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 20th, 2010

Podcast On The Book Of Revelation (Apocalypse)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 20, 2010

Dr. Peter Williamson, who recently authored EPHESIANS in the new study series CATHOLIC COMMENTARY ON SACRED SCRIPTURE, has a number of  bible study podcast online, including an entire series in the Book of Revelation.  It appears that these podcasts are kept online for only a limited time and then offered for sale on CD’s, so don’t delay listening.  You can go onto the site and right click the “download” link, then click on “save as” to save to your computer.  He also has samples of other series which you can order on CD for $8.50.

Here are the first few podcasts on Revelation:


Chapter 1, Part A.

Chapter 1, Part B.

See the rest.

You can see what volumes in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture are currently available (4 so far) and read excerpts from them here.

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Aquinas On Hebrews 9:11-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 20, 2010


Heb. 9:11-14

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

435. – Having shown the signification of things pertaining to the Old Testament and the first tabernacle, the Apostle now describes the condition of things pertaining to the second tabernacle, which represented the New Testament. Here he does two things: first, he sets forth that signification; secondly, he proves something he had presupposed (v. 13).

436. – It should be noted that if the things already said are considered, five things have already been said of the second tabernacle, namely, who entered it, because it was the high priest; secondly, the dignity and the condition of the place he entered, because it was called the holy of holies; thirdly, how he entered, because he entered with blood; fourthly, when he entered, because once a year; fifthly, why he entered, because it was to expiate for sins. But here the Apostle explains all this, first of all, who enters, namely, Christ. For the high priest is the prince among the priests. But Christ was such: ‘And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never fading crown of glory’ (1 Pt 5:4); ‘Having therefore a great high priest that has passed into the heavens’ (Heb. 4:14). But every high priest is a dispenser of a testament. However, there are two things to be considered in every testament: namely, the end promised in that testament, and the things handed down in it. But the goods promised in the Old Testament were temporal goods: ‘If you be willing and will hearken to me, you shall eat the good things of the land’ (Is. 1:19). Therefore, the other was a high priest of temporal goods; But Christ is the high priest of heavenly goods: ‘Rejoice and be glad, because your reward is great in heaven’ (Mt. 5:12). Therefore, He is a high priest of the good things to come, because by His high priesthood we are brought to goods to come: ‘We shall be filled with the good things of your house’ (Ps. 64:6). Furthermore, figurative things were dispensed in the Old Testament, but Christ dispenses the spiritual things they prefigured: ‘Your Father from heaven will give the good spirit to them that ask him’ (Lk. 11:13). Thus, therefore, by the good things to come can be understood either heavenly goods, and this in regard to the New Testament, or spiritual things, in regard to the Old, which was their figure. This high priest is not negligent, but assisting. For a high priest is a mediator between God and the people; but Christ is a mediator: ‘The mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim. 2:5): ‘I was the mediator and stood between the Lord and you’ (Dt. 5:5); and therefore, He assists the Father by interceding for us: ‘Christ Jesus who also makes intercession for us’ (Rom. 8:34). Again, He assists us with his aid: ‘He is at my right hand that I be not moved’ (Ps. 15:8); ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God’ (Ac. 7:55). Thus, it is clear who entered.

437. – Secondly, he shows the dignity of the inner tabernacle when he says, then through the greater, and its condition when he says, and more perfect tabernacle, inasmuch as it is unmovable: ‘Your eyes shall see Jerusalem, a rich habitation, a tabernacle that cannot be removed’ (Is. 33:20). But this is the tabernacle of heavenly glory: ‘Lord, who shall dwell in your tabernacle?’ (Ps. 14:1). But it is called a tabernacle, because it is the habitation of pilgrims. For it is not due to us by reason of the condition of our nature, but only through grace: ‘My people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacle of confidence, and in wealthy rest’ (Is. 31:18). Therefore, it is greater, because of the measureless multitude of good things, which is designated in the authority cited: ‘My people shall sit in the beauty of peace (Is. 31:18); ‘O, Israel, how great is the house of God’ (Bar. 3:24). But there are two ways of reading the phrase, by a greater: in one way, so that it is one phrase as though meaning ‘very great;’ then the reading is this: When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered into the holy of holies, which, I say, is a very large tabernacle. In another way, so that the ‘per’ (by) is a preposition, which is expressed better in Greek; then the construction is this: Christ entered into the holies by a greater tabernacle, i.e., more ample and perfect. It was more perfect, because all imperfection ceased there: ‘When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away’ (1 Cor. 13:10). Furthermore, it is of a different condition, because the Old was made by human hands, but this by the hand of God: ‘Your sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established’ (Ex. 15:17); ‘We know if your earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven’ (2 Cor. 5:1); ‘For he looked for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Heb. 11:10); hence, he says, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, because it is not made with hands as the Old, nor is it of this creation, i.e., in sensible created goods, but it is in spiritual goods.

