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 December 1st, 2012

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 3:10-18 for the Third Sunday of Advent

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012

Notes in red are my additions.

Luk 3:10  And the people asked him, saying: What then shall we do?

And the people asked him, saying, What then shall we do? that we may bear fruits worthy of penance, and so avoid the ruin threatened by you, and obtain everlasting salvation. John had accused the Pharisees and the populace, but the Pharisees “despised the counsel of God,” Luke 7:30, and therefore also the discourse of John; but the crowd of common people, deeply moved and touched by the force of his preaching, try to find out the way to repent, so as to seize upon John’s instructions, and offer themselves to him ready and prepared. So also, in these days, the common people were more ready than the great to take hold of the warnings of preachers, and are therefore saved rather than they.

Luk 3:11  And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner.

And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner. A synecdoche (i.e., when a part represents the whole); he signifies every kind of alms-deed by one which is the more common and necessary; clothing and feeding the poor. “Two” supposing one coat to be sufficient to clothe and warm the body, and the other, therefore, superfluous, let him give that other “to him that hath not,” to him that is naked and in need of a coat. For if both be necessary he is not bound to, give either to the poor man. So S. Jerome (Quæst. I. ad Hedibiam); and S. Ambrose, on this passage, says, “The limits of mercy are observed according to the capability of human nature, so that each one deprive not himself of everything, but share what he has with the poor man,” and he adds, “He that is able, let him bear the fruit of grace, he that is bound, of penance. The use of mercy is common, therefore the precept is common; mercy is the fulness of the virtues.”

This, then, is one of the fruits worthy of penance, according to the words of Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, “redeem thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities with works of mercy to the poor” Dan 4:27. Besides, almsgiving fitly disposes our lives for every virtue. Every virtue is either of obligation or of supererogation; justice is of obligation, mercy of supererogation, and therefore mercy satisfies both for itself and for justice, both because he that gives what is his own, will not seize what belongs to others, and also because he that gives what he is not bound to give will much more pay what he owes—to which he is bound by justice or some other virtue—and again because mercy comes of love and charity, and charity is the fulness of the law. For “He that loveth hath fulfilled the law,” Rom 13:8.

Euthymius aptly remarks here, “He enjoins on the multitudes to take one another into mutual benevolence, and assist one another with mutual good works.” For the many easily understand works of mercy, and devote themselves to them, while they are not easily induced to prayer, fasting, and works of penance, and sometimes are incapable of them.

Luk 3:12  And the publicans also came to be baptized and said to him: Master, what shall we do?

What shall we do?-to save our souls. Here is fulfilled the saying of Christ ” the publicans and the harlots shall go into the kingdom of God before you (O Scribes),” Matt 21:31. For the sinners, being called to account by John, felt deep compunction, acknowledged their fault, and sought for penance; but the proud Scribes, thinking themselves just and wise, despised it.

Luk 3:13  But he said to them (publicans): Do nothing more than that which is appointed you.

But he said to them (the publicans, i.e., tax collectors)—concerning the exaction of taxes. In the Greek it is πζάσσετε, which can be translated both make and exact, but in this place is more clearly rendered exact as the Syriac and the Greek render it. So Jansenius, Maldonatus, Francis Lucas, and others. For tax-gatherers are wont to increase the tribute out of avarice, and to exact more than is appointed by the Ruler, which is theft or rapine, wherefore John here charges them with it. “He lays a moderate command on them,” says S. Augustine (Serm. 3 de Diversis), “that both iniquity may have no place, and the appointed tribute may have effect” “So the Baptist,” says S. Ambrose, “gives to each generation of men the answer suitable to them.” Let the preacher do the same, and prescribe to wives, to husbands, to sons, to maidservants, to menservants, to merchants, farmers and lawyers, what each in particular ought to do, and give each one the directions proper to his state of life.”

Luk 3:14  And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no man, neither calumniate any man; and be content with your pay.

Soldiers, those who were serving some of them under Herod Antipas against Aretas, the king of the Arabs, some under the prefect of the Temple, and some under Pilate, the Roman Governor; these men, hearing John thundering against their vices, and threatening them with hell, conscious of rapine and other crimes, which soldiers are wont to commit, becoming, together with the publicans, contrite, at the word of John, seek from him the remedy of penance, of a good life, and of salvation. John, therefore, tacitly gives it to be understood that it is lawful to be a soldier, and that war is lawful, as S. Ambrose teaches (Serm. 7), and S. Augustine (Contra Faustum, bk. xxii. ch. lxxiv.)

Luk 3:15  And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ:

And the people were of opinion. (In the Greek πζοσδοκου̃ντες, suspecting, expecting, as Vatablus renders it—when the people were hoping, or were in suspense with hope, desire, and expectation), and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ, or not—the Messiah promised to the fathers, and so eagerly expected by all the Jews at this particular time when the sceptre had passed from Judah, and Daniel’s seventy weeks, the sign of Christ’s coming, were fulfilled. As the people, then, were spreading this report about John, the chief men of the Jews at length sent messengers to him to ask him whether he were Christ (Joh_1:19). Such was the holiness of John. So S. Ambrose, Bede, and others explain.

Luk 3:16  John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water: but there shall come one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire;

 John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water: but there shall come one mightier than I, namely, the Messiah.

The rest which Luke here adds has been explained on Matt 3:11.

Here is what Lapide wrote in Matt 3:11~I indeed baptize you, &c. These words must not be connected with what precedes, nor were they spoken immediately afterwards by John. But they were spoken as suitable to an occasion of which S. Luke gives an account and explanation (Luke3:15-16): “And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ: John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water: but there shall come one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” From the sanctity of his life and the fervour of his preaching, and from his baptizing, the people suspected that John was the Messiah, or the Christ. For none of the other prophets, except John and Ezekiel, had made use of baptism. (See Ezek. 26, where he foretold that baptism would be a sign of Christ: “I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness.”) John therefore puts an end to this suspicion, and declares that he is not the Christ, but the forerunner and indicator of Christ, and that his baptism was a prelude to the baptism of Christ, and a preparation for it.

So he says, “I indeed baptize you in,” or “with water,” that is, with water only. This is a Hebraism, for the Hebrews denote the instrument by the preposition or letter ב, or in, which is understood in Latin. So the Hebrew said: במים, bammayim “in,” or “with water, unto repentance,” that I may stir you up to repentance, and that I may prepare you by corporeal ablutions for the washing of the soul to be received in the baptism of Christ. The baptism of John therefore was a profession of penance. Whence those who were about to be baptized by him confessed their sins, not that there was thereby a condonation of their faults; for this they were to wait for from Christ, by means of His baptism and true contrition .

Morally: Origen says, “Preachers are here warned not to allow themselves to be too much praised or honoured by the people, but to suppress these praises and honours, and refer them to Christ, lest by reason of their pride they be deprived of them by Christ.”

He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Both the person and the power of the coming one is greater than John and his activity. Holy Spirit (Ghost) and fire are sometimes taken as referring to Christian baptism, or to Pentecost, however, given the judgment motif, it is probably better to understand Holy Spirit here as meaning both Spirit and wind. Both the Greek and Hebrew words for spirit can also mean wind. Wind and fire are two OT images for Judgment: For wind see Psalm 1:4; Psalm 18:42; Hosea 13:15. For fire see Isaiah 26:11; Jeremiah 4:4.

Luk 3:17  Whose fan is in his hand: and he will purge his floor and will gather the wheat into his barn: but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Whose fan (or fork) is in his hand. This continues the wind and fire image of the previous verse. Harvested grain was taken to a threshing floor where it was either beaten with heavy sticks or run over with heavy wooden sleds. This was done to remove the grain from the husks (chaff). The threshing floor was then cleaned of the chaff with a winnowing fork which was used to throw the chaff into the air to be driven away by the wind.  The heavier grain would fall back to the floor so it could be collected and stored, while the chaff was gathered and burned. Another method involved the use of a winnowing fan with which an artificial wind was produced to drive the chaff of the threshing floor, leaving the heavier grain behind.

Luk 3:18  And many other things exhorting did he preach to the people.

Exhorting. The Greek παρακαλων originally referred to an invitation or call to participate in something, it came to denote an encouraging  act of exhortation, entreaty, imploring, etc. Recall that the Baptist is here responding to the question: what shall we do? (verses 10, 12, 14).

Preach. ευηγγελιζετο = The act of making a proclamation. The verb form is popular in Luke/Acts, the noun is found only in Acts 15:27 and Acts 20:24.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 98 (97 in LXX and Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012


LIKE the preceding, this psalm, is largely taken up with the End-period, the Messianic age. It is more closely connected in thought with Ps 96 than with Ps 97. Here, as in Ps 96, there is question of a “new song.” The occasion of the poem is here also obscure, but the predominance of Messianic imagery is just as marked in this as in the preceding psalms. Hence if the psalm was intended to commemorate some victorious intervention of God on behalf of Israel, that intervention is viewed as a phase, or foreshadowing, of Messianic rule. The presence of ideas and literary forms resembling closely those found in Isaiah 42-44 is characteristic of this psalm, as of the preceding, so that the ascription of the psalm to David must be understood in the same way as in Ps 97. Indeed, the peculiarly close connection of verses 1-3 with Isa 52:10 and Isa 59:16; Isa 63:5, suggests that this psalm is more completely a product of the period of Deutero-Isaias than even Ps 97. It is more exact, therefore, to speak of this psalm simply as “Davidic,” than to ascribe it to David as author.

The structure of the psalm is clear. In verses 1-3 we have the “new song.” The psalmist calls for the new song to celebrate the establishment of the unquestioned rule of Yahweh over the nations. By the might of His arm the Lord has compelled the nations to acknowledge His rule. This the psalmist regards as the bringing of salvation to Israel, so that the overthrow of God’s foes is represented as an act of divine favour towards Israel—as the giving to Israel its rights against the nations. Thus it is here implied that the accession of Yahweh to the Messianic throne has been preceded by a victory over, and humiliation of, the heathen peoples. But when God’s purposes in the punishment of the heathen have been attained, then the heathen also share in the general salvation. Thus, the universality of grace is made to depend on Judgment—the world-judgment which we meet with so often elsewhere.

After His victory Yahweh takes His seat as King. As an earthly King is applauded when he comes to his throne, so all the world acclaims Yahweh (vv. 4-6). The heathens turn away from their gods and join with Israel in welcoming the Lord as King and Saviour of the world. The ceremonial of welcome and joyous acclamation is thought of after the manner of 2 Kings 11-12. Cf. Numbers 23:21, and Ps 43.

The poet now passes on to describe (in vv. 7-9) how all nature joins in the chorus of applause and jubilation which greets Yahweh’s accession. The ocean thunders its joy; the rivers clap hands, and the mountains burst forth into shouts of rejoicing—”before the Lord who cometh to judge the earth.”

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

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27 (26 in LXX and Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012


THIS psalm, like Psalm 22, has two clearly distinguishable parts. In the first (verses 1-6) the singer expresses his complete trust in the Lord, and his love for the Lord’s dwelling-place which guarantees protection against all danger. In the second part (7-14) he pleads for pity and mercy in his need; he is abandoned, and he is attacked by foes, but he is still full of confidence that the Lord will rescue him, and give him peace.

The great contrast between the two parts has here also suggested the theory that the psalm is a combination of two originally unconnected poems. Yet the two parts seem, somehow, to balance each other, and to refer to each other. Compare the hope expressed in verse 4 with that expressed in verse 13. The whole psalm might be taken as the song of an Israelite in exile and oppressed, who longs to share again in the liturgy of the Divine Service, and whose courage is upheld by the thought of the protecting presence in the Sanctuary of Israel of the God who has, in all times of need, sustained His servants of the chosen race. The longing to share in the ritual, and the desire to see “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” belong to the same frame of mind which shows itself in Ps 21, Ps 22 and Ps 24 (cf. especially Ps 24:6-8). It is difficult, but not, of course, impossible, to suppose that David was thus full of longing to share in the liturgy of the Tabernacle during his troubles with Saul. The superscription “before he was anointed” is not in the Hebrew, and is wanting in most of the Greek codices. (There are three Biblical accounts of the
anointing of David: 1 Sam 16; 2 Sam 2, and 2 Sam 5, and the superscription may be referred to any one of them.)

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

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 72 (71 in LXX and Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012


THE Hebrew superscription of this psalm connects it with Solomon in precisely the same way in which other psalms are connected by their titles with David. Yet it is not likely that it was composed by Solomon, and the Greek translators, apparently, realising this, took the Hebrew title as meaning “Unto Solomon,” or “Concerning Solomon,” rather than, “By Solomon”; and the Vulgate with its In Salomonem follows the Greek. The general reference of the psalm to Solomon might be justified on the ground that the description of Solomon’s greatness, wealth, and renown in the First book of Kings forms a sort of basis, or starting-point for the description of the government and kingdom of the king whose rule is the theme of the psalm. But that king, though he is described in a way which recalls the splendour of Solomon, is not Solomon himself, but a Ruler greater and more splendid than any king of Israel, or indeed any human king, could be. The psalm depicts the rule of an ideal King of Peace. It should be remembered that the name Solomon (Hebrew, שׁלמה = shelômôh) is derived from a word meaning “peace” (shalom); and thus one might take the title of the psalm as meaning “Unto the Man of Peace.” Just as the Messias was to be the “Son of David,” so the man of Peace is depicted for us here with the traits of David’s son and successor Solomon; but the Solomon of the psalm is a Solomon idealised beyond the limits of human royalty. In the Wedding Ode, Psalm 45, the psalmist passes beyond the human King of Israel to the Messianic King; here, also, a Ruler is described in whom human features are not altogether wanting, but whose rule and dominion are greater than anything of earth. It is not Solomon or any other actual king of Israel whose reign is here described: it is the Ideal King, the Messias. Note particularly verses 5, 6, 8-1 1, 17. The human aspect of the King is suggested by the psalmist’s prayer for him that he may receive from God a spirit of perfect justice (verse 2), and by the promise that his subjects will unite in prayer for him (verse 17): it is suggested perhaps also in general by the psalmist’s tendency to describe the kingdom of the Man of Peace as a sort of enlarged Solomonic empire (especially in verses 8-1 1). That human aspects of the Messias appear in this, and in other psalms, is, of course, to be explained by the fact that the glory and greatness of the Messianic King could not well be forecasted for the Hebrews otherwise than as an intensified glory and greatness of such great kings as David and Solomon.

The sequence of thought in the psalm is clear. Justice and peace will be the fairest fruits of the Messianic reign: they will nourish like the corn on the mountains and hills of Palestine (verses 2-4): The reign of the Messias will be unending: and the Messianic King himself will be to his people like rain to the soil; with the coming of the “Shoot of righteousness” justice and peace must abound (5-7). The rule of the King will be universal; kings will come to do him honour, and bring him gifts from lands the most remote. As the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon to hear his wisdom and behold his splendour, so shall kings come from the farthest West, from all the Mediterranean lands, and from far off Ethiopia to do homage to the King of Peace (8-11). Again, the psalmist describes the gentleness and justice of the Messianic rule—for righteousness of rule is the key-note of the psalm (12-14). While all nations honour the Messias,
his own people do not forget to do him special honour, for he has made them to share in his glory and in his wealth; they acclaim his greatness and success, and they offer prayers on his behalf (15). In verse 16 the thought of verse 3 is expanded. Fertility of soil is a token of God’s blessing; hence in the Messianic reign the hills will be covered with waving fields of corn. The City of the King will be blessed with citizens as numerous as the blades of grass that grow throughout the land. Verse 17 associates the ideal King with the Messianic blessings promised to Abraham’s seed (Gen 12:3; Gen 18:8; Gen 28:14). All peoples and tribes will seek to share in the blessedness of the Messianic King. Cf. Gen 49:10.

Verses 18-19 are a doxology not belonging to the original poem, but appended to mark the close of the second book of psalms. For similar doxologies cf. Ps 41:14; Ps 89:53; Ps 106:48; Ps 150:6. Verse 20 is the note of an editor for whom Ps. 1-72 was probably the only known collection of Davidic psalms.

It is not possible to determine the precise date of this psalm. It is probable that a poem which associates so closely the Messianic kingdom with features of the kingship in Israel, belongs to the preexilic period.

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

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 122 (121 in LXX and Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012


THE preceding psalm spoke of longing for the House of Yahweh: in this psalm the pilgrims, or travellers, have arrived at the gates of Jerusalem. One of them tells of the joy with which he heard the longed-for tidings: “To-day we shall enter the House of Yahweh.” Standing in full view of the Holy City, the psalmist sings of its beauty and strength, muses on its wondrous past, and reflects on the amazing privilege which it enjoys, in being the place of Yahweh’s dwelling.

Fair and well-compacted, Jerusalem reveals herself to the psalmist—a beautiful fortress-city set proudly on the hills. The ravages of Babylonian invaders have been repaired, and the new Jerusalem of the post-Exilic period is strong again with walls and citadels, and is proud with the glory of the Second Temple. And as the psalmist surveys Jerusalem so stoutly re-built, his mind moves back over the ancient history of Sion. He sees in spirit the tribes streaming thither for the three great festivals, and, in reverence, he recalls the majesty of old-time Law of priest and king, of which Jerusalem was the centre. Then he turns to his companions and urges them to join in prayer for the welfare of the City—for the peace which the name Jerusalem implies—for the prosperity of her friends, for the lasting strength of the city’s defences, and the security of her life. This prayer he solicits in the name of the brethren and neighbours whom the travellers are about to rejoin, but above all in the name of the House of God, which crowns the city.

This psalm shows in a striking manner how closely connected for the Hebrews were love of home and religion. To long for (i.e., desire) Jerusalem was to long for God.

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

This Week’s Posts: Sunday, December 2 — Sunday, December 9 2012 (1st Week of Advent, Year C)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012

Additional posts may be added to any given day. These will be marked UPDATE.

Dominica I Adventus ~ I. classis

RESOURCES FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT (Ordinary Form, Year C and Extraordinary Form). Next Sunday’s resources are now available in part. See under Sunday, Dec. 9 below.

Advent Resources Relating to the End Time eschatology) and Anti-Christ.

S. Francisci Xaverii Confessoris ~ III. classis
Commemoratio: Feria II infra Hebdomadam I Adventus



S. Petri Chrysologi Episcopi Confessoris Ecclesiae Doctoris ~ III. classis
Commemoratio: Feria III infra Hebdomadam I Adventus



Feria IV infra Hebdomadam I Adventus ~ III. classis
Commemoratio: S. Sabbae Abbatis



S. Nicolai Episcopi et Confessoris ~ III. classis
Commemoratio: Feria V infra Hebdomadam I Adventus



  • Pending: Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 13:7-17.

S. Ambrosii Episcopi Confesoris et Ecclesiae Doctoris ~ III. classis
Commemoratio: Feria VI infra Hebdomadam I Adventus



Immaculate Conceptione Beatae Mariae Virginis ~ I. classis
Commemoratio: Sabbato infra Hebdomadam I Adventus


  • Father Wilberforce on Today’s 1st Reading  (Eph 1:3-6, 11-12):

Part 1~on Eph 1:3-6.

Part 2~on Eph 1:11-12. This second part actually includes verses 7-14. Scroll down below the image of the manuscript.


Dominica II Adventus ~ I. classis

RESOURCES FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms). Letionary Cycle “C” in the Ordinary Form.

Partially Complete: Dec. 16~Resources for the Third Sunday of Advent (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012

Text in red represent my additional notes.

Luk 1:26  And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

And in the sixth month; i.e., after the conception of Elizabeth. Hence John the Baptist was just six months older than our Lord.

Nazareth. See on Matthew 2:23.

In the sixth month has been taken-along with other time references and the mention of Gabriel-as suggesting an allusion to the “Seventy weeks of years” prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. See here for more details.

Luk 1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary.

To a virgin espoused. From these words, some conclude that the Blessed Virgin was already really married to Joseph; others that she was only promised in marriage by her family. The latter opinion would seem more probable because otherwise she would have been actually living with St. Joseph, as was customary with those really married. See on Matthew 1:18.

Actually, the Jewish concept of espousal and marriage differs considerably from ours. As I noted in some comments I added to Maldonado’s commentary on Matt 1:18-24~The Jewish marriage process was twofold: (1) the espousal period, which could last up to a year.  During this period the couple lived apart but were still considered to be husband and wife; it is for this reason that Matthew can speak of Mary in verse 18 as “espoused” (NAB, “betrothed”) and also refer to Joseph as her husband in verses 16 and 19; and call Mary “thy wife” (NAB “your wife’) in verse 20. (2) the ratification of the marriage took place when the groom went to the house where his s=espoused wife was living and brought her back into his own home. This is what is being referred to when the angel says fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife (see verses 20 & 24). It is this process which is behind the marriage imagery of Matt 25:1-13; Jn 3:29-30.

Of the house of David. St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin were
both of the family of David. Our Lord was therefore truly”the Son of David” on his mother’s side.

Mary. This name is derived from the Hebrew “Miriam,” which signifies “Star of the Sea,” or, in Chaldaic, “Lady.” These represent common interpretations, however, we do not in fact know with certainty what the name means.

Luk 1:28  And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And the angel being come in. It is the common opinion that our Blessed Lady was rapt in devout prayer when the angel entered her room.

Full of grace. This is the Catholic translation of the Greek, κεχαριτωμενη, and is in conformity with the authority of the Latin Fathers, and of the ancient Syriac and Arabic versions of this passage. Protestants widely differ as to the meaning of the word. The Authorized Version translates it, “highly favored.” Literally,the term would seem to mean “highly pleasing,” or “highly
favored,” or “singularly endowed.” Since, therefore, it is grace alone which renders one highly pleasing in the sight of God, the translation “full of grace” would seem to be most correct. Just as Solomon was called “The Wise One,” and our Lord, “The Just One,” so here our Blessed Lady is addressed as “The Highly favored One,” i.e., favored above all others.

The Greek κεχαριτωμενη (Kecharitomene) is a present passive participle. As a present participle it refers to something which took place in the past, the effects of which continue. As passive in refers to something Mary has received.  Since the word is based upon charis (grace), or, to be more exact, on charitoo (made graced), and since the word is passive, perhaps a better translation into English would be “filled with grace.”

The Lord is with thee. By “Lord,” we are here to understand YHWH (God); not our Lord, whom as yet our Blessed Lady had not conceived.

Blessed art thou among women. These words, although found in most MSS., are wanting in the Vatican and a few other ancient MSS. Our Blessed Lady is here compared, not with the whole of mankind, but with all other women (but see  Lk 1:48).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Our Lady, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvily’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012

Luk 1:26  And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

The Evangelist minutely describes the circumstances of time, place, persons, & c., in order to gain greater credibility, and more clearly demonstrate the divine origin of the history he is about to give of the adorable mystery of the Incarnation, and of the reparation of the human race.

The sixth month, is generally computed by interpreters from the conception of Elizabeth. It was usual with the Hebrews, as well as with the Romans, to compute time from some very remarkable epoch or occurrence. The conception of the Baptist, which was the inception of a new order of things, the beginning of a second and more exalted creation, whereby God was to renew the face of the earth, was deservedly regarded as the most remarkable occurrence from which to date the conception of the Son of God. Moreover, God wished that the relations between John the Baptist and his Eternal Son should be so intimate that the years of the .latter should be counted in connexion with the former. This sixth month, is understood as completed, and the order of events so arranged, that John, who was to be our Lord’s Precursor, to bear testimony of Him in due time, could commence to do so even from his mother s womb (v. 41).

The Angel Gabriel. The same who had promised Zachary a son (v. 13). Although of the highest rank of Archangels, he is still called an Angel by St. Luke, as this latter term designates his office of messenger, which, in this instance, was tho highest privilege he could enjoy. Gabriel, the name signifies the strength of God, well befitting him who was to announce the coming of the Almighty. The same messenger who predicted to Daniel the coming of the Son of God at a distant futurity, is now employed to announce His immediate coming in the flesh. To an Angel was this exalted message to an immaculate Virgin appropriately intrusted.

Sent from God, immediately without the intervention of any higher angelic spirit, as when he was formerly sent to Daniel (8:16), to show the great importance of the mission confided to him. God, the Blessed Trinity, this mission being an actus ad extra, common to the three Persons of the adorable Trinity.

To a city of Galilee named Nazareth. It was situated in Lower Galilee, in the Tribe of Zabulon (see Matt 2:23).

Luk 1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary.

To a virgin espoused to a man. The Greek word for espoused μεμνηστευμενην, also means, married, a signification the word bears (chap. 2:5), (see Matt 1:18). The word is meant to convey, that although married, she continued a virgin, free from all carnal intercourse or defilement.

Whose name was Joseph. The Holy Ghost designates him as a just man (Matthew 1:19). He was fitly typified by the great Patriarch Joseph, whose affecting history is recorded (Genesis 27:1) The life of the one may be regarded as the counterpart of the life of the other. Both were singular models of chastity, of patient endurance, and of all supernatural virtues. The Joseph of Egypt, preserving food for his people, plentifully supplied them with bread in the day of dire distress. Our Joseph guarded the Bread of Life, which he gave to a famishing world. The power which Pharaoh, bestowed on the Patriarch Joseph, though very great, was  but a feeble type of the great intercessory power of our Joseph, who, next to his Virgin Spouse, exalted to an inconceivable degree above all created beings, is our most powerful intercessor in the high court of heaven. As Pharaoh of old, when the famishing multitudes cried to him for bread, referred them to Joseph, Ite ad
Joseph (“go to Joseph” Genesis 41:55); so does the Almighty refer us in our spiritual necessities to His foster-father, the guardian and protector of His helpless infancy, when he was forced to fly from the wrath of a sanguinary tyrant. To us does he say, as Pharaoh said of old, Ite ad Joseph.

Of the house of David. A descendant of David, from whom the Messiah was to spring. Joseph and Mary were both of the family of David (see Matthew 1:16). What the Angel says (v. 32), The Lord God shall give him the throne of his Father David was said of our Lord in virtue of His maternal descent, for He had no father on earth. Mary, His mother, must therefore be of the same family of David with her husband Joseph, who is also called elsewhere, the Son of David " (Matthew 1:20), and said to be of the house and family of David (2:4).

And the virgin’s name was Mary. t. Jerome (de nom. Heb.), tells us, that Mary, in the Greek, μαριαμ, an indeclinable noun, derived from the Hebrew Miriam, signifies, in Hebrew, Star of the Sea, also, bitter sea; and in Chaldaic, Lady. Both meanings admirably befitting her who is the glorious Queen of Heaven and Earth, and our Star to guide us amidst the storms and darkness of this world to the haven of eternal security and rest. At all times, Christians address the Blessed Virgin with the peculiar title of Our Lady. St. Bernard tells us, that of such virtue and excellence is this name, “that the heavens exult, the earth rejoices, and the angels send up hymns of praise when the name of Mary is mentioned”(Hom, super missa est]; and in the same place this seraphic advocate of Mary calls on those who are in tribulation of mind or body, “to look up to this Star, to call on Mary,” &c. There is no other name, after the adorable name of Jesus, so venerable, so calculated to inspire all saints and sinners with such hope, such unbounded confidence during life, and especially at the decisive moment of death, when the devil, knowing he has but a short time, puts forth all his strength to compass our ruin. Then it is, that she who is powerful (ipsa enim potens est), shall shield her devout children under the protecting shadow of her wing, and put to flight our infernal adversary.

