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

Commentaries for the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 17, 2016

Note: We are in Year C.

Year A: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Note: In 2016 this day falls on July 25, the Feast of St James, Apostle. The first link is to commentaries for that feast. Remaining links are for the normal readings of the day.

2016. Commentaries for the Feast of St James, Apostle.

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 13:1-11.

My Notes on Jeremiah 13:1-11.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 13:1-11.

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

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

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

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

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 13:31-35.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 14:17-22.

My Notes on Jeremiah 14:17-22.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 14:17-22.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 79.

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

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

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

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

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

Navarre Bible Commentary Matthew 13:36-43.


Today’s Mass Readings.

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

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

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 59.

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

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

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

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 13:44-46.


Today’s Mass Readings.

My Background and Notes on Jeremiah 18:1-6.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 18:1-6.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 18:1-6.

My Notes on Psalm 146.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 146.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 146.

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

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

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

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

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 13:47-53.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 26:1-9.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 26:1-9.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 69.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 69.

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

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

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

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

Navarre Bible Commentary Matthew 13:54-58.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 69.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 69.

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

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

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

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 14:1-12.

Note: We are in Year C.

Year A: Commentaries for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Commentaries for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Commentaries for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Next Week’s Posts.

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Commentareis for the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 23, 2016

Note: We are in Year C.

Year A: Commentaries for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Commentaries for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Commentaries for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 28:1-17.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 28:1-17.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 119.

Pope Benedict’s Commentary on Psalm 119.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

Father Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 14:13-21.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Commentary on Jeremiah 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 30:-1-2, 12-15, 18-22.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 102.

Father McSwiney’s Summary and Brief Notes on Psalm 102.

Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 102.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 14:22-36.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 31:1-7.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 31:1-7.

My Notes on the Responsorial: Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12,ab, 13.

Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 15:21-28.

Saints and Holy People on Matthew 15:21-28.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 15:21-28.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 15:21-28.

Aquinas’ Commentary on Matthew 15:21-28.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 15:21-28.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 51.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary Psalm 51.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 51.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 51.

Part 1: St John Fisher’s Homiletic Commentary on Psalm 51:1-10.

Part 2: St John Fisher’s Homiletic Commentary on Psalm 51:11-21.

Audio Study of Psalm 51. Podcast on entire Psalm from St. Irenaeus Ministries.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 16:13-23.

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

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 16:13-23.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 16:13-23.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Sacred Space Commentary on Nahum 2:1,3;3:1-3,6-7.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Nahum 2:1, 4; 3:1-3, 6-7.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Deuteronomy 32:35cd-36ab, 39abcd, 41.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 16:24-28.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.

Note: in 2016 this day falls on August 6, The Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The first link is to commentaries for that feast.

2016: Commentaries for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Year C.

Today’s Mass Readings.

Sacred Space Notes on Habakkuk 1:12-2:4.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Habakkuk 1:12-2:4.

Pending: My Notes on Habakkuk 1:12-2:4.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 9.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 9.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 17:14-20. Includes verse 21.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.


Year A: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

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

Commentaries for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 23, 2016



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.


Navarre Bible Commentary on Wisdom 18:6-9.

Pending: My Notes on Wisdom 18:6-9.

Word-Sunday Notes on Wisdom 18:6-9.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33. On entire psalm.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 33. Entire psalm.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 33. Entire psalm.

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

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 33.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19. A shorter reading of 11:1-2, 8-12 is allowed.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.

Words-Sunday Notes on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19. Popular and literal translation followed by notes.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentaries on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19: In four parts:

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: Luke 12:32-48. A shorter reading of the passage (35-40) is allowed.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 12:32-48.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 12:32-48.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 12:32-48.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 12:32-48.

Word-Sunday Notes on Luke 12:32-48.

Sacred Space Comments on Luke 12:32-48.

Homilist’s Catechism on Luke 12:32-48. On verses 35-40.


Pending: Sacred Page Blog: . Insightful reflections on the readings from Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma.

Doctrinal Homily Outline. Gives theme of the readings, doctrinal message, suggested pastoral applications.

Historical Cultural Context. The Gospel as seen in its 1st century Mediterranean context.

Scripture in Depth. Succinct summary of the readings.

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background.

Thought From the Early Church. Brief commentary from a homily by St Basil the Great.

The Wednesday Word. Reflections and commentary on the Sunday readings by Father Dom Henry Wansbrough, O.S.B. He is a world renowned biblical scholar who contributed four commentaries on the NT section of the New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (Matt, Mark, Acts, Pastorals), and was general editor of the New Jerusalem Bible.

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Commentaries for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Year C

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 23, 2016

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14.

Sacred Space Commentary on Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 97.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 97.

St Augustine’s Commentary on Psalm 97.

Father MacEvily’s Commentary on 2 Peter 1:16-19.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Pet 1:16-19.

My Notes on Luke 9:28b-36.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 9:28b-36.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 9:28b-36.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 9:28b-36.

Father Juan de Maldonado on the Transfiguration of the Lord.

St John Chrysostom on the Transfiguration of the Lord.


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

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 15:21-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 23, 2016

Mat 15:21 And Jesus went from thence, and retired into the coast of Tyre and Sidon.
Mat 15:22 And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil.

And Jesus went from thence.] 2. Men of good will not rejected. The ruin of the blind leaders and of those led by them has been announced, so that the evangelist considers it incumbent on him to show the affection of our Lord for the chosen people [cf. Euthymius Paschasius], first by his reluctance to aid the Gentiles [vv. 21–28], secondly by his feeding the multitude even without their asking him [vv. 29–39]. a. The Syrophenician woman. We notice first the petitioner and the petition; then, the Lord and his disciples; thirdly, the Lord and the Gentile, α. The petitioner and the petition. “Jesus went from thence,” i. e. from the land of Genesar [Mt. 14:34], “and retired,” partly to seek solitude [Euthymius Schegg, Keil] and partly to avoid the persecutions of the Pharisees [cf. Origin, Arnoldi Meyer, Weiss, Alb. Lap.ide, Lam.] and of Herod [Mt. 14:13; 4:12], “into [not merely “towards”; cf. Mk. 7:24, 31] the coasts of Tyre and Sidon”; these names denote the land of Phenicia, being its two most celebrated cities [cf. 27:3; 47:4; Ez. 27:8; Joel 3:4; Zach. 9:2; 1 Mach. 5:15; Mt. 11:21; Mk. 3:8; Lk. 6:17; etc.]. This visit of a Gentile country does not conflict with our Lord’s order that his apostles on their first missionary excursion should not go “into the way of the Gentiles” [cf. Mt. 10:5], since he himself was not bound by this order [Chrysostom] and since he did not enter Phenicia to preach there [Chrysostom, Theophylact]; on the other hand, Christ’s hardness towards the Gentile woman does not conflict with the history of the centurion [Mt. 8:5, 11, 12], because the latter lived among Jews and was their benefactor. The event foreshows the future call of the Gentiles [cf. Orig. Hil. Theophylact, Euthymius, Jerome, Bede, Paschasius, Salmeron, Jansenius, Lapide, Grimm, iv. p. 554]. Since the name of Jesus was well known in these parts [cf. Mt. 4:24; Lk. 6:17], he did not obtain the desired privacy [Mk. 7:24], but “a woman of Canaan,” whose name was Justa [Hom. Clem. ii. 19], “came out of those coasts” to meet him. The Chanaanites [cf. Gen. 10:15], driven by the Jews to the northern regions of Palestine, had retained possession of Tyre and Sidon, and were considered the national enemies of the Hebrews. St. Mark describes the woman as a “Gentile” by religion, and as a “Syrophenician,” i. e. belonging to the Syrian province of the Roman empire, and to the Phenician. race. There is no good reason for believing that the woman was a proselyte [cf. Hil.]; from the curse of Chanaan down to her personal relations, all is against her. Nevertheless, “crying out, [she] said to him: Have mercy on me,” an expression of her intense compassion, but also of her own suffering brought on by that of her daughter [cf. Chrys. Schanz]. “O Lord, thou Son of David” is the address employed by the woman in imitation of what she had heard. “My daughter [Bert nice; cf. Hom. Clem. iii. 73] is grievously troubled by a devil,” not as if the woman distinguished between a good and a bad possession, or between the dependence on a seemingly good spirit and that on a bad one [cf. Schegg; Philem. ap. Stob. eel. ph. p. 196], but she merely urges the grievousness of her affliction [Origen, Euthymius Schanz, Knabenbauer; cf. Alb.].

Mat 15:23 Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us:
Mat 15:24 And he answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep, that are lost of the house of Israel.

Who answered her not a word.] β. Jesus and the disciples. Our Lord’s silence is not owing to mere abstraction [cf. Schegg], but to the fact that this was the most inoffensive manner of refusing the favor [Hilary]. The happy importunity of the woman [Chrysostom] occasions a direct refusal, which was not intended as a mere trial of faith [cf. Chrysostom, Arnoldi], but as a manifestation that the call of the Gentiles was to be postponed till after the passion and resurrection [Jerome, Euthymius, Theophylact]; this does not imply that our Lord did not know from the start what he was about to do [cf. Schanz]. The disciples, accustomed to see Jesus comply with the requests of petitioners at once [cf. Mt. 8:16; 14:35, 36], “came and besought him, saying: Send her away,” i. e. grant her petition; but their motive is not only pity for the woman, but also the desire to be rid of her importunity: “for she crieth after us” [cf. Jerome, Theophylact]. They advance this reason because they know that Jesus wishes to remain unknown [cf. Mk. 7:24]. The answer of Jesus, whether the woman heard it [cf. Chrysostom, Euthymius] or not [Schanz], fully agrees with Mt. 10:6, and shows that our Lord, in obedience to his Father and in compliance with the prophecies [cf. Knabenbauer], must live and preach among the Jews, while the Gentiles must wait for the ministry of the apostles [cf. Jn. 10:16; Eph. 2:17].

Mat 15:25 But she came and adored him, saying: Lord, help me.
Mat 15:26 Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs.
Mat 15:27 But she said: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.

But she came and adored him.] γ. Our Lord and the Gentile. Her adoration implies her kneeling at his feet [Mk. 7:25], an event that happened after Jesus had entered a house [cf. Mk. 7:24; Zacharias chrysologus, Salmeron, Jansenius, Lapide, Calmet Lam. Knabenbauer], though Augustine [De cons, evang. ii. 49, 103] and Arn. think the first meeting occurred in the house, and the healing outside. The devout act of the woman showed great confidence and humility [cf. Salmeron tom. vi. tract. 29]. Our Lord’s answer is apparently hard, but considers the Gentile in the light of Is. 56:10, 11, and calls her by the name usually applied to the Gentiles by the Jews [cf. Lightfoot, Jansenius, Maldonado, Lapide, Lam. Schanz, Fillion, Knabenbauer], as it is now applied to Christians by Mohammedans. The idea of a pet dog is wholly foreign to the passage [cf. Schegg], for the Greek diminutive accords well with the later Greek and the old Arabic inscriptions found in the Hauran [cf. Z. d. m. G., 1873, tom. 27, pp. 304 ff. 355 ff.], so that they must have been usual also in the Aramaic. Though nearly all maintain that the woman caught Jesus, as it were, in his own words [cf. Jansenius, Lapide, Chrysostom, Paschasius Bruno], by claiming to be treated as dogs are treated by their master, there is some difference of opinion concerning the exact meaning of the woman’s first words: Some regard the Greek particle ναὶ, rendered “yea,” as affirming all Jesus had said [Chrysostom, Euthymius, Theophylact, Salmeron, Maldonado]; others see in it an exception taken by the woman to our Lord’s words, and explaining it as “not so” [Schegg]; the latter render the following Greek conjunctions καὶ γὰρ by “but” [ἀλλά] while the former interpret the same as meaning “for also,” or “also” [γάρ is wanting after καί Mk. 7:28, and occurs in Mt. only in B], and these certainly merit the preference. It is worthy of note that Jesus admired the faith of Gentiles only [the centurion and the woman], but never of Israelites [cf. 8:10]. The other virtues showed by the woman had their root in her faith [cf. Cajetan], so that they are praised implicitly. “Be it done” are words expressing the greatest power, since they show that Jesus has no need of prayer to perform his miracles [Cyril]; this manifestation of his power is elicited by humble and persevering prayer [cf. Thom. Ecclus. 35:21; Ps. 101:18; John 2:4].

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

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 15:21-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 23, 2016

Mat 15:21 And Jesus went from thence, and retired into the coast of Tyre and Sidon.

Seeing the obstinate incredulity and ingratitude of the Jews, our Redeemer retires from the land of “Genesar,” or from Capharnaum and the neighbouring places, into the confines of Tyre and Sidon, probably, with the view of pointing out to His Apostles, by this mode of acting, how they were, after His resurrection, to transfer the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles, from the Jews, who were obstinately bent on resisting them. He also retired, probably, for the purpose of retreat and rest after His labours. Hence, we are informed by St. Mark (7:24), that, entering a house, He wished to remain concealed, unknown to any person. He might have wished to remain in this private way, lest, by publicly preaching and performing miracles, He might furnish the Jews with a pretext for rejecting Him, in consequence of His having held intercourse with the Gentiles; and, moreover, He would be acting in opposition to the instructions He gave His Apostles on this subject.

The coasts,” that is, the country bordering on, and belonging to “Tyre and Sidon.” These were maritime cities of Phœnicia, to the north of Galilee, near Mount Lebanon, which bordered on Judea. Some commentators (Maldonatus and others) are of opinion, that our Redeemer did not enter the territories of the Gentiles, but, that He only came to the extreme confines of Galilee, on the borders of Phœnicia, of which Tyre and Sidon were the principal cities. These expositors derive an argument in favour of their opinion, from the fact, that the “woman came out” of these parts to see Jesus. The words, however, might be explained, that while He was in these parts, she came out of her house, for “she heard of Him” (Mark 7:25)—Franciscus Lucas.

Mat 15:22 And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil.

A woman of Chanaan.” She was a Gentile and Phœnician, as we learn from St. Mark (7:26). She is said to be “of Chanaan,” one of the descendants of Chanaan, the son of Cham, and grandson of Noe. The first-born of Chanaan was Sidon, the founder of the city bearing his name. The Chanaanites were one of the seven nations, that inhabited the land of Chanaan. They inhabited the sea coast, whence they were partly expelled by Josue. A portion, however, remained. The Jews did not subdue Tyre or Sidon. The Phœnicians and Chanaanites were the same people. They were called Chanaanites, by the Hebrews; and Phœnicians, by the Greeks. This woman is called a “Syro-Phœnician,” by St. Mark (7:26)—for she was a Syrian, as well as a Phœnician, Phœnicia being a part of Syria—to distinguish her from the Phœnicians of Lybia, in Africa; and “a Gentile,” in the original (ἑλληνις), a Greek, which is properly rendered, “a Gentile.” For, in the New Testament, in accordance with Jewish usage, the Gentiles are called Greeks—“Judæis et Græcis debitor sum.” (Rom. 1) The word, Gentile, does not convey that she was an idolater, but only, that she was neither of Hebrew extraction, nor, of the Jewish religion.

Have mercy on me.” She says, “on me,” to entreat Him the more earnestly, and to show that, her daughter’s affliction was fully shared in, and borne by her, which was a great proof of maternal affection.

O Lord, thou son of David,” shows her great faith. She believed Him to be the Messiah, promised to the Jews, and to have power over devils, whom she besought Him to expel from her daughter. Hence, she says to Him, as having this power from Himself, “Have mercy on me, O Lord.” “Lord, help me” (v. 25).

Mat 15:23 Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us:

Our Redeemer made no reply whatever, probably, for the purpose of testing her great virtue, her faith and humility; or, perhaps, He had in view, to avoid giving His enemies a pretext for accusing Him of having violated His own instructions to His Apostles, on the subject of not transferring their ministry to the Gentiles, and to show, that if He preformed a miracle in favour of this woman, He did so from a kind of moral necessity.

And His disciples came,” &c. From this, it would seem it was on the road this happened. St. Mark says, “she came in and fell at His feet,” in the house. Both accounts are true. She, in the first instance, did as St. Mark describes; and, again, when He paid no heed to her, she followed them on the way, and then He heard her petition. Others say, she, in the first instance, met Him on the road, and after that, following Him into the house, obtained, by her faith and humble perseverance, the fruit of her petition.

Mat 15:24 And he answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep, that are lost of the house of Israel.

Our Lord was not sent as an Apostle from His Father to the Gentiles, to favour them with His presence; but, to the Jews, according to the predictions of the Prophets. Hence, although the Redeemer of all, He was the Apostle (“sent”), only of the Jews, “minister circumcisionis” (Rom. 15:8). He was sent by His Father personally, to the Jews only. For them alone, He was to perform His miracles, in proof of His doctrine. Had He preached, and worked miracles indiscriminately among the Gentiles, the Jews might have some pretext for rejecting Him as the promised Messiah (Rom. 15:8, 9); and this is the reason why He refuses working the miracle sought for in favour of the Chanaanite woman. “But to the sheep that are lost,” &c. (See 10:6.) It was predicted by the Prophets, that our Lord was to preach to the Jews; and hence, in order to fulfil these prophecies, He confined His preaching and miracles generally to that people (see Rom. 15:8, 9).

Mat 15:25 But she came and adored him, saying: Lord, help me.

Her faith and humility are more and more inflamed and stimulated by the repulse she met with in the first instance. Hence, coming forward and falling down, in prostrate adoration before Him, she urges her petition with still greater earnestness.

Mat 15:26 Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs.

Good” (καλον), equitable, fair, or congruous. “To take the bread of children,” that is, the grace of miracles, and, in general, the grace of the Gospel, embracing His own doctrine and miracles, which were promised the Jews, the “children” of God, the seed of Abraham, as their special nourishment—“bread”—“and cast it to dogs.” Such was the estimation in which the Gentiles were held by the Jews; and such the opprobrious epithet with which they were designated, on account of their idolatry and sinful practices. Our Lord, as we are informed by St. Mark (7:27), replied, “Suffer the children to be filled first;” as if holding out some hope to her, that after the children were satiated, she might then expect the fruit of her petition. Others derive a contrary inference; they say, the harsh comparison instituted between the Gentiles and dogs, was calculated to show the utter hopelessness of the case, and was employed by our Divine Lord in giving utterance, not to His own sentiments—for, He knew the Gentiles were soon to be the favoured sons of God, while the Jews were to become “dogs” (Philip. 3:2; Psalm 21:17)—but speaking after the manner and feelings of the Jews, for the purpose of eliciting a strong proof of her great faith and humility, which no repulse, however apparently harsh and discouraging, could damp. His words come to this: Is it fair for Me who am sent specially to the Jews, the chosen children of God, to transfer My miracles, until the Jews are fully satisfied, to the Gentiles, who hold no other place than that of dogs in the family or household of God?

Mat 15:27 But she said: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.

Her humble perseverance was not to be baffled or frustrated in its object. “Yea, Lord.” Granted, that I am but a whelp, a worthless dog; and that to such the bread of children is not to be cast, still, even in this capacity, however mean, I have a claim to be attended to.

For, the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from,” &c. She did not demand abundance of bread. The miraculous cure she sought for was only “a crumb,” compared with the many splendid miracles performed among the Jews, whom she calls not only “children,” but her “Lords,” in the family household of her Sovereign Master. In this, she shows her great faith, which our Redeemer so strongly commends, and also her profound humility. As if she said: You call me a whelp; and so I am; nourish me, therefore, as whelps are nourished, with a crumb of the bread that falls from my master’s table.

Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.

As if acknowledging Himself to be vanquished by this woman’s faith and perseverance, our Redeemer at once exclaims, “O woman, great is thy faith”—“great,” rare, excellent, in its constancy; great, in its perseverance.

Great,” in the things you believe regarding Me, and in the confidence it inspires. “Be it done.” He uses an imperative form in restoring his creature, as He did in the original act of creation, “ipse mandavit et creata sunt.”

It is worthy of remark, that in the great encomiums bestowed by our Lord in instances of singularly great faith, the objects of these encomiums were Gentiles.

And her daughter was cured,” &c. From the history of the Chanaanite woman, we can clearly see how parents should have recourse to our Lord in the necessities of their children; and implore His Divine aid in their favour. We are also taught how frequently our Lord puts off hearing us in the first instance, in order to test our faith and perseverance, and thus in the end, to render His gifts more acceptable. We also see from it, the efficacy of persevering importunity in prayer; of firm, unfaltering, faith, confidence and humility. The prayer of the Chanaanite woman was accompanied with all these conditions; and so, she was heard.

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

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 23, 2016

“But when Jesus heard of it, He departed thence by ship into a desert place apart; and when the multitudes had heard thereof, they followed Him on foot out of all the cities.”3

See Him on every occasion “departing,”4 both when John was delivered up,5 and when he was slain, and when the Jews heard that He was making more disciples.6 For it is His will ordinarily to conduct things after the manner of a man, the time not yet calling Him to reveal His Godhead plainly. Wherefore also He bade His disciples “tell no man that He is the Christ;”7 for His will was that this should be better known after His resurrection. Wherefore upon those of the Jews that were for a time obstinate in their unbelief He was not very severe, but even disposed to be indulgent to them.

And on retiring, He departs not into a city, but into a wilderness, and in a vessel, so that no man should follow.

But do thou mark, I pray thee, how the disciples of John had now come to be more attached to Jesus. For it was they that told Him of the event; for indeed they have left all, and take refuge henceforth in Him. Thus, besides their calamity, His provision before made in that answer1 did no small good.

But wherefore did He not retire before they brought Him the tidings, when yet He knew the fact before they reported it? To signify all means the reality of His economy.2 For not by His appearance only, but by His actions He would have this confirmed, because He knew the devil’s craft, and that he would leave nothing undone to destroy this doctrine.

He then for this end retires; but the multitudes not even so withdraw themselves from Him, but they follow, riveted to Him, and not even John’s tragical end alarmed them. So great a thing is earnest desire, so great a thing is love; in such wise doth it overcome and dispel all dangers.

Therefore they straightway also received their reward. For “Jesus,” it is said, “went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.”3

For great as their assiduity was, yet nevertheless His doings exceeded what any diligence could earn. Wherefore He sets forth also His motive for so healing them, His mercy, intense mercy: and He healeth all.

And He requires not faith here. For both by coming to Him, and by leaving their cities, and by diligently seeking Him, and by abiding with Him even when hunger was pressing, they display their own faith.

But He is about to feed them also. And He doth not this of Himself, but waits to be entreated; on every occasion, as I have said, maintaining this rule, not to spring onward to His miracles, preventing them, but upon some call.4

And why did none of the multitude come near and speak for them? They reverenced Him exceedingly, and felt not even their hunger, through their longing to stay with Him. Neither indeed do His disciples, when they were come to Him, say, “Feed them;” for as yet they were rather in an imperfect state; but what?

“And when it was evening,” it is said, “His disciples came to Him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now passed; send the multitude away, that they may go and buy themselves victuals.”5

For if even after the miracle they forgot what had been done, and after the baskets, supposed Him to be speaking of loaves, when He gave the name of “leaven” to the doctrine of the Pharisees;6 much less, when they had never yet had experience of such a miracle, would they have expected any such thing. And yet He had made a beginning by actually healing many sick; but nevertheless, not even from this did they expect the miracle of the loaves; so imperfect were they as yet.

But mark thou, I pray, the Teacher’s skill, how distinctly He summons them on towards believing. For He said not at once, “I feed them;” which indeed would not have been easily received; but what?

“But Jesus,” so it is written, “said unto them, “They need not depart; give ye them to eat.”7

He said not, “I give them,” but, “Give ye them;” for as yet their regard to Him was as to a man. But they not even so are awakened, but still reason as with a man, saying,

“We have but five loaves, and two fishes.”8

Wherefore Mark also saith, “They understood not the saying, for their heart was hardened.”9

They continuing therefore to crawl on the ground, then at length He brings in His own part, and saith, “Bring them hither to me.” For although the place be desert, yet He that feeds the world is here; and although the time be now past, yet He that is not subject to time is discoursing with you.

But John saith also, that they were “barley loaves,”10 not mentioning it without object, but teaching us to trample under foot the pride of costly living. Such was the diet of the prophets also.11

2. “He took therefore the five loaves, and the two fishes, and commanded the multitude,” it is said, “to sit down upon the grass, and looking up to Heaven, He blessed, and brake, and gave to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.12 And they did all eat and were filled, and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”13

Wherefore did He look up to Heaven, and bless? It was to be believed of Him, both that He is of the Father, and that He is equal to Him. But the proofs of these things seemed to oppose one another. For while His equality was indicated by His doing all with authority, of His origin from the Father they could no otherwise be persuaded, than by His doing all with great lowliness, and with reference to Him, and invoking Him on His works. Wherefore we see that He neither did these actions only, nor those, that both might be confirmed; and now He works miracles with authority, now with prayer.

Then again, that what He did might not seem an inconsistency, in the lesser things He looks up to Heaven, but in the greater doth all with authority; to teach thee in the lesser also, that not as receiving power from elsewhere, but as honoring Him that begat Him, so He acts. For example: when He forgave sins, and opened paradise, and brought in the thief, and most utterly set aside the old law, and raised innumerable dead, and bridled the sea, and reproved the unuttered thoughts of men, and created an eye;—which are achievements of God only and of none else;—we see Him in no instance praying: but when He provided for the loaves to multiply themselves, a far less thing than all these, then He looks up to Heaven; at once establishing these truths which I have spoken of, and instructing us not to touch a meal, until we have given thanks to Him who giveth us this food.

And why doth He not make it of things that are not? Stopping the mouth of Marcion, and of Manichæus, who alienate His creation from Him, and teaching by His very works, that even all the things that are seen are His works and creatures, and signifying that it is Himself who gives the fruits, who said at the beginning, “Let the earth put forth the herb of grass,” and “Let the waters bring forth things moving with living souls.”1

For this is not at all a less work than the other. For though those were made of things that are not, yet nevertheless were they of water; and it was no greater thing to produce fruits out of the earth, and moving things with life out of the water, than out of five loaves to make so many; and of fishes again, which was a sign that He was ruler both of the earth and of the sea.

Thus, since the sick were constantly the subject of His miracles, He works also a general benefit, that the many might not be spectators only of what befell others, but themselves also partakers of the gift.

And that which in the wilderness seemed to the Jews marvellous, (they said at least, “Can He give bread also? or prepare a table in the wilderness?)”2 this He shows forth in His works. With this view also He leads them into the wilderness, that the miracle might be very far beyond suspicion, and that no one might think that any village lying near contributed ought to the meal. For this reason He mentions the hour also, not the place only.

And another thing too we learn, the self-restraint of the disciples which they practised in necessary things, and how little they accounted of food. For being twelve, they had five loaves only and two fishes; so secondary to them were the things of the body: so did they cling to the things spiritual only.

And not even that little did they hold fast, but gave up even it when asked. Whereby we should be taught, that though we have but little, this too we ought to give up to them that are in need. Thus, when commanded to bring the five loaves, they say not, “and whence are we to have food? whence to appease our own hunger?” but they obey at once.

And besides what I have mentioned, to this end, as I at least think, He makes it out of the materials which they had, namely, that He might lead them to faith; for as yet they were rather in a weak state.3

Wherefore also “He looks up to Heaven.” For of the other miracles they had many examples, but of this none.4

3. “He took the loaves,” therefore, “and brake them, and gave them by His disciples,” hereby to honor them; and not in honor to them only, but also that, when the miracle had been done they might not disbelieve it, nor forget it when it had past, their own hands bearing them witness.5

Wherefore also He suffers the multitudes first to have a sense of hunger, and waits for these to come to Him first and ask Him, and by them makes the people sit down, and by them distributes; being minded by their own confessions and actions to prepossess them every one.6

Therefore also, from them He receives the loaves, that the testimonies of what was doing might be many, and that they might have memorials of the miracle. For if even after these occurrences they forgot,7 what would not have been their case, had He omitted those provisions?

And He commands them to sit down on the trampled grass, instructing the multitudes in self-denial. For His will was not to feed their bodies only, but also to instruct their souls. As well by the place therefore, as by His giving them nothing more than loaves and fishes, and by setting the same before all, and making it common, and by affording no one more than another, He was teaching them humility, and temperance, and charity, and to be of like mind one towards another, and to account all things common.

“And He brake and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” The five loaves He brake and gave, and the five multiplied themselves in the hands of the disciples. And not even here doth He stay the miracle, but He made them even to exceed; to exceed, not as whole loaves, but as fragments; to signify that of those loaves these were remains, and in order that the absent might learn what had been done.

For this purpose indeed He suffered the multitudes to hunger, that no one might suppose what took place to be illusion.

For this also He caused just twelve baskets to remain over, that Judas also might bear one. For He was able indeed to have appeased their hunger, but the disciples would not have known His power, since in Elijah’s case also this took place.1

At all events, so greatly were the Jews amazed at Him for this, that they wished even to make Him a king,2 although with regard to the other miracles they did not so in any instance.

What reasoning now may set forth, how the loaves multiplied3 themselves; how they flowed together in the wilderness; how they were enough for so many (for there were “five thousand men beside women and children;” which was a very great commendation of the people, that both women and men attended Him); how the remnants had their being (for this again is not less than the former), and became so abundant, that the baskets were equal in number to the disciples, and neither more nor less?

Having then taken the fragments, He gave them not to the multitudes, but to the disciples, and that, because the multitudes were in a more imperfect state than the disciples.

And, having wrought the miracle, “straightway He constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.”4

For even if He had seemed, when in sight, to be presenting an illusion, and not to have wrought a truth; yet surely not in His absence also. For this cause then, submitting His proceedings to an exact test, He commanded those that had got the memorials, and the proof of the miracles, to depart from Him.

And besides this, when He is doing great works, He disposes elsewhere of the multitudes and the disciples, instructing us in nothing to follow after the glory that comes from the people, nor to collect a crowd about us.

Now by saying, “He constrained them,” He indicates the very close attendance of the disciples.

And His pretext indeed for dismissing them was the multitude, but He was Himself minded to go up into the mountain; and He did this, instructing us neither to be always in intercourse with multitudes, nor always to fly from the crowd, but each of the two as may be expedient, and giving each duly his turn.

4. Let us learn therefore ourselves also to wait upon Jesus; but not for His bounty in things sensible, lest we be upbraided like the Jews. For “ye seek me,” saith He, “not because ye saw the miracles,5 but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”6 Therefore neither doth He work this miracle continually, but a second time only; that they might be taught not to be slaves to their belly, but to cling incessantly to the things of the Spirit.

To these then let us also cling, and let us seek the heavenly bread, and having received it, let us cast away all worldly care. For if those men left houses, and cities, and kinsmen, and all, and abode in the wilderness, and when hunger was pressing, withdrew not; much more ought we, when approaching such a table, to show forth a more abundant self-command, and to set our love on the things of the Spirit, and to seek the things of sense as secondary to these.

Since even they were blamed, not because they sought Him for the bread, but because it was for this only they sought Him, and for this primarily. For should any one despise the great gifts, but cling to the small, and to those which the giver would have him despise. He loses these latter too: as on the other hand, if we love those, He adds these also. For these are but an appendage to the others; so vile are they and trifling, compared with those, although they be great. Let us not therefore spend our diligence on them, but account both the acquisition and loss of them alike indifferent, even as Job also neither clung to them when present, nor sought them absent. For on this account, they are called χρήματα,1 not that we should bury them in the earth, but that we should use them aright.

And as of artisans every one hath his peculiar skill, even so the rich man, as he knows not how to work in brass, nor to frame ships, nor to weave, nor to build houses, nor any such thing;—let him learn then to use his wealth aright, and to pity the poor; so shall he know a better art than all those.

For indeed this is above all those arts. Its workshop is builded in Heaven. It hath its tools not of iron and brass, but of goodness and of a right will. Of this art Christ is the Teacher, and His Father. “For be ye merciful,” saith He, “as your Father which is in Heaven.”2

And what is indeed marvellous, being so much superior to the rest, it needs no labor, no time for its perfection; it is enough to have willed, and the whole is accomplished.

But let us see also the end thereof, what it is. What then is the end of it? Heaven, the good things in the heavens, that unspeakable glory, the spiritual bride-chambers, the bright lamps, the abiding with the Bridegroom; the other things, which no speech, nor even understanding, is able to set forth.

So that herein likewise great is its difference from all others. For most of the arts profit us for the present life, but this for the life to come also.

5. But if it so far excels the arts that are necessary to us for the present, as medicine, for instance, and house-building, and all others like them: much more the rest, which if any one were nicely to examine, he would not even allow them to be arts. Wherefore I at least would not call those others, as they are unnecessary, so much as arts at all. For wherein is delicate cookery and making sauces profitable to us? Nowhere: yea, they are greatly unprofitable and hurtful, doing harm both to body and soul, by bringing upon us the parent of all diseases and sufferings, luxury, together with great extravagance.3

But not these only, but not even painting, or embroidery, would I for one allow to be an art, for they do but throw men into useless expense. But the arts ought to be concerned with things necessary and important to our life, to supply and work them up. For to this end God gave us skill at all, that we might invent methods, whereby to furnish out our life. But that there should be figures4 either on walls, or on garments, wherein is it useful, I pray thee? For this same cause the sandal-makers too, and the weavers, should have great retrenchments made in their art. For most things in it they have carried into vulgar ostentation,5 having corrupted its necessary use, and mixed with an honest art an evil craft; which has been the case with the art of building also. But even as to this, so long as it builds houses and not theatres, and labors upon things necessary, and not superfluous, I give the name of an art; so the business of weaving too, as long as it makes clothes, and coverlids, but does not imitate the spiders, and overwhelm men with much absurdity, and unspeakable effeminacy, so long I call it an art.

And the sandal-makers’ trade, so long as it makes sandals, I will not rob of the appellation of art; but when it perverts men to the gestures of women, and causes them by their sandals to grow wanton and delicate, we will set it amidst the things hurtful and superfluous, and not so much as name it an art.

And I know well, that to many I seem over-minute in busying myself about these things; I shall not however refrain for this. For the cause of all our evils is this, such faults being at all counted trifling, and therefore disregarded.

And what sin, say you, can be of less account than this, of having an ornamented and glittering sandal, which fits the foot; if indeed it seem right at all to denominate it a sin?

Will ye then that I let loose my tongue upon it, and show its unseemliness, how great it is? and will ye not be angry? Or rather, though ye be angry, I care not much. Nay, for yourselves are to blame for this folly, who do not so much as think it is a sin, and hereby constrain us to enter upon the reproof of this extravagance. Come then, let us examine it, and let us see what sort of an evil it is. For when the silken threads, which it is not seemly should be even inwoven in your garments, these are sewn by you into your shoes, what reproach, what derision do these things deserve?

And if thou despise our judgments, hear the voice of Paul, with great earnestness forbidding these things, and then thou wilt perceive the absurdity of them. What then saith he? “Not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.”6 Of what favor then canst thou be worthy; when, in spite of Paul’s prohibiting the married woman to have costly clothing, thou extendest this effeminacy even to thy shoes, and hast no end of contrivances for the sake of this ridicule and reproach? Yes: for first a ship is built, then rowers are mustered, and a man for the prow, and a helmsman, and a sail is spread, and an ocean traversed, and, leaving wife and children and country, the merchant commits his very life to the waves, and comes to the land of the barbarians, and undergoes innumerable dangers for these threads, that after it all thou mayest take them, and sew them into thy shoes, and ornament the leather. And what can be done worse than this folly?

But the old ways are not like these, but such as become men. Wherefore I for my part expect that in process of time the young men amongst us will wear even women’s shoes, and not be ashamed. And what is more grievous, men’s fathers seeing these things are not much displeased, but do even account it an indifferent matter.

Would ye that I should add what is still more grievous; that these things are done even when there are many poor? Would ye that I bring before you Christ, an hungered, naked, wandering everywhere, in chains? And how many thunderbolts must ye not deserve, overlooking Him in want of necessary food, and adorning these pieces of leather with so much diligence? And He indeed, when He was giving law to His disciples, would not so much as suffer them to have shoes at all, but we cannot bear to walk, I say not barefooted, but even with feet shod as they ought to be.

7. What then can be worse than this unseemliness, this absurdity? For the thing marks a soul, in the first place effeminate, then unfeeling and cruel, then curious and idly busy. For when will he be able to attend to any necessary matter, who is taken up with these superfluous things? when will such a youth endure to take heed to his soul, or to consider so much as that he hath a soul? Yes, he surely will be a trifler who cannot help admiring such things; he cruel, who for their sake neglects the poor; he void of virtue, who spends all his diligence on them.

For he that is curious about the beauty of threads, and the bloom of colors, and the tendrils made of such woven work, when will he be able to look upon the heaven? when will he admire the beauty there, who is excited about a kind of beauty that belongs to pieces of leather, and who is bending to the earth? And whereas God hath stretched out the Heaven, and lighted up the sun, drawing thy looks upwards; thou constrainest thyself to look downwards, and to the earth, like the swine, and obeyest the devil. For indeed this wicked demon hath devised this unseemliness, to draw thee off from that beauty. For this intent hath he drawn thee this way; and God, showing Heaven, is outvied by a devil showing certain skins, or rather not even skins (for indeed these too are God’s works), but effeminacy and a bad kind of skill.

And the young man goes about bending down towards the earth, he that is required to seek wisdom concerning the things in Heaven; priding himself more on these trifles than if he had accomplished some great and good work, and walking on tiptoe in the forum, and hereby begetting to himself superfluous sorrows and distresses, lest he should stain them with the mud when it is winter; lest he should cover them with the dust, when summer is come.

What sayest thou, O man? Hast thou cast thy whole soul into the mire through this extravagance, and dost thou overlook it trailing on the ground, and art thou so anxious about a pair of shoes? Mark their use, and respect the verdict thou passest on them. For to tread on mud and mire, and all the spots on the pavement, for this were thy shoes made. Or if thou canst not bear this, take and hang them from thy neck, or put them on thy head.

And ye indeed laugh at hearing this. But I am inclined to weep for these men’s madness, and their earnest care about these matters. For in truth they would rather stain their body with mud, than those pieces of leather.

Triflers then they become in this way, and fond of money again in another way. For he that has been used to be frantic and eager upon such matters, requires also for his clothes and for all other things much expense, and a large income.

And if he have a munificent father, his thraldom becomes worse, his absurd fancy more intense; but if a parsimonious one, he is driven to other unseemliness, by way of getting together a little money for such expenses.

Hence many young men have even sold their manhood, and have become parasites to the rich, and have undertaken other servile offices, purchasing thereby the fulfillment of such desires.

So then, that this man is sure to be at once fond of money, and a trifler, and about important things the most indolent of all men, and that he will be forced to commit many sins, is hereby evident. And that he is cruel and vainglorious, neither this will any one gainsay: cruel, in that when he sees a poor man, through the love of finery he makes as though he did not even see him, but while he is decking out these things with gold, overlooks him perishing of hunger; vainglorious, since even in such little matters he trains himself to hunt after the admiration of the beholders. For I suppose no general prides himself so much on his legions and trophies, as our profligate youths on the decking out of their shoes, on their trailing garments, on the dressing of their hair; yet surely all these are works of other persons, in their trades. But if men do not cease from vain boasting in the works of others, when will they cease from it in their own?

8. Shall I mention yet other things more grievous than these? or are even these enough for you? Well then; I must end my speech here; since even this have I said, because of the disputatious, who maintain the thing not to be so very wrong.

And although I know that many of the young will not so much as attend to what I have said, being once for all intoxicated with this fancy, I yet ought not therefore to keep silence. For such fathers as have understanding, and are as yet sound, will be able to force them, even against their will, to a becoming decency.

Say not then, “this is of no consequence, that is of no consequence;” for this, this hath ruined all. For even hereby ought you to train them, and by the things which seem trifling to make them grave, great of soul, superior to outward habiliments; so shall we find them approved in the great things also. For what is more ordinary than the learning of letters? nevertheless thereby do men become rhetoricians,1 and sophists, and philosophers, and if they know not their letters, neither will they ever have that knowledge.

And this we have spoken not to young men only, but to women also, and to young damsels. For these too are liable to the like charges, and much more, inasmuch as seemliness is a thing appropriate to a virgin.

What has been said therefore to the others; do ye account to have been said to you also, that we may not repeat again the same things.

For it is full time now to close our discourse with prayer. All of you then pray with us, that the young men of the church above all things may be enabled to live orderly, and to attain an old age becoming them. Since for those surely who do not so live, it were well not to come to old age at all. But for them that have grown old even in youth, I pray that they may attain also to the very deep of gray hairs, and become fathers of approved children, and may be a joy to them that gave them birth, and above all surely to the God that made them, and may exterminate every distempered fancy, not that about their shoes, nor about their clothes only, but every other kind also.

For as untilled land, such is also youth neglected, bringing forth many thorns from many quarters. Let us then send forth on them the fire of the Spirit, and burn up these wicked desires, and let us break up our fields, and make them ready for the reception of the seed, and the young men amongst us let us exhibit with soberer minds than the old elsewhere. For this in fact is the marvellous thing, when temperance shines forth in youth; since he surely that is temperate in old age cannot have a great reward, having in perfection the security from his age. But what is wonderful, is to enjoy a calm amidst waves, and in a furnace not to be burnt, and in youth not to run wanton.

With these things then in our minds, let us emulate that blessed Joseph, who shone through all these trials, that we may attain unto the same crowns with him; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom be glory unto the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, now and always, and world without end. Amen.

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

Commentaries for the Feast of St Mary Magdalene

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2016

Today’s Readings. Note~the first reading allows for an alternate (Alt).

My Notes on the Song of Songs 3:1-4b.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Song of Songs 3:1-4b.

Alt: Father Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:14-17.

Alt. Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:14-17. On 14-21.

Alt. Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:14-17. On 14-21.

Alt. Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:14-17.

Father Boylan’s Commentary on Psalm 63.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 63.

St Augustine’s Commentary on Psalm 63.

Pope St John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 63.

Father Lapide’s Commentary on John 20:1-2, 11-18.

St Augustine’s Tractates on John 20:1-2, 11-18. On 1-18.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 20:1-2, 11-18. On 1-4, 10-18.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 20:1-2, 11-18. On 1-4, 10-18.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 20:1-2, 11-18.






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Some Notes on the Song of Songs 3:1-4b for the Feast of St Mary Magdalene

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2016

This particular passage has been chosen as the first reading because the Magdalene’s search for Jesus–narrated in the Gospel reading for the day (Jn 20:1-2, 11-18)–echos the brides search for the groom in the Song. (Note: An alternate first reading is allowed: 2 Cor 5:14-17).

Song 3:1 In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and found him not.
Song 3:2 I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not.
Song 3:3 The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth?

Song 3:4 When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth.

(A). Just as the bride goes searching for her beloved in the dark (1-2), Mary Magdalene goes searching for Jesus early in the morning, while it is still dark (Jn 20:1).

(B). The bride’s search proves unfruitful (I sought him, and I found him not, 2); so too does St Mary’s (They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre: and we know not where they have laid him Jn 20:2, 13).

(C). The Bride meets some watchmen and asks a question (Have you seen him whom my soul loveth? 3). Mary sees two angels to whom she speaks (Jn 20:12-13).

(D). Almost immediately after her encounter with the watchmen the Bride meets her beloved (When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth, 4). Likewise, Mary, immediately after addressing the angels turned herself back and saw Jesus standing (Jn 20:14).

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Father Maas’ Commentary on 13:1-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2016

1. The same day Jesus going out.] Jesus here describes the character of the Messianic kingdom in seven parables: first, that of the sower, vv. 1–23; second, that of the cockle, vv. 24–30; third, that of the grain of mustard seed, vv. 31, 32; fourth, that of the leaven, vv. 33; fifth, that of the hidden treasure, v. 44; sixth, that of the pearl, vv. 45, 46; seventh, that of the net, vv. 47–52. Vv. 34–43 contain an explanation of the second parable. The first two parables show the obstacles to the kingdom arising from within and from without; the second two show the efficacy of the kingdom as to its extent and its intensity; the third two parables illustrate the priceless value of the kingdom; the last parable points forward to the consummation of the kingdom [Thom.]. Since the evangelist has shown the unfitness of the great mass of the people for the Messianic kingdom, it cannot surprise us that our Lord now employs a manner of speaking the more unintelligible to the multitudes, because they expect a Messianic kingdom far different from that described by Jesus. We may reasonably suppose that the evangelist has here placed together various parables spoken by Jesus on different occasions.

1. Parable of the sower. The same parable is related by Lk. 8:4–8 and Mk. 4:1–9; the second evangelist gives it in the same connection as the first. [A] Wording of the parable, α. “The same day” may signify the day on which the mother and the brethren of our Lord had come to see him, though it may also mean “at that time” generally [cf. Aug. de cons. 2, 41, 88; some codd.]. β “Going out of the house” refers to the house of Peter in Capharnaum [cf. Mt. 8:14; 9:1]. γ. Jesus first “sat by the seaside,” and when “great multitudes were gathered together unto him,” “he went up into a boat and sat.” δ. The “multitudes stood on the shore,” though the Talmudic tradition that the disciples began to sit only after the time of Gamaliel I appears to be false [cf. Lk. 2:46; Acts 22:3; Aboth i. 4]. ε. “Parables” in a wider sense may embrace proverbial expressions and similitudes [cf. Jn. 10:6; 16:25, 29; Mt. 15:15; 24:32; Mk. 3:23; 4:30]; but in their specific meaning, they are fictions built up on the human life, and illustrating some practical or theoretic truth. Such parables occur even in the Old Testament [Judges 9:7 ff.; 2 Kings 12:2 ff.], and the Rabbinic teachers employed them frequently [Lightf. hor. hebr. ad h. l.; Ed. i. p. 580: Wünsche, p. 160], though they appear to have stated the truth before stating the parable, while our Lord follows the opposite course. ζ. The “many things” which our Lord spoke in parables renders it probable that he spoke more than one parable on this particular occasion [cf. Mk. 4:2, 33; Lk. 8:5]. η. The apparent carelessness of the sower may be explained by his sowing in one of the ways peculiar to the Jews [cf. Ed. i. p. 586]; for they had two manners of sowing, one by hand, the other by means of an ox carrying a perforated sack of grain over the land that was to be sown. θ. There are three kinds of unprofitable seed, as there will be three degrees of fruitfulness. Jans, draws attention to the accuracy of statement according to which the seed fallen on stony ground springs up immediately, owing to the greater warmth; “they had no root” does not deny the presence of any root at all, but must be understood of the weakness of the root [cf. Schanz]. ι. “The thorns” are represented as growing up, so that in their progress they outgrow the wheat, κ. That Galilee was noted for its fertility is clear from Joseph. B. J. III. iii. 2; “an hundred-fold” harvest is known also in Gen. 26:12. λ. The importance of the parable is inculcated by the final admonition, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” [cf. Mt. 11:15]. μ. According to Mk. 4:10 and Lk. 8:9, the apostles asked for an explanation of the parable, while the first gospel insists on their asking the reason why Jesus spoke to the people in parables; this difference is fully in accordance with the different scope of the gospels. For since the teaching in parables was common [3 Kings 4:32; Ecclus. 39:2], the second and third evangelists need not explain this fact to their readers; but the first evangelist had to state why our Lord addressed the multitudes in parables, while he spoke to his disciples in plain language, ν. In answer our Lord calls attention to the difference between the disposition of the multitudes and the disciples: the former have proved themselves unworthy of knowing the mysteries, i. e. the true nature and the divinely appointed properties of the kingdom of God; for they have failed to acknowledge the divine legate in spite of his countless signs and miracles [cf. Mt. 11:7–24; 12:1–45]. The apostles have accepted the person of the Messias, and therefore they will be assisted to understand his mission and kingdom [cf. Rom. 11:25; 16:25; Eph. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:12]. ξ. Our Lord illustrates this further by what occurs every day in business life: the wealthy become easily wealthier, and the poor easily lose their little property. In the present case, the Jewish multitudes are the poor, possessing only a natural desire after the Messianic goods [cf. Chrys.], or the blessings of Abraham with the advantages of the law and the prophets [cf. Hil. Orig. cat. Theoph. Pasch. op. imp. Calm.]; since they have failed to invest these goods properly, they will lose them in the present Messianic crisis, ο. But this poverty is owing to the fault of the Jews themselves; for though they see the truth theoretically, they do not see it practically, either through malice, as happens on the part of the leaders, or through neglect, as is the case on the part of the multitudes [cf. Chrys. op. imp. Theoph. Euth. Mald. Schegg, Weiss, Keil].

π. “The prophecy of Isaias” [Is. 6:9] was directed to the contemporaries of the prophet; but the gospels and Acts too [Mk. 4:12; Lk. 8:10; Jn. 12:39, 40; Acts 28:26, 27] point out that its fulfilment extends to the Jews of our Lord’s time. The Greek verb for “fulfilled” used in this passage means properly “wholly fulfilled,” and is still further emphasized by its position in the sentence. In the text of the prophecy we must notice its beautifully inverse order of the members: “heart … ears … eyes …; eyes … ears … heart.” The citation follows the Greek version rather than the Hebrew text, for the latter reads: “Hearing hear ye, and understand not; and seeing see ye, and know not. Make fat the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy, and close their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and they be converted and healed.” The main difference between the Greek version and the Hebrew original consists in this, that the former emphasizes more the wickedness of the people, while the latter insists on the divine decree of rejection. The evangelist may have employed the Greek version because he wished to show the guilt of the Jews, or because our Lord himself had quoted the Septuagint, or again it may be supposed that St. Matthew cited the Hebrew original, but that his Greek translator substituted the Septuagint version, since the Hebrew wording of the passage was not necessary for the argument. Our Lord continued to instruct the multitudes though their conversion as a body had become hopeless, because he was anxious to win over those individual souls that had not yet fully shared the guilt of the mass.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 13:10-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2016

10. “And His disciples came and said to Him.” From St. Mark (4:10), it appears, the disciples did this after our Redeemer had retired to His house, and was alone with them, having sent away the crowds. He had proposed, consecutively, some of the parables recorded here, before He was asked by His disciples to explain the meaning, “Why speakest Thou to them in parables?” and, then, it was He explained them. But, St. Matthew, in his narrative, interrupts the course of the parables, and after narrating that of the sower, he describes, by anticipation, the request of the disciples to have it explained. They, it would seem, proposed a twofold question; 1st. As in this verse, why did He speak to the people in parables? 2nd. What the parable meant. “What this parable might be” (Luke 8:9); “they asked Him the parable” (Mark 4:10). Hence, our Redeemer gives a twofold answer.

11. He answers the first question in this verse. He reserves the answer to the second, for verse 18. It is deserving of remark, that our Redeemer, in His reply, does not assign all His reasons for speaking in parables. There were several reasons of utility for this, not to speak of the peculiar accommodation of parabolic language to the lively and imaginative temperament of the Eastern peoples (see v. 3). The reason here assigned by our Redeemer, is simply in reply to the question of His disciples, “Why speakest Thou to them in parables?” Because, to His disciples, and all who believe in Him, “it was given”—which implies, that the knowledge of spiritual truths, and the capacity for understanding them, is the pure gift of God, and comes, not from the strength of nature; but, from God’s holy grace—“to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven;” that is, to have a full knowledge of the hidden kingdom of Christ, and faith in Him. To them were given ears to hear, and holy dispositions to profit by the instructions of our Lord, as their eager inquiries indicated (Mark 4:10).

But, to them it is not given,” to them who have ears to hear, and hear not, who harden their hearts against the impressions of Divine grace, “it is not given” to know the hidden spiritual truths (“the mysteries”) connected with “the kingdom of heaven;” and, therefore, these truths are not proposed to them in their plain, naked form, as they might and would, reject and spurn them. And so, these pearls are not to be cast before, swine; they must be veiled under the image of parables, to save them from disrespect and profanation. As if He said: To you I speak in plain language; because, to you, who are humble and docile, and glowing with the desire of hearing and understanding, it has been granted, as a singular favour, by the Father of lights, to know, not alone the Evangelical truths, which all should know, and which I, therefore, always expound in the plainest language; but also, “the mysteries,” the secret and admirable dispensations of Providence regarding the progress of the Gospel, as well among Jews as among Gentiles. But to them, most of whom, either disbelieve, or are influenced by idle curiosity, or despise and calumniate My doctrines, this special favour granted to you is not given. It is rather withheld from them by My Father, having proved themselves unworthy of it by their pride, unbelief, and abuse of gifts already bestowed on them.

12. In this verse is conveyed a reason for the foregoing dispensation of giving these gifts to the Apostles, and of withholding them from the others; and, consequently, for His speaking obscurely to the latter class, and plainly to the former (see 25:29).

That hath,” that makes good use of the gifts he possesses, faithfully corresponds with the graces received, and employs them advantageously, according to the intentions of the original donor. “To him (more, or a further increase of gifts), shall be given, and he shall aboundthe more. “But he that hath not,” who neglects to turn to profit or advantage the gifts he has; so that, although possessing them, he might be said, not to have them, as he uses them not, and might as well not have them at all, which is illustrated by “having eyes and seeing not.” “Even that which he hath”—in chapter 25:29, it is, “that which he seemeth to have;” and Luke (8:18), “that which he thinketh he hath”—“shall be taken away from him.”

This would seem to be a proverbial form of expression, applied by our Redeemer to His present purpose, as if to convey to us, that what is said commonly to occur, is verified also in regard to the kingdom of heaven.

In this verse is conveyed, that while the knowledge of the mysteries of faith, and assent to them, come from God’s grace, our own free will has a share in meriting, or not meriting, their further increase and extension. “He that hath,” that is, that freely uses and employs. “Hath not,” freely neglects using and properly employing them.

Here, then, the adagial expression means: To you I plainly disclose the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; because, having faith and a desire of further gifts, you faithfully correspond with God’s designs, and, aided by His grace, you profitably employ the gifts already conferred on you. But to the others, “who are without” (Mark 4:11), who, through their own fault, are devoid of faith, and have no desire of knowing the truth, and of profiting by the grace already bestowed, I speak in an obscure way; for, in punishment of their voluntary abuse of My gifts, they may be classed with those “who have not,” who neglect employing the faculties and gifts bestowed on them. “Hath,” manifestly means, “to use;” and “hath not,” to neglect using, the gifts one possesses; because, there is question here of merited rewards and punishment; and the reward conferred on one, and the punishment inflicted on the other, is founded on the use or neglect of the gifts they respectively possessed.

In the words, “but he that hath not, that also which he bath, shall be taken from him.” “Hath not,” means, uses not. “That also which he hath,” means, actually possesses, viz., the knowledge of Divine things, which he has or seems to have—the preaching of the Gospel—which he has hitherto enjoyed; nay, the very natural light of reason, which he has abused, shall, in punishment of this abuse, be taken from him, so that he shall become blinder and blinder still, and in punishment of his ingratitude, delivered up to a reprobate sense.

13. “Because seeing, they see not,” &c. Because, seeing My miracles, and hearing My heavenly doctrines, they are like men who have not the faculty of seeing or hearing; they have no wish to believe or to understand. “Therefore,” it is, in punishment of their perversity, being unwilling to believe or receive what is clear, they deserve to be addressed in an obscure style of language, which they would not understand.

The words of this verse contain an application to the Jewish multitudes, and an illustration or elucidation, of the general proverbial truths of the preceding verse. The application, in the words, “therefore, I speak to them in parables;” the elucidation, in the words, “because hearing, they hear not, seeing, they see not.”

Neither do they understand,” is a fuller explanation of “seeing and hearing,” which clearly mean, intellectual seeing and hearing.

In Mark (4:12), Luke (8:10), the words are, “that seeing, they may see and not perceive,” &c. This reading is easily explained and reconciled with the reading of St. Matthew here. It is likely, our Redeemer used and meant both forms of expression, so as to intimate that the blindness of this people was partly owing to their own perversity; partly, to the just judgment of God. The word, “that,” expresses, not the end or final cause; but, the consequence or result of their voluntarily closing their eyes. The consequence of their failing and neglecting to profit by God’s grace is, that they are permitted to persevere in the state of blindness and obduracy, in which, we are informed here by St. Matthew, they had been already. In Mark and Luke, is shown how the judgment of taking away is fearfully exercised in the spiritual reprobation of the Jews, who, by Divine permission, are left and abandoned in their blindness and hardness of heart, in punishment of their pride and contempt of grace.

In interpreting this and similar passages, we must utterly abhor the blasphemy of some heretics, who make God the author of sin. In cases of obduracy and impenitence, He, by a just judgment, withdraws His lights and graces, from which the sinner’s obduracy follows as infallibly, as if God had positively blinded and hardened him.

14. “The prophecy of Isaias is fulfilled in them.” The words addressed by Isaias to the men of his own day, have their principal fulfilment in the men of our Redeemer’s time—who were the same people with the Jews who lived in the days of Isaias—and in all others, who at any future period may abuse or neglect the grace of God.

By hearing, you shall hear,” &c. (Isaias 6:9, &c.) The reading is different in Isaias. According to St. Jerome’s version it is: “Go, and thou shalt say to this people: Hearing, hear and understand not; and see the vision, and know it not. Blind the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy,” &c. In this imperative form, found in the original Hebrew, and literally rendered by St. Jerome, the Prophet is commanded to predict the blindness and obduracy of the Jewish people. St. Matthew here follows the Septuagint version, which, for the imperative, employs a future indicative—a thing by no means unusual with the Hebrews—and explains the meaning of the original words of the Prophet. Hence, “by hearing, you shall hear,” the future indicative, properly expresses the meaning of the imperative words, “hearing, hear,” &c., as a prophecy of the blindness and obduracy which would be permitted, by a just judgment of God, to befall the Jewish people, who obstinately refuse to admit our Redeemer’s Divinity, and the truth of His doctrine, in presence of the many splendid miracles He had performed in their midst.

15. “For, the heart of this people is grown gross,” &c., is a clearer expression, according to the Septuagint version, followed by St. Matthew, of the form employed by the Prophet, “blind the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy;” because, the Prophet could not, from himself, blind their hearts any more than he could enlighten them. Hence, he is only told, “Go and say to this people,” &c., that is, to predict that this melancholy result of spiritual blindness was to take place, which the form used by St. Matthew clearly expresses. Such is the force of a command or imprecation addressed by God to a prophet, that it is generally equivalent to a prediction of the event, or of the evil which God, in His anger, permits. Thus we have, “quod facis, fac citius,” “Solvite templum hoc,” &c. The words of this verse, metaphorically refer to the faculties of the soul, viz., the intellect, and the will.

And with their ears,” &c., is expressed in the imperative, in the original Hebrew.

And their eyes they have shut,” also expressed imperatively by the Prophet. They merely convey a prophecy of what was to take place.

The Greek word for, “have shut” (εκαμμυσαν), means, to close the eyelids. Hence, according to the reading adopted by St. Matthew, it is the Jews themselves that, by a voluntary act, have closed their eyes, and shut their ears, against the impressions of Divine grace.

Lest at any time, they should see with their eyes,” &c. Shows their great perversity in refusing the lights and graces of God. They affected ignorance, lest they should give up sin—“noluit intelligere ut bene ageret” (Psa. 35:4). The words, “lest at any time” (μηποτε), signifies, in the Hebrew, lest, perhaps, as they are translated by St. Luke (Acts 28:27).

And I should heal them.” The Hebrew, is in the third person, “and they should be healed;” or, healing be granted them—“sanatio sit eis.”

16. He pronounces His Apostles happy—in contrast with the wretched men of Capharnaum, the Scribes and Pharisees, cursed with spiritual blindness—because, they not only saw our Redeemer, and His wonderful works, with the eyes of the body, and heard His sacred preaching, as did the incredulous multitude; but, they saw them with the eyes of their mind, by understanding Him. They also believed in His miracles, and the preaching regarding His Divinity, which they heard.

17. He extols the special privileges and happiness enjoyed by His Apostles, by comparing their lot, not only with that of the incredulous Jews; but, with that of the just of old. They were blessed beyond the Jews of their own day; because, they saw, also spiritually, what the others only saw corporally; and beyond the just of old, who only saw by faith, at a distant futurity, what they had the happiness of seeing in person. The Apostles are blessed beyond the Jews, on account of spiritual vision; beyond the Patriarchs, &c., on account of corporal vision. These latter could only salute from afar, the things that were present to the Apostles.

St. Luke (10:24) has, “Many prophets and kings have desired,” &c.; “Abraham rejoiced that he might see His day” (John 8:56); Jacob “looked for His salvation” (Gen. 49:18). The saints of old yearned for it, and pierced the heavens with their cries—“rorate cœli desuper et nubes pluant justum.” (Isa. 45:8). In this verse, our Redeemer shows the incomparable privilege bestowed on the Apostles; inasmuch, as on them, who were distinguished, neither for exalted rank, nor wisdom, nor justice, were conferred blessings denied to men high in favour with God, remarkable for justice, and clothed with the royal dignity, although anxiously longing to see the Son of God in the flesh.

The words of this verse are by no means opposed to the words, “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed;” because, in these latter words, the comparison is between those who believe without seeing, and those who, measuring faith by their own vision, believe only the things which they see. The Apostles both saw and believed. Abraham was blessed in believing what he saw not, save at a distant futurity. But the Apostles were still more blessed; because, they clearly saw with the eyes of the body, what he saw only obscurely, at a distance, with the eyes of the mind (Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 1:10–12).

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


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