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 November 7th, 2012

Sunday, November 11: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2012

This post contains resources (mostly biblical and homiletic) for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. I hope to add more content before Sunday.



  • 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. 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 Word It’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.





PODCASTS: Pending.

Dominica V quae superfluit Post Epiphaniam III. Novembris ~ II. classis






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St Augustine’s Homily on Matthew 13:24-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2012

Here St Augustine’ gives some very practical advice on how to relate to, deal with, and reprove sinners. In section III he makes reference to Africa (i.e., his native north Africa) and his fellow north African, Donatus, founder of the heresy of Donatism.

I. You will easily understand, beloved brethren, the hidden meaning of this Gospel, when you remember what we said about some other words of Holy Scripture comparing the just and the wicked in the Church of God to the wheat and the cockle. By this figure we are taught that the threshing-floor is not to be left before the time of the harvest, that the cockle may not be taken away without being separated from the wheat; for the floor would be deprived of its due, and the wheat thus taken off could not be preserved in the barn. A time will arrive when the Householder Himself will come with the fan in His hand, and separate the just from the wicked. There will be, in regard to the soul and in regard to the body, a separation of the just and the wicked; for, with your hearts and dispositions you must be separated from the wicked, though in a spirit of humility you are for a time associated with them by the bonds of the body. Let not this connection make you careless, for it is your duty to endeavour in every way to correct and convert those entrusted to your care, now teaching, then advising, or even threatening them as far as you are obliged or able to do so. Do not excuse your carelessness respecting this duty by quoting examples taken from the Old and New Testaments, or the lives of the saints, and thus endeavouring to show that, though living among the godless, they preserved their souls stainless. My answer will be: That these servants of God did not agree with the wickedness of sinners, but punished them. It is quite true that there can be no intimacy between ourselves and others as long as we are opposed to their opinions; but when we approve of the doings of the wicked and agree with them in their sinfulness, then we enter into mutual fellowship, forbidden by the Apostle, who says: Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph 5:11). However, since to refuse our consent to evil would not be enough, unless we apply the necessary remedies to cure it, the Apostle adds: But rather reprove them (ibid.), giving us to understand that these two things must be united, namely, not to have any communication with sinners, and also to punish them. The first is observed, when the sinful act is neither praised nor approved of, nor consented to; and the second, when the sinner is reproved, punished, and prevented from doing wrong again.

II. However, when we reprove and punish sinners, let us not be puffed up on account of our own virtue; let us remember the words of the Apostle: He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall (1 Cor 10:12). When you prevent others from committing sin, or fearlessly punish them, do not forget to make use of kindness and love at the same time, again remembering the teaching of the great Apostle: If a man be overtaken by any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another s burdens; and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ (Gal 6:1-2). And in another epistle the same Apostle says: The servant of the Lord must not wrangle, but be mild towards all men; apt to teach, patient with modesty; admonishing them that resist the truth, if peradventure God may give them repentance to know the truth, and they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil, by whom they are held captive at his will (2 Tim 2:24, et seq.). We conclude from all this that we must neither flatter nor praise the wicked, and that, when punishing them, we must be neither careless nor haughty, nor by proud and injudicious reproaches treat them with contempt.

III. He that forsakes the unity, that is, the union of the Christians belonging to the true Church, will infallibly suffer the loss of charity. And if he lose that virtue, he is nothing, even should he possess all other virtues in the highest degree. The great Apostle says: If I speak the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become like a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I should remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. A nd if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3). Thus will it be with the Christian who has not charity. He is deprived of that virtue which gives merits to all others, so that other virtues will be fruitless for heaven and dead before God. Let us, therefore, practise charity, and take great care to preserve the union of minds through the bond of peace. Let us not be deceived by the words of those who, being carnal, have left the communion of the faithful, and are thus separated, as through a spiritual sacrilege, from the true wheat of the Church sown all over the world. This precious seed was sown in the world by the good Sower, the Son of Man. For His will was not that this seed should be sown only in some countries, like Africa,* in which we live, but among all nations. The cockle, springing up among the wheat, was the work of the enemy. Yet the good man of the house would not allow his servants to gather it up, but told them to let both, the wheat and the cockle, grow until the harvest. Now, where is the good seed to grow up, unless in the field in which it was sown? Is Africa this special field? No. But which is this field? The words of our Lord are clear and explicit; for, when asked by His disciples to explain the parable, He said: The field is the world. And the good seed are the children of the kingdom. And the cockle are the children of the wicked one. And the enemy that sowed them, is the devil. But the harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels (Matt 13:38-39). After these words shall we believe, according to heretics, that the field spoken of is not the world, but only Africa? That the harvest will not take place at the end of the world, but in the present time, and that Donatus, the chief of the heretics, is the reaper? Ah! far from accepting such doctrines against the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself, let us patiently await the harvest which will take place in the whole world. We let the good seed, spread out in the world, grow up until the time appointed by the householder, and we suffer the cockle, oversowed among the good seed and growing up every where, to remain until the time of the harvest. But let us take heed, lest we be deceived by the language of these wicked men who, being as light as chaff, will be cast out of the barn, even before the Householder comes to separate them. The application of this parable of the cockle, which we explained, ought to be sufficient to convince the heretics of the falsehood of their conclusions. But they will, perhaps, say, in order to excuse their errors and justify their conduct, that the Sacred Books were once handed over to the pagans by some Christians afraid of torments and tortures. But since these Christians being unknown, cannot be discovered, now this one and then another is accused of that crime. Yet, whatever may be the truth about these Christians, I ask whether their infidelity has destroyed the Faith which comes from God? Is it not the same Faith that God once promised Abraham, saying that all nations should be blessed in his seed? And what are we taught by this Faith? To let both, that is, the good seed and the cockle, the just and the wicked, grow up in the field of the Church, namely, the world, until the time of the harvest, the end of the world.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homily on Matthew 13:24-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2012

At the very end of this post I’ve included St John Chrysostom’s brief explanation of verses 31-33.

“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both therefore grow together until the harvest.

What is the difference between this, and the parable before it? There He speaks of them that have not at all holden with Him, but have started aside, and have thrown away the seed; but here He means the societies of the heretics. For in order that not even this might disturb His disciples, He foretells it also, after having taught them why He speaks in parables. The former parable then means their not receiving Him; this, their receiving corrupters. For indeed this also is a part of the devil’s craft, by the side of the truth always to bring in error, painting thereon many resemblances, so as easily to cheat the deceivable. Therefore He calls it not any other seed, but tares; which in appearance are somewhat like wheat.

Then He mentions also the manner of his device. For “while men slept,” saith He. It is no small danger, which He hereby suspends over our rulers, to whom especially is entrusted the keeping of the field; and not the rulers only, but the subjects too.

And He signifies also that the error comes after the truth, which the actual event testifies. For so after the prophets, were the false prophets; and after the apostles, the false apostles; and after Christ, Antichrist For unless the devil see what to imitate, or against whom to plot, he neither attempts, nor knows how. Now then also, having seen that “one brought forth a hundred, another sixty, another thirty,” he proceeds after that another way. That is, not having been able to carry away what had taken root, nor to choke, nor to scorch it up, he conspires against it by another craft, privily casting in his own inventions.

And what difference is there, one may say, between them that sleep, and them that resemble the wayside? That in the latter case he immediately caught it away; yea, he suffered it not even to take root; but here more of his craft was needed.

And these things Christ saith, instructing us to be always wakeful. For, saith He, though thou quite escape those harms, there is yet another harm. For as in those instances “the wayside,” and “the rock,” and “the thorns,” so here again sleep occasions our ruin; so that there is need of continual watchfulness. Wherefore He also said, “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt 10:22).

Something like this took place even at the beginning. Many of the prelates, I mean, bringing into the churches wicked men, disguised heresiarchs, gave great facility to the laying that kind of snare. For the devil needs not even to take any trouble, when he hath once planted them among us.

And how is it possible not to sleep? one may say. Indeed, as to natural sleep, it is not possible; but as to that of our moral faculty, it is possible. Wherefore Paul also said, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith” (1 Cor 16:13).

After this He points out the thing to be superfluous too, not hurtful only; in that, after the land hath been tilled, and these is no need of anything, then this enemy sows again; as the heretics also do, who for no other cause than vainglory inject their proper venom.

And not by this only, but by what follows likewise, He depicts exactly all their acting. For, “When the blade was sprung up, saith He, “and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also;” which kind of thing these men also do. For at the beginning they disguise themselves; but when they have gained much confidence, and some one imparts to them the teaching of the word, then they pour out their poison.

But wherefore doth He bring in the servants, telling what hath been done? That He may pronounce it wrong to slay them.

And He calls him “an enemy,” because of his harm done to men. For although the despite is against us, in its origin it sprang from his enmity, not to us, but to God. Whence it is manifest, that God loves us more than we love ourselves.

And see from another thing also, the malicious craft of the devil. For he did not sow before this, because he had nothing to destroy, but when all had been fulfilled, that he might defeat the diligence of the Husbandman; in such enmity against Him did he constantly act.

And mark also the affection of the servants. I mean, what haste they are in at once to root up the tares, even though they do it indiscreetly; which shows their anxiety for the crop, and that they are looking to one thing only, not to the punishment of that enemy, but to the preservation of the seed sown. For of course this other is not the urgent consideration.

Wherefore how they may for the present extirpate the mischief, this is their object. And not even this do they seek absolutely, for they trust not themselves with it, but await the Master’s decision, saying, “Wilt Thou?”

What then doth the Master? He forbids them, saying, “Lest haply ye root up the wheat with them.” And this He said, to hinder wars from arising, and blood and slaughter. For it is not right to put a heretic to death, since an implacable war would be brought into the world. By these two reasons then He restrains them; one, that the wheat be not hurt; another, that punishment will surely overtake them, if incurably diseased. Wherefore, if thou wouldest have them punished, yet without harm to the wheat, I bid thee wait for the proper season.

But what means, “Lest ye root up the wheat with them?” Either He means this, If ye are to take up arms, and to kill the heretics, many of the saints also must needs be overthrown with them; or that of the very tares it is likely that many may change and become wheat. If therefore ye root them up beforehand, ye injure that which is to become wheat, slaying some, in whom there is yet room for change and improvement. He doth not therefore forbid our checking heretics, and stopping their mouths, and taking away their freedom of speech, and breaking up their assemblies and confederacies, but our killing and slaying them.

But mark thou His gentleness, how He not only gives sentence and forbids, but sets down reasons.

What then, if the tares should remain until the end? “Then I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them” (Matt 13:30).  He again reminds them of John’s words (Matt 3:12), introducing Him as judge; and He saith, So long as they stand by the wheat, we must spare them, for it is possible for them even to become wheat but when they have departed, having profiled nothing, then of necessity the inexorable punishment will overtake them. “For I will say to the reapers,” saith He, “Gather ye together first the tares.” Why, “first?” That these may not be alarmed, as though the wheat were carried off with them. “And bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed” (Matt 13:31)

That is, since He had said, that of the crop three parts are lost, and but one saved, and in the very part again which is saved so great damage ensues; lest they should say, “And who, and how many will be the faithful?” this fear again He removes, by the parable of the mustard seed leading them on to belief, and signifying that in any case the gospel shall be spread abroad.

Therefore He brought forward the similitude of this herb, which has a very strong resemblance to the subject in hand; “Which indeed is the least,” He saith, “of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matt 13:31-32)

Thus He meant to set forth the most decisive sign of its greatness. “Even so then shall it be with respect to the gospel too,” saith He. Yea, for His disciples were weakest of all, and least of all; but nevertheless, because of the great power that was in them, It hath been unfolded in every part of the world.

After this He adds the leaven to this similitude, saying,

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures ofmeal, until the whole was leavened” (Matt 13:33).

For as this converts the large quantity of meal into its own quality, even so shall ye convert the whole world.




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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Mark 12:38-44

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2012

Mar 12:38  And he said to them in his doctrine: Beware of the scribes, who love to walk in long robes and to be saluted in the marketplace,

Who love to walk in long robes,—stolis (Vulg.). The stole was an elegant garment, flowing down to the heels. Wherefore the Scribes wore it for the sake of ostentation.

Mar 12:39  And to sit in the first chairs in the synagogues and to have the highest places at suppers:

See Matt 23:6 and Luke 11:43. Concerning such conduct our Lord has left us a wonderful parable in Luke 14:7-14. See also Proverbs 25:6-7. Concerning those who might have a predilection for the wealthy rather than the needy in such a circumstance see James 2:1-4.

Mar 12:40  Who devour the houses of widows under the pretence of long prayer. These shall receive greater judgment.

Who devour, Gr. οί κατεσθίοντες, i.e., who altogether consume and lick up the houses of widows, both by reason of the sumptuous feasts which they ask of them, as well as by the gifts and money which they avariciously extort from them under the pretext of offering prayers for them. “When, therefore,” says Bede, “the hand is stretched out to the poor, it is wont to help prayer; but those men passed whole nights in prayer that they might take from the poor.”

These shall receive greater judgment. A severer sentence of God, and a heavier condemnation shall press upon the Scribes in the day of judgment, because by a pretence of probity they are aiming at wrong-doing; and being clothed in the garments of God, they are fighting on the devil’s side. “Simulated holiness,” says S. Chrysostom, “is a double iniquity.”

Mar 12:41  And Jesus sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money into the treasury. And many that were rich cast in much.

How the people cast money: æs, brass (Vulg.), i.e., all sorts of money, whether brass, silver, or gold. For the first money was made of brass, hence all money was afterwards called brass, even when made of silver or gold.

Into the treasury; gazophylacium (Vulg.). For gaza is a Persian word, meaning riches; and φυλάττειν is to keep. This was a chest into which gifts were cast by the people, and kept for the service of the Temple, and for supporting the priests and the poor. Hence, also, the porch in which the chest was kept was called by the same name. Thus it is said in John 8:20, “These words spake Jesus in the treasury (gazophylacio), teaching in the Temple.” So Bede.

Mar 12:42  And there came a certain poor widow: and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing.

A certain poor widow…cast in two mites, which make a farthing. Not as if one mite made a farthing, as Euthymius understands, relying on Matt 5:26. But two mites were equivalent to one farthing, as is here clearly expressed. For a farthing was the fourth part of a little ass; and ten small asses made a denarius. A mite was half a farthing.

Mar 12:43  And calling his disciples together, he saith to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury.
Mar 12:44  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living.

This poor widow hath cast in more than all. For although per se, and other things being equal, the greatest and best alms and oblations is that which is most, yet, per accidens, when other things are not equal, the greater alms is that which is offered with the greater devotion of charity and religion. For God does not so much regard the gift as the disposition of the giver. Again, the greater gift is not that which is of the greater value considered in itself, as that which is the greater and more difficult in respect of the giver. This widow, therefore, in giving a farthing, gave more than all, because she gave all that she had, although it was necessary for her life. And she would have given more if she had had more. For she trusted in God, that He in return would be more liberal to her, and provide for her necessity, according to the saying, “Give God an egg, and receive a sheep.” Others truly gave of their abounding superfluities, as Christ here says. As Titus of Bostra says on Luke 21:3, “With such magnanimity and devotion did she offer two mites, that is, all that she had, as if she counted her own life as nothing.” S. Paul gives the a priori reason (2 Cor 8:12), “If there be a ready mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, not according to that which he hath not.” As Victor of Antioch says on this passage, “For God does not so much consider the greatness of the gifts, as weigh the greatness and alacrity of the mind.” And Bede, “He weighs not the substance, but the conscience of the offerers.”

For, as S. Thomas says, inasmuch as the widow gave according to her ability, therefore it was the greater affection of charity which was valued in her. S. Ambrose thought the same (lib. 2, Offic. c. 30), “The two mites of that widow surpassed the offerings of the rich, because she gave all she had; but they offered only a small portion of their abundance.” Whence he infers, “The disposition therefore makes the offering poor or valuable, and sets their true price upon things.”


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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 12:38-44

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2012

Ver 38. And He said unto them in His doctrine, “Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,39. And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:40. Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.”

Pseudo-Jerome: After confuting the Scribes and Pharisees, He burns up as a fire their dry and withered examples.  Wherefore it is said, “And He said unto them in His doctrine, Beware of the Scribes, which love to go in long clothing.”

Bede: To walk in long clothing is to go forth into public clad in garments too much ornamented, in which amongst other things, that rich man, who fared sumptuously every day, is said to have sinned.

Theophylact: But they used to walk in honourable garments, because they wished to be highly esteemed for it, and in like manner they desired other things, which lead to glory.

For it goes on: “And love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts.”

Bede: We must observe that He does not forbid that those, to whom it falls by the rule of their office, should be saluted in the marketplace, or have chief seats and places at feasts, but He teaches that those who love those things unduly, whether they have them or no, are to be avoided by the faithful as wicked men: that is, He blames the intention and not the office; although this too is culpable, that the very men who wish to be called masters of the synagogue in Moses’ seat, should have to do with lawsuits in the marketplace. We are in two way ordered to beware of those who are desirous of vain  glory; first, we should not be seduced by their hypocrisy into thinking that what they do is good; nor secondly, should we be excited to imitate them, through a vain rejoicing in being praised for those virtues which they affect.

Theophylact: He also especially teaches the Apostles, not to have any communication with the scribes, but to imitate Christ Himself; and in ordaining them to be masters in the duties of life, He places others under them. [ed. note: Theophylact’s words should be translated – He becomes their example in the duties of life.]

Bede: But they do not only seek for praise from men, but also for gain. Where there follows, “Which devour widows’ houses, under the pretence of long prayers.” For there are men who pretending to be just hesitate not to receive money from persons who are troubled in conscience, as though they would be their advocates in the judgment. A hand stretched out to the poor is always an accompaniment to prayer, but these men pass the night in prayer, that they may take away money from the poor.

Theophylact: But the Scribes used to come to women, who were left without the protection of their husbands, as though they were their protectors; and by a pretence of prayer, a reverend exterior and hypocrisy, they used to deceive widows, and thus also devour the houses of the rich.

It goes on: “These shall receive a greater damnation,” that is, than the other Jews, who sinned.

Ver 41. And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.42. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.43. And He called unto Him His disciples, and saith unto them, “Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:44. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

Bede: The Lord, who had warned them to avoid the desire of high place and vain glory, now distinguishes by a sure test those who brought in gifts.  Wherefore it is said, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury.”

In the Greek language, “phylassein”, means to keep, and “gaza” is a Persian word for treasure; wherefore the word “gazophylacium” which is here used means a place where riches are kept, which name also was applied to the chest in which the offerings of the people were collected, for the necessary uses of the temple, and to the porch in which they were kept.

You have a notice of the porch in the Gospel, “These words spake Jesus in the treasury as He taught in the temple:” [Joh_8:20] and of the chest in the book of Kings, “But Jehoiada the priest took a chest.” [2Ki_12:9]

Theophylact: Now there was a praiseworthy custom amongst the Jews, that those who were able and willing should put something into the treasury, for the maintenance of the priests, the poor, and the widows.  Wherefore there is added, “And many that were rich cast in much.”

But whilst many people were so engaged, a poor widow came up, and shewed her love by offering money according to her ability.  Wherefore it is said, “And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.”

Bede: Reckoners use the words “quadrans” for the fourth part of any thing, be it place, money, or time. Perhaps then in this place is meant the fourth part of a shekel, this is, five pence.

It goes on: “And He called unto Him His disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:” for God does not weigh the property but the conscience of those who offer; nor did He consider the smallness of the sum in her offering, but what was the store from which it came.

Wherefore He adds, “For all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

Pseudo-Jerome: But in a mystical sense, they are rich, who bring forth from the treasure of their heart things new and old, which are the obscure and hidden things of Divine wisdom in both testaments; but who is the poor woman, if it be not I and those like me, who cast in what I can, and have the will to explain to you, where I have, not the power. For God does not consider how much ye bear, but what is the store from which it comes; but each at all events can bring his farthing, that is, a ready will, which is called a farthing, because it is accompanied by three things, that is, thought, word and deed. And in that it is said that “she cast in all her living,” it is implied that all that the body wants is that by which it lives. Wherefore it is said, “All the labour of man is for his mouth.” [Ecc_6:7]

Theophylact: Or else; that widow is the soul of man, which leaving Satan to which it had been joined, casts into the temple two mites, that is, the flesh and the mind, the flesh by abstinence, the mind by humility, that so it may be able to hear that it has cast away all its living, and has consecrated it, leaving nothing for the world of all that it possessed.

Bede: Again, in an allegorical way, the rich men, who cast gifts into the treasury, point out the Jews puffed up with the righteousness of the law; the poor widow is the simplicity of the Church: poor indeed, because she has cast away the spirit of pride and of the desires of worldly things; and a widow, because Jesus her husband has suffered death for her. She casts two mites into the treasury, because she brings the love of God and of her neighbour, or the gifts of faith and prayer; which are looked upon as mites in their own insignificance, but measured by the merit of a devout intention are superior to all the proud works of the Jews. The Jew sends of his abundance into the treasury, because he presumes on his own righteousness; but the Church sends her whole living into God’s treasury, because she understands that even her very living is not of her own desert, but of Divine grace.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 9:24-28 for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2012

Heb 9:24  For Jesus is not entered into the Holies made with hands, the patterns of the true: but into Heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us.

For, it is not into the earthly Holy of Holies, reared by mortal hands, after the fashion or form of the true original exhibited to Moses on the mount (Heb 8:5), that Jesus entered; but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God as our advocate.

“For Jesus is not entered,” &c. The Greek is, “Christ is not entered,” & c. In these words, the Apostle explains what he means by “heavenly things,” in the preceding verse. The sanctum sanctorum, into which Christ has entered, is heaven itself. The question then, is, how could heaven be “cleansed?” The supporters of this opinion say, it is “cleansed” in a manner analogous to the way in which its type, the Mosaic tabernacle, was purified; now, the Mosaic tabernacle, was not really cleansed or purified; but it was said to be purified in this sense, that certain legal defilements or irregularities, on the part of men, excluding them from it, were removed; so, in like manner, heaven is cleansed: because, the way or access to it is free and open for men, by the removal from men, through the merits of Christ’s bloody oblation, of the guilt of sin, which kept heaven closed, and prevented them from entering. Others say, that “heavenly things” (verse 23) refer to the Church militant, which can be easily understood to be cleansed by more excellent, victims, than those offered in the Old Law; and the Church is called “heavenly,” on account of its founder, doctrine, sacrifice, and the end of its institution on earth; finally, because heaven is its term and final resting-place. The advocates of this interpretation say, that the words of this verse 24, are adduced merely for the purpose of proving that the Church should be properly designated by the appellation “heavenly,” as it is the sanctum, through which Christ passed into the sanctum sanctorum of heaven; and the sanctum and sanctum sanctorum should both be of the same nature, both belonging to the same tabernacle. Those who understand the words, “heavenly things,” of heaven, also say, that heaven was purified from the sins of the angels, who sinned there. “That he may appear now in the presence of God for us.” The Greek word for “appear,” εμφανισθηναι, is a legal term, applied to a witness or advocate ; in the latter sense, it is applied here to Christ. “Patterns of the true,” as appears from the Greek, αντιτυπα, convey the idea, that the Jewish Holy of Holies was a representation of the model, to
which “true” refers, pointed out to Moses on the Mount. Hence, “true,” does not mean Heaven, of which the Jewish Holy of Holies was a mere type; but, the true model shown to Moses, according to which the Tabernacle was framed. With it, as well as with the Tabernacle of Moses, Heaven is here contrasted. Hence, although the Tabernacle built by Moses may be called the antitype (αντιτυπα) of the model shown on the Mount; still, both may be regarded, as being themselves mere types of the celestial Tabernacle, in which Christ ministers.

Heb 9:25  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the Holies every year with the blood of others:

Nor yet was it for the purpose of offering himself frequently, like the Jewish high priest, who entered the Holy of Holies, every year with the blood of others.

He points out the dissimilarity between the entrance of Christ into heaven and that of the high priest into the Holy of Holies. The high priest entered with the “blood of others,” i.e., of the victims slain; Christ with his own. The high priest entered not once, but repeated, each successive year, his ingress and egress; Christ but once entered heaven; not to leave it, or repeat again the same bloody oblation of himself, his one offering being of infinite value; and hence, its repetition as a redemptory sacrifice, would be quite useless.

Heb 9:26  For then he ought to have suffered often from the beginning of the world. But now once, at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin by the sacrifice of himself.

For, if this one oblation of Christ were not of infinite value, he should have frequently suffered death even from the beginning of the world; because the repetition of his bloody oblation would be no lest necessary than that annually offered by the Jews is as present, to which reference is made. But, now, at the last period of time, he has made his appearance with his victim of propitiation, for the destruction of sin.

If the one bloody oblation of himself by Christ were not of infinite value, and did not suffice for the remission of all sin, an absurdity would follow, viz., that Christ should suffer frequently, and for every generation from the beginning of the world; because as no sin could be remitted, except by the sacrifice of Christ, which is inseparable from his death, and as sin existed from the beginning of the world, he should, therefore, die to remit the sins of every single generation, in preceding ages.

“But now once at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of himself,” i.e., he has died but once, and that “at the end of ages.” The period of the Christian religion is frequently called “the end of ages,” the last hour; because it is the last system of religion, that will be established on earth. “He hath appeared by the sacrifice of himself.” Some make this refer to heaven, as if he appeared there exhibiting his wounds to his heavenly Father. The Greek for “appeared,” πεφανερωται, which means, he has been manifested, would render it more probable that it refers to his appearance on earth in the bloody oblation he made of himself on the cross; and the allusion to the expediency of his dying often, which should happen on earth, makes this latter interpretation still more probable. The Apostle here only excludes the repetition of bloody and redemptory oblations of Christ—he by no means refers to unbloody offerings, applicatory of the merits and atonement achieved in the one Redemptory Sacrifice. Hence, no argument against the Adorable Sacrifice of the Mass. He only says if the bloody and redemptory sacrifice of Christ did not suffice for the ransom of the sins of all ages, he should again suffer and pour out his blood for their redemption, which “now,” that he “appeared once,” &c., or, in the present order of things, would be an absurdity, considering the infinite value of his Sacrifice.

Heb 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment:

And, as by the decree of God it is appointed for men to die only once, and after than, comes judgment:

Another argument in proof of the unity of Christ’s death, is derived from the decree of God fixing on one death only, for mankind, to which decree Christ is supposed to conform.

Heb 9:28  So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many. The second time he shall appear without sin to them that expect him unto salvation.

So also Christ, who was once offered up to take away and make atonement for the sins of many, will appear a second time, without bearing the imputability of sin, or the liability of again atoning for it; not to be judged (like other men); but to carry consolation and glory to those, who patiently expect his coming.

“So also Christ was offered once.” The word “was “is superfluous; it is not in the Greek, nor is it necessary for the sense of the passage. Christ will again appear not as before, “bearing the iniquities of us all,” as to imputability; but “without sin,” without the liability of being again offered up in Sacrifice to atone for sin. He will appear glorious and immortal, not to be judged like the rest of men, but to judge the world, to carry consolation to those who, submitting to privations for his sake, patiently expect his coming—a very appropriate exhortation for the Hebrews, who were suffering for the faith. Christ died once for the sins of “many” his satisfaction was offered for the sins of all, and all are “many.” The infinite value of Christ’s death excluded the necessity of its repetition—one death answered all the ends of universal redemption; the Jewish oblation had only a limited effect, toties quoties.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 9:24-28 for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 7, 2012

This post opens with Father Callan’s brief summary of chapter 9, followed by his notes on Heb 9:24-28.


A Summary of Hebrews 9:1-28~In the preceding Chapter the author has shown us how Christ was the ideal High Priest, exercising His functions in the heavenly Sanctuary, and the Mediator of a new and better Covenant. Here in the present Chapter he will show how our Lord offered the ideal sacrifice, excelling by far the sacrifices of the Levitical order. To prove this, he first contrasts the ancient Tabernacle, its furnishings, and defective worship with the greater and more perfect Sanctuary into which Christ has entered, and the perfect and everlasting sacrifice which Christ has offered to God (Heb 9:1-14). Then he explains the necessity and value of the one and all-sufficient sacrifice which Christ has offered for sin (Heb 9:15-28).

24. For Christ is not entered into the holies made with hands, the patterns of the true, but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us.

Unlike the Jewish High Priest, Christ has not entered an earthly Sanctuary, which was a mere type of the true one in heaven, but He has passed into heaven itself; nor again, like the ancient High Priest on the Day of Atonement, has He come into the presence of a mere symbol of the divine presence, but into the very presence of God Himself, meeting the Father face to face.

That he may appear now, etc. The Jewish High Priest entered the Holy of Holies for a few moments once a year, but Christ’s appearance in heaven is a continued manifestation in our behalf, so that, as He and the Father now stand face to face, we also by His merits may realize the divine fellowship, here through grace and hereafter in glory.

25. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holies, every year with the blood of others;

The Jewish High Priest entered the earthly Sanctuary once every year to offer the blood of a bullock and of a goat, the repetition being due to the imperfection of the sacrifice he offered; but Jesus, Priest and Victim of the perfect sacrifice of the New Covenant, has entered into the Sanctuary of heaven once for all to present for us the merits of His sacrifice.

The Feast of the Atonement was the greatest of the Jewish Calendar, and its ceremonies were the most elaborate of the Jewish ritual; and therefore our author, by stressing the superiority of the sacrifice, sanctuary, and ritual of the New Covenant, gave a powerful argument in favor of the Gospel as compared with the Old Law, and thus greatly strengthened in the new faith those who had been tempted to waver and fall back into Judaism.

26. For then he must needs have suffered often from the beginning of the world : but now once at the end of the ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin by the sacrifice of himself.

The reason why Christ needed to suffer and die only once is found in the entire completeness and sufficiency of His sacrifice. Had His sacrifice been incomplete. He would have had to suffer and die often from the beginning of the world up to now, for sin has been rampant in the world all along and only the blood of Christ has the power to remit it.

But now once for all Christ has appeared at the end of the ages, i.e., in the Messianic era, which began with the birth of Jesus and will last till the end of time, and His coming has been for the abolition and “destruction of sin” by means of His sacrifice and death on the cross. A further sacrifice, therefore, is not necessary.

The “appearing” of verse 24 was before God the Father in the heavenly Sanctuary, but in the present verse it refers to our Lord’s manifestation before men at the Incarnation; a different Greek word is used in this verse.

From verses 25 and 26 it is clear that the sacrifice of Jesus is superior to all the ancient sacrifices, because it has the power of remitting sins, internally and really, and it is complete and final, thus making another sacrifice unnecessary.

27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment,
28. So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the
second time he shall appear without sin to them that expect him unto salvation.

These verses imply a double comparison: first, between the death of men and their reappearance in judgment, and the death of Jesus and His reappearance in glory at the end of the world; and secondly, between the coming forth of the High Priest from the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and the final coming of Jesus to call the just to their rewards.

The judgment (vs 27). This may mean the particular judgment at death, but the parallel with our Lord’s final appearance is better sustained by understanding the general judgment at the end of the world.

The sins of many(vs 28). Christ died for all mankind, though all do not choose to make use of the graces and merits thus put at their disposal.

Without sin. Our Lord’s second appearance will have no connection with sin; it will be a coming in glory to those faithful souls who will be prepared and waiting for Him.

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