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 April, 2010

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on John 16:5-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 30, 2010

These notes can be used for sermon ideas, points for meditation or further study.

Fourth Sunday after Easter. — (From the Gospel.)
“And when He is come He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment”— S. John 16:8.

In these words three things are laid down, concerning which the Holy Spirit will reprove the world. Firstly, He will reprove of sin, because men ought not to commit it.  Secondly, of righteousness, because men ought to perform it.
Thirdly, of judgment, because men ought to fear it.

I. On the first head it is to be noted, that sin is to be avoided for many reasons, but chiefly for three great evils which it brings to man —

  • (1) Because it places man here in many miseries: (Prov14:34), ” Sin is a reproach to any people.”
  • (2) Because it deprives man of eternal glory: (Isa 26:10), “In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.”
  • (3) Because  it leads man to eternal punishment: (Mt 25:46), “These shall go away into everlasting punishment.”

II. On the second head it is to be noted, that righteousness is chiefly to be followed for three reasons-

  • (1) Because it places man in many joys: (Ps 19:8), ” The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.”
  • (2) Because it liberates man from perpetual death : Prov. xi. 4, ” But righteousness,” i.e., the works of righteousness, ” delivereth from death,” i.e., eternal. Prov 21:25, ” He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life.”
  • (3) Because it leads man to eternal joys: (Mt 25:46), ” The righteous into life eternal.”

III. On the third head it is to be noted, that the future judgment is to be feared for three reasons-

  • (1) On account of the equity of the Judge: (Ps 7:12, Vulg), ” God is a just Judge, strong and patient: is He angry every day?”
  • (2) Because of the severity of the Judge: (Judith 16:20-21), ” In the Day of Judgment He will visit them, for He will give fire and worms into their flesh.”
  • (3) Because of the irrevocability of the sentence: (Mt 25:41), “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels.” It is called “everlasting fire” because it has no end ; from which may we be delivered, &c.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on the Gospel of John, Quotes, SERMONS | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on James 1:17-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 29, 2010


Fourth Sunday after Easter. — (From the Epistle.)
“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.” — S. James i. 19.

In these words the Apostle S. James bids us be more slow in speaking than in bearing, and these considerations ought to move us to this — Firstly, the testimony of nature. Secondly, the harm of much speaking. Thirdly, the benefit of little speaking.

I. On the first head it is to be noted, that nature teaches us in a threefold way that we should rather hear, than speak.

  • (1) Nature gave to man a double instrument of hearing, and only a single instrument of speaking, and this in itself shows, that in a twofold degree man ought rather to hear than to speak.
  • (2) Nature gave to very many animals the faculty of hearing, but not the faculty of speech save to the rational animal, man ; so that speech ought to be rational: (Coloss 4:6), “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt.”
  • (3) Nature gave the instruments of  hearing ever open, but the instruments of speech she closed by two barriers or protections : for man has his ears ever open, but his tongue closed in by his lips and teeth. The tongue is like an evil monarch, and therefore God enclosed it with many barriers; (Mich 7:5)”Keep the doors of thy mouth “

II. On the second head it is to be noted, that a threefold
evil comes through much speaking —

  • (1) The evil of sin” (Prov 10:19), “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.”
  • (2) The evil of punishment: Ecclus (20:8), ” He that useth many words shall hurt his own soul.”
  • (3) The evil of infamy: Prov (18:3), ” He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Of these three: (Jam 3:6), ” The tongue is a world of iniquity;” behold the first. “The tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison;” behold the second. ” The tongue among our members defileth the whole body;” behold the third.

III.  On the third head it is to be noted, that a threefold advantage flows to him who hears much and speaks little —

  • (1) The good thing of grace: (Ecclus 32:9) ” Hear in silence, and for thy reverence good grace shall come unto thee.”
  • (2) The good thing of wisdom: (Ecclus 3:4) ” If thou wilt incline thine ear thou shalt receive instruction, and if thou love to hear thou shalt be wise.”
  • (3) Happiness and tranquillity of mind: (Prov 21:21),  “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles,” &c.

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My Notes On James 1:17-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 29, 2010

Background: The body of the letter opens with these words: My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations: Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience And patience hath a perfect work: that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing (James 1:2-4). In order to endure and profit from these temptations one must have wisdom which, if it is lacking, must be prayed for in faith (James 1:5-6), which here means being dependent on God rather than money (James 1:10-11), for to rely on both as equals is to be double-minded (James 1:8).  To be lowly is to be exalted (James 1:9), and the humiliations which a rich believer suffers can, in faith, be for his benefit, for riches, like flowers and grass, will someday wither (James 1:10-11).  Though the temptations that wealth may bring a man are not from the Lord (James 1:13) but, rather, from his own desires (James 1:14-15), “he shall receive the crown of life which God hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).  The temptations  are not from God, but the victory over them is.  Thus no one should be deceived (James 1:16).


James 1:17  Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration.

The best and perfect gifts are those which lead to God and salvation and not, like temptations, away from Him.  These come from God who is described as the Father of lights (i.e, the heavenly luminous bodies), with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration.  There is an obvious connection between Father of lights and change, and shadow of alteration, but what is it?  The meaning seems to be that God, as creator of these bodies is above them, and cannot be compared to them.  Perhaps some (the double-minded of 1:8?) were of the opinion that God changed like the luminaries which, with the passage of time and season sometimes appear brighter and in one place, then, sometime, dimmer and in another place.  Just because God willed such “shadows of alteration” for them can not be taken as indicating He is changeable.

Another possible interpretation is that St James has in mind the creation of the luminaries in Genesis 1:14-19.  Though they may seem to change they nonetheless “mark the fixed times, the days and the seasons” (Gen 1:14, NAB).  They are described in Genesis as being seen by God as “good” (Gen 1:18).  There are those who may not see the change of the sun’s position (bringing winter, for example) as good.  Appearances may be deceiving, hiding the reality, hence the need for true wisdom (James 1:5) rather than the false wisdom which brings “factions and confusion” (see James 3:15-16).  Perhaps the double-minded man, not recognizing the limitation he has placed upon his faith, thinks God fickle when he sees the single-minded believer get what he ask, while his own prayer goes unfulfilled (James 1:8).

James 1:18  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

It was in the word of creation that God made the lights, and however we interpret the previous verse the fact remains that God, who brought us forth by the word of truth (i.e., the Gospel), did so for His own purpose.  St James has placed the Greek word boulethei (“of his own will”) at the beginning of his statement for emphasis. It is a strong statement of God’s freedom in acting.  Just as one needs wisdom to understand His creation, so one needs wisdom to understand His re-creation of believers.

In the Greek, the word translated here as brought us forth (ἀποκυέω, apokueo), is identical to that used on verse 15: “But sin, when it is completed, begetteth (ἀποκυέω) death,” thus establishing a contrast between the double-minded and God.

The first fruits of his creatures.  “First fruits” is a liturgical term in the O.T., where it is stated that the first fruit of the womb, the fields, ect., belonged in a special way to the Lord and had to be redeemed by sacrifice (Ex 13:11-13; Ex 22:28-29).  The Greek structure of this final clause indicates that being the first fruits of His creation is the purpose or end of  His own will wrought by the word of truth.  For other uses of “first fruits” in the N.T. see 1 Cor 15:20; 1 Cor 16:15.

The plurals in the verse should also be noted: “us,” “we,” ‘first frutis,” “creatures.”  The reference is to the Church he is writing to, and, by implication, to the whole Church, rather than to individuals.  This sets the stage for his moral teaching in the letter.  As individuals we are part of a greater whole in the plan of God and as such have obligations towards others.  In light of this it is absurd to show partiality (James 2:1-13), avoid doing good (James 2:14-26);  or curse others (James 3:1-12).  It likewise calls for acting in wisdom (James 3:13-18); subduing passion and submitting to God (James 4:1-12); seeking and doing the will of God with a good conscience (James 4:13-17); and take to heart warnings on how riches are used or abused (James 5:1-6).

James 1:19  You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger.
James 1:20  For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God.

You know, my dearest brethren.  The Greek of the Textus Receptus followed by the KJV and others reads hoste, (“wherefore”, or “and so, therefore”), but the Western and Alexandrian manuscripts read iste, (“know”).  The change from iste to hoste was probably the result of a copyist trying to provide a smoother transition from the previous verse.   Hoste  is not used elsewhere by St James and it appears that the copyist did not recognize a common feature of his writing: he often starts new thoughts with an imperative.  The Douay-Rheims Bible which I am using takes iste as an indicative (you know) rather than an imperative (know this).  That iste should be taken as an imperative (know this) is suggested by the parallelism between verses 16-18 and 19-21, which is enhanced by the imperative.  “Each begins with an imperative followed by a vocative address (“my beloved brothers [and sisters]“) that culminates in a reference to the salvific role of the word” (Father Patrick Hartin, JAMES, Sacra Pagina Commentary Series, pg. 95).

And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger.  These are important biblical injunctions, see Sirach 5:11-14; Mt 5:22; Col 3:8-9; Eph 4:25-31.  Failing to hear (heed) the voice of the needy seems to have been a problem among those St James is writing to (James 1:22-25; James 2:15-16).  Likewise sins of speech (the tongue, see James 1:26James 3:1-12), and anger (James 4:1-12).  It appears that a propensity to anger was the prime cause of these sins:  For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God (vs 20).

James 1:21  Wherefore, casting away all uncleanness and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Such sins as mentioned above are incompatible with our having been brought forth by the word of truth (James 1:18), the ingrafted word.  We are to cast away such things as if they were thread-bare clothing.

Catechism References:

On James 1:17

12 Over the centuries, Israel’s faith was able to manifest and deepen realization of the riches contained in the revelation of the divine name. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him.[Isa 44:6]  He transcends the world and history. He made heaven and earth: “They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment….but you are the same, and your years have no end.”[Ps 102:26-27In God “there is no variation or shadow due to change.”[James 1:17] God is “HE WHO IS”, from everlasting to everlasting, and as such remains ever faithful to himself and to his promises.

42 The Revelation of “what must soon take place,” the Apocalypse, is borne along by the songs of the heavenly liturgy[Cf. Rev 4:8-11; Rev 5:9-14; Rev 7:10-12] but also by the intercession of the “witnesses” (martyrs).[Rev 6:10] The prophets and the saints, all those who were slain on earth for their witness to Jesus, the vast throng of those who, having come through the great tribulation, have gone before us into the Kingdom, all sing the praise and glory of him who sits on the throne, and of the Lamb.[Cf. Rev 18:24; Rev 19:1-8] In communion with them, the Church on earth also sings these songs with faith in the midst of trial. By means of petition and intercession, faith hopes against all hope and gives thanks to the “Father of lights,” from whom “every perfect gift” comes down [James 1:17]. Thus faith is pure praise.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea On John 16:5-22 For Sunday Mass (May 2,Extraordinary Form)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 29, 2010

This post has not yet been edited.

Ver 5. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asks me, Where do you go?6. But because I have said these things to you sorrow has filled your heart.7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:9. Of sin, because they believe not on me;10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more;11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

CHRYS. The disciples, not as yet perfected, being overcome by sorrow, our Lord blames and corrects them, saying, But now I go My way to Him that sent Me; and none of you asks Me, Where do you go? They were so struck down at hearing that whoever killed them would think that he was doing God service, that they could say nothing.

Wherefore He adds, But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. It was no small consolation to them to know that the Lord knew their superabundant sorrow, because of His leaving them, and because of the evils which they heard they were to suffer, but knew not whether they should suffer manfully.

AUG. Or whereas they had asked Him above, where He was going, and He had replied that He was going where they would not come; now He promises that He will go in such a way that no one will ask Him where He goes: and none of you asks Me, Where do you go? Going up to heaven, they questioned Him not in words, but followed with their eyes. But our Lord saw what effect His words would produce upon their minds.

