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 June 4th, 2011

Bernardin de Piconio on 1 Corinthians 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

Chapter vii. In this [chapter the Apostle replies] to some questions regarding Christian marriage and continence, which had been referred to him by the Christians of Corinth.

1. Of the things concerning which you write to me; if is good for man not to touch the woman:
2. But on account of fornication let each have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

The tilings concerning which you wrote to me. Theodoret calls this the beginning of the second volume of the Epistle, in which Samt Paul answers the questions addressed to him. The first of these was, not whether marriage is lawful, which question he answers in ver. 8, but whether the use of marriage after baptism was lawful for those who had been married before. This much is acknowledged by Saint Athanasius, Saint Chrysostom, and, indeed all other writers who have considered the Apostle’s language. As to who were the parties who denied the lawfulness of the use of marriage under such circumstances, there is some difference of opinion. Saint Ambrose and Saint Anselm think they were secret teachers of heresy, not yet expelled from the Church. More modern writers have thought that their view proceeded from zeal for true piety, but without due consideration for human infirmity and the laws of human life; for such a tenet would be obviously impracticable after the conversion of whole nations to the faith. Saint Paul’s answer is that continence is good, in the Greek noble or honourable. The Syriac: it is good not to approach the wife. But such virtue is angelic, rather than human. For a general rule, regard must be had to the necessity of avoiding fornication (ver. 2), which word the Greek text uses in the plural, as a general term including impurity of every kind. He decides therefore let every man—every man is quite at liberty to—keep the wife to whom he is already married, and the same rule is applicable to the other sex. Heretics have endeavoured to argue from the words let each have his wife, the necessity of the marriage of priests and monks. But 1. The Apostle is not treating of marriage at all, but of the use of marriage already contracted; and 2. If he expressed such an opinion it would be directly contrary to what he says in verses 7, 8, 38, of this chapter.

3. Let the husband render her due to the wife: and similarly the wife to the husband.
4. The woman has not power of her own body, but the husband. And similarly also the husband has not power of his own body, but the woman.
5. Do not defraud one another, unless perhaps by consent for a time, that you may have time for prayer: and revert again to the same, lest Satan tempt you through incontinence.
6. But I say this according to indulgence, not according to command.
7. For I wish you all to be as myself: but each one has his proper gift from God; one indeed thus, and another thus.

Render her due (ver 3). The Greek: due benevolence. The Syriac: due affection. There is a twofold obligation to avoid impurity (vss. 4-5), each for the other as well as himself or herself. Both parties have by the marriage bond surrendered, each to the other, the right of disposing of themselves in this respect. To defraud, in verse 5, is to observe continence without the consent of the other party. There is of course no objection to this, if done by mutual consent, and this may be done for life, ver. 7, which, however, the Apostle does not urge, as he regards the case as exceptional. He approves of it for a limited time, and for the sake of prayer and pious exercises. The Greek text has: that you may be at leisure for fasting and prayer. That you may have time for prayer (ver 5), to pray with greater purity, fervency, and assiduity, and under the term prayer is included the reception of the holy Eucharist, for which is required purity and recollection. Revert again to the same (ver 5), the Greek, “come together again to the same place”: lest if you remain apart permanently or for too long a time, human infirmity be used by Satan as a means of tempting you to sin. I do not insist on this, if you think it best to remain apart, but it is permitted as a concession to the weak. I wish you were all as I am myself (ver 7). The Greek: I wish all men. The Syriac: because I could wish all men to be as I am in purity. I wish, prefer, would like it better, if possible: a wish not a precept: I should hke it better if you were all like me in continence. St. Chrysostom. The virginity of Saint Paul is asserted by Œcumenius. Estius gives many quotations from the Fathers in proof of his celibacy.

Each has his proper gift. Marriage and continence are both graces and gifts of God, though not equal in dignity.

8. But I say to the unmarried and to the widowed It is good for them if they so remain, as I also.

I say to the unmarried. This is a different subject. The Syriac has: It is better, or is fitting for them to remain unmarried, as 1 also am unmarried. So also Theodoret. The Apostle is so far from enjoining marriage, as the heretics assert, in ver 2, that he actually dissuades from it, citing his own example. Ambrose and Saint Anselm observe that this proves that the Apostle had never been married.

9. But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burned.

It is better to marry than to be burned. The Greek: to be set on fire. The Ethiopic version reads: better than to fornicate: and so Saint Jerome understands it. Fire burns, not those who only feel the warmth, but who handle it or fall into it. So desire burns, not those who feel it, but who consent to it. Not temptation, but consent to temptation, is burning ; indeed the temptation is necessary, to secure the crown of victory.

10. But to those who are joined in marriage, I command, not I, but the Lord, the wife not to leave her husband.
11. But if she leaves him, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled with her husband. And the husband is not to send away his wife.

To those who are joined in marriage. A third question, regarding divorce. The Apostle’s command is founded upon that of Christ. Not I, but the Lord. Christ commanded that the husband should not send away the wife except for fornication; and this extends to both sexes. The command is now left on record in Matt 5:32, 19:9, Mark 10:9, Luc 16:18.  Divorce on this ground does not justify another marriage (ver 11). The indissolubility of marriage is founded on the example of Christ, who will never send away his bride, the Church,nor will the Church ever abandon her Divine Spouse. See on Eph 5.

12. For to the rest I say, not the Lord. If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away.
13. And if any believing woman has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send away her husband.
14. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving woman is sanctified by the believing husband: otherwise your sons would be unclean, but now they are holy.

For to the rest (ver 12). The previously quoted command of Christ is addressed to married couples, both Christian. As regards those cases in which one party only is converted, the other remaining in unbelief, Christ has given no instructions, and the following advice is to be taken as mine. There is in such cases no necessity for separation (ver 13,), nor is it justifiable unless the unbelieving partner insists upon it (vers 15, below). The unbeliever is so far sanctified (ver 14) as to be placed in a condition more favourable to conversion than any other could be, being surrounded by Christian children and grand-children, and brought into intercourse with Christian people. Tertullian and Saint Chrysostom think this refers to the use of marriage, which some Christians feared might be rendered unholy under such circumstances, and this scruple the Apostle removes. Were it so, the children of such unions would be illegitimate; but they are certainly holy, born in lawful wedlock. Or else: if you separate, your children would be regarded as illegitimate, and would be brought up in paganism.

15. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart: for a brother or sister is not subject to slavery in a matter of this kind: but God has called us in peace.

If the unbelieving depart. In this case the marriage is dissolved, and both parties are at liberty to marry again. A Christian is not bound by an obligation which would make him, or her, subject to the caprice of an unbelieving husband or wife. God has called us to peace; if the unbelieving partner raises war, or requires you to sacrifice, or join in impiety, or is intolerant of Christian worship, it is better he, or she, should depart. Better for marriage to be dissolved, than piety. Saint Chrysostom says. The cause of God is greater than the cause of marriage. The reverence of marriage cannot be exacted by one who abhors the author of marriage. The insult to the Creator abolishes the right of marriage. Ambrose in Paulum.

16. For whence knowest thou, woman, if thou wilt save thy husband? or whence knowest thou, man, if thou wilt save thy wife?

Whence knowest thou? You will say, there is hope of their conversion, if they remain. But this is extremely doubtful, and should not be made a scruple if the separation seems in other respects more conducive to tranquillity and peace of conscience.

17. Except that to each according as the Lord hath divided; as God hath called each one, so let him walk, and thus I teach in all the Churches.

Except to each according as the Lord hath divided. Regard must be had, in deciding this question, to the different circumstances of each case. There is no positive obligation laid upon every believer, who has an unbelieving husband or wife, to send them away or leave them, even if the unbeliever desires to depart, irrespective of the special circumstances of the case. Every one must decide this question for himself, or herself, and in whatever circumstances God has called him to the faith, remain stedfast in that faith, whatever decision he may arrive at as regards the question of marriage. This is what I have always and everywhere held and taught in all places where I have founded the faith, and where this question has been brought before me, and this is my opinion with regard to it.

18. Is any called circumcised? let him not procure uncircumcision. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
19. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing: but the observation of the commandments of God.
20. Every one in the vocation in which he has been called, in that let him remain.

Let him not procure uncircumcision (ver 18). Some converted Jews endeavoured, or pretended to do so, as shown by some instances mentioned by Saint Epiphanius, and cited by Cornelius a Lapide and other writers. The Gentile convert, who has never received circumcision, is not to do so, or be solicitous on the subject. Obedience to the commands of God (ver 19), and of the Church, is the only thing he need care about. To love God and obey his commands, is true religion. Conversion to the faith does not change the mode of life as to externals (ver 20); let that continue, so it be honest, lawful, and blameless.

21. Art thou called a slave? Care not for it: but even if thou canst be made free, rather use it.
22. For who is called in the Lord as a slave, is the Lord’s freedman: similarly who is called free, is the slave of Christ.
23. You are bought with a price, be not made slaves of men.

Art thou called a slave? The Syriac has: If thou art called a slave, care not for it, but even if thou canst be called into liberty, rather choose to be a slave. The Arabic: It is better if thou usest slavery. Saint Chyrsostom: Rather serve. Theodoret: Go on serving. Theophylact: You shall serve. He wishes to show that a state of slavery need be no hindrance to salvation: as Saint Chrysostom observes, in opposing some who interpreted Saint Paul’s words to mean, if thou canst be set free, choose freedom. This, he says, is contrary to the Apostle’s meaning. All who are redeemed in Christ are slaves, and all are free (vs 22). Free, because they are emancipated from the empire of sin and the power of the devil. Slaves because they belong to him who has redeemed and purchased them. You are bought with a price; be not slaves of men (vs 23), in prejudice of the obedience you owe to your supreme Lord. Obey them not in sin, but obey them according to the will of Christ. Offend not God to please man. Slaves were not to run away from temporal lords, under pretext of serving God; nor fail in duty to God on the pretext of serving man. Theophylact. It would seem that slavery must have existed in a somewhat mitigated form, and that slaves were under the protection of the laws, or this last injunction might have sometimes been difficult to fulfil.

24. Let every one, therefore, brethren, wherein he is called, therein remain with God.

Faith sanctifies every condition of life. The sanctity, not the condition, is the object of solicitude.

25. But concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord: but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy from the Lord, that I may be faithful
26. I think, therefore, that this is good on account of instant necessity, that it is good for man so to be,
27. Art thou bound to a wife? do not seek freedom. Art thou free from a wife? do not seek a wife.
28. But if thou shalt have taken a wife, thou hast not sinned: and if a virgin shall have married, she has not sinned: but such shall have trouble of the flesh. And I spare you.

Concerning virgins (ver 25), the lawfulness, propriety, and desirability of a resolution of perpetual chastity and celibacy, I have no command of Christ. I give my advice as one who has received the grace of the Apostolic ministry, and whose counsel may safely be followed. Such a resolution is good (ver 26), in the Greek, noble, beautiful, and excellent, first, on account of instant necessity, because it avoids the urgent and inevitable troubles and difficulties attending the married state; sorrow and disappointment, and the obligation of providing for a family. The Syriac reads: on account of the necessity of time, that is the shortness of human life, as in verse 29, which only leaves us time enough to provide properly for eternity, and none to expend upon pursuits and objects wholly carnal or temporal. If thou art free, remain so (ver 27), for it is the better and more perfect state. But this is only a counsel, not a precept. There is no sin in being married, in either sex (ver 28); but those who marry are involved in many troubles incidental to their state, such as those just referred to, from which they would otherwise be free, and from which I would willingly spare you, by the advice I have just given.

29. This, therefore I say, brethren, the time is short: it remains that both they who have wives, as not having them:
30. And who weep, as not weeping: and who rejoice, as not rejoicing: and who buy, as not possessing:
31. And who use this world, as if they use it not: for the figure of this world passes away.

The time is short (Ver 29). Human life is too short for devotion to the interests of time and eternity together. Especially, perhaps, as the Apostle expected a near approach of the day of judgment. Married and single (ver 29), the sad and the rejoicing, buyers and sellers (ver 30), should all live and labour, grieve and be merry, buy and sell, with reference to the eternity which is close upon them. Using this world (ver 31), they should use it only with reference to another. The Greek has, as not misusing it; but it is to misuse it, to use it for itself. The torrent of human things rolls swiftly by, and the moments as they fly carry all things with them. St. Augustine. The figure of this world passes (ver 31); the unsubstantial shadows and appearances of unreal good which cannot satisfy the soul. It mocks, deceives, and soon is gone ; the realities which do not pass, and which do not deceive, are those of eternity.

32. And I wish you to be without solicitude. Who is without a wife, is solicitous for what is the Lord’s, that he may please God.
33. But who is with a wife, is solicitous for what is the world’s, how he may please his wife, and is divided.
34. And the unmarried woman, and the virgin, thinks of what is the Lord’s: that she may be holy, body and spirit. But she who is married, thinks of what is the world’s, how she may please her husband.

And (he) is divided (ver 33), between the solicitude to please God (ver 32) and worldly cares and anxieties. The Greek text, in one of its readings, joins these words with the next verse. There is a distinction between a woman and a virgin, but this is altogether rejected by Saint Jerome. The heart of the married woman, or man, cannot be wholly given to God; or their attention wholly fixed on the things of eternity.

35. Further, I say this for your advantage: not to throw a noose over you, but for that which is honourable, and may put it in your power to pray to the Lord without impediment.

I say this for your advantage. I speak only for your spiritual profit, and the furtherance of your salvation, and am anxious not to entangle you in efforts and enterprises beyond your strength. My object is the increase of virtue and piety. Luther asserted that Saint Paul preferred virginity to marriage, only because it was freer from worldly cares. But Saint Chrysostom, Saint Basil, Saint Athanasius, Saint Jerome, Ambrose, Saint Augustine, all maintain, and have written volumes to prove, what Saint Paul also here asserts, that it is more honourable than marriage, and directly tends to the advancement of holiness and the spiritual life. Saint Thomas says: It is good to remain in virginity, honourable for purity, delightful for freedom, profitable for reward, for the golden crown and the fruit of a hundred-fold are due to it. Luke 8, 8. And he quotes from Saint Augustine: Virginity rises above the condition of human nature, and makes mortal man like the angels; the victory of the virgins is greater than the victory of the angels, for the angels are without flesh, and virgins triumph in the flesh.

36. And if any one thinks he appears unfair towards his virgin, because past the age, and it ought to be so done; let him do what he will: he sins not if he marries.
37. For who has determined firmly in his heart, not having necessity, but having power over his own will, and has judged this in his heart, to keep his virgin, does well.
38. Therefore, both he who gives his virgin in marriage, does well: and he who gives her not, does better.

Unfair towards his virgin (ver 36). His daughter. There is probably an allusion to some circumstances that had occurred at Corinth, with regard to which, the Apostle had been consulted, but which are not now remembered. A wise father should only recommend a religious life to his daughters, when he is really free, that is, when the decision is left to him. (A father who thus offers his child to God, offers an acceptable sacrifice, her consent being presupposed. If he did so without her own inclination, and consigned her in opposition to her wishes to a life for which she had no vocation, he would be, like Jephta, the murderer of his child).

39. A woman is bound to the law during the time her husband lives. If her husband shall have fallen asleep, she is free: let her marry whom she will: only in the Lord.

This is another, and the last, of the questions referred to the Apostle, relating to this subject. A woman deprived of her husband by death is free to marry again, but only to marry a Christian. There have been examples of holy women who have acted otherwise, but this has been either in ignorance of the law, or under peculiar circumstances which rendered it inevitable.

40. But she will be happier if she so remains, according to my counsel; and I think that I have the Spirit of God.

I think I have the Spirit of God. Words of great humility, but also of great authority; for the presence of the Spirit gives to the advice of the Apostle the force of a counsel of God: she is happier if she so remain.

Corollary of Piety~
The supreme affection of the human heart is one and indivisible. It is the prerogative of Deity alone to love all his intelligent creatures separately and individually with an affection as complete and perfect as if no other being existed in the universe. The creature is so constituted that its affection can be centred in its fulness upon the Creator only, from whom only its real happiness can be derived. It may indeed be diverted from its true object, and wasted upon some created object, unworthy of it, and then it becomes an unholy passion, under the influence of which it wastes away, fatigued and disappointed, and is ultimately extinguished for ever: for lost souls and lost angels cannot love. Within the limits which Gdd’s providence has appointed and allows, earthly passion, though a concession to human infirmity, never, even in its fulness of transport, altogether supersedes or excludes the Creator’s right over the supreme devotion of the human heart. Earthly friendships and affections, apart from God, fade and die: they are a part of the figure of this world, perpetually changing and passing away. Those which are consecrated to God, and offered to his service,will be lost in the fulness of infinite charity which shall reign hereafter between the creature, redeemed and sanctified, and the Creator, manifested to its view. Lost, yet not lost. We do not see the stars in the sunshine, yet the stars are there, as bright as ever. But their feeble and trembling rays are drowned in the splendour that streams from the great orb that rules the day. And all finite affections, the love of nearest friends, even devotion to the saints in glory, will be absorbed, not extinguished, in the noontide glory of adoration and affection which will irradiate and fill the human soul, in the tenderness and majesty, the grandeur and the loveliness of the beatific vision of God.

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This Weeks Posts: Sunday, May 29-Saturday, June 4

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

Unless otherwise noted all links below are currently available regardless of the day they are listed under.

SUNDAY, MAY 29
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Resources for Today’s Mass. A weekly feature of this blog. The resources for next Sunday’s Mass will be published on Wednesday.

Last Weeks Posts: Sunday, May 22-Saturday, May 28.

MONDAY, MAY 30
MONDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 16:11-15).

Pope John Paul II on Today’s Psalm (149).

Cyril of Alexandria on Today’s Gospel (John 15:26-16:4).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 15:26-16:4).

Link fixed Fathers Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:26-16:4).

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 15:26-16:4).

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:12-20a.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:20b-28.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:29-34.

TUESDAY, MAY 31
FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Zeph 3:14-18a). An alternate reading is Romans 12:9-16, see below.

Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s First alternate Reading (Rom 12:9-16). This post includes notes on verses 9-21.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First alternate Reading (Rom 12:9-16).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Isaiah 12:1-6).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:39-56).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Luke 1:39-56).

Pope Benedict XVI on Mary’s Magnificat.

Catholic Encyclopedia on the Feast of the Visitation.

Catholic Culture on the Feast of the Visitation.

St Bede the Venerable on the Feast of the Visitation.

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

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

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1
MEMORIAL OF ST JUSTIN THE MARTYR

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 17:15, 22-18:1).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (148).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 16:12-15).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 16:12-15).

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 16:12-15).

Catholic Encyclopedia on St Justin the Martyr.

Pope Benedict XVI on St Justin the Martyr.

Online Works by St Justin the Martyr:

An Account of the Martyrdom of St Justin.

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

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

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

UPDATE: Mass Resources for Sunday, June 5 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

THURSDAY, JUNE 2
SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Resources for Ascension Thursday (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

FRIDAY, JUNE 3
MEMORIAL OF ST CHARLES LWANGA AND COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Charles Callan on Today’s First Reading (Acts 18:9-18).

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians, Chapter 1.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians, Chapter 2.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians, Chapter 3.

SATURDAY, JUNE 4
SATURDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 18:23-28).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (47). This is identified as Psalm 46 in the numbering of the Vulgate.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 16:23b-28). This post includes commentary on verses 23-30.

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Resources for Ascension Thursday (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

This post Contains general resources for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, followed by resources relating to both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. Please notice that the first reading for both forms is taken from Acts 1:1-11. To see all of this weeks posts, excluding those listed below, go here.

General Resources:
devotional and theological.

 Mass Readings.

Divine Office.

UPDATE: Pope St Leo the Great’s First Homily on the Ascension of Our Lord.

Pope St Leo the Great’s Second Sermon on the Ascension of Our Lord.

Aquinas on the Ascension and our Salvation. From the Summa Theologica.

Commentary on the Summa Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange’s commentary on St Thomas’ teaching regarding the Ascension.

Christ’s Glorification- Resurrection and AscensionA Manual of Catholic Theology.  A condensed version of Matthias Scheeben’s “Dogmatik”.

Article 6 of the Catechism.

The Ascension, Acts 1:8, and the Missionary Mandate to the Church. Excerpt from Pope John Paul II’s Redemptoris Missio.

Did Jesus Really Say He Would Be “Seated at the Right Hand of the Power”? A post by Catholic biblical scholar Michael Barber which looks at Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 in relation to the Ascension.

******************ORDINARY FORM OF THE RITE********************
LITURGICAL CYCLE A

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Acts 1:1-11.

St John Chrysostom’s Exsgetical Homily on Acts 1:1-5.

St John Chrysostom’s Exegetical Homily on Acts 1:6.

Aquinas’ Lectures on Ephesians 1:17-23Read lectures 6, 7, and 8.

Father Wilberforce’s Commentary on Ephesians 1:17-23. This commentary actually begins with verse 15. It is a pdf document.

Father Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Ephesians 1:17-23. This commentary actully begins with verse 15.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 28:16-20.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matt 28:16-20.

UPDATE: Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matt 28:16-20.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily on the Ascension, May 28, 2006. From Liturgical Cycle B, the first and second readings are the same as this year, the Gospel differs.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily on the Ascension, May 24, 2009. Also from a different Liturgical Cycle, but deals with Acts 1.

***************EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE RITE***************

Online Roman Missal. Latin and English. Contains the readings, prayers, etc.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Acts 1:1-11.

St John Chrysostom’s Exegetical Homily on Acts 1:1-5.

St John Chrysostom’s Exegetical Homily on Acts 1:6.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Acts 1:1-15.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Mark 16:14-20.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 16:14-20.

Homily by Pope St Gregory the GreatPreceded by the text of Mark 16:14-20, which reading is used in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Homily on the Ascension. By Fr. Augustine Wirth, O.S.B.  See the above note.

Christ’s Ascension a Lesson and a Warning to SinnersAlso by Fr. Wirth.

Commentary on the Epistle (i.e., the first) ReadingAn exegetical sermon by Bishop Bonomelli.  Like the previous links this reading is based upon the pre-Vatican II lectionary used in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  It should be noted however that this reading (Acts 1:1-15) has been mostly retained in the Ordinary Form, which uses Acts 1:1-11.

Commentary on the Gospel Also by Bishop Bonomelli.  On Mark 16:14-20.

Why Jesus Christ Went Up To Heaven and What Is The Meaning Of “He Sitteth At

The Right Hand Of The Father.  By Bishop Bonomelli.

The Feast of the Ascension Teaches and Comforts UsBy Bishop Bonomelli.

Ascension Day.  By Fr. Thomas Flynn.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 25:13b-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

Today’s first reading is a rather straightforward narrative which provides an introduction to St Paul’s third defense since his arrest in Jerusalem. The nature of the narrative does not demand much commentary, however, I have prepared some background on the events leading up to today’s narrative, thinking they would be useful. This background is followed by Father Callan’s notes, to which I have added a few of my own (in red text).

Background to Today’s Reading~St Paul was arrested in Jerusalem on the basis of rumor and was forced to defend himself before his fellow Jews (see the background material here). Because he was a Roman citizen and, therefore, subject to Rome’s due process of law; and, also, because an assassination plot had been hatched against him, the Roman commander in Jerusalem thought it best to send him under heavy guard to the Roman Governor Felix in Caesarea so that he could conduct a trial (Acts 23:12-35). The trial begins in Acts 24:1-21 but is postponed due to the absence of the Roman commander; St Paul is ordered to be held in custody (Acts 24:22-23).

While awaiting the resumption of the trial, St Paul is summoned by the Governor who listens to him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. When St Paul talks about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, the Governor, Felix, becomes frightened and dismisses Paul, telling him that he would summon him again latter (Acts 24:24-25). It becomes apparent to the reader that Felix in not interested in the faith, Roman law, or St Paul’s well-being; he wants a bribe (Acts 24:26).  Not getting it from St Paul, he decides to attempt ingratiating himself with Paul’s opponents and thus St Paul is held in custody for two years, until Felix is replaced (Acts 24:27).

Felix’s replacement, a man by the name of Porcius Festus, receives a request from some Jerusalemites that St Paul be sent back to Jerusalem, ostensibly to stand trial, but, in reality, they wish to kill him (Acts 25:1-3).  Festus refuses to send him back but indicates that he is willing to put St Paul on trial in Caesarea if the Jewish authorities go there for the trial (Acts 25:4-5).

As Luke narrates the trial we learn that Festus, wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jewish authorities, asks St Paul if he is willing to go back to Jerusalem for trial (Acts 25:9) . St Paul refuses, insisting that Festus himself is aware that he has committed no crime (Acts 25:10).  St Paul insists that the proper procedure be followed, thus showing himself more faithful to the Roman law than either the Jewish authorities or the Roman Governor. He appeals to be heard before Caesar and Festus has no choice but to give into that request (Acts 25:11-12).

While St Paul is being held in custody awaiting being sent to Rome,  King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice, come down and pay a visit to Festus, who informs them concerning Paul (Acts 25:13-21).

Father Callan’s Notes:

13. And after some days, king Agrippa and Bernice came down to Caesarea to salute Festus.

Agrippa and Bernice. This was Agrippa the Younger, son of king Agrippa I. He was only seventeen years old when his father died in a.d. 44, and on account of his youth was not allowed to succeed his father as governor of Judea. In the year 53, however, he obtained from the Emperor Claudius the tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias (Luke iii. i), and later from Nero he gained control of some cities of Galilee and Peraea. After the destruction of Jerusalem he retired to private life in Rome and died there about the year 100.

At this present time Agrippa with Bernice came down to Caesarea to pay his respects to Festus, the new Procurator. Bernice was Agrippa’s sister. She was first married to Herod her uncle, and after his death lived with her brother, with whom she was seriously suspected of incestuous relations (Josephus, Antiq. xx. 7, 3). She was afterwards married to Polemon, king of Cilicia, but soon abandoned him to live again with her brother in Rome. She had also scandalous relations with the Emperor Vespasian and with his son Titus (Tacit., Hist ii. 81 ; Suet. Titus 7).

14. And as they tarried there many days, Festus told the king of Paul, saying: A certain man was left prisoner by Felix.

Festus did not know very much about Jewish customs, and so he related St. Paul’s case to Agrippa, hoping for some light on the matter. Festus would have been required to send details of the case to Rome with St Paul, necessitating the need for “some light on the matter”.

15. About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests, and the ancients of the Jews, came unto me, desiring condemnation against him.
16. To whom I answered: It is not the custom of the Romans to condemn any man, before that he who is accused have his accusers present, and have liberty to make his answer, to clear himself of the things laid to his charge.

The legal niceties presented here are in accord with what we know of first century Roman law (see Appian’s THE CIVIL WARS, 3, 8, 54; and Josephus’ ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS, 16:258).   St Justin Martyr, in his Apology addressed to the emperor, Antoninus Pius, appeals to this legal process.

17. When therfore they were come hither, without any delay, on the day following, sitting in the judgment seat, I commanded the man to be brought.
18. Against whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation of things which I thought ill of:

See Acts 25:6 ff.

19. But had certain questions of their own superstition against him, and of one Jesus deceased, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

Of their own superstition; i.e., of their own religion. The word δεισιδαιμονιας, literally, fear of demons, here rendered superstition, was used by Festus in a good sense, for religion (I think it’s negative here). The same term was used among the Romans and Greeks to designate their worship of their own gods.

And of one Jesus. From this it seems that St. Paul in his defense had spoken not only about the resurrection in general, but also about the Resurrection of our Lord.

δεισιδαιμονιας is a word which can have both positive (devout, religious) or negative (superstitious)  connotations which are usually discerned from the context. The word has positive meaning in Deo Chrysostom’s ORATION, 61:9; and negative connotations in Strabo’s GEOGRAPHY, 16, 2, 37.  The Acts of the Apostles uses the word both positively (Acts 17:22) and (I believe) negatively in Acts 25:19.

20. I therefore being in a doubt of this manner of question, asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things.

Luke has already attributed the Governor’s request to St Paul as being motivated by a desire to ingratiate himself with the Jerusalemites (Acts 25:9).  I believe that Festus is being portrayed here as a subtle, duplicitous man, wishing to be seen as a staunch defender of the Roman law while in reality being a self-seeker.

21. But Paul appealing to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept, till I might send him to Caesar.

Augustus; i.e., Nero, the Emperor. The name Augustus means venerable, honorable; it was common, like the title “Caesar,” to all the Roman Emperors.

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Fathers Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on John 17:20-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

Joh 17:20  And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me.

Instead of shall believe the more probable Greek reading has the present tense, as if Christ looked upon the Churchof the future as actually present. He now prays not alone for the Apostles, but for all who should believe through their preaching. There is direct reference to the Apostles and their converts, but the prayer of Christ included the successors of both.

Joh 17:21  That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

The unity of the faithful cannot, of course, equal the unity of nature in the Persons of the Blessed Trinity; but since it is here compared with the latter, we are justified in concluding that it is as perfect as possible; and hence a unity of intellect through faith, of will through charity, and of government through the due subordination of the different members. Such a moral miracle as this unity implies, must suppose a principle of unity in the Church; that is to say, a teaching and ruling authority by which this marvellous unity is Divinely secured.

The words That the world may believe that thou hast sent me show that this unity was to be a note of the true Church, pointing it out even to the wicked world as the Church of God.

Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them: that, they may be one, as we also are one.

And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them. (1) Some under stand the glory here mentioned to be the gift of working miracles; (2) others, the glory about to be enjoyed by Christ’s humanity, which is to be shared in by all the faithful after the day of judgment; (3) others, the glorious privilege of Divine filiation which makes the faithful the adopted sons, as Christ was the natural Son, of God; (4) others, in fine, the glory of the Divinity which Christ had just shared with the Apostles that night, and which He was to share with all the faithful in future, in giving them His own glorious and Divine Person in the Blessed Eucharist.

We believe that either the third or fourth is the correct opinion. But it is not easy to choose between these two. The third is the more obvious, and is certainly very probable; but in favour of the fourth it must be said it was very natural that Christ speaking of the union of the faithful on this night when He had instituted the Blessed Eucharist, should refer to that wonderful cause and pledge of union which He had just left to the faithful in the Blessed Sacrament: “For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). See also John 6:57.

Joh 17:23  I in them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me.

I in them, and thou in me. This clause is in apposition to the last clause of the preceding verse: “that they may be one, as we also are one,” and explains how the union there spoken of is effected, namely, by the presence of Christ in the faithful.

Joh 17:24  Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me: that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world.

Here, too, as in verses 11, 12, some of the critics read the neuter pronoun ὦ (that which) instead of ους   (they whom). The Vulgate reading is at least equally  probable. Having prayed in verses 20-23 for all the faithful, Christ now continues His prayer for the Apostles, as a comparison of this verse with verses 1 1 and 12 proves. And this, His last petition for them, is, that they may one day be made partakers of that glory which He as God enjoyed eternally, and into which as man He was to enter at His ascension.

That they may see my glory; that is to say, see and enjoy the glory of My Divinity (reflected also in My humanity; see above on verse 5). We believe there is not question merely of the glory of Christ’s humanity, for He seems to pray here that the Apostles may enjoy the bliss of heaven, which does not consist in the vision of Christ’s humanity, but in the vision and enjoyment of the Divinity. If this is the correct view, and we think, with Lapide, that it is, then this glory was given From all eternity to the Son. The words: Because thou hast loved me, do not, in this view, state the cause of the communication of the eternal glory of the Father to the Son. See above on 5:20.

If the words be understood, as St. Aug. understood them, of Christ’s humanity, then the meaning is: Share with My Apostles the glory which Thou art about to bestow upon Me because from all eternity Thou hast loved Me, and predestined Me as man for this glory. In this view the love of the Father for Christ as man is the reason why He glorifies Christ’s humanity.

The phrase before the creation of the world, or more accurately, “before
the foundation of the world,” denotes that the world is not eternal; while Christ’s
claim to have been loved by the Father before creation, is a claim to personal existence before the world began and indirectly, therefore, a claim to an eternal Personality.

Joh 17:25  Just Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee. And these have known that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:26  And I have made known thy name to them and will make it known: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

These verses give a reason why the Father who is just, and who rewards man’s  merits, even though these merits are themselves the result of His grace, ought to
hear Christ’s prayer. The reason is, because He who prays had known and loved
the Father, and they for whom He prays had known and received Himself as the Messias. Moreover, He had made known the Father to them, and would do so still more, afterwards, through the Holy Ghost.

That the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them. Here He states His object in making known the Father s name. It was in order that the special love of the Father might extend to them, and that He Himself might remain intimately united to them by His grace, and by the presence of the Divinity in their souls.

With these beautiful and consoling words, which be spoke the special love of the
Father for the Apostles, and His own enduring presence with them notwithstanding His departure, Christ concludes this sublime prayer to His eternal Father.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 22:30, 23:6-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

I’ve included a summary background to the events leading up to the subject of today’s readings. This is followed by Father Callan’s notes. I’ve also added some notes of my own which appear in red letters.

Background~St Paul’s so-called Third Missionary Journey has come to an end (Acts 18:21-23:16). As it neared completion, St Paul was the recipient of an ominous prophetic action by Agabus which indicated that he would be arrested by his own countrymen and turned over to the Gentiles (Acts 21:10-11). The news caused quite a disturbance among the faithful who tried to dissuade St Paul from going to Jerusalem (Acts 21:12), but he was determined to do so (Acts Acts 21:13-14).

Upon arrival in the city he meets with St James who tells him a rumor is spreading among the Jewish Christians: Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews that have believed: “and they are all zealous for the law.  Now they have heard of thee that thou teachest those Jews, who are among the Gentiles to depart from Moses: saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, nor walk according to the custom” (Acts 21:21-22).  To counteract this rumor St James advises St Paul to join four Jewish Christians who are going to take the nazarite vows in the Temple, and to pay for their expenses (Acts 21:22-24, see also Num 6:3-20).

St Paul does this, but during the course of the ritual days some Jews from Asia notice him in the Temple and assume that he has brought a non-Jew into the temple precincts and they stir up trouble (Acts 21:27-29). St Paul is seized by an angry crowd which drags him from the Temple and which attempts to kill him.  The Roman cohort commander in Jerusalem is alerted to the riot and with his soldiers he intervenes, stopping the beating of St Paul whom he promptly arrests. He then begins to attempt to find out what the circumstances of the riot were, only to be given contradictory information by the crowd (Acts 21:31-35).

As the Romans attempt to lead Paul to their compound he asks to address the crowd (Acts 21:34-40).  This leads to a lengthy defense speech which the crowd listens to but refuses to accept (Acts 22:1-22). As the threat of riot continues to loom the commander orders St Paul to be taken into the compound and interrogated “under the lash (whip)” to determine what he has done.  As the Romans prepare to scourge him he informs them that he is a Roman citizen and therefore, subject to the due process guaranteed Roman citizens. The attempted lashing is halted (Acts 22:23-29).

St Paul is freed but, apparently, remains in some kind of protective custody.  The cohort commander orders the Jewish Sanhedrin to meet and he brings St Paul before them, at which point St Paul delivers another defense speech (Act 22:30-23:6).  The speech caused a division between Pharisee and Sadducees, with some Pharisees declaring St Paul innocent (Acts 23:7-9). The division among them was so great the Romans have to act to protect St Paul (Acts 23:10-11).

Father Callan’s Commentary~

30. But on the next day, meaning to know more diligently for what cause he was accused by the Jews, he (the cohort commander) loosed him, and commanded the priests to come together, and all the council: and bringing forth Paul, he set him before them.

The council; i.e., the Sanhedrin. Concerning the Sanhedrin see this article in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

6. And Paul knowing that the one part were Sadducees, and the otherPharisees, cried out in the council: Men, brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees: concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

Sadducees . . . Pharisees. See commentary on Acts 4:1 (I’ve reproduced them below) St. Paul thought by this appeal to turn the discussion from himself to a much controverted question between the Pharisees and Sadducees, namely, the doctrine of the resurrection. It was not false for St. Paul to say that he was still a Pharisee, for he really was in regard to all the good doctrines of that sect, but not as regarded their evil and erroneous teachings.

Here are Father Callan’s notes on Acts 4:1 referenced above:

Sadducees. These were especially opposed to the doctrines of the Pharisees, rejecting all traditions and admitting only the written law. They denied the resurrection, the future life, and the existence of spirits or angels. Being very rich, and favored with high offices by the Romans, they were powerful, although few in number.

The Pharisees, on the contrary, were the scrupulous observers of the Law of Moses, and of a multitude of their own traditions besides. They believed in the future life, in the resurrection, the existence of spirits, etc. In the time of our Lord, however, their religion and observance were wholly external and affected; their prevailing characteristics were hypocrisy and pride. And yet, because of their feigned observance and piety they enjoyed great influence with the people.”

7. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the multitude was divided.
8. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

St Paul’s declaration is sometime portrayed as nothing more than a ploy to cause division and thus extricate himself from legal trouble, but Luke Timothy Johnson, in is commentary on Acts, sees something more important at work: the highlighting of the main point of contention between St Paul and his opponents, namely, the Resurrection of Jesus which both groups refuse to accept.

9. And there arose a great cry. And some of the Pharisees rising up, strove, saying: We find no evil in this man. What if a spirit hath spoken to him, or an angel?

Some of the Pharisees. In the Greek it is: ” Some scribes of the sect of the Pharisees.”

These people attempt to use St Paul as a weapon to infuriate the Sadducees. Notice they say nothing about accepting Jesus’ resurrection, they merely assert the possibility that a spirit or angel has spoken to Paul. L.T. Johnson see this as ‘bad faith” on their part.

For a good summary of the significance of this verse see Dennis J. Hamm’s Acts of the Apostles (scroll down slightly to the paragraph which begins: “But more is going on here than clever forensic strategy”).

10. And when there arose a great dissension, the tribune fearing lest Paul should be pulled in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

The response of the Sanhedrin shows that they are no better than the mob that originally formed against Paul, thus indicating that they are not acting in the orderly and authoritative manner they were supposed to.

Castle. Camp, compound, barracks.

11. And the night following the Lord standing by him, said: Be constant; for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Our Lord appeared to Paul, whether in sleep or while awake we know not, and assured him that as he had defended the truth in Jerusalem, so he should also defend it in Rome. Be constant means “be of good cheer.”

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Wednesday, June 8: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 17:11b-19)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

This is some slight overlap with yesterday’s commentary inasmuch as both include  the comments on verse 11.

11. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you.  Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are.12. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name: those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.13. And now come I to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

CHRYS. As the disciples were still sad in spite of all our Lord’s consolations, henceforth He addresses Himself to the Father to show the love which He had for them; I pray for them; He not only gives them what He has of His own, but entreats another for them, as a still further proof of His love.

AUG. When He adds, I pray not for the world, by the world He means those who live according to the lust of the world, and have not the lot to be chosen by grace out of the world, as those had for whom He prayed: But for them which you have given Me. It was because the Father had given Him them, that they did not belong to the world. Nor yet had the Father, in giving them to the Son, lost what He had given: For they are Yours.

CHRYS. He often repeats, you have given Me, to impress on them that it was all according to the Father’s will, and that He did not come to rob another, but to take unto Him His own. Then to show them that this power had not been lately received from the Father, He adds, And all Yours, and Yours are Mine: as if to say, Let no one, hearing Me say, Them which You have given Me, suppose that they are separated from the Father; for Mine are His: nor because I said, They are Yours, suppose that they are separate from Me: for whatever is His is Mine.

AUG. It is sufficiently apparent from hence, that all things which the Father has, the Only-Begotten Son has; has in that He is God, born from the Father, and equal with the Father; not in the sense in which the elder son is told, All that I have is yours. For all there means all creatures below the holy rational creature, but here it means the very rational creature itself, which is only subjected to God. Since this is God the Father’s, it could not at the same time be God the Son’s, unless the Son were equal to the Father. For it is impossible that saints, of whom this is said, should be the property of any one, except Him who created and sanctified them. Who He says above in speaking of the Holy Spirit, All things that the Father has are Mine, He means all things which pertain to the divinity of the [Father; for He adds, He (the Holy Ghost) shall receive of Mine; and the Holy Ghost would not receive from a creature which was subject to the Father and the Son.

CHRYS. Then He gives proof of this, I am glorified in them. If they glorify Me, believing in Me and You, it is certain that I have power over them: for no one is glorified by those amongst whom he has no power.

AUG. He speaks of this as already done, meaning that it was as predestined, and sure to be. But is this the glorifying of which He speaks above, And now, O Father, glorify you Me with Your own Self? If then with Yourself, what means here, In them? Perhaps that this very thing, i.e. His glory with the Father, was made known to them, and through them to all that believe.

CHRYS. And now I am no more in the world: i.e. though I no longer appear in the flesh, I am glorified by those who die for Me, as for the Father, and preach Me as the Father.

AUG. At the time at which He was speaking, both were still in the world. Yet we must not understand, I am no more in the world, metaphorically of the heart and life; for could there ever have been a time when hen He loved the things of the world? It remains then that He means that He was not in the world, as He had been before; i.e. that He was soon going away. Do we not say every day, when any one is going to leave us, or going to die, such an one is gone? This is shown to be the sense by what follows; for He adds, And now I come to You. And then He commends to His Father those whom He was about to leave: Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom you have given Me. As man He prays God for His disciples, whom He received from God. But mark what follows: That they may be one, as We are: He does not say, That they may be one with us, We are one: but, that they may be one: that they may b one in their nature, as We are one in Ours. For, in that He was God and man in one person as man He prayed, as God He was one with Him to Whom He prayed.

AUG. He does not say, That I and they maybe one, though He might have said so in the sense, that He was the head of the Church, and the Church His body; not one thing, but one person: the head and the body being one Christ. But strewing something else, viz. that His divinity is consubstantial With the Father, He prays that His people may in like manner be one; but one in Christ, not only by the same nature, in which mortal man is made equal to the Angels, but also by the same will, agreeing most entirely in the same mind, and melted into one Spirit by the fire of love. This is the meaning of, That they may be one as We are: viz. that as the Father and the Son are one not only by equality of substance, but also in will, so they, between whom and God the Son is Mediator, may be one not only by the union of nature, but by the union of love.

CHRYS. Again He speaks as man: While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name; i.e. by your help. He speaks in condescension to the minds of His disciples, who thought they were more safe in His presence.

AUG. The Son as man kept His disciples in the Father’s name, being placed among them in human form: the Father again kept them in the Son’s name, in that He heard those who asked in the Son’s name. But we must not take this carnally, as if the Father and Son kept us in turns, for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost guard us at the same time: but Scripture do does not raise us, except it stoop to us. Let us understand then that when our Lord says this, He is distinguishing the persons, not dividing, the nature, so that when the Son was keeping His disciples by His bodily presence, the Father was waiting to succeed Him on His departure; but both kept them by spiritual power, and when the Son withdrew His bodily presence, he still held with the Father the spiritual keeping . For when the Son as man received them into His keeping , He did not take them from n the Father’s keeping, and when the Father gave them into the Son’s keeping , it was to the Son as man, who at the, same time was God. Those that you gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost but the Son of perdition: i.e. the betrayer of Christ, predestined to perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, especially the prophecy, in Psalm 108.

CHRYS. He was the only one indeed who perished then, but there were many after. None of them is lost, i.e. as far as I am concerned; as He says above more clearly; I will in no wise cast out. But when they cast themselves out, I will not draw them to Myself by dint of compulsion. It follows: And now I come to you. But some one might ask, Can you not keep them? I can. Then why say you this? That they may have my joy fulfilled in them, i.e. that they may not be alarmed in their as yet imperfect state.

AUG. Or thus: That they might have the joy spoken of above: That they may be one, We are one. This spoken i.e. bestowed by Him, He says, is to be fulfilled in them on which account He spoke thus in the world. This joy is the peace and happiness of the life to come. He says He spoke in the world, though He had just now said, I am no more in the world. For, inasmuch as He had not yet departed, He was still here; and inasmuch as He was going to depart, He was in a certain sense not here.

Ver 14. I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.15. I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17. Sanctify them through your truth; your word is truth.18. As you hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.19. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

CHRYS. Again, our Lord gives a reason why the disciples are worthy your of obtaining such favor our from the Father: I have given them your word; and the world has hated them; i.e. They are had in hatred for your sake, and on account of your word.

AUG. They had not yet experienced these sufferings which they afterwards met with; but, after His custom, He puts the future into the past tense. Then He gives the reason why the world hated them; viz. Because they are not of the world. This was conferred upon them by regeneration; for by nature they were of the world. It was given to them that they should not be of the world, even as He was not of the world; as it follows; Even as I am not of the world.

He never was of the world; for even His birth of the form of a servant He received from the Holy Ghost, from Whom they were born again. But though they were no longer of the world, it was still necessary that they should be in the world: I pray not that you should take them out of the world.BEDE. As if to say, The time is now at hand, when I shall be taken out of the world; and therefore it is necessary that they should be still left in the world, in order to preach Me and You to the world. But that you should keep them from the evil; every evil, but especially the evil of schism.

AUG. He repeats the same thing again; They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

CHRYS. Above, when He said, Then whom you gave Me out of the world, He meant their nature; here He means their actions. They are not of the world; because they have nothing, in common with earth they are made citizens of heaven. Wherein He shows His love for them, thus praising them to the Father. The word as when used with respect to Him and the Father expresses likeness of nature; but between us and Christ there is immense distance Keep them from the evil, i.e. not from dangers only, but from falling away from the faith.

AUG. Sanctify them through your truth: for thus were they to be kept from the evil. But it may be asked, how it was that they were not of the world, when they were not yet sanctified in the truth? Because the sanctified have still to grow in sanctity, and this by the help of God’s grace. The heirs of the New Testament are sanctified in that truth, the shadows of which were the sanctification of the Old Testament; they are sanctified in Christ, Who said above, I am the way, the truth, and the life. It follows, your discourse is truth. The Greek is i.e. word. The Father then sanctified them in the truth, i.e. in His Word the Only-Begotten, them, i.e. the heirs of God, and joint-heirs With Christ.

CHRYS. Or thus: Sanctify them in your truth; i.e. Make them holy, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, and sound doctrines: for sound doctrines give knowledge of God, and sanctify the soul. And as He is speaking of doctrines, He adds, your word is truth, i.e. there is in it no lie, nor anything typical, or bodily. Again, Sanctify them in your truth, may mean, Separate them for the ministry of the word, and preaching.

GLOSS. As you have sent Me into the world, even so have 1 also sent them into the world. For what Christ was sent into the world, for the same end were they as said Paul, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself; and has given to us the word of reconciliation. As does not express perfect likeness between our Lord and His Apostles, but only as much as was possible in men. Have sent them, He says, according to His custom of putting the past for the future.

AUG. It is manifest by this, that He is still speaking of the Apostles; for the very word Apostle means in the Greek, sent. But since they are His members, in that He is the Head of the Church, He says, And for their sakes I sanctity Myself; i.e. I in Myself sanctify them, since they are Myself. And to make it more clear that this was His meaning, He adds, That they also might be sanctified through the truth, i.e. in Me; inasmuch as the Word is truth, in which the Son of man was sanctified from the time that the Word was as made flesh. For then He sanctified Himself in Himself, i.e. Himself as man, in Himself as the Word: the Word and man being one Christ.

But of His members it is that He said, And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, i.e. them in Me, since in Me both they and I are. That they also might be sanctified in truth: they also, i.e. even as Myself; and in the truth, i.e. Myself.

CHRYS. Or thus: for their sakes I sanctify Myself, i.e. I offer Myself as a sacrifice to You; for all sacrifices, and things that are offered to God, see called holy. And whereas this sanctification was of old in figure, (a sheep being the sacrifice,) but now in truth, He adds, That they also might be sanctified through the truth: i.e. For I make them too an oblation to You, either meaning that He who was offered up was their head, or that they would be offered up too: as the Apostle says, Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy.

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Tuesday, June 7: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 17:1-11a)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

Ver 1. These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you:2. As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him.3. And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.4. I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do.5. And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.

CHRYS. After having said, In the world you shall have tribulation, our Lord turns from admonition to prayer; thus teaching us in our tribulations to abandon all other things, and flee to God.

BEDE. These things spoke Jesus, those things that He had said at the supper, partly sitting as far as the words, Arise, let us go hence; and thence standing, up to the end of the hymn which now commences, And lifted up His eyes and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Your Son.

CHRYS. He lifted up His eyes to heaven to teach us intentness in our prayers: that we should stand with uplifted eyes, not of the body only, but of the mind.

AUG. Our Lord, in the form of a servant, could have prayed in silence had He pleased; but He remembered that He had not only to pray, but to teach. For not only His discourse, but His prayer also, was for His disciples’ edification, yes and for ours who read the same. Father, the hour is come, shows that all time, and every thing that He did or suffered to be done, was at His disposing, Who is not subject to time. Not that we must suppose that this hour came by any fatal necessity, but rather by God’s ordering. Away with the notion, that the stars could doom to death the Creator of the stars.

HILARY. He does not say that the day, or the time, but that the hour is come. An hour contains a portion of a day. What was this hour? He was now to be spit upon, scourged, crucified. But the Father glorifies the Son. The sun failed in his course, and with him all the other elements felt that death. The earth trembled under the weight of our Lord hanging on the Cross, and testified that it had not power to hold within it Him who was dying.

The Centurion proclaimed, Truly this was the Son of God. The event answered the prediction. Our Lord had said, Glorify Your Son, testifying that He was not the Son in name only, but properly the Son. Your Son, He said. Many of us are sons of God; but not such is the Son. For He is the proper, true Son by nature, not by adoption, in truth, not in name, by birth, not by creation. Therefore after His glorifying, to the manifestation of the truth there succeeded confession. The Centurion confesses Him to be the true Son of God, that so none of His believers might doubt what one of His persecutors could not deny.

AUG. But if He was glorified by His Passion, how much more by His Resurrection? For His Passion rather showed His humility than His glory. So we must understand, Father, the hour is come, glorify Your Son, to mean, the hour is come for sowing the seed, humility; defer not the fruit, glory.

HILARY. But perhaps this proves weakness in the Son; His waiting to be glorified by one superior to Himself. And who does not confess that the Father is superior, seeing that He Himself said, The Father is greater than I? But beware lest the honor of the Father impair the glory of the Son. It follows: That Your Son also may glorify You. So then the Son is not weak, inasmuch as He gives back in His turn glory for the glory which He receives. This petition for glory to be given and repaid, shows the same divinity to be in both.

AUG. But it is justly asked, how the Son can glorify the Father, when the eternal glory of the Father never experienced abasement in the form of man, and in respect of its own Divine perfection, does not admit of being added to. But among men this glory was less when God was only known in Judea; and therefore the Son glorified the Father, when the Gospel of Christ spread the knowledge of the Father among the Gentiles. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You; i.e. Raise Me from the dead, that by Me You may be known to the whole world.

Then He unfolds further the manner in which the Son glorifies the Father; As You have given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. All flesh signifies all mankind, the part being put for the whole. And this power which is given to Christ by the Father over all flesh, must be understood with reference to His human nature.

HILARY. For being made flesh Himself, He was about to restore eternal life to frail, corporeal, and mortal man.

HILARY. If Christ be God, not begotten, but unbegotten, then let this receiving be thought weakness. But not if His receiving of power signifies His begetting, in which He received what He is. This gift cannot be counted for weakness. For the Father is such in that He gives the Son remains God in that He has received the power of giving eternal life.

CHRYS. He said, You have given Him power over all flesh, to show that His preaching extended not to the Jews only, but to the whole world. But what is all flesh? For all did not believe? So far as lay with Him, all did. If they did not attend to His words, it was not His fault who spoke, but theirs who did not receive.

AUG. He said, As You have given Him power over all flesh, so the Son may glorify You, i.e. make You known to all flesh which You have given Him; for You have so given it to Him, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

HILARY. And in what eternal life is, He then shows: And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God. To know the only true God is life, but this alone does not constitute life. What else then is added? And Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

HILARY. The Arians hold, that as the Father is the only true, only just, only wise God, the Son has no communion of these attributes; for that which is proper to one, cannot be partaken of by another. And as these are as they think in the Father alone, and not in the Son, they necessarily consider the Son a false and vain God.

HILARY. But it must be clear to every one that the reality of any thing is evidenced by its power. For that is true wheat, which when rising with grain and fenced with ears, and shaken out by the winnowing machine, and ground into corn, and baked into bread, and taken for food, fulfills the nature and function of bread. I ask then wherein the truth of Divinity is wanting to the Son, Who has the nature and virtue of Divinity. For He so made use of the virtue of His nature, as to cause to be things which were not, and to do every thing which seemed good to Him.

HILARY. Because He says, You the only, does He separate Himself from communion and unity with God? He does separate Himself, but that He adds immediately, And Jesus Christ Whom You have sent. For the Catholic faith confesses Christ to be true God, in that it confesses the Father to be the only true God; for natural birth did not introduce any change of nature into the Only-Begotten God.

AUG. Dismissing then the Arians, let us see if we are forced to confess, that by the words, That they may know You to be the only true God, He means us to understand that the Father only is the true God, in such sense as that only the Three together, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are to be called God? Does our Lord’s testimony authorize us to say that the Father is the only true God, the Son the only true God, and the Holy Ghost the only true God, and at the same time, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost together, i.e. the Trinity, are not three Gods, but one true God?

AUG. Or is not the order of the words, That they may know You and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent, to be the only true God? the Holy Spirit being necessarily understood, because the Spirit is only the love of the Father and the Son, consubstantial with both. If then the Son so glorifies You as You have given Him power over all flesh, and You have given Him the power, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him, and, This is life eternal, to know You, it follows that He glorifies You by making You known to all whom You have given Him.

Moreover, if the knowledge of God is life eternal, the more advance we make in this knowledge, the more we make in life eternal. But in life eternal we shall never die. Where then there is no death, there will then be perfect knowledge of God; there will God be most glorified, because His glory will be greatest. Glory was defined among the ancients to be fame accompanied with praise.

But if man is praised in dependence on what is said of him, how will God be praised when He shall be seen? as in the Psalm, Blessed are they who dwell in Your house: they will be always praising You. There will be praise of God without end, where will be full knowledge of God. There then shall be heard the everlasting praise of God, for there will there be full knowledge of God, and therefore full glorifying of Him.

AUG. What He said to His servant Moses, I am that I am; this we shall contemplate in the life eternal.

AUG. For when sight has made our faith truth, then eternity shall take possession of and displace our mortality.

AUG. But God is first glorified here, when He is proclaimed, made known to, and believed in, by men: I have glorified You on the earth.

HILARY. This new glory with which our Lord had glorified the Father, does not imply any advancement in Godhead, but refers to the honor received from those who are converted from ignorance to knowledge.

CHRYS, He says, on the earth; for He had been glorified in heaven, both in respect of the glory of His own nature, and of the adoration of the Angels. The glory therefore here spoken of is not that which belongs to His substance, but that which pertains to the worship of man: wherefore it follows, I have finished the work which You gave Me to do.

AUG. Not You command Me, but, You gave Me, implying evidently grace. For what has human nature, even in the Only-Begotten, what it has not received? But how had He finished the work which had been given Him to do, when there yet remained His passion to undergo? He says He has finished it, i.e. He knows for certain that He will.

CHRYS. Or, I have finished, i.e. He had done all His own part, or had done the chief of it, that standing for the whole; (for the root of good was planted:) or He connects Himself with the future, as if it were already present.

HILARY. After which, that we may understand the reward of His obedience, and the mystery of the whole dispensation, He adds, And now glorify Me with the glory with Your own Self, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

AUG. He had said above, Father, the hour is come: glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You: the order of which words shows that the Son was first to be glorified by the Father, that the Father might be glorified by the Son. But now He says, I have glorified You; and now glorify Me, as if He had first glorified the Father, and then asked to be glorified by Him.

We must understand that the first is the order in which one was to succeed the other, but that He afterwards uses a past tense, to express a thing future; the meaning being, I will glorify You on the earth, by finishing the work you have given Me to do: and now, Father, glorify Me, which is quite the same sentence with the first one, except that He adds here the mode in which He is to be glorified; with the glory which I had before the world was, with You.

The order of the words is, The glory which I had with you before the world was. This has been taken by some to mean, that the human nature which was assumed by the Word, would be changed into the Word, that man would be changed into God, or, to speak more correctly, be lost in God. For no one would say that the Word of God would by that change be doubled, or even made at all greater. But we avoid this error, if we take the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, to be the glory which He predestined for Him on earth: (for if we believe Him to be the Son of man, we need not be afraid to say that He was predestined.)

This predestined time of His being glorified, He now saw was arrived, that He might now receive what had been aforetime predestined, He prayed accordingly: And now, Father, glorify Me, &c. i.e. that glory which I had with you by your predestination, it is now time that I should have at your right hand.

HILARY. Or He prayed that that which was mortal, might receive the glory immortal, that the corruption of the flesh might be transformed and absorbed into the incorruption of the Spirit.

Ver 6. I have manifested your name unto the men which you gave me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them me; and they have kept your word.7. Now they have known that all things whatsoever you have given me are of you.8. For I have given unto them the words which you gave me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from You, and they have believed that you did send me.

CHRYS. Having said, I have finished My work, He shows what kind of work it was, viz. that He should make known the name of God: I have manifested your name unto the men which You gave Me out of the world.

AUG. If He speaks of the disciples only with whom He supped, this has nothing to do with that glorifying of which He spoke above, wherewith the Son glorified the Father; for what glory is it to be known to twelve or eleven men? But if by the men which were given to Him out of the world, He means all those who should believe in Him afterwards, this is without doubt the glory wherewith the Son glorifies the Father; and, I have manifested your name, is the same as what He said before, I have glorified You; the past being put for the future both there and here.

But what follows shows that He is speaking here of those who were already His disciples, not of all who should afterwards believe on Him. At the beginning of His prayer then our Lord is speaking of all believers, all to whom He should make known the Father, thereby glorifying Him: for after saying, that your Son also may glorify You, in strewing how that was to be done, He says, As You have given Him power over all flesh. Now let us hear what He says to the disciples: I have manifested your name to the men which You gave Me out of the world.

Had they not known the name of God then, when they were Jews? We read in the Psalms, In Jewry is God known; His name is great in Israel. I have manifested your name, then must be understood not of the name of God, but of the Father’s name, which name could not be manifested without the manifestation of the Son. For God’s name, as the God of the whole creation, could not have been entirely unknown to any nation. As the Maker then of the world, He was known among all nations even before the spread of the Gospel.

In Jewry He was known as a God, Who was not to be worshipped with the false gods: but as the Father of that Christ, by whom He took away the sins of the world, His name was unknown; which name Christ now manifests to those whom the Father had given Him out of the world. But how did He manifest it, when the hour had not come of which He said above, The hour comes, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs. We must understand the past to be put for the future.

CHRYS. That He was the Son of the Father, Christ had already manifested to them by words and deeds.

AUG. Which you have given Me out of the world: i.e. who were not of the world. But this they wore by regeneration, not by nature. What is meant by, Yours they were, and you gave them Me? Had ever the Father anything without the Son? God forbid. But the Son of God had that sometimes, which He had not as Son of man; for He had the universe with His Father, while He was still in His mother’s womb.

Wherefore by saying, They were Yours, the Son of God does not separate Himself from the Father; but only attributes all His power to Him, from whom he is, and has the same. And you gave them Me, then, means that He had received as man the power to have them; nay, that He Himself had given them to Himself, i.e. Christ as God with the Father, to Christ as man not with the Father. His purpose here is to show His unanimity with the Father, and how that it was the Father’s pleasure that they should believe in Him.

BEDE. And they have kept your word. He calls Himself the Word of the Father, because the Father by Him created all things, and because He contains in Himself all words: as if to say, They have committed Me to memory so well, that they never will forget Me.

Or, They have kept your word, i.e. in that they have believed in Me: as it follows, Now they have known that all things whatsoever You have given Me, are of You. Some read, Now I have known, &c. But this cannot be correct. For how could the Son be ignorant of what was the Father’s? It is the disciples He is speaking of; as if to say, They have learned that there is nothing in Me alien from You, and that whatever I teach comes from You.

AUG. The Father gave Him all things, when having all things He begat Him.

CHRYS. And whence have they learned? From My words, wherein I taught them that I came forth from You. For this was what He has been laboring to show throughout the whole of the Gospel: For I have given unto them the words which you gave me, and they have received them.

AUG. i.e. have understood and remembered them. For then is a word received, when the mind apprehends it; as it follows, And have known surely that I came out from You. And that none might imagine that that knowledge was one of sight, not of faith, He adds, And they have believed (surely, is understood) that you did send Me. What they believed surely, was what they knew surely; for I came out from You, is the same with, You did send Me.

They believed surely, i. e not as He said above they believed, but surely, i.e. as they were about to believe firmly, steadily, unwaveringly: never any more to be scattered to their own, and leave Christ The disciples as yet et were not such as He describes them to be in the past tense, meaning such as they were to be when the, had received the Holy Ghost.

The question how the Father gave those words to the Son, is easier to solve, if we suppose Him to have received them from the Father as Son of man. But if we understand it to be as the Begotten of the Father, let there be no time supposed previous to His having them, as if He once existed without them: for whatever God the Father gave God the Son, He gave in begetting.

Ver 9. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me; for they are yours.10. And all mine are yours, and yours are mine and I am glorified in them.11. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are.

CHRYS. As the disciples were still sad in spite of all our Lord’s consolations, henceforth He addresses Himself to the Father to show the love which He had for them; I pray for them; He not only gives them what He has of His own, but entreats another for them, as a still further proof of His love.

AUG. When He adds, I pray not for the world, by the world He means those who live according to the lust of the world, and have not the lot to be chosen by grace out of the world, as those had for whom He prayed: But for them which you have given Me. It was because the Father had given Him them, that they did not belong to the world. Nor yet had the Father, in giving them to the Son, lost what He had given: For they are Yours.

CHRYS. He often repeats, you have given Me, to impress on them that it was all according to the Father’s will, and that He did not come to rob another, but to take unto Him His own. Then to show them that this power had not been lately received from the Father, He adds, And all Yours, and Yours are Mine: as if to say, Let no one, hearing Me say, Them which You have given Me, suppose that they are separated from the Father; for Mine are His: nor because I said, They are Yours, suppose that they are separate from Me: for whatever is His is Mine.

AUG. It is sufficiently apparent from hence, that all things which the Father has, the Only-Begotten Son has; has in that He is God, born from the Father, and equal with the Father; not in the sense in which the elder son is told, All that I have is yours. For all there means all creatures below the holy rational creature, but here it means the very rational creature itself, which is only subjected to God. Since this is God the Father’s, it could not at the same time be God the Son’s, unless the Son were equal to the Father. For it is impossible that saints, of whom this is said, should be the property of any one, except Him who created and sanctified them. Who He says above in speaking of the Holy Spirit, All things that the Father has are Mine, He means all things which pertain to the divinity of the [Father; for He adds, He (the Holy Ghost) shall receive of Mine; and the Holy Ghost would not receive from a creature which was subject to the Father and the Son.

CHRYS. Then He gives proof of this, I am glorified in them. If they glorify Me, believing in Me and You, it is certain that I have power over them: for no one is glorified by those amongst whom he has no power.

AUG. He speaks of this as already done, meaning that it was as predestined, and sure to be. But is this the glorifying of which He speaks above, And now, O Father, glorify you Me with Your own Self? If then with Yourself, what means here, In them? Perhaps that this very thing, i.e. His glory with the Father, was made known to them, and through them to all that believe.

CHRYS. And now I am no more in the world: i.e. though I no longer appear in the flesh, I am glorified by those who die for Me, as for the Father, and preach Me as the Father.

AUG. At the time at which He was speaking, both were still in the world. Yet we must not understand, I am no more in the world, metaphorically of the heart and life; for could there ever have been a time when hen He loved the things of the world? It remains then that He means that He was not in the world, as He had been before; i.e. that He was soon going away. Do we not say every day, when any one is going to leave us, or going to die, such an one is gone? This is shown to be the sense by what follows; for He adds, And now I come to You. And then He commends to His Father those whom He was about to leave: Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom you have given Me. As man He prays God for His disciples, whom He received from God. But mark what follows: That they may be one, as We are: He does not say, That they may be one with us, We are one: but, that they may be one: that they may b one in their nature, as We are one in Ours. For, in that He was God and man in one person as man He prayed, as God He was one with Him to Whom He prayed.

AUG. He does not say, That I and they maybe one, though He might have said so in the sense, that He was the head of the Church, and the Church His body; not one thing, but one person: the head and the body being one Christ. But strewing something else, viz. that His divinity is consubstantial With the Father, He prays that His people may in like manner be one; but one in Christ, not only by the same nature, in which mortal man is made equal to the Angels, but also by the same will, agreeing most entirely in the same mind, and melted into one Spirit by the fire of love. This is the meaning of, That they may be one as We are: viz. that as the Father and the Son are one not only by equality of substance, but also in will, so they, between whom and God the Son is Mediator, may be one not only by the union of nature, but by the union of love.

 

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Monday, May 6: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 16:29-33)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2011

Ver 29. His disciples said to him, Lo, now you speak plainly, and speak no proverb.30. Now are we sure that you know all things, and need not that any man should ask you; by this we believe that you came forth from God.31. Jesus answered them, Do you now believe?32. Behold, the hour comes, yea, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.33. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.

CHRYS. The disciples were so refreshed with the thought of being in favor with the Father, that they say they are sure He knows all things: His disciples said to Him, Now you speak plainly, and speak no proverb.

AUG. But why do they say so, when the hour in which He was to speak without proverbs was yet future, and only promised? Because, our Lord’s communications still continuing proverbs to them, they are so far from understanding them, that they do not even understand their not understanding them.

CHRYS. But since His answer met what was in their minds, they add, Now we are sure that you know all things. See how imperfect they yet were, after so many and great things now at last to say, Now we are sure &c. saying it too as if they were conferring a favor. And need not that any man should ask you, i.e. you know what offends us, before we tell You, and you have relieved us by saying that the Father loves us.

AUG. Why this remark? To one Who knew all things, instead of saying, you need not that any man should ask You; it would have been more appropriate to have said, you need not to ask any man; yet we know that both of these were done, viz. that our Lord both asked questions, and was asked. But this is soon explained; for both were for the benefit, not of Himself, but of those whom He asked questions of, or by whom He was asked. He asked questions of men not in order to learn Himself, but to teach them: and in the case of those who asked questions of Him, such questions were necessary to them in order to gain the knowledge they wanted; but they were not necessary to Him to tell Him what that was, because He knew the wish of the inquirer, before the question was put. Thus to know men’s thoughts beforehand was no great thing for the Lord, but to the minds of babes it was a great thing: By this we know that you came forth from God.

HILARY. They believe that He came forth from God, because He does the works of God. For whereas our Lord had said both, I came forth from the Father, and, I am come into the world from the Father, they testified no wonder at the latter words, I am come into the world, which they had often heard before. But their reply shows a belief in and appreciation of the former, I came forth from the Father. And they notice this in their reply: By this we believe that you came forth from God; not adding, and are come into the world, for they knew already that He was sent from God, but had not yet received the doctrine of His eternal generation. That unutterable doctrine they now began to see for the first time in consequence of these words, and therefore reply that He spoke no longer in parables. For God is not born from God after the manner of human birth; His is a coming forth from, rather than a birth from, God. He is one from one; not a portion, not a defection, not a diminution, not a derivation, not a pretension, not a passion, but the birth of living nature from living nature. He is God coming forth from God, not a creature appointed to the name of God; He did not begin to be from nothing, but He came forth from an abiding nature. To come forth has the signification of birth, not of beginning.

AUG. Lastly, He reminds them of their w weak tender age in respect of the inner man. Jesus answered them, Do you now believe?

BEDE. Which can be understood in two ways, either as reproaching or affirming. If the former, the meaning is, you have awaked somewhat late to belief, for behold the hour comes, yea is now come, that you shall be scattered every man to his home. If the latter, it is, That which you believe is true, but behold the hour comes, &c.

AUG. For they did not only with their bodies leave His body, when He was taken, but with their minds the faith.

CHRYS. You shall be scattered; i.e. when I am betrayed, fear shall so possess you, that you will not be able even to take to flight together. But I shall suffer no harm in consequence: And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

AUG. He wishes to advance them so far as to understand that He had not separated from the Father because He had come forth from the Father.

CHRYS. These things have I said to you, that you might have peace; i.e. that you may not reject Me from your minds. For not only when I am taken shall you suffer tribulation, but so long as you are in the world: In the world you shall have tribulation.

GREG. As if He said, Have Me within you to comfort you, because you will have the world without you.

AUG. The tribulation of which He speaks was to commence thus, i.e. in every one being scattered to his home, but was not to continue so. For in saying, And leave Me alone, He does not mean this to apply to them in their sufferings after His ascension. They were not to desert Him then, but to abide and have peace in Him. Wherefore He adds, Be of good cheer.

CHRYS. i.e. raise up your spirits again; when the Master is victorious, the disciples should not be dejected; I have overcome the world.

AUG. When the Holy Spirit was given them, they were of good cheer, and, in His strength, victorious. For He would not have overcome the world, had the world overcome His members. When He says, These things have I spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace, He refers not only to what He has just said, but to what He had said all along, either from the time that He first had disciples, or since the supper, when He began this long and wonderful discourse. He declares this to be the object of His whole discourse, viz. that in Him they might have peace. And this peace shall have no end, but is itself the end of every pious action and intention.

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