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 July 4th, 2011

A Sure, foolproof Way To Recongnize Spam in Your Combox

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2011

Simply read something I have written (good luck finding it) and compare it to the contents of a remark in your combox.  If what I have written makes me sound like a freakin’ genius in the comparison, then rest assured that you can delete the comment.  Here are the two latest spam comments in my combox:

“Can I just say what a aid to find someone who really knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know the way to bring a difficulty to gentle and make it important. Extra folks must read this and understand this facet of the story. I cant imagine youre no more common since you positively have the gift.”

“I just could not leave your site prior to suggesting that I really loved the standard info a person provide on your guests? Is going to be back incessantly to check out new posts.”

Gee, the pressure to live up to the hype is nearly unbearable.

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My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2011

At the end of this post I’ve included some suggested readings.

Background: It is important to keep in mind that Matthew has constructed his Gospel in a series of alternating narratives and discourses. Each narrative (e.g., chapters 1-4; 8-9; 11-12; etc.,) prepares for the discourse which follows it (e.g., chapters 5-7, 10; 13; etc.). The effect is cumulative.

In the narrative of chapters 1-4 Matthew portrays our Lord as like, but greater than, Moses, and as the promised Son of David. In this way he prepares for the discourse in chapters 5-7 wherein  “Like Moses, Jesus goes up to the mountain but, unlike Moses, he proclaims with full and lordly authority not the Old Law but the New Law-the messianic Torah which true disciples of the Kingdom must observe”  (Matthew His Mind And Message, Peter F. Ellis, pg 29).  The Kingdom which was foreshadowed by the Davidic dynasty. Thus in chapters 1-7 our Lord’s (Moses-like) legislative authority and his (David-like) ruling authority are established in word (see Matt 7:28-29).

The narrative in chapters 8 and 9 are made up of a series of alternating accounts focusing on the deeds/miracles of Jesus (Matt 8:1-17; 8:28-9:8; 9:20-34), and the demands of discipleship (Matt 8:18-27; 9:9-18).  Thus, in chapters 1-9 we see Matthew establishing Jesus’ messianic authority (1-4) in both word (5-7) and deed (8-9), showing how our Lord is able to make demands on us, his disciples.

All of this prepares for the discourse in chapter 10 wherein Jesus bestows on the Apostles power/authority to work miracles [deeds] (Matt 10:1) and to proclaim the Gospel [words] (Matt 10:7). Activity which will arouse opposition and hatred [demands of discipleship] (Matt 10:16 ff).

Mat 10:1  And having called his twelve disciples together, he gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities.

And having called his twelve. Both Mark and Luke narrate a call of the twelve (Mk 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16) prior to their pre-Resurrection mission and the accompanying discourse (Mk 6:7-13; Lk 9:1-6).  Note that in earlier call of the twelve in Mk 3 and Luke 6 there is reference to a mountain (Mk 3:13; Lk 6:12), while in the latter call with its accompanying missionary discourse, no mountain is mentioned (Mk 6; Lk 9).  Matthew appears to have meshed the two events into one.

The effect of Mark and Luke’s separation of the initial call from the second call/missionary discourse/actual sending on mission is that it emphasizes Jesus preparing the twelve specifically for mission.  Matthew’s arrangement indicates that this theme of preparation is not absent but, rather, extended.  All who wish to embrace the Gospel must live by its demands (Sermon on the Mount) and expect hardship (Matt 8-9).

He gave them power. Ellis calls this ” A Central tenet of Matthew’s gospel: the Apostles have received their authority directly from the teacher of the messianic Torah and the doer of messianic deed” (MATTHEW, HIS MIND AND MESSAGE, pg. 48.  He thus shows himself to be the “mightier” one predicted by John (Matt 3:12). The one who can “make” fishermen to be “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19).

Over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities.  The very things Jesus has been doing in chapters 8-9.

Mat 10:2  And the names of the twelve Apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
Mat 10:3  James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus,
Mat 10:4  Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

The first, Simon who is called Peter. The fact that Matthew employs first as an adjective rather than an adverb hints at his significance (Matt 14:28-32; 15:15; 16:17-19; 17:24-27; etc.).  Whenever the twelve are listed Peter is always mentioned first.

Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. In all the lists of the twelve Iscariot is always mentioned last.  Concerning the word “Iscariot” I made the following note in Lapide’s commentary which I posted earlier: “I once suggested that Iscariot was derived from the Greek word ισχυρου [ischuros], meaning strong man. This is the word Our Lord uses to describe Satan in Mark 3:27 which is in close proximity to the call of Judas Iscariot in Mark 3:19. This is, of course, speculation on my part. Others think it is a compound word derived from the Hebrew ish, man, and the Greek sikarios, daggerman, cutthroat, assassin. Others think it means enstranglement and is a reference to his manner of death. See Matt 27:5. The Protestant Bishop Lightfoot, in his Exercitations on the Gospel of Matthew makes this suggestion, but it is based on gemetria, i.e., the practice of assigning numbers to letters, and his reasoning is somewhat tortured.”

These twelve Jesus sent. Father Meier, in his Commentary on Matthew, suggests that these words are basically a second introduction necessitated by the meshing of the two accounts I referred to above.

Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not. Reflects the order of salvation history (see Rom 1:16; 15:8-12; Acts 1:8; 3:26; 13:46). Matthew has already hinted at a future mission to the Gentiles in Matt 8:5-12 (especially verses 11-12).  The placement of the statement here prepares for the increasing hostility and rejection Jesus will experience from his countrymen in chapters 11-12. A rejection predicted by the prophets (Matt 13:10-13).  The growing rejection will cause Jesus to focus more attention on instructing his Apostles (chapters 14-17), who are to replace the chief priests and pharisees as leaders and guides of the people (Matt 21:33-45). In his Eschatological Discourse Jesus will describe in symbolic terms the doom of Jerusalem and the temple, a description reminiscent of the fate of Gentile nations, thus indicating that through unbelief his people have become no better than Gentiles (compare Matt 24:29 and its reference to sun, moon and stars with Isaiah 13:9-10; 34:4; Ezek 32:7-8; Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9).  The final command of Jesus that his apostles “Make disciples of all nations” )Matt 28:19) thus includes the Hebrew people who remain the object of God’s predilection and salvific will (Rom 9-11).  God’s call is irrevocable (Rom 11:25-29), and His mercy will eventually triumph (Rom 11:30-36).

Mat 10:6  But go ye rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Provides a connection with the end of the previous narrative (chapters 8-9): “And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd.  Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few.  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt 9:36-38).

It is instructive to take account of how the discourse in chapters 5-7 ends: “And it came to pass when Jesus had fully ended these words, the people were in admiration at his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes and Pharisees” (Matt 7:28-29).  Matthew’s Gospel is a sustained polemic against the leaders of his people whom he sees as leading them astray.

Mat 10:7  And going, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The very thing our Lord began to do after his baptism/temptation (Matt 4:17).

Suggested Readings:

MATTHEW, HIS MIND AND HIS MESSAGE by Peter F. Ellis.  A fine introduction to the Gospel. Now out of print but new and used copies can sometimes be obtained on amazon or other online book sellers.

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW: Commentary, Notes, Study Questions by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.  I would describe this as “the Gospel of Matthew with extended  footnotes”.  An outstanding resource for beginners or those looking for a guide for a group study.  This is the first volume in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible Series.  A single volume encompassing the entire NT is now available, and the authors have recently published a volume on Genesis as well.

MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM by Edward Sri.  A good, basic commentary which can be used for both personal and group study.

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW by Edward Sri.  This is the fifth volume in a new series entitled “Catholic Commentary On Sacred Scripture”.  Well written and nicely formatted.  The commentaries pay attention to the use of the Old Testament by the New Testament authors and provide references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.The editorial strategy of these volumes is described here. Excerpts from the first four volumes (Mark; First and Second Timothy and Titus; Ephesians; Second Corinthians) can be read here. A sixth volume (First Corinthians) is scheduled for publication in November.

MATTHEW by Father John P. Meier.  A bit more in depth than the works listed above.

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW by Rudolph Schnackenburg.  A bit hyper-critical in my opinion. Presupposes some acquaintance with  scholarly methodlogy on the part of the reader.

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW by Daniel J. Harrington.  Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series which Father Harrington edited. Presupposes some acquaintance with  scholarly methodlogy on the part of the reader.

THE GREAT COMMENTARY OF CORNELIUS A LAPIDE (died 1637). Father Lapide’s monumental and massive commentary on the Bible has never been fully translated into English.  The first attempt was done by Anglican scholars who translated several of his NT commentaries.  These translations were abridged and, on occasion, contained notations hostile to the Catholic faith.  Recently a Catholic publisher has printed a new and complete translation of Lapide’s commentary on the 4 Gospels which, as far as I can tell, are not available as individual volumes but must be purchased as a set. I love this commentary but find it to be ponderous at time, occasionally uncritical, and a bit hard to read (not to mention expensive! Fortunately for me, they 4 volumes were given to me as a gift).  In addition, following the common practice of his day, Father Lapide often sends his readers back to his commentary on Matthew when parallel passages occur in Mark and Luke. This means that specifically marcan and lucan  theology sometimes get short shrift.  Luke (for example) has theological reasons for inverting the last two temptations of Christs in the wilderness (compare Matt 4:5-10 with Luke 4:5-11).  Luke ends the temptations in Jerusalem because in his Gospel and his second volume, Acts of Apostles, it is the place from whence opposition to the gospel comes.  Matthew ends his temptation account with Jesus rejecting Satan’s offer to give Him the “gift” of the nations because he wishes to focus on how Jesus obtained dominion over them. Still, I love this commentary.

A COMMENTARY ON THE HOLY GOSPELS by Juan de Maldonado (died, 1583).  The title (“Gospel,” plural) can be misleading since this volume contains only Maldonado’s commentary on Matthew.  Apparently the original publisher planned a series (in English) on the four Gospel of which Matthew was the first; unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, Mark, Luke and John were never translated/published.  and I would issue the same reservations concerning it as Lapides, nonetheless, like Lapide’s work, it is of great value.

READING THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW: THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW by Scott Hahn. An online study guide. Links to the individual “lessons” can be found in the right hand sidebar.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matt 10:16-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2011

Mat 10:16  Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

Behold I send you as sheep, &c. S. jerome, by wolves, understands the Scribes and Pharisees: others, any enemies, or persecutors. No animal is so defenceless as a sheep. In this way Christ sends his Apostles without arms, that he may shew forth His own power in them. He does not send them as lions, but as sheep, that by means of His miraculous power they may vanquish the wolves. Listen to S. Chrys., “Let them blush, who, like wolves, persecute their adversaries, when they behold innumerable wolves overcome by a very few sheep. And assuredly, so long as we are sheep, we shall easily overcome our enemies. But when we are changed into the nature of wolves, then we are overcome, for in such a case we have no more help from our shepherd, who feeds sheep not wolves.” S. Chrys. observes that Christ foretells coming evils and persecutions to His Apostles for four reasons. 1. That they may learn His foreknowledge. 2. That they may not suppose such things happen through lack of power in their master. 3. That they may not be suddenly overcome. 4. That they may not be troubled at the time of the Cross. Christ thus, as it were, animates His Apostles, “Come, 0 ye my Apostles, I am sending you to the Jews and to Infidels, who will vex you and persecute you, but think of this, that it is I who send you, I, I say, who sent Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and the rest of the prophets to Ahab, Jezebel and Manasseh, and other wicked kings. I animated, strengthened, and protected them, and when need was, I delivered them. And when at length I permitted them to be slain by them, it was that by their blood they might set a seal to My faith and religion, and win the laurel crown of martyrdom. In the same manner I now send you: and through you I am about to do the same, yea still greater things. I will be always with you, and stand by you, that in life ye may by the innocency of sheep, and in death by the meekness of sheep, conquer all men and all things.

Therefore by these words, Behold I send you, are signified the Divine authority, power, assistance, and protection of Christ whereby He defends His Apostles, as it were innocent sheep, against the wolves their enemies, that they may convert them by preaching, or else nobly vanquish them by dying. He therefore that will be Christ’s true servant, disciple, and Apostle, let him look upon himself as sent forth like a sheep in the midst of wolves. So let him be lavish of his life, as though he were doomed, and prepared to endure labours and crosses, yea death itself, for Christ’s sake. Albanus, the Captain General of the army of Charles V., had 400 stout and resolute youths, who were prodigal of life, and devoted to death, called the forlorn hope. In a battle, he despatched these against the strongest part of the enemy’s ranks, that by their audacity and determination to die, they might throw those ranks into confusion, and so prepare the way for victory. Thus devoted and prodigal of his life let the Apostolic preacher of Christ deem himself, that he may subdue unbelievers to Christ the conqueror. Such a one blessed Xavier deemed himself, when he was going to the Indies, and said to his weeping friends: “Do merchants at such expense and such peril, prodigal of life, sail to India from zeal for earthly merchandise; and shall not I go thither for the sake of God and souls?”

Be ye therefore wise, &c. Wise, i.e., prudent. 1. “That by prudence,” says S. Jerome, “ye may avoid snares, and by harmlessness or simplicity ye may do no evil. And the craft of a serpent is given as an example, because with its whole body it hides its head, to protect that wherein is its life. So too let us, by the exposure of our whole body, guard Him who is our Head—Christ; that is, let us strive to keep the faith whole and undefiled.” 2. Rabanus Maurus says, that the serpent is wont craftily to choose narrow chinks, so as by passing through them, to put off his old skin. Hear Isidore of Pelusium (lib. i. epist. 26): “The serpent by crafty artifice puts off his old skin, by compressing himself into some narrow chink. So Christ wishes us, by means of the narrow way and affliction, to put off the old man and to put on instead the new man, which is renewed after His image.” 3. Remigius says, Beautifully doth the Lord admonish preachers to have the prudence of serpents, because the first man was deceived by a serpent. It was as though He had said, Because the enemy was crafty to deceive, do ye be prudent to deliver. He commanded the Tree, do ye praise the virtue of the Cross. Hilary adds, He falsely promised immortality, saying, You shall be as gods; do ye promise true immortality, that they who believe shall be as angels.

4. The serpent has most clear sight. Whence the adage—the eye of a serpent. So let an Apostle behold all things with the piercing sight of his mind, that he may avoid what is evil and forward what is good.

And simple (Vulg. simplices) as doves. Because, as Remigius says, “Simplicity without prudence is easily deceived, and wisdom is dangerous unless it be tempered with simplicity.” And as S. Gregory says (lib. iv. epist. 31 ad Mauritium), “As the astuteness of the serpent sharpens the simplicity of the dove, so does the simplicity of the dove temper the astuteness of the serpent.”

For simple the Gr. is α̉κέραιοι, which (if it be derived from α̉, privative, and κέρας, a horn) means devoid of malice or harm, innocent, innocuous. So S. Basil: or if from α̉, privative, and κερα̉ννυμι, to mingle, it is the same as unmixed, i.e., pure, sincere—those who, without prevarication, express with their mouths what they think in their hearts. Christ therefore bids them “by prudence avoid snares, by simplicity to do no evil,” says S. Jerome.

S. Chrysos. says, anger is not extinguished by anger, but by meekness. It is not enough to bear evils, but we must not even be troubled, which is dove-like.

Theoph. and Euthym. remark that doves, although they be deprived of their young ones, yet return to the same nests and masters. As though Christ said, “So also, 0 ye Apostles, do not ye remember the injuries done unto you, but meekly and lovingly return ye to those who have vexed and injured you, that ye may help and convert them. This is the ninth precept of Christ. The tenth follows.

Mat 10:17  But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.

But beware of men, &c. Councils, Gr. συνέδρια, i.e., sessions of magistrates and judges; lest by them ye be condemned as blasphemers of God, or rather of the gods. The Syriac has, They shall deliver you into the house of judgments, that is, into the prætoria. Beware of men—1, false and treacherous men, who shall bring you to councils and before judges. Such are those, who for this cause are to be guarded against at this day in England, Scotland, and Japan; 2, of men, viz., insidious men, who lay snares for you by means of perplexing and political questions, that they may catch some word out of your mouth against the laws or sovereigns, that they may accuse you to them; 3, of men, i.e., persecutors, who seek to kill you. Beware, i.e., bear yourselves cautiously, as far as may be, remembering your duty, so that ye may avoid their plots and treacheries; but above all, that ye fall not by their persecutions and threats so as to deny Christ.

Moraliter: let every one learn to beware of himself, for man is a wolf to man.

And so no one need say, I have been born in an inauspicious time, I cannot be a martyr. There is no Nero now, no Decius now. Any one can be a martyr if he manfully resist lusts, fears, temptations, for the love of God. Thy cupidity is a Decius to thee, thy fear a Nero, thy temptation is a Julian. Thy companion persecutes thee—laughs at thee—calumniates thee. Fever, cold, asthma torments thee. If thou bear these patiently for the love of God, thou art a martyr of patience, like Job was. Gluttony goads thee to swill in wine and delicacies. Resist, and thou art a martyr of abstinence, like Daniel. Ambition attracts thee to raise thyself above others, to aim at high dignities. Pluck it from thy mind, and thou art a martyr of humility and modesty, like S. Francis. Does thy superior bid thee do hard things, which are repugnant to thy feelings? obey, conquering thyself, and thou art a martyr of obedience, like Abraham, when he offered up Isaac. Does lust titillate thee? Mortify it by fasting, crucify it by hair shirts, and thou wilt be a martyr of chastity, as Joseph was. Study, teach, preach, labour, go to the Indians, that thou mayest save perishing souls, and thou art a martyr of charity, like blessed Xavier.

They will scourge you: Thus Peter and the Apostles were beaten (Acts 5:40). And S. Paul says (2 Cor 2:24), “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.”

And in their synagogues, where the law was read, and breakers of the law were scourged.

Mat 10:18  And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles:

And you shall be brought before governors, i.e., of provinces. So Paul was led as a captive before Felix and Festus, governors of Judea; James the Less before Ananias, the High Priest, by whom he was ordered to be slain; Peter and James the Great before Agrippa, who struck off James’ head. Peter and Paul were brought to Nero, under whom they at length underwent a glorious martyrdom, Thus, too, S. Andrew was led to Ægeus, the pro-consul of Achaia, by whom he was crucified; S. John to the Emperor Domitian, by whom he was placed in a cask of boiling oil, from which he gloriously came forth. From such things it will be seen that what Christ now says does not refer to this first sending the Apostles into Judea, for we do not read of any such things happening then, but of things which were to happen in their future life.

For my sake. He adds, says S. Chrysostom, an alleviation which was no small consolation, that they should suffer for Christ’s sake. Wherefore when the Apostles were beaten, “they went from the Council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

For a testimony of my true faith which ye preach: for of this your martyrdom shall be an illustrious testimony. Hence, many who saw the constancy of the Apostles and Martyrs under their torments were converted to Christ. So S. Hilary.

Mat 10:19  But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak:
Mat 10:20  For it is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.

But when they shall deliver you up, &c. This is the eleventh precept of Christ, by which he forbids the Apostles being anxious about their answers to the questions of the governors, because He promises that He will Himself suggest to them what they shall be. Take no thought. The Gr. is μὴ μεριμνήσητε, do not be anxious and solicitous. He does not forbid their prudently premeditating an answer, but forbids an anxious and troubled care about it. By the martyr in his questionings and torments God must be assiduously invoked that He may inspire him with wisdom to answer, and courage to endure. This is what Luke 21:15 says Christ promised, I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay. Thus it is said of S. Stephen, “They were not able to resist the wisdom and spirit with which he spake.” There is a famous example of the literal fulfilment of this promise in the life of Saint Lucy of Syracuse who, when she was ordered by the governor Paschasius to sacrifice to the gods, boldly refused. The prefect said in a threatening tone, “Your words will cease when you come to be scourged.” The Virgin answered, “Words can never be wanting to God’s servants when the Lord Christ has said, ‘When ye stand before kings and governors take no thought how or what ye shall answer, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall say, for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost which speaketh in you.’” Then Paschasius asked her, “Is the Holy Spirit in thee?” She replied, “Those who live chastely and holily are the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “I will command thee to be taken to the house of shame, and then the Holy Spirit will leave thee.” The Virgin answered, “If you order me to suffer violence against my will, my chastity shall receive a double crown.” Then Paschasius was inflamed with rage, and commanded her to be led to the house of shame; but by the power of God it came to pass that by no force could the Virgin be removed from the place where she stood. Observe the wonderful prudence of this Virgin, who to every question answered wisely, so that the governor was put to silence. Of a truth the Holy Ghost spake in her.

Tropologically: S. Austin (lib. iv. De Doctrinâ Christiani, c. 15) teaches that a preacher ought to pray and study before his sermon: but for the actual time when he is speaking he ought to think that the Lord’s words are applicable to a good mind—Take no thought how or what to speak, &c.

Mat 10:21  The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death.

The brother also shall deliver the brother to death, &c. Because they believe in Me and preach Me. Christ fortifies beforehand the Apostles and believers by predicting the persecutions which they were about to suffer from their unbelieving relations, who (forgetful of natural ties and affections) would persecute them even unto death. As Bede says, “He foretold the future trouble, in order that, being known beforehand, they might more easily bear it.” “For the darts which are seen coming are less likely to strike,” says S. Hilary. As examples of the fulfilment of these words, S. Barbara was killed by her own father for the faith of Christ. So, too, was S. Christina. S. Lucia was accused by her own son Euprepius of being a Christian, and was crowned by the judge with the martyr’s laurel on the 16th of September, A.D. 303. S. Wenceslas, prince of Bohemia, was treacherously killed by his brother Boleslas and his mother Drahomira, who were unbelievers. The Emperor Maximian caused his sister Artemias, a Christian, and Diocletian, his wife Serena, Pope S. Caius, and his brother S. Gabinus, with his holy daughter Susanna, his cousins, to suffer martyrdom because they were Christians.

Mat 10:22  And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.

And you shall be hated by all men, &c. All—that is, many, almost all, as was wont to be in councils, judgment-halls, and theatres where the martyrs were. For the faith and preaching of Christ crucified was at the first new and paradoxical to the whole world. Wherefore both Jews (who were accustomed to Moses) and Gentiles (who were attached to their gods) rose up against the Apostles, who preached this doctrine, and against the little flock of believers who were converted to it.

But he that shall persevere, i.e., in patience. For the Gr. is ό ύπυμείνας, he who shall sustain these persecutions and adversities unto the end at once of his persecutions and his life, he wholly and solely shall be saved. He shall be endowed with health, happiness, and eternal glory as the reward and crown of his patience. It is not enough to have endured and overcome once, twice, or thrice: but to win the crown we must endure and conquer to the end, according to those words in the Apoc.: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.” See what I have there said. Hear S. Bernard (Epis. 129): “Perseverance merits glory for men, a crown for virtues. It is the vigour of strength, the consummation of virtues; it is a nurse of merit, a winner of reward, a sister of patience, a bulwark of sanctity. Take away perseverance, and there is neither reward for obedience, nor grace for well-doing, nor praise for fortitude.”

Mat 10:23  And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.

And when they shall persecute you, &c.—Flee, “not,” says Bede, from fearing suffering, but by yielding, so that the occasion of tribulation may become the seed of the Gospel,” lest by the slaying of the preachers the preaching of the faith should be cut off, but by their fleeing it may be scattered in other places. This flight was indeed victory. For they fled not through fear, but from love to Christ, that they might propagate His faith. So the Tartars, as they flee, cast their darts at their pursuing enemies, and so transfix and slay them.

You will ask whether this be a precept, or only a permission. I reply, it is partly a precept, as when the necessity of the Church, or the faith, or peril of one’s own fall, requires flight. For “he does not deny Christ by flying, who flies lest he should deny,” says S. Chrysos. So S. Nazian. (Orat. 1 in Julian) and Athanasius (de fugâ suâ). For had he not fled from the rage of the Arians, they would have triumphed over the Homoousian faith, which seemed to stand or fall with Athanasius. It is partly of counsel, as when greater benefit is expected for oneself or others from flight. It is partly a permission, as when any one has an excessive dread of torments; and he is not bound by any necessity or obligation (as being a bishop or pastor, for example) to remain in a particular place. For otherwise it is unlawful to flee if peril, or scandal, be likely to accrue to the Faith, the Sacraments, or the Sheep, i.e., the faithful. This is plain from John 10:11-12.

Hence the example of Christ, of His Apostles, of S. Athanasius and others is a refutation of Tertullian who in his book, de Fugâ, contends that flight is unlawful. S. Jer. (in Catal. Scriptor Ecclesiast. in Tertul.) shews that this book was one of those which he wrote against the Church after he became a heretic and a Montanist.

Amen I say to you, you shall not finish, &c. The Gr. is ου̉ μὴ τελέσητε, you shall not have finished, that is, traversing and converting all the cities of Israel. 1. S. Chrysos, explains it of the first mission of the Apostles into Judea; as much as to say, flee from the city where they persecute into another; for ye shall not have gone over all the cities of Palestine until I shall return to you, and recall you to me. But in this first mission the Apostles were kindly received by the Jews, so that there was no need for them to flee. They came back to Christ rejoicing, as we see by Luke 10:17.

2. Bede expounds thus, “Ye shall not have converted the Jews before my resurrection. After that I will return to you and send you to the Gentiles dispersed throughout the world, where you shall have a perpetual field for your labours.”

3. Others say, “Ye shall not have gone over Judea, preaching and fleeing away until I return to it in vengeance by means of Vespasian and Titus, that I may cut off the Jews who have persecuted you.”

4. And correctly, “Ye shall not by journeying and preaching, perfect in the faith of the Gospel and the religion of Christ, the cities, that is the people of Israel, to whom I am now sending you before the second advent of the Son of Man.” For as S. Paul teaches in Romans 11, it behoveth that the fulness of the Gentiles, i.e., all the Gentiles must come first into the Church, and then all Israel shall be saved. Christ intimates that the Jews shall disbelieve the Gospel until the end of the world, but then, a little before the judgment, they will be converted by Enoch and Elias. So S. Hilary.

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Aquinas’ Catena aurea on Matthew 10:16-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2011

Ver 16. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.17. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;18. And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.”

Chrys., Hom. 33: Having removed all care and anxiety from the Apostles, and armed them with the miraculous powers, He proceeds to foretell the evils which should befal them. First, that they might know his knowledge of the future; secondly, that they should not think that these things befel them because of the want of power in their Master; thirdly, that they might not be amazed if these things had come upon them unexpectedly; fourthly, that after hearing these things, they might not be dismayed in the season of His cross; and lastly, that they might learn a new method of warfare.

He sends them unprovided, bidding them look to those who should receive them for support; but rests not in that, but shews his power still further, “Lo, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Where observe that He does not say merely ‘to wolves,’ but “in the midst of wolves,” to shew His excellent might therein, that the sheep would overcome the wolves though they were in the midst of them; and though they received many bites from them, yet were they not destroyed, but rather convert them. And it is a much greater and a more wonderful power that can change their hearts than that can kill them. Among wolves He teaches them to shew the meekness of sheep.

Greg., Hom. in Ev., xvii. 4: For he who undertakes the office of preacher ought not to do evil, but to suffer it, and by his meekness to mollify the wrath of the angry, and by his wounds to heal the wounds of sinners in their affliction. And even should the zeal of right-doing ever require that He should be severe to those that are placed under Him, His very severity will be of love and not of cruelty, outwardly maintaining the rights of discipline, and inwardly loving those whom He corrects. Too many, when they are entrusted with the reins of government, burn to make the subjects feel them, display the terrors of authority, and forgetting that they are fathers, rather desire to be thought lords, changing a station of lowliness into that of lofty dominion, if they ever seem outwardly to fawn on any one, they inwardly hate him; of such He spoke above; “They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” [Mat_7:15] For prevention whereof we ought to consider that we are sent as sheep among wolves, whose innocence we ought to preserve, not having the tooth of malice.

Jerome: He calls the Scribes and Pharisees who are the clergy of the Jews, “wolves.”

Hilary: The wolves indeed are all such as should pursue the Apostles with mad fury.

Chrys.: Their consolation under their hardships was the excellent power of Him who sent them; wherefore He puts that before all, “Lo, I send you.” Be not dismayed, though you be sent into the midst of wolves; for I am able to bring it to pass that you suffer no hurt, and that ye should not only prevail over the wolves, but be made more terrible than lions. But it is good that it should be thus; hereby your virtue is made brighter, and My power is more manifested. Also that somewhat should proceed from themselves, that they should not think themselves to be crowned without reason. He add, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, simple as doves.”

Jerome: “Wise,” that they might escape snares; “simple,” that they might not do evil to others. The craft of the serpent is set before them as an example, for he hides his head with all the rest of his body, that he may protect the part in which life is. So ought we to expose our whole body, that we may guard our head which is Christ; that is, that we study to keep the faith whole and uncorrupt.

Raban.: The serpent moreover seeks out narrow chinks through which it crawls to draw off its old skin; so the preacher passing through the narrow way lays aside the old man.

Remig.: Beautifully the Lord bids the preacher have the wisdom of the serpent; because the first man was beguiled by a serpent; as though He had said, The foe is subtle to deceive, be ye therefore wise to rescue; he commended the tree, do ye also commend the tree of the Cross.

Hilary: He first attempted the softer sex, allured her by hope, and promised a share of immortality. Do you in like manner seize every opportunity, look well into each man’s nature and inclination, use wisdom of speech, reveal hope of good things to come; that what he promised falsely we may preach truly according to God’s promise, that they that believe shall be like to the Angels.

Chrys.: But as we ought to have the wisdom of the serpent, that we should not be hurt in any deadly part, so also we should have the simplicity of the dove, not to retaliate when we are hurt, nor to avenge ourselves on those who have designed aught against us.

Remig.: The Lord unites these two thing; because simplicity without wisdom might be easily deceived, and wisdom is dangerous unless it be tempered with simplicity that does no man hurt.

Jerome: The harmlessness of doves is shewn by the assumption of that form by the Holy Spirit; as the Apostle speaks, “In malice be ye children.”

Chrys.: What is harder than these commands? It is not enough that we suffer ill, but we must not be angry thereat, as is the dove’s nature, for anger is extinguished not by anger, but by meekness.

Raban.: That by the wolves above He intended men, He shews when He adds, “Take heed of men.”

Gloss, ap. Anselm: Ye have indeed need to be wise as serpents, for, as they are wont to do, “they will deliver you to councils,” forbidding you to preach in My name; then if ye be not corrected, “they will scourge you,” and at length “ye shall be brought before kings and governors.”

Hilary: Who will endeavour to extort from you either to be silent or to temporize.

Chrys.: How wonderful that men who had never been beyond the lake in which they fished, did not straighway depart from Him on hearing these things. It was not only of their goodness, but of the wisdom of their Teacher. For to each evil He attaches somewhat of alleviation; as here He adds, “for my sake;” for it is no light consolation to suffer for Christ’s sake, for they did not suffer as evil or wrong doers. Again He adds, “for a testimony against them.”

Greg., Hom. in Ev., xxxv, 2: Either that they had presented to the death, or that they had seen and were not changed. For the death of the saints is to the good an aid, to the bad a testimony; that thus the wicked may perish without excuse in that from which the elect take example and live.

Chrys.: This was matter of consolation to them, not that they sought the punishment of others, but that they were confident that in all things they had One present with them, and all-knowing.

Hilary: And by this their testimony not only was all excuse of ignorance of His divinity taken away from their persecutors, but also to the Gentiles was opened the way of believing on Christ, who was thus devotedly preached by the voices of the confessors among the flames of persecution; and this is that He adds, “and the Gentiles.”

Ver 19. “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

Chrys.: To the foregoing topics of consolation, He adds another not a little one; that they should not say, How shall we be able to persuade such men as these, when they shall persecute us? He bids them be of good courage respecting their answer, saying, “When they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak.”

Remig.: “How or what,” one refers to the substance, the other to the expression in words. And because both of these would be supplied by Him, there was no need for the holy preachers to be anxious about either.

Jerome: When then we are brought before judges for Christ’s sake, we ought to offer only our will for Christ. But Christ who dwelleth in us speaks for Himself, and the grace of the Holy Spirit will minister in our answer.

Hilary: For our faith, observing all the precepts of the Divine will, will be instructed with an answer according to knowledge, after the example of Abraham, to whom when he had given up Isaac, there was not wanting a ram for a victim. “For it is not ye who speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.”

Remig., ap. Raban.: Meaning, Ye indeed go out to the battle, but it is I who fight; you utter the words, but it is I who speak. Hence Paul speaks, “Seek ye a proof of Christ who speaketh in me?” [2Co_13:3]

Chrys.: Thus He raises them to the dignity of the Prophets, who have spoken by the Spirit of God. He who says here, “Take no thought what ye shall speak,” [1Pe_3:15] has said in another place, “Be ye always ready to give an answer to him that demandeth a reason of the hope that is in you.” When it is a dispute among friends, we are commanded to “be ready;” but before the awful judgment, and the raging people, aid is ministered by Christ, that they may speak boldly and not be dismayed.

Ver 21. “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

Gloss, ap. Anselm: Having placed the comfort first, He adds the more alarming perils; “Brother shall deliver up brother to death, and the father the son; children shall rise against parents, to put them to death.”

Greg., Hom. in Ev., xxxv, 3: Wrongs which we suffer from strangers, pain us less than those we suffer from men on whose affections we had counted; for besides the bodily affliction, there is then the pain of lost affection.

Jerome: This we see often happen in persecutions, nor is there any true affection between those whose faith is different.

Chrys.: What follows is yet more dreadful, “Ye shall be hated of all men;” they sought to exterminate them as common enemies of all the world. To this again is added the consolation, “For my name’s sake;” and yet further to cheer them, “Whosoever shall endure to the end, he shall be saved.” For many are hot and zealous in the beginning, but afterwards grow cool, for these, He says, I look at the end. For where is the profit of seeds that only sprout at first? wherefore He requires a sufficient endurance from them.

Jerome: For virtue is not to begin but to complete.

Remig.: And the reward is not for those that begin, but for those that bring to an end.

Chrys.: But that no man should say, that Christ wrought all things in His Apostles, and therefore it is nothing wonderful that they were made such as they were, since they did not bear the burden of these things, therefore He says, that perseverance was their work. For though they were rescued from their first perils, they are preserved for still harder trials, which again shall be followed by others, and they shall be in danger of snares as long as they live. This He covertly intimates when he says, “Whosoever shall endure to the end, he shall be saved.”

Remig.: That is, He who shall not let go the commands of the faith, nor fall away in persecution, shall be saved; he shall receive the reward of the heavenly kingdom for his earthly persecutions. And note that ‘the end’ does not always mean destruction, but sometimes perfection, as in that, “Christ is the end of the Law.” [Rom_10:4] So the sense here may be, “Whosoever shall endure to the end,” that is, in Christ.

Aug., City of God, book 21, ch. 25: To endure in Christ, is to abide in His faith which worketh by love.

Ver 23. “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”

Chrys.: Having foretold the fearful things which should come upon them after His Cross, resurrection, and ascension, He leads them to gentler prospects; He does not bid them presumptuously to offer themselves for persecution, but to fly from it; “When they persecute you in this city, flee ye to another.” For because this was the first beginning of their conversion, He adapts His words to their state.

Jerome: This must be referred to the time when the Apostles were sent to preach, when it was said to them, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles;” they should not fear, but may shun persecution. This we see the believers did in the beginning, when on a persecution arising in Jerusalem they were scattered throughout all Judaea, and thus the season of tribulation was made the seedtime of the Gospel.

Aug., cont. Faust., xxii, 36: Not that the Saviour was unable to protect His disciples, does He here bid them fly, and Himself give them an example of it, but He instructed man’s weakness, that he should not presume to tempt God, when he has anything that he can do for himself, but should shun all evils.

Aug., City of God, book 1, ch. 22: He might have suffered them to lay violent hands upon themselves, that they might not fall into the hands of their persecutors. Therefore if He neither commanded nor allowed this mode of departure from this world to His own, for whom He Himself had promised that He would prepare an eternal mansion; whatever instances may be brought by the Gentiles who know not God, it is clear that this is not lawful for those who believe one true God.

Chrys.: But that they should not say, What then if we fly from persecution, and again they cast us out thence whither we have fled? To remove this fear, He says, “Verily, I say unto you, ye shall not have completed, &c.” that is, ye shall not have made the circuit of Palestine and return to Me, before I shall take you to Me.

Raban.: Or; He foretels that they shall not have brought all the cities of Israel to the faith by their preaching, before the Lord’s resurrection be accomplished, and a commission given them to preach the Gospel throughout the world.

Hilary: Otherwise; He exhorts to fly from place to place; for His preaching driven from Judaea, first passing into Greece; then, wearied with divers sufferings of the Apostles up and down the cities of Greece, it takes an abiding refuge in the rest of the Gentile world. But to shew that the Gentiles would believe the preaching of the Apostles, but that the remnant of Israel should only believe at His second coming, He adds, “Ye shall not have completed the cities of Israel;” i.e. After the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, that which remains of Israel to fill up the number of the Saints shall be called into the Church in Christ’s future coming to glory.

Aug., Ep. 228: Let the servants of Christ then do as He commanded, or permitted them; as He fled into Egypt, let them fly from city to city, whenever any one of them is marked out for persecution; that the Church be not deserted, it will be filled by those who are not so sought after; and let these give sustenance to their fellow-servants whom they know cannot live by any other means. But when the threatening danger is common to all, Bishops, clergy, and laity, let not those who have need of aid be deserted by those whose aid they require.

Either therefore let them all pass to some stronghold, or let those who are obliged to remain, not be deserted by those whose province it is to supply their ecclesiastical needs; that they may either all live, or all suffer whatever their Master will have them to suffer.

Remig.: Be it known moreover, that as this precept respecting endurance under persecution specially belongs to the Apostles and their successors, men of fortitude, so the permission to fly is sufficiently proper for the weak in the faith, to whom the tender Master condescends, lest if they should offer themselves for martyrdom, under the pain they should deny the faith; and the sin of flight is lighter than that of denial. But though by their flight they shewed that they had not the constancy of perfect faith, yet their desert was great, seeing they were ready to leave all for Christ. So that if He had not given them permission to fly, some would have said that they were aliens from the glory of the heavenly kingdom.

Jerome: Spiritually, we may say; When they shall persecute you in one book or one passage of Scripture, let us flee to other volumes, for however contentious the adversary may be, protection will come from the Saviour before the victory is yielded to the enemy.

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