Not having yet that inward consolation which the Holy Ghost was to impart, they were afraid to lose the outward presence of Christ, and so, when they could no longer doubt from His own words that they were going to lose Him, their human affections were saddened, for the loss of their visible object. Wherefore it follows; But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.

But He knew that it would be for their good, forasmuch as that inward sight wherewith the Holy Ghost would console them was the better one: Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away.

CHRYS. As if He said, Though your grief be ever so great, you must hear how that it is profitable for you that I go away. What the profit is He then shows: For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you.

AUG. This He says not on account of any inequality between the Word of God and the Holy Ghost, but because the presence of the Son of man amongst them would impede the coming of the latter. For the Holy Ghost did not humble Himself as did the Son, by taking upon Him the form of a servant. It was necessary therefore that the form of the servant should be removed from their eyes; for so long as they looked upon that, they thought that Christ was no more than what they saw Him to be. So it follows: But if I depart, I will send Him unto you.

AUG. But could He not send Him while here: Him Who, we know, came and abode on Him at His baptism, yea Him from Whom we know He never could be separated? What means then, If I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you, but, you cannot receive the Spirit, so long as you know Christ according to the flesh? Christ departing in the body, not the Holy Ghost only, but the Father, and the Son also came spiritually.

GREG. As if He said plainly, If I withdraw not My body from your eyes, I cannot lead you to the understanding of the Invisible, through the Comforting Spirit.

AUG. The Holy Ghost the Comforter brought this, that the form of a servant which our Lord had received in the womb of the Virgin, being removed from the fleshly eye, He was manifested to the purified mental vision in the very form of God in which He remained equal to the Father, even while He deigned to appear in the flesh.

CHRYS. What say they here, who entertain unworthy notions of the Spirit? Is it expedient for the master to go away, and a servant to come? He then shows the good that the Spirit will do: And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

AUG. But how is it that Christ did not reprove the world? Is it because Christ spoke among the Jews only, whereas the Holy Spirit, poured into His disciples throughout the whole world, reproved not one nation only, but the world? But who would dare to say that the Holy Ghost reproved the world by Christ’s disciples, and that Christ did not when the Apostle exclaims, Do you seek a proof of Christ speaking in Me? (2Co_13:3) Those then whom the Holy Ghost reproves, Christ reproves also. He shall reprove the world, means, He shall pour love into your hearts, insomuch, that fear being cast out, you shall be free to reprove.

He then explains what He has said: Of sin, because they believed not in Me. He mentions this as the sin above all others, because while it remains, the others are retained; when it departs, the others are remitted.

AUG. But it makes a great difference whether one believes in Christ, or only that He is Christ. For that He was Christ, even the devils believed; but he believes in Christ who both hopes in Christ and loves Christ.

AUG. The world is reproved of sin, because it believes not in Christ, and reproved of righteousness, the righteousness of those that believe. The very contrast of the believing, is the censure of the unbelieving.

Of righteousness because I go to the Father: as it is the common objection of unbelievers, How can we believe what we do not see? So the righteousness of believers lies in this: Because I go to the Father, and you see Me no more. For blessed are they which see not, and believe. The faith even of those who saw Christ is praised, not because they believed what they saw, i.e., the Son of man, but because they believed what they saw not, i.e., the Son of God. And when the form of the servant was withdrawn from their sight altogether, then only was fulfilled in completeness the text, The just live by faith (Heb_10:38). It will be your righteousness then, of which the world will be reproved, that you shall believe in Me, not seeing Me. And when you shall see Me, you shall see Me as I shall be, not as I am now with you, i.e., you shall not see Me mortal, but everlasting. For in saying, you see Me no more, He means that they should see Him no more forever.

AUG. Or thus: They believed not, He went to the Father. Theirs therefore was the sin, His the righteousness. But that He came from the Father to us was mercy; that He went to the Father was righteousness; according to the saying of the Apostle, Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him (Phi_2:9). But if He went to the Father alone, what profit is it to us? Is He not alone rather in the sense of being one with all His members, as the head is with the body? So then the world is reproved of sin, in those who believe not in Christ; and of righteousness, in those who rise again in the members of Christ.

It follows, Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged–i.e., the devil, the prince of the wicked–who in heart dwell only in this world which they love. He is judged in that he is cast out; and the world is reproved of this judgment; for it is vain for one who does not believe in Christ to complain of the devil, whom judged, i.e., cast out, and permitted to attack us from without, only for our trial, not men only but women, boys and girls, have by martyrdom overcome.

AUG. Or, judged, i.e., is destined irrevocably for the punishment of eternal fire. And of this judgment is the world reproved, in that it is judged with its prince, the proud and ungodly one whom it imitates. Let men therefore believe in Christ, lest they be reproved of the sin of unbelief, by which all sins are retained; pass over to the number of the believing, lest they be reproved of the righteousness of those whom justified they do not imitate; beware of the judgment to come, lest with the prince of this world whom they imitate, they too be judged.

CHRYS. Or thus: Shall reprove the world of sin, i.e., cut off all excuse and show that they have sinned unpardonably in not believing in Me, when they see the ineffable gift of the Holy Ghost obtained by calling upon Me.
parAUG. In this way too the Holy Ghost reproved the world of sin, i.e. by the mighty works He did in the name of the Savior, Who was condemned by the world. The Savior, His righteousness retained, feared not to return to Him Who sent Him, and in that He returned, proved that He had come from Him: Of righteousness, because I go to the Father.

CHRYS. i.e. My going to tile Father will be a proof that I have led an irreproachable life, so that they will not be able to say, This man is a sinner; this man is not from God. Again inasmuch as I conquered the devil (which no one who was a sinner could do), they cannot say that I have a devil and am a deceiver. But as he has been condemned by Me they shall be assured that they shall trample upon him afterwards; and My resurrection will show that he was not able to detain Me.

AUG. The devils seeing souls go from hell to heaven, knew that the prince of this world was judged and, being brought to trial in the Savior’s cause, had lost all right to what he held. This was seen on our Savior’s ascension, but was declared plainly and openly in the descent of the Holy Ghost on the disciples.

Ver  12. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13. However when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.14. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine and shall show it to you.15. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it to you

THEOPHYL. Our Lord having said above, It is expedient for you that I go away, He enlarges now upon it: I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

AUG. All heretics, when their fables are rejected for their extravagance by the common sense of mankind, try to defend themselves by this text; as if these were the things which the disciples could not at this time bear, or as if the Holy Spirit could teach things, which even the unclean spirit is ashamed openly to teach and preach.

But bad doctrines such as even natural shame cannot bear are one thing, good doctrines such as our poor natural understanding cannot bear are another. The one are allied to the shameless body, the other lie far beyond the body. But what are these things which they could not bear; I cannot mention them for this very reason; for who of us dare call himself able to receive what they could not? Some one will say indeed that many, now that the Holy Ghost has been sent, can do what Peter could not then, as earn the crown of martyrdom.

But do we therefore know what those things were, which He was unwilling to communicate; for it seems most absurd to suppose that the disciples were not able to bear then the great doctrines, that we find in the Apostolic Epistles, which were written afterwards, which our Lord is not said to have spoken to them. For why could they not bear then what every one now reads and bears in their writings, even though he may not understand? Men of perverse sects indeed cannot bear what is found in Holy Scripture concerning the Catholic faith, as we cannot bear their sacrilegious vanities; for not to bear means not to acquiesce in.

But what believer or even catechumen before he has been baptized and received the Holy Ghost, does not acquiesce in and listen to, even if he does not understand, all that was written after our Lord’s ascension; But some one will say, Do spiritual men never hold doctrines which they do not communicate to carnal men, but do to spiritual?

There is no necessity why any doctrines should be kept secret from the babes and revealed to the grown up believers. Spiritual men ought not altogether to withhold spiritual doctrines from the carnal, seeing the Catholic faith ought to be preached to all; nor at the same time should they lower them in order to accommodate them to the understanding of persons who cannot receive them, and so make their own preaching contemptible, rather than the truth intelligible.

So then we are not to understand these words of our Lord to refer to certain secret doctrines which if the teacher revealed, the disciple would not be able to bear, but to those very things in religious doctrine which are within the apprehension of all of us. If Christ chose to communicate these to us, in the same way in which He does to the Angels, what men, yea what spiritual men, which the Apostles were not now, could bear them? For indeed every thing which can be known of the creature is inferior to the Creator; and yet who is silent about Him?

While in the body we cannot know all the truth, as the Apostle says, We know in part (1 Cor 13); but the Holy Spirit sanctifying us fits us for enjoying that fullness of which the same Apostle says, Then face to face. Our Lord’s promise, But when He the Spirit of truth shall come, He shall teach you all truth, or shall lead you into all truth, does not refer to this life only, but to the life to come, for which this complete fullness is reserved. The Holy Spirit both teaches believers now all the spiritual things which they are capable of receiving, and also kindles in their hearts a desire to know more.

DIDYMUS. Or He means that His hearers had not yet attained to all those things which for His name’s sake they were able to bear; so, revealing lesser things, He puts off the greater for a future time, such things as they could not understand till the Cross itself of their crucified Head had been their instruction. As yet they were slaves to the types, and shadows, and images of the Law, and could not bear the truth of which the Law was the shadow. But when the Holy Ghost came, He would lead them by His teaching and discipline into all truth, transferring them from the dead letter to the quickening Spirit, in Whom alone all Scripture truth resides.

CHRYS. Having said then, you cannot bear them now, but then you shall be able, and, The Holy Spirit shall lead you into all truth; lest this should make them suppose that the Holy Spirit was the superior, He adds, For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak.

AUG. This is like what He said of Himself above, i.e., I can of My own Self do nothing; as I hear I judge. But that may be understood of Hi m as man; how must we understand this of the Holy Ghost, Who never became a creature by assuming a creature? As meaning that He is not from Himself: The Son is born of the Father, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father. In what the difference consists between proceeding and being born, it would require a long time to discuss, and would be rash to define.

But to hear is with Him to know, to know to be. As then He is not from Himself, but from Him from Whom He proceeds, from Whom His being is, from the same is His knowledge. From the same therefore His hearing. The Holy Ghost then always hears, because He always knows; and He has heard, hears, and will hear from Him from Whom He is.

DIDYMUS. He shall not speak of Himself, i.e., not without Me, and Mine and the Father’s will: because He is not of Himself, but from the Father and Me. That He exists, and that He speaks, He has from the Father and Me. I speak the truth; i.e., I inspire as well as speak by Him, since He is the Spirit of Truth. To say and to speak in the Trinity must not be understood according to our usage, but according to the usage of incorporeal natures, and especially the Trinity, which implants Its will in the hearts of believers, all of those who are worthy to hear It.

For the Father then to speak, and the Son to hear, is a mode of expressing the identity of their nature, and their agreement. Again, the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of truth, and the Spirit of wisdom, cannot hear from the Son what He does not know, seeing He is the very thing which is produced from the Son, i.e. truth proceeding from truth, Comforter from Comforter, God from God. Lastly, lest any one should separate Him from the will and society of the Father and the Son, it is written, Whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak.

AUG. But it does not follow from hence that the Holy Spirit is inferior; for it is only signified that He proceeds from the Father.

AUG. Nor let the use of the future tense perplex you; that hearing is eternal, because the knowledge is eternal. To that which is eternal, without beginning, and without end, a verb of any tense may be applied. For though an unchangeable nature does not admit of was and shall be, but only is, yet it is allowable to say of It, was and is and shall be: was, because It never began; shall be, because It never shall end; is, because It always is.

DIDYMUS. By the Spirit of truth too the knowledge of future events has been granted to holy men. Prophets filled with this Spirit foretold and saw things to come, as if they were present: And He will show you things to come.

BEDE. It is certain that many filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit have foreknown future events. But as many gifted saints have never had this power, the words, He will show you things to come, may be taken to mean, bring back to your minds the Joys of your heavenly country. He did however inform the Apostles of what was to come, viz. of the evils that they would have to suffer for Christ’s sake, and the good things they would receive in recompense.

