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 17th, 2012

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Matthew 8:1-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 17, 2012

Mat 8:1  And when he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him:

And when he was come down from the mountain. According to St. Luke 6:17, if we suppose that he and St. Matthew record the same discourse, the preceding discourse was delivered, not on the mountain top, but “in a plain place,” which may be easily understood, of a level plain on the mountain’s side, where the multitude heard it, after our Redeemer had previously descended from the top of the mountain (Luke 6:17). The words mean: When our Lord had delivered the preceding discourse, in the level plain on the mountain’s side, in presence of the  multitude, He came down to the foot of tlie mountain and wished to go elsewhere. “Great multitudes,” influenced by the heavenly discourse they were after hearing, and by the miracles they saw Him perform (Luke 6:18), “followed Him.”  St. Matthew having omitted what was supplied by St. Luke, relative to the circumstances of this discourse, and particularly the previous descent of our Redeemer into the plain, where He delivered the discourse to the multitude, now records His descent to the foot of the mountain, into the low country, where the miracles, now about to be recorded, were performed. St. Matthew omits (Matt 5:1) what St. Luke records, or, rather, supplements (Luke 6:17), and he now records His descent from the mountain altogether, which St. Luke, who makes no mention of His descent to the foot of the mountain, omits. The opinion of Maldonatus, who holds that the preceding discourse, given in chapters 5-7, is composed of several discourses delivered, on different occasions, by our Lord, is refuted (Matt 5:1, which see).

Mat 8:2  And behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

And behold a leper, &c. “Behold,” conveys, that this occurred immediately after His descent from the mountain. St. Luke (6) and St. Mark (1) describe this miraculous cure of a leper in almost the same words employed here by St. Matthew. Hence, commentators agree that the three Evangelists refer to the same occurrence; the order of time and place, circumstantially detailed here by St. Matthew, is the one commonly adopted. The two other Evangelists do not so minutely describe the order of events, as St. Matthew does.  “A leper.” St. Luke 5:12 describes him as “full of leprosy,” covered all over with it. The Jewish law (Lev 13:46), as well as the general usage of mankind, for sanitary reasons, prevented men afflicted with this loathsome and contagious disease from associating with their fellow-men. Hence, when St. Luke says (chapt. 5), this cure took place “in a certain city” it means, close by, or, in the suburbs of, a certain city, most likely, Capharnaum.

There are several passages in Sacred Scripture, where, in a place, signifies, close by it. Thus, in Scriptural usage, our Lord’s Passion is said to have happened in Jerusalem, because it occurred on a mountain close by it. Also (Heb 9:4), the urn of manna is said to be in the ark, although only along side of it. (Joshua 10:10; Judges 18:12, &c.) It is held by some, that lepers were not prevented by the law of Moses from entering cities, but only from dwelling in them; and that leprosy, if contagious at all, which is denied by many, was not communicated by mere touch. For, the priests came constantly in contact with lepers. Hence, in order to prove dangerous, it was necessary to live with lepers and breathe the same air with them. In Leviticus 13:12 we find, that if a man were entirely covered, all over his body, with leprosy, he would be regarded as clean, as if the disease in such a case were working itself out. Lepers, though excluded from the Jewish places of residence, were not excluded from the Christian churches. St. Matthew and St. Luke may be reconciled by saying, our Lord met the leper in the streets or entrance to Capharnaum. St. Matthew’s account may be so understood. In truth, he does not mention the precise place where the miracle was performed.

And adored Him, with supreme adoration due to God alone. (St. Mark 1:40) describes him as “falling on his knees.” St. Luke 5:12, as “falling on his face,”
which is plainly indicated by the words of the leper: ” Lord, if Thou wilt,” &c., a clear profession of faith in our Lord’s omnipotent power; as if he said: Thou needest not have recourse to any other power external to Thyself; Thou needest not employ any appliances of the healing art. By a mere act of Thy will, a simple word or wish, Thou canst effect the desired cure.

The leper here illustrates the prayer recommended by St. James; he “asks in faith, nothing wavering,” (James 1:6). ” Qui voluntatem rogat, de virtute non dubitat” (St. Jerome, in hunc locum). As leprosy was but a type of sin, those who feel the dreadful curse of sin should have recourse to Jesus Christ, and, like the leper, cry out, with undoubting confidence in the Divine goodness and power, while availing themselves of the means of remission instituted by Him, ”Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.”

Mat 8:3  And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed.

Our Lord, at once answering to his petition, shows He has the will as well as the power; and instantly cleanses him. The ceremony of touching him with His hand, while a mere word or volition would do, had for object, as we are informed by St. Chrysostom (Hom. 26 in Mattheum), to show, that He was above the ceremonial law, which forbade coming in contact with lepers (although the existence of such a law is denied by some, as we shall see hereafter), and that nothing could be impure in regard to Him, who was the source of purity; and that, far from being rendered impure by contact, the Divine touch of the flesh of the adorable Word rendered clean everything it touched. The example of Elisha (2 Kings 4:34) touching the dead child, would show that the works of Divine power were above ritualistic observances, as in the case of the touch of a dead body.

Mat 8:4  And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man: but go, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Our Redeemer here inculcates three precepts or lessons—1st. Of humility; “see thou tell no man.” 2nd. Of obedience; ”go, show thyself to the priest.” 3rd. Of gratitude; ” offer the gift which Moses,” &c.

See thou tell no man, &c., may mean, see thou tell no one until first thou shalt show thyself to the priest; lest, on learning the miraculous cure from rumour, before they pronounced him clean, the priests would refuse to certify it; and thus, furnish some pretext for rejecting the miracle. Hence, in promulgating it, the leper did not afterwards violate the mandate or the prohibition, which had principally for object to teach men a lesson of humility, by avoiding all vain ostentatious display, as Tertullian understands it (Lib. 4, contra Marcionem), and by concealing, as much as possible, unless where the glory of God requires the contrary, their virtuous actions. This our Lord sanctions by His own example (Mark 5:37-40; 7:23; 9:1), and when afterwards publishing the miracle (Mark 1:45), the leper, most likely, did not regard the words of our Lord as strictly mandatory in the literal sense, but as given only from a feeling of humility, on our Lord’s part. For a differing view see my notes on Mark 1:40-45. See also the Bishop’s comments on the words which Moses commanded, as a testimony unto them below.

But, go, show thyself to the priest. St. Mark 1:44 has, “to the chief of the priests,” which may refer to the priest, who, in his turn, presided over the other priests then on active duty in the temple. Or, it may be, that the Jewish High Priest reserved to himself the declaration regarding cleansing from leprosy.

Offer the gift, a lamb; in case of poverty, two turtles, or two young pigeons (Lev 14:13-21).

Which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. If the word, “testimony,” be joined to “commanded,” then, the words mean, that Moses commanded such gifts in the case of cleansing from leprosy, as a statute or law, to be enforced by the priests. The law is often called “a testimony” in Sacred Scripture. Others connect it with the word, “offer;” and, then, it means; present the prescribed gift, the acceptance of which by the priests shall be a testimony, or public authentic recognition on their part, of the truth and reality of the miracle; or, it may mean, it shall render them inexcusable, and prove as a testimony against them, in case they hereafter reject and calumniate our Redeemer, whose miraculous works they recognize; or, accuse Him of being an enemy of the law, whose observance of the law they themselves could bear witness to.

Unto them, i.e., the entire sacerdotal order, meant by the word, priest, taken in a distributive sense. Others understand it, of the Jewish people. The former is the more probable. It may, possibly, refer to both priests and people. If the man did not show himself to the priests, they would probably reject the miracle, and hold him still legally unclean, and liable to be excluded from human society. It would serve as a testimony, and would promote God’s glory to witness the miracle, says St. Jerome (in hunc locum), whether they believed or not. If they believed, they would themselves be saved and cured from the criminal leprosy of sin; if they believed not, then, they would be inexcusable, in not rendering testimony to truth; and convicted of injustice for having accused Him of being an enemy of the law. In either case, God’s glory would be advanced.

Mat 8:5  And when he had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him,

The probability is, that the preceding miracle was performed near, or in the suburbs of, Capharnaum, or in some town on His way from the Mount. The narrative of St. Luke and St. Matthew may be very easily reconciled, if we suppose the cure of the leper to be performed on His entrance into Capharnaum. The narrative of St. Matthew, referring in this verse to when He had entered Capharnaum admits of this interpretation and mode of solution.

There came to Him a centurion.  The time, place, and other circumstances would seem to render it clear, that the miracle here recorded is the same as that mentioned by St. Luke (ch. 7) The trifling diversity in the narrative of both Evangelists is easily explained, and both are easily reconciled. When St. Luke says (7:3, &c.), he sent some influential friends, the ancients of the Jews, to our Redeemer; that He went with them, and when near the house the centurion sent his friends to meet Him, and through them addressed Him, all this presents no discrepancy whatever in regard to what St. Matthew records here, as it may be said, with truth, that a man himself says, what he says through others, or employed others to say for him. The Greek commentators (St. Chrysostom, Theophylact, &c.) say, the words of St. Matthew ought to be understood literally, that the elders of the Jews, on behalf of the centurion, first accosted our Lord (as St. Luke says); that when the centurion found that our Lord Himself meant to come, he sent his friends, who addressed Him, as is recorded by St. Luke (7); and that then the centurion himself finally met Him quite close to his house, and addressed Him, as is mentioned here by St. Matthew.

Mat 8:6  And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented.

Servant. St. Luke has his slave (δοῦλος = doulos). But, the word here employed (παῖς = pais) may mean, either a boy or a slave. Hence, it means, a boy slave much prized by the centurion, as St. Luke informs us.

Mat 8:7  And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him.

I will come, &c. These words were addressed to the ancients of the Jews (Luke 7:3). It is deserving of remark, and has been frequently observed by interpreters, that when there is question of a poor slave, our Redeemer goes to visit him in person, although his master, the centurion, did not ask Him; but in the case of the Ruler’s son, He cures him only at a distance (John 4:50).

Mat 8:8  And the centurion, making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.

Lord, I am not worthy, &c. These words the centurion commissioned his friends to express in his name as our Lord was approaching his house; and hence, he expressed them through others. Or, if we adopt the interpretation of St. Chrysostom, they may have been personally uttered by the centurion himself, on seeing the Redeemer approaching his house.

Only say the word, a Hebrew phrase, signifying, only command it; only express a wish, and it shall be well with my afflicted servant. It would appear from St. Luke, that, in the first instance, when the centurion employed the mediation of the Jewish ancients, he wished Him to come. Now, his faith is increased and enlightened, as Jesus approaches his house; and he unhesitatingly proclaimed His omnipotence.

Mat 8:9  For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

Under authority means, as St. Luke expresses it, subject to authority, a subordinate, subject to higher officers, captains or generals. Having soldiers under me. This he says not out of vain ostentation, but to show why his commands are obeyed. The conclusion, which may be regarded as, an argumentum a minori ad majus (i.e., proof from the minor to the major), so expressive of the great faith of the centurion, is: If I, a mere man, myself subject to others above me, can command my subordinates, and by my mere word, ensure a ready compliance and obedience from them, how much more canst Thou, who art Sovereign Lord of all things, subject to no one, having no one over or above Thee, command diseases and bodily infirmities, and by Thy mere word, insure the most perfect obedience and compliance with Thy wishes, Mare et venti obediunt ei (the winds and sea obey him. See 8:27).

Mat 8:10  And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him. Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel.

Marvelled i.e., expressed wonder at this external manifestation of faith, which may be explained, consistently with our Lord’s omniscience, as St. Thomas explains it (3 Part, q. 15, Art. 18), thus; although, in virtue of His Divine omniscience, our Lord knew the faith of the centurion already, and, moreover, could not be ignorant of it, as it was He Himself that inspired the centurion by His heavenly grace; still, He really and interiorly marvelled, owing to the experimental knowledge of the fact; just as the astronomer, who predicts an eclipse, expresses his admiration and astonishment on witnessing it actually taking place. Others, with St. Augustine, &c., understand the word to convey the mere external expression of His praise, and commendation of it; and of astonishment, as evidenced by His whole external appearance and countenance. It may, probably, also, denote the expression of commendation conveyed in the following words: Amen I say to you, &c.

In Israel, the Jewish people, the depositaries of God s oracles, favoured with His special graces and revelations. In the Greek it is more expressive still (ουδε εν τω ισραηλ), neither in Israel. From this, it would appear that the centurion was a Gentile, a Roman soldier. Our Redeemer says, He did not find such faith, as was shown by a Pagan soldier, among the carnal descendants of Abraham. In this, He did not surely refer to those who, from the very nature of things, and the well-known evidence of facts, were excepted, such as the Blessed Virgin, John the Baptist, the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets, the Apostles, as when speaking of the Baptist He says, No greater arose among the lorn of women. Nor, of course, did He include Himself. Or the words may be confined to the period of His public mission; since He began to preach publicly and work miracles, He found no such instance of faith in the mass of the Jewish people in general.

Mat 8:11  And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven:

And I say to you &c. The centurion being a Gentile, as clearly appears from the contrast,  in Israel, as also from the words of the ancients of the Jews, He loveth our nation (Luke 7:5), our Redeemer takes occasion, by way of digression, to refer to the vocation of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews-a subject referred to by the Prophets in many places, but especially by Isaias (43:5, 6, 10. See also Romans 9-11)-after which digression, He resumes the subject of the centurion’s appeal.

That many attracted by God’s grace, like the centurion, shall come from the East &c., from the four quarters of the globe, and the remotest regions of the Gentiles–the Gentiles may be called, many compared with the Jews–and shall sit down with Abraham &c., the Patriarchs, the three great Princes of Israel, and fathers of the spiritual sons of promise, to whom were first made the promises of eternal bliss.

Shall sit down, is allusive to the recumbent posture in which the ancients partook of their banquets–a fit emblem of the bliss they shall, one day, fully enjoy, in supreme security and rest. Our Redeemer, in accordance with a Scriptural usage, represents the eternal bliss of the saints, under the figure of an earthly banquet.

The kingdom of heaven conveys an idea of the joys of that blessed country in which the saints shall enjoy God for ever and ever.

Mat 8:12  But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The children of the Kingdom, The natural descendants, according to the flesh, of the Patriarchs, born in Judea, which was a type of heaven; and as they had a claim to the type, it would seem but natural, that they had a claim to the thing typified also. And, in truth, the Jews seemed to claim the spiritual inheritance of justification which conducted to heaven, as a kind of hereditary birthright transmitted to them, as sons of AbraHam (vide Ep. ad rom.) To them, the Gospel of the kingdom was first preached.

Exterior darkness.  The words are found in St. Matthew only, here and in Matt 22:3; 25:30. They have, undoubtedly, reference to the darkness of hell, that land of misery and darkness, where everlasting horror dwells. “Darkness” also conveys the idea of a close prison (Ps 107:10-16; Isa 49:9.). “Exterior,” according to some interpreters, is allusive to the metaphor of the banquet, which in the East, usually took place at night. Within the banquet hall, was a profusion of lights; without, darkness. Everything outside the banquet hall was darkness, compared with the brilliancy which reigned within. In hell, there is physical darkness. The damned are also deprived of the light of God’s beatific vision, said to be hell’s greatest torment. According to these, the words mean: They shall be cast out of God’s bright kingdom, outside which there is but darkness. Others, seeing the word, “exterior” to be used (Matt 25:30), where there is no allusion to a feast, interpret “exterior darkness,” to mean, darkness of the densest kind in that deep and profound abyss, which is situated outside the brightness of this world, under or within the earth, where the light of the sun never reaches. Others, take the word in a superlative sense, to mean the densest darkness, farthest off from the brightness of God’s kingdom
and the light of His glorious effulgence.

Weeping and gnashing of teeth. These words, used by St. Matthew, not only here, but also in chapters 13, 22, 24, 25, and once by St. Luke (13), are explained by some to denote the extreme cold and heat of hell; the latter producing “weeping:” the former, “gnashing of teeth.” St. Jerome, in his commentary on Job, as also on St. Matthew 10 seems to hold this opinion, for which there is some foundation, in the words of Job 24:19. The meaning of the words of Job is, however, questioned by others. Hence, the matter is uncertain. (See Jansenius, c. xlv.) Maldonatus holds that there is real weeping &c., in hell. Lapide maintains, there is real gnashing of teeth, but not real weeping or shedding of tears; and St. Jerome, taking the words literally, infers from them, the resurrection of the body. The words mean, excessive pain, rage or horror; the former, indicated by the word, “weeping;” the latter, by the words, ”gnashing of teeth.” Even profane authors refer to the torture of dying soldiers, who were afflicted with stridor dentium.

Mat 8:13  And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.

Go—a Hebrew form of expression, implying that his request was granted—go home, in a joyous mood, “and as thou hast believed,” that in virtue of my Divine power, I could, although absent, cure thy servant, “so he it done to thee.” “In that hour,” i.e., at the very instant Jesus told him to go home, conveying, that He had granted his request.

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St Jerome’s Homily on Matthew 8:1-13 for the Third Sunday After Epiphany (Extraordinary Form of the Rite)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 17, 2012

An fairly long list of resources for this Sunday’s Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Rite) can be found here. These resources are mostly biblical and homiletic.

I. WhenJesus came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. They had not been able to follow Him when He went up. And the first who now came was a leper. The disease of this poor creature had prevented him from hearing the Saviour’s long sermon on the mount. Let it be noticed that he is the first person specially named as being cured. The second was the centurion’s servant; the third, St. Peter’s mother-in-law, who was sick of a fever at Capharnaum; the fourth were those brought to Christ as being troubled with evil spirits. By His word He cast out those evil spirits, and at the same time healed all them that were sick. And behold a leper came and adored Him. Properly after preaching and doctrine comes the occasion for a miracle, that the power of the sign might confirm in the hearers the truth of the teaching that had gone before.

II. And the leper said: Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. The leper prayed the Lord to have the will, for he doubted not but that He had the power. And Jesus, stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying: I will; be thou made clean. And as soon as the Lord put forth His hand the leprosy departed. Let us remark how humble and unboasting is the Lord’s language. The leper had said, if thou wilt; the Lord answered, I will. The leper, Thou canst make me clean; and the Lord, Be thou made clean. Most Latin readers, misled by the identity of form in that language, read Christ’s answer as if it were: I will to make thee clean. This is wrong, for the sentences are separate. First comes the expression of volition, I will, then the command, Be thou made clean. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man. Was there any need to tell what his body showed? But go, show thyself to the priest. There were divers reasons why Christ should send him to the priest. First for humility’s sake, that he might show reverence to God’s priest. Then there was a command of the law that they, who were cleansed from leprosy, should make an offering to the priests. Moreover, that when the priests saw the leper cleansed, they might either believe in the Saviour or refuse to believe; if they believed, that they might be saved, and if they believed not, that they might have no excuse. Lastly, that He might give no ground for the accusation too often brought against Him, that He was unobservant of the Law.

III. Then the centurion came to Jesus, beseeching Him and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: Iwill come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. No one could accuse our Lord of an inordinate desire after honour, because He promised the centurion that He would go at once and heal the servant. It was on account of the faith, humility, and modesty which He saw in the centurion, that He at once and most generously granted his request. The centurion showed his faith in believing that He could heal a man sick of the palsy, who was still an unbeliever. He showed his humility, thinking himself unworthy to receive Jesus into his house; and his modesty was shown by his recognising the Divinity of Jesus hidden under the veil of His humanity. This centurion knew that it would be useless for him to follow the example of unbelievers, and to accept as true only what he could see with his bodily eyes, if he did not at the same time believe in the Divinity of Jesus, that he could not see. This prudence made him say: I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. By these words he wished to express his belief that Jesus could convey His intentions to His angels, and through them perform whatsoever He would deign to fulfil Himself.

IV. When Jesus heard this He marvelled, and said to them that followed Him: Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. Jesus marvelled, because the centurion recognised the majesty of the Son of God made man, and His power to heal the sick, and to deliver the possessed from the influence of the devil, either through His word only, or through the agency of His angels. He praised the centurion’s faith as being greater than that of the Jews, His contemporaries, but did not speak of the patriarchs and prophets who had lived before Him. Under the figure of the centurion He wished perhaps to indicate the Gentiles, whose faith surpassed that of the children of Israel. I say to you, He added, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Since the God of Abraham is the Creator of heaven, and the Father of Jesus Christ, it follows that Abraham and all the nations which with him believe in Jesus, the Son of the Creator, will sit in the kingdom of heaven. In this also is contained the meaning of what we have said, namely, that the faith of the centurion represented the Gentiles, who would believe with him were the Gospel preached to those who dwell in the east and the west. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness. The unconverted Jews, who, until the conversion of the Gentiles, had God for their King, were the children of the kingdom. Their darkness was interior; yet we may say that, since they left the true Light and were rejected by God, they were also surrounded by exterior darkness.  (Note: see Romans 11).


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COMPLETE: Resources for Sunday Mass, January 22, 2012 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 17, 2012

This post contains mostly biblical and homiletic resources for this Sunday’s Mass readings for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Rite. Please be aware that the readings in the two Forms differ.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading (Jonah 3:1-5, 10). These notes were previously posted and are on verses 1-10.

Navarre Bible Commentary on the First Reading (Jonah 3:1-5, 10).

A Lectio Divina Reading of Today’s Responsorial Psalm (25). On the entire Psalm.

My Notes on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9). This post is actually on verses 1-9.

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9). Contains notes on verses 1-9.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). Sorry, to the best of my knowledge only the Latin text of this section of the letter is currently available online. Most of the lectures on 1 Corinthians are available in English here (actually, Latin and English side by side).

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast Study of First Corinthians chapters 6 & 7. Audio, very good.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:14-20).

My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:14-20).

Some More Notes of Mine on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:14-20).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:14-20).

A Lectio Divina Meditation on Today’s Gospel (Mark 1:14-20). Prayer, meditation, reflection in the Carmelite tradition.

Word Sunday:

  • MP3 PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, Judy’s father asked a question we all need to ask ourselves: How can we serve God? Like her father, we also need to follow up on our question. We need to get to work.
  • FIRST READING Jonah was called by God to preach to the people of Nineveh. He obeyed God’s command, yet didn’t believe it would have any effect. Surprise! Like Jonah, we need to without judgement of others and get to work serving others.
  • PSALM Psalm 25 praised God for his mercy and kindness, yet was the hymn of the humble. Despite the sins of the author, he leans on the Lord for forgiveness and compassion.
  • SECOND READING How do we survive in an every changing world? In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul addressed that issue. Yes, he did speak of marriage in the context, but we must remember that he pointed to the only thing that is permanent: divine providence.
  • GOSPEL In Marks’ gospel, Jesus called four fishermen as his first followers. They gave up all for him. Jesus calls us every day to follow him. How do we respond? Are we willing to give up all for him?
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the story for the first reading, Dana got caught cheating on a test. She was surprised when, instead of punishment, she got another chance, just like the people of Nineveh. In the story of the gospel, Jay was not someone who kept his promises; ne never followed through. But, one broken promise changed him and taught him the value of follow through. Peter, Andrew, James, and John made a promise and kept it. They would become fishers of people.
  • CATECHETICAL LINK This week’s Catechetical Link explores the life long commitments some Catholics make in the sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony. These are the Sacraments of Service to the Community.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY Jesus calls us to turn our lives around and return to God. To emphasize this point, play the “Turn Around” game with your family members.

St Charles Borromeo Parish Bible Study. Notes on all of the readings.

Haydock Bible Commentary. The Scripture readings followed by notes from the old Haydock commentary. Previously posted.

Catholic Mom’s Resources:

Lector Notes. Gives brief historical and theological background. Can be printed, copied, and used for bulletin insert.

Thoughts From the Early Church. Excerpt from Caesarius of Arles.

Scripture in Depth.

Catholic Matters. Text of the readings followed by brief explanations.

The Bible Workshop. Includes several links to “relevant articles” online, followed by a brief guide to the Gospel, a handy review of the readings, and suggestions for the lesson (i.e., homily).

Father Robert Barron’s Homily Podcast: The Spiritual Drama of Jonah. Audio homily by a noted speaker and theologian.

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

Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast. This weeks episode not available at the time of my posting this.

St Martha’s Bible Study Podcast. Usually looks at the readings in some detail. (This week’s study gets off to a strange musical start!).

UPDATE: Why Fisher’s of Men? Podcast of a radio show on today’s Gospel by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. Michael Barber.

Podcast Reflections on the Readings. By Father Linh Nguyen of St Martha’s.

Preaching the Lectionary. This weeks reflection not available at the time of my posting this.

UPDATE: Leaving Behind the Nets. Blog post on the readings by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma.


Devout Instruction On The Epistles and Gospels Online book, scroll down to middle of page. Contains the readings with brief instructions, prayers, and a short essay on “Resignation to the Divine Will.” You can use the site’s zoom feature to increase text size for easier reading.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 12:16-21. Actually, this post is on verses 9-21.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 12:16-21. Actually, this post is on verse 9-21.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 8:1-13.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 8:1-13.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Matthew 8:1-13.

Pending (maybe): Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:1-13. Maybe will post Thursday evening.

Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 8:1-13

St Jerome’s Homily on the Gospel (Matthew 8:1-13).

Homily On The EpistleOnline Book.  Homily is prefaced with Epistle Reading.

Homily On The GospelOnline book.  Homily is prefaced by Gospel Reading.

Homily Notes:

St Thomas Aquinas’ Homily Notes:

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A Lectio Divina Reading of Psalm 25

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 17, 2012

The Following comes from the Lectio Divina Homepage.

Vs. 1: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Note the act of lifting, nasa’, a verb we saw in vss. 7 and 9 of Ps 24 with respect to gates and doors. It is as though the king upon entering Jerusalem now lifts up his soul once these entry ways have been lifted to receive him. Consider this in light of King Solomon’s prayer of dedication with regard to the temple, 1 Kg 8. This nasa’ suggests an almost universal perception of the divinity being “up there” to which a person assents.

Vs. 2: O my God, in you I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. The three-fold desire of the psalmist spells out that nasa’ or lifting just discussed. The expression of trust, batach, implies waiting or expectation. “And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards” [Ezk 28.6]. In vs. 2 the psalmist perceives a threat of being shamed, bush, which involves a failure of hope or that batach just mentioned. In the meantime, he has his soul lifted up to God (vs. 1), suspended, as it were, between heaven and earth much like Christ on the cross.

The exulting of enemies, halats, fundamentally is an expression of joy as in this positive sense: “I will be glad and rejoice in you” [Ps 9.2]. It is kind of upward movement just like the psalmist’s nasa’ of his soul of vs. 1, so we see a struggle between two types of upward gestures where the outcome is not yet certain.

Vs. 3: Yes, let none that wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Waiting or qawah forms a basic theme to all genuine religious expression, and this example is no exception; qawah almost suggests strength, and from it is derived qaw, rope, cord; in Ps 19.4 this word reads “yet their voice goes out through all the earth,” voice being (measuring) line. We may envision the persons of which the psalmist speak as hanging or being suspended on such a qaw which is open to shame by others, bush.

To shame or bagad also means to oppress from which is derived beged, a covering, so we get the idea of being veiled in disgrace. The following verse applied to Christ’s suffering on the cross suggests this twofold meaning: “They parted my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots” [Ps 22.18, Jn 19.24]. Reyqam, treacherous, intensifies this bagad, for it means vanity. “You shall sow your seed in vain” [Lev 26.16].

Vs. 4: Make me know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Two examples of passage, ways (derek) and paths (‘orach) which comprise two types of comprehension, a desire to know (yadah) and a desire to be taught (lamad). This wish for instruction in the psalmist eyes pertains to something with which he is unfamiliar; both courses are in the plural and imply a multiplicity of goals.

Vs. 5: Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. An amplification of derek in vs. 4 with the verbal form, darak, to lead, that is, with respect to truth, ‘emeth, not just truth but “your truth,” God’s. Instead of a desire to be taught in divine paths (again, vs. 4), vs. 5 has a desire for being directly taught by God whom the psalmist identifies with salvation, yeshuah, “Jesus.” I.e., leading and teaching are brought in line with “the God of my Jesus.”

For you I wait all the day long. Here waiting, qawah, (cf. vs. 3) applies to kal-hayom, all the day long, “day” being a kairos expression of time as event.


Vs. 6: Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Often the Psalter has the psalmist speaking about the necessity to remember (zakar) God, etc, but here his wish is applied to God himself or more specifically, his mercy, rechem (cf. Ps 18.1 for a note on the former). In vs. 6 an alignment, as it were, is brought between rechem and zakar (mindful) together with chesed, steadfast love. The psalmist is quick to note their ancient quality, “from of old,” holam, which refers to indefinite temporal extension however long. Perhaps he has in mind not only God’s favoring of Israel but holam as extending back to the Genesis account of creation. As noted earlier, zakar is the verbal root for male; it is as though the psalmist wants God to propagate the two qualities of mercy in the sense of making them an inheritance for extension into the future.


Vs. 7: Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Note the continued insistence upon remember, zakar, only here applied to the psalmist’s sins, chata’ah (singular), or better, “from my youth,” nehurym, which is plural in form. “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” [Gen 8.21], words uttered after the flood. This chapter of Genesis begins with “But God remembered Noah,” another instance of zakar, that is, he takes steps to insure propagation of Noah into the future. In addition to the psalmist’s sins, he wishes that God also not zakar his transgressions, pesheh (singular), which connotes rebellion. “My transgressions were bound into a yoke” [Lam 1.14].


According to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! An association of zakar with chesed. Note the connection of the psalmist with God in relation with this chesed according to the Hebrew: zekar-ly-‘atah, “remember-me-you” with the psalmist sandwiched in between. He ties in chesed here with divine goodness, using the general tov.


Vs. 8: Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. Two general attributes, tov and yashar, applied to God; while familiar to readers of the Psalter, their frequent usage acts as a reminder and as words of introduction to a more particular facet of the divinity. In this instance, it is God’s faculty of instructing, darak, the verbal root for the noun way frequently used thus far. For sinners we have hanawym, a word associated with those who are afflicted, not necessarily by sinfulness (cf. Ps 22.26).


The second part of vs. 8 contains the word derek, way, which here is unspecified but assumed to be the divine Torah; also applicable to Jesus Christ as the way. Sinners are instructed, lamad, the verb from which Talmud is derived; also note that in the Syriac version of the New Testament Christ’s disciples are called talmydim.


Vs. 9: He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. Continuation of the theme of leading and the way discussed just above, only here with respect to the humble, hanawym, who are mentioned twice. The second example is in conjunction with lamad; note the different use of hanawym here as opposed to sinners of vs. 8.


Vs. 10: All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Paths or ‘orek (singular) are “of the Lord,” not to the Lord, indicating those qualities he wishes to manifest which here are steadfast love, chesed, and truth, ‘emeth. A person becomes attuned to this divine outflow, as it were, by keeping, natsar two things: the divine covenant and testimonies, beryth and hed. Cf. Ps 12.7 for mention of natsar as watching; while suggesting a keeping, it also involves watching in that one can loose them as well as gain further insight into them. First mention of beryth is Gen 6.18: “But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” The last mention is Mal 3.1: “Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” With these two covenants in mind, it is interesting to observe the various usages of beryth in between, as it were, them. Hedothayu (his testimonies) are more specific rules or features of the general beryth.


Vs. 11: For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Not so much as for YHWH himself but for his name which we may assign as the person of Jesus Christ; better, “for your Word’s sake,” Logos. This incarnation of the divine shem, name, or Jesus-as-salvation is directed toward extending pardon, salach, which has the notion of lightness, of lifting up (for example, on the cross of Christ).


Vs. 12: Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. A rhetorical question which can be taken as addressed to a crowd, fear or yir’ath being the first step on the road to acquire wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” [Prov 1.7]. Here beginning, re’shyth, is used in the sense of embracing all other aspects; it is a kind of Alpha implying an Omega (cf. Rev 22.13).


Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. Here the choice is up to the person, after which the Lord will instruct him, yarah, which can also mean to lay foundations, to sprinkle, both which have the basic meaning of casting something: “Behold, the pillar which I have founded” [Gen 31.51]. And, “He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” [Hos 6.3]. Implied is human free will (bachar) which makes choices under divine inspiration after which comes yarah which has a specific path, way or derek.


Vs. 13: He himself shall abide in prosperity, and his children shall possess the land. Nephesh or the common word for soul is used for “he himself,” one’s inmost being. Such prosperity, tov, is contingent upon the vs. 12, fear of God, which implies a continuous state signified by the word abide, lun; used more specifically for spending the night as in Gen 32.21: “and he himself [Jacob] lodged that night in the camp.” Such lun was a preparation for Jacob’s wrestling bout with the mysterious divine being who bestowed upon him a change of names, i.e., to Israel. Compare with Sg 1.13: “He shall lie all night between my breasts.” In the case of Jacob, his new name of Israel suggests the presence in his person of future generations, the children of vs. 13 who “shall possess the land,” yarash, in the sense of becoming inheritors.


Vs. 14: The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Those who enjoy divine friendship, sod, stem from Jacob/Israel discussed in the preceding verse; it requires that fear of Prov 1.7. Sod also means a couch, assembly, therefore an abiding relationship; the notion of reclining may be associated with sharing a meal as Christ with his disciples at the Last Supper. At a sod there is often intimate conversation, reminiscent of Christ’s discourse on his mission and coming of the Holy Spirit, that is, Christ divulged to the disciples his covenant, beryth: “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” [Mt 26.28]. The act of making known, yadah, suggests an indirect disclosure where one must do active work or searching to realize what is being done.


Vs. 15: My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. In God’s relation with Moses, he never disclosed himself but only spoke with Moses: “and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen” [Ex 33.23]. In light of this, how can the psalmist’s eyes gaze upon YHWH? Toward, ‘el, suggests in-the-direction-of, not necessarily in the sense of direct gaze; perhaps the psalmist had in mind God’s words to Moses just mentioned, namely, that God’s back can be seen, not his face. In this light, his gaze is following God as he is in the act of moving.


This gaze fixed towards God thus directs a person’s actions signified by feet which God will pluck from a snare, yasta’ and resheth. Once liberated, the psalmist can then follow God’s back. “Draw me after you, let us make haste” [Sg 1.4].


Vs. 16: Turn to me and be gracious to me; for I am lonely and afflicted. Perhaps the desire for God to turn, panah (from which is derived face), is a wish to see God in light of Moses’ wish discussed in the previous verse. God can turn about but this would kill Moses who is well aware of the fact which is why vs. 16 can be put in Moses’ mouth, be gracious, chanan, which implies an inclining gesture.


The psalmist appeals to God for this chanan by stating his miserable condition, lonely or yachyd and hany (from hanah, same verbal root for eyes of vs. 15).


Vs. 17: Relieve the troubles of my heart, and bring me out of my distresses. Troubles derive from the verb tsarar which pertains to something which is pressed, and applied to the heart or center of feeling connotes extreme distress. The psalmist wishes relief from such constraints, rachav, to be spacious. “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land” [Gen 26.22].


And bring me out of my distresses. The two verbs here are vivid descriptions of the psalmist’s predicament, for they are similar sounding, mimtsuqothay and hotsy’eny; matsoq can mean column and comes from the same verbal root as tsuq, to be narrow which is similar in meaning to tsarar.


Vs. 18: Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Haneny (again, hanah) is the word for affliction which the psalmist wishes God to consider, ra’ah, or more accurately, to see, which is his way of having God reciprocate his words in vs. 15, “My eyes are ever toward the Lord.” The second object the psalmist wishes God to ra’ah is his trouble, hamal, more specifically, labor. This word is frequently used in Ecclesiastes to reveal the vanity of human endeavors: “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun” [1.3]? With this verse in mind, the psalmist intimates that God should consider his vanity, havel.


Finally vs. 18 has the psalmist beseeching God not simply to cast a look upon his situation but to actively step in and forgive his sins (chete’, singular), nasa’, more fundamentally, to take them up as though removing that havel from his eyes.


Vs. 19: Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. Another instance of ra’ah for consider, i.e., to see, this time with respect to the psalmist’s foes, ‘eyvah (singular); the first ra’ah seems to concern his own inner turmoil, whereas this second one is external. Their hatred, sin’ah, is intensified by the wording of the Hebrew, “They hate me with cruel hatred,” sin’ah being used twice. Chamas, violent, a frequently used word in the Psalter; this term is situated in between the two words, sin’ah


Vs. 20: Oh guard my life and deliver me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. When nephesh is used for life, almost always it suggests soul which here the psalmist wishes God to both guard (shamar) as well as to deliver (“me”), natsal which implies a pulling out of a dangerous situation. Note use of natsal in conjunction with me, not nephesh, perhaps signifying a more pointed or urgent request for assistance from God.

The act of taking refuge, chasah, is bound up with the notion of fleeing, of hurried flight from a dangerous situation; it also means to trust: “under whose wings you have come to trust” [Rt 2.12]. Although in vs. 20 the psalmist bids God to deliver him-thereby implying a chasah-he nevertheless adds the statement of already having accomplished this same chasah.

Vs. 21: May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. Tom and yosher are two elements which preserve (natsar) the psalmist, the former signifying fulness or completion and the latter straightness. It is the function of natsar to effect these two types of protection; it signifies a type of watching as in Jer 31.6: “There shall be a day when the watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim.” Actually vs. 21 expresses a wish of the psalmist, not its accomplishment and his based upon his expectation or waiting, qawah. Vs. 5 above specifies this qawah by saying it is “all the day long.”

Vs. 22: Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. This concluding verse of Ps 25 shifts attention away from the psalmist’s personal woes to the larger community in which he belongs, Israel whom he wants God to redeem, padah, which means a setting free. “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing” [Is 51.11]. This notion of setting free is enhanced by “out of all his troubles,” tsar; cf. vs. 17: “Relieve the troubles of my heart.”

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 17, 2012

Father Callan’s Complete commentary on First Corinthians can be accessed here (scroll down to find).

29. This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none;

This therefore I say. Better, “But this I say.” The Apostle explains why it is better to remain unmarried.

The time is short, i.e., the days of this life are few and short, and so it is better to avoid the cares and anxieties inseparable from married life, in order to give ourselves more fervently to the service of God. Some interpret these words as referring to the nearness of the day of judgment, which cannot be allowed, since this would make the Apostle teach something which was not true (see my note below). Of course it is a fact that each one’s particular judgment is never far off, and all uncertain to the individual whom, therefore, it behooves to keep as free as possible from distracting annoyances and to be ever watching for his Master’s coming.

The Greek reads literally: “The time is having been shortened” (compacted, contracted, shortened, abridged). It probably should not be taken as referring to the nearness of the end (eschaton) but, rather, to the fact that the end times (eschatological age) has begun.

It remaineth, etc. The conclusion which follows from the brevity of our life on earth is that we ought to keep our hearts detached from all temporal cares, solicitudes, joys and sorrows which may obscure the vision of our real purpose in life, namely, the service of God and the salvation of our souls.

30. And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

The meaning is that we must not allow any of our earthly experiences, whether of sorrow, of joy, or of business, to absorb our attention and distract us from loving and serving God. We must rather turn all these things to our sanctification by regarding them in the light of faith.

31. And they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Use this world, as if they used it not. Better, “Use the World, as not using it to the full.”

The fashion . . . passeth away, i.e., the show, the external appearance, of things, such as riches, honors, pleasures, sorrows and the like, are fleeting, and should not be permitted to take our hearts away with them. These external things of the present world shall be destroyed at the judgment; the substance of the world, though changed and purified, shall not be destroyed (Rom 8:19 ff.; 2 Peter 3:13; 1 John 2:17; Apoc 21:1).

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Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 7:29-31 for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 17, 2012

Father Piconio’s commentary on all of 1 Corinthians 7 can be found here.

29. This, therefore I say, brethren, the time is short: it remains that both they who have wives, as not having them:
30. And who weep, as not weeping: and who rejoice, as not rejoicing: and who buy, as not possessing:
31. And who use this world, as if they use it not: for the figure of this world passes away.

The time is short (Ver 29). Human life is too short for devotion to the interests of time and eternity together. Especially, perhaps, as the Apostle expected a near approach of the day of judgment. Married and single (ver 29), the sad and the rejoicing, buyers and sellers (ver 30), should all live and labour, grieve and be merry, buy and sell, with reference to the eternity which is close upon them. Using this world (ver 31), they should use it only with reference to another. The Greek has, as not misusing it; but it is to misuse it, to use it for itself. The torrent of human things rolls swiftly by, and the moments as they fly carry all things with them. St. Augustine. The figure of this world passes (ver 31); the unsubstantial shadows and appearances of unreal good which cannot satisfy the soul. It mocks, deceives, and soon is gone ; the realities which do not pass, and which do not deceive, are those of eternity.

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

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