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 August, 2011

Sunday, Sept 4: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2011

This post contains resources for both Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. The readings in the two forms differ.



Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 95.

Father Tauton’s Commentary on Psalm 95.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 13:8-10.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Romans 13:8-10.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 13:8-10.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Romans 13:8-10. Type 515 into the box next to the blue arrows and hit “Enter” on your keyboard, scroll down to bottom of page.

Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matt 18:15-20.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 18:15-18.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matt 18:15-20.

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study. Online video.

UPDATE: Warning and Rebuke in the Christian Life. Blog post from The Sacred Page by Biblical Scholar John Bergsma.

Word Sunday:

  • MP3 PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we reflect on the adage: “Praise in public, correct in private.” Jesus expanded on that notion with concrete ways to resolve conflicts in the community.
  • FIRST READING Ezekiel clearly heard God’s directive: call sinners to return. God placed this responsibility squarely on his shoulders, for, if he did not try to correct the immoral, he would share in their guilt. What does this say about our responsibilities for the actions of others?
  • PSALM Psalm 95 was a song of praise, mixed with a twist of guilt. The author seemed to say: Let’s praise God, but let’s also remember the times we walked away from his presence. That comparison should be enough to keep us on the road toward him.
  • SECOND READING Romans 13 expressed Christian relationships in one word: love. We are to love each other, for love fulfills the Law.
  • GOSPEL In the gospel from Matthew, Jesus commanded his followers to resolve disputes in a way that preserved the honor of the sinner. Implicitly, Jesus rejected shame as a means to control social behavior. Respect, not guilt, was the way to build up the Church.
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the story for the first reading, Laura was given responsibility for new puppy. She had to feed him, house train him, and love him. Like Ezekiel, Laura learned that responsibility is necessary for love to grow. In the story for the gospel, a bully tried to push three boys from their favorite lunch area. One boy wanted to move, another wanted to fight, but the third quietly stood his ground. That boy was wise, for he was concerned about his friends and the bully, just like Jesus. Jesus gave us a way to take care of the insult in a way that cared for everyone.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY In the gospel, Jesus gave us rules of respect. What rules does your family have that encourage respect? Review, rewrite, and renew those rules with everyone in the family, so all will understand that rewards and punishments are fair.

Haydock Bible Commentary. Originally published as a blog post in 2008. Text of the Douay-Rheims Challoner follwed by notes from the old Haydock Commentary.

Navarre Bible Commentary:

The Bible Workshop. Contains a guide for reading, suggested lesson plans, Catechism links, etc.

Sunday Gospel with Meditation.

Daily Gospel. A brief commentary from Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Historical Cultural Context.

Thoughts From the Early Church. Excerpt from a commentary by St John Chrysostom.

The Scripture in Depth.

Catholic Matters. The readings followed by brief explanations.

Parish Bible Study. Notes on the readings from St Charles Borromeo Parish.

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background. Can be printed out and used as a bulletin insert.

Dr. Scott Hahn Podcast. Brief audio. Does a good job of highlighting the major theme(s) of the readings. Text available.

St Martha’s Podcast. Usually looks at the readings in some detail.

Father Robert Barron’s Podcast Homily. From a respected speaker and theologian.



Roman Missal. Latin and English side by side. Contains the inviatory, readings, collect, gradual, etc.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Cor 3:1-9.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Cor 3:1-9.

R.D. Byles’ Commentary on 2 Cor 3:1-9.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on 2 Cor 3:1-9:

  1. Aquinas on 2 Cor 3:1-5.
  2. Aquinas on 2 Cor 3:6-9. Actually, this lecture is on verses 6-11.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 10:23-37.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Exegetical Homily on Luke 10:23-37.

Bede the Venerable’s Homily on Luke 10:23-37.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Luke 10:23-37.

UPDATE: A Five Minute Homily on Luke 10:23-37.

Note: The following links are to online books. Use the site’s zoom feature to increase text size for easier reading.

Goffine’s Devout Instruction on the Epistle and Gospel.

True Motives for the Love of Our Neighbor. Homily by Fr. Augustine Wirth (A.D. 1828-1901).

The Love of Our Enemies. Homily by Fr. Augustine Wirth (A.D. 1828-1901).

Homily on the Epistle. By Bishop Bonomelli (A.D. 1831-1914).

Homily on the Gospel. By Bishop Bonomelli (A.D. 1831-1914).

UPDATE: On the Love of God and of Our Neighbor.

Homily Notes: Can be used for sermon ideas, points for meditation or furhter study.

  1. Secret Workings of Grace. (Epistle).
  2. Moses A Type of Christ. (Epistle).
  3. The Two-Fold Precept: Love of God, Love of Neighbor. (Gospel).
  4. Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Gospel).

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Father Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 13:8-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2011

This post includes comments on verse 7.

7. Render, therefore, to all their due: to whom tribute, tribute: to whom taxes, taxes: to whom fear, fear: to whom honour, honour.
8. Owe nothing to any man, except to love one another: for who loveth his neighbour, has fulfilled the law.
9. For, thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not kill: thou shalt not steal: thou shalt not give false testimony: thou shalt not covet: and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10. Love of our neighbour worketh no ill. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

To all orders and ranks of civil society, into which you are brought into any relation, render what is their due. Christ, the Creator of the world, did not intend to throw human society into uproar and confusion, but to preserve it in good order, tranquillity and peace, for the sake of higher ends than these.

Tribute is an impost on persons, or on real property; taxes, vectigal (i.e., tribute, revenue), on personal property. Fear is due caution not to offend the law. Honour, the respect due to every person in his several office or station.

Owe no man anything. Do not get into debt. But there is one debt which is never paid. If we love our neighbor we shall never wrong him, in his goods, his reputation, his person, or his honor. To love our neighbor therefore includes all the commandments of the Second Table. This is in effect the statement of our Lord in Matt 22:39-40.

As thyself. Not in an equal degree. Saint Thomas says, for in the order of charity every man ought to love himself more than his neighbour; but in a similar manner, 1. As regards the reason, for God’s sake: 2. As to form, with sincerity, not for gain or covetousness: 3. As regards the effect, by seeking his good and relieving his wants as if they were your own. Virtue, Saint Augustine says, may be briefly defined to be, ordo amoris, the regulation of affection. Love and do what you will. If you are silent, be silent for love. If you exclaim, exclaim for love. If you reprove, reprove for love. If you spare, spare for love. Let there be the root of love within, and from that root nothing but good will grow.

The same Father writes, I gladly pay the debt of mutual charity, and joyfully receive it. What I receive I continue to claim: What I pay, I continue to owe. Ep. 62, ad Coelestin.

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

R.D. Byle’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2011

R.D. Byle taught at Balliol College and St. Edmund’s College. He published a small commentary on Second Corinthians in 1897.

2Co 3:1  Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need (as some do) epistles of commendation to you, or from you?

again. In his first Epistle (esp. chap. 9.) St. Paul seemed to commend himself, and again in the preceding verse he seems to resume this self-commendation. He therefore considers it necessary to say a few words to refute this charge, which, perhaps, had actually been brought forward by his opponents. This he does, by showing, first (vv. 2, 3), that such conduct would be quite superfluous, and secondly (vv. 5, 6), that any praise of his own office is to be ascribed, not to himself, but to God, who conferred the apostolic powers upon him.

epistles of commendation. It is evident from this verse that such letters were already in use in apostolic times. They were used in the case of laymen, who had occasion to travel from their homes, and that in order to secure them a reception and admission to Holy Communion in other Churches; and also for the clergy, as evidence of their ordination and orthodoxy, so as to prevent any unauthorized persons being admitted to say Mass before the faithful. St. Paul had no need of such letters to the Corinthians, who knew him well; nor yet from the Corinthians, since the work he had done amongst them gave him sufficient notoriety wherever Corinth was known.

2Co 3:2  You are our epistle, written in our hearts, which is known and read by all men:

you are our epistle; that is, you are yourselves the letter commending us.

written in oitr hearts: so that he carries this epistle with him everywhere and exhibits it for his commendation. His love for the Corinthians caused them to be always imprinted on his heart; as our Lord says to His Church: “I will not forget thee. Behold I have graven thee in My hands ; thy walls are always before my eyes” (Isa. 49:15-16).

known and read by all men: because the name of the Corinthians was wide- spread, and while the pagan city of Corinth was a place of notorious profligacy and vice, the contrast to this presented by the Christian Church there, in spite of some evil members, was most striking.

2Co 3:3  Being manifested, that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, and written: not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone but in the fleshly tables of the heart.

the epistle of Christ. This is taken by some to mean that the law of Christ was preserved among them, so that they were, as it were, an Epistle containing the law of Christ. But it is simpler, and suits the context better, to understand it as meaning an Epistle of which Christ is the author, because their conversion was by his power.

ministered by us—i.e., written by our ministry.

the living God. St. Paul puts in the word “living,” not only because God lives, but also liecause He is the source of all life, both natural and supernatural.

not in tables of stone. The sequel shows that there is an allusion here to the law of Moses, which was written on stone tablets, with which is contrasted the law of the New Testament, written by the Holy Ghost on hearts softened by grace and made ready to obey. (Cf. Ezek 36:26-28, “I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in the midst of you; and I will cause you to walk in my commandments, and to keep my judgments, and do them . . . and you shall be my people, and I will lie your God.” Cf. also Ezek 11:19-20; Jer 31:31-33).

2Co 3:4  And such confidence we have, through Christ, towards God.

such confidence we have through Christ. That is to say, we have the confidence, throngh the grace of Christ, that you are our Epistle (the evidence of our Divine mission).

towards God, or “in God’s presence.” This means a confidence which he is not ashamed to exhibit before God, because, though he glories in the excellence of his ministry, he does not take the credit of it to himself.

2Co 3:5  Not that we are sufficient to think any thing of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God.

not that we are sufficient. . . . These words have been interpreted in two different ways, (1) We are not able by our own natural powers without the co-operation of grace, even to think a good thought by ourselves —much more then is it due to God’s grace that we are made sufficient to perform the ministry of the New Testament. This interpretation was followed by St. Augustine, who proved from it, against the Semi-pelagian heresy, that the beginning of faith and of good works must come from the grace of the Holy Ghost, which first rouses the will to make a beginning, and then strengthens it and works with it. Calvin, indeed, argues from this passage that the will has no power, but that all good works are due entirely to grace, without any co- operation of freewill at all; but this sense the words will not support, for St. Paul
denies the sufficiency, not the reality, of free-will. (2) But a more probable and better supported interpretation is to take the word λογισασθαι (“think”) as “reckon” or “account,” a meaning which it naturally bears. Then the passage will mean; We are not in ourselves of sitfficient worth to reckon any of our own good works as wrought by our own power. We might expect the apostle to say; We are not sufficient to do anything good by our own power—but his humility makes him go further and say, in effect, We are so worthless in ourselves that we not only can do nothing, but that it is impossible for us even to profess to do anything, by our own strength, but all our power to do good is derived from God, who [in addition to his other graces) has also given us these graces necessary for the exercise of the apostolate. This explanation agrees with the context better than the former, because the question evidently is of exercising the apostolic functions, not of having good thoughts.

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter but in the spirit. For the letter killeth: but the spirit quickeneth.

the new testament. This of course does not mean the book known by that name, but the Gospel dispensation, under the fulness of grace and truth revealed and given by our Lord.

not in the letter, but in the spirit. By this phrase St. Paul contrasts the old dispensation with the new. It corresponds to what he has said in verse 2. The old dispensation consisted principally in positive enactments, such as the Ten Commandments; but the new dispensation is not so much concerned with giving fresh precepts, as in bringing to men the assistance of the Holy Ghost, who gives them grace and enables them to fulfil the commandments, which in their own power they could not do So St. John sa}s “The law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ ” (John 1:17).

the letter killeth, but the spirit qnickeneth. See Appendix IV.

2Co 3:7  Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious (so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance), which is made void:
2Co 3:8  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory?

In these verses the apostle shows that the ministry of the New Testament excels that of the Old in three respects:

  1. In its effect, namely, life or death.
  2. In the manner of its preservation. The Old Law was handed down engraven in letters on stone tablets; but the New Law is impressed by the Holy Ghost upon the hearts of men, and is preserved, not merely in written documents, but in the tradition of the Living Church, inspired by the Holy Ghost.
  3. In perfection. The glory of the Old Law was as transitory as the glory upon the face of Moses, but the New brings with it the hope of eternal glory (cf. 2 Cor 4:17).

(Verse 7) the face of Moses. When God gave the Law to Moses upon Sinai, the latter remained forty days upon the mountain fasting, and was allowed to see a part of God’s glory (Ex 33:22-23; Ex 34:28); not indeed the uncreated and essential Glory of God, but a certain created manifestation of the same. This glory of God was the same as that which rested upon the tabernacle, and which preceded the Israelites in their march through the desert. It is called in Hebrew the Shechinah. Cf. Ex 13:21-22; Ex 14:19-20; Ex 25:8; Ex 40:31-36; 1 Kings 8:10-11, &c. When Moses came down again to the people, rays of light shone from his face, being, as it were, a reflection of the Glory of God, in whose presence he had been, and designed by God both as an honour to His prophet, and to attest the Divine origin of that Law which Moses had to deliver to the people. But inasmuch as this Law was itself temporary, and was to last only until the coming of Christ, this transitoriness also was typified by the fact that the glory which shone from the face of Moses was not permanent, but only lasted a short time after his converse with God (Ex 34:29-35). In the next chapter (2 Cor 5:6) we shall see how St. Paul contrasts this evanescent brightness with the light which shines perpetually from the Divine Face of our Lord.

could not steadfastly behold. The Israelites were not yet prepared to behold the full glory which God had to reveal; and this was typified by the fact that they were afraid when they saw the glory upon the face of Moses.

which is wade void: rather ”which was transient.” As the glory oil the face of Moses was passing away even while he was speaking to the people; so that which was symbolized by it, the glory of the Old Dispensation, was intended to be only temporary.

2Co 3:9  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.

if the ministration of condemnation be glory. . . . The law had no power to justify men: therefore it must give less glory to its ministers than the Gospel, which justifies by giving inward life through the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on 2 Corinthians, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Luke 10:23-37

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2011

These notes can be used for homily ideas, points for meditation or further study.

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among
thieves, “which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and
departed, leaving him half dead.” S. Luke 10:30.

IN this parable there are three points to be noted. Firstly, the manifold misery of sinners: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem.” Secondly, is shown the manifold pity of Christ to the sinner: “A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out twopence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee.” Thirdly, the rule which is given to us for imitation: “Go, and do thou likewise.”

I. The manifold misery of sinners: On the first head it is to be noted, that men incur a fourfold misery when they sin.

  1. They are deprived of heavenly glory: “went down from Jerusalem,” &c., Gloss. That man by the falling away of trifling, to miseries, and to the infirmity of this sad and changeable life, descends from the heavenly Jerusalem. The wicked shall hide themselves, “for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His Majesty,” Isai 2:19.
  2. The wicked are subjected under, wicked spirits: “and fell among thieves,” Gloss. In the power of the evil spirits: “and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will,” 2 Tim 2:26
  3. They are despoiled of their good possessions: “which stripped him of his raiment,” Gloss. It refers to the garments of spiritual grace: “into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter; nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin,” Wisdom 1:4. (4) They are wounded in their natural good things: “and wounded him;” bring wounds upon him, that is, sins, by which the integrity of human nature is violated. “If there were not natural good things vices could not harm them ; but now what they do is to take away integrity, beauty, virtue, and salvation” (S. Augustine).

II. The manifold pity of Christ toward the sinner: On the second head it is to be noted, four kinds of compassion are expressed which Christ manifested towards sinners.

  1. Was the taking of human nature: “A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when He saw him he had compassion on him,” Gloss. The Samaritan is Christ, who was made man for our sakes, that He might deliver us from this present life.
  2. Was the institution of the Sacraments for the salvation of sinners: “and bound up his wounds,” Gloss. In baptism: “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds,” Psalm 147:3.
  3. Was the infusion of the grace of the Holy Spirit: “pouring in oil,” Gloss. The charisma of the Holy Spirit: “but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things …. whatsoever I have said unto you,” John 14:26. “And of His fulness have all we received, and
    grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” John 1:16-17.
  4. In enduring the bitterness of His passion for sinners: “and set Him on His own beast.” Gloss. The beast is His flesh, in which He places the wounded, because He “bare our sins in His own Body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24.

III. The Rule which is given to us for imitation. On the third head it is to be noted, that we ought to show a four-fold compassion to the penitent.

  1. In succouring him: “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” &c. Gal 6:2. In praying for him: “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it,” 1 John 5:16. “Pray one for another, that ye may be healed,” S. James 5:16.
  2. In instructing him: “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness,” Gal 6:1. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know,” &c., S. James 5:19-20. “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,” Matt 18:15.
  3. In the gift of pardon: “Then came Peter to Him and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? Till seven times? . . . . Until seventy times seven,” Matt 18:21-22. “Reproach not a man that turneth from sin,” i.e., turning from sin to repentance; “But remember that we are all worthy of punishment,” Sirach 8:5.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Homily by Bede the Venerable on Luke 10:23-37

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2011

I. And turning to His disciples, He said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. Blessed were the eyes not of Scribes and Pharisees, which saw only the body of the Lord but of those who were able to see the things belonging to faith and salvation, and of whom it is written: Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones (Luke 10:21). Blessed, therefore, are the eyes of the humble and little ones, to whom the Son of God deigned to reveal Himself and the Father also. I say to you that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things you see, and have not seen them. Even patriarchs desired to see these things: Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day the day of My Birth; he saw it in his strong faith and was glad (see John 8:56). Isaias and Micheas (Micah)  and many other holy prophets saw in the darkness of future times the glory of the Lord, wherefore they are called SEERS in Holy Scripture. But they all beheld it afar off, seeing it through a glass, in a dark manner (1 Cor 13:12). But the Apostles, having the happiness of seeing our Lord face to face, of eating with Him, and learning from Him by their questions whatsoever they liked, had no need of being taught by angels or by different kinds of visions. They who by Luke are called prophets and kings, are named by Matthew prophets and just men (Matt 13:17). Just men are mighty kings indeed, for they know how to govern their
rebellious passions, instead of falling under them, and thus becoming their slaves.

II. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting Him, and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? This lawyer, who stood up to ask the Lord a tempting question about eternal life, took the subject of his asking, as I think, from the words just uttered by our Lord: Rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). But his attempt was certainly a proof of these other words immediately following: I confess to Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.

III. However, our Lord answered the lawyer, and put this question to him: What is written in the law? And the lawyer, answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And the Lord praised that answer as very good, since by the love of God we attain perfection, and walk on the road to eternal life; and He said: This do, and thou shalt live. Again, when the lawyer, answering Jesus, said that the neighbour was he who showed mercy to the man fallen among robbers on the road to Jericho, Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner. And by these words our Redeemer seems to say: Remember that the charity and help thou owest to thy neighbour must be like that of the Samaritan must consist, not in words only, but in deeds, if by thy charity thou wish to obtain eternal life.

IV. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour? Consider the foolishness of his vainglory! He wished to justify himself, and at the same time to obtain the favour and esteem of the people who were listening to him. Trying to show his presumptuous wisdom before the eyes of the world, he only dis closed his ignorance concerning the first commandment prescribed by the Law. Yet, though pronounced by Jesus as wise and prudent, this lawyer deserved to be deprived of the special knowledge of the mysteries of God, revealed to pure and innocent souls, because he refused to humble himself with the little ones so dear to Jesus, and wished to justify himself.

V. Let us finally consider that, by His answer to the lawyer concerning our neighbour, our Lord wished to convey this lesson, that the neighbour is he who does mercy and gives assistance to those in need. But besides this, we are taught by the parable that, under the word neighbour may be understood the Son of God Himself, Who approached us in a visible manner, when assuming our human nature. Yet, this meaning of Jesus Christ, being our neighbour, must not be taken in a figurative sense, as if dispensing us from the duty of rendering to our brethren all the works of love and charity commanded by the Law.

VI. Carefully considering the parable in this Gospel, we shall at once see that the Samaritan, giving a helping hand to the man found on the road and covered with wounds, is a figure of Jesus Christ, Who, in a more worthy and sublime sense and with a special love, became our neighbour by taking upon Himself our wounds to heal them. Let us, therefore, love Him, for He is our Lord and God; let us love Him as our neighbour, since, being our Head and we His members, He cannot be nearer to us. Let us also love those that follow Him, and show that we love our neighbour as ourselves by giving them all spiritual and temporal help in our power.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Exegetical Homily on Luke 10:23-37

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2011

The following post consists of two exegetical (i.e., interpretive) homilies (67 & 68) from St Cyril.

Homily 67 on Luke 10:23-24~

10:23-24. And He turned to the disciples when they were alone, and said, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things which you hear, and have not heard them.

THE shows which the world offers (in its games and theatres) lead men often to the sight of things unprofitable, or rather, to what constantly does them great injury. For the frequenters of such places either give themselves up to the admiration of dancers, and yielding to the soft langour they produce, are dissolved in effeminate emotions; or they extol the declaimers of cold sentiments; or delight themselves in the sounds and vibrations of pipes and harps. But vain and altogether unprofitable are such things, and able to lead the mind of man astray from all good. But us, who practise a virtuous course of life, and are earnest in upright deeds, Christ gathers in His holy courts, that delighting ourselves in singing His praise, we may again be made happy by His sacred words and doctrines, which invite us to eternal life.

Let us, therefore, see here too what gifts He has deigned to bestow upon us, who have been called by faith in Him to the knowledge of His glory. “And He turned,” it says, “to the disciples when they were alone, and said, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see.” Now, perchance, some one may object, ‘Why did He not address to all who were assembled there His words describing these blessings? and what made Him turn to the disciples, so as to say to them when they were alone, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see?”‘ What then shall be our reply? That it is right to communicate matters of a more secret nature, not to any chance person, but to the most intimate friends. But His friends are whosoever have |307 been deemed by Him worthy of discipleship: and the eye of whose mind is enlightened, and their ear ready for obedience. For He also said on one occasion to the holy apostles, “No longer do I call you servants; you are My friends: for the servant doesn’t know what his lord does: but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you all things which I have heard from My Father.” There were, no doubt, many assembled there and standing in His presence besides His chosen followers, but they were not all believers; and how then could He with truth say to them all, without distinction, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see, and who hear the things that you hear?” It was, therefore, with good reason that, having turned Himself to the disciples. having, that is, averted His face from those who would neither see nor hear, but were disobedient, and their mind darkened, He gave Himself entirely to those who loved Him, and, looking upon them, said, Blessed are the eyes which see, or rather, gaze upon, those things which they were the first, before all others, to behold.

Now the expression which is here used is taken from the common custom of men, and we must bear in mind that in such passages “seeing” does not refer to the action of our bodily eyes, but rather to the enjoyment of those things which are bestowed by Christ on such as fear God. Just, for instance, as if any one say, “So and so saw happy times,” instead of “enjoyed happy times.” Or you may understand it in the same way as that which is written in the book of Psalms, addressed to those who constantly fixed their thoughts on things above; “And you shall see the good of Jerusalem,” instead of, “you shall take part in the happiness of Jerusalem,” even of that which is above, in heaven, which the wise Paul calls “the mother of all saints.” For what doubt can there be that those who were spectators of the godlike miracles wrought by Christ, and of the admirable works He performed, were not necessarily in all cases blessed? For all the Jews saw Christ working with divine majesty, yet it would not be right to account them all as blessed; for they by no means believed, nor did they see His glory with the eyes of the mind. Truly, therefore, they were only the more guilty, and cannot |308 properly be regarded as blessed, for though they saw Jesus possessed of divine glory by the ineffable deeds which he wrought, yet they did not accept faith in Him.

But come, in what way has blessedness befallen our eyes? and what have they seen? and for what reason did they attain to this blessing? They saw that God the Word, Who was in the form of God the Father, had become flesh for our sakes: they saw Him Who shares the Father’s throne, dwelling with us, in our form, that by justification and sanctification He might fashion us after His own likeness, imprinting upon us the beauty of His Godhead in an intellectual and spiritual manner. And of this Paul is witness, who thus writes: “For as we have been clothed with the image of the earthy, we shall also be clothed with the image of the heavenly:”—-meaning by the earthy man, Adam, the first created: but by the heavenly, the Word Who is from above, and Who shone forth from the substance of God the Father, but was made, as I said, in our likeness. He Who by nature is a Son took the form of a slave, not that by taking upon Him our state, He might continue in the measure of slavery, but that He might set us free, who were chained to the yoke of slavery,—-for every thing that is made is by nature a slave,—-enriching us with what is His. For through Him and with Him we have received the name of sons, being ennobled, so to speak, by His bounty and grace. He Who was rich shared our poverty, that He might raise man’s nature to His riches: He tasted death upon the tree and the cross, that He might take away from the midst the offence incurred by reason of the tree (of knowledge), and abolish the guilt that was thereby, and strip death of his tyranny over us. We have seen Satan fall: that cruel one broken: that haughty one laid low:—-him who had made the world submit to the yoke of His empire, stripped of his dominion over us: him in contempt and scorn, who once was worshipped: him who seemed a God, put under the feet of the saints: him who rebelled against Christ’s glory, trampled upon by those who love Him. “For they received power to rebuke the unclean spirits, and to cast them out.” And this power is a very great honour, and too high for human nature, and fit only for the supreme God. |309

And of this too the Word manifested in human form was the first to set us the example: for He also rebuked the impure spirits. But the wretched Jews again vomited forth against Him their envious calumnies; for they said, “This man casts not out devils, but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.” But these wicked words of theirs the Lord refuted, saying; “If I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then has the kingdom of God come upon you.” For if I, He says, being a man like to you, can thus exercise a divine power, this great and excellent blessing has come upon you: for human nature, He says, is ennobled in Me, by trampling down Satan. Upon us, therefore, the kingdom of God has come, by the Word having been made like to us, and working in the flesh deeds worthy of God.

He also gave the holy Apostles power and might even to raise the dead, and cleanse lepers; and heal the sick, and to call down upon whomsoever they would the Holy Ghost from heaven by the laying on of hands. He gave them power to bind and to lose men’s sins; for His words are, “I say to you, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall lose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” Such are the things of which we see ourselves possessed: and blessed are our eyes, and those of all who love Him. We have heard His ineffable teaching: He has given us the knowledge of God the Father: He has shown Him to us in His own nature. The things that were by Moses were but types and symbols: Christ has revealed the truth to us. He has taught us that not by blood and smoke, but rather by spiritual sacrifices, we must honour Him Who is incorporeal and immaterial, and above all understanding. Many holy prophets desired to see these things; yes, and many kings: for we find them at one time saying, “Show me Your mercy, O Lord: and, O Lord, grant us Your salvation.” For they call the Son Mercy and Salvation. At another time again; “Remember me, O Lord, with the favour of Your people: and visit me with Your Salvation: that we may see the happiness of Your chosen, and rejoice in gladness with Your people.”And who the people are, that are chosen in Christ by God the |310 Father, the wise Peter tells us, when saying to those who have been ennobled by faith: “But you are a chosen generation: a royal priesthood: a holy people, a redeemed multitude: that you may tell forth His virtues, Who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

And to this we have been called by Christ: by Whom and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion, with tho Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen.

Homily 68 on Luke 10:25-37~

10:25-37. And see, a certain lawyer stood up, tempting Him, and saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And He said to Him, What is written in the law? how do you read? And he answered and said, That you shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and from all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind: and your neighbour as yourself. And He said to him, You have answered rightly: this do, and you shall live. But he, wanting to justify himself said to Jesus; And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answered, and said; A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who, when they had stripped and beaten him, went away, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed him by. And in like manner also a Levite, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed him by. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to him; and when he saw him, he felt pity: and he went to him, and bound up his wounds, and poured upon them oil and wine. And having mounted him on his own beast, he brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the day after he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, Take care of him: and if you spend any thing more, when I come again I will repay you. Which therefore of these three do you think was neighbour to him that fell among the thieves? And he said; He that was merciful to him. And Jesus said to him, Go, and do likewise.

A MOST base pest, my beloved, is double-dealing and hypocrisy in our actions and conduct; and for a man to make pretence of pleasant-spoken words, and of a tongue anointed, so to speak, with the honey of deception, while the heart is full of utter bitterness. Of such we say, in the words of one of the holy prophets, “Their tongue is a piercing arrow: the words |312 of their mouth are deceitful: he speaks peacefully to his neighbour, and enmity is in his heart.” And again; Their words are smoother than oil, yet are they arrows:” by which is meant that they have the force of darts falling violently and shot forth from bows.

The proof of my assertion is close at hand: for let us examine the lawyer’s words: let us strip off his borrowed countenance: let us lay bare his scheming: let us view his pleasant words sprung from deceit, and the guile which they conceal. “For see,” it says, “a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” By a lawyer, the blessed evangelist here meant, according to the custom of the Jews, one acquainted with the law, or at least having the reputation of knowing it, though in reality he knew it not. This man imagined that he could entrap Christ; and in what way I will mention. Certain tale-makers, accustomed to talk at random, went about everywhere in Judaea and Jerusalem itself, accusing Christ, and saying, that He taught that the commandment given by Moses was of no use, and refused to pay any attention to the law given of old to the fathers, while He Himself introduced new doctrines, and spoke to all who would fear God things out of His own mind, which were not in accordance with the law that was given of old. There were even then believers, who resisted the words of these men, everywhere accepting the saving tidings of the gospel. The lawyer therefore wishing, or even expecting to be able to entrap Christ, and get Him to say something against Moses, and affirm that His own doctrine was far better than the commandment of which Moses was the minister, drew near tempting Him, and saying, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

But any one who thoroughly understands the mystery of the Incarnation may well say to him, If you had been skilful in the law, and in the meaning of its hidden teaching, it would not have escaped you Who He is you venture to tempt. For you thought that He was a mere man, and that only; and not rather God, Who appeared in human likeness, and Who knows what is secret, and can look into the hearts of those who approach Him. In manifold ways is the Emmanuel depicted to you by the shadowing of Moses. You saw Him there |313 sacrificed as a lamb, yet vanquishing the destroyer, and abolishing death by His blood. You saw Him in the arrangement of the ark, in which was deposited the divine law: for He was in His holy flesh like as in an ark, being the Word of the Father, the Son that was fathered of Him by nature. You saw Him as the mercy-seat in the holy tabernacle, around which stood the Seraphim [Cherubim]: for He is our mercy-seat for pardon of our sins. Yes! and just like man, He is glorified by the Seraphim, who are the intelligent and holy powers above; for they stand around His divine and exalted throne. You saw Him as the candlestick with seven lamps in the Holy of Holies: for abundant is the Saviour’s light to those who hurry into the inner tabernacle. You saw Him as the bread placed upon the table: for He is the living bread, that came down from heaven, and gives life to the world. You saw Him as the brazen serpent that was raised on high as a sign, and being looked upon healed the bites of the serpents: for though He was like us, in the form therefore of that which is evil, as being in our form, nevertheless He is by nature good, and continues to be that which He was. For the serpent is the type of wickedness; but yet, by being lifted up, and enduring the cross for us, He rendered powerless the bites of those rational serpents, who are no other than Satan, and the wicked powers under his command.

But though the lawyer was invested with the reputation of being instructed in the law, nevertheless He Who is marked out by the shadowing of the law was completely unknown to him, even though He was proclaimed of old by the words of the holy prophets. For had he not been sunk in utter ignorance, how could he have drawn near to Him as to a mere man?Or how have ventured to tempt God, Who tries the hearts and reins, and to Whom nothing that is in us is hidden? For he says, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Do you call Him Teacher, when you wilt not submit to learn? Do you make a pretence of honouring Him, Whom you hope to entrap, and do you place as the bait upon your hook the pleasantness of words?

But what would you learn? “For what, he says, shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Observe again, I pray, the malice in the lawyer’s words. For he might have said, What shall I |314 do to be saved, or to please God, and receive reward of Him? But this he passes by, and uses rather the Saviour’s expressions, pouring ridicule upon His head. For as it was the custom of our common Saviour Christ to speak constantly of eternal life to as many as drew near to Him, the haughty lawyer to ridicule Him, as I said, makes use of His own expressions.

Now had you been truly desirous of learning, you would have heard from Him the things that lead on to eternal life: but as you wickedly tempt Him, you will hear nothing more than those commands only which were given to them of old time by Moses”. For “What,” says He, “is written in the law? How do you read?” And on the lawyer’s repeating what is enacted in the law, as if to punish his wickedness, and reprove his malicious purpose, Christ, as knowing all things, says, “You have answered rightly: this do, and you shall live.” The lawyer has missed his prey; he has shot wide of the mark, his wickedness is unsuccessful, the sting of envy has ceased, the net of deceit is torn asunder, his sowing bears no fruit, his toil gains no profit: and like some ship that misfortune has overwhelmed, he has suffered a bitter wreck. Let us therefore cry out against him in the words of Jeremiah, “You are found, and caught, because you have stood up against the Lord.”

But having, as I said, missed his prey, he falls headlong into vanity; he is hurried from one pitfall to another, from snare to snare, from deceit to pride: vices, so to speak, lend him to one another, and he is tossed about everywhere, one wickedness as soon as it has seized him thrusting him on to another, and carrying him wherever it may chance, and easily making him wander from destruction to destruction. For he does not ask in order that he may learn, but as the Evangelist said, “wishing to justify himself.” For observe how from self-love as well as pride he shamelessly called out, “And who is my neighbour?” And is there no one, O lawyer, |315 like you?Do you raise yourself above every one? Be less supercilious: Remember what the author of the book of Proverbs says, “that those who know themselves are wise.” He exalts himself therefore, and breathes forth proud things, and boasts himself in vain imaginations: but he learnt of Christ, that as he was destitute of love towards his neighbours, the bare profession only of being learned in the law profited him in no way whatsoever. For God over all looks at works rather, and gives not praise to bare and merely fictitious professions.

Very skilfully therefore does the Saviour of all weave the parable of him who fell into the hands of thieves, saying, that when he was lying half dead, and in the last extremity of evil, a priest passed by, and in like manner a Levite, without feeling towards him any sentiment of humanity, or dropping upon him the oil of compassionate love; but rather, their mind was unsympathizing and cruel towards him. But one of another race, a Samaritan, fulfilled the law of love. Justly therefore He asked, which of these three he thinks was the sufferer’s neighbour. And he said, “He that wrought mercy with him.” And to this Christ added, “Go you also, and act in like manner.” You have seen, O lawyer, and it has been proved by the parable, that it is of no avail whatsoever to any man, to be set up by empty names, and to pride himself upon unmeaning and ridiculous titles, so long as the excellence of deeds does not accompany them. For the dignity of the priesthood is unavailing to its owners, and equally so is the being called learned in the law, to those who are so reputed, unless they |316 excel also in deeds. For lo! a crown of love is being twined for him who loves his neighbour: and he proves to be a Samaritan. Nor is he rejected on this account: for he who was foremost among the disciples, even the blessed Peter, testified, thus writing, “In truth I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons: but in every nation, whosoever fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted by Him.” For Christ, Who loves our virtues, accepts all who are diligent in good pursuits: by Whom and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen.

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Sunday, September 4: Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-9 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2011

This post includes Father Callan’s summary of verses 1-6 and 7-11 to aid the reader with the context. The Commentary on verses 1-9 follows. I’ve provided a suggested reading list for Second Corinthians at the end of the post.

COMMITTED TO HIM (2 Cor 3:1-6)

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 3:1-6~Often the Apostle had felt it necessary to speak to the Corinthians about himself and his authority. His enemies had made use of this to accuse him of boasting and arrogance, and thus tried to lead away the neophytes from one who, as they said, had to praise himself to get a following. Having, therefore, in the closing verses of the preceding chapter again spoken of himself and his ministry he is reminded of the sneer of his adversaries, and he consequently now, before going on with his general apology, takes occasion to tell his readers that he is in no need of self- recommendation, since the faithful themselves are his testimonial. If he speaks with assurance and authority it is because he has been divinely constituted a minister of the New Testament. (The summary of verses 7-11 follows the comments on verse 6).

1. Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need (as some do) epistles of commendation to you, or from you?

Do we begin again, etc. This implies that the Apostle had already been accused of self-recommendation. Perhaps the reference is to such passages as 1 Cor 2:16; 2 Cor 3:10; 2 Cor 4:9-16; 2 Cor 9:1-5, 15-22, etc., which might lead to such accusations. If chapters 10-13 is a part, or contains portions of the lost letter between 1 and 2 Cor. the “again” here is easily understood; for in those chapters the Apostle felt constrained to indulge considerably in what his enemies called boasting.

Or do we need, etc., i.e., are St. Paul and his companions who founded the Corinthian Church in need of recommendation to, or by the faithful there? Does a father need recommendation to his own children? If a preacher who has not founded, or taken part in founding, a Christian community comes to them, letters of recommendation are indeed necessary (Acts 15:5-27; Acts 18:27; 1 Cor 16:10-11) ; but it is not so with the founder and spiritual father.

From you implies that the Judaizers got the Corinthians to give them commendatory letters.

2. You are our epistle, written in our hearts, which is known and read by all men:

The Corinthians themselves were to St. Paul and Timothysomething far better than an ordinary letter of recommendation; they were the Apostle’s letter, written not with ink on perishable papyrus, but in lasting characters of love and affection on immortal souls.

Read by all men, i.e., all men could see the ties of affection that existed between St. Paul and the Corinthian faithful. This statement is rendered more literally true by the civil and social prominence of Corinth.

3. Being manifested, that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, and written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.

Being manifested, etc., i.e., it is widely known that the Corinthian faithful were converted by Christ, through the grace of the Holy Ghost and the ministry of St. Paul and his companions. Christ, therefore, is the principal author of the Apostle’s letter of commendation, because it was His word and the grace of His Holy Spirit that brought the Corinthians to the faith.

With the spirit, etc. Christ, by the Spirit of the living and life-giving God, wrote on the hearts of the Corinthians through the preaching of the Apostles, a knowledge of the truths of faith which has been so fruitful in virtue and sanctity of life that it is entirely evident that the human agents of that divine message were true and genuine Apostles.

Tables of stone is a reference to the Ten Commandments which were written in the desert, on two stone tables (Ex 31:18; Ex 32:15-16).

In the fleshy tables of the heart. Better, “On tables (that are) hearts of flesh.” The Vulgate cordis should be cordibus, according to the best Greek.

4. And such confidence we have, through Christ, towards God.

And such confidence, etc. The Apostle means to say that his confidence that the faith of the Corinthians is a sure testimony of the validity of his Apostleship is felt even when he puts himself in the presence of God. His assurance did not come from his own merits or personal ability, but through the grace of Christ.

5. Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God.

The preceding verse is now better explained. St. Paul means to say that solely of our natural strength and ability it is not possible that we should be able even to think, much less to wish or to do, anything supernaturally good and meritorious of life eternal. For the beginning, as well as the completion, of each and every salutary act we need the grace of God; and such is the doctrine of the Church against the Pelagians, who denied all need of grace, and against the Semi-pelagians, who denied the necessity of grace for the beginning of a salutary act (cf. St. Aug., De dono persev. 13; De praedest. sanct. 2; cont. duas epis. Pel. 8, etc.; St. Thomas, h. 1. ; Counc. of Orange, can. 7).

The words of ourselves, as of ourselves are to be connected with not that we are sufficient. Our whole sufficiency in supernatural things is from God, as from its primary and principal cause.

We are sufficient (Vulg., sufficientes simus) should be “we were sufficient,” sufficientes essemus, according to the best MSS.

6. Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneth.

The Apostle and his companions have not only received all their supernatural sufficiency from God, but by Him also have they been enriched with the gifts necessary to be fit, i.e., competent, ministers of the New Covenant of grace established between God and man by Jesus Christ (Jer 31:31 ff.; Heb 8:8; Heb 9:15).

Not in the letter, etc. “He has been urging the superiority of his own claims on their affection and obedience to those of his Judaizing opponents. He now points to the boundless superiority of the dispensation of which he is the minister to that which the Judaizers represent” (Plummer). The latter represent the Old Covenant, which was founded on the written law, indicating, indeed, the good to be done and the evil to be avoided, but without giving the necessary grace to fulfil its mandates. The New Covenant, on the contrary, which is the law of the Spirit, gives all the help required to observe its precepts. See on Rom 4:15; Rom 5:20; Rom 7:7; Rom 8:2-3.


A Summary of 2 Cor:7-1 1~Greater glory is due to the ministry of the New Covenant than to that of the Old, because of the superior excellence of the former as compared with the latter. The Old Law consisted of letters written on stones and led to spiritual death, while the New Testament gave the Holy Ghost and spiritual life; the Old Law was unto condemnation, the New unto justification; the former was transitory, the latter is eternal in its duration.

7. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious; so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void:
8. How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory?

(vss 7-8). If the ministration of death, etc., i.e., if the ministry performed by Moses in giving the Israelites the Law, which was written on tables of stone and led to death (verse 6) was glorious, i.e., was accompanied by a glorious manifestation which so shone in the face of Moses that the recipients of that Law could not steadfastly look upon his countenance (Ex 34:29-35), how much more glorious is the ministry of the Apostles through whom is given to us the Holy Ghost and the supernatural gifts of grace and glory?

Which is made void. However dazzling the glory that accompanied the giving of the Law of Moses, it was only temporary; whereas the glory of the New Testament ministry is permanent and shall never fade. The glory on the face of Moses was only transitory, symbolical of the transitory character of his ministry and of the Law he gave.

9. For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.

The Old Testament ministry is called one of condemnation, because the Old Law was an occasion of sin, and thus provoked the anger and condemnation of God. See on Rom 7:8-1 1. The New Law, on the contrary, is a ministration of justice, i.e., of justification, because through it are given the Holy Ghost, sanctifying grace and glory. See on Rom 1:17; Rom 3:23; Gal 3:13.

Suggested Readings:

St John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Second Corinthians. Online. Older translation.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on Second Corinthians. Online. PLEASE NOTE that the site incorrectly identifies this commentary as on First Corinthians.

Second Corinthians (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture). From an outstanding new series on the NT. You can read excerpts from this and other works in the series here.

Second Corintians (Sacra Pagina Series) by Jan Lambrecht. Mainstream, a bit technical.

Seven Pauline Letters. By Peter F. Ellis. Includes succinct “capsule” Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians; 1 Thessalonians; Philippians; Galatians; Romans.  Accepts 2 Corinthians as a single, unified letter; something many modern scholars reject. I find his outlines to these letters very interesting and useful.

The Navarre Bible: Corinthians. Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. I prefer the individual volumes on the NT rather than the one volume collections (e.g., The Gospel And Acts; Letters of St Paul, etc.) because they provide a bit more depth.

St Paul to the Corinthians (Ignatius Study Bible). By Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. A good place for the beginner to start. The entire NT series is available in a single volume.

The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (New Testament for Spiritual Reading). By Karl Hermann Schelkle.

1 And 2 Corinthians (A Devotional Commentary). I would classify this work as more a series of meditations than a commentary.

2 Corinthians (New Testament Library). By Frank J. Matera. The Author is Catholic but the series is ecumenical is scope.

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Sunday, Sept 4: Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 Cor 3:1-9 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2011

This post includes Lapide’s synopsis of chapter 3 followed by his commentary on the reading.

i. Paul asserts that he does not seek or need the praise of men, as the Judaising false apostles sought it: the fruit of his preaching is, he says, sufficient commendation.
ii. He states (ver. 6) the cause of this to be that the Apostles and other ministers of the New Testament and of the Spirit were adorned by more honour and glory than were Moses and the other ministers of the Old Testament and of the letter.
iii. He points out (ver. 13) that the Jews have still a veil over their heart in reading the Old Testament, and so do not see Christ in it; but that they will see Him when this veil shall be taken away by Christ at end of the world.

2Co 3:1  Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need (as some do) epistles of commendation to you, or from you?

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? At the end of the Apostle had seemed to praise himself and seek the favour of the Corinthians, hence he meets here any suspicion of vain glory.

Or need we . . . epistles of commendation to you . . . or from you? ie., written by you to commend me to others.

2Co 3:2  You are our epistle, written in our hearts, which is known and read by all men:

You are our epistle. You, 0 Corinthians, converted by my efforts, are to me like an epistle of commendation read and understood by all, which I can show as my credentials to whom I like. As the work recommends the workman, and the seal faithfully is represented by its image, so do you commend me as though you were a commendatory letter, sealed by yourselves. For all know what you were before your conversion—drunken, gluttonous, given up to impurity and other evil lusts. Corinth was then an emporium, as famous for its vices as its wares. But now all men see that you have been completely changed, through my preaching, into different men—temperate, chaste, meek, humble, devout, liberal. This your conversion, therefore, is my commendatory letter, i.e., the public testimony of my preaching before all people.

Written in our hearts. You have been converted by me, and indelibly written and engraven on my heart. This “epistle” was twice written by S. Paul. (1.) He wrote it actually when he instilled into the mind of the Corinthians the faith and Spirit of Christ. (2.) He wrote it and imprinted it on his own heart by his care and love of them. (3.) Christ again was inscribed on their hearts by Paul’s ministry, as if by a pen; and Christ, Himself, by Paul’s preaching, imprinted on them his faith, hope, charity, and other graces, not with ink, but by the inspiration of the Spirit of the living God, who filled their hearts with charity and all virtues.

2Co 3:3  Being manifested, that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, and written: not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone but in the fleshly tables of the heart.

In fleshy tables of the heart. Not in hard stone, as was the law of Moses, but in a heart tender, soft, and teachable. There is an allusion to Jer 32:33. The Apostle, we should notice, makes a distinction between σάρκινος, used here, and οαρκικός: the first denotes the natural condition of flesh—its softness, &c.; the other that which has the vices and corruptions of flesh. Cf. Rom_7:14 and 1 Cor 3:3. Other writers, however, do not observe this distinction. Nazianzen, e.g., applies the latter of these terms to the incarnation and manhood of Christ.

2Co 3:4  And such confidence we have, through Christ, towards God.

And such cinfidence we have through Christ towards God. The Greek word used here, denotes that confident conviction which makes the mind strive to attain some difficult end that it longs for, as though it were certain of success. Such is the confidence which is inspired into the Saints by the Holy Spirit enabling them to work miracles or other heroic works of virtue. This confidence God is wont to demand as a fitting disposition, and to give beforehand, both in him who performs and in him who receives the benefit of the miracle or other Divine gift, in order that the soul may, by this gift, expand and exalt itself, and become capable of receiving Divine power.  S. Paul says in effect. “This confident persuasion that you are our epistle, written by the Spirit of the living God, we have before God through the grace of Christ; we have hope and sure confidence in God that, as He has begun, so will He finish this epistle by His Spirit.” In the second place this trust is the confidence S. Paul had before God, which enabled him to glory confidently in God of this epistle of his and of God, and of the dignity of his ministry, and of its fruit, when compared with the ministry of Moses and of other Old Testament ministers.

2Co 3:5  Not that we are sufficient to think any thing of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God.

Not that we are sufficient to think anything as of ourselves. To think anything that is good and is ordained to faith, grace, merit, and eternal salvation, so as to make a man an able minister of the New Testament. But if no one is able to think any such thing, he is still less able to do it. Cf. Council of Arausica (can. 7) and S. Augustine (de Prædest. Sanct. c. ii.).

1. From this passage S. Augustine lays down, in opposition to the semi-Pelagians, in which he is followed by the Schoolmen, that the will to believe and the beginning of faith and salvation, and every desire for it, come, not from free-will but from prevenient grace. Hence Beza wrongly charges the Schoolmen with teaching that the beginning of good is from ourselves, though weakly and insufficiently; for they all alike teach that the beginning of a good and holy life, of good thoughts and actions, and salvation in general is supernatural, and has its origin in the grace of God, not in nature or the goodness of our will.

2. Calvin is mistaken in inferring from this passage that there is no power in free-will which may be exerted in the works of grace, but that the whole strength and every attempt and act spring from grace. The Apostle says only that free-will is in itself insufficient, not that it has no power whatever. Just as an infirm man has a certain amount of strength, but not enough for walking, and has enough for walking if any one else help him, and give him a start and support, so too free-will is of itself insufficient for good works, but is sufficient if it be urged on, strengthened, and helped by prevenient grace.

It may be said that the sufficiency Paul speaks of here may be, as Theophylact and the Syriac render it, power, strength, or might. I answer that this is true; for the power and strength of free-will for a supernatural work, and of grace, which makes it supernatural, pleasing, to God, and worthy and meritorious of eternal life, are not from free-will, but from exciting and co-operating grace. When free-will has this, it is sufficiently able to believe freely, to love, and to work any supernatural work whatever. For free-will has for every work natural strength able to produce a free work; therefore these two causes concur here in the same work, one natural, viz., free-will, the other supernatural, viz., grace. Each, too, has its corresponding effect: the effect of grace is that it is a supernatural work, of free-will that it is free and the work of man. In the same way an infirm man is not only not strong enough, but wholly unable to walk, because it is a task beyond his strength; but he becomes able if he is given strength by a friend, or from some other source, and then he unites his own strength, however little it be, with that lent to him, and is able to walk. Still the strength that comes from without has to start him and begin his walking, and the whole force and energy with which he walks is to be found in the strength that is given him. That he tries to walk beyond his strength is not from himself but from without; but when it is once given, he puts forth his own strength and co-operates with it, and produces an effect commensurate to his efforts. In the same way free-will co-operates with exciting grace, and acts as a companion to it in every super- natural work in such way as its strength enables it.

We learn from this passage to recognise in every good work our own weakness, and to ascribe to Christ’s grace all the goodness and worth of what we do. S. Gregory (Morals, lib. xxii. c. 19), says: “Let no one think himself to have any virtue, even when he can do anything successfully; for if he be abandoned by the strength that cometh from above he will be suddenly overthrown helplessly on the very ground where he was boasting of his firm standing.”  S. Augustine (contra Julian, lib. ii. c. 8) commends the refutation of the Pelagians by S. Cyprian in the words: “They trust in their strength and exclaim that the perfection of their virtue is from themselves; but you, O Cyprian, reply that no one in his own strength is strong, but is safe only under the merciful indulgence of God.” The Psalmist, too, says the same thing (Ps 59:9): “My strength will I guard unto Thee,” meaning that he would lay it up in safety under his ward, hoping to over-come his enemies in God’s strength and not in his own, because God is the Fount of all virtue and strength. Cf. Ezek 29:3:5, where Pharaoh is forewarned of his fate for ascribing his power and success to himself.

Again, this passage teaches us to pray to God constantly that He would direct our thoughts, and inspire us with heavenly thoughts and desires, for such are the fount and beginning of all good works. This is beautifully expressed in the Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity. S.Bernard (Serm. 32 in Cantic.) says learnedly and piously: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything good as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. When, therefore, we find evil thoughts in our heart, they are our own; if we find a good thought, it is the word of God: Our heart utters the former and hears the latter. ‘I will hear,’ it says, ‘what the Lord God will say in me, for He shall speak peace to His people.’ So, then, he speaks in us peace, righteousness, godliness; we do not think such things of ourselves, but we hear them within ourselves; but murders, adulteties, thefts, blasphemies, and such things proceed from the heart: we do not hear them, we say them,” or at all events they are suggested to us by the devil.

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testament, not in the letter but in the spirit. For the letter killeth: but the spirit quickeneth.

Not in the letter but in the spirit. Not of the law, but of grace. I am a minister of the New Testament, but not in such a way that I bring tables of the law and of the covenant and its words, as did Moses in the Old Testament, but so that God may by my words inspire into you heavenly thoughts and desires. Cf. Augustine. (de Spirit. et Lit. c. iii.).

For the letter killeth. (1.) Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine (de Doctr. Christ. lib. iii. c. 4) explain this to be that the letter of the law convicts and condemns them to death who do not obey this letter, i.e., the precepts of the law relating to righteousness and charity. For this letter of the law enacts that whosoever breaketh the law is to die the death. (2.) S. Augustine gives another explanation. If you abuse the literal meaning, and neglect the sense of Scripture, and fall into error, as Jews and heretics do, then the letter killeth. (3.) When metaphorical sayings are taken literally (S. Augustine, ibid. c. v., vi.). (4.) When types of the new law contained in the old are understood to be still binding in their literal meaning (ibid. Cf. also Origen, contra Celsum, lib. iii.; Didymus, de Spirit. Sanct. lib. iii.). The Fathers in general frequently say that the letter, i.e., the literal meaning of the law killeth, but the spirit, i.e., the spiritual and allegorical meaning, giveth life. This is because it is not now lawful to Christians to observe the ceremonies and ritual precepts of the old law literally under penalty of death; but they are bound to do what those ceremonies allegorically signified if they wish to attain the life of grace and glory. (5.) S. Augustine again in the same place says that the letter, both of the old and new law, killeth if separated from the spirit; but that this passage refers to the old law alone, because Moses, when he gave the law, gave only the letter, but Christ gave the spirit and the letter, and from this he lays down that the law cannot be fulfilled by the strength of nature alone, but requires the grace of Christ. (6.) S. Augustine once more and Anselm say that the letter killeth by giving occasion to sin; for the law is the occasion by which concupiscence is kindled and sin produced which kills the soul. This sense and the first are the most literal.

But the Spirit quickeneth. (1.) The Spirit gives to the soul the supernatural life of grace and charity. (2.) He gives motives and strength for good works and for fulfilling the law. (3.) He guides us towards that eternal life promised by the law to them that keep it. Of this life and Spirit the Apostles were sent by Christ as ministers.

2Co 3:7  Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious (so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance), which is made void:

If the ministration of death . . . was glorious. If the ministration and promulgation of the old law, which threatened and brought death and condemnation, were glorious, i.e., accompanied by thundering and the sound of the heavenly trumpet, by an earth-quake and the splendour of Moses’ countenance: if the old law, engraven on tables of stone, was so gloriously promulgated, how much more glorious is the Gospel?

Paul here calls the old law the attendant and lictor of death, because it could indeed slay them that broke it but not give life to them that kept it. From this we may gather that S. Paul is writing against the false apostles, and that they were Jews who were endeavouring to blend the old and the new law. He therefore silences the Jews by depreciating the old law as the law of condemnation, and by extolling himself and his fellow-apostles as the ministers of the evangelical law of righteousness and the life of the Spirit. Cf. in this connection Matthew chapters 10 and 11.

So that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance. God as a sun so brilliantly shone on the face of Moses on the mount that his face shone as a second sun. The Vulgate rendering of Ex 34:29 is that “he wist not that his face was horned while He talked with him,” where the “horns” of course refer to the appearance of rays of light.

Which is made void. This bright glory left Moses when he was dying, to signify that the old law would fade away with its glory when the new came.

2Co 3:8  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory?

How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory? This glory of the evangelical law of righteousness was seen in the mighty wind and the different tongues of fire which, when the new law was promulgated, glorified the Apostles before all nations. It was seen too in the gifts of tongues, of prophecy, &c., which used to descend visibly on Christians, as appears from 1 Cor 14:26; even as now the graces, gifts and virtues of the Holy Spirit are received invisibly.

2Co 3:9  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.


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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 18:15-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2011

This part treats first of fraternal correction (Matt 18:15-20); secondly, of
fraternal forgiveness (Matt 18:21-35).

15. But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go and rebuke him
between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.
16. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.
17. And if he will not hear them, tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.

“If thy brother ” in Christ [cf. Gal 3:27 ff.] shall offend “against thee,” i. e., commit any sin, because all sins are against us, being against our Father in heaven; “against thee ” may also mean ” within thy knowledge”; or “against thee” is an interpolation from Luke 17:4, since Paschasius testifies that in his time it was wanting in several codd. of the Vulgate.

That there can be no question of a personal offence follows, first, from the general character of our Lord’s discourse; secondly, from the ineptitude of an offended person to serve as monitor of the offender. Our Lord is not content with our not scandalizing others, but he wishes us also to aid those that have already fallen. Hence the positive precept: “Go and rebuke him,” which, however, does not bind when fraternal correction is evidently useless, or when it brings on us or the Church grave inconveniences. “Between thee and him alone,” to spare the feelings of the offender [cf. cAug. serm. 82, 8], lest the sinner should become worse by the manifestation of his fault [Thomas, Chrysostom, Albert, Dionysius, Cajetan, Jansenius], or defend his sin and become obdurate in evil [Jansenius].

“If he shall hear thee,” practically, by obeying thy monition [cf. 2 Kings 22:13], “thou shalt gain thy brother ” not merely as a friend [cf. Chrysostom, Euthymius], but for the Church, and for life eternal, a gain that will be to thy own advantage [cf. Jerome Rabanus, Paschasius, Albert, Thomas, Dionysius, Cajetan, Lapide, Baronius Sylveri]. “If he will not hear thee,” thou must not consider thyself free from thy duty, but “take with thee one or two more,” not to increase his shame, nor to have witnesses that thou hast fulfilled thy duty, nor to have witnesses before the ecclesiastical tribunal, if thou must proceed to it; but “that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand” [cf. Deut 19:15; John 8:17; 2 Cor 13:1; Heb 10:28], i. e. that he may be convinced by the multiplied testimony of the necessity to change his life [cf. Dionysius, Maldonado, Sylveri]. “If he will not hear them, tell the Church,” not indeed the Synagogue [cf. Beza, Calvin Fritzsche, Keil, Weiss], but the Church of Christ [Matt 16:18]; nor again the whole multitude of the faithful, including their superiors [cf. Tert. apologetic, c. 39 ; Thomas, Baronius Jansenius; 1 Cor 5:3-4], but the Church represented in its superiors [Chrysostom, Euthymius, Theophylact Albert, Cajetan, Maldonado, Lapide, Calmet, Bisping]. If it be not against the nature of the Church to be represented by an authority constituted by the community [cf. Meyer], it cannot be against its nature to be represented by an authority instituted after the manner of the apostles [cf. Schanz]. That the former kind of representation is not understood by Jesus follows first from its being wholly unknown among- the Jews, so that the disciples could not understand our Lord’s “words in that sense; secondly, from what Jesus had said according to Matt 16:18; thirdly, from the power with which he is about to invest his apostles [cf. next verse]. “If he will not hear the Church, let him he to thee as the heathen and publican,” i. e. as the heathen and publican is to the Jew [cf. Lightfoot ad h. 1.], in order that he may not contaminate his brethren [Jansenius], and that he may feel ashamed of his condition when he sees himself thus separated from his friends [cf. 1 Cor 5:5-6, 13; 2 Cor 2:6-7].

18. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven.
That the voice of the Church does not remain without its effect follows from the
promise, “amen I say to you,” not to the offended [cf. Gregory, Augustine, Theophylact, Grotius], nor to the body of the faithful [cf. Thomas], but to you, my apostles [Hilary, Jerome, Albert etc.]; for the apostles were the only representatives of the Church then present, the whole context is concerned with the apostles alone [Matt 18:1; cf. Mk 9:32], and again the first gospel denotes the apostles by the name disciples [cf. Matt 10:1-2]. “Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven” [cf. Matt 16:19] . Comparing this promise with that given to Peter, Origen first remarks that in Peter’s promise we read “in the heavens” (των ουρανων note the plural which is often mistranslated as singular), while here we have the singular “in heaven” [εν ουρανω note the lack of the plural ending “ν”]; secondly, Peter receives the power of the keys besides that of binding and loosing, and besides the privilege of being the rock of the Church [cf. Orig. Pasch.]. Since, then, Peter’s prerogatives are not annulled by the present passage, it follows that the other apostles received the power of binding and loosing in dependence on and in subordination to Peter’s privilege; since Peter alone could not bind and loose all that needed to be bound and loosed in the Church, Jesus gave that power also to the apostles, leaving Peter as rock of the Clmrch and therefore as head of his brethren. What has been said about the meaning of the power to bind and to loose in Matt 16:19 receives additional light from the present context; for as there is question of an accused sinner, the power to bind implies evidently the power of retaining or binding his sins, of punishing them, and of excommunicating the guilty; while the power to loose implies the power to remit his sin, and to condone his punishment.

19. Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth
concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father who is in heaven.

“Again I say to you” does not merely add another remedy against scandal; nor does it express another privilege of the Church besides that of binding and loosing, viz. the power of impetration [cf. Cajetan, Keil]; nor again does it merely add to the foregoing privilege of the apostles that of having their prayers answered by God; nor does it merely manifest the advantages of union with the Church, as the preceding passage shows the curse of being separated from it [cf. Schegg]; nor does it merely show the merit of charity in opposition to the foregoing sin of scandal [cf. Euthymius]; nor does it purport to show the reward of union and concord, as the preceding verse treats of disunion and enmity [cf. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Hilary, Jerome, Dionysius, Baronius, Calmet]; but it proves the power of the apostles to bind and loose [Albert], by an argument “a minori ad maius,” i. e. it infers from their power of prayer that of their judicial sentence. The strength of this argument increases, because ” two of you” is not limited to the apostles and their successors in the episcopacy, but refers to all the faithful, as is clear from the general principle “where there are two or three. . . .” It does not follow from this that “to you” of the preceding verse also must be understood of all the faithful, and that consequently all the faithful received the power of binding and loosing [cf. Weiss]. For the second “to
you” occurs in the ” a minori ” part of the argument, so that the full force of the inference lies in the comparison of two terms on each side: first, “you as common Christians” is compared with “you as apostles”; secondly, ” infallible power of impetration” is compared with “infallible effect of judicial sentence.” In other words, the prayer of common Christians has an infallible effect in heaven; therefore the judicial sentence of apostles must have its infallible ratification in heaven.

20. For where there are two or three gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.

“In my name” does not merely mean that they are gathered together because they are Christians [cf. Weiss], or because of my commandments [cf. Cyril Euthymius], or for some end connected with my interests [cf. Jansenius] , or for the honor and glory of myname [cf.Dionysius]; but according to the Greek εις το εμον ονομα (in my name) the prayers must be said for that same end to which the name of Jesus tends, or Jesus himself, in as far as his aims and wishes and office are revealed to us. “There I am in the midst of them,” not merely by my presence, and essence, and power, but also by a special assistance of my grace [Cajetan], directing the hearts and wills of those who pray, and making their prayer my own [Jansenius; cf. Rom 8:26]. We see from this why many prayers remain unheard, since they ask for something hurtful [Chrysostom], or are not offered with the proper trust in God, or again are offered without the required fraternal union [Thomas]. On the other hand, this passage illustrates the power and dignity of councils where there are many prelates gathered in the name of Christ [cf. Maldonado, Jansenius, Lapide, Calmet]. According to Jewish tradition [cf. Mal 3:16], two or three assembled in judgment or to study the law were favored with the visible presence of God.

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St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 18:15-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2011

Ver 15. “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.16. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a Publican.”

Chrys., Hom., lx: Having above given a severe sentence against those who were the cause of offence, making them to fear on all sides; so now that they to whom the offence is offered should not fall into the opposite fault of supineness and indifference, seeking to spare themselves in all things, and so be puffed up; the Lord here checks such a tendency, commanding that they be reproved, saying, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go, tell him his fault between thee and him alone.”

Aug., Serm., 82, 1: Our Lord admonishes us not to overlook one another’s faults, yet not so as seeking for matter of blame, but watching what you may amend. For our rebuke should be in love, not eager to wound, but anxious to amend. If you pass it by, you are become worse than he. He by doing you a wrong hath done himself a great hurt; you slight your brother’s wound, and are more to blame for your silence than he for his ill words to you.

Aug., City of God, book i, ch. 9: For often we wrongly shun to teach and admonish, or to rebuke and check the wicked, either because the task is irksome, or because we would escape their enmity, lest they should harm or obstruct us in temporal things, whether in gaining objects we desire, or in holding what our frailty fears to love. But if any one spares reproof of evil doers, because he seeks fitter occasion, or fears to make them worse, or that they may be an impediment to the good and pious living of other weak ones, or may grieve them, or turn them from the faith; herein there is seen no considerations of covetousness, but the prudence of charity. And much weightier reason have they who are set over the churches, to the end they should not spare to rebuke sin; though not even he is free from this blame, who, though not in authority, wots of many things in them to whom he is bound by the ties of this life, which should be touched by admonition or correction, but neglects to do so; shunning their displeasure on account of things which he does not unduly use in this life, but wherewith he is unduly delighted.

Chrys.: It is to be noted, that onewhile the Lord brings the offender to him whom he has offended; as when He says, “If thou remember that thy brother has ought against thee, go, be reconciled to thy brother:” [Mat_5:23] otherwhiles He bids him that has suffered the wrong to forgive his neighbour; as where he says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” [Mat_6:12]

Here He has devised yet another method, for He brings him who has been grieved to him that grieved him, and therefore says, “If thy brother sin against thee;” for because he that did the wrong would not readily come to make amends, because of his shame, He draws to him, him that has suffered the wrong; and not only draws him there, but with the very purpose of correcting what was done amiss; whence He says, “Go and tell him his fault.”

Raban.: He does not command us to forgive indiscriminately, but him only that will hearken and be obedient, and do penitence; that neither should forgiveness be unattainable, nor sufferance be too far relaxed.

Chrys.: And He says not, Accuse him, nor, Chide with him, nor, Demand redress,– but, “Tell him of his fault;” that is, remind him of his sin, tell him what things you have suffered from him. For he is held down by anger or by shame, stupefied as one in a deep slumber. Wherefore it behoves you who are in your right senses to go to him who is in a disease.

Jerome: If then your brother have sinned against you, or hurt you in any matter, you have power, indeed must needs forgive him, for we are charged to forgive our debtors their debts. But if a man sin against God, it is no longer in our decision. But we do all the contrary of this; where God is wronged we are merciful, where the affront is to ourselves  we prosecute the quarrel.

Chrys.: We are to tell his fault to the man himself who did it, and not to another, because the party takes it with the more patience from him, and above all when they are together alone. For when he who had a right to demand reparation, shews rather a carefulness to heal the sore, this has great power to propitiate.

Aug., Serm., 82, 8: When any one therefore offends against us, let us be very careful, not for ourselves, for it is glorious to forget an injury; forget therefore your own wrong, but not the wound your brother has sustained; and tell him of his fault between him and you alone, seeking his amendment and sparing his shame. For it may be that out of shame he will seek to defend his fault, and thus you will only harden, while you sought to do him good.

Jerome: Thy brother is to be reproved in private, lest if once he has lost a sense of shame, he should continue in sin.

Aug.: But the Apostle says, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others may fear to do the like.” [1Ti_5:20] Sometimes therefore your brother is to be spoken to between thee and him alone, sometimes to be rebuked before all. What you must do first, attend and learn; “If thy brother,” says He, “sin against thee, tell him of his fault between thee and him alone.” Why? Because he has sinned against you? What is it that he has sinned against you? You know that he has sinned, and therefore since his sin was in private, let your rebuke be in private too. For if you alone know of his trespass, and proceed to rebuke him before all, you do not correct but betray him. Your brother has sinned against you; if you alone know thereof, then he has sinned against you only; but if he did you a wrong in the presence of many, then he has sinned against those also who were witnesses of his fault.

Those faults then are to be rebuked before all, that are committed before all; those which are done in private, are to be rebuked in private. Discern times, and the Scriptures are consistent.

But why do you correct your neighbour? Because his trespass has hurt yourself? Far be it from thee. If you do it from self-love, you do nought; if you do it from love of him, you do most rightly. Lastly, in what you shall say to him, keep in view for whose sake it is that you ought to do it, for your own or for his, for it follows, “If he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother;” do it therefore for his sake,  that you may gain him.

And do you confess that by your sin against man you were lost; for if you were not lost, how has he gained you? Let none then make light of it when he sins against his brother.

Chrys.: In this it is made plain that enmities are a loss to both sides; for he said not, he has gained himself, but, you have gained him; which shews that both of you had suffered loss by your disagreement.

Jerome: For in saving another, salvation is gained for ourselves also.

Chrys.: What you should do if he does not yield is added, “If he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two.” For the more shameless and stubborn he shews himself, the more studious should we be of applying the medicine, and not turn to wrath and hate. As the physician, if he see that the disease does not abate, he does not slack, but redoubles his efforts to heal.

And observe how this reproof is not for revenge, but for correction, seeing his command is not to take two with him at first, but when he would not amend; and even then he does not send a multitude to him, but one or two, alleging the law, “That in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.” [Deu_19:15] This is that you may have witnesses that you have done all your part.

Jerome: Or it is to be understood in this way; If he will not hear thee, take with thee one brother only; if he yet will not hear, take a third, either from your zeal for his amendment, that shame or admonition may move him; or for the purpose of meeting before witnesses.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: Or, that if he affirm that it is no trespass, that they may prove to him that it is a trespass.

Jerome: If yet he will not hear them, then it must be told to many, that he may be held in abhorrence; so that he who could not be saved by his own sense of shame, may be saved by public disgrace; whence it follows, “If he will not hear them, tell it to the Church.”

Chrys.: That is, to those that are over the Church.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: Or, tell it to the whole Chinch, that his infamy may be the greater. After all these things follows excommunication, which ought to be inflicted by the mouth of the Church, that is, by the Priest, and when he excommunicates, the whole Church works with him; as it follows, “And if he will not hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen, and a publican.”

Aug., Serm., 82, 7: That is, regard him no longer in the number of thy brethren. Though even thus we are not to neglect his salvation; for the heathens themselves, that is, the gentiles and pagans, we do not indeed regard in the number of our brethren, yet we ever seek their salvation.

Chrys.: Yet the Lord enjoins nothing of this sort to be observed towards those who are without the Church, such as He does in reproving a brother. Of those that are without He says, “If any smite thee on the one cheek, offer to him the other also.” [Mat_5:39] as Paul speaks, “What have I to do to judge them that are without?” [1Co_5:12]  But brethren he bids us reprove, and turn away from.

Jerome: That He says, “As a heathen and a publican,” shews that he is to be more abhorred, who under the name of a believer does the deeds of an unbeliever, than those that are openly gentiles. Those He calls publicans, who pursue worldly gain, and levy contributions by trading, cheating, and villainous frauds, and perjuries.

Origen: Let us look well whether this precept extends to all sin; for what if any one sin any or those sins which are unto death, such as unnatural crimes, adultery, homicide, or effeminacy, it cannot be meant that such as these are to be admonished privately, and if he hear you, forthwith to say that you have gained him. And not rather first put him out of the Church, or only when remaining obstinate after monition before witnesses, and by the Church? One man, looking at the infinite mercy of Christ, will say, that since the words of Christ make no distinction of sins, it is to go against Christ’s mercy to limit His words only to little sins. Another, on the other hand, considering the words carefully, will aver, that they are not spoken of every sin; for that he that is guilty of those great sins is not a brother, but is called a brother, with whom, according to the Apostle, we ought not so much as to eat. But as they who expound this as referring to every sin give encouragement to the careless to sin; so, on the other hand, he, who teaches that one having sinned in little sins and such as are not deadly, is, when he has spurned the admonition of the witnesses and the Church, to be held as a heathen and a publican, seems to introduce too great severity.

For whether he finally perishes, we are not able to decide. First, because he who has been thrice told of his fault and not hearkened, may hearken the fourth time; secondly, because sometimes a man does not receive according to his deeds, but beyond his trespass, which is good for him in this world; lastly, because He said not alone, “Let him be as a heathen,” but “Let him be to thee.” Whosoever then when reproved three times in a light trespass, does not amend, him we ought to hold for a heathen and a publican, avoiding him, that he may be brought to confusion. But whether he is esteemed of God also as a heathen and a publican, is not ours to decide, but is in the judgment of God.

Ver 18. “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.19. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Jerome: Because He had said, “If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen, and a publican,” whereupon the brother so contemned might answer, or think within himself, If you despise me, I also will despise you; if you condemn me, you shall be condemned by my sentence. He therefore confers powers upon the Apostles, that they may be assured that when any are condemned after this manner, the sentence of man is ratified by the sentence of God. “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose upon the earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Origen: He said not in the heavens (in caelis), as when He spoke to Peter, but in heaven (in coelo), for they are not yet attained to the like perfection with Peter.

Hilary: To hold out a great and terrible fear, by which all men should be reached in this present life, He pronounces that the judgment of the Apostles should be ratified, so that whosoever they bound on earth, i.e. left entangled in the noose of sin, and whosoever they loosed, i.e. accorded the pardon of God’s mercy to their salvation, that these should be bound and loosed in heaven.”

Chrys.: And be it noted, that He said not to the Primate of the Church, Bind such a man; but, If ye shall bind him, the bonds shall be indissoluble; leaving the other to his discretion.

And see how He has set the incorrigible person under the yoke of a twofold necessity; to wit, the punishment that is here, namely, the casting forth out of the Church, when He said, “Let him be to thee as a heathen;” and the future punishment, saying, that he shall be bound in heaven; thus by the weight of his penalties lessening his brother’s wrath against him.

Augustine: Otherwise; When you begin to hold your brother as a publican you bind him on earth, but take heed that you bind him with just cause; for an unjust cause breaks rightful bonds. But when you have corrected him, and agreed with him, you have loosed him upon earth, and when you have loosed him upon earth, he shall be loosed also in heaven. You confer a great boon not on yourself, but on him, as he had done the hurt not to you but to himself.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: But He holds out a ratification not only of sentences of excommunication, but of every petition which is offered by men holding together in the unity of the Church; for He adds, “Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree upon earth,” whether in admitting a penitent, or casting out a froward person, “touching any thing which they shall ask,” any thing, that is, that is not against the unity of the Church, “it shall be done for them by my Father which is in heaven.” By saying, “which is in heaven,” He points Him out as above all, and therefore able to fulfil all that shall be asked of Him. Or, He is in the heavens, that is, with saints, proof enough that whatever worthy thing they shall ask shall be done unto them, because they have with them Him of whom they ask. For this cause is the sentence of those that agree together ratified, because God dwells in them, “For where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Chrys.: Or, because He had said, It shall be done unto them by My Father; therefore, to shew that He is the Giver together with His Father, He adds this, “where two or three, &c.”

Origen: And He said not, “I will be,” but “I am in the midst of them;” because straightway, as soon as they have agreed together, Christ is found among them.

Hilary: For He who is peace and charity, will set His place and habitation in good and peaceable dispositions.

Jerome: Or otherwise; All His foregoing discourse had invited us to union; now to make us embrace peace more anxiously, He holds out a reward, promising to be in the midst of two or three.

Chrys.: Yet He said not barely, “Where they are gathered together,” but added, “in my name,” as much as to say, If any man look upon Me as the chief motive of his love to his neighbour, I will be with him, though his virtue be shewn towards other men.

How is it then that those who thus agree together do not obtain what they ask for? First, because they ask things not expedient, and because they do not bring on their parts that which they ought to contribute; wherefore He says, “If two of you,” that is, who shew an evangelic conversation. Thirdly, because they pray seeking vengeance against those who have grieved them. And fourthly, because they seek mercy for sinners who have not repented.

Origen: And this also is the reason why our prayers are not granted, because we do not agree together in all things upon earth, neither in doctrine, nor in conversation. For as in music, unless the voices are in time there is no pleasure to the hearer, so in the Church, unless they are united God is not pleased therein, nor does He hear their words.

Jerome, vid. Origen in loc.: We may also understand this spiritually; where our spirit, soul, and body are in agreement, and have not within them conflicting wills, they shall obtain from My Father every thing they shall ask; for none can doubt that that demand is good, where the body wills the same thing as the spirit.

Origen: Or, In whatever the two testaments are in agreement, for this every prayer is found acceptable to God.

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