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 October, 2012

UPDATE # 3: Sunday, November 4: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 31, 2012

As noted in a previous post, blogging is light this week due to an injury. I’ll return to posting commentaries on the daily readings this Sunday. Here are some daily resources from other sites you may wish to consult.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4
THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

READINGS AND OFFICE:

  • Mass Readings in the NJB TranslationUsed in most English speaking countries. Scroll down. I’ve seen conflicting reports concerning whether or not it is the JB, or the NJB that is currently used in most English speaking nations. If anyone knows of a Bishop’s Conference site that has a set up similar to the US Bishop’s site linked above (but using the JB or NJB), please let me know.
  • Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

GENERAL RESOURCES: sites that usually deal with the readings as a whole. Commentaries on the individual readings further below.

  • Word Sunday. The readings in both and literal translation, notes on the text, podcast, children’s reading.
  • SacerdosGives the theme of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral application.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background on the readings. Can be printed out, copied, and used as bulletin insert.
  • Scripture Speaks. I’ve linked to the archive. This Sunday’s post not yet available.
  • The Bible Workshop. Not yet available.
  • The Wednesday WordIt’s about the Sunday readings, but the document is posted on Wednesday, hence the name. Designed for prayer and reflection, the pdf document ends with Father Dom Henry Wansbrough’s reflections on the first and second readings. Fr. Wansbrough is General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible and contributed commentaries on Matt, Mark, and the Pastorals in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
  • Sacred Page Blog. Not yet available. Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma’s reflections on the readings and psalm.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Deuteronomy 6:2-6.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Ps 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Hebrews 7:23-28.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: Mark 12:28-34.

PODCASTS: 

  • Sacred Page Podcast. Catholic biblical scholar Dr. Michael Barber looks at the Sunday readings.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM
TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Dominica XXIII Post Pentecosten I. Novembris ~ II. classis

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

COMMENTARIES ON THE LESSON: Philippians 3:17-21, 4:1-3.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Matthew 9:18-26.

HOMILIES AND HOMILY NOTES:

  • Pending: True Repentance: Aquinas’ Homily Notes on the Gospel. On Matthew 9:20.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 12:28-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 31, 2012

Ver 28. And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”29. And Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:30. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.31. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”32. And the scribe said unto Him, “Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He:33. And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”34. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” And no man after that durst ask Him any question.

Gloss.: After that the Lord confuted the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, who tempted Him, it is here shewn how He satisfied the Scribe who questioned Him.

Wherefore it is said, “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all?”

Pseudo-Jerome: This question is only that which is a problem common to all skilled in the law, namely, that the commandments are differently set forth in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Wherefore He brought forward not one but two commandments, by which, as by two paps rising on the breast of the bride, our infancy is nourished.

And therefore there is added, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord thy God is one God.” He mentions the first and greatest commandment of all; this is that to which each of us must give the first place in his heart, as the only foundation of piety, that is, the knowledge and confession of the Divine Unity, with the practice of good works, which is perfected in the love of God and our neighbour.

Wherefore there is added, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

Theophylact: See how He has enumerated all the powers of the soul; for there is a living power in the soul, which He explains, when He says, “With all thy soul,” and to this belong anger and desire, all of which He will have us give to Divine love.

There is also another power, which is called natural, to which belong nutriment and growth, and this also is all to be given to God, for which reason He says, “With all thy heart.”

There is also another power, the rational, which He calls the mind, and that too is to be given whole to God.

Gloss.: The words which are added, “And with all thy strength,” may be referred to the bodily powers.It goes on: “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Theophylact: He says that it is like, because these two commandments are harmonious one with the other, and mutually contain the other. For he who loves God, loves also His creature; but the chief of His creatures is man, wherefore he who loves God ought to love all men. But he who loves his neighbor, who so often offends him, ought much more to love Him, who is ever giving him benefits. And therefore on account of the connection between these commandments, He adds, “There is none other commandment greater than these.”

It goes on: “And the Scribe said unto Him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God, and there is none other but He: and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Bede: He shews when he says, “this is greater than all sacrifices,” that a grave question was often debated between the scribes and Pharisees, which was the first commandment, or the greatest of the Divine law; that is, some praised offerings and sacrifices, others preferred acts of faith and love, because many of the fathers before the law pleased God by that faith only, which works by love. This scribe shews that he was of the latter opinion.

But it continues: “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.”

Theophylact: By which He shews that he was not perfect, for He did not say, Thou art within the kingdom of heaven, but, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.”

Bede: But the reason why he was not far from the kingdom of God was, that he proved himself to be a favourer of that opinion, which is proper to the New Testament and to Gospel perfection.

Augustine, de Con. Evan, ii, 73: Nor let it trouble us that Matthew says, that he who addressed this question to the Lord tempted Him; for it may be that though he came as a tempter, yet he was corrected by the answer of the Lord. Or at all events, we must not look upon the temptation as evil, and done with the intention of deceiving an enemy, but rather as the caution of a man who wished to try a thing unknown to him.

Pseudo-Jerome: Or else, he is not far who comes with knowledge; for ignorance is farther from the kingdom of God than knowledge; wherefore He says above to the Sadducees, “Ye err, not knowing the Scriptures, or the power of God.”  It goes on: “And no man after that durst ask Him any questions.”

Bede: For since they were confuted in argument, they ask Him no further questions, but take Him without any disguise, and give Him up to the Roman power. From which we understand that the venom of envy may be overcome, but can hardly lie quiet.

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Father Boylan’s Commentary on Psalm 18 for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 30, 2012

Please note that the verse numbering here follows that of the NRSV which (unlike the NAB) does not assign verse numbers to Psalm titles. For this reason the NAB verse numbering is usually one verse ahead of the NRSV. For the readers convenience I’ve included the NAB verse numbers in square brackets […]. With one exception links are to the NRSV.

A SONG OF THANKSGIVING AND TRIUMPH

THE royal poet will sing a song of heartfelt praise and thanks for the special favours and mercies which God has granted to him. He has been rescued from many perils, and raised to the highest honours. In Ps 18:1-6 [2-7] we have a sort of summary of the psalm. The poet was in extreme peril through the plotting of his foes: he called on the Lord for help and was rescued. In Ps 18:7-19 [8-20] he describes the manner of his rescue. In a thunderstorm the Lord came down, and overwhelmed, and scattered his enemies. In Ps 18:20-24 [21-25] we are told that the merciful intervention of the Lord was due to the poet’s piety, and loyalty to God’s Law; for (as is shown in Ps 18:25-30 [26-31]) to the pious God showeth favour, and dealeth out mercy. Once more (Ps 18:31-45 [32-46]) the singer returns to what God has done for him. He has protected him in battle, smitten his foes, and humbled strange peoples beneath his rule. The poem closes (Ps 18:46-50 [47-51]) with the solemnly expressed resolution of the psalmist to praise his Lord among the gentiles.

This poem appears also in II Kings, xxii, as a poem of David. Though the text of 2 Sam 22, differs in a number of small points from the psalm-text, it is obviously the same poem as the one we have here. The Davidic origin of Psalm 18 is thus assured in a very satisfactory fashion. Internally the poem points to such an author as David. The poet is a general, and a king, and a victorious leader, who subdues peoples hitherto unknown to Israel. All this suits David better than any other king of Israel. The description of the coming of God in the thunderstorm reminds one of Hebrew poetry of the most ancient period (cf. Judges 5:4-5, and the Song of Deborah generally). We may, therefore, confidently accept the Davidic authorship of this poem. The circumstances of its composition (i.e., the title, see verse 1 in the NAB) are described in 2 Sam 22, in the same way as here.

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My Notes on Deuteronomy 6:2-6 for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2012

Background~Genesis has as its primary purpose to establish the origins of the People of God. Exodus describes the establishment of this people as a theocratic nation. Leviticus shows the holy, cultic nature of the nation and how it was centered around Ark and Tabernacle. Numbers deals with the organization of the nation as a social entity with its social/communal organization also centered around Ark and Tabernacle. “Deuteronomy has as it purpose to show the Israelites that their spirit as a nation must be a spirit of love, honor, and obedience to God” (Peter F. Ellis, THE MEN AND MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, pg. 7).

Deuteronomy opens with a brief introduction which establishes the setting of the work as a whole (Deut 1:1-5).  This is followed by Moses’ giving an historical narration of key events the people have experienced from Sinai to the Plains of Moab (Deut 1:6-3:29). This narration highlights God’s providential care for the people in spite of their sins. It prepares for Moses’ call for the people to obey God so that they may enter the land, take and maintain possession of it (Deut 4:1-5:33). There is a focus on the Ten Commandments (Deut 5). Deut 6:1-11:32 essentially builds upon the First Command (Ex 20:2-5), focusing on the uniqueness of  God and its implications, i.e., fearing the Lord, the necessity of keeping His statutes and commands, avoiding false gods, instructing their children, the blessing given for the obedience of faith, dangers of not obeying, etc.

Deut 6:1  These are the precepts, and ceremonies, and judgments, which the Lord your God commanded that I should teach you, and that you should do them in the land into which you pass over to possess it:

A reference to what has just been taught in chapters 4 and 5. Note the connection of the present verse to Deut 4:1~And now, O Israel, hear the commandments and judgments which I teach thee: that doing them, thou mayst live, and entering in mayst possess the land which the Lord the God of your fathers will give you. Note also the first 3 verses of chapter 6 essentially repeats the end of chapter 5~But stand thou here with me, and I will speak to thee all my commandments, and ceremonies and judgments: which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land, which I will give them for a possession. Keep therefore and do  the things which the Lord God hath commanded you: you shall not go aside neither to the right hand, nor to the left.  But you shall walk in the way that the Lord your God hath commanded, that you may live, and it may be well with you, and your days may be long in the land of your possession (Deut 5:31-33).

Deut 6:2  That thou mayst fear the Lord thy God, and keep all his commandments and precepts, which I command thee, and thy sons, and thy grandsons, all the days of thy life, that thy days may be prolonged.

That thou mayest fear the Lord thy God. A reverential fear of God. In Deuteronomy such fear is closely associated with love (see verse 5 below, Deut 10:12). Protestant scholar John Sailhamer notes that “the ‘fear of the Lord’ which Moses has in mind is not that which flees from his presence but that which longs to do his will. It is a fear that produces not obeisance but obedience, not worry but worship (Deut 6:13)” [THE PENTATEUCH AS NARRATIVE, pg. 439].

And keep all his commandments, etc. The cafeteria Israelite is as foreign to the Bible as is the cafeteria Catholic (see Matt 28:20). For Matthew’s teaching on true discipleship as doing all the will of God see Peter f. Ellis’ MATTHEW, HIS MIND AND MESSAGE, pgs 137-155.

Deut 6:3  Hear, O Israel, and observe to do the things which the Lord hath commanded thee, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayst be greatly multiplied, as the Lord the God of thy fathers hath promised thee a land flowing with milk and honey.

Hear, O Israel. This is a call often used to gather the people together for battle, worship, etc. Here it is used as a call to attention.

Observe to do the things which the Lord hath commanded thee. “Observe” in Hebrew is ושׁמרת, literally, “guard to do the things which the Lord hath commanded thee.” The command reminds us of the order to Adam to “keep” ( ולשׁמרה׃) the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:15). I would suggest that “guard” and “do” are somewhat synonymous here. The Israelites guard the things that have been commanded by doing them.

As the Lord the God of thy fathers hath promised thee a land flowing with milk and honey. The Israelites will remain on the land only so long as they love and obey God, if they do not, then, like Adam, they will be exiled and punished (Deut 4:24-28; Deut 8:6-20; Deut 28:15-68).

Deut 6:4  Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.
Deut 6:5  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength.

Hear, O Israel repeats the beginning of the previous verse.The first word of this verse in Hebrew is שׁמע (shâma‛) which “has given its name to the prayer, or profession of faith, of the devout Jew, recited morning and evening, from pre-Christian times to the present. It is made up of Deut6:4-9, Deut11:13-21, and Num 15:37-41, introduced and concluded by various blessings” (Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture).

The Lord our God is one Lord. A polemic against all false gods. The fact that the Lord is one leads to the imperative of verse 5: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength.

With thy whole heart. In the bible the heart is associated with emotions such as joy, sorrow, courage, etc (Prov 27:11; Neh 2:2; 2 Sam 17:10). It’s also associated with man’s reason as exhibited in things like questioning (Judges 5:16); formulating plans (1 Chron 29:18); plotting (Gen 27:41); etc. Finally, it is associated with man’s moral states such as pride (Deut 8:14), godlessness, (Job 36:13), etc. All man’s thoughts, emotions, morality must be governed by God’s revealed will.

Thy whole soul. The Hebrew word נפשׁ (nephesh) is virtually impossible to translate adequately into English by any single word, nor is it limited to a single concept. Here I believe the term נפשׁ (nephesh) is to be understood as the seat of the desires (see Deut 12:20; Deut 14:26; Deut 21:14; Deut 23:25).

Thy whole strength. מאד (me’ôd). With all diligence, exceedingly. A single-mindedness that can set one apart from others in relation to God’s commands (2 Kings 23:25).

Deut 6:6  And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart:

They should be loved and, as an act of love, passed on to one’s children. They should be constantly  in one’s thoughts, at home and abroad (Deut 6:7). They should be bound to the hand as a valued possession, bound between the eyes so as not to be lost sight of (Deut 6:8; see Ex 13:16).

 

 

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Little or No Blogging This Week (But Some Links to See You Through)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 28, 2012

First, since many people during the week like to consult posts relating to the previous Sunday’s Mass, here is my post for Sunday, October 28.

I usually prepare my weekly posts on Saturday and post them on Sunday. Yesterday, however, I found it necessary to do some much needed work on my mother’s house due to the impending “frankenstorm” which is expected to bring torrential rain into central upstate NY. Nearing the end of 14 hours of labor I injured myself and am suffering a fair amount of pain. Because of this I have decided to take the week off from blogging. I will, however, post resources for next Sunday’s Mass on Wednesday or Thursday evening. Those wishing for commentaries on the daily readings can consult the following sites:

ORDINARY FORM:

  • Daily Gospel. Gospel reading, brief commentary, usually from a saint, and brief biography on the saint of the day.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

  • Sorry, I’m not aware of any site besides my own which provides daily commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form. You can consult the very basic Haydock Bible Commentary for some notes. Also, you can consult Aquinas’ Catena Aurea.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my many readers for continuing to frequent this site. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a heating pad and several books (check out the Good Reads feature on the right side of this blog).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Ephesians 4:7-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 25, 2012

This post opens with Father Callan’s brief overview of Ephesians 4:1-6:20, followed by his summary of Ephesians 4:1-16. His notes on Eph 4:7-16 follows.

THE MORAL PART OF THE EPISTLE

A Overview of Ephesians 4:1-6:20~The precepts of Christ follow from the doctrine of Christ as conclusions from premises, so that rightly lived the Christian life is nothing more than a vivid reflection of Christ’s teachings. So far in this Epistle the Apostle has spoken of Christians as predestined members of Christ’s mystical body, as living stones in God’s temple, and as units in the divine household, destined to a glory beyond all our imaginings. High, therefore, is their calling; and he would have them walk worthy of it. To this end he describes first in this Moral Part the general character of the Christian life as lived in mutual charity and holiness (Eph 4:1-24); then he treats of particular duties, whether pertinent to all or to individual members of the Christian family (Eph 4:25-5:9) ; and finally he illustrates the life of Christians as a warfare (Eph 6:10-20).

CHRISTIANS MUST WALK WORTHY OF THEIR VOCATION IN ALL UNITY

A Summary of Ephesians 4:1-16~The Christian life imposes on its members the obligation of preserving, by means of humility and loving forbearance, the spirit of unity which has been given them in the Holy Ghost. All have the same hope; all acknowledge one and the same Lord as their head; the same faith is common to all, expressed in one and the same Sacrament of Baptism; and finally, all have the same heavenly Father. There is a great diversity of gifts and functions in the Christian society, but the Ascended Christ is the Source of them all; and all have the one purpose, which is growth into perfect corporate unity, so that the Church will come to express in its own life and maturity the life of Christ its divine Head.

Eph 4:7. But to every one of us was given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ.

So far the Apostle has considered the unity of the Church as to its common elements; and now he will consider that which is proper and special to individual members of the same mystical body, namely, their different gifts and functions, all of which should tend to the good of the whole (Eph 4:7-16).

To every one of us (i.e., to each one of the faithful who make up the unity of the Church, and not to the ministers only) was given grace (i.e., the special divine help to discharge certain duties and offices in the Church, and this was done, not haphazardly confusedly, but) according to the measure, etc. (i.e., according to the work each one was to do in the Church in fulfillment of the purpose of Christ, the Giver of that grace).

Eph 4:8. Wherefore he saith: Ascending on high, he led captivity captive; he gave gifts to men.

In this and in the two following verses the Apostle shows that our Lord is indeed the distributer of the gifts spoken of in verse 7; and to prove it he quotes in the present verse Psalm 68:19, which, in its literal sense, refers to a temporal victory of the Jews over their enemies through the help of Jehovah, but in its spiritual meaning refers to the triumphal Ascension of our Lord into heaven after achieving our redemption by His victory over sin and Satan. The Psalmist is picturing Jehovah as ascending to His Sanctuary on Mt. Sion after the victory of His people, and there accepting spoil from His vanquished foes; and this is a figure of the Ascension of Christ into heaven, following the completion of the work of our redemption, and thence distributing His gifts to the faithful on the Day of Pentecost. The munificence of Jehovah to Israel prefigured the bounty of Christ bestowing His gifts on men. The Apostle is probably quoting the Psalm from memory, and so does not give the exact words either of the Hebrew or of the LXX of the Psalm.

He saith. Better, “It saith” (i.e., the Scripture says).

Captivity means “captives,” the Hebrew abstract standing for the concrete. But who are the captives in the application? If we need to seek an application for this phrase, they are (a) mankind wrested from the captivity of the evil one, Satan, or (b) the conquered evil spirits who had enslaved man until the coming of Christ.

He gave. In the Psalm we have “Thou didst receive,” a different person and a different verb; but St. Paul, speaking in the third person of our Lord, is using the words which the Psalmist addressed to Jehovah in the second person. As Jehovah received spoil from Israel’s enemies, so did our Lord receive gifts to be distributed “to men” (i.e., to the faithful).

Eph 4:9. Now that he ascended, what is it, but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

The Apostle means to say here that the Ascension of Christ into heaven presupposes His descent from heaven to this earth at the time of His Incarnation; or to the lower parts of the earth, to the Limbo of the dead, after His crucifixion; or, if we take the ascent to be previous to the descent, the meaning is that after our Lord ascended into heaven. He later descended at Pentecost through the Holy Spirit with His special gifts of grace to the faithful, or in general to take up His dwelling in the souls of the just. But St. Paul is saying that the descent was previous to the ascent, and hence we must reject opinions that suppose the contrary. We should hold, then, that the descent in question was either at the time of the Incarnation when our Lord first came to this earth (so Knabenbauer, Cajetan, and many non-Catholics), or when He visited the abode of the dead between His own death and glorious Resurrection (so St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, Estius, Voste, etc.). The latter opinion is thought to be more in harmony with: (a) Pss. 62:10; 138:15; Rom 10:7; Acts 2:27; 1 Peter 3:19, 1 Peter 4:6; (b) the context of St. Paul, for in the following verse it is said that our Lord “ascended above all the heavens,” the contrary of which would be to descend to the lowest parts of the earth: He ranged from the lowest to the highest, thus visiting all, “that he might fill all things” (ver. 10).

What is it? That is, “What does it imply?” The word “first” agrees with the context, but is of doubtful authenticity.

Eph 4:10. He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.

He that descended (from heaven to earth, and even to the lower parts of the earth, though His Incarnation) is the same also that ascended, etc. (on Ascension Day, and took His seat on the right hand of the Father), that he might fill all things (by the exercise of His power and rule, and the influence of His grace, especially in His Church). The person that ascended is the same as the person that descended. The Son of God descended from heaven, taking upon Himself our human nature; and the Son of man ascended according to His human nature to the sublimity of immortal life (St. Thomas, h. l.).

Above all the heavens. These words contain no approval by St. Paul of the opinion of the Rabbins that there were seven heavens; the Apostle is merely emphasizing the supreme exaltation of the Lord. It is true that in 2 Cor 12:2, St. Paul himself speaks of the “third heaven,” but there he is most likely only referring to the immediate presence of God.

Eph 4:11. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors,

Returning to the thought of ver. 7, after the parenthesis of ver. 8-10, the Apostle is now going to speak about the various gifts bestowed by our Lord on certain ones among the faithful, and the end to which these gifts are ordained (cf. also Rom 12:4-6; 1 Cor 12:4 ff.). It is to be noted that the various names here designate offices or functions rather than persons. Therefore, “apostles” are those who had the gift of the apostolate, and most likely included others besides the Twelve, like Paul, Barnabas, etc. (Rom 16:7).

Prophets are those who taught, instructed, and exhorted others (1 Cor 14:1-5), as well as foretellers of future events, like Agabus (Acts 11:27-28, Acts 21:10-11).

Evangelists are not necessarily those only who wrote the Gospels, but missionaries and preachers of the word among strangers and infidels (John 21:15 ff.; Acts 21:8; 2 Tim 4:5; 1 Peter 2:25).

Pastors and doctors. Before these two names in Greek there is but one article; whereas the article precedes each of the names given before in this list. From this fact St. Jerome, St. Thomas, and others have concluded that the care of souls and the office of teacher go together, that he who is a pastor ought also to be a teacher. But other commentators hold that there is question of separate functions here not necessarily to be found in the same person, just as there was above, and that St. Paul omitted the article before the last word here in his hurry to close the list (so Voste).

Eph 4:12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;

Here the Apostle points out the end or purpose of the ministry just detailed. All those gifts and offices were “for the perfecting of the saints” (i.e., for the purpose of equipping or fitting out those on whom they were bestowed) “for the work of the ministry” (i.e., for the fulfillment of the duties they were to discharge among the faithful), thus enabling all the members of the Church to do each his full share by word, work and example towards “the edifying of the body of Christ” (i.e., towards building up and perfecting the Church, and spreading its work and influence over the world). The word rendered “perfecting” occurs here only in the New Testament, and most probably means “equipment,” “preparation.” Those who translate it in the sense of “perfection” reverse the order of the words in the verse and make “the perfecting of the saints” the end and purpose of “the work of the ministry” and “the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Eph 4:13. Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ;

Until does not here refer so much to time as to the ultimate purpose or end to which all the charisms in question are ordained, which end or purpose is “unity of faith” and a supernatural “knowledge of the Son of God”; so that by individual and corporate spiritual growth, effort and influence the Church may come to realize and express in her own life that mature and full-grown perfection which is in Christ her divine Head. Christ is the standard or “measure” of perfection toward which the individual Christian and the Church as a whole must tend, and which, individually and collectively, the faithful must, in so far as possible, endeavor to express here on earth. Hence “age” here refers not to the years but to the perfection of Christ.

Eph 4:14. That henceforth we would be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive;

The Apostle here states negatively what he said in a positive manner in the preceding verse; there he showed how the Church was to attain its perfection, and now he shows how it should avoid what is opposed to its perfection. We must not henceforth exhibit the mental weakness and ignorance of children, who are fickle and inconstant, subject to the influence of all the false opinions and changing novelties by which wicked, cunning, and crafty men try to lead the unwary astray.

Tossed to and fro, etc. Better, “tossed about on the waves, and carried round and round by every wind of doctrine,” as so many outside the Church are, which is not a very safe way to reach the port of salvation. “What St. Paul deprecated as the waywardness of an undisciplined child, is now glorified as free thought” (Rickaby). The Vulgate, fluctuantes et circumferamur, should read fluctuantes et circumlati, to agree with the best Greek; and in nequitia should be in fradulentia (the Greek word being a metaphor from cheating at dice).

Eph 4:15. But doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in him who is the head, even Christ:

Instead of being deceived and led into error by evil and cunning men, we must be followers of “the truth,” i.e., we must confess, love, and practise the truths made known to us by our faith; and not only so, but our faith and works must be vivified by “charity,” or the love of God, so that “in all things,” or better, “as to all things” (i.e., as to our whole being, our entire Christian perfection), we may “grow up in him, etc.,” i.e., increase and solidify our union with Christ, our divine Head. The more we grow in perfection, the more we come to resemble in all things Jesus Christ who is the Head of the mystical body of which we are the members.

Eph 4:16. From whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly conjoined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in charity.

Having just spoken of Christ, the Head of the mystical body which is the Church, the Apostle now goes on to describe the growth and increase of that mystical body as it is united in charity to Christ its Head.

The words “being compacted” down to “every part” inclusive should be regarded as parenthetical, so that the main sentence reads: “From whom the whole body maketh increase, etc.” This verse affords a typical example of St. Paul’s compressed and pregnant style, where in a few words a multitude of ideas are contained. It is extremely obscure, as St. Chrysostom says, because the Apostle wants to say everything at once. We find a parallel in Col 2:19.

From whom, i.e., from Christ, the fountain whence flows the whole spiritual life of “the whole body,” which is the Church, the members of which “being compacted, etc.,” i.e., being closely and harmoniously connected, one with the other, and vitally conjoined so as to form one organic whole and act as a unit. The words “compacted” and “conjoined” are expressed by present participles in Greek, and therefore convey the idea of a living, progressive process of growth by which the Church is ever moving on in development, strength, and perfection to its final consummation in heaven.

By what every joint supplieth. Passing over several different and less likely opinions about the exact meaning of the Greek word αφης (here rendered “joint”) and επιχορηγιας (rendered “supplieth”), we may hold the most probable meaning of the Apostle to be that help descends from Christ the Head into the whole mystical body through the joints by which the various members are connected one with the other. As in the physical organism help comes from the head to the different members through the joints or connecting physical links, so in the mystical body of Christ, the Church, help is communicated from Christ the Head to the various members (to the faithful) through the joints, i.e., through the various ministries, gifts and functions spoken of above in verse 7; but the help thus supplied is not the same for each member, but is “according to the operation, etc.”-that is, it is in proportion to the power or supply of help given it by the Head, which supply or power is itself proportioned to the capacity of each member and to the work each particular member is given to perform. And all the members being thus assisted and thus operating, it happens that the whole body “maketh increase, etc.” (i.e., grows in unity, strength, and effectiveness), and all this through the vitalizing principle and power of “charity.”

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My Notes on Jeremiah 31:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 24, 2012

Background~Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations, and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant (Jer 1:10). The emphasis is on the negative. Of the six verbs used to describe the purpose of the Prophet’s mission, the first four are foreboding (root up, pull down, waste, destroy).

With these words God indicates to Jeremiah what his mission as a prophet is to entail; it is a mission primarily of judgment, its purpose is, however, to bring about renewal (build, plant). It is a mission that demands a response (preferably repentance) from those who hear the preaching:  I will suddenly speak against a nation, and against a kingdom, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy it. If that nation against which I have spoken, shall repent of their evil, I also will repent of the evil that I have thought to do to them. And I will suddenly speak of a nation and of a kingdom, to build up and plant it. If it shall do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice: I will repent of the good that I have spoken to do unto it. Now therefore tell the men of Juda, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: Thus saith the Lord: Behold I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: let every man of you return from his evil way, and make ye your ways and your doings good (Jer 18:7-11). The people of Judah and Jerusalem failed to amend their ways (Jer 25:2-11, Jer 34) and were taken into exile (Jer 39:1-11).  Those who would come through the purifying fire of the Babylonian invasion and exile would be built up, planted once again in the promised land (Jer 24:1-6, Jer 31:27-28) It is against this background that the “The Book of Consolation” (Jer 30-33) from which today’s reading is taken. the “Book of Conslation” begins:  This is the word that came to Jeremias from the Lord, saying: Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: Write thee all the words that I have spoken to thee, in a book. For behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will bring to and end the captivity of my people Israel and Juda, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land which I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it (Jer 30:1-3). It is this return with which today’s reading is concerned.

Jer 31:1  At that time, saith the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

At that time. When the end of the time decreed for the exile comes.

I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Reverses the fact that the people had fallen into idolatry. No longer willing to be God’s children (Jer 3:4, Jer 3:19) they declared that wood and stone (i.e., idols) were their father and mother (Jer 2:27).

Jer 31:2  Thus saith the Lord: The people that were left and escaped from the sword, found grace in the desert: Israel shall go to his rest.
Jer 31:3  The Lord hath appeared from afar to me. Yea I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.

The Lord has appeared from afar to me. It is the people personified (“me”) rather than the prophet speaking here. The separation of exile which took the people far from God is coming to an end.

Found grace in the desert. God’s people who escaped from the punishment of exile have repented and returned to the devotion their ancestors showed early in the Exodus (see Jer 2:1-2). It was precisely for this reason that the punishment had come (Deut 30:1-5, see Hos 3:14-20). Thus God’s everlasting love is manifested. The people had utterly forsaken him, but he was unwilling to utterly forsake them.

Jer 31:4  And I will build thee again, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy timbrels, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.
Jer 31:5  Thou shalt yet plant vineyards in the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and they shall not gather the vintage before the time.

I will build thee again.The prophet’s mission from God was to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, but only so that things might be rebuilt and replanted (Jer 1:10). Here God is said to do the rebuilding, the people the planting. Behind all of this is the fact that the Promised Land had been devastated by the Babylonian invasion (Jer 4:23-28, Jer 9:9-15), one of the covenant curses for infidelity (Deut 28:38-44). The situation will be reversed.

O virgin of Israel. God’s once devout bride (Jer 2:2) had turned to infidelity, breaking the covenant (symbolized as a marriage) and went chasing after false gods like a common harlot (Jer 2:20); like a camel in heat (Jer 2:23-3:4). The people’s covenant infidelity (often called “harlotry”) will be reversed, the people will once again be “virginal.”

Thou shalt again be adorned with thy timbrels, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Reversing the end of joy and the silence that ensued because of the exile (Jer 7:34, Jer 16:9, Jer 25:10).

Jer 31:6  For there shall be a day, in which the watchmen on mount Ephraim, shall cry: Arise, and let us go up to Sion to the Lord our God.

The worship of idols will end, and worship will once again be centered on Sion.

Jer 31:7  For thus saith the Lord: Rejoice ye in the joy of Jacob, and neigh before the head of the Gentiles: shout ye, and sing, and say: Save, O Lord, thy people, the remnant of Israel.

The RSV translation reads: For thus says the LORD: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, `The LORD has saved his people, the remnant of Israel.’

As head of the Gentiles (“chief of the nations”) God was in control of both his own people and their captors, and his renewed, repentant people are here bidden to both celebrate and make known to all what God as done for them.

Jer 31:8  Behold I will bring them from the north country, and will gather them from the ends of the earth and among them shall be the blind, and the lame, the woman with child, and she that is bringing forth, together, a great company of them returning hither.

I will bring them from the north country. A reference to Babylon which had invaded from the north (see Jer 1:13-16, Jer 4:6, Jer 6:1, Jer 10:22, Jer 47:2). The people will be brought back from their exile by the way they entered it (Jer 3:18, Jer 23:8, Jer 31:21).

And will gather them from the ends of the earth. This could be taken in parallel with the previous clause for, according to some scholars, the ends of the earth was a common designation for an empire or its capitol.

And among them shall be the blind, and the lame, the woman with child, and she that is bringing forth, together, a great company of them returning hither. An image of the ease of the return journey (see next verse with comments, also Isa 40:11, Isa 42:16.

Jer 31:9  They shall come with weeping: and I will bring them back in mercy: and I will bring them through the torrents of waters in a right way, and they shall not stumble in it: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

They shall come with weeping. A sign of their repentance.

I will bring them through the torrents of waters…they shall not stumble….for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. God’s providential care for his people on their return from exile. Even the lame mentioned in the previous verse will be able to cross raging torrents of water. The reference to God as Father to Israel and Ephraim as his firstborn connects nicely with the previous verse which spoke about pregnant women and mothers with children being part of the return.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 23, 2012

THIS POST IS NOT YET COMPLETE.

ORDINARY FORM
THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

READINGS AND OFFICE:

  • Mass Readings in the NJB TranslationUsed in most English speaking countries. Scroll down. I’ve seen conflicting reports concerning whether or not it is the JB, or the NJB that is currently used in most English speaking nations. If anyone knows of a Bishop’s Conference site that has a set up similar to the US Bishop’s site linked above (but using the JB or NJB), please let me know.
  • Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

GENERAL RESOURCES:sites that usually deal with the readings as a whole. Commentaries on the individual readings further below.

  • Word Sunday. The readings in both and literal translation, notes on the text, podcast, children’s reading.
  • SacerdosGives the theme of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral application.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background on the readings. Can be printed out, copied, and used as bulletin insert.
  • Scripture Speaks. I’ve linked to the archive. This Sunday’s post not yet available (site hasn’t been updated in a couple of weeks).
  • The Bible Workshop. Links to several relevant articles, contains a reading guide to the gospel text, a comparison of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • The Wednesday WordIt’s about the Sunday readings, but the document is posted on Wednesday, hence the name. Designed for prayer and reflection, the pdf document ends with Father Dom Henry Wansbrough’s reflections on the first and second readings. Fr. Wansbrough is General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible and contributed commentaries on Matt, Mark, and the Pastorals in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
  • UPDATE: Sacred Page Blog: The New Exodus. Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma’s reflections on the readings and psalm. “The readings for this Sunday revolve around the theme of return from exile for God’s people”.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Jer 31:7-9.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Hebrews 5:1-6.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Mark 10:46-52.

  • Pending: Some Brief Notes of Mine on Mark 10:46-52.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM
TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
In festo Domino nostro Jesu Christi Regis ~ I. classis
Commemoratio: Dominica XXII Post Pentecosten V. Octobris

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

COMMENTARIES ON THE LESSON: Colossians 1:12-20.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: John 18:33-37.

HOMILIES AND HOMILY NOTES:

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 10:46-52 for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 23, 2012

Ver 46. And they came to Jericho: and as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.47. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”48. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”49. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, “Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee.”50. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.51. And Jesus answered and said unto him, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” The blind man said unto Him, “Lord, that I might receive my sight.”52. And Jesus said unto him, “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Jerome: The name of the city agrees with the approaching Passion of our Lord; for it is said, “And they came to Jericho.” Jericho means moon or anathema; but the failing of the flesh of Christ is the preparation of the heavenly Jerusalem.

It goes on: “And as He went out of Jericho with His disciples, and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the wayside begging.”

Bede: Matthew says, that there were two blind men sitting by the wayside, who cried to the Lord, and received their sight; but Luke relates that one blind man was enlightened by Him, with a like order of circumstances, as He was going into Jericho; where no one, at least no wise man, will suppose that the Evangelists wrote things contrary to one another, but that one wrote more fully, what another has left out.

We must therefore understand that one of them was the more important, which appears from this circumstance, that [p. 215] Mark has related his name and the name of his father.

Augustine, de Con. Evan., ii, 65: It is for this reason that Mark wished to relate his case alone, because his receiving his sight had gained for the miracle a fame, illustrious in proportion to the extent of the knowledge of his affliction. But although Luke relates a miracle done entirely in the same way, nevertheless we must understand that a similar miracle was wrought on another blind man, and a similar method of the same miracle.

It goes on: “And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.”

Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: The blind man calls the Lord, the Son of David, hearing the way in which the passing multitude praised Him, and feeling sure that the expectation of the prophets was fulfilled.  There follows: “And many charged him that he should hold his peace.”

Origen, in Matt. tom. xvi, 13 [ed. note: these preceding words of Origen are necessary to make up the sense: “Next observe, that on the blind man’s crying out, Thou Son of David, have mercy upon me, it was they who went before that charged him that he should hold his peace.” see Luk_18:39]: As if he said, Those who were foremost in believing rebuked him when he cried, “Thou Son of David,” that he might hold his peace, and cease to call Him by a contemptible name, when he ought to say, Son of God, have pity upon me. He however did not cease; wherefore it goes on: “But he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy upon me;” and the Lord heard his cry; wherefore there follows: “And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called.”

But observe, that the blind man, of whom Luke speaks, is inferior to this one; for neither did Jesus call him, nor order him to be called, but He commanded him to be brought to Him, as though unable to come by himself; but this blind man by the command of our Lord is called to Him.

Wherefore it goes on: “And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise, He calleth thee;” but he casting away his garment, comes to Him. It goes on: “And he casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.”

Perchance, the garment of the blind man means the veil of blindness and poverty, with which he was surrounded, which he cast away and came to Jesus; and the Lord questions him, as he is approaching.

Wherefore there follows: “And Jesus answered and said unto him, What will thou that I [p. 216] should do unto thee.”

Bede: Could He who was able to restore sight be ignorant of what the blind man wanted? His reason then for asking is that prayer may be made to Him; He puts the question, to stir up the blind man’s heart to pray.

Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 56: Or He asks, lest men should think that what He granted the man was not what he wanted. For it was His practice to make the good disposition of those who were to be cured known to all men, and then to apply the remedy, in order to stir up others to emulation, and to shew that he who was to be cured was worthy to obtain the grace.

It goes on: “The blind man said unto Him, Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

Bede: For the blind man looks down upon every gift except light, because, whatever a blind man may possess, without light he cannot see what he possesses.

Pseudo-Jerome: But Jesus, considering his ready will, rewards him with the fulfilment of his desire.

Origen: Again, it is more worthy to say Rabboni, or, as it is in other places, Master, than to say Son of David; wherefore He given him health, not on his saying, Son of David, but when he said Rabboni.

Wherefore there follows: “And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him in the way.”

Theophylact: The mind of the blind man is grateful, for when he was made whole, he did not leave Jesus, but followed Him.

Bede: In a mystical sense, however, Jericho, which means the moon, points out the waning of our fleeting race. The Lord restored sight to the blind man, when drawing near to Jericho, because coming in the flesh and drawing near to His Passion, He brought many to the faith; for it was not in the first years of His Incarnation, but in the few years before He suffered, that He shewed the mystery of the Word to the world.

Pseudo-Jerome: But the blindness in part, brought upon the Jews [Rom_11:25], will in the end be enlightened when He sends unto them the Prophet Elias.

Bede: Now in that on approaching Jericho, He restored sight to one man, and on quitting it to two, He intimated, that before His Passion He preached only to one nation, the Jews, but after His Resurrection and Ascension, through His Apostles He opened the mysteries both of His Divinity and His Humanity to Jews and Gentiles. Mark indeed, in writing that one received his sight, refers to the saving of the Gentiles, that the figure might agree with the salvation of those, whom he instructed in the faith; but Matthew, who wrote his Gospel to the faithful among the Jews, because it was also to reach the knowledge of the Gentiles, fitly says that two received their sight, that He might teach us that the grace of faith belonged to each people.

Therefore, as the Lord was departing with His disciples and a great multitude from Jericho, the blind man was sitting, begging by the way-side; that is, when the Lord ascended into heaven, and many of the faithful followed Him, yea when all the elect from the beginning of the world entered together with Him the gate of heaven [ed. note: This refers to the opinion that by the descent of our Lord into hell, the Patriarchs were freed from the limbus Patrum, where they had been confined, and were carried by Him into a place of happiness; see authorities quoted in Pearson on the Creed, Art. 5], presently the Gentile people began to have hope of its own illumination; for it now sits begging by the wayside, because it has not entered upon and reached the path of truth.

Pseudo-Jerome: The people of the Jews also, because it kept the Scriptures and did not fulfill them, begs and starves by the wayside; but he cries out, “Son of David, have mercy upon me,” because the Jewish people are enlightened by the merits of the Prophets. Many rebuke him that he may hold his peace, that is, sins and devils restrain the cry of the poor; and he cried the more, because when the battle waxes great, hands are to be lifted up with crying to the Rock of help, that is, Jesus of Nazareth.

Bede: Again, the people of the Gentiles, having heard of the fame of the name of Christ, sought to be made a partaker of Him, but many spoke against Him, first the Jews, then also the Gentiles, lest the world which was to be enlightened should call upon Christ. The fury of those who attacked Him, however, could not deprive of salvation those who were fore-ordained to life. And He heard the blind man’s cry as He was passing, but stood when He restored his sight, because by His Humanity He pitied him, who by the power of His Divinity has driven away the darkness from our mind; for in that Jesus was born and suffered for our sakes, He as it were passed by, because this action is temporal; but when God is said to stand, it means, that, Himself without change, He sets in order all changeable things. But the Lord calls the blind man, who cries to Him, when He sends the word of faith to the people of the Gentiles by preachers; and they call on the blind man to be of good cheer and to rise, and bid him come to the Lord, when by preaching to the simple, they bid them have hope of salvation, and rise from the sloth of vice, and gird themselves for a life of virtue.

Again, he throws away his garment and leaps, who, throwing aside the bonds of the world, with unencumbered pace hastens to the Giver of eternal light.

Pseudo-Jerome: Again, the Jewish people comes leaping, stripped of the old man, as a hart [red stag, male deer] leaping on the mountains, that is, laying aside sloth, it meditates on Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles on high, and raises itself to heights of holiness. How consistent also is the order of salvation. First we heard by the Prophets, then we cry aloud by faith, next we are called by Apostles, we rise up by penitence, we are stripped of our old garment by baptism, and of our choice we are questioned. Again, the blind man when asked requires, that he may see the will of the Lord.

Bede: Therefore let us also imitate him, let us not seek for riches, earthly goods, or honours from the Lord, but for that Light, which we alone with the Angels can see, the way to which is faith; wherefore also Christ answers to the blind man, “Thy faith hath saved thee.” But he sees and follows who works what his understanding tells him is good; for he follow Jesus, who understands and executes what is good, who imitates Him, who had no wish to prosper in this world, and bore reproach and derision. And because we have fallen from inward joy, by delight in the things of the body, He shews us what bitter feelings the return thither will cost us.

Theophylact: Further, it says that he followed the Lord in the way, that is, in this life, because, after it, all are excluded who follow Him not here, by working His commandments.

Pseudo-Jerome: Or, this is the way of which He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” This is the narrow way, which leads to the heights of Jerusalem, and Bethany, to the mount of Olives, which is the mount of light and consolation.

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Father Boylan’s Commentary on Hebrews 5:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 23, 2012

Text in red are my additions.

Heb 5:1. For every High Priest, being taken from among men, is appointed as a representative of men in the things that refer to God, that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins
Heb 5:2. as one who can be mild with the ignorant and erring, since he himself is encompassed with weakness,
Heb 5:3. and because of it must make offerings for sin on behalf of the people and on his own behalf.
Heb 5:4. And none taketh the honour but one who has been called by God, just as Aaron.

The first quality required in a true High Priest is similarity in nature with those for whom he acts as priest. Hence if Jesus were God and not also man, He would be inferior as a Mediator to the Jewish High Priests. To be a High Priest it was, therefore, necessary that He should become Man. In the second place, a High Priest should be capable of understanding and sympathising with human frailties, and of distinguishingthe different kinds of sins in regard to their malice and deliberation. Thirdly a High Priest must have received a call to act as Priest. The author will proceed in the verses that follow (Heb 5:5-10) to show that all those qualities are fully present in Jesus.

A High Priest must be taken from among men (1), for only a man can be representative of men. The “gifts” and “sacrifices” cover the whole class of sacrificial offerings. As a rule the Jewish High Priest offered sacrifice only on Sabbaths and feast-days: but the author has here in view chiefly the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. (Cf. Leviticus 16).

μετριοπαθειν (“one who can be mild”, verse 2) suggests the mean between apathy and unbridled passion: it is not the same as σπλάγχνον (“compassion,” i.e., co-suffering), but implies calm understanding of, and kindness towards the erring.

The Jewish High Priest was clad (περικειται “encompassed with,” verse 2) with frailty as with a garment, and therefore, had to offer for himself, as well as for others, on Atonement Day.

(verses 3-4)–Since all men are sinful no man, as such, can have the right of mediating between men and God. Even Aaron, the first High Priest, had to be called. Christ was sinless, and yet He did not of himself assume the rank of High Priest, but waited to be called or appointed; for as one standing between God and man the priest must be capable of representing man, and must be also established by God as official mediator.

Heb 5:5. So, too, Christ hath not taken to Himself the honour of becoming High Priest, but He who said to Him: “Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten Thee.”
Heb 5:6. As He elsewhere saith: “Thou art Priest forever according; to the order of Melchisedech”.

No man can appoint himself a priest, or official mediator, between God and men. Neither can men appoint a man to this office. The appointment, or call, must come from God. So, it was even with the Son of God. Jesus was necessarily made a Priest when He became man, for by His incarnation He became of necessity a Mediator between God and men. Though Jesus was Son of God from all eternity, the words of Psalm 2 here addressed to Him by the Father: “Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten Thee,” are taken as spoken to Him at the moment of the Incarnation. This declaration of the Father is, then, practically equivalent to a declaration of the Priesthood of Christ. The appointment of Jesus as Priest is clearer still in the text of Psalm 110:4~”Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.” Though Jesus is here declared to be a Priest, not a High Priest, yet His Priesthood, as the Priesthood of the Son of God, could not be other than a High Priesthood. Though the following verses (Heb 5:9-10) seem to imply that it was not until after the Resurrection that the Priesthood of Jesus was made complete, the teaching of this Epistle is that the offering on Calvary was a genuinely priestly offering, and that therefore, Jesus performed priestly functions on earth. Heb 5:10 may be taken as meaning that, though Jesus performed priestly functions on earth, yet the official seal was not set on His Priesthood, as it were, until after the Ascension. Christ is a Priest  secundum ordinem Melchisedech, κατα την ταξιν μελχισεδεκ (“According to the order of Melchisedech” verse 6).

ταξιν (“order”) can mean “position”, “post”, “rank”, “prescript,” “ordinance” (Heb 7:11, Heb 7:15, Heb 7:17); in the Psalm-text cited it, represems the Hebrew dibhrah which in the context of the Psalm, means “fashion”, “manner”. In Heb 7:15 the phrase is rendered in the Greek κατα την ομοιοτητα μελχισεδεκ, “according to the likeness of Melchisedech”. In Heb 7:11 the ταξιν (“order”) of Melchisedech is contrasted with the ταξιν (“order”) of Aaron, and seems to mean there a norm, or rule, governing the priesthood.

The Melchisedech-priesthood given to Jesus is peculiar in several ways- (a) It is given to Jesus alone; (b) it is eternal; (c) it is associated with kingship. All, these things follow from an analysis of the Scripture references to Melchisedech (see Heb 7). Patristic writers have usually seen in the bread and wine offered by Melchisedech (Gen 14:18; Proferens panem et vinum, erat enim Sacerdos Dei Altissimi, the Greek being, εξηνεγκεν αρτους και οινον ην δε ιερευς του θεου του υψιστου…”brought forth bread and wine: and he was a priest of El Elyon” ) a type of the Eucharistic sacrifice, and a further point of resemblance between the priesthoods of Christ and Melchisedech; but the author does not make any use of this, point of comparison in this Epistle.


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