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 May, 2011

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:19-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 31, 2011

This completes my postings of Father Callan’s Commentary on First Corinthians. You can view all the commentaries here.

GREETINGS AND APOSTOLIC BLESSING

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 16:19-24~During St. Paul’s three years’ stay in Ephesus, the capital of Proconsular Asia, the Gospel had spread throughout the whole province and Christian communities were established everywhere. Knowing, therefore, the ties of charity by which the faithful of Asia and of Ephesus were bound to those of Corinth, the Apostle, before giving his final blessing, sends the salutations of all the faithful.

19. The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house, with whom I also lodge.

The churches of Asia, i.e., the Christian communities of Proconsular Asia, the Roman province that lay along the western coast of Asia Minor with Ephesus as its capital (cf. Acts xix. 10). Aquila and Priscilla, who had contributed so much to the foundation of the Church at Corinth. See on Rom 16:3, 4; cf. Acts 18:1 ff.

In the Lord, i.e., out of charity and regard for their common faith.

The church in their house. Both at Rome and at Ephesus the house of Aquila and Priscilla served as a meeting-place of the faithful for religious purposes (Rom 16:3-5). As yet there were most likely no special buildings set aside for Christian worship anywhere.

With whom I also lodge. These words, and their equivalents in the Vulgate here, should be omitted as wanting in all the best MSS. and versions.

20. All the brethren salute you. Salute one another with a holy kiss.

All the brethren, i.e., all the other faithful of Ephesus besides those that met at the house of Aquila and Priscilla.

A holy kiss. The kiss of peace was once a prominent feature in the religious assemblies of the Christians (Rom 16:16; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14), but it was restricted at an early date to the members of the same sex (Const. Apost. ii. 57; viii. 11).

21. The salutation of me Paul, with my own hand.

With my own hand. The Apostle had dictated this Epistle to an amanuensis, as was his custom (Rom 16:22), but now he writes his own salutation as a guarantee of the authenticity and genuineness of the letter (2 Thess 2:2; 3:17).

22. If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha.

Love (φιλει), i.e., with a personal and special affection.

Anathema. See on Rom 9:3.

Maranatha. This is a combination of two Aramaic words, Marana tha, which mean “Our Lord, come.” Probably the meaning is that the Lord should come to judge the world and put into execution the sentence of condemnation merited by those who do not love Jesus. This Aramaic expression was perhaps a liturgical invocation in common use among the Apostles and their converts, like alleluia or hosanna with us (Didache 10; Const. Apost. vii. 26).

23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

The grace, etc. See on Rom 16:24; cf. 2 Cor 13:13; Gal 6:18, etc.

24. My charity be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

My charity, etc. By these closing words, “the Apostle shows that he has written, not from anger or indignation, but from the care he has for them, since after so great an accusation he does not turn away from them, but loves and esteems them” (St. Chrys.).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:10-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 31, 2011

PARTICULAR RECOMMENDATIONS

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 16:10-18~As soon as St. Paul had received news of the troubles at Corinth he sent Erastus and Timothy to Macedonia (Acts 19:22), giving the latter instructions to go thence to Corinth for the purpose of putting in order the disturbances there (1 Cor 4:17). Meanwhile, having been more correctly informed of the gravity of the situation by special legates who had come to him from Corinth, the Apostle immediately wrote the present letter, in which, as we see here, he recommended to the faithful the young disciple who would soon be among them.

10. Now if Timothy come, see that he be with you without fear, for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.

If Timothy come. This seems to indicate that St. Paul had some doubt about Timothy’s going to Corinth. The Apostle had sent him to Macedonia first, and perhaps the situation there demanded more of his time and attention than had been anticipated. At any rate, this letter was written after Timothy had departed for Macedonia, probably because there was reason to fear that he might not reach Corinth at all, or that he might arrive there too late.

Without fear, i.e., that you respect him and make his stay among you as easy as possible. Timothy was young (1 Tim 4:12), and perhaps somewhat lacking in courage (1 Tim 5:21-23; 2 Tim 1:6-8; 2:1, 3, 15; 4:1, 2) ; and yet he was by no means to be despised, for he was doing the work of the Lord, i.e., preaching the Gospel, like St. Paul himself.

11. Let no man therefore despise him, but conduct ye him on his way in peace: that he may come to me. For I look for him with the brethren.

I look for him, etc., i.e., St. Paul was awaiting at Ephesus the return of Timothy with Erastus, and probably some others who had gone with them to Macedonia (Acts 19:22). The meaning is not that Paul and the brethren at Ephesus were expecting Timothy alone.

12. And touching our brother Apollo, I give you to understand, that I much entreated him to come unto you with the brethren: and indeed it was not his will at all to come at this time. But he will come when he shall have leisure.

To show that he was in no wise envious of Apollo or opposed to the great Alexandrian’s again visiting the Corinthians, St. Paul now makes it plain that he had endeavored to get him to pay them another visit. Apollo declined for the time being, probably not wishing to visit the Corinthians while there existed any special faction devoted to him to the detriment of the Church as a whole (1 Cor 3:4-6).

I give you to understand (Vulg., vobis notum facio) should be omitted, to agree with the Greek.

The brethren, who were very likely the bearers of this letter.

13. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, do manfully, and be strengthened.

The mention of Apollo brought back to the Apostle’s mind the factions at Corinth, so bitterly condemned in the first part of this letter. He, therefore, exhorts the faithful to be on their guard against the evils which imperil the unity and peace of their Church. Let them stand fast in the faith which has been preached to them, by which alone they shall be strengthened so as successfully to resist and overcome their adversaries.

14. Let all your things be done in charity.

Let all your things, etc., i.e., let all you do be done in charity. This virtue of charity is at all times necessary, but the Corinthians had special need of it, as was evident from the abuses and disorders that had grown up among them. The Apostle is giving a counsel here, not a precept (St. Chrys. and others, against Estius and many more).

15. And I beseech you, brethren, you know the house of Stephanas, and of Fortunatus, and of Achaicus, that they are the first-fruits of Achaia, and have dedicated themselves to the ministry of the saints:

The Apostle now speaks of the delegates who had brought to him the Corinthians’ letter and were probably to be the bearers of his reply. The best MSS. omit all mention in this verse of Fortunatus and Achaicus. Hence the household of Stephanas are the first-fruits of Achaia, i.e., the first of that province to embrace the faith (1 Cor 1:16). Stephanas and his family had dedicated themselves to works of charity among the faithful. Some think Stephanas was a leader of the Corinthian Church.

The first phrase here, And I beseech you, brethren, is doubtless to be joined to verse 16, making the remainder of the present verse a parenthesis.

In the Vulgate et Fortunati, et Achaici should be omitted.

16. That you also be subject to such, and to every one that worketh with us, and laboureth.

That you also be subject, etc. This is the thing to which the Apostle started in the beginning of the preceding verse to exhort the Corinthians. His counsel is that they should show great respect and gratitude to such generous and holy benefactors as Stephanas and his family. There is most probably no question here of the submission and obedience which subjects are bound to show to superiors.

To every one that, etc. Better, “to every one that helps and cooperates.”

17. And I rejoice in the presence of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus, because that which was wanting on your part, they have supplied.

Fortunatus and Achaicus are not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. It is the common opinion that they, with Stephanas, brought to St. Paul the letter of the Corinthians and also carried back the reply to it, this present letter.

That which was wanting, etc., i.e., the lack of you, the void occasioned by your absence. The Apostle is rejoiced by the presence of these Corinthian legates who, in a way, make up for the absence of all the other faithful whom he would love to see; he wishes he could see all, but in these three he is reminded of all.

18. For they have refreshed both my spirit and yours. Know them, therefore, that are such.

They have refreshed, etc. These legates, by carrying the Corinthians’ letter to St. Paul, had done a welcome service both to them and to him.

Know them, therefore, etc., i.e., to such as render such valuable
services as these legates have done special respect and recognition are due.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 16:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 31, 2011

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

THE COLLECTION FOR THE POOR IN JERUSALEM, AND THE APOSTLE’S FORTHCOMING VISIT TO CORINTH

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 16:1-9~In concluding his letter to the Corinthians St. Paul, according to his frequent practice, adds a few counsels and directions to his usual greeting and final benediction. He begins here by describing the way in which the collection for the faithful in Jerusalem should be made (1 Cor 16:1-4); and he hopes it will be completed and ready to be dispatched upon his arrival in Corinth soon after Pentecost (1 Cor 16:5-9).

1. Now concerning the collections that are made for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, so do ye also.

The collections. The singular is used in the Greek (λογιας). The way the Apostle begins to speak of this matter, “concerning,” etc., shows that it was among other things on which the Corinthians had sought his advice (1 Cor 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1).

For the saints, i.e., for the poor among the faithful of Jerusalem. St. Paul had spoken to the Corinthians on this subject in a previous letter which is now lost (1 Cor 5:9), and it is mentioned again in 2 Cor 8:1-24; 9:1-15 and in Rom 15:26. (“It is mentioned again,” i.e., the collection, not the letter).

When Paul and Barnabas went forth to convert the Gentiles, they promised to be mindful of the poor in the Holy City (Gal 2:9 ff.). As we know from Josephus, Palestine was very much disorganized at this time. This circumstance, together with the fact that the Christians were at all times objects of special hate and persecution, made their poverty and destitution such that systematic efforts had to be exerted on their behalf throughout the Gentile Churches.

We know nothing about the particulars of the Galatian collection here referred to.

The collectis of the Vulgate should be singular, to agree with the
Greek.

2. On the first day of the week let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him; that when I come, the collections be not then to be made.

On the first day, etc. Better, “Every first day of the week” (κατα μιαν σαββατων), i.e., every Sunday, which, as we know also from Acts 20:7; Rev 1:10, had been already substituted for the Sabbath. It is certain that the Christians from the beginning kept Sunday holy, instead of the Sabbath, in honor of our Lord’s Resurrection. The first explicit evidence, however, which we have that Sunday was called the Lord’s day is in Rev 1:10.

What it shall well please him. Literally, “To the extent in which he may be prosperous,” i.e., as much as he can afford. St. Paul wanted the Christians thus freely to put aside what they could afford every Sunday, so that upon his arrival the entire collection might be finished and ready to send away.

3. And when I shall be with you, whomsoever you shall approve by letters, them will I send to carry your grace to Jerusalem.

Whomsoever, etc. To remove all suspicion on the part of his adversaries the Apostle will let the Corinthians choose their own delegates to represent them in carrying their collection to Jerusalem.

By letters, i.e., whomsoever the Corinthians shall approve as delegates St. Paul will send with commendatory letters to the Christians in Jerusalem.

4. And if it be meet that I also go, they shall go with me.

If it be meet, etc., i.e., if the collection be a large one (Estius); or, if it seem good to you (MacR.). St. Paul is willing to accompany the Corinthian delegates all the way to Jerusalem, if this is desirable. Cf. Rom 15:23; Acts 20:1-6.

From 2 Cor 8 and 9 we gather that the collection promised to be very generous, and from Acts 20 and 21 we see that St. Paul did go to Jerusalem.

5. Now I will come to you, when I shall have passed through Macedonia. For I shall pass through Macedonia.

I will come to you, as he had already promised (1 Cor 4:19; 11:34; 14:6).

Through Macedonia. As we learn from 2 Cor 1:15, 16, St. Paul had first intended to go directly from Ephesus to Corinth, and thence to Macedonia; but conditions in the Corinthian Church were such that he was obliged to change his plan (2 Cor 1:23). This change of plan was afterwards made use of by his enemies in an attempt to show that he was fickle and lacking in decision (2 Cor 1:17).

I shall pass through, etc. Literally, “I am passing through,” etc. This seems to indicate that the Apostle did not intend to stay long in Macedonia.

6. And with you perhaps I shall abide, or even spend the winter: that you may bring me on my way whithersoever I shall go.

To show his affection for the Corinthians and to compensate for his deferred visit, St. Paul now says he will prolong his stay among them when he arrives. He was writing this letter around Paschal time, and intended to remain at Ephesus until Pentecost (verse 8). Then he would go to Macedonia, arriving in Corinth sometime in the autumn, perhaps to tarry until spring.

That you may bring me, etc. (προπεμψητε) , i.e., that they fit him out with the things necessary for his journey, wherever that may be. It was only from a Church that he especially loved and trusted that the Apostle would thus seek help.

7. For I will not see you now by the way, for I trust that I shall abide with you some time, if the Lord permit.

Now by the way. He means that his coming visit will not be a hurried one, as it would be if he passed through Corinth on his way to Macedonia. This verse seems strongly to support the view that St. Paul had made a flying visit to Corinth, but it does not require it.

8. But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

I will tarry (επιμενω), i.e., I will stay on. This shows that he intended to remain at Ephesus until Pentecost, nearly two months more. We know, however (Acts 19:25), that the Apostle was obliged to leave Ephesus sooner than he had planned.

9. For a great door and evident is opened unto me: and many adversaries.

The reason why St. Paul wished to tarry at Ephesus for some two months longer was because there was offered him there a great opportunity of preaching the Gospel with much fruit, and of opposing his adversaries with success (Acts 19:19 ff.).

Great . . . evident, i.e., a great and effectual opening for good.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2011

HOW THE BODY WILL RISE; THE QUALITIES OF THE RISEN BODY

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58~The fact of the resurrection being established, the Apostle now goes on to describe how it will take place. He first shows, by illustrations drawn from what takes place in the natural order of the world around us, that the risen body will be indeed the same body that was buried, but vested with vastly different qualities (verses 35-50). The manner of the resurrection, the transition from the present to the future life, and the effects of the resurrection are next discussed (verses 51-58).

35. But some man will say: How do the dead rise again? or with what manner of body shall they come?

The resurrection of the body was a hard doctrine, a stumbling-block to many of the Christians, as it had been before to some among the Jews (cf. Matt 22:23-33). It was difficult to see how it could come to pass. Wherefore St. Paul now begins to explain the nature of the resurrection body and the process whereby the body that is buried is brought back to life.

Again and or are not represented in the Greek, and shall they come (Vulg., venient) should be in the present tense, “are they coming?”

36. Senseless man, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die first.

Senseless man. Literally, “O man without understanding.” As in the vegetable world the seed that is planted must die first, i.e., must go into dissolution and lose the form it has before it can burst forth into new life, so in like manner the human body, passing through the process of death, will rise to a new and more beautiful life; as dissolution and corruption do not make a return of life impossible to the seed, so neither do the death and corruption of the body make its resurrection impossible. Our Lord also said: “Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone,” etc. (John 12:24, 25).

37. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be; but bare grain, as of wheat, or of some of the rest.

Although the risen body will be essentially the same as the body that was laid in the grave, it shall be endowed with new and more excellent qualities, just as the wheat and the corn are more wonderfully clothed than the bare grain from which they spring. The identity of the body does not depend upon its material particles, which are in continual flux during this life, and are completely renewed every few years; but upon the soul or form which is the principle of physical life and continuity.

“As the body of Jesus after His Resurrection was endowed with many strange and new qualities (John 20:19, 26), so as often to be unrecognized by His disciples (Luke 24:16, 31, 37; John 20:14; 21:4), though yet it was the same body (Luke 24:39, 40; John 20:20, 27); so we learn that the body we sow in the grave is not the body that shall be, but that the resurrection body—the spiritual body, as St. Paul calls it—while it exhibits visible and unequivocal signs of its connection with the body out of which it has arisen, will be possessed of many wondrous
faculties which are denied to us here” (Lias).

38. But God giveth it a body as he will : and to every seed its proper body.

God giveth … as he will. Better, “God giveth … as hehath willed” ( ηθελησεν) . The use of the aorist points back to the creation when God established the laws of nature, according to which every seed unfolds into a particular determinate body with the qualities which befit its state. Hence the body that is planted in the grave will unfold in the resurrection into a new form, endowed with new qualities according to the will of God and the consequent laws that govern its nature. The body was made to be the instrument and companion of the soul, and therefore it was also designed that the body should ultimately share the eternal destiny of the soul. In this life certain accidents and qualities appear in the body, corresponding to its earthly condition; but in the resurrection, like the seed that has unfolded into its new existence, the body will be clothed with qualities unknown to it now.

The vult of the Vulgate should be voluit.

39. All flesh is not the same flesh: but one is the flesh of men, another of beasts, another of birds, another of fishes.

The principle which has just been applied to plant nature is now applied to the animal kingdom. That God should make a resurrection body, differing in qualities from our present bodies, ought not to cause any more surprise or doubt than do the different varieties and forms of bodily life (σαρξ) which we behold in men, beasts, birds and fish. If God can produce the latter, why can He not make also the former?

Flesh (σαρξ) before of men is not in any of the best MSS., nor in the Old Latin or Vulgate, but is plainly understood; on the contrary, it is expressed before birds in most of the best MSS., but is omitted there by A. Rec, Vulgate and Peshitto.

40. And there are bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial: but, one is the glory of the celestial, and another of the terrestrial.

The same principle is now extended to the heavenly bodies. Since God can make bodies differing as widely as do the sun, moon and stars, on the one hand, and the animals and plants, on the other, who will say that it is impossible for Him to make still another, namely, a resurrection body?

The ετερα, another, of this verse, as distinguished from the αλλη, another, of the following verse, shows the wide difference there is between the heavenly and the earthly bodies about which the Apostle has been speaking: it is a difference in kind; while the various heavenly bodies of the following verse are the same in kind but different in degree.

41. One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, and another the glory of the stars. For star differeth from star in glory.

Even among the heavenly bodies themselves there is a great variety, one star differing from another in beauty and excellence. It is not strange or impossible, therefore, that there should be a resurrection body different and more excellent than our earthly body. Indirectly also this argument proves that among the risen bodies of the just there will be a vast variety according to their respective merits. There will be hereafter splendor dispar; coelum commune (St. Aug.).

42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption.

In this and the two following verses the Apostle digresses somewhat to enumerate certain qualities which shall be common to all glorified bodies, distinguishing them from mortal bodies. Our present body is sown in corruption, etc., i.e., the mortal body that is buried in the earth and given over to corruption, shall rise free from death and from everything that tends to death; it will be impassible.

It shall rise (Vulg., surget) in this and in the two following verses should be in the present tense, according to the Greek.

43. It is sown in dishonour, it shall rise in glory. It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power.

It is sown in dishonour, etc., i.e., the mortal body throughout its life is a prey to innumerable miseries, and especially when planted in the grave it becomes subject to corruption with all the revolting and dishonoring accompaniments of the latter; but it shall rise in glory, shining as the sun in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 13:43).

It is sown in weakness, etc. The mortal body is at all times a weak and imperfect instrument of the soul, slow to act and easily fatigued, constantly requiring food and rest to repair its wasted strength; but in the resurrection it will possess the gift of agility, making it the strong, swift and perfect instrument of the soul.

44. It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body. If there be a natural body, there is also a spiritual body, as it is written:

A natural body. Our present bodies are called “natural,” or “animal,” because they are subject to the laws and conditions of animal life, such as vegetation, generation, nutrition and the like; but after the resurrection they will no longer need these material aids that serve a present and temporary purpose. Then they shall be spiritual, i.e., entirely subject to the needs and wishes of the glorified soul. This does not mean that the risen body ceases to be material, but that it is freed from those conditions and functions which serve only a temporal end and which make it the imperfect instrument of the glorified spirit. The endowment by which the body thus partakes of the nature of the soul, while not losing its material character, is called the gift of subtility.

