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 January, 2012

February 5: Resources For Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 31, 2012

This post contains biblical and homiletic resources for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. I usually post such resource lists on Wednesdays, and often update them latter in the week.

ORDINARY FORM
FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office. Official site of the licensed publisher of the Office in English. Allows you full access to the Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer, and one of the Daytime hours.

Suggested Resources for the Liturgical Year of St Mark. I posted this about a month ago. The list contains both free, online stuff and books for purchase.

Pope St Gregory the Great’s Morals on the Book of Job (Job 7:1-4, 6-7). Online book. Link will take you to the exact page on which his treatment of today’s reading begins (starts at article number 8).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Job 7:1-4, 6-7).

Haydock Bible Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Job 7:1-4, 6-7).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Psalm (147:1-6). This post is on verses 1-11.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23. This post includes commentary on verses 24-27 as well.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23). This post is actually on all of chapter 9, but the notes on today’s verses are easily found.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23).

Haydock Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23).

UPDATE: Catechism Links Related to Today’s Second Reading (1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23). Popup window.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39).

My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39).

EWTN Podcast Study on Today’s Reading (Mark 1:29-39). Listen to Episode 2. Includes more than just today’s passage.

Father Phillip’s Podcast Study on Today’s Reading (Mark 1:29-39). Scroll down to find the podcast series on Mark and click on part 2. Includes more than just today’s passage.

Haydock Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39).

Video: Sunday Gospel Scripture Study on Mark 1:29-39. Online video. Excellent. 61 minutes.

UPDATE: Catechism Links Related to Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39). Popup window.

Toiling for the Kingdom of God. From alesmeralda at Res Biblica. Focuses mostly on the Gospel passage this week.

The Gospel of God and Evangelization. From biblista at Res Biblica. Some brief points for you to reflect upon.

The Bible Workshop. Besides a couple of links which I’ve given above, this post also include a reading guide to the Gospel passage, a comparison of the readings (it would be better if they called it “connecting the readings”), and suggestions for a Lesson (i.e., homily or catechetical instruction.

UPDATE: A Lectio Divina Reading of Mark 1:29-39. An approach to Scripture in the Caremlite tradition.

Word Sunday:

  • MP3 PODCASTIn this week’s audio podcast, we discuss the burdens of duty. Sometimes our lives revolve around what we are “supposed to do.” Our duties become our reasons for being. Jesus came with a duty, a mission for God. But that made the difference. He came to serve and proclaim the Good News.
  • FIRST READING “Why me, God?” This question can be more than a cry of self pity. Sometimes we cry out to God because life does not provide us a way to care for others. Job’s self absorption was not based on self pity but on a sense that his role in life had been deprived him. His duty was to care for his family. A sense of duty can define one’s self image. But, God sometimes has other ideas.
  • PSALM Psalm 147 was a praise song that combined three different poems: praise for God’s care even in poverty, praise for God’s gift of rain for crops, and praise for God’s presence in the Temple. Praise is appropriate for many different situations and conditions in life.
  • SECOND READING St. Paul wrote his audience in Corinth why he felt compelled to preach the Good News. It was a God given-duty, and a God-given privilege, for, to preach the Good News meant partaking in that news.
  • GOSPEL In Mark’s gospel, Jesus taught and healed in order to spread the Good News. It was his duty to reach as many people as possible with God’s message, so they could enjoy God’s presence.
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the story for the first reading, Bill and Tom were next door neighbors and best friends. They helped each other in areas where they were weak. They cooperated in ways that made they far stronger than two separate people, just like St. Paul encountered in his ministry. In the story for the gospel, Sandy got so sick, she was given bed rest. She was weak and helpless. Others served her. She felt helpless, like Peter’s mother-in-law must have felt. When Sandy got better, she reacted as Peter’s mother-in-law did after Jesus healed her. She helped others.
  • CATECHISM LINK In this week’s Catechism Link, we discuss the Sacraments of Healing: Anointing of the Sick and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY We all live busy lives. There’s nothing wrong with a busy life, but we should ask a question. Do we live for ourselves or for others? To answer that question, play the “Selfishness Game.” Share with your family that Jesus was busy, but busy for God and for others.

Catholic Mom’s Children’s Resources:

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background. Can copied and used for bulletin inserts.

UPDATE: Lection Notes. Different from the above link.

UPDATE: Lector Works.

UPDATE: Sacerdos. Brief sermon giving the theme of the readings, the doctrinal message, and a pastoral application.

Scripture in Depth. Succinct summaries of the readings and Psalm, often with an eye towards how they’re related to one another.

Thoughts From the Early Church. Excerpt from a Sermon by St Peter Chrysologus.

Preaching the Lectionary.

Father Robert Barron’s Homily Podcast. Father Barron is a well know theologian and speaker.

Dr Scott Hahn’s Podcast. Very brief, focuses on the main theme(s) of the readings. Text available.

Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast. This week’s installment not available at the time of this posting.

St Martha’s Pocast Bible Study. Usually looks at all of the readings in some detail.

Baptized Into Service. Also from St Martha’s (different speaker).

EXTRAORDINARY FORM
SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY

Latin and English Roman Missal. Page changes daily but you can use the arrows to search for the desired date then click on thee search button between the arrows.

Roman Breviary in Latin and English. Links at bottom of the page are in latin, but the pages themselves are Latin and English side by side.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:1-5.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:1-5.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:1-5.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast Study of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:1-5. Podcast study of chapters 9 and 10.

Father Fonck’s Commentary on the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 20:1-16.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 20:1-16.

St William of York Bible Study Podcast on Matthew 20:1-16. On chapters 20 and 21.

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study on Matthew 20:1-16. Video. This was prepared for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast Study on Matthew 20:1-16. This study is on 19:1-20:16.

Some Notes on the Introit, Collect, Gradual, Epistle and Gospel.

Pope St Gregory the Great’s Homily on Matthew 20:1-16.

Homily On The EpistlePrefaced by Epistle reading.

Homily On The GospelFollows previous homily.  refaced by Gospel reading.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Sermon Notes On the EpistleFor meditation and further study.

The following links contain outlines for sermons based upon the Epistle and Gospel reading.  The points put forth in these outlines can be used for meditation or study.

God Favors His PeopleOn the Epistle.

The Three Enemies Of The SoulOn the Epistle.

The Call To God’s ServiceOn the Gospel.

The Unequal Distribution Of God’s GiftsOn the Gospel.  Note: the text uses the word “penny,” Bible translations may use another word, such as “denarius.”

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 31, 2012

Besides his notes on the verses of today’s reading this post includes Father Callan’s brief introduction to all of chapter 9 and also includes his summaries of verses 1-18 and19-23.

INTRODUCTION TO 1 CORINTHIANS 9: At the close of the preceding chapter St. Paul, in order to encourage the Corinthians to abstain from whatever might imperil the eternal welfare of their weaker brethren, called attention to his own determination never to do anything, however licit in itself, that could scandalize his brother in Christ. And now, lest they should say or think that he had promised more than he would be willing to fulfil, he goes into his own past life, as that of one who was free and a genuine Apostle, and shows how he had renounced the rights that were his, so as to promote the Gospel and the spiritual good of others. He had foregone the support which he could have claimed from the faithful, in order to make more beneficial his preaching and to attain to greater perfection (9:1-18); he had made himself the slave of all men in order to save all (9:19-23). The Corinthians, therefore, should imitate his life of austerity and self-denial for the sake of gaining the incorruptible crown of eternal life (9:24-27).

THE APOSTLE REFUSED SUPPORT FROM THE FAITHFUL FOR THE SAKE OF HIS PREACHING:

A Summary of 1 Cor 9:1-18~As a genuine Apostle, equal in every way to the twelve, St. Paul had a right to be supported, as they had been, by the faithful for whom he labored in preaching the Gospel. But for fear that the pagans and the new converts might think he preached only for this temporal purpose, and not for their eternal interests, he freely chose to earn his living by his own hands. From this the Corinthians could see and learn what it meant to deny one’s self for spiritual ends and for the sake of others.

16. For if I preach the gospel, it is no glory to me, for a necessity lieth upon me: for woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.

The glorying (καυχημα) spoken of at the end of the preceding verse did not refer to the fact of having preached the Gospel, for since St. Paul was acting in obedience to the command of Christ in preaching (Acts 26:16 ff.; Rom 1:14), he was not free to do otherwise. His glory, therefore, consisted in preaching without insisting on his temporal rights, in denying himself the maintenance he might justly claim.

17. For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation is committed to me:

This verse is very difficult. To what does this thing refer? Does it refer to the mere fact of preaching the Gospel, which St. Paul was obliged to do, or to preaching the Gospel gratis, which he was not obliged to do? In our judgment the reference is rather to the fact of preaching the Gospel, of which there was
question in the preceding verse. Willingly, then, means “uncommanded,”
and against my will means under “necessity” (verse 16). The meaning of the verse therefore is: If St. Paul had preached the Gospel without having been commanded to do so, of his own choice, he would receive a special reward, and would have reason for glorying (verse 16); but if, as was the case, he
preached because he had been commanded to preach, therefore under necessity, he was only fulfilling the commission entrusted to him, and so was not deserving of anything but the ordinary reward due to the fulfillment of one’s obligations.

A dispensation is committed, etc. Literally, “I have been entrusted with a stewardship.”

18. What is my reward then? That preaching the gospel, I may deliver the gospel without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

Had then the Apostle no special reward awaiting him, since the preaching of the Gospel was not his free choice but his bounden duty? Yes, his special reward consisted in foregoing his right to temporal support by the faithful and in preaching the Gospel without charge.

I abuse not. Better, “I use not to the full” (μη καταχρησασθαι). This and the preceding verse prove the existence and merit of works of supererogation.

ST. PAUL RENOUNCED HIS LIBERTY THAT HE MIGHT GAIN ALL FOR THE GOSPEL AND INCREASE HIS OWN MERITS

A Summary of 1 Cor 9:19-23~The Apostle has just told us at considerable length how he refused the temporal support to which he was entitled, in order not to impede the spread of the Gospel. But this was only one of the privations he freely chose to undergo. He also gave up his liberty and became ail things to all men, that he might gain all for Christ, and that his own reward might be the greater. How such an example ought to shame those Corinthians who were unwilling to abstain from eating meats that offended their weaker brethren!

19. For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all,
that I might gain the more.

St. Paul was God’s messenger to men, and as such he was in no wise subject to human beings. He could have lived and acted as he pleased so long as he was in conformity with his mission; but he surrendered his rights to such liberty of life and action and became the servant of all to whom he preached, in order that he might gain a greater number to Christ.

22. To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all.

To the weak, etc., i.e., for the sake of those who were weak in faith and easily scandalized (8:7, 9-12; Rom 14). St. Paul refrained from indifferent actions which they might misunderstand and take to be wrong.

I became all things . . . that I might save all. A better reading of this last clause is, “that I may save some” (ινα παντως τινας σωσω). Thus, he acted in such a way as to save all, in order to save some.

The Vulgate ut omnes facerem salvos should be, ut aliquos faciam salvos.

23. And I do all things for the gospel’s sake : that I may be made partaker thereof.

The sacrifices and works of supererogation performed by St. Paul were not only for the sake of others, but for his own sake as well.

For the gospel’s sake, i.e., for the sake of the great rewards promised in the Gospel. The Apostle has labored so generously, in order that he may be made partaker, along with his converts, of the blessings held out in the Gospel.

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

My Notes on Psalm 119:9-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2012

BACKGROUND~According to Father Clifford the first 16 verses serve as a prologue to the entire Psalm, stating both the goal intended by the author and introducing dominante themes.

The psalmist opens by declaring what constitutes blessedness:

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that search his testimonies: that seek him with their whole heart. For they that work iniquity, have not walked in his ways.! (1-3).

This is what God has commanded: Thou hast commanded thy commandments to be kept most diligently (4), and so the psalmist pleads that he may do so: O! that my ways may be directed to keep thy justifications! (5). This desire is based upon the consequences: Then shall I not be confounded, when I shall look into all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned the judgments of thy justice. I will keep thy justifications: O! do not thou utterly forsake me. (6-8).

NOTES:

Psa 119:9  By what doth a young man correct his way? by observing thy words.

The Psalmist is apparently a young man and has only recently committed himself wholeheartedly to the Torah: I have thought on my ways: and turned my feet unto thy testimonies (59). It’s possible he had begun to run with a bad crowd and they have turned on him, if so, this might be the humbling of which he speaks latter in the Psalm:  Before I was humbled I offended; therefore have I kept thy word. Thou art good; and in thy goodness teach me thy justifications. The iniquity of the proud hath been multiplied over me: but I will seek thy commandments with my whole heart. Their heart is curdled like milk: but I have meditated on thy law. It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications (67-71).

As the verse (9) we are commenting on indicates, he knows that a man’s moral life, his way, is guarded according to God’s word.  Perhaps that word itself brought him to the realization that youth, while it should be enjoyed, is also fleeting, and now without a future judgement (see Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:1). Perhaps he has recalled from his early youth the instructions of a pious father regarding good and evil (see Proverbs 4). Perhaps he had a Rabbi in his youth who was a spiritual father to him, as St Paul was to St Timothy: flee thou youthful desires, and pursue justice, faith, charity and peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim 2:22 DRV).

Psa 119:10  With my whole heart have I sought after thee: let me not stray from thy commandments.

the line recalls the second beatitude with which the Psalm opened:  Blessed are they that search his testimonies: that seek him with their whole heart (2).

With my whole heart recalls the beginning of the famous shema prayer: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising (Deut 6:4-7).

Here, perhaps, he has in mind his forefathers: And they remembered that God was their helper: and the most high God their redeemer. And they loved him with their mouth: and with their tongue they lied unto him:  But their heart was not right with him: nor were they counted faithful in his covenant (Ps 78:35-37).

Psa 119:11  Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee.

Hidden in my heart, like a precious treasure hidden in a field (Matt 13:44). The Torah was held to be the embodiment of wisdom (Deut 4:5-8), and a treasure beyond price:  My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and wilt hide my commandments with thee, That thy ear may hearken to wisdom: incline thy heart to know prudence. For if thou shalt call for wisdom, and incline thy heart to prudence: If thou shalt seek her as money, and shalt dig for her as for a treasure: Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and shalt find the knowledge of God: Because the Lord giveth wisdom: and out of his mouth cometh prudence and knowledge (Prov 2:1-6).

The heart is the proper place in which to treasure God’s revelation: Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19).  Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly: in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God (Col 3:16).

Psa 119:12  Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy justifications.

Justifications is a translation of the Greek  δικαιωματα. You could also translate it “teach me your righteousness.”  The Hebrew has חקיך, enactments, statutes.

On this and the previous verse St Augustine writes: “Thy words have I hid within my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (verse 11). He at once sought the Divine aid, lest the words of God might be hidden without fruit in his heart, unless works of righteousness followed. For after saying this, he added, “Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me Thy justifications.” (verse 12). “Teach me,” he saith, as they learn who do them; not as they who merely remember them, that they may have somewhat to speak of. Why then doth he say, “Teach me Thy justifications,” save because he wisheth to learn them by deeds, not by speaking or retaining them in his memory? Since then, as it is read in another Psalm, “He shall give blessing, who gave the law;” therefore, “Blessed art Thou, O Lord,” he saith, “teach me Thy justifications.” For because I have hidden Thy words in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee, Thou hast given a law; give also the blessing of Thy grace, that by doing right I may learn what Thou by teaching hast commanded”.

Psa 119:13  With my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of thy mouth.

I have pronounced. Both the Greek εξηγγειλα, and the Hebrew  ספרתי, imply the idea of celebratory public narrative: Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death, that I may declare (εξηγγειλα, ספרתי,) all thy praises in the gates of the daughter of Sion (Ps 9:14 Hebrew, 9:15 Greek).

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of a good treasure bringeth forth good things…(Matt 12:34-35).

The word may be hidden (treasured) in his heart, but it is not to remain there, unfruitful, unproductive. The word is nigh thee; even in thy mouth and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which we preach. For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded (Rom 10:8-11).

And calling them, they charged them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answering, said to them: If it be just, in the sight of God, to hear you rather than God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Acts 4:18-20).

St Augustine: “With my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of thy mouth.” that is, I have kept silent nothing of Thy judgments, which Thou didst will should become known to me through Thy words, but I have been telling of all of them without exception with my lips. This he seemeth to me to signify, since he saith not, all Thy judgments, but, “all the judgments of Thy mouth;” that is, which Thou hast revealed unto me: that by His mouth we may understand His word, which He hath discovered unto us in many revelations of the Saints, and in the two Testaments; all which judgments the Church ceaseth not to declare at all times with her lips.

Psa 119:14  I have been delighted in the way of thy testimonies, as in all riches.

The way of thy testimonies.The psalmist delights in following the Torah of God, not just the mere knowledge of it.

As in all riches. Recall the comments on verse 11 above.

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

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 147:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2012

The Pope’s commentary/meditation on the second part of this Psalm (i.e, Ps 147:12-20) can be found here.

“Praise the Lord!’

1. The Psalm just sung is the first part of a composition that also includes the next Psalm, n. 147[146], that the original Hebrew had kept as one. It was the ancient Greek and Latin versions which divided the song into two different Psalms.

The Psalm begins with an invitation to praise God and then lists a long series of reasons to praise him, all expressed in the present tense. These are activities of God considered as characteristic and ever timely, but they could not be more different:  some concern God’s interventions in human life (cf. Ps 147[146]: 3, 6, 11) and in particular for Jerusalem and Israel (cf. v. 2); others concern the created cosmos (cf. v. 4) and more specifically, the earth with its flora and fauna (cf. vv. 8-10).

Finally, in telling us what pleases the Lord, the Psalm invites us to have a two-dimensional outlook:  of religious reverence and of confidence (cf. v. 11). We are not left to ourselves nor to the mercy of cosmic energies, but are always in the hands of the Lord, for his plan of salvation.

2. After the festive invitation to praise the Lord (cf. v. 1), the Psalm unfolds in two poetic and spiritual movements. In the first (vv. 2-6), God’s action in history is introduced with the image of a builder who is rebuilding Jerusalem, restored to life after the Babylonian Exile (cf. v. 2). However, this great mason who is the Lord also shows himself to be a father, leaning down to tend his people’s inner and physical wounds humiliated and oppressed (cf. v. 3).

Let us make room for St Augustine who, in the Enarrationes in Psalmos 146 which he gave at Carthage in the year 412, commented on the sentence “the Lord heals the brokenhearted” as follows: “Those whose hearts are not broken cannot be healed…. Who are the brokenhearted? The humble. And those who are not brokenhearted? The proud. However, the broken heart is healed, and the heart swollen with pride is cast to the ground. Indeed, it is probable that once broken it can be set aright, it can be healed. “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds…’. In other words, he heals the humble of heart, those who confess, who are punished, who are judged with severity so that they may experience his mercy. This is what heals. Perfect health, however, will be achieved at the end of our present mortal state when our corruptible being is reinvested with incorruptibility, and our moral being with immortality” (cf. 5-8: Esposizioni sui Salmi, IV, Rome 1977, pp. 772-779).

3. God’s action, however, does not only concern uplifting his people from suffering. He who surrounds the poor with tenderness and care towers like a severe judge over the wicked (cf. v. 6). The Lord of history is not impassive before the domineering who think they are the only arbiters in human affairs:  God casts the haughty to the dusty ground, those who arrogantly challenge heaven (cf. I Sam 2: 7-8; Lk 1: 51-53).

God’s action, however, is not exhausted in his lordship over history; he is also the King of creation:  the whole universe responds to his call as Creator. Not only does he determine the boundless constellations of stars, but he names each one and hence defines its nature and characteristics (cf. Ps 147[146]: 4).

The Prophet Isaiah sang: “Lift up your eyes on high and see:  who created these [the stars]? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name” (Is 40: 26). The “hosts” of the Lord are therefore the stars. The Prophet Baruch continued: “The stars shone in their watches and were glad; he called them, and they said, “Here we are!’. They shone with gladness for him who made them” (Bar 3: 34-35).

4. Another joyful invitation to sing praises (cf. Ps 147[146]: 7) preludes the second phase of Psalm 147[146] (cf. vv. 7-11). Once again God’s creative action in the cosmos comes to the fore. In a territory where drought is common, as it is in the East, the first sign of divine love is the rain that makes the earth fertile (cf. v. 8). In this way the Creator prepares food for the animals. Indeed, he even troubles to feed the tiniest of living creatures, like the young ravens that cry with hunger (cf. v. 9). Jesus was to ask us to look at the birds of the air; “they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6: 26; cf. also Lk 12: 24, with an explicit reference to “ravens”).

Yet once again our attention shifts from creation to human life. Thus, the Psalm ends by showing the Lord stooping down to the just and humble (cf. Ps 147[146]: 10-11), as was declared in the first part of our hymn (cf. v. 6). Two symbols of power are used, the horse and the legs of a man running, to intimate that divine conduct does not give in to or let power intimidate it. Once again, the Lord’s logic is above pride and the arrogance of power, and takes the side of those who are faithful, who “hope in his steadfast love” (v. 11), that is, who abandon themselves to God’s guidance in their acts and thoughts, in their planning and in their daily life.

It is also among them that the person praying must take his place, putting his hope in the Lord’s grace, certain that he will be enfolded in the mantle of divine love:  “The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine…. Yea, our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name” (Ps 33[32]: 18-19, 21).

 

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, John Paul II Catechesis, Meditations, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2012

This is the second Reading for the fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B. I’ve included the Bishop’s brief summary of the entire chapter, followed by his notes on the reading. Additionally, I’ve also included the Bishop’s paraphrase of the text he is commenting on. These paraphrases appear in purple text.

A Summary Analysis of 1 Corinthians 9:1-27~The Apostle had proposed his own example (1 Cor 8:13) with the view of inducing the Corinthians to forbear scandalizing their weaker brethren. He continues the subject in this chapter, and he shows the painful sacrifices to which he had submitted in forfeiting his rightful claims to support at Corinth, which he was perfectly free to enforce; and those sacrifices he made, lest he might in any way impede the progress of the gospel. From this he leaves it to be inferred, that they should abstain from things in themselves indifferent, and involving no great sacrifice, in order to avoid the scandal of their brethren. He first establishes his Apostleship (verse 1-4). In the next place, he points out certain privileges which he had a right to claim in common with the other Apostles (4-7). He proves from several sources his right to receive sustenance from the Corinthians (7-15). But he refrained from enforcing this right, although it was hard for him to forego it, lest he might retard the progress of the gospel; nor will he receive any support from them even in future, lest he might be deprived of the special glory and crown attached to the gratuitous discharge of the duties of his sacred ministry (15-19). In the
next place, he develops the idea expressed in verse 1 (“am I not free!”) and shows how he sacrificed even his personal liberty to procure the salvation of others, and thus to become a sharer in common with them in the blessings of eternal life (19-24). The mention of the prize of eternal life suggests to the Apostle an expressive image of the value of this prize, and the difficulty of securing it, conveyed in the price and difficulty of a crown at the Grecian games. He continues this subject of the difficulty of salvation, to verse 14 of next chapter.

1Co 9:16  For if I preach the gospel, it is no glory to me: for a necessity lieth upon me. For woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.

But, in what does my peculiar subject for glorying consist . In the mere preaching of the gospel? By no means; for, if I merely preach the gospel, I have no peculiar subject wherein to glory. I do only what I must do; for, woe to me if I neglect preaching the gospel.

This peculiar matter for glorying cannot consist in the mere act of preaching the gospel; since, in doing so, he only does what he is bound to do, under pain of eternal woe.

1Co 9:17  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation is committed to me.

If I discharge this indispensable duty of preaching, with alacrity and with the proper dispositions, I shall be entitled to the essential reward attached to so exalted a function; (I shall not, however, have the peculiar matter for glorying referred to), if I do this work from bad or unworthy motives, I lose a reward, but my ministry, however, is not to be undervalued; for, still, I act as a dispenser of the mysteries of Christ.

“Willingly,” εκων (hekōn), i.e., with proper dispositions. If I perform the act of preaching the gospel witfi the proper dispositions, receiving, at the same time, the necessary means of support-the recompense to which all laws, human and divine, give me a claim-“I have a reward,” i.e., the essential reward attached to preaching the gospel; but not the special, accidental glory and reward attached to preaching it, not only with proper dispositions, but also gratuitously, as had been done by the Apostle. “If against my will,” ακων (akōn), i.e., from sordid, unworthy motives; then, I lose all reward ; however, “a dispensation is committed to me” (οικονομιαν πεπιστευμαι), i.e., I am still the dispenser of the mysteries of Christ, and, hence, my ministry is not to be under-valued or rejected in consequence of the unworthy motives by which I may be actuated. Estius, in hunc locum. Others, with Lapide and Piconio, understand “willingly” to mean gratuitously, and “reward,” to mean a special reward attached to gratuitous preaching, and “against my will,” to mean, with the prospect of just temporal retribution. The former interpretation, however, seems preferable; for, the Apostle appears to consider four classes of preachers the first, those who omit the duty of preaching. Eternal woe is to be their lot. A second, those who preach the gospel with proper dispositions, and receive temporal compensation. They are entitled to the reward attached to the discharge of this exalted function. A third, those who discharge this duty from corrupt motives; and although their ministry, in a spiritual point of view, proves of no service to themselves, still, it is not to be undervalued or despised by others; for, they deal out the treasure of heavenly mysteries entrusted to their keeping. A fourth class of which he himself is the type those who preach gratuitously, and these are entitled to special glory and rewards. The interpretation of Estius, adopted in Paraphrase, assigns the more natural meaning of the words, “against my will.” For, a man who performs anything preceptive, even with a view of temporal remuneration, could hardly be said to have done so, “against his will.”

1Co 9:18  What is my reward then? That preaching the gospel, I may deliver the gospel without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

In what, then, consists my peculiar matter for glorying; my peculiar title to a special reward, sooner than forfeit which I would die (verse 15). In this; that, while preaching the gospel, I do so gratuitously, and abstain from fully enforcing my right to support and temporal remuneration, founded on the fact of my preaching the gospel.

“What then is my reward?”  He says, emphatically, “my reward,” to distinguish it from the reward, verse 17. “My reward,” as appears from the following words, means the cause or matter for reward; it is the same as “my glory,” verse 15:- From the whole passage, it appears quite clear, that the conduct of the Apostle in refusing any temporal compensation from the Corinthians, was a work of supererogation, to which he was not bound either in the abstract (as is clear from the fact of the other Apostles receiving support, and his receiving it himself from the Macedonians), or, in the circumstances; for, he might have explained his claims to support, and thus have removed all legitimate grounds of offence or unfair suspicions on the part of the Corinthians. Moreover, he says that even were compensation offered him, after the explanation given, he would still refuse it (verse 15); in which case, he, certainly, would not be bound to forego his just claims.

OBJECTION. He calls a departure from his present line of conduct “an abuse,” and hence, it was a matter of precept for him to act as he did.

RESPONSE. The Greek word for “abuse,”  καταχρησασθαι, simply means, to use fully. It has this meaning (1 Cor 7:31). St. Chrysostom, by “abuse,” here understands to use a lesser goodminore bono uti-as opposed to a greater, but not to a precept. Hence, the words mean that I might not use to the full extent (as it would be the exercise of a lesser good), my rights in the gospel.

1Co 9:19  For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more

For, although free from all human servitude, whether in regard to Jew or Gentile; I, still, made myself the slave of all in order to gain all to Christ.

The Apostle, having referred to the sacrifice which he himself had made, when foregoing his claims to support, as a motive to induce the Corinthians to forego in favour of their weaker brethren, claims involving little or no sacrifice, now adduces another example of heroic charity still more arduous than the preceding, as it was, in a certain sense, the sacrifice of his liberty.

“For whereas I was free as to all,” &c. These words would appear to correspond with the words, verse 1, “Am I not free?” and are, according to some Commentators, a more full explanation of the same. He had, in the preceding, shown his rights as an Apostle, and the sacrifices he made; he now shows how he gave up his freedom, in the cause of the Gospel.

1Co 9:22  To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all.

With the uninstructed and scrupulous, I became as a weak ignorant person, accommodating myself, as far as possible, from a feeling of tender compassion, to their weakness, in order to win over persons of this class. In one word, I became all to all, in order to save all.

These words, of course, can only mean, that the Apostle went as far in accommodating himself to every description of persons, as the laws of virtue and religion would permit. He became all to all, says St. Augustine-compassione misericordia, non simulatione fallacia-and again, non mentientis actu, sed compatientis affectu. (Epistles, 9 and 19, ad Hieronymum.) “That I might save all.” In Greek, ινα παντως τινας σωσω, that I might by all means save some. The Vulgate is supported by some of the chief manuscripts, and by the Arabic and Ethiopic versions.

1Co 9:23  And I do all things for the gospel’s sake, that I may be made partaker thereof.

And, although I labor gratuitously and disinterestedly for others, I am not still forgetful of my eternal interests. I do all things for the advancement of the gospel, in order that with you I may share in its promises and rewards.

He says, that although regardless of temporal interests, there is one interest, however, which he has constantly in view, as the aim of all his actions, and that is, the interest of eternal salvation. “All things,” the common Greek text has, τουτο, this; but παντα, all things, is read in the chief MSS., and preferred by critics generally. “That I may be made partaker thereof.” The Greek word for partaker, συγκοινωνος, means, partaker in common, which shows the great humility of the Apostle seeking only for the same crown that was in store for the Corinthians. What an important lesson is conveyed in these words of the Apostle, for those who are engaged in the salvation of others! What will it avail them to have saved thousands of others, if they themselves are lost? With the Apostle they should, therefore, constantly strive, while labouring for the salvation of their brethren, to be themselves sharers with them in the blessings of eternal life. They should frequently pray for the gift of the only true wisdom, viz., the wisdom of salvation.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 6:30-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2012

Ver 30. And the Apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.31. And He said unto them, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:” for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.32. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.33. And the people saw them departing, and many knew Him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto Him.34. And Jesus, when He came out, saw many people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach themmany things.

Gloss.: The Evangelist, after relating the death of John, gives an account of those things which Christ did with His disciples after the death of John, saying, “And the Apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.”

Pseudo-Jerome: For they return to the fountain-head whence the streams flow; those who are sent by God, always offer up thanks for those things which they have received.

Theophylact: Let us also learn, when we are sent on any mission, not to go far away, and not to overstep the bounds of the office committed, but to go often to him, who sends us, and report all that we have done and taught; for we must not only teach but act.

Bede: Not only do the Apostles tell the Lord what they themselves had done and taught, but also His own and John’s disciples together tell Him what John had suffered, during the time that they were occupied in teaching, as Matthew relates.  It goes on: “And He said to them, Come ye yourselves apart, &c.”

Augustine, de Con. Evan., 2, 45: This is said to have taken place, after the passion of John, therefore what is first related took place last, for it was by these events that Herod was moved to say, “This is John the Baptist, whom I beheaded.”

Theophylact: Again, He goes into a desert place from His humility. But Christ makes His disciples rest, that men who are set over others may learn, that they who labour in any work or in the word deserve rest, and ought not to labour continually.

Bede: How arose the necessity for giving rest to His disciples, He shews, when He adds, “For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat;” we may then see how great was the happiness of that time, both from the toil of the teachers, and from the diligence of the learners.  It goes on: “And embarking in a ship, they departed into a desert place privately.”

The disciples did not enter into the ship alone, but taking up the Lord with them, they went to a desert place, as Matthew shews. [Matt 14] Here He tries the faith of the multitude, and by seeking a desert place He would see whether they care to follow Him. And they follow Him, and not on horseback, nor in carriages, but laboriously coming on foot, they shew how great is their anxiety for their salvation.

There follows: “And the people saw them departing, and many knew Him, and ran afoot [p. 120] thither out of all cities, and outwent them.”

In saying that they outwent them on foot, it is proved that the disciples with the Lord did not reach the other bank of the sea, or of the Jordan, but they went to the nearest places of the same country, where the people of those parts could come to them on foot.

Theophylact: So do thou not wait for Christ till He Himself call you, but outrun Him, and come before Him.

There follows: “And Jesus when He came out saw many people, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep having no shepherd.”

The Pharisees being ravening wolves did not feed the sheep, but devoured them; for which reason they gather themselves to Christ, the true Shepherd, who gave them spiritual food, that is, the word of God.  Wherefore it goes on: “And He began to teach them many things.”

For seeing that those who followed Him on account of His miracles were tired from the length of the way, He pitied them, and wished to satisfy their wish by teaching them.

Bede, in Marc., 2, 26: Matthew says that He healed their sick, for the real way of pitying the poor is to open to them the way of truth by teaching them, and to take away their bodily pains.

Pseudo-Jerome: Mystically, however, the Lord took apart those whom He chose, that though living amongst evil men, they might not apply their minds to evil things, as Lot in Sodom, Job in the land of Uz, and Obadiah in the house of Ahab.

Bede, in Marc., 2, 25: Leaving also Judaea, the holy preachers, in the desert of the Church, overwhelmed by the burden of their tribulations amongst the Jews, obtained rest by the imparting of the grace of faith to the Gentiles.

Pseudo-Jerome: Little indeed is the rest of the saints here on earth, long is their labour, but afterwards, they are bidden to rest from their labours. But as in the ark of Noah, the animals that were within were sent forth, and they that were without rushed in, so is it in the Church, Judas went, the thief came to Christ. But as long as men go back from the faith, the Church can have no refuge from grief; for Rachel weeping for her children would not be comforted. Moreover, this world is not the banquet, in which the new wine is drank, when the new song will be sung by men made anew, when this mortal shall have put on immortality.

Bede, in Marc., 2, 26: But when Christ  goes to the deserts of the Gentiles, many bands of the faithful leaving the walls of their cities, that is their old manner of living, follow Him.

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Some Notes on the Introit, Collect, Gradual,Epistle and Gospel for Septuagesima Sunday

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 29, 2012

The Introit is based upon Psalm 18 (17), verses 5-7 and verses 2-3.

vv. 5-7. The terrors of death surged round me, the cords of the nether world enmeshed me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; from His holy temple He heard my voice.

vv. 2-3. I love You, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.

The title of this Psalm contains the following information: for David, the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this canticle, in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And a Jewish Targum relates the following: “For singing concerning the marvels which abundantly happened to David, the servant of the Lord, who sang in prophecy before the Lord the words of this song for all the days wherein the Lord delivered him out of the hands of all his enemies, and from the sword of Saul.”

We need deliverance from enemies too, enemies far greater and more dangerous than King Saul or the Philistines. We need deliverance from our sins, as the Collect prayer says: “O Lord, we beseech You, graciously hear the prayers of Your people, that we who are justly punished for our sins may be mercifully delivered for the glory of your name.”

We need deliverance from death, and from him who has the empire of death, that is to say, the devil (Heb 2:14). St Paul sometimes describes the Christian life as a battle against such things: Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power. Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of justice: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Eph 6:10-17). But in today’s Epistle Lesson (1 Cor 9:24-10:5) he describes it using athletic imagery:

Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize. So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things. And they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air. But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway (1 Cor 9:24-27).

Castaway, thrown over the shoulder or tossed to the ground like so much useless stuff. Hence St Paul’s warning in 1 Cor 10:1-5~For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud: and all passed through the sea….But with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the desert.

The first generation to go out into the desert for the purpose of worship God, escaping oppression, and entering into the promised land became the last in every sense of the word: In the wilderness shall your carcasses lie. All you that…have murmured against me, shall not enter into the land, over which I lifted up my hand to make you dwell therein…. But your children, of whom you said, that they should be a prey to the enemies, will I bring in: that they may see the land which you have despised (see Num 14:29-31). And so we read in today’s gospel that the first shall be last and the last shall be first (see Matt 20:1-16)

Fortunately, as is said in he Gradual, God is “a helper in due time in tribulation.” Those who trust in him and know his name, know that he forsakes not those who seek him, and thus they cry: Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (The Gradual is based upon Ps 9:10-11, 19-20; 129 [130]:1-4)

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Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 18:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 29, 2012

Verse 1. At that hourABOUT that time, sub idem tempus; a Hebraism. S. Mark 9:33 says that Christ anticipated the Apostles and asked what they disputed of in the way. They had disputed which of them should be the greatest. S. Luke 9:46 says that Jesus, knowing their thoughts, did not ask them, but took a child, and said: Whosoever shall receive this child in My name receiveth Me, and whosoever receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater. Of this kind of contention, S. Augustin, on the passage (De Consens., ii. 61), is silent. S. Chrysostom and Euthymius say that the Apostles disputed, not once, but frequently, on the subject. (1) In the way. (2) In the house, when they saw Peter preferred to them in the payment of the tribute. (3) When Christ asked them what they disputed of in the way.

It has been doubted on what occasion they asked this. S. Jerome, Bede, and Euthymius think that it was when they saw Christ pay the tribute for Himself and Peter. Others differ, because it appears from S. Mark 9:33 that they had had their thoughts on the subject in the way before they came to Capernaum and the tribute had been paid; but we have said from S. Chrysostom and Euthymius that they had frequently and on different occasions discussed the question. The payment of the tribute, therefore, did not put the thought into their minds, but only strengthened that which was in them already. For there had been often occasions before. They had seen Peter, with two others, go up the mountain with Christ, and the keys of the kingdom of heaven given to him (Matt 16:19), as again S. Chrysostom and Euthymius say. Others give another and not unacceptable reason that they had heard Christ often speak of His death as being now very near at hand, and wondered which of them would be, so to speak, His heir that is, His vicar after His death. This is very agreeable to human nature and custom, when men stand around those who are at the point of death, with thoughts of their succession. The Apostles seem to have done this on the eve of Christ s Passion (S. Luke 22:24).

Who thinkest thou. The comparative is put for the superlative, and the present for the future, by a Greek idiom, as if it were written, Which of us is to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

In the kingdom of heaven. Some, as SS. Chrysostom and Epiphanius, take these words to mean the kingdom of heaven itself, and the celestial glory, which from verse 3 seems probable. It is credible that Christ answered the Apostles about the same kingdom of heaven as they spoke of.

But it is more likely that in this instance the Church is termed the kingdom of heaven (1) From the cause of their asking the question when they saw Peter in every respect preferred, and they thought that he would be the head of all the Church; (2) From their having been blamed by Christ when He rebuked their ambition. To wish to be the first in the kingdom of heaven is love, not ambition; but to wish to be first in the Church, and to be placed over others, was to incur blame as being ambitious. This may be proved from verse 3, where the contrary opinion is approved. For Christ would say that he who is least in the present kingdom of heaven that is, the Church should be accounted greatest, and should, therefore, be the greatest in heaven. So speaks S. Luke of the present kingdom of the Church (S. Luke 9:48). Christ therefore plays on the ambiguity of the words, when He says, Except ye be converted, as we have observed that He has often done before.

Verse 2. And Jesus calling to Him a little child. Some think that it was an infant, because S. Mark says that Christ took him up in His arms (S. Mark 9:35; 10:6). But they are in error. For a child larger than an infant may be small enough to be taken up in arms, and this child was able to walk. Christ then called, not an infant, but a child, and an innocent one, and placed him in the midst, that, as has been observed by S. Chrysostom, he might teach humility, not in words, but by actual facts.

Verse 3. Unless you be converted. It has been erroneously inferred from these words that the Apostles were then in a state of mortal sin, because Christ said except, as if they were not able to enter the kingdom of heaven at that time. Christ meant simply that they could not enter it themselves unless they were like children in simplicity and humility. This is not to be understood as if a humility and simplicity equal to that of children were required in all men. For if so, who would ever enter the kingdom of heaven? But the greatest example of humility is put forward, not that we may wholly come up to it, but that we may approach as near to it as we possibly can. So we are commanded to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (S. Matt 5:48). Nor is it intended that the Apostles had not such humility as would enable them to enter the kingdom of heaven; but they have what is required shown to them, that if they have it not, they may gain it, and if they have it, they may keep it. The expression, unless you become, &c., does not mean that they were not such then. It alludes to their age, that as they are fully grown now, they should become as little children, as Christ said to Nicodemus (S. John 3:3).

But Christ blamed the ambition of the Apostles. Granted. It does not follow, however, that it was such as to be a mortal sin, or to hinder them from entering the kingdom of heaven; for it might be venial, and it is right that we should believe it to have been such. The Apostles, therefore, are to be excused by this or some other better reason, as S. Chrysostom excuses them, not blamed. Christ commands us to be like children, not in all things, but in simplicity, in humility, and in innocence, as S. Paul (1 Cor 14:20), as say S. Clement of Alexandria (Pædag., i. 5), S. Ambrose (Serm. x.).

Verse 5. And he that shall receive one such little child. The reason of Christ’s saying this may easily be gathered from what has gone before and from what follows. He would prove that he is the greatest who most resembles the least, because a child is most like Himself and bears His Person. He proves this by the fact that whoever receives a child receives Him. But to receive does not only mean, as some think, to receive Him into our houses, but to follow this up by every kind of well-doing in our power: in a word, to do good, as He will say in the judgment (Matt 25:40). S. Mark and S. Luke relate only this part of Christ’s conversation, omitting what S. Matthew has added. Probably because in this lay the sum of the whole matter.

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Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 25:1-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 29, 2012

Verse 1. Then. Then when the Lord shall appear suddenly. The meaning depends on the former chapter. He teaches the same thing in the two parables of the Ten Virgins and the Talents; the same thing in the parable of the Servant (25:45), &c.

Shall be like. That is, what does not appear now, while the good are joined with the evil in the Church, will appear then. The same thing takes place in the kingdom of heaven, that is, the Church; as if the ten virgins received the lamps to go out to meet the bridegroom, as explained in Matt 15:16. To what the whole parable tends is clear from the conclusion (verse 13), that we ought always to watch, always to be ready, as the Lord will come in an hour we know not of; and always to prepare by good works for His presence. The argument of the last chapter is followed up in this.

The parable consists of fifteen portions:

1. The Bridegroom, who, beyond doubt, is Christ, as has been explained Matt 11:15; 22:2. The words, and the bride, are not found in the Greek, nor do S. Basil, S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, or Euthymius read them, but they are found in Origen, S. Hilary, S. Augustin, and the Syriac. They should, therefore, be read: if not of necessity, yet on account of their antiquity, and the authority of the above early Fathers. S. John (Apoc 21:2) shows that the Church triumphant, like a bride, will come forth with Christ to judgment.

2. The second part of the parable is the Ten Virgins, on which there is a threefold question: (1) Why they were virgins; (2) Why the kingdom of heaven is compared to ten; (3) What the virgins signify.

Origen and others think that the kingdom of heaven is compared to virgins rather than to others, to signify the integrity of faith, which has its parallel in purity of the body. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Euthymius say, that as virginity is the highest point of perfection, so Christ declares that no one ought to trust to his own good, because not all virgins, though of the most spotless purity, entered into the marriage, that is, the kingdom of heaven. Others, more modern, whose opinion seems preferable, say that the kingdom of heaven is specially compared to virgins only, because it was the custom of virgins before others to carry torches and to conduct the bride and bridegroom to their house.

As to the number ten, S. Jerome, S. Augustin, and others say that it shows the five senses; they who rule them well being wise, and they who do otherwise foolish. So say S. Jerome and Bede (in loc.), S. Augustin (Ep. cxx. 33), S. Gregory (Hom, xii. in Evang.). Thus there are ten. It would rather appear that this number was chosen to show a great number of persons, and that universality was meant. So Gen 31:7, 41; Lev 26:26; Num 14:22. Thus the kingdom of heaven is said to be like ten, that is, to many. By ten virgins, S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius, S. Augustin, S. Gregory, as cited above, think that all who were truly virgins are meant, but this is too forced a sense, perhaps. S. Hilary and The Author, on the contrary, hold that all mankind are intended, the faithful and unbelieving alike, with a meaning perhaps too extended; Origen and S. Jerome (in loc.0, and, as appears, S. Ambrose (Serm. xiv. on Ps. cxviii.), neither of all men, nor of virgins alone, but of all the faithful, and of these alone. Their opinion seems good first, because it is plain that Christ speaks only of those who had received lamps, which only the faithful have: for the lamp is faith (Ps 119:105); secondly, because Christ teaches that faith without good works does not satisfy for salvation.

Another part of the question is the meaning of the five wise and the five foolish. S. Hilary says that the five wise include all the faithful, and the five foolish all the contrary. The Author makes the wise all spiritual men, and the unwise all carnal; or, by the former, all who are, as S. Paul says (1 Cor 7:34), virgins both in body and spirit; by the latter, those that are virgins in body but corrupt in soul. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius, and, perhaps, S. Ambrose (Serm. xiv. on Ps. cxviii.), by the wise, all who, besides the true virginity of mind and person, have also mercy and charity, and show them in giving of alms largely; by the foolish, all who, though virgins, are not merciful, that is, have no oil in their vessels, and, therefore, do not works of almsgiving. S. Augustin (Ep. cxx.), S. Gregory (Hom. xii. on Gospels0, and Bede (in loc.) make the five wise all virgins who have, as is said, a good intention and seek praise for their virtue, not from men, but from God; the others are such as seek after human praise and flattery. Origen, S. Jerome, and S. John Damascus, or whoever is the author of his history, say that the wise virgins are all men who have good works with faith, and that the foolish are such as have faith indeed, but not works.

This seems not merely the best, but the only good explanation, because the great subject of the parable is that faith without works is of no avail for salvation. Again, because the same is taught both by previous parables (Matt 24:45) and subsequent ones (verse 14), that it is not enough to believe unless we also watch to good works, because we know not at what hour the Lord will come. The same is again inculcated in another parable (Matt 22:12), in which, as here are the virgins, so there is the guest who entered in at the wedding feast by faith, but who, because he had no wedding-garment, that is, works, was cast out.

3. The third point of the parable is the lamps which all the virgins received, and by which S. Hilary understands our human bodies, in which the divine light of the soul shines. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius, Bede, S. Augustin, and S. Gregory, in the works cited above, think that bodily virginity is intended. S. Jerome, of the bodily senses, and with S. Hilary, Origen, and The Author he explains it of faith. This agrees well with the sense of the parable; for all take that to be faith from which they went out to meet Christ, but all did not go in with Him to the marriage, because all had not good works.

4. The fourth point is the oil which the wise virgins had and the foolish ones had not, and which S. Chrysostom, Euthymius, Theophylact, and S. Ambrose explain to be alms and mercy, as these are compared in Scripture to oil. But S. Augustin, S. Gregory, and Bede think it the good will which, as said before, seeks praise, not of men, but of God. The opinion of Origen, S. Hilary, The Author, and S. John Damascus is the only true and probable one. They understand by the oil good works, without which faith does not shine, that is, is dead (S. James 2:26), and by which, if present, faith is kindled, shines, is made to appear, to show (S. James 2:17). The foolish virgins say (verse 8), Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. Not that without works faith is at once extinguished, but that when it does not shine through works, it appears to be so, and avails no more to salvation than if it were wholly extinct; or, as The Author says, because it is so ordered by nature that whereas faith is cherished and kept alive by good works, so without them it languishes, and by degrees becomes dead. To take oil then in the lamps is to lay up a plenty and, as it were, a treasure of good works against the future coming of Christ, as in Matt 6:20.

5. The fifth part is the vessels which, S. Hilary says, are our human bodies, as S. Paul wrote (2 Cor 4:7). It would be better understood as the soul or conscience, which is the seat and receptacle of good works.

6. The sixth part is the bridegroom being said to have tarried. It cannot be doubted that by this Christ meant to teach us that the time of His second coming would be long, that He might disabuse the disciples of the false idea that He would come immediately after His Resurrection, as S. Chrysostom has observed. To the same purpose, S. Jerome and S. Hilary say that the delay of the bridegroom is a time of penance. But Christ speaks accommodatingly to the virgins, to whom, because He did not come immediately, as they expected, He appeared to delay too long; for, to those who are waiting, all time naturally seems long. Otherwise Christ did not desire to signify of His own intention that His absence should be greatly prolonged; for, as S. John says (1 Jn 2:18), It is the last hour; and it was not in harmony with the parable to teach that His absence would be long, lest men whom He desired to teach to be diligent, watching, and always ready, should become negligent, slothful, and secure.

7. The seventh part is all the virgins being said to have slumbered and slept, which S. Hilary and S. Chrysostom (in Loc.), S. Augustin (Ep. cxx., chap, xxxii.), S. Basil (In Moral., chap, v.), explain by saying that all the virgins were dead before Christ came. The Author says that they were negligent. This would seem very good were it not said that both the wise and the foolish slept. It should therefore, perhaps, be understood that they had ceased to think of the bridegroom coming, and did not expect him when he came. This would happen both to the good and the bad. For they who wait long for a person often cease to expect him, and when they are not looking for or thinking of him, that is, when they are sleeping, he suddenly comes. This is shown further by the time at which the bridegroom came: midnight.

8. The time at which the bridegroom came that is, midnight is the eighth part of the parable. They who think from this, as some do, that the usual hour of the bridegroom’s coming to the house of the bride was midnight, seem not only to miss the point of the parable, but to pervert it, and to seek to reconcile things contradictory. For if midnight, and not earlier, were the time of the coming of the bridegroom, how did he delay when that period had not yet arrived? how did he seem to the virgins to tarry overlong, when they knew that he would not come before it? Some ancient Fathers believed that Christ would come at midnight, and so the Church Hymn seems to imply. S. Jerome says that it was an apostolic tradition that, at the Passover, it was not lawful to dismiss the people before midnight, because it was thought that He would come at that hour, as in Egypt of old. The Jews also expected their Messiah at midnight. But we must keep to the words, You know not the day nor the hour. The meaning, therefore, is that He will come when He is least expected. For who could believe that He would come in the middle of the night, when men are buried in repose? So say, with justice, S. Gregory, S. Hilary, S. Jerome, S. Augustin, Theophylact, and Bede.

9. The ninth point is the cry Behold. This doubtless is the great voice mentioned in Matt 24:31, and the trumpet; as Origin, S. Chrysostom, The Author, Euthymius, Theophylact, S. Jerome, S. Augustin (Ep. cxx., chap, iii.), have explained.

10. The tenth point is contained in verse 7: Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps, which is explained by S. Hilary of the resurrection of the body, and the restoration of all things. S. Augustin (in the above Epistle), The Author, and Bede (in loc) explain it better, that a rumour will be heard of the coming of Christ; all men who, as if oppressed with sleep, had not thought of Him would arise, as S. Paul says (Rom 13:11). To trim the lamps is to call to mind the works which everyone has done, to give account of them in the judgment.

11. The eleventh point is the saying of the foolish virgins to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. It is clear that the meaning is that men who have no good works of their own, when it is too late, and they are called to judgment, will implore the help of the saints, as The Author explains it; as if they wished to cover themselves under the good works of others.

12. The twelfth point is the answer of the wise virgins: Lest, perhaps, there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves. In this two things seem remarkable:

(a) That the wise virgins refuse their help to the foolish, not because they would not give it if they could, but because at so late an hour they were not able. So say S. Chrysostom, Euthymius, and Theophylact. Or, as is more probable (as The Author says), because in that dreadful judgment no one will have sufficient confidence in himself, or appear to have enough of good works ; for the words, lest, perhaps, there be not enough for us and for you, evidently point to this. In these words, neither the treasure of the Church, which consists of the merits of the saints, nor their suffrages for others, are destroyed, as if the good works of one could not profit another. By the same reasoning, it would be proved that the saints, even while alive, could not help other living persons by their prayers, which is contrary to all Scripture, from which we learn that by the merits of the saints the dead are aided. We find this in S. Luke 16:9: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail they may receive you into everlasting dwellings, where Christ says that the faith and labour of some can profit others. Many Ancients have rightly concluded the same from Matt 11:2: And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick with the palsy, Be of good heart, son, thy sins be forgiven thee, as has there been explained. What, then, is the meaning of the passage? This, that everyone in that last great final judgment will be judged by his own works, and not by those of others, as S. Paul said (2 Cor 5:10), and should bear his own burden (Gal 6:5). S. Augustin, in his oft-cited Ep. cxxix., S. Hilary, and S. Chrysostom are to be understood in this sense when they say that this passage shows that no one is aided by the works of another.

(b) The second point is the foolish virgins being sent to those who sold, to buy oil for themselves. Origen and The Author explain this to mean the teachers of the Church, who sell the Word of God, not for a price, but for salvation and by the confession of faith, as is said by S. Paul (2 Cor 12:14), and as he calls those whom he brought to the Gospel his joy and crown (Phil 4:1). S. Augustin, S. Gregory, and Bede, by the sellers understand flatterers, who sell the fumes of false praise; as if it were said in irony, “Go to those flatterers in whose praises you take delight, and see what good they can do you”. S. Jerome thinks that the foolish virgins that is, those who have no good works are sent into the world to gain with much labour the oil of good works. This would appear to be no part of the parable, but an offshoot of what either might have been or was very probable, and added to complete the narrative, as were the words of the wise virgins, lest, perhaps, there be not enough for us and for you. Both may have been added, not to carry any meaning, but as it was very probable that the virgins would have spoken in this manner. The words cannot mean that those who had no good works should be sent into the world to buy, that is, procure them. It was said because it was very probable that the foolish virgins would go to buy oil when they could obtain none from the others, and Christ must form a truth-like narrative. Or, if this part have any meaning at all, it may only be that the foolish and improvident would desire to do good works, and to be diligent in them, when the time is past and it is too late.

13. The thirteenth point is the coming of the bridegroom, which means, as no one doubts, the coming of Christ to judgment.

14. The fourteenth is the entering in of those who were prepared with the bridegroom into the marriage and the supper, by which the beatific life is described, as Apoc 19:7.

15. The fifteenth is the door being shut when the foolish virgins returned; which only means that they wished to do good works when it was too late, and when it was no longer a time to work, as Christ said (S. John 9:4), The night cometh when no man can work. Nor needs there further discussion of how, when the final judgment was ended, the foolish virgins returned to heaven, and beat the door, and entreated Christ with prayers to open to them. All this, as has been said, was added, not for a meaning, but to amplify and adorn the parable; nor that it would happen in heaven, but that it was very likely to happen among men; and, as S. Gregory said (Hom, xii.) on these words, this only was intended, that he cannot possibly merit to obtain from God what he asks there, who would not listen to what He commands here.

Verse 12. I know you not. All authorities, ancient and modern, agree that the word know here and in other places does not mean recognition, but feeling, and, as they say, scientia approbationis; as if Christ said, “I do not approve you; I do not acknowledge you as My children”; or, as the Author says, “I do not see in you the marks of My spirit,” of which S. Paul speaks (2 Cor 1:22; and Eph 1:3; 4:30).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Matthew 25:1-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 28, 2012

I’ve included in this post some  quotations from the Fathers of the Church, the Catechism, etc. These are in red text.

1. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride.

This Parable of the Ten Virgins (verses 1-13) is peculiar to St. Matthew.

Then; i.e., in the Day of Judgment, at the second coming of Christ.

The kingdom of heaven means the Church militant; the ten virgins represent all the faithful. The number “ten” is not accidental, because it took just so many to make a company among the Jews. The virginity here attributed to them means purity of faith, absence of spiritual fornication through corruption of doctrine.

Taking their lamps. Marriages, in the East, were, and are still, always celebrated at night.

Went out to meet the bridegroom. The bridal procession among the Jews was as follows: the bridegroom, accompanied by his friends, went to the home of the bride to lead her, with joy and gladness ( 1 Macc 9:37-39) , to his own house; or, if that was too small, to some apartment large enough to accommodate the wedding party. The bride was accompanied from her father’s house by her youthful friends and companions (Ps 45:15), and others, here called “virgins,” joined the procession along the way, to enter with the rest of the company the hall of feasting (Cant 3:4). Bridegroom means Christ, who will come at the end of the world to take the Church, His Bride, to Himself (Trench).

And the bride. These words are not found in the best MSS. and should be omitted here.

2. And five of them were foolish, and five wise.

Five foolish . . . five wise. All were virgins, because all had the true faith, but the difference between them was that the faith of the foolish virgins, being without good works, was dead.

Origen: They that believe rightly, and live righteously, are likened to the five wise; they that profess the faith of Jesus, but prepare themselves not by good works to salvation, are likened to the five foolish.~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

Lumen Gentium 14:  They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.”(Cfr. S. Augustinus, Bapt. c. Donat. V, 28, 39; PL 43, 197: Certe manifestum est, id quod dicitur, in Ecdesia intus et foris, in corde, non in corpore cogitandum. Cfr. ib., III, 19, 26: col. 152; V, 18, 24: col. 189; In Io. Tr. 61, 2: PL 35, 1800, et alibi saepe.) All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(Cfr. Lc. LC 12,48): Omni autem, cui multum datum est, multum quaeretur ab eo. Cfr. etiam (MT 5,19-20 MT 7,21-22 MT 25 41-46 Jc 2,14)

3. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them:
4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps.

Lamps . . . oil. The lamps represent faith; oil, good works.

St Augustine: Or, “The lamps” which they carry in their hands are their works, of which it was said above, “Let your works shine before men.” [Matt 5:16]~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

Cornelius a Lapide: Thus their lamps are dying out, yea, as the Syriac hath it, they have been extinguished; according to the words of S. James, “Faith without works is dead.” The lamp, therefore, is the faithful mind, or faith itself. The oil is good works, without which faith is dead, and, as it were, extinct; but with them, alive and burning. The light, or flame of the lamps, is charity. For this is fed by zeal for good works, just as the flame of a lamp is fed with oil. The vessel is conscience, or the believing soul. And this is the reason why we place a lighted candle in the hands of dying persons, denoting, or at least praying, that they may have faith with works, that like brides with burning lamps, they may worthily meet Christ the Lord, as it were their Bridegroom.~From the Great Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide.

5. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept.

The bridegroom tarrying represents the delay in Christ’s second coming. Our Lord never gave any hint as to the exact time when He should come. We know neither the day of our own death, nor that of the end of the world. Hence it behooves us ever to watch.

Slumbered; i.e., ceased to look for His coming; not that all had sinned, or were unprepared.

Pope St Gregory the Great: To sleep is to die, to slumber before sleep is to faint from salvation before death, because, by the burden of sickness we come to the sleep of death.~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

6. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him.

At midnight means at the most unexpected time (Luke 12:40; 1 Thess 5:2).

A cry refers to the voice of the last trumpet (1 Thess 4:15). Actually, the verse in 1 Thess speaks of a cry of command, the voice of an archangel, and a trumpet.

St Jerome: Suddenly thus, as on a stormy night, and when all think themselves secure, at the hour when sleep is the deepest, the coming of Christ shall be proclaimed by the shout of Angels, and the trumpets of the Powers that go before Him. This is meant when it says, “Lo, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.”~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

7. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
8. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.

Give us of your oil, — words which signify the miserable plight of those who, at the last, shall find themselves in the presence of the Judge without good works, with no fruits of faith.

St Gregory Nanzianzus: But then what advocate shall we have? What pretext? What false excuse? What plausible artifice? What device contrary to the truth will impose upon the court, and rob it of its right judgment, which places in the balance for us all, our entire life, action, word, and thought, and weighs against the evil that which is better, until that which preponderates wins the day, and the decision is given in favour of the main tendency; after which there is no appeal, no higher court, no defence on the ground of subsequent conduct, no oil obtained from the wise virgins, or from them that sell, for the lamps going out,51 no repentance of the rich man wasting away in the flame,52 and begging for repentance for his friends, no statute of limitations; but only that final and fearful judgment-seat, more just even than fearful; or rather more fearful because it is also just; when the thrones are set and the Ancient of days takes His seat,53 and the books are opened, and the fiery stream comes forth, and the light before Him, and the darkness prepared; and they that have done good shall go into the resurrection of life,54 now hid in Christ55 and to be manifested hereafter with Him, and they that have done evil, into the resurrection of judgment,56 to which they who have not believed have been condemned already by the word which judges them.57 Some will be welcomed by the unspeakable light and the vision of the holy and royal Trinity, Which now shines upon them with greater brilliancy and purity and unites Itself wholly to the whole soul, in which solely and beyond all else I take it that the kingdom of heaven consists. The others among other torments, but above and before them all must endure the being outcast from God, and the shame of conscience which has no limit. But of these anon.Taken from his Sixteenth Oration. (Notes: 51-Mt 25,8; 52-Luk. 16,24; 53-Dan 7,9; 54-Jn 5,29; 55-Col 3,3; 56-Jn 5,29; 57-Jn 3,18; 12,48).

9. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

This answer of the wise virgins does not imply a lack of charity; they only wished to express their inability to supply what God alone can give.

St John Chrysostom: But the wise answered, saying, “Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you;” hence we learn that none of us shall be able in that day to stand forth as patron [marg. note:  of those who are betrayed by their own works, not because he will not, but because he cannot].~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

Again, St John Chrysostom: Let us not then, in order that for a single moment (for such is this present life) we may live luxuriously, draw on ourselves punishment through endless ages: but let us toil for a moment, that we may be crowned for ever. See ye not that even in worldly things most men act in this manner: and choose a brief toil in order to a long rest, even though the opposite falls out unto them? For in this life indeed there is an equal portion of toils and reward; yea, often, on the contrary, the toil is endless whilst the fruit is little, or not even a little; but in the case of the kingdom conversely, the labor is little whilst the pleasure is great and boundless. For consider: the husbandman wearieth himself the whole year through, and at the very end of his hope of times misses of the fruit of those many toils. The shipmaster again and the soldier, until extreme old age, are occupied with wars and labors; and oftentimes hath each of them departed, the one with the loss of his wealthy cargoes, the other, along with victory, of life itself. What excuse then shall we have, tell me, if in worldly matters indeed we prefer what is laborious in order that we may rest for a little, or not a little even; (for the hope of this is uncertain;) but in spiritual things do the converse of this and draw upon ourselves unutterable punishment for a little sloth? Wherefore I beseech you all, though late, yet still at length to recover from this frenzy. For none shall deliver us in that day; neither brother, nor father, nor child, nor friend, nor neighbor, nor any other: but if our works play us false, all will be over and we must needs perish. How many lamentations did that rich man make, and besought the Patriarch and begged that Lazarus might be sent! But hear what Abraham said unto him: “There is a gulf betwixt us and you, so that they who wish to go forth cannot pass thither.” (Lc 16, 26) How many petitions did those virgins make to their fellows for a little oil! But hear what they also say; “Peradventure there will not be enough for you and for us;” (Mt 25, 9) and none was able to bring them in to the bridal chamber.~Taken from his Ninth Homily on Second Corinthians 

St Jerome: For these wise virgins do not answer thus out of covetousness, but out of fear. Wherefore, each man shall receive the recompense of his own works, and the virtues of one cannot atone for the vices of another in the day of judgment. The wise admonish them not to go to meet the bridegroom without oil, “Go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

10. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.

Went in with him to the marriage, which represents the reception of the Elect into the abode of the Blessed.

St Jerome: After the day of judgment, there is no more opportunity for good works, or for righteousness, and therefore it follows, “And the door was shut.”~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

11. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us.
12. But he answering said : Amen I say to you, I know you not.

Lord, Lord, open to us. Not that they had obtained oil, or enriched meanwhile their faith by works; they wished only to entreat for mercy. The Judge answers them (verse 12) that it is too late, the time for work and merit is over forever.

St Hilary: Yet though the season of repentance is now past, the foolish virgins come and beg that entrance may be granted to them.~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

St Jerome: Their worthy confession calling Him, “Lord, Lord,” is a mark of faith. But what avails it to confess with the mouth Him whom you deny with your works?~Quoted inAquinas’ Catena Aurea.

St Jerome: “Amen I say to you, I know you not.” For “the Lord knoweth them that are his,” [2 Tim 2:19] and he that knoweth not shall not be known, and though they be virgins in purity of body, or in confession of the true faith, yet forasmuch as they have no oil, they are unknown by the bridegroom. When He adds, “Watch therefore, because ye know not the day nor the hour,” He means that all that has been said points to this, namely, that seeing we know not the day of judgment, we should be careful in providing the light of good works.~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

13. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

Watch ye therefore. The whole purpose of the parable is to teach us vigilance and preparation against the coming of Christ, whether at the end of the world, or at our own death.

Pope St Gregory the Great: “Forasmuch as ye know not the day of judgment, prepare the light of good works. For He who has guaranteed pardon to the penitent has not promised to-morrow to the sinner”~Quoted by Cornelius a Lapide in The Great Commentary.

St Augustine: For indeed we know the day and the hour neither of that future time when the Bridegroom will come, nor of our own falling asleep each of us; if then we be prepared for this latter, we shall also be prepared when that voice shall sound, which shall arouse us all.~Quoted in Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

Catechism of the Catholic Church #672:Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel[Acts 1:6-7] which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace.[Isa 11:1-9] According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church[Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 7:26; Eph 5:16; 1 Pet 4:17] and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.[Matt 25:1-13; Mk 13:33-37; Jn 2:18; Jn 4:3; 1 Tim 4:1].

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