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 September, 2010

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 22:1-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 30, 2010

Ver 1. And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,2. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,3. And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.4. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.”5. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:6. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.7. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.8. Then saith he to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.9. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.”10. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12. And he saith unto him, “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?” And he was speechless.13. Then said the king to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14. For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Chrys., Hom. lxix: Forasmuch as He had said, And it shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof,” He now proceeds to shew what nation that is.

Gloss., interlin.: “Answered,” that is, meeting their evil thoughts of putting Him to death.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 71: This parable is related only by Matthew. Luke gives one like it, but it is not the same, as the order shews.

Greg., Hom. in Ev., xxxviii, 2: Here, by the wedding-feast is denoted the present Church; there, by the supper, the last and eternal feast. For into this enter some who shall perish; into that whosoever has once entered in shall never be put forth. But if any should maintain that these are the same lessons, we may perhaps explain that that part concerning the guest who had come in without a wedding garment, which Luke has not mentioned, Matthew has related. That the one calls it supper, the other dinner, makes no difference; for with the ancients the dinner was at the ninth hour, and was therefore often called supper.

Origen: The kingdom of heaven, in respect of Him who reigns there, is like a king; in respect of Him who shares the kingdom, it is like a king’s son; in respect of those things which are in the kingdom, it is like servants and guests, and among them the king’s armies. It is specified, “A man that is a king,” that what is spoken may be as by a man to men, and that a man may regulate men unwilling to be regulated by God. But the kingdom of heaven will then cease to be like a man, when zeal and contention and all other passions and sins having ceased, we shall cease to walk after men, and shall see Him as He is. For now we see Him not as He is, but as He has been made for us in our dispensation.

Greg: God the Father made a marriage feast for God the Son, when He joined Him to human nature in the womb of the Virgin. But far be it from us to conclude, that because marriage takes place between two separate persons, that therefore the person of our Redeemer was made up of two separate persons. We say indeed that He exists of two natures, and in two natures, but we hold it unlawful to believe that He was compounded of two persons. It is safer therefore to say, that the marriage feast was made by the King the Father for the King the Son when He joined to Him the Holy Church in the mystery of His incarnation. The womb of the Virgin Mother was the bridechamber of this Bridegroom.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; When the resurrection of the saints shall be, then the life, which is Christ, shall revive man, swallowing up his mortality in its own immortality. For now we receive the Holy Spirit as a pledge of the future union, but then we shall have Christ Himself more fully in us.

Origen: Or, by the marriage of Bridegroom with Bride, that is, of Christ with the soul, understand the Assumption of the Word, the produce whereof is good works.

Hilary: Rightly has the Father already made this wedding, because this eternal union and espousal of the new body is already perfect in Christ.

Pseudo-Chrys.: When the servants were sent to call them, they must have been invited before. Men have been invited from the time of Abraham, to whom was promised Christ’s incarnation.

Jerome: “He sent his servant,” without doubt Moses, by whom He gave the Law, to those who had been invited. But if you read “servants” as most copies have, it must be referred to the Prophets, by whom they were invited, but neglected to come. By the servants who were sent the second time, we may better understand the Prophets than the Apostles; that is to say, if servant is read in the first place; but if ‘servants,’ then by the second servants are to be understood the Apostles;

Pseudo-Chrys.: whom He sent when He said unto them, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Mat_10:5]

Origen: The servants who were first sent to call them that were bidden to the wedding, are to be taken as the Prophets converting the people by their prophecy to the festival of the restoration of the Church to Christ. They who would not come at the first message are they who refused to hear the words of the Prophets. The others who were sent a second time were another assembly of Prophets.

Hilary: Or; The servants who were first sent to call them that were bidden, are the Apostles; they who, being before bidden, are now invited to come in, are the people of Israel, who had before been bidden through the Law to the glories of eternity. To the Apostles therefore it belonged to remind those whom the Prophets had invited. Those sent with the second injunction are the Apostolic men their successors.

Greg: But because these who were first invited would not come to the feast, the second summons says, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner.”

Jerome: The dinner that is prepared, the oxen and the fatlings that are killed, is either a description of regal magnificence by the way of metaphor, that by carnal things spiritual may be understood; or the greatness of the doctrines, and the manifold teaching of God in His law, may be understood.

Pseudo-Chrys.: When therefore the Lord bade the Apostles, “Go ye and preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” it was the same message as is here given, “I have prepared my dinner;” i. e. I have set out the table of Scripture out of the Law and the Prophets.

Greg.: By the oxen are signified the Fathers of the Old Testament; who by sufferance of the Law gored their enemies with the horn of bodily strength. By fatlings are meant fatted animals, for from ‘alere’, comes ‘altilia,’ as it were ‘alitilia’ or ‘alita.’ By the “fatlings” are intended the Fathers of the New Testament; who while they receive sweet grace of inward fattening, are raised by the wing of contemplation from earthly desires to things above.

He says therefore, “My oxen and my fatlings are killed;” as much as to say, Look to the deaths of the Fathers who have been before you, and desire some amendment of your lives.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; He says “oxen and fatlings,” not as though the oxen were not fatted, but because all the oxen were not fat. Therefore the fatlings denote the Prophets who were filled with the Holy Spirit; the oxen those who were both Priests and Prophets, as Jeremiah and Ezekiel; for as the oxen are the leaders of the herd, so also the Priests are leaders of the people.

Hilary: Or otherwise; The oxen are the glorious army of Martyrs, offered, like choice victims, for the confession of God; the fatlings are spiritual men, as birds fed for flight upon heavenly food, that they may fill others with the abundance of the food they have eaten.

Greg.: It is to be observed, that in the first invitation nothing was said of the oxen or fatlings, but in the second it is announced that they are already killed, because Almighty God when we will not hear His words gives examples, that what we suppose impossible may become easy to us to surmount, when we hear that others have passed through it before us.

Origen: Or; The dinner which is prepared is the oracle of God; and so the more mighty of the oracles of God are the oxen; the sweet and pleasant are the fatlings. For if any one bring forward feeble words, without power, and not having strong force of reason, these are the lean things; the fatlings are when to the establishment of each proposition many examples are brought forward backed by reasonable proofs.

For example, supposing one holding discourse of chastity, it might well be represented by the turtle-dove; but should he bring forward the same holy discourse full of reasonable proof out of Scripture, so as to delight and strengthen the mind of his hearer, then he brings the dove fatted.

Pseudo-Chrys.: That He says, “And all things are now ready,” means, that all that is required to salvation is already filled up in the Scriptures; there the ignorant may find instruction; the self-willed may read of terrors; he who is in difficulty may there find promises to rouse him to activity.

Gloss., interlin.: Or, “All things are now ready,” i.e. The entrance into the kingdom, which had been hitherto closed, is now ready through faith in My incarnation.

Pseudo-Chrys., non occ. sed vid. Gloss. ord.: Or He says, “All things are now ready” which belong to the mystery of the Lord’s Passion, and our redemption. He says, “Come to the marriage,” not with your feet, but with faith, and good conduct. “But they made light of it;” why they did so He shews when He adds, “And they went their way, one to his farm, another to his merchandize.”

Chrys.: These occupations seem to be entirely reasonable; but we learn hence, that however necessary the things that take up our time, we ought to prefer spiritual things to every thing beside. But it seems to me that they only pretended these engagements as a cloak for their disregard of the invitation.

Hilary: For men are taken up with worldly ambition as with a farm; and many through covetousness are engrossed with trafficking.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or otherwise; When we work with the labour of our hands, for example, cultivating our field or our vineyard, or any manufacture of wood or iron, we seem to be occupied with our “farm;” any other mode of getting money unattended with manual labour is here called “merchandize.” O most miserable world! and miserable ye that follow it! The pursuits of this world have ever shut men out of life.

Greg.: Whosoever then intent upon earthly business, or devoted to the actions of this world, feigns to be meditating upon the mystery of the Lord’s Passion, and to be living accordingly, is he that refuses to come to the King’s wedding on pretext of going to his farm or his merchandize. Nay often, which is worse, some who are called not only reject the grace, but become persecutors, “And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them despitefully and slew them.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, by the business of a farm, He denotes the Jewish populace, whom the delights of this world separated from Christ; by the excuse of merchandize, the Priests and other ministers of the Temple, who, coming to the service of the Law and the Temple through greediness of gain, have been shut out of the faith by covetousness. Of these He said not ‘They were filled with envy,’ but “They made light of it.” For they who through hate and spite crucified Christ, are they who were filled with envy; but they who being entangled in business did not believe on Him, are not said to have been filled with envy, but to have made light of it.

The Lord is silent respecting His own death, because He had spoken of it in the foregoing parable, but He shews forth the death of His disciples, whom after His ascension the Jews put to death, stoning Stephen and executing James the son of Alphaeus, for which things Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. And it is to be observed, that anger is attributed to God figuratively and not properly; He is then said to be angry when He punishes.

Jerome: When He was doing works of mercy, and bidding to His marriage-feast, He was called a man; now when He comes to vengeance, the man is dropped, and He is called only a King. [margin note: homin regi]

Origen: Let those who sin against the God of the Law, and the Prophets, and the whole creation, declare whether He who is here called man, and is said to be angry, is indeed the Father Himself. If they allow this, they will be forced to own that many things are said of Him applicable to the passible nature of man; not for that He has passions, but because He is represented to us after the manner of passible human nature. In this way we take God’s anger, repentance, and the other things of the like sort in the Prophets.

Jerome: By “His armies” we understand that Romans under Vespasian and Titus, who having slaughtered the inhabitants of Judaea, laid in ashes the faithless city.

Pseudo-Chrys.: The Roman army is called God’s army; because “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof;” [Psa_24:1] nor would the Romans have come to Jerusalem, had not the Lord stirred them thither.

Greg.: Or, The armies of our King are the legions of His Angels. He is said therefore to have sent His armies, and to have destroyed those murderers, because all judgment is executed upon men by the Angels. He destroys those murderers, when He cuts off persecutors; and burns up their city, because not only their souls, but the body of flesh they had tenanted, is tormented in the everlasting fire of hell.

Origen: Or, the city of those wicked men is in each doctrine the assembly of those who meet in the wisdom of the rulers of this world; which the King sets fire to and destroys, as consisting of evil buildings.

Greg.: But when He sees that His invitation is spurned at, He will not have His Son’s marriage-feast empty; the word of God will find where it may stay itself.

Origen: “He saith to His servants,” that is, to the Apostles; or to the Angels, who were set over the calling of the Gentiles, “The wedding is ready.”

Remig.: That is, the whole sacrament of the human dispensation is completed and closed. “But they which were bidden,” that is the Jews, “were not worthy,” because, “ignorant of the righteousness God, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to the  righteousness of God. [Rom_10:3]

The Jewish nation then being rejected, the Gentile people were taken in to the marriage-feast; whence it follows, “Go ye out into the crossings of the streets, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the wedding.”

Jerome: For the Gentile nation was not in the streets, but in the crossings of the streets.

Remig.: These are the errors of the gentiles.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or; The streets are all the professions of this world, as philosophy, soldiery, and the like. And therefore He says, “Go out into the crossings of the streets,” that they may call to the faith men of every condition. Moreover, as chastity is the way that leads to God, so fornication is the way that leads to the Devil; and so it is in the other virtues and vices. Thus He bids them invite to the faith men of every profession or condition.

Hilary: By the street also is to be understood the time of this world, and they are therefore bid to go to the crossings of the streets, because the past is remitted to all.

Greg.: Or otherwise; In holy Scripture, way is taken to mean actions; so that the crossings of the ways we understand as failure in action, for they usually come to God readily, who have had little prosperity in worldly actions.

Origen: Or otherwise; I suppose this first bidding to the wedding to have been a bidding of some of the more noble minds. For God would have those before all come to the feast of the divine oracles who are of the more ready wit to understand them; and forasmuch as they who are such are loth to come to that kind of summons, other servants are sent to move them to come, and to promise that they shall find the dinner prepared. For as in the things of the body, one is the bride, others the inviters to the feast, and they that are bidden are others again; so God knows the various ranks of souls, and their powers, and the reasons why these are taken into the condition of the Bride, others in the rank of the servants that call, and others among the number of those that are bidden as guests. But they who had been thus especially invited contemned the first inviters as poor in understanding, and went their way, following their own devices, as more delighting in them than in those things which the King by his servants promised. Yet are these more venial than they who ill-treat and put to death the servants sent unto them; those, that is, who daringly assail with weapons of contentious words the servants sent, who are unequal to solve their subtle difficulties, and those are illtreated or put to death by them.

The servants going forth are either Christ’s Apostles going from Judaea and Jerusalem, or the Holy Angels from the inner worlds, and going to the various ways of various manners, gathered together whomsoever they found, not caring whether before their calling they had been good or bad.

By the good here we may understand simply the more humble and upright of those who come to the worship of God, to whom agreed what the Apostle says, “When the Gentile which have not the Law do by nature the things contained in the Law, they are a law unto themselves.” [Rom_2:14]

Jerome: For there is an infinite difference among the Gentiles themselves; some are more prone to vice, others are endowed with more incorrupt and virtuous manners.

Greg.: Or; He means that in this present Church there cannot be bad without good, nor good without bad. He is not good who refuses to endure the bad.

Origen: The marriage-feast of Christ and the Church is filled, when they who were found by the Apostles, being restored to God, sat down to the feast. But since it behoved that both bad and good should be called, not that the bad should continue bad, but that they should put off the garments unmeet for the wedding, and should put on the marriage garments, to wit, bowels of mercy and kindness, for this cause the King goes out, that He may see them set down before the supper is set before them, that they may be detained who have the wedding garment in which He is delighted, and that he may condemn the opposite.

Pseudo-Chrys.: “The King came in to see the guests;” not as though there was any place where He is not; but where He will look to give judgment, there He is said to be present; where He will not, there He seems to be absent. The day of His coming to behold is the day of judgment, when He will visit Christians seated at the board of the Scriptures.

Origen: But when He was come in, He found there one who had not put off his old behaviour; “He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.” He speaks of one only, because all, who after faith continue to serve that wickedness which they had before the faith, are but of one kind.

Greg.: What ought we to understand by the wedding garment, but charity? For this the Lord had upon Him, when He came to espouse the Church to Himself. He then enters in to the wedding feast, but without the wedding garment, who has faith in the Church, but not charity.

Aug., cont. Faust., xxii, 19: Or, he goes to the feast without a garment, who goes seeking his own, and not the Bridegroom’s honour.

Hilary: Or; The wedding garment is the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the purity of that heavenly temper, which taken up on the confession of a good enquiry is to be preserved pure and unspotted for the company of the Kingdom of heaven.

Jerome: Or; The marriage garment is the commandments of the Lord, and the works which are done under the Law and the Gospel, and form the clothing of the new man. Whoso among the Christian body shall be found in the day of judgment not to have these, is straightway condemned. “He saith unto him, Friend, How camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?” He calls him “friend,” because he was invited to the shredding as being a friend by faith; but He charges him with want of manners in polluting by his filthy dress the elegance of the wedding entertainment.

Origen: And forasmuch as he who is in sin, and puts not on the Lord Jesus Christ, has no excuse, it follows, “But he was speechless.”

Jerome: For in that day there will be no room for blustering manner [marg. note: al. peonitentiae], nor power of denial, when all the Angels and the world itself are witnesses against the sinner.

Origen: He who has thus insulted the marriage feast is not only cast out therefrom, but besides by the King’s officers, who are set over his prisons, is chained up from that power of walking which he employed not to walk to any good thing, and that power of reaching forth his hand, wherewith he had fulfilled no work for any good; and is sentenced to a place whence all light is banished, which is called “outer darkness.”

Greg.: The hands and feet are then bound by a severe sentence of judgment, which before refused to be bound from wicked actions by amendment of life. Or punishment binds them, whom sin had before bound from good works.

Aug, de Trin. xi, 6: The bonds of wicked and depraved desires are the chains which bind him who deserves to be cast out into outer darkness.

Greg.: By inward darkness we express blindness, of heart; “outer darkness” signifies the everlasting night of damnation.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, it points to the difference of punishment inflicted on sinners. Outer darkness being the deepest, inward darkness the lesser, as it were the out- skirts of the place.

Jerome: By a metaphor taken from the body, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” is shewn the greatness of the torments. The binding of the hands and feet also, and the weeping of eyes, and the gnashing of teeth, understand as proving the truth of the resurrection of the body.

Greg.: There shall gnash those teeth which here delighted in gluttony; there shall weep those eyes which here roamed in illicit desire; every member shall there have its peculiar punishment, which here was a slave to its peculiar vice.

Jerome: And because in the marriage and supper the chief thing is the end and not the beginning, therefore He adds, “For many are called, but few chosen.”

Hilary: For to invite all without exception is a courtesy of public benevolence; but out of the invited or called, the election will be of worth, by distinction of merit.

Greg.: For some never begin a good course, and some never continue in that good course which they have begun. Let each one’s care about himself be in proportion to his ignorance of what is yet to come.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or otherwise; Whenever God will try His Church, He enters into it that He may see the guests; and if He finds any one not having on the wedding garment, He enquires of him, How then were you made a Christian, if you neglect these works? Such a one Christ gives over to His ministers, that is, to seducing leaders, who bind his hands, that is, his works, and his feet, that is, the motions of his mind, and cast him into darkness, that is, into the errors of the Gentiles or the Jews, or into heresy. The nigher darkness is that of the Gentiles, for they have never heard the truth which they despise; the outer darkness is that of the Jews, who have heard but do not believe; the outermost is that of the heretics, who have heard and have learned.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Father Callan’s Commentary on Ephesians 4:23-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 30, 2010


Note: I’ve included Fr. Callan’s summaries of 4:17-24 and 4:25-6:9 for context.


A Summary of Ephesians 4:17-24~At the beginning of the present Chapter St. Paul, starting with the words “I therefore,” proposed to deduce practical consequences in conduct from the doctrines he had just previously laid down ; but after an exhortation to unity his intention was diverted into a description, more dogmatic than moral, of principles fundamental to the unity of the Christian commonwealth, the Church (ver. 4-11), and to a consideration of the ideal Church as a whole
(ver. 12-14) and the harmonious interrelation of its members (ver. 15-16). Now resuming his original intention, expressed at the beginning of the Chapter, he will take up the question of the personal holiness of individual members of the Church, and explain it (a) negatively, in reference to the Gentile life of ignorance and impurity which they have discarded (ver. 17-19), and then (b) positively, in regard to the new life of enlightenment and purity which they have embraced as Christians (ver. 20-24).

22. To put off, according to former conversation, the old man, who is corrupted according to the desire of error.

This and the two following verses in Greek begin with an infinitive, “to put off,” “to renew,” “to put on,” all of which go back to what the readers of this Epistle “have been taught, etc.,” in verse 21. They have been taught—or rather, they were taught at the time of their conversion—to put off the old sinful man inherited from Adam, whose principles and mode of life were theirs as pagans, and living according to which they became ever more and more; plunged into sin and error.

According to the desire of error, i.e., according to the dictates of the passions, which are always false and deceitful, promising joy and pleasure but ending in sorrow and pain.

23. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

To put off the old man (ver. 22) and to put on the new man (ver. 24) are really one act, and therefore they are expressed by the aorist infinitive in Greek, signifying one definite act; but to be renewed in the spirit, etc., is a progressive process, and as such it is expressed by the Greek present infinitive (Westcott).

In the spirit of your mind. The meaning of this expression, which occurs nowhere else, is not quite certain, though it is clear that it refers to the human spirit or the mind, and not to the Holy Ghost. It seems to indicate that mind, or part of the mind, which through grace is subject to God, and which in justice and truth lives according to God, in contrast to the vanity and perversity of mind of the Gentiles (Voste).

24. And put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of the truth.

It is not sufficient to put off the old man of sin which you have inherited from Adam, but you must also “put on the new man, etc.,” i.e., the man who has been regenerated by the grace of the Holy Ghost, and who having been created “according to God, etc.” (i.e., having been created in the beginning in the image and likeness of God), imitates God in his new life of grace by keeping the commandments which reflect the divine will and therefore God
Himself. This new man, or creation of grace, “is created in justice and holiness,” i.e., he lives a life faithful to the obligations he owes to his neighbor (justice) and to the duties he owes to God (holiness)—that is, a life which is in entire conformity with “the truth” of the Gospel, as revealed in the Gospel.

MUST AVOID, 4:25-6:9

Summary of 4:25—6:9. The Apostle is now going to show In a practical way just what it means for Christians to have put on the new man that is, he is going to apply more in detail to Christian life and conduct the principles he has laid down. He will treat first of precepts that are pertinent to all Christians, to Christian society in general (4:25—5:21), and then of precepts that regard particular members of the Christian family, that regulate the Christian home (5:22—6:9). In the remaining verses of the present Chapter he speaks of some of the principal vices which the mutual charity of Christians forbids, and of some of the virtues which that same charity enjoins upon the members of the Church.

25. Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Wherefore, i.e., since you have put off the old man and put on the new man who is characterized by justice and holiness, you must be on your guard against falling back into the sins of your former life; and first of all, you must put “away lying,” because this is so injurious to the neighbor, whom we are bound not to injure but to assist, as being all members of the one mystical body of Christ. Lying injures not only the neighbor, but oneself also, because
we are all members of the same body, and that which injures one part of the body is felt in all the parts; the injury of the part reacts on the whole.

26. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger;

Another sin to be avoided is unreasonable anger, that is, anger which springs from wounded personal feelings rather than from repugnance at something objectively wrong, or which is out of proportion to the objective harm done.

Be angry, and sin not. These words are from Ps. 4:5, cited according to the LXX. The meaning is: “If you have occasion to be angry, be careful that your anger does not become sinful.”

Let not the sun, etc. This is a proverbial expression, and it refers not to the anger but to that which caused the anger in question. The meaning is that the cause of anger should be removed and the offence given should be repaired as soon as possible. The Jewish day closed with the sunset.

27. Give not place to the devil.

Give no place to the devil. Excessive and prolonged anger affords an opportunity for the devil to act, and to excite in the soul feelings of hatred, revenge, and the like. To agree with the Greek, there should be no full stop at the end of verse 26, and verse 27 should read: “Neither give place, etc.”

28. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.

The next prohibition is not to steal ; on the contrary, let those who through idleness or laziness were accustomed to steal as pagans, or are now stealing as Christians, do some good manual work as a remedy against this vice and as a means of earning something to be given to those in need, in reparation for goods ill-gotten in the past.

Stole is present tense in Greek, as if to imply that some among the Christians had not yet given up their pagan habit of stealing.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, Morality, Notes on Ephesians, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Resources for Sunday Mass, October 3 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 29, 2010

This post contains (mostly) biblical resources for this Sunday’s Mass and includes items for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. Commentary on the readings used in the Extraordinary Form will be added tomorrow (Thursday. These have been added. I may also add commentary on the readings from the Haydock Bible before Friday Night).

ORDINARY FORM: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Readings from the NAB.

A Summary of the Prophet Habakkuk for Sunday Mass, Oct 3.

Patristic and Medieval Commentary on Psalm 95 for Sunday Mass, Oct 3. Compiled from various authors.

Father Callan on 2 Tim 1:6-8, 13-14 for Sunday Mass, Oct 3.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 17:5-10 for Sunday Mass, Oct 3.

Navarre Bible Commentary:

Haydock Bible Commentary. Text of the readings followed by notes from the old HBC.

Franciscan Sisters Bible Study Podcast. Audio usually posted on Thursdays.

Dr Scott Hahn Podcast. A brief presentation relating the main theme(s) of the readings. Text also available.

Word On Fire. Podcast homily by Fr Robert Barron. This weeks audio not yet posted.

Word Sunday:

  • MP3 PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we focus on the little we have as sufficient for the job of faith.
  • FIRST READING The prophet Habakkuk addressed the utter despair of Jerusalem, before the Babylonian exile. His answer to the present strife: faith that YHWH would come and comfort his people.
  • PSALM Psalm 95 is a praise song with a twist; it has a prophetic warning at the end of the psalm. The hymn reminds us that, even in solemn praise, we can fall into sin.
  • SECOND READING The author of 1 Timothy (St. Paul?) urged his reluctant student to “fire up” faith for the job of evangelization.
  • GOSPEL In Luke 17, the disciples wanted Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus answered with the equivalent of “the little you have is enough.” Sometimes, a perceived lack is really sufficient for the job.
  • CHILDREN’S READING In the story for the first reading, Angie, like the stores in her area, could not wait for Halloween, even though it was a month away. Like, Angie and the prophet Habakkuk in the first reading, we need patience in order to see God act. In the story for the gospel, little Sam worked slowly, on small steps and in small ways, to reach the goal. Jesus told his disciples that the little they had, used in small steps and in small ways, was good enough to share the Good News with others.
  • CATECHISM LINK In this week’s Catechism Link, we discuss faith in God.

Lector Notes. Gives theological and historical background to the readings.

Historical Cultural Context. Interesting.

Thoughts From the Early Church. Excerpt from St Augustine on the Gospel.

Scripture in Depth.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM: 19th Sunday after Pentecost.

Note: The readings in the EF differ from those in the OF. The first link below contains the EF readings.  Some of the links below are to online books. You can use the site’s zoom feature to increase text size for ease of reading.

UPDATE: Father Callan on Ephesians 4:23-28.

UPDATE: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 22:1-14.

Devout Instruction on the Epistle and Gospel.

Homily on the Epistle. Bishop Bonomelli.

Homily on the Gospel. Bishop Bonomelli.

Spiritual Renovation. Homily on the Epistle by Father Johann Evangelist Zollner.

The Call of the Gentiles. Homily on the Gospel by Father Zollner.

Dogmatic Homily on the Small Number of the Elect. Father Zollner.

Liturgical Homily on the Anniversary of the Dedication of a Church. Father Zollner.

Symbolic Homily on the Wedding Garment. Father Zollner.

Moral Homily on the Signs of Election and Reprobation. Father Zollner.

Moral Homily on the Reverence Due to Clergy. Father Zollner.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on 2 Tim, Notes on Ephesians, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 95

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 29, 2010

Psalm 95 (94):  A Prayer of a Son for David

Argument: Cardinal Tomasi in the collection of arguments collected from Origen, gives the following as meanings of this psalm.  That Christ, the Good Shepherd, predestinates His sheep with eternal rest.  The voice of the Church to the Lord touching the Jews.  The voice of Christ to the Apostles touching the Jews.  The voice of the Church advising to repentance.

Venerable Bede in his exposition of the Psalms says concerning this one: “Praise denotes devotion of voice; song, cheerfulness of mind, for David, Christ our Savior, to the end that we may come together and rejoice, not in vain delights, but in the Lord.  The prophet forseeing the rejection of Christ, invites the chosen people to come and praise God.  Secondly, the Lord Himself speaks that the aforesaid people should not harden its heart lest that if befall them which befell their fathers who did not reach the Land of Promise” (Migne P.L. vol xciiim p. 478).

1.  Oh, come let us sing unto the Lord.  Let us heartily rejoice in God our savior.  Let us come before His Face in confession, and in psalms let us rejoice before Him.

St Augustine (in Ennarationes in Psalmos), commenting on this verse, remarks that the prophet invites us to rejoice, not in the world, but in the Lord.  In saying Oh come, he means that those who are far off are to draw near.  But how can we be far off from Him Whom is present everywhere?  By unlikeness to Him, by an evil life, by bad habits.  A man standing still in one spot draws near to God by loving Him, and by loving that which is evil he withdraws from God.  Although he does not move his feet, he can yet both draw nigh and retire; for in this journey our feet are our affections.  Come, as sick men to a doctor to obtain relief, as scholars to a master to learn wisdom, as thirsty men to a fountain, as fugitives to a sanctuary, as blind men to the sun.  Thus writes the Carmelite, Michael Angriani.  Let us sing to the Lord.  Why then do we find it said: Blessed are they that mourn and Woe to you that laugh (Matt 5:4 and Luke 6:25)?  Surely because they are blessed who mourn to the world, and the woe is to them that laugh to the world; but blessed are they who exalt unto the Lord, who know not how to be glad of violence, of fraud, of their neighbor’s tears.  He joys in the Lord, who in word, deed, and work, exults not for himself but for his maker.  Thus states St Peter Chrysologus (Migne, P.L., vol liii. p. 328). Our Savior. St Jerome in his version of the psalms translates these words simply as “Jesus our Rock.”

Let us come before His face, that is, says St Augustine, let us make haste to meet Him, not waiting till He sends to call us before Him.  Not that we can in anyway forestall His grace and bounty to us, but that we may offer our thanksgiving with sufficient promptness to avoid the charge of ingratitude.

In confession, which may either be the confession of God’s might and goodness, or of our frailty and sin, the confession of praise, or the confession of grief.  In this second sense we are called upon to come away from our sins, to come in penance to God before He comes in judgment.  Confession in the Psalms is often used s equivalent to thanksgiving, for if we confess our unworthiness we must be filled with gratitude to God for His mercy in granting us forgiveness and restoring us to His favor.   The Face of God often stands in Holy Writ for His wrath, e.g., Turn away Thy Face from my sins (Psalm 50:9); and also for offering sacrifice (see Hosea 5:5-6; Habakkuk 2:20.  Modern translations may read ‘before, ‘ or ‘presence.’).   The sacrifice of thanksgiving under the Mosaic code was an oblation of cakes of fine flour and wafer bread; and thus in this place, says Fr. Lorin, S.J., we see a prophecy of the Sacrifice of the New Law, that Eucharistic oblation of praise and thanksgiving wherein Christ is Himself offered to the Father.

And in psalms let us rejoice before Him.-Psalms, says St Ambrose, denote the combination of will and action in good works because the word implies the use of an instrument as well as of a voice (Migne, P.L., vol xiv).  And, says Denis, the Carthusian, we may rejoice in psalms when we are alone, as well as when joining with others in the offices of the Church, saying, Oh come all ye powers of my soul, my whole being and all that is within me, especially my reason, memory and will, let us be glad together in the Lord.

2.  For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods: For the Lord will not repel His people, for in His hands are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains doth He behold.

Says Fr. Corder, To us the words teach the mystery of the Eternal Son, pointing out that our Lord even in His mortal body is a great God, by reason of the Hypostatic Union, and also because He is the express Image of the Father; whence we find this very title given Him by the Apostle saying: Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).  Christ, says St Bruno, is moreover the King whom all the gods, all those saints and rulers of His Church whom He has made partakers of Him, obey and love: I have said ye are gods (Jn 10:34).