Luk 1:28  And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And the angel being come in. From this it is commonly inferred, and indeed, it is asserted by the Holy Fathers, that the Angel found the Blessed Virgin alone in her private closet. Although there is nothing said here of how she was occupied, it is regarded as certain that she was not idle, but rather occupied with some employment becoming a pure virgin. Not unlikely, she was engaged in prayer, as she is usually represented in all pictures of the Annunciation, and in devotional exercises having reference to the long-expected Messiah, the future deliverer of her people. St. Ambrose (L. 2 in Lucam) remarks, “She was alone in her private closet, where no man could see her, but only an Angel could find her.” It is generally supposed that, owing to the angelio gift of subtilty, the Angel having invisibly penetrated the walls of her dwelling, and appearing in a visible form, reverently and on bended knees, saluted as his Queen, Her who was shortly to be constituted Queen of men and angels. Some hold that this occurred in the silence of night, while she was engaged in prayer, before retiring to rest. It was at this hour also Christ was born. It was “while all things were in great silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, thy omnipotent ivord leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne” (Wisdom 18:14-15). Likely, he filled the chamber with heavenly effulgence, as happened when the Angels announced the birth of the Son of God to the shepherds (2:9).

Said to her, the words to her,should likely be connected not with said, but with being come in, to her, or where she was alone in secret (as it is in the Syriac, and found in Holy Fathers, Ambrose, hie, and St. Bernard, on the words, missus est. Said, Hail, full ofgrace, &c., ingressusAngelus adeam,dixit; ave gratia plena, &c., employing the very words communicated by God, when sending him on this most solemn and important message.

Hail. The corresponding Hebrew form, shalom lach, which latter form very likely was used by the Angel, ειρηνη σοι, pax tibi, signifies peace to thee; or, joy to thee, and may be either precatory of good, “may joy or peace be to thee,” pax vel gaudium sit tibi, wishing her the abundance of all blessings, spiritual and temporal, or congratulatory, on account of the abundant blessings of peace and joy she already possesses, pax vel gaudium est tibi. In this form, which was usual with the Hebrews at the meeting of friends, the Angel conveys to the Virgin, that his entrance was of a pacific character; that he was a good and not a bad Angel; the bearer of joyous and not of evil tidings, such as the Angels afterwards came to announce, at the birth of the Son of God, Peace and tidings of great joy to all the people. St. Luke instead of ειρηνη σοι, employs  χαιρε, which latter form was more conformable to the idiom of the language then in use. The same is used by our Lord, or rather, His words are so rendered (Matthew 28:9). In this salutation, the Angel accomplished four things: 1. He reverently salutes the Virgin; 2. He propounds the subject of his message (v. 31); 3. He points out the mode of its accomplishment (v. 35); and thus, 4. He replies to the difficulty (v. 34) which presented itself to the mind of the Virgin. Some of the Holy Fathers (Origen, Hom. 6 in Lucam; Bede and Ambrose, hic) observe, that the whole message was singular and extraordinary, such as was never before addressed to any human being.

Full of gracegratia plena. This is the rendering given by all Catholics of the Greek, κεχαριτωμενη, which is the Perfect Passive participle of χαριτόω. This translation is confirmed by the authority of the Fathers, and by the most ancient copies of the Bible. It is the same in the Syriac and Arabic versions. Protestants, while rejecting the Vulgate rendering, differ nearly as widely among themselves on this point as they do from Catholics. Hardly any two of them agree on the precise translation of the word, which is found only in another passage of the New Testament (Eph 1:6) εχαριτωσεν ημας, and rendered gratificavit nos, “made us acceptable.” Besides the unanimous consent of the Fathers, the Catholic or Vulgate rendering, gratia plena, can be established on intrinsic grounds as well. The word κεχαριτωμενη, literally rendered, would signify, one made pleasing (gratificata), which involves (a) the state or condition of being thus rendered pleasing; and (b) the quality or thing that renders us pleasing. Now, that which makes us pleasing to God, is sanctifying grace; hence sanctifying grace is involved in the word κεχαριτωμενη. Secondly, the fulness of grace is conveyed in the very form of the verb; for, as is known to all Greek scholars, verbs terminating in όω, always denote plenitude, abundance either communicated or received or possessed, according as the verb may be used in the Active or Passive voice, as might be illustrated, if necessary, by numerous examples. Hence, on this principle, κεχαριτωμενη denotes abundance, fulness of grace. Again, from the Angel’s omitting to address the Virgin by the ordinary name of Mary, it is clear he applies κεχαριτωμενη to her as her peculiar title, her distinguishing characteristic epithet, applicable to her alone, and to no one else, as our Lord is called, the Just One; Solomon, the Wise One, because possessing these qualities in a degree not reached by any other human being. So here the application of Ke^aptrw/xev^ to the Blessed Virgin, never before applied to any one else, shows she possesses the quality or plenitude of grace conveyed in the word, peculiar to herself alone, and distinguishing her from the rest of mankind.

Although full of grace is applied to our Lord (John 1:17), and to St. Stephen (Acts 6:8 both using the words πληρης χαριτος, different from that used by Luke), still we must bear in mind, so far as our Lord is concerned, there can be no parallelism, since the plenitude must be interpreted, having due regard to persons; and hence, in our Lord, the plenitude of grace was, as St. Bonaventure observes, the fulness of the great, inexhaustible fountain, plenitudo superabundantiæ, while in the Blessed Virgin was the fulness of the great river next the source or inexhaustible fountain, plenitudo prerogativæ, and in all the rest of men, a plenitudo sufficientiæ, the rivulets sharing it in a limited degree, sufficient to procure the salvation of them all. As regards St. Stephen, besides that the fulness of grace predicated of him only denotes the grace required for him as minister and witness of God, and in regard to her it denotes the abundance of grace required for her dignity of Mother of God, πληρης χαριτος is not applied to him as his peculiar designation, as κεχαριτωμενη, is to the Blessed Virgin. That the term, κεχαριτωμενη, is assertive of her present state of acceptableness, owing to the fulness of grace she possesses, and not precatory of good in regard to future favours, is clear from the Greek which is in the passive past tense, and refers to past occurrences, the effect of which remains to the present. In the present instance, there is no limit to the period past; and hence, it implies, that the Virgin was full of grace from the very first moment of her conception or existence. The words, full of grace then imply 1st, perfect exemption from all sin, original or actual, even the slightest, and all inclinations to sin, from all passions whatsoever leading to sin; 2ndly, the possession of all virtues, of all graces, in a degree so supereminent, that no virtue, no grace, no gift of the Holy Ghost was ever granted to any human being that she did not possess in an eminent degree, although the exercise of them might not always take place. So that every action of her life was virtuous, praiseworthy, and she attained eminence in grace and sanctity to such a degree as rendered her worthy to conceive in her sacred womb and receive within her, the source and fountain of all grace and sanctity, the eternal Son of God Himself (Lucas Brugensis, and Menochius). Suarez, quoted on this passage by Lapide, asserts, that at the first instant of her conception, the Blessed Virgin received a greater grace than was ever conferred on the highest angel, and owing to her perfect correspondence and faithful co-operation from her conception till the hour of her death, she acquired such degrees of grace and merit as exceeded that of all angels and men together, and God, therefore, loved the Blessed Virgin more than the entire Church, militant and triumphant, including men and angels.

The Lord is with thee. This was an ancient form of salutation in use among the Jews (Judges 6:13; Ruth 2:4). The words are understood by some commentators of the future abode of our Lord, in her chaste womb, in the mystery of the Incarnation, which it is clear from v. 31, did not yet take place. But taken in connexion with the context, and the words, full of grace, blessed art thou amongst women, which are in the present, the phrase must be understood of her present condition. They express the cause of her being full of grace. She was so, because the Lord was with her. These words imply a singular and special assistance on the part of God, which preserved her from all sin, filled her with all grace, and fitted her for the great end for which she was destined. The words, the Lord is with thee, and the like, both in the Old Testament and in the New, when uttered by God, or by one commissioned by Him, always denote a special assistance on the part of God, and His presence with, the person addressed, for the purpose of effectually accomplishing the end for which such assistance is given (see Murray, de Eccles. vol. i., 200-214).
Hence, as the end, for which, these graces were conferred on the Blessed Virgin, was the most exalted, that God ever accomplished, viz., the Incarnation of His Son, these graces, which thus fitted her and rendered her worthy, were the greatest ever conferred on any mere creature. The words, however, although denoting the present abundance of grace arising from God’s special favour and assistance, very likely, imply also God’s special future dwelling in her in His Incarnation, in view of which the present graces were so abundantly given, just as the following words, Blessed art thou amongst &c., although referring to the present, clearly have reference to the future Incarnation: for, it is with reference to it, St. Elizabeth addresses the Virgin in these identical words, after she had received the Son of God within her sacred womb (v. 42).

Blessed art thou among women. These words are omitted in some few MSS., the Vatican among the rest. But they are found in most MSS., and generally quoted by the early Fathers. Blessed by the Lord, who is with thee. This benediction is subjoined, as the effect of the Divine favour, and implies the amplest gifts and benefits bestowed on her by God at the present moment. It does not refer to the great respect and reverence which the Blessed Virgin was to receive from men in after ages. The form, benedicta tu, is, by a Hebrew usage, equivalent to, benedicta es. For, the Hebrews employed the demonstrative pronoun in place of the verb substantive of the present tense; and she was thus blessed at that moment in the singular graces she then possessed, that rendered her worthy to be the dwelling-place of the Son of God, and of the destination in store for her, to be immediately accomplished.

Among women. Above all other women. The comparison is not between her and the rest of mankind, but only between her and all other women. Hence our Lord is not included in the comparison. This benediction contains a tacit opposition to the curse pronounced against women in general (Genesis 3:16); and the special benediction, which distinguishes the Blessed Virgin from all other women, consists in her being a mother and a virgin at the same time; a virgin, whose great purity and humility attracted from heaven into her sacred womb, the God of all sanctity; the mother, of the Eternal Son of God. She has all the blessings, and none of the losses. She was blessed beyond virgins, widows, mothers; beyond virgins, who have the curse of sterility ; beyond widows, who while gaining the blessing of freedom of mind, suffer the loss of society, while she with the greatest freedom, enjoyed the society of her holy and chaste spouse Joseph; beyond mothers, who with the blessing of fecundity, suffer the loss of virginity. Mary had the one without losing the other. From v. 31, it is clear, the Incarnation had not yet taken place. Hence, the special blessedness here predicated of Mary, had reference to her future destination to become Mother of God, and to her having been so prepared by God with such an abundance of grace and the gifts of sanctity, as rendered her fit to become His dwelling-place, an incomparable blessing which was immediately to be conferred on her.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Our Lady, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:26-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012

Ver 26. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

THEOPHYL; Because either the Incarnation of Christ was to be in the sixth age of the world, or because it was to serve to the fulfilling of the law, rightly in the sixth month of John’s conception was an angel sent to Mary, to tell her that a Savior should be born. Hence it is said, And in the sixth month, &c. We must understand the sixth month to be March, on the twenty-fifth day of which our Lord is reported to have been conceived, and to have suffered, as also to have been born on the twenty-fifth day of December. But if either the one day we believe to be the vernal equinox, or the other the winter solstice, it happens that with the increase of light He was conceived or born Who lightens every man that comes into the world. But if any one shall prove, that before the time of our Lord’s nativity or conception, light began either to increase, or supersede the darkness, we then say, that it was because John, before the appearance of His coming, began to preach the kingdom of heaven.

BASIL. The heavenly spirits visit us, not as it seems fit to them, but as the occasion conduces to our advantage, for they are ever looking upon the glory and fullness of the Divine Wisdom; hence it follows, The angel Gabriel was sent.

GREG. To the virgin Mary was sent, not any one of the angels, but the archangel Gabriel; for upon this service it was meet that the highest angel should come, as being the bearer of the highest of all tidings. He is therefore marked by a particular name, to signify what was his effectual part in the work. For Gabriel is interpreted, “the strength of God.” By the strength of God then was He to be announced Who was coming as the God of strength, and mighty in battle, to put down the powers of the air.

GLOSS. But the place is also added whither he is sent, as it follows, To a city, Nazareth. For it was told that He would come a Nazarite, (i.e. the holy of the holy.)

THEOPHYL; It was as a fit beginning for man’s restoration, that an angel should be sent down from God to consecrate a virgin by a divine birth, for the first cause of man’s perdition was the Devil sending a serpent to deceive a woman by the spirit of pride.

AUG. To a virgin, for Christ could be born from virginity alone, seeing He could not have an equal in His birth. It was necessary for our Head by this mighty miracle to be born according to the flesh of a virgin gin’ that He might signify that his members were to be born in the spirit of a virgin Church.JEROME; And rightly an angel is sent to the virgin, because the virgin state is ever akin to that of angels. Surely in the flesh to live beyond the flesh is not a life on earth but in heaven.

CHRYS. The angel announces the birth to the virgin not after the conception, lest she should be thereby too much troubled, but before the conception he addresses her, not in a dream, but standing by her in visible shape. For as great indeed were the tidings she receives, she needed before the issue of the event an extraordinary visible manifestation.

