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 February, 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012: Mass Resources for the Second Sunday of Lent (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 29, 2012

This post contains resources (mostly biblical and homiletic) for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. Updates will be added and marked as such, especially under the Ordinary Form.


Mass Readings.

Divine Office.

Our Father Abraham. A Bible Study Lesson from the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Gen 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18).

Haydock Bible Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Gen 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18). Links to all the notes on Gen 22.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19). On verses 10-19 inclusively.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19).

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (Romans 8:31b-34). Actually, this post is on verses 28-39.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (Romans 8:31b-34).

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (Romans 8:31b-34).

Haydock’s Bible Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (Romans 8:31b-34). Links to all the notes on Roman 8.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:2-10).

Haydock Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:2-10). Links to notes on all of Mark 9.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:2-10).

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study of Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:2-10). Excellent online video study which looks at the text in some detail. Approximately 1 hour.

UPDATES Fri., March 2~

Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast. Audio looks at all the readings.

St Martha’s Podcast. Audio looks at all the readings in some detail.

Father Barron’s Homily Podcast. Audio from the well known and respected theologian and speaker.

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

Preaching the Lectionary.

The Bible Workshop. Includes links to several articles, a brief guide to the readings, and suggestions for a lesson (i.e., a homily).

Word Sunday:

  • MP3 PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we ask the age old question: God, what are you trying to tell me?
  • FIRST READING The book of Genesis presents us with a dilemma in the story of Isaac. God’s law abhorred human sacrifice, but Abraham heard the divine command to sacrifice his son. What’s more important, God’s law or God’s will?
  • PSALM Psalm 116 celebrated the safe arrival of a pilgrim to the Temple in Jerusalem. It was a thanksgiving hymn that lauded YHWH for rescue even at the point of death.
  • SECOND READING “If God is with us, who can be against us?” This famous line came from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. This rhetorical question addressed the overwhelming power of God in life, a power so great even death could not get in the way.
  • GOSPEL Mark’s gospel laid out the classic lines and themes of the Transfiguration. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray. There, he was transformed. Moses and Elijah joined him. The three followers witnessed the voice of the Father declaring Jesus his Son. They also heard the divine command, “Listen to him.”
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the story for the first reading, St. Paul was presented as a changed man. He realized the love of God would not allow any opposition. If God was with us, who could be against us? In the story for the gospel, Peter walked up a mountain with his friends, only to be caught in a thunder storm. But, for a moment, he had a “WOW” experience, one not unlike the followers of Jesus had on the mountain.
  • CATECHISM LINK In this week’s Catechism Link, a study of the Transfiguration gives us an opportunity to discuss the Bible.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY Read the Bible as a family this week, especially the stories about Moses and Elijah.

One Bread, One Body:

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological overview of the readings. Can be printed out, copied and used as a bulletin insert.

Lection Notes. Differs from previous site. Brief notes and study questions.

Lector Works. One Lector’s advice on how to read the text of the readings.

Sacerdos. Link corrected. Gives the themes of the readings, their doctrinal message, and a pastoral application.

Thoughts From the Early Church. Excerpt from a sermon on the Transfiguration by St Ephrem the Syrian.

Scripture in Depth.

Catholic Matters. The readings followed by brief notes.

St Charles Borromeo Parish Bible Study Notes. Notes used during a weekly study of the Sunday readings.

UPDATE: Sat., March 3~

Premonition of Calvary: The Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent. By Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma of The Sacred Page blog.

The Sacred Page Podcast. On the Sunday readings by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. Michael Barber of The Sacred Page Blog.

Homilist’s Catechism: Links to relevant passages of the catechism appear in popup window which can be enlarged.

A Lectio Divina Reading of the Gospel. An approach to the Sunday Gospel in the Carmelite tradition. Includes opening prayer, a key to the reading, questions for personal reflection, an examination of the context, a commentary on the text, other stuff.

A podcast on Mark 8:22-10:52.

Daily Gospel. Brief Commentary by St Anastasius of Sinai.

Dominica II in Quadragesima ~ I. classis

Readings and General Resources:

Notes and Commentary on the Epistle and Gospel:

Sermons and Homilies:

Sermon and Homily Notes: for sermon/homily ideas, points for meditation of further study.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 9:1-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 29, 2012

Ver 1. And He said unto them, “Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”2. And after six days Jesus taketh with Him, Peter and James and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and He was transfigured before them.3. And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.4. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.5. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”6. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.7. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son: hear Him.”8. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

Pseudo-Jerome: After the consummation of the cross, the glory of the resurrection is shewn, that they, who were to see with their own eyes the glory of the resurrection to come, might not fear the shame of the cross.

Wherefore it is said, “And after six days Jesus taketh with Him, Peter and James and John, and led them up into an high mountain apart by themselves, and He was transfigured before them.”

Chrys., Hom. in Matt. 65: Luke in saying , “After eight days,” does not contradict this; for he reckoned in both the day on which Christ had spoken what goes before, and the day on which He took them up. And the reason that He took them up after six days, was that they might be filled with a more eager desire during the space of these days, and with a watchful and anxious mind attend to what they saw.

Theophylact: And He takes with Him the three chief of the Apostles, Peter, as confessing and loving Him, John, as the beloved one, James, as being sublime in speech and as a divine; for so displeasing was he to the Jews, that Herod wishing to please the Jews slew him.

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: He does not however shew His glory in a house, but He takes them up into a high mountain, for the loftiness of the mountain was adapted to shewing forth the loftiness of His glory.

Theophylact: And He took them apart, because He was about to reveal mysteries to them. We must also understand by transfiguration not the change of His features, but that, whilst His features remained as before, there was added unto Him a certain ineffable brightness.

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: It is not therefore fitting that in the kingdom of God any change of feature should take place, either in the Saviour Himself, or in those who are to be made like unto Him, but only an addition of brightness.

Bede, 3, 37: Our Saviour then when transfigured did not lose the substance of real flesh, but shewed forth the glory of His own or of our future resurrection; for such as He then appeared to the Apostles, He will after the judgment appear to all His elect.  It goes on, “And His raiment became shining.”

Greg., Mor. 32: Because, in the height of the brightness of heaven above, they who shine in righteousness of life, will cling to Him; for by the name of garments, He means the just whom He joins to Himself.  There follows, “And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.”

Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 56: He brings Moses and Elias before them; first, indeed, because the multitudes said that Christ was Elias, and one of the Prophets. He shews Himself to the Apostles with them, that they might see the difference between the Lord, and His servants.

And again because the Jews accused Christ of transgressing the law, and thought Him a blasphemer, as if He arrogated to Himself the glory of His Father, He brought before them those who shone conspicuous in both ways; for Moses gave the Law, and Elias was zealous for the glory of God; for which reason neither would have stood near Him, if He had been opposed to God and to His law.

And that they might know that He holds the power of life and of death, He brings before them both Moses who was dead, and Elias who had not yet suffered death. Furthermore He signified by this that the doctrine of the Prophets was the schoolmaster to the doctrine of Christ. He also signified the junction of the New and Old Testament, and that the Apostles shall be joined in the resurrection with the Prophets, and both together shall go forth to meet their common King.

It goes on, “And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

Bede: If the transfigured humanity of Christ and the society of but two saints seen for a moment, could confer delight to such a degree that Peter would, even by serving them, stay their departure, how great a happiness will it be to enjoy the vision of Deity amidst choirs of Angels forever?

It goes on, “For he wist not what to say;” although, however, Peter from the stupor of human frailty knew not what to say, still he gives a proof of the feelings which were within him; for the cause of his not knowing what to say, was his forgetting that the kingdom was promised to the Saints by the Lord not in any earthly region, but in heaven; he did not remember that he and his fellow Apostles were still hemmed in by mortal flesh and could not bear the state of immortal life, to which his soul had already carried him away, because in our Father’s house in heaven, a house made with hands is not needed.

But again even up to this time he is pointed at, as an ignorant man, who wishes to make three tabernacles for the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, since they in no way can be separated from each other.

Chrys. [ed. note: This passage is found neither in St. Chrysostom, nor in Possious’ Catena, nor in Peitanus’ translation of Victor: it is however in the Catena of St. Mark, edited by Dr. Cramer. As it stands in the text, a part of it is so unintelligible, that recourse has been had to the Greek.]

Again, Peter neither comprehended that the Lord worked His transfiguration for the shewing forth of His true glory, nor that He did this in order to teach men, nor that it was impossible for them to leave the multitude and dwell in the mountain.  It goes on, “For they were sore afraid.”

But this fear of theirs was one by which they were raised from their usual state of mind to one higher, and they recognised that those who appeared to them were Moses and Elias. The soul also was drawn on to a state of heavenly feeling, as though carried away from human sense by the heavenly vision.

Theophylact: Or else, Peter, fearing to come down from the mount because he had now a presentiment that Christ must be crucified, said, “It is good for us to be here,” and not to go down there, that is, in the midst of the Jews; but if they who are furious against Thee come hither, we have Moses who beat down the Egyptians, we have also Elias, who brought fire down from heaven and destroyed the five hundred.

Origen, in Matt. tom. 12, 40: Mark says in his own person, “For he wist not what to say.” Where it is matter for consideration, whether perchance Peter spoke this in the confusion of his mind, by the motion of a spirit not his own; whether perchance that spirit himself who wished, as far as in him lay, to be a stumbling block to Christ, so that He might shrink from that Passion, which was the saving of all men, did not here work as a seducer and wish under the colour of good to prevent Christ from condescending to men, from coming to them, and taking death upon Himself for their sakes.

Bede: Now because Peter sought for a material tabernacle, he was covered with the shadow of the cloud, that he might learn that in the resurrection they are to be protected not by the covering of houses, but by the glory of the Holy Ghost. Wherefore it goes on, “There was a cloud that overshadowed them.”

And the reason why they obtained no answer from the Lord was that they asked unadvisedly; but the Father answered for the Son.  Wherefore there follows, “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 56: The voice proceeded from a cloud in which God is wont to appear, that they might believe that the voice was sent forth from God. But in that He says, “This is My beloved Son,” He declares that the will of the Father and the Son is one, and that, save in that He is the Son, He is in all things One with Him who begot Him.

Bede: He then whose preaching, as Moses foretold, every soul that wished to be saved should hear when He came in the  flesh, He now come in the flesh is proclaimed by God the Father to the disciples as the one whom they were to hear.

There follows: “And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves;” for as soon as the Son was proclaimed, at once the servants disappeared, lest the voice of the Father should seem to have been sent forth to them.

Theophylact: Again, mystically; after the end of this world, which was made in six days, Jesus will take us up (if we be His disciples) into an high mountain, that is, into heaven, where we shall see His exceeding glory.

Bede: And by the garments of the Lord are meant His saints, who will shine with a new whiteness. By the fuller we must understand Him, to whom the Psalmist says, “Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin;” [Ps 51] for He cannot give to His faithful ones upon earth that glory which remains laid up for them in heaven.

Remig.: Or else, by the fuller are meant holy preachers and purifiers of the soul, none of whom in this life can so live as not to be stained with some spots of sin; but in the coming resurrection all the saints shall be purged from every stain of sin. Therefore the Lord will make them such as neither they themselves by taking vengeance on their own members, nor any preacher by his example and doctrine, can make.

Chrys.: Or else, white garments are the writings of Evangelists and Apostles, the like to which no interpreter can frame.

Origen, in Matt. tom. 12, 39: Or else, fullers upon earth may by a moral interpretation be considered to be the wise of this world, who are thought to adorn even their foul understandings and doctrines with a false whitening drawn from their own minds. But their skill as fullers cannot produce any thing like a discourse which shews forth the brightness of spiritual conceptions in the unpolished words of Scripture, which by many are despised.

Bede: Moses and Elias, of whom one, as we read, died, the other was carried away to heaven, signify the coming glory of all the Saints, that is, of all who in the judgment time are either to be found alive in the flesh, or to be raised up from that death of which they tasted, and who are all equally to reign with Him.

Theophylact: Or else it means, that we are to see in glory both the Law and the Prophets speaking with Him, that is, we shall then find that all those things which were spoken of Him by Moses and the other prophets agree with the reality; then too we shall hear the voice of the Father, revealing to us the Son of the Father, and saying, “This is My beloved Son,” and the cloud, that is, the Holy Ghost, the fount of truth, will overshadow us.

Bede: And we must observe, that, as when the Lord was baptized in Jordan, so on the mountain, covered with brightness, the whole mystery of the Holy Trinity is declared, because we shall see in the resurrection that glory of the Trinity which we believers confess in baptism, and shall praise it all together.

Nor is it without reason that the Holy Ghost appeared here in a bright cloud, there in the form of a dove; because he who now with a simple heart keeps the faith which he hath embraced, shall then contemplate what he had believed with the brightness of open vision. But when the voice had been heard over the Son, He was found Himself alone, because when He shall have manifested Himself to His elect, God shall be all in all, yea Christ with His own, as the Head with the body, shall shine through all things. [1 Cor 15:28]

Ver 9. And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.10. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.11. And they asked Him, saying, “Why say the Scribes that Elias must first come?”12. And He answered and told them, “Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things: and how it is written of the Son of man, that He must suffer many things, and be set at nought.13. But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.”

Origen, in Matt. tom. 12, 43: After the shewing of the mystery on the mount, the Lord commanded His disciples, as they were coming down from the mount, not to reveal His transfiguration, before the glory of His Passion and Resurrection.

Wherefore it is said, “And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.”

Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 56: Where He not only orders them to be silent, but mentioning His Passion, He implies the cause why they were to be silent.

Theophylact: Which He did lest men should be offended, hearing such glorious things of Him Whom they were about to see crucified. It was not therefore fitting to say such things of Christ before He suffered, but after His resurrection they were likely to be believed.

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: But they, being ignorant of the mystery of the resurrection, took hold of that saying, and disputed one with another.

Wherefore there follows, “And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.”

Pseudo-Jerome: This, which is peculiar to Mark, means, that when death shall have been swallowed up in victory, we shall have no memory for the former things.  It goes on, “And they asked Him, saying, “Why say the Scribes that Elias must first come?”

Chrys.: The design of the disciples in asking this question seems to me to be this. We indeed have seen Elias with Thee, and have seen Thee before seeing Elias, but the Scribes say that Elias cometh first; we therefore believe that they have lied.

Bede: Or thus; the disciples thought that the change which they had seen in Him in the mount, was His transformation to glory; and they say, If Thou hast already come in glory, wherefore doth not Thy forerunner appear? chiefly because they had seen Elias go away.

Chrys., Hom. in Matt. 57: But what Christ answered to this, is seen by what follows, “And He answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things;” in which He shews that Elias will come before His second advent. For the Scriptures declare two advents of Christ, namely, one which has taken place, and another which is to come; but the Lord asserts that Elias is the forerunner of the second advent.

Bede: Again, He will restore all things, that is to say, those things which Malachi points out, saying, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children  to their fathers;” [Mal 4:5-6] he will yield up also to death that debt, which by his prolonged life he has delayed to render. Please note that is some translations of Malachi there is no chapter 4, rather, the verses that make up chapter 4 are included in chapter 3; thus, in these versions Mal 4:5-6 equals Mal 3:23-24.

Theophylact: Now the Lord puts this forward to oppose the notion of the Pharisees, who held that Elias was the forerunner of the first advent, shewing that it led them to a false conclusion; wherefore he subjoins, “And how it is written of the Son of man, that He must suffer many things, and be set at nought.” As if He had said, When Elias the Tishbite cometh, he will pacify the Jews, and will bring them to the faith, and thus be the forerunner of the second advent.

If then Elias is the forerunner of the first advent, how is it written that the Son of man must suffer? One of these two things therefore will follow; either that Elias is not the forerunner of the first advent, and thus the Scripture will be true; or that he is the forerunner of the first advent, and then the Scripture will not be true, which say that Christ must suffer; for Elias must restore all things, in which case there will not be an unbelieving Jew, but all, whosoever hear him, must believe on his preaching.

Bede: Or this, “And how it is written;” that is, in the same way as the prophets have written many things in various places concerning the Passion of Christ, Elias also, when he comes, is to suffer many things, and to be despised by the wicked.

Chrys.: Now as the Lord asserted that Elias was to be the forerunner of the second advent, so consequently He asserted that John was the forerunner of the first.  Wherefore He subjoins, “But I say unto you, that Elias is indeed come.”

Gloss.: He calls John Elias, not because he was Elias in person, but because he fulfilled the ministry of Elias; for as the latter will be the forerunner of the second advent, so the former has been that of the first.

Theophylact: For again, John rebuked vice, and was a zealous man, and a hermit like Elias; but they heard him not, as they will hear Elias, but killed him in wicked sport, and cut off his head.

Wherefore there follows, “And they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.”

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Or else, the disciples asked Jesus, how it was written that the Son of man must suffer? Now in answer to this, He says, As John came in the likeness of Elias, and they evil intreated him, so according to the Scriptures must the Son of man suffer.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Lent, liturgy, Notes on Mark, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My Notes on Ezekiel 34:11-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 26, 2012

Quotations are take from the RSV which is under the following copyright restrictions:

The [New] Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

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

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

Links are to the NRSV.

Background~In 597 BC  the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, invaded the small kingdom of Judah and forced its capitulation. The palace and temple were stripped of their furnishings, the king, the royal family and many of the nation’s leading people were taken into exile, including a man named Ezekiel.  A puppet king was put on the throne but he rebelled against his Babylonian overlords who, in response, invaded the land a second time, in 587 BC,  destroying Jerusalem and its Temple, and forcing more people into exile from the land.

It was between these two events, on July 31, 597 BC that Ezekiel was called to his prophetic ministry among the early exiles in Babylon.

In chapters 1-24 of Ezekiel these people are often portrayed as exhibiting a confidence in their future which was very out of touch with the political, moral, and religious situation of their time and their status as exiles. The prophet was called upon to disabuse them of their notions. In Ezekiel 33:1-39:29 the situation is markedly different. What Ezekiel had been warning the exiles of 597 about came to pass, Jerusalem rebelled and was destroyed by the Babylonians. But all was not lost. The prophet who had predicted disaster for the city and temple now is called upon to preach a coming restoration.

11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.

I, I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out. This is necessitated by the fact that the leaders of the people-described as shepherds-who were primarily responsible for the debacles of 597 and 587 BC, had been more concerned with pasturing themselves (Ezekiel 34:2). Like cannibalistic parasites they had fed of the flock put in their charge, not helping them, but, rather, helping themselves at their expense. This lack of care for the flock led to its going astray, being scattered, becoming prey (Ezekiel 34:4-6).  God here promises to rectify that situation Himself.

Note the two-fold use of the first-person singular personal pronoun followed by the reflexive: I, I myself. The emphatic nature of the construction was no doubt intended to give comfort and assurance: I and no other.

For the image of God as shepherd see Gen 48:15; Psalm 23; Mark 6:34; John 10:1-18.

12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.

As a shepherd seeks out his flock…so will I seek out my sheep. As just indicated, this is something the leaders had not done.

On a day of clouds and thick darkness. Probably a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Exile. Possibly an allusion to Ezekiel 10 which narrates the bright cloud of God’s presence abandoning the Temple, indicating its coming destruction.

13 And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on fat pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.

I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries. A reference to the end of the exile, and the return of the people into their own land.

I will feed them on the mountains of Israel &c.  The mountains of Israel were often the sites of the so-called “high places” where the Israelites worshiped false gods. These mountains and their cultic shrines were specifically condemned by Ezekiel at God’s request: ”Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them” (see Ezekiel 6:1-14). The fact that God will feed them on these mountains indicates the restoration of the land after its destruction and subsequent lack of care (the farms and vineyards would have been overgrown and become wild, and the cities, (inhabited places) desolate (see Jer 9:9-11; Jer 25:11). See Ezekiel’s prophecy of the regeneration of the land in Ezekiel 36:1-15.

15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.

I will make them lie down. An image of rest, it forms a nice contrast to the image of scattering and straying.

16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice.

The exact opposite of those condemned in Ezekiel 34:2-6.

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

My Notes on Isaiah 55:6-11 with a special note on the relation of verses 10-11 with the other OT readings used this week

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 26, 2012

Isaiah 55:6-11 is the first reading for Tuesday of the First Week in Lent in the Extraordinary Form of the Rite. Verses 10-11 are the first reading of the same day in the Ordinary Form of the Rite. In the OF the word of God is a common theme of the first readings this week which is why I’ve appended some very brief notes on those readings at the end of the post.

Isaiah 55:1-13 closes out the second part of the book, chapters 40-55, in doing so it connects with its beginning (Isa 40:1-11). The theme of forgiveness is found in Isa 40:2 and Isa 55:6-7 (part of today’s reading); the theme of return from exile is found in Isa 40:4 and Isa 55:12-13; nature’s role in the return is the theme in Isa 40:4 and Isa 55:12; and, God’s word is lasting and effective is the them of Isa 40:8 and Isa 55:10-11 (part of today’s reading).

Isa 55:6  Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found: call upon him, while he is near.
Isa 55:7  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God: for he is bountiful to forgive.

Seek ye the Lord. As the context here makes clear, the seeking in question is an act of repentance, the wicked must forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts. This seeking must be done while he may be found. Man cannot presume upon God’s mercy. He is patient regarding sinners but not complacent (2 Peter 3:9-10; John 7:33-34; John 8:21). The covenant curses had come upon the people for their infidelities (see Deut 28:15-68), but these were intended to be medicinal, leading to repentance and the re-establishment of a right relationship with God (Deut 30:1-10).

Thoughts in verse 7, 8, and 9 means something more than mere reflections, rather, the meaning is a plan, purpose, or design.

Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
Isa 55:9  For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.

My thoughts are not your thoughts…my thoughts (are exalted) above your thoughts. Gives the reason for the call to the unjust man to forsake his thoughts (verse 7). Similarly, the contrast between your ways and my ways indicates why the wicked man is called upon to forsake his ways.

Isa 55:10  And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Isa 55:11  So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it.

God’s word is effective, and what he has promised by his word will be brought to fruition. The comfort will come (Isa 40:1); the exile will end and the people will return to their land (Isa 43:1-28; Isa 48:1-22); Babylon and its gods will come to naught (Isa 46:1-13; Isa 47:1-15).

Isaiah 55:10-11 In Relation to the Other Old Testament Readings Used in the Ordinary Form of the Rite This Week:

Monday: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18. Because God’s word doesn’t just announce or request something but can bring it about we can embrace the call to “be holy, for I, the LORD, you God, am holy.”

Tuesday: Isaiah 55:10-11. The subject of this post.

Wednesday: Jonah 3:1-10. The word of God preached to the Ninevites brings them to repentance.

Thursday: The Book of Esther C. 12, 14-16, 23-25. The word of God which Esther read in the books of her forefathers gives her confidence that God will help her.

Friday: Ezekiel 18:21-28. The wicked man, by turning from his sins to the statutes of God will live.

Saturday: Deuteronomy 26:16-19. The keeping of God’s word is intimately bound up with enjoying his promises.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, Lent, liturgy, NOTES ON ISAIAH, Notes on the Lectionary | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This Week’s Posts: Sunday, February 26-Sunday, March 4

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 25, 2012


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

Today’s Divine Office. Ordinary Form.

Roman Breviary. Extraordinary Form. Latin and English side by side.

Last Week’s Posts.

Feria Secunda infra Hebdomadam I in Quadragesima ~ III. classis (EF)


EXTRAORDINARY FORM: Today’s Gospel in this form is identical to that used in the Ordinary Form.


Feria Tertia infra Hebdomadam I in Quadragesima ~ III. classis
Commemoratio: S. Gabrielis a Virgine Perdolente Confessoris (EF)



Further commentaries on Matt 21:10-17 possible.

Feria Quarta Quatuor Temporum Quadrigesimæ ~ II. classis (EF)



UPDATE: RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS, MARCH 4 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Feria Quinta infra Hebdomadam I in Quadragesima ~ III. classis (EF)



Feria Sexta Quattuor temporum ~ II. classis (EF)



Sabbato Quattuor Temporum Quadrigesimæ ~ II. classis (EF)



Posts Pending For The Remainder Of The Week.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 12:38-50

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 25, 2012

Ver 38. Then certain of the Scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, “Master, we would see a sign from thee.”39. But he answered and said unto them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:40. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Chrys., Hom., xliii: Because the Lord had so oft repressed the shameless tongue of the Pharisees by His sayings, they now turn to His works, whereat the Evangelist wondering, says, “Then certain of the Scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign of thee;” and that at a time when they should have been moved, when they should have wondered, and been dumb with astonishment; yet even at such time they desist not from their malice. For they say, “We would see a sign of thee,” that they may take Him as in a snare.

Jerome: They require a sign of Him, as though what they had seen were not signs; and in another Evangelist what they required is more fully expressed, “We would see of thee a sign from heaven.”

Either they would have fire from heaven as Elias did; or after the example of Samuel they would that in summer-time, contrary to the nature of the climate, thunder should be heard, lightnings gleam, and rain descend; as though they could not have spoken falsely even against such miracles, and said that they befel by reason of divers hidden motions in the air.

For if thou cavillest against what thou not only beholdest with thine eyes, but feelest with thine hand, and reapest the benefit of, what wilt thou do in those things which come down from heaven? You might make answer, that in Egypt the magi also had given many signs from heaven.

Chrys.: But their words are full of hypocrisy and irony. But now they were railing against Him, saying that He had a deamon; now they fawn upon Him, calling Him, Master. Wherefore the Lord rebukes them severely; “He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.”

When they railed on Him, He had answered them mildly; now they approached Him with smooth and deceitful words, He rebukes them sharply; shewing that He was above either affection, and was neither moved to anger by evil speaking, nor was to be gained by flattery. What He says is this; What wonder that ye do thus to Me who am unknown to you, when you have done the same to the Father, of whom ye have had such large knowledge, in that, despising Him ye went after daemons? He calls them an evil generation, because they have ever been ungrateful to their benefactors, and were made worse when they received benefits, which is the extreme of wickedness.

Jerome: Excellently is that said, “and adulterous,” seeing she has put away her husband, and, according to Ezekiel, has joined herself to many lovers.

Chrys.: Which also proves Him to be equal to the Father, if not to believe in Him makes them adulterous.

Raban.: Then He begins to answer them, giving them a sign not from heaven, which they were unworthy to see, but giving it them from the deep beneath. But to His own disciples He gave a sign from heaven, to whom He shewed the glory of His blessed eternity both in a figure on the mount, and after in verity when He was taken up into heaven.

Wherefore it follows, “And there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of the Prophet Jonas.”

Chrys.: For the signs He wrought were not in order to move them, for He knew that they were hard as stone, but for the profit of others. Or because they had not received it when He had given them a sign such as they now desired. And a sign was given them, when by their own punishment they learned His power. This He alludes to when He says, “No sign shall be given it.” As much as to say; I have shewn yon many mercies; yet none of these has brought you to honour My power, which you will then know when you shall behold your city thrown down upon the ground in punishment.

In the mean time He brings in a saying concerning the Resurrection which they should after understand by those things that they should suffer; saying, “Except the sign of the Prophet Jonas.” For verily His Cross would not have been believed, unless it had had signs to testify to it. But if that were not believed, truly the Resurrection would not have been believed. For this reason also He calls this a sign, and brings forward a figure thereof, that the verity itself may be believed.

It follows, “As Jonas was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale.”

Raban.: He shews that the Jews were as criminal as the Ninevites, and that unless they repented they would be destroyed. But like as punishment was denounced against the Ninevites, and at the same time a remedy was set before them, so neither should the Jews despair of pardon, if at least after Christ’s resurrection they should do penitence. For Jonah, that is The Dove, or The mourner, is a sign of Him on whom the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a Dove, and “who bare our sorrows.” [Isa 53:4]

The fish which swallowed Jonas in the sea, shews forth the death which Christ suffered in the world. Three days and nights was the one in the whale’s belly, the other in the tomb; the one was cast up on dry land, the other arose in glory.

Aug., De Cons., Ev., iii, 24: Some, not knowing the Scripture manner of speaking, would interpret as one night those thee hours of darkness when the sun was darkened from the sixth to the ninth hour; and as a day in like manner these other three hours in which it was [p. 468] again restored to the world, from the ninth hour till sunset. Then follows the night preceding the sabbath, which if we reckon with its own day we shall have thus two days and two nights. Then after the sabbath follows the night of the sabbath prime, that is of the dawning of the Lord’s day on which the Lord arose. Thus we shall only get two nights and two days, with this one night to be added if we might understand the whole of it, and it could not be shewn that that dawn was indeed the latter part of the night.

So that not even by taking in those six hours, three of darkness, and three of restored light, can we establish the computation of three days and three nights. It remains therefore that we find the explanation in that usual manner of Scripture of putting a part for the whole.

Jerome: Not that He remained three whole days and three nights in hell, but that this be understood to imply a part of the preparation day, and of the Lord’s day, and the whole sabbath day.

Aug., De Trin., iv. 6: For that the three days were not three full and entire days, Scripture witnesses; the first day is reckoned because the latter end of it comes in; and the third day is likewise reckoned, because the first part of it is included; while the day between, that is the second day, appears in all its twenty-four hours, twelve of the night and twelve of the day. For the succeeding night up to the dawn when the Lord’s resurrection was made known, belongs to the third day. For as the first days of creation were, because of man’s coming fall, computed from morning to night; so these days are because of man’s restoration computed from night to morning.

Chrys.: He said not openly that He should rise again, because they would have derided him, but hints it distantly that even they might believe that He foreknew it. He said not in the earth, but in the heart of the earth, therein declaring His tomb, and that none might suspect that there was only the semblance of death. Therefore also He spake of three days, that it should be believed that He was dead.

But the sign itself proves the truth of it; for Jonas was in the whale’s belly not in figure but in deed; and surely the sign did not happen in very deed, if the thing signified happened only in figure. Wherefore it is manifest that they are children of the Devil who follow Marcion asserting that the passion of Christ was only a phantasy. And that He should suffer for them also, though they would not profit by it, is shewn by that which He speaks, that to this generation should be given the sign of Jonas the Prophet.

Ver 41. “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.42. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”

Chrys.: That none should think that the same things would come to pass now among the Jews, as had of old been among the Ninevites; that as Jonas converted them and their city was delivered out of danger, so the Jews should be converted after the resurrection, the Lord now shews the contrary, that they should have no fruit of the benefit of the passion, but should suffer moreover grievous things, as He signifies below in the example of the daemon.

But now He first shews what just punishment they shall suffer, saying, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation.”

Remig.: The Lord shews in these words that there shall be one resurrection of the good and the bad against certain heretics, who said that there should be two, one of the good, another of the bad. These words likewise overthrow that fable of the Jews, who use to say that the Resurrection shall be held a thousand years before the Judgment; these words clearly proving that the Judgment shall ensue straight upon the Resurrection. “And shall condemn it.

Jerome: Not by a sentence of judgment, but by the comparison of their example; as He adds, “For they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” This word ‘hic’ is to be taken as an adverb [p. 470] of place, not as a pronoun. Jonas (according to the LXX) preached for three days, I for this so long time; he to the Assyrians an unbelieving nation, I to God’s own people the Jews; he preached with his voice only, doing no miracles, I, doing so many wonders, am falsely accused as Beelzebub.

Chrys.: Yet does not the Lord stay here, but adds another denunciation, saying, “The queen of the south shall rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.” This was yet more than that first. Jonas went to them; the queen of the south waited not for Solomon to come to her, but herself sought him. Both a woman and a barbarian, and dwelling so far away, she was not afraid of death in her desire to hear his wise words. This woman went to Solomon, I came hither; she rose up from the ends of the earth, I go round about your towns and villages; he spake of trees and wood, I of unspeakable mysteries.

Jerome: So the queen of the south will condemn the Jews in the same manner as the men of Nineveh will condemn unbelieving Israel. This is the queen of Saba, of whom we read in the book of Kings and Chronicles, who leaving her nation and kingdom came through so many difficulties to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and brought him many gifts.

Also in these instances of Nineveh and the queen of Saba, the faith of the Gentiles is significantly set above that of Israel.

Raban.: The Ninevites typify those who cease from sin — the queen those that know not to sin; for penitence puts away sin, wisdom shuns it.

Remig.: Beautifully is the Church gathered out of the Gentiles spoken of as a queen who honours how to rule her ways. Of her the Psalmist speaks; “The queen stood on, thy right hand.” [Psa 45:9] She is the queen of the south because she abounds in the fervour of the Holy Spirit. Solomon, interpreted ‘peaceful,’ signifies Him of whom it is said, “He is our peace.” [Eph 2:14]

Ver 43. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.44. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.45. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

Chrys.: The Lord had said to the Jews, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it;” that they should not therefore be careless, He tells them that not only in the world to come but here also they should suffer grievous things; setting forth in a sort of riddle the punishment that should fall upon them whence He says, “When, the unclean spirit has gone out of a man.”

Jerome: Some suppose that this place is spoken of heretics, because the unclean spirit who dwelt in them before when they were Gentiles, is cast out before the confession of the true faith; when after they went over to heresy, and garnished their house with feigned virtues, then it is that the Devil, having taken to him other seven evil spirits, returns and dwells in them; and their last state becomes worse than their first. And indeed heretics are in a much worse condition than the Gentiles; for in the heretics was a hope of faith, in the Gentiles a war of discord.

Yet though this exposition has a plausibility and a shew of learning, I am doubtful of its truth. For by the concluding words of this, whether it be parable or example, “Thus shall it be to this evil generation,” we are compelled to refer it, not to heretics, or to men in general, but to the Jewish people. So the context of the passage may not shift about loosely and vaguely, and be like unmeaning speeches, but may be consistent with itself from first to last. The unclean spirit then went out from the Jews when they received the Law; and being cast out of the Jews, he walked through the wilderness of the Gentiles; as it follows, “He walketh through dry places seeking rest.”

Remig.: He calls the hearts of the Gentiles, “dry places,” as lacking all the moisture of wholesome waters, that is of the holy Scriptures, and of spiritual gifts, and strangers to the pouring in of the Holy Spirit.

Raban.: Or, the “dry places” are the hearts of the faithful, which after they have been purged from the weakness of loose thoughts, the crafty lier-in-wait tries if by any means he may fix his footsteps there; but lying from the chaste spirit, the Devil finds no resting place to his mind but in the heart of the wicked; as it follows, “and findeth none.”

Remig.: The Devil supposed he should have rest for ever among the Gentiles, but it is added, “and findeth none,” because when the Son of God appeared in the mystery of His Incarnation, the Gentiles believed.

Jerome: And when they believed on the Lord, the Devil, finding no place among the nations, said, “I will return into my house whence I came out;” I have the Jews from whom I formerly departed. “And when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.” [John 14:31] For the temple of the Jews was empty, and had not Christ to dwell therein, He having said, “Arise, let us go hence.”

Seeing then they had not the protection of Angels, and were burdened with the useless observances of the Law, and the traditions of the Pharisees, the Devil returns to his former dwelling, and, taking to him seven other daemons, inhabits it as before. And the last state of that nation is worse than the first, for they are now possessed by a larger number of daemons in blaspheming Jesus Christ in their synagogues, than they were possessed with in Egypt before they had knowledge of the Law; for it is one thing to have no belief that He should come, another not to receive Him when He is come.

A number seven-fold is joined with the Devil, either because of the sabbath, or from the number of the Holy Spirit; that as in Isaiah [margin note: Isa 11:2] upon the bud which comes from the root of Jesse, seven spirits of virtues are related to have descended; so on the other hand an equal number of vices should he poured forth upon the Devil.

Beautifully then are seven spirits said to be taken to him, either because of the breaking of the sabbath, or because of the heinous sins which are contrary to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Chrys.: Or, herein He may be shewing forth their punishment. As when daemoniacs have been loosed from their infirmity, if they after become remiss, they draw upon themselves more grievous illusions, so shall it be among you — before ye were  possessed by a daemon, when you worshipped idols, and slew your sons to daemons; yet I forsook you not, but cast out that daemon by the Prophets, and afterwards came Myself seeking to purify you altogether. Since then ye would not hearken to me, but have fallen into more heinous crime, (as it is greater wickedness to slay Christ than to slay the Prophets,) therefore ye shall suffer more heavy calamities. For what befel them under Vespasian and Titus, were much more grievous than they had suffered in Egypt, in Babylon, and under Antiochus.

And this indeed is not all He shews concerning them, but also that since they were destitute of every virtue, they were more fit for the habitation of daemons than before. It is reasonable to suppose that these things were said not to them only, but also to us. If after being enlightened and delivered from our former evils, we are again possessed by the same wickedness, the punishment of these latter sins will be greater than of the first; as Christ spake to the paralytic, “Behold, thou art made whole, sin not, lest a worse thing come upon thee.” [John 5:14]

Raban,: For when any one is converted to the faith, the Devil is cast out of him in Baptism, who driven thence wanders up and down through the dry places, that is, the hearts of the faithful.

Greg., Mor., xxxiii, 3: The dry places where no water is are the hearts of the righteous, which by the power of discipline are dried from all humours of carnal lust. The wet places are the minds of worldly men, which the humour of carnal lust fills, and makes watery; in such the Devil imprints his footsteps the more deeply, inasmuch as in his wanderings he comes down upon such hearts as upon low and marshy ground.

Raban.: And returning to his house whence he had gone out, “he findeth it empty,” of good works through slothfulness, “swept,” that is, of its old vices by Baptism, and “garnished” with feigned virtues through hypocrisy.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 8: So that in these words the Lord signifies that some shall so believe as not to have strength for the work of continence, and shall return to the world. “He taketh unto him other seven,” is to be understood that when any has fallen from righteousness, he shall also have hypocrisy. For the lust of the flesh being cast out of its wonted works by penitence, when it finds not any delights in which it may rest, returns the more greedily, and again takes possession of the goal, if carelessness has ensued, and there has not been introduced as the dweller in the cleansed abode the word of God in sound doctrine.

And as he will not only have the seven vices which are the contraries of the spiritual virtues, but will hypocritically feign that he has the virtues, therefore his old lust, taking to itself seven other worse, that is, this seven-fold hypocrisy, returns to him so as to make the last state of that man worse than the former.

Greg., Mor., vii, 17: For it often happens that the soul in the commencement of its progress is lifted up, and prides itself on its virtues, that it opens an entrance to the adversary who is raging against it, and who shews himself the more violent in breaking into it, by how much he was grieved at being cast out, though but for a short space.

Ver 46. While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.47. Then one said unto him, “Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.”48. But he answered and said unto him that told him, “Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?”49. And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, “Behold my mother and my brethren!50. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Hilary: Because He had spoken all the aforesaid things in the power of His Father’s majesty, therefore the Evangelist proceeds to tell what answer He made to one that told Him that His mother and His brethren waited for Him without; “While he yet spake unto the people, his mother and brethren stood without desiring to see him.”

Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii, 40: We are to understand without doubt that this happened close upon the foregoing; for he begins to tell it with the words,  “And while he yet spake.” What can that “yet” mean but that it was at the very time He spake the foregoing things?

Mark also follows up that which He had said concerning blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, by saying, “And there came his mother and his brethren.” [Mark 3:31] Luke has not observed the order of action here, but has placed this earlier as he happened to recollect it.

Jerome: From this is taken one of Helvidius’ propositions [margin note: Hieron. cont. Helvid. 14, et seq.], on the ground that mention is made in the Gospel of the brethren of the Lord. How says he, are they called brethren of the Lord, if they were not his brethren? But now it should be known that in divine Scripture men are said to be brethren in four different ways, by nature, by nation, by kindred, and by affection.

By nature, as Esau and Jacob. By nation, as all Jews are called brethren, as in Deuteronomy, “Thou shalt not set over thee a foreigner who is not thy brother.” [Deut 17:15] They are called brethren by kindred who are of one family, as in Genesis, “Abraham said unto Lot, Let there not be strife between thee and we, for we are brethren.” [Gen 13:8] Also men are called brethren by affection; which is of two kinds, special and general. Special, as all Christians are called brethren, as the Saviour says, “Go tell my brethren.” [John 20:17] General, inasmuch as all men are born of one father, we are bound together by a tie of consanguinity, as in that, “Say unto them that hate you, Ye are our brethren.” [Isa 66:5]

I ask then, after which manner these are called the Lord’s brethren in the Gospel? According to nature? But Scripture saith not, neither calling them sons of Mary nor of Joseph. By nation? But it is absurd that some few out of all the Jews should be called brethren, seeing that all the Jews who were there might have thus been called brethren. By affection, either of a human sort, or of the Spirit? If that be true, yet how were they more His brethren than the Apostles, whom He instructed in the inmost mysteries. Or if because they were men, and all men are brethren, it was foolish to say of them in particular, Behold, thy brethren seek thee. It only remains then that they should be His brethren by kindred, not by affection, not by privilege of nation, not by nature.

Jerome, Hieron. in loc.: But some suspect the brethren of the Lord to be sons of Joseph by another wife, following the idle fancies of apocryphal writers, who have coined a certain woman called Esca. But we understand by the brethren of the Lord, not the sons of Joseph, but cousins of the Saviour, sons of a sister of Mary, [margin note: Mark 6:3] an aunt of Our Lord, who is said to be the mother of James the Less, and Joseph, and Jude, whom in another place of the Gospel we find called the brethren of the Lord. And that cousins are called brethren, appears from every part of Scripture.

Chrys., Hom., xliv: But mark the loftiness of His brethren [ed. note: The text of S. Chrys. has when they should have come in and hearkened with the crowd, or if they would not this, to have waited the end of His speech, and then to have approached Him — they on the contrary call Him out to them, and do this before the multitude, therein shewing their superabundant love of honour, and also, that with all authority they lay their commands upon Christ.

This the Evangelist covertly hints when he says, “While he yet spake;” as much as to say, Was there no other time? But what did they seek to say? Was it aught of the dogmas of truth? then should they have brought it forth before all, that all might profit thereby. But if of other things that concerned themselves alone, they should not have called Him in such haste, whence it is plain that they did this out of vain glory.

Aug., De Nat. et Grat., 36: But whatever may be decided concerning these brethren, yet concerning the holy Virgin Mary, (for the honour of Christ,) when sin in her is in question, I would not have it brought into doubt. For from this only we might know that more abundant grace was conferred upon her that she should overcome sin on all sides, because she merited to conceive and bring forth Him Who it is clear had no sin.

It follows; “Then said one unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without seeking thee.”

Jerome: He that delivers this message, seems to me not to do it casually and without meaning, but as setting a snare for Him, whether He would prefer flesh and blood to the spiritual work; and thus the Lord refused to go out, not because He disowned His mother and His brethren, but that He might confound him that had laid this snare for Him.

Chrys.: For He said not, Go and say unto her, She is not My mother, but continues His discourse to him that had brought Him word; as it follows; “But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who in my mother? and who are my brethren?”

Hilary: And He cannot be held to have thought meanly of His mother, seeing that in His passion He evinced the most extreme carefulness for her.

Chrys.: But had He desired to disown His mother, He would have done it at the time when the Jews cast His birth in His teeth.

Jerome: He did not then, as Marcion and Manichaeus say, disown His mother, so as to be thought to be born of a phantasm, but He preferred His Apostles to His kindred, that we also in a comparison of our affections should set the spirit before the flesh.

Ambrose, Ambros. in Lk. 8, 21: Nor does He overthrow the duty of filial submission, which is conveyed in the command, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” [Exo_20:12] but shews that He owes more to the mysteries and relationship of His Father, than of His mother; as it follows, “And stretching out his hand to his disciples, he said, Behold my mother and my brethren.”

Greg., Hom. in Ev., iii, 2: The Lord deigned to call faithful disciples His brethren, saying, “Go, tell my brethren.” Since then a man may be made a brother of the Lord by coming to the faith, it should be enquired how one may become also His mother. Be it known by us then, that he that by believing is made brother or sister of Christ, becomes His mother by preaching; for in pouring Him into the heart of the hearer, he may be said to beget the Lord; and he is made the Lord’s mother, when by his word love of the Lord is begotten in the mind of his neighbour.

Chrys.: And besides what has been said, He taught also somewhat more, namely, that we should not neglect virtue relying on any kindred. For if it profited His mother nothing that she was such, if she had not had virtue, who is there that shall be saved by his kindred? For there is one only nobility, to do the will of God, and therefore it follows, “Whoso shall do the will of my Father which it in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Many women have blessed that holy Virgin and her womb, and have desired to be made such mothers. What is it then that hinders? Behold, He hath set before you a broad way, and not women only, but men likewise, may become the mother of God.

Jerome: Let us also expound in another way. The Saviour is speaking to the multitude — that is, He teaches the Gentiles the inward mysteries; His mother and His brethren, that is the synagogue and the Jewish people, stand without.

Hilary: Although they had like the rest power to come in, yet they abstain from all approach to Him, “for he came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

Gregory: Thus also His mother is declared to stand without, as though she was not acknowledged, because the synagogue is therefore not acknowledged by its Author, because it held to the observance of the Law, and having lost the spiritual discernment thereof, kept itself without to guard the letter.

Jerome: And when they shall have asked and enquired, and sent a messenger, they shall receive for answer, that their will is free, and that they can enter in, if they will believe.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, Lent, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 12:38-50

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 25, 2012

Mat 12:38  Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying: Master, we would see a sign from thee.

Then some of the scribes-a sign, &c. S. Luke (Luke 11:16) adds, from Heaven. These were some of those men who brought the false accusation against Christ, that He cast out devils by the help of Beelzebub. This is plain from S. Luke 11:16. When they had been refuted by Christ, because they did not wish to seem overcome and convicted of falsehood, they pressed Him to confirm what He said by a sign, that is, by some celestial miracle. As thus: Thou sayest that Thou workest miracles by the help of God; if it be so, cause that God may attest that this is true by some sign from Heaven, by which He may signify that Thou art sent by Him, and dost cast out devils by His power. But the many diseases which were healed, the many dead who were raised up by Christ, with this object—that He might show them that He was the Messiah, sent by God the Father—ought to have been sufficient for them. But for the unbelieving and false accusers nothing is sufficient; and if one thing be granted, they ask, as a subterfuge, another and another. The meaning is this: Thy miracles, 0 Christ, are in the earth and of the earth, but we wish to see celestial miracles in Heaven. For God, Whom Thou assertest to be the Author of these miracles, dwells in Heaven. Cause, therefore, that fire may come down from Heaven, as Elias did; or that the sky may flash with new and marvellous thunders and lightnings, as Samuel did (1 Sam 7:10); or that the sun should stand still, as Joshua did. Thus S. Jerome: Tacitly, therefore, they scoff at Christ’s miracles done on earth, as though they were tokens of Satanic influence; and they tempt Christ, that they may falsely accuse Him. But although He had shown such a sign in Heaven, they would immediately have sought a subterfuge, and would have required some other sign. For this is the disposition of all curious and cavilling persons, especially infidels and heretics.
Mat 12:39  Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet.

Who answering said-and evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign &c  Adulterous, i.e., faithless and unbelieving, because leaving God their husband to whom they had been betrothed by circumcision, they clave to the devil. Hence infidelity and idolatry are often called adultery by Ezekiel (Ezek 16) and others. So Theoph. says, “He calls them an adulterous generation, because they forsook God, and clave to the devil.” 2 Adulterous, i.e., degenerate from the faith and character of Abraham, Isaac and the rest of the Patriarchs. For they believed in Messiah, but these would not acknowledge Him when He was present, and proving Himself by so many miracles to be Messiah. For Messiah was the husband of the synagogue of the Jews, and is now the Spouse of the Christian Church, as is plain from Eph 5:32. For thus the Hebrews called spurious, i.e., degenerate children, bene nechar, i.e., strange children, or rather, children of a strange, that is to say, an adulterous father.

And a sign shall not be given. Better, but no sign &c. This perverse nation of the Jews asks of me a sign from Heaven, but I will not give it a sign, except a sign from the earth, that is, from the deep. I will not grant to the Jews any other sign than what I formerly promised, when I said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up;” but He spake of the temple of His body (S. John 2:19-21). (He meant the sign of the Resurrection, which is the sign of the prophet Jonah, because it was prefigured by Jonah.) For this Jonah clearly showed, who I am, why I died, why I am crucified, in respect of which they are offended; in truth that I am Messiah, the Tamer of Death and Sin, the Saviour of the World, and the Lord of Heaven and Earth. For the keepers of the sepulchre told the Jews that Christ was risen from the tomb; the Jews themselves saw the empty sepulchre, and the Apostles proved Christ’s resurrection by many miracles. Wherefore many Jews at the time, and afterwards all nations, believed in Christ raised from death. For the Jews did not expect a humble and poor Messiah, but one who was rich and glorious. Such they beheld Christ in His Resurrection, Ascension, and Mission of the Holy Ghost. Whence they at that time acknowledged Him, and accepted Him as Messiah, according to what He said in John8:28. When you have lifted up the Son of Man, on the Cross, then you shall know that I am He: for I shall rise gloriously from the cross and death.

But the unbelieving Jews of Jesus’ day would come to know that Christ was Messiah, for after His Resurrection He sent Titus and Vespasian, who destroyed Jerusalem and Judea, because of his unjust death at their hands. Thus St Chrysostom, for at that time there was a complete destruction of the nation, although it still endures, and shall endure until the end of the world. A righteous and avenging God brought this upon the people of that day on account of their crowning wickedness in killing Christ. It was the most evident toke that the Jesus who was put to death was the Messiah. Wherefore Christ brings forward the sign of Jonah, as it were a sign of the condemnation of that generation by the Ninevites, for the Ninevites believed Jonah and repented, but these would not believe Christ, and were therefore condemned. Maldonatus thinks that Christ gave the Jews who sought a sign from Heaven, a sign from earth, that they might be condemned; for it behoved that they who sought a sign deceitfully should be confounded.

Mat 12:40  For as Jonah was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

For as Jonah was in the whale’s belly, &c., so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth, i.e., in the lowest part of the earth, within the earth, as the heart is within the human body. When Christ died upon the cross, as His body was placed in the tomb, so did His soul descend into the Limbus Patrum.

You will ask, how Christ was three days and nights in the sepulchre and Limbus: for He was there only on Friday and Saturday nights, and rose at day-break on Sunday? 1. Alcuin (L. de. Divinis 0ff. sec. de. C na. Dom.) gathers from this place that Christ lay in the tomb three whole days and nights, or 72 hours, and consequently rose again at the end of Easter Monday. But this is certainly a mistake. The constant tradition of the church is that Christ rose on the Lord’s day.

2. Greg. Nyssen (Orat. 1 &. 2 de Resurrec.) computes these three days to begin on Thursday. He is of opinion, that when on the evening of that day Christ instituted the Eucharist, He offered Himself to God under the species of bread and wine by means of the unbloody sacrifice. The soul of Christ was separated from the body, but that this was done in a secret and invisible manner, and that then the soul of Christ went down to Hades, and that thus He pre-accomplished His death, which the Jews were visibly to bring about on the following day upon the cross. But this, too, is an error. For there is really in the Eucharist the soul of the Living Christ, that is to say, in His body and blood contained under the species of bread and wine. It is there, I say, not indeed by virtue of the words of consecration, but by natural concomitance. For in the Eucharist there is Living Christ, with His Soul, even as He is outside the Eucharist. Thus the Council of Trent defines (Sess. 13, sec. 2). It would have been otherwise if any of the Apostles had consecrated the Eucharist during the triduum of the Passion. For then the Body and Blood of Christ would have been in it separated from His Soul, for in this manner they were in Christ Himself now buried. For Christ was then dead, not alive.

I say then, that the expression three days and three nights is here only a periphrasis and description of a natural day. The two integral parts of such a day are day and night, or light and darkness. Christ makes use of this periphrasis because Jonah, His antetype, did the same. (Jonah 1:17.) We must not understand that these days are three artificial days as opposed to nights, as if during three days, in which the sun is above the horizon, Christ lay in the tomb; for this was not the case. You must consider these three natural days to be not whole days but parts of days, namely, the latter part of Friday; when Christ being taken down from the Cross, was laid in the sepulchre, the whole of Saturday, and part of the Lord’s day. For although the Hebrews reckoned their civil days from one sun-rise to another, like the Chaldeans and the Persians (Beda de ration. temp.), yet they computed their sacred days, such as the Passover, from evening to evening. Thus S. Jerome, Theophyl., Euthym., and S. Aug. and commentators, passim, explain the meaning of these three days. Hence Christ is constantly spoken of as rising on the third day, or after three days, without any mention of nights.

But in this place, according to this computation, there were but two nights in which Christ lay in the tomb, viz. Friday and Saturday nights, and yet three nights are expressly mentioned. Others therefore answer more fully and plainly; that these three days and nights are reckoned according to the Roman computation. For the Romans were at that time, masters of Judea, and had introduced their own methods of computing time in civil affairs. The Romans reckoned from midnight to midnight, as Christians do in their fasts and festivals. (See Macrob. L. 1. Saturni c. Gell. L. 3. c. 2. Pliny. L. 2. c. 77. and others). According to this reckoning it is clear Christ remained in the tomb during a part of three days and three nights. He was buried on Friday before sunset; and was in the tomb until the midnight of that day. After that He was in the tomb during the entire day and night of the Sabbath; and from the midnight of Sunday for about six hours until that dawning of the Lord’s Day on which He arose. For the Passover was at that time about the equinox, when the days and nights are equal, each being about twelve hours long. But the Soul of Christ, immediately when He expired upon the Cross at the ninth hour, i.e., at three o’clock in the afternoon, descended into Limbus, and there remained with the Fathers until the dawn of Easter Day. Now that the Jews made use of the Roman method of computing time may be learnt as well from other things, as because they borrowed the four watches of the night from the practice in use among the Roman armies. (See Matt 15:25 and elsewhere.) Different nations had different methods of reckoning the beginning of the day. The Persians and Babylonians reckoned from sunrise to sunrise. The Athenians and Italians, from sunset to sunset. Astronomers from midday to midday. But the Egyptians and Roman priests reckoned from midnight to midnight: and this method has continued in the Roman Church. The Hebrews then in the time of Christ followed the method of the Romans, to whom they were subject. Franc. Lucas teaches that the Jews did not compute their Festivals from midnight as Christians do. The explanation given above is that of S. Anselm, in Loco. Isidore of Pelusium (L. 1. Epist 114 and 212), D. Thom., (3. p. q. 46. art. 9), Suarez (3. p. q. 53. disp. 46. sect. 3. in fine.), and Baronius. (A. C. 34.).

Mat 12:41  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here.

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment, &c. That is to say the Ninevites, who, with their king Sardanapalus, had thrown themselves into wickedness, and given themselves up entirely to the lusts of the flesh, when they heard Jonah thundering against them, and threatening them with destruction, believed him, and did penance. They therefore, in the day of judgment, shall accuse and condemn the Scribes and the Jews who would not believe Christ, their God and Lord, working so many miracles. They shall condemn them, I say, not so much in word as by their deeds, namely, by the example of their faith and repentance. It does not follow from hence that the Ninevites were saved; for shortly afterwards they returned to their sins like a dog to his vomit. (See what I have said in the Prefaces to Jonah and Nahum.)

And behold a greater than Jonah is here. For Jonah was a prophet and a servant: Christ is Messiah and the Lord. Jonah, remaining alive in the fish, alive came forth: Christ rose again from death and the grave, and restored to life, came forth. Jonah preached unwillingly. Christ of His own accord. Jonah was a foreigner among the Ninevites: Christ was of the same race as the Jews. Jonah threatened the destruction of Nineveh. Christ promised the kingdom of Heaven. Jonah did no miracle: Christ did very many. All the prophets prophesied of Christ: none of Jonah. Jonah cried aloud, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Christ cried by His Apostles, “Yet forty years and Jerusalem shall be destroyed by Titus.” Euseb. of Emissa (Hom. 2. de Pasch.), and S. Aug. (Epist. 49. 6), have collected further analogies between Jonah and Christ.

Mat 12:42  The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here.

The Queen of the South shall rise in judgment, &c. Egyptian: The Southern Queen. Persian: Queen of Thema (Theman with the Hebrews and Orientals signifies the south). Ethiopic: Queen Aseb. The name, therefore, of this queen appears to have been Aseb, and to have been taken from the name of her kingdom, Saba, Sabζa. This is the opinion of some. But I maintain that Aseb is Ethiopic for the south, as Ethiopians at Rome have assured me. This is the Queen of Sheba, which is south of Judea (1 Kings 10:1-13). Sheba, or Saba, is a country, and has two meanings. One Sheba was in the neighbouring Arabia; the other in remote Ethiopia, the capital of which was afterwards called by Cambyses Meroλ, after the name of his sister. This queen is thought by many to have come from the Ethiopian, rather than the Arabian Sheba: because the Ethiopian Sheba was furthest off, and because Josephus calls her Queen of Ethiopia and Egypt. Wherefore afterwards the knowledge of scripture, and of the true God of the Hebrews, remained among the Ethiopians. From among them there came to Jerusalem, to worship God, a eunuch of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians. (Acts 8) Pliny (Lib. 6, c. 29) says, that queens reigned over the Ethiopians, and bore the general name of Candace. Indeed, the Emperor of the Ethiopians, or Abyssinians calls himself the Son of Solomon. For the Ethiopian tradition is that their queen was married to Solomon, by whom she had a son, from whom the Abyssinian kings, who are now called Prete-Tannes, are descended. Pineda, however, refutes this tradition. The Abyssinians add that this queen Aseb reigned in Tigris, which is the largest province of Abyssinia, and that her son was called Menile, or like, because he was very like his father Solomon. Thus Euthymius, Jansen, Maldonatus, Toletus, Barrad, and others, think this queen came from Ethiopia; but others, with more probability think she came from Saba, which is in Arabia Felix, where are the Homeritζ, in whose country spices and gold as well as camels are abundant. Again, she is said to have come from the uttermost parts of the earth; for Arabia Sabaea is distant from Jerusalem 606 leagues. It is, moreover, the furthest land in the direction of the Mare Indicum, or Arabian Gulf, for there the land ends, and the sea begins. Hence it is often called in scripture, a land very far off, as Jer. vi. Isaiah xliii. and elsewhere. Whence Nicephorus (l. 8, c. 35) says, Arabia Felix is Sabaea, and its boundaries extend to the ocean. Thus SS. Jerome, Cyril, Theodorus, Salmeron and others, whom Pineda quotes and follows.

To hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold a greater than Solomon is here. Christ speaks of Himself in the third person out of modesty. This comparison between the Jews and the Queen of Sheba has much emphasis, which is well brought out by Franc. Lucas. “The woman,” he says, “was a Gentile, not brought up in God’s discipline, but immersed in the business of a great empire; yet she was attracted by the fame of Solomon’s wisdom, and undertook a most difficult journey from the remotest parts of the earth to Jerusalem, that she might make trial of his wisdom. This wisdom she wondered at above measure, and received Solomon’s counsel, although he only discoursed concerning earthly things. But the Jews, the scholars of the Divine Law, would not receive Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, the only teacher of the mysteries of eternal salvation, which had been hid from ages and generations, when He offered Himself to them, and asked and invited them to come to Him. Yea, they altogether rejected Him, although He gave them the most wonderful sign of the Resurrection. How much, therefore, did the Queen of Sheba excel those who heard Jesus! and with what justice and with what power, will she, in the Day of Judgment, rebuke them to their face for their obstinate ingratitude, unbelief, and disobedience to Christ!” The same reasoning will apply to the Ninevites. Therefore let priests, religious and others, who are abundantly supplied with God’s grace, take heed that they use it rightly and diligently; for otherwise, the more they have received, the more severely will they be punished. Yea, in the Day of Judgment, laymen will triumph over them, even as Heathens and Turks will upbraid bad Christians, because if they had had their graces, they would have lived far more holily and religiously.

Mat 12:43  And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mat 12:44  Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Mat 12:45  Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation.

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, &c. Observe, Christ still continues to treat of the subject of demoniacal possession: for the possessed, whom He healed, were corporeally possessed by a demon, but the Scribes and the Jews, who reviled Christ’s miracles, were spiritually possessed. Christ here speaks parabolically, after the manner of the Syrians. The meaning is: As a man who is an exile wanders through arid and desert places, so the devil when driven by the law of God from man, that is to say, from you, 0 ye Jews, who were the people of God, amongst whom God dwelt, and manifested Himself by prophecies and miracles, wanders through desert places, and seeks rest. But when he cannot find it save in man, and when he sees that ye despise God’s grace, which I offer you, then he eagerly returns to you as to a house that is empty and swept, as to a place prepared and adorned for him. Then he takes seven, i.e., many other companions, more wicked than himself, and they joyfully inhabit that house, i.e., your souls; and that they may not be again expelled, and that they may make you more wicked, with that object in view they cause you to blaspheme Me, My doctrine, and My miracles, and to say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub, and that ye may at length crucify Me, which is of all wickedness the chief and the greatest. Wherefore God will punish you with utter destruction by Titus, and will cause you to be without God, without Messiah, without law, or temple, or sacrifice, and without faith—yea, that ye shall think your own perfidy and blindness to be the true faith and the true light.

Moreover, the house, that is the soul, is empty, because it is without God, and devoid of His grace. It is swept with besoms (Vulg.) because all virtue, piety and goodness have been driven out of it, and the poison of impurity has been scattered in it, and the tapestry of pride hung about it. For such adornment as this is the adornment of uncleanness, and is pleasing to the devil who delights in nothing but what is impure and filthy.

Again, the devils are driven by God and His Saints into desert places, that they may not injure men. Thus Raphael bound Asmodeus in the deserts of Upper Egypt. (Tobit 8.) So also Isaiah says, (Isaiah 13 and 34) that Babylon should be wasted and rendered a desert; and that hairy creatures, Satyrs and Onocentauri, i.e. demons in the shape of goats and monsters should dwell there. But the devil does not find rest in such places, for, as Abul. says, “The devil cannot rest, because he shall be tormented eternally, but he seeks the rest of his own evil will: for he is envious, and loves to injure men: and when he is able to injure them he rests after a fashion.” He acts thus, partly from envy, because he grudges man the happiness of heaven, from which he himself has fallen; partly from hatred of God: and because he cannot injure God himself, he would injure man who is God’s creature and image, that he may thus, as far as he can, do an injury to God.

Mystically: dry places are the souls of the Gentiles, in which, by the grace of Christ, the moisture of concupiscence is dried up. Hear S. Jerome, “The unclean spirit went forth from the Jews, when they received the law, and being driven from them, walked in the wilderness of the Gentiles. But when the Gentiles had believed in the Lord-finding no place among them, the devil said, I will go back to the Jews” who refuse to believe. Then as now are all men confronted with a decision which is at one and the same time for or against God, and for or against Satan.

Mat 12:46  As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.

As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother, &c. You will ask, who were those who, in the Gospels, are called the brethren of Christ? The impure heresiarch, Helvidius, answered that they were children of the blessed Virgin who were born after Christ. For he denied Her perpetual virginity. But S. Jerome sharply and learnedly refutes him, in the work which he wrote against him.

2. The Greeks generally, with Euseb. (H.E. ii. 1), and of the Latins, SS. Hilary and Ambrose, think that they were children of Joseph, by a former marriage. But Joseph never had any other wife except the Blessed Virgin Mary. Peter Damian (Epist. 11, c. iv. ad Nicol. Rom. Pont.) says that this is the faith of the Church.

3. Hugh of S. Victor thinks they were descendants of S. Ann, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that S. Ann, besides Joakim the father of the Virgin, had two other husbands, of whom, those who are called the Lord’s brethren, were begotten. But S. Hippolytus (Ap. Niceph. 2, 3) teaches that S. Annn had only one husband, Joakim. I say, therefore, that these persons were not properly the brethren of Christ, nor the offspring of the Blessed Virgin Mary, nor Joseph, nor S. Ann, but are called brethren, i.e., cousins or relations of Christ, by a mode of expression common in Hebrew. In sooth, they were cousins, or really brothers of S. Joakim, or S. Ann, or rather brother’s children, or sistes’s children of SS. Joakim and Ann, probably children of Cleophas, who was a brother of Joseph, the husband of the blessed Virgin Mary, according to the testimony of Hegesippus (Eus. H.E. iii. 11). For Joseph and Cleophas were sons of Jacob, the brother of S. Ann. Hear S. Jerome on the passage, “We, as it is in the book which we have written against Helvidius, say, that the Lord’s brethren were not children of Joseph, but cousins of the Saviour, and children of Mary, the maternal aunt of the Lord, who is called the mother of James and Joseph and Jude.”

Stood without. They sent a messenger into the house, to Christ, to call Him out.

Seeking to speak to Him. Not out of ambition and pride, that they might appear to be relations of so great a Teacher and Prophet, as S. Chrysostom and Theophylact think; but that they might take Him with them, and bring Him to Nazareth. For they said that He was beside Himself (Mark 3:21). “For neither did His brethren believe in Him” (John 7:5). Whether they said this because they really thought He was mad; or feignedly, in order that they might deliver Him out of the hands of the Pharisees. That for some such cause the Blessed Virgin called Christ forth, no pious person would doubt. But if they wished to take Him as a madman, they must have concealed their opinion from the Blessed Virgin Mary, and taken her with them that they might the more easily draw Christ away. For it is certain she knew perfectly that Christ was of sound mind. Wherefore she accompanied these brethren or relations of Christ from the desire of beholding Him.

Mat 12:47  And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.

And one said unto Him, Behold Thy mother, &c. This person was the messenger whom the brethren of Christ sent to call Him out.

Mat 12:48  But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?
Mat 12:49  And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.

But he answering…said: Who is My mother, &c. Observe, Christ speaks thus, not as denying that He really had a mother, as if Christ were not a true man, but a phantasm born of a phantasm, as Marcion and the Manichees taught; nor yet as though He were ashamed of His mother and poor brethren, but either because this messenger was interrupting Him with too great boldness and importunity, by calling Him away from the preaching which He had begun; or rather, as S. Ambrose says, that He might show that He must be more intent upon the ministry given Him by His Father, than upon His affection for His mother; and that He must prefer spiritual to carnal relationships, where there is neither sex nor rank, but all are most nearly related to Christ, and by every tie, as though they were father, sister, and brother. For this is what Matthew adds concerning Christ, And stretching forth His hand, &c. The Arab. trans., He pointed with His hand towards His disciples.

Mat 12:50  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

For whosoever shall do, &c. Spiritually, as I have already said, not carnally. He speaks of brother and sister, because of either sex. The faithful soul is also the mother of Christ, because by teaching, exhorting, and counselling, she brings forth Christ in herself and others. Hear S. Gregory (Hom. 8 in Evang.), “We must know that he who is the brother and sister of Christ through believing, is made his mother by preaching. For he, as it were, brings forth the Lord, whom he infuses into the heart of his hearer.” He subjoins the example of S. Felicitas, who by the spirit bore to God the seven sons, to whom she had given birth in the flesh, because she strengthened them in persecution, and animated them for martyrdom. These words of Christ were also exemplified in S. Victoria, a virgin martyr under Diocietian. She said to the pro-consol, who asked her, “Wilt thou go with Fortunatianus, thy brother?” who was a heathen; “No, for I am a Christian; and those are my brethren, who keep the commandments of God.” Wherefore she was shut up in prison, and perishing by hunger, obtained the martyr’s crown.

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

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 11:29-32

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 25, 2012

Actually, this brief sermon is on verses 29-36. Unfortunately, it appears that the text has not completely survived as there appears to be a lacunæ after the opening sentence of the homily (I’ve indicated it with a series of periods (……).

Luk 11:29  And the multitudes running together, he began to say: This generation is a wicked generation. It asketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
Luk 11:30  For as Jonas was a sign to the Ninivites; so shall the Son of man also be to this generation.
Luk 11:31  The queen of the south shall rise in the judgment with the men of this generation and shall condemn them: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And behold more than Solomon here.
Luk 11:32  The men of Ninive shall rise in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it; Because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold more than Jonas here.
Luk 11:33  No man lighteth a candle and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel: but upon a candlestick, that they that come in may see the light.
Luk 11:34  The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome.
Luk 11:35  Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
Luk 11:36  If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness: the whole shall be lightsome and, as a bright lamp, shall enlighten thee.

THE request originated in malice, and therefore was not granted them, according to the text, “The wicked shall seek Me, and shall not find Me.”…….. ……………………………and which He spoke to the divine Moses; the rod was changed into a serpent. And what thing is this? some one, forsooth, may say; or what is the truth it hints at? And this certainly we must examine: for I say that of all that is contained in the sacred Scriptures, there is nothing which is not useful for edification. When Israel then had dwelt for a lengthened period in Egypt, and been brought up in the customs of its inhabitants, he wandered far from God, and became like one that had fallen from His hand, and been made a serpent, by which is meant one naturally of a thoroughly wicked disposition. But inasmuch as God again took hold of him, he was restored to his former state, and became a rod, that is to say, a plant of Paradise. For he was called to the true knowledge of God, and enriched with the law as the means of a virtuous life.

Moreover God wrought also something further of an equally miraculous character. For He said unto Moses, “Put your hand into your bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom; and he drew forth his hand from his bosom, and his hand had become leprous, like snow. And he said again, Put your hand into your bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom; and he drew it forth from his bosom, and it had gained again the colour of his flesh.” For as long as Israel adhered to the customs of his fathers, and represented in his |375 own manners the type of virtuous living which he had in Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, he was, as it were, in the bosom of God, that is, under His guardianship and protection: but by abandoning the virtue of his ancestors, he became, so to speak, leprous; and fell into impurity: for the leper by the law of Moses was impure. But when He was again accepted by God, and placed under His protection, he was delivered from his leprosy; and put away the impurity of the Egyptian mode of life. And when these signs were wrought in their presence, they believed Moses, saying, “The Lord God of your fathers has sent me unto you.”

Observe therefore that they did not make the display of miracles a reason for fault finding. They did not revile the divine Moses; they did not give free license to an unbridled tongue, and say that he wrought the miracles which he displayed before them by means of Beelzebub: they did not ask a sign from heaven, in contempt of his mighty deeds. But you assigned to Beelzebub works thus honourable and miraculous, and was not ashamed in bringing to perdition others as well as your own self, by means of those very things which ought to have made you possess a steadfast faith in Christ. But He will not grant you another sign, that He may not give holy things unto dogs, nor cast pearls before swine. For how can they who are hot calumniators of the miracles already wrought, deserve yet more? On the contrary we see that very skilful husbandmen, when they observe land sluggish in bearing fruit, withhold their hand, and refuse to plough it any more, that they may not suffer the loss at once both of their labour and of the seed.

He said, however, the sign only of Jonah shall be given them, by which is meant the passion upon the cross, and the resurrection from the dead. “For as Jonah,” He says, “was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, so shall also the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” But had it been possible for Jesus not to have willed to suffer death in the flesh upon the cross, neither would this sign have been given to the Jews: but inasmuch as the passion, wrought for the salvation of the world, was indispensable, it was given these unbelievers for their condemnation. For also in speaking to the Jews, He |376 said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” But that the abolishing of death, and restoration of corruption by the resurrection from the dead, is a very great sign of the power and godlike authority of the Incarnate Word, will be sufficiently proved, as I imagine, in the judgment of serious men, by the soldiers of Pilate, who were appointed to guard the tomb, having been bribed with a large sum of money to say, that “the disciples came by night, and stole Him.” It was therefore no unavailing sign, but rather one sufficient to convince all the inhabitants of the whole earth, that Christ is God, that of His own choice He suffered death in the flesh, but rose again, having commanded the bonds of death to depart, and overthrown corruption. But the Jews did not believe even this: for which reason it was very justly said of them, that “the queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment against this generation.”

This woman, though a barbarian, earnestly sought to hear Solomon, and for this purpose travelled so vast a distance, to listen to his wisdom upon the nature of things visible, and animals, and plants. But you, though already present, and listening to Wisdom Itself, Who came to you, discoursing upon things invisible and heavenly, and confirming what He said by deeds and miracles, turn away from the word, and pass by with indifference the wonderful nature of His oracles. How then is there not more than Solomon here, that is in Me? And again observe, I pray, the skilfulness of His language; for why does He say “here,” and not rather “in Me?” It is to persuade us to be humble, even though we be largely endowed with spiritual gifts. And besides, it is not at all unlikely, that had the Jews heard Him say, “that there is more than Solomon in Me,” they would have ventured to speak of Him in their usual way: ‘See! He says, that He is superior even to the kings who have gloriously reigned over us.’ The Saviour, therefore, for the economy’s sake, uses moderate language, saying, “here,” instead of “in Me.”

He says, moreover, that the Ninevites will appear for the condemnation of the Jews at the season of judgment: for they were rude and barbarous people, ignorant of Him Who by nature and in truth is God, who had never even heard of the predictions of Moses, and were without knowledge of the |377 glorious tidings of prophecy: but even though this was their mental state, they repented, He says, at the preaching of Jonah. Far better therefore were they than the Israelites, and will condemn them. But listen to the very words: “The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold! a greater than Jonah is here.” “No man, having lighted a lamp, puts it into a cellar, nor under the bushel, but upon the lampstand, that they who enter in may see the light.” And what was the object of such words as these? He combats the Jews by an objection drawn from their own folly and ignorance: for they said that He wrought miracles, not that He might be more fully believed in, but that He might have numbers of followers, and catch the applause of those who saw his wondrous acts. And this calumny He refutes by taking as an example the use of a lamp. For a lamp, He says, is always elevated, and put upon a stand, to be of use to those who see. And let us consider the inference which follows from this. Before then the coining of our Saviour, the father of darkness, even Satan, had made the world dark, and blackened all things with an intellectual gloom; but in this state the Father gave us the Son, to be as it were a lamp to the world, to irradiate us with divine light, and rescue us from Satanic darkness. But, O Jew, if you blame the lamp, because it is not hidden, but on the contrary, being set on high on a stand, gives its light to those who see, then blame Christ for not wishing to be concealed, but on the contrary to be seen of all, illuminating those in darkness, and shedding on them the light of the true knowledge of God. He did not therefore fulfil His miracles so much in order to be wondered at, nor seek by them to become famous, as that we might rather believe, that whereas He is God by nature, yet He became man for our sakes, but without ceasing to be what He was. And upon the holy church as a lamp-stand, shining by the doctrine He proclaims, He gives light to the minds of all by filling them with divine knowledge. (source)

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Lent, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 21:10-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 25, 2012

Ver 10. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?11. And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.12. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,13. And said unto them, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”14. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.15. And when the Chief Priests and Scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David;” they were sore displeased,16. And said unto him, “Hearest thou what these say?” And Jesus saith unto them, “Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” 17. And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

Jerome: When Jesus entered with the multitudes, the whole city of Jerusalem was moved, wondering at the crowds, and not knowing the power.

Pseudo-Chrys.: With good reason were they moved at sight of a thing so to be wondered at. Man was praised as God, but it was the God that was praised in the man. But, I suppose, that neither they who praised knew what they praised, but the Spirit that suddenly inspired there poured forth the words of truth.

Origen: Moreover, when Jesus entered the true Jerusalem, they cried out, wondering at His heavenly virtues, and said, “Who is this King of glory?” [Psa_24:8]

Jerome: While others were in doubt or enquiring, the worthless multitude confessed Him; “But the people said, This is Jesus the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” They begin with the lesser that they may come to the greater. They hail Him as that Prophet whom Moses had said should come like to himself, [marg. note: Deu_15:18] which is rightly written in Greek with the testimony of the article, “From Nazareth of Galilee,”  for there He had been brought up, that the flower of the field might be nourished with the flower of all excellencies.

Raban.: But it is to be noted, that this entry of His into Jerusalem was five days before the passover. For John relates, that six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, [Joh_12:1] and on the morrow sitting on the ass entered Jerusalem. In this observe the correspondence between the Old and New Testaments, not only in things but in seasons. For on the tenth day of the first month, the lamb that was to be sacrificed for the passover was to be taken into the house, [marg. note: Exo_12:3] because on the same day of the same month, that is, five days before the passover, the Lord was to enter the city in which He was to suffer.

Pseudo-Chrys.: “And Jesus entered into the temple of God.” This was the part of a good Son to haste to His Father’s house, and do Him honour; so you then becoming an imitator of Christ as soon as you enter into any city, first run to the Church. Further, it was the part of a good physician, that having entered to heal the sick city, he should first apply himself to the source of the sickness; for as every thing good cometh out of the temple, so also doth every evil. For when the priesthood is sound, the whole Church flourishes, but if it is corrupt, faith is impaired; and as when you see a tree whose leaves are pale-coloured you know that it is diseased at its root, so when you see an undisciplined people conclude without hesitation that their priesthood is unsound.

Jerome: “And he cast out all them that sold and bought.” It should be known that in obedience to the Law, in the Temple of the Lord venerated throughout the whole world, and resorted to by Jews out of every quarter, innumerable victims were sacrificed, especially on festival days, bulls, rams, goats; the poor offering young pigeons and turtle-doves, that they might not omit all sacrifice. But it would happen that those who came from a distance would have no victim.

The Priests therefore contrived a plan for making a gain out of the people, selling to such as had no victim the animals which they had need of for sacrifice, and themselves receiving them back again as soon as sold. But this fraudulent practice was often defeated by the poverty of the visitors, who lacking means had neither victims, nor whence to purchase them. They therefore appointed bankers who might lend to them under a bond. But because the Law forbade usury, and money lent without interest was profitless, besides sometimes a loss of the principal, they bethought themselves of another scheme; instead of bankers they appointed ‘collybistae,’ a word for which the Latin has no equivalent.

[ed. note: ” St. Jerome here gives a different sense of the word, from what is commonly received among ancient writers. Hesychius, as far as I know, is the only one who agrees with him, and he interprets “collyba”, sweetmeats. At the same time Hesychius himself makes its proper sense to be “a kind of coin, with an ox stamped on the brass.” Pollux and Suidas and others agree with this interpretation, so far as to make the word stand for a small coin. Hence Collybists were those who gave change in small coin. Origen too, to whom St. Jerome is indebted for a great part of his exposition, understands by Collybists those who change good coin for bad, to the injury of those who employ them.” Vallars, in loc.]

Sweetmeats and other trifling presents they called ‘collyba,’ such, for example, as parched pulse, raisins, and apples of divers sorts. As then they could not take usury, they accepted the value in kind, taking things that are bought with money, as if this was not what Ezekiel preached of, saying, “Ye shall not receive usury nor increase.” [Eze_18:17] This kind of traffic, or cheating rather, the Lord seeing in His Father’s house, and moved thereat with spiritual zeal, cast out of the Temple this great multitude of men.

Origen: For in that they ought neither to sell nor to buy, but to give their time to prayer, being assembled in a house of prayer, whence it follows, “And he saith unto them, It is written, My shall be called a house of prayer.” [Isa_56:7]

Aug., Regula ad Serv. Dei., 3: Let no one therefore do ought in the oratory, but that for which it was made and whence it got its name. It follows, “But ye have made it a den of thieves.”

Jerome: For he is indeed a thief, and turns the temple of God into a den of thieves, who makes a gain of his religion. Among all the miracles wrought by our Lord, this seems to me the most wonderful, that one man, and He at that time mean to such a degree that He was afterwards crucified, and while the Scribes and Pharisees were exasperated against Him seeing their gains thus cut off, was able by the blows of one scourge to cast out so great a multitude. Surely a flame and starry ray darted from his eyes, and the majesty of the Godhead was radiant in his countenance.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 68: It is manifest that the Lord did this thing not once but twice; the first time is told by John, this second occasion by the other three.

Chrys., Hom., lxvii: Which aggravates the fault of the Jews, who after He had done the same thing twice, yet persisted in their hardness.

Origen: Mystically; The Temple of God is the Church of Christ, wherein are many, who live not, as they ought, spiritually, but after the flesh; and that house of prayer which is built of living stones they make by their actions to be a den of thieves. But if we must express more closely the three kinds of men cast out of the Temple, we may say thus. Whosoever among a Christian people spend their time in nothing else but buying and selling, continuing but little in prayers or in other right actions, these are the buyers and sellers in the Temple of God. Deacons who do not lay out well the funds of their Churches, but grow rich out of the poor man’s portion, these are the money-changers whose tables Christ overturns.

But that the deacons preside over the tables of Church money, we learn from the Acts of the Apostles. [marg. note: Act_6:2] Bishops who commit Churches to those they ought not, are they that sell the doves, that is, the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose seats Christ overturns.

Jerome: But, according to the plain sense, the doves were not in seats, but in cages; unless indeed the sellers of the doves were sitting in seats; but that were absurd, for the seat denotes the dignity of the teacher, which is brought down to nothing when it is mixed with covetousness.

Mark also, that through the avarice of the Priests, the altars of God are called tables of money-changers. What we have spoken of Churches let each man understand of himself, for the Apostle says, “Ye are the temple of God.” [2Co_6:16] Let there not be therefore in the abode of your breast the spirit of bargaining, nor the desire of gifts, lest Jesus, entering in anger and sternness, should purify His temple not without scourging, that from a den of thieves He should make it a house of prayers.

Origen: Or, in His second coming He shall cast forth and overturn those whom He shall find unworthy in God’s temple.

Pseudo-Chrys.: For this reason also He overturns the tables of the money-changers, to signify that in the temple of God ought to be no coin save spiritual, such as bears the image of God, not an earthly image. He overturns the seats of those that sold doves, saying by that deed, What make in My temple so many doves for sale, since that one Dove descended of free gift upon the temple of My Body? What the multitude had proclaimed by their shouts, the Lord shews in deeds.

Whence it follows, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.”

Origen: For in the temple of God, that is in the Church, all have not eyesight, nor do all walk uprightly, but only they who understand that there is need of Christ and of none other to heal them; they coming to the Word of God are healed.

Remig.: That they are healed in the Temple signifies, that men cannot be healed but in the Church, to which is given the power of binding and loosing.

Jerome: For had He not overthrown the tables of the money-changers and the seats of them that sold doves, the blind and the lame would not have deserved that their wonted sight and power of motion should be restored to them in the temple.

Chrys.: But not even thus were the Chief Priests convinced, but at His miracles and the shouts of the children they had indignation.

Jerome: For, not daring to lay hands on Him, the Priests defame his works, and the testimony of the children who cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” as though this might be said to none but to the Son of God only. Let then Bishops and all holy men take heed how they suffer these things to be said to them, if this is charged as a fault in Him who is truly Lord to whom this was said, because the faith of the believers was not yet confirmed.

Pseudo-Chrys.: For as a pillar a little out of the perpendicular, if more weight be laid upon it, is driven to lean still more to one side; so also the heart of man when once turned aside, is only stirred the more with jealousy by seeing or hearing deeds of some righteous man. In this way the Priests were stirred up against Christ, and said, “Hearest thou what these say?”

Jerome: But the answer of Christ was cautious. He spake not what the Scribes would fain have heard, The children do well that they bear witness to me; nor on the other hand, They do what is wrong, they are but children, you ought to be indulgent to their tender years. But He brings a quotation from the eighth Psalm, [Psa_8:2] that though the Lord were silent, the testimony of Scripture might defend the words of the children, as it follows, “But Jesus said unto them, Yea, have ye never read, &c.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: As though He had said, Be it so, it is My fault that these cry thus. But is it My fault that so many thousand years before the Prophet foretold that so it should be? But babes and sucklings cannot know or praise any one. Therefore they are called babes, not in age, but in guilelessness of heart; sucklings, because they cried out being moved by their joy at the wonderful things they beheld, as by the sweetness of milk. Miraculous works are called milk, because the beholding of miracles is no toil, but rather excites wonder, and gently invites to the faith. Bread is the doctrine of perfect righteousness, which none can receive but they who have their senses exercised about spiritual things.

Chrys.: This was at once a type of the Gentiles, and no small comfort to the Apostles; for that they might not be perplexed, contriving how having no education for the purpose they should preach the Gospel, these children going before them did away that fear; for He who made these to sing His praises, shall give speech to those. This miracle also shews that Christ was the Framer of nature; seeing the children spoke things full of meaning, and agreeing with the Prophets, whereas the men uttered things meaningless, and full of frenzy.

Pseudo-Chrys.: A bad man is better overcome by giving way to him than by replying to him; for wickedness is not instructed but stimulated by reproof. The Lord accordingly sought by withdrawing Himself to check those whom His words could not check; whence it is said, “And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany.”

Jerome: Hence it is to be understood that the Lord was in so great poverty, and so far from having courted any one, that He had found in all that city neither entertainer, nor abode, but He made His home in a little village, in the house of Lazarus and his sisters; for their village was Bethany; and it follows, “and He lodged there.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: Seeking surely to lodge in the body where His spirit also reposed; for so it is with all holy men, they love to be not where sumptuous banquets are, but where holiness flourishes.

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

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 6:47-56

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 24, 2012

Ver 45. And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while He sent away the people.46. And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray.47. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land.48. And He saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night He cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.49. But when they saw Him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:50. For they all saw Him, and were troubled. And immediately He talked with them, and saith unto them, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”51. And He went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.52. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

Gloss.: The Lord indeed by the miracle of the loaves shewed that He is the Creator of the world: but now by walking on the waves He proved that He had a body free from the weight of all sin, and by appeasing the winds and by calming the rage of the waves, He declared Himself to be the Master of the elements.

Wherefore it is said, “And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while He sent away the people.”

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: He dismisses indeed the people with His blessing and with some cures. But He constrained His disciples, because they could not without pain separate themselves from Him, and that, not only on account of the very great affection which they had for Him, but also because they were at a loss how He would join them.

Bede, in Marc., 2, 27: But it  is with reason that we wonder how Mark says, that after the miracle of the loaves the disciples crossed the sea of Bethsaida, when Luke relates that the miracle was done in the parts of Bethsaida [Luk_9:10], unless we understand that Luke means by the desert which is Bethsaida not the country immediately around the town, but the desert places belonging to it. But when Mark says that they should “go before unto Bethsaida,” the town itself is meant.It goes on: “And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray.”

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: This we must understand of Christ, in that He is man; He does it also to teach us to be constant in prayer.

Theophylact: But when He had dismissed the crowd, He goes up to pray, for prayer requires rest and silence.

Bede, in Marc., 2, 28: Not every man, however, who prays goes up into a mountain, but he alone prays well, who seeks God in prayer. But he who prays for riches or worldly labour, or for the death of his enemy, sends up from the lowest depths his vile prayers to God.

John says, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force and make Him a king, He departed against into a mountain Himself, alone.” [Joh_6:15]  It goes on: “And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land.”

Theophylact: Now the Lord permitted His disciples to be in danger, that they might learn patience; wherefore He did not immediately come to their aid, but allowed them to remain in danger all night, that He might teach them to wait patiently, and not to hope at once for help in tribulations.

For there follows: “And He saw them toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night, He cometh unto them walking upon the sea.”

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Holy Scripture reckons four watches in the night, making each division three hours; wherefore by the fourth watch it means that which is after the ninth hour, that is, in the tenth or some following hour. There follows: “And would have passed them.”

Augustine, de Con. Evan., 2, 47: But how could they understand this, except from His going a different way, wishing to pass them as strangers; for they were so far from recognizing Him, as to take Him for a spirit.  For it goes on: “But when they saw Him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out.”

Theophylact: See again how Christ, though He was about to put and end to  their dangers, puts them in greater fear. But He immediately reassured them by His voice, for it continues, “And immediately He talked with them, and said unto them, It is I, be not afraid.”

Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 50: As soon then as they knew Him by His voice, their fear left them.

Augustine: How then could He wish to pass them, whose fears He so reassures, if it were not that His wish to pass them would wring from them that cry, which called for His help?

Bede: [ed. note: This opinion with which Theodorus is charged was one held by the Phantasiasts, a sect of the Monophysites. The denial of the human body to our Lord, was a natural consequence of denying Him a human soul, for how could a human body inclose, so to speak, His Divinity? Theodoras was Bishop of Pharan, in Arabia, and was condemned as the author of the Monothelite heresy in the Lateran Council under Pope Martin I, AD 649. The passage from Dionysius is quoted in Actio 3 of the Council, and occurs de Div. Nom, c. 1] But Theodorus, who was Bishop of Phanara, wrote that the Lord had no bodily weight in His flesh, and walked on the sea without weight; but the Catholic faith declares that He had weight according to the flesh. For Dionysius says, We know not how without plunging in His feet, which had bodily weight and the gravity of matter, He could walk on the wet and unstable substance.

Theophylact: Then by entering into the ship, the Lord restrained the tempest. For it continues, “And He went up unto them into the ship, and the wind ceased.” Great indeed is the miracle of our Lord’s walking on the sea, but the tempest and the contrary wind were there as well, to make the miracle greater. For the Apostles, not understanding from the miracle of the five loaves the power of Christ, now more fully knew it from the miracle of the sea.  Wherefore it goes on, “And they were sore amazed in themselves.” For they understood not concerning the loaves.

Bede: The disciples indeed, who were still carnal, were amazed at the greatness of His virtue, they could not yet however recognise in Him the truth of the Divine Majesty. Wherefore it goes on, “For their hearts were hardened.”

But mystically, the toil of the disciples in rowing, and the contrary wind, mark out the labours of the Holy Church, who amidst the beating waves of the world, and the blasts of unclean spirits, strives to reach the repose of her celestial country. And well is it said that the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on land, for sometimes the Church is afflicted by a pressure from the  Gentiles so overwhelming, that her Redeemer seems to have entirely deserted her. But the Lord sees His own, toiling on the sea, for, lest they faint in tribulations, He strengthens them by the look of His love, and sometimes frees them by a visible assistance. Further, in the fourth watch He came to them as daylight approached, for when man lifts up his mind to the light of guidance from on high, the Lord will be with him, and the dangers of temptations will be laid asleep.

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Or else, the first watch means the time up to the deluge; the second, up to Moses; the third, up to the coming of the Lord; in the fourth the Lord came and spoke to His disciples.

Bede: Often then does the love of heaven seem to have deserted the faithful in tribulation, so that it may be thought that Jesus wishes to pass by His disciples, as it were, toiling in the sea. And still do heretics suppose that the Lord was a phantom, and did not take upon Him real flesh from the Virgin.

Pseudo-Jerome: And He says to them, “Be of good cheer, it is I,” because we shall see Him as He is. But the wind and the storm ceased when Jesus sat down, that is, reigned in the ship, which is the Catholic Church.

Bede: In whatsoever heart, also, He is present by the grace of His love, there soon all the strivings of vices, and of the adverse world, or of evil spirits, are kept under and put to rest.

Ver 53. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.54. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew Him,55. And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard He was.56. And whithersoever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole.

Gloss.: The Evangelist, having shewn the danger which  the disciples had sustained in their passage, and their deliverance from it, now shews the place to which they sailed, saying, “And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.”

Theophylact: The Lord remained at the above-mentioned place for some time. Therefore the Evangelist subjoins, “And when they had come out of the ship, straightway they knew Him,” That is, the inhabitants of the country.

Bede: But they knew Him by report, not by His features; or through the greatness of His miracles, even His person was known to some. See too how great was the faith of the men of the land of Gennesaret, so that they were not content with the healing of those who were present, but sent to other towns round about, that all might hasten to the Physician; wherefore there follows, “And ran through the whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard He was.”

Theophylact: For they did not call Him to their houses that He might heal them, but rather the sick themselves were brought to Him.  Wherefore it also follows: “And whithersoever He entered into villages, or cities, or country, &c.”

For the miracle which had been wrought on the woman with an issue of blood, had reached the ears of many, and caused in them that great faith, by which they were healed.  It goes on: “And as many as touched Him were made whole.”

Again, in a mystical sense, do thou understand by the hem of His garment the slightest of His commandments, for whosoever shall transgress it “shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven,” [Mat_5:19] or else His assumption of our flesh, by which we have come to the Word of God, and afterwards, shall have the enjoyment of His majesty.

Pseudo-Jerome: Furthermore that which is said, “And as many as touched Him were made whole,” shall be fulfilled, when grief and mourning shall fly away.


Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, Lent, liturgy, Notes on Mark, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: