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 September 25th, 2011

This Weeks Posts: Sunday, September 25-Saturday, October 1

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 25, 2011

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Sunday Mass Resources (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms). A regular feature of this blog. Resources for next Sunday will be posted on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.

Today’s Divine Office.

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday, Sept 18-Saturday, Sept 24.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
MONDAY OF THE TWENTY-SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:46-50).

My Notes on Psalm 8.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
MEMORIAL OF ST VINCENT DE PAUL, PRIEST

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (87).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:51-56).

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTY-SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Psalm (137).

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Today’s Psalm (137).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:57-62).

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
FEAST OF ST MICHAEL, SAINT GABRIEL AND SAINT RAPHAEL, ARCHANGELS

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (138).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Psalm (138).

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Today’s Psalm (138).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 1:47-51). This post actually begins with verse 45.

My Notes on Today’s Gospel (John 1:47-51). This post actually begins with verse 46.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
MEMORIAL OF SAINT JEROME, PRIEST AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Baruch 1:15-22).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Psalm (79).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 10:13-16).

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
MEMORIAL OF SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS, VIRGIN AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Psalm (69).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 10:17-24).

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 79 (78)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 25, 2011

The numbering of the Psalms differs between those translations based upon the the Hebrew (Masoretic) text and those based on the Greek Septuagint (LXX) text. See here for more. Father Boylan follows the numbering of the Septuagint and I have placed the Hebrew number in parentheses. Text in red are my additions.

THE thought of this psalm is closely connected with that of Ps 73 (74); and most modern, and many ancient, commentators regard both psalms as referring to the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes (see 2 Maccabees 6:1-11). Actually, most modern commentators understand it in reference to the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians (see 2 Chron 36:15-21 and the opening footnote to the Psalm in the NAB). Today the Psalm is recited at the Western ( or Wailing) wall in Jerusalem on the eve of the Sabbath (i.e., Friday afternoons). It is also recited on the fast day Tisha B”Av to commenorate the Temple’s destruction by both the Babylonians and the Romans (see here).

The psalm begins on a note of passion. The sacred dwelling of Yahweh has been foully profaned by heathens; the servants of the Lord have been slain in great numbers, and their corpses have been left unburied. The honour of Yahweh and of His people has been violated. Surely the Lord cannot let the crime of the heathens pass unpunished! (vss. 1-5).

If Yahweh is unwilling to help, it must be because of the sins of the fathers (vs 8. The verse can be-and usually is-taken as a reference to the sins of the people themselves, not their fathers. This fits better if one takes the Psalm as referring to the time of the Babylonian’s destruction of the temple). If He will be angry, let Him show His wrath against the strangers who despise Him (vss 6-7). The people of Jerusalem have not themselves deserved their sufferings, for they are loyal servants of the Lord (vs 8. See my previous notation on this verse). If, indeed, they have sinned, let the Lord be merciful; let Him, above all, be gracious towards those who are in bondage, and in prison (vs 11). If He does not hear the sighs of the afflicted they must soon die (ibid).

Yahweh ought to act, at least, for the sake of His name. Let not the heathens ask mockingly: “Where is the God of Israel?” (vs 10).  Let the Lord be mindful of His own glory, and requite the heathen for their scorn and mockery (vs 12). Vengeance on the foes of the Temple, and vengeance sevenfold, would the psalmist with his own eyes behold (vs 10). The last verse is a vow that the people of the Lord will be constant in His praise, and from the vow it can be seen that the psalmist confidently looks for the fulfilment of his prayer for help and vengeance. With the spirit of this psalm should be compared the words of
Apocalypse (Revelation) 6:10: “How long, O Master, the Holy and True, dost Thou not judge, and dost Thou not avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 137 (136, Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 25, 2011

Text in red are my additions.

BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON

THE author of this poem, speaking as one of those who have returned from the Babylonian Exile, depicts for us with great poetic skill and power a typical scene of the Captivity.

Suggesting with the subtle brevity of the true poet the setting of his tale, he puts before us the land of Exile with its network of poplar-bordered streams and channels, and tells us of a day when he and his comrades, gathered together according to their wont (cf. Acts 16:13) by one of the Babylonian streams for prayer, sat weeping as they thought of the glories of Sion’s worship in which they had at one time shared. Their prayer-gathering by the streamside was brightened by no song or burst of sacred music, for in Babylon, amid strangers and outside Yahweh’s land, the music of the Temple-songs could not be heard, and the harps that in Jerusalem might have swelled the volume of the Temple-orchestra, hung sadly silent on the poplars that lined the stream. As the Exiles prayed and wept, people of Babylon passed that way, and seeing the weeping worshippers and the silent harps, asked mockingly for one of the old glad “songs of Sion.”  “But how,” said the Exiles, “can we sing the songs of Yahweh on a soil that is not His?”

The strangers pass on, but the sting of their insolence rouses the psalmist and his comrades to anger. How could a true Israelite ever be disloyal to the Temple and to Yahweh ? “If ever I forget thee, Jerusalem,” the psalmist cries, “or make thee not the crown of my joy, may my right hand wither, and my tongue cleave to my palate!”

Then the note of passion deepens, and the psalmist cries out for vengeance against the Edomites who had joined in the work of destruction on “Jerusalem’s Day”—the day of her fall. But more bitter than against Edom is the anger of the Exiles against Babylon, the chief agent of Jerusalem’s disaster and their own jailor. Taking up the burden of ancient prophecies against Babel, the Exiles forecast the doom that awaits the Destroyer of Sion: “Blessed is he who repayeth thee thy deeds against us. Blessed is he who shall seize and shall dash against the rock thy little ones!” This statement reflects lex talion, the law of retaliation: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-35)This law, common throughout the ancient world, was necessitated by the absence of a developed judicial system, criminal investigation techniques, etc.  Much like today’s death penalty it was an attempt to mitigate violence at its outset through giving a fear of consequence: if you do it to others then expect it do be done to you.  In context the verse should be taken as a reference to Cyrus the Persian who overthrew Babylon in fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah chapters 13 and 14; Isaiah 44:24-47:15). It should be remembered that the history of the Bible is in part a history of man’s moral development (see Jonah, chapter 4; Matthew 5:38-42; Matthew 19:1-9).

The Vulgate superscription of the psalm, Psalmus David, Hieremiae, must be regarded as meaning either, “A psalm of Jeremias after the manner of a Davidic Psalm,” or, “A Psalm after the manner of David and of Jeremias.” The Hebrew text contains no ascription to an author.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

My Notes on Psalm 8

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 25, 2011

Psalm 8 is one of the most popular of the Psalms, used often in the Church’s liturgy and office. The text of the psalm was entrusted to the first men to land on the moon by Pope Paul VI in July of 1969. Clinton J. McCann, in his commentary on this psalm in THE NEW INTERPRETER’S BIBLE notes that the choice of this psalm for that event was an apt one, celebrating as it does the dignity and beauty of creation, including the heavens, and man’s dominion.

8:1 Unto the end, for the presses: a psalm for David.

unto the end, for the presses is often taken as a musical direction of some kind. Perhaps the presses refers to a specific melody which was to be used throughout (unto the end of)  the psalm. The word presses in Greek is ληνων, a wine vat. The Hebrew has הגתית, transliterated as gittith, a word the meaning of which is controverted.

8:2 O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! For thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens.

The word how (Heb.  מה, Gr.  ως) is used both here and in verse 9 which repeats the first part of this current verse: O lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! Significantly, the Hebrew מה, (Gr. ως) reappears in verse 5 (translated “what”) to introduce a question concerning man (see note there). A connection is thus drawn between the admirable name of God and what he has done for man.

For thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens. A reference to the heavens that are the works of thy fingers: as well as to the moon and the stars which thou hast founded (verse 4).

8:3 Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger.

Out of the mouths of infants and of sucklings thou has perfected praise. Some scholars relate this opening part of verse 3 to verse 2. God’s magnificence is manifested in the fact that mere mortals, here described as infants, babes at the breast (sucklings) can praise him. Others see the terms in relation to the enemies of God mentioned in this verse. The perfected praise which comes from those devoted to God is seen to be praise of God’s name which, in the Bible, is synonymous with his person, power, characteristics, etc.  Such praise of God brings to an end the enemy and avenger. These terms suggest arrogance and power, a marked contrast to babes and sucklings. See 1 Cor 1:27-29~”But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise: and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong. And the base things of the world and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen: and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his sight.”

That thou mayest destroy the enemy and avenger. In my opinion (for whatever its worth) destroy is a poor translation. I think the translation still, or put at rest the enemy and avenger are better translations. I would like to propose two possible interpretations; the second-which I’ve put in green text-being more plausible.

The Hebrew text employs the word להשׁבית (shabbath)which is related to השׁבת, (sabbath);  while the Greek has καταλυσαι (katalusai), which is related to the word κατάλυμα, designating a place of rest or sitting (Luke 2:7; see also Gen 18:1). Both words can have the sense of “still the enemy and avenger.” The meaning would then be: “Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou mayst still the enemy and the avenger, making them content as nursing infants.”  The people’s devotion to God, even in the midst of oppression, violence, hatred, etc., serves as an example leading the enemies to shame and, perhaps, conversion:  1 Peter 3:13-16~”And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer any thing for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear: and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you. But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

The psalmist may be implying or wishing that the enemy and avenger be not set, or have rule over the works of thy (God’s) hands (verse 7) because they have been stilled from doing so.

Enemy and avenger are taken by some scholars as an allusion to the chaotic powers taken control of by the creator God (Psalm 89:10-12; Psalm 93:3-5). The unpredictable and often chaotic sea sometimes symbolizes powers inimical to God which he must control (Job 38:8-11). To me it seems more likely  that they represent human enemies of God and his people as noted above.

8:4 For I will behold thy heavens, the works of thy fingers: the moon and the stars which thou hast founded.
8:5 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

For, the opening word in verse 4, is causal in both the Greek and Hebrew text and is to be connected to the question in verse 5. When the psalmist beholds the heavens, etc., he is moved to ask what is man, etc . The word what is identical to that translated as how in verses 2 and 9. The question how admirable is God’s name over all the earth is directly related to the question, what is man, &c.  The grandeur, magnificence, beauty, of God’s creation, here ascribed anthropomorphically as the works of God’s fingers-an insignificant part of any body, real or anthropomorphic-causes the psalmist to wonder about man and what great gifts God has bestowed upon him. (By anthropomorphically I mean the act of giving a human descriptive to something non-human; in this case God).

8:6 Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour:
8:7 And hast set him over the works of thy hands.

Thou hast made him a little less than angels. This translation reflects the Greek version which uses αγγελους (aggelos). The Hebrew uses the term אלהים (elohim), a word often used to designate God himself. The word is also used to designate the non-gods, i.e., pagan deities, but also angels. The psalmist is stating that God has made man a little less than God himself, or, a little less than the angels. Scholars are not in agreement concerning how the phrase is to be understood (a little less than God? A little less than angels?).  The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews understands it to refer to angels and interprets it christologically (Heb 2:6 ff). In light of the text of Hebrews I understand that man (with the exception of the God-Man Christ) is lower than the angels but, in virtue of Christ final victory, man will be placed higher than the angels and a little less than God.

8:8 Thou hast subjected all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen: moreover, the beasts also of the fields.
8:9 The birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, that pass through the paths of the sea. 

An obvious allusion to Genesis 1:29.

8:10 O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth!

Repeats the opening of the psalm.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Devotional Resources, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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