If there be a natural body, etc. From the existence of a natural body accommodated to the needs of man’s animal life, the Apostle concludes the existence of a spiritual body suited to the conditions and needs of the soul’s glorified life. The body was created to be the instrument of the soul, and therefore the conditions  of its existence should vary according to the different
states of the soul.

As it is written. Better, “Even so it is written” (the Vulg. should read: Sic et scriptum est). These words are connected with the following verse in Greek. The Apostle is going to cite a passage of the Old Testament (Gen 2:7), to prove what he has just said about the existence of a natural and of a spiritual body.

45. The first man Adam was made into a living soul; the last Adam into a quickening spirit.

The Apostle’s argument here is that there should be two bodies, one natural or animal, and one spiritual, because mankind has two heads, from whom respectively they derive a different life. From the first man Adam, who, in virtue of his origin, abstracting from his elevation to the supernatural order to which he had no claim, had only a natural, or animal body, mankind could derive only natural bodies having the animal qualities mentioned above, in verses 41-43. But from the last Adam, Jesus Christ, the head and author of regenerated humanity (Rom 5:14), whose soul was at all times essentially spiritual and lifegiving, being filled from the first moment of its existence with the fulness of the graces of the Holy Ghost, and whose body at the Resurrection was allowed to manifest the glorious qualities which always belonged to it by reason of the Hypostatic Union of the divine and human natures,—from such a spiritual head the mystical members can inherit only a supernatural and spiritual body. St. Paul is considering Christ’s spirit as it was at the Resurrection in particular; for it was then that the risen Christ possessed the fulness, not only of grace, but of glory, and that He became in a special manner the communicating principle of grace and glory, for body as well as soul, to the members of His mystical body.

It is true that Adam from the beginning was elevated to the supernatural order, that his soul before the fall was endowed with habitual grace and with many other spiritual gifts, and that, had he not sinned, his natural body would have been transformed into a spiritual and immortal body; but St. Paul is not at present considering any of these endowments. He is confining himself to what was essentially and naturally due to Adam as a creature, and to what consequently could be inherited from him in the natural order by his descendants.

A living soul is a Hebraism signifying a being that has a soul.

A quickening spirit, or “life-giving spirit,” means a being having a spirit that gives life to itself and to others. Therefore, as we inherit our natural body from the first Adam, so we shall inherit our supernatural or spiritual body from Christ, the second Adam.

46. Yet that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; afterwards that which is spiritual.

According to the plan of divine Providence the natural or animal body precedes the supernatural or spiritual body. “Even in the order of nature we see that in one and the same being the imperfect precedes the perfect” (St. Thomas).

47. The first man was of the earth, earthly : the second man, from heaven, heavenly.

The first man, etc., i.e., Adam, the first head of the human race, had a body that was earthly in its origin, having been made from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7); it was therefore naturally subject to disease, death and corruption. But the second man, i.e., Christ, the second head of the human race, was from heaven because, as a Divine Person, He was the true Son of God, coexisting eternally with the Father; and in time He took a human body, being “made of a woman” (Gal 4:4).

The word heavenly (Vulg., coelestis) is wanting in all MSS. except two of inferior authority (F G). Some authorities (Rec. with A and Peshitto) insert “the Lord” before from heaven.

48. Such as is the earthly, such also are the earthly: and such as is the heavenly, such also are they that are heavenly.

The first and the second Adam have bequeathed to their descendants bodies like their own respectively. The first had a mortal and earthly body, and so all his children have inherited bodies that are destined to death and corruption. But the heavenly Adam will give to all His spiritual descendants a body like His own, heavenly, immortal, glorious.

49. Therefore as we have borne the image of the earthly, let us bear also the image of the heavenly.

As we have borne, etc., i.e., before our Baptism we bore the image of the earthly man, that is, a body subject to corruption and death; but now let us bear, etc., i.e., let us become spiritual and lead a holy life, so that in the resurrection we may deserve to have a heavenly and glorified body conformable to the divine image, the risen body of Christ.

It is disputed whether this verse is hortatory or declarative. The great weight of authority is in favor of the former (φορεσωμεν, let us bear), rather than the latter (φορεσομεν, we shall bear). Note that the difference is one letter, ω in the former and ο in the latter.

Therefore (Vulg., igitur) at the beginning of the verse should be replaced by “And,” et, in accordance with all the Greek MSS.

50. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God: neither shall corruption possess incorruption.

The Apostle now instructs his readers that a real change must take place in our bodies before they can enter heaven. Substantially they shall remain the same, but their qualities must be changed completely.

Flesh and blood cannot possess, etc., i.e., the earthly, natural, corruptible body which we have inherited from the first Adam cannot enter into heaven and eternal beatitude.

Corruption, i.e., a corruptible body, destined for corruption and dissolution.

Possess incorruption, i.e., inherit incorruptible life. In the Vulgate possunt (with A C D E F G) should be potest according to the two oldest MSS.

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed.

Coming now to describe the way the dead shall rise at the end of the world, the Apostle first solves a difficulty that might arise out of the preceding verse, namely, if our corruptible bodies cannot inherit incorruptible life, what about the just who will be living when Christ appears on the last day? In reply the Apostle says: I tell you a mystery, i.e., a truth of revelation, which human means could not discover (1 Thess 4:14). What is this mystery? It is that the just who are living at the Second Coming of Christ shall not die, but shall be suddenly changed from their corruptible to an incorruptible and glorious state.

This interpretation is (a) according to the best reading of the second part of this verse; (b) it is in harmony with the context, verses 50 and 52, and with the whole drift of St. Paul’s argument; (c) it agrees with the explanation of the same doctrine given by St. Paul elsewhere (1 Thess 4:15-17; 2 Cor 5:1-9; 2 Tim 4:1), and with the teaching of St. Peter on the subject (1 Peter 4:5); (d) it alone gives to mystery the proper and obvious meaning of that term; (e) it finds approval in the words of the Creed, “He shall come to judge the living and the dead”; (f) it has the support of practically all the Greek Fathers, and of all modern exegetes.

There is no “mystery” in St. Paul’s mind about the dead, good or bad, rising again. Neither is there any sense in: We shall not all be changed of this verse, and “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” etc., of the following verse. In fact, we shall not be changed here is in direct contradiction with the words, we shall be changed of the next verse.

The reading, therefore, of the second part of this verse, which is found in our version, in the Codex Bezae, and in the Vulgate, and which was commonly accepted by all the Latin Fathers and Latin versions from the time of Tertullian, must be rejected as erroneous for the reasons given above. The Council of Trent, in making the Vulgate the official version of the Church, was well aware that it contained some wrong readings; but when these are of minor importance, or can receive a correct interpretation from other parallel passages of Scripture, as in the present instance, there is no difficulty. Moreover, the Council approved of all the parts of the original Vulgate, “as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church”; but the East never read this verse as it is in the Vulgate. “If the Vulgate in the present passage were interpreted to mean that all the just without exception are to rise from the dead at the last day, it would not merely contradict the inspired text and the Creeds, but would be hopelessly at variance with itself” (Lattey, in Westm. Ver.).

The reading, therefore, of the second part of this verse which is adopted by all modern scholars, Catholic and non-Catholic, and which has the support of the Greek MSS. B E K L P, of practically all cursives, and of most versions, is: “We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed.” A rival reading of  א C F G and of the cursive no. 17, if read without punctuation, might have the same meaning, thus:  “we shall all sleep (die) not but we shall all be changed.” Generally, however, this reading is understood to agree with that of the Vulgate, and is given as follows: “We shall all sleep (die), but we shall not all be changed.”

While it is practically certain that the reading of this verse which we have adopted is the only correct one, it must be admitted that the Vulgate reading, taken by itself, can receive an orthodox explanation. Thus, we shall all indeed rise again may be taken to refer to mankind as a whole, without including the few that will be alive at the end (cf. Titus 1:12, 13; Heb 9:27). In like manner, the words, we shall not all be changed can mean that all the dead shall not be glorified.

It is objected against the above interpretation (a) that verse 22 of this chapter, Rom 5:12, and Heb 9:27 seem to say that all men must die; (b) that St. Paul seemed to expect to be still alive when Christ would come. Answer: (a) Even though all men do not actually die, still there is in them all the liability to death, but the penalty can be taken away by God (St. Thomas, Summa, 1a 2ae, qu. 81, a. 3, ad 3). (b) St. Paul did not really believe or mean to teach that the end of the world was at hand in his time. Doubtless he had no revelation on this subject. If here he associates himself with those who are to be alive at the last day, he elsewhere (1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14) speaks of being among those who are to be raised up from the dead at that time. Hence he seems to have been uncertain about the time of the Lord’s coming.

52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed.

In a moment, etc. These words indicate the swiftness with which the dead shall be called from their graves and the bodies of the living just glorified at the last day.

The last trumpet, i.e., the last sign by which the living and the dead shall be summoned to judgment. Perhaps it will be the voice of Christ (John 5:28), or the voice of an archangel (1 Thess 4:15), or some other signal from on high. The expression, “trumpet,” is metaphorical, being borrowed from the instrument used by the Jews to convoke their religious assemblies (Num 10:2-10).

The dead shall rise again incorruptible, i.e., the just shall rise clothed with glorified bodies.

We shall be changed, i.e., the just who are alive at the last day shall not die as others do, but shall pass in the twinkling of an eye from their mortal to an immortal and glorious state.

53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality.

The Apostle again insists upon the necessity of the transformation already spoken of in verse 50. The just who are in their graves must put on incorruptible bodies, and those who are still living must exchange their mortal frames for immortal and glorified bodies.

54. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.