CHRYS. In this way then He raised their spirits; for there is nothing for which mankind so long, as the knowledge of the future. He relieves them from all anxiety on this account, by showing that dangers would not fall upon them unawares. Then to show that He could have told them all the truth into which the Holy Spirit would lead them, He adds, He shall glorify Me.

AUG. By pouring love into the hearts of believers, and making them spiritual, and so able to see that the Son Whom they had known before only according to the flesh, and thought a man like themselves, was equal to the Father. Or certainly because that love filling them with boldness, and casting out fear, they proclaimed Christ to men, and so spread His fame throughout the whole world. For what they were going to do in the power of the Holy Ghost, this the Holy Ghost says He does Himself.

CHRYS. And because He had said, You have one Master, even Christ (Mat_23:8), that they might not be prevented by this from admitting the Holy Ghost as well, He adds, For He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.

DIDYMUS. To receive must be taken here in a sense agreeable to the Divine Nature. As the Son in giving is not deprived of what He gives, nor imparts to others with any loss of His own, so too the Holy Ghost does not receive what before He had not; for if He received what before He had not, the gift being transferred to another, the giver would be thereby a loser.

We must understand then that the Holy Ghost receives from the Son that which belonged to His nature, and that there are not two substances implied, one giving and the other receiving, but one substance only. In like manner the Son too is said to receive from the Father that wherein He Himself subsists. For neither is the Son any thing but what is given Him by the Father, nor the Holy Ghost any substance but that which is given Him by the Son.

AUG. But it is not true, as some heretics have thought, that because the Son receives from the Father, the Holy Ghost from the Son, as if by gradation, that therefore the Holy Ghost is inferior to the Son. He Himself solves this difficulty, and explains His own words: All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it to you.

DIDYMUS. As if He said, Although the Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father, yet all things that the Father has are Mine, and even the Spirit of the Father is Mine, and receives of Mine. But beware, when you hear this, that you think not it is a thing or possession which the Father and the Son have. That which the Father has according to His substance, i.e. His eternity, immutability, goodness, it is this which the Son has also.

Away with the evils of logicians who say, therefore the Father is the Son. Had He said indeed, All that God has are Mine, impiety might have taken occasion to raise its head; but when He said, All things that the Father has are Mine, by using the name of the Father, He declares Himself the Son, and being the Son, He usurps not the Paternity, though by the grace of adoption He is the Father of many saints.

HILARY. Our Lord therefore has not left it uncertain whether the Paraclete be from the Father, or from the Son; for He is sent by the Son, and proceeds from the Father; both these He receives from the Son. You ask whether to receive from the Son and to proceed from the Father be the same thing.

Certainly, to receive from the Son must be thought one and the same thing with receiving from the Father; for when He says, All things that the Father has are Mine, therefore said I, that He shall receive of Mine, He shows herein that the things are received from Him, because all things which the Father has are His, but that they are received from the Father also. This unity has no diversity; nor does it matter from whom the thing is received; since that which is given by the Father is counted also as given by the Son.

Ver 16. A little while, and you shall not see me; and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.17. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he said to us, A little while, and you shall not see me; and again, a little while, and you shall see me, and, Because I go to the Father?18. They said therefore, What is this that he said, A little while? We cannot tell what he said.19. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said to them, Do you enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and you shall not see me; and again, a little while, and you shall see me?20. Verily, verily, I say to you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.21. A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.22. And you now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.

CHRYS. Our Lord after having relieved the spirits of the disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit, again depresses them: A little while, and you shall not see Me. He does this to accustom them to the mention of His departure, in order that they may bear it well, when it does come. For nothing so quiets the troubled mind, as the continued recurrence to the subject of its grief.BEDE. He said, A little while, and you shall not see Me alluding to His going to be taken that night by the Jews, His crucifixion the next morning, and burial in the evening, which withdrew Him from all human sight.

CHRYS. But then, if one examines, these are words of consolation: Because I go to the Father. For they show that His death was only a translation; and more consolation follows: And again, a little while, and you shall see Me: an intimation this that He would return and, after a short separation, come and live with them for ever.

AUG. The meaning of these words however was obscure, before their fulfillment; Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He said to us, A little while, and you shall not see Me; and again, a little while, and you shall see Me; and, Because I go to the Father?

CHRYS. Either sorrow had confused their minds, or the obscurity of the words themselves prevented their understanding them, and made them appear contradictory. If we shall see Thee, they say, how do You go? If you go, how shall we see you? What is this that He said to us, A little while? We cannot tell what He said.

AUG. For above, because He did not say, A little while, but simply, I go to the Father, He seemed to speak plainly. But what to them was obscure at the time, but by and by manifested, is manifest to us. For in a little while He suffered, and they did not see Him; and again, in a little while He rose again, and they saw Him. He says, And you shall see Me no more; for the mortal Christ they saw no more.

ALCUIN. Or thus, It will be a little time during which you will not see Me, i.e. the three days that He rested in the grave; and again, it will be a little time during which you shall see Me, i.e. the forty days of His appearance amongst them, from His Passion to His ascension. And you shall see Me for that little time only, Because I go to the Father; for I am not going to stay always in the body here, but, by that humanity which I have assumed, to ascend to heaven.

It follows: Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask Him, and said to them, Do you enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and you shall not see Me; and again, a little while, and you shall see Me? Verily, verily, I say to you, That you shall weep and lament. Their merciful Master, understanding their ignorance and doubts, replied so as to explain what He had said.

AUG. Which must be understood thus: viz. that the disciples sorrowed at their Lord’s death, and then immediately rejoiced at His resurrection. The world (i.e. the enemies of Christ, who put Him to death) rejoiced just when the disciples sorrowed, i.e. at His death: You shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

ALCUIN. But this speech of our Lord’s is applicable to all believers who strive through present tears and afflictions to attain to the joys eternal. While the righteous weep, the world rejoices; for having no hope of the joys to come, all its delight is in the present.

CHRYS. Then He shows that sorrow brings forth joy, short sorrow infinite joy, by an example from nature: A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

AUG This comparison does not seem difficult to understand. It was one which lay near at hand, and He Himself immediately shows its application. And you now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice. The bringing forth is compared to sorrow, the birth to joy, which is especially true in the birth of a boy. And your joy no man takes from you: their joy is Christ. This agrees with what the Apostle said, Christ being risen from the dead dies no more (Rom_6:9).

CHRYS. By this example He also intimates that He loosens the chains of death, and creates men anew. He does not say however that she should not have tribulation, but that she should not remember it; so great is the joy which follows. And so is it with the saints. He said not that a boy is born, but that a man, a tacit allusion to His own resurrection.

AUG. To this joy it is better to refer what was said above: A little while and you shall not see Me, and again, a little while and you shall see Me. For the whole space of time that this world continues is but a little while. Because I go to the Father, refers to the former clause, a little while and you shall not see Me, not to the latter, a little while and you shall see Me. His going to the Father was the reason why they would not see Him. So to them who then saw Him in the body He says, A little while and you shall not see Me; for He was about to go to the Father, and mortals would thenceforth never see Him again, as they saw Him now. The next words, A little while and you shall see Me, are a promise to the whole Church. For this little while appears long to us while it is passing, but when it is finished we shall then see how little a time it has been.

ALCUIN. The woman is the holy Church, who is fruitful in good works, and brings forth spiritual children to God. This woman, while she brings forth, i.e. while she is making her progress in the world, amidst temptations and afflictions, has sorrow because her hour is come; for no one ever hated his own flesh.

AUG. Nor yet in this bringing forth of joy, are we entirely without joy to lighten our sorrow, but, as the Apostle said, we rejoice in hope (Rom_12:12); for even the woman, to whom we are compared, rejoices more for her future offspring, than she sorrows for her present pain.

ALCUIN. But as soon as she is delivered, i.e. when her laborious struggle is over, and she has got the palm, she remembers no more her former anguish, for joy at reaping such a reward, for joy that a man is born into the world. For as a woman rejoices when a man is born into the world, so the Church is filled with exultation when the faithful are born into life eternal.

BEDE. Nor should it appear strange, if one who departs from this life is said to be born. For as a man is said to be born when he comes out of his mother’s womb into the light of day, so may he be said to be born who from out of the prison of the body, is raised to the light eternal. Whence the festivals of the saints, which are the days on which they died, are called their birthdays.

ALCUIN. I will see you again, i.e. I will take you to Myself. Or, I will see you again, i.e. I shall appear again and be seen by you; and your heart shall rejoice.

AUG. This fruit indeed the Church now yearns for in travail, but then will enjoy in her delivery. And it is a male child, because all active duties are for the sake of devotion; for that only is free which is desired for its own sake, not for any thing else, and action is for this end. This is the end which satisfies and is eternal; for nothing can satisfy but what is itself the ultimate end. Wherefore of them it is well said, Your joy no man takes from you.

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Computer Troubles

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 27, 2010

I’m experiencing problems with my computer and may be offline for a while.

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Notes On John 13:31-35

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 26, 2010

These notes are taken primarily from Catholic sources.  I’ve added some thoughts of my own.  I’ve mentioned on several occasions that their are connections between this passage and the theme of opposition from Satan and the world but have not developed them.

Joh 13:31  When he therefore was gone out, Jesus said: Now is the Son of man glorified; and God is glorified in him.

The he mentioned here is, of course, Judas, his departure to betray Jesus sets in motion the hour.  This section of the Gospel, which began in 13:1 began with the words: “Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto his Father, having loved his own that were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (ASV).  Everything that came between these two verses has prepared for this announcement: Now is the Son of Man glorified…” See verse -3, 10-11.  Thus is introduced into the Passion Narrative a theme which has dominated the Gospel, the clash of the designs of God and the designs of Satan (Fr. Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel Of John, pg. 374).  See 8:39-47; 15:18-16:4.

When he therefore was gone out Jesus said.  “The departure of Judas marked the beginning of the end, and Jesus at once turned to the eleven with words that prove His knowledge of what was about to happen, and His acceptance of the issue of the traitor’s work (Nolan and Brown).

Now is the son of man glorified.  Judas had finally decided to betray Him, and He Himself had fully accepted what was to follow, so that His death, now so certain and so near, might be spoken of a already past: “is…glorified.”  For their consolation and encouragement He refers to His death as a glorification, as indeed it was, being a triumph over Satan and sin, and the prelude to victory over death. (Nolan and Brown).

Glorified.  Frank L. Couch, Dean and Vice President of The Moravian Theological Seminary gives a pretty good summary of the meaning of Glory in the fourth Gospel: One cannot preach on the glory mentioned in verses 31-32 without setting it in the context of the whole of John.  The meaning emerges within the narrative. The glory is inherent in the Son, something he had in God’s presence before the world was made (17:5) and that he brings with him into the world (1:14). Those who are his can see that glory, the ultimate outward sign of inward grace and truth (1:14-18). At the same time, it is inherent in him, however, it does not reach its fullness until he has completed the work his Father sent him to do (7:39; 17:4). Thus, although his glory is revealed to the disciples at Cana (2:11), promised to be shown again following the illness of Lazarus (11:4), and promised again to Martha at Lazarus’ tomb (11:40), in a real sense, only with the arrest, crucifixion, and death does the hour finally come for him to be glorified (12:23; 17:1). [Emphasis mine.  For more on this important point of Johannine theology consult  the essay “Johannine Theology 80:30-34, by Fr. Bruce Vawter in The Jerome Biblical Commentary; Also, The Introduction to the commentary on John by Fr. Dom Ralph Russell, in The New Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture, 798:f-g;)

Joh 13:32  If God be glorified in him, God also will glorify him in himself: and immediately will he glorify him.

The Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture: “Since he is to glorify God by his Passion, God will glorify him; ‘in himself’ may refer to the glorified or to the glorifier. The resurrection and ascension, forming a unity with the Passion, are regarded as immediately imminent.”  (Note: This work should not be confused with The New Catholic Commentary mentioned above.  That work is a total revision of this earlier one).

Here is how St Thomas Aquinas understood the passage: “Now the merit of this glorification is that God would be glorified in him. For God is glorified by those who seek to do his will, and not their own. Christ was like this: “For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (6:38). And this is why in him God is glorified. He amplifies on this when he says, if God is glorified in him, that is, if, by doing the will of God, he glorifies God, then rightly God will also glorify him in himself, so that the human nature assumed by the eternal Word will be given an eternal glory. Thus, in himself, that is, in his own glory: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9). Therefore the glorification by which God is glorified in Christ is the merit in virtue of which Christ as man is glorified in himself, that is, in the glory of God. This will occur when his human nature, its weakness having been laid down by the death of the cross, receives the glory of immortality at the resurrection. So the resurrection itself was the source from which this glory began. Accordingly he says, and will glorify him at once, at the resurrection, which will quickly come: “I will arise in the morning early” [Ps 108:2]: and also, “You will not let your Holy One see corruption” [Ps 16:10].” (source, scroll down to lecture 6, art. 1828)

Joh 13:33  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You shall seek me. And as I said to the Jews: Whither I go you cannot come; so I say to you now.

Jesus addresses his apostles with the tender diminutive “little children,” used only here in John’s Gospel but 8 times in the First Epistle. Of special note is it usage in 1 Jn 4, where it is used in the context  of opposition from the Antichrist and the world.  Jesus had on several occasions warned the unbelievers among his people that a time would come when they would seek but not find him:

Joh 7:33  Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while I am with you: and then I go to him that sent me.
Joh 7:34  You shall seek me and shall not find me: and where I am, thither you cannot come.

Joh 8:21  Again therefore Jesus said to them: I go: and you shall seek me. And you shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come.

Joh 12:35  Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, and the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither be goeth.
Joh 12:36  Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things Jesus spoke: and he went away and hid himself from them.

Jesus words to the unbelievers and to the disciples is not identical in meaning, providing a contrast; thus Nolan and Brown: “The glorification of Christ implied His departure from the Apostles, and the time was now come for making known to them the separation.  at present they, any more than His enemies, could not follow Him, and what He had before declared to His enemies, He now declares to His dearest friends.  Yet, though the substance of the declaration is in both cases the same, Christ’s purpose in making it was very different.  To the Jews ti was made in hope that they would thus be urged to make good use of the time that still remained to them before the separation, while in the present case the motive seems rather to forearm the apostles by forewarning them and putting before them various motives of consolation.  Little children you shall seek me &c.  The declaration is somewhat different in form on this second occasion.  The words: “And shall not find me” (7:34) are omitted, and instead of : “where I am” the present text has: “wither I go.”  As we have said, the leading idea is both cases is of separation, but since that separation was to be followed in the case of the Apostles by spiritual union (14:18, 23), He now omits the words “and shall not find me;” though in the sense of not finding Him any longer visibly present among them…”

Those who remain in opposition to the person, work, and word of Jesus can never find Him.  Once again the clash between the designs of God and those of Satan/the world come into play.

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Jesus, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (vs 1) symbolized His love unto death by the footwashing, bidding his disciples to serve one another in like manner.  The same idea will become more explicit in 15:12-14~

Joh 15:12  This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13  Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:14  You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you.

Father MacIntyre: A new commandment…that you love on another as I have loved you. καθως ηγαπησα (Just as I have loved).  the aorist is used because our Lord is speaking as it were historically, considering Himself as already at the end of His work  (vss 1, 31).  Our Lord, then, about to leave the Apostles, gives them instruction for their guidnace; and first ‘a new commandment.’   But in what sense new? for the command itself of love was very old (Lev 19:18).  Two very different Greek adjectives are translated ‘new’ in the English Testament: the one is νέος (neos), denoting the ‘new’ primarily in reference to time (=recent, young, see Mt 9:17), the other is καινός (kainos), denoting the ‘new’ primarily in reference to quality (=fresh, unworn, that which as recently made is superior to what it succeeds, See Thayer-Grimm’s Lexicon).  St John uses the latter adjective.  Therefore the commandment is not merely of recent institution, but is intrinsically superior to the old commandment of love.  The words that follow explain this superiority, “That you love one another as I have loved you.”  The term καθως (kathos=’as’, ‘just as’)  may mean, (1) in the same measure in which I have loved you (‘according as,’ i.e., in the degree that); (2) according to the type of love that I have given (in accordance with, just as); (3) on account of My love, because I have loved you (‘seeing that,’ i.e., agreeably to the fact that).  Now, the first is impossible, for we are incapable for we are incapable of loving in the same degree and measure in which Christ loved.  The second and third are not mutually exclusive; but the second, without excluding the third (1 Jn 4:10), is more prominent in the teaching of St John (see 15:12-13; 1 Jn 3:16), and it goes beyond the ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ of the O.T.  Besides, the motive power is greater, ‘because Christ loved us,’ i.e., Christ’s own living example is a powerful incentive not found in the O.T., to imitate the type of His disinterested love.  This love is not only commanded, but is also the distinctive mark and test of Christ’s perfect disciples (vs 35).”

These words come immediately before his warning about the hatred of the world (15:18ff.).

Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

This love of the disciples is the greatest witness to Jesus, and its lack the greatest obstacle to it.

The Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture: “Jesus’ intention in loving us was that we should love similarly—unselfishly (Cyr.), gratuitously (Chrys.), efficaciously, rightly (Aquin.). 35. Charity is the badge of true disciples of Christ. Tertullian ( Apol.30) sets it down as a note which pagans recognized in the Christian community. 1 Jn is full of the exegesis of this commandment. We should also recall the precious information transmitted by St Jerome (in Gal.) that St John in extreme old age could preach nothing else but ‘My little children, love one another’. Aug. has the beautiful thought: As Christ the Saviour loved us to save us, so charity should be a thirst for the spiritual salvation of our neighbours, all of whom God wills to be saved. It is primarily amongst disciples in the Christian community, but extends to others without exception, that they also may be disciples.”

Cornelius a Lapide: “In this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love towards one another. My school is the discipline of love. If, then, you desire to follow Me as your Teacher, to be My disciples, and to be recognised as such by all men, love one another. This privilege is granted, therefore, only to charity. For it is not miracles that constitute us disciples of Christ, nor intellect, nor eloquence, nor strength, nor anything else but only love, says S. Chrysostom. For He is the Master, Leader, Prince, and Chief of love. Hence Paul says, Rom_13:8, “He that loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled the law.” Such were the early Christians of whom Luke, Act_4:32, says, “And the multitude of them that believed had one heart and one soul, and had all things in common.””

Constitution Of The Holy Apostles, Book II:  “Let him also be merciful, of a generous and loving temper; for our Lord says: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.””

The Second Epistle Of Zephyrinus: “Assist ye, therefore, one another in good faith, and by deed and with a hearty will; nor let any one remove his hand from the help of a brother, since “by this,” saith the Lord, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.””

The Second Epistle Of Pope Fabian: “Ponder these things, and minister comfort to the brethren in all things; for, as the Truth says in His own person, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Vatican II’s Decree On The Apostolate Of The Laity (#8): “While every exercise of the apostolate should be motivated by charity, some works by their very nature can become specially vivid expressions of this charity. Christ the Lord wanted these works to be signs of His messianic mission (cf. Matt. 11:4-5).

“The greatest commandment in the law is to love God with one’s whole heart and one’s neighbor as oneself (cf. Matt. 22:37-40). Christ made this commandment of love of neighbor His own and enriched it with a new meaning. For He wanted to equate Himself with His brethren as the object of this love when He said, “As long as you did it for one of these, the least of My brethren, you did it for Me” (Matt. 25:40). Assuming human nature, He bound the whole human race to Himself as a family through a certain supernatural solidarity and established charity as the mark of His disciples, saying, “By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea On John 13:31-35 For Sunday Mass (May 2)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 26, 2010

Ver 31. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.32. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

ORIGEN. After the glory of His miracles, and His transfiguration, the next glorifying of the Son of man began, when Judas went out with Satan, who had entered into him; Therefore when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. For it is not the eternal only-begotten Word, but the glory of the Man born of the seed of David, which is here meant.

Christ at His death, in which He glorified God, having spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them, openly triumphing over them (Col_2:15). And again, Made peace by the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things to Himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (Col_1:20). Thus the Son of man was glorified, and God glorified in Him; for Christ cannot be glorified, except the Father be glorified with Him. But whoever is glorified, is glorified by someone.

By whom then is the Son of man glorified? He tells you; If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify if Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him.

CHRYS. i.e. by Himself, not by any other. And shall straightway glorify Him, i.e. not at any distant time, but immediately, while He is yet on the very cross shall His glory appear. For the sun was darkened, rocks were rent, and many bodies of those that slept arose. In this way He restores the drooping spirits of His disciples, and persuades them, instead of sorrowing, to rejoice.

AUG. Or thus: The unclean went out: the clean remained with their cleanser. Thus will it be when the tares are separated from the wheat; The righteous shall shine forth as the sale in the kingdom of their Father (Mat_13:43). Our Lord, foreseeing this, said, when Judas went out, as if the tares were now separated, and He left alone with the wheat, the holy Apostles.

Now is the Son of man glorified; as if to say, Behold what will take place at My glorifying, at which none of the wicked shall be present, none of the righteous shall perish. He does not say, Now is the glorifying of the Son of man signified; but, Now is the Son of man glorified; as it is not that rock signified Christ, or but, That Rock was Christ (1Co_10:4).

Scripture often speaks of the things signifying, as if they were the things signified. But the glorifying of the Son of man, is the glorifying of God in Him; as He adds, And God is glorified in Him, which He proceeds to explain; If God is glorified in Him – for He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him – God shall also glorify Him in Himself, so that the human nature which was assumed by the eternal Word, shall also be endowed with eternity.

And shall straightway glorify Him. He predicts His own resurrection, which was to follow immediately, not at the end of the world, like ours. Thus it is; Now is the Son of man glorified; the now referring not to His approaching Passion, hut the resurrection which was immediately to follow it: as if that which was so very soon to be, had already taken place.

HILARY. That God is glorified in Him, refers to the glory of the body, which glory is the glory of God, in that the body borrows its glory from its association with the Divine nature because God is glorified in Him, therefore He will; glorify Him in Himself, in that He who reigns in the glory arising from the glory of God, He forthwith passes over into God’s glory, leaving the dispensation of His manhood wholly to abide in God.

Nor is He silent as to the time And shall straightway glorify Him. This referring to the glory of His resurrection which was immediately to follow His passion, which He mentions as present, because Judas had now gone out to betray Him; whereas that God would glorify Him in Himself, He reserves for the future. The glory of God was strewn in Him by the miracle of the resurrection; but He will abide in the glory of God when He has left the dispensation of subjection.

The sense of these first words, Now is the Son of man glorified, is not doubtful: it is the glory of the flesh which is meant, not that of the Word But what means the next, And God is glorified in Him? The Son of man is not another Person from the Son of God for, the Word was made flesh (Joh_1:14). How is God glorified in this Son of man, who is the Son of God?

The next clause helps us; If God is glorified in Him, God also will glorify Him in Himself. A man is not glorified in himself, nor, on the other hand, does God who is glorified in man, because He receives glory, cease to be God. So the words, God is glorified in Him, either mean that Christ is glorified in the flesh, or that God is glorified in Christ. If God means Christ, it is Christ who is glorified in the flesh; if the Father, then it is the Sacrament of unity, the Father glorified in the Son. Again, God glorifies in Himself God glorified in the Son of man.