For the Lord will not repel His people, That Christian folk, says Cardinal Hugo, which He hath purchased with His own Blood, He will not reject it, crying, praying, seeking or knocking to Him.

In His hands are all the ends of the earth.-If we take this as descriptive of the power of God over creation there is no better commentary on them that the words of Isaiah: He hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance (Isaiah 40:12).  But the fuller explanation is to take it as showing that whilst false gods are worshipped in special places, He alone is Lord everywhere.  And thus we see here a reference to the Church, no longer confined to the narrow limits of one people, but made up from all the nations of the earth.  The ends of the earth may denote all the powers and faculties of man, a notion which is brought out better by the Hebrew-all the deep places of the earth.

The heights of the mountains are types of the exalted citizens of heaven: thus says Fr. Lorin.  St Bruno says the earth is often put for men of earthly nd groveling minds, mountains for the saints lifted high by contemplation of Divine things.

3.  For the sea is His and He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.  Come let us worship and fall down before God: Let us weep before the Lord who made us, for He is the Lord our God: but we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Besides the obvious interpretation concerning the wonder of creation, the sea, says St Augustine, denotes the Gentile nations tossed about in the bitterness and barreness of heathendom whom the Jews, in their spiritual pride, refused to believe God’s children.  Yet He made them, as it is written: Doubtless Thou art our Father though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer (Isaiah 63:16).   And His hands have formed the dry land. This land, differing from the sea in stability and in capacity of fruitfulness, denotes the Church or any holy soul.  It is dry, says St Bruno, because without the grace of God it can do nothing, as land will not bear unless it be watered, but gaspeth for Him as a thirsty ground (see Ps 144:6).  He formed it, which means more than he made it, implying that He gave shape and beauty and fulness to that which before was without form and void (Gen 1:2) by reason of Adam’s sin.  (Note: the commentator is applying a text about creation to the idea of re-creation.  Adam’s sin affected creation inasmuch as it caused disunity among men with one another and with God, as Genesis 3:8-13 shows.  Also, as a result of Adam’s sin, God cursed the earth so that in some ways it rebels against man, as we see in Gen 3:17-19.  In some sense it can be said that the earth is without form and is void because it no longer retains the fulness of purpose for which it was intended by God; this is why St Paul can write that “all creation groans in eager anticipation of the full revelation of the sons of God” in Romans 8:19).

We are to worship, that is, to bend the head as servants to their master, to fall down as subjects acknowledging their king.  To weep, for as Cassiodorus says: God calls His people first to rejoice, while they, yet, do not know the spiritual life, lest they be alarmed and repelled by its sorrows and austerities; but when they have once accepted the faith, He then summons them to repent of their sins (Migne, P.L., lxx).  But, says St Peter Chrysologus, they are tears of joy; for gladness, as well as sorrow, brings weeping, and grief for our past sins is blended with the hope of blessing and glory to come.  Some commentators, who take this Psalm as having special reference to our Lord’s nativity, see here a command to adore Him in the manger, undeterred ty the tokens of mortality and poverty around.

But we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.-St Augustine tells us that we are hereby taught that we, even as people, are sheep, in respect to God, needing Him as a Shepherd, and only to be satisfied with His green pastures.  Yet we are not unreasoning sheep to be driven with a staff.  We are guided with God’s Own hands, the very hands which made us and are so loving and ever heedful to prevent any harm that may come from negligence, ignorance, or malice of those inferior shepherds, to whom He commits, in a measure, the task of tending His flock.  He feeds us, says St Bruno, with Bread from heaven, as He once fed our spiritual forefathers with mann in the wilderness; and He cares for us as a shepherd cares for his flock, so that we need not be solicitous, but cast all our care on Him.  Says St Bonaventure, we must be like sheep in trustfulness, patience and innocence, and yet men in understanding, according to His Own saying: And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord (Ezek 34:31).

4.  Today if ye shall hear His voice harden not your hearts, as in the provocation and as in the day of temptation in the desert: Where your fathers tempted Me, proved Me and saw My works.

Today, that is, daily while it is called today, as the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews explains in one of his threefold citations of this verse: But exhort one another daily while it is called today (Heb 3:13). So long as the night has not yet come, so long as the door of mercy is not shut.  today, at once, not deferring till tomorrow.

If you will hear His voice is the reply to the assertion in the previous verse: We are the sheep of His pasture; for the proof of being one of Christ;s flock is according to His own words-My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me (Jn 10:27).  This flock He gave in its entirety, both sheep and lambs, to His apostle Peter to be fed for Him (Jn 21:15-17).  So if we are fed by Peter we are fed by Christ, and belong to His one fold.  You call yourself His sheep; prove your claim, then, by hearing His voice.  And yet, as St Bernard tells us, there is no difficulty at all in hearing His voice; on the contrary, the difficulty is to stop our ears effectually against it, so clear is its sound, so constantly does it ring in our ears.  The Jews, remarks the Carmelite, sinned by refusing to listen to the voice of our Lord; and we also sin in the same way when we put off or refuse to repent.  Satan’s counsel, observes St Basil, is “today for me, tomorrow for God”; whereas, He that hath promised pardon to repentance hath not promised tomorrow to the sinner.

Harden not your hearts.-For in doing so, says St Albert the Great, you set yourselves in direct opposition to the will of God, which is to soften those hearts, in that He said: My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My speech shall distill as the dew (Deut 32:2), to moisten the dry ground that it may bring forth the tender buds of grace; whereas it is said of sinners that their hearts are stony: I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26); and of Leviathan, the type of evil power, His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of nether millstone (Job 41:24).

As in the provocation and as in the day of temptation.-Some commentators refer the word provocation to the resistance of the Jews to the authority of Moses and temptation to their unbelief in the providence of God: And he called the naem of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us nor not? (Exodus 17:7).  Cardinal Hugo points out that the words which follow in the wilderness, are an aggravation of guilt, because it was exactly there, in the absence of all other help, that the thoughts of the Jews should have been most firmly set on God Who had so wonderfully brought them out of Egypt.  Those who come out of the Egypt of sin or worldliness, who begin a life of repentance, are at first in the wilderness.  They are deserted by those they have left behind; and, not attaining yet to what they seek, they re much exposed, in that stage of spiritual progress, to the risk of rebellion, of unbelief in God, and of resisting the pleadings of the Holy Ghost.

Where your fathers tempted Me.-There is a stress on your fathers, implying that we are the same nations which sinned in a former period of its history and are therefore likely to fall again.  The Carmelite remarks, we may tempt God in several ways: His mercy, by careless prayer; His patience, by remaining in sin; His justice, by desiring revenge; His power, by not trusting Him during perils; His wisdom, by undertaking to teach others without previous study and meditation.

Proved Me.-This is more than tempting, which denotes the bare experiment, whereas proving implies its success, for the God, whose power they doubted, slew them all in the wilderness.

And saw My works.-That is, says Fr. Lorin, although they saw them, and that during forty continuous years, yet they did not believe and were never subdued, but renewed their experiment after each miracle and judgment.

5.  Forty years was I nigh to this generation, and said, these do always err in heart; in truth they have not known My ways.  Unto whom I swore in My wrath that they should not enter into My rest.

Forty years.-The writers do not fail to point out the mystical meaning of the number forty, repeated in the fasts of Elijah and our Lord, and in the great forty days after Easter; and they tell us that as ten is the first limit we meet in computation, so that this number and its multiples give all the subsequent names to sums, it serves as a type of fulness; while four, as denoting either the seasons of the year or the quarters of the heavens, extends that fulness to all time and place; and thus forty years stands here for the entire span of our earthly sojourn.  Remigius, monk as St Germain (see Migne, P.L. 131), points out the stress on years, because the journey of Elijah teaches us that the Israelites could have passed through the desert in forty days had they only been obedient (1 Kings 19:8).

Nigh.-Some commentators take this word in the sense that one who punishes is near the criminal, or of a teacher who keeps beside an idle and refractory pupil to compel his attention.  St Augustine explains it of God’s continual presence in signs and miracles; while St Bernard interprets it of an inward voice and inspiration.  The cause of God’s anger was the ingratitude of the children of Israel for His unceasing watch over them.

This generation.-And whereas this applies literally to the 60,000 who came up out of Egypt, and then by accommodation, to all living men at any time while it is called today, there is also a special fitness in taking it of the Jews after the Passion of Christ; for, says Perez of Valentia, the interval which lay between that and the final destruction of Jerusalem was almost precisely forty years, up to which time the door of hope was still open for Israel, and it was still today ere that terrible night set upon the Temple worship.

Always do these err in their heart.-This is much more forcible, observes Cardinal Hugo, than if it were said, they err in act; for the error of an act has a definite end, whereas the error of the will has no end.  Death puts an end to the evil doings of a sinner, not because he has lost the will to sin, but because he has no longer the power to do so.

For they have not known My ways.-The word known does not here signify acquaintance with God’s ways which may be gathered from reading or meditation, but that knowing which comes from a careful keeping to His ways themselves, that is, from living lives fruitful in good works.  And the ways of God, as St Bonaventure remarks, are all reducible to one, that is Jesus Himself, the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6); moreover, they all lead to the same heavenly country.  They are one way in their making, their maker, and their end; they are many ways according to the diversities of the working of grace, the variety of vocations and of disposition among those who journey home through the wilderness.

Unto whom I swore in My wrath that they should not enter into My rest.-This He did when the spies brought back evil reports of the Land of Promise and the children of Israel prepared to elect a leader to take them back to Egypt (Num 14:26).  It is a terrible warning, comments St Augustine.  We began the Psalm with rejoicing but we end with awful dread.  It is a great thing that God should speak; but how much more that God should swear.  A man who hath sworn is to be feared, lest he should, for his oath’s sake, do aught against his will.  How much more then ought we not to fear God Who cannot swear rashly?  Let no one say in his heart, that which he promiseth is true, that which he threateneth is false.  As sure as thou art of rest,happiness, eternity, immortality, if thou keep the commandments, so certain shouldest thou be of destruction, of the burning of everlasting fire, of damnation with the devil, if thou despise His Law.  He hath sworn that these shall not enter into His rest, and yet, it remaineth that some must enter therein (Heb 4:6), for it could not be designed for no occupant.  And this rest, which meant the early Canaan to the Jews of old, means for us that Sabbath of the heavenly Fatherland whereof the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us: Now there remained a rest to the people of God (Heb 4:9).  Even here, on earth, says the Carmelite, before reaching the blessed Land, there remaineth a rest for God’s people, whereof the weekly Sabbath is a sign and a pledge.  This is the rest from sin, common to all the just, and the rest from bodily cares and stilling of temptation, which comes in measure to contemplative saints; while, crowning all, there is the rest of the blessed, whence sorrow is banished for evermore.  Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (Heb 4:11) and be included under the terrible oath of exclusion; and in prayer for grace that it may not be so, O come let us worship and fall down and weep before the Lord our Maker. Thus says the Carthusian.

Gloria Patri:

Glory be to the Father, the great King above all gods; Glory be to the Son, the Strength of our salvation; Glory be to the Holy Ghost who saith, Today if ye hear His voice harden not your hearts.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 14 Comments »

An Introduction to Habakkuk

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 29, 2010

Habakkuk is eminently the prophet of reverential, awe-filled faith. This is the soul and centre of his prophecy. One word alone he addresses directly to his people. It is of marvel at their want of faith. Behold among the heathen and gaze attentively, and marvel, marvel; for I am working a work in your days; ye will not believe, when it is declared to you (Hab 1:5). He bids them behold, and gaze, for God is about to work in their own days; he bids them prepare themselves to marvel, and marvel on; for it was a matter, at which political wisdom would stagger; and they, since they had not faith, would not believe it. The counterpart to this, is that great blessing of faith, which is the key-stone of his whole book, the just shall live by his faith (2:4). A better translation of these words would read: “the righteous shall live by his faithfulness.”

Isaiah had foretold to Hezekiah that his treasures should be carried to Babylon, his sons be eunuchs in the palace of its king (Isa 39:6-7). He had foretold the destruction of Babylon and the restoration of the Jews (Isa 12, 13, 27) . Prophecy in Habakkuk, full as it is, is almost subordinate. His main subject is, that which occupied Asaph in the 73d Psalm, the afflictions of the righteous amid the prosperity of the wicked. The answer is the same; the result of all will be one great reversal, the evil drawing upon themselves evil, God crowning the patient waiting of the righteous in still submission to His holy Will. The just shall live by his faith, occupies the same place in Habakkuk, as I know that my Redeemer liveth, in Job (19:25), or Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and after that receive me into glory, in Asaph (Ps 73:24).

His first subject (Hab 1) is, faith struggling under the oppressive sight of the sufferings of the good from the bad within God’s people; the second (Hab 2), the sufferings at the hands of those who are God’s instruments to avenge that wickedness. The third (Hab 3), that of his great hymn, is faith, not jubilant until the end, yet victorious, praying, believing, seeing in vision what it prays for, and triumphing in that, of which it sees no tokens, whose only earnest is God’s old loving-kindnesses to His people, and His Name, under which He had revealed Himself, ” He Who Is,” the Unchangeable.

The whole prophecy is, so to speak, a colloquy between the prophet and God. He opens it with a reverential, earnest, appeal to God, like that of the saints under the heavenly Altar in the Revelations, How long? (Rev 6:10). The prophet had prayed to God to end or mitigate the violence, oppressions, strife, contention, despoiling, powerlessness of the law, crookedness of justice, entrapping of the righteous by the wicked (Hab 1:2-4).  God answers (Hab 1:6-11), that a terrible day of retribution was coming, that He Himself would raise up the Chaldees (the neo-Babylonian Empire), as the instruments of His chastisements, terrible, self-dependent, owning no law or authority but their own will, deifying their own power (a description of relativism), sweeping the whole breadth of the land, possessing themselves of it, taking every fenced city, and gathering captives as the sand. This answers the one half of Habakkuk’s question, as to the prosperity of the wicked among his people. It leaves the other half, as to the condition of the righteous, unanswered. For such scourges of God swept away the righteous with the wicked. Habakkuk then renews the question as to them. But, as Asaph began by declaring his faith, All-good is God to Israel, the true Israel, the pure of heart (Ps 73:1), so Habakkuk, “Israel would not die, because He, their God, is Unchangeable.”  Art not Thou of old, Lord, my God, my holy One? we shall not die; Thou, Lord, hast set him [the Chaldee] for judgment, and Thou, Rock; him founded him to chasten (Hab 1:12). Then he appeals to God, ” Why then is this? Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil—wherefore keepest Thou silence, when the nicked devoureth him who is more righteous than he? This closes the first chapter and the first vision, in which he describes, with the vividness of one who saw it before him, the irresistible invasion of the Chaldreans. Israel was meshed as in a net; should that net be emptied? (Hab 1:14-17).

The second chapter exhibits the prophet waiting in silent expectation for the answer. This answer too dwells chiefly on those retributions in this life, which are the earnest of future judgments, the witness of the sovereignty of God. But although in few words, it does answer the question as to the righteous, that he has abiding life, that he lives and shall live. God impresses the importance of the answer in the words , Write the vision i. e. the prophecy, and make it plain on the tables (Hab 2:2), whereon the prophet was wont to write , that he may run who reads it. He says also, that it is for a time fixed in the mind of God, and that however, in man’s sight, it might seem to linger, it would not be aught behind the time (Hab 2:3) Then he gives the answer itself in the words, Behold his soul which is puffed up is not upright in him; and the just shall live by his faith (Hab 2:4). The swelling pride and self-dependence of the Chaldee stands in contrast with the trustful submission of faith. Of the one (the Chaldee) God says, it has no ground of uprightness, and consequently will not stand before God; of faith, he says, the righteous shall live by it. But the life plainly is not the life of the body. For Habakkuk’s ground of complaint was the world-wasting cruelty of the Chaldees. The woe on the Chaldee which follows is even chiefly for bloodshed, in which the righteous and the wicked are massacred alike. The simple word, shall live, is an entire denial of death, a denial even of any interruption of life. It stands in the same fullness as those words of our Lord, ” because I live, ye shall live also (John 14:19). The other side of the picture, the fall of the Chaldean, is given in greater fullness, because the fulfillment of God’s word in things seen was the pledge of the fulfillment of those beyond tlie veil of sense and time. In a measured dirge he pronounces a five-fold woe on the five great sins of the Chaldees, their ambition (Hab 2:5, 8), covetousness (2:9-11), violence (2:12-14), insolence (2:15-17), idolatry (2:18-20). It closes with the powerlessness of the Chaldee idols against God, and bids the whole world be hushed before the presence of the One God, its Maker, awaiting His sentence.

Then follows the prayer (chapter 3) that God would revive His work for Israel, which now seemed dead. He describes the revival as coming, under the images of God’s miraculous deliverances of old. The division of the Red Sea and the Jordan, the standing-still of the sun and moon under Joshua, are images of future deliverances; all nature shakes and quivers at the presence of its Maker. Yet not it, but the wicked were the object of His displeasure. The prophet sees his people delivered as at the Red Sea, just when the enemy seemed ready to sweep them away, as with a whirlwind. And, in sight of the unseen, he closes with that wondrous declaration of faith, that all nature should be desolate, all subsistence gone, everything, contrary to God’s promises of old to His people, should be around him, and I will rejoice in the Lord, Iivill exult for joy in the God of my salvation.

This prophecy is not less distinct, because figurative. Rather it is the declaration of God’s deliverance of His people, not from the Chaldees only, but at all times. The evil is concentrated in one Evil one, who stands over against the One anointed. Thou art gone forth for the salvation of Thy people; for salvation with Thine anointed One. Thou crushedst the head out of the house of the wicked One, laying bare the foundation unto the neck, i. e. smiting the house, at once, above and below; with an utter destruction. It belongs then the more to all times, until the closing strife between evil and good, Christ and Antichrist, the lawless one and the Lord. It includes the Chaldee, and each great Empire which opposes itself to the kingdom of God, and declares that, as God delivered His people of old, so He would unto the end.

The above summary of Habakkuk was taken from a non-Catholic scholar, E.B. Pusey, an acquaintance and sometime theological adversary of Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman. You may wish to consult the following works for more up to date details and commentary:

The New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.

The Jerome Biblical Commentary.

Jeremiah 26-52, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Nahum (Old Testament Message, A Biblical-Theological Commentary, Volume 10), by Father L. Boadt.

The Minor Prophets, The Navarre Bible Commentary.

The Men and Message of the Old Testament, Peter Ellis.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Devotional Resources, Quotes, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Father Callan on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 29, 2010


For more notes on 1 Corinthians by Father Callan and others see here.


12-20. After having condemned the practice among the Corinthians of going before heathen tribunals for a settlement of their difficulties, the Apostle takes up the case of those Christians who, following the example of pagans around them, practiced fornication as if it were a matter of indifference. Perhaps these deluded persons had misunderstood the doctrine of Christian
liberty taught by Christ (John 8:32, 36) and preached by His Apostles (Rom. 8:2; James 2:12; 1 Peter 2:16), and so felt they were perfectly free to follow their inclinations. Whatever the reasons for their conduct, St. Paul shows that they are in error, and that the sin of fornication is an enormous crime against the dignity of their bodies which are members of Christ and temples of the Holy Ghost.

12. All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

All things are lawful to me. When preaching at Corinth the Apostle had perhaps made use of this phrase with reference to the ceremonial observances of the Mosaic Law, telling his hearers that they were now free to eat all kinds of foods. Here he cautions that there are certain limitations to this Christian liberty, even in indifferent matters. Abusing the maxim, some of the Christians had extended it to the practice of fornication. All indifferent things, regarded in themselves, are permissible, but they are not always expedient, i.e., not profitable; and they may become positively harmful, if they bring us under their power and make us slaves. Thus one is obliged to abstain from the use of certain foods and drinks, if he foresees that these will
enslave him to intemperance and gluttony. Furthermore, if an indifferent thing becomes a source of scandal it should be avoided (10:22, 23).

13. Meat for the belly, and the belly for the meats; but God shall destroy both it and them: but the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14. Now God hath both raised up the Lord, and will raise us up also by his power.

13, 14. After having shown that there are limitations and restrictions in the use of even indifferent things, St. Paul goes on to say that fornication is by no means to be classed among things indifferent.

Meat for the belly, etc., i.e., food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.

But God shall destroy, etc., i.e., these things serve only a passing purpose in the present life, after which they will no longer exist. Very different, however, is the relation of the human body to impurity. The body was not made for fornication, but for the Lord, whose property it is by reason of the sanctifying waters of Baptism.

And the Lord for the body, in order that He may sanctify it now in this life, and raise it from the dead to have part in His glory hereafter. For God, who raised our Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, from the grave, will also raise us, Christ’s members, from the dead (Rom 8:11).

Using the stomach, then, for food in moderation is natural, and serves the purpose of nature; but the use of the body for impurity is a perversion of the natural order and turns man, both body and soul, away from God, for whom alone he was created. Fornication, therefore, under no consideration can be
classed among indifferent things.

15. Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

The enormity of the sin of impurity is furthermore seen in this, that the bodies of Christians are parts of Christ’s mystical body.

Your bodies are the members, etc. Through the Sacrament of Baptism the Christian, in body as well as soul, becomes a member of Christ’s mystical body, the Church. So close is the union thus established between the faithful and Christ that the Apostle elsewhere (Eph 5:30) says: “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” In virtue of this union, not less real than mysterious, the life of grace is communicated to our souls, the seed of immortality is implanted in our bodies, making them capable of future resurrection and glorification.

God forbid then, that Christians should be guilty of a crime so monstrous as to take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot.

16. Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh.

That the bodies of fornicators become members of harlots is now proved from the testimony of God speaking through Sacred Scripture.

For they shall be, etc. These words, quoted from Gen 2:24, were uttered by Adam under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV., De Sacr. Matr.) with regard to the union between husband and wife in matrimony. Illicit carnal intercourse between man and woman effects the same relationship as the use of marriage, because the two acts belong to the
same species (St. Thomas). Therefore the fornicator and a harlot become two in one flesh.

17. But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.

As the members of a fornicator become the members of a harlot in virtue of the union that is established by reason of illicit carnal intercourse, so the members of the Christian’s body, as instruments of his soul, become members of Christ on account of the union which faith and charity effect between the soul and Christ (St. Thomas). Since, then, the faithful are one in
spirit with Christ they should practice holiness and purity of body and soul.

18. Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body.

Fly fornication. So great is the evil of impurity that we must avoid it at all cost. The Apostle says “fly,” because, as St. Thomas and the Fathers teach, the vice of impurity is to be overcome not by resistance, but by flight.

Every sin that a man doth, etc. Another reason for fleeing from this sin is that, more than any other, it dishonors and degrades the human body; for so enslaved does man become by it that he is totally occupied and absorbed in its pursuit, and can give it up only with greatest difficulty (St. Chrys., Theod., Estius, etc.). Others explain thus: All sins except impurity are either spiritual, like pride, hypocrisy and the like; or tend to some external object or end, as the glutton tends to food, the drunkard to drink, the avaricious to money and possessions, etc. But the fornicator sins only against his own body and that of his partner who becomes one with himself (St. Aug., Comely, etc.). Still other authors think the Apostle is exaggerating here, and means to say that most other sins which a man commits are without the body. This last opinion seems too much opposed to the evident meaning of St. Paul’s words.

19. Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own?

Still another potent reason for flying the sin of impurity is that the bodies of Christians are temples of the Holy Ghost; to violate them is to violate the dwelling-place of God’s Holy Spirit.

The body of a Christian is said to be the temple of the Holy Ghost because it is the dwelling-place of the soul and the instrument of the soul in the exercise of virtue; and the soul of a just man is the special habitation of the Holy Ghost through the latter’s personal presence, through sanctifying grace and charity.
The Holy Spirit, then, dwells primarily in the soul and secondarily in the body, having been given us by God the Father. Consequently it follows that the Christian’s body and soul do not belong to himself, but are the property of their divine tenant, the Holy Ghost, who abides in them and has consecrated them to His own service.

20. For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.

You are bought, etc. Literally, “You were bought,” etc. The Holy Ghost dwelling in the soul and body of the just, as in His temple, is in rightful possession of His own property; for Christians have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18, 19), and are consequently the property of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Glorify and bear God, etc. Since the bodies of the just are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and therefore of the Most Holy Trinity, the faithful should not only keep themselves free from defilement, but should glorify God in the positive practice of virtue.

The words and bear (Vulg., et portate) should be omitted, and “therefore” inserted in their place, according to the best MSS.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Bernardin de Piconio on 1 Corinthians 5

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 28, 2010

1. It is certain by report that there is among you fornication, and such fornication as is not even among the Gentiles; so that one has his father’s wife.
2. And you are inflated ; and have not rather had grief, so that he who has done this deed may be taken away from the midst of you.

Chapter 5. In this chapter the Apostle insists upon the excommunication of incestuous persons.

1. It is certain by report. Literally, there is altogether heard, both in the Vulgate and the Greek : that is, with a consistency and unanimity of statement that admits of no doubt. That there is among you, who have received such august mysteries, are partakers of Divine secrets, are heirs
of heaven, says Saint Chrysostom. The word used in the Greek includes every kind of illicit connection of the sexes, whether marriage is affected by it or not. The Greek and the Syriac have, such as is not named or heard
among the Gentiles, that is, as a common practice, or without horror. He says his father’s wife, rather than step-mother or mother-in-law, though the meaning is the same, in order to bring out more strongly the greatness of
the wrong done. One has his father’s wife, not has married, for such a marriage would be forbidden by pagan law and custom. What made it worse was that it appears from an expression in 2 Cor 7:12, that the injured father was still living.

2. The Corinthians exhibited no humiliation or sorrow for this occurrence, for which, as it was public and notorious, they should have done public penance, and had taken no measures to expel the offender from the communion of the Church.

3. I, indeed, absent in body, but present in spirit, have already judged as being present, him who has so wrought.
4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being assembled and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5. To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3-4.  I, indeed, absent in body. The authority of Saint Paul, as an Apostle of Christ, was not limited as to place, like that of a Bishop, but was co- extensive with the world, and could be exercised even at a distance, and where he was not personally present. He was able, therefore, to be present spiritually, and by the exercise of his Apostolic authority, in the assembly of the Corinthian Christians, which he orders to be convened for the purpose of pronouncing sentence on the offender. And this authority he
exercised as the representative of Jesus Christ, and with his power. Saint Chrysostom joins the words in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ with you being assembled. Saint Thomas, with greater probability, joins them with, I have judged.

5. To deliver such an one to Satan. Outside the kingdom of Jesus Christ is the kingdom of Satan, into which the offender, by his excommunication, must necessarily be turned out. For the destruction of the flesh. Not for the
destruction of his soul, the salvation of which was the object in view: but that in body he might be vexed by the damon (i.e., demon) with some disease, wound, or plague, in order to bring him to repentance. This was usual in those days of miracle; according to the opinion of Origen, Hilary,
Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Theodore: who are quoted by Gagne, Cornelius a Lapide, and Tyrinus. Saint Chrysostom and Theophylact understand, deliver to Satan as his teacher and corrector. Estius, on the other hand, thinks that a spiritual penalty only is intended. Saint Chrysostom says: He is punished for his improvement, for the acquisition of grace, for his everlasting salvation. The gain outweighs the penalty, for the penalty is temporal, the gain eternal. The object is the salvation of the soul at the great day of account.

6. Your boasting is not good. Know you not that a little yeast corrupts the whole mass?
7. Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new conspersion, as you are unleavened. For Christ our Pasch has been immolated.
8. Therefore, let us feast, not in the old yeast, nor in the yeast of malice and wickedness, but in the azyme of sincerity and truth.

6. Your boasting is not good. Saint Chrysostom, and with him Theodoret and Theophylact, and the Greek Fathers generally, think the Corinthian Christians actually gloried in the proceeding of this incestuous person,
and that he was one of their chief men and leader of a faction among them, and they extolled his wisdom. But the Apostle’s words may also be taken in a general sense, your glorifying in secular knowledge, and in the talents and attainments of your leaders, which were blamed in the last chapter. A little yeast corrupts the whole mass. The Greek has ζυμόω (zumoo),̄ leavens; there is some reason to think the Latin translator must have read some other word, but the general sense is not affected (see note 1 at end of paragraph). An evil example only corrupts, as Saint Thomas observes, when it is tolerated and overlooked, not when it is censured and punished. Purge out the old yeast, by the rejection of sinners from communion. The old vices of paganism have no place in the newly-founded Church of Christ: but this is said generally, and not with reference to this particular case, which pagan law would not sanction, as the Apostle observes in verse 1. A new conspersion. In the Greek, a new kneading, or as we call it, paste; the meal was first sprinkled or scattered over the board, and hence the term used in the Vulgate.

Notes: 1. Piconio writes: :The Greek has ζυμόω (zumoo),̄ leavens; there is some reason to think the Latin translator must have read some other word…” Since Zumoo (leaven) is a corrupting agent and it is clearly this aspect which St Paul is highlighting, it seems to me to be likely that the Latin translator imply translated zumoo as corrupts. 2. Conspersion means the act of sprinkling.

7. Christ our Pasch has been immolated. Let us therefore, in figure, and continually, feast: in the Greek text and the Syriac, keep the festival, by eating unleavened bread, as ordered, Exodus 12. Or rather, you are yourselves the unleavened bread (v, 7) and should be free from every trace of defilement. Not in the old leaven, the malice and wickedness of the pagan world, which you have abandoned and renounced; but in the azyme, or feast of unleavened bread, of sincerity or purity of life, and adherence to the truth of the faith of Jesus Christ. The Hebrew festival of unleavened bread, with all its accompaniments, was habitually spoken of both as the Pasch, and azyma, or unleavened; but the latter term signified particularly the term of seven days during which it lasted. Exod. 12:18-19.

9. I wrote to you in an epistle: be not associated with fornicators.
10. Not altogether fornicators of this world, or the avaricious, or rapacious, or servers of idols; otherwise you would have had to go out of the world.
11. But now I have written to you not to associate; if he who is called a brother, is a fornicator, or avaricious, or a server of idols, or an evil speaker, or a drunkard, or rapacious: with such an one not even to take food.
12. For what is to me to judge concerning those that are without? Do not you judge concerning those who are within?
13. For those, who are without, God will judge. Take away the evil from yourselves

9-13. I wrote to you in an epistle. In this Epistle, as the Greek Fathers think. In a former one which is lost, in the opinion of Saint Thomas and others. They were not to associate with the wicked, or with idolators. But this did not apply to the Gentiles, association with whom could not be avoided, because the world was then so full of them. But I have now written (in the Greek, I now write) that you are not to associate with Christians who are of this character, or who join in idol worship; not even to sit down to table with them. It is not for me to judge the Gentiles. Christ is their judge: not the Church. Leave to him, therefore, all judgment concerning those that are without; but put away from the midst of yourselves the wicked person.

Corollary of Piety.
The life of the Christian is a perpetual Pasch. Christ, our Paschal Lamb, who taketh away the sin of the world, has been sacrificed for us: is continually sacrificed for us, to the end of time. His blood has been sprinkled on us,
in our baptism, as the blood of the lamb was sprinkled on the doors and thresholds of the Israelites; is continually sprinkled on us anew, in the sacrament of penance. Therefore let us keep the feast of unleavened bread: for the Christian’s life should be continually pure, holy, free from sin, unleavened by the spirit of the world. And this, not merely for ourselves. A little leaven leavens all the mass. One evil example may be, must be, a source of evil to the whole. Let everyone be pure, and all will be pure. The
Christian does not stand alone ; he belongs to the mass, or paste, of which the Church of Christ is kneaded together. The evil of one infects the whole. To reject the evil-doer is the condition of the existence of the Church of
Christ, into which there shall not enter anything defiled, Apoc. 21:27. Who would wish to hear the sentence against himself: auferte malum ex vobis ipsis?

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Devotional Resources, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:51-56)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 28, 2010

Ver 51. And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,52. And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.53. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.54. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?55. But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, you know not what manner of spirit you are of.56. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

CYRIL; When the time was near at hand in which it behoved our Lord to accomplish His-life-giving Passion, and ascend up to heaven, He determines to go up to Jerusalem, as it is said, And it came to pass, &c.

TIT. BOST. Because it was necessary that the true Lamb should there be offered, where the typical lamb was sacrificed; but it is said, he steadfastly set his face, that is, He went not here and there traversing the villages and towns, but kept on His way straight towards Jerusalem.

THEOPHYL; Let then the Heathen cease to mock the Crucified, as if He were a man, who it is plain, as God, both foresaw the time of His crucifixion, and going voluntarily to be crucified, sought with steadfast face, that is, with resolute and undaunted mind, the spot where He was to be crucified.

CYRIL; And He sends messengers to make a place for Him and His companions, who when they came to the country of the Samaritans were not admitted, as it follows, And sent messengers before his face; and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him.

AMBROSE; Mark that He was unwilling to be received by those who He knew had not turned to Him with a simple heart. For if He had wished, He might have made them devout, who were undevout. But God calls those whom He thinks worthy, and whom He wills He makes religious. But why they did not receive Him the Evangelist mentions, saying, Because his face was as if he would go to Jerusalem.

THEOPHYL. But if one understands that they did not receive Him for this reason, because He had determined to go to Jerusalem, an excuse is found for them, who did not receive Him. But we must say, that in the words of the Evangelist, And they did not receive him, is implied that He did not go into Samaria, but afterwards as if some one had asked Him, He explained in these words, why they did not receive Him. And He went not to them, i.e. not that He was unable, but that He did not wish to go there but rather to Jerusalem.

THEOPHYL; Or the Samaritans see that our Lord is going to Jerusalem, and do not receive Him. For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, as John shows.

CYRIL; But our Lord, Who knew all things before they came to pass, knowing that His messengers would not be received by the Samaritans, nevertheless commanded them to go before Him, because it was His practice to make all things conduce to the good of His disciples. Now He went up to Jerusalem as the time of His suffering drew near. In order then that they might not be offended, when they saw Him suffer, bearing in mind that they must also endure patiently when men persecute them, He ordained beforehand as a land of prelude this refusal of the Samaritans.

It was good for them also in another way. For they were to be the teachers of the world, going through towns and villages, to preach the doctrine of the Gospel, meeting sometimes with men who would not receive the sacred doctrine, allowing not that Jesus sojourned on earth with them. He therefore taught them, that in announcing the divine doctrine, they ought to be filled with patience and meekness, without bitterness, and wrath, and fierce enmity against those who had done any wrong to them.

But as yet they were not so, nay, being stirred up with fervid zeal, they wished to bring down fire from heaven upon them. It follows, And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, &c.

AMBROSE; For they knew both that when Phineas had slain the idolaters it was counted to him for righteousness; and that at the prayer of Elijah fire came down from heaven, that the injuries of the prophet might be avenged.

THEOPHYL; For holy men who well knew that that death which detaches the soul from the body was not to be feared, still because of their feelings who feared it, punished some sins with death, that both the living might be struck with a wholesome dread, and those who were punished with death might receive helm not from death itself but from sin, which would be increased were they to live.

AMBROSE; But let him be avenged who fears. He who fears not, seeks not vengeance. At the same time the merits of the Prophets are likewise shown to have been in the Apostles, seeing that they claim to themselves the right of obtaining the same power of which the Prophet was thought worthy; and fitly do they claim that at their command fire should come down from heaven, for they were the sons of thunder.

TIT. BOST. They thought it much juster that the Samaritans should perish for not admitting our Lord, than the fifty soldiers who tried to thrust down Elijah.

AMBROSE; But the Lord is not moved against them, that He might show that perfect virtue has no feeling of revenge, nor is there any anger where there is fullness of love. For weakness must not be thrust out; but assisted. Let indignation be far from the religious, let the high-souled have no desire of vengeance. Hence it follows, But he turned and rebuked them, and said, you know not what manner of spirit you are of.

THEOPHYL; The Lord blames them, not for following the example of the holy Prophet, but for their ignorance in taking vengeance while they were yet inexperienced, perceiving that they did not desire correction from love, but vengeance from hatred. After that He had taught them what it was to love their neighbor as themselves, and the Holy Ghost also had been infused into them, there were not lacking these punishments, though far less frequent than in the Old Testament, because the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. As if He said, And do you therefore who are sealed with His Spirit, imitate also His actions, now determining charitably, hereafter judging justly.

AMBROSE; For we must not always punish the offender, since mercy sometimes does more good, leading you to patience, the sinner to repentance. Lastly, those Samaritans believed the sooner, who were in this place saved from fire.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Father Callan on 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 27, 2010


Summary of 1 Corinthians 6:1-11~Speaking at the end of the last chapter of judging, St. Paul is reminded of another abuse at Corinth. It was natural that in a city so large and busy there should arise disputes and difficulties among the Christians, as among others; but it was seriously wrong in the faithful to have recourse to Gentile courts for the solution of their difficulties. The gravity of the matter lay in this, (a) that in those early times such a custom was likely to cause a division between the Gentile and the Jewish Christians, for the Jews had received from Claudius permission to have their own courts of justice (Josephus, Antiq. xix. 5, 3); and (b) that the pagans would become aware of all the troubles of the Christians, and would thereby be scandalized. The Apostle, therefore, blames the Corinthians for bringing their disputes before pagan tribunals (1 Cor 6:1-6), and then rebukes them for having any serious misunderstandings at all (1 Cor 6:7-11).

1. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to be judged before the unjust, and not before the saints?

Against another, i.e., a fellow Christian.

The unjust, i.e., unbelievers, who were generally called unjust by the Apostle because they did not have faith, by which the just man lives (Estius). It is to be noted that the Apostle identifies the αδικων, the unjust, of this verse with the απιστων, the unbelievers, of verse 6. Doubtless justice was not to be expected from the heathen (St. Chrys.).

The saints, i.e., Christians, who are all “called to be saints” (1 Cor 1:2), and are therefore supposed to be holy and just. It was from such as these, who were just by their vocation and manner of life, that justice was to be sought, and not from pagans who were without faith, the very principle of justice.

2. Know you not that the saints shall judge this world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

Know you not, etc. Our Lord had promised the Apostles (Matt 19:28) that in the final judgment of the world they should have part in judging the tribes of the earth. And now St. Paul says that a similar honor will be conferred on all faithful Christians (Wis 3:8; Rev 2:26-27; Rev 20:4). If’ then, the saints, i.e., the Christians, are ultimately to sit in judgment on the whole world, are they not worthy to judge the smallest matters, literally, “are they unworthy of the lowest tribunals?”

3. Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things of this world?

Not only are faithful Christians to sit in final judgment on all men, but on angels also. If St. Paul’s argument is a real proof of his thesis, that Christians are able to judge the cases of their fellow Christians, his words here must be taken in their literal sense. Then the faithful will hereafter really judge angels. This they will do not independently of Christ, but as associated with Him, “who was appointed by God Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).

Are Christians to judge all angels, or only some of them? The text seems to mean only some, for it says αγγελους (angelos = angels), not τους αγγελους (the angels). Therefore St. Thomas says: “This word of the Apostle is to be understood of the judgment of comparison, because some men shall be found superior to some angels” (Suppl. q. 89, a. 8 ad 1). Probably, however, all angels, both good and bad, are to be judged by the Christians. But why are good angels to be judged in the General Judgment? Because men and angels constitute the one Church of which Christ is the head and judge; and that good angels should be judged in the General Judgment pertains both to the glory of divine justice and to the praise of angels (a Lapide).

4. If therefore you have judgments of things pertaining to this world, set them to judge, who are the most despised in the church.

Things pertaining, etc. Literally, “Things of every-day life,” i.e., if you have cause for litigation, rather than go to pagans, take the lowest and meanest of Christians as your judges; they will be able to settle your difficulties, since one day they are to be the judges of men and angels. Some exegetes read the second clause of this verse interrogatively, understanding the pagans to be referred to: “Do you set up as judges those who are most despised in (the eyes of) the Church, namely, the pagans?” (Le Camus). It seems better, however, to take καθιζετ (set) as imperative, in view of its emphatic position, as well as that of ἐξουθενέω (the most despised).

5. I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not among you any one wise man, that is able to judge between his brethren?

Is it so that there is not, etc. Better, “Is there then no one wise among you,” etc. Having spoken ironically in the preceding verse, saying that the Corinthians should choose as their judges the most ignorant of the faithful rather than go to pagans, the Apostle now explains that he was not laying down a rule which they should follow, but only emphasizing the shame and
absurdity of their conduct.

Any one wise, etc., i.e., have you not among you anyone who is competent to handle your cases and solve your difficulties— you who are glorying in the greatness of your respective party leaders? (1 Cor 3:18; 1 Cor 4:10).

6. But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers.

The shame of their conduct is still further indicated. It is a disgrace that one Christian should be going to law with another; and further, such a thing is a great scandal to the pagans. What respect could a Gentile have for the faith of Christians in the face of knowing all about their mutual quarrels, frauds, dissensions and injustices?

7. Already indeed there is plainly a fault among you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

It is an imperfection in their life that the faithful should have lawsuits before any tribunal whatsoever.

A fault. Literally, a “defect,” a “falling off.” The Apostle is counselling, not commanding, that the Christians should avoid having lawsuits when defrauded. Those authors, like St. Chrysostom and Estius, who hold that in such a case it is a sin to go to law “have to make so many exceptions, in which lawsuits are free from sin, that they show how erroneous is their opinion” (Cornely). The imperfection and fault of a just law suit lies in the many evils that are usually connected with it, such as, lying, anger, defaming, and the like (Martini).

Why do you not rather, etc., as our Lord also counselled (Matt 5:39-40). It is per se more perfect patiently to bear injuries and injustices than to insist on one’s rights; but there are exceptions to this rule, as we learn from the conduct of our Lord and St. Paul (John 18:23; Acts 16:37; Acts 22:24).

8. But you do wrong and defraud, and that to your brethren.

Instead of practicing the perfection counselled in the preceding verse the Corinthians in their litigations wronged and defrauded their own brethren, to whom they were bound to show special charity.

But you. “You” (ὑμείς = humeis) is emphatic, in contrast with those who follow the counsel of our Lord to bear wrongs patiently.

9. Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
10. Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.

9, 10. A severe punishment is reserved for those who do injustice to their brethren. This the Corinthians should know from the doctrine already explained to them.

The unjust, i.e., those who violate justice.

Shall not possess, etc., i.e., shall be excluded from the kingdom of heaven.

Do not err, i.e., do not be deceived by false doctrines. Perhaps there were in Corinth some, like the Antinomians afterwards, who taught that it was not necessary to keep the Commandments. Or it may be that some of the Christians thought that the abrogation of the Mosaic Law did away, not only with its ceremonial observances, but also with its moral precepts, the Decalogue. At any rate, the Apostle proceeds to call attention to certain grave sins that were very prevalent at Corinth.

The effeminate (μαλακοι = malakoi) are those who passively commit unnatural sins of impurity.

Liers with mankind, i.e., sodomites, those actively guilty of unnatural sins.

11. And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.

The faithful are reminded that before their conversion to Christianity some of them were guilty of the sins just enumerated, but that now their whols condition of life has been changed.

You are washed, i.e., you are cleansed in the waters of Baptism from all stain of sin. The past tense is used in the original: “You have been washed, sanctified, justified.” The allusion is to the effects of Baptism.

You are sanctified, i.e., you have received sanctifying grace, the theological and moral virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

You are justified, i.e., you are not only called just, but you are actually rendered just, so that, whereas before your conversion you were enemies of God and slaves of Satan, you are now God’s friends and adopted sons. The verbs expressing sanctification and justification are in the passive voice in Greek, thus strongly indicating that a real interior change is effected in the individual Christian soul, and not a mere external imputation, as Protestants

In the name, etc. Christ is the meritorious cause of justification; the Holy Ghost, by appropriation, is its efficient cause. This verse shows the perfect equality between the Son and the Holy Ghost (Theodoret).

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:46-50)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 27, 2010

Ver 46. Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.47. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,48. And said to them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receives me: and whosoever shall receive me receives him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.49. And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in your name; and we forbade him, because he follows not with us.50. And Jesus said to him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

CYRIL; The devil lays plots of various kinds for them that love the best way of life. And if indeed by carnal allurements he can gain possession of a man’s heart, He sharpens his love of pleasure; but if a man has escaped these snares, he excites in him a desire of glory, and this passion for vain-glory had seized some one of His apostles. Hence it is said, Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be the greatest. For to have such thoughts, belongs to him who desires to be superior to the rest; but I think it improbable that all the disciples gave way to this weakness; and therefore suppose that the Evangelist, not to seem to lay the charge to any individual, expresses himself indefinitely, seeing, that there arose a reasoning among them.

THEOPHYL. Now it seems that this feeling was excited by the circumstance of their not being able to cure the demoniac. And while they were disputing thereupon, one said, It was not owing to my weakness, but another’s, that he could not be cured; and so thereby was kindled a strife among them, which was the greatest.

THEOPHYL; Or, because they saw Peter, James, and John, taken apart to the mount, and the keys of the kingdom of heaven promised to Peter, they were angry that these three, or Peter, should have precedence over all; or because in the payment of the tribute they saw Peter made equal to the Lord, they supposed he was to be placed before the rest. But the attentive reader will find that the question was raised among them before the payment of the penny. For in truth Matthew relates that this took place at Capernaum; but Mark says, And he came to Capernaum, and being; the house, he asked them, What was it that you disputed among yourselves in the way? But they held their peace, for by the way they had disputed among themselves who should be the greatest.

CYRIL; But our Lord, Who knew how to save, seeing in the hearts of the disciples the thought that had risen up thereupon as it were a certain root of bitterness, plucks it up by the roots before it received growth. For when passions first begin in us, they are easily subdued; but having gained strength, they are with difficulty eradicated. Hence it follows, And Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart &c. Let him who thinks Jesus to be mere man, know that he has erred, for the Word, although made flesh, remained God. For it is God alone Who is able to search into the heart and reins. But in taking a child, and placing it beside Him, He did it for the Apostles’ sake and ours.

For the disease of vain-glory feeds generally on those who have the preeminence among other men. But a child has a pure mind and unspotted heart, and abides in simplicity of thought; he courts not honors, nor knows the limits each one’s power, nor shuns seeming to be inferior to others, bearing no moroseness in his mind or heart. Such the Lord embraces and loves, and thinks them worthy to be near Him, as those who had chosen to taste of the things which are His; for He says, Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart. Hence it follows, And he says to them, Whosoever shall receive a child in my name, receives me. As if He were to say, Seeing that there is one and the same reward to those that honor the saints, whether perchance such an one be the least, or one distinguished for honors and glory, for in him is Christ received, how vain is it to see to have the preeminence;

THEOPHYL; Now herein He either teaches, that the poor of Christ are to be received by those who wish to be greater simply for His honor, or He persuades men that they are children in malice. Hence when He said, Whoever shall receive that child, he adds, in my name; that in truth they may pursue with diligence and reason for Christ’s name that form of virtue which the child observes, with only nature for its guide. But because He also teaches that He is received in the child, and He Himself was born to us a child; lest it should be thought that this was all which was seen, He subjoined, And whoever shall receive me, receives him that sent me; wishing verily to be believed, that as was the Father, such and so great was He.

AMBROSE; For he who receives the followers of Christ, receives Christ; and he who receives the image of God, receives God; but because we cannot see the image of God, it has been made present to us by the incarnation of the Word, that the divine nature which is above us, may be reconciled to us.

CYRIL; Now He still more plainly conveys the meaning of the preceding words, saying, For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great; in which He speaks of the modest man who from honesty thinks nothing high of himself.

THEOPHYL. Because then our Lord had said, He who is least among you all, the same shall be great, John feared, lest perhaps they had done wrong in hindering a certain man by their own power. For a prohibition does not show the probitor to be inferior, but to be one who thinks himself somewhat superior. Hence it is added, And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in your name, and we forbade him. Not indeed from envy, but to distinguish the working of miracles, for he had not received the power of working miracles with them, nor had the Lord sent him as He did them; nor did he follow Jesus in all things. Hence he adds, because he follows not with us.

AMBROSE; For John loving much, and therefore much beloved, thinks that they should be excluded from the privilege who did not practice obedience.

CYRIL; But we ought to consider not so much the worker of the miracles, as the grace which was in him, who, by the power of Christ, performed miracles. But what if there should be both those which be numbered together with the Apostles, and those who are crowned with the grace of Christ; there are many diversities in Christ’s gifts. But because the Savior had given the Apostles power to cast out evil spirits, they thought no one else but themselves alone was permitted to have this privilege granted to him, and therefore they come to inquire if it were lawful for others also to do this.

AMBROSE; Now John is not blamed, because he did this from love, but he is taught to know the difference between the strong and the weak. And therefore our Lord though He rewards the stronger, yet does not exclude the weak; as it follows, And Jesus said to him, Forbid him not, for he that is not against you is for you. True, O Lord. For both Joseph and Nicodemus, through fear Your secret disciples, when the time came, did not refuse their offices. But still since you said elsewhere, He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathers not with me scatters, explain to us lest the two seem contrary to one another. And it seems to me, if any one considers the Searcher of hearts, he cannot doubt that every man’s action is distinguished by the motive of his heart.

CHRYS. For in the other place when He said, He that is not with me is against me, He shows the Devil and the Jews to be opposed to Him; but here He shows that he who in Christ’s name cast out devils, is partly on their side.

CYRIL; As if He said, On the side of you who love Christ, are all they who wish to follow those things which conduce to His glory, being crowned with His grace.

THEOPHYL. Marvel then at the power of Christ, how His grace works by means of the unworthy and those who are not His disciples: as also men are sanctified through the priests, although the priests be not holy.

AMBROSE; Now why does He in this place say that they are not to be hindered, who by the imposition of hands can subdue the unclean spirits, when according to Matthew, He says to these, I never knew you? But we ought to perceive that there is no difference of opinion, but that the decision is this, that not only the official works but works of virtue are required in a priest, and that the name of Christ is so great, that even to the unholy it serves to give defense, but not grace. Let no one then claim to himself the grace of cleansing a man, because in him the power of the eternal Name has worked. For not by your merits, but by his own hatred, the devil is conquered.

THEOPHYL; Therefore in heretics and false Catholics, it becomes us to abhor, and forbid not the common sacraments in which they are with us, and not against us, but the divisions contrary to peace and truth, wherein they are against us as following not the Lord.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: