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 June, 2013

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 9:14-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

Mat 9:14  Then came to him the disciples of John, saying: Why do we and the Pharisees, fast often, but thy disciples do not fast?

Then came to him the disciples of John.  The disciples of Jesus and the disciples of John. Here we have to consider first the attack on our Lord’s disciples, v. 14; secondly, his triple answer, vv. 15–17. a. The attack. According to Lk. 5:33–39 the question is asked by the scribes and Pharisees. Maldonado, supposes that these latter instigated the disciples of John to propose the question. But Mark 2:18 is more in keeping with the answer of Augustine that both the Pharisees and the disciples of John took part in this attack. It is not; then, surprising to see that one evangelist emphasizes the Pharisees, the other the followers of the Baptist. Coleridge [v. p. 127] and Edersheim [i. p. 663] are of opinion that the question may have been proposed on either Monday or Thursday, which were kept as fasting-days by the Pharisees in commemoration of Moses’ ascent and descent of Sinai; this view becomes more probable if one omits the “often” in the question, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often?” Most authorities insert the adverb, but א *B 27 71 omit it. Holtzmann’s view that the disciples of John fasted on account of their master’s recent death hardly fits into the chronological sequence of the gospel details. The Pharisees intended to bring the Baptist, who was highly esteemed by the people, into opposition to Jesus.

Mat 9:15  And Jesus said to them: Can the children of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast.
Mat 9:16  And nobody putteth a piece of raw cloth unto an old garment. For it taketh away the fulness thereof from the garment, and there is made a greater rent.
Mat 9:17  Neither do they put new wine into old bottles. Otherwise the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish. But new wine they put into new bottles: and both are preserved.

And Jesus said to them. Triple answer of Jesus. Our Lord indicates first the reason why his disciples do not fast; secondly, he announces that they will fast in the future; thirdly, he removes the false principle from which springs the question of his interrogators, a. The reason why the disciples do not fast is based on truths granted by the Pharisees and the disciples of the Baptist: just as the Old Testament had been likened [Jer. 2:2; Ezek 16:3] to a marriage between God and Israel, so was the Messias announced in the prophecies [Hosea 2:19; Ps. 45] as the bridegroom of the New Covenant, and the Baptist himself had pointed out Jesus as the bridegroom [John 3:29]. On the other hand, “the children of the bridegroom,” or his invited guests, were bound by custom and law to the greatest joy during the marriage week [Edersheim i. 355, 663; Lightfoot]. Why, then, should the children of the Messianic bridegroom, our Lord’s disciples, be obliged to outward signs of sadness in the very midst of the spiritual marriage feast?

The announcement of the future fasting of the disciples points to the time of the bridegroom’s absence. It is here that our Lord first hints at his violent death, especially according to the wording of the Greek text. The announcement of the fasting is no mere prophecy [cf. Whately, Essays on the Difficulties of St. Paul, p. 436, on Self-Denial], but implies a precept of the Lord, as is evident from similar declarations of future things [cf. Acts 1:8; Winer, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachidioms, xl. 6; xliii. 5]. Our Lord, then, does not deny the excellence of fasting in the case of his disciples, but its fitness under the circumstances; even if his words are understood as a mere prophecy, they exclude the opponents of fasting from among the disciples, since Jesus distinctly predicted, that far from opposing fasting, his disciples would practise it. That our Lord spoke not only of the time of his passion [cf. de Wette, Meyer, Keil], or the days between the crucifixion and the resurrection [cf. Alford], or the period between the ascension and the coming of the Holy Ghost [cf. Whately], is clear from his precepts concerning the manner of fasting [Mt. 6:16], and his words concerning the exorcism that can be effected only by prayer and fasting [Mt. 17:20]. The ecclesiastical legislation concerning fasting is therefore a legitimate determination of the general wish of the Master that his followers should practise penance by fasting. The end and purpose of fasting are also declared by the present passage: fasting is to express our sorrow over our separation from our Lord, our longing to be united with him in our heavenly home, our repentance over sin as the cause of our separation, our desire of God’s grace as the means of becoming more closely united with Jesus Christ [Jerome, Knabenbauer; cf. Acts 13:2; 14:22; 2 Cor. 6:5; 11:27].

The principle which the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees assume supposes that in the Messianic dispensation the ceremonial law of the synagogue will remain in force. In order to understand our Lord’s answer to this supposition, we shall first consider the literal meaning of his twofold similitude, and then investigate the application of the answer.

[1] The similitudes. The raw cloth is cloth newly woven, not yet fulled, so that it shrinks when exposed to rain or similar influences, and thus contracting “taketh away the fulness thereof from the garment, and there is made a greater rent.” The Oriental bottles are skins of sheep or goats which dry up after use, and so almost certainly burst under the pressure of new wine in the course of fermentation, so that both the bottles and the wine are lost. The first similitude considers the case in which a heterogeneous part is added to the whole, the second views the combination of heterogeneous form and matter.

[2] Application of the similitudes. Though a great variety of opinions has been expressed, we may reduce them to three heads:—

[a] Our Lord’s disciples are the old garment and the old bottles, so that they are not yet able to bear the burden of the Christian life of penance [Chrysostom, Bede, Rabanus, Alb., Dionysius, Tostatus, Cajetan, Jansenius, Maldonado, Barradas, Salmeron, Sylveira, Lapide, Calmet, Lam., Arnoldi]. But several grave reasons militate against this view. The Pharisees and the disciples of the Baptist were strong enough to fast; several of our Lord’s disciples had been disciples of the Baptist, and had surely not lost their spiritual strength by becoming disciples of Jesus; the apostles were strong enough to bear the pangs of hunger in the service of their Master, as is clear from Mt. 12:1; Jesus himself testifies towards the end of his earthly life that the disciples had remained with him in his trials [Lk. 22:28]; finally, in his first answer to the question of the Baptist’s disciples Jesus had pointed to the presence of their bridegroom as the true reason why the disciples did not fast.

[b] The old garment and the old bottles represent the Baptist’s disciples, so that they must continue to fast, because they cannot bear the liberty of the disciples of Christ [cf. Weiss, Schanz]. This view also is open to several exceptions: it supposes that the disciples of John had asked why they and the Pharisees fasted, though in reality they well knew why they fasted, since they would not have submitted to such a rigorous penance without a sufficient reason; again, one cannot grant that our Lord should have exhorted the disciples of the Baptist and the Pharisees to remain in their former state, or that he should have in any way approved of the practices of the Pharisees.

[c] The old garment and the old bottles represent the Jewish ceremonial and ritual law, the ideal of the Pharisees, while the new cloth and the new wine signify the spirit of Jesus Christ. The two parables state, therefore, that neither part of Christ’s spirit can be employed to mend the deficiency of Pharisaism, nor can the whole of Christ’s doctrine be vested in the form of the Jewish ceremonial. It may be of interest to note that as the thought of our Lord’s answer is logically connected, so the very expression presents a certain unity, since the marriage feast suggests the joy of the children of the bridegroom, the outward decency of the garment, and the wine both old and new.

 

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:14-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

This post includes the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 9 as a whole, followed by his commentary on verses 14-17.

ANALYSIS OF MATTHEW CHAPTER 9

In this chapter, we have an account of the miraculous cure, by our Lord, of the man sick of the palsy, on whom He first bestows the remission of his sins. This the Pharisees made the occasion of charging Him with blasphemously arrogating to Himself what belonged to God alone; whereupon our Redeemer, in proof of the doctrine He enunciated, performs the miracle, and perfectly cures the sick man (1–7). The people were seized with reverential awe in consequence, and gave glory to God (8). We have next an account of the call of St. Matthew, which was promptly responded to; and of the entertainment given by him to our Lord, at which many of his associate publicans were present (9–10). From this the Pharisees took occasion to accuse our Lord of associating with sinners. On hearing this, our Lord meets the charge by referring to the relation of physician, which He held towards sinners—men spiritually sick, whom He came to cure, and with whom, therefore, He ought to associate. He next confutes them from their own Scriptures, in which mercy was so strongly inculcated (12–13). The Pharisees, having put forward the disciples of John, to insinuate a charge of self-indulgence against our Lord while accepting entertainments, He refutes this charge, by saying that the time had not yet come to subject His disciples to the rigours of fasting (15); that the rigours of fasting were, as yet, untimely for His Apostles—the time for it would come afterwards (15); and, moreover, unsuited to them, in their present state, which He illustrates by examples (16–17). We have next an account of the woman, who, for a long time, suffered from an issue of blood; and of the resuscitation of the daughter of Jairus (18–25), the fame of which spread rapidly through the entire district of Galilee (26). On His way to Jairus’ house, He gave sight to two blind men, who, on leaving Him, find a demoniac, whom they bring to our Lord, by whom the poor sufferer is cured (27–33). Stung with malevolence and envy, the Pharisees ascribe these wonderful cures to diabolical agency (34). Regardless of their calumnious charge, our Lord goes about the entire country, preaching the Gospel, and confirms His doctrine by several miracles. He takes compassion on the destitute spiritual condition of the people, and tells His disciples to pray for good labourers to be sent into the harvest, now ripe for the sickle (35–38).

COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 9:14-17

Mat 9:14  Then came to him the disciples of John, saying: Why do we and the Pharisees, fast often, but thy disciples do not fast?

“The disciples of John.” St. Luke says (5:33), it was the Scribes and Pharisees. Mark (2:18) says, it was “the disciples of John and the Pharisees.” Probably, St. Mark’s is the accurate account, and St. Matthew speaks only of “the disciples of John,” as they were the spokesmen put forward by the Pharisees on the occasion. A feeling of low jealousy animated the disciples of John, who was at this time in prison. Not unlikely, on the very day our Lord was entertained at the house of Matthew, they observed a fast, as is insinuated in the context of St. Mark, although the words may also mean, that they were in the habit of fasting. “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often?” They speak of fasts of supererogation, as the word, “often,” implies, besides those prescribed by the law. For, with these, no doubt, our Redeemer and His disciples strictly complied, as He wished “to fulfil all justice.” This question was meant to be a rejoinder to His explanation of the reason which induced Him to associate with sinners, viz., for the purpose of converting them. They wish in this question to insinuate, that self-indulgence was His motive. The question was also insidiously meant by His enemies, as a snare for our Redeemer. They hoped He might censure John, which would not serve His own influence, as John was so much respected; or, if He approved of John’s fasting, then, He would be censuring the line of conduct pursued in this respect by Himself and His disciples.

Mat 9:15  And Jesus said to them: Can the children of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast.

“Can the children of the bridegroom mourn?” “Mourn,” denotes the particular kind of mourning, consisting in fasting. “Children,” by a Hebrew idiom, signifies, near friends, the associates and companions of the “bridegroom.” Although our Redeemer knew well the malevolence and vain ostentation which dictated these remarks, at least on the part of the Pharisees, still, He answers them gently; and in the mildest form, justifies Himself and His disciples. For, it was against Himself chiefly the charge was made. He rests His defence on the grounds—1st. That the time was unsuited for fasting (v. 15). 2ndly. That the persons were unsuited for fasting or sorrow (vv. 16, 17). It would be unseemly for the friends of the bridegroom to fast or indulge in mourning, while celebrating his nuptials. Now, those who heard John the Baptist, must have heard him point to our Lord as the spouse (John 3:29). Hence, while our Lord was celebrating His nuptials with His Church (Eph. 5; 2 Cor. 11:12), it should be for His friends a season of joy and jubilee, to which the austerities of fasting would be quite unsuited. Christ is the spouse; because He espoused human nature, and through it the Church, in His Incarnation, by an indissoluble bond. These espousals He commenced by grace in this life (Matt. 22:2), and will consummate by glory in heaven, when the perpetual nuptials of the Lamb with His Elect shall be for ever celebrated. (Apoc. 19) On this account it was that John called himself the friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29), and his disciples, who heard him, must, therefore, have known that Christ was called the Bridegroom. Hence, there is nothing in the above example against fasting. Our Redeemer only points out the incongruity, on the part of His disciples, to fast during His life-time. The example goes no farther. In this verse, it is implied, however, that in future ages the Church will impose the wholesome rigours of fasting. And from Apostolical institution and tradition, she has instituted, besides other fasts, the solemn fast of Lent, to prepare for the commemoration of the bitter Passion of her heavenly Spouse, and dispose us to share in the spiritual joys of His glorious resurrection.

Mat 9:16  And nobody putteth a piece of raw cloth unto an old garment. For it taketh away the fulness thereof from the garment, and there is made a greater rent.

The illustrations in this and the following verses regard the unsuitableness of the persons for the rigours of fasting. The preceding had reference to the time or season.

“Raw cloth,” in the original, means rough, new-woven cloth, fresh from the weaver, without having passed through the hands of the dyer. “For it taketh away the fulness thereof from the garment,” i.e., the addition of this piece of new, strong cloth, takes away its soundness and integrity from the old garment, by the tear which the strong new piece shall cause in the yielding old garment; and so the rent shall become worse than it had been before. Similar is the idea conveyed by the example, (v. 17), about the bursting of old bottles. The Greek for “the fulness,” both here and in Mark (2:21), is, πληρωμα. It is rendered in the Vulgate here, plenitudo; in Mark, supplementum. From both Mark and Luke, it would seem clear, that the words, “from the garment,” refers to the old garment, although some interpreters refer it to the new garment (Luke 5:36). But this latter interpretation would hardly suit the subject of application. Others read the original thus: “For, he, i.e.,” the man in question, offended by the unsightly dissimilarity of appearance produced by attaching the new piece to the old garment, “taketh away the fulness thereof” (πληρωμα), i.e., the supplement which was added from the (old) garment, and thus the rent will become greater than it was before. Likely, this illustration was taken from some proverbial saying, then well known. “The fulness thereof,” may also mean, that it would not seem to be one garment at all, whether one old or one new; but two, partly old and partly new. The application of these similitudes is quite easy, and is meant by our Redeemer to justify His mode of acting in not subjecting His disciples at first to the rigours of penance, for which, in their present imperfect state, they were unfit. His disciples He compares to old garments and old bottles; an austere system of life, to new cloth and new wine; and He argues, that if His disciples were all at once subjected to austerities quite new to them, they might fall into despondency, and desert His service altogether. Austerities are reserved for the time when, after being disciplined in the school of perfection, they shall become strong in the fulness of the grace of God’s Holy Spirit.

Mat 9:17  Neither do they put new wine into old bottles. Otherwise the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish. But new wine they put into new bottles: and both are preserved.

This is the third illustration, to show that our Redeemer ought not, during His lifetime, subject His followers to the austerities of fasting.

“Old bottles,” flasks made of goat or sheepskins, quite common among the ancients, and still in use in Spain and other southern countries. Leathern bottles, when old and inelastic, could not expand with the fermentation of the new wine; but if the skins were new, they could distend; and, so, the bottles would not burst. The application is the same as the foregoing. Those who are lately converted, are unable to bear the heavy burdens for which the fulness of the grace of the Spirit will fit and strengthen them.

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St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 135

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

1. Very pleasant ought it be to us, and we should rejoice because it is pleasant, to which this Psalm exhorteth us. For it says, “Praise the name of the Lord” (ver. 1). And it forthwith appends the reason, why it is just to praise the name of the Lord. “Praise the Lord, ye servants.” What more just? what more worthy? what more thankful.… For if He teaches His own servants who have deserved well of Him, the preachers of His Word, the rulers of His Church, the worshippers of His name, the obeyers of His command, that in their own conscience they should possess the sweetness of their life, lest they be corrupted by the praise or disheartened by the reproach of men; how much the more is He above all, the unchangeable One, who teacheth these things, neither the greater if thou praisest, or the less if thou reproachest.… For ye will do nothing out of place, by praising your Lord, as servants. And if ye were to be for ever only servants, ye ought to praise the Lord; how much more ought ye servants to praise the Lord, that ye may hereafter gain the privilege of sons?

2. … Therefore, “Ye who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord” (ver. 2). Be thankful; ye were without, and ye stand within. Since then ye stand, is it a small thing for you to think where He should be praised, who raised you when you were cast down, and caused you to stand in His house, to know Him, and to praise Him? Is it a small boon, that we stand in the house of the Lord?… If one thinks of this, and is not unthankful, he will utterly despise himself in comparison with the love of his Lord, who hath done so great things for him. And since he hath nothing wherewith to repay God for so great benefits, what remains for him but to give Him thanks, not to repay Him? It belongs to the very act of thanksgiving, to “receive the cup of the Lord, and to call upon His name.” For what can the servant repay the Lord for all that He hath given him?7

3. What reason shall I give why you should praise Him? “Because the Lord is good” (ver. 3). Briefly in one word is here explained the praise of the Lord our God. “The Lord is good;” good, not in the same manner as the things which He here made are good. For God made all things very good; not only good, but also very good. He made the sky and earth, and all things which are in them good, and He made them very good. If He made all these things good, of what sort is He who made them?…

4. How far can we speak of His goodness? Who can conceive in his heart, or apprehend how good the Lord is? Let us however return to ourselves, and in us recognise Him, and praise the Maker in His works, because we are not fit to contemplate Him Himself. And in hope that we may be able to contemplate Him, when our heart hath been purified by faith, that hereafter it may rejoice in the Truth; now as He cannot be seen by us, let us look at His works, that we may not live without praising Him. So I have said, “Praise the Lord, for He is good; sing praises unto His Name, for He is sweet.… He is Mediator, and thereupon is sweet. What is sweeter than angels’ food? How can God not be sweet, since man ate angels’ food? For men and angels live not on different meat. That is truth, that is wisdom, that is the goodness of God, but thou canst not enjoy it in like wise with the angels.… That man might eat angels’ food, the Creator of the angels was made man.2 If ye taste, sing praises; if ye have tasted how sweet the Lord is, sing praises; if that which ye have tasted has a good savour, praise it; who is so unthankful to cook or purveyor, as not to return thanks by praising what he tastes, if he be pleased by any food. If we are not silent on such occasions, shall we be silent concerning Him, who has given us all things?…

