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 October, 2010

Father Callan on 1 Corinthians 8

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 31, 2010

For more notes on 1 Corinthians by Father Callan and others click on Notes On 1 Corinthians in the links field under this blog’s header or go here.

Another question asked St. Paul by the faithful of Corinth regarded meats offered to idols. It was true that the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:23 ff.) had legislated in this matter, but since the decision there given seemed intended especially for the Christians of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia, where there were
great numbers of Jews whom it was important not to scandalize by pagan practices, the Corinthians, as being mostly of Gentile origin and surroundings, were not certain just what their attitude should be toward pagan feasts and sacrificial meats.

The difficulty was increased by the fact that nearly all pagan banquets, both public and private, took on a religious character (Aristotle, Ethics viii. 9; Thucydides, ii. 38); and of the victims offered to the idols only a part was destroyed on the altar, the rest being given to the priests and those who offered the sacrifice for their own consumption in a sacrificial banquet, the remainder to be taken home for private use, or to be sold on the public market. It was customary for pagans to invite their friends to these private religious banquets, and it was held to be the part of loyalty to the State also to attend those that were celebrated publicly. Some of the Christians did not hesitate to attend these festivities and freely to partake of the meats offered to the idols, and to purchase such meats at the public market. Others were scandalized at such conduct, holding that it was entirely wrong to eat things profaned by idol worship. Still others ate with a bad conscience, feeling it was wrong to do so, but being unable to resist. Hence the matter was submitted to St. Paul. The present chapter gives his reply, which is to the effect that, while it is not wrong in itself to eat meats offered to idols, yet on account of scandal it is necessary sometimes to abstain from them.

A Summary Of 8:1-7. It is not possible that anything offered to an idol be really denied, since an idol is nothing. Those who have true knowledge understand this, because they know that there are not many gods, but one God only. But some are weak in the knowledge of the truth, and hence it is unlawful for them to eat meats offered to idols.

7. Now concerning those things that are sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up; but charity edifieth.

Now concerning … we know that. St. Paul here departs from the subject he starts to discuss, and through the second half of verse 1 and all of verses 2, 3, speaks parenthetically of “knowledge.” Perhaps those among the Corinthians who were scandalizing their weaker brethren had boasted in the letter to the Apostle that they had superior knowledge, and consequently knew there was no harm in eating meats offered to idols.

We all have knowledge, i.e., the Apostle and most of the faithful in Corinth knew very well how to regard the rites, sacrifices, and gods of pagans—they knew that idols were nothing.

Knowledge puffeth up, i.e., human wisdom, and even divine science, without charity, are often the occasion of pride and arrogance. Some of the Corinthians had knowledge, but without charity.

Charity edifieth. Literally, “Love buildeth up,” i.e., the love of God (verse 3), which includes also love of our neighbor, builds up (οἰκοδομέω= oikodomeō) the temple of God, the Christian society, by procuring the spiritual welfare and progress of the Christian community.

2. And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he hath not yet known as he ought to know.

If any man think, etc., i.e., if anyone thinks he understands that meats offered to idols are not defiled, and has not charity, which will teach him further that he must not overlook the weakness and needs of his neighbor, such a one hath not yet known, etc., i.e., has, as yet, only imperfect and one-sided knowledge. True knowledge consists in knowing our limitations,
and in subordinating everything to the love of God and the good of souls. Socrates said: “He is the wisest of men who knoweth that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing” (Plato, Apology, IX.).

3. But if any man love God, the same is known by him.

If any man love God, etc., i.e., if anyone have real supernatural
charity, which always includes the love of our neighbor
(1 John 4:20), he will be known, i.e., approved (cf. Matt 7:23; John 10:14, 27; Gal 4:9; etc, for this sense of γινώσκω = ginōskō) by God. In other words, such a person will not only understand the question of meats offered to idols, but will also know all that is necessary for his own salvation and that of his neighbor, and therefore will have God’s approval and blessing upon him. While we are all loved by God prior to our knowledge and love of Him, this approving love of God follows only upon our love of Him (MacR., against MacEv. and Estius).

4. But as for the meats that are sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one.

The Apostle now takes up the thought broken off in verse 1, and begins to treat directly the question of meats offered to idols.

But as for the meats, etc. Better, “Concerning, therefore, the eating of things offered to idols.”

We know that an idol is nothing, etc. Better, “We know that there is no idol in the world, and that there is no God but one,” i.e., there is nothing really and objectively corresponding to the images representing false gods, there is no being actually existing which has the properties of God except the one true God (Psalm 9:5; 113:4; Isa 41:24; 42:17; 44:9; etc.). Hence meat
offered to idols is really not a bit different from other meat.

5. For although there be that are called gods, either in heaven or on earth (for there be gods many, and lords many);
6. Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

The thought of the preceding verse is amplified. Although, according to the erroneous beliefs of various pagan nations, there are many so-called gods and lords, some celestial, some terrestrial, in the world; for us Christians, who know that God means the first principle and the last end of all things, there is only one God, the Father, from whom all things proceed as from their first cause, and to whom we tend as to our ultimate end (Rom 11:26). Furthermore, for us who know that Lord means Him on whom all entirely depend, there is only one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom, as the examplar and efficient cause, all things were made (John 1:3), and through whom, as God incarnate, we Christians have been redeemed (cf. Eph 4:5, 6).

The equality of the Father and the Son as God is clearly set forth in this verse. If the Arians would conclude from it that the Son is not God, then they ought consistently to conclude that the Father is not Lord, because (it says) there is
“one Lord Jesus Christ.” Of course to deny that the Father is Lord would be blasphemy (Theodoret).

7. But there is not knowledge in every one. For some until this present, with conscience of the idol: eat as a thing sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

The conclusion from the preceding verses (4-6) is that, since an idol has no real objective existence aside from its mere image of stone or plaster or the like, it cannot affect food offered to it. So much was clear to most of the Christians, but there were some who had not yet been sufficiently instructed to grasp this truth, and who consequently were not entirely persuaded that it was harmless to eat meats offered to idols. However, following the example of others they did eat such meats with conscience of the idol, i.e., believing that the idol had power to defile, and so went against the dictates of their conscience, and became defiled with sin. It is sinful to act against even an erroneous conscience (Rom 14:23), but one is obliged to do all he can to correct his false conscience.

Instead of the reading of the Vulgate and of most MSS. and
versions, with conscience of the idol, the three oldest Greek MSS. and some versions have through being used to the idol. The former is the preferable

A Summary of 8:8-13. The eating of meats offered to idols is harmless in itself,
and yet it is forbidden to those who do not understand that it is harmless. And even they who have a correct conception of the matter must abstain from such food when their eating of it might give scandal to others who would misunderstand their action, or who would, through frailty, be induced to follow their example, and thus violate their own conscience. Those who give scandal and lead others into sin commit a most grievous crime.

8. But meat doth not commend us to God. For neither, if we eat, shall we have the more: nor, if we eat not, shall we have the less.

In this verse the Apostle declares that meats considered in themselves are indifferent, being governed by no law; hence per se it is all the same in the sight of God whether we eat them or not.

Meat doth not commend, etc. Better, “Food will not commend,” etc., i.e., food is a matter of indifference before God; for whether we eat it or abstain from it we are neither better nor worse in God’s sight.

The doctrine of this verse looks to meats objectively considered, without any reference whatever to the legislation of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:23, 29), or to the Catholic teaching and practice regarding fasting. The Church can make laws affecting meats, if it wishes, but there was no such law binding the Corinthians; and this latter is all that St. Paul is talking about.

9. And take heed lest perhaps this your liberty become a stumbling-block to the weak.

And take heed, etc., i.e., those who are well instructed must be on their guard against doing anything that could scandalize and lead into sin those of their brethren who are wanting in more perfect knowledge.

1o. For if a man see him that hath knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple; shall not his conscience, being weak, be emboldened to eat those things which are sacrificed to idols?

Him that hath knowledge. Better, “Thee (σέ = se) that hast knowledge.” The Apostle gives an example of the scandal he is warning against.

In the idol’s temple, i.e., in the house or shrine devoted to idol worship. It often happened that the meats offered in sacrifice were partaken of, not only in the temple or shrine of the idol, but in the courts or grove adjoining. Later on (10:14 ff.) St. Paul denounces such action on the part of anyone under any
circumstances, but here he is concerned only with the scandal it gives.

Being weak. Weak refers to the condition of the man (αυτου ασθενους = autos asthenēs) , rather than to his conscience; he is weak in knowledge, and hence his conscience is erroneous.

Emboldened, usually employed in a good sense, meaning to edify, is here used ironically.

11. And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ hath died?

Behold the enormity of the sin of scandal! A Christian who is well informed, by his injudicious and careless action, causes a fellow-Christian, to whom a double portion of charity is due, to commit a grievous sin and lose his soul—a soul for whom Christ died on the cross (Rom. xiv. 15, 20). Shall the weak brother perish. This is the reading of E F G, Rec, Vulg., Peshitto, and Iren.; Other manuscripts have the present tense, “perisheth.”

It follows from this verse that Christ died for more than the elect.

12. Now when you sin thus against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

The sin of scandal is not only an injustice to one’s neighbor, whose right to charity it violates and whose conscience it wounds, but it is also an injustice and a cruelty to Christ, of whom our neighbor is a member and who died for all. What is done to the least of Christ’s servants is done to Him (Matt 25:34 ff.)

13. Wherefore, if meat scandalize my brother, I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother.

The Apostle proposes his own resolve and example to the Corinthians for imitation. As far as he goes he will abstain from all meats (βρῶμα = brōma, i.e., food of any kind), whether offered to idols or not, and this forever, if it be necessary to avoid giving scandal to his brother.

We must, therefore, avoid things perfectly licit in themselves, if there is danger of giving scandal to “little ones” (Matt 18:6). Of course things necessary for salvation are never to be abandoned for fear of scandal; neither are we obliged to take any notice of Pharisaical scandal (cf. St. Thomas, IIa IIae, q. 43, aa. 7, 8).

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

My Notes on Psalm 17: 1, 5, 6, 8, 15

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 31, 2010

Psalm 17 is a psalm of complaint made by an individual who has been unjustly accused and, as a consequence, persecuted. He has-according to modern scholars-taken refuge in the Temple and cries to God for help, confident that He will vindicate him. The attribution of the Psalm to David is understood as a reference to his being persecuted by Saul (see 2 Sam 22). The Temple had not been built in David’s day, in which case, if the attribution is original to the Psalm and not a latter addition, David is to be understood as being in the tent/tabernacle which housed the Ark prior to the Temple.

The Psalm is easily divided into three parts, with each beginning with a request:

Part 1, vss 1-5: “Hear, O Lord.” The Psalmist begs God to give him justice and help against his foes.  His cause is just: he is free from all guilt; his mind is pure, and his life has been directed by the Law (Father Patrick Boylan).

Part 2, vss 6-12: “O incline thy ear unto me.”  He again begs for help from the Lord, and describes the cruel enemy who is threatening him (Father Boylan).

Part 3, vss 13-15: “Arise, O Lord.”  The third part the appeal is for the destruction of the enemy.  Even though the godless seem to prevail for a while, in the end justice will triumph, and the light of God’s face will shine on those who are now oppressed (Father Boylan).

In all, the Psalm contains 11 requests.

The Psalmists attitude of complaint, the description of his enemies, his insistence on his own blessedness, his prayer for a very special divine assistance, point to a time of great peril arising from the menace of powerful foes. The only period of David’s career in which he found himself in such a position, was during the persecution of Saul.  The poem is certainly descriptive of an individual, not of a community.  The text of the psalm is in a comparatively poor condition, and we thus fail to get as much light from it about its origin as, at first sight, it seems to give.  For many modern critics this psalm suggests the social and religious background of the late post-Exilic period.  The psalm is, like the preceding, of very great religious value, since it implies, if it does not clearly state, the doctrine of immortality (Father Boylan).

17:1. Hear, O Lord, my justice: attend to my supplication. Give ear unto my prayer, which proceedeth not from deceitful lips.

The Psalmist prays that the Lord will hear his justice, i.e., his innocence.  צֶדֶק (Justice) is the accusative of the object: the righteousness, intended by the suppliant, is his own (Psa17:15). He knows that he is not merely righteous in his relation to man, but also in his relation to God. In all such assertions of pious self-consciousness, that which is intended is a righteousness of life which has its ground in the righteousness of faith. True, Hupfeld is of opinion, that under the Old Testament nothing was known either of righteousness which is by faith…. But if this were true, then Paul was in gross error and Christianity is built upon the sand. But the truth, that faith is the ultimate ground of righteousness, is expressed in Gen 15:6, and at other turning-points in the course of the history of redemption; and the truth, that the righteousness which avails before God is a gift of grace is, for instance, a thought distinctly marked out in the expression of Jeremiah צִדְקֵנוּ ה, “the Lord our righteousness.” The Old Testament conception, it is true, looks more to the phenomena than to the root of the matter…but the righteousness of life of the Old Testament and that of the New have one and the same basis, viz., in the grace of God, the Redeemer, towards sinful man, who in himself is altogether wanting in righteousness before God (Psa 143:2). Thus there is no self-righteousness, in David’s praying that the righteousness, which in him is persecuted and cries for help, may be heard. For, on the one hand, in his personal relation to Saul, he knows himself to be free from any ungrateful thoughts of usurpation, and on the other, in his personal relation to God free from מִרְמָה, i.e., self-delusion and hypocrisy (Keil and Delitzsch).

Give ear unto my prayer, which proceedeth not from deceitful lips. This verse should be seen in relation to verse 4: Psa 17:4  That my mouth may not speak the works of men: “for the sake of the words of thy lips, I have kept hard ways.” By maintaining stout devotion to God’s ways, i.e., God’s revealed will, here called “the words of thy lips”, the psalmist has not deceitful lips. Compare with verse 10 which provides a contrast: “their mouth hath spoken proudly.”  It also brings to mind Psalm 14:9-12 (RSV): “Those who surround me lift up their head, let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them! Let burning coals fall upon them! Let them be cast into pits, no more to rise! Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!”

Psa 17:5  Perfect thou my goings in thy paths: that my footsteps be not moved.

The Douay-Rheims, following the Vulgate’s translation of the Greek Septuagint, translates this as a request the psalmist made to God for protection, the NAB and RSV translate it as the psalmist’s statement of innocence: “My steps have held fast to thy paths, my feet have not slipped” (RSV).  Either way, the verse reflects the fact that God can and does preserve the faithful.  See Psalms 18:36; 119:117; 121:3, 7; 1 Sam 2:9; Jer 10:23.  The term path, or equivalents such as road or way, is a metaphor for moral life.

If one accepts the DR translation, as a prayer that my footsteps may not be moved, it should be seen in relation to verse 11: “They have cast me forth,” as if trying to force him from the right path, or cause his feet to stumble.

If one accepts the RSV and NAB translation of the verse “My steps have held fast to thy paths, my feet have not slipped,” then the translation of verse 11 in those versions is also applicable. The RSV of verse 11 reads: “They track me down; now they surround me; they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.” The emphasis here is on “They track me down,” as if following his footsteps on the moral path, looking for a pretext to “cast” him “to the ground.”

Psa 17:6  I call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God; incline thy ear to me, hear my words (RSV)

Compare with verse 1. Once again the psalmist is confident that God will hear and answer him as a result of his justice, exhibited in his moral life.

Psa 17:8  From them that resist thy right hand keep me, as the apple of thy eye. Protect me under the shadow of thy wings.

The psalmist prays that God will keep him as the apple of thy eye, a term of endearment and protection.  Again, comparison with verse 11 should be seen, for the enemies “have set their eyes bowing down to the earth.”  If God keeps him as the apple of His eye then the enemies watchful vigil to do him harm will be to no avail. See also Deut 32:10; Zech 2:8; 36:7; 63:7.

Protect me under the shadow of thy wings. Some see God as being compared to a mother bird protecting her young. See Matt 23:37~”Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not?” See also Psalms 36:8; 63:8; 91:4 Others see a reference to the protective presence of God manifest on the wings of the Cherubim (Ex 25:20-22).

Psa 17:15  But as for me, I will appear before thy sight in justice: I shall be satisfied when thy glory shall appear.

The psalm began with the psalmist asking God to “hear my justice” (vs 1) and the request “let thy eyes behold” (vs 2). Here he expresses his confidence that his prayer has been (or will be) heard before God’s sight (eyes) in justice.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 20:27-38 for Sunday Mass, Nov 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 31, 2010

This post includes commentary on verses 39 & 40.

Ver 27. Then came to him certain of the Sadducees which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,28. Saying, Master, Moses wrote to us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed to his brother.29. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.30. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.31. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.32. Last of all the woman died also.33. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.34. And Jesus answering said to them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:35. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:36. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.37. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.38. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him.39. Then certain of the Scribes answering said, Master, you have well said.40. And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.

BEDE; There were two heresies among the Jews, one of the Pharisees, who boasted in the righteousness of their traditions, and hence they were called by the people, “separated;” the other of the Sadducees, whose name signified “righteous,” claiming to themselves that which they were not. When the former went away, the latter came to tempt Him.

ORIGEN; The heresy of the Sadducees not only denies the resurrection of the dead, but also believes the soul to die with the body. Watching then to entrap our Savior in His words, they proposed a question just at the time when they observed Him teaching His disciples concerning the resurrection; as it follows, And they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote to us, If a brother, etc.

AMBROSE; According to the letter of the law, a woman is compelled to marry, however unwilling, in order that a brother may raise up seed to his brother who is dead. The letter therefore kills, but the Spirit is the master of charity.

THEOPHYL. Now the Sadducees resting upon a weak foundation, did not believe in the doctrine of the resurrection. For imagining the future life in the resurrection to be carnal, they were justly misled, and hence reviling the doctrine of the resurrection as a thing impossible they invent the story, There were seven brothers, etc.

BEDE; They devise this story in order to convict those of folly, who assert the resurrection of the dead. Hence they object a base fable, that they may deny the truth of the resurrection.

AMBROSE; Mystically, this woman is the synagogue, which had seven husbands, as it is said to the Samaritan, You had five husbands, because the Samaritan follows only the five books of Moses, the synagogue for the most part seven. And from none of them has she received the seed of a hereditary offspring, and so can have no part with her husbands in the resurrection, because she perverts the spiritual meaning of the precept into a carnal. For not any carnal brother is pointed at, who should raise seed to his deceased brother, but that brother who from the dead people of the Jews should claim to himself for wife the wisdom of the divine worship, and from it should raise up seed in the Apostles, who being left as it were unformed in the womb of the synagogue, have according to the election of grace been thought worthy to be preserved by the admixture of a new seed.

BEDE; Or these seven brothers answer to the reprobate, who throughout the whole life of the world which revolves in seven days, are fruitless in good works, and these being carried away by death one after another, at length the course of the evil world, as the barren woman, itself also passes away.

THEOPHYL. But our Lord shows that in the resurrection there will be no fleshly conversation, thereby overthrowing their doctrine together with its slender foundation; as it follows, And Jesus said to them, The children of this world marry, etc.

AUG. For marriages are for the sake of children, children for succession, succession because of death. Where then there is no death, there are no marriages; and hence it follows, But they which shall be accounted worthy, etc.

BEDE; Which must not be taken as if only they who are worthy were either to rise again or be without marriage, but all sinners also shall rise again, and abide without marriage in that new world. But our Lord wished to mention only the elect, that He might incite the minds of His hearers to search into the glory of the resurrection.

AUG. As our discourse is made up and completed by departing and succeeding syllables, so also men themselves whose faculty discourse is by departure and succession make up and complete the order of this world, which is built up with the mere temporal beauty of things. But in the future life, seeing that the Word which we shall enjoy is formed by no departure and succession of syllables, but all things which it has it has everlastingly and at once, so those who partake of it, to whom it alone will be life shall neither depart by death, nor succeed by birth, even as it now is with the angels; as it follows, For they are equal to the angels.; For as the multitude of the angels is indeed very great, yet they are not propagated by generation, but have their being from creation, so also to those who rise again, there is no more necessity for marriage; as it follows, And are the children of God.THEOPHYL. As if He said, Because it is God who works in the resurrection, rightly are they called the sons of God, who are regenerated by the resurrection. For there is nothing carnal seen in the regeneration of them that rise again, there is neither coming together, nor the womb, nor birth.

BEDE; Or they are equal to the angels, and the children of God, because made new by the glory of the resurrection, with no fear of death, with no spot of corruption, with no quality of an earthly condition, they rejoice in the perpetual beholding of God’s presence.

ORIGEN; But because the Lord says in Matthew, which is here omitted, You do err, not knowing the Scriptures, ask the question, where is it so written, They shall neither marry, nor be given in marriage? for as I conceive there is no such thing to be found either in the Old or New Testament, but the whole of their error had crept in from the reading of the Scriptures without understanding; for it is said in Esaias, My elect shall not have children for a curse. Whence they suppose that the like will happen in the resurrection. But Paul interpreting all these blessings as spiritual, knowing them not to be carnal, says to the Ephesians, You have blessed us in all spiritual blessings.

THEOPHYL Or to the reason above given the Lord added the testimony of Scripture, Now that the dead are raised, Moses also showed at the bush, as the Lord said, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. As if he said, If the patriarchs have once returned to nothing so as not to live with God in the hope of a resurrection, He would not have said, I am, but, I was, for we are accustomed to speak of things dead and gone thus, I was the Lord or Master of such a thing; but now that He said, I am, He shows that He is the God and Lord of the living. This is what follows, But he its not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. For though they have departed from life, yet live they with Him in the hope of a resurrection.

BEDE; Or He says this, that after having proved that the souls abide after death, (which the Sadducees denied,) He might next introduce the resurrection also of the bodies, which together with the souls have done good or evil. But that is a true life which the just live to God, even though they are dead in the body. Now to prove the truth of the resurrection, He might have brought much more obvious examples from the Prophets, but the Sadducees received only the five books of Moses, rejecting the oracles of the Prophets.

CHRYS. As the saints claim as their own the common Lord of the world, not as derogating from His dominion, but testifying their affection after the manner of lovers, who do not brook to love with many, but desire to express a certain peculiar and especial attachment; so likewise does God call Himself especially the God of these, not thereby narrowing but enlarging His dominion; for it is not so much the multitude of His subjects that manifests His power, as the virtue of His servants. Therefore He does not so delight in the name of the God of heaven and earth, as in that of in God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now among men servants are thus denominated by, their masters; for we say, ‘The steward of such a man’, but on the contrary God is called the God of Abraham.

THEOPHYL. But when the Sadducees were silenced, the Scribes commend Jesus, for they were opposed to them, saying to Him, Master, you have well said.

BEDE; And since they had been defeated in argument, they ask Him no further questions, but seize Him, and deliver Him up to the Roman power. From which we may learn, that the poison of envy may indeed be subdued, but it is a hard thing to keep it at rest.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 31, 2010

I’ve included in this post Father Callan’s summaries of 2:12-16 and 3:1-5 to help provide some context. The latter summary appears in the post before the commentary on 3:1.

A Summary of 2 Thessalonians 2:12-16.

St. Paul now turns away from the thought of the reprobate to think of the elect and the spiritual blessings of which they have been the willing objects, believing in the Gospel and consenting to the truth; and he says that for them who have been chosen by God and sanctified and ordained to eternal life, he and his companions ought always to give thanks to God (ver. 12-13). He exhorts his readers to steadfastness in what they have received from him, whether by preaching or by letter; and then offers a prayer that they may be comforted and strengthened in faith (ver. 14-16).

5. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God and our Father, who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope in grace,
16. Exhort your hearts, and confirm you in every good work and word.

Since the Thessalonians could not of their own strength continue firm in their faith, St. Paul now prays God to give them the necessary grace.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, etc. Our Lord is here mentioned before the Father, as in 2 Cor 13:13 and Gal 1:1, because He is the way to the Father. On these words St. Chrysostom remarks: “Where now are those who say that the Son is less than the Father, because He is named after the Father in the grace of washing?” St. Paul heartens his readers by reminding them that our Lord and God the Father have loved them from all eternity, and have given them “everlasting consolation” in the midst of tribulations through the “good hope” they have of possessing one day the joys of heaven; and this divine love God has for them, as well as the hope He has given them, is “in grace,” i.e., is gratuitous, the result of pure mercy on His part. Therefore the Apostle prays that God would “exhort,” i.e., comfort their hearts in the midst of tribulations, “and confirm,” i.e., strengthen them in the pursuit of every good work. It is to be observed that the verbs “exhort” and “confirm” here are in the singular, following the mention of our Lord and God the Father, which shows that the action of our Lord is identical with that of the Father, and therefore that He is one with the Father in nature and substance.

A Summary of 3:1-5

The Apostle now requests prayers for himself and his companions (ver. 1-2). He assures the Thessalonians of God’s faithfulness and of his own confidence in them (ver. 3-4), and prays once more for them (ver. 5).

1. For the rest, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run, and may be glorified, even as among you;

For the rest. See on 1 Thess 4:1. Father Callan’s comment on that verse: For the rest is a formula of transition often used by St. Paul, directing attention to something else that is to follow.

That the word of the Lord, etc., i.e., that the teaching of the Gospel may spread rapidly without impediment in the world.

And may be glorified, i.e., may be acknowledged and may produce the fruit of life among all men, as it has done “among you.” The Dei of the Vulgate should be Domini, to agree with the Greek.

2. And that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for all men have not faith.

St. Paul’s second request is that he and his companions “may be delivered from perverse and evil men,” very likely referring to his Jewish opponents at Corinth at this time (Acts 17:13 ff., 18:6 ff.). It is not surprising that opposition should be encountered, “for all men have not faith,” i.e., comparatively few embrace the faith, and this for two reasons, namely, because faith is first of all a free gift of God, and secondly, because men are indisposed and do not want faith.

3. But the Lord is faithful, who will strengthen and keep you from evil.

After requesting their prayers, the Apostle now turns his thoughts to the Thessalonians themselves, assuring them that, however strong their enemies may be, “the Lord is faithful” to His promises (1 Cor 1:9), and that, having called them to the Gospel, He will not be wanting in His grace to “strengthen” them in the pursuit of good and protect them against the incursions of “evil,” or better, “the evil one,” probably alluding to the last petition of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:13; Luke 11:4).

Again, read Dominus for Deus in the Vulgate.

4. And we have confidence concerning you in the Lord, that the things which we command you both do and will do.

We have confidence concerning you, etc. The Apostle is speaking in the present tense, and seems to be preparing his readers for the more severe counsels he will give them in verse 6. He means to say that he is relying on their good will, assisted by God’s grace which is never wanting to the well-disposed, for he adds, “in the Lord,” the author of all grace.

5. And the Lord direct your hearts into the charity of God and the patience of Christ.

After expressing his confidence in their good will to do all in their power, St. Paul now prays that God will make up to them whatever may be lacking on their part by moving and directing their hearts “in the charity of God, etc.” It is not certain whether there is question here of the love which God has for us and the patience of which Christ gave us an example, or of the love we have for God and the patient expectation of the coming of Christ. The latter opinion is thought to be more probable (Cajetan, Voste).

In charitate et patientia of the Vulgate should be in charitatem et patientiam, according to the Greek.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 Thessalonians, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday Oct 24- Saturday Oct 30

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 30, 2010

Note: blogging will be sparse for a while as I am in the process of preparing a sizable number of posts for the Advent season which begins on November 28th. I will begin posting these a week prior to the start of Advent (i.e., on Nov 21).  Also, some posts listed below are scheduled in advance and will not become available until the time indicated. Posts may be added at any time during the week.

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Last weeks posts, Oct 17-23.

Resources for Sunday Mass, Oct 24. A weekly feature of this blog. Resources for next Sunday’s Mass, Oct 31, will be posted on Wednesday.

3oth Week in Ordinary Time.


My notes on Today’s Psalm.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm. Latin and English text side by side.

Father Patrick Boylan on Today’s Psalm.

A Lectio Diovina Reading of Today’s Psalm.

Pope Benedict XVI on Today’s Psalm.

A Protestant Commentary on Today’s Psalm. Contains almost no actual commentary but does include many helpful cross references.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Some Disputatious Thoughts On Conscience. Links to a several brief but interesting posts on the subject of conscience.

Accelerating Towards the Abyss: The Real Story of Fiscal Year 2010. Disturbing.

Comparing Jews to Nazis Meets NPR’s ‘Editorial Standards and Practices’ NPR & PBS have raised the double standard to an art form.

Who Knew 60 Minutes Was Still Capable of Hard Hitting Journalism Against the Left? Kind of a shocker.

AFL-CIO Official: “Jesus Christ Couldn’t Do Anything More Than Obama Has Done.” I bet He could stop spending money and demonizing opponents.

30th Week in Ordinary Time.


Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s First Reading. Available at midnight.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Father Callan on 2 Thess 1:11-2:2 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Luke 19:1-10 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31. Available 12:15 AM EST.

Bernardin de Piconio on Philippians 3:17-4:3 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Extraordinary Form). Available 12:20 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 9:18-26 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Extraordinary Form) Available 12:25 AM EST.

30th Week in Ordinary Time.


Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s First Reading. Available at Midnight.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Juan de Maldonado on Matt 9:18-26 for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Extraordinary Form). Available 12:10 AM EST.

Resources for Sunday Mass, Oct 31 (Ordinary & Extraordinary Forms).

Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles.


Pope Benedict XVI on Saints Simon and Jude.

Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s 1st Reading. Available at Midnight.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on the Epistle of St Jude. Available 12:05 AM EST.

30th Week in Ordinary Time


Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s 1st Reading. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on today’s Gospel. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Father Charles Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:25-40.

30th Week in Ordinary Time.


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Father Charles Callan on 1 Corinthians 7:25-40

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2010


More commentary on 1 Corinthians by Father Callan and others can be found here.


25-40. What the Apostle had just said in the preceding verses, about remaining after conversion in the same condition of life as before, might cause much uncertainty and doubt in the minds of the Corinthians. Did he mean that young persons who were not yet married should remain single? And that widows should not remarry? It is true he had briefly touched on these questions in verses 8, 9; but after all that had been said in verses 17-24,
regarding the advisability of continuing unchanged in one’s former state of life after receiving Baptism, it became quite necessary that the questions involved be more thoroughly discussed and elucidated. Accordingly, the Apostle now explains that, while virginity is only a counsel, it is far more excellent than married life. He then gives some practical advice to parents in
regard to their daughters, and terminates with a few words of instruction for widows.

25. Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful.

Beginning to speak of virginity and its excellence, the Apostle observes in the first place that he has no precept from the Lord in the matter, as was otherwise in the question of matrimony (verse 10).

Virgins (παρθενων). Perhaps this term here embraces both sexes, as in Matt 19:12; Apoc 14:4, and as would seem probable from verses 28, 32, 33 of this chapter.

No commandment of the Lord. Our Lord extolled the excellence of virginity (Matt 19:12), but He did not command it as something necessary for salvation.

I give counsel (γνωμην δε διδωμ), i.e., he gives very serious advice, as one who has obtained mercy of the Lord, i.e., who has been called to the Apostolate by the divine mercy, and has been commanded to preach by Christ Himself (Gal 1:1).

To be faithful, i.e., he must speak as he does, and give counsel regarding virginity, otherwise he will not be faithful to his mission and to the grace that has been given him; he must counsel as one “worthy of belief, called by the Lord’s great mercy, and entrusted with the ministry of preaching (Theodoret).

26. I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity, that it is good for a man so to be.

The Apostle’s counsel regarding virginity is this, that it is good, i.e., excellent, more perfect than the married state (cf. on verse 1)

For the present necessity, i.e., on account of the trials, troubles and anxieties of this present life, to which married people are more exposed than those who remain single (Cornely, Fillion, and most of the older interpreters); or, on account of the near approach of the end of the world (Bisping, Toussaint, Prat in La Theolegie, etc., vol. 1, p. 154). This latter explanation is out of harmony with the teaching of St. Paul in a previous Epistle (2 Thess 2:2 ff.; 3:5 ff), and with the decisions of the Biblical Commission of June 18, 1915, on the Parousia. Whatever may have been St. Paul’s private opinions on this, or any other subject, we cannot admit that he ever taught or wrote anything which subsequent facts have proved to have been false.

27. Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

Notwithstanding the excellence of virginity, those who are already married should stay with their wives. On the other hand, those who are unmarried should remain single.

Loosed from a wife could include widowers, but the context seems to restrict it to men who have never been married.

28. But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you.

If thou take a wife (with D E F G). Better, “If thou marry” (with B), The Apostle wishes to say that what he has just counselled about not seeking a wife must not be understood as meaning that those who marry will thereby
sin; for matrimony is good, having been instituted by God Himself
in the garden of paradise (Cornely). The verbs hast not sinned (Vulg., non peccasti), hath not sinned (Vulg., non peccavit), although representing the Greek aorist, would better express the meaning here, if they were in the future tense. The aorist is thus at times correctly rendered by the future in the Vulgate (cf. John xv. 6). Note: B, D, E, F and G are manuscript designations).

Tribulation of the flesh means the trials, anxieties and annoyances of life, which are more numerous for the married than for the single.

I spare you, i.e., I do not insist on your leading a life of virginity, which would be very difficult, if you have not the gift of continence. Others explain as follows: I recommend virginity to you in order to “spare you” from the difficulties and hardships of married life.

29. This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none;

This therefore I say. Better, “But this I say.” The Apostle explains why it is better to remain unmarried.

The time is short, i.e., the days of this life are few and short, and so it is better to avoid the cares and anxieties inseparable from married life, in order to give ourselves more fervently to the service of God. Some interpret these words as referring to the nearness of the day of judgment, which cannot be allowed, since this would make the Apostle teach something which was not true. Of course it is a fact that each one’s particular judgment is never far off, and all uncertain to the individual whom, therefore, it behooves to keep as free as possible from distracting annoyances and to be ever watching for his Master’s coming.

It remaineth, etc. The conclusion which follows from the brevity of our life on earth is that we ought to keep our hearts detached from all temporal cares, solicitudes, joys and sorrows which may obscure the vision of our real purpose in life, namely, the service of God and the salvation of our souls.

30. And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

The meaning is that we must not allow any of our earthly experiences, whether of sorrow, of joy, or of business, to absorb our attention and distract us from loving and serving God. We must rather turn all these things to our sanctification by regarding them in the light of faith.

31. And they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Use this world, as if they used it not. Better, “Use the World, as not using it to the full.”

The fashion . . . passeth away, i.e., the show, the external appearance, of things, such as riches, honors, pleasures, sorrows and the like, are fleeting, and should not be permitted to take our hearts away with them. These external things of the present world shall be destroyed at the judgment; the substance of the world, though changed and purified, shall not be destroyed (Rom 8:19 ff.; 2 Peter 3:13; 1 John 2:17; Apoc 21:1).

32. But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God.
33. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.

St. Paul says that he prefers the Christians to be free from the cares and responsibilities of married life, in order that they may give their thoughts and affections more entirely to God. If one is unmarried, he can more easily give his undivided attention to his spiritual welfare; whereas, if married, one’s wife and family justly claim a part of his thoughts and affections, and thus he is divided.

God (Vulg., Deo) at the end of verse 32 ought to be “Lord” (Domino), as in the Greek.

34. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

What was just said of the unmarried and of the married man is also true of the unmarried and of the married woman.

The beginning of this verse has two readings, namely, that of the Vulgate and our version, which is supported by some of the best MSS. and the majority of critics; and that of the Revised Version, Tischendorf and others, which makes the verse begin with the last words of verse 33, and he is divided. Those who follow this less probable reading translate the beginning of the present verse as follows: “And there is a difference also between the wife and the virgin.”

It is clear that the meaning is the same in either reading; for both proclaim the one thing, namely, the superior perfection of the unmarried over the married state.

35. And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you; but for that which is decent, and which may give you power, to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.

After having extolled the superior excellence of virginity the Apostle tells the Christians that he has spoken only for their profit, for their greater advantage. He does not want to cast a snare upon them, i.e., to deprive them of their liberty to get married, if they want to, but only to encourage them to seek that which is decent, i.e., what is seemly, more perfect, so that they may be better able to serve the Lord, without impediment, i.e., without the distracting cares of wedded life.

36. But if any man think that he seemeth dishonoured, with regard to his virgin, for that she is above the age, and it must so be: let him do what he will; he sinneth not, if she marry.

This and the two following verses give practical rules to guide parents in marrying off their daughters. The Apostle addresses the father to whom, according to ancient custom among the Jews and the Greeks, it pertained in particular to direct the future choice of the daughters of the family.

If any man think, etc., i.e., if a father of a family thinks he is being disgraced in the eyes of his neighbors for not providing a husband for his virgin, i.e., his daughter, and allowing her to get married, since she is above the age, i.e., since she has reached, or already passed the flower of her age, and it must so be, i.e., and, either she is determined not to lead a life of
virginity, or there is need to let her marry on account of the danger of immorality, let him do, etc., i.e., let the father permit his daughter to marry; he commits no sin thereby.

If she marry. Better, “Let them marry,” i.e., let the daughters get married; or, let the daughter and her suitor get married.

37. For he that hath determined being steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but having power of his own will; and hath judged this in his heart, to keep his virgin, doth well.

For should be “But” (δέ). On the other hand, if he that hath determined, etc., i.e., if a father, being steadfast (ἵστημι) in his heart against the criticism and erroneous judgments of his neighbors, having no necessity, i.e., being under no necessity of giving his daughter in marriage, but being able to follow his own wishes and hers, hath judged, etc., i.e., has decided to keep his
daughter from marriage, permitting her to follow a life of virginity—such a father doth well, literally, “shall do well.”

The statuit of the Vulgate should be stat, and facit should be faciei, to agree with the best Greek.

38. Therefore both he that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better.

Since, therefore, matrimony is good, a father does well to give his daughter in marriage; but he does better that keeps his daughter for a life of virginity. The Apostle’s teaching on this subject is decisive. Doth better (Vulg., melius facit) should be in the future tense.

39. A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband die, she is at liberty: let her marry to whom she will; only in the Lord.

St. Paul now turns to the question regarding widows. In this verse he teaches three things: (a) The indissolubility of marriage; (b) that a widow has the right to remarry; (c) that she should marry a Christian.

The words, by the law (Vulg., legi) are not represented in the best MSS. here, and were probably inserted from Rom 7:2.

40. But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.

But a widow shall be more blessed, literally, “is more blessed,” if she continue in her widowhood, since the state of the unmarried is more perfect, giving greater freedom from the cares of life and enabling one to serve God more constantly and more fervently (verses 25, 26, 32-35).

I think that I also, etc. The Apostle had no doubt of his inspiration to counsel as well as teach, but he speaks modestly, saying less than he wishes to be understood (Estius). The “also” looks back to the other Apostles and leaders among the Corinthians who were so much admired by the faithful.

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Oct 29: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 14:1-6)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2010

Ver 1. And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.2. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.3. And Jesus answering spoke to the Lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?4. And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;5. And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?6. And they could not answer him again to these things.

CYRIL; Although our Lord knew the malice of the Pharisees, yet He became their guest, that He might benefit by His words and miracles those who were present. Whence it follows, And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him; to see whether He would despise the observance of the law, or do any thing that was forbidden on the sabbath day. When then the man with the dropsy came into the midst of them, He rebukes by a question the insolence of the Pharisees, who wished to detect Him; as it is said, And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, &c.

BEDE; When it is said that Jesus answered, there is a reference to the words which went before, And they watched him. For the Lord knew the thoughts of men.

THEOPHYL. But by His question He exposes their folly. For while God blessed the sabbath, they forbade to do good on the sabbath; but the day which does not admit the works of the good is accursed.

BEDE; But the, who were asked, are rightly silent, for they perceived that whatever they said, would be against themselves. For if it is lawful to heal on the sabbath day, wily did they watch the Savior whether He would heal? If it is not lawful, why do they take care of their cattle on the sabbath? Hence it follows, But they held their peace.

CYRIL; Disregarding then the snares of the Jews, He cures the dropsical, who from fear of the Pharisees did not ask to be healed on account of the sabbath, but only stood up, that when Jesus beheld him, He might have compassion on him and heal him. And the Lord knowing this, asked not whether he wished to be made whole, but forthwith healed him. Whence it follows; And he took him, and healed him, and let him go. Wherein our Lord took no thought not to offend the Pharisees, but only that He might benefit him who needed healing. For it becomes us, when a great good is the result, not to care if fools take offense.

CYRIL; But seeing the Pharisees awkwardly silent, Christ baffles their determined impudence by some important considerations. As it follows; And he answered and said to them, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

THEOPHYL. As though He said, If the law forbids to have mercy on the sabbath-day, have no care of your son when in danger on the sabbath-day. But why speak I of a son, when you do not even neglect an ox if you see it in danger?

BEDE; By these words He so refutes His watchers, the Pharisees, as to condemn them also of covetousness, who in the deliverance of animals consult their own desire of wealth. How much more then ought Christ to deliver a man, who is much better than cattle!

AUG. Now He has aptly compared the dropsical man to an animal which has fallen into a ditch, (for he is troubled by water,) as He compared that woman, whom He spoke of as bound, and whom He Himself loosed, to a beast which is let loose to be led to water.

BEDE; By a suitable example then He settles the question, strewing that they violate the sabbath by a work of covetousness, who contend that he does so by, a work of charity. Hence it follows, And they could not answer him again to these things. Mystically, the dropsical man is compared to him who is weighed down by an overflowing stream of carnal pleasures. For the disease of dropsy derives the name of a watery humor.

AUG. Or we rightly compare the dropsical man to a covetous rich man. For as the former, the more he increases in unnatural moisture the greater his thirst; so also the other, the more abundant his riches, which he does not employ well, the more ardently he desires them.

GREG Rightly then is the dropsical man healed in the Pharisees’ presence, for by the bodily infirmity of the one, is expressed the mental disease of the other.

BEDE; In this example also He well refers to the ox and the ass; so as to represent either the wise and the foolish, or both nations; that is, the Jew oppressed by the burden of the law, the Gentile not subject to reason. For the Lord rescues from the pit of concupiscence all who are sunk therein.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Father Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippians 1:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2010

1. Paul and Timotheus, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the Saints in Jesus Christ who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.

Chapter 1. In this chapter the Apostle expresses his gratitude and affection towards the Christians of Philippi; informs them as to his own situation and circumstances at Rome; expresses the conviction that he will live to return to them; and exhorts them to courage and constancy.

Paul and Timotheus. Timotheus was highly honoured and valued by the Christians of Philippi, and regarded them with great affection, as appears from 2:20. For this reason the Apostle adds his name to the salutation, but in verse 3 he recurs to the singular number, gratias ago. He does not here style himself Apostle, because he prefers to adopt a title shared by Timothy, Servants of Jesus Christ. It is the highest of all possible dignities, Saint Chrysostom says, to be the servant of Jesus Christ, and not only be called so. If you so call yourself, see that you are so in reality. You glory in the name; but have reason to blush for the work you do. Fear what Christ says in the Gospel: Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of the heavens; but who does the will of My Father. Matt 7:21.

With the bishops and deacons. The bishops of the other cities of Macedonia, to whom it was intended that this epistle should be communicated, with the deacons who assisted them. There is no mention of priests, because in the Apostolic times, when the numbers of the Christian communities were very limited, priests were rarely required to assist the bishop, and they hardly yet appear as a distinct order. When Saint Gregory, for instance, went to Neocaesarea, and found only seventeen Christians in the place, he would hardly have required the aid of a priest. Probably, therefore, under the term bishops the priests at Philippi are intended to be included. Thus it is apparently understood by the Syriac version, which reads: with the priests
and deacons.

The expression saints in Jesus Christ suggests the reflection that union with Jesus Christ is the only source of sanctity. No one separated from Jesus Christ can in reality be holy. All who are grafted into Christ are holy, and more holy in proportion as they are more fully and perfectly united with him. Union with Christ in mind, heart, and work, sanctifies the whole man. This union is accomplished by faith, hope, and charity, and sustained, augmented, and drawn closer by continual prayer. Persons professing other religions, or who do not belong to the communion of the Catholic Church, or are devotees of some system of false philosophy, not unfrequently exhibit qualities which resemble Christian graces, and are externally the same, as liberality, justice, courage, fortitude, chastity, generosity, philanthropy, and the like. But these do not constitute real sanctity, and are always in reality referable to some motive inferior to the love of God for his own sake, which is the principle of the Christian life. And though these qualities, excellent as far as they go, are
often valuable for temporal ends, they do not advance the kingdom of Christ, or tend to the salvation of souls.

2. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace to you and peace, &c. This is the Apostle’s invariable form of salutation, as including all interior and exterior good.

3. I give thanks to my God in every memory of you.

I thank my God in every memory of you. Literally, in all my memory of you. He was conscious, St. Chrysostom says, how many great and good gifts God had bestowed on them, and therefore he glorifies God and prays for them at the same time. He gives thanks for what is past, he prays for what is to come. He glorifies God for their good works, done from their first conversion; he prays they may persevere until the day of Christ. Thank God for holy beginnings, and for good works done, but pray for perseverance. It is not the Christian’s beginning, but his end, upon which eternity depends. Not he who begins well, but who perseveres to the end, shall he saved.

4. Always in all my prayers for you all, with joy making deprecation,

With joy making deprecation. The Apostle prays with joy for the Philippians. This is greatly to their praise, and a proof of the graces and excellences they exhibited. They kept their faith, persevered from their first conversion in good works, had the purpose of perseverance in their hearts. Nothing can give greater joy to the Saints of God than to see this, and with joy will they intercede for us. For if there is joy in heaven for the conversion of a sinner, how much more for his perseverance in good.

5. For your communication in the Gospel of Christ, from the first day until now.

For your communication in the Gospel of Christ. The Greek has to the Gospel, omitting of Christ. This is the cause of the joy referred to in the last verse. The Latin interpreters generally understand by it your participation by faith
in the privileges and promises of the Gospel, from the time you first accepted it until now. But St. Chrysostom and other Greek writers think it refers to the generosity and munificence with which the Philippians had contributed to the support of their teachers and the preachers of the Gospel, from the date of their conversion until the present time, when hearing of St. Paul’s imprisonment they crowned this liberality by sending him a large sum of money by the hands of Epaphroditus, to which he makes further reference
in verse 18. This interpretation is for several reasons the more probable one. It was certainly one of the principal objects for which the Epistle was written, to return to them the thanks of St. Paul for this contribution to his wants. The same expression, only more fully expanded, is used in 4:15, communication in giving and receiving, which undoubtedly has reference to the collection of money for the service of the Church. Several other passages in the writings of St. Paul might be quoted, which prove that he was in the habit of using the word communication in this sense, as in this Epistle, 4:14, you have done well in communicating with my afflictions; Rom 12:3, communicating with the needs of the Saints; Gal 6:6, let the catechised communicate with the catechiser; Heb 13:16, forget not well-doing and communicating. The expression of the Greek in this place indicates the same thing, to or for the Gospel, for its extension and propagation. The verse may therefore be paraphrased thus: I glorify God, and when praying for you I do so with joy, not only because you have believed the Gospel, and faithfully retained your confidence in it, but because you have displayed your solicitude for the salvation also of others, by giving me sympathy and substantial help wherever I went, and united your own zeal and diligence with mine in spreading the cause of Christ; supplying me, and those who were engaged in the same labours as myself, with what we required for our temporal necessities. This you have done, not once and again, but continually, from the date of your first conversion until now, when you have sent me substantial aid and support in my imprisonment, by the hands of Epaphroditus, your bishop. St. Chrysostom adds: Therefore to give aid in money is communication to the Gospel; and to cherish and support the preacher of the Gospel, is to share his crown. Thus it is in your power to share the crowns and honours laid up in heaven for Apostles and holy men, by giving them the support of your advocacy and of your purse, by consoling
them in trouble, supplying their wants, aiding their ministry by any means that may be within your power. You admire the angelic life of the holy hermits of the desert, the Apostolic virtues of prelates and holy priests, and mourn for the wide interval that separates you from them; yet it is in your power to communicate with them, by support, aid, and service. And this by the kindness and benignity of God, who has thus opened out to the more negligent and weak, unequal to the rough passage of the ascetic life, another road by which they may attain the same end.

Some people are rich in temporal things, and poor in those that belong to the spirit. Yet they can in this way obtain a share of the virtues of the Saints, and the merits of Apostles. Others are poor equally in the things of time and the graces of the spirit, yet even these can enrich themselves with the merits and spiritual wealth of  holy men, by uniting themselves with them by their advocacy and their prayers.

6. Trusting this, that he who began a good work” in you, will complete it to the day of Jesus Christ.

St. Paul had a firm trust and confidence that God, whose grace had begun this good work, would enable it to continue until the day of Christ, the last judgment. Of this day, the Apostle invariably speaks as it it were near at hand,
that we may be always ready for it. See 1 Thess 4:, &c.
And in 4:5 of this Epistle he says expressly, the Lord is near.

7. As it is just for me to feel this for you all, because I have you in my heart and in my chains, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel, that you should all be sharers in my joy.

It is just for me to feel this. This confidence which I have expressed, namely, that God will give you grace to persevere in charity until the day of Christ, is justified, first, by my ardent affection for you, I have you in my heart, which
encourages me to pray earnestly for your perseverance; and next, because by so generously contributing to my necesities, and by the sympathy and support you tender to me, you are become partakers in my imprisonment, and I have your aid, countenance, and authority, thus publicly conveyed, to the apology or defence of the Gospel of Christ, which I am continually conducting at Rome, and your open support is a confirmation and strengthening of what I teach. In all these three things I feel and know that you are with me, by your ardent sympathy, your advocacy, and your prayers. And you are partakers also of the joy I experience in witnessing the progress of Christ’s truth, and the establishment and extension of the Church in Rome. The Greek text has grace (χάρις) for joy(χαρά), the two words being very similar, and one easily substituted for another. Partakers of my grace
would signify a share m the privilege and honour I enjoy of being a herald of Christ’s Gospel, and one of the founders of the Roman Church. The Philippians, by contributing liberally to the wants of the Apostle, obtained a partnership in the merits of his chains, his apology, his confirmation of the truth of Christ. Thus may one who is rich in this world’s goods, or possesses worldly influence, purchase a share in the merits of the saints. He is like an elm, says St. Gregory (Hom. 20 in Evang.), fruitless itself, but rich in the abundant produce of the vine which clings to it. Men in secular life, within the Church, have not the gifts and graces of the spiritual life, but when by their liberality they support holy men who are filled with these gifts, they bear the vine and are enriched and ornamented with its fruits.

8. For God is my witness how I desire you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

God is my witness, how I long for you all. The Apostle cannot express his affection by words that come from his own heart, and has recourse to the heart of Jesus Christ. He loves the Philippians with the heart of Christ, and with something of the vehemence and fire of that sacred Heart, longs earnestly for their salvation and eternal happiness. The Latin word viscera, like the Greek word corresponding to it, includes the heart and all the other internal organs of life. It is used in figure to represent the ardent and supernatural love of Jesus Christ for the people he has redeemed.

9. And this I pray, that your charity may abound more and more in knowledge and in all sense;

I pray that your charity may abound more and more. The Greek, still more and more. Charity is insatiable, says St. Chrysostom, without bound, limit, or measure. On this account the Apostle prays that the charity of the Philippians may increase beyond all measurement or limit. But he prays also that this charity may grow in knowledge and prudence, for without this we may be blinded ourselves, and leaders of the blind. Knowledge of the truth of God, prudence in the conduct of life. For this term the Vulgate has sensus, or tact, as the translation of the Greek word αἴσθησις, which signifies intellectual and moral perception of what is noble, and beautiful, and good.

10. That you may approve the better, that you may be sincere and without offence to tlie day of Christ,

Charity combined with knowledge and perception will enable you to distinguish what is best, the better things, potiora. This is the first effect. The second is, to give you purity, integrity, sincerity of conscience before God. And the third, you will be able to continue in your Christian course, and persevere, without stumbling, without offence, encountering no difficulties in your faith or obstacles to your salvation which grace will not enable you to overcome, until the day of Christ. The Apostle does not say, the day of your death, evidently expecting that in the case of most of them this would be
anticipated by the speedy coming of Christ to judgment.

11. Filled with the fruit of justice through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Filled with the fruits of justice. A fourth result of charity, combined with knowledge. An abundant exercise of the holy works which come from the grace of God given you in your justification. Justice is the condition in which we are placed by justification, and its fruits are the graces of the Christian
life. And these graces tend to that which is the ultimate end and object for which you were created, redeemed, justified, and endowed with grace of perseverance, the glory and praise of God, from whose grace your salvation proceeds. This is also, therefore, the supreme and ultimate object of the Apostle’s prayer for the Philippians, that they may abound in charity, in knowledge, and in good works, for all these tend to the glory and praise of God.

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Father MacEvily’s Commentary on the Epistle of St Jude

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2010

This Post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s Introductory Analysis of the Epistle followed by his commentary. Notations in red represent my additions.

Introductory Analysis: St. Jude commences this Epistle with the usual form of Apostolical salutation (verses 1, 2). He next enters on its subject, and says, that to his anxious desire of writing to the faithful, was superadded a sense of duty to do so, in order to exhort them to firmness and perseverance against the machinations of the corrupt teachers, whom he describes, both as to morals and faith (2, 3). He then points out some of the instances in which
their crimes, and the punishment which is to await these false teachers, were prefigured (5, 6, 7); and shows how these heretics followed the pernicious example of the wicked sinners of old (8).

He contrasts their blasphemous conduct with the forbearance exhibited by Michael, the Archangel, towards the devil, when disputing about the body of Moses (9, 10); and denounces against them the punishment ofeternal destruction, prefigured in the signal punishment of the wicked of old, whose perverse ways they followed (11).

He next describes their cornpt morals, and the awful doom reserved for them (12, 13). He quotes a prophecy of Enoch, to prove the truth of the menaces denounced against those heretics (14, 15). He continues to describe their corrupt morals (16), and cautions the faithful against them, by referring to the words of the other Apostles, graphically describing beforehand their impiety in religion, and corruption of morals (17, 18). The Apostle himself gives a further descriptio?i of their disobedience and wicked works (19).

He exhorts the faithful to persevere, and to rear themselves into a spiritual edifice, of which the foundation was to be faith; the superstructure, hope, and charity, joined to earnest prayer (20, 21). Hepoints out what line of conduct they should pursue with reference to the heresiarchs and their deluded followers (22, 23), and concludes with an appropriate doxology.

It will be seen by comparing both Epistles, that the 2nd chapter of the Second Epistle of St. Peter and this Epistle of St. Jude, perfectly coincide in their description and denunciation of the early heretics; one Epistle throws great light on the other.


Jud 1:1  Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James: to them that are beloved in God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called.

“Jude,” (see Introduction), “the servant of Jesus Christ,” refers to the special
engagement of preaching the Gospel. Similar is the introduction of the Epistle of St, James, “and brother of James.” This he adds, as well to be distinguished from the traitor, Judas Iscariot, as also to conciliate the good will of those whom he addresses; for, St. James the Lesser was held in the highest esteem by all. “To them that are beloved,” the ordinary Greek is “to them that are sanctified.” The Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. support the Vulgate and our translation: “To them that are beloved,” “in God the Father and preserved and called.” The particle “and,” before “called,” is not in the Greek. Hence “called,” being a noun, is given as a peculiar epithet of all Christians; and the words “beloved of God and preserved,” &c., are predicted of them (as in Paraphrase). The Greek ordinary reading, which for “beloved in God,” has, sanctified in God, is preferred by many, because it conveys to the Christians an exhortation to shun and hold in abhorrence the impurities of the Gnostics, as opposed to the spirit of sanctity which they received. Both readings are employed in the Paraphrase.

Note: I’ve not included the Bishop’s verse by verse paraphrase of the text of Jude, however, since he mentions it in his comments I’ll reproduce his paraphrase of verse 1 here: Jude, who has been engaged in the service of Jesus Christ, as minister of his gospel, and the brother of James, the lesser (writes), to the called, that is to say, to all Christians, who are beloved and sanctified by God the Father, the author of all sanctity, and are guarded by Jesus Christ, against being led astray by the spirit of error.

Jud 1:2  Mercy unto you and peace: and charity be fulfilled.

“Mercy unto you,” i.e., the abundant gifts of God’s grace, which to wretched
sinners are a great mercy. Hence the form of salutation here employed by St. Jude, is substantially the same with “grace and peace,” the form usually adopted by the other Apostles. “And charity,” which may mean either the love of God, or of our neighbour. The former is the effect of mercy; the latter, the cause of peace. “Be fulfilled;” the Greek word, πληθύνω, also means, to abound and be multiplied.

Jud 1:3  Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

He introduces in this verse the subject of the Epistle, “taking all care to write to you concerning your common salvation,” (“your,” is not in the ordinary Greek according to which it is, concerning the common salvation. The Vatican and Alexandrian “concerning our common salvation,”) which
may either mean—that his desire of writing to them concerning their common salvation, was so great, that he felt himself constrained by this desire, as by a kind of necessity; or, according to others, that he formerly had an anxious desire of writing to them, but, that it now became a matter of duty or necessity to do so, owing to the dangers to which they are exposed, “to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints,” i.e., for the integrity of the deposit of faith, “ONCE delivered,” as a deposit in its unchangeable entirety, incapable of increase or diminution; no point of faith can be added to it, or taken from it. Hence, in her Dogmatic Definitions, nothing nezv is defined by the Church. She only formulates revealed doctrines; “to the saints,” i.e., left with the Church, the assembly of the saints.

Jud 1:4  For certain men are secretly entered in (who were written of long ago unto this judgment), ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness and denying the only sovereign Ruler and our Lord Jesus Christ.

“For certain men,” &c. The Apostle, in this verse, shows the cause of the necessity, which he was under, of writing to them, viz., because certain men covertly insinuated themselves amongst them; (“who were written of long ago unto this judgment);” these words, which are to be read within a parenthesis, mean, that all the punishment inflicted on the wicked in the Old Law, were so many types and figures of the punishment to be inflicted on the heretics, in the New. Similar is the idea conveyed (Rom. 15:4; Gal3:1); “this judgment” refers to their present punishment of obdurarcy and insensibility in this life, as described, verses 10, 11, 12, 13, of this chapter (for, sin is the most dreadful punishment of sin); and to their eternal punishment hereafter.
Similar are the words of St. Peter regarding them (2 Pet 2:3):: “ungodly men,”
who have no regard for the relations towards God, which religion prescribes;
“turning the grace of our Lord God,” i.e., abusing the grace of the gospel and converting it “into riotousness,” i.e., into a system of licentious impurity; thus, looking on the gospel liberty, unto which Christ asserted us, as a perfect freedom from restraint, and a permission to indulge all their corrupt passions. This refers to their errors in morality. He next describes their errors in faith, “and denying the only sovereign ruler, and our
Lord Jesus Christ.” The first part is made by some to refer to God the Father; but, it is better refer both members of the sentence to “Jesus Christ.” For, looking to the Greek, we find the two nouns are preceded by only one article, and followed by the pronoun, and should, therefore, refer to the same subject, viz., “Jesus Christ.” Moreover, the errors of the Ebionites, Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics, regarded the divine nature of Christ, whom they admitted to be the expected Messiah, but denied to be God, this interpretation is confirmed by a reference to 2 Epistle 2:1, of St. Peter, where the idea conveyed is the same as that intended here by St. Jude, and is understood only of Christ. The heretics referred to did not deny one sovereign ruler; they only denied Christ to be such. Of course, when Christ is termed, “the only sovereign ruler,” the Father and the Holy Ghost, who possesses the same Divine nature and essence with him, are not excluded from a participation in the Supreme sovereignty. After “sovereign ruler,” the ordinary Greek adds (“God “), but, it is wanting in the chief MSS.

Jud 1:5  I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did afterwards destroy them that believed not.

“I will, therefore, admonish you,” i.e., recall to your remembrance, “though ye once knew all things” i.e., you were formerly instructed in all things appertaining to the knowledge of salvation. The Apostle now instances
a few of the cases in which the heretics, to whom he alludes, “were written of longago unto this judgment” (verse 4), i.e., in which their condemnation, as well as their crimes were prefigured. The first is, the example of the incredulous Hebrews. “That Jesus having saved the people,” &c.; by “Jesus” (for which in the ordinary Greek we have, κυριος, the Lord; but the Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. have ιησου, Jesus, by which is evidently meant our Lord Jesus Christ; since Josue, to whom, some th;nk, reference to be made, did not save the people out of Egypt, nor did he destroy the unbelievers.
“Did afterwards destroy them that believed not.” Caleb and Josue were the only persons, out of 6oo,000, whose carcasses were not overthrown in the desert (Heb. chap, 3; Numbers 14 and 26.) Reference is made to the same (1 Cor 14) It was our Lord Jesus, according to his Divine Nature, which existed from eternity, that inflicted those punishments, and effected the deliverance of the Israelites; both acts were common to the Son, with the Father and the Holy Ghost. On this account it may be, that “Lord” was substituted in the ordinary Greek text.

Jud 1:6  And the angels who kept not their principality but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day.

The second example of divine wrath, which, also, prefigured the punishment of the heretics, is that of the fallen angels, whom our Lord, after they “kept not their principality,” i.e., forfeited the original justice and excellence in which they were created; “but forsook their own habitation,” i.e., were hurled from their heavenly habitation, “their own,” alone suited to their former excellence and dignity—”hath reserved under darkness and everlasting chains,” &c. The idea conveyed here, is the same with that expressed in the 2nd Epistle, chap. 2 of St. Peter. Although the words of this passage would appear to afford grounds for the opinion that the devils are confined to hell; it is, however, the far more probable opinion, that they were first hurled into hell; and that some of them were, by divine dispensation, as St. Thomas expresses it, allowed to come forth to tempt and carry on their fiendish war against mankind. Wherever they are, they carry their torments with them. St. Jerome expressly assures us, “omnium Doctorum est opinio, quod aer iste, qui cælum et terrain medium dividens inane appellatur, contrariis fortitudiuibus sit plenus,” (in cap. 6 Ep ad Ephes. ; see 2 Ep. of St. Peter, ch. 2:4).

Jud 1:7  As Sodom and Gomorrha and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

The next example (which is also adduced by St. Peter, 2:6), is that of Sodom
and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring or surrounding cities, Adama and Seboim “in like manner having given themselves to fornication,” The words, “in like manner,” as appears from the Greek, mean that the other cities gave themselves up, like Sodom and Gomorrha, to fornication, “and going after other flesh.” The words, “other flesh,” are commonly understood to express the unnatural lusts of these sinful cities, to which the Apostle refers (Rom 1) and which derive their odious name from sinful Sodom; “other,” means contrary to nature; “were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.” The connexion adopted in the Paraphrase seems the most probable; it is admitted by the Greek, and it connects the words, “eternal fire,” with “example ;” they were made an example and clear type of eternal fire,
“suffering punishment,” of fire and brimstone, showered down upon them from heaven (Genesis 19:24).

Jud 1:8  In like manner, these men also defile the flesh and despise dominion and blaspheme majesty.

“In like manner.” In this verse, the Apostle applies to the men in question, the
awful example of the Sodomites. These heretics, like the men of Sodom,
“who went after other flesh” (verse 7), “also defile the flesh,” by their impure lusts; and hence, will be involved in the eternal fire, of which the punishment of the Sodomites was an expressive type. In the Greek, we have the words, ομοιως και ουτοι ενυπνιαζομενοι, “in like manner, these dreamers also,” &c., which word, “dreamers,” refers to the delusive, idle fancies of these men, imagining themselves secure, while opposing the holy will of God. “And despise dominion,” understood by some, of the lofty and supreme dominion which God exercises over creation, and which these bring into contempt, by their foolish, ridiculous fables; by others, of ecclesiastical authorities, whom the heretics, in all ages, make it a merit to despise; by others, of civil authority, which the first Christians were accused of undervaluing, owing to the insubordination of the early heretics. “And blaspheme majesty,” (the Greek is plural, “majesties”), this, most probably, refers to the angels, regarding whom the Gnostics held so many disparaging and ridiculous opinions; they are called “majesties” owing to the exalted nature of their office, while assisting before the throne of God. This verse is the same
as verse 10, chap. 2 of St. Peter. The latter words of the verse, “and despise
dominion,” &c., are not intended as applications of the foregoing examples, they are added to express the crimes of these men; the particle “and” means “Moreover, they despise dominion.”

Jud 1:9  When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee.

The Apostle, in this verse, contrasts the blasphemies of these heretics, with the forbearance exhibited by Michael, the Archangel, under circumstances of the greatest provocation, “When Michael the Archangel, &c.” As the circumstance recorded here by St. Jude, is not mentioned in any other part of Scripture, it is likely, he learned it from the tradition of the Jews, as St. Paul learned the names of the Egyptian Magicians, Jannes and Mambres (2 Tim 3:8); or, it may be, that he found it in some of the Apocryphal books, and having been quoted by St Jude, it became a divinely revealed fact of Scripture. Everything in the Apocryphal work need not be untrue. We even find St. Paul quoting some true passages from Pagan authors, and having been quoted by him, they have all the authority of divinely inspired Scriptures (Titus 1:12; 1 Cor 15:33; and Titus, chap. 1.) It is stated in the last chapter of Deuteronomy, that when Moses died, “the Lord,” i.e., Michael, the Archangel, in the name of the Lord, “buried him in the valley of the land of Moab, over against Phogor, and no man hath known of his sepulchre until this present day,” (Deut 34:6). The most probable reasons of this dispute between Michael and the Devil appear to be-first, Because the devil wished to have Moses buried publicly, in order to serve as a rock of offence to the Jews, who, already prone to idolatry, might, at some future day, be tempted to pay him divine honours.  Second, Because the devil would prevent the sepulture of Moses in the land of Moab, in a special manner his own, on account of the gross idolatry of the people; his reason being lest the presence of the saint’s
body should obstruct the permanence of his reign, in that land of darkness and idolatry. Michael, on the occasion of the altercation in question, through reverence for a creature, though a fallen creature of God, refrained from cursing him, as he deserved, or from uttering against him maledictory or reproachful language, such as, “Begone into the  infernal abyss, wicked devil, proud, haughty rebel,” or the like. The Tradition, from which the knowledge of this fact has been derived, represents Michael merely as saying, “May the Lord command thee,” i.e., prevent thee from succeeding in thy attempt. This altercation, or rather the reasons assigned for it above, are, by no means opposed to the Catholic worship of images or relics of the saints. The first
reason assigned, is not opposed to us, since it supposes that the object of the
Archangel was, to guard against paying divine worship to the body of Moses—and Catholics never intend any such worship for images; nor is the second reason—on the contrary, it favours us; for, if the devil feared so much from the presence of the body of Moses, has he not equal reason to fear from the presence of the relics and images of the saints, which are, therefore, entitled to a certain degree of religious respect from us?

Jud 1:10  But these men blaspheme whatever things they know not: and what things soever they naturally know, like dumb beasts, in these they are corrupted.

“But, these men,” far from following the example set them by the Archangel,
“blaspheme whatever things they know not,” which may refer to the ridiculous opinions and idle fables regarding the divine and angelic natures, so far above their comprehension; such opinions are nothing else than blasphemies; or, perhaps he refers to some mysteries of the Christian faith, and certain arduous precepts of Christian morality, which they treat disrespectfully; “and what things soever they naturally know,” i.e., know from the senses and from mere animal instinct, “like dumb beasts,” i.e., senseless beasts, “in these they are corrupted,” i.e., in following and obeying the instincts of carnal concupiscence, they degrade and destroy the dignity of rational nature, reducing it to a level with the beasts.

Jud 1:11  Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain: and after the error of Balaam they have for reward poured out themselves and have perished in the contradiction of Core.

“Woe unto them.” He denounces against them the merited sentence of eternal punishment; for, having imitated Cain, Balaam, and Core in their crimes, they
shall be involved in their ruin. “For they have gone in the way of Cain,” by
becoming spiritual murderers of their brethren, infusing into them the deadly poison of their corrupt doctrines; they have also imitated Cain in his irreligion and impiety, reserving to himself the best gifts of the earth, because they seek after their own advantage, without any regard for the interests of God ; “and, after the error of Balaam, they have for reward poured out themselves,” i.e., they have ardently and eagerly encouraged immorality, to advance their own private ends. Balaam, whose history is given (Numbers 22 & 24.) counselled Balac, King of Moab, as is inferred from Numbers (24:14, 31:16), and Apocalypse (chap. 2 verse 14), and is attested by Josephus (lib. 4, Antiq. chap. 6), to send the beautiful women of Moab and Madian into the Hebrew camp, in order to entice the Hebrews to commit fornication, and afterwards worship Beelphegor; this counsel had the intended effect, as appears from Numbers, chap. 25:1, 2. So, in like manner, the Simonites and Gnostics corrupt the people, from motives of avarice and sensuality. “And have perished in the contradiction of Core,” the punishment of Core is a clear type of the punishment in store for them, on account of murmuring and rebelling hke him and his associates, (Numbers 16) against the authority appointed by God to rule them. Whether Core was swallowed down to hell by the opening of the earth, or was merely destroyed with the two hundred and fifty Levites, by fire from heaven, is disputed. It is quite clear, from Numbers, 16:33, and Deuteronomy 11, and Psalm 105., that Dathan and Abiron were swallowed down in the opening of the earth. In the three examples adduced,
St. Jude marks out three leading vices of the heretics, viz. : envy, avarice, and ambition, besides the vice common to them with all sinners of old, viz., hostility towards the true worshippers of God, as in the case of Cain, who hated Abel; of Balaam, who hated God’s people; and of Core, who rejected the authority of Moses and Aaron.

Jud 1:12  These are spots in their banquets, feasting together without fear, feeding themselves: clouds without water, which are carried about by winds: trees of the autumn, unfruitful, twice dead, plucked up by the roots:

The Apostle now describes, in glowing metaphorical language, the immoralities of these bsretics. “These are spots in their banquets ;” the Greek is, εν ταις αγαπαις, in your Agapes. The Apostle, most probably, alludes to their improper conduct at the Agapes, or feasts of charity, so common in the infancy of the Church, as preparatory to the holy communion, and to which the rich and poor were indiscriminately admitted (vide 1 Cor 11) These heretics insinuated themselves into the edifying meetings of the Christians, of which they were the disgrace, owing to their misconduct. The Greek word for “spots,” also signifies ” rocks” of scandal, but the other meaning assigned it accords better with the words of St. Peter (chap. 2verse 13), which St. Jude closely follows in this Epistle.  “Feasting together without fear,” i.e., without reverence for God or fear of man—-“feeding themselves;” while pretending
to seek the spiritual good of their people, of whom they constitute themselves teachers, they, in reality, only seek their own gain and emolument. “Clouds without water,” which, far from serving the earth by the wholesome irrigation of the waters of heaven, on the contrary, injure it by intercepting the genial warmth of the sun. ” Which arecarried about by the wind;” these words show the fickleness of heretics, and the ever varying inconsistency of their doctrines. “Trees of the autumn,” i.e., trees which
produce leaves and fruit at the close of the autumn, which never come to maturity; “unfruitful,” i.e., it should rather be said they produce no fruit at all. The word “unfruitful,” intensifies the word “autumnal;” “twice” (i.e., altogether) “dead.”  “Twice,” bears this meaning frequently in SS. Scripture (v.g., jeremias, 17, 18; Proverbs, 41:21; Isaias, 60:2). Altogether dead, and without any hope of ever recovering life or vegetation, for they are “plucked up by the roots.”
The last words add in intensity to the words “twice dead.” They strongly convey the utter hopelessness, nay, almost impossibility, of deriving any good from an heresiarch.

Jud 1:13  Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion: wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever.

“Raging waves of the sea,” shows the restless, boisterous, turbulent conduct ofthese heretics,”foaming out their own confusion,” expressive of their impotent rage against the immovable rock of Christ’s Church, and of their obscene, filthy language and conduct. Similar are the words of Isaias, 57:20.
“Wandering stars; ” pretending to give light to their followers, a false light, however, “wandering” from the unchangeable and fixed course marked out by the gospel.

“To whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever.” In Second Epistle, 2:17,
of St. Peter, the same Greek words are translated in our English version, “to whom the mist of darkness is reserved.”‘ The Apostle, to express their eternal punishment, employs the words “storm of darkness,” rather than eternal fire, in allusion to the spiritual darkness in which these heretics kept their duped followers, whereof eternal darkness is the appropriate punishment. All the foregoing metaphors represent the corrupt morals of those heretics.

Jud 1:14  Now of these Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying: Behold, the Lord cometh with thousands of his saints:

The Apostle quotes a prophecy of the patriarch Enoch, the seventh in a direct
line from Adam inclusively, in proof of this assertion, that these impious men shall be subjected to everlasting punishment. “Behold the Lord cometh,” or, will come (the present is, in a prophetic style, employed for the future, on account of the certainty of the predicted event), “with thousands of his saints.” The Greek reads with his holy myriads. The Vulgate has, with his holy thousands. He refers to the angels who will, at his second coming, to
which reference is here made, accompany our Lord to judgment; for, the just men will be rapt up into the air, to meet him at his descent.

Jud 1:15  To execute judgment upon all and to reprove all the ungodly for all the works of their ungodliness, whereby they have done ungodly: and for all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against God.

“To execute judgment upon all” the reprobate, “and reprove all the ungodly of
all the works of their ungodliness.” The Greek is, “and reprove all the impious AMONG THEM of all the works of their impiety” according to which the meaning is, that although judgment would be executed on all the wicked, still against the impious in particular, such as were the heretics whom St. Jude addresses, a special judgment of more severe exposure and scrutiny would be instituted for their impious actions; “among them,” is wanting in the chief MSS.; “and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken,” i.e., of all the words of unbelief, impiety and blasphemy, which they uttered against God and his precepts, and the truths of his heavenly revelation.  “Against
God,” in Greek, κατ αυτου, “against him.”” This prophecy of Enoch must have been known by St Jude, either from tradition, if it was merely verbally announced by the patriarch, or taken from some writing now lost, which the Apostle, from inspiration, knew to be true, so far as this prophecy is concerned; this, being quoted by St. Jude here, becomes a portion of divine Scripture, and is attested by the authority of the Holy Ghost; and even, though it were quoted from the apocryphal book of Enoch, it furnishes no argument against the inspiration of this Epistle, any more than quoting
from Pagan writers (1 Cor 15:23; Titus 1:12), does against the inspiration of these Epistles of St. Paul (Vide verse 9).

Jud 1:16  These are murmurers, full of complaints, walking according to their own desires: and their mouth speaketh proud things, admiring persons, for gain’s sake.

The Apostle continues the description of their corrupt morals: “murmurers,”
i.e., passing censure on their superiors.  “Full of complaints,” the Greek, μεμψιμοιρο, means, finding fault with and blaming their lot or condition, probably finding fault with the disposition of Providence and the arrangement of their superiors in their regard; “walking according to their own desires,” i.e.., indulging in passions, or pertinaciously adhering to their own opinions; “and their mouth speaketh proud things,” (vide chap. 2, verse 18, of  2Peter, where the same words are employed). “Admiring persons,” i.e., paying court to, and flattering persons in power and influence, “for gain sake,” i.e., from motives of selfish gain and private emolument.

Jud 1:17  But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:

The Apostle now enters on an exhortation to them to continue firm in the
faith, by reminding them of the words of the Apostles. Reference is, probably, made to the words of St. Paul to Timotliy (2 Tim chap. 3 & 4), and to St. Peter (2 Epistle, chap. 3), whose words are perfectly the same with the following words of St. Jude himself.

Jud 1:18  Who told you that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodlinesses.

The things which they predicted are, “that in the last time there should come
mockers,” (similar are the words of St. Peter, 2 Pet 3:3, the Commentary on which see) i.e., men who would mock at everything sacred and hallowed in religion; “walking according to their own desires in ungodliness.” These words point out the corruption of their morals.

Jud 1:19  These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.

The Apostle gives further marks of the impious and immoral men who were
spoken of beforehand by the other Apostles; “who separate themselves,” (“themselves,” is not in the Greek), men who cause schisms in the Church, from which they go out themselves, and influence others to do the same. “Sensual men, having not the spirit;” these words may, also, besides the meaning assigned them in the Paraphrase, have the same signification that the words “sensual man” have in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (2:14), signifying, a man who regulates all his faith by reason, and rejects whatever he cannot see, according to reason. With such men those are contrasted
who have the spirit (” spiritual man,”) who, practised in the principles of faith, are always prepared to submit to authority—(see 1 Cor 2:14).

Note: The Bishop’s paraphrase of this verse: These are men, who now are causing separation and exciting schisms, both in their own case and that of others, who lead a sensual and animal life, and are destitute of the spirit of God.

Jud 1:20  But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

In this verse, the Apostle resumes his exhortation; “but you, building
yourselves upon your most holy faith,” He exhorts them to rear themselves into a spiritual edifice, of which “our most holy faith” is to be the foundation. He calls faith “most holy,” because it emanates from the Divine mind, which is the fountain of all sanctity, and by saying, “your faith,” he shows they should have no connexion with the impure faith of the Gnostics. The Apostles frequently represent the soul of each Christian in particular, as well as the entire assemblage of Christians in general, under the expressive image of a spiritual edifice (v.g. Eph 2:21; 1Cor 6; 1Peter 2:1).  “Praying in the Holy Ghost,” the first part of the superstructure is prayer, accompanied with the requisite dispositions; “in the Holy Ghost,” since, without it, we cannot obtain the necessary graces, nor above all, the all necessary grace of final perseverance, which if we obtain, we are saved, if we fail to obtain, we are certainly eternally lost; and it can only be obtained by suppliant prayer,
suppiciter emerei potest.”—St. Augustine. We should pray for this necessary gift unceasingly.

Jud 1:21  Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting.

The next part of the superstructure in this spiritual edifice is “the love of God,” in which he exhorts them to persevere. “Keep yourselves in the love of God,” which may either mean, the love of God for us, or our love for him, or both; for one follows from the other. Hence, the words mean, persevere in the grace and love of God. “Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This refers to patient, enduring hope, amid the trials and difficulties of life, until the reward of our sufi”erings shall be given us, viz., life everlasting, through the gracious merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, this spiritual edifice will have faith for its foundation; hope and charity producing the good works which the grace of God, obtained by fervent prayer, will enable them to perform, for its superstructure.

Jud 1:22  And some indeed reprove, being judged:
Jud 1:23  But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.

“And some indeed reprove, being judged,” i.e., the heresiarchs and others
amongst them who obstinately persevere; reprove,” i.e., publicly convict and show the absurdity of their errors, in order to render their teaching innocuous to others. “Being judged.” Such persons are self-condemned by the notoriety and evidence of their perversity, and their conversion morally hopeless. Similar is the idea expressed by St. Paul (Titus 3:11):—”Subversits est, cum sit propria judicio condemnatus.” “But others save, pulling them out of the fire,” i.e., such as are in imminent danger of perversion and ruin, like a thing cast into the fire, and about to burn, these save and rescue from spiritual destruction. “Pulling them out of the fire,” expresses the immediate risk, in which they are placed. “And on others have mercy in fear.” This
is a third class, who had been inveigled by false teachers. On this class he recommends them to have compassion, and to show them mercy, “in fear,” i.e., by pointing out the fear of divine judgment, in order that they may avoid it in time, which is the greatest mercy. The words “in fear,” may be also understood to mean, with a spirit of mildness and consideration for their weakness, mindful of your own liability to fall, as is recommended by St. Paul (Gal 6:1). It is to be observed that there is a diversity between our reading and that of the present Greek copies. Instead of three classes of persons, regarding the treatment of whom the Apostle here speaks, and three members of a sentence, as in our Vulgate, the ordinary Greek only treats of two classes of persons, and contains only two members in the sentence. It runs thus: “on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save in fear, snatching them out of the fire“, in which there is no reference made to the first class of persons mentioned in our Vulgate, viz., “others reprove, being judged.” In some Greek copies, however, instead of “have mercy,” we find “reprove” in the first member of the sentence, as in our Vulgate. Beza testifies that he found the Vulgate reading in three Greek copies, and Œumenius, as appears from his Commentary, evidently found the same reading. In both the ordinary Greek and Latin Vulgate, the second member is the same, except that in the Greek, the words “in fear,” are added to the second member, thus:  “But others save in fear,” &c. The reason, then, why three members are found in our version seems to be, that the Latin interpreter, finding in one Greek copy the word, “reprove,” and in another, the words ” have mercy,” united these several readings ; and thus made out a third member by fusing these distinct readings into one. The reading of the Codex Vaticanus runs thus: And some, indeed, compassioniate, being judged, save, snatchingfrom the fire, but on others have compassion in fear.
“Having also the spotted garment which is carnal.” In these words, the Apostle instructs them to observe circumspection and prudence, in their charitable intercourse with the deluded followers of the Gnostics, to shun and detest their errors and their corrupt morals—which is the external garment in which they appear—as they would the garment of one who had been suffering from an infectious distemper. Allusion is probably also made to the command of the Jewish law (Leviticus 15.), prohibiting all contact with the clothes of a person infected with leprosy, &c. Some persons understand the words in their literal signification, as implying the avoidance of all unnecessary communication with the heretics in question.

Jud 1:24  Now to him who is able to preserve you without sin and to present you spotless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

The Apostle closes with a magnificent doxology, opposed to the errors of the
Gnostics, in which he shows from what source we are to obtain the graces necessary for a holy life and final perseverance, and in which is also implied a prayer that God would bestow these gifts on us. “To preserve you without sin,” so as to persevere unto the end, “and to present you spotless,” &c., which refers to their being presented to our Lord Jesus Christ, when he comes in his glory to judge the world. “With exceeding joy,” expresses the great exultation and transport of the blessed in meeting their Judge at the last day, when, exempt from all sin, and freed from all liability to temporal punishment, they are about to enter on glory, both as to soul and body. The words, “in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” are not in the Greek.

Jud 1:25  To the only God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and magnificence, empire and power, before all ages, and now, and for all ages of ages. Amen.

“To the only God, our Saviour.” In the ordinary Greek, to the only wise God,
&c. Wise, is, however, wanting in the chief manuscripts, and is rejected by critics generally. The words, most probably, refer to the entire Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. “Through Jesus Christ our Lord.” These words are not in the ordinary Greek; they are, however, found in the chief MSS., and now generally received. “Be glory,” &c., express the majesty and high dominion of God over all creatures, and the consequent glory and honour which are due him.

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Bernardin de Piconio on Eph 2:19-22

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 27, 2010

Note: I’ve included Piconio’s comments on verse 18 in this post. Notes in red represent my additions.

18. Because through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

The fruit of the Incarnation of Christ is that we are permitted with confidence to approach God as our Father, through the Spirit, by whose teaching we say Our Father. This is the prime subject matter of chapter 2. Note the references to verses 12 &13 in the next note.

19. Therefore now you are not strangers and foreigners, but you are citizens of the saints, and domestics of God.

See You were strangers, (vs 12). You were without God, (vs 12), far from God, (vs 13). You are now no longer strangers and foreigners, but citizens; the Greek, fellow-citizens with the Saints. The Syriac: Sons of the city of the Saints, and sons of the house of God. Members of his Church, which is God’s house and family.

20. Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, the highest stone of the corner being Jesus Christ.

Built upon thefoundation of the Apostles and Prophets. For what the Apostles proclaimed, the Prophets had foretold, and the foundations laid by the Apostles had been prepared by the Prophets. In 1 Cor 3:11, Christ is spoken of as the foundation of the Church. The same figure is here varied, for the foundation is the teaching of Prophets and Apostles, and Christ is the corner stone, placed on the summit of the building, its crown and completion. For the Apostles laid the foundations on earth, and Christ will come from heaven to finish and crown their work. The placing of the corner stone on a public building, as the last completion of the structure, was an occasion of public ceremony and rejoicing. The stone which the builders rejected, is placed on the head of the corner, Ps 117:22. He shall bring out the corner stone, and give grace for grace, Zech 4:7.

21. In whom the whole building constructed grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
22. In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling-place of God in the Spirit.

Bound together and compacted by the cornerstone, or as we say the key-stone, the whole building is rising into a consecrated temple of God, who dwells in it by his Spirit, and of this temple you and other nations of the Gentile world, hereafter to be converted, form a part.

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