This overthrows the impious doctrine that Christ is not very God, in verity of nature. For how can that which God glorifies in Himself be out of Himself? He whom the Father glorifies must be confessed to be in His glory, and He who is glorified in the glory of the Father, must be understood to be in the same case with the Father.

ORIGEN. Or thus: The word glory is here used in a different sense from that which some Pagans attach to it, who defined glory to be the collected praises of the many. It is evident that glory in such a sense is a different thing from that mentioned in Exodus, where it is said, that the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exod 40:34), and that the face of Moses was glorified. The glory here mentioned is something visible, a certain divine appearance in the temple, and on Moses’ face; but in a higher and more spiritual sense we are glorified, when with the eye of the understanding we penetrate into the things of God.

For the mind when it ascends above material things, and spiritually sees God, is defied: and of this spiritual glory, the visible glory on the face of Moses is a figure: for his mind it was that was defied by converse with God. But there is no comparison between the excellent glory of Christ, and the knowledge of Moses, whereby the face of his soul was glorified: for the whole of the Father’s glory shines upon the Son, who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person (Heb_1:3). Yea, and from the light of this whole glory there go forth particular glories, throughout the whole rational creation; though none can take in the whole of the divine glory, except the Son.

But so far as the Son was known to the world, so far only was He glorified. And as yet He was not fully known. But afterward the Father spread the knowledge of Him over the whole world, and then was the Son of man glorified in those who knew Him. And of this glory He has made all who know Him partakers: as said the Apostle: We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory (2Co_3:18), i.e. from His glory receive glory.

When He was approaching then that dispensation, by which He was to become known to the world, and to be glorified in the glory of those who glorified Him, He says, Now is the Son of man glorified (Mat_11:27). And because no man knows the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him, and the Son by the dispensation was about to reveal the Father; for this reason He said, And God is glorified in Him. Or compare this with the text below: He that has seen Me, has seen the Father. The Father who begat the Word is seen in the Word, who is God, and the image of the invisible God. But the words may be taken in a larger sense. For as through some the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles, so through the saints whose good deeds are seen and acknowledged by the world, the name of the Father in heaven is magnified.

But in whom was He so glorified as in Jesus, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth? Such being the Son, He is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. And if God is glorified in Him, the Father returns Him more than He gave. For the glory of the Son of man, when the Father glorifies Him, far exceeds the Father’s glory, when He is glorified in the Son: it being fit that the greater should return the greater glory. And as this, viz. the glorifying of the Son of man, was just about to be accomplished, our Lord adds, And will straightway glorify Him.

Ver 33. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. you shall seek me: and as I said to the Jews, Whither I go, you cannot come; so now I say to you.34. A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one to another.

AUG. After He had said, And shall straightway glorify Him, that they might not think that God was going to glorify Him in such a way, as that He would no longer have any converse with them on earth, He says, Little children, yet a little while I am with you: as if He said, I shall indeed straightway be glorified by My resurrection, but I shall not straightway ascend to heaven. For we read in the Acts of the Apostles, that He was with them forty days after His resurrection. These forty days are what He means by, A little while I am with you.

ORIGEN. Little children, He says; for their souls were yet in infancy. But these little children, after His death, were made brethren; as before they were little children, they were servants.

AUG. It may be understood too thus: I am as yet in this frail flesh, even as you are, until I die and rise again. He was with them after His resurrection, by bodily presence, not by participation of human frailty. These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you (Luk_24:44). He says to His disciples after His resurrection; meaning, while I was in mortal flesh, as you are. He was in the same flesh then with them, but not subject to the same mortality. But there is another Divine Presence unknown to mortal senses, of which He said, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world (Mat_28:20).

This is not the presence meant by, A little while I am with you; for it is not a little while to the end of the world: or even if it is a little while, because that in the eye of God, a thousand years are as one day, yet what follows shows that it is not what our Lord is here alluding to; for He adds, Whither I go you cannot follow Me now. At the end of the world they were to follow Him, whither He went; as He said below; Father, I will that they be with Me, where I am

ORIGEN. But may there not be a deeper meaning in the words, yet a little while &c. After a little while He was not with them. In what sense not with them? Not because He was not with them according to the flesh, in that He was taken from them, was brought before Pilate, was crucified, descended into hell: but because they all forsook Him, fulfilling His prophecy: All you shall be offended because of Me this night. He was not with them, because He only dwells with those who are worthy of Him. But though they thus wandered from Jesus for a little while, it was only for a little while; they soon sought Him again. Peter wept bitterly after his denial of Jesus, and by his tears sought Him: and therefore it follows, you shall seek Me, and as I said to the Jews, whither I go, you cannot follow Me now. To seek Jesus, is to seek the Word, wisdom, righteousness, truth, all which is Christ. To His disciples therefore who wish to follow Him, not in a bodily sense, as the ignorant think, but in the way He ordains, Whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. Our Lord said, Whither I go you cannot follow Me now. For though they wished to follow the Word, and to confess Him, they were not yet strong enough to do so; The Spirit was not yet given to them, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.

AUG. Or He means that they were not yet fit to follow Him to death for righteousness’ sake. For how could they, when they were not ripe for martyrdom? Or how could they follow our Lord to immortality, they who v ere to die, and not to rise again till the end of the world? Or how could tines follow Him to the bosom of the Father, when none could partake of that felicity, but they whose love was perfected? When He told the Jews this, He did not add now. But the disciples, though they could not follow Him then, would be able to do so afterwards, and therefore He adds, So now I say to you.

ORIGEN. As if He said, I say it to you, but with the addition of now, The Jews, who He foresaw would die in their sins, would never be able to follow Him; but the disciples were unable only for a little time.

CHRYS. And therefore He said, little children; for He did not mean to speak to them, as He had to the Jews. you cannot follow Me now, He says, in order to rouse the love of His disciples. For the departure of loved friends kindles all our affection, and especially if they are going to a place where we cannot follow them. He purposely too speaks of His death, as a kind of translation, a happy removal to a place, where here mortal bodies do not enter

AUG. And now He teaches them how to fit themselves to follow. Him: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. But does not the old law say, you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev_19:18)? Why then does He call it a new commandment? Is it because it strips us of the old man, and puts on us the new? That it renews the hearer, or rather the doer of it? Love does do this; but it is that love which our Lord distinguishes from the carnal affection: As I have loved you, that you also love one another. Not the love with which men love one another, but that of the children of the Most High God, w ho would be brethren of His only-begotten Son, and therefore love one another with that love with which He loved them, and would lead them to the fulfillment of their desires.

CHRYS. Or, as I have loved you: for My love has not been the payment of something owing to you, but had its beginning on My side. And you ought in like manner to do one another good, though you may not owe it.

AUG. But; do not think that that greater commandment, viz. that we: should love the Lord our God, is passed by. For, if we understand the two precepts aright, each is implied in the other. He who loves God cannot despise His commandment that he should love his neighbor; and he who loves his neighbor in a heavenly spiritual way, in the neighbor loves God. That is the love which our Lord distinguishes from all human love, when He adds, As I have loved you, what did He, in loving us, love, but God in us; not who was in us, but so that He might be? Wherefore let each of us so love the other, as that by this working of love, we make each other the habitations of God.

CHRYS. Passing over the miracles, which they were to perform, He makes love: the distinguishing mark of His followers; By this shall all men know that you are My disciples’ if you have love one to another. This it is that evidences the saint or the disciple, as He calls him.

AUG. As if He said, Other gifts are shared with you by those who are not mine; birth, life, sense, reason, and such good things as belong alike to man and brutes; nay, and tongues, sacraments, prophecy, knowledge, faith, bestowing of goods upon the poor,; giving the body to be burned: but forasmuch as they have not charity, they are tinkling cymbals, they are nothing: nothing profits them.

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Cornelius a Lapide On John 13:31-35 For Sunday Mass (May 2)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 26, 2010

Other notes on this passage from John will be available on this site over the next several days.  They will be posted here.

Joh 13:31  Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Ver. 31.—When, therefore, he had gone forth, Jesus said, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him—”is glorified,” equivalent to “is soon to be glorified,” the perfect put for the immediate future; Judas is now gone forth to betray Me, therefore is my cross and death nigh at hand, and so far is it from bringing ignominy on Me that, on the contrary, by it I am to be supremely glorified. For in it shall I be recognised as not only man and the Son of man, but also the Son of God and God; for the Divinity that lieth veiled in My humanity shall be recognised by the darkening of the sun, the cleaving asunder of rocks, the opening of sepulchres, the rising up of the dead, and the quaking of all the earth,—all these things shall show forth that God suffereth and dieth upon the cross. And again by its effects, for by the cross will I subjugate to Myself the whole world, all the devils, and sin, death and hell, as the God and Lord of all things. So S. Chrysostom, Cyril, and others. And here, note that by these signs God and the Godhead of Christ not only glorified the humanity of Christ but Itself also; for in them was made manifest the infinite goodness, power, wisdom, majesty, and glory of Christ’s Godhead.

Joh 13:32  If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

Ver. 32.—If God is glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall glorify Him straightway. If, that is because—because Christ, made obedient unto the death of the cross, hath by this His obedience, reverence, and sacrifice, glorified God the Father, therefore shall God the Father in turn glorify the Son in Himself, by demonstrating and making manifest the Divinity that is hidden in Him. And this straightway—quickly, for on the third day He shall raise Him up revived, and glorious in His death; on the fortieth day He shall cause Him to ascend in triumph into Heaven; and on the fiftieth to send down His Holy Spirit upon the apostles. By all these things He made known to the world that Jesus is not only man but God, and the Son of God. So Cyril and Chrysostom. Origen, in his 6th Homily, says that the glorification of Christ was twofold,—the former in His death, by which He was glorified in the lowliness of His mortality; and the latter in His resurrection, by which He was glorified in the sublimity of His immortality.

Secondly, S. Hilary (De Trinitate, bk. v.), and Toletus following him, think that God is said to be glorified in Christ, because He showed His own Divinity in His death and resurrection; proving Himself God and the Son of God by raising Himself from death, ascending into heaven by His own power, and thence sending down the Holy Spirit and working many wonders through the apostles. This interpretation is called for by the expressions—in Him, in Himself. The Godhead was veiled in Christ until His death, but it then shone out and thrust itself forth, showing Christ to be not only man, but also the Son of God, inasmuch as He raised Himself from death by virtue of His own Divinity. Origen says, “The Son is as Paul says, the brightness of the Divine glory, from whence come its splendours upon every rational creature; for only the Son is capable of comprehending all the brightness of the Divine glory.” The words “in Himself” may be referred, first, to “the Son of Man.” God glorified the Man Christ, by showing that He, as man, had God indwelling in Him, and the Godhead of the Word; and secondly, to “God”—God showing that the Man Christ subsists in the Divine Person of the Word, that is, in God.

Joh 13:33  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

Ver. 33.—My little children. Notice the tenderness of Christ’s feeling of love towards His apostles and the faithful. He says not “my sons,” but “my little children,” showing in our regard the heart, as it were, of a mother towards her newly born infants. Again, little children, because the apostles were as yet little in the faith and love of Christ, for they received its fulness and, as it were, their manhood from the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. Symbolically Cyril says that all the Saints are little ones in relation to Christ.

Yet a little (a little time) I am with you—because an hour hence I shall be betrayed by Judas and given up to the Jews. Christ is here taking His last farewell of His own. Farewell, He says, My well-beloved children, for I am going away from you to death, and after that I shall not converse with you as we have been wont, but shall return to heaven.

Ye shall seek Me, and, as I said to the Jews, whither I go ye cannot come. I by My death return to heaven; you, 0 apostles, bereft of My presence, shall seek Me in the tribulations and persecutions that await you, and shall wish that I were with you that you might consult Me in your doubts and receive comfort and consolation from Me in your troubles; but whither I go you cannot come, both because you cannot by your own strength—with your own feet and your own natural powers—follow Me when I ascend into heaven, and you have not yet the supernatural strength of grace. For you are not yet strong enough to be able to accompany Me to the Cross and the martyr’s death,—not yet so perfect in grace, strength, and love as to be fit for and worthy of the kingdom of heaven. Lastly, you cannot come there yet, because My Heavenly Father has determined to send you after My death to preach the gospel throughout the world, and bring all nations to My faith and salvation.

