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 March 12th, 2010

(Updated) Resources For Sunday Mass, March 14th, Fourth Sunday of Lent (Both Forms of the Rite)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 12, 2010


PLEASE NOTE that a newer (and better organized) post containing more resources for the Ordinary Form of the Rite was posted on March 4, 2013 (see here). A n updated and fuller post on the Extraordinary Form of the Rite will be available latter today (March 5). You will be able to access both posts here, listed under Sunday, March 10 2013.

The following post contains links to online resources relating to this Sunday’s Mass.  Most of the resources focus on the Scripture texts and include studies, sermons, meditations, etc.  I’ve included the texts from both forms of the Roman rite.  

Ordinary Form Of The Rite:

Readings.  NAB Translation.

Sunday Gospel Scripture StudyNot yet posted but available via iTunes (keep trying).  This audio/video presentation is consistently excellent.

Update Podcast On Luke 15From St Irenaeus Ministries which offers a large number of free online podcast, and even more talks available for purchase on CD.  Can subscribe via iTunes.

Sunday Bible ReflectionBy Dr. Scott Hahn.  Brief presentation in audio or text format.  Does a good job of relating the key theme(s) to one another.

My Notes On The First ReadingBrief background followed by my notes on the text.

Father Leopold Fonck On The Gospel ReadingA devotional rather than exegetical commentary.

A Practical Commentary On The Gospel ReadingAnother devotional commentary.

Bishop MacEvily On The Gospel. A commentary.

Update Aquinas’ Commentary on Psalm 33 (34)Contains Psalm text and commentary in both Latin and English.

Update St Basil’s Homily on Psalm 33 (34)An exegetical homily.

Update The Navarre Bible Commentary. Contains text and commentary on the three readings.

Readings With Haydock CommentaryDouay-Rheims translation with notes from the Old Haydock Commentary.

Prepare For MassMostly short musical and meditative videos based on the themes of the readings.

Word Sunday.  Contains more resources than just the links listed below.

  • FIRST READING In the book of Joshua, the Israelites celebrated their last Passover as nomads. That ceremony marked a defining shift in the people’s history. Now they would move to settle the land.
  • PSALM Psalm 34 was an invitation to “taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”
  • SECOND READING In his second letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul answered the problems of life’s inequities. Life isn’t fair. That’s why God gave us forgiveness!
  • GOSPEL Luke’s gospel gave us the ultimate parable on forgiveness and second chances, the Prodigal Son.

Lector’s NotesThese notes try to serve the Church by helping lectors prepare to proclaim the Scriptures in our Sunday assemblies. For each day’s first and second readings (and occasionally for the gospel), the Notes give the historical and theological background, plus suggestions on oral interpretation.

Thoughts From The Early ChurchAn excerpt from St John Chrysostom.

Scripture In DepthUsually conveys a good deal of information in a short presentation.

The Father And The SonsAn audio homily by Fr Robert Barron.

Daily Gospel.  The Sunday readings along with brief commentary on the Gospel, usually by a Father of the Church or a Saint.

  • Readings.
  • CommentaryA brief excerpt from St Peter Chrysologus.  The complete sermon from St Peter can be found below #2).

Update On Christian Repentance, A Sermon By John Henry Cardinal Newman. A sermon on the Gospel

Update Contracted Views In Religion, A Sermon By J.H. Cardinal NewmanA sermon on the Gospel

Sermons Of St Peter Chrysologus On The Prodigal Son:

Extraordinary Form Of The Rite: Please note that the readings in this form differ from those of the Ordinary Form.

Devout Instructions On The Epistle And GospelContains both readings along with brief commentary, the introit, prayers, meditations and an instruction on how to prepare for Easter.

My Notes On John 6:1-15. After providing some background I try to show the connection between this event and Jesus’ meeting of the woman at the well in chapter 4.

Nolan And Brown’s Notes On John 6:1-15A bit outdated but useful.

St John Chrysostom’s Homily On John 6:1-15.

Homily On The GospelPrefaced by the Epistle reading.

Homily On The GospelPrefaced by the Gospel Reading.

Homily On The Real Presence Of Our Lord Jesus Christ In The Holy Eucharist.

Homily On Frequent communion.

Homily By St AugustineHis twenty-fourth tract on John.

The following  links contain outlines to sermons based on this Sunday’s readings.  The reader may find the points covered in these outlines useful for meditation and further study.

Update Newman’s Sermon Notes on the Epistle.

Update Aquinas’ Homily Notes On The Epistle.  You may find these notes useful for meditation or further study.

Update Aquinas’ Homily Notes On The GospelYou may find these notes useful for meditation or further study

An Outline On The Epistle Reading Galatians 4:22-31.

Freedom Of The Children Of GodSermon outline based on Gal 4:31.

Holy CommunionSermon outline based on John 6:11.

The Gospel ExampleOn the three duties taught by today’s Gospel Reading.

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Eucharist, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on the Gospel of John, Quotes, SERMONS, St John Chrysostom, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

A Summary of Rerum Novarum

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 12, 2010

Previously (see the post following this one) I posted some excerpts on Pope Leo XII’s Encyclical Rerum Novarum (On Capital and Labor); here I post some background on that document. Numbers in  square brackets are footnotes, these follow the actual text, which I’ve taken from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

a. The beginning of a new path

87. The term “social doctrine” goes back to Pope Pius XI [139] and designates the doctrinal “corpus” concerning issues relevant to society which, from the Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum [140] of Pope Leo XIII, developed in the Church through the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiffs and the Bishops in communion with them[141]. The Church’s concern for social matters certainly did not begin with that document, for the Church has never failed to show interest in society. Nonetheless, the Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum marks the beginning of a new path. Grafting itself onto a tradition hundreds of years old, it signals a new beginning and a singular development of the Church’s teaching in the area of social matters[142].

In her continuous attention to men and women living in society, the Church has accumulated a rich doctrinal heritage. This has its roots in Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels and the apostolic writings, and takes on shape and body beginning from the Fathers of the Church and the great Doctors of the Middle Ages, constituting a doctrine in which, even without explicit and direct Magisterial pronouncements, the Church gradually came to recognize her competence.

88. In the nineteenth century, events of an economic nature produced a dramatic social, political and cultural impact. Events connected with the Industrial Revolution profoundly changed centuries-old societal structures, raising serious problems of justice and posing the first great social question — the labour question — prompted by the conflict between capital and labour. In this context, the Church felt the need to become involved and intervene in a new way: the res novae (“new things”) brought about by these events represented a challenge to her teaching and motivated her special pastoral concern for masses of people. A new discernment of the situation was needed, a discernment capable of finding appropriate solutions to unfamiliar and unexplored problems.

b. From Rerum Novarum to our own day

89. In response to the first great social question, Pope Leo XIII promulgated the first social Encyclical, Rerum Novarum[143]. This Encyclical examines the condition of salaried workers, which was particularly distressing for industrial labourers who languished in inhumane misery. The labour question is dealt with according to its true dimensions. It is explored in all its social and political expressions so that a proper evaluation may be made in the light of the doctrinal principles founded on Revelation and on natural law and morality.

Rerum Novarum lists errors that give rise to social ills, excludes socialism as a remedy and expounds with precision and in contemporary terms “the Catholic doctrine on work, the right to property, the principle of collaboration instead of class struggle as the fundamental means for social change, the rights of the weak, the dignity of the poor and the obligations of the rich, the perfecting of justice through charity, on the right to form professional associations”[144].

Rerum Novarum became the document inspiring Christian activity in the social sphere and the point of reference for this activity[145]. The Encyclical’s central theme is the just ordering of society, in view of which there is the obligation to identify criteria of judgment that will help to evaluate existing socio-political systems and to suggest lines of action for their appropriate transformation.

90. Rerum Novarum dealt with the labour question using a methodology that would become “a lasting paradigm” [146] for successive developments in the Church’s social doctrine. The principles affirmed by Pope Leo XIII would be taken up again and studied more deeply in successive social encyclicals. The whole of the Church’s social doctrine can be seen as an updating, a deeper analysis and an expansion of the original nucleus of principles presented in Rerum Novarum. With this courageous and farsighted text, Pope Leo XIII “gave the Church ‘citizenship status’ as it were, amid the changing realities of public life” [147] and made an “incisive statement” [148] which became “a permanent element of the Church’s social teaching”[149]. He affirmed that serious social problems “could be solved only by cooperation between all forces” [150] and added that, “in regard to the Church, her cooperation will never be found lacking”[151].


Catholic World Report has posted the first of three essays, “What Is Social Justice?” Part one.

Footnotes 139-151:

[139] Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo Anno: AAS 23 (1931), 179; Pius XII, in his Radio Message for the fiftieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum: AAS 33 (1941), 197, speaks of “Catholic social doctrine” and, in the Encyclical Letter Menti Nostrae of 23 September 1950: AAS 42 (1950), 657, of “the Church’s social doctrine”. John XXIII retains the expression “the Church’s social doctrine” (Encyclical Letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 [1961] , 453; Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris: AAS 55 [1963] , 300-301) and also uses “Christian social doctrine” (Encyclical Letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 [1961] , 453) or even “Catholic social doctrine” (Encyclical Letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 [1961] , 454).

[140] Cf. Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum: Acta Leonis XIII, 11 (1892), 97-144.

[141] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, 3: AAS 73 (1981), 583-584; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 1: AAS 80 (1988), 513-514.

[142] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2421.

[143] Cf. Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum: Acta Leonis XIII, 11 (1892), 97-144.

[144] Congregation for Catholic Education, Guidelines for the Study and Teaching of the Church’s Social Doctrine in the Formation of Priests, 20, Vatican Polyglot Press, Rome 1988, p. 24.

[145] Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo Anno, 39 AAS 23 (1931), 189; Pius XII, Radio Message for the fiftieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum: AAS 33 (1941), 198.

[146] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 5: AAS 83 (1991), 799.

[147] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 5: AAS 83 (1991), 799.

[148] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 56: AAS 83 (1991), 862.

[149] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 60: AAS 83 (1991), 865.

[150] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 60: AAS 83 (1991), 865.

[151] Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum: Acta Leonis XIII, 11 (1892), 143; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 56: AAS 83 (1991), 862.

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Pope Leo XIII On Capital And Labor (articles 3-11)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 12, 2010

I just read a summary of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum (On Capital and Labor) which identifies the first main theme in these words: “Promotion of human dignity through the just distribution of wealth.”  No doubt some will get their nose out of joint and insist that the document must be socialist in nature, but please notice that the document deals with the just distribution of wealth, not the re-distribution of wealth.

The document also deals with the right to private ownership of land, small government, the rights of both employers and employed, etc.

It opens with some preliminary remarks about the social conditions of the day which have prompted the encyclical and notes that The discussion is not easy, nor is it void of danger. It is no easy matter to define the relative rights and mutual duties of the rich and of the poor, of capital and of labor. And the danger lies in this, that crafty agitators are intent on making use of these differences of opinion to pervert men’s judgments and to stir up the people to revolt.

Already the pontiff is taking a swipe at the socialist agenda, but before he undertakes it in detail he feels the need to excoriate the unmitigated greed of the few who had allowed the situation pressing down on the working class to develop, and, as a consequence, that agenda to arise.

In any case we clearly see, and on this there is general agreement, that some opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class: for the ancient workingmen’s guilds were abolished in the last century, and no other protective organization took their place. Public institutions and the laws set aside the ancient religion.Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself.

From here he moves on to deal with the remedies proposed by the socialists.

To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community.

Concerning private property:

It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man’s little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.

The Unjust Nature Of The Socialist Remedy Contradicts The Very Nature Of Man. Ever wonder why socialists came to deny the concept of human nature or tried to make it no better than animals (think Cass Sunstein):

What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice. For, every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own. This is one of the chief points of distinction between man and the animal creation, for the brute has no power of self direction, but is governed by two main instincts, which keep his powers on the alert, impel him to develop them in a fitting manner, and stimulate and determine him to action without any power of choice. One of these instincts is self preservation, the other the propagation of the species. Both can attain their purpose by means of things which lie within range; beyond their verge the brute creation cannot go, for they are moved to action by their senses only, and in the special direction which these suggest. But with man it is wholly different. He possesses, on the one hand, the full perfection of the animal being, and hence enjoys at least as much as the rest of the animal kind, the fruition of things material. But animal nature, however perfect, is far from representing the human being in its completeness, and is in truth but humanity’s humble handmaid, made to serve and to obey. It is the mind, or reason, which is the predominant element in us who are human creatures; it is this which renders a human being human, and distinguishes him essentially from the brute. And on this very account – that man alone among the animal creation is endowed with reason – it must be within his right to possess things not merely for temporary and momentary use, as other living things do, but to have and to hold them in stable and permanent possession; he must have not only things that perish in the use, but those also which, though they have been reduced into use, continue for further use in after time.

This becomes still more clearly evident if man’s nature be considered a little more deeply. For man, fathoming by his faculty of reason matters without number, linking the future with the present, and being master of his own acts, guides his ways under the eternal law and the power of God, whose providence governs all things. Wherefore, it is in his power to exercise his choice not only as to matters that regard his present welfare, but also about those which he deems may be for his advantage in time yet to come. Hence, man not only should possess the fruits of the earth, but also the very soil, inasmuch as from the produce of the earth he has to lay by provision for the future. Man’s needs do not die out, but forever recur; although satisfied today, they demand fresh supplies for tomorrow. Nature accordingly must have given to man a source that is stable and remaining always with him, from which he might look to draw continual supplies. And this stable condition of things he finds solely in the earth and its fruits. There is no need to bring in the State. Man precedes the State, and possesses, prior to the formation of any State, the right of providing for the substance of his body.
The Creator’s Gift Of The Fruits Of The Earth To All Does Not Preclude Private Ownership:

The fact that God has given the earth for the use and enjoyment of the whole human race can in no way be a bar to the owning of private property. For God has granted the earth to mankind in general, not in the sense that all without distinction can deal with it as they like, but rather that no part of it was assigned to any one in particular, and that the limits of private possession have been left to be fixed by man’s own industry, and by the laws of individual races. Moreover, the earth, even though apportioned among private owners, ceases not thereby to minister to the needs of all, inasmuch as there is not one who does not sustain life from what the land produces. Those who do not possess the soil contribute their labor; hence, it may truly be said that all human subsistence is derived either from labor on one’s own land, or from some toil, some calling, which is paid for either in the produce of the land itself, or in that which is exchanged for what the land brings forth.

Here, again, we have further proof that private ownership is in accordance with the law of nature. Truly, that which is required for the preservation of life, and for life’s well-being, is produced in great abundance from the soil, but not until man has brought it into cultivation and expended upon it his solicitude and skill. Now, when man thus turns the activity of his mind and the strength of his body toward procuring the fruits of nature, by such act he makes his own that portion of nature’s field which he cultivates – that portion on which he leaves, as it were, the impress of his personality; and it cannot but be just that he should possess that portion as his very own, and have a right to hold it without any one being justified in violating that right.

So strong and convincing are these arguments that it seems amazing that some should now be setting up anew certain obsolete opinions in opposition to what is here laid down. They assert that it is right for private persons to have the use of the soil and its various fruits, but that it is unjust for any one to possess outright either the land on which he has built or the estate which he has brought under cultivation. But those who deny these rights do not perceive that they are defrauding man of what his own labor has produced. For the soil which is tilled and cultivated with toil and skill utterly changes its condition; it was wild before, now it is fruitful; was barren, but now brings forth in abundance. That which has thus altered and improved the land becomes so truly part of itself as to be in great measure indistinguishable and inseparable from it. Is it just that the fruit of a man’s own sweat and labor should be possessed and enjoyed by any one else? As effects follow their cause, so is it just and right that the results of labor should belong to those who have bestowed their labor.

With reason, then, the common opinion of mankind, little affected by the few dissentients who have contended for the opposite view, has found in the careful study of nature, and in the laws of nature, the foundations of the division of property, and the practice of all ages has consecrated the principle of private ownership, as being pre-eminently in conformity with human nature, and as conducing in the most unmistakable manner to the peace and tranquillity of human existence. The same principle is confirmed and enforced by the civil laws-laws which, so long as they are just, derive from the law of nature their binding force. The authority of the divine law adds its sanction, forbidding us in severest terms even to covet that which is another’s: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife; nor his house, nor his field, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his.”

Beginning in article 12 the Pope begins to look at the rights he has been speaking of in relation to man’s obligations towards society and family.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 6:1-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 12, 2010

“After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, into the parts of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw the miracles which He did on them that were diseased. And Jesus departed a into a mountain, and there sat with His disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was nigh.”

[1.] Beloved, let us not contend with violent men, but learn5 when the doing so brings no hurt. to our virtue to give place to their evil counsels; for so all their hardihood is checked. As darts when they fall upon a firm,6 hard, and resisting substance, rebound with great violence on those who throw them, but when the violence of the cast hath nothing to oppose it, it soon becometh weaker and ceaseth, so is it with insolent men; when we contend with them they become the fiercer, but when we yield and give ground, we easily abate all their madness. Wherefore the Lord when He knew that the Pharisees had heard “that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,” went into Galilee, to quench their envy, and to soften by His retirement the wrath which was likely to be engendered by these reports. And when He departed for the second time into Galilee, He cometh not to the same places as before; for He went not to Cana, but to “the other side of the sea,” and7 great multitudes followed Him, beholding “the miracles which He did.” What miracles? Why doth he8 not mention them specifically? Because this Evangelist most of all was desirous of employing the greater part of his book on the discourses and sermons [of Christ]. Observe, for instance, how for a whole year, or rather how even now at the feast of the Passover, he hath given us no more information on the head of miracles, than merely that He healed the paralytic and the nobleman’s son. Because he was not anxious to enumerate them all, (that would have been impossible,) but of many and great to record a few.

+Jn 6,2. “A great multitude followed Him beholding the miracles that He did.” What is here told marks not a very wise state of mind;9 for when they had enjoyed such teaching, they still were more attracted by the miracles, which was a sign of the grosser state. For “miracles,” It saith, “are not for believers, but for unbelievers.” 10 The people described by Matthew acted not thus, 11 but how? They all, he saith “were astonished at His doctrine, because He taught as one having authority.” (Mt 7,28-29).

“And why doth He occupy the mountain now, and sit there with His disciples?” Because of the miracle which was about to take place. And that the disciples alone went up with Him, was a charge against the multitude which followed Him not. Yet not for this only did He go up into the mountain, but to teach us ever to rest at intervals from the tumults and confusion of common life. 12 For solitude is a thing meet for the study of wisdom. And often doth He go up alone into a mountain, and spend the night there, and pray, to teach us that the man who will come most near to God must be free from all disturbance, and must seek times and places clear of confusion.

+Jn 6,4. “And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.”

“How then,” saith some one, “doth He not go up unto the feast, but, when all are pressing to Jerusalem, goeth Himself into Galilee, and not Himself alone, but taketh His disciples with Him, and proceedeth thence to Capernaum?” Because henceforth He was quietly annulling the Law, taking occasion from the wickedness of. the Jews.

+Jn 6,5. “And as He lifted up His eyes, He beheld a great company.” 13

This showeth that He sat not at any time idly 14 with the disciples, but perhaps carefully conversing with them, and making them attend 15 and turn towards Him, a thing which peculiarly marks 16 His tender care, and the humility and condescension of His demeanor towards them. For they sat with Him, perhaps looking at one another; then having lifted up His eyes, He beheld the multitudes coming unto Him. Now the other Evangelists say, that the disciples came and asked and besought Him that He would not send them away fasting, while St. Jn saith, that the question was put to Philip by Christ. Both occurrences seem to me to be truly reported, but not to have taken place at the same time, the former account being prior to the other, so that the two are entirely different.

Wherefore then doth He ask “Philip”? He knew which of His disciples needed most instruction; for this is he who afterwards said, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (c. 14,8), and on this account Jesus was beforehand bringing him into a proper state. 17 For had the miracle simply been done, the marvel would not have seemed so great, but now He beforehand constraineth him to confess the existing want, that knowing the state of matters he might be the more exactly acquainted with the magnitude of the miracle about to take place. Wherefore He saith, 18

“Whence shall we have so many loaves. 19 that these may eat?”

(So in the Old [Testament] He spake to Moses, for He wrought not the sign until He had asked him, “What is that in thy hand?” Because things coming to pass unexpectedly and all at once, 20 are wont to throw us into forgetfulness of things previous, therefore He first involved him in a confession of present circumstances, that when the astonishment should have come upon him, he might be unable afterwards to drive away the remembrance of what he had confessed, and thus might learn by comparison the greatness of the miracle, which in fact takes place in this instance; for Philip being asked, replied,

+Jn 6,7 6,6. “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. And this He said to prove him: for He Himself knew what He would do.”

[2.] What meaneth, “to prove him”? Did not He know what would be said by him? We cannot assert that. What then is the meaning of the expression? We may discover it from the Old [Testament]. For there too it is said, “And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Take thy beloved son whom thou lovest” (Gn 22,1-2); yet it doth not appear in that place either, that when He saith this He waited to see the end of the trial, whether Abraham would obey or not, (how could He, who knoweth all things before they come into existence? 21 but the words in both cases are spoken after the manner of men. For as when (the Psalmist 22 ) saith that He “searcheth the hearts of men,” he meaneth not a search of ignorance but of exact knowledge, just so when the Evangelist saith that He proved (Philip), he meaneth only that He knew exactly. And perhaps one might say another thing, that as He once made Abraham more approved, so also did He this man, bringing, him by this question to an exact knowledge of the miracle. The Evangelist therefore, that thou mayest not stop at the feebleness of the expression, and so form an improper opinion of what was said, addeth, “He Himself knew what He would do.”

Moreover we must observe this, that when there is any wrong suspicion, the writer straightway very carefully corrects 23 it. As then in this place that the hearers might not form any such suspicion, he adds the corrective, saying, “For He Himself knew what He would do”: so also in that other place, when He saith, that “the Jews persecuted Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God,” had there not been the assertion of Christ Himself confirmed by His works, he would there also have subjoined this correction. For if even in words which Christ speaketh the Evangelist is careful that none should have suspicions, much more in cases where others were speaking of Him would he have looked closely, had he perceived that an improper opinion prevailed concerning Him. But he did not so, for he knew that this 24 was His meaning, 25 and immovable decree. 26 Therefore after saying, “making Himself equal with God,” he used not any such correction; for the matter spoken of was not an erroneous fancy of theirs, but His own assertion ratified by His works. Philip then having been questioned,

+Jn 6,8-9. “Andrew, Simon’s 27 brother, said, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”

Andrew is higher minded than Philip, yet had not he attained to everything. Yet I do not think that he spake without an object, but as having heard 28 of the miracles of the Prophets, and how Elisha wrought a sign with the loaves (2R 4,43); on this account he mounted to a certain height, 29 but could not attain to the very top.

Let us learn then, 30 we who give ourselves to luxury, what was the fare of those great and admirable men; and in quality and quantity 31 let us behold and imitate the thriftiness of their table.

What follows also expresses great weakness. For after saying, “hath five barley loaves,” he addeth, “but what are they among so many?” He supposed that the Worker of the miracle would make less out of less, and more out of more. But this was not the case, for it was alike easy to Him to cause bread to spring forth 32 from more and from less, since He needed no subject-matter. But in order that the creation might not seem foreign to His Wisdom, as afterwards slanderers and those affected with the disease of Marcion 33 said, He used the creation itself as a groundwork for His marvels.

When both the disciples had owned themselves at a loss, then He wrought the miracle; If or thus they profited the more, having first confessed the difficulty of the matter, that when it should come to pass, they might understand the power of God. And because a miracle was about to be wrought, which had also been performed by the Prophets, although not in an equal degree, and because He would do it after first giving thanks, lest they should fall into any suspicion of weakness on His part, observe how by the very manner of His working He entirely raiseth their thoughts of it and showeth them the difference (between Himself and others). For when the loaves had not yet appeared, 34 that thou mayest learn, that things that are not are to Him as though they were, (as Paul saith, “who calleth the things that be not as though they were”—Rm 4,17,) He commanded them as though the table were prepared and ready, straightway to sit down, rousing by this the minds of His disciples. And because 35 they had profited by the questioning, they immediately obeyed, and were not confounded, nor said, “How is this, why dost Thou bid us sit down, when there is nothing before us?” The same men, who at first disbelieved so much as to say, “Whence shall we buy bread?” began so far to believe even before they saw the miracle, 36 that they readily made the multitudes to sit down).

[3.] But why when He was about to restore the paralytic did He not pray, nor when He was raising the dead, or bridling the sea, while He cloth so here over the loaves? It was to show that when we begin our meals, we ought to give thanks unto God. Moreover, He doth it especially in a lesser matter, that thou mayest learn that He doth it not as having any need; for were this the case, much more would He have done so in greater things; but when He did them by His own authority, it is clear that it was through condescension that He acted as He did in the case of the lesser. Besides, a great multitude was present, and it was necessary that they should be persuaded that He had come according to the will of God. Wherefore, when He doth miracles in the absence of witnesses, He exhibiteth nothing of the kind; but when He doth them in the presence of many, in order to persuade them that He is no enemy of God, no adversary of Him who hath begotten Him, He removeth the suspicion by thanksgiving.

“And He gave to them that were set down, and they were filled.”

Seest thou how great is the interval between the servants and the Master? They having grace by measure, wrought their miracles accordingly, but God, who acteth with free power, did all most abundantly.

+Jn 6,12. “And He said 38 unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments which remain; 39 —and they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets.”

This was not a superfluous show, but in order that the matter might not be deemed a mere illusion; and for this reason He createth 40 from matter already subsisting. “But why gave He not the bread to the multitudes to bear, but (only) to His disciples?” Because He was most desirous to instruct these who were to be the teachers of the world. The multitude would not as yet reap any great fruit from the miracles, (at least they straightway forgot this one and asked for another,) while these would gain no common profit. And what took place was moreover no ordinary condemnation of Judas, who bore a basket. And that these things were done for their instruction is plain from what is said afterwards, when He reminded them, saying, “Do ye not yet understand—how many baskets ye took up?” (Mt 16,9). And for the same reason it was that the baskets of fragments were equal in number to the disciples; afterwards, when they were instructed, they took not up so many, but only “seven baskets.” (Mt 15,37). And I marvel not only at the quantity of loaves created, but besides the quantity, at the exactness of the surplus, that He caused the superabundance to be neither more nor less than just so much as He willed, fore-seeing how much they would consume; a thing which marked unspeakable power. The fragments then confirmed the matter, showing both these points; that what had taken place 41 was no illusion, and that these were from the loaves by which the people had been fed. As to the fishes, they at this time were produced from those already subsisting, but at a later period, after the Resurrection, they were not made from subsisting matter. “Wherefore?” That thou mayest understand that even now He employed matter, not from necessity, nor as needing any base 42 (to work upon), but to stop the mouths of heretics? 43

“And the multitudes said, that this is of a truth The Prophet.”

Oh, excess of gluttony! He had done ten thousand things more admirable than this, but nowhere did they make this confession, save when they had been filled. Yet hence it is evident that they expected some remarkable prophet; for those others had said (to John), “Art thou that Prophet?” 45 while these say, “This is that Prophet.”

+Jn 6,15. “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain.” 46

Wonderful! How great is the tyranny of gluttony, how great the fickleness of men’s minds! No longer do they vindicate the Law, no longer do they care for the violation 47 of the Sabbath, no longer are they zealous for God; all such considerations are thrown aside, when their bellies have been filled; He was a prophet in their eyes, and they were about to choose Him for a king. But Christ fleeth. “Wherefore?” To teach us to despise worldly dignities, and to show us that He needed nothing on earth. For He who chose 48 all things mean, both mother and house and city and nurture and attire would not afterwards be made illustrious by things on earth. The things which (He had) from heaven were glorious and great, angels, a star, His Father loudly speaking, 49 the Spirit testifying, and Prophets proclaiming Him from afar; those on earth were all mean, that thus His power might the more appear. He came also to teach us to despise the things of the world, and not be amazed or astonished by the splendors of this life, but to laugh them all to scorn, and to desire those which are to come. For he who admires things which are here, will not admire those in the heavens. Wherefore also He saith to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (c. 18,36), that He may not afterwards appear to have employed mere human terror or dominion for the purpose of persuasion. Why then saith the Prophet, “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass”? (Za 9,9). He spake of that Kingdom which is in the heavens, but not of this on earth; and on this account Christ saith, “I receive not honor from men.” (c. 5,41).

Learn we then, beloved, to despise and not to desire the honor which is from meal for we have been honored with the greatest of honors, compared with which that other is verily 50 insult, ridicule, and mockery. And as the riches of this world compared with the riches of that are poverty, as this life apart from that is deadness, 51 (for“let 52 the dead bury their dead”—Mt 8,28,) so this honor compared with that is shame and ridicule. Let us then not pursue it. If they who confer it are of less account than a shadow or a dream, the honor itself much more so. “The glory of man is as the flower of the grass” (1P 1,24); and what is meaner than the flower of the grass? Were this glory everlasting, in what could it profit the soul? In nothing. Nay, it very greatly injures us by making us slaves, slaves in worse condition than those bought with money, slaves who obey not one master only, but two, three, ten thousand, all giving different commands. How much better is it to be a free man than a slave, to be free from the slavery of men, and subject only to the dominion of God? In a word, if thou wilt desire glory, desire it, but let it be the glory immortal, for that is exhibited on a more glorious stage, and brings greater profit. For 53 the men here bid thee be at charges to please them, but Christ, on the contrary, giveth thee an hundredfold for what thou givest Him, and addeth moreover eternal life. Which of the two then is better, to be admired 54 on earth, or in heaven? by man, or by God? to your loss, or to your gain? to wear a crown for a single day, or for endless ages? Give to him that needeth, but give not to a dancer, lest thou lose thy money and destroy his soul. For thou art the cause of his (coming to) perdition through unseasonable munificence. 55 Since did those on the stage know that their employment would be unprofitable, they would have long ago ceased to practice it; but when they behold thee applauding, crowding after them, spending and wasting thy substance upon them, even if they have no desire to follow (their profession), they are kept to it by the desire of gain. If they knew that no one would praise what they do, they would soon desist from their labors, by reason of their unprofitableness; but when they see that the action is admired by many, the praise of others becomes a bait to them. Let us then desist from this unprofitable expense, let us learn upon whom and when we ought to spend. Let us not, I implore you, provoke God in both ways, gathering whence we ought not, and scattering where we ought not; for what anger doth not thy conduct deserve, when thou passest by the poor and givest to a harlot? Would not the paying the hire of sin and the bestowing honor where it were meet to punish have been a charge against thee, even hadst thou paid out of thy just earnings? but when thou feedest thine uncleanness by stripping orphans and wronging widows, consider how great a fire is prepared for those who dare such things. Hear what Paul saith, “Who not only do these things, but also have but also have pleasure in 56 them that do them.” (Rm 1,32).

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