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

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 14:7-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 5, 2011

This post contains Fr. MacEvily’s brief analysis of chapter 14 of Romans followed by his notes on today’s reading. It also includes his paraphrase of the verses he is commenting on. These paraphrases are in purple text.

ANALYSIS: The Apostle devotes this chapter to the removal of a practical cause of some differences that existed between the Jewish and Gentile converts. Many among the former, not fully instructed in the faith, were inordinately attached to certain portions of the ceremonial law of Moses; and among the rest they could not be brought to give up the distinction which the law made between clean and unclean meats, and thus abstained from partaking of the latter description of food. These observances were tolerated in the CONVERTED JEWS, until such time as they should be more fully instructed, in accommodation to their weakness, and for the purpose “of burying the Synagogue with honour.” (St. Augustine). The same indulgence was never extended to the converts from PAGANISM (as is seen, Epistle to Galatians). The tolerated observance of these ceremonial ordinances was made the occasion of differences among the early converts. The Gentile despised the Jew for so doing, and had no regard to his weak conscience; while the Jew censured the other party as violating the law. In order to effect a reconciliation, the Apostle first recommends the Gentiles to instruct the Jews (Rom 14:1); and, after stating the cause of difference (Rom 14:2), he recommends them to abstain from despising or condemning one another (Rom 14:3); to leave such judgments to God (Rom 14:4). And after giving another example of a cause of difference (Rom 14:5), he shows, that both may follow whatever opinion they please on the subject; that neither should be judged, since both intend the glory of God, as well in this point (Rom 14:6-7), as in all the other actions of their lives (Rom 14:8-9); and that all judgment belongs to Christ, to whom, therefore, it should be left (Rom 14:10-13). Having, in the preceding part of the chapter, cautioned the weak against unjust judgments, he now cautions the better instructed against giving scandal; he tells them to respect the consciences of their weaker brethren, and not induce them to commit sin, and violate conscience, by their example (Rom 14:13-22). He, finally, exhorts the weak not to act contrary to conscience, but in all their actions to have an undoubted conviction of the lawfulness of what they were about doing.

Rom 14:7  For none of us liveth to himself: and no man dieth to himself.

Both of them bless God and give him thanks; for, none of us, after our call to Christianity, is to live or die for his own advantage or glory, but for the glory of the Lord, whose servants we are become.

The Apostle proves that they both refer their actions, in each case, to God; no wonder, he says, that particular actions should have reference to God, when our entire life, and death itself, are subservient to his glory, and should be referred to this end by all Christians, who, by their very profession, are become the servants of God.

Rom 14:8  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

For, whether we live, we live for the glory of the Lord, or whether we die, we die for the glory of the Lord, and in obedience to his will. Whether, therefore, we are living or dead, we are the Lord’s, who ransomed us by the effusion of his most precious blood.

We live and die unto the Lord, who made us his, and to whom, therefore, we
should consocrate our life, death, and all that we have. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s, who paid the heavy price of his own most precious blood for us. As slaves, therefore, have nothing of their own, all they possess belongs to their master  so we, the servants, and purchased slaves of God, have nothing of our own; our life, death, and entire being, all belong to Christ.

Rom 14:9  For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

For, unto this end has Christ died, and thus paid the price of our ransom, and risen from the dead to lead a glorious and immortal life, that he should exercise dominion over the living and the dead.

He assigns a reason, why we should live and die unto Christ, and refer our all
to his glory. For, unto this end Christ died, and rose again. In the Greek it is, Christ died, and rose again, and has lived again. In some readings, as in the one from which our Vulgate is taken, this latter clause is omitted. In others (v.g.), in theCodex Vaticanus, the middle member of the sentence, and rose again, is omitted; it runs thus,  και απεθανεν και εζησεν, died and lived. The sense is, however, fully expressed in ours. That he might be Lord both of the living and of the dead. Christ, from the instant of his incarnation, had this dominion. To him was given all power in heaven and on earth, i.e., over the whole Church, militant and triumphant; but, it was only after his death and resurrection, that he was to exercise this dominion (Matt 28:18), that he might be Lord of the dead and the living, i.e., of us while in this world and in the next. The Apostle places the living after the dead, to show that this perfect dominion is to regard such as live a life of glory in the future world; for, it is in the elect, that his reign of glory will be conspicuous.



2 Responses to “Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 14:7-9”

  1. […] « Thursday, Sept 8: Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:28-30 Sunday, Sept 11: Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Romans 14:7-9 […]

  2. […] Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Romans 14:7-9 for Next Sunday, Sept 11. On […]

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