5. “For the Lord hath chosen Jacob to Himself, Israel for His own possession” (ver. 4).… Let not Jacob therefore extol himself, let him not boast himself, or ascribe it to his own merits. He was known before, predestinated before, elected before, not elected for his own merits, but found out, and gifted with life by the grace of God. So with all the Gentiles; for how did the wild-olive deserve, that it should be grafted in, from the bitterness of its berries, the barrenness of its wildness? It was the wood of the wilderness, not of the Lord’s field, and yet He of His mercy grafted the wild-olive into the (true) olive. But up to this time the wild-olive was not grafted in.

6. … “Because,” says he, “I know that the Lord is great, and our God is above all gods” (ver. 5). If we should say to him, we ask thee, explain to us His greatness; would he not perchance answer us, He whom I see is not so very great, if He be able to be expounded by me. Let him then return to His works, and tell us. Let him hold in his conscience the greatness of God, which he has seen, which he has committed to our faith, whither he could not lead our eyes, and enumerate some of the things which the Lord hath done here; that unto us, who cannot see His greatness as he can, He may become sweet through the works of His which we can comprehend.…

7. “All whatsoever the Lord willed, He made in the heaven, and in the earth, in the sea, and in all its deep places” (ver. 6). Who can comprehend these things? Who can enumerate the works of the Lord in the heaven and earth, in the sea, and in all deep places? Yet if we cannot comprehend them all, we should believe and hold them without question, because whatever creature is in heaven, whatever is in earth, whatever is in the sea and in all deep places, has been made by the Lord.…

8. “Raising the clouds from the ends of the earth” (ver. 7). We see these works of God in His creation. For the clouds come from the ends of the earth to the midst thereof, and rain; thou scannest not whence they arise. Hence the prophet signifies this, from “the ends of the earth,” whether it be from the bottom, or from the circumference of the ends of the earth, whencesoever He wills He raises the clouds only from the earth. “He hath made lightnings into rain.” For lightnings without rain would frighten thee, and bestow nothing on thee. “He maketh lightnings unto rain.” It lightens, and thou tremblest; it rains, thou rejoicest. “He hath made lightnings unto rain.” He who terrified thee, Himself causest that thou shouldest rejoice. “Who bringeth the winds out of His treasures,” their causes are hidden, thou knowest not whence they come. When the wind blows, thou feelest it; why it blows, or from what treasure of His wisdom it is brought forth, thou knowest not; yet thou owest to God the worship of faith, for it would not blow unless He had bidden who made it, unless He had brought it forth who created it.

9. We see therefore these things in that work of His; we praise, we marvel at, we bless God; let us see what He has done among men for His people. “Who smote the first-born of Egypt” (ver. 8). But withal those divine doings are told which thou mightest love, those are not told which thou mightest fear. Attend, and see that also when He is angry, He doeth what He willeth. “From man even unto beast. He sent signs and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt!” (ver. 9). Ye know, ye have read what the hand of the Lord did by Moses in Egypt, to crush and cast down the proud Egyptians, “on Pharaoh and on all his servants.” Little did He in Egypt: what did He after His people was led out thence? “Who smote many nations” (ver. 10), who possessed that land, which God willed to give His people. “And slew mighty kings, Sehon king of the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan” (ver. 11). All these things which the Psalm records simply, do we read likewise in others of the Lord’s books, and there the hand of the Lord is great. When thou seest what has been done to the wicked, take heed lest it be done to thee.… But when the good man sees what the wicked has suffered, let him cleanse himself from all iniquity, lest he fall into a like punishment, a like chastisement. Then ye have thoroughly understood these things. What did God then? He drove out the wicked, “And he gave their land for an inheritance, even an inheritance to Israel His servant” (ver. 12).

10. Then follows the loud cry of His praise. “Thy Name, O Lord, is for ever and ever” (ver. 13), after all these things which Thou hast done. For what do I see that Thou hast done? I behold Thy creation which Thou hast made in heaven, I behold this lower part, where we dwell, and here I see Thy gifts of clouds, and winds, and rain. I regard Thy people; Thou leddest them from the house of bondage, and didst signs and wonders upon their enemies. Thou punishedst those who caused them trouble, Thou dravest the wicked from their land, Thou killedst their kings, Thou gavest their land to Thy people: I have seen all these things, and filled with joy have said, “Lord, Thy Name is for ever and ever.” …

11. All these things then did God overthrow, in the body at that time, when our fathers were led out of the land of Egypt, in the spirit now. Nor does His Hand cease until the end. Therefore deem not that these mighty deeds of God were then finished and have ceased. “Thy Name, O Lord,” he says, “is for ever.” That is, Thy loving-kindness ceaseth not, Thy hand ceaseth not for ever from doing these things, which then Thou didst afore declare in a figure. “But they are written for our admonition, on whom the end of the ages is come.”2 One generation and another generation; the generation by which we are made the faithful, and are born again by baptism; the generation by which we shall rise again from the dead, and shall live with the Angels for ever. Thy Memorial, O Lord, is above this generation, and above that; for neither doth He now forget to call us, nor then will He forget to crown us.

12. “The Lord hath judged His people, and will be called upon among His servants” (ver. 14). Already hath He judged the people. Save the final judgment, the people of the Jews is judged. What is “judged”? The just are taken away, the unjust are left. But if I lie, or am thought to lie, because I have said, it is already judged, hear the Lord saying, “I have come for judgment into this world, that they who see not may see, and they who see may be made blind.” The proud are made blind, the lowly are enlightened. Therefore, “He hath judged His people.” Isaiah spake the judgment. “And now, thou house of Jacob, come ye, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”4 This is a small matter; but what follows? “For He hath put away His people, the house of Israel.” The house of Jacob is the house of Israel; for he who is Jacob, the same is Israel.… Therefore God had judged His people, by separating the evil and the good; that is to say, “He shall be called upon among His servants.” By whom? By the Gentiles. For how vast are the nations who have come in by faith. How many farms and desert places now come in to us? They come thence no one can tell how numerously; they would believe. We say to them, What will ye? They answer, To know the glory of God. Believe, my brethren, that we wonder and rejoice at such a claim of these rustic people. They come I know not whither, roused up by I know not whom. How shall I say, I know not by whom? I know indeed by whom, because He says, “No one cometh to Me, save whom the Father draweth.” They come suddenly from the woods, the desert, the most distant and lofty mountains, to the Church; and many of them, nay, near all hold this language, so that we see of a truth that God teacheth them within.6 The prophecy of Scripture is fulfilled, when it says, “And they shall all be taught of God.” We say to them, What do ye long for? And they answer, To see the glory of God.8 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” They believe, they are sanctified, they will to have clergy ordained for them. Is it not fulfilled, “and He will be called upon among His servants”?

13. Lastly, after all that arrangement and dispensation, the Spirit of God turns itself to reproaching and ridiculing those idols, which are now ridiculed by their very worshippers. “The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold” (ver. 15). As God made all these things, who made whatever He would in heaven and earth, what can anything that man maketh be, but an object of ridicule, not adoration? Was He perchance about to speak of “the idols of the Gentiles,” that we might despise them all? was He about to speak of the idols of the heathen, stones and wood, plaster and pottery? I say not these, they are mean materials. I speak of that which they specially love, that which they specially honour. “The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.” Surely it is gold, surely it is silver: because silver glitters, and gold glitters, have they therefore eyes, or do they see?… But as these things are senseless, why make ye men of silver and gold to be gods? See ye not that the gods which ye make see not? “They have a mouth, and will not speak; they have eyes, and will not see” (ver. 16); “they have ears, and will not hear; neither is there any breath in their mouth” (ver. 17); “they have nostrils, and will not smell; they have hands, and will not work; they have feet, and will not walk.” All these things could the carpenter, the silversmith, the goldsmith make, both eyes, and ears, and nostrils, and mouth, and hands, and feet, but he could give neither sight to the eyes, nor hearing to the ears, nor speech to the mouth, nor smell to the nostrils, nor motion to the hands, or going to the feet.

14. And man, thou laughest doubtless at what thou hast made, if thou knowest by whom thou art made. But of them who know not, what is said? “All they who make them, and all they who trust in them, are like them” (ver. 18). And ye believe, brethren, that there is a likeness to these idols expressed not in their flesh, but in their inner man. For “they have ears, and hear not.” GOD calls to them indeed, “He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” They have eyes, and see not, for they have the eyes of the body, and not