The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for March 8th, 2011

March 8: Meditation for Shrove Tuesday From St Thomas Aquinas

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 8, 2011

It may seem odd that one would offer a meditation on the scourging on the Tuesday before Ashe Wednesday-for certainly a day during Holy Week would be more appropriate. It does however make good sense, after all, Lent is a time of mortification. I’ve included some note at the end of this meditation, which is taken from Aquinas’ Commentary on John. The text I’m using was translated by Fr. Philip Hughes and is in the public domain.

OUR LORD IS SCOURGED
Having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to them to be
crucified. Matt 27:26.

Why did he scourge him before he delivered him to them? St. Jerome says because it was a Roman custom that prisoners condemned to death should be scourged before execution. So it was that the prophecy was fulfilled, I was made ready by a scourging (Ps 37:18.  LXX see note 1).

Some writers think that Pilate had Our Lord scourged that the Jews might be moved to pity and so, once He was scourged, they would let him go.

Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him (John 19:1). He did not, that is, scourge him with his own hands but handed him over to the soldiers. And this that the Jews sated with his sufferings might be softened somewhat, and cease to rage for his death. For it is the natural thing that a man’s anger dies down when he sees the cause of his anger humiliated and punished. This is true of anger, for anger seeks to inflict harm only to a certain degree. But it is not true of hatred, for hatred seeks utterly to destroy the thing hated. Hence the words of Sacred Scripture, If an enemy findeth an opportunity, he will not be satisfied with blood (Sirach 12:16).

Now it was hatred that moved the Jews against Christ, and therefore it did not satisfy them to see him scourged. I have been scourged all the day, says the Psalm (Ps 73:14), and in Isaias (50:6) we read, I have given my body to the strikers.

Did Pilate s intention excuse him from the guilt of scourging Our Lord? By no means, for no action which is bad in itself can be made wholly good by the good intention with which it is done. But to inflict injury on one who is innocent, and especially on the Son of God, is of all things the one most evil in itself. No intention therefore could possibly excuse it. (see notes 2 and 3)

Notes:

1. Aquinas writes: “So it was that the prophecy was fulfilled, I was made ready by a scourging.” He is referring to Psalm 37:18 in the Latin Vulgate and Greek Septuagint.    The Douay-Rheims Bible reads: “For I am ready for scourges…” The Greek Septuagint (LXX) reads: “οτι εγω εις μαστιγας ετοιμος” (“Because for me a whip is prepared”). The Vulgate is: quoniam ego in flagella paratus, which hews close to the Greek.

2. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI has written and spoken a number of times on Pilate’s moral relativism; how it masquerades as a form of morality and why it is dangerous. His upcoming book, JESUS OF NAZARETH, Vol II, looks at Pilate’s actions in some detail. One can also profitably consult chapter 4 of his book VALUES IN A TIME OF UPHEAVAL.

3. As noted at the beginning of this post, the excerpt is from Aquinas’ Commentary on John.  A translation of this commentary is available online here. This online translation is under copyright.

 

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Meditations, Notes on the Gospel of John, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 12:13-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 8, 2011

Ver 13. And they send unto Him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.14. And when they were come, they say unto Him, “Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man; for thou regardest not the person of men, but  teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?15. Shall we give, or shall we not give?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, “Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.”16. And they brought it. And He saith unto them, “Whose is this image and superscription?” And they said unto Him, “Caesar’s.”17. And Jesus answering said unto them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marvelled at Him.

Bede: The Chief Priests though they sought to take Him, feared the multitude, and therefore they endeavored to effect what they could not do of themselves, by means of earthly powers, that they might themselves appear to be guiltless of His death.And therefore it is said, “And they send unto Him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.”

Theophylact: We have said elsewhere of the Herodians, that they were a certain new heresy, who said that Herod was the Christ, because the succession of the kingdom of Judah had failed. Others however say that the Herodians were the soldiers of Herod, whom the Pharisees brought as witnesses of the words of Christ, that they might take Him, and lead Him away. But observe how in their wickedness they wished to deceive Christ by flattery; for it goes on: “Master, we know that thou art true.”

Pseudo-Jerome: For they questioned Him with honied words, and they surrounded Him as bees, who carry honey in their mouth, but a sting in their tail.

Bede: But this bland and crafty question was intended to induce Him in His answer rather to fear God than Caesar, and to say that tribute should not be paid, so that the Herodians immediately on hearing it might hold Him to be an author of sedition against the Romans.

And therefore they add, “And carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of any.”

Theophylact: So that thou wilt not honour Caesar, that is, against the truth.  Therefore they add, “But teachest the way of God in truth. Is it  lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give?”

For their whole plot was one which had a precipice on both sides, so that if He said that it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar, they might provoke the people against Him, as though He wished to reduce the nation itself to slavery; but if He said, that it was not lawful, they might accuse Him, as though He was stirring up the people against Caesar; the Fountain of wisdom escaped their snares.

Wherefore there follows: “But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it.”

Bede: A denarius was a piece of money, accounted equal to ten smaller coins, and bearing the image of Caesar; wherefore there follows: “And He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto Him, Caesar’s.

Let those who think that our Saviour asked the question through ignorance and not by an economy, learn from this that He might have known whose image it was; but He puts the question, in order to return them a fitting answer.

Wherefore there follows: “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Theophylact: As if He had said, Give what bears an image to him whose image it bears, that is, the penny to Caesar; for we can both pay Caesar his tribute, and offer to God what is His own.

Bede: That is, tithes, first-fruits, oblations, and victims. In the same way as He gave tribute both for Himself and Peter, He also gave to God the things that are God’s, doing the will of his Father.

Pseudo-Jerome: Render to Caesar the money bearing his image, which is collected for him, and render yourselves willingly up to God, for the light of thy countenance, O Lord [Psa_4:6], and not of Caesar’s, is stamped upon us.

Theophylact: The inevitable wants of our bodies is as Caesar unto each of us; the Lord therefore orders that there should be given to the body its own, that is, food and raiment, and to God the things that are God’s. It goes on: “And they marvelled at Him.” They who ought to have believed, wondered at such great wisdom, because they had found no place for their craftiness.

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

 
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