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

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 15:18-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 27, 2011

Joh 15:18  If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated me before you.

If the world hate you, &c. . . . it hated Me before you. The Greek is πζω̃τον ύμω̃ν, which is best rendered adverbially, meaning, the world hated Me before it hated you. I have trodden before you this path of hatred, and made it smooth for you, so that ye, following Me, may walk joyfully in the same way. For I give Myself to you not only as your companion in persecutions, but your standard-bearer, your leader and your guide. Worldly people He calls the world. By them He means 1st, The Jews. 2d, Gentiles addicted to the spirit of the world, and therefore enemies of the doctrine and spirit of Christ.

Christ forewarns His Apostles against the impending hatred and persecutions of the Jews and Gentiles. For the darts which are foreseen are less apt to strike. Thus they would nobly overcome, yea, despise them, and would glory in them as the tokens of Christ. It is, as Ribera remarks, as though He said, Do not wonder or be troubled when the world hates you. It hated Me before you. Rejoice because ye are partakers with Me. This hatred shall do you no harm, even as it has not hurt Me. The world persecutes you because ye are not of it, i.e. because ye do not favour its works, but oppose them, as I do. And when He saith this, He leaves it to be understood, But I nevertheless will love you, because ye belong to Me, and are My elect, chosen to condemn the works of the world. Far greater shall be to you the benefit of My love than the harm of the world’s hate.

Great then is this consolation which the members derive from their Head. Listen to S. Cyprian (lib. 4, Epist. 6), “The Son of God hath suffered that He might make us sons of God. And shall a son of man not be willing to suffer that he may persevere in being a son of God? If we labour under the world’s hate, Christ bore, this hatred before us. If we endure shame in this world, or banishment, or torture, the world’s Maker and its Master experienced yet more grievous trials. He it is who admonishes us, saying, If the world hate you, know ye that it hated Me before you.”

Lastly, hear S. Bernard (Hom. 47, in Cant.), “Thou art two things to Me, 0 Lord Jesus, a mirror of endurance, and a reward of suffering. Thou art the pattern of the warrior, and the glory of the victor. Thou teachest my hands to war by the example of Thine own valour. Thou crownest my head after the victory by the presence of Thy majesty.”

Joh 15:19  If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

If you had been of the world, &c. Christ here adds another reason, says Chrysostom, showing that it is a proof of virtue to be hated by the world, and of wickedness to be loved by it. The meaning is, if ye loved riches, honours, pleasures, lusts, such as the world loves, it would love you as being like itself. But since it sees you loving the things which are contrary to its base desires, and teaching contempt for earthly pleasures, honours, and lusts, therefore it hateth you. For agreement in character and desires is a cause of love, dissimilarity a cause of aversion and hatred.

S. Augustine considers an objection which may be raised. The wicked persecute the wicked: unrighteous kings and judges punish murderers and adulterers. Then he gives this answer. The world indeed hates its own so far as this, that it injures the wicked. But still it loves them, in that it favours them. To me it seems another answer may be given: worldly men love their own, that is, those who help and share in their designs. If at any time they hate other worldly persons, it is because they oppose their designs, and so are counted their adversaries. And therefore they hated Christ because He reproved their deeds, and exposed them to men. For the same cause they hated the Apostles.

Joh 15:20  Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

Remember My word, &c. For if I suffer the hatred of the Jews, yea even the death of the Cross, ye ought not to be unwilling to undergo the same. For as S. Peter saith, “Christ hath suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps.”

If they have persecuted Me, &c. If they have kept My word, &c. My word, i.e. My doctrine, law, and precepts.

Joh 15:21  But all these things they will do to you for my name’s sake: because they know not him that sent me.

But all these things will they do to you for my name’s sake, i.e. on My account, because ye are called, and are, Mine.

Because they know not Him that sent Me: i.e., Because they know not that God the Father sent Me, they say that I pretend to be the Son of God, and sent by Him into the world as the Messias. For if they knew and believed this, they would not persecute Me, nor dare to fight against God. He means, This will be glorious for you, that not only for My sake, but for God the Father’s sake, who sent Me, ye will endure persecutions.

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3 Responses to “Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 15:18-21”

  1. […] Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:18-21). […]

  2. […] Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:18-21). […]

  3. […] Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:18-21). […]

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