As I said to the Jews. This, says Chrysostom, He adds to show that it is nothing new or fresh, but foreseen and predicted long before, and decreed by the Father. Moreover, it was to reveal to them that they should suffer persecution and death at the hands of the Jews as He was ill-used and slain. Thirdly, to indicate that they, like the Jews, were to suffer many tribulations and, at length, death, though for a different reason and a different end. For the Jews, cut off by reason of their crimes, went into hell, but the Apostles, slain for the sake of the Gospel, took flight to heaven.

And I say to you now—both in order to protect and arm you against all the tribulations that threaten you, and also that you may know at this time that you cannot yet follow Me, but that you shall follow Me when perfected in strength and merits, and following Me dying in your own death, you shall earn by faith in Me the laurel of Martyrdom in the kingdom of Heaven. Hence Christ, clearly explaining to Peter, says at ver. 36; Thou canst not follow Me now, but thou shalt hereafter.

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Ver. 34.—A new commandment I give to you; that you love one another. Why new? Various reasons are given. S. Augustine says, because the faithful, by love put off the old man and put on the new. “New,” says Jansenius, “that is renewed by Christ, having grown out of date in the minds of men.” Maldonatus says that “new” means excellent, surpassing. As in Rev. vii., the virgins are said to sing “a new song,” that is a remarkable one.

But I say that the command of love is called new, because it is the chief characteristic of the New Testament, and specially commended by the words and example of Christ; just as, on the other hand, the command of fear was the old command and the chief one among the Jews. The new law is that of love, as the old was of fear.

Secondly, because Christ here taught us this precept of love more explicitly, and more forcibly than it had been taught before; and for this cause He sent forth the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, that we might fulfil this new commandment of love with a new spirit of love.

Thirdly, and more appropriately to the actual circumstances, new in respect of the new object and cause of love. For when Christ the Head of the Church was incarnate, there was brought about a peculiar community and union among the members of the Church, both among themselves and with Christ their Head, now made of like nature with themselves. A union both through the human nature assumed by Christ, and by the grace whose influence He, as Head, brought to bear upon us as members, and chiefly by that Sacrament of the Eucharist here instituted by Him. And this union is the foundation of that especial and more intimate love between Christ and Christians, and of that greater obligation to love one another. For by this union we are closely bound not only to the humanity of Christ, but also to His Godhead and to the Blessed Trinity, and by and through it to one another.

This sense is implied by Christ when He adds: that you love one another, as I have loved you—because I have loved you in a new and especial manner, taking upon Me your flesh and giving it to you by means of the Eucharist which I have just instituted as the food of your soul, that in this Sacrament I might unite you all to Me, and to one another in Me; for this cause I likewise demand of you, 0 Christians, that you love one another with a new and peculiar love, not merely as man loves man, because of their common nature, but as a Christian ought to love one who is united to himself in Christ, a fellow-member of the same Church of Christ and participator of the same Eucharist. For Toletus rightly observes that this command is given not to all men, but only to Christians.

As I have loved you, that ye love one another; that as I, when I was in the form of God, for love of you took the form of a slave to teach you, save you, and make you blessed, so you too descend to any humiliation or hardship whatsoever in order to help one another. This is what John says in his first Epistle, iii 16—”In this have we known the love of God, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

The words, “as I have loved you,” are but taken as relating to those which follow—”that ye love one another.” Toletus, and others, place a colon before the former. The former part of the verse gives the substance of the precept, the latter signifies the mode of its proper execution. Moreover, this latter part supplies a sharp incentive to this mutual love, as if to say: The love of Christ to you, 0 Christians, should stir you up to love one another. For those whom Christ so loved you also, His followers, must love. And again Christ in His love asks that you love one another.

Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Ver. 35.—In this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love towards one another. My school is the discipline of love. If, then, you desire to follow Me as your Teacher, to be My disciples, and to be recognised as such by all men, love one another. This privilege is granted, therefore, only to charity. For it is not miracles that constitute us disciples of Christ, nor intellect, nor eloquence, nor strength, nor anything else but only love, says S. Chrysostom. For He is the Master, Leader, Prince, and Chief of love. Hence Paul says, Rom_13:8, “He that loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled the law.” Such were the early Christians of whom Luke, Act_4:32, says, “And the multitude of them that believed had one heart and one soul, and had all things in common.”

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary On John 16:5-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 26, 2010

Joh 16:5  But I told you not these things from the beginning, because I was with you. And now I go to him that sent me, and none of you asketh me: Whither goest thou?

But I told you not these things from the beginning, because I was with you.   Christ here answers an implied objection of the Apostles, Why did you not tell us this at the first, that we might see whether it were expedient or not for us to follow Thee? He answers, that He did it purposely, both because they could not as yet understand these things, and also because He was with them to guide and protect them. But that now, when He was about to leave them to themselves, He would still strengthen them by His grace, and enlighten them by the Holy Spirit Whom He would send them.

But what were those things which He then first told the Apostles? (1.) S. Augustine (in loc.) understands the whole passage to refer only to the coming of the Holy Ghost as the other Comforter, when He was gone. For His words refer not only to the coming of the Holy Ghost, but also to the persecutions He had foretold. (2.) The Gloss applies it to all Christ’s words of consolation which (said He) I did not speak before, because I was Myself present to comfort you. This is too vague an explanation. (3.) Jansen and Maldonatus think that S. Matt. (ch. x.) spoke by anticipation. For (1.) The Apostles, when first sent forth, did not suffer any persecution. (2.) It could not refer to Gentile persecutions, for they were forbidden to go to them. (3.) S. Mark and S. Luke state that they were spoken at another time, and in diverse places from whence it is inferred that they were spoken after the Resurrection, but inserted, as they were by S. Matthew, from their close connection with the subject in hand.

Ribera and Toletus expound this view at great length, but their arguments are not convincing. It may be explained most simply by saying, that though Christ had said something about persecutions, yet He did not speak of them particularly nor describe their severity and atrocity; for instance, He did not foretell their being cast out of the synagogues, as He does here; nor yet the martyrdom they would all of them suffer; nor yet that their murderers would be supposed to do God service; nor again that these persecutions would soon come upon them. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius, Toletus, Ribera, and others, add to this (from S. Augustine) that He did not mention the promised aid of the Holy Spirit, as He does here.

Because I was with you. And bore in My own Person all the hatred and revilings of the Jews. But now, when I am gone, they will assail you on My account. I therefore forewarn you, that ye may be forearmed, and I will also send My Holy Spirit to protect and arm you on every side.

Morally. Hence learn that God does not in the beginning reveal the difficulties, temptations, and trials of those whom He calls, lest they should shrink back. But when they are confirmed and strengthened in their calling, He sends them upon them, or permits them to be sent, by the world, the flesh, and the devil, in order to train them as His soldiers for the battle, that thus they may learn to conquer, and that He may crown them as conquerors. As it was said (Exo_13:17) to the Hebrews, on going out of Egypt. For this reason He preserves novices in religion from temptation, and soothes them with spiritual consolation, as a mother gives suck to her infant.

And now I go to him that sent me. By My Cross and Death I am going to My Resurrection and to My glorious Ascension, and return to My Father.

And none of you asketh Me, Whither goest Thou? For though Thomas asked Him that very question, yet neither he nor anyone understood the answer of Christ, which was sufficiently obscure, nor did any one ask Christ to explain its meaning more fully, so absorbed were they all by their sorrow at His coming departure. So S. Cyril, Euthymius, Maldonatus, Jansen, and others.

Christ therefore quietly reproves the Apostles for not asking Him more on the subject, as, e.g., Where He was going; to what joys, glory, and kingdom; what aid He would send them from thence; what rewards He would give. For this knowledge would assuredly have lessened their sorrow, if it did not entirely remove it.

Joh 16:6  But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

Maldonatus explains “but” by “for,” i.e., This (your sorrow) is the reason why ye ask Me not. But Toletus explains it by “Nay, rather,” meaning “Ye not only do not ask Me, but more than this, ye are overwhelmed with sorrow.” But it is simpler to understand as conveying a tacit reproof for being so given up to sorrow, as to have no courage to ask Him that which would have alleviated their sorrow, and would have been to them the greatest consolation and joy: namely, that He was going to the Father, and would send His Holy Spirit to prepare a place for them in heaven.

Joh 16:7 But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go. For if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you.

But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go. (1.) S. Chrysostom (Hom. lxxvii.) explains it thus, “I say not this to please you, but though you will be made more sorrowful, you must hear what is expedient. Ye indeed would wish Me to be near, but utility demands the contrary. But it is the duty of one who loves, when he learns the utility, not to allow his beloved ones to be deprived of it.” And S. Cyril (x. 39) almost in the same words, “I perceive that ye are affected with great sorrow, because I have resolved to go away. And that too, not unreasonably, especially when ye hear that great tribulations will befall you. But since utility is to be preferred to what is pleasant, I will make known to you the truth.”

Christ does not here oppose “truth” to grace, but to sorrow, and makes truth refer to the consolation of the Apostles. For He says this to take away their sorrow by the joyful message of consolation. Ye are sorrowful (He would say) at My departure, as if it were your greatest loss. But be assured, both that ye have sorrow, and that it is in truth expedient for you that I go away. For My departure to the Father will be to you of the greatest benefit. For I will send from thence the Holy Spirit on you, Who will fill you with all virtue and strength. And therefore My departure will not only be to your highest profit, but even to your pleasure, as you will experience at Pentecost. Whence He adds, For if I go not, the Paraclete (your consoler and encourager) will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you  (see above and chap. vii. 39). For the disciples, as children with their mother, and chickens with the hen, being too much accustomed to converse with Christ as a man, and to His corporeal presence, could not understand the Holy Spirit and His spiritual gifts. And Christ accordingly withdrew from them, that being weaned from Him, and their minds wholly fixed on the Holy Spirit, they might be raised by Him to heroic deeds, by which they would convert the whole world. And accordingly the Holy Spirit coming on them at Pentecost, made them masters instead of disciples, and created them teachers of the whole world. (See S. Augustine, in loc., and S. Gregory, Moral. viii. 33.) The Holy Spirit is here appositely called the Paraclete, to signify that He would amply console the disciples, who were sad at Christ’s departure, and would fill them with every joy. Hence S. Chrysostom (Hom. lxxvii.) proves against Macedonius that the Holy Spirit is truly God; for were He not the Creator, but merely a creature, how would it be expedient that Christ, on account of His coming, should leave the disciples, being their Creator and God? Again, lest it should be thought that the Holy Spirit is the same with the Son, Christ adds, “I will send Him unto you,” for the Sender is really and personally distinguished from the Sent. And it is signified also that the Holy Spirit proceeds alike from the Father and the Son. For in the Holy Trinity whatever Person sends another Person produces It, that is, begets or breathes it, as the Father sending the Son, begets Him also, and He likewise together with the Son, by sending the Holy Spirit, also breathes Him forth.

Joh 16:8  And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin and of justice and of judgment.

By the world He means both Jews and Gentiles who believe not in Christ. These the Holy Spirit will reprove, i.e., will reproach, blame, and refute them, will so convince by arguments as to make it plain that they are convinced—though obstinate, continuing in their unbelief, they will be loth to admit it—and will refuse to believe in Christ, as heretics who are pertinacious in their error.

Joh 16:9  Of sin: because they believed not in me.

Of sin: because they believed not in me.   (Instead of believed the Greek and Syriac has believe) not in Me. He will convict My enemies, both Jewish and Gentile unbelievers, both of the great sin of unbelief (S. Chrysostom and Augustine), and of every other sin (S. Cyril), for refusing to believe in Me, after the many reasons they have heard, and the miracles they have seen. For the Spirit will bring home to them the state of their soul, both outwardly, by earnest preaching, by the sanctity of the Apostles, and the miracles He will work through them; and inwardly, by enlightening their minds by His Inspiration, so that they will acknowledge, even against their will, that they are in their former infidelity and other sins, and that they cannot be liberated from them, except by faith in Me, which they refused to accept. For He will demonstrate to them that there is no other Saviour who can atone for sin, but Myself. See Acts iv. 12. And consequently, though many were moved by this preaching of the Apostles, yet others, by persisting in their unbelief, became inexcusable, and worthy of damnation and hell. See Acts ii. 37. So S. Cyril, Leontius, and others.

Joh 16:10  And of justice: because I go to the Father: and you shall see me no longer.

Of justice. The Holy Spirit will prove that the righteousness of the world is false; that of the Jews, because they sought it by the ceremonies of the Law, which could not purify the soul; and that of the Gentiles, because they sought it only in things which were naturally and morally honest, and despised Christ. But He, the Holy Ghost, will set forth Christ, who was despised and counted unrighteous, to be alone Righteous, and the source and origin of all righteousness. So S. Cyril, lib. vi.

Tropologically, S. Bernardine (Serm. xxi.) says, “The Holy Spirit reproves the world of sin, because it dissembles; of righteousness, which it does not order rightly, while it gives it to itself and not to God; of judgment, which it usurps, in rashly judging both of itself and others.”

Because I go to the Father. It is an offence to the world, and worldlings, that, seeming to be a mere man, I preach new and paradoxical doctrines. But the contrary will soon be made manifest to them, viz., that I have been sent by God the Father to reconcile the world to God by My death on the Cross, and to raise them to the rights of His children. For, ascending unto heaven I shall return to Him, so that the world will see Me no more, nor be scandalised by the sight of My infirmity in the flesh. And I will from thence send the Holy Spirit to justify and sanctify those who believe in Me, and from this it will be clear to the whole world that I am not a mere man, but the God-man, the justifier and Sanctifier of the world. So Leontius, S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Euthymius. S. Chrysostom adds that the Holy Spirit distributed His gifts and graces to the faithful at the invocation of the Name of Jesus.

And you shall see me no longer. He speaks not of them personally, but of men in general. Ye will see Me ascending to My Father, but afterwards ye will see Me no more in this life. So Maldonatus, Ribera, and others.

Toletus adds that Christ said this, to signify that there was no need for Him to come again into the world, to suffer and to die. For by My death once for all I have fulfilled all righteousness for all men, past, present, and to come. Ye will therefore see Me no more as ye have hitherto seen Me. Having then completed all righteousness, the world must after My departure be at once convicted of righteousness, that is to say, that it has been completed and consummated by Me. S. Augustine (in loc.) adds, “The world is reproved of sin, because it believes not in Christ. It is reproved too concerning the righteousness of those who believe; for to compare the faithful with unbelievers is to blame the unbelieving. But because it is the common cry of unbelievers, ‘How can we believe that which we do not?’ He therefore defined the righteousness of those who believe, in these words, ‘Because I go to My Father, and ye shall see Me no more. Blessed are they who do not see and yet believe.’ This then will be your righteousness, of which the world is reproved, that ye believe in Me, whom ye will not see.” He says also (de Verb. Dom. Serm. lxi.), “They believed not, but He goes to the Father. It was their sin, but His righteousness. For His coming to us was an act of mercy, His going to the Father was His righteousness,” as the apostle said, “Wherefore God hath also highly exalted Him.” And also (Quæs. N. et V. Test. xxxix.), “By His returning He proved that He had come from thence.” And S. Chrysostom, “His going to the Father was a proof that He had lived a blameless life, so that they could not say, He is a sinner, and is not from God.”

Joh 16:11  And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged.

And of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (1.) S. Chrysostom and Euthymius explain it thus, “The Holy Spirit will prove that the judgment of the world is false in saying that I work miracles by the power and craft of the devil; for He will prove that the devil has been condemned, cast out, and judged by Me. 2d, He will convict the world of sloth in being unwilling to trample Satan under foot, when wounded and deprived of strength by Christ. 3d, He will reprove the world of being led astray, by placing its hope in the devil who has been condemned by Me, or for forsaking God, and worshipping the devil in idols or in creatures. 4th, Toletus and others explain thus: The Holy Spirit will manifest Me to the world as the just judge of quick and dead, when He will make it seen that the devil is condemned by Me. For if I judge and condemn devils, much more do I condemn men. 5th, and most aptly, He will make the world see its own condemnation, when it beholds itself condemned in the person of its head; when He will enable the Apostles, by invoking the Name of Jesus, to cast him forth from the temples and idols in which the world worshipped him, and also from the souls and bodies of men, thus overthrowing his kingdom. For if God spared not the angels who sinned, neither will He spare the guilty world; if He spared not the head, so also will He spare not his members and subjects. So S. Augustine, Bede, Rupertus, Maldonatus, Ribera, and others.

Justin Martyr uses this same argument (Dial. cum Tryphone), also Tertullian (ad Serpulam and Apolog. cap. xxxvi.), S. Cyprian (ad Demetrius), Origen (lib. i. contr. Celsum), S. Athanasius (de Incar. Verbi), Lactantius (ii. 6), and others.

Hear S. Augustine (de Verb. Dom. Serm. lx.): “By his very casting out he was judged, and the world is convicted by this judgment, because he who refuses to believe in Christ, in vain complains about the devil: For since he has been cast out and sentenced, though he is permitted to assail us from without, yet not only men but even women and boys have triumphed over him, as martyrs.” Also the same father (in loc.), “He is judged, that is irrevocably doomed to the judgment of eternal fire, and by this judgment is the world reproved, because it is judged with its prince, whom it imitates in his pride and impiety. Let men therefore believe in Christ, lest they be convicted of the sin of unbelief, which binds fast all sins; let them pass over into the ranks of the faithful, lest they be reproved by the righteousness of those, whom they do not imitate in being justified; let them beware of the future judgment, lest they be condemned with the prince of this world whom they do imitate.”

Joh 16:12  I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now.

I have yet many things to say to you (of the mysteries of the faith, of the conversion of the Gentiles, of the foundation and government of the Church, of the institution of priests and bishops, and the whole ecclesiastical hierarchy), but you cannot bear them now. Your mind cannot take in such weighty matters, both because it is weak and ill-informed, and so accustomed to the carnal ordinances of the Jews, as to be unable to conceive such lofty and spiritual subjects; and also because it is entirely occupied with sorrow, which keeps it from rising to the apprehension of so many and such noble subjects. But I will send the Holy Spirit, who will by His enlightenment make you capable of hearing and comprehending them. So S. Chrysostom, Cyril, Theophylact, and S. Augustine. Christ encourages His Apostles to lift up their hearts, and cherish the desire of apprehending these great mysteries by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We may thence infer that the Apostles and the Church advanced only by degrees in the knowledge of the mysteries of the faith, as the light of the sun gradually increases from dawn to mid-day. (See Son_6:9.) And every believer gradually grows in faith and holiness, as is said Pro_4:18.

Joh 16:13  But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself: but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak. And the things that are to come, he shall shew you.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, (see above xiv. 17), is come, He will teach you all truth, which it is fitting you should know in this life, both for guiding yourselves and all nations into the way of salvation. So S. Cyril, Theophylact, Euthymius. For He would not teach them all truth in this life, but in heaven. So S. Augustine and Bede. In the Greek [as in English Version] we read “will guide you into all truth.” For the way to attain truth is study, examination of Holy Scripture, the works of the Fathers, prayer and invocation of the Holy Spirit. It is therefore clear that the Holy Spirit gradually taught the Apostles more and greater mysteries. It is plain from Acts x. that long after Pentecost He revealed to S. Peter that the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, and from Acts xv. that the Gentiles were not to be circumcised, or obliged to keep the law of Moses. Wherefore on the Thursday after Pentecost the Church prays, “We beseech Thee, 0 Lord, that the Comforter, who proceedeth from Thee, may enlighten our hearts, and lead them, as Thy Son promised, into all truth.”

For he shall not speak of himself: but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak. (1.) S. Chrysostom explains, He shall not teach anything contrary to what I have taught (so also S. Cyril, Theophylact, Rupertus, Maldonatus). S. Chrysostom says, This is added, lest by saying that the Holy Spirit would teach all truth, He should make Him greater than the Son, as though He did not teach all truth. (2.) S. Ambrose (de Spirit. Sancto, ii. 12) explains, “He shall not speak of Himself,” i.e., not without participation with the Father and Myself, and therefore what He shall speak the Father and the Son will speak also. (3.) S. Augustine: “He speaks as breathed by the Father and the Son.” (4.) It is best explained by joining together the last two meanings in this way: He will not speak of Himself, but by the will of the Father and Myself, for He is “of” Both. (See Didymus de Sp. S.) Christ here alludes to men who are said to speak “of themselves” when they invent anything out of their own brain, and not according to the truth of things. But to speak in this way “of Himself,” the Spirit could not do. But again, Christ wished to teach that the Father and Himself were both the source of truth, and also of the Holy Spirit Himself, and therefore that the Holy Spirit would teach the same truth as He had taught. For what He hath heard from eternity, He hears, and will hear for ever, as deriving it together with His Divine Essence both from the Father and the Son. Christ also often said that He spake not of Himself, but what He heard from the Father. For to the Father belongs the source of origin, of essence, and of knowledge. Hear S. Augustine (in loc.): “For Him to hear is to know, and to know is to Be. From Him from whom He proceeds, is His essence, His knowledge and His hearing. The Holy Spirit ever hears, because He ever knows.” And Didymus: “But that the Father speaks and the Son hears, signifies their common nature and consent. But the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth and wisdom, cannot when the Son speaks hear what He knew not before, since it is of His very nature to proceed from the Son, proceeding as the truth from the truth, the Comforter from the Comforter, God from God.”

Again, S. Augustine (ibid.) “Let it not move you that the word is used in the future tense, for that hearing is sempiternal, because that knowledge is sempiternal. But in that which is sempiternal, without beginning and without end, a verb of particular tense is put. Nor do we say untruthfully, ‘Was,’ and ‘Is,’ and ‘Will be:’ ‘Was’ because it never was wanting, ‘Will be’ because it never will be wanting, ‘Is’ because it ever is.”

And the things that are to come, he shall shew you.  He will teach you every truth which concerns yourselves and your office: not only past and present, but also future. He will make you, not only Apostles and Evangelists, but will bestow on you the gift of Prophecy (see Act_10:28; Act_20:29; Act_21:11.) The Apocalypse of S. John is almost a continuous prophecy, for it was fitting that the Apostles should be superior to the Prophets of old. Whence Didymus says (de Spirit. Sancto): “By the Spirit of truth a perfect knowledge of future events is conferred on the Saints, and by this Prophets looked on things future as though they were present. For the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth which reveals all truths, even those that are future. For it is the Spirit of Eternal Wisdom which maketh friends of God and Prophets” (Wisd. 7:27). S. Chrysostom gives the reason. He roused in this way the mind of the Apostles; for mankind are most eager to know the future. He therefore freed them from this anxiety, by showing that the future would be revealed to them.

Analogically, Bede says: “Show them things to come; i.e., the joys of the heavenly country and the sufferings they would have to endure for Christ. The Interlinear Gloss says, “Not only what will happen in time, but also in eternity, inflaming them with the love of them.

Joh 16:14  He shall glorify me: because he shall receive of mine and shall shew it to you.

He shall glorify Me. By showing Me to be the Son of God: or with S. Augustine (in log.), “By shedding abroad love in men’s hearts, and making them spiritual, He declared to them that the Son was equal to the Father, though they had before known Him in the flesh. And the Apostles, filled with boldness by that very love, and having banished fear, proclaimed Christ to men, and thus was His fame spread abroad over the whole world; for that which they would do by the Holy Spirit, He said that the Holy Spirit would Himself do.”

Because He shall receive of mine.  For He shall receive of mine. That is, of My Divine Essence, says Nazianzen (Orat. de Fide.), and consequently of My will and knowledge, for this He ought to announce to you, say S. Cyril, Chrysostom, Jansenius, Toletus, and others. Didymus observes: “The Son, in giving, loses not that which He bestows, nor does He impart it to others, to His own loss. Nor does the Holy Spirit receive that which He had not before. The Holy Spirit must be understood to receive from the Son in such a manner that the substance of both the giver and receiver should be recognised as One: and so also the Son receives His subsistence from the Father.” Maldonatus thus, “He will receive of Mine, that is, He will come in My name, and as My Legate will teach no other doctrine than Mine.” But this seems foreign to the subject. Nonnus wrongly paraphrased, “He shall receive of My Father,” as though the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father only.

From this passage the Fathers (and even the Council of Florence, sess. 25) prove both the Divinity of Christ, and the Procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son. Maldonatus quotes them fully, and also Bellarmine (de Christo, lib. ii. 23 and 24 chap.) And Theodorus of Heraclea (in Cat. Græc.) learnedly says, “The Holy Spirit was a witness of the Divinity of the Only Begotten, since He came of His essence, and made known His essence,” for the Holy Spirit could not have been breathed forth except by Him who was God.

But why did Christ say “of Mine” and not “of Me”? I reply, Because the Holy Spirit received not from the Son all that is in the Son. He received His essence, but not His filiation. But it is from His essence and filiation that He is constituted as the Son, according to our mode of conceiving it. And Christ so explains it in the next verse, “All things that the Father hath are mine,” &c. Hence it is plain that “of Mine” means the same as “all things that the Father hath are Mine,” i.e., the Godhead with all its attributes. Hence Theophylact explains, “of Mine,” i.e., of the Treasure of the Godhead, which is in Me. Heretics therefore wrongly contended from these words that the Holy Spirit was not God by nature, but only by participation (see S. Augustine in loc., and S. Cyril, Thesaur. xiii. 4), for He participates in the Divine Nature, which has no parts, but is wholly indivisible and most simple Being.

He shall receive of mine. That is, He has received from all eternity, still receives, and will ever receive; for the future embraces all time, and is most like eternity, for it endures for ever, just like the breathing of the Holy Spirit. The meaning of the passage is this: Sorrow not, because when I am gone ye will be deprived of your Teacher. For I will send you the Holy Ghost, who, as being purely the Divine Spirit, will teach you all things which concern the salvation of your spirit. But when He is teaching you, because He receives all things from Me from whom He proceeds, He will make known to you My Brightness and Glory, for He will receive from Me all things which He will declare to you, and thus I shall speak through Him, and show Myself to you. And marvel not at this: for I, by My eternal generation, have received from My Father everything which He Himself has, and I have therefore received from Him to be with Him the one principle (origin) of the Holy Spirit.

Joh 16:15  All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine. Therefore I said that he shall receive of me and shew it to you.

All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine.  For all things, saying His paternity (says the Council of Florence), the Father, by begetting the Son, communicated to Him. He therefore communicated to the Son the power of breathing forth the Holy Spirit, which He Himself has. He therefore adds in explanation, “Therefore I said, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it to you. By using the Name Father He declared Himself to be the Son, but did not claim the Paternity, as Sabellius taught. But all things which the Father hath in His substance, His eternity, His unchangeableness, His goodness—all these hath the Son also.” And S. Hilary (de Trinit. lib. viii.) says, “He teaches that all things which are to be received from the Father, are yet received from Himself, for all things the Father hath are His. The general statement (universitas) does not admit of distinction.” And hence it is again inferred that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, for the Son hath all things which the Father hath, saving His Paternity. But the Father has actively the power of breathing forth the Holy Spirit, therefore the Son hath the same. For if the Father and the Son had not all things in common, saving their opposite relation to each other [as Father and Son], they would be distinguished by more than relation, and consequently be diverse in substance. For the Father as breathing forth [the Spirit] is not correlative to the Son. And therefore if He is distinguished from the Son by His breathing forth the Spirit, He is distinguished by it, not as something relative, but as a kind of “form” subsisting in the Father, and therefore the Father and the Son differ in substance, which is the Arian heresy.

Joh 16:16  A little while, and now you shall not see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father.

For in a few hours I shall die on the cross, and be buried, but in three days I shall rise again, and manifest Myself to you with great joy, for I shall shortly afterwards ascend into heaven, and sit at the right hand of the Father. For I shall not be detained by death, but shall conquer it in My own Person, and with you overcome it also. So S. Chrysostom, Cyril, Leontius, Theophylact, Euthymius, &c., S. Augustine, Bede, and Maldonatus explain it otherwise. I shall abide with you for forty days only, and then after My ascension ye will see Me no more, then after another “little time,” ye will see Me again, in the day of judgment, and the general resurrection, when I shall take you both in body and soul into heaven with Myself, I will bless and glorify you. For I go to My Father, to reign with Him in glory until that time. And this whole period, though one of many thousand years, is but like a small point compared with the eternity of God.

Hear S. Augustine (in loc.): “The whole space which the present age of the world passes through is but a little while. As the same Evangelist says (1Jo_2:18), ‘It is the last hour.'” And further on, “This ‘little while’ seems long to us, because it is yet going on. But when it is ended, we shall feel how short it has been. Let not then our joy be like that of the world, of which it is said ‘the world shall rejoice.’ Nor let us be sorrowful, and without joy, in our travailing with this longing desire, but as the Apostle says, ‘Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,’ because she who is in travail (to whom we are compared) rejoices more at the child which will be born of her, than she sorrows for her present suffering.” Hence the Psalmist and after him 2 Peter iii. 8, One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, &c.

Joh 16:17  Then some of his disciples said one to another: What is this that he saith to us: A little while, and you shall not see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me, and, Because I go to the Father?
Joh 16:18 They said therefore: What is this that he saith, A little while? We know not what he speaketh.

Then some of his disciples said one to another: What is this that he saith to us…We know not what he speaketh.    Christ’s words seemed to be obscure, a very enigma, and no wonder, for it is just the same to many Christians even now. Christ did this intentionally, to rouse the minds of the sorrowing Apostles to ask the meaning of this strange expression: so that He, in His answer, might remove, or anyhow mitigate, their sorrow. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Euthymius give two reasons for their asking: because His words were obscure in themselves; and secondly, because they were weighed down with sorrow. Rupertus adds that they did not yet certainly believe that He would rise again on the third day. S. Augustine and Bede give a further reason for their being troubled at the twice repeated expression “a little while;” namely, that the brief pleasure of this life is changed, in the next life, into eternal and unbounded joy. Sec 2Co_4:17. Take which view you prefer.

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My Notes On Revelation 21:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 25, 2010

I’ve appended some excerpts from the catechism at the end of this post.


Rev 21:1  I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone: and the sea is now no more.

See Isaiah 65:17~For behold I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former things shall not be in remembrance, and they shall not come upon the heart.

New earth.  The former creation has passed away, effected as it was by sin (Gen 3:17), it can only flee from the presence of God (20:11).  Thus St Paul writes in Romans 8: 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (RSV).   In Revelation that day is depicted as having come.

For the first heaven and the first earth are passed away.  See Mark 13:31.  Revelation has depicted the heavens as the place where the dragon appeared to devour the woman’s child, and the earth was that upon which he was cast, and where he continued to harass the woman (Rev 12:3, 7-13).  Also, the second beast is said to have come out of the earth (13:11).

As we just saw, St Paul speaks of creation being set free from bondage to decay and of its obtaining the glorious liberty of the children of God.  And Matt 19:28 speaks of its rebirth or regeneration.  Is there a contradiction between Mark/Revelation and Romans/Matthew?  No.  Recall our Lord’s words in John 12:24~Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.  The seed dies to come to a new life.  Again, consider Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44~  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

The sea is now no more.  The sea was often a symbol of chaos and hostility (Job 26:12-13; Ps 74: 13-14; Isa 27:1).  It was from the sea that the first beast came (Rev 13:1).

Rev 21:2  And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

The holy city, the new Jerusalem.  Coming down to the new earth prepared for it.  The holy city, coming down out of heaven, is of divine origin, (see James, 1:17).  It is the city designed and built by God (Heb 11:10).  It is holy, having been consecrated by God.  (see Gal 4:26; Phil 3:20; Heb 12:22).

Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  Reminds us that the adornment of Babylon “the great city” has come to nought (18:16).

Bridal image is found upon Isaiah 54, where the once forsaken bride, Zion, (i.e., Jerusalem) is received back, an image of reconciliation.  This was a prophetic image of the people’s return from Babylon after the exile.  Here the city is that of the eternally reconciled whose people had fled Babylon (chapter 18).  The husband is the Lamb (21:9).

See Catechism references # 756 and 2676 at the end of this post.

Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men: and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people: and God himself with them shall be their God.

Recalls Leviticus 26:11-12  I will set my tabernacle in the midst of you: and my soul shall not cast you off. I will walk among you, and will be your God: and you shall be my people.  The context here is what will follow upon the people’s obedience. Also recalls Ezek 37:26-27~And I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will establish them, and will multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. And my tabernacle shall be with them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  The context here is also obedience, especially in relation to worship.  This promise pointed toward the reconciliation of the people after the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem and its aftermath, It was a prophecy of hope that the people could hold onto in exile, but it concerned the earthly temple and city.  Here it is something very different, obviously.

Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes:and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. See Isa 25:6-8; Rev 7:17.

What had been the arrogant boast of Babylon is found in the heavenly city: “I sit a queen, and am no widow; and sorrow I shall not see” (18:7).  “And the kings of the earth who have committed fornication, and lived in delicacies with her, shall weep and bewail..” (18:9).

21:5a And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new.

This is the second and last time that God speaks in the book.  In 1:8 he had said “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty”.

God is the origin of creation and the recreation.  His words here imply “that all things in space and time are part of divine providence” (Adela Yarbro Collins).

Catechism References:

On 21:3

756 “Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the comer-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

6 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria:
Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her.[Cf. Lk 1:48; Zeph 3:17b]
Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel’s greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. “Rejoice . . . O Daughter of Jerusalem . . . the Lord your God is in your midst.”[Zeph 3:14,17a] Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is “the dwelling of God . . . with men.”[Rev 21:3] Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel’s greeting, we make Elizabeth’s greeting our own. “Filled with the Holy Spirit,” Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary “blessed.”[Lk 1:41, 48] “Blessed is she who believed….”[Lk 1:45] Mary is “blessed among women” because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord’s word. Abraham. because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth.[Cf. Gen 12:3] Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God’s own blessing: Jesus, the “fruit of thy womb.”

On 21:4-5

1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men.[Cf. Rev 21:5] “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”[Rev 21:4]

1186 Finally, the church has an eschatological significance. To enter into the house of God, we must cross a threshold, which symbolizes passing from the world wounded by sin to the world of the new Life to which all men are called. The visible church is a symbol of the Father’s house toward which the People of God is journeying and where the Father “will wipe every tear from their eyes.”[GIRM] Also for this reason, the Church is the house of all God’s children, open and welcoming.

Resources Used:

The Apocalypse, New Testament Message, vol. 22, by Adela Yarbro Collins.

The book Of Revelation, The New Collegeville Commentary, by Dennis Hamm.

The Book Of The Apocalypse, New Testament Reading Guide, vol. 14, by William G. Heidt, O.S.B.

Coming Soon by Micahel Barber.

The Jerome Biblical Commentary.

The New Catholic commentary On Holy Scripture.

Revelation, Sacra Pagina, vol 16, by Wilfred J. Harrington O.P.

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