Most authorities repeat here both clauses of the preceding verse. The Vulgate reading in this place, however, is found in the Sinaitic MS. and in some other versions. When the transformation spoken of in the preceding verse is effected, then shall come the complete triumph of Christ over death.

Death is swallowed up, etc. The Apostle is referring to Isaiah 25:8, where the Hebrew reads: “He (Jehovah) hath swallowed up death forever.” The Prophet is announcing that in the heavenly Jerusalem there shall be no more death, or pain, or the like; and St. Paul, slightly modifying the same words, proclaims the victory of Christ in the Resurrection over death and its consequences (Gen 3:19).

In the LXX this passage of Isaias is very obscure: “Death having prevailed swallowed up” (κατεπιεν ο θανατος ισχυσας). With the resurrection, death, the last enemy of man, shall be defeated and life shall triumph in all its glory.

55. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?

At the thought of the final triumph over death the Apostle bursts forth in a hymn of exultation, freely citing the Septuagint of Hosea 13:14. Literally, the Prophet was foretelling the restoration of Israel, which was a figure of the redemption of Christ.

Where is thy victory over the dead who are risen again from their graves? Where now is the sting of thy cruel dominion over them?

56. Now the sting of death is sin: and the power of sin is the law.

The sting of death is sin, i.e., death wounds us, like a poisonous serpent, through sin. The reference is to original sin by which death first stung and poisoned our race. And the Mosaic Law which was later given only served, by its numerous regulations and prohibitions, to stir up and strengthen the baneful consequences of original sin (cf. Rom 4:5 ff.; 5:13; 7:7-11).

57. But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What the Law could not do, Christ our Lord has done for us. By His death He has conquered both sin and death, satisfying for our transgressions and delivering us from bondage.

Who hath given (Vulg., qui dedit). The Greek has the present tense, which better expresses the victory already begun, although its completion is reserved for the resurrection.

58. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast and unmoveable; always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

The Apostle concludes with a brief practical exhortation to the faithful to steadfastness and zeal because of their faith in a glorious resurrection.

In the work of the Lord, i.e., in all good works, performed by command and with the aid of our Saviour. Some think the work of the Lord means the propagation of the faith (1 Cor 16:10).

Knowing that, etc. The Christians should always be mindful of the reward that is in store for them, being assured that whatever good they perform in union with Christ shall not have been done in vain.

These closing words of St. Paul show very clearly how lawful and commendable it is for us to seek a reward for the good we do.

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Aquinas Lecture: Cardinal Avery Dulles on the Apologetics of St Thomas Aquinas

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2011

Unfortunately, the site does not allow an embedding of the video on this site, but you can view the video here.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 18:23-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2011

Text in red are my additions.

23. And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went through the country of Galatia and Phrygia, in order, confirming all the disciples.

We do not know how long St. Paul remained at Antioch before setting out on his third missionary journey. But starting from there, with Timothy and Erastus as companions, he began his third journey by visiting the churches of Galatia and Phrygia, about A.D. 55. See above, on Acts 16:6.

24. Now a certain Jew, named Apollo, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus, one mighty in the scriptures.

Apollo was an Alexandrian Jew, very learned in the Scriptures,
and perhaps in philosophy also. The Jews of Alexandria gave great attention to the study of the Scriptures, and on account of their allegorical method of interpretation, and their efforts to reconcile Scripture and Greek philosophy, they formed a school very different from that of Jerusalem.

25. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, spoke, and taught diligently the things that are of Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John.

This man was instructed, etc. Apollo had received considerable
instruction concerning our Lord as the Messiah through the preaching of John the Baptist, which perhaps was given him by some other Jew of the Dispersion who had been a disciple of John. John’s preaching had made a deep impression even on the Jews outside of Palestine, but as they were far removed from the scene of the Saviour’s labors, it was not possible for them to know much about the religion of Christ.

26. This man therefore began to speak boldly in the synagogue. Whom when Priscilla and Aquila had heard, they took him to them, and expounded to him the way of the Lord more diligently.

They took him, etc. Aquila and Priscilla saw that Apollo’s knowledge of faith was imperfect, and so they took him into their own house, gave him more complete instruction, and doubtless baptized him.

27. And whereas he was desirous to go to Achaia, the brethren exhorting, wrote to the disciples to receive him. Who, when he was come, helped them much who had believed.

To go to Achaia; i.e., to Corinth. Some of the faithful of Corinth were then at Ephesus, and having heard Apollo preach they desired him to come to Corinth. The Christians at Ephesus approved of the idea, and gave letters recommending Apollo to the faithful at Corinth.

Helped them much who had believed; i.e., the learning and eloquence of Apollo were of great advantage to the faithful at Corinth, and helped much to spread a knowledge of the Gospel there.

In the Greek, after the phrase, “who had believed,” is added, “through grace,”—which may mean that the faith of those who believed was the result of grace, and so a gift of God; or that the
success of Apollo at Corinth was due to a special gift of God.

28. For with much vigour he convinced the Jews openly, shewing by the scriptures, that Jesus is the Christ.

Convinced. the Greek word διακατελέγχομαι (diakatelegchomai) is used only here in the NT. It is a very strong word, indicating a total or wholesale convincing; but could also be translated refuted.

Shewing by the scripture. ἐπιδείκνυς (epideiknus) can means exhibit, display, or prove.  Apollo is here doing what St Paul did in Acts 17:2-3, carrying out the example of Christ (Luke 24:27).

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on Acts of Apostles, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Juan de Maldonado on Matt 28:16-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2011

Mat 28:16  And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

And the eleven disciples. Judas had either hung himself, as is the general opinion, or, having lost all hope of salvation, he had thought of doing so. At least he had not ventured to return to the communion of the Apostles. The prophecy of David (Ps 69:26), as S. Peter explains it (Acts 1:20), must be fulfilled. See on Matt 27:5.

Went into Galilee. Not immediately, but after eight days at least, as S. Augustin proves (De Cons., iii. 25). S. Matthew passes over many circumstances which the other Evangelists mention as having been done by the Apostles during the eight days which they spent at Jerusalem. That this may be understood clearly and in proper order, it will be well to relate at what time and to what persons Christ appeared after His Resurrection.

1. He appeared to His mother. Not that the Evangelists say so, but because it was right that He should have done so.

2. On the second day He appeared to S. Mary Magdalene, either alone, as S. Augustin and most others suppose, or, as has been said above, with the other women who came with her to the tomb (S. John 20:1 2).

3. He appeared, as most think, to all the women who came to the tomb on their return to the city. This happened on the same day.

4. On the same day also He is believed to have appeared to S. Peter, either alone, as S. Leo thinks (Cont. M. Constant., xv.), or, as is probable, to S. John also, when they had returned from the tomb (S. Luke 24:13; 1 Cor 15:3, 4, 5).

5. On the same day again He was seen by the two disciples as they were going to Emmaus (S. Luke 24:13).

6. On the same day, about evening, He appeared to the ten disciples when they were assembled in a house in Jerusalem in the absence of S. Thomas. Hence it follows that He supped with those two disciples at Emmaus, as S. Luke says, and appeared to the ten disciples at Jerusalem; for, like a spirit, He passed over great distances in a moment of time. These six appearances happened on the same day as His Resurrection.

7. After eight days He appeared to the eleven in the presence of S. Thomas at Jerusalem (S. John 20:26). Although S. Jerome thinks, but apparently with little probability, that this appearance took place on the mountain of Galilee mentioned by S. Matthew.

8. He was seen by the seven disciples: Peter, Thomas, the two sons of Zebedee, Nathaniel, and two others, whom the Evangelist does not name, as they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee (S. John 21:1, 2). Hence, when S. John says, This was the third time that Jesus was manifested to His disciples (Jn 21:14), he is not to be understood as meaning that Christ had been only seen three times before, for the contrary has been proved above; but, either, as S. Augustin explains (De Cons.,m. 25), the word third is to be understood, not of the number of appearances, as if Christ then appeared for the third time, but to the number of the days on which He appeared. In this manner He appeared the third time. For on the first day of His Resurrection He appeared six times; eight days after He appeared again; now, for the third time, as the disciples were fishing: or perhaps S. John speaks not of any particular appearance, but of a public and general one in which Christ was seen either by all the disciples at once, or by most of them. For although He had appeared to His Mother in private, and to Peter, and to the two disciples as they went to Emmaus, He had not appeared to all or to most of them together, but twice before: first, on the day of His Resurrection, when Thomas was absent; secondly, eight days after, when Thomas was present; thirdly, on this occasion, when the seven disciples were fishing in the sea of Tiberias. For the ninth time He appeared to all the disciples at once on Mount Galilee, as described in this place by S. Matthew. This, in the opinion of S. Chrysostom, was the last appearance before the Ascension. S. Augustin adds, as the tenth, that in which He was seen by the disciples on His ascent into heaven. From 1 Cor 15:6, 7, there appear to have probably been two others. If we add to these that which S. Paul describes, as made to himself after the Ascension, there will be altogether thirteen appearances.

Unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. The Evangelists do not relate that Christ said anything to the women about the mountain; nor does it appear whether He appointed this to them or to the Apostles. It is clear, however, from this passage that He spoke on some occasion about it; either, as Euthymius thinks, before His death, when He said to them, After I shall be risen again I will go before you into Galilee (Matt 26:32), or after the Resurrection, when, in the opinion of others, He appeared to the disciples at Jerusalem. It may easily be conjectured why He directed the disciples to go to the mountain. He desired to speak to them freely and with out judges, and whenever He did this He led them into a mountain apart, as in Matt 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; as Euthymius has shown. What mountain it was is a matter of uncertainty. It must, however, have been one somewhere near the Sea of Tiberias. For the disciples went from the mountain where they were to the sea, as a place close at hand to fish (S. John 21:2). Thus the opinion of those who think that this was the mountain from which Christ was afterwards taken up into heaven cannot possibly be correct; for this, S. Matthew says, was in Galilee, but that of the Ascension was a mile, or, as some say, two miles, from Jerusalem, as is also shown from Acts 1:12. Others think that it was the mountain on which Christ was transfigured, and which they called Tabor. On this, vid. Matt 17:2.

Mat 28:17  And seeing him they adored: but some doubted.

And seeing Him they adored. To their inward belief they added external adoration, confessing Him to be not only Christ, but also true God; as they could now no longer doubt of His Resurrection. The Evangelist opposes adoration to doubt, adding immediately, But some doubted. On these words it has been asked how the disciples could doubt after so many and plain appearances. Some say that the doubters were none of the eleven disciples, but some of the others who also had that name; for these had not seen Christ after His Resurrection. Theophylact is of this opinion. Others think that the words were spoken of the Apostles themselves; not that they both worshipped and doubted, at the same time and in the same place, but that they who now worshipped on the mountain had doubted before in Jerusalem. Theophylact mentions this opinion with approbation. It is, however, unquestionable that the Evangelist meant not only to distinguish between times and places, but persons also, and to say that some believed and worshipped, but that others doubted. It is evident that all did not doubt. S. Matthew is not therefore to be understood as meaning that the same persons both doubted and worshipped.

Others are of opinion that some of the Apostles, as soon as they saw Christ on the mountain, fell at His feet in adoration; while others hesitated and delayed, not as doubting of His Resurrection and Divinity, but whether He whom they then saw, and whom they had often seen in others places since His Resurrection, were Christ. So S. Chrysostom (Horn. xci. on S. Matt.), S. Greg. Nyss. (Orat. ii. de Resurr.), Juvencus, and Euthymius.

Others say that the words apply, not to this vision on the mountain in Galilee, but to that at Jerusalem when S. Thomas doubted, and when the other disciples thought that they had seen a spirit (S. Luke 24:37; 5. John 20:25, 27); for S. Matthew, for the sake of brevity, compressed all the visions into one, and only mentioned what was notable in each. But it had happened that some disciples, and especially S. Thomas, had doubted. S. Matthew said, therefore, But some doubted, not, that is, at the mountain, but previously at Jerusalem. It will be said that not only S. Thomas at Jerusalem, but almost all the other disciples doubted, and thought Christ a spirit (S. Luke 24:37). It has been urged, and with probability, by those who take this view, that S. Luke said generally that the disciples thought that they saw a spirit. Not that they all thought so, but that some did; as S. Matthew (27:44) relates that the thieves on the cross reviled Christ, when only one did so. This opinion seems probable, and it finds favour with Bede and Theophylact also.

Mat 28:18  And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

AndJesus coming. Some think that this did not happen now, but on the last occasion of Christ s showing Himself to His disciples, when He ascended into heaven. This appears very probable. For S. John (21:15 and following) relates many things that have been passed over by the other Evangelists, and which happened after the appearance at the mountain in Galilee before this and before the events now described by S. Matthew took place. Such are Christ’s asking Peter thrice if he loved Him, and giving him the charge to feed His sheep: His signifying by what death He should die: Peter’s question about John, Lord, and what shall this man do? (Jn 21:21), and Christ’s answer (verse 23), all which, Deo adjuvante, shall be explained in the Commentary on S. John.

All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Before Christ gave the Apostles the power of preaching the Gospel, He said that all power was given to Him in heaven and on earth. His object was to show that He assumed nothing arbitrarily to Himself; that He gave nothing to them which He did not possess Himself; and, as is proverbially said, He showed them His letters patent, by which it is seen by what authority He made them Apostles, and bestowed such powers upon them.

It may seem strange that He should say, All power is given to Me, when He has all power, ipse per se. The followers of Arius did not overlook this. They brought the above with other passages of Scripture against the Divinity of Christ; saying that He could not be God in whom power was not innate, but on whom it was conferred (S. Athanasius, Deus ex Deo; and S. Cyril, ii. 73, On S. John). Those ancient Fathers answered in two ways:

1. That Christ said this, because when He was made man, He received that power with the human nature, that He might share it with us. He implies therefore that it was given to Him, not so much for Himself, as for us. So reasons S. Athanasius.

2. He received that power indeed as man, which as God He had by nature (S. Gregory of Nyssa, S. Cyril of Alexandria). They could allow without difficulty that as He was God He had received from the Father all power, as well as the divine nature, by eternal generation, as in 5. Luke 10:22. This is true, but perhaps hardly sufficient. For Christ speaks here not of any kind of power whatever, but of that which He gave to the Apostles; that is, the power of gaining and recruiting His spiritual kingdom, to which end He sent His Apostles. He speaks as if before His Resurrection He had it not, as S. Athanasius observes in another place. For He said, as if of a new matter, All power is given to Me. He did not speak of that power which He had as God, nor of that which He had as man, but of that which He had as the Redeemer of mankind, and which He had gained through His Death and Resurrection. For as He had redeemed all men by His blood, He had the right to gather them all into His kingdom, and to make them, as it were, His subjects. It is of this power that the Father speaks (Ps 2:8; 110:1; Isa 49:6, 8, 9). He speaks of it Himself in Dan 7:13, 14; and through S. John 16:33. This is the power which He says was given to Him by His Death and Resurrection, because He merited it Philippians 2:9). By this power He sent His Apostles to extend the boundaries of His kingdom; as Vigilius seems rightly to explain against Eutyches (lib. v.). The words in heaven and earth were uttered by Him that He might declare Himself to have, as S. Paul says, the power of ruling everywhere. One part of this kingdom of His, that which is in heaven, was long since wholly gained and pacified. The other, that on earth, has yet to be fully acquired by spiritual warfare. To this office the Apostles were sent by Him.

Mat 28:19  Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Going. Christ means going into the whole earth, as He had said, All power, &c. He Himself ascended into heaven, that is, that part of His kingdom which was now at length pacified, that He might sit on His throne on the right hand of His Father. He sent the Apostles into the other part of it that is, into all the earth to recall all men to Himself. S. Mark 16:15 describes this more fully: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. Christ opposes the whole world to the boundary line of the Jews, by which He had previously limited the embassage of the Apostles (Matt 10:5). As He was then, by hereditary right as it were, king of the Jews, He sent His Apostles to them alone. Now, by His Death and Resurrection, He had gained the power of ruling over all men, and thus He sends the Apostles into the whole world, declaring that by His Death the wall which had kept the kingdom of the Jews inclosed on all sides, within their own bounds, was broken down, as is said by S. Paul (Ephes 2:14), and that the limits of His kingdom were therefore to be extended farther; nor were there to be any other bounds to that kingdom-that is, the Church than those of the entire world (Ps 72:8). God was known before in Judaea alone, now He was to be known everywhere (Ps 18:44, 45; Isa 64:1; Hosea 2:23; Rom 9:25). “As, therefore, you are sent by Me, to whom is given all power in heaven and earth, and that power is communicated from Me to you” for this is the force of the word therefore– “teach not human wisdom, for nothing is more adverse to My kingdom (1 Cor 3:19), but divine, which is foolishness to men. Teach My cross” (1 Cor 1:23). Christ showed them what to teach (S. Mark 16:15).

These words were perverted, not only by the modern Anabaptists, but also by some Fathers of old, as Tertullian (De Bapt.) and Nicetas in his commentary on S. Gregory Nazianzen (Oration on Holy Baptism), to prove that Baptism ought not to be given to infants except when in peril of death, because Christ commanded that those who were to be baptised should first be taught, and this cannot be done to infants. They do not see that Christ does not forbid those who cannot be taught to be baptised, but that He only commands all who have been taught before to be baptised. That they who are not yet capable of learning, if we wish them to be saved, ought to be baptised, He has taught elsewhere (S. John 3:5). Hence Calvin and his followers, who hold that this passage applies not to the Sacrament of Baptism but to the regeneration of faith, have no sufficient evidence from Scripture of the necessity of infant baptism.

Baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. To the doctrine of Baptism Christ unites the Sacrament, not, as Calvin teaches, as the sign of grace already received, but as the sign and profession of doctrine and faith. Thus among the Greeks, βαπτιζοντες means to dip into water, to wash, to blot out, and, as Tertullian renders it, to sprinkle. Thus the matter of the Sacrament is explained by the meaning of the word; that baptism should be performed by water, as Christ Himself more forcibly expresses it in S. John 3:5. It is evident that the Apostles never baptised with anything but water, and there was much contention between the disciples of Christ and John, because the disciples of Christ, like those of John, baptised with water (S. John 3:26). It was also decided by S. Philip in the case of the eunuch of Queen Candace, that those who believe in Christ should be baptised with water (Acts 8:36, and 10:46, 47). The same thing was done in figure, as shown in 1 Cor 10:2; 1 Peter 3:31. As in the flood, eight persons were saved by water, so now baptism of like form saves many. Thus it is concluded that as the sea and the flood consisted of water, so baptism ought to be performed by the same matter, and thus the heresy of Seleucus and Hermias is confuted. S. Augustin (De Hæresibus, lxix.) says, “They said that baptism should be without water, because when the baptism of John is compared with that of Christ, the former is said to be performed with water, the latter with the Holy Ghost and with fire (S. Matt 3:11; S. Mark 1:8; S. Luke 3:16; S. John 1:26, 33; Acts 11:16). But when the baptism of Christ and John are thus compared, the meaning is not that Christ would not baptise with water: but not, like John, with water only. Beside water, which is given outwardly, He would pour out the Holy Ghost, which is shed inwardly; as was shown by the descent of the tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, as explained by S. John Damascus (iv. 10, De Fid. Orthod.).

The form of baptism is also prescribed in these words. For although it may not be demonstrable from this passage to a curious enquirer that the form which we now use ought to be that of baptism, I baptise thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, yet the tradition of the Church approves it. That the Church has always thus baptised is shown by the fact that whoever uses any other form is condemned and excommunicated. The forty-ninth of the Canons of the Apostles excommunicates all bishops and priests who baptise otherwise than in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. By this rule the Marcionites are condemned by S. Irenreus (lib. i.) and by S. Epiphanius (Hær. xxxiv.) as not administering true baptism, because they did not use this form. So the baptism of the Paulianists was rejected by the Council of Nice (Can. xix.), 6th Council of Carthage (Can. xix.), and by S. Innocent I. (Ep. xxii. 5). Thus all subtleties by which the force of the words may be eluded are done away: as, if it were said that the meaning is not, Baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that is, by invocating or appealing to the name, but doing so by the authority of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; although we find in many places that baptism was administered in the name of Christ, this was not that he who baptised said, “I baptise thee in the name of Christ,” but that he did so by His authority, as shall be shown hereafter. Especially if it be maintained that it does not follow from the above words that the baptiser ought to say, “I baptise thee in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” for Christ does not say this; but that it is enough to pour water and say, “In the name of Father, Son, Holy Ghost.” Or lastly, if it be asserted that the words may be taken disjunctively and the meaning be, “Baptising in the name of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost,” which the facts of the case seem to sanction; for many of great authority say that the Apostles often baptised in the name of Christ alone. All these astute glosses the one tradition of the Church, that best interpreter of Holy Scripture, does away altogether. For the question is not how the words may be taken, but how they ought to be taken. They ought to be taken in the sense in which Christ spoke them, and not in that in which everyone may form for himself. The meaning of Christ, as appears from the use and tradition of the Church, was that when the Apostles baptised, they should say, “I baptise thee in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” or in words that mean the same thing. How it was that they sometimes baptised in the name of Christ alone, as in Acts 2:38, shall be explained elsewhere.

It may be properly asked, why Christ willed Baptism to be administered in this form? Many reasons may be given.

1. To show whence Baptism has its power, namely (1), from the Father who sent His Son to die for men. (2) From the Son who instituted the Sacrament, and by His own blood moistened it as it were, and made it fruitful and efficacious. (3) From the Holy Ghost, who, as water washes the body outwardly, so Himself washes the soul inwardly, sanctifying it.

2. That those who are baptised may not suppose that they have received a merely human gift, and so should divide not only men, as they did who said, I am of Paul and I am of Apollo (1 Cor 1:12), but even God Himself as it were, saying, “I am of the Son, I am of the Holy Ghost,” as if they were baptised in the name of one Person only.

3. As Fulgentius says (De fid. Orthod. ad Donat.), “that men may know that they have the same Author of their regeneration as of their natural birth, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”. The meaning, then, is that the Apostles should testify that they baptised not in their own names, but in that of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and that what they did was done, not in their own persons, but in the person of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; lest it be considered their own baptism, and not the Baptism of God; as S. Augustin says, in passages without number, of the baptism of John, that it was so called as being done in his own name and person, although by the command and inspiration of God, but not in the person of God; and therefore that the words of baptism, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are not only to be referred to the word baptising, but also to those who baptise.

From these words also the ancient Fathers rightly proved the mystery of the Holy Trinity. By them they answered the Sabellians, who perverted them to prove that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were one only Person, be cause Christ did not say, “Baptise in the names,” but in the name. S. Basil refutes them (Ep. lxiv.), concluding from the same words that, on the contrary, they were three Persons and one Nature, because while the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are mentioned as three distinct Persons, there is only one name of God, and one authorship among them.

From the same words, others have proved the divinity and equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, against Arius and the Arians; for we are not baptised in the name of any creature. So S. Athanasius (Sermo, iii. contra. Arian.; Orat. de Ætern.; Subst. F. et SS. cont. Sabell.; and Orat. on S. Luke x. 22, Disput. conc. Ar. in conc. Nicæn. Ep. ad Serap. Profess, reg. Cathol.], S. Hilary (De Trin., ii.), S. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. Coram cl. Episcop. de Theolog.), S. Ambrose (De Sptu. Sto., i. 14), Didymus (De Sptu. Sto., ii.), Theodoret (Hær. Fab. v. de Sptu. Sto) Fulgentius (Cont. Arian. and De fid. OrtJwd., and De Incarnat. et Grat., ix.).

S. Marks adds to the above words, He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In My name they shall cast out devils, &c., showing the universal effect of baptism. For not only faith, but also baptism saves us, as S. Peter says (1 Pet 3:21). His words refer not only to those who believe, but also to all who are baptised. For they who believed could not perform such miracles as these before they were baptised. Of this there is a notable example in the Book of Acts (Acts 19:6). It is not, however, to be understood that all who were baptised could perform these miracles, but, because many would do them, and not only in their own name, but also in the name and to the good of others, Christ, that both their own faith and the faith of others might be strengthened, said generally, These signs shall follow: not that they would do so in every case, but because it would be necessary for the confirmation of the faith. As if Christ had said, “The faith of those who believe shall be confirmed by miracles”. This shall be explained more fully on S. Mark.

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. After faith and baptism, Christ enjoins the observance of His laws, showing that neither faith nor baptism are sufficient for our salvation unless we keep the laws of God; as Theophylact has observed (in loc.).

And behold I am with you. Christ sent the Apostles to teach, as if to a warfare with the entire world. It was to be feared that they might despond under the weight of so great a work and the prevision of future dangers, Christ bids them be strong of heart, and, that they might stand firmly against all dangers, He promised to be with them, and that not too late but in good season. The two words Behold and I have this force. The former alludes to the present opportune time, as if it were said, “As soon as need arises I will be unexpectedly with you”; and as the proverb says, “Deus ex machina”. The word I refers to Him who is able to deliver from all dangers. As if the general should say to a soldier in battle, “Be brave and firm, I am here, and am bringing you assistance”: as in S. John 16:33 Christ said to the disciples, Have confidence, I have overcome the world. “I am with you, who have overcome that world against which you will have to contend. I am with you, in whom the prince of this world has nothing” (see S. John 14:30). “I am with you, whose Father has promised to put all My enemies
under My feet as My footstool” (Ps 110:2).

The opinions of the Ancients on the meaning of this passage differ greatly. Some think that Christ spoke not of His human but of His divine nature, which is every where present. Such is the opinion of S. Augustin (Tract lx. on S. John), Fulgentius (iii., Cont. Thrasymund., and Lib. de Incarn. et Grat., ix.). But it is clear that Christ promised something less general to the Apostles. He promised to be with them in another sense than that in which He is present with other things and other men.

Others think that He spoke of His Divine Providence, by which God is said to be present to men rather than to inanimate objects, and among men to the just rather than to the unjust; and that, even if He should depart, He would still be with them, because He would send His Holy Spirit in His place to teach them all truth, and direct and govern them as He had promised (S. John 14:18). Thus S. Cyril of Alexandria (De Trinit., vii.), Salvian (ii., De Judic. et Provident. Dei], and S. Leo (Ep. li., xcii.) explain these words. This is all true; but the question is not merely what is true, but what is best adapted to the meaning of the passage. It is to be admitted that Christ, as He is God, is everywhere present, but he here promises another kind of presence to the Apostles. Christ, after He had sent His Holy Spirit, rules His Church even to the end of the world. I do not deny that this is to be concluded from the present passage, as the authors mentioned above rightly say, but the question is not what may be gathered from what He said, but what He intended to say. S. Chrysostom (Hom, xci. on S. Matt.), S. Jerome (Ep. to Damasus) Prosper (lib. ii., De Vocat. Gent.) Bede, and Euthymius appear to have explained the passage most admirably, in saying that Christ speaks not only of His divine but also of His human presence. Not that as man He would be present with the Apostles in His body, but He calls His grace and assistance “His presence”. He was about to give them this, not only as He was God, but also as He was man. For it is said that He would be present with them, because He would be their helper in all things; as God is said to have been with Joseph in the pit, because He brought him help in prison (Wisd 10:13; Acts 7:9; Ps 34:20); and in 2 Tim 3:11, where S. Paul says that God delivered him out of all his persecutions; and as Christ was with S. Stephen when he was stoned, when S. Stephen himself saw Him standing in heaven, and stretching out His hand, as it were, to help him (Acts 7:56); and as God said to the Prophet Jeremias when he refused the work appointed (Jer 1:8), Be not afraid at their presence, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord; and to Ezekiel 3:8, 9, I have made thy face stronger than their faces, and thy forehead harder than their foreheads. I have made thy face like an adamant and like flint; fear them not, neither be thou dismayed at their presence ; for they are a provoking house; and as Prosper says (chap, ii., De Vocat. Gent.) “When you enter like sheep in the midst of wolves, fear not for your infirmity, but trust in My strength, who will be with you in every work of yours to the end of the world: not that you may suffer nothing, but, what is much more, to insure you from being overcome by any cruelty of the oppressors. In My power you shall preach, and by Me it shall be that among the enemy and persecutor sons shall be raised up of these stones to Abraham. I will bring to pass what I have taught. I will do what I have promised.”  Lastly, as, when Christ sent the Apostles to preach the Gospel to the Jews, He promised them His presence and the help of His Holy Spirit (Matt 10:19, 20), so now He promises His aid and presence to those who are sent to teach all nations.

Even to the consummation of the world. Christ shows that He speaks not with the Apostles alone, but with all who should come into their place, and who, He also signifies, shall be Apostles. For the eleven, with whom He spoke, would not live to the end of the world, as S. Augustin (De Genes, ad litt., vi. 8) and Theophylact (in loc.) say. This is preferable to S. Jerome’s idea. He thinks the meaning of the words to be, that the Apostles would live even to the end of the world, because, though dead in the body, they would always live in the soul. But Christ did not promise to be with them in heaven, where there is no such need of His promise, but on earth, in the dust, in the arena, in the conflict. S. Jerome (Against Helvidius) and S. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. iv. de Theolog.) have rightly pointed out that the words even to do not exclude the time after the end of the world, as if Christ meant that after that period He would not be with them.  That only is asserted which is doubtful. It was not doubtful that after the end of the world Christ would be with the Apostles in His kingdom; but it may be doubtful whether He will be with them in conflict, as in Ps 110:1 the Father says to the Son, Sit thou at My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstood. This does not mean that after His enemies were subdued He should not sit on the right hand of the Father; nay, He will in a manner sit there the more, for His glory and majesty will be the more displayed. But even if the explanation we have cited be admitted, nothing wrong would follow if we say that the words even to (usque) do exclude the time that comes after. For in the manner in which Christ said that He would be with the Apostles even to the end of the world: that is, by aiding them in their conflicts: because there will be no warfare then, but they will reign, He will not be with them. But He will be with them in another manner, for they will eat and drink with Him in His kingdom (S. Luke 22:30).

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Pope St Leo the Great’s First Homily on the Ascension

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2011

I.the Events Recorded as Happening After the Resurrection Were Intended to Convince Its Truth.

Since the blessed and glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the Divine power in three days raised the true Temple of God, which the wickedness of the Jews had overthrown, the sacred forty days, dearly-beloved are to-day ended, which by most holy appointment were devoted to our most profitable instruction, so that, during the period that the Lord thus protracted the lingering of His bodily presence, our faith in the Resurrection might be fortified by needful proofs. For Christ’s Death had much disturbed the disciples’ hearts, and a kind of torpor of distrust had crept over their grief-laden minds at His torture on the cross, at His giving up the ghost, at His lifeless body’s burial. For, when the holy women, as the Gospel-story has revealed,brought word of tile stone rolled away from the tomb, the sepulchre emptied of the body, and the angels bearing witness to the living Lord, their words seemed like ravings to the Apostles and other disciples. Which doubtfulness, the result of human weakness, the Spirit of Truth would most assuredly not have permitted to exist in His own preacher’s breasts, had not their trembling anxiety and careful hesitation laid the foundations of our faith. It was our perplexities and our dangers that were provided for in the Apostles: it was ourselves who in these men were taught how to meet the cavillings of the ungodly and the arguments of earthly wisdom. We are instructed by their lookings, we are taught by their hearings, we are convinced by their handlings. Let us give thanks to the Divine management and the holy Fathers’ necessary slowness of belief. Others doubted, that we might not doubt.

II. And Therefore They are in the Highest Degree Instructive.

Those days, therefore, dearly-beloved, which intervened between the Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension did not pass by in uneventful leisure, but great mysteries1 were ratified in them, deep truths2 revealed. In them the fear of awful death was removed, and the immortality not only of the soul but also of the flesh established. In them, through the Lord’s breathing upon them, the Holy Ghost is poured upon all the Apostles, and to the blessed Apostle Peter beyond the rest the care of the Lord’s flock is entrusted, in addition to the keys of the kingdom. Then it was that the Lord joined the two disciples as a companion on the way, and, to the sweeping away of all the clouds of our uncertainty, upbraided them with the slowness of their timorous hearts. Their enlightened hearts catch the flame of faith, and lukewarm as they have been, are made to burn while the Lord unfolds the Scriptures. In the breaking of bread also their eyes are opened as they eat with Him: how far more blessed is the opening of their eyes, to whom the glorification of their nature is revealed than that of our first parents, on whom fell the disastrous consequences of their transgression.

III. The Prove the Resurrection of the Flesh.

And in the course of these and other miracles, when the disciples were harassed by bewildering thoughts, and the Lord had appeared in their midst and said, “Peace be unto you3 ,” that what was passing through their hearts might not be their fixed opinion (for they thought they saw a spirit not flesh), He refutes their thoughts so discordant with the Truth, offers to the doubters’ eyes the marks of the cross that remained in His hands and feet, and invites them to handle Him with careful scrutiny, because the traces of the nails and spear had been retained to heal the wounds of unbelieving hearts, so that not with wavering faith, but with most stedfast knowledge they might comprehend that the Nature which had been lain in the sepulchre was to sit on God the Father’s throne.

IV. Christ’s Ascension Has Given Us Greater Privileges and Joys Than the Devil Had Taken from Us.

Accordingly, dearly-beloved, throughout this time which elapsed between the Lord’s Resurrection and Ascension, God’s Providence had this in view, to teach and impress upon both the eyes and hearts of His own people that the Lord Jesus Christ might be acknowledged to have as truly risen, as He was truly born, suffered, and died. And hence the most blessed Apostles and all the disciples, who had been both bewildered at His death on the cross and backward in believing His Resurrection, were so strengthened by the clearness of the truth that when the Lord entered the heights of heaven, not only were they affected with no sadness, but were even filled with great joy. And truly great and unspeakable was their cause for joy, when in the sight of the holy multitude, above the dignity of all heavenly creatures, the Nature of mankind went up, to pass above the angels’ ranks and to rise beyond the archangels’ heights, and to have Its uplifting limited by no elevation until, received to sit with the Eternal Father, It should be associated on the throne with His glory, to Whose Nature It was united in the Son. Since then Christ’s Ascension is our uplifting, and the hope of the Body is raised, whither the glory of the Head has gone before, let us exult, dearly-beloved, with worthy joy and delight in the loyal paying of thanks. For to-day not only are we confirmed as possessors of paradise, but have also in Christ penetrated the heights of heaven, and have gained still greater things through Christ’s unspeakable grace than we had lost through the devil’s malice. For us, whom our virulent enemy had driven out from the bliss of our first abode, the Son of God has made members of Himself and placed at the right hand of the Father, with Whom He lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 15:12-19

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2011

John 15:12  This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you
John 15:13  Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

All things good then have their reward, when they arrive at their proper end, but if they be cut off midway, shipwreck ensues. And as a vessel of immense burden, if it reach not the harbor in time, but founder in the midst of the sea, gains nothing from the length of the voyage, but even makes the calamity greater, in proportion as it has endured more toils; so are those souls which fall back when near the end of their labors, and faint in the midst of the struggle. Wherefore Paul said, that glory, and honor, and peace, should meet those who ran their course with patient continuance in well-doing. A thing which Christ now effecteth in the case of the disciples. (Rom 2:7). For since He had accepted them, and they rejoiced in Him, and then the sudden coming of the Passion and His sad words were likely to cut short their pleasure after having conversed with them sufficiently to soothe them, He addeth, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be fulfilled”; that is, “that ye might not be separated from Me that ye might not cut short your course. Ye were rejoicing in Me, and ye were rejoicing exceedingly, but despondency hath fallen upon you. This then. I remove, that joy may come at the last, showing that your present circumstances are fit cause, not for pain, but for pleasure. I saw you offended; I despised you not; I said not, ‘Why do ye not continue noble?’ But I spake to you words which brought comfort with them. And so I wish ever to keep you in the same love. Ye have heard concerning a kingdom, ye rejoiced. In order therefore that your joy might be fulfilled, I have spoken these things unto you.” But“this is the commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Seest thou that the love of God is intertwined with Our own, and connected like a sort of chain? Wherefore it sometimes saith that there are two commandments, sometimes only one. For it is not possible that the man who hath taken hold on the first should not possess the second also. For at one time He said, “On this the Law and the Prophets hang” (Mt 22:40); and at another, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is theLaw and the Prophets.” (Mt 7:12). And, “Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Rom 13:10). Which He saith also here; for if to abide proceeds from love, and love from the keeping of the commandments, and the commandment is that we love one another, then the abiding in God proceeds from love towards each other. And He doth not simply speak of love, but declareth also the manner, “As I have loved you.” Again He showeth, that His very departure was not of hatred but of love. “So that I ought rather to be admired on this account, for I lay down My life for you.” Yet nowhere doth He say this in these words, but in a former place, by sketching the best shepherd, and here by exhorting them, and by showing the greatness of His love, and Himself, who He is. But wherefore doth He everywhere exalt love? Because this is the mark of the disciples, this the bond of virtue. On this account Paul saith such great things of it, as being a genuine disciple of Christ, and having had experience of it.

John 15:14-15. “Ye are My friends—henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth. Ye are My friends, for all things which I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.”

How then saith He, “I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now”? (Jn 16:12). By the “all” and the “hearing” He showeth nothing else, but that He uttered nothing alien, but only what was of the Father. And since to. speak of secrets appears to be the strongest proof of friendship, “ye have,” He saith, “been deemed worthy even of this communion.” When however He saith “all,” He meaneth, “whatever things it was fit that they should hear.” Then He putteth also another sure proof of friendship, no common one. Of what sort was that?

John 15:16. “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have: chosen you.”

That is, I ran upon your friendship. And He stayed not here, but,  “I set you,” He saith, (that is, “I planted you,”) “that ye should go,” (He still useth the metaphor of the vine,) that is, “that ye should extend yourselves”; “and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”

“Now if your fruit remain, much more shall ye. For I have not only loved you,” He saith, “but have done you the greatest benefits, by extending your branches through all the world.” Seest thou in how many ways He showeth His love? By telling them things secret, by having in the first instance run to meet their friendship. by granting them the greatest blessings, by suffering for them what then He suffered. After this, He showeth that He also remaineth continually with those who shall bring forth fruit; for it is needful to enjoy His aid, and so to bear fruit.

“That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.”

Yet it is the part of the person asked to do the thing asked; but if the Father is asked, how is it that the Son doeth it? It is that thou mayest learn that the Son is not inferior to the Father.

John 15:17. “These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

That is, “It is not to upbraid, that I tell you that I lay down My life for you, or that I ran to meet you, but in order to lead you into friendship.” Then, since the being persecuted and insulted by the many, was a grievous and intolerable thing, and enough to humble even a lofty soul, therefore, after having said ten thousand things first, Christ entered upon this matter. Having first smoothed their minds, He thus proceedeth to these points, showing that these things too were for their exceeding advantage,as He had also shown that the others were. For as He had told them that they ought not to grieve, but rather to rejoice, “because I go to the Father,” (since He did this not as deserting but as greatly loving them,) so here also He showeth that they ought to rejoice, not grieve. And observe how He effecteth this. He said not, “I know that the action is grievous, but bear for My sake, since for My sake also ye suffer,” for this reason was not yet sufficient to console them; wherefore letting this pass, He putteth forward another. And what is that? It is that this thing would be a sure proof of their former virtue. “And, on the contrary, ye ought to grieve, not because ye are hated now but if ye were likely to be loved”; for this He implieth by saying,

John 15:19. “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own.”

(So that had ye been loved it would be very clear that ye had shown forth signs of wickedness. Then, when by saying this first, He did not effect his purpose, He goeth on again with the discourse.

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Monday, May 30: St John Chrysostom on Today’s Gospel (John 15:26-16:4)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2011

Jn 15:26-27. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning.”

“He shall be worthy of belief, for He is the Spirit of Truth.” On this account He called It not “Holy Spirit,” but “Spirit of Truth.” But the, “proceedeth from the Father,” showeth that He  knoweth all things exactly, as Christ also saith of Himself, that “I know whence come and whither I go” (Jn 8:14), speaking in that place also concerning truth. “Whom will send.” Behold, it is no longer the Father alone, but the Son also who sendeth. “And ye too,” He saith, “have a right to be believed, who have been with Me, who have not heard from others.” Indeed, the Apostles confidently rely on this circumstance, saying, “We who did eat and drink with Him.” (Act 10:41). And to show that this was not merely said to please, the Spirit beareth witness to the words spoken. (Acts 10:44).

Jn 16:1. “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.”

That is, “when ye see many disbelieve, and yourselves ill-treated.”

Jn 16:2. “They shall put you out of the synagogues.”

(For “the Jews had already agreed, that if any one should confess Christ, he should be put out of the synagogues”—Jn 9:22).

“Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

“They shall so seek after  your murder, as of an action pious and pleasing to God.” Then again He addeth the consolation,

Jn 16:3. “And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.”

“It is sufficient for your comfort that ye endure these things for My sake, and the Father’s.” Here He remindeth them of the blessedness of which He spake at the beginning, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven.” (Mt 5:11, Mt 5:12).

Jn 16:4. “These things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember them.”

“So, judging from these words, deem the rest also trustworthy. For ye will not be able to say, that I flatteringly told you only those things which would please you, nor that the words were words of deceit; for one who intended to deceive, would not have told you beforehand of matters likely to turn you away. I have therefore told you before, that these things might not fall upon you unexpectedly, and trouble you; and for another reason besides, that ye might not say, that I did not foreknow that these things would be. Remember then that I have told you.” And indeed the heathen always covered their persecutions of them by a pretense of their wickedness, driving them out as corrupters; but this did not trouble the disciples who had heard beforehand, and knew for what they suffered. The cause of what took place was sufficient to rouse their courage. Therefore He everywhere handleth this, saying, “they have not known Me”; and, “for My sake they shall do it”; and, “for My Name’s sake, and for the Father’s sake”; and, “I suffered first”; and, “from no just cause they dare these things.”

Let us too consider these things in our temptations, when we suffer anything from wicked men, “looking to the Beginner  and Finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2), and considering that it is by wicked men, and that it is for virtue’s sake, and for His sake. For if we reflect on these things, all will be most easy and tolerable. Since if one suffering for those he loves is even proud of it, what feeling of things dreadful will he have who suffers for the sake of God? For if He, for our sake, calleth that shameful thing, the Cross, “glory” (Jn 13:31), much more ought we to be thus disposed. And if we can so despise sufferings, much more shall we be able to despise riches, and covetousness. We ought then, when about to endure anything unpleasant, to think not of the toils but of the crowns; for as merchants take into account not the seas only, but also the profits, so ought we to reckon on heaven and confidence towards God. And if the getting more seem a pleasant thing, think that Christ willeth it not, and straightway it will appear displeasing. And if it be grievous to you to give to the poor, stay not your reckoning at the expense, but straightway transport your thoughts to the harvest which results from the sowing; and when it is hard to despise the love of a strange woman, think of the crown which comes after the struggle, and thou shalt easily bear the struggle. For if fear diverts a man from unseemly things, much more should the love of Christ. Difficult is virtue; but let us cast around her form the greatness of the promise of things to come. Indeed those who are virtuous, even apart from these promises, see her beautiful in herself, and on this account go after her, and work because it seems good to God, not for hire; and they think it a great thing to be sober-minded, not in order that they may not be punished, but because God hath commanded it. But if any one is too weak for this, let him think of the prizes. So let us do in respect of alms-doing, let us pity our fellow-men, let us not, I entreat,  neglect them when perishing with hunger. How can it be otherwise than an unseemly thing, that we should sit at the table laughing and enjoying ourselves, and when we hear others wailing as they pass through the street, should not even turn at their cries, but be wroth with them, and call them “cheat”? “What meanest thou, man? Doth any one plan a cheat for a single loaf of bread?” “Yes,” saith some one. Then in this case above all let him be pitied; in this case above all let him be delivered from his need. Or if thou art not minded to give, do not insult either; if thou wilt not save the wreck, do not thrust it into the gulf. For consider, when thou thrustest away the poor man who comes to thee, who thou wilt be when thou callest upon God. “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Mt 7:2). Consider how he departs, crushed, bowed down, lamenting; besides his poverty having received also the blow from your insolence. For if ye count the begging a curse, think what a tempest it makes, begging to get nothing, but to go away insulted. How long shall we be like wild beasts, and know not nature itself through greediness? Many groan at these words; but I desire them not now, but always, to have this feeling of compassion. Think, I pray you, of that day when we shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, when we shall beg for mercy, and Christ, bringing them forward, shall say, “For the sake of a single loaf, of a single obol, so great a surge did ye raise in these souls!” What shall we reply? What defense shall we make? To show that He will bring them forward, hear what He saith; “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of these, ye did it not to Me.” (Mt 25:45). They will no more say anything to us, but God on their behalf will upbraid us. Since the rich man saw Lazarus too,  and Lazarus said nothing to him, but Abraham spake for him; and thus it will be in the case of the poor who are now despised by us. We shall not see them stretching out their hands in pitiful state, but being in rest; and we shall take the state which was theirs (and would that it were that state only, and not one much more grievous) as a punishment. For neither did the rich man desire to be filled with crumbs “there,” but was scorched and tormented sharply, and was told, “Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things.” (Lk 16:25). Let us not then deem wealth any great thing; it will help us on our way to punishment, if we take not heed, just as, if we take heed, poverty also becomes to us an addition of enjoyment and rest. For we both put off our sins if we bear it with thankfulness, and gain great boldness before God.

Let us then not be ever seeking security here, in order that we may enjoy security there; but let us accept the labors which are in behalf of virtue, and cut off superfluities, and seek nothing more than we need, and spend all our substance on those who want. Since what excuse can we have, when God promiseth heavento us, and we will not even give Him bread? when He indeed for thee maketh the sun to rise, and supplieth all the ministry of the Creation, but thou dost not even give Him a garment, nor allow Him to share thy roof? But why speak I of sun and moon? He hath set His Body before thee, He hath given thee His Precious Blood; and dost thou not even impart to Him of thy cup? But hast thou done so for once? This is not mercy; as long as, having the means, thou helpest not, thou hast not yet fulfilled the whole duty. Thus the virgins who had the lamps, had oil, but not in abundance. Why, thou oughtest, even didst thou give from thine own, not to be so miserly, but now when thou givest what is thy Lord’s, why countest thou every little? Will ye that I tell you the cause of this inhumanity? When men get together their wealth through greediness, these same are slow to give alms; for one who has learnt so to gain, knows not how to spend. For how can a man prepared for rapine adapt himself to its contrary? He who takes from others, how shall he be able to give up his own to another? A dog accustomed to feed on flesh cannot guard the flock; therefore the shepherds kill such. That this be not our fate, let us refrain from such feasting. For these men too feed on flesh, when they bring on death by hunger. Seest thou not how God hath allowed to us all things in common? If amid riches He hath suffered men to be poor, it is for the consolation of the rich, that they may be able by showing mercy towards them to put off their sins. But thou even in this hast been cruel and inhuman; whence it is evident, that if thou hadst received this same power in greater things, thou wouldest have committed ten thousand murders, and wouldest have debarred men from light, and from life altogether.  That this might not take place, necessity hath cut short insatiableness in such matters.

If ye are pained when ye hear these things, much more I when I see them taking place. How long shalt thou be rich, and that man poor? Till evening, but no farther; for so short is life, and all things so near their end,  and all things henceforth so stand at the door, that the whole must be deemed but a little hour. What need hast thou of bursting  storehouses, of a multitude of domestics and house-keepers? Why hast thou not ten thousand proclaimers of thy almsdoing? The storehouse utters no voice, yet will it bring upon thee many robbers; but the storehouses of the poor will go up to God Himself, and will make thy present life sweet, and put away all thy sins, and thou shalt gain glory from God, and honor from men. Why then grudgest thou thyself such good things? For thou wilt not do so much good to the poor, as to thyself, when thou benefitest them. Thou wilt right their present state; but for thyself thou wilt lay up beforehand the glory and confidence which shall be hereafter. And this may we all obtain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be the glory and the might for ever. Amen.

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