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, 2011

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 10:17-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 24, 2011

Ver 17. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through your name.18. And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.19. Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

CYRIL; It was said above that our Lord sent forth His disciples sealed with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that being made ministers of preaching, they received power over the unclean spirits. But now when they returned, they confess the power of Him who honored them, as it is said, And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us, &c. They seemed indeed to rejoice rather that they were made workers of miracles, than that they had become ministers of preaching. But they had better have rejoiced in those whom they had taken, as St. Paul says to them that were called by him, My joy and my crown.

GREG. Now our Lord, in a remarkable manner, in order to put down high thoughts in the hearts of His disciples, Himself related the account of the fall which the teacher of pride suffered; that they might learn by the example of the author of pride, what they would have to dread from the sin of pride. Hence it follows, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

BASIL; He is called Satan, because he is an enemy to God, (for this the Hebrew word signifies,) but he is called the Devil, because he assists us in doing evil, and is an accuser. His nature is incorporeal, his abode in the air.

THEOPHYL; He says not, ‘I see now,’ but referring to past time, I saw, when he fell. But by the words as lightning, He signifies either a fall headlong from the high places to the lowest, or that now cast down, he transforms himself into an angel of light.

TIT. BOST. Now He says that He saw it, as being Judge, for He knew the sufferings of the spirits Or He says, as lightning, because by nature Satan shone as lightning, but became darkness through his affections, since what God made good he changed in himself to evil.

BASIL; For the heavenly Powers are not naturally holy, but according to the analogy of divine love they receive their measure of sanctification. And as iron placed in the fire does not cease to be iron, though by the violent application of the flame both in effect and appearance, it passes into fire; so also the Powers on high, from their participation in that which is naturally holy, have a holiness implanted in them. For Satan had not fallen, if by nature he had been unsusceptible of evil.

CYRIL; Or else, I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven, that is, from the highest power to the lowest impotence. For before the coming of our Savior, he had subdued the world to him, and was worshipped by all men. But when the only-begotten Word of God came down from heaven, he fell as lightning, seeing that he is trodden under foot by those who worship Christ. As it follows, And, behold, I give those you power to tread upon serpents, &c.

TIT. BOST. Serpents indeed at one time under a figure were made to bite the Jews, and kill them because of their unbelief. But there came One who should destroy those serpents; even the Brazen Serpent, the Crucified, so that if any one should look on Him believing, he might be healed from his wounds and saved.

CHRYS. Then lest we should suppose this was spoken of beasts, He added, And over all the power of the enemy.

THEOPHYL; That is, I give you the power of casting out every kind of unclean spirit, from the bodies possessed. And as far as regards themselves, He adds, And nothing shall hurt you. Although it might also be taken literally. For Paul when attacked by a viper suffered no injury. John having drunk poison is not harmed by it. But I think there is this difference between serpents who bite with the teeth, and scorpions who sting with the tail, that the serpents signify men or spirits raging openly, scorpions signify them plotting in secret. Or serpents are those which cast the poison of evil persuasion upon virtues just beginning, scorpions which go about to corrupt at last virtues which have been brought to perfection.

THEOPHYL. Or serpents are those which visibly hurt, as the evil spirit of adultery and murder. But those are called scorpions which invisibly injure, as in the sins of the spirit.

GREG. NYSS. For pleasure is called in Scripture a serpent, which by nature is such that if its head has reached a wall so as to press upon it, it drags its whole body after it. So nature has given man the habitation which was necessary for him. But by means of this necessity, pleasure assaults the heart, and perverts it to the indulgence of immoderate ornament; in addition to this it brings in its train covetousness, which is followed by lust, that is, the last member or tail of the beast. But as it is not possible to draw back the serpent by its tail, so to remove pleasure we must not begin with the last, unless one has closed the first entrance to evil.

ATHAN. But now through the power of Christ boys make a mock at pleasure, which formerly led away the aged, and virgins steadfastly trample upon the desires of serpentine pleasure. Some also tread upon the very sting of the scorpion, that is, of the devil, namely death, and fearing not destruction become witnesses of the word. But many giving up earthly things walk with a free step in heaven, dreading not the prince of the air.

TIT. BOST. But because the joy with which He saw them rejoice savored of vain-glory, for they rejoiced that they were as it were exalted, and were a terror to men and evil spirits, our Lord therefore adds, Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you, &c.

THEOPHYL; They are forbidden to rejoice in the subjection of the spirits to God, since they were flesh; for to cast out spirits and to exercise other powers is sometimes not on account of his merit who works, but is wrought through the invocation of Christ’s name to the condemnation of those who mock it, or to the advantage of those who see and hear

CYRIL; Why, O Lord, cost not you permit men to rejoice in the honors which are conferred by You, since it is written, In your name shall they rejoice all the day? But the Lord raises them up by greater joys. Hence He adds, But rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

THEOPHYL; As if he said, It becomes you to rejoice not in the putting down of the evil spirits, but in your own exaltation. But it would be well for us to understand, that whether a man has done heavenly or earthly works, he is thereby, as if marked down by letter, for ever fixed in the memory of God.

THEOPHYL. For the names of the saints are written in the book of life not in ink, but in the memory and grace of God. And the devil indeed fell from above; but men being below have their names inscribed above in heaven.

BASIL; There are some who are written indeed not in life, but according to Jeremiah in the earth, that in this way there might be a kind of double enrollment, of the one indeed to life, but of the other to destruction. But since it is said, Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, this is spoken of those who were thought worthy to be written in the book of God. And in this way a name is said to be put down in writing or blotted out, when we turn aside from virtue to sin, or the contrary.

Ver 21. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth that you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in your sight.22. All things are delivered to me of my Father and no man knows who the Son is, but the Father and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

THEOPHYL. As a loving father rejoices to see his sons do right, so Christ also rejoices that His Apostles were made worthy of such good things. Hence it follows, In that hour, &c.

CYRIL; He saw in truth that through the operation of the Holy Spirit, which He gave to the holy Apostles, the acquisition of many would be made, (or that many would be brought to the faith.) He is said therefore to have rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, that is, in the results which came forth through the Holy Spirit. For as one who to be mankind He considered the conversion of sinners to be a subject for rejoicing, for which He gives thanks. As it follows, I give thanks to you, O Father.

THEOPHYL; Confessing does not always signify penitence, but also thanks airing, as is frequently found in the Psalms.

CYRIL; Now here, say they whose hearts are perverted, the Son gives thanks to the Father as being inferior But what should prevent the Son of the same substance with the Father from praising His own Father, who saves the world by Him? But if you think that because of His giving thanks He shows Himself to be inferior, observe, that He calls Him His Father, and the Lord of heaven and earth. TIT. BOST. For all other things have been produced by Christ from nothing, but He alone was incomprehensibly begotten of His Father, Who therefore of the Only-begotten alone, as a true Son, is by nature the Father. Hence He alone says to His Father, I give thanks to you, O Father, Lord, &c. that is, I glorify you. Marvel not that the Son glorifies the Father. For the whole substance of the Only-begotten is the glory of the Father. For both those things which were created, and the Angels, are the glory of the Creator. But since these are placed too low in respect of His dignity, the Son alone, since He is perfect God like His Father, perfectly glorifies His Father.

ATHAN. We know also that the Savior often speaks as man. For His divine nature has human nature joined to it, yet you would not, because of His clothing Himself with a body, be ignorant that He was God. But what do they answer to this, who wish to make out a substance of evil, but form to themselves another God, other than the true Father of Christ? And they say that he is unbegotten, the creator of evil and prince of iniquity, as well as the maker of the world’s fabric. Now our Lord, affirming the word of Moses, says, I give thanks to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.

EPIPH. But a Gospel composed by Marcion has, “I give thanks to You, O Lord,” being silent as to the words of heaven and earth, and the word Father, lest it should be supposed that He calls the Father the Creator of the heaven and the earth.

AMBROSE; Lastly, he unveils the heavenly mystery by which it pleased God to reveal His grace, rather to the little ones than the wise of the world. Hence it follows, That you have hid these things from the wise and prudent.

THEOPHYL. The distinction may be, that it is said, the wise, meaning, the Pharisees and Scribes who interpret the law, and the prudent, meaning those who were taught by the Scribes, for the wise man is he who teaches, but the prudent man he who is taught; but the Lord calls His disciples babes, whom He chose not from the teachers of the law, but out of the multitude, and by calling, fishermen; babes, that is, as devoid of malice.

AMBROSE; Or by a babe we should here understand one who knew nothing of exalting himself, and of boasting in proud words of the excellence of his wisdom, as the Pharisees often do.

THEOPHYL; He therefore gives thanks that He had revealed to the Apostles as to babes the sacraments of His coming, of which the Scribes and Pharisees were ignorant, who think themselves wise, and are prudent in their own sight.

THEOPHYL. The mysteries then were hid from those who think themselves wise, and are not; for if they had been, these would have been revealed to them.

THEOPHYL; To the wise and prudent then He opposed not the dull and foolish, but babes; that is, the humble, to show that He condemned pride, not quickness of mind.

ORIGEN; For a feeling of deficiency is the preparation for coming perfection. For whoever by the presence of the apparent good perceives not that he is destitute of the true good, is deprived of the true good.

CHRYS. Now He does not rejoice and give thanks because the mysteries of God were hid from the Scribes and Pharisees (for this were not a subject of rejoicing, but of lament,) but for this cause gives He thanks, that what hat the wise knew not, babes knew. But moreover He gives thanks to the Father together with whom He Himself does this, to show the great love wherewith He loves us. He explains in the next place, that the cause of this thing was first His own will and Father’s, who of His own will did this. As it follows, Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in your sight.

GREG. We receive these words as an example of humility, that we Moral should not rashly presume to scan the heavenly counsel, concerning the calling of some, and the rejection of others; for that cannot be unjust which seemed good to the Just One. In all things therefore, externally disposed, the cause of the visible system is the justice of the hidden will.

CHRYS. But after He had said, I thank you that you have revealed them to babes, lest you should suppose that Christ was destitute of the power to do this, He adds, All things are delivered to me of my Father.

ATHAN. The followers of Arius, not rightly understanding this, rave against our Lord, saying, If all things were given to him, that is, the dominion of the creatures, there was as a time when He had them not, and so was not of the substance of the Father. For if He had been, there would be no need for Him to receive. But hereby is their madness the rather detected. For if before He had received them, the creature was independent of the Word, how will that verse stand, In him all things consist? But if as soon as the creatures were made, they were all given to Him, where was the need to give, for by him were all things made? The dominion of the creation is not then, as they think, here meant, but the words signify the dispensation made in the flesh. For after that man sinned, all things were confounded; the Word then was made flesh, that He might restore all things. All things therefore were given Him, not because He was wanting in power, but that as Savior He should repair all things; that as by the Word all things at the beginning were brought into being, so when the Word was made flesh, He should restore all things in Himself.

THEOPHYL; Or by the words, All things are delivered to me, He means not the elements of the world, but those babes to whom by the Spirit the Father made known the Sacraments of His Son; and in whose salvation when He here spoke He was rejoicing.

AMBROSE; Or, when you read all things, you acknowledge the Almighty, not the Son lower than the Father; when you read delivered, you confess the Son, to whom by the nature of one substance all things rightly belong, not conferred as a gift by grace.

CYRIL; Now having said that all things were given Him by His Father, He rises to His own glory and excellence showing that in nothing He is surpassed by His Father. Hence He adds, And no one knows who the Son is but the Father, &c. For the mind of the creatures is not able to comprehend the manner of the Divine substance, which passes all understanding, and His glory transcends our highest contemplations. By Itself only is known what the Divine nature is. Therefore the Father, by that which He is, knows the Son the Son, by that which He is, knows the Father, no difference intervening as regards the Divine nature. And in another place. For that God is, we believe, but what he is by nature, is incomprehensible. But if the Son was created, how could He alone know the Father, or how could He be known only by the Father. For to know the Divine nature is impossible to any creature, but to know each created thing what it is, does not surpass every understanding, though it is far beyond our senses.

ATHAN. But though our Lord says this, it is plain that the Arians object to Him, saying that the Father is not seen by the Son. But their folly is manifest, as if the Word did not know Itself which reveals to all men the knowledge of the Father and Itself; for it follows, And to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

TIT. BOST. Now a revelation is the communication of knowledge in proportion to each man’s nature and capacity; and when indeed the nature is congenial, there is knowledge without teaching; but here the instruction is by revelation.

ORIGEN; He wishes to reveal as the Word, not without the exercise of reason; and as Justice, who knows rightly both the times for revealing, and the measures of revelation; but He reveals by removing the opposing veil from the heart, and the darkness which He has made His secret place. But since upon this men who are of another opinion think to build up their impious doctrine, that in truth the Father of Jesus was sent down to the ancient saints, we must tell them that the words, To whomsoever the Son will reveal him, not only refer to the future time, after our Savior uttered this, but also to the past time But if they will not take this word reveal for what is past, the must be told, that it is not the same thing to know and to believe. To one is given by the Spirit the word of knowledge; to another faith by the same Spirit. There were then those who believed, but did not know.

AMBROSE; But that you may know that as the Son revealed the Father to whom He will, the Father also reveals the Son to whom He will, hear our Lord’s words, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood have not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.

Ver 23. And he turned him to his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see:24. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.

THEOPHYL. Having said above, No one knows who the Father is but the Son, and to whomsoever the Son will reveal him; He pronounces a blessing upon His disciples, to whom the Father was revealed through Him. Hence it is said, And he turned him to his disciples, and said, Blessed &c.

CYRIL; He turns to them indeed, since He rejected the Jews, who were deaf, with their understandings blinded, and not wishing to see, and gives Himself wholly to those who love Him; and He pronounces those eyes blessed which see the things no others had seen before. We must however know this, that seeing does not signify the action of the eyes, but the pleasure which the mind receives from benefits conferred. For instance, if any one should say, He has seen good times, that is, he has rejoiced in good times, according to the Psalm, You shall see the good of Jerusalem. For many Jews have seen Christ performing, divine works, that is to say, with their bodily sight, yet all were not fitted to rereceive the blessing, for they believed not; but these saw not His glory with their mental sight. Blessed then are our eyes, since we see by faith the Word who is made man for us, shedding upon us the glory of His Godhead, that He may make us like to Him by sanctification and righteousness.THEOPHYL. Now He blesses them, and all truly who look with faith, because the ancient prophets and kings desired to see and hear God in the flesh, as it follows; For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired, &c.

THEOPHYL; Matthew more clearly calls them prophets, and righteous men. For those are great kings, who have known how, not by yielding to escape from the assaults of temptations, but by mastering to gain the rule over them.

CHRYS. Now from this saying many imagine that the prophets were without the knowledge of Christ. But if they desired to see what the Apostles saw, they knew that He would come to men, and dispense those things which He did. For no one desires what he has no conception of; they therefore knew the Son of God. Hence He does not merely say, They desired to see me, but those things which you see, nor to hear me, but those things which you hear. For they saw Him, but not yet Incarnate, nor thus conversing with men, nor speaking with such authority to them.

THEOPHYL; For those looking afar off saw Him in a glass and darkly, but the Apostles having our Lord present with them, whatever things they wished to learn had no need to be taught by angels or any other kind of vision.

ORIGEN; But why does he say that many prophets desired, and not all? Because it is said of Abraham, That he saw the day of Christ and was glad, which sight not many, but few attained to; but there were other prophets and just men not so great as to reach to Abraham’s vision, and the experience of the Apostles, who, He says, saw not, but desired to see.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matt 21:28-32

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 21, 2011

Mat 21:28  But what think you? A certain man had two sons: and coming to the first, he said: Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

But what think you? Christ, by the following parable, convicted the Scribes and Pharisees—who said that they knew not whether the baptism of John were from heaven or of men—of the utmost dishonesty and obstinacy; because, although they wished to be accounted sons of God, yet refused to receive John who was sent by God, and would not believe His preaching, nor do penance. Moreover, Christ in this place, says S. Chrysostom, brings in guilty the judges themselves, with a great confidence in justice, where the cause is entrusted to the adversary. But He employs a parable, that they may not perceive how they are pronouncing sentence against themselves: “A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not; but afterwards he repented and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto Him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” (Verses 28-32.)
Mat 21:29  And he answering, said: I will not. But afterwards, being moved with repentance, he went.
Mat 21:30  And coming to the other, he said in like manner. And he answering said: I go, Sir. And he went not.

This parable scarcely needs an explanation, because Christ applies and explains it. In truth, the first—being at the beginning unwilling to obey his father, but afterwards repenting and obeying, by going to work in the vineyard—denotes the publicans and harlots; who at first by their sins repelled the will and law of God, but afterwards by John’s preaching came to a better mind, and did penance, and lived chastely and justly, according to the law of God. The second son—who said to his father that he would go into the vineyard, but broke his word, and went not—denotes the Scribes and Pharisees; who always had the law of God in their mouths (as though they were most zealous and religious observers of it), but did not fulfil it in their deeds, but by lust, rapine, and usury acted contrary to it. Wherefore they provoked the heavy displeasure and anger of God against them, as well on account of their wickedness itself as because of their hypocrisy and feigned observance of the Law. For such hypocrisy and duplicity grievously provokes God.

Mat 21:31  Which of the two did the father’s will? They say to him: The first. Jesus saith to them: Amen I say to you that the publicans and the harlots shall go into the kingdom of God before you.

Go into the kingdom of God before you—Greek, προάγουσιν, in the present tense; future in Vulg. Meaning as follows: “The publicans and harlots precede you, 0 ye Scribes, i.e., they go before you in the way of God and of virtue, and advance to Heaven by the pattern of faith, repentance, and change of life; and therefore they will indeed precede and go before you into the kingdom of Heaven, into which ye wicked ones will never enter, although ye might enter if ye would repent and change your lives. Thus (Mat_5:19) the least in the kingdom of Heaven are the impious and the reprobate, who shall be shut out of it.

Mat 21:32  For John came to you in the way of justice: and you did not believe him. But the publicans and the harlots believed him: but you, seeing it, did not even afterwards repent, that you might believe him.

In the way of justice; the Syriac is, walking in the way of rectitude—i.e., leading a life perfectly just, right, holy and blameless.

Did not even afterwards repent—i.e., did not do penance. The Greek is ου̉ μετεμελήθητε, did not repent and amend.

Mystically: Publicans and harlots denote the Gentiles, who at first were slaves to idols and vices, and afterwards were converted by the preaching of the Apostles, and served God and virtue. The Pharisees and Scribes denote the Jews, who seemed to worship God, but really despised Him, since they despised Christ who was sent by Him, and hardened their hearts in this perfidy. Whence S. Jerome, S. Chrysostom, Origen, S. Athanasius, Bede, Euthymius, Maldonatus, Jansen, and others, passim, interpret the parable of them.

Tropologically: Christ shows, says S. Chrysostom, that the populace and plebeians, who some time or other are converted, are better than priests who are never converted.

Tropologically: Ordinary Christians and lay people who, from a desire of holiness, keep evangelical counsels, although they are not bound to them by vow or profession, are like the first son. Priests, monks, and religious, who have taken vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and afterwards break them, are like the second son.

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

Sunday, September 25: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 21, 2011

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


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippians 2:1-11.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 2:1-11.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Philippians 2:6-11.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matt 21:28-32.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 21:28-32.

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study on Matt 21:28-32. Video, 59 minutes.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matt 21:28-32.

UPDATE: Is God Fair? Round Two. This Sunday’s readings are thematically similar to last Sunday’s readings; a fact not lost on Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma; hence the second part of the title, “Round Two.”

Pending? Father Maas’ Commentary on Matt 21:28-32.

Word Sunday:

  • MP3 PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we will consider why people change plans and the depth of that change in their lives.
  • FIRST READING The prophet Ezekiel railed against the presumptive spirit of the people. These “good” people felt they were being treated unfairly, even as they judged sinner. Yet, as the prophet proclaimed, it was the people who were unfair, unfair in their pride and unfair in their judgment. God only cared for repentance, not self-righteousness.
  • PSALM Psalm 25 was a hymn of supplication, but it also extolled the virtue of faithfulness.
  • SECOND READING St. Paul wrote to the church in Philippia about the need for humility. Christians are to follow the Lord and do as he did. As he emptied himself and suffered, so must we be willing to do for the good of others and the glory of God.
  • GOSPEL Matthew presented a short parable about the choice of two sons. One refused his father’s request, then relented. The other agreed to his father’s request and did nothing. The point of the parable was not the moral character of the sons but their obedience to the father. Their choice was a question of doing the will of the Father and their place in his Kingdom.
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the poem with the first reading, we ask what would happen if no one said “I’m sorry.” In the story for the gospel, Eddie and his brother were playing at a family picnic. Eddie told his parents he would help them clean up, but kept playing until it was time to leave. His brother got in trouble for refusing to help, but then relented. How did Eddie feel about this situation? How was this like the parable of the two sons in Matthew’s gospel?
  • CATECHISM LINK In this week’s Catechism Link, we consider the place of God the Father in our lives, and how he continually calls us back to him.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY Discuss the parable of the two sons with your family members. How do people change to help themselves feel better? Why do people lie and try to shift blame?

Haydock Bible Commentary. Originally posted in 2008. Contains readings from the Douay-Rheims translation followed by notes from the commentary.

Bible Workshop. Includes related links; guide for reading; comparison of the readings; suggested lessons.

Gospel Reading with Meditation.

Historical Cultural Context. Interesting insights in light of first century Mediterranean culture.

Thoughts from the Early Church. Excerpt from a homily by St Clement of Alexandria.

Scripture in Depth. Succinct summaries of the readings and Psalm.

Catholic Matters. Readings followed by brief explanations.

Parish Bible Study. Pdf document. Notes on the readings used in a parish bible study.

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological overview of the readings. Can be printed out and used for bulletin insert.

Scott Hahn’s Podcast. Audio, very brief. Does good job of highlighting major theme(s) of the readings.


Today’s Roman Missal. Latin and English side by side.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Galatians 5:25-26; 6:1-10.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Luke 7:11-16.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 7:11.

NOTE: The following links are to online books, use the site’s zoom feature to enlarge text size for easier reading.

Devout Instruction on the Epistle and Gospel.

The Miracle of Nain and its Lesson for Christian Souls. Homily on the Gospel.

The Necessity of Always Being Prepared for Death. Homily on the Gospel.

Homily on the Epistle.

Homily on the Gospel. Starts near bottom of the page.

Homily Notes: can be used for sermon suggestions, points for meditation or further study.

Bearing One Another’s Burdens. On Galatians 6:2.

Support of Pastors. On Galatians 6:6.

Three Kinds of Death. On the Gospel.

Human Life. On the Gospel.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy | 2 Comments »

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 7:11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 21, 2011

The following is from a sermon which survives only in fragmentary fashion.

7:11. And it came to pass the day after, He was going to a city called Nair, and His disciples were going with Him,…

*         *         *         *         *         *         But observe how He joins miracle to miracle: and in the former instance, the healing of the centurion’s servant, He was present by invitation: but here He draws near without being invited. For no one summoned Him to restore the dead man to life, but He comes to do so of His own accord. And He seems to me to have purposely made this miracle also follow upon the former. For there was nothing improbable in supposing that at some time or other some one might rise up and say, in opposition to the Saviour’s glory, ‘What is the prodigy wrought in the case of the centurion’s son? For though he was ailing, he was in no danger of death, even though the Evangelist has so written, shaping his narrative rather with a view to what was pleasant, than to what was true.’ To stop therefore the intemperate tongue of such detractors, he says, that Christ met the dead young man, the only son of a widow. It was a pitiable calamity, able to arouse one’s lamentation, and make one’s tears gush forth; and the woman follows, stupified with her misfortune, and all but fainting, and many with her.

[From the Syriac] * * *: for that dead man was being buried, and many friends were conducting him to his tomb. But there meets him the Life and Resurrection, even Christ: for He is the |133 Destroyer of death and of corruption: He it is “in Whom we live and move and are:” He it is Who has restored the nature of man to that which it originally was; and has set free our death-fraught flesh from the bonds of death. He had mercy upon the woman, and that her tears might be stopped, He commanded, saying, “Weep not.” And immediately the cause of her weeping was done away: how, or by what method? He touched the bier, and by the utterance of his godlike word, made him who was lying thereon return again to life: for He said, “Young man, I say unto thee. Arise;” and immediately that which was commanded was done: the actual accomplishment attended upon the words, “And that dead man, it says, sat up, and began to speak, and He gave him to his mother.”

Observe here too, I pray you, the accuracy of the expression: for the divine Evangelist not only says, that the dead man sat up, but lest any one should by false arguments attack the miracle, saying,’ What wonder! if by means of some artifice or other the body was set upright! for it is not as yet clearly proved to be alive, or delivered from the bonds of death:’—-for this reason he very skilfully notes down two proofs one after the other, sufficient to produce the conviction that he did in very truth arise and was restored. “For he began, he says, to speak”—-but an inanimate body cannot speak—-“And He gave him to his mother:”—-but assuredly the woman would not have taken her son back to her house if he had boon dead, and had breathed his last.

Those persons therefore who were restored to life by the power of Christ, we take as a pledge of the hope prepared for us of a resurrection of the dead: and these were, this young man, and Lazarus of Bethany, and the daughter of the chief of the synagogue. And this truth the company of the holy prophets proclaimed before: for the blessed Isaiah said, “The dead shall arise, and those in the graves shall be restored to life: for the dew from Thee is healing to them.” And by dew he means the life-giving operation of Christ, which is by the instrumentality of the Holy Ghost. And the Psalmist bears witness, thus speaking concerning them in words addressed to God the Saviour of us all. “When Thou turnest away Thy face they are troubled, and return to their dust. |134 Thou sendest Thy Spirit, and they are created, and Thou renewest the face of the ground.” For it was by reason of Adam’s transgression of the commandment that we, having our faces turned away from God, returned to our dust: for the sentence of God upon human nature was, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return:” but at the time of the consummation of this world, the face of the earth shall be renewed: for God the Father by the Son in the Spirit will give life to all those who are laid within it.

It is death that has brought men to old age and corruption: death therefore has made old, that is to say, has corrupted: for “that which is made old, and is growing aged, is near corruption,” as Scripture saith: but Christ renews, in that He is “the Life.” For He Who in the beginning created, is able again to renew unto incorruption and life. For one may well affirm that it is the office of one and the same energy and power, to effect both the one and the other. As therefore the prophet Isaiah says, “‘He hath swallowed up death, having become mighty.” And again, “The Lord hath taken away all weeping from every countenance. He hath taken away the reproach of the people from all the earth.” By the reproach of the people he means sin, which disgraces and depraves men: and which, together with destruction, shall be slain, and sorrow and death shall perish, and the tears cease which are shed on its account.

Disbelieve not therefore the resurrection of the dead; for long ago Christ wrought it among us with a Godlike majesty. And let no man say, that He Who raised two, for instance, or three, and effected thus much, is not thoroughly sufficient for the life also of us all. Such words, foul with utter ignorance, are simply ridiculous. Right rather is it for us to understand, that He is the Life, and the Life-giver by nature. And how can the Life be insufficient for making all alive? It would be the same thing as to say in one’s excessive folly, that the Light also is sufficient indeed for little things, but not for the Universe.

He therefore arose who was descending to his grave. And the manner of his rising is plain to see; “for He touched, it says, the bier, and said, Young man, I say unto thee, arise.” And yet how was not a word enough for raising him who was lying there? For what is there difficult to it, or past |135 accomplishment? What is more powerful than the Word of God? Why then did He not effect the miracle by a word only, but also touched the bier? It was, my beloved, that thou mightest learn that the holy body of Christ is effectual for the salvation of man. For the flesh of the Almighty Word is the body of life, and was clothed with His might. For consider, that iron, when brought into contact with fire, produces the effects of lire, and fulfils its functions; so, because it became the flesh of the Word, Who gives life to all, it therefore also has the power of giving life, and annihilates the influence of death and corruption 20. May our Lord Jesus Christ also touch us, that delivering us from evil works, even from fleshly lusts, He may unite us to the assemblies of the saints; for He is the giver of all good, by Whom, and with Whom, to God the Father, be praise and dominion, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen. (source)

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My Notes on Haggai 1:1-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2011

Hag 1:1  In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Aggeus (Haggai) the prophet, to Zorobabel (Zerubbabel) the son of Salathiel, governor of Juda, and to Jesus (Joshua) the son of Josedec the high priest, saying:

In the second  year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month. Darius (dah-rye-us) reigned over the Persian empire from 522 to 485 BC. He is most famous for his attack Greece which ended in his defeat at the battle of Marathon in 490.

The time indicator in this verse establishes a date somewhere in our months of August or September.  Other time references in the book show that the oracles of Haggai were delivered between this period and the beginning of the Judean winter, i.e., the sixth and ninth months of 520 BC according to the Jewish calender.  This is the same year that construction of the second Temple began in Jerusalem under the governor, Zerubbabel, and the high priest Joshua (see Ezra 3). It should be noted that the foundations for the Temple had been laid in 538, soon after the first group of repatriates entered back into the land at the end of the Babylonian exile. Facing opposition from the Samaritans and, very likely, other inhabitants of the land, the people had soon ceased the effort to rebuild.  Also, the people may have become disheartened by the realization that the proposed new Temple would not come close to matching the glory and splendor of the one Solomon had built (Haggai 2:3-4).

the word of the Lord came by the hand of Aggeus (Haggai) the prophet,

This or similar phrasing is common in the bible, especially in the opening verses of the prophetic literature. See for example Jer 1:2; Hosea 1:1; Joel 1:1. See also Luke 3:1-2. This type of phrasing is also often used to introduce specific prophecies.

to Zorobabel (Zerubbabel) the son of Salathiel, governor of Juda, and to Jesus (Joshua) the son of Josedec the high priest. Zerubbabel and Joshua are here possibly identified as the primary recipients of the oracles, but these were also intended for the people (see Haggai 1:12).  Zerubbabel was a descendent of King David (see Matt 1:12). For what reason are these two singled out? Perhaps they, unlike the rest of the people, were still intent on rebuilding the Temple.

Hag 1:2  Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: This people saith: The time is not yet come for building the house of the Lord.

Many scholars argue that the people’s excuse is due to their belief that the seventy years of exile prophesied by Jeremiah had not yet fully passed (see Jer 25:11).  A more plausible explanation is found in the very nest verses.

Hag 1:3  And the word of the Lord came by the hand of Aggeus the prophet, saying:
Hag 1:4  Is it time for you to dwell in ceiled houses, and this house lie desolate?
Hag 1:5  And now thus saith the Lord of hosts: Set your hearts to consider your ways.
Hag 1:6  You have sowed much, and brought in little: you have eaten, but have not had enough: you have drunk, but have not been filled with drink: you have clothed yourselves, but have not been warmed: and he that hath earned wages, put them into a bag with holes.

The people had become concerned with the grind of day to day living. They had become concerned with building a better life for themselves, desiring fine houses,  clothing, and rich harvests so that they might eat and drink to their content. But this worldly desire of theirs went unfulfilled. They planted much but reaped little. They ate but remained unsated. They drank but their thirst was unquenched.  Cold of heart in their devotion towards God their clothing could not keep them warm of body. What they earned was but loss. It was impossible for them to live in fine houses with ornamented ceilings for their priorities were wrong. I am reminded of our Lord’s words in the Sermon on the Mount: Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is to day, and to morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying: What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof (Matt 6:25-34).

Hag 1:7  Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Set your hearts upon your ways:
Hag 1:8  Go up to the mountain, bring timber, and build the house: and it shall be acceptable to me, and I shall be glorified, saith the Lord.

Speaking through the prophet the Lord had told the people in verse 5: set your hearts to consider your ways. That consideration was meant to bring out the reality of their situation, i.e., the emptiness and non-accomplishment of all their striving and desires.  Here they are called upon to consider what should be their way, i.e., putting God first by building his Temple (house). As the prophet goes on to indicate, the reason why the people have fared badly is due to the fact that the Temple lies in ruins (Haggai 1:9-11). As a result of the prophet’s exhortations the people undertook the imperative of verse 8 and began to build the Lord’s house (Haggai 1:14-15).

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This Weeks Posts: Sunday, September 18-Saturday, September 24

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2011


Blogging will be sparse this week. I’ll try to post something every day but can promise nothing.


Mass Resources for Today’s Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Today’s Divine Office.

Last Weeks Posts.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Background on Today’s First Reading (Ezra 1:1-6). Excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia on the Babylonian Exile. The book of Ezra is concerned with the end of the Exile and the period of restoration.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Ezra 1:1-6).

UPDATE: Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (126).

UPDATE: St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Psalm (126).

UPDATE: St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Today’s Psalm (126).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 8:16-18).

Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegõn, priest and martyr and  Saint Paul Chõng Hasang, martyr and their companions, martyrs

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

UPDATE: Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (122).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 8:19-21).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13).

UPDATE: St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (19).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:9-13).

UPDATE: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Haggai 1:1-8).

UPDATE: Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (149).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:18-22).

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Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2011

Chapter 4. In this chapter the Apostle earnestly exhorts the Christians of Ephesus to lead a holy life, in accordance with the sanctity of the faith to which they had been called.

1. I therefore entreat you, I, the bound in the Lord, that you walk worthily of the vocation by which you are called,

Therefore, in consideration of the blessing of God, who has called you from eternity, out of heathenism and infidelity, to faith, and grace, and glory, equally with his own people the Jews, I Paul, prisoner for Christ’s sake and yours, entreat you to walk worthily of the mystical Body of Christ to which you belong, and the inheritance of God to which you look forward. A prisoner on your account, says Theodoret; for if I did not preach, I should be free. It is obvious that this request of the Apostle is equally applicable to all Christians and Catholics, in all countries and all ages; each individual among whom was
born a Gentile and a child of wrath, and is called into the fellowship of the Saints and the household of God, and made a child of God, and a Christian, which signifies another Christ.

2. With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in charity,

With all humility, the Greek and the Syriac have, humility of mind, not affected, but arising from a genuine sense of your own personal unworthiness. Gentleness, or moderation of speech and action, is the daughter of humility, and is opposed to irritability, as humility is to arrogance. The prominence which the Apostle gives to these graces indicates apparently that he thought the Ephesian Christians likely to be deficient in them. They would scarcely learn them from the teachers of heresy; and they are virtues which were unknown to, or not much prized and cultivated by, the pagan world. With patience and charity bearing one another’s imperfections, which is charity’s most difficult task, while yet it is one which
genuine humility would dictate, for we all have imperfections of our own.

3. Solicitous to keep the unity of the spirit in the chain of peace.

Solicitous to keep unity. Indifference to peace, the unity of souls, the integrity of the Church, is a crime; but it is a much greater crime to be the cause of disunion.  The Christian should ever be solicitous to keep unity of
belief, sentiment, and affection. Peace is a chain which binds souls together by a bond not inconsistent with freedom, for it is voluntary. This is obviously true, if applied to any voluntary association of a small number of persons; it is not less true in the holy Catholic Church, the members of which adhere to Christ by faith and love, but are under no compulsion.

4. One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your vocation.
5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
6. One God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all.

(vs 4) One body and one spirit. There is no verb, either in the Greek text or the Vulgate. These sentences are so many inducements to unity of sentiment and action; but it seems probable also that there is a side reference to the errors of the heretics of the time. They despised the Catholic Church, and held to an inner and invisible fellowship peculiar to themselves, for which reason the Apostle says there is one body, the mystical body of Jesus Christ.  And one Spirit, not a multitude of celestial intelligences with different influences exerted over the souls of men. All baptised Christians are called to the same glorious destined to share the immortality of Christ in heaven. You are all called in one hope of your vocation. You have all one Lord (vs 5), and your allegiance is not divided among a number of Angels and Archangels as your patrons and mediators- You have all one faith, not a creed taught publicly to the ignorant, and a different one reserved for those initiated into the mysteries of oriental philosophy. One baptism, it is extremely probable the heretics had another, or some similar ceremony of initiation for those whom they admitted to intimate association. One God (vs 6), for the heretics recognised two, an evil Deity who made the world, and an unseen and unknown abstraction from whom proceeded the celestial intelligences whom they proclaimed as the real objects of devotion. It is further necessary to observe, in order to explain what follows, that they regarded the evil Creator of the world as the author of the Old Testament, and God of the Jews, and consequently the enemy of Christ, and while adopting some of the external rites of Judaism, taught secretly that the wisdom of man consisted in disobedience to all the moral commands of the Creator of the world. This is why the Apostle finds it necessary to insist so strongly, as he does in this and the following two chapters of this Epistle, upon the sanctity of the Christian life. And in this verse for the same reason he adds that the Creator of the world is the Father of Christ and all Christ’s people; that he is above all angels and intelligences whatever; that his power and presence extend through all things, visible and invisible, and that his Spirit dwells in us all, not only in a few who are endowed by the law of their creation with a superior nature which makes them different from their fellow men. It would seem as if this passage must have suggested the phraseology of the Creed of Nicea, I believe in one God, in one Lord Jesus Christ, I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.

7. But to each one of us grace is given, according to the measure of the donation of Christ.

Although there is but one Spirit who dwells in all Christians, his gifts are various, both in degree and in kind. This inequality in the gifts of the Spirit might possibly occasion pride, discontent, or envy; and as has been said, the heretics attributed these gifts to the influences of different celestial spirits. St. Paul meets this by showing: 1, as in this verse, that God’s gifts are assigned to each by the donation or gift of Christ, in his wisdom and power, not necessarily in proportion to merit; 2, that they are not the property of the receiver, but belong to the whole Church, in Eph 4:12; 3, that this variety tending to unity should be a cause of harmony and not of discord, verse 13.

11. And he himself gave some indeed apostles, and some prophets, and others evangelists, and others pastors and teachers,
12. To the consummation of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ.
13. Until we all meet into the unity of the faith and recognition of the Son of God, to perfect man, to the measure of the age of the plenitude of Christ.

The Apostle here reverts to the gifts which Christ, ascending to his throne at the right hand of God, received from his Father and transmitted and communicated to the human race, whose nature he had assumed. These gifts did not consist in any provision for this mortal life, for he had already given the earth to man to cultivate, inhabit, and improve ; they were gifts far higher and more spiritual, worthy of the Giver, providing for the perfection :and consummation of those who receive them. If all mankind have not benefited by them, this is not the fault of God, who requires only faith as the condition of their enjoyment. They consist in the graces required to bring human nature to its absolute and ideal perfection, the standard of which is the plenitude of Christ, the sharing his divine perfection. But this requiring, from the nature of the case, the co- operation of the human will (for an influence which crushed freedom and left the will no room to operate, would not have been worthy of God, nor done justice to the nature of man) the Divine Wisdom saw fit to communicate these gifts by the aid of human agency.

Christ therefore gave, as his present to mankind, the twelve Apostles, to proclaim the Gospel of his redemption. With the Twelve, were associated Paul, Barnabas, and Silas. The prophets of theNew Testament explained the mysteries of the faith, and sometimes predicted the future, like Agabus in Acts 21:10. Their place is now taken by the interpreters and expositors of the Holy Scriptures. The Evangelists are the authors of the four Gospels; also the seventy disciples whom Christ sent before his face; the term is also applied to those who aided and assisted the Apostles in the preaching of the Gospel, as Titus, Timothy, Apollo, Silas. In Acts 21:8, Philip the deacon, who baptized the eunuch of Ethiopia, Acts 8 is st}yled Philip the Evangelist. Pastors are bishops and priests entrusted with the care of souls; and doctors those who teach the people of Christ. St. Paul does not say, and some doctors, because the offices of pastor and doctor, though they are distinguishable in their function, are always united in the same person, all pastors being teachers, and all teachers pastors. The Apostolic office is continued in the Church m the person of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, who also exercises the prophetic office, in that he is the referee in all questions of faith and morals, and is the centre of evangelistic work, but what he more especially exercises is the office of Pastor. Only to Peter Christ said Feed my sheep. Bishops and priests execute this office locally, in dioceses or parishes, but their pastoral mission is necessarily derived from this commission to Peter, as Pastor of the whole Church. The word pastor or shepherd, used figuratively in the Old Testament, always means a King. See 1 Kings 21:17,
Isa 44:28. St. Paul appears to have expected the return of Christ in the lifetime of most of the members of the Apostolic College, so that it was less necessary for him to dwell on this point. Although the offices enumerated by the Apostle are distinct, there is no reason why one or more of them may not be combined in the same person.

(vs 12). We have now the object to which all this is directed, the consummation or perfection of the Saints. The Syriac has the completion of their number. The Apostle names first the end to be attained, the perfection of the Saints, and then the means by which it is accomplished; the work of the ministry, and the edification, or building up, the body of Christ, the holy Catholic Church. This is not attained simply by the existence of a hierarchy and priesthood, but by their actively engaging in the work of their ministry, or several offices, and their gifts are bestowed upon them, not for their own use, but for the edification of the Church.

(Vs. 13). Then St. Paul describes the mode of action and the nature of the result obtained by the edification of the Church. The work of the ministry is to continue until we, the believers in Christ in all parts and countries of the world, meet in one point, like travellers who set out from various places but all converge in the same place, the unity of the faith, and recognition, or knowledge, of the Son of God. The Syriac has: Until we all become one whole, in faith and knowledge of the Son of God, and one perfect man, into the measure of the stature of his fullness. The work of the ministry must therefore continue to the end of the world, until we are all come, when the various ofiices in the Church of Christ will cease, as no longer necessary. To perfect man. A figure drawn from the growth of the human body, through infancy, childhood and youth, to its full height and strength. So the Christian grows in faith, and the knowledge and love of God, and becomes by degrees complete and perfect in Christ. The work of the Church is not only to make converts to the faith of Christ, but when made, to bring them to his perfect likeness. The measure of the age or Stature (the Greek word will signify either), the Syriac has stature, of the fullness of Christ, is the perfection of faith and love, by which Christ is formed in the Christain, and the Christian, as it were, transformed into Christ.

The Apostle’s figure is clearly to be understood of the spiritual perfection which the Saints are to attain, or may attain, in this mortal life. Nevertheless some Latin writers, and especially scholastic writers, have taken the words literally and not figuratively, and understand St. Paul to refer to the resurrection of the body, in the perfect age and stature which Christ had at the time of his death and resurrection. And they maintain that the Apostle means to say that all who die, even when infants, will be raised to the size and stature they would have had at the age of thirty-four or thirty-five years. St. Augustine refers to this interpretation as extant in his time, De Civit. Dei, xxii. 15, but rejects it, preferring the former or figurative interpretation. Some writers have even erroneously inferred that women, with the exception of the Mother of God, will rise masculine…But whatever may be the opinion of these writers, the Church has never accepted it, any more than the reason given by Scotus in favor of it, viz. that the feminine sex is a fault or imperfection of nature. For woman is as perfect as man…And her sex can hardly be a fault of nature, since woman was formed by the hands of the Creator from the side of man. And there can be no reason why, if the Mother of God retains her sex, other women may not retain it also. The plenitude of Christ is the perfection of his charity, humility, constancy, and other divine graces, in all of which there is no reason why women and men may not equally attain perfection.


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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 8:19-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2011

Ver 19. Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.20. And it was told him by certain which said, Your mother and your brethren stand without, desiring to see you.21. And he answered and said to them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

TIT. BOST. Our Lord had left His kinsfolk according to the flesh, and was occupied in His Father’s teaching. But when they began to feel His absence, they came to Him, as it is said, Then came to him his mother and his brethren. When you hear of our Lord’s brethren you must include also the notions of piety and grace. For no one in regard of His divine nature is the brother of the Savior, (for He is the Only-begotten,) but He has, by the grace of piety, made us partakers in His flesh and His blood, and He who is by nature God has become our brother.

THEOPHYL; But those who are said to be our Lord’s brethren according to the flesh, you must not imagine to be the children of the blessed Mary, the mother of God, as Helvidius thinks, nor the children of Joseph by another wife, as some say, but rather believe to be their kinsfolk.

TIT. BOST. His brethren thought that when He heard of their presence He would send away the people, from respect to His mother’s name, and from His affection towards her, as it follows, And it was told him, Your mother and your brethren stand without.

CHRYS. Think what it was, when the whole people stood by, and were hanging upon His mouth, (for His teaching had already begun,) to withdraw Him away from them. Our Lord accordingly answers as it were rebuking them, as it follows, And he answered and said to them, My mother and my brethren are they which hear the word of God, and do it, &c.

AMBROSE; The moral teacher who gives himself an example to others, when about to enjoin upon others, that he who has not left father and mother, is not worthy of the Son of God, first submits Himself to this precept, not that He denies the claims of filial piety, (for it is His own sentence, He that knows not his father and mother shall die the death,) but because He knows that He is more bound to obey His Father’s mysteries than the feelings of His mother. Nor however are His parents harshly rejected, but the bonds of the mind are shown to be more sacred than those of the body. Therefore in this place He does not disown His mother, (as some heretics say, eagerly catching at His speech,) since she is also acknowledged from the cross; but the law of heavenly ordinances is preferred to earthly affection.

THEOPHYL; They then who hear the word of God and do it, are called the mother of our Lord, because they daily in their actions or words bring Him forth as it were in their inmost hearts; they also are His brethren where they do the will of His Father, Who is in heaven.

CHRYS. Now He does not say this by way of reproof to His mother, but to greatly assist her, for if He was anxious for others to beget in them a just opinion of Himself, much more was He for His mother. And He had not raised her to such a height if she were always to expect to be honored by Him as a son, and never to consider Him as her Lord.

THEOPHYL. But some take this to mean that certain men, hating Christ’s teaching, and mocking at Him for His doctrine, said, Your mother and your brethren stand without wishing to see you; as if thereby to show His meanness of birth. And He therefore knowing their hearts gave them this answer, that meanness of birth harms not, but if a man, though of low birth, hear the word of God, He reckons him as His kinsman. Because however hearing only saves no one, but rather condemns, He adds, and does it; for it becomes us both to hear and to do. But by the word of God He means His own teaching. for all the words which He Himself spoke were from His Father.

AMBROSE; In a mystical sense he ought not to stand without who was seeking Christ. Hence also that saying, Come to him, and be enlightened. For if they stand without, not even parents themselves are acknowledged; and perhaps for our example they are not. How are we acknowledged by Him if we stand without? That meaning also is not unreasonable, because by the figure of parents He points to the Jews of whom Christ was born, and thought the Church to be preferred to the synagogue.

THEOPHYL; For they cannot enter within when He is teaching whose words they refuse to understand spiritually. But the multitude went before and entered into the house, because when the Jews rejected Christ the Gentiles flocked to Him. But those who stand without, wishing to see Christ, are they, who not seeking a spiritual sense in the law, have placed themselves without to guard the letter of it, and as it were rather compel Christ to go out, to teach them earthly things, than consent to enter in themselves to learn spiritual things.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 8:16-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2011

Ver 16. No man, when he has lighted a candle, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed; but sets it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.17. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.18. Take heed therefore how you hear: for whosoever has, to him shall be given; and whosoever has not, form him shall be taken even that which he seems to have.

THEOPHYL; Having before said to His Apostles, To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others in parables; He now shows that by them at length must the same mystery be revealed also to others, saying, No man when he has lighted a candle covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed.

EUSEB. As if He said, As a lantern is lighted that it should give light, not that it should be covered under a bushel or a bed, so also the secrets of the kingdom of heaven when uttered in parables, although hid from those who are strangers to the faith, will not however to all men appear obscure. Hence he adds, For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest, neither any thing hid that shall not be known, and come abroad. As if He said, Though many things are spoken in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand, because of their unbelief, yet the whole matter shall be revealed.

AUG. Or else in these words He typically sets forth the boldness of preaching, that no one should, through fear of fleshly ills, conceal the light of knowledge For under the names of vessel and bed, he represents the flesh, but of that of lantern, the word, which whosoever keeps hid through fear of the troubles of the flesh, sets the flesh itself before the manifestation of the truth, and by it he as it were covers the word, who fears to preach it. But he places a candle upon a candlestick who so submits his body to the service of God, that the preaching of the truth stands highest in his estimation, the service of the body lowest.

ORIGEN; But he who would adapt his lantern to the more perfect disciples of Christ, must persuade us by those things which were spoken of John, for he was a burning and a shining light. It becomes not him then who lights the light of reason in his soul to hide it under a bed where men sleep, nor under any vessel, for he who does this provides not for those who enter the house for whom the candle is prepared, but they must set it upon a candlestick, that is, the whole Church.

CHRYS. By these words he leads them to diligence of life, teaching them to be strong as exposed to the view of all men, and fighting in the world as on a stage. As if he said, Think not that we dwell in a small part of the world, for you will be known of all men, since it cannot be that so great virtue should lie hid.

MAXIM. Or perhaps the Lord calls Himself a light shining to all who inhabit the house, that is, the world, since He is by nature God, but by the dispensation made flesh. And so like the light of the lamp He abides in the vessel of the flesh by means of the soul as the light in the vessel of the lamp by means of the flame. But by the candlestick he describes the Church over which the divine word shines, illuminating the house as it were by the rays of truth. But under the similitude of a vessel or bed he referred to the observance of the law, under which the word will not be contained.

THEOPHYL; But the Lord ceases not to teach us to hearken to His word, that we may be able both to constantly, meditate on it in our own minds, and to bring it forth for the instruction of others. Hence it follows, Take heed therefore how you hear; for whosoever has, to him shall be given. As if he says, Give heed with all your mind to the word which you hear, for to him who has a love of the word, shall be given also the sense of understanding what he loves; but whoso has no love of hearing the word, though he deems himself skillful either from natural genius, or the exercise of learning, will have no delight in the sweetness of wisdom; for oftentimes the slothful man is gifted with capacities, that if he neglect them he may be the more justly punished for his negligence, since that which he can obtain without labor he disdains to know, and sometimes the studious man is oppressed with slowness of apprehension, in order that the more he labors in his inquiries, the greater may be the recompense of his reward.

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My Notes on Ezra 1:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2011

Ezr 1:1  In the first year of Cyrus king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremias might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of the Persians: and he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and in writing also, saying:
Ezr 1:2  Thus saith Cyrus king of the Persians: The Lord the God of heaven hath given to me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea.

(vs 1). In the first year of Cyrus, king of the Persians. A close connection is established between the end of the Second Book of Chronicle and today’s reading (see 2 Chron 36:22-23). Many modern scholars think that 1 & 2 Chronicle, along with Ezra and Nehemiah, once formed a unified work. They often refer to these books as “the Chronicler’s History”.

In October of 539 BC Cyrus the Persian breached the walls of Babylon, thus becoming, proverbially at least, recipient and ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. In the first year of his reign after the defeat of Babylon he instituted a very benign policy towards the Jews, Babylon’s former captives. The author of Ezra attributes this to the Lord who stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of the Persians to issue a proclamation (literally, “a voice”) throughout all his kingdom, both in word and in writing. The opening of the proclamation (verse 2), like the introduction to it in verse 1, is insistent on the fact that his actions are according to the will of God: The Lord the God of heaven hath given to me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea.

The author sees in these events the fulfillment of the prophecies of Jeremias (Jeremiah). See Jer 25:12, Jer 29:10. See also Isaiah 44:26.

Ezr 1:3  Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him. Let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and build the house of the Lord the God of Israel: he is the God that is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 1:4  And let all the rest in all places wheresoever they dwell, help him every man from his place, with silver and gold, and goods, and cattle, besides that which they offer freely to the temple of God, which is in Jerusalem.

The proclamation continues with a question: Who is there among you of all his people? This was a common form of greeting at that time but the words were also probably intended to be rhetorical, introducing the wish his God be with him, along with the exhortations which follow. Two groups are addressed with exhortation. The first are those willing to go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and build the house of the Lord the God of Israel. The second group are all the rest in all places wheresoever they dwell. I understand this as a reference to the Jews who decided not to return to the promised land (but see next paragraph). They are bidden to aid the repatriates with silver and gold, and goods, and cattle, besides that which they offer freely to the temple of God, which is in Jerusalem.

The reference to all the rest may be directed to the Jews who wished to remain where they were, but many scholars see this exhortation as addressed to all Cyrus’ subjects. If this is the case there may be a contrasting allusion to the original Exodus.

Recall that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened towards God and his people (Exodus 5:1-13). This resulted in many punishments coming upon him and his people (Exodus, chapters 7-11). So grievous were these punishments that the Egyptians literally paid the Israelites to leave in  order to be rid of them (Exodus 3:19-22; Exodus 12:33-36). Here Cyrus needs not the type of motivation Pharaoh required. God’s actions upon people can have only three kinds of response: hardness of heart (Pharaoh); openness of heart (Cyrus); or cold indifference (Rev 3:16).

Ezr 1:5  Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Juda and Benjamin, and the priests, and Levites, and every one whose spirit God had raised up, to go up to build the temple of the Lord, which was in Jerusalem.

The leaders of the people, and the rank and file who decided to go up to build the temple of the Lord are said to be motivated by a spirit God had raised up. This connects with verse 1 which stated the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of the Persians. It also connects with verse 3 wherein Cyrus had exhorted the people to do what they are now described as doing. Once again the Lord’s action is shown to be the catalyst of these events. Cyrus may have described himself as possessing all the kingdoms of the earth (verse 2), but he possess them in virtue of the Lord the God of heaven (verse 2). Ultimately, he is just an actor on the stage of God’s great drama of salvation.

Ezr 1:6  And all they that were round about, helped their hands with vessels of silver, and gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with furniture, besides what they had offered on their own accord.

Fulfilling Cyrus’ exhortation in verse 4.

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