The Divine Lamp

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

Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Category

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 23:27-32

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2014

Ver 27. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.28. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Origen: As above they are said to be “full of extortion and excess,” so here they are “full of hypocrisy and iniquity,” and are likened to dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Justly are the bodies of the righteous said to be temples, because in the body of the righteous the soul has dominion, as God in His temple; or because God Himself dwells in righteous bodies. But the bodies of sinners are called sepulchres of the dead, because the sinner’s soul is dead in his body; for that cannot be deemed to be alive, which does no spiritual or living act.

Jerome: Sepulchres are whitened with lime without, and decorated with marble painted in gold and various colours, but within are full of dead men’s bones. Thus crooked teachers who teach one thing and do another, affect purity in their dress, and humility in their speech, but within are full of all uncleanness, covetousness, and lust.

Origen: For all feigned righteousness is dead, forasmuch as it is not done for God’s sake; yea, rather it is no righteousness at all, any more than a dead man is a man, or an actor who represents any character is the man whom he represents. There is therefore within them so much of bones and uncleanness as are the good things that they wickedly pretend to. And they seem righteous outwardly, not in the eyes of such as the Scripture calls “Gods,” but of such only as “die like men.” [Psa_82:6]

Greg., Mor., xxvi, 32: But before their strict Judge they cannot have the plea of ignorance, for by assuming in the eyes of men every form of sanctity, they witness against themselves that they are not ignorant how to live well.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But say, hypocrite, if it be good to be wicked, why do you not desire to seem that which you desire to be? For what it is shameful to seem, that it is more shameful to be; and what to seem is fair, that it is fairer to be. Either therefore be what you seem, or seem what you are.

Ver 29. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,30. And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.31. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.”

Jerome: By a most subtle syllogism He proves them to be the sons of murderers, while to gain good character and reputation with the people, they build the sepulchres of the Prophets whom their fathers put to death.

Origen: Without just cause He seems to utter denunciations against those who build the sepulchres of the Prophets; for so far what they did was praiseworthy; how then do they deserve this “woe”?

Chrys., Hom. lxxiv: He does not blame them for building the sepulchres, but discovers the design with which they built them; which was not to honour the slain, but to erect to themselves a triumphal monument of the murder, as fearing that in process of time the memory of this their audacious wickedness should perish.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, they said within themselves, If we do good to the poor not many see it, and then but for a moment; were it not better to raise buildings which all may see, not only now, but in all time to come; O foolish man, what boots this posthumous memory, if, where you are, you are tortured, and where you are not there you are praised?

While He corrects the Jews, He instructs the Christians; for had these things been spoken to the former only, they would have been spoken, but not written; but now they were spoken on their account, and written on ours. When one, besides other good deeds, raises sacred buildings, it is an addition to his good works; but if without any other good works, it is a passion for worldly renown.

The martyrs joy not to be honoured with money which has caused the poor to weep. The Jews, moreover, have ever been adorers of saints of former times, and contemners, yea persecutors, of the living. Because they could not endure the reproaches of their own Prophets, they persecuted and killed them; but afterwards the succeeding generation perceived the error of their fathers, and thus in grief at the death of innocent Prophets, they built up monuments of them. But they themselves in like manner persecuted and put to death the Prophets of their own time, when they rebuked them for their sins. This is what is meant, And ye say, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets.”

Jerome: Though they speak not this in words, they proclaim it by their actions, in ambitious and magnificent structures to their memory.

Pseudo-Chrys.: What they thought in their hearts, that they spoke by their deeds. Christ lays bare here the natural habit of all wicked men; each readily apprehends the other’s fault, but none his own; for in another’s case each man has an unprejudiced heart, but in his own case it is distorted. Therefore in the cause of others we can all easily be righteous judges. He only is the truly righteous and wise who is able to judge himself.

It follows, “Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the Prophets.”

Chrys.: What kind of accusation is this, to call one the son of a murderer, who partakes not in his father’s disposition? Clearly there is no guilt in being so; wherefore this must be said in proof of their resemblance in wickedness.

Pseudo-Chrys.: The character of the parents is a witness to the sons; if the father be good and the mother bad, or the reverse, the children may follow sometimes one, sometimes the other. But when both are the same, it very rarely happens that bad sons spring of good parents, or the reverse, though it be so sometimes. This is as a man is sometimes born out of the rule of nature, having six fingers or no eyes.

Origen: And in the prophetic writings, the historical sense is the body, the spiritual meaning is the soul; the sepulchres are the letter and books themselves of Scripture. They then who attend only to the historical meaning, honour the bodies of the Prophets, and set in the letter as in a sepulchre; and are called Pharisees, i.e. ‘cut off’ as it were cutting off the soul of the Prophets from their body.

32. “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Chrys.: He had said against the Scribes and Pharisees, that they were the children of those who killed the Prophets; now therefore He shews that they were like them in wickedness, and that was false that they said, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets.”

Wherefore He now says, “Fill ye up the measure of your fathers.” This is not a command, but a prophecy of what is to be.

Pseudo-Chrys.: He foretels, that as their fathers killed the Prophets, so they also should kill Christ, and the Apostles, and other holy men. As suppose you had a quarrel with some one, you might say to your adversary, Do to me what you are about to do; but you do not therein bid him do it, but shew him that you are aware of his manoeuvres. And in fact they went beyond the measure of their fathers; for they put to death only men, these crucified God.

But because He stooped to death of His own free choice, He does not lay on them the sin of His death, but only the death of the Apostles and other holy men. Whence also He said, “Fill up,” and not “Fill over;” for a just and merciful Judge overlooks his own wrongs, and only punishes those done to others.

Origen: They fill up the measure of their fathers’ sins by their not believing in Christ. And the cause of their unbelief was, that they looked only to the letter and the body, and would understand nothing spiritual in them.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 24:42-51

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2014

Mt 24:42 Watch ye therefore, because you know not what hour your Lord will come.

This is the conclusion which our Redeemer derives from the foregoing; and in it is insinuated, that His reason for leaving us in a state of uncertainty, in regard to the time of His coming, is, in order to keep us always vigilant in expectation of it. He illustrates this in the following example. St. Mark (13:33, &c.), adds, “and pray ye,” in order to show us, that our vigilance and personal exertions, of themselves, shall avail nothing; they must be sustained by God’s grace and providence. St. Luke, after warning men against the obstacles to vigilance (21:34), adds, “praying at all times” (v. 36). St. Augustine (Epist. 80) observes, that these words apply to all men, even those who shall have died before the Day of Judgment; because, the Son of God comes at death, when the Day of Judgment virtually takes place for each one. For, the condition of all, on the last day, shall depend on the state they may be found in at death, “quod in die Judicii futurum est omnibus, hoc in singulis, die mortis impletur” (St. Jerome).

“Because you know not at what hour,” &c., contains an allusion to the conduct of servants, who are always on the watch for the arrival of their master, about the time of whose coming they may be uncertain. The sentence, in order to convey its meaning accurately, should be arranged as follows: “Because, therefore, you know not … watch.” Our Redeemer does not speak of bodily watching, but of mental vigilance, ever keeping the coming of the Lord in mind, and acting accordingly, which is conveyed in verse 44. “Be ready,” or prepared, on that day, by being in a state in which we would wish the Lord to find us, viz., a state of grace.

Mt 24:43 But this know ye, that, if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch and would not suffer his house to be broken open.

This illustration shows the vigilance we should employ, while expecting the coming of our Lord. In it, our Redeemer, at the same time, conveys a tacit censure on the indifference of men, in regard to the paramount concern of eternal salvation compared with their vigilant care and solicitude, when there is question of temporal and passing interests.

“At what hour.” The Greek, φυλακῆ (phylake), means, watch, or, hour of the night, in allusion to the military divisions of the night, into four watches, or principal hours, for relieving guard (Luke 12:38). In this verse, our Redeemer compares the unexpected suddenness of His approach to that of a thief breaking into the house of one off his guard.

By “thief,” some understand, the devil, who always endeavours to break into our house, that is, our bodies. By his wicked inspirations, and criminal pleasures, he desires to deprive them of the costly and precious ornaments of sanctifying grace.

St. Mark (13:35), expresses this more circumstantially. “Watch ye, therefore,” for you know not when the Lord of the house cometh; at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning,” which may be understood, of the several stages of man’s life. In several passages of SS. Scripture, the coming of our Lord is compared to the unexpected approach of the midnight thief. (Luke 12:39; 1 Thess. 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10, &c.)

In the Greek, instead of, “he knew,” “would watch,” “would not suffer,” it is in the past, “if he had known,” “would have watched,” “would not have suffered,” according to which reading, the example proposed refers to a householder, who, for want of due vigilance, had actually been robbed, and his house broken into, by the nightly robber, whose slothful example, therefore, we should be careful not to imitate; but, rather, be always on the watch, for fear of incurring the like misfortune, in reference to our eternal salvation.

Mt 24:44 Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.

“Therefore.” In order to complete the connexion of this with the preceding verse, and see the force of our Redeemer’s conclusion, the following sentence, which is implied, must be expressed: “But because no householder can know the precise time of the robber’s stealthy approach, he must, therefore, be always on the watch, if he wish to guard his house.” Therefore, as your condition of uncertainty is somewhat similar to that of the householder referred to, as regards “the coming of the Son of man,” you must be always ready, if you wish to secure the salvation of your souls, and escape the ruin symbolized by that of the householder in question.

Mt 24:45 Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season?

“Who thinkest thou,” &c. The order of the sentence should be this: “What servant, whom his lord hath set over his family, to give them meat, in due season, is faithful and wise?” This question was asked, on the occasion of St. Peter questioning our Redeemer (Luke 12:40), if the foregoing parable, regarding vigilance, was intended for the Apostles, as well as for the rest of the faithful. For, it would seem, the Apostles fancied they had privileges and exemptions, which would not permit certain things, addressed to the multitude, to apply to them.

Our Redeemer’s reply, which is put in an interrogative form, for greater emphasis’ sake, corrects this error and conveys, that, as regards the Apostles, and all placed in charge of others, they have need of greater vigilance still, than others, and of greater prudence and fidelity, in the interests of their master; this interrogative form, as St. Chrysostom remarks, conveys, that such faithful servants are very rarely met with. Those placed in charge of others, should bear in mind, that they are “servants” of another, and not themselves masters. “Faithful,” so as not to deceive; “prudent,” so as not to be deceived. “Faithful,” in seeking the interests of their master, and the good of their fellow-servants, not their own; “prudent,” in employing the most efficacious means for this end. “Faithful,” in not refusing their fellow-servants their due measure of food; “prudent,” in distributing it properly, according to each one’s wants and requirements. “Faithful,” in not converting to their own use, what belongs to their fellow-servants; “prudent,” in disposing of these means in due time.

Both qualities are absolutely required in those placed in authority, especially in those charged with the spiritual care of souls. Without “prudence,” “fidelity” may prove injurious; and without “fidelity,” “prudence” would degenerate into cunning selfishness. Hence, they should unite the cunning of the serpent with the simplicity of the dove. This applies, as St. Chrysostom remarks, to temporal rulers also. It applies to the rich of this world, no less than to the doctors and pastors of the Church. To both is confided the stewardship of treasures of different kinds, which they should dispense with fidelity and prudence. And, as if to remind them, that they are mere stewards (Luke 12:42), our Lord calls the servant in question, “a steward.”

“Meat in season,” which is expressed by St. Luke (12:42), “measure of wheat in due season,” is allusive to the custom among masters, of appointing a head slave, or steward, to give out monthly rations, the allotted portions of food, to their fellow-slaves.

In the foregoing, our Redeemer refers, not to the prudence of the flesh, which is death; but, to the prudence of the Spirit, which is life (Rom. 8:6).

Mt 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing.
Mt 24:47 Amen I say to you: he shall place him over all his goods.

He pronounces, “Blessed,” that servant whom, at His coming, He shall find persevering in the faithful and prudent discharge of the stewardship confided to him. He is “blessed,” because, his master will not only place him over his fellow-servants, but, “over all his goods,” as if to share with him His own supreme power, dominion, and happiness, and make him a partner and associate, as Pharaoh did in regard to the faithful Joseph. These latter words convey the idea, of the sovereign felicity and happiness of the saints, and their never-ending remuneration in glory. They point out the more abundant honour and glory, which Christ will bestow on His faithful ministers, beyond the rest of the elect, when returning to judge the world, He shall make them His assessors, in judging the rest of mankind.

Mt 24:48 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming:

Having pointed out the office and rewards of the good steward, our Redeemer proceeds to describe the vices and punishment of the faithless and wicked servant. He particularizes two leading vices, viz., the oppression of his fellow-servants, given in charge to him; and the abuse of his master’s goods, in extravagance and in the indulgence of illicit pleasures. Against these vices, St. Peter cautions the prelates of the Church (1 Pet. 5:2).

“If that evil servant,” that is, that servant whom his master shall have placed over his fellow-servants, forgetful of his duty, having become “evil” and wicked.

“Shall say in his heart,” that is, shall think within himself, “My lord is long a coming,” that is, has deferred his coming.

Mt 24:49 And shall begin to strike his fellow servants and shall eat and drink with drunkards:

“And shall begin to strike his fellow-servants,” for whom, as servants of the same household and occupation, having the same relation to their common master, he should entertain feelings of humanity.

“And shall eat and drink,” &c., that is, squander in luxurious living, in society, where he should but seldom appear, the goods which should be expended in works of mercy to the poor, vying with the worldly rich in pomp and worldly show. This is very applicable to worldly-minded ministers of religion.

Mt 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not and at an hour that he knoweth not:

At a day and hour, when he may not expect it, shall come the master of that wicked servant, who forgot that he had a master to whom he was, one day, to be accountable, whose goods he dissipated, whose servants he maltreated, acting more as a cruel, oppressive master himself, than as a kind, humane fellow-servant.

Mt 24:51 And shall separate him and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Shall separate him.” The Greek word, διχοτομήσει—literally, shall cut in two—may either mean, that He will have him literally slain, and cut in two, the just punishment of faithless slaves; or, have him separated from the rest of his household, and confined to prison, with other wicked servants.

“And appoint his portion with the hypocrites”—(St. Luke 12:46, “with unbelievers”)—may either refer to unfaithful servants; and this is expressed here by “hypocrites,” these faithless slaves, who serve to the eye of their master, and pretend fidelity in his presence, but, loiter and misspend their time in his absence. This is the meaning of the word, if we adhere to the parable throughout. Or, the words, “unbeliever” and “hypocrite,” may express, those whom the wicked servant represents, viz., the unbeliever, who is condemned to hell for unbelief; and the wicked Christian, who is condemned for his hypocrisy and wicked life. It is not unusual for our Redeemer, at the close of a parable, to use expressions which are only applicable to the subject which the parable is introduced to illustrate, just as the punishment of “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” is that of the persons whom the wicked servant only figuratively represents.


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

Commentaries for the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time Year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2014


Commentaries for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.

Last Week’s Posts.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Psallam Domino on Psalm 119:97-104.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:16-30.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 4:16-30.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. Includes verse 9.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary Psalm 145. Site incorrectly identifies this as ps 144. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:31-37.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 4:31-37.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. On 1-11.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 33. On entire psalm.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 33. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:38-44.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 4:38-44.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:18-23. On 16-23.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:18-23.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:18-23.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 24. On entire psalm.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 24. On entire psalm.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 24. On entire psalm.

Part 1: Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 24.  Verses 1-6.

Part 2: Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 24. Verses 7-10.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 5:1-11.

My Notes on Luke 5:1-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 5:1-11.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

Father MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. Includes verse 6.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

St Augustine’s Notes Psalm 37. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 5:33-39.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 5:33-39.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15. On 6-17.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Pending: Father Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary Psalm 145. Site incorrectly identifies this as ps 144. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 6:1-5.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 6:1-5.


Pending: Commentaries for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A/

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

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2014

6. And these things, brethren, I have transfigured to myself and Apollo, on your account: that you may learn in us not to be inflated against one another for another above what is written.

I have transfigured. The Greek reads, I have changed the appearance or figure of. In all these remarks, which I have made ostensibly and nominally in reference to myself and Apollo, I have not in reality intended to allude so much to myself and Apollo, who are thoroughly in
harmony, the only difference between us being in our mode of instruction, according to individual difference of mental habit, or variety of circumstances. I intended in reality to designate under our names, several other teachers whom I do not name, who have established themselves as heads of rival parties, and the contentions among whose followers divide and trouble the Church of Corinth. And this on your account.

That you may learn in us, the Greek has, not to be wise above what is written. The Syriac, not to think of yourselves above what is written, and this is followed by the Arabic version, Saint Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylact. This would mean that the teachers are not to arrogate to themselves more than I have accorded them in the words I have written above: nor you, their hearers, engage in party rivalry. The Vulgate omits to be wise, and reads as in the text; the meaning of which is that their followers were not to exalt their several leaders in opposition to one another in rivalry or contrast: championing against one another the cause of some favoured teacher. This, in the Greek, follows as an additional reason.
7. For who distinguishes thee? and what hast thou which thou hast not received? But if thou didst receive it, why dost thou boast as if thou hadst not received it?

Who distinguishes thee? If thou thinkest thou art superior to others in eloquence and wisdom, from whom didst thou receive these gifts? Either they are gifts of nature, or of grace: in either case they come from God. Why dost thou boast of them as if they proceeded from thyself, and could be used for thine own glory? Saint Augustine, and the second Council of Orange, Can. 6., apply these words to the distinction of Divine grace and election, and assert, against the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, that no individual can distinguish himself from the multitudes of the lost human race, and originate his own salvation, by the powers of nature alone; but for this there is indispensably required the grace of God, moving them, and co-operating with them, so as to aid and support the freedom of the will. This, though in accordance with the doctrine of Saint Paul, is not the primary and literal meaning of his words in this passage.

8. Already are you satiated, already are you become rich; you reign without us: and I would you did reign, that we also may reign with you.
9. For I think that God exhibits us the Apostles last, as destined to death; because we are become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.
10. We are fools on account of Christ, but you are prudent in Christ: we infirm, but you strong: you noble, but we ignoble.
11. To this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are cuffed, and homeless.
12. And we labour, working with our hands: we are cursed, and bless: we are persecuted, and patient under it.
13. We are blasphemed, and we entreat: we are become as the excrements of this world, the off-scouring of all things to this day.

8. Already you are satiated, saturati estis. A forcible comparison between these arrogant Corinthian party leaders and the true Apostles of Christ. Already, though only a few months have elapsed since I left Corinth, you are filled to satiety with spiritual knowledge, and enriched with every gift of God: you reign over the Corinthian Church, and want nothing of us. I am quite willing you should reign: I only wish we did. (9) God seems to have made us like the last and lowest of the criminals condemned to be torn to pieces by wild beasts in the arena: the whole universe seated and looking on at our conflict, angels and men. (10) We are laughed as fools, because we teach the Gospel of Christ; you are proclaimed as wise in Christ. We are feeble and insignificant, you are powerful and influential. You are honoured, we are despised. (11) From the time we first entered on our mission to this day we suffer hunger, thirst, poverty, opprobrium, driven from place to place as homeless wanderers. (12) We work for our living, and get curses with it, but we bless those who curse us. We are prosecuted before the courts, and accept their judgment. We are reviled, and we entreat forbearance. (13) We are of all things in this world the vilest and most abject. Among the pagans great criminals were sometimes sacrificed to the gods, or thrown into the sea, as an atonement for the sins of the rest of the community, with the words, be for us a peripsema, or expiatory offering. This is the word the Apostle here uses. The scape-goat, Lev 16:21, was a sacrifice of a similar kind.

14. I do not write these things to shame you, but, as my dearest sons, I admonish you,
15. For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel.
16. I entreat you, therefore, be imitators of me, as I also of Christ.
17. On this account I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear son, and faithful in the Lord: who will remind you of my ways, which are in Christ Jesus, as I teach everywhere in every Church.

14. I do not write these things to shame you. Saint Paul proceeds to explain why he has adopted the extraordinary language of the last few verses, in which, while he does not use terms of exaggeration, he has painted in the darkest colours the sufferings of the Apostles of Christ, in a tone which sounds more like repining than rejoicing. I write this for you, the faithful Christians of Corinth, not to put you to shame. He has put them to shame. Saint Chrysostom observes, but he now says he has not, or rather that he has not done so with any unkind intention. My object is to warn you, for your improvement. (15-16) You may have thousands of advisers, exhorting you to perfection. The word instructors means literally those who have the care of children. But I am your spiritual father, and it was through me that you first believed; and what you require is not wordy exhortation, of which no doubt you get enough and to spare, but simply to imitate the example I set you. (17) You need not be afraid of Timotheus, one of the bearers of this letter, and who is a young man. His mission is not to teach you anything new, but to remind you of what you already know, namely, my rule of life, which you would do well to follow. For the doctrine I have taught you is in every respect the same as I teach everywhere and always. You are safe in following my example, because that which I myself follow is that of Christ.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2014

The Faithful Should Not Judge Their Teachers
A Summary of First Corinthians 4:1-6

Thinking themselves capable of judging their spiritual teachers the Corinthians had made distinctions between them, preferring one to another and glorying in their choice.  after having shown that their glorying was human and vain, the Apostle points out the true norm by which the preachers of the Gospel are to be judged, but at the same time he warns that only the Omniscient God is able to make use of that norm.  The faithful, therefore, must refrain from judging their teachers, not putting one above another, but leaving all things for the final manifestation at the Last Judgment. 

1 Cor 4:6  But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written.

The Apostle now observes that what he has been saying about Apollo and himself applies equally to all preachers. 

These things, i.e., what he has just been telling them regarding the preachers of the Gospel.  I have

in a figure transferred, etc., i.e., I have by a change of form (μετασχηματίζω = metaschēmatizō=met-askh-ay-mat-id’-zo), i.e., figuratively, applied only to Apollo and myself, for your sakes, i.e., for your benefit, that through us you may learn how to regard all preachers of the Gospel. 

That no one be puffed up, etc.  The meaning is that no one, or class, of the faithful should be considered better than another on account of any particular leader or teacher.  All should learn to practice humility according to “that which is written” in many passages of Holy Scripture.  The allusion is doubtless to such passages as 1 Cor 1:19, 31; 3:19-20; or perhaps to what is said in verses 1-2 of the present chapter; or, as some authors think, to a rabbinical proverb.  Cornely thinks the reference is to the Old Testament as a whole, where throughout man’s proper relation to God and genuine humility are taught. 
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 4:7-13

When recommending humility to all the Corinthians in the preceding verse, the Apostle doubtless had chiefly in mind the leaders of the factions at Corinth. Now he directly attacks them with bitter irony, placing before them the life of real Apostles (Estius, Comely, etc.). St. Thomas, however, and the Fathers generally believe that the present section continues the thought of verse 6, and that the Apostle consequently is here, as there, addressing the faithful rather than their leaders. We see no reason why both in general cannot be meant. 

1 Cor 4:7. For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

How foolish it was for the Corinthians to glory in those human leaders, in whom there was nothing whereof to glory; or to glory in themselves as if they were better than their neighbors! If they have anything that distinguisheth them, whether in the natural, or in the supernatural order, this is not due to them, but to God from whom they have received all they possess. Therefore they have nothing in themselves whereof to glory.

St. Thomas and most of the Fathers have understood this verse to refer to supernatural, as well as natural gifts; and St. Augustine constantly urged it against the Pelagians and Semipelagians to prove that man cannot accomplish, or even begin, a salutary work without the grace of God (MacR.). Using this verse the Second Council of Orange declared: “If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). [I've here quoted the text of Orange in full, Fr. Callan quoted just the pertinent part in Latin]. 
1 Cor 4:8. You are now full; you are now become rich; you reign without us; and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you.

In their own estimation the Corinthian faithful and leaders of factions are completely sufficient unto themselves. They are full, i.e., they want nothing; they are rich, i.e., they possess all wealth ; they reign, i.e., already arrived at the state of the blessed they reign with Christ triumphantly even in this life,—all this without us, i.e., without the true Apostles, Paul and his companions, who converted them to Christianity and put them on the way to happiness. 

I would to God, etc. Dropping the irony of his remarks, St. Paul says I wish you actually did reign, so that we Apostles, the founders of your Church, might also share in your felicity, being freed from our distresses, trials, labors, and the like.  

1 Cor 4:9. For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.  

I think that. “That” (Vulg., quod) is omitted by all the best MSS. How different from the apparently glorious condition of the Corinthians is the state of the true Apostles! Far from already reigning in Christ’s kingdom, the Apostles are like men reserved for the beasts in the grand finale of the games; they are the most abject and the last of men.  

God hath set forth, etc. God has made public display of us Apostles 

Appointed to death, i.e., doomed to die as gladiators or slaves in the public arena; “they were appointed to fight with beasts” (Tertull.).  

A spectacle to the world, etc. Like men exposed to wild beasts in the theatre, the Apostles became a spectacle to good angels and good men who admired their fortitude, mildness and humility in the midst of sufferings and persecutions, and to bad angels and evil men who rejoiced at their trials and sorrows.  

1 Cor 4:10. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ; we arc
weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour.

Continuing ironically to take the Corinthians at their own measure the Apostle further contrasts their fancied state with the condition of the Apostles.  

We are fools, etc., i.e., the Apostles who preached Christ crucified in simple language were regarded as fools by the worldly Corinthians who gloried in eloquence and human wisdom. 

We are weak, etc., i.e., the Apostles were regarded as weak, because destitute of human resources; they were without honour, i.e., derided and despised, because wanting in worldly science and eloquence: whereas the Corinthians gloried in their human aids and natural attainments.  

1 Cor 4:11. Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode;

The abject and destitute condition of the Apostles was not something of the past that no longer endured; it continued even unto this hour when the Apostle was writing, and throughout his life. At all times Christ’s true Apostles were in want of the things that were necessary for human life, such as food, drink and clothing; and moreover, they were unceasingly pursued by persecutions from one place to another.  

1 Cor 4:12. And we labour, working with our own hands; we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it.

In order not to be dependent on those for whom he labored preaching the Gospel, St. Paul worked at his trade of tent making to earn his daily bread (Acts 18:3; 20:34; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8). For reviling and persecutions on the part of his enemies he returned blessing, sweetness and resignation.  

1 Cor 4:13. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now.  

The refuse . . . offscouring, etc. The Apostles were treated as outcasts, as scapegoats (περίψωμα) , as unfit to live in human society. Some think the above words refer to the custom at Athens of reserving certain worthless persons to be cast into the sea as a kind of scapegoat sacrifice against plagues, famines, or other public calamities.
Note: the words περικάθαρμα, refuse, filth, and περίψωμα, offscouring, scum, were sometimes used to denote scapegoats. Because St Paul speaks in this verse of being made refuse and offscouring of this world some see a connection with verse 9: “For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.” St Paul is expressing a willingness to be a victim on behalf of others, as in 1 Cor 15:31; 2 Cor 4:10-11; Gal 6:17; Phil 2:17 


After severely upbraiding the factionists at Corinth the Apostle now gives expression to the tender love which he really bears toward the faithful there. He is their spiritual father, and as such, ought to be an object of imitation for them. Timothy is coming to them; he himself will come later, and when he arrives he will deal with them according to need. 

1 Cor 4:14  I write not these things to confound you: but I admonish you as my dearest children.
The severe language of the preceding verses had not for its purpose to humiliate and shame the faithful and their leaders, but to admonish and correct them. As a father out of love may use harsh words to his children, so has St. Paul spoken to his dearest children. 

1 Cor 4:15  For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.

If the Apostle has spoken harshly to the Corinthians it is because, as their father, he has a right to do so. However many instructors and preachers of the Gospel they may have, there is only one who has founded their Church and begotten them spiritually, and that is himself. 

Ten thousand, i.e., a very great number, an indefinite number. 

Instructors, i.e., tutors, pedagogues (παιδαγωγους) . The pedagogue was a trusted slave who looked after a child during his minority, corrected his faults, and took him to those charged with his education. See on Gal 3:24. By tutors and pedagogues the Apostle means here the different preachers of the Gospel at Corinth who had followed him after he had founded the Church there.

For in Christ Jesus, etc., i.e., by the power and authority of Christ St. Paul, in leading the Corinthians to the faith, had given them a new and spiritual life.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Notes on Ezekiel 24:15-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 17, 2014

Background~In 603 BC the Kingdom of Judah came under the vassalage of the Babylonian empire.  In 601 BC Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, met Pharaoh  Neco of Egypt in battle; a battle in which both sides suffered heavy losses. Encouraged by this setback to Babylon’s military might, the reigning king of Judah, Jehoiakim, decided to rebel. Busy rebuilding his army after the devastating stalemate with Pharaoh Neco the king of Babylon was unable to campaign in 600-599 BC, and throughout much of 598 BC his revitalized forces were busy elsewhere. However, he was able to send small forces of his Babylonian regulars, along with mercenaries, into Judah to harass king and populous. In December 598 he was able to send his army. That same month the rebellious king of Judah, Jehoiakim, died, leaving his 18 year old son, Jehoiachin to deal with the problem. On March 16, 597 BC the young king surrendered and he, along with his family, government official, and leading citizens were taken into exile in Babylon. His uncle, Mattaniah, renamed Zedekiah, was place on the throne as the new vassal king to Babylon (see 1 Kings 23:36-24:17). It was in this deportation that Ezekiel was also taken into Babylon where, on July 31, 593 BC he received his call to prophecy (Ezek 1:1-2). In spite of prophecies to the contrary (i.e., by Jeremiah), the people in exile were under the delusion that Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah would continue in existence, and that their exile would soon end. It was one of Ezekiel’s primary prophetic duties to disabuse the people of this expectation. Jerusalem would fall; the exile would continue (see Ezek 4:1-11:13; 12:1-28; 15:1-8; 16:1-63, etc.).

On January 15, 587 BC Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, laid siege to Jerusalem (Ezek 24:1-2). On this very day God commanded Ezekiel to declare a parable about a cauldron unto the exiles (see Ezek 24:3-14). To understand the overall point of the passage one has to recall that in Ezek 11:3 the people of Jerusalem had compared their city to a cauldron, and themselves as the meat in it. The point of this comparison seems to be the following: just as a pot protects meat from the fire, so too Jerusalem–the Holy City where God manifested His presence in the Temple–would provide protection for the people.  But because of the blood shed in the city it would not be a protective kettle for the arrogant who placed their hope in its protection (Ezek 11:7-11). The people were unaware that the Divine Presence had already left the Temple and the city, sealing their fate (Ezek 10:18-23).

In the parable of the cauldron (Jerusalem) the people are the choice meat which will be given out indiscriminately, an image of exile (Ezek 24:3-6). But blood has corrupted the cauldron (Jerusalem) and it must be purified. God will heap up a great fire to cook the meat (people) within the pot (Jerusalem), then, with the pot empty, (due to exile) He will heat the pot until its corrupting rust disappears (Ezek 24:9-11). The corrupting rust will not disappear, however (Ezek 24:12). It is implied that a greater cleansing must take place. So too with the people, their willful corruption makes an intense purification by God necessary (Ezek 24:13-14). It is at this point that today’s reading begins.

Ezek 24:15  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Ezek 24:16  Son of man, behold I take from thee the desire of thy eyes with a sudden stroke, and thou shall not lament, nor weep; neither shall thy tears run down.
Ezek 24:17  Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead: let a fancy covering for thy head be upon thee, and thy shoes on thy feet, and cover not thy lip, nor eat the food of mourners.

On the same day on which Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, and Ezekiel was told to speak the parable of the cauldron, his wife died. Although she is the desire of his eyes he is not to engage in the usual physical mourning (lament, crying). He is to maintain silence. Then as now in the Middle East loud, public expressions of grief were the norm at the death of a loved one. He is not to divest himself of a head covering-a traditional mourning practice-but rather place an ornate covering upon it. He is not to go barefoot, as was the norm of people mourning. Neither shall he cover his lip (i.e., mustache and beard). He is to abstain from the food of mourners (i. e., food prepared by others since food could not be prepared in the house of a dead person.

Ezek 24:18  So I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening: and I did in the morning as he had commanded me

“The prophet-any prophet-was never a person who could divorce himself from the people to whom the Lord sent him both as a messenger and a representative.  Not even Amos (cf. Am 7:1-6) could do this. It was part of the prophetic vocation and its burden that it had to share in the destiny of its people…So as Ezekiel records, ‘I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died.’ Apparently he was simply a causality of divine providence, a sign, a symbol. Some faith is necessary. ‘And on the next morning I did as I was commanded'” (Father Bruce Vawter and Father Leslie J. Hoppe,  A NEW HEART, page 115).  

Ezek 24:19  And the people said to me: Why dost thou not tell us what these things mean that thou doest?
Ezek 24:20  And I said to them: The word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Ezek 24:21  Speak to the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will profane my sanctuary, the glory of your realm, and the thing that your eyes desire, and for which your soul feareth: your sons, and your daughters, whom you have left, shall fall by the sword.
Ezek 24:22  And you shall do as I have done: you shall not cover your faces, nor shall you eat the meat of mourners.
Ezek 24:23  You shall have crowns on your heads, and shoes on your feet: you shall not lament nor weep, but you shall pine away for your iniquities, and every one shall sigh with his brother

The question the people put to the prophet is answered by God through the prophet. Just as he lost the “desire of his eyes,” so too will they lose what their eyes desire, the sanctuary (Temple), along with their sons and their daughters. No reason is given as to why the people are forbidden to mourn. Some scholars speculate that the enormity of the event would make the normal rites of mourning inadequate. Other scholars think the fact that since it is the people’s corruption and sins that have brought such calamity, any kind of mourning would be out of place, hypocritical.

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

My Notes on Deuteronomy 32:26-28, 30, 35cd-36ab

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 17, 2014

Note: The first paragraph is identical to the background material that opened yesterday’s post on Deuteronomy 32:18-21. The next two paragraphs summarize the song up to the beginning of today’s verses. Other verses and the remainder of the song are summarized in the notes that follow the background material.

Bckground~The “Song of Moses”, from which today’s responsorial verses are taken, is first introduced in Deut 31:16-22. The people are on the Plains of Moab (Deut 1:1-5), on the verge of entering the Promised Land (Deut 4:1; Deut 27:2), but before this takes place Moses will die (Deut 3:24-27). A successor must be chosen (Deut 3:28 Deut 31:14-15), encouragement given (passim), and a reminder that it is ultimately the Lord who leads the people (Deut 31:1-6). The command to write the song is given in the Tent of Meeting and is closely connected with the commissioning of Joshua to succeed Moses, and with the promise of God’s continuing presence. A time will come when both people and leaders will forsake the Lord who is with them (Deut 31:16, 20), and he will hide his presence from them as punishment (Deut 31:17-18), and the song will serve as a witness against them (Deut 31:19, 21) .

The song opens with a call to attention formula (Deut 32:1). Moses wishes that his words will be as beneficial on the people as rain upon grass, for it is the name of the Lord that he will proclaim, and his great deeds that he will recount. (Deut 32:2-3). The staunch, rock-like faithfullness of God and his ways is proclaimed (Deut 32:4), and contrasted with the corruption His people will fall into (Deut 32:5-6), forgetting what their God has done for them (Deut 32:7-14).

The people would allow the very prosperity that God bestowed on them (see Deut 31:20) to lead them to become gross and lazy, turning to other gods (Deut 32:15-18). Having spurned their God He will in turn spurn them, leaving them to their own devices.  Because they have provoked Him with their “no-god,” [i.e., alien god] He will provoke them with a “no-people” [alien people]  (Deut 32:19-21). His burning wrath, hurled at them like war arrows, will manifest itself in drought, hunger, burning heat, pestilence, ravaging beasts; and invading enemies who will kill indiscriminately (Deut 32:22-25). It is at this point that today’s responsorial verses begin. 

Deut 32:26 I said: Where are they? I will make the memory of them to cease from among men.
Deut 32:27 But for the wrath of the enemies I have deferred it: lest perhaps their enemies might be proud, and should say: Our mighty hand, and not the Lord, hath done all these things
Deut 32:28  They are a nation without counsel, and without wisdom.

God’s complete withdrawal from His people (cf. Deut 32:20) would mean their eventual disappearance. God’s enemies (the “no-people in Deut 32:21) would boast that the undoing of the people was the result of their (the “no-people’s) own doing. This may sound arrogant and egotistical of God, but one needs to keep in mind God’s universal salvific will. It is for their own eventual well-being and salvation that the nations must recognize God’s actions. This actions include His bestowing unmerited pity upon His sinful people, as Deut 32:36 will show (see below). A God who will so such pity on a people who have forsaken Him will someday approach the “no-people” nations and make them His own (see Romans 9-11, especially St Paul’s quote of Deut 32:21 in Rom 10:19).

At the time of the song’s composition however, this “no-people” lacked the wisdom and counsel of God, this being so they lack the insight to see God’s doings and its relation to their own end, as Deut 32:29 notes. Because of this they cannot ask the following questions:

Deut 32:30  How should one pursue after a thousand, and two chase ten thousand? Was it not, because their God had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?

Not only can the “no-people not ask, let alone answer these questions, they cannot come to know that their “rock” (i.e., any false god of their choosing) is not like the Rock of Israel, as Deut 32:31 states. They are like poison grapes from the vineyards of Sodom; like wine made from venom (Deut 32:32-33). Their day of judgement is coming as we read in verses 34-35ab~”Are not these things stored up with me, and sealed up in my treasures? Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time, that their foot may slide” Indeed, as verse 35cd states: the day of destruction is at hand, and the time makes haste to come.

Deut 32:36ab  The Lord will judge his people, and will have mercy on his servants

God’s punitive judgement is not an end in itself, but leads to mercy and pity, as verse 36cd makes clear this will happen “when he sees that their power is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free.” His punishment and its effects will lead the people who had forsaken Him for false gods to realize that such god’s have no power to save (Deut 32:37-39 and recall Deut 32:15-18). God will requite His enemies for the sake of His servants, but he will also purge His people of sin (Deut 32:40-43). Better then to remain faithful to God and enjoy life, which is the basic message of the book (Deut 32:44-47)

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

Commentaries for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 16, 2014


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

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

Today’s Divine Office.

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


Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 22:19-23.

Word-Sunday Notes on Isaiah 22:19-23.

Sacred Page Blog on Isaiah 22:19-23. By Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma. Looks at the passage in connection with the other readings.


Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 138.St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 138.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 138.

Father Ronald Knox’s Meditation on Psalm 138.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 138.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 138.


Father de Piconio on Romans 11:33-36. This rather brief post actually contains commentary on verses 25-36.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 11:33-36.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 11:33-36.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Romans 11:33-36.

Word-Sunday Notes on Romans 11:33-36.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Romans 11:33-36.

Father Zollner’s Homily on Romans 11:33-36. Originally preached for Trinity Sunday.

Homily Notes on Romans 11:33-36. Focuses on God’s knowledge. Can be used for sermon ideas, points for meditation and further study.


Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 16:13-20.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 16:13-20. This post includes commentary on verse 21-23.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 16:13-20. On 13-23.

Pending: Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 16:13-20.

Word-Sunday Notes on Matthew 16:13-20.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 16:13-20.

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

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 11:33-36

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 16, 2014


A Summary of Romans 11:33-36~These verses conclude the Dogmatic Part of the Epistle, but they are suited in a special manner to terminate chapters 9-11. In these chapters something has been said of the purposes and ways of God in dealing with humanity. Enough has been shown to confirm our faith and hope in God, the veil has been drawn aside sufficiently to give us dim glimpses of the great realities that lie behind; but with and around it all, as the Apostle now says, deep clouds of mystery hang: the infinite knowledge and wisdom of God, His inscrutable judgments and far-off deep counsels are not only but faintly reached, but are of their very nature so far beyond our utmost human capacities of comprehension that we can only bow our heads in faith and humble obedience, ever trusting, in the dire problems and experiences of life, to God’s infinite goodness, wisdom and mercy for the solution of all our difficulties.

33. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How  incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways

O the depth. All the Greek MSS. and the Fathers read: “O depth of riches and of wisdom and of knowledge of God.” “Depth” may signify height, as well as profundity; here it means the immensity of God’s riches, wisdom, etc.

Riches represents the treasures of God’s goodness and mercy (Rom 10:12; Eph 3:8, etc.).

Wisdom indicates the divine prudence with which God governs all creatures and leads them to their ends which have been ordained from all eternity.

Knowledge means the science with which God penetrates all things, knowing and choosing the means most fitted to their ends. The end here in question is the salvation of souls, to which God has ordered faith in Christ as a means.

How incomprehensible, etc. The reasons which underlie God’s judgments in showing mercy to some rather than to others are altogether inscrutable to the mind of man.

How unsearchable, etc. The ways which God takes and the means He employs in executing the decrees of His infinite knowledge are beyond the power of any creature to trace.

In the Vulgate et should precede sapientiae.

34. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?
35. Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him?

St. Paul confirms the profundity of God’s divine attributes by three citations from the Old Testament, the first two of which are almost literally from the LXX of Isaiah 40:13, 14, and the third from the Hebrew text of Job 41:3. God reveals to some extent, but His mind is open to no one, because none can penetrate the divine thoughts; He draws His counsels from no one, for He has no need of counselors; to none is He indebted, since He is the source and ruler and end of all.

36. For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things : to him be glory for ever. Amen.

We can neither penetrate the knowledge of God, nor aid Him with our counsels, nor help Him with our resources, because all things are of him, i.e., they depend upon Him as upon their cause and creator; all things are by him, i.e., they are sustained by Him; all things are in him, or unto him (εις αυτον), i.e., they tend to Him as to their last end (Comely, Lagr., Zahn). Origen, St. Aug. and others have seen an allusion to the Trinity in the three expressions of him, by him, and in him; but there is no good reason for this opinion (Cornely, Lagr.).

To him be glory, etc. Thus, by calling on all creatures to give glory to God, does the Apostle terminate the Dogmatic Portion of this great Epistle.

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

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 138

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 16, 2014


THIS is a song of thanksgiving for the goodness of Yahweh towards His people in general, and in particular for some gracious intervention of the Lord on behalf of Israel that has just occurred.

Yahweh has glorified His name and His word by granting success to His people, Israel. For this public thanksgiving is due. The heathen gods will be compelled to look on while thanksgiving is being made to Yahweh for the gracious deeds by which He has broken the power of Israel’s heathen foes. Even the kings of the heathens, themselves, when they realise all the greatness of Yahweh’s truth and kindness and power will join with Israel in honouring Him and giving Him thanks. The help which the Lord has recently given will not be refused again in time of need, for the loving-kindness of Yahweh endures for ever, and He cannot forget the “work of His hands.”

The psalm is ascribed to David in the Massoretic text, and tO David, Haggai and Zechariah by the Septuagint. This shows uncertainty of tradition as to authorship. The idea that foreign kings are to join in honouring the God of Israel belongs to the realm of Messianic hope. It has been suggested that the best setting for this psalm would be the period of Nehemiah when Israel was able to face the heathen world boldly, in the proud consciousness of her newly established power.

It will be noted that this psalm is closely allied in many respects with Ps. 116.

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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 143 other followers

%d bloggers like this: