The Divine Lamp

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Archive for November, 2011

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Peter 3:8-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2011

This post includes the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 3, followed by his notes on today’s reading. In addition, I’ve also included the Bishop’s paraphrase of the text he is commenting on. The paraphrasing is in purple text.

Analysis of 2 Peter 3~In this chapter, the Apostle tells the faithful, that this is the second Epistle he addressed to them, in which, as well as in the former, he wished to remind them of the truths of faith, predicted by the prophets, and inculcated by the Apostles. He probably refers, in a particular manner, to the doctrine regarding the coming of Christ, in due time, to judge the world—a doctrine questioned by the false teachers (3:1-2). In order to put them on their guard, he tells them that such persons would come amongst them, and at all times trouble the Church (3:3). The principal error of these men will consist in ridiculing the great doctrine of Christ’s coming to judge the world. This is, indeed, the practical teaching of the impious at all times (3:4).

He refutes the teaching of those men, who probably ridiculed the idea of fire— one of the most active principles or elements of the present world—being made instrumental in its ruin, by showing that an element, which equally entered into the constitution of the present system—viz., water, was employed for its destruction, formerly. He thus refutes their assertion, that things continued in the same tvay from creation (3:5-6). He next refutes their deduction from analogy, that things would continue as they were for ever, by showing, that the world is to be destroyed by fire (3:7). The scoffs of the impious regarding the tardiness of Christ’s coming, he shows to be groundless; since the measure of time with God is quite different from that adopted by us (3:8). And, in truth, this delay is intended by God as a judgment of mercy, to give men time for repentance, and to enable the number of the elect to be filled up (3:9). He again repeats his assertion, that the present system of the world is to be changed and renovated (3:10)- and draws moral conclusions from thence—viz., that we should, by sanctity of life, prepare and fit ourselves for the renovated heavens and earth, the abode of the blessed (3:11-13), and endeavour to be found, in the presence of our Judge, free from spot (3:15).

He refers to the Epistle of St. Paul, as inculcating the same things, and observes regarding them, that they are difficult and hard to be understood; to persons not fit to read them, they are like all other inspired scriptures, a source of spiritual ruin (3:15-16).

Notes on 2 Peter 3:8-14~

2Pe 3:8  But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

But as for the railleries of these impious scoffers regarding the tardy performance of God’s promise to come and judge the world, they are to be unheeded; for, if the measure of time in the designs of God be considered, there is no room whatever for objection on this point. With him a thousand years and one day are the same; viewed in comparison with eternity, both are a mere point.

The Apostle now proceeds to point out how devoid of all foundation are the scoffs and railleries of those impious men with regard to the slowness and tardiness of Christ’s coming. With him, who beholds eternity at one glance, the longest and shortest periods of time are all the same; a thousand years as well as a single day compared with eternity are the same, infinitely distant from it; and hence, any delay in the coming of Christ, is, according to their computation of time, but not according to the measure adopted by Him.

2Pe 3:9  The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance,

The Lord does not put off, beyond the determined time, the execution of his promise, as some persons imagine, but he endures patiently and with long-suffering on your account, not willing that any persons should be lost, but that all should return to penance.

What men are apt to consider a delay on the part of God to fulfil his promise, is not a delay at all; but rather a gracious judgment of his mercy, an exercise of his long-suffering, wishing to give his people time for repentance; “not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should return to penance;” the meaning of which words is, that, by a sincere, antecedent will, God wishes no one to perish, but that all men should be saved; He also gives all men sufficient means of salvation. The words, “the Lord delayeth not his promise,” admit of this construction also, according to the Greek, ου βραδυνει κυριος της επαγγελιας, the Lord of the promise is not slow.  “As some imagine,” are thus read in the Greek, ως τινες βραδυτητα ηγουνται, as some compute slowness.  “For your sake.” In the common Greek, for our sake. The Codex Vaticanus has, εις υμας, the Alexandrian, δí υμας. Both support the Vulgate. How calculated is not the serious meditation on these words of the Apostle, “A thousand years with God is but as a single day,” to raise our thoughts to eternal enjoyments, and make us undervalue all the pleasures and riches and honours of this life, which, be it ever so prolonged, when compared with eternity, is but a mere point. “A thousand years in his sight is but as yesterday which is past and gone.” (Psalm 90:4) With the Psalmist we should frequently, in the day of trial and affliction, “Keep in mind the eternal years” (Psalm 77:6) Our conversation, our thoughts, should be in heaven, whence we are to expect, in his own good time, a deliverer; and we should rest assured, that if he appear tardy in coming to our relief, it is to give us time for penance, and to enable us to hoard up greater treasures of merit.

2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence and the elements shall be melted with heat and the earth and the works which are in it shall be burnt up.

But the day of the Lord, like the nightly and sudden approach of a thief, shall come unexpectedly; in it the heavens will pass away with a great crash, such as is occasioned by a violent storm of wind or the pealing of thunder, and the elements changing their figure and appearance, shall, all on fire, be dissolved with great heat, and the earth, with all its productions, natural and artificial, as well as the works of mankind shall be burnt up.

The day on which the Lord Jesus is to judge the world, will come unexpectedly, “as a thief,” to which, in the common Greek, is added (in the night). These latter words are not found in either the Alexandrian or Vatican manuscripts, and were, most likely, added here and taken from 1 Thess 5:2, where the day of judgment is described.  “In which the heavens shall pass away,” that is, the regions of the air, in Sacred Scriptures often called “heavens,” shall pass away, and, purged of all their present grossness and imperfection, shall be changed into a more perfect and incorruptible
form. “With great violence.” The Greek word, ροιζηδον, means the hissing or
crashing noise caused by a violent storm of wind or thunder. The fire of conflagration will, most probably, precede the coming of the judge, and causing the death of such men as will have survived the other precursory evils of the day of judgment, viz., famine, the sword, &c., shall continue to pass with great noise from hemisphere to hemisphere, and continue during the holding of the judgment, devouring and purging the elements, until, after the sentence of the judge, increasing in ardour and violence, it shall precipitate the impious into hell.

“And the elements shall be melted with heat.” Some understand these of the four elements, viz., fire, air, earth, and water. They shall be melted away, not in such a way, as to be utterly destroyed, but merely changed, just as melted gold loses its dross and form, while its substance remains. Others say, the “elements” refer only to the earth and water; for,the Apostle treated already of the element of air, when saying “the heavens shall pass away,” and as for the element of fire, they say it is hard to conceive how the fire of conflagration can destroy the elementary fire. To this it might, however, be replied, that it will only dissolve it, and depriving it of all grossness and imperfection, purify and render it a fit ingredient of the new creation, which is to be the dwelling place of the glorified children of God.

“And the earth, and the works which are in it.” He again repeats the burning of “the earth,” though contained under the words, “elements shall be destroyed,” because it has this peculiar to itself, that on its surface, men have made the most valuable improvements, and from its bowels come forth these treasures which worldlings prize most. “And the works which are in it,” that is to say, its animal and vegetable productions, as also the works of art, such as, buildings, gold, &c.; very likely he refers also to the moral works of man, which will be consumed by, and afford fuel to, the fire of conflagration.—(1 Cor 3:15). “If any one’s work burn,” &c. ; and the Apostle wishes to stimulate the faithful to perform works which will stand the test of this devouring fire; such is the moral exhortation clearly expressed in the following verses.

2Pe 3:11  Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in holy conversation and godliness?

Since, then, all things, heaven, the elements, and the works that are found in creation, are to be dissolved, and a new and perfect order of things to be introduced, how pure and holy should you not be both in the sanctity of your intercourse with your neighbor and in acts of piety towards God.

“What manner of people ought you to be,” that is, how perfectly elevated
above all terrestrial ideas and affections should you not be, to fit you for the new and perfect order of things which is to succeed the present; “in holy conversation,” in your several relations with men, “and godliness,” and your piety, acts of faith, hope, love, religion, &c., towards God. “Conversation and godliness,” are read in the plural in the Greek.

2Pe 3:12  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat?

Firmly hoping for, and hastening on to meet, or anticipating by your diligent preparation, the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens, being set on fire, will be disolved, and the elements shall melt away with a burning heat?

“Looking for,”‘ that is, by firm hope, looking forward to, “and hastening unto,” or, anticipating, in the fervour and zeal of your preparation, “the coming of the day of the Lord,” acting each day as you would, were the day of the Lord immediately at hand. “By which,” that is, either day, or coming of the Lord. “The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved.” The meaning of this is the same as that of verse 10; here, it is merely added, that the heat by which all things will be dissolved is the heat of fire. “The heavens will be dissolved.” This refers to the lower heavens or regions of the air; although it is most likely that the starry heavens will not be dissolved, it is still very probable, they will be changed or perfected, so as to suit the glorified condition of the children of God. ” The powers of heaven-(the stars) shall be moved,” as the Church sings in her Office, quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.”  “And the elements shall melt away with a burning heat.” They shall melt away like wax, with the form changed, the substance shall remain. “Transit figura hujus mundi” (i.e., “For the fashion of this world passeth away”, 1 Cor 7:31).

2Pe 3:13  But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promises, in which justice dwelleth.

But, although the present system of creation be dissolved, we look for and expect new and renovated heavens, a newly renovated earth, in which perfect justice and immaculate sanctity will dwell.

“But we look for new heavens,” that is, heavens renovated and perfected, into which the present heavens shall be changed, including both the lower air, or atmosphere, and the starry heaven. For, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days—(Isaiah 30:26).  “And a new earth,” the present earth renovated and changed in its qualities and purified of all the dross and imperfection, which it contracted from the “slavery of corruption.”—(Rom 8) “According to his promises.” The new heavens, &c., are promised (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22); or, the words may refer to the general promises of eternal happiness, made to the saints. ” In which justice dwelleth,” that is, which will be the seat and habitation of the blessed, free from all stains or defilements. “There shall not enter into it anything defiled.”—(Rev 21:27).

2Pe 3:14  Wherefore, dearly beloved, waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found before him unspotted and blameless in peace.

Wherefore, dearly beloved, as you are firmly hoping for this renovated state of things, this new heaven and new earth, exert all your care and diligence to be found by the Lord, at his coming, free from all gross crimes, particularly such as are practiced by the deceitful scoffers, and, as far as possible, free from lesser defects, in a state of peace both with God and your neighbor, thus calmly prepared to meet your judge.

“Wherefore, dearly beloved, seeing that you look for these things,” seeing that you expect a new heaven and a new earth, and a total renovation of all things, at the coming of Christ to judgment, and that you thus turn a deaf ear to the incredulous, and to the scofiing questions of the impious, asking, “where is his promise or his coming?” verse 4), “be diligent,” exert your utmost care and diligence, “that you may be found undefiled,” that is, free from the grosser crimes, such as the Simonites, Gnostics, and other heretics had fallen into, (“walking after their own lusts,” verse 3); “and undefiled,” free from lesser or venial faults, as far as possible. “To him,” in his presence, “in peace,” by being in peace both with God and your neighbour. Thus you will calmly and peaceably be prepared to meet the judge.


Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | 1 Comment »

Mass Resources for the Second Sunday of Advent, December 4, 2011 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2011


PLEASE NOTE: These resources are for Lectionary Year B. Lectionary Year C resources for 2012 are here.

This post contains resources for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. Most resources listed below are currently available. Those marked “Pending” will be posted Wednesday and/or Thursday evening. If other resources are added they will be marked UPDATE.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (85). Concerns the entire Psalm.

UPDATE: My Notes on Today’s Psalm (85). Brief notes on the entire Psalm. Today’s reading consists of verses 9-14.

Pending: My Notes on Today’s Second Reading (2 Peter 3:8-14).

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast Study on Today’s Second Reading (2 Peter 3:8-14). The study actually begins with verse 5.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (2 Peter 3:8-14).

Pending: My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:1-8).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:1-8).

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:1-8). Video study of the Gospel. Looks at the reading in some detail.

Father Philip’s Podcast Study on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:1-8). Audio. Contains an introduction to Mark followed by a study of Mark 1:1-20. You can access all of Father Philip’s podcasts here (scroll down for Mark).

Word Sunday: Lectionary Resources for Catholics (links below).

  • MP3 PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we discuss practical ways to wait upon the Lord.
  • FIRST READING Imagine what it would feel like to be free after a life of prison. Certainly, emotions would be mixed. Exhilaration with anxiety, joy with apprehension. Isaiah spoke words of freedom to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. God would come and save them!
  • PSALM Psalm 85 is a song of extreme confidence in the Lord. What he did once, he will do again!
  • SECOND READING What will the future bring? The era of confidence in progress is over. Most people hunker down in the face of coming events. Do we? 1 Peter spoke of fire and brimstone in the future. Yet, a closer look at that reading reveals a hope in a better life, a life beyond this world.
  • GOSPEL The opening lines of St. Mark’s gospel presented John the Baptist, the one who would announce the immanent appearance of the Messiah.
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS  In the story for the first reading, Juan disappointed his mother (and himself) with his grades. He worked hard, only to receive average marks. Then, a phone call from school changes everything, just like the words of Second Isaiah to captives in Babylon. In the story for the gospel, Jasmine sought a time of solace from the holiday rush. She found that time of peace around the family table during Advent prayers. A time of peace is important for us as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.
  • CATECHISM LINK In this week’s Catechism Link, we discuss John the Baptist, his message, and his relationship with Jesus.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY John the Baptist came to connect people to the Messiah. It’s that time of year to connect with others. Make Christmas cards a family tradition. That way, the family can draw closer together.

Gospel Reading with Meditation.

Historical Cultural Context. Concerned with the Gospel Reading.

Thoughts From the Early Church. Concerned with the Gospel. Excerpt from a Commentary by Origen.

The Scripture in Depth. Succinct look at all the readings.

Catholic Matters. The readings followed by brief explanations.

Parish Bible Study. Pdf document. Notes on the readings.

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background to the readings.

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

Father Robert Barron’s Homily Podcast. Link will take you to his archive page. As of this posting his homily for next Sunday has not yet been posted. Fr. Barron is a noted theologian and speaker.


Goffine’s Devout Instructions on the Epistle and Gospel. Readings and prayers from the Mass of the day, with brief instructions on the readings. Includes a short essay on Consolation in Adversities and Afflictions.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 15:4-9

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 15:4-9

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 15:4-9. Actually, this post is on 15:1-13.

Maldonado’s Commentary on the Gospel (Matt 11:2-10). Includes commentary on verse 11 since this reading (with vs 11) will be used in the Ordinary Form next Sunday.

Aquinas’ Commentary on the Gospel (Matt 11:2-10). See previous note.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on the Gospel (Matt 11:2-10). See previous note.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matt 11:2-11. See previous note.

St Jerome’s Homily on the Gospel.

St John Chrysostom’s Exegetical Homily on the Gospel. Actually, this is just on verse 7-11.

Homily on the Epistle. Prefaced by Epistle reading.

Homily on the Gospel. Prefaced by Gospel reading.

The Christian Decision. Homily on the Gospel.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Sermon Notes on the Epistle. Can be used for sermon prep, points for meditation or further study.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Sermon Notes on the GospelCan be used for sermon prep, points for meditation or further study.

Spiritual Reading. Sermon notes on Romans 15:4. Can be used for sermon prep, points for meditation or further study.

Miracles. Sermon notes on Matt 11:5. Can be used for sermon prep, points for meditation or further study.

Spiritual Disease. Sermon notes on Matt 11:5. Can be used for sermon prep, points for meditation or further study.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 1:1-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2011

Ver 1: The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Jerome, in Prolog: Mark the Evangelist, who served the priesthood in Israel, according to the flesh a Levite, having been converted to the Lord, wrote his Gospel in Italy, shewing in it how even his family benefited Christ. For commencing his Gospel with the voice of the prophetic cry, he shews the order of the election of Levi, declaring that John the son of Zachariah was sent forth by the voice of an angel, and saying, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Pseudo-Jerome: The Greek word ‘Evangelium’ means good tidings, in Latin it is explained, ‘bona annunciatio,’ or, the good news; these terms properly belong to the kingdom of God and to the remission of sins; for the Gospel is that by which comes the redemption of the faithful and the beatitude of the saints.

But the four Gospels are one, and one Gospel in four. In Hebrew, His name is Jesus, in Greek, Soter, in Latin, Salvator; but men say Christus in Greek, Messias in Hebrew, Unctus in Latin, that is, King and Priest.

Bede, in Marc., i, 1: The beginning of this Gospel should be compared with that of Matthew, in which it is said, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” But here He is called “the Son of God.”

Now from both we must understand one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, and of man. And fitly the first Evangelist names Him “Son of man,” the second, “Son of God,” that from less things our sense may by degrees mount up to greater, and by faith and the sacraments of the human nature assumed, rise to the acknowledgment of His divine eternity.

Fitly also did He, who was about to describe His human generation, begin with a son of man, namely, David or Abraham. Fitly again, he who was beginning his book with the first preaching of the Gospel, chose rather to call Jesus Christ, “the Son of God;” for it belonged to the human nature to take upon Him the reality of our flesh, of the race of the patriarchs, and it was the work of Divine power to preach the Gospel to the world.

Hilary, de Trin., iii, 11: He has testified, that Christ was the Son of God, not in name only, but by His own proper nature. We are the sons of God, but He is not a son as we are; for He is the very and proper Son, by origin, not by adoption; in truth, not in name; by birth, not by creation.

Ver 2. As it is written in the Prophets, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
3. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Bede: Being about to write his Gospel, Mark rightly puts first the testimonies of the Prophets, that he might notify to all, that what he should write was to be received without scruple of doubt, in that he shewed that these things were beforehand foretold by the Prophets. At once, by one and the same beginning of his Gospel, he prepared the Jews, who had received the Law and the Prophets, for receiving the grace of the Gospel, and those sacraments, which their own prophecies had foretold; and he also calls upon the Gentiles, who came to the Lord by publishing of the Gospel, to receive and venerate the authority of the Law and the Prophets; whence he says, “As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, Behold, &c.”

Jerome: Hierom. ad Pammach, Epist 57: But this is not written in Isaiah, but in Malachi, the last of the twelve prophets.

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: But it may be said that it is a mistake of the writer. Otherwise it may be said that he has compressed into one, two prophecies delivered in different places by two prophets; for in the prophet Isaiah it is written after the story of Hezekiah, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness;” but in Malachi, “Behold, I send mine angel.”

The Evangelist therefore, taking parts of two prophecies, has put them down as spoken by Isaiah, and refers them here to one passage, without mentioning, however, by whom it is said, “Behold, I send mine angel.”

Pseudo-Aug., Quaest. nov. et vet. Test. lvii: For knowing that all things are to be referred to their author, he has brought these sayings back to Isaiah, who was the first to intimate the sense.

Lastly, after the words of Malachi, he immediately subjoins, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness,” in order to connect the words of each prophet, belonging as they do to one meaning, under the person of the elder prophet.

Bede: Or otherwise, we must understand, that although these words are not found in Isaiah, still the sense of them is found in many other places, and most clearly in this which he has subjoined, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness.” For that which Malachi has called, the angel to be sent before the face of the Lord, to prepare His way, is the same thing as Isaiah has said is to be heard, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, saying, Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

But in each sentence alike, the way of the Lord to be prepared is proclaimed. It may be, too, that Isaiah occurred to the mind of Mark, in writing his Gospel, instead of Malachi, as often happens; which he would, however, without doubt correct, at least when reminded by other persons, who might read his work whilst he was yet in the flesh; unless he though that, since his memory was then ruled by the Holy Spirit, it was not without a purpose that the name of one prophet had occurred to him instead of another. For thus whatsoever things the Holy Spirit spoke by the prophets are implied each to have belonged to all, and all to each.

Jerome: By Malachi, therefore, the voice of the Holy Spirit resounds to the Father concerning the Son, who is the countenance of the Father by which He has been known.

Bede: But John is called an angel not by community of nature, according to the heresy of Origen [ed. note: Origen taught that all rational beings, angels, devils, and men, were of one nature, differing only in rank and condition, according to their deserts (in Joan, tom. ii, 17) and capable of change: that men had once been angels: that angels took human nature to serve man, and that St. John Baptist was an angel, quoting this text. (in Joan, ii, 25.) v Huet, Orig. II, qu. 5, No. 14, 24, 25], but by the dignity of his office; for angel in Greek is in Latin, nuntius (note: messenger), by which name that man is rightly called, who was sent by God, that he might bear witness of the light, and announce to the world the Lord, coming in the flesh; since it is evident that all who are priests may be their office of preaching the Gospel be called angels, as the prophet Malachi says, “The lips of the priest keep knowledge, and they seek the law at his mouth, because he is the Angel of the Lord of hosts.” [Mal_2:7]

Theophylact: The Forerunner of Christ, therefore, is call an angel, on account of his angelic life and lofty reverence. Again, where he says, “Before thy face,” it is as if he said, Thy messenger is near thee: whence is shewn the intimate connection of the Forerunner with Christ; for those walk next to kings who are their greatest friends.

There follows, “Who will prepare thy way before thee.”  For by baptism he prepared the minds of the Jews to receive Christ.

Pseudo-Jerome: Or, “the way of the Lord,” by which He comes into men, in penitence, by which God comes down to us, and we mount up to Him. And for this reason the beginning of John’s preaching was, “Repent ye.”

Bede: But as John might be called an angel, because he went before the face of the Lord by his preaching, so he might also be rightly called a voice, because, by his sound, he preceded the Word of the Lord.  Wherefore there follows, “The voice of one crying, &c.”

For it is an acknowledged thing that the Only-Begotten Son is called the Word of the Father, and even we, from having uttered words ourselves, know that the voice sounds first, in order that the word may afterwards by heard.

Pseudo-Jerome: But it is called “the voice of one crying,” for we are wont to use a cry to deaf persons, and to those afar off, or when we are indignant, all which things we know applied to the Jews; for “salvation is far from the wicked,” and they “stopped their ears like deaf adders,” and deserved to hear “indignation, and wrath, and tribulation” from Christ.

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: But the prophecy, by saying, “In the wilderness,” plainly shews that the divine teaching was not in Jerusalem, but in the wilderness, which was fulfilled to the letter by John the Baptist in the wilderness of Jordan, preaching the healthful appearing of the Word of God.

The word of prophecy also shews, that besides the wilderness, which was pointed out by Moses, where he made paths, there was another wilderness, in which it proclaimed that the salvation of Christ was present.

Pseudo-Jerome: Or else the voice and the cry is in the desert, because they were deserted by the Spirit of God, as a house empty, and swept out; deserted also by prophet, priest, and king.

Bede: What he cried is revealed, in that which is subjoined, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” For whosoever preaches a right faith and good works, what else does he but prepare the way for the Lord’s coming to the hearts of His hearers, that the power of grace might penetrate these hearts, and the light of truth shine in them? And the paths he makes straight, when he forms pure thoughts in the soul by the word of preaching.

Pseudo-Jerome: Or else, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” that is, act out repentance and preach it; “make his paths straight,” that walking in the royal road, we may love our neighbours as ourselves, and ourselves as our neighbours. For he who loves himself, and loves not his neighbour, turns aside to the right; for many act well, and do not correct their neighbour well, as Eli.

He, on the other hand, who, hating himself, loves his neighbour, turns aside to the left; for many, for instance, rebuke well, but act not well themselves, as did the Scribes and Pharisees.  “Paths” are mentioned after the “way” because moral commands are laid open after penitence.

Theophylact: Or, the “way” is the New Testament, and the “paths” are the Old, because it is a trodden path. For it was necessary to be prepared for the way, that is, for the New Testament; but it was right that the paths of the Old Testament should be straightened.

Ver 4. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.5. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.6. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;7. And preached, saying, “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.8. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”

Pseudo-Jerome: According to the above-mentioned prophecy of Isaiah, the way of the Lord is prepared by John, through faith, baptism, and penitence; the paths are made straight by the rough marks of the hair-cloth garment, the girdle of skin, the feeding on locusts and wild honey, and the most lowly voice; whence it is said, “John was in the wilderness.”

For John and Jesus seek what is lost in the wilderness; where the devil conquered, there he is conquered; where man fell, there he rises up.  But the name, John, means the grace of God, and the narrative begins with grace. For it goes on to say, “baptizing.” For by baptism grace is given, seeing that by baptism sins are freely remitted.

But what is brought to perfection by the bridegroom is introduced by the friend of the bridegroom. Thus catechumens, (which word means persons instructed,) begin by the ministry of the priest, receive the chrism from the bishop [ed. note: “Chrismantur.” Chrism in the Roman Church, was applied twice; at Baptism, and more solemnly to the forehead by the Bishop at Confirmation. In the Eastern Church, it was only given once, at Confirmation, and by the Bishop only. In the French Church, it was given once, usually at Baptism, by the Priest, but if for any reason omitted, by the Bishop at Confirmation, see Bingham, Antiq. b., xii, e. 2, 2].  And to shew this, it is subjoined, “And preaching the baptism of repentance, &c.”

Bede: It is evident that John not only preached, but also gave to some the baptism of repentance; but he could not give baptism for the remission of sins [ed. note: vol 1, p. 97, note A]. For the remission of sins is only given to us by the baptism of Christ. It is therefore only said, “Preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” for he “preached” a baptism which could remit sins, since he could not give it.

Wherefore as he was the forerunner of the Incarnate Word of the Father, by the word of his preaching, so by his baptism, which could not remit sins, he preceded that baptism,  of penitence, by which sins are remitted.

Theophylact: The baptism of John had not remission of sins, but only brought men to penitence. He preached therefore the baptism of repentance, that is, he preached that to which the baptism of penitence led, namely, remission of sins, that they who in penitence received Christ, might receive Him to the remission of their sins.

Pseudo-Jerome: Now by John as by the bridegroom’s friend, the bride is brought to Christ, as by a servant Rebecca was brought to Isaac [Gen_24:61]; wherefore there follows, “And there went out to him all, &c. For “confession and beauty are in his presence,” [Psa_96:6] that is, the presence of the bridegroom. And the bride leaping down from her camel signifies the Church, who humbles herself on seeing her husband Isaac, that is, Christ. But the interpretation of Jordan, where sins are washed away, in ‘an alien descent.’ For we heretofore aliens to God by pride, are by the sign of Baptism made lowly, and thus exalted on high [ed. note: see St. Cyril of Jerus., Cat. xx, 4-7].

Bede: An example of confessing their sins and of promising to lead a new life, is held out to those who desire to be baptized, by those words which follow, “confessing their sins.”

Chrys.” Because indeed John preached repentance, he wore the marks of repentance in his garment and in his food. Wherefore there follow, “And John was clothed in camel’s hair.”

Bede: It says, clothed in a garment of hair, not in woollen clothes; the former is the mark of an austere garb, the latter of effeminate luxury. But the girdle of skins, with which he was girt, like Elias, is a mark of mortification. And this meat, “locusts and wild honey,” is suited to a dweller in the wilderness, so that his object in eating was not the deliciousness of meats, but the satisfying of the necessity of human flesh.

Pseudo-Jerome: The dress of John, his food, and employment, signifies the austere life of preachers, and that future nations are to be joined to the grace of God, which is John, both in their minds and in externals. For by camel’s hair, is meant the rich among the nations; and by the girdle of skin, the poor, dead to the world; and by the wandering locusts, the wise men of this world; who, leaving the dry stalks to the Jews, draw off with their legs the mystic grain, and in the warmth of their  faith leap up towards heaven; and the faithful, being inspired by the wild honey, are full-fed from the untilled wood.

Theophylact: Or else; The garment of “camel’s hair” was significative of grief, for John pointed out, that he who repented should mourn. For sackcloth signifies grief; but the girdle of skins shews the dead state of the Jewish people. The food also of John not only denotes abstinence, but also shews forth the intellectual food, which the people then were eating, without understanding any thing lofty, but continually raising themselves on high, and again sinking to the earth.

For such is the nature of locusts, leaping on high and again falling. In the same way the people ate honey, which had come from bees, that is, from the prophets; it was not however domestic, but wild, for the Jews had the Scriptures, which are as honey, but did not rightly understand them.

Gregory, Moral., xxxi, 25: Or, by the kind itself of his food he pointed out the Lord, of whom he was the forerunner; for in that our Lord took to Himself the sweetness of the barren Gentiles, he ate wild honey. In that He in His own person partly converted the Jews, He received locusts for His food, which suddenly leaping up, at once fall to the ground. For the Jews leaped up when they promised to fulfil the precepts of the Lord; but they fell to the ground when, by their evil works, they affirmed that they had not heard them. They made therefore a leap upwards in words, and fell down by their actions.

Bede: The dress and food of John may also express of what kind was his inward walk. For he used a dress more austere than was usual, because he did not encourage the life of sinners by flattery, but chid them by the vigour of his rough rebuke; he had a girdle of skin round his loins, for he was one, “who crucified his flesh with the affections and lusts.” [Gal_5:24] He used to eat locusts and wild honey, because his preaching had some sweetness for the multitude, whilst the people debated whether he was the Christ himself or not; but this soon came to an end, when his hearers understood that he was not the Christ, but the forerunner and prophet of Christ. For in honey there is sweetness, in locusts swiftness of flight.  Whence there follows, “And he preached, saying, there cometh one mightier than I after me.”

Gloss.: He said this to do away with the opinion of the crowd, who thought that he was the Christ; but he announces that Christ is “mightier than he,” he was to remit sins, which he himself could not do.

Pseudo-Jerome: Who again is mightier than the grace, by which sins are washed away, which John signifies? He who seven times and seventy times seven remits sins [Mat_18:22]. Grace indeed comes first, but remits sins once only by baptism, but mercy reaches to the wretched from Adam up to Christ through seventy-seven generations, and up to one hundred and forty-four thousand.

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: But lest he should be thought to say this by way of comparing himself to Christ, he subjoins, “Of whom I am not worthy, &c.”

It is not however the same thing to loose the shoe-latchet, which Mark here says, and to carry his shoes, which Matthew says. And indeed the Evangelists following the order of the narrative, and not able to err in any thing, say that John spoke each of these sayings in a different sense. But commentators on this passage have expounded each in a different way.

For he means by the latchet, the tie of the shoe. He says this therefore to extol the excellence of the power of Christ, and the greatness of His divinity; as if he said, Not even in the station of his servant am I worthy to be reckoned.

For it is a great thing to contemplate, as it were stooping down, those things which belong to the body of Christ, and to see from below the image of things above, and to untie each of those mysteries, about the Incarnation of Christ, which cannot be unravelled.

Pseudo-Jerome: The shoe is in the extremity of the body; for in the end the Incarnate Saviour is coming for justice, whence it is said by the prophet, “Over Edom will I cast out my shoe.” [Psa_60:9]

Gregory: Shoes also are made from the skins of dead animals. The Lord, therefore, coming incarnate, appeared as it were with shoes on His feet, for He assumed in His divinity the dead skins of our corruption. Or else; it was a custom among the ancients, that if a man refused to take as his wife the woman whom he ought to take, he who offered himself as her husband by right of kindred took off that man’s shoe.

Rightly then does he proclaim himself unworthy to loose his shoe-latchet, as if he said openly, I cannot make bare the feet of the Redeemer, for I usurp not the name of the Bridegroom, a thing which is above my deserts.

Theophylact: Some persons also understand it thus; all who came to John, and were baptized, through penitence were loosed from the bands of their sins by believing in Christ. John then in this way loosed the shoe-latchet of all the others, that is, the bands of sin. But Christ’s shoe-latchet he was not able to unloose, because he found no sin in Him.

Bede: Thus then John proclaims the Lord not yet as God, or the Son of God, but only as a man mightier than himself. For his ignorant hearers were not yet capable of receiving the hidden things of so great a Sacrament, that the eternal Son of God, having taken upon Him the nature of man, had been lately born into the world of a virgin; but gradually by the acknowledgment of His glorified lowliness, they were to be introduced to the belief of His Divine Eternity. To these words, however, he subjoins, as if covertly declaring that he was the true God, “I baptize you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” For who can doubt that none other but God can give the grace of the Holy Ghost.

Jerome: For what is the difference between water and the Holy Ghost, who was borne over the face of the waters? Water is the ministry of man; but the Spirit is ministered by God.

Bede: Now we are baptized by the Lord in the Holy Ghost, not only when in the day of our baptism, we are washed in the fount of life, to the remission of our sins, but also daily by the grace of the same Spirit we are inflamed, to do those things which please God.





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Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 85 (84)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2011

Psalm 85
“Show us, O Lord, your Mercy; grant … salvation”

1. Psalm 85, which we have just heard sung, is a joyful hymn full of hope in the future of our salvation. It reflects the happy moment of Israel’s return from the Babylonian Exile to the land of the fathers. The life of the nation begins again in that beloved homeland, burnt-out and destroyed in the conquest of Jerusalem by the army of King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.

Indeed, in the original Hebrew of the Psalm one hears repeated the verb shûb, which refers to the return of the deported but it also means a spiritual “return”, or a “conversion”. The rebirth, therefore, does not only refer to the nation, but also to the community of the faithful who regarded the exile as a punishment for the sins they had committed, and now see their repatriation and new freedom as a divine blessing that is the result of their conversion.

2. We can follow the Psalm in its development according to two fundamental stages. The first is articulated by the subject of “return”, with the two meanings we mentioned.

Israel’s physical return is celebrated first of all. “Lord … you did restore the fortunes of Jacob” (v. 2); “Restore us again, O God of our salvation…. Will you not revive us again?” (vv. 5.7). This is a precious gift of God, who is concerned to deliver his People from oppression and promotes their prosperity. Indeed, you “love all things that exist … spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord who love the living” (cf. Wis 11:24-26).

However, besides this “return” that concretely unifies those who were scattered, there is another more interior and spiritual “return”. The Psalmist allows it ample room, attributing a special importance to it that applies not only to ancient Israel, but to the faithful of all time.

3. In this “return” the Lord acts effectively, revealing his love in forgiving the iniquity of his People, pardoning all their sins, withdrawing all his wrath and putting an end to his anger (cf. Ps 85:3-4).

In fact, their deliverance from evil, the pardon of their faults and the purification of sins create the new People of God. This is expressed in an invocation that has also entered the Christian liturgy:  “Show us, O Lord, your mercy and grant us your salvation” (v. 8).

However, to the “return” of God who forgives must correspond the “return”, that is, the “conversion”, of the one who repents. In fact, the Psalm says that peace and salvation are offered “to those who turn to him in their hearts” (v. 9). Those who set out with determination on the path of holiness receive the gifts of joy, freedom and peace.

It is well known that biblical terms for sin often refer to a mistaken direction, a missed goal, a deviation from the straight path. Conversion is, precisely, a “return” to the straight road that leads to the house of the Father who waits to embrace us, pardon us and make us happy (cf. Lk 15:11-32).

4. Thus we come to the second part of the Psalm (cf. Ps 85:10-14), so dear to Christian tradition. It describes a new world in which God’s love and his faithfulness embrace each other as if they were persons. Similarly, justice and peace meet and kiss each other. Truth sprouts up as if in a new springtime and justice, which for the Bible also means salvation and holiness, appears from heaven to begin its journey in the midst of humanity.

All the virtues, at first expelled from the earth by sin, now re-enter history and meet, drawing the map of a world of peace. Mercy, truth, justice and peace become the four cardinal points of this geography of the spirit. Isaiah also sings: “Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up. I, the Lord, have created this” (Is 45:8).

5. The Psalmist’s words, already in the second century, were re-read by St Irenaeus of Lyons as a proclamation of the “generation of Christ from the Virgin” (Adversus haereses, III, 5, 1). Indeed, Christ’s coming is the source of mercy, the springing up of truth, the flowering of justice, the splendour of peace.

For this reason, especially in the last part, the Psalm is reread by Christian tradition in terms of Christmas. This is how St Augustine interprets it in a discourse for Christmas. Let us allow him to conclude our reflection. “”Truth, then, is sprung out of the earth: Christ who said, “I am the truth’, is born of a virgin. And justice looked down from heaven:  man, believing in him who has been born, has been justified not by himself, but by God. Truth is sprung out of the earth, for the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven, for every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above. Truth is sprung out of the earth – flesh born of Mary. And justice looked down from heaven, for a man cannot receive anything, unless it be given him from heaven” (Discorsi, IV/1, Rome 1984, p. 11; Sermon 185, [Roman Breviary, 24 December, Second Reading]).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, John Paul II Catechesis, liturgy, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

My Notes on Isaiah 2:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2011

2:1 This is the word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

This verse is similar to the superscription which opens the book (1:1). As noted in the comments there, the Hebrew word for vision can refer to both optical and auditory experiences, therefore, the statement that the prophet “saw” the “word” should not cause us to wonder. God speaks both by what he says and by what he does. Visions, like pictures, can speak a thousand words. Do you “see” what I’m “saying”?

The superscription introduced the entire book; this statement in 2:1 is an introduction to chapters 2-5. this suggests that the book was developed, at least in part, from existing written oracles which were edited into the book as we now have it. Whether these were written by Isaiah himself or some of his disciples (or a combination of the two) we shall probably never know.

2:2-5 And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established as the highest of mountains, raised up above all the hills. All nations shall flow towards it; many people will come, saying, “Come, let us ascend the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us concerning his ways, so that we might walk in his paths. For out of Zion instruction will go forth, the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. He will judge among the nations and set terms on many people. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. No nation shall lift the sword against another, nor will they train for war again. O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.

These words are nearly identical to what is found in Micah 4:1-3. Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and it is difficult to say which of the two prophets was the first to receive it. The claim made by some that the two passages are both later interpolations from the post-exilic period has not been well received by scholars. Here we will focus on the literary context of the passage.

The last days. the underlying Hebrew words are variously translated in English. The words need not imply the end of all time but rather the end of an age or era.

the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established as the highest of mountains, and raised up above all hills. In chapter 1 the nation was suffering military invasion and Jerusalem was under siege because of its sins (1:7-8). Its primary sin was idolatry, the worship of false gods. Such worship often took place under terebinth trees and in groves or gardens (1:29). Often these were located on elevated places like hills (often called in the bible “the high places”). In this current oracle we have a promise that the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established and raised above such places. All the nations will worship God in true fashion and therefore he will not have to punish them with war (see Deuteronomy 28:49-57).

This would be preceded by a judgement when all that is high, lofty, or lifted up (i.e., pride, arrogance of man which manifests itself in idolatry) would be brought low, and God would be lifted up~  Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made: So man is humbled, and men are brought low — forgive them not! Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the glory of his majesty. The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the pride of men shall be humbled; and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. For the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high; against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills; against every high tower, and against every fortified wall; against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the pride of men shall be brought low; and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. And the idols shall utterly pass away (Isa 2:9-18, RSV).

the Lords house established. The Hebrew word for established is often associated in the OT with the place where God’s presence was manifested (Ex 15:17; 1 kings 8:13;) Here the word house obviously refers to his temple. With the coming of the Holy Spirit God’s temple is now the Church, built of “living stones,” (1 Pet 2:4-8) “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone” (Eph 2:19-22) See here, and here.

all nations shall flow towards it. Like streams or rivers. Of course, water does not run uphill. (see what follows)

come, let us ascend the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. It is pagans speaking here. The text looks to their conversion. “Who may abide in your tabernacle? who may dwell on your holy mountain? Whoever walks without blame, whoever does what is right, whoever speaks the truth from the heart” (Psalm 15:1-2). But no more than water can flow uphill can man ascend to God by his own power, let alone dwell with God. God must draw him up and invite him in, therefore:

he must teach us concerning his ways, so that we might walk in his paths. It is for this reason that out of Zion instruction will go forth, from Jerusalem the word of Yahweh. This happened as a result of Pentecost (see Acts 1:6-8). As a result, those who were far off (gentiles=people of the nations) have become near to the community of the true Israel (the Church, Gal 6:16) by the blood of Christ. they are now no longer strangers, they have become fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred to the Lord…into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (see Eph 2:11-22).

O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.  It is the Israelites speaking here. They recognize that they have become like the pagans and are in need of God’s instruction once again (See Romans chapters 9-11).

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This Weeks Posts: Sunday, November 27-Saturday, December 3

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2011


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Resources for the First Sunday of Advent(Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms). Commentaries and notes on the Scripture readings, podcasts, meditations, homilies and sermons, etc. Resources for the Second Sunday of Advent will be posted Wednesday evening (or Thursday).

The Three Advents of Jesus Christ. A meditation by a Monk of Sept-Fonts.

Aquinas’ Advent Sermon Notes on Matt 21:1-11. This was the Gospel reading for the first Sunday of Advent in Aquinas’ day. These notes can be used as points for meditation or further study.

Cardinal Newman’s First Advent Discourse: The Time of the Anti-Christ. Newman delivered four such discourse and I will publish the remaining three on the remaining Sunday’s of Advent.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Isa 2:1-5).

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

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:5-11).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:5-11).

The Incarnation, Birth, and Infancy of Jesus Christ. Online book. Advent reading from St Alphonsus de Ligouri.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Isaiah 11:1-10). This post is actually on verses 1-16.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Isaiah 11:1-10).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (72).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 10:21-24).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Mass Resources for the Second Sunday of Advent (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Rom 10:9-18).

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (19). Psalm 18 in some versions, including Aquinas’.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 4:18-22). Actually, this post is on verses 12-22.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 4:18-22). Actually, this post is on verses 12-22.

My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Matt 4:18-22). Actually, this post is on verses 12-22.

Pope Benedict XVI on St Andrew “the Protoclete”.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Isaiah 26:1-6).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (118).

Bishop MacEvily on Today’s Gospel (Matt 7:21, 24-27).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 7:21, 24-27). This post includes commentary on verses 22 & 23 as well.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 7:21, 24-27). This post includes commentary on verses 22 & 23 as well.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Pending: My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Isaiah 29:17-24).

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (27).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (27).

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:27-31).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:27-31).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:27-31).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Today’s Psalm (147). This commentary is on the first half of the Psalm, verses 1-11 from which today’s responsorial psalm (verses 1-6) is taken.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:35-10:1, 5-8).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:35-10:1, 5-8).

Video Study of Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:35-10:1, 5-8). This Gospel passage is also used for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, for which this video was posted.

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My Notes on Isaiah 26:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 26, 2011

All quotes come from the RSV. Links are to the NRSV. The various editions of the RSV are under copyright and are used here in accordance with the copyright holder’s policy: The [New] Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page of the work as follows:

“Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.

Chapters 13-23 were directed against specific nations and peoples, here in chapters 24-27 the oracles are in-discriminant, here God’s judgment is world wide.

In that day this song will be sung. The day on which God will glorify himself for the sake of his people in the sight of all the nations (Isa 12:1-6). What is being celebrated here is God’s victory over sin and injustice, symbolized by the figure of a bad city, the city of chaos (Isa 24:10), the fortified city, the palace of aliens, (better, castle of the profane, insolent, or irreverent, Isa 25:2), the fortress of Moab (see Isa 25:11-12).  This singing contrasts with the mourning and lack of singing which resulted from God’s judgement (Isa 24:7-9; 25:5); a judgement which brought about a cry because the merriment has ended (Isa 24:12).

We have a strong city. Throughout chapters 24 through 27 an unnamed city has stood in opposition to God (Isa 24:10, 12; 25:2; 26:5; 27:10). Here, in this verse, we have a city associated with God, enjoying his protection: he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks (see Isa 60:18).This city is the New Jerusalem, “reserved for the upright who will be prosperous and protected by the Lord (Isa 4:3; 33:14-16; 60:18; Ps 48:8-9; Ps 46:5-6; Rev 21).

It is possible to interpret both cities as referring to Jerusalem, i.e., Jerusalem before its purification and repentance (see references above), and Jerusalem after it is cleansed and repentant, but this seems forced. Scholarly opinion is not even close to a consensus on identifying the “bad city”; Nineveh, Babylon, Samaria, Sidon, Carthage, and the capital of Moab have all been named. There is in fact no indication in these chapters that the “bad city” is the same city in each of the references above.  Further, as noted above, the judgment which is the primary focus of chapters 24-27 is world wide. It seems best to take the “bad city” references as designating any political entity which is oppressive.

2 Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps faith may enter in.

In order to enter into the city whose walls and bulwarks are salvation (verse 1) one must first be righteous and faithful. These gates have to be opened, which contrasts nicely with the gates of the city of chaos which God had battered into ruins (Isa 24:12).

The thought of this verse matches up nicely with today’s Gospel, especially Matt 7:21~”Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” For Matthew we are called upon to do or fulfill all righteousness (Matt 3:15), obey all that has been commanded (Matt 28:20). We must hear and act upon the words Jesus has given us if we wish to be like a wise man who built his house on rock (Mat 7:24). To establish yourself on the word of Jesus is to establish yourself on the saving will of God who protects those who trust in him as a man in danger from enemies trusts in a mighty fortress set upon a rock height (see verse 4 and its notes below). For those founded upon  such a foundation there will be no collapse (Matt 7:25), the fate of those who fail to trust in God’s will and word (Matt 7:26-27, see verses 5 & 6, with notes, below).

3 Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.

Thou dost keep him in perfect peace. The text reads literally: Thou dost keep him in peace peace. The Hebrew language possesses only a few superlatives and so, as a consequence, their developed the practice of repeating a word for emphasis (see Gen 2:17~”You shall die die”).

Also, some translations take the second person singular as a personification of the righteous in general and translate Thou dost keep a nation (or people) in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because they (or it) trust in thee.

Whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee. Those who trust in the Lord maintain a firm purpose in relation to God (see the NAB translation of this verse).

4 Trust in the LORD for ever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Trust in the LORD for ever. An exhortation to trust, followed by motives, including the description of God as an everlasting rock. In order to keep faith and a mind stayed on God (vv 2-3) one must trust in him. The lasting nature of faith, firm purpose and trust is rooted in the unchallengeable God.

And everlasting rock. The Hebrew  צור has the basic sense of a cliff, or precipice. In ancient times cities were built on such heights-often simply termed mountains-to give them added protection. One could say that God is the everlasting rock, the impregnable cliff upon which the strong city of verse one rests

5 For he has brought low the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.

Another motive for the exhortation to trust in God (vs 4). No matter how lofty and high a city (nation, people) might get, they can be no match for the everlasting rock. The people of Babel attempted to build a tower up into heaven, but still God came down to destroy it (Gen 11:1-9). A similar contrast is being drawn here: the everlasting cliff/rock has cast down pretenders. They may dwell in a city on a height but it is no match for the everlasting rock; he will make their mountain less than a mole hill: he lays it low, lays it to the ground, casts it into the dust (see Isa 25:12). Dust! as if their rocky height has been ground into fine powder.

Words such as height and lofty (and their synonyms) are often used in reference to man’s pride and arrogance which God will bring down (see Isa 2:9-22).

6 The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.”

Pride and arrogance often manifest themselves as oppression of the poor and needy. The words poor and needy here do not necessarily translate into the monetarily indigent. The judgement introduced in chapter 24:1-3 was against all classes of sinners, not just the wealthy or powerful: “Behold, the LORD will lay waste the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The earth shall be utterly laid waste and utterly despoiled; for the LORD has spoken this word.” A servant can oppress a fellow servant just as easily as a master can, and it is not impossible for a master can be benevolent towards his servants (Matt 18:23-35). Poor and needy here refers to all those who know they need God and who act accordingly.

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

This Weeks Posts: Sunday, November 20-Saturday, November 26, 2011

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 26, 2011


Resources for Sunday Mass, Nov. 20 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Today’s Divine Office.

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20). Includes a suggested resources list at the end (books, audio).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Responsorial (Daniel 3:52-56).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:1-4).

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Exegetical Homily on Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:1-4).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Jerome on Today’s First Reading (Daniel 2:31-45).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:5-11).

St Cyril of Alexandria on Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:5-11).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:12-19).

UPDATE: Mass Resources for the First Sunday of Advent, November 27 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).


Today’s “non-Thanksgiving” Mass Readings.

Today’s Thanksgiving Mass Readings. As the page notes, the readings being given are just a selection. Any readings used for a thanksgiving Mass can be used today.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Psalm (145).

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (145).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Psalm (145).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Cor 1:3-9). Actually, this post begins with verse 1.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Cor 1:3-9).

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Cor 1:3-9). This post is actually on all of chapter 1.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Cor 1:3-9). Actually this post begins with verse 1.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Luke 17:11-19).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:29-33).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:34-36).

Podcast: The Thanksgiving Sacrifice, the Last Supper & the Eucharist. Missed this for Thanksgiving Day. Looks at the Old Testament “Todah” sacrifice in relation to the New Testament fulfillment.

New Archaeological Finding at the Temple Wall in Jerusalem.

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Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 118

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 26, 2011

Psalm 118 [117]
In all our trials, God has the last word

1. The sequence of Psalms from 112 to 118 was sung during the most important and joyful feasts of ancient Judaism, especially during the celebration of the Passover. This series of hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God were called the Egyptian Hallel” because, in one of them, Psalm 113, the exodus of Israel from the land of oppression, Pharaonic Egypt, and the marvelous gift of the divine covenant are recalled in a visual poetic way. The last Psalm that seals this “Egyptian Hallel” is the Psalm 118, just proclaimed, which we have already meditated on in an earlier commentary (cf. General Audience, 5 December 2001; ORE, 12 December 2001, p. 11).

2. This hymn clearly reveals its liturgical use in the Temple of Jerusalem. In fact, as it unfolds, we see a procession going forward, from among “the tents of the just” (v. 15), that is, the homes of the faithful. They exalt the protection of the divine hand, that can protect the just and believing, even when invaded by cruel adversaries. The Psalmist uses expressive imagery: “They compassed me about like bees; they blazed like a fire among the thorns. In the Lord’s name I crushed them” (v. 12).

After escaping from this danger, the people of God break into “shouts of joy and victory” (v. 15) in honour of the Lord’s right hand [which] was raised and has done wonders (cf. v. 16). Thus there is a consciousness that we are never alone, left to the mercy of the storm unleashed by the wicked. In truth, the last word is always God’s, who, even if he permits the trial of his faithful, never hands him over to death (cf. v. 18).

3. At this point it seems that the procession reaches the end the Psalmist suggests with the image of “the gates of holiness” (v. 19), that is the Holy Door of the Temple of Zion. The procession accompanies the hero to whom God has granted victory. He asks that the gates be opened to him, so that he may “give thanks to the Lord” (v. 19). With him “the just enter” (v. 20). To express the harsh trial that he has overcome and his consequent glorification, he compares himself to a “stone which the builders rejected” that then “has become the cornerstone” (v. 22).

Christ will use this image and verse, at the end of the parable of the murderous vinedressers, to announce his passion and glorification (cf. Matt 21:42).

4. By applying the Psalm to himself, Christ opens the way for the Christian interpretation of this hymn of confidence and gratitude to the Lord for his hesed, his loving fidelity, that echoes throughout the Psalm (cf. Ps 118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29).

The Fathers of the Church made use of two symbols. First of all, that of the “gate of justice” on which St Clement of Rome commented in his Letter to the Corinthians:  “For many gates stand open:  the gate of justice is the gate of Christ, and all are blessed who enter by it and direct their way “in holiness and justice’, accomplishing all things without disorder” (48,4: I Padri Apostolici, Rome 1976, p. 81; The Apostolic Fathers, Letter of Clement of Rome to Corinth, Thomas Nelson and Co. 1978, p. 44).

5. The other symbol, linked to the previous one, is the “rock”. We will therefore let St Ambrose guide our meditation with his Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke. Commenting on Peter’s profession of faith at Cesarea Philippi, he recalls that “Christ is the Rock” and that “Christ did not refuse to give this beautiful name to his disciple so that he too might be Peter, and find in the rock the firmness of perseverance, the steadfast solidity of the faith”.

Ambrose then introduces the exhortation: “Try hard also to be a rock. However, to do this, do not seek the rock outside yourself but within yourself. Your rock is your actions, your rock is your thoughts. On this rock your house is built, so that it may never be battered by any storm of the evil spirits. If you are a rock, you will be inside the Church because the Church is on the rock. If you are inside the Church, the gates of hell will not prevail against you” (VI, 97-99:  “Opere Esegetiche” IX/II [Exegetical Works], Milan/Rome, 1978:  Saemo 12, p. 85).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, John Paul II Catechesis, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 10:9-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 26, 2011

This post includes comments on verses 9-21. Piconio’s commentary on all of chapter 10 can be found here.

9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and in thy heart believe that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Moses wrote Lev 18:5, keep my laws andjudgments, which the man who does shall live in them. The lawyer said to Christ, Luke 10:27, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. This was the summary of the law. Christ answered, Thou hast answered right: do this and thou shall live. He acknowledged that he was convicted from his own mouth: for who has ever done this? Perfect obedience to the law of God, such as will obtain justice in God’s sight, is unattainable by human nature. All stand in need of the remission of sin, the justice which is of faith. And this is not laborious or difficult. It is not necessary to ascend to heaven, or go down to hell (cross the seas) in search of it, Deut 30:12. Christ will come down from heaven, re-ascend from hell. What we have to do to obtain the justice which comes from faith, is to believe. This is the word faith which we proclaim; near thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart (Deut 30:14). With thy mouth confess the Lord Jesus Christ, with thy heart believe his incarnation, passion, resurrection—all which briefly are summed up in the belief that God has raised him from the dead—and thou shall be saved.

10. For with the heart is belief to justice: but with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

10. Confession is made unto salvation. Who shall confess me before men, him will I confess. Matt 10:32.

The facility of faith, and its reasonableness, are stated by Tertullian in the words: Credible, because incredible; not to be ashamed of, because shameful. That is, if the mysteries of God are far above our intelligence, this is what we should expect, and a reason for accepting them. And if they are ridiculed by a wicked and thoughtless world, this a reason to honour and reverence them. Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, Luke 9:26. Who is ashamed of Christ as unworthy to serve him, much less reign with him.

11. For the Scripture saith: Every one who believeth in him, shall not be confounded.
12. For there is no distinction of Jew or Greek: for the same Lord of all, is rich to all who invoke him.
13. For every one, whosoever shall have called upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved

11. The Scripture saith: Is 28:16. Vulgate, who believes need not make haste. He who believes in Christ and perseveres in faith is sure of salvation, and need not be in solicitude and anxiety, for his hope will not be disappointed or confounded, as in ch. 5:5, Hope does not confound. The statement of the ancient Prophet is universal and comprehensive. He makes no limitations or
distinctions. Every one who believes, Jew or Greek. God is the Creator of all men, of all nations, and therefore is abundant in kindness and mercy to all the race of man, if they believe him, trust him, and invoke his mercy. God is rich as he is just; not only in himself, but in the communication to man of the true justice and the true riches.

13. Every one whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. The words are quoted from Joel 2:32. Ask and you shall receive. It is, however, to be understood that the invocation of the name of God must be accompanied with real faith, hope, contrition, and charity. Turks, heretics, ungodly Christians, often call on the name of God, yet they are not thereby saved, because they have not these indispensable conditions.

Prayer includes faith, hope, charity, and all religion. Faith prays, says Saint Augustine.

14. How, therefore, shall they invoke him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe in him, whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
15. But how shall they preach unless they are sent? as it is written: how beautiful are the feet of them that evangelize peace, that evangelize good things!
16. But not all obey the Gospel. For Isaias says: Lord, who has believed our report?

14. How, therefore, shall they invoke him? This appears to be an objection urged in excuse of the incredulity of the Jews, to whom the whole of this chapter is intended especially to apply. If the invocation of Christ is the means God has appointed for salvation, how shall the Jews, now scattered over all the regions of the world, benefit by this means, if they have not believed in Christ, nor heard his teaching, which was confined to Judea and
Galilee, and no one has been sent to instruct them? For it would seem that it was then only recently that the Apostles, who mostly remained together at Jerusalem for fifteen years after the Ascension of Christ, separated to carry the Gospel to distant lands. The Apostle replies to this in verse 18, but he first observes that the fault is in great measure with the Jews themselves. The message was one they ought to have received with joy. Remission of sins, reconciliation with God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, eternal glory, were offered them by Christ and the Apostles, in accordance with the prediction of Isaias 52:7. How beautiful are the feet of them that evangelize peace, that announce good tidings ! Yet the Jews in Christ’s own land did not all obey the Gospel, though he announced it himself, and still less those who heard it from
the mouth of the Apostles. Is 52:1. Lord, who hath believed our report? literally our hearing; our report of the things we have heard from the lips of Christ.

17. Therefore faith is of hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
18. But I say: Have they not heard? And indeed their sound went out into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
19. But I say: Did Israel not know? First Moses says: I will send you for emulation among not a nation, into a foolish nation I will send you in wrath.
20. And Isaias is bold, and says: I have been found by those who sought me not: I appeared openly to those who interrogated me not.
21. But to Israel he says: All day I have held out my hands to a people unbelieving and contradicting

17. Faith is of hearing. Occasionalitcr. Faith is a gift of God; but is ordinarily communicated, at least to adults, by hearing the word of Christ explained and taught. The Greek text has the Word of God, and so has the Syriac version. No doubt it is true, that to believe, the Jews must hear. But, have they not heard? What does the Prophet David say, Ps 18:5. Their sound went forth, like the thunder, over all the land, their words to the end of the earth. This magnificent prophecy has since been fulfilled on a larger scale, and with grander results; but even in the days of Saint Paul, when this Epistle was written, it was so far true that during the twenty years, or more, that had elapsed since the Ascension of Christ, and the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, the Jews at least, in all accessible parts of the world, must have heard the teaching of the Apostles, and learned the coming of Christ.

Saint Thomas, referring to this prophecy of David, considers the question what opinion we ought to hold of those who have never heard the Gospel of Christ? His answer is, that they are excusable up to a certain point from the charge of infidelity; but that they are damned on account of original sin and the other sins which they have added. But he proceeds to say that if they had
done what was within their power and knowledge, God would, in his mercy, have provided for them by sending them a preacher, as he sent Saint Peter to Cornelius, Saint Paul to the Macedonians. At the same time the grace to do what was already in their power itself, proceeded from God, who moved their hearts.

10. But I say: Did not Israel know? Certainly they knew, from the very fact that they saw the Gentiles all around them accepting the faith of Christ, from which in their obstinacy they excluded themselves. Moses and Isaias both foretold this long ago. Moses first Deut 32:21, as in the text~” I will urge you to jealousy by that which was no nation; I will provoke you to wrath by a
foolish people”: the Gentiles, namely, whom the Jews regarded as foolish, and who were not of the race of Abraham. Isaias exhibited great courage when he faced the prejudices of his own nation, in very difficult times, and boldly predicted the conversion of the Gentiles. He speaks in the person of Christ: I was found by them that sought me not, I appeared to them who did not interrogate me, but consulted instead their own augurs, oracles, and false divinities. But if the Gentiles, or multitudes among them, joyfully accepted salvation in Christ, the Jews remained incredulous, obstinate, cavilling. Is 65:2~”All day long—all the time of my mortal life—I stretched forth my hands, in earnest persuasion. All the day, one day, I stretched them out on the cross: but they contradicted and blasphemed.

Doctrinal Corollary.
Saint John Chrysostom observes at the conclusion of this chapter that Saint Paul has given a perfectly clear solution of the objections proposed to him, or which he foresaw might probably be offered to his argument, and proved that the infidelity of the Jews was the consequence of their obstinacy alone, and that no valid excuse can be offered for them. A father will sometimes call his child, and the child will not come; but if another listens to the call, emulation will effect what obedience wonld not, and he will then run to his father’s presence. Thus God, having in vain called upon the Jews, with outstretched arms, all day, provoked them at length to emulation by calling the Gentiles, whom they despised and looked down upon, and brought these into his Holy
Catholic Church. Alas! this failed too. The Jews still remained obstinate. What excuse can they find?

The cause of the rejection of the Jews, as assigned by the Apostle, is solely and entirely their own obstinacy and malice; not any reprobating decree of God: to which he makes no allusion, and which, if it existed, would render his argument irrelevant.

The Gentiles, called by God, and sought, came and were found. I appeared; the grace of prevention and vocation. I was found: the co-operation of the Gentiles with the grace of faith.


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