438. – Or, by the tabernacle can be understood Christ’s body, in which He fought against the devil: ‘He has set his tabernacle in the sun’ (Ps. 18:6), which is very large, because ‘in him dwells all the fullness of the godhead corporeally’ (Col. 2:0), and more perfect, ‘Because we have seen his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father, full of trace and truth’ (Jn. 1:14); and not made with hands, because not of human seed: ‘A stone was cut out of a mountain without hands’ (Dan 2:34).

439. – Thirdly, he shows how he entered, because not without blood; but he with the blood of calves and goats, as it says in Leviticus (chap. 16); but Christ not so, i.e., not with another’s blood: taking not the blood of goats or of calves but his own blood, which He offered on the cross for our salvation: ‘This is my blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins’ (Mt. 26:28). But he uses the plural, of goats and of calves, not that more than one was offered at one time, but because he entered many times in various years. But Christ is signified by the goat because of the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3); by the calf because of courage and because He uses the two testaments as two horns: ‘Horns are in his hands’ (Hab. 3:4).

440. – Fourthly, when he entered, because once a year. But Christ throughout all of time, which is as a year, entered once for all into the holies and poured out His blood once: ‘Christ died once for our sins’ (1 Pt 3:18); ‘for in that he died for sin, he died once’ (Rom. 6:10). Furthermore, He entered once; for from the fact that He entered heaven, He is there always. Hence, he says, he entered once for all into the holies.

441. – Fifthly, he shows why He entered, namely, to make an offering for the ignorance of the people, not for His own, because He had none. For the blood of Christ is more powerful, because by it he secured an eternal redemption. As if to say: we are redeemed by that blood; and this forever, because His power is infinite: ‘By one oblation he has perfected forever them that are sanctified’ (Heb. 10:14). The fact that he says, secured, can refer to things, namely, the desire God had for our salvation: ‘I have found wherein I may be merciful to him’ (Jb. 33:24); ‘I desire not the death of him that dies’ (Ez. 18:32); or to the desire of the fathers to be redeemed. For no one found a way so suitable as Christ, therefore, he says quite significantly, secured.

442. – Then (v. 13) he proves one of the things he had supposed, namely, the statement, having obtained eternal redemption. As if to say: I have said that He wrought eternal redemption by His own blood, in which His greatest efficacy appears. That it is so, I prove by arguing from what is less; because if the blood of brute animals accomplished less, the blood of Christ can accomplish what is greater. Hence in regard to this he does two things: first, he lays down the antecedent; secondly, the consequent (v. 14).

443. – In regard to the first it should be noted that there were two cleansings in the Old Law: one took place on the day of atonement, as already stated, and seemed to be directly ordained to cleansing from sin. The other was against legal irregularity, as mentioned in Numbers (19:2), where the Lord commanded Eleazar to take from Moses a red cow without blemish, of full age and which has not carried the yoke, and bring her forth without the camp and immolate her in the sight of all. Then dipping his finger in her blood, he should sprinkle it over against the door of the tabernacle seven times; and then burn her flesh entirely, i.e., her flesh, hide and even her dung. Then the priest was to take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet twice dyed. After this was done, a man that was clean was to gather up the ashes of the cow and pour them forth in a clean place outside the camp. Some of these ashes were to be put in water with which an unclean person, who touched the corpse of a man, was to be sprinkled on the third day, and on the seventh with hyssop. In this way and in no other way could he be cleansed. That is the opinion of the Apostle. Therefore in regard to the first he says, If the blood of goats and oxen; but as to the second he says, and the ashes of a heifer being sprinkled sanctify such as are defiles, not by conferring grace, but to the cleansing of the flesh, i.e., from an irregularity carnally hindering them, as though unclean, from divine worship. But they did not take away sins, because, as Augustine says, sometimes by virtue of that sprinkling they were cleansed from bodily leprosy; hence, he says, to the cleansing of the flesh.

444. – Then when he says, how much more the blood of Christ . . . cleanses our conscience, he lays down the consequent. As if to say: If blood and ashes can do this, what could Christ’s blood do? Certainly much more. Then the Apostle mentions three things, which show the efficacy of Christ’s blood: first, he shows whose blood it is, namely, it is Christ’s. From this it is evident that His blood cleanses: ‘For he will save his people from their sins’ (Mt. 1:21). Secondly, the reason why Christ shed His blood, because this was done by the Holy Spirit, through Whose movement and instinct, namely, by the love of God and neighbor He did this: ‘When he shall come as a violent stream which the spirit of the Lord drives on’ (Is. 59:10). But the Spirit cleanses: ‘If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning’ (Is. 4:4). Therefore, he says, who by the Holy Spirit offered himself: ‘Christ has loved us and has delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness’ (Eph. 5:2). Thirdly, he describes His condition, because He is without blemish: ‘It shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year’ (Ex. 12:5); ‘What can be made clean by the unclean?’ (Sir. 34:4).

445. – But can an unclean priest cleanse? I answer: No, if he acted in his own power, but he acts by the power of Christ’s blood, which is as a first cause. Therefore, He would not have acted, unless he were clean.

446. – Yet it should be noted that the blood of those animals merely cleansed from outward stain, namely, from contact with the dead; but the blood of Christ cleanses the conscience inwardly, which is accomplished by faith: ‘Purifying their hearts by faith’ (Ac. 15:9), inasmuch as it makes one believe that all who adhere to Christ are cleansed by His blood. Therefore, He cleanses the conscience. It also cleanses them from contact with a corpse; but He from dead works, namely, sins, which take God from the soul, whose life consists in union by charity. It also cleansed them in order that they might come to the figurative ministry; but the blood of Christ to the spiritual service of God: ‘The man that walked in the perfect way, he served me’ (Ps. 100:6). Therefore, he says, to serve the living God. Furthermore, God is life: ‘I am the life’ (Jn. 14:6); ‘I live forever’ (Dt. 43:40). Therefore, it is fitting that one who serves Him be alive: hence, he says, living God: ‘For as the judge of the people is himself, so also are his ministers’ (Sir. 10:2). Therefore, he that would serve God worthily, should be living, as He is.


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Aquinas’ Sermon Notes for the 5th (Passion) Sunday of Lent (Extraordinary Form)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 20, 2010

Preliminary notes:

(1) This post contains the sermon notes for both the Epistle and Gospel readings.
(2) In the Extraordinary Form of the Rite (the so-called Latin or pre-Vatican II Mass) the fifth Sunday of Lent was also known as Passion Sunday.
(3) Like several other of the sermon notes of Aquinas that have come down to us, the one on the Epistle seems to be incomplete.
(4) You can find many links to online resources for this Sunday’s Mass here.  These resources include both Forms of the Rite and focus on the Scripture readings and include bible studies, homilies, sermons, Early Church Fathers, etc.

Passion Sunday, or Fifth Sunday in Lent.— (From the Epistle.)
” How much, more shall the Blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit,” &c. — Heb. ix. 14.

The Apostle points out especially four things in this Epistle. Firstly, he shows Christ to have been an High Priest: ” Christ being come, an High Priest;” secondly, He commends His High Priesthood: “of good things to come;” thirdly, He shews what He offered: “offered Himself without spot to God;” fourthly, He points out the profit or effect of His oblation: ” purge your conscience/’ &c.

On this last head it is to be noted, that the Blood of Christ purchased seven benefits for us.

(1) Cleansing from our sins and defilement: Rev 1:5, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His Own Blood.” Heb 13:12, “Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His Own Blood.”

(2) Our redemption: Rev 5:9,, “And hast redeemed us to God by Thy Blood,”  1 Pet 1:18-19, “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, &c.; but with the precious Blood of Christ.”

(3) Our peace-making with God and the angels: Col 1:20, “Having
made peace through the Blood of His Cross.”

(4) Confirmation of the testament of the eternal inheritance: 1 Cor 11:25, “This Cup is the New Testament in My Blood.”

(5) A drinking and inebriation to the consumers: S. Matt 26:27-28, “Drink ye all of it;  for this is My Blood of the New Testament,” &c. Deut. xxxii. 14, ” Thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.”

(6) The opening of the door of Heaven: Heb. x. 19, “Having boldness to enter
into the holiest by the Blood of Jesus” — i.e., His continual prayer to God for us; for His Blood cries daily for us to the Father. Heb. xii. 24, ” The Blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” The blood of Abel
calls for vengeance ; the Blood of Christ demands pardon.

(7) The deliverance of the saints from Hades: Zech 9:11, “By the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” From which, &c.

Passion Sunday, or Fifth Sunday in Lent. — (From the Gospel.)
He that is of God heareth God’s words.” — S. John TiiL 47.

In these words four things are noted. Firstly, the great glory of the saints: “He that is of God.” For what canbe more glorious than to be of God: John 1:12, “He gave power to become the sons of God.” Secondly, their great wisdom : ” Heareth God’s words.” Psalm 19:7, ” The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”  Thirdly, the foolishness of the reprobate: “therefore ye hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  For fools despise the wisdom of right dogma, and the doctrine of pure conversation, as the Pharisees did the words and works of Christ. Fourthly, their great misery: “are not of God.”

“What can be more unhappy than not to be of God ? Hosea 7:13, “Woe unto them! for they have fled from Me.”

I. On the first head it is to be noted, that in three ways the saints are to be of God.

(1) By creation, as an effect from a cause : Rom 11:36, “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.”

(2) By justification, as the splendour from light : Ephes 5:8, ” Ye were sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord.” 1 John 3:9, ” Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.”

(3) By imitation or assimilation, as a copy from a pattern: 1 John 2:5,  “Whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: surely know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also to walk even as He walked.”

II. On the second head it is to be noted, that the Word of God which the saints willingly hear is threefold.

(1) Eternal: John 1:1, “In the beginning was the “Word.”

(2) Mental: Job 4:12, “A thing [word, Vulg.] was secretly brought to me.”

(3) Vocal: Matt 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread, &c, but by every word that proceedeth,” &c.

The first they hear by faith: 11:25, ” He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

The second by inspiration: Ps 85:8, “I will hear what God the Lord will speak.”

The third, by preaching: Lk 8:8, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

III. On the third head it is to be noted, that they are foolish who do not hear the Word of God, chiefly for two reasons —

(1) Because from the hearing of the Word of God all evil is avoided.

(2) All good is gained. Of these two: Prov 1:33, “But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely” — i.e., because in this life they shall be terrified with no adversaries, and at death will be made joyful by the entering into eternal life; “and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” In the present, abundance of blessed works, all fear of those who can kill the body being removed; in the future, abundance of joys, fear being taken away of any defect or adversity.

IV. On the fourth head it is to be noted, that the great miseries which flow from the not ” being of God” arise from two causes —

(1) They who are without God have all evil: S. Augustine, ” Whence I know, that it is evil to me without Thee; not alone without, but also within myself ; and all abundance which is not God, is need.

(2) He who is of God has everything which is best : S Augustine, ” He who enters into the joy of his Lord, and is secure, will also find himself to have the best of the best.”

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Podcast: Bible Conference On The Splendor Of The Church

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 20, 2010

From the St Paul Center For Biblical Theology comes this series of lectures on the Mystery of the Church.  I’ve linked to the download format of the lectures because some of the flash players on the site don’t work.

1.  Priesthood in the Johannine Tradition.  Dr John Bergsma.

2.  Did Jesus Intend To Found A Church? Dr Brante Pitre.

3.  The Church As Temple.  Dr John Bergsma.

4.  Jesus And The Mystery Of The Kingdom.  Dr Brant Pitre.

5.  The Church As Bride In The Gospel Of John.  Dr John Bergsma.

6.  The Church And The Mystery Of Pentecost. Dr Brant Pitre

Presenters: Dr Brant Pitre.  Catholic Biblical Scholar, author, lecturer.  Homepage.  Blog: The Sacred Page (with John Bergsman and Michael Barber).

Dr John Bergsma.  Catholic convert, Associate Professor at Franciscan University, lecturer.  Homepage.   Blog: The Sacred Page.

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