AMBROSE; Scripture has rightly mentioned that she was espoused, as well as a virgin, a virgin, that she might appear free from all connection with man; espoused, that she might not be branded with the disgrace of sullied virginity, whose swelling womb seemed to bear evident marks of her corruption. But the Lord had rather that men should cast a doubt upon His birth than upon His mother’s purity. He knew how tender is a virgin’s modesty, and how easily assailed the reputation of her chastity, nor did He think the credit of His birth was to be built up by His mother’s wrongs. It follows therefore, that the holy Mary’s virginity was of as untainted purity as it was also of unblemished reputation. Nor ought there, by an erroneous opinion, to be left the shadow of an excuse to living virgins, that the mother of our Lord even seemed to be evil spoken of. But what could be imputed to the Jews, or to Herod, if they should seen to have persecuted an adulterous offspring? And how could He Himself say, I came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, if He should seem to have had his beginning from a violation of the law, for the issue of an unmarried person is condemned by the law? Not to add that also greater credit is given to the words of Mary, and the cause of falsehood removed? For it might seem that unmarried becoming pregnant, she had wished to shade her guilt by a lie; but an espoused person has no reason for lying, since to women child-birth is the reward of wedlock, the grace of the marriage bed. Again, the virginity of Mary was meant to baffle the prince of the world, who, when he perceived her espoused to a mall, could cast no suspicion on her offspring.

ORIGEN; For if she had had no husband, soon would the thought have stolen into the Devil’s mind, how she who had known no man could be pregnant. It was right that the conception should be Divine, something more exalted than human nature.

AMBROSE; But still more has it baffled the princes of the world, for the malice of devils soon detects even hidden things, while they who are occupied in worldly vanities, can not know the things of God. But moreover, a more powerful witness of her purity is adduced, her husband, who might both have been indignant at the injury, and revenged the dishonor, if he also had not acknowledged the mystery; of whom it is added, Whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.

THEOPHYL; Which last applies not only to Joseph, but also to Mary, for the Law commanded that every one should take a wife out of his own tribe or family. It follows, And the virgin’s name was Mary.

ID. Maria, in Hebrew, is the star of the sea; but in Syriac it is interpreted Mistress, and well, because Mary was thought worthy to be the mother of the Lord of the whole world, and the light of endless ages.

Ver  28. And the angel came in to her, and said, Hail, you that are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women.29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

AMBROSE; Mark the virgin by her manner of life. Alone in an inner chamber, unseen by the eyes of men, discovered only by an angel; as it is said, And the angel came in to her. That she might not be dishonored by any ignoble address, she is saluted by an angel.

GREG. NYSS. Far different then to the news formerly addressed to the woman, is the announcement now made to the Virgin. In the former, the cause of sin was punished by the pains of childbirth; In the latter, through gladness, sorrow is driven away. Hence the angel not unaptly proclaims joy to the Virgin, saying, Hail.

GREEK EX. But that she was judged worthy of the nuptials is attested by his saying, Full of grace. For it is signified as a kind of token or marriage gift of the bridegroom, that she was fruitful in graces. For of the things which he mentions, the one appertains to the bride, the other to the bridegroom.

JEROME; And it is well said, Full of grace, for to others, grace comes in part; into Mary at once the fullness of grace wholly infused itself. She truly is full of grace through whom has been poured forth upon every creature the abundant rain of the Holy Spirit. But already He was with the Virgin Who sent the angel to the Virgin. The Lord preceded His messenger, for He could not be confined by place Who dwells in all places. Whence it follows, The Lord is with you.

AUG. More I than with me, for He Himself is in your heart, He is (made) in you womb, He fills your soul, He fills your womb.

GREEK EX. But this is the sum of the whole message. The Word of God, as the Bridegroom, effecting an incomprehensible union, Himself, as it were, the same both planting, and being planted, has molded the whole nature of man into Himself. But comes last the most perfect and comprehensive salutation; Blessed are you among women. i.e. Alone, far before all other women; that women also should be blessed in you, as men are in your Son; but rather both in both. For as by one man and one woman came at once both sin and sorrow, so now also by one woman and one man has both blessing and joy been restored, and poured forth upon all.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 15:29-38

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 1, 2012

Ver 29. And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.30. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:31. Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jerome: Having healed the daughter of this Chananaean, the Lord returns into Judaea, as it follows, “And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee.”

Remig.: This sea is called by various names; the sea at Galilee, because of its neighbourhood to Galilee; the sea of Tiberias, from the town of Tiberias.  “And going up into a mountain, he sat down there.”

Chrys.: It should be considered that sometimes the Lord goes about to heal the sick, sometimes He sits and waits for them to come; and accordingly here it is added, “And there came great multitudes unto him, having with them those that were dumb, lame, blind, maimed, and many others.”

Jerome: What the Latin translator calls ‘debiles’ (maimed), is in the Greek, which is not a general term for a maimed person, but a peculiar species, as he that is lame in one foot is called ‘claudus,’ so he that is crippled in one hand is called..

Chrys.: These shewed their faith in two points especially, in that they went up the mountain, and in that they believed that they had need of nothing beyond but to cast themselves at Jesus’ feet; for they do not now touch the hem even of His garment, but have attained to a loftier faith; “And cast them down at Jesus’ feet.”

The woman’s daughter He healed with great slackness, that He might shew her virtue; but to these He administers healing immediately, not because they were better than that woman, but that He might stop the mouths of the unbelieving Jews; as it follows, “and he healed them all.”

But the multitude of those that were healed, and the ease with which it was done, struck them with astonishment. “Insomuch that the multitude wondered when they saw the dumb to speak.”

Jerome: He said nothing concerning the maimed, because there was no one word which was the opposite of this.” [ed. note: The Vulgate and old Italic have no clause to , (the maimed to be whole) of the Greek, which is also wanting in many ancient versions.]

Raban.: Mystically; Having in the daughter of this Chananaean prefigured the salvation of the Gentiles, Ho came into Judaea; because, “when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have entered in, then shall all Israel be saved.” [Rom_11:25]

Gloss., ap Anselm: The sea near to which Jesus came signifies the turbid swellings of this world; it is the sea of Galilee when men pass from virtue to vice.

Jerome: He goes up into the mountain, that as a bird He may entice the tender nestlings to fly.

Raban.: Thus raising his hearers to meditate on heavenly things. He sat down there to shew that rest is not to be sought but in heavenly things. And as He sits on the mountain, that is, in the heavenly height, there come unto Him multitudes of the faithful, drawing near to Him with devoted mind, and bringing to Him the dumb, and the blind, &c. and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; because they that confess their sins are brought to be healed by Him alone.

These He so heals, that the multitudes marvel and magnify the God of Israel; because the faithful when they see those that have been spiritually sick richly endued with all manner of works of virtuousness, sing praise to God.

Gloss. ord.: The dumb are they that do not praise God; the blind, they who do not understand the paths of life; the deaf, they that obey not; the lame, they that walk not firmly through the difficult ways of good works; the maimed, they that are crippled in their good works.

Ver 32. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.33, And his disciples say unto him, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?”34. And Jesus saith unto them, “How many loaves have ye?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fishes.”35. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.36. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.37. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.38. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

Jerome: Christ first took away the infirmities of the sick, and afterwards supplied food to them that had been healed. Also He calls His disciples to tell them what He is about to do; “Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude.” This He does that He may give an example to masters of sharing their counsels with the young, and their disciples; or, that by this dialogue they might come to understand the greatness of the miracle.

Chrys., Hom., iii: For the multitude when they came to be healed, had not dared to ask for food, but He that loveth man, and hath care of all creatures, gives it to them unasked; whence He says, “I have compassion upon the multitude.”

That it should not be said that they had brought provision with them on their way, He says, “Because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.” For though when they came they had food, it was now consumed, and for this reason He did it not on the first or second day, but on the third, when all was consumed that they might have brought with them; and thus they having been first placed in need, might take the food that was now provided with keener appetite.

That they had come from far, and that nothing was now left them, is shewn in what He says, “And I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint by the way.”

Yet He does not immediately proceed to work the miracle, that He may rouse the disciples’ attention by this questioning, and that they may shew their faith by saying to Him, Create loaves. And though at the time of the former miracle Christ had done many things to the end that they should remember it, making them distribute the loaves, and divide the baskets among them, yet they were still imperfectly disposed, as appears from what follows; “And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness as to fill so great a multitude?”

This they spoke out of the infirmity of their thoughts, yet thereby making the ensuing miracle to be beyond suspicion; for that none might suspect that the loaves had been got from a neighbouring village, this miracle is wrought in the wilderness far distant from villages.

Then to arouse His disciples’ thoughts, He puts a question to them, which may call the foregone miracle to their minds; “And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? They said unto him, Seven, and a few little fishes.”

But they do not add, ‘But what are they among so many?’ as they had said before; for they had advanced somewhat, though they did not yet comprehend the whole. Admire in the Apostles their love of truth, though themselves are the writers, they do not conceal their own great faults; and it is no light self-accusation to have so soon forgotten so great a miracle.

Observe also their wisdom in another respect, how they had overcome their appetite, taking so little care of their meals, that though they had been three days in the desert, yet they had with them only seven loaves. Some other things also He does like to what had been done before. He makes them to sit down on the ground, and the bread to grow in the hands of the disciples; as it follows, “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.”

Jerome, Sup. c. xiv, 15: As we have spoken of this above, it would be tedious to repeat what has been already said; we shall therefore only dwell on those particulars in which this differs from the former.

Chrys.: The end of the two miracles is different; “And they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. Now they that had eaten were four thousand men, besides children and women.”

Whence are the fragments fewer in this miracle than in the former, although they that ate were not so many? It is a either that the basket [margin note: sporta] in this miracle is of larger capacity than the basket [margin note: cophinus] in the former, or that by this point of difference they might remember the two separate miracles; for which reason also He then made the number of baskets equal to the number of the disciples, but now to the number of the loaves.

Remig.: In this Gospel lection we must consider in Christ the work of His humanity, and of His divinity. In that He has compassion on the multitudes, He shews that He has feeling of human frailty; in the multiplication of the loaves, and the feeding the multitudes, is shewn the working of His divinity. So here is overthrown the error of Eutyches [margin note: vid. sup. p. 16], who said, that in Christ was one nature only.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 50: Surely it will not be out of place to suggest upon this miracle, that if any of the Evangelists who had not given the miracle of the five loaves had related this of the seven loaves, he would have been supposed to have contradicted the rest. But because those who have related the one, have also related the other, no one is puzzled, but it is understood at once that they were two separate miracles.

This we have said, that wherever any thing is found done by the Lord, wherein the accounts of any two Evangelists seem irreconcilable, we may understand them as two distinct occurrences, of which one is related by one Evangelist, and one by another.

Gloss., ap. Anselm:. It should be noted, that the Lord first removes their sicknessess, and after that feeds them; because sin must be first wiped away, and then the soul fed with the words of God.

Hilary: As that first multitude which He fed answers to the people among the Jews that believed; so this is compared to the people of the gentiles, the number of four thousand denoting an innumerable number of people out of the four quarters of the earth.

Jerome: For these are not five, but four thousand; the number four being one always used in a good sense, and a four-sided stone is firm and rocks not, for which reason the Gospels also have been sacredly bestowed in this number.

Also in the former miracle, because the people were neighbours unto the five senses [ed. note: That is, there were five thousand, and they were fed with five loaves], it is the disciples, and not the Lord, that calls to mind their condition; but here the Lord Himself says, that He has compassion upon them, “because they continue now three days” with Him, that is, they believed on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Hilary: Or, they spend the whole time of the Lord’s passion with the Lord; either because when they should come to baptism, they would confess that they believed in His passion and resurrection; or, because through the whole time of the Lord’s passion they are joined to the Lord by fasting in a kind of union of suffering with Him.

Raban.: Or, this is said because in all time there have only been three periods when grace was given; the first, before the Law; the second, under the Law; the third, under grace; the fourth, is in heaven, to which as we journey we are refreshed by the way.

Remig.: Or, because correcting by penitence the sins that they have committed, in thought, word, and deed, they turn to the Lord. These multitudes the Lord would not send away fasting, that they should not faint by the way; because sinners turning in penitence, perish in their passage through the world, if they are sent away without the nourishment of sacred teaching.

Gloss. ord.: The seven loaves are the Scripture of the New Testament, in which the grace of the Holy Spirit is revealed and given. And these are not as those former loaves, barley, because it is not with these, as in the Law, where the nutritious substance is wrapped in types, as in a very adhesive husk; here are not two fishes, as under the Law two only were anointed, the King, and the Priest, but a fewer, that is, the saints of the New Testament, who, snatched from the waves of the world, sustain this tossing sea, and by their example refresh us lest we faint by the way.

Hilary: The multitudes sit down on the ground; for before they had not reposed on the works of the Law, but they had supported themselves on their own sins, as men standing on their feet.

Gloss.: Or, they sit down there [margin note: xiv, 19] on the grass, that the desires of the flesh may be controlled, here on the ground, because the earth itself is commanded to be left. Or, the mountain in which the Lord refreshes them is the height of Christ; there, therefore, is grass upon the ground, because there the height of Christ is covered with carnal hopes and desires, on account of the carnal; here, where all carnal lust is banished, the guests are solidly placed on the basis of an abiding hope; there, are five thousand, who are the carnal subjected to the five senses; here, four thousand, on account of the four virtues, by which they are spiritually fortified, temperance, prudence, fortitude, and justice; of which the first is the knowledge of things to be sought and avoided; the second, the restraining of desire from those things that give pleasure in the world; the third, strength against the pains of life; the fourth, which is spread over all the love of God and our neighbour.

Both there and here women and children are excepted, because in the Old and New Testament, none are admitted to the Lord who do not endure to the perfect man, whether through the infirmity of their strength, or the levity of their tempers.

Both refreshings were performed upon a mountain, because the Scriptures of both Testaments commend the loftiness of the heavenly commands and rewards, and both preach the height of Christ. The higher mysteries which the multitudes cannot receive the Apostles discharge, and fill seven baskets, to wit, the hearts of the perfect which are enlightened to understand by the grace of the seven-fold spirit. [margin note: Isa_11:2] Baskets are usually woven of rushes, or palm leaves; these signify the saints, who fix the root of their hearts in the very fount of life, as a bulrush in the water, that they may not wither away, and retain in their hearts the palm of their eternal reward.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: