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 16th, 2011

Resources for Sunday Mass, June 19: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 16, 2011

This post contains resources (mostly biblical commentaries) on the readings for this Sunday’s Mass and includes the readings for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite (please note the readings differ in the two forms).

***************************ORDINARY FORM ***************************

Scripture Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Pope John Paul II’s Meditative Commentary on the Responsorial Psalm (Dan 3:52-56).

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Cor 13:11-13.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Cor 13:11-13.

Haydock Commentary on 2 Cor 13:11-13.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on 2 Cor 13:11-13.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Cor 13:11-13.

Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 3:16-18.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 3:16-18.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 3:16-18.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 3:16-18.

Word Sunday:

  • MP3 PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we discuss the possible origin for the doctrine of the Trinity: the Resurrection. What the disciples saw and what they experienced put the notions of Father, Son and Spirit into perspective.
  • FIRST READING In the reading from Exodus, Moses experienced the power of God on Mt. Sinai. And he experienced the direction of that power. YHWH would show mercy and kindness, so the wandering Israelites would become a nation.
  • PSALM The reading for the psalm actually comes from the portion of Daniel that is found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint. These verses marked the beginning of a brilliant prayer of praise, sung by young men under persecution. Strangely, praise can be a response to pressure in life.
  • SECOND READING St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians ended with a brief farewell, but that verse spoke to the heart of the Christian experience: life in the Trinity.
  • GOSPELA life in Christ is a life in the Trinity. But, is a life in Christ worth the cost? In John 3:16-18, we have an answer. YES!!!
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the story for the Gospel, Buddy took a chance to trust others. Those people became friends. If we trust God, he, too, will be our friend.
  • CATECHISM LINK In the Catechism Link, we discuss the Trinity, three persons in one God.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY Create a “Trust Jesus” box. Have your family members write down and place their prayers in the box.

Historical Cultural Context. Looks at the reading from a first century Mediterranean cultural aspect. Some interestin stuff on the theme of  “the world.”

Thoughts From the Early Church. An excerpt from St Gregory Nanzianzus.

The Scripture in Depth. Usually does a good job of summarizing the readings and highlighting major points.

Catholic Matters. The readings followed by brief explanations.

Bible Study. Introduction followed by notes on the readings from St Charles Borromeo Parish.

Scott Hahn Podcast. Brief, does good job of relating the readings, highlighting themes.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Preached May 18, 2008.

*************************EXTRAORDINARY FORM*************************

Roman Missal for Today’s Mass. Latin and English.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 11:33-36. This post provides commentary on verses 25-36.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Romans 11:33-36.

Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matt 28:18-20. Previously posted. This post contains commentary on verses 16-20.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matt 28:18-20. Previously posted. This post contains commentary on verses 16-20.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 28:18-20. Previously posted. This post contains commentary on verses 16-20.

The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. A homily on Rom 11:33-36.

A Homily on the Epistle. Deals with the three theological virtues in relation to the Trinity.

God’s Knowledge. Homily notes On Rom 11:33.  Can be used for sermon ideas, points for meditation/reflection, or for further Study.

St Gregory Nanzianzus’ Homily for Trinity Sunday. On Matt 28:18-20.

St Alphonsus de Ligouri’s Homily: The Love of the Three Divine Persons for Man. On Matt 28:19.

Commission and Promise Which Christ Gave to His Apostles. On Matt 28:18-20.

Dogmatic Homily on the Gospel: The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

The Blessing of the Most Holy Trinity. A liturgical homily on Matt 28:18-20.

The Holy Sign of the Cross. A symbolic homily on Matt 28:18-20.

The Worship of the Most Holy Trinity. A dogmatic/liturgical homily on Matt 28:18-20.

The Ceremonies of Baptism. A liturgical/moral homily on Matt 28:18-20.

Belief in the Mystery of the Trinity. Homily on Matt 28:18-20.

The Blessed Trinity. Sermon notes on Matt 28:19. Can be used for sermon ideas, points for meditation/reflection, or for further study

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Romans 11:33-36

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 16, 2011

Rom 11:33. “Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments!”

Here after going back to former times, and looking back to God’s original dispensation of things whereby the world hath existed up to the present time, and having considered what special provision He had made for all occurrences, he is stricken with awe, and cries aloud, so making his hearers feel confident that certainly that will come to pass which he saith. For he would not have cried aloud and been awe-struck, unless this was quite sure to come to pass. That it is a depth then, he knows: but how great, he knows not. For the language is that of a person wondering, not of one that knew the whole. But admiring and being awe-struck at the goodliness, so far forth as in him lay, he heralds it forth by two intensitive words, riches and depth, and then is awestruck at His having had both the will and the power to do all this, and by opposites effecting opposites. “How unsearchable are His judgments.” For they are not only impossible to be comprehended, but even to be searched. “And His ways past finding out;” that is, His dispensations for these also are not only impossible to be known, but even to be sought into. For even I, he means, have not found out the whole, but a little part, not all. For He alone knoweth His own clearly. Wherefore he proceeds:

Rom 11:34-35. “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?”

What he means is nearly this: that though He is so wise, yet He has not His Wisdom from any other, but is Himself the Fountain of good things. And though He hath done so great things, and made us so great presents, yet it was not by borrowing from any other that He gave them, but by making them spring forth from Himself; nor as owing any a return for having received from him, but as always being Himself the first to do the benefits; for this is a chief mark of riches, to overflow abundantly, and yet need no aid. Wherefore he proceeds to say, “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things.” Himself devised, Himself created, Himself worketh together (Vulg). sugkratei, mss. sugkrotei ). For He is rich, and needeth not to receive from another. And wise, and needeth no counsellor. Why speak I of a counsellor? To know the things of Him is no one able, save Himself alone, the Rich and Wise One. For it is proof of much riches that He should make them of the Gentiles thus well supplied; and of much wisdom that He should constitute the inferiors of the Jews their teachers. Then as he was awe-struck he offers up thanksgiving also in the word, “To Whom be glory forever. Amen.

For when he tells of any great and unutterable thing of this kind, he ends in wonder with a doxology. And this he does in regard to the Son also. For in that passage also he went on to the very same thing that he does here. “Of whom is Christ according to the flesh, Who is over all God blessed forever. Amen. (Rom 9:5).

Him then let us also imitate, and let us glorify God in all things, by a heedful way of life, and let us not feel confidence in the virtues of our ancestry, knowing the example that has been made of the Jews. For this is not, certainly it is not, the relationship of Christians, for theirs is the kinsmanship of the Spirit. So the Scythian becometh Abraham’s son: and his son on the other hand more of an alien to him than the Scythian. Let us not then feel confidence in the well-doings of our fathers (most mss. “of others”), but if you have a parent who is a marvel even, fancy not that this will be enough to save you, or to get you honor and glory, unless you have the relationship of character to him. So too if you have a bad one, do not think that you will be condemned on this account, or be put to shame if at least you order your own doings aright. For what can be less honorable than the Gentiles? still in faith they soon became related to the Saints. Or what more nearly connected than the Jews? Yet still by unbelief they were made aliens. For that relationship is of nature and necessity, after which we are all relations. For of Adam we all sprung, and none can be more a relation than another, both as regards Adam and as regards Noah, and as regards the earth, the common mother of all. But the relationship worthy of honors, is that which does distinguish us from the wicked. For it is not possible for all to be relations in this way, but those of the same character only. Nor do we call them brothers who come of the same labor with ourselves, but those who display the same zeal. In this way Christ giveth men the name of children of God, and so on the other hand children of the devil, and so too children of disobedience, of hell, and of perdition likewise. So Timothy was Paul’s son from goodness and was called “mine own son” (1 Tim 1:2): but of his sister’s son we do not know even the name. And yet the one was by nature related to him, and still that availed him not. But the other being both by nature and country far removed from him (as being a native of Lystra), still became most nearly related. Let us then also become the sons of the Saints, or rather let us become even God’s sons. For that it is possible to become sons of God, hear what he says, “Be ye therefore perfect, as your father which is in Heaven.” (Mt 5:48). This is why we call Him Father in prayer, and that not only to remind ourselves of the grace, but also of virtue, that we may not do aught unworthy of such a relationship. And how it may be said is it possible to be a son of God? by being free from all passions, and showing gentleness to them that affront and wrong us. For thy Father is so to them that blaspheme Him. Wherefore, though He says various things at various times, yet in no case does He say that ye may be like your Father, but when He says, “Pray for them that despitefully use you, do good to them that hate you” (Mt 5:44), then He brings in this as the reward. For there is nothing that brings us so near to God, and makes us so like Him, as this well-doing. Therefore Paul also, when he says, “Be ye followers of God” (Eph 5:1), means them to be so in this respect. For we have need of all good deeds, chiefly however of love to man and gentleness, since we need so much of His love to man ourselves. For we commit many transgressions every day. Wherefore also we have need to show much mercy. But much and little is not measured by the quantity of things given, but by the amount of the givers’ means. Let not then the rich be high-minded, nor the poor dejected as giving so little, for the latter often gives more than the former. We must not then make ourselves miserable because we are poor, since it makes alms-giving the easier for us. For he that has got much together is seized with haughtiness, as well as a greater affection to that (or “lust beyond that”) he has. But he that hath but a little is quit of either of these domineering passions: hence he finds more occasions for doing well. For this man will go cheerfully into a prison-house, and will visit the sick, and will give a cup of cold water. But the other will not take upon him any office of this sort, as pampered up (flegmainwn, by his riches. Be not then out of heart at thy poverty. For thy poverty makes thy traffic for heaven the easier to thee. And if thou have nothing, but have a compassionating soul, even this will be laid up as a reward for thee. Hence too Paul bade us “weep with them that weep” (Rom 12:15), and exhorted us to be to prisoners as though bound with them. (Heb 13:3).  For it is not to them that weep only that it yieldeth some solace that there be many that compassionate them, but to them who are in other afflicting circumstances. For there are cases where conversation has as muchpower to recover him that is cast down as money. For this then God exhorts us to give money to them that ask, not merely with a view to relieve their poverty, but that He may teach us to compassionate the misfortunes of our neighbors. For this also the covetous man is odious, in that he not only disregards men in a beggared state, but because he gets himself trained for cruelty and great inhumanity. And so he that, for their sakes, thinks little of money, is even on this account an object of love, that he is merciful and kind to man. And Christ, when He blesseth the merciful, blesseth and praiseth not those only that give the alms of money, but those also who have the will to do so. Let us then be so inclinable to mercy, and all other blessings will follow, for he that hath a spirit of love and mercy, if he have money, will give it away, or if he see any in distress, will weep and bewail it; if he fall in with a person wronged, will stand up for him; if he sees one spitefully entreated, will reach out his hand to him. For as he has that treasure-house of blessings, a loving and merciful soul, he will make it a fountain for all his brethren’s needs, and will enjoy all he rewards that are laid up with God. That we then may attain to these, let us of all things frame our souls accordingly. For so, while in this world, we shall do good deeds without number, and shall enjoy the crowns to come. To which may we all attain by the grace and love toward man, etc).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS, St John Chrysostom | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Preached May, 18, 2008)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 16, 2011

In the First Reading (EX 34,4b-6,8-9) we heard a biblical text that presents to us the revelation of God’s Name. It is God himself, Eternal and Invisible, who proclaims it, passing before Moses in the cloud on Mount Sinai. And his Name is: “The Lord, a God merciful, and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. In the New Testament St John sums up this sentence in a single word: “Love” (cf. 1JN 4,8,16). Today’s Gospel also testifies to this: “God so loved the world that he gave his Only Son” (JN 3,16). Consequently this Name clearly expresses that the God of the Bible is not some kind of monad closed in on itself and satisfied with his own self-sufficiency but he is life that wants to communicate itself, openness, relationship. Words like “merciful”, “compassionate”, “rich in grace” all speak to us of a relationship, in particular, of a vital Being who offers himself, who wants to fill every gap, every shortage, who wants to give and to forgive, who desires to establish a solid and lasting bond. Sacred Scripture knows no other God than the God of the Covenant who created the world in order to pour out his love upon all creatures (cf. Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV) and chose a people with which to make a nuptial pact, to make it become a blessing for all the nations and so to form a great family of the whole of humanity (cf.  Gn  GN 12,1-3 EX 19,3-6). This revelation of God is fully delineated in the New Testament though the word of Christ. Jesus showed us the Face of God, one in Essence and Triune in Persons: God is Love, Father Love – Son Love – Holy Spirit Love. And it is precisely in this God’s Name that the Apostle Paul greets the Community of Corinth: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God [the Father] and the fellowship of the Holy Sprit be with you all” (II Cor 13: 14).

There is contained, therefore, in these Readings, a principal that regards God and in effect today’s Feast invites us to contemplate him, the Lord. It invites us in a certain sense to scale “the mountain” as Moses did. This seems at first sight to take us far from the world and its problems but in fact one discovers that it is precisely by coming to know God more intimately that one receives fundamental instructions for this our life: something like what happened to Moses who, climbing Sinai and remaining in God’s presence, received the law engraved on stone tablets from which the people drew the guidance to continue, to find freedom and to form themselves as a people in liberty and justice. Our history depends on God’s Name and our journey on the light of his Face. From this reality of God which he himself made known to us by revealing his “Name” to us comes a certain image of man, that is, the exact concept of the person. If God is a dialogical unity, a being in relation, the human creature made in his image and likeness reflects this constitution: thus he is called to fulfil himself in dialogue, in conversation, in encounter.

In particular, Jesus has revealed to us that man is essentially a “son”, a creature who lives in the relationship with God the Father, and in this way in relationship with all his brothers and sisters. Man is not fulfilled in an absolute autonomy, deceiving himself that he is God but, on the contrary, by recognizing himself as a child, an open creature, reaching out to God and to his brethren in whose faces he discovers the image of their common Father. One can easily see that this concept of God and man is at the base of a corresponding model of the human community, and therefore of society. It is a model that comes before any normative, juridical or institutional regulations but I would say even before cultural specifications. It is a model of the human family transversal to all civilizations, which we Christians express confirming that human beings are all children of God and therefore all brothers and sisters. This is a truth that has been behind us from the outset and at the same time is always before us, like a project to strive for in every social construction.

The Magisterium of the Church which has developed from this vision of God and of man is a very rich one. It suffices to run through the most important chapters of the Social Doctrine of the Church, to which my venerable Predecessors have made substantial contributions, especially in the past 120 years, making themselves authoritative interpreters and guides of the social movement of Christian inspiration. Here I would like to mention only a recent Pastoral Note of the Italian Episcopate: “Rigenerati per una speranza viva’: Testimoni del grande ‘si’ di Dio all’uomo” [Regenerated by a living hope: witnesses of God’s great “yes” to man] (29 June 2007). This Note proposes two priorities. First of all, the choice of the “primacy of God”: all the Church’s life and work depend on putting God in first place, not a generic God but rather the Lord with his Name and his Face, the God of the Covenant who brought the people out of slavery in Egypt, who raised Christ from the dead and who wants to lead humanity to freedom in peace and justice. The other choice is to put the person and the unity of his life at the centre, in the various contexts in which he is deployed: emotional life, work and celebration, in his own fragility, tradition and citizenship. The Triune God and the person in relationship: these are the two references that the Church has the duty to offer to every human generation as a service to build a free and supportive society. The Church certainly does so with her doctrine, but above all through her witness which, with reason, is the third fundamental choice of the Italian Episcopate: personal and community witness in which the spiritual life, pastoral mission and the cultural dimension converge.

In a society fraught between globalization and individualism, the Church is called to offer a witness of koinonìa, of communion. This reality does not come “from below” but is a mystery which, so to speak, “has its roots in Heaven”, in the Triune God himself. It is he, in himself, who is the eternal dialogue of love which was communicated to us in Jesus Christ and woven into the fabric of humanity and history to lead it to fullness. And here then is the great synthesis of the Second Vatican Council: the Church, mystery of communion, “in Christ is in the nature of sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium LG 1). Here too, in this great City, as well as in its territory with the variety of the respective human and social problems, the Ecclesial Community, today as yesterday, is first of all the sign, poor but true, of God Love whose Name is impressed in the depths of the being of every person and in every experience of authentic sociability and solidarity.

After these reflections, dear brothers and sisters, I leave you some special exhortations. Take care of spiritual and catechetical formation, a “substantial” formation that is more necessary than ever to live the Christian vocation well in today’s world. I say to adults and young people: foster a thought-out faith that can engage in profound dialogue with all, with our non-Catholic brethren, with non-Christians and with non-believers. Continue your generous sharing with the poor and the weak, in accordance with the Church’s original praxis, always drawing inspiration and strength from the Eucharist, the perennial source of charity. With special affection I encourage seminarians and young people involved in a vocational journey: do not be afraid; indeed, may you feel the attraction of definitive choices, of a serious and demanding formative process. The high standard of discipleship alone fascinates and gives joy. I urge all to grow in the missionary dimension which is co-essential to communion. Indeed, the Trinity is at the same time unity and mission: the more intense love is, the stronger is the urge to pour it out, to spread it, to communicate it. Church of Genoa, be united and missionary to proclaim to all the joy of faith and the beauty of being God’s Family. My thought extends to the entire City, to all the Genoese and to all who live and work in this territory. Dear friends, look to the future with confidence and seek to build it together, avoiding factiousness and particularism, putting the common good before your own specific legitimate interests.

 

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Father’s Nolan’s And Brown’s Commentary on John 3:16-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 16, 2011

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

Some commentators, following Erasmus, hold that what follows to the end of verse 21, is not the language of Christ, but a comment of the Evangelist; but more probably Christ still continues. The boundless love of God for the world, and not merely for the  elect, is declared to be the cause of the incarnation, and the world s salvation its object. It was this love that made God give His only-begotten Son to suffer for men and save them.

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world: but that the world may be saved by him.

For it was to save, not to judge the world, that the Son of God came at His first  coming. Hereafter in His second coming He will come to judge and to condemn (the context  proves there is question of the judgment of condemnation).

Joh 3:18  He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

He who believeth in Christ escapes the judgment of condemnation; but he who oelieveth not is already condemned, because, inasmuch as he has not believed, “the wrath of God,” i.e. , original sin  (Eph 2:3) and its effects in actual sin, remain upon him (verse 36); and he has rejected the only means whereby he .could be delivered from them. It is as if a physician were sent to the sick, says St. Augustine, they who come to him are cured; they who come not, perish; not through him, how ever, but because of their disease.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 3:16-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 16, 2011

Ver 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18. He that believes in him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

CHRYS. Having said, Even so must the Son of man be lifted up, alluding to His death; lest His hearer should be cast down by His words, forming some human notion of Him, and thinking of His death as an evil, He corrects this by saying, that He who was given up to death was the Son of God, and that His death would be the source of life eternal; So God loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life; as if He said, Marvel not that I must be lifted up, that you may be saved: for so it seems good to the Father, who has so loved you, that He has given His Son to suffer for ungrateful and careless servants. The text, God so loved the world, shows intensity of love. For great indeed and infinite is the distance between the two. He who is without end, or beginning of existence, Infinite Greatness, loved those who were of earth and ashes, creatures laden with sins innumerable. And the act which springs from the love is equally indicative of its vastness. For God gave not a servant, or an Angel, or an Archangel, but His Son. Again, had He had many sons, and given one, this would have been a very great gift; but now He has given His Only Begotten Son.

HILARY; If it were only a creature given up for the sake of a creature, such a poor and insignificant loss were no great evidence of love. They must be precious things which prove our love, great things must evidence its greatness. God, in love to the world, gave His Son, not an adopted Son, but His own, even His Only Begotten. Here is proper Sonship, birth, truth: no creation, no adoption, no lie: here is the test of love and charity, that God sent His own and only begotten Son to save the world.

THEOPHYL As He said above, that the Son of man came down from heaven, not meaning that His flesh did come down from heaven, on account of the unity of person in Christ, attributing to man what belonged to God: so now conversely what belongs to man, he assigns to God the Word. The Son of God was impassible; but being one in respect of person with man who was passable, the Son is said to be given up to death, inasmuch as He truly suffered, not in His own nature, but in His own flesh. From this death follows an exceeding great and incomprehensible benefit: viz. that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The Old Testament promised to those who obey obeyed it, length of days: the Gospel promises life eternal, and imperishable.

BEDE; Note here, that the same which he before said of the Son of man, lifted up on the cross, he repeats of the only begotten Son of God: viz. That whosoever believes in Him, &c. For the same our Maker and Redeemer, who was Son of God before the world was, was made at the end of the world the Son of man; so that He who by the power of His Godhead had created us to enjoy the happiness of an endless life, the same restored us to the life we have lost by taking our human frailty upon Him.

ALCUIN. Truly through the Son of God shall the world have life; for no other cause came He into the world, except to save the world. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

AUG. For why is He called the Savior of the world, but because He saves the world? The physician, so far as his will is concerned, heals the sick. If the sick despises or will not observe the directions of the physician, he destroys himself.

CHRYS. Because however He says this, slothful men in the multitude of their sins, and excess of carelessness, abuse God’s mercy, and say, There is no hell, no punishment; God remits us all our sins. But let us remember, that there are two advents of Christ; one past, the other to come. The former was, not to judge but to pardon us: the latter will be, not to pardon but to judge us. It is of the former that He says, I have not come to judge the world. Because He is merciful, instead of judgment, He grants an internal remission of all sins by baptism; and even after baptism opens to us the door of repentance, which had He not done all had been lost; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Afterwards, however, there follows something about the punishment of unbelievers, to warn us against flattering ourselves that we can sin with impunity. Of the unbeliever He says, ‘he is judged already.’ – But first He says, He that believes in Him is not judged. He who believes, He says, not who inquires. But what if his life be impure? Paul very strongly declares that such are not believers: They confess, he says, that they know God, but in works deny Him. That is to say, Such will not be judged for their belief, but will receive a heavy punishment for their works, though unbelief will not be charged against them.

ALCUIN. He who believes in Him, and cleaves to Him as a member to the head, will not be condemned.

AUG. What did you expect Him to say of him who believed not, except that he is condemned. Yet mark His words: He that believes not is condemned already. The Judgment has not appeared, but it is already given. For the Lord knows who are His; who are awaiting the crown, and who the fire.

CHRYS. Or the meaning is, that disbelief itself is the punishment of the impenitent: inasmuch as that is to be without light, and to be without light is of itself the greatest punishment. Or He is announcing what is to be. Though a murderer be not yet sentenced by the Judge, still his crime has already condemned him. In like manner he who believes not, is dead, even as Adam, on the day that he ate of the tree, died.

GREG. Or thus: In the last judgment some perish without being judged, of whom it is here said, He that believes not is condemned already. For the day of judgment does not try those who for unbelief are already banished from the sight of a discerning judge, are under sentence of damnation; but those, who retaining the profession of faith, have no works to show suitable to that profession. For those who have not kept even the sacraments of faith, do not even hear the curse of the Judge at the last trial. They have already, in the darkness of their unbelief, received their sentence, and are not thought worthy of being convicted by the rebuke of Him whom they had despised Again; For an earthly sovereign, in the government of his state, has a different rule of punishment, in the case of the disaffected subject, and the foreign rebel. In the former case he consults the civil law; but against the enemy he proceeds at once to war, and repays his malice with the punishment it deserves, without regard to law, inasmuch as he who never submitted to law, has no claim to suffer by the law.

ALCUIN. He then gives the reason why he who believes not is condemned, viz. because he believes not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. For in this name alone is there salvation. God has not many sons who can save; He by whom He saves is the Only Begotten.

AUG. Where then do we place baptized children? Amongst those who believe? This is acquired for them by the virtue of the Sacrament, and the pledges of the sponsors. And by this same rule we reckon those who are not baptized, among those who believe not.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 3:16-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 16, 2011

The following post on John 3:16-18 is excerpted from two homilies (27 & 28) on the Gospel of John by St John Chrysostom.

Excerpt from Homily #27~
Jn 3:16. “God,” He saith, “so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

What He saith, is of this kind: Marvel not that I am to be lifted up that ye may be saved, for this seemeth good to the Father, and He hath so loved you as to give His Son for slaves, and ungrateful slaves. Yet a man would not do this even for a friend, nor readily even for a righteous man; as Paul has declared when he said, “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die.” (Rom 5:7). Now he spoke at greater length, as speaking to believers, but here Christ speaks concisely, because His discourse was directed to Nicodemus, but still in a more significant manner, for each word had much significance. For by the expression, “so loved,” and that other, “God the world,” He shows the great strength of His love. Large and infinite was the interval between the two. He, the immortal, who is without beginning, the Infinite Majesty, they but dust and ashes, full of ten thousand sins, who, ungrateful, have at all times offended Him; and these He “loved.” Again, the words which He added after these are alike significant, when He saith, that “He gave His Only-begotten Son,” not a servant, not an Angel, not an Archangel. And yet no one would show such anxiety for his own child, as God did for His ungrateful servants.

His Passion then He sets before him not very openly, but rather darkly; but the advantage of the Passion He adds in a clearer manner,  saying, “That every one that believeth in Him. should not perish, but have everlasting life.” For when He had said, “must be lifted up,” and alluded to death, test the hearer should be made downcast by these words, forming some mere human opinions concerning Him, and supposing that His death was a ceasing to be, observe how He sets this right, by saying, that He that was given was “The Son of God,” and the cause of life, of everlasting life. He who procured life for others by death, would not Himself be continually in death; for if they who believed on the Crucified perish not, much less doth He perish who is crucified. He who taketh away the destitution of others much more is He free from it; He who giveth life to others, much more to Himself doth He well forth life. Seest thou that everywhere there is need of faith? For He calls the Cross the fountain of life; which reason cannot easily allow, as the heathens now by their mocking testify. But faith which goes beyond the weakness of reasoning, may easily receive and retain it. And whence did God “so love the world”? From no other source but on]y from his goodness.

Let us now be abashed at His love, let us be ashamed at the excess of His lovingkindness, since He for our sakes spared not His Only-begotten Son, yet we spare our wealth to our own injury; He for us gave His Own Son, but we for Him do not so much as despise money, nor even for ourselves. And how can these things deserve pardon? If we see a man submitting to sufferings and death for us, we set him before all others, count him among our chief friends, place in his hands all that is ours, and deem it rather his than ours, and even so do not think that we give him the return that he deserves. But towards Christ we do not preserve even this degree of right feeling. He laid down His life for us, and poured forth His precious Blood for our sakes, who were neither well-disposed nor good, while we do not pour out even our money for our own sakes, and neglect Him who died for us, when He is naked and a stranger; and who shall deliver us from the punishment that is to come? For suppose that it were not God that punishes, but that we punished ourselves; should we not give our vote against ourselves? should we not sentence ourselves to the very fire of hell, for allowing Him who laid down His life for us, to pine with hunger? But why speak I of money? had we ten thousand lives, ought we not to lay them all down for Him? and yet not even so could we do what His benefits deserve. For he who confers a benefit in the first instance, gives evident proof of his kindness, but he who has received one, whatever return he makes, he repays as a debt, and does not bestow as a favor; especially when he who did the first good turn was benefiting his enemies. And he who repays both bestows his gifts on a benefactor, and himself reaps their fruit besides. But not even this induces us; more foolish are we than any, putting golden necklaces about our servants and mules and horses, and neglecting our Lord who goes about naked, and passes from door to door, and ever stands at our outlets, and stretches forth His hands to us, but often regarding Him with unpitying eye; yet these very things He undergoeth for our sake. Gladly doth He hunger that thou mayest be fed; naked doth He go that He may provide for thee the materials for a garment of incorruption, yet not even so do ye give up any of your own. Some of your garments are moth-eaten, others are a load to your coffers, and a needless trouble to their possessors, while He who gave you these and all else that you possess goeth naked.

But perhaps you do not lay them by in your coffers, but wear them and make yourself fine with them. And what gain you by this? Is it that the street people may see you? What then? They will not admire thee who wearest such apparel, but the man who supplies garments to the needy; so if you desire to be admired, by clothing others, you will the rather get infinite applause. Then too God as well as man shall praise thee; now none can praise, but all will grudge at thee, seeing thee with a body well arrayed, but having a neglected soul. So harlots have adornment, and their clothes are often more than usually expensive and splendid; but the adornment of the soul is with those only who live in virtue.

These things I say continually, and I will not cease to say them, not so much because I care for the poor, as because I care for your souls. For they will have some comfort, if not from you, yet from some other quarter; or even if they be not comforted, but perish by hunger, the harm to them will be no great matter. What did poverty and wasting by hunger injure Lazarus! But none can rescue you from hell, if you obtain not the help of the poor; we shall say to you what was said to the rich man, who was continually broiling, yet gained no comfort. God grant that none ever hear those words, but that all may go into the bosom of Abraham; by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Excerpt from Homily # 28~
John 3:17 “For God sent not His Son to condemn the world, but to save the world.”

Many of the more careless sort of persons, using the lovingkindness of God to increase the magnitude of their sins and the excess of their disregard, speak in this way, “There is no hell, there is no future punishment, God forgives us all sins.” To stop whose mouths a wise man says, “Say not, His mercy is great, He will be pacified for the multitude of my sins; for mercy and wrath come from Him, and His indignation resteth upon sinners” (Sirach 5:6): and again, “As His mercy is great, so is His correction also.” (Sirach 16:12). “Where then,” saith one, “is His lovingkindness, if we shall receive for our sins according to our deserts?” That we shall indeed receive “according to our deserts,” hear both the Prophet and Paul declare; one says, “Thou shalt render to every man according to his work” (Ps 62:12 LXX).; the other, “Who will render to every man according to his work.” (Rom 2:6). And yet we may see that even so the lovingkindness of God is great; in dividing our existence3 into two periods, the present life and that which is to come, and making the first to be an appointment of trial, the second a place of crowning, even in this He hath shown great lovingkindness.

“How and in what way?” Because when we had committed many and grievous sins, and had not ceased from youth to extreme old age to defile our souls with ten thousand evil deeds, for none of these sins did He demand from us a reckoning, but granted us remission of them by the washing of Regeneration, and freely gave us Righteousness and Sanctification. “What then,” says one, “if a man who from his earliest age has been deemed worthy of the mysteries, after this commits ten thousand sins?” Such an one deserves a severer punishment. For we do not pay the same penalties for the same sins, if we do wrong after Initiation. And this Paul declares, saying, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the Covenant an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb 10:28-29). Such an one then is worthy of severer punishment. Yet even for him God hath opened doors of repentance, and hath granted him many means for the washing away his transgressions, if he will. Think then what proofs of lovingkindness these are; by Grace to remit sins, and not to punish him who after grace has sinned and deserves punishment, but to give him a season and appointed space for his clearing. For all these reasons Christ said to Nicodemus, “God sent not His Son to condemn the world, but to save the world.”

For there are two Advents of Christ, that which has been, and that which is to be; and the two are not for the same purpose; the first came to pass not that He might search into our actions, but that He might remit; the object of the second will be not to remit, but to enquire. Therefore of the first He saith, “I came not to condemn the world, but to save the world” (Jn 3:17); but of the second, “When the Son shall have come in the glory of His Father,9 He shall set the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left.” (Mt 25:31 and Mt 25:46). And they shall go, these into life; and these into eternal punishment. Yet His former coming was for judgment, according to the rule of justice. Why? Because before His coming there was a law of nature, and the prophets, and moreover a written Law, and doctrine, and ten thousand promises, and manifestations of signs, and chastisements, and vengeances, and many other things which might have set men right, and it followed that for all these things He would demand account; but, because He is merciful, He for a while pardons instead of making enquiry. For had He done so, all would at once have been hurried to perdition. For “all,” it saith, “have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23). Seest thou the unspeakable excess of His lovingkindness?

Jn 3:18. “He that believeth on the Son, 10 is not judged; 11 but he that believeth not, is judged already.”

Yet if He “came not to judge the world,” how is “he that believeth not judged already,” if the time of “judgment” has not yet arrived? He either means this, that the very fact of disbelieving without repentance is a punishment, (for to be without the light, contains in itself a very severe punishment,) or he announces beforehand what shall be. For as the murderer, though he be not as yet condemned by the decision of the judge, is still condemned by the nature of the thing, so is it with the unbeliever. Since Adam also died on the day that he ate of the tree; for so ran the decree, “In the day that ye eat of the tree, ye shall die” (Gen 2:17 LXX).; yet he lived. How then “died” he? By the decree; by the very nature of the thing; for he who has rendered himself liable to punishment, is under its penalty, and if for a while not actually so, yet he is by the sentence.

Lest any one on hearing, “I came not to judge the world,” should imagine that he might sin unpunished, and should so become more careless, Christ stops 12 such disregard by saying, “is judged already”; and because the “judgment” was future and not yet at hand, He brings near the dread of vengeance, and describes the punishment as already come. And this is itself a mark of great lovingkindness, that He not only gives His Son, but even delays the time of judgment, that they who have sinned, and they who believe not, may have power to, wash away their transgressions.

“He that believeth on the Son, is not judged.” He that “believeth,” not he that is over-curious: he that “believeth,” not the busybody. But what if his life be unclean, and his deeds evil? It is of such as these especially that Paul declares, that they are not true believers at all: “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him.” (Titus 1:16). But here Christ saith, that such an one is not “judged” in this one particular; for his works indeed he shall suffer a severer punishment, but having believed once, he is not chastised for unbelief.

Seest thou how having commenced His discourse with fearful things, He has concluded it again with the very same? for at first He saith, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”: and here again, “He that believeth not on the Son, is judged already.” “Think not,” He saith, “that the delay advantageth at all the guilty, except he repent, for he that hath not believed, shall be in no better state than those who are already condemned and under punishment.”

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Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 3:16-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 16, 2011

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

For God so loved, &c. This is said by way of anticipation, lest Nicodemus should object, “If thou art the Son of God, how will God suffer Thee to be suspended and exalted upon the cross?”

Christ meets this by implying that God will permit it in order to show forth His burning love to men, which was typified by the serpent of brass, which is called in Hebrew saraph, which means fiery, and setting on fire. So S. Chrysostom and Theophylact.

Observe that every word of Christ in this sentence has a great and special emphasis, in order to magnify to the utmost the love of God. For (i.) He says, So, with such vehemence, such excess of love. 2. Not a king, or an angel, loved, but God. 3. Loved, i e., first and as it were gratuitously; without merit, yea, even without desire on our part. 4. The world, His enemy, and under the sentence of damnation. 5. Gave not another man, not an angel, not another world, but His Son; and that not an adopted Son, but His own Son; and again not one Son of many, but His only Son, His Only Begotten Son. 6. He did not sell, or lend, but gave freely; and not to a kingdom and triumphs, but to death and the Cross. 7. Christ did not do it for Himself, to gain any advantage for Himself, but that He, the Creator, might give life to us His creatures by His own death, that by His humility He might exalt us, that by His emptying Himself He might heap upon us eternal glory, and an infinite weight of wealth and goodness. This is the love of God towards man, which the Apostle celebrates (Tit_3:5).

You may say, it would have been greater love if God the Father had given Himself for us, and taken our flesh, than that He sent His Son. For he gives more who gives himself than he who sends another.

But I reply that this is true of those who are of a different essence, but not of God: for the Father and the Son have the same Divine Essence, and are consubstantial. Wherefore the Father, in giving us His Son, with Him gave us His own Essence, than which nothing greater can exist, or be given. This gift of the Father was therefore the greatest possible, and infinite. So S. Cyril on this passage.

You may further urge, God gave not His own Person, but His Essence only: and that He would have given more if He had given His Person also. I answer by denying the conclusion. 1. Because Person is God is in reality the same as Essence; for it adds nothing to His Essence except relatively, and the idea of distinction from the other Persons: also because the Person of the Son is as worthy a the Person of the Father. For all the three Divine Persons are co-equal in all things, as the Athanasian Creed saith. Besides, the Father in giving the Person of His Son, gave us also His own Person, as well as the Person of the Holy Ghost. Because the Father is in the Son, and both are in the Holy Ghost. And again the Son is in the Father, and the Holy Ghost in the Father and the Son, of which I will speak more fully on chapter xiv. 10.

Moreover S. Thomas (3 part, qu. 3) gives several reasons why God the Father gave not proximately His own Person, but the Person of His Son; or why the Son alone took upon Him our flesh. Among which the primary is, because the Father willed to adopt us and our nature, and to make us His sons, and so heirs. For He made His Son to be our brother, that by Him we might become sons of God, and so heirs, as Christ here intimates.

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world: but that the world may be saved by him.

For God sent not, &c. He confirms and intensifies the assertion of the infinite love of God to men, as proved by Christ’s being crucified. For God might justly have sent His Son into the world to destroy it for its great wickedness. For this was what His justice demanded, but the infinite love of God overcame justice in that it bestowed the highest blessing upon the world, which deserved the utmost extremity of punishment, in giving it salvation through Him.

Observe: the expression judge the world, as it is in the Vulgate, means to condemn, and destroy it in hell. It is opposed to the word saved. Hence S. Augustine observes that this was the end of Christ’s Incarnation, that all men might be saved, and that He earnestly desired and willed this. Wherefore it is of themselves, through their own fault, and not Christ’s, that many of them will be damned.

Joh 3:18  He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

He that believeth . . . is not judged, shall not be condemned, but saved. But he that doth not believe is already judged, i.e., is condemned already. For such an one manifestly condemns himself by his unbelief; for by it he cuts himself off from the very pathway and beginning of salvation, i.e., faith; because he believeth not in the name, &c., Greek, ει̉ς όνομα, which means the same thing as believing on the Son of God Himself. For name is here put by metonymy for the thing named. “He shows,” says S. Cyril, “how dreadful a crime unbelief is, because He is the Only Begotten Son of God. For by how much greater is the excellence of that which is despised, by so much will he who despises be liable to severer punishment. Especially, because such persons make God a liar, because they believe not the witness which God hath testified of His Son” (1 John 5:10).

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