of the Apostle. “Who have the first fruits of the spirit,” i.e., who have received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, sanctifying grace, faith, hope, &c., and the other gifts which were abundantly conferred in the primitive Church, and which were so many pledges of future glory. “Waiting for the adoption of the sons of God,” i.e., their perfect, consummate adoption, by receiving the glorious inheritance. We have already received the imperfect, incomplete adoption by grace. “The redemption of our body.” This is the perfect state of our adoption in our resurrection and glorification. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”—(Rom 7:24).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

HOW THE BODY WILL RISE; THE QUALITIES OF THE RISEN BODY

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58~The fact of the resurrection being established, the Apostle now goes on to describe how it will take place. He first shows, by illustrations drawn from what takes place in the natural order of the world around us, that the risen body will be indeed the same body that was buried, but vested with vastly different qualities (verses 35-50). The manner of the resurrection, the transition from the present to the future life, and the effects of the resurrection are next discussed (verses 51-58).

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed.

Coming now to describe the way the dead shall rise at the end of the world, the Apostle first solves a difficulty that might arise out of the preceding verse, namely, if our corruptible bodies cannot inherit incorruptible life, what about the just who will be living when Christ appears on the last day? In reply the Apostle says: I tell you a mystery, i.e., a truth of revelation, which human means could not discover (1 Thess 4:14). What is this mystery? It is that the just who are living at the Second Coming of Christ shall not die, but shall be suddenly changed from their corruptible to an incorruptible and glorious state.

This interpretation is (a) according to the best reading of the second part of this verse; (b) it is in harmony with the context, verses 50 and 52, and with the whole drift of St. Paul’s argument; (c) it agrees with the explanation of the same doctrine given by St. Paul elsewhere (1 Thess 4:15-17; 2 Cor 5:1-9; 2 Tim 4:1), and with the teaching of St. Peter on the subject (1 Peter 4:5); (d) it alone gives to mystery the proper and obvious meaning of that term; (e) it finds approval in the words of the Creed, “He shall come to judge the living and the dead”; (f) it has the support of practically all the Greek Fathers, and of all modern exegetes.

There is no “mystery” in St. Paul’s mind about the dead, good or bad, rising again. Neither is there any sense in: We shall not all be changed of this verse, and “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” etc., of the following verse. In fact, we shall not be changed here is in direct contradiction with the words, we shall be changed of the next verse.

The reading, therefore, of the second part of this verse, which is found in our version, in the Codex Bezae, and in the Vulgate, and which was commonly accepted by all the Latin Fathers and Latin versions from the time of Tertullian, must be rejected as erroneous for the reasons given above. The Council of Trent, in making the Vulgate the official version of the Church, was well aware that it contained some wrong readings; but when these are of minor importance, or can receive a correct interpretation from other parallel passages of Scripture, as in the present instance, there is no difficulty. Moreover, the Council approved of all the parts of the original Vulgate, “as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church”; but the East never read this verse as it is in the Vulgate. “If the Vulgate in the present passage were interpreted to mean that all the just without exception are to rise from the dead at the last day, it would not merely contradict the inspired text and the Creeds, but would be hopelessly at variance with itself” (Lattey, in Westm. Ver.).

The reading, therefore, of the second part of this verse which is adopted by all modern scholars, Catholic and non-Catholic, and which has the support of the Greek MSS. B E K L P, of practically all cursives, and of most versions, is: “We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed.” A rival reading of  א C F G and of the cursive no. 17, if read without punctuation, might have the same meaning, thus:  “we shall all sleep (die) not but we shall all be changed.” Generally, however, this reading is understood to agree with that of the Vulgate, and is given as follows: “We shall all sleep (die), but we shall not all be changed.”

While it is practically certain that the reading of this verse which we have adopted is the only correct one, it must be admitted that the Vulgate reading, taken by itself, can receive an orthodox explanation. Thus, we shall all indeed rise again may be taken to refer to mankind as a whole, without including the few that will be alive at the end (cf. Titus 1:12, 13; Heb 9:27). In like manner, the words, we shall not all be changed can mean that all the dead shall not be glorified.

It is objected against the above interpretation (a) that verse 22 of this chapter, Rom 5:12, and Heb 9:27 seem to say that all men must die; (b) that St. Paul seemed to expect to be still alive when Christ would come. Answer: (a) Even though all men do not actually die, still there is in them all the liability to death, but the penalty can be taken away by God (St. Thomas, Summa, 1a 2ae, qu. 81, a. 3, ad 3). (b) St. Paul did not really believe or mean to teach that the end of the world was at hand in his time. Doubtless he had no revelation on this subject. If here he associates himself with those who are to be alive at the last day, he elsewhere (1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14) speaks of being among those who are to be raised up from the dead at that time. Hence he seems to have been uncertain about the time of the Lord’s coming.

52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed.

In a moment, etc. These words indicate the swiftness with which the dead shall be called from their graves and the bodies of the living just glorified at the last day.

The last trumpet, i.e., the last sign by which the living and the dead shall be summoned to judgment. Perhaps it will be the voice of Christ (John 5:28), or the voice of an archangel (1 Thess 4:15), or some other signal from on high. The expression, “trumpet,” is metaphorical, being borrowed from the instrument used by the Jews to convoke their religious assemblies (Num 10:2-10).

The dead shall rise again incorruptible, i.e., the just shall rise clothed with glorified bodies.

We shall be changed, i.e., the just who are alive at the last day shall not die as others do, but shall pass in the twinkling of an eye from their mortal to an immortal and glorious state.

53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality.

The Apostle again insists upon the necessity of the transformation already spoken of in verse 50. The just who are in their graves must put on incorruptible bodies, and those who are still living must exchange their mortal frames for immortal and glorified bodies.

54. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.

Most authorities repeat here both clauses of the preceding verse. The Vulgate reading in this place, however, is found in the Sinaitic MS. and in some other versions. When the transformation spoken of in the preceding verse is effected, then shall come the complete triumph of Christ over death.

Death is swallowed up, etc. The Apostle is referring to Isaiah 25:8, where the Hebrew reads: “He (Jehovah) hath swallowed up death forever.” The Prophet is announcing that in the heavenly Jerusalem there shall be no more death, or pain, or the like; and St. Paul, slightly modifying the same words, proclaims the victory of Christ in the Resurrection over death and its consequences (Gen 3:19).

In the LXX this passage of Isaias is very obscure: “Death having prevailed swallowed up” (κατεπιεν ο θανατος ισχυσας). With the resurrection, death, the last enemy of man, shall be defeated and life shall triumph in all its glory.

55. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?

At the thought of the final triumph over death the Apostle bursts forth in a hymn of exultation, freely citing the Septuagint of Hosea 13:14. Literally, the Prophet was foretelling the restoration of Israel, which was a figure of the redemption of Christ.

Where is thy victory over the dead who are risen again from their graves? Where now is the sting of thy cruel dominion over them?

56. Now the sting of death is sin: and the power of sin is the law.

The sting of death is sin, i.e., death wounds us, like a poisonous serpent, through sin. The reference is to original sin by which death first stung and poisoned our race. And the Mosaic Law which was later given only served, by its numerous regulations and prohibitions, to stir up and strengthen the baneful consequences of original sin (cf. Rom 4:5 ff.; 5:13; 7:7-11).

57. But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What the Law could not do, Christ our Lord has done for us. By His death He has conquered both sin and death, satisfying for our transgressions and delivering us from bondage.

Who hath given (Vulg., qui dedit). The Greek has the present tense, which better expresses the victory already begun, although its completion is reserved for the resurrection.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief summary analysis of 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 and is followed by his notes on today’s reading (2 Cor 5:1, 6-10). Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions

In the first part of this chapter, the Apostle proceeds to account for his own cheerful intrepidity, as well as that of his colleagues, in the midst of dangers and persecutions. It proceeds from the consideration of their future glory, from their firm belief in the future glorification of their bodies (2 Cor 5:1), which glory they are anxious to have imparted to them without bodily dissolution, as nature recoils so strongly from death (2 Cor 5:2-4). But bearing in mind, that it is God who fits them for future glory, of which he has given them a sure earnest, they have great courage and confidence in undergoing all hardships for the Gospel with the hope of arriving at this supreme felicity (2 Cor 5:5–9), to attain which they endeavour, under all circumstances to please God; and keeping before their eyes his tremendous judgement, they so act as to prove to men their sincerity, lest they should be a stumbling-block or a scandal to anyone (2 Cor 5:10-11). He guards against the misconstruction which the false teachers might put upon the circumstance of his praising himself, by an assurance that whether he praises or speaks humbly of his own exploits—he has, in both cases, the glory of God and his neighbour’s good in view (2 Cor 5:12-13). He is moved to pursue this disinterested line of conduct by the example of Christ, whose purchased slaves we are all become by Redemption, who has, therefore, a right to all our services (2 Cor 5:14-1515). Hence, the Apostles, dead to themselves and living only to Christ, regard no one, not even the Redeemer himself, from human considerations; but they regard all from the highest spiritual motives (2 Cor 5:16). This should not be peculiar to the Apostles, as every Christian, after having entered on his new spiritual existence, should do the same (2 Cor 5:17). He refers the merit of all these blessings resulting from our new spiritual existence, to their true source, viz., God, who made us sharers in them by having reconciled us with himself (2 Cor 5:18). He explains the mode in which this reconciliation was effected (2 Cor 5:19). He points out the exalted dignity of the ministers of religion (2 Cor 5:20); and, lastly, assigns a new reason for confidently expecting reconciliation with God, founded on the death of Christ (2 Cor 5:21).

2 Cor 5:1 FOR we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

 For, we assuredly know by faith, that when this body of earth, in which the soul dwells for a time, as in a temporary abode or tabernacle, is dissolved by death, we shall have a lasting dwelling from God, viz., a spiritual body given us in the resurrection, unlike the works of art made to last but for a time, this body is not made by human hands, but by the power of God himself.

“For,” connects the following with the foregoing. The Apostle assigns a reason why he and his colleagues undervalue temporal things, and regard not passing and momentary tribulations. He wishes to point out the future glory that awaits us, both as regards body and soul.

“Of this habitation.” In Greek, τοῦ σκηνους, of this tabernacle, implying that as a tabernacle is only a temporary abode, so the body, in its mortal state, is to be the tenement of the soul only for a time. “A building of God,” in Greek, εκ θεοῦ, Vulgate, ex Deo, “from God,” by which is commonly understood, the body in its glorified state after the resurrection; for it is by the hopes of the glory of the resurrection, the Apostles were encouraged to labour manfully in the work of the gospel, and to it he refers (verse 14) of preceding chapter. This interpretation derives great probability from (verse 3), where the same idea is more fully developed.

2 Cor 5:6 Therefore having always confidence, knowing that while we are in the body we are absent from the Lord.

Having, therefore, this firm faith, and sure earnest of future glory, we cheerfully undergo all sufferings in the cause of the gospel, knowing that as long as we are in the body, we are sojourners from the Lord.

. In consequence of the sure earnest of God’s spirit in our hearts, we always act with courage and cheerfulness under crosses and afflictions—the most secure road of safely arriving at our end—knowing that while we are in this body, we are sojourners from the Lord; we, therefore, hasten towards that country of which we are enrolled as citizens, and in which is our everlasting inheritance.

2 Cor 5:7 (For we walk by faith and not by sight.) 

(For, in this life we are tending towards our heavenly country, guided by the obscure and glimmering light of faith; but we have not yet arrived at the enjoyment of the clear and intuitive vision of God).

This verse is to be included in a parenthesis—(see Paraphrase).

2 Cor 5:8 But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.

We have, I say, courage cheerfully to undergo all sufferings for the gospel, and we regard it as a blessing to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord to enjoy his vision.

He continues the subject digressed from in the preceding verse: We have courage, I say, under adversity, and we even prefer to be freed from the body to remaining in it, and thus to enjoy God’s beatific vision.

2 Cor 5:9 And therefore we labour, whether absent or present, to please him.

And therefore, we exert our utmost might, whether absent or present in the body, to be pleasing and acceptable to him.

If while here “present” in the body, we merit heavenly bliss, and please God, we shall please Him hereafter, when “absent” from the body; we shall be objects always pleasing in His sight, and we shall merit that this happiness be not taken from us for eternity.

2 Cor 5:10 For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil.

For we must all, without exception, stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the Supreme Judge of all, and have our deeds then publicly manifested and exposed, so that each one may receive either the reward or punishment due to him, conformably to the life which he led in the body, according as that life was good or wicked.

In this verse is given a reason why we should always endeavour to please God; because we must all stand and be examined before the judgment seat of Christ, to whom the Father has transferred all judgment, and whom he has constituted Judge of the living and of the dead. In this judgment, five circumstances are here noticed by the Apostle:—First, it is to be universal—“we all.” Second, inevitable—“we must.” Third, clear and evident, exposing both interior actions and intentions; and hence a source of shame and confusion—“be manifested.” Fourth, irrevocable, as occurring before a supreme Judge, Christ—“before the judgment seat of Christ.” Fifth, most just; being grounded on all the actions, thoughts, &c., of our entire life, “according as he hath done.” What a subject of most serious reflection!

“The proper things of the body.” In Greek, τα δια τοῦ σώματος, the things by the body. The Vulgate interpreters read, ιδια τοῦ σώματος, propria corporis, the reading of Origen. ιδια seems to communicate a stronger or more emphatic meaning: one’s own body.

 

 

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Father McEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:14-5:1

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2014

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 followed by his comments on today’s reading (2 Cor 4:14-5:1). Text in purple represent the author’s paraphrasing of the text he is commenting on.

SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF 2 CORINTHIANS 4:1-18

2 Cor 4:14 Knowing that he who raised up Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus and place us with you.

 Firmly impressed with the belief, that he who raised Jesus from the dead, will so raise us, and bestow on us a like glory with Jesus, and give us a place with you in his heavenly kingdom.

“Raised up Jesus.” In the common Greek, raised up the Lord Jesus. (The Codex Vaticanus has not the word Lord). “With Jesus.” (In the common Greek, δια Ιησου, through Jesus). The Codex Vaticanus has, συν ιησου (together with Jesus), the Vulgate reading retained by St. Jerome. This firm belief in their future resurrection animates the Apostles to proclaim it aloud and preach the gospel intrepidly amid the most appalling dangers. “And place us with you.” He uses this form rather than place you with us, to show the great value he attaches to them, so as to prefer them to himself in glory, since he is only to come in for a share of glory of which they will be in possession.

2 Cor 4:15 For all things are for your sakes: that the grace, abounding through many, may abound in thanksgiving unto the glory of God.

 I said, give us a place with you, for all our ministrations are ordained for your salvation, that the grace of the gospel, being diffused amongst many, whilst many are returning thanks for it, may redound to the glory of God.

It is not without cause that he placed them first; for they, or rather their salvation, is the end for which all his labours are designed. From making them sharers in his own glory this good shall result, viz., that the benefits of the gospel being more widely diffused and more extensively communicated, may redound to the glory of God, whilst the many on whom they are conferred will join in returning God thanks for them. Acts of thanksgiving, therefore, contribute much to God’s glory. The Greek, την ευχαριστιαν περισευσση εἰς την δοξαν τοῦ θεοῦ, admits the construction of Erasmus, viz., that the grace abounding through many may abound with thanksgiving unto the glory of God, in which the verb “abound” has a transitive signification, as in 2 Cor 11:8.

2 Cor 4:16 For which cause we faint not: but though our outward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Propped up by this hope of future glory (verse 14), we faint not in adversity. For, although our bodies, the exterior portion of our persons, be attenuated by the sufferings we undergo for Christ, and tending to dissolution; still, our interior part, the soul, is daily becoming more and more vigorous and renovated.

It is the hope of future glory in heaven that animates the just in the midst of sufferings and persecutions. By the “outward man,” is meant the outward and sensible portion of man, viz., his frail and corruptible body. This is attenuated and worn by sufferings. But the “inward man,” the invisible soul, from these same sufferings receives vigour, and is renovated from the oldness of sin to the newness of truth and justice.

2 Cor 4:17 For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure, exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.

For the fleeting and light afflictions of the body, which we endure at present, shall beget and insure for us hereafter an eternal weight of glory, which ineffably and incomparably exceeds the light and passing afflictions of the present life.

The Greek reading runs thus:—τὸ γὰρ παραυτικα ελαφρὸν τῆς θλιψεως καθʼ ὑπερβολην εἰς ὑπερβολην κατεργαζεται, “for the present lightness of affliction from excess to excess worketh for us above measure,” & c.. From excess to excess, or, as we have it, “above measure exceedingly,” means that this weight of eternal glory, which our present light and passing afflictions merit for us, is also ineffable, superlatively immense. This form of expression is common with the Hebrews to express what is ineffably great in its kind; or, the words may mean, that this glory inexpressibly exceeds the sufferings undergone here to gain it. The lightness of our sufferings, and their momentary continuance, are contrasted with the weight and eternal duration of the glory, that shall one day be exchanged for them. “O! our tribulation:” “our” is not in the Codex Vaticanus, as in the above quotation.

2 Cor 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen, are eternal.

Whilst we keep steadily in view, not the goods of the present life, viz., honours, riches, &c., which fill beneath the senses—but the good of the life to come, which are not seen, but only believed. For, the things of this life, which are seen, are fleeting and temporary, while the invisible things of the life to come are eternal and never-ending.

“While we look not at the things which are seen.” The Greek word for “look,” σκοπουντων means keeping steadily in view. Oh! were we, with the eyes of the understanding, and in the light of faith, to consider the nothingness of earthly enjoyments and pleasures, in duration exceedingly brief, and even this very brief enjoyment alloyed with bitterness and remorse and disappointments of all sorts; and on the other hand, were we to contemplate the things of the invisible world, their never-ending duration, their intensity exceeding all human comprehension; were we but to “consider in the heart,” on the awful import of these words, “EVER,” “NEVER;” ever to continue, never to end; what a stimulus to walk in the way of virtue, and keeping God always in view, to look to the remuneration he has in store for us; what a consolation under the crosses and afflictions with which this loving Father may visit us, in order to chasten us with the rod of discipline, and wean us from the nothingness of earthly pleasures. O God! increase in us a spirit of lively faith, so as to view temporal and eternal things, the fleeting affairs of this visible world, and the never-ending concerns of the invisible world, as they are; ever to bear in mind that there are two worlds, the visible and invisible—the one to pass away, as regards us, very soon, nay, sooner than we may imagine; the other never to end, to continue as long as God shall be God—and be influenced in our conduct, with reference to them, according to their relative importance.

2 Cor 5:1 FOR we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

 For, we assuredly know by faith, that when this body of earth, in which the soul dwells for a time, as in a temporary abode or tabernacle, is dissolved by death, we shall have a lasting dwelling from God, viz., a spiritual body given us in the resurrection, unlike the works of art made to last but for a time, this body is not made by human hands, but by the power of God himself.

“For,” connects the following with the foregoing. The Apostle assigns a reason why he and his colleagues undervalue temporal things, and regard not passing and momentary tribulations. He wishes to point out the future glory that awaits us, both as regards body and soul.

“Of this habitation.” In Greek, τοῦ σκηνους, of this tabernacle, implying that as a tabernacle is only a temporary abode, so the body, in its mortal state, is to be the tenement of the soul only for a time. “A building of God,” in Greek, εκ θεοῦ, Vulgate, ex Deo, “from God,” by which is commonly understood, the body in its glorified state after the resurrection; for it is by the hopes of the glory of the resurrection, the Apostles were encouraged to labour manfully in the work of the gospel, and to it he refers in the preceding chapter (2 Cor 4:14). This interpretation derives great probability from (2 Cor 5:3), where the same idea is more fully developed.

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Nov. 9~Commentaries for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2014

READINGS AND OFFICE:

Today’s Mass Readings.

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: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12.

My Notes on Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12. On 1-9 and 12.

Word-Sunday Notes on Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 46.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 46.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 46.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17. On 9-17.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17. On 9-17.

Word-Sunday Notes on 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: John 2:13-22.

Father MacRory’s Commentary on John 2:13-22. On 13-25.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 2:13-22. On 13-25.

St Augustine’s Tractate on John 2:13-22.

St John Chrysostom’s Homily on John 2:13-22.

Word-Sunday Notes on John 2:13-22.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 2:13-22.

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St Augustine’s Tractate on John 2:13-22

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2014

1. IN the psalm you have heard the groaning of the poor, whose members endure tribulations over the whole earth, even unto the end of the world. Make it your chief business, my brethren, to be among and of these members: for all tribulation is to pass away. “Woe to them that rejoice!”1 “Blessed,” says the Truth, “are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” God has become man: what shall man be, for whom God is become man? Let this hope comfort us in every tribulation and temptation of this life. For the enemy does not cease to persecute; and when he does not openly rage, he plots in secret. How does he plot? “And for wrath, they worked deceitfully.”2 Thence is he called a lion and a dragon. But what is said to Christ? “Thou shalt tread on the lion and the dragon.” Lion, for open rage; dragon, for hidden treachery. The dragon cast Adam out of Paradise; as a lion, the same persecuted the Church, as Peter says: “For your adversary, the devil, goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”3 Let it not seem to you as if the devil had lost his ferocity. When he blandly flatters, then is he the more vigilantly to be guarded against. But amid all these treacherous devices and temptations of his, what shall we do but that which we have heard in the psalm: “And I, when they were troublesome to me, clothed me in sackcloth, and humbled my soul in fasting.”4 There is one that heareth prayer, hesitate not to pray; but He that heareth abideth within. You need not direct your eyes towards some mountain; you need not raise your face to the stars, or to the sun, or to the moon; nor must you suppose that you are heard when you pray beside the sea: rather detest such prayers. Only cleanse the chamber of thy heart; wheresoever thou art, wherever thou prayest, He that hears is within, within in the secret place, which the psalmist calls his bosom, when he says, “And my prayer shall be turned in my own bosom.”5 He that heareth thee is not beyond thee; thou hast not to travel far, nor to lift thyself up, so as to reach Him as it were with thy hands. Rather, if thou lift thyself up, thou shall fall; if thou humble thyself, He will draw near thee. Our Lord God is here, the Word of God, the Word made flesh, the Son of the Father, the Son of God, the Son of man; the lofty One to make us, the humble to make us anew, walking among men, bearing the human, concealing the divine.

2. “He went down,” as the evangelist says, “to Capernaum, He, and His mother, and His brethren, and His disciples; and they continued there not many days.” Behold He has a mother, and brethren, and disciples: whence He has a mother, thence brethren. For our Scripture is wont to call them brethren, not only that are sprung from the same man and woman, or from the same mother, or from the same father, though by different mothers; or, in truth, that are of the same degree as cousins by the father’s or mother’s side: not these alone is our Scripture wont to call brethren. The Scripture must be understood as it speaks. It has its own language; one who does not know this language is perplexed and says, Whence had the Lord brethren? For surely Mary did not give birth a second time? Far from it! With her begins the dignity of virgins. She could be a mother, but a woman known of man she could not be. She is spoken of as mulier [which usually signifies a wife], but only in reference to her sex, not as implying loss of virgin purity: and this follows from the language of Scripture itself. For Eve, too, immediately she was formed from the side of her husband, and as yet not known of her husband, is, as you know, called mulier: “And he made her a woman [mulier].” Then, whence the brethren? The kinsmen of Mary, of whatever degree, are the brethren of the Lord. How do we prove this? From Scripture itself. Lot is called “Abraham’s brother;”6 he was his brother’s son. Read, and thou wilt find that Abraham was Lot’s uncle on the father’s side, and yet they are called brethren. Why, but because they were kinsmen? Laban the Syrian was Jacob’s uncle by the mother’s side, for he was the brother of Rebecca, Isaac’s wife and Jacob’s mother.7 Read the Scripture, and thou wilt find that uncle and sister’s son are called brothers.8 When thou hast known this rule, thou wilt find that all the blood relations of Mary are the brethren of Christ.

3. But rather were those disciples brethren; for even those kinsmen would not be brethren were they not disciples: and to no advantage brethren, if they did not recognize their brother as their master. For in a certain place, when He was informed that His mother and His brethren were standing without, at the time He was speaking to His disciples, He said: “Who is my mother? or who are my brethren? And stretching out His hand over His disciples, He said, These are my brethren;” and, “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father, the same is my mother, and brother, and sister.”1 Therefore also Mary, because she did the will of the Father. What the Lord magnified in her was, that she did the will of the Father, not that flesh gave birth to flesh. Give good heed, beloved. Moreover, when the Lord was regarded with admiration by the multitude, while doing signs and wonders, and showing forth what lay concealed under the flesh, certain admiring souls said: “Happy is the womb that bare Thee: and He said, Yea, rather, happy are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”2 That is to say, even my mother, whom ye have called happy, is happy in that she keeps the word of God: not because in her the Word was made flesh and dwelt in us; but because she keeps that same word of God by which she was made, and which in her was made flesh. Let not men rejoice in temporal offspring, but let them exult if in spirit they are joined to God. We have spoken these things on account of that which the evangelist says, that He dwelt in Capernaum a few days, with His mother, and His brethren, and His disciples.

4. What follows upon this? “And the Jews’ passover was at hand; and He went up to Jerusalem.” The narrator relates another matter, as it came to his recollection. “And He found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made, as it were, a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple; the oxen likewise, and the sheep; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; and make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.” What have we heard, brethren? See, that temple was still a figure, and yet the Lord cast out of it all that sought their own, all who had come to market. And what did they sell there? Things which people needed in the sacrifices of that time. For you know, beloved, that sacrifices were given to that people, in consideration of the carnal mind and stony heart yet in them, to keep them from falling away to idols: and they offered there for sacrifices oxen, sheep, and doves: you know this, for you have read it. It was not a great sin, then, if they sold in the temple that which was bought for the purpose of offering in the temple: and yet He cast them out thence. If, while they were selling what was lawful and not against justice (for it is not unlawful to sell what it is honorable to buy), He nevertheless drove those men out, and suffered not the house of prayer to be made a house of merchandise; how, if He found drunkards there, what would the Lord do? If the house of God ought not to be made a house of trading, ought it to be made a house of drinking? But when we say this, they gnash upon us with their teeth; but the psalm which you have heard comforts us: “They gnashed upon me with their teeth.” Yet we know how we may be cured, although the strokes of the lash are multiplied on Christ, for His word is made to bear the scourge: “The scourges,” saith He, “were gathered together against me, and they knew not.” He was scourged by the scourges of the Jews; He is now scourged by the blasphemies of false Christians: they multiply scourges for their Lord, and know it not. Let us, so far as He aids us, do as the psalmist did: “But as for me, when they were troublesome to me, I put on sackcloth, and humbled my soul with fasting.”3

5. Yet we say, brethren (for He did not spare those men: He who was to be scourged by them first scourged them), that He gave us a certain sign, in that He made a scourge of small cords, and with it lashed the unruly, who were making merchandise of God’s temple. For indeed every man twists for himself a rope by his sins: “Woe to them who draw sins as a long rope?”4 Who makes a long rope? He who adds sin to sin. How are sins added to sins? When the sins which have been committed are covered over by other sins. One has committed a theft: that he may not be found out to have committed it, he seeks the astrologer. It were enough to have committed theft: why wilt thou add sin to sin? Behold two sins committed. When thou art forbidden to go to the astrologer, thou revilest the bishop: behold three sins. When thou hearest it said of thee, Cast him forth from the Church; thou sayest, I will betake me to the party of Donatus: behold thou addest a fourth sin. The rope is growing; be thou afraid of the rope. It is good for thee to be corrected here, when thou art scourged with it; that it may not be said of thee at the last, “Bind ye his hands and feet, and cast him forth into outer darkness.”1 For, “With the cords of his own sins is every one bound.”2 The former of these is the saying of the Lord, the latter that of another Scripture; but yet both are the sayings of the Lord. With their own sins are men bound and cast into outer darkness.

6. However, to seek the mystery of the deed in the figure, who are they that sell oxen? Who are they that sell sheep and doves? They are they who seek their own in the Church, not the things which are Christ’s. They account all a matter of sale, while they will not be redeemed: they have no wish to be bought, and yet they wish to sell. Yes; good indeed is it for them that they may be redeemed by the blood of Christ, that they may come to the peace of Christ. Now, what does it profit to acquire in this world any temporal and transitory thing whatsoever, be it money, or pleasure of the palate, or honor that consists in the praise of men? Are they not all wind and smoke? Do they not all pass by and flee away? Are they not all as a river rushing headlong into the sea? And woe to him who shall fall into it, for he shall be swept into the sea. Therefore ought we to curb all our affections from such desires. My brethren, they that seek such things are they that sell. For that Simon, too, wished to buy the Holy Ghost, just because he meant to sell the Holy Ghost; and he thought the apostles to be just such traders as they whom the Lord cast out of the temple with a scourge. For such an one he was himself, and desired to buy what he might sell: he was of those who sell doves. Now it was in a dove that the Holy Ghost appeared.3 Who, then, are they, brethren, that sell doves, but they who say, “We give the Holy Ghost”? But why do they say this? and at what price do they sell? At the price of honor to themselves. They receive as the price, temporal seats of honor, that they may be seen to be sellers of doves. Let them beware of the scourge of small cords. The dove is not for sale: it is given freely; for grace, or favor, it is called. Therefore, my brethren, just as you see them that sell, common chapmen, each cries up what he sells: how many stalls they have set up! Primianus has a stall at Carthage, Maximianus has another, Rogatus has another in Mauritania, they have another in Numidia, this party and that, which it is not in our power now to name. Accordingly, one goes round to buy the dove, and every one at his own stall cries up what he sells.

Let the heart of such an one turn away from every seller; let him come where he receives freely. Aye, brethren, and they do not blush, that, by these bitter and malicious dissensions of theirs, they have made of themselves so many parties, while they assume to be what they are not, while they are lifted up, thinking themselves to be something when they are nothing.4 But what is fulfilled in them, since that they will not be corrected, but that which you have heard in the psalm: “They were rent asunder, and felt no remorse”?

7. Well, who sell oxen? They who have dispensed to us the Holy Scriptures are understood to mean the oxen. The apostles were oxen, the prophets were oxen. Whence the apostle says: “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith He it for our sakes? Yea, for our sakes He saith it: that he who ploweth should plow in hope; and he that thresheth, in hope of partaking.”5 Those oxen, then, have left to us the narration of the Scriptures. For it was not of their own that they dispensed, because they sought the glory of the Lord. Now, what have ye heard in that psalm? “And let them say continually, The Lord be magnified, they that wish the peace of His servant.”6 God’s servant, God’s people, God’s Church. Let them who wish the peace of that Church magnify the Lord, not the servant: “and let them say continually, The Lord be magnified.” Who, let say? “Them who wish the peace of His servant.” The voice of that people, of that servant, is clearly that voice which you have heard in lamentations in the psalm, and were moved at hearing, because you are of that people. What was sung by one, re-echoed from the hearts of all. Happy they who recognized themselves in those voices as in a mirror. Who, then, are they that wish the peace of His servant, the peace of His people, the peace of the one whom He calls His “only one,” and whom He wishes to be delivered from the lion: “Deliver mine only one from the power of the dog?”7 They who say always, “The Lord be magnified.” Those oxen, then, magnified the Lord, not themselves. See this ox magnifying his Lord, because “the ox knoweth his owner;”8 observe that ox in fear lest men desert the ox’s owner and rely on the ox: how he dreads them that are willing to put their confidence in him: “Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? “1 Of what I gave, I was not the giver: freely ye have received; the dove came down from heaven. “I have planted,” saith he, “Apollos, watered; but God gave the increase: neither he that planteth is anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”2 “And let them say always, The Lord be magnified, they that wish the peace of His servant.”

8. These men, however, deceive the people by the very Scriptures, that they may receive honors and praises at their hand, and that men may not turn to the truth. But in that they deceive, by the very Scriptures, the people of whom they seek honors, they do in fact sell oxen: they sell sheep too; that is, the common people themselves. And to whom do they sell them, but to the devil? For if the Church be Christ’s sole and only one, who is it that carries off whatever is cut away from it, but that lion that roars and goes about, “seeking whom he may devour?”3 Woe to them that are cut off from the Church! As for her, she will remain entire. “For the Lord knoweth them that are His.”4 These, however, so far as they can, sell oxen and sheep, they sell doves too: let them guard against the scourge of their own sins. But when they suffer some such things for these their iniquities, let them acknowledge that the Lord has made a scourge of small cords, and is admonishing them to change themselves and be no longer traffickers: for if they will not change, they shall at the end hear it said, “Bind ye these men’s hands and feet, and cast them forth into outer darkness.”

9. “Then the disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up:” because by this zeal of God’s house, the Lord cast these men out of the temple. Brethren, let every Christian among the members of Christ be eaten up with zeal of God’s house. Who is eaten up with zeal of God’s house? He who exerts himself to have all that he may happen to see wrong; there corrected, desires it to be mended, does not rest idle: who if he cannot mend it, endures it, laments it. The grain is not shaken out on the threshing-floor that it may enter the barn when the chaff shall have been separated. If thou art a grain, be not shaken out from the floor before the putting into the granary; lest thou be picked up by the birds before thou be gathered into the granary. For the birds of heaven, the powers of the air, are waiting to snatch up something off the threshing-floor, and they can snatch up only what has been shaken out of it. Therefore, let the zeal of God’s house eat thee up: let the zeal of God’s house eat up every Christian, zeal of that house of God of which he is a member. For thy own house is not more important than that wherein thou hast everlasting rest. Thou goest into thine own house for temporal rest, thou enterest God’s house for everlasting rest. If, then, thou busiest thyself to see that nothing wrong be done in thine own house, is it fit that thou suffer, so far as thou canst help, if thou shouldst chance to see aught wrong in the house of God, where salvation is set before thee, and rest without end? For example, seest thou a brother rushing to the theatre? Stop him, warn him, make him sorry, if the zeal of God’s house doth eat thee up. Seest thou others running and desiring to get drunk, and that, too, in holy places, which is not decent to be done in any place? Stop those whom thou canst, restrain whom thou canst, frighten whom thou canst, allure gently whom thou canst: do not, however, rest silent. Is it a friend? Let him be admonished gently. Is it a wife? Let her be bridled with the utmost rigor. Is it a maid-servant? Let her be curbed even with blows. Do whatever thou canst for the part thou bearest; and so thou fulfillest, “The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.” But if thou wilt be cold, languid, having regard only to thyself, and as if thyself were enough to thee, and saying in thy heart, What have I to do with looking after other men’s sins? enough for me is the care of my own soul: this let me keep undefiled for God;—come, does there not recur to thy mind the case of that servant who hid his talent and would not lay it out? Was he accused because he lost it, and not because he kept it without profit?5 So hear ye then, my brethren, that ye may not rest idle. I am about to give you counsel: may He who is within give it; for though it be through me, it is He that gives it. You know what to do, each one of you, in his own house, with his friend, his tenant, his client, with greater, with less: as God grants an entrance, as He opens a door for His word, do not cease to win for Christ; because you were won by Christ.

10. “The Jews said unto Him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?” And the Lord answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and dost thou say, In three days I will rear it up?” Flesh they were, fleshly things they minded; but He was speaking spiritually. But who could understand of what temple He spoke? But yet we have not far to seek; He has discovered it to us through the evangelist, he has told us of what temple He said it. “But He spake,” saith the evangelist, “of the temple of His body.” And it is manifest that, being slain, the Lord did rise again after three days. This is known to us all now: and if from the Jews it is concealed, it is because they stand without; yet to us it is open, because we know in whom we believe. The destroying and rearing again of that temple, we are about to celebrate in its yearly solemnity: for which we exhort you to prepare yourselves, such of you as are catechumens, that you may receive grace; even now is the time, even now let that be purposed which may then come to the birth. Now, that thing we know.

11. But perhaps this is demanded of us, whether the fact that the temple was forty and six years in building may not have in it some mystery. There are, indeed, many things that may be said of this matter; but what may briefly be said, and easily understood, that we say meanwhile. Brethren, we have said yesterday, if I mistake not, that Adam was one man, and is yet the whole human race. For thus we said, if you remember. He was broken, as it were, in pieces; and, being scattered, is now being gathered together, and, as it were, conjoined into one by a spiritual fellowship and concord. And “the poor that groan,” as one man, is that same Adam, but in Christ he is being renewed: because an Adam is come without sin, to destroy the sin of Adam in His own flesh, and that Adam might renew to himself the image of God. Of Adam then is Christ’s flesh: of Adam the temple which the Jews destroyed, and the Lord raised up in three days. For He raised His own flesh: see, that He was thus God equal with the Father. My brethren, the apostle says, “Who raised Him from the dead.” Of whom says he this? Of the Father. “He became,” saith he, “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore also God raised Him from the dead, and gave Him a name which is above every name.”1 He who was raised and exalted is the Lord. Who raised Him? The Father, to whom He said in the psalms, “Raise me up and I will requite them.”2 Hence, the Father raised Him up. Did He not raise Himself? And doeth the Father anything without the Word? What doeth the Father without His only One? For, hear that He also was God. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Did He say, Destroy the temple, which in three days the Father will raise up? But as when the Father raiseth, the Son also raiseth; so when the Son raiseth, the Father also raiseth: because the Son has said, “I and the Father are one.”3

12. Now, what does the number Forty-six mean? Meanwhile, how Adam extends over the whole globe, you have already heard explained yesterday, by the four Greek letters of four Greek words. For if thou write the four words, one under the other, that is, the names of the four quarters of the world, of east, west, north, and south, which is the whole globe,—whence the Lord says that He will gather His elect from the four winds when He shall come to judgment;4—if, I say, you take these four Greek words,—ἀνατολὴ, which is east; δύσις, which is west; αρκτος, which is north; μεσημβρία, which is south; Anatole, Dysis, Arctos, Mesembria,—the first letters of the words make Adam. How, then, do we find there, too, the number forty-six? Because Christ’s flesh was of Adam. The Greeks compute numbers by letters. What we make the letter A, they in their tongue put Alpha, α, and Alpha, α, is called one. And where in numbers they write Beta, β, which is their β, it is called in numbers two. Where they write Gamma, γ, it is called in their numbers three. Where they write Delta, δ, it is called in their numbers four; and so by means of all the letters they have numbers. The letter we call M, and they call My, μ, signifies forty; for they say My, μ, τεσσαράκοντα. Now look at the number which these letters make, and you will find in it that the temple was built in forty-six years. For the word Adam has Alpha, α, which is one: it has Delta, δ, which is four; there are five for thee: it has Alpha, α, again, which is one; there are six for thee: it has also My, μ, which is forty; there hast thou forty-six. These things, my brethren, were said by our elders before us, and that number forty-six was found by them in letters. And because our Lord Jesus Christ took of Adam a body, not of Adam derived sin; took of him a corporeal temple, not iniquity which must be driven from the temple: and that the Jews crucified that very flesh which He derived from Adam (for Mary was of Adam, and the Lord’s flesh was of Mary); and that, further, He was in three days to raise that same flesh which they were about to slay on the cross: they destroyed the temple which was forty-six years in building, and that temple He raised up in three days.

13. We bless the Lord our God, who gathered us together to spiritual joy. Let us be ever in humility of heart, and let our joy be with Him. Let us not be elated with any prosperity of this world, but know that our happiness is not until these things shall have passed way. Now, my brethren, let our joy be in hope: let none rejoice as in a present thing, lest he stick fast in the way. Let joy be wholly of hope to come, desire be wholly of eternal life. Let all sighings breathe after Christ. Let that fairest one alone, who loved the foul to make them fair, be all our desire; after Him alone let us run, for Him alone pant and sigh; “and let them say always, The Lord be magnified, that wish the peace of His servant.”

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St John Chrysostom’s Homily on John 2:13-22

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2014

Ver. 13. “He went up to Jerusalem.”

He received baptism then a few days before the passover. But on going up to Jerusalem, what did He, a deed full of high authority; for He cast out of the Temple those dealers and money changers, and those who sold doves, and oxen, and sheep, and who passed their time there for this purpose.

Another Evangelist writes, that as He cast them out, He said, Make not my Father’s house6 “a den of thieves,” but this one,

Ver. 16. (“Make not My Father’s house) an house of merchandise.”

They do not in this contradict each other, but show that he did this a second time, and that both these expressions were not used on the same occasion, but that He acted thus once at the beginning of His ministry, and again when He had come to the very time of His Passion. Therefore, (on the latter occasion,) employing more strong expressions, He spoke of it as7 (being made) “a den of thieves,” but here at the commencement of His miracles He does not so, but uses a more gentle rebuke; from which it is probable that this took place1 a second time.

“And wherefore,” says one, “did Christ do this same, and use such severity against these men, a thing which He is nowhere else seen to do, even when insulted and reviled, and called by them ‘Samaritan’ and ‘demoniac’? for He was not even satisfied with words only, but took a scourge, and so cast them out.” Yes, but it was when others were receiving benefit, that the Jews accused and raged against Him; when it was probable that they would have been made savage by His rebukes, they showed no such disposition towards Him, for they neither accused nor reviled Him. What say they?

Ver. 18. “What sign showest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?”

Seest thou their excessive malice, and how the benefits done to others incensed them more (than reproofs)?

At one time then He said, that the Temple was made by them “a den of thieves,” showing that what they sold was gotten by theft, and rapine, and covetousness, and that they were rich through other men’s calamities; at another, “a house of merchandise,” pointing to their shameless traffickings. “But wherefore did He this?” Since he was about to heal on the Sabbath day, and to do many such things which were thought by them transgressions of the Law in order that He might not seem to do this as though He had come to be some rival God2 and opponent of His Father, He takes occasion hence to correct any such suspicion of theirs. For One who had exhibited so much zeal for the House was not likely to oppose Him who was Lord of the House, and who was worshiped in it. No doubt even the former years during which He lived according to the Law, were sufficient to show His reverence for the Legislator, and that He came not to give contrary laws; yet since it was likely that those years were forgotten through lapse of time, as not having been known to all because He was brought up in a poor and mean dwelling, He afterwards does this in the presence of all, (for many were present because the feast was nigh at hand,) and at great risk. For he did not merely “cast them out,” but also “overturned the tables,” and “poured out the money,” giving them by this to understand, that He who threw Himself into danger for the good order of the House could never despise his Master. Had He acted as He did from hypocrisy, He should only have advised them; but to place Himself in danger was very daring. For it was no light thing to offer Himself to the anger of so many market-folk,3 to excite against Himself a most brutal mob of petty dealers by His reproaches and His blows, this was not the action of a pretender, but of one choosing to suffer everything for the order of the House.

And therefore not by His actions only, but by His words, He shows his agreement with the Father;4 for He saith not “the Holy House,” but “My Father’s House.” See, He even calls Him, “Father,” and they are not wroth; they thought He spoke in a general way:5 but when He went on and spoke more plainly, so as to set before them the idea of His Equality, then they become angry.

And what say they? “What sign showest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?” Alas for their utter madness! Was there need of a sign before they could cease their evil doings, and free the house of God from such dishonor? and was it not the greatest sign of His Excellence that He had gotten such zeal for that House? In fact, the well-disposed6 were distinguished by this very thing, for “They,” His disciples, it says,

Ver. 17. “Remembered that it is written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

But the Jews did not remember the Prophecy, and said, “What sign showest Thou unto us?” (Ps. 69:9), both grieving that their shameful traffic was cut off, and expecting by these means to stop Him, and also desiring to challenge Him to a miracle, and to find fault with what He was doing. Wherefore He will not give them a sign; and before, when they came and asked Him, He made them the same answer, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” (Matt. 16:4.) Only then the answer was clear, now it is more ambiguous. This He doth on account of their extreme insensibility; for He who prevented7 them without their asking, and gave them signs, would never when they asked have turned away from them, had He not seen that their minds were wicked and false, and their intention treacherous.8 Think how full of wickedness the question itself was at the outset. When they ought to have applauded Him for His earnestness and zeal, when they ought to have been astonished that He cared so greatly for the House, they reproach Him, saying, that it was lawful to traffic, and unlawful for any to stop their traffic, except he should show them a sign. What saith Christ?

Ver. 19. “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Many such sayings He utters which were not intelligible to His immediate hearers, but which were to be so to those that should come after. And wherefore doth He this? In order that when the accomplishment of His prediction should have come to pass, He might be seen to have foreknown from the beginning what was to follow; which indeed was the case with this prophecy. For, saith the Evangelist,

Ver. 22. “When He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”

But at the time when this was spoken, the Jews were perplexed as to what it might mean, and cast about to discover, saying,

Ver. 20. “Forty and six years was this Temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?”

“Forty and six years,” they said, referring to the latter building, for the former was finished in twenty years’ time. (Ezra 6:15.)

Wherefore then did He not resolve the difficulty and say, “I speak not of that Temple, but of My flesh”? Why does the Evangelist, writing the Gospel at a later period, interpret the saying, and Jesus keep silence at the time? Why did He so keep silence? Because they would not have received His word; for if not even the disciples were able to understand the saying, much less were the multitudes. “When,” saith the Evangelist, “He was risen from the dead, then they remembered, and believed the Scripture and His word.” There were two things that hindered1 them for the time, one the fact of the Resurrection, the other, the greater question whether He was God2 that dwelt within; of both which things He spake darkly when He said, “Destroy this Temple, and I will rear it up in three days.” And this St. Paul declares to be no small proof of His Godhead, when he writes, “Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the Resurrection from the dead.” (Rom. 1:4.).

But why doth He both there, and here, and everywhere, give this for a sign, at one time saying,3 “When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then ye shall know that I Am” (c. 8:28); at another, “There shall no sign be given you4 but the sign of the prophet Jonas” (Matt. 12:39); and again in this place, “In three days I will raise it up”? Because what especially showed that He was not a mere man, was His being able to set up a trophy of victory over death, and so quickly to abolish His long enduring tyranny, and conclude that difficult war. Wherefore He saith, “Then ye shall know.” “Then.” When? When after My Resurrection I shall draw (all) the world to Me, then ye shall know that I did these things as God, and Very Son of God, avenging the insult offered to My Father.

“Why then, instead of saying, ‘What need is there of “signs” to check evil deeds?’ did He promise that He would give them a sign?” Because by so doing He would have the more exasperated them; but in this way He rather astonished them. Still they made no answer to this, for He seemed to them to say what was incredible, so that they did not stay even to question Him upon it, but passed it by as impossible. Yet had they been wise, though it seemed to them at the time incredible, still when He wrought His many miracles they would then have come and questioned Him, would then have intreated that the difficulty might be resolved to them; but because they were foolish, they gave no heed at all to part of what was said, and part they heard with evil frame of mind. And therefore Christ spoke to them in an enigmatical way.

The question still remains, “How was it that the disciples did not know that He must rise from the dead?” It was, because they had not been vouchsafed the gift of the Spirit; and therefore, though they constantly heard His discourses concerning the Resurrection, they understood them not, but reasoned with themselves what this might be. For very strange and paradoxical was the assertion that one could raise himself, and would raise himself in such wise. And so Peter was rebuked, when, knowing nothing about the Resurrection, he said, “Be it far from Thee.” (Matt. 16:22.) And Christ did not reveal it clearly to them before the event, that they might not be offended at the very outset, being led to distrust His words on account of the great improbability of the thing, and because they did not yet clearly know Him, who He was. For no one could help believing what was proclaimed aloud by facts, while some would probably disbelieve what was told to them in words. Therefore He at first allowed the meaning of His words to be concealed; but when by their experience He had verified His sayings, He after that gave them understanding of His words, and such gifts of the Spirit that they received them all at once. “He,” saith Jesus, “shall bring all things to your remembrance.” (c. 14:26.) For they who in a single night cast off all respect for Him, and fled from and denied that they even knew Him, would scarcely have remembered what He had done and said during the whole time, unless they had enjoyed much grace of the Spirit.

“But,” says one, “if they were to hear from the Spirit, why needed they to accompany Christ when they would not retain His words?” Because the Spirit taught them not, but called to their mind what Christ had said before; and it contributes not a little to the glory of Christ, that they were referred to the remembrance of the words He had spoken to them. At the first then it was of the gift of God that the grace of the Spirit lighted upon them so largely and abundantly; but after that, it was of their own virtue that they retained the Gift. For they displayed a shining life, and much wisdom, and great labors, and despised this present life, and thought nothing of earthly things, but were above them all; and like a sort of light-winged eagle, soaring high by their works; reached1 to heaven itself, and by these possessed the unspeakable grace of the Spirit.

Let us then imitate them, and not quench our lamps, but keep them bright by alms-doing, for so is the light of this fire preserved. Let us collect the oil into our vessels whilst we are here, for we cannot buy it when we have departed to that other place, nor can we procure it elsewhere, save only at the hands of the poor. Let us therefore collect it thence very abundantly, if, at least, we desire to enter in with the Bridegroom. But if we do not this, we must remain without the bridechamber, for it is impossible, it is impossible, though we perform ten thousand other good deeds, to enter the portals of the Kingdom without alms-doing. Let us then show forth this very abundantly, that we may enjoy those ineffable blessings; which may it come to pass that we all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2014

The following post contains excerpts from two homilies by St John Chrysostom and cover his exposition of Philippians 3:17-4:1.

Ver. 17. “Brethren, be ye imitators of me, and mark them which so walk even as ye have us for an ensample.”

He had said above, “beware of dogs,” from such he had led them away; he brings them near to these whom they ought to imitate. If any one, saith he, wishes to imitate me, if any one wishes to walk the same road, let him take heed to them; though I am not present, ye know the manner of my walk, that is, my conduct in life. For not by words only did he teach, but by deeds too; as in the chorus, and the army, the rest must imitate the leader of the chorus or the army, and thus advance in good order. For it is possible that the order may be dissolved by sedition.

The Apostles therefore were a type, and kept throughout a certain archetypal model. Consider how entirely accurate their life was, so that they are proposed as an archetype and example, and as living laws. For what was said in their writings, they manifested to all in their actions. This is the best teaching; thus he will be able to carry on his disciple. But if he indeed speaks as a philosopher, yet in his actions doth the contrary, he is no longer a teacher. For mere verbal philosophy is easy even for the disciple: but there is need of that teaching and leading which comes of deeds. For this both makes the teacher to be reverenced, and prepares the disciple to yield obedience. How so? When one sees him delivering philosophy in words, he will say he commands impossibilities; that they are impossibilities, he himself is the first to show, who does not practice them. But if he sees his virtue fully carried out in action, he will no longer be able to speak thus. Yet although the life of our teacher be careless, let us take heed to ourselves, and let us listen to the words of the prophet; “They shall be all taught of God.” (Isa. 54:13.) “And they shall teach no more every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest of them.” (Jer. 31:34.) Hast thou a teacher who is not virtuous? Still thou hast Him who is truly a Teacher, whom alone thou shouldest call a Teacher. Learn from Him: He hath said, “Learn of Me, for I am meek.” (Matt. 11:29.) Take not heed, then, to thy teacher, but to Him and to His lessons. Take thence thy examples, thou hast a most excellent model, to it conform thyself. There are innumerable models laid before thee in the Scriptures of virtuous lives; whichsoever thou wilt, come, and after the Master find it in the disciples. One hath shown forth through poverty, another through riches; for example, Elijah through poverty, Abraham through riches. Go to that example, which thou esteemest most easy, most befitting thyself to practice. Again, one by marriage, the other by virginity; Abraham by marriage, the other by virginity. Follow whichever thou wilt: for both lead to heaven. One shone forth by fasting, as John, another without fasting, as Job. Again, this latter had a care for his wife, his children, his daughters, his family, and possessed great wealth; the other possessed nothing but the garment of hair. And why do I make mention of family, or wealth, or money, when it is possible that even one in a kingdom should lay hold on virtue, for the house of a king would be found more full of trouble than any private family. David then shone forth in his kingdom; the purple and the diadem rendered him not at all remiss. To another it was entrusted to preside over a whole people, I mean Moses, which was a more difficult task, for there the power was greater, whence the difficulty too became greater. Thou hast seen men approved in wealth, thou hast seen them in poverty also, thou hast seen them in marriage, thou hast seen them in virginity too; on the contrary, behold some lost in marriage and in virginity, in wealth and in poverty. For example, many men have perished in marriage, as Samson,1 yet not from marriage, but from their own deliberate choice. Likewise in virginity, as the five virgins. In wealth, as the rich man, who disregarded Lazarus: in poverty, innumerable poor men even now are lost. In a kingdom, I can point to many who have perished, and in ruling the people. Wouldest thou see men saved in the rank of a soldier? there is Cornelius; and in the government of a household? there is the eunuch of the Ethiopian Queen. Thus is it universally. If we use our wealth as is fit, nothing will destroy us; but if not, all things will destroy us, whether a kingdom, or poverty, or wealth. But nothing will have power to hurt the man, who keeps well awake.

For tell me, was captivity any harm? None at all. For consider, I pray thee, Joseph, who became a slave, and preserved his virtue. Consider Daniel, and the Three Children, who became captives, and how much the more they shone forth, for virtue shineth everywhere, is invincible, and nothing can put hindrances in its way. But why make I mention of poverty, and captivity, and slavery; and hunger, and sores, and grievous disease? For disease is, more hard to endure than slavery. Such was Lazarus, such was Job, such was also Timothy, straitened by “often infirmities.” (1 Tim. 5:23.) Thou seest that nothing can obtain the mastery over virtue; neither wealth, nor poverty, nor dominion, nor subjection, nor the preëminence in affairs, nor disease, nor contempt, nor abandonment. But having left all these things below, and upon the earth, it hastens towards Heaven. Only let the soul be noble, and nought can hinder it from being virtuous. For when he who works is in vigor, nothing external can hinder him; for as in the arts, when the artificer is experienced and persevering, and thoroughly acquainted with his art, if disease overtakes him, he still hath it; if he became poor, he still hath it; whether he hath his tools in his hand or hath them not, whether he works or worketh not, he loseth not at all his art: for the science of it is contained within him. Thus too the virtuous man, who is devoted to God, manifests his art, if you cast him into wealth, or if into poverty, if into disease, if into health, if into dishonor, if into great honor. Did not the Apostles work in every state, “By glory and dishonor, by good report and evil report”? (2 Cor. 5:8.) This is an athlete, to be prepared for everything; for such is also the nature of virtue.

If thou sayest, I am not able to preside over many, I ought to lead a solitary life; thou offerest an insult to virtue, for it can make use of every state, and shine through all: only let it be in the soul. Is there a famine? or is there abundance? It shows forth its own strength, as Paul saith, “I know how to abound, and how to be in want.” (Phil. 4:12; Acts 28:30.) Was he required to work? He was not ashamed, but wrought two years. Was hunger to be undergone? He sank not under it, nor wavered. Was death to be borne? He became not dejected, through all he exhibited his noble mind and art. Him therefore let us imitate, and we shall have no cause of grief: for tell me, what will have power to grieve such an one? Nothing. As long as no one deprives us of this art, this will be the most blessed of all men, even in this life as well as in that to come. For suppose the good man hath a wife and children, and riches, and great honor, with all these things he remaineth alike virtuous. Take them away, and again in like sort he will be virtuous, neither overwhelmed by his misfortunes, nor puffed up by prosperity, but as a rock standeth equally unmoved in the raging sea and in calm, neither broken by the waves nor influenced at all by the calm, thus too the solid mind stands firm both in calm and in storm. And as little children, when sailing in a ship, are tossed about, whilst the pilot sits by, laughing and undisturbed, and delighted to see their confusion; thus too the soul which is truly wise, when all others are in confusion, or else are inopportunely smiling at any change of circumstance, sits unmoved, as it were, at the tiller and helm of piety. For tell me, what can disturb the pious soul? Can death? This is the beginning of a better life. Can poverty? This helps her on toward virtue. Can disease? She regards not its presence. She regards neither ease, nor affliction; for being beforehand with it, she hath afflicted herself. Can dishonor? The world hath been crucified to her. Can the loss of children? She fears it not, when she is fully persuaded of the Resurrection. What then can surprise her? None of all these things. Doth wealth elevate her? By no means, she knoweth that money is nothing. Doth glory? She hath been taught that “all the glory of man is as the flower of grass.” (Isa. 40:6.) Doth luxury? She hath heard Paul say, “She that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth.” (1 Tim. 5:6.) Since then she is neither inflamed nor cramped, what can equal such health as this?

Other souls, meanwhile, are not such, but change more frequently than the sea, or the cameleon, so that thou hast great cause to smile, when thou seest the same man at one time laughing, at another weeping, at one time full of care, at another beyond measure relaxed and languid. For this cause Paul saith, “Be not fashioned according to this world.” (Rom. 12:2.) For we are citizens of heaven, where there is no turning. Prizes which change not are held out to us. Let us make manifest this our citizenship, let us thence already receive our good things. But why do we cast ourselves into the Euripus, into tempest, into storm, into foam? Let us be in calm. It all depends not on wealth, nor on poverty, nor honor, nor dishonor, nor on sickness, nor on health, nor on weakness, but on our own soul. If it is solid, and well-instructed in the science of virtue, all things will be easy to it. Even hence it will already behold its rest, and that quiet harbor, and, on its departure, will there attain innumerable good things, the which may we all attain, by the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

“For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself.”

NOTHING is so incongruous in a Christian, and foreign to his character, as to seek ease and rest; and to be engrossed with the present life is foreign to our profession and enlistment. Thy Master was crucified, and dost thou seek ease? Thy Master was pierced with nails, and dost thou live delicately? Do these things become a noble soldier? Wherefore Paul saith, “Many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” Since there were some who made a pretense of Christianity, yet lived in ease and luxury, and this is contrary to the Cross: therefore he thus spoke. For the cross belongs to a soul at its post for the fight, longing to die, seeking nothing like ease, whilst their conduct is of the contrary sort. So that even if they say, they are Christ’s, still they are as it were enemies of the Cross. For did they love the Cross, they would strive to live the crucified life. Was not thy Master hung upon the tree? Do thou otherwise imitate Him. Crucify thyself, though no one crucify thee. Crucify thyself, not that thou mayest slay thyself, God forbid, for that is a wicked thing, but as Paul said, “The world hath been crucified unto me and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14.) If thou lovest thy Master, die His death. Learn how great is the power of the Cross; how many good things it hath achieved, and doth still: how it is the safety of our life. Through it all things are done. Baptism is through the Cross, for we must receive that seal. The laying on of hands is through the Cross. If we are on journeys, if we are at home, wherever we are, the Cross is a great good, the armor of salvation, a shield which cannot be beaten down, a weapon to oppose the devil; thou bearest the Cross when thou art at enmity with him, not simply when thou sealest thyself by it, but when thou sufferest the things belonging to the Cross. Christ thought fit to call our sufferings by the name of the Cross. As when he saith, “Except a man take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24), i.e. except he be prepared to die.

But these being base, and lovers of life, and lovers of their bodies, are enemies of the Cross. And every one, who is a friend of luxury, and of present safety, is an enemy of that Cross in which Paul makes his boast: which he embraces, with which he desires to be incorporated. As when he saith, “I am crucified unto the world, and the world unto me.” But here he saith, “I now tell you weeping.” Wherefore? Because the evil was urgent, because such deserve tears. Of a truth the luxurious are worthy of tears, who make fat that which is thrown about them, I mean the body, and take no thought of that soul which must give account. Behold thou livest delicately, behold thou art drunken, to-day and to-morrow, ten years, twenty, thirty, fifty, a hundred, which is impossible; but if thou wilt, let us suppose it. What is the end? What is the gain? Nought at all. Doth it not then deserve tears, and lamentations, to lead such a life; God hath brought us into this course, that He may crown us, and we take our departure without doing any noble action. Wherefore Paul weepeth, where others laugh, and live in pleasure. So sympathetic is he: such thought taketh he for all men. “Whose god,” saith he, “is the belly.” For this have they a God!1 That is, “let us eat and drink!” Dost thou see, how great an evil luxury is? to some their wealth, and to others their belly is a god. Are not these too idolaters, and worse than the common? And their “glory is in their shame.” (1 Cor. 15:32.) Some say it is circumcision. I think not so, but this is its meaning, they make a boast of those things, of which they ought to be ashamed. It is a fearful thing to do shameful actions; yet to do them, and be ashamed, is only half so dreadful. But where a man even boasts himself of them, it is excessive senselessness.

Do these words apply to them alone? And do those who are here present escape the charge? And will no one have account to render of these things? Does no one make a god of his belly, or glory in his shame? I wish, earnestly I wish, that none of these charges lay against us, and that I did not know any one involved in what I have said. But I fear lest the words have more reference to us than to the men of those times. For when one consumes his whole life in drinking and reveling, and expends some small trifle on the poor, whilst he consumes the larger portion on his belly, will not these words with justice apply to him? No words are more apt to call attention, or more cutting in reproof, than these: “Whose god is the belly, whose glory is in their shame.” And who are these? They, he says, who mind earthly things. “Let us build houses.” Where, I ask? On the earth, they answer. Let us purchase farms; on the earth again: let us obtain power; again on the earth: let us gain glory; again on the earth: let us enrich ourselves; all these things are on the earth. These are they, whose god is their belly; for if they have no spiritual thoughts, but have all their possessions here, and mind these things, with reason have they their belly for their god, in saying, “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” And about thy body, thou grievest, tell me, that it is of earth, though thus thou art not at all injured. But thy soul thou draggest down to the earth, when thou oughtest to render even thy body spiritual; for thou mayest, if thou wilt. Thou hast received a belly, that thou mayest feed, not distend it, that thou mayest have the mastery over it, not have it as mistress over thee: that it may minister to thee for the nourishment of the other parts, not that thou mayest minister to it, not that thou mayest exceed limits. The sea, when it passes its bounds, doth not work so many evils, as the belly doth to our body, together with our soul. The former overfloweth all the earth, the latter all the body. Put moderation for a boundary to it, as God hath put the sand for the sea. Then if its waves arise, and rage furiously, rebuke it, with the power which is in thee. See how God hath honored thee, that thou mightest imitate Him, and thou wilt not; but thou seest the belly overflowing, destroying and overwhelming thy whole nature, and darest not to restrain or moderate it.

“Whose God,” he saith, “is their belly.” Let us see how Paul served God: let us see how gluttons serve their belly. Do not they undergo ten thousand such deaths? do not they fear to disobey whatever it orders? do not they minister impossibilities to it? Are not they worse than slaves? “But our citizenship,” says he, “is in Heaven.” Let us not then seek for ease here; there do we shine, where also our citizenship is. “From whence also,” saith he, “we wait for a Saviour,” the Lord Jesus Christ: “who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory.” By little and little he hath carried us up. He saith, “From Heaven” and “Our Saviour,” showing, from the place and from the Person, the dignity of the subject. “Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation,” saith he. The body now suffereth many things: it is bound with chains, it is scourged, it suffereth innumerable evils; but the body of Christ suffered the same. This, then, he hinted at when he said, “That it may be conformed to the body of his glory.” Wherefore the body is the same, but putteth on incorruption. “Shall fashion anew.” Wherefore the fashion is different; or perchance he has spoken figuratively of the change.

He saith, “the body of our humiliation,” because it is now humbled, subject to destruction, to pain, because it seemeth to be worthless, and to have nothing beyond that of other animals. “That it may be conformed to the body of his glory.” What? shall this our body be fashioned like unto Him, who sitteth at the right hand of the Father, to Him who is worshiped by the Angels, before whom do stand the incorporeal Powers, to Him who is above all rule and power, and might? If then the whole world were to take up weeping and lament for those who have fallen from this hope, could it worthily lament? because, when a promise is given us of our body being made like to Him, it still departs with the demons. I care not for hell henceforth; whatever can be said, having fallen from so great glory, now and henceforth consider hell to be nothing to this falling away. What sayest thou, O Paul? To be made like unto Him? Yes, he answereth; then, lest you should disbelieve, he addeth a reason; “According to the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself.” He hath power, saith he, to subject all things unto Himself, wherefore also destruction and death. Or rather, He doth this also with the same power. For tell me, which requireth the greater power, to subject demons, and Angels, and Archangels, and Cherubim, and Seraphim, or to make the body incorruptible and immortal? The latter certainly much more than the former; he showed forth the greater works of His power, that you might believe these too. Wherefore, though ye see these men rejoicing, and honored, yet stand firm, be not offended at them, be not moved. These our hopes are sufficient to raise up even the most sluggish and indolent.

Chap. 4 ver. 1. “Wherefore,” saith he, “my brethren, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved.”

“So.” How? Unmoved. See how he addeth praise after exhortation, “my joy and my crown,” not simply joy but glory too, not simply glory but my crown too. Which glory nought can equal, since it is the crown of Paul. “So stand fast in the Lord, my beloved,” i.e. in the hope of God.1

Posted in Bible, Catholic, fathers of the church, Notes on Philippians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture, SERMONS, St John Chrysostom | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 26, 2014

This post begins with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of Philippians 3, followed by his comments on today’s first reading. Text in purple indicates MacEvilly’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

ANALYSIS OF PHILIPPIANS CHAPTER 3

In this chapter, after briefly referring to the subject matter of the preceding, and inviting the Philippians to rejoice at the news which he communicated therein (Phil 3:1), cautions them against certain false teachers, most likely the Judaizantes, whom he designates as “dogs,” falsely circumcised, because only circumcised in the flesh; whereas, the true circumcision is the Christian circumcision of the heart (Phil 3:1–3). He shows that he could himself glory in more external privileges conferred by the Mosaic law, than could any of the false teachers. He enumerates those external advantages (Phil 3:4–7). But these legal privileges, as well as all temporal advantages whatsoever, he has valued as nought in comparison with the exalted knowledge of Christ (Phil 3:8); and he has sacrificed all, ana submitted to suffering, in order to gain Christ, and be rendered a sharer in his merits and at a future day, in the glory of his resurrection (Phil 3:8–11).

In referring, however, to his sacrifice for Christ, he is not to be understood as wishing to convey, that he had already attained to Christian perfection; he is only, by constant and unceasing efforts, endeavouring to attain the summit of this perfection, and to secure the prize held out in the stadium of Christian, virtue. He exhorts the Philippians to do the same (Phil 3:11–16). He invites them to imitate himself rather than the false teachers, whose conduct and unhappy end he describes (Phil 3:17–19). With these he contrasts the God-like conduct of the followers of Christ, and the glorious consummation in store for them.

Today’s reading ends with the Apostle exhorting the Philippians to persevere in Christian virtue.

Phil 3:17 Be ye followers of me, brethren: and observe them who walk so as you have our model.

Be imitators of me, brethren, and attentively observe (for the purpose of imitation) those who take me for their model.

These words build upon what St Paul has written in Phil 3:2-16, part of which formed yesterday’s first reading. It seems likely that he has in mind people like those mentioned in Phil 4:3. No doubt also Timothy and Epaphroditus whom St Paul plans on sending to Philippi (Phil 2:19-30).

Phil 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the cross of Christ:

For many live and act quite differently, whom I frequently designated in your presence and captioned you against (and now I repeat the same with tears), as enemies of the cross of Christ.

The reason why he tells them to imitate himself is, because many who affect to labour for Christ and preach his gospel act a part wholly unsuited to their profession. “Enemies of the cross.” This has been already explained of the Jewish zealots, and it has been shown how they are enemies of the cross (Jewish zealots is a reference to Jewish Christians who continued to insist on the observance of the Mosaic Law as necessary for salvation; see Phil 3:2-4). Others, however, understand the words to refer to their immoral lives, so opposed to mortification and the self-denial pointed out by the cross.

Phil 3:19 Whose end is destruction: whose God is their belly: and whose glory is in their shame: who mind earthly things.

Whose end is eternal perdition, whose God is their belly, or, the gratification of their sensual appetites, whose glorying has for object those deeds of wickedness, which should rather be a cause of shame; who are wholly engrossed with earthly things, without feeling any concern for the heavenly.

Far from being wholly engrossed with earthly things, our conversation, or manner of living, is such as becomes men aspiring after heaven; our citizenship is there; as free citizens of heaven, we are engaged only about heavenly things. How few, even of those engaged in God’s service, can say this of themselves!

Phil 3:20 But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ,

But we pass through this life as citizens of heaven, whence we expert also our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil 3:21 Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself.
Who will transform this earthly body of ours, and conform it unto a likeness with his glorified and resplendent body, and that by an efficacious effort of that power, by which all things are subject to his supreme will.

He refers to our bodies committed to the earth, and to the glorified property of clarity.—(See 1 Ep. to Cor. 15:42, 43, 44).

Phil 4:1 THEREFORE my dearly beloved brethren and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 

Wherefore, my brethren—whom I love affectionately, and am most anxious to behold, who are the subject of my joy and the occasion of the crown to be given me for having effected your conversion—persevere steadfastly, my dearly beloved, in the Christian faith, as I have pointed out to you, both by example and teaching,

“Therefore,” since such great glory, both as to soul and body, is promised you by Christ. “So stand fast to the Lord;” persevere in a Christian life, following me, and those who imitate me, as models. “My joy and my crown.” For every Prelate and Pastor his people must be the source of his joy and crown, or, of his sorrow and damnation.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on Philippians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2014

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59.

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.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 31:

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 31.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 31.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 31.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: Matthew 10:17-22.

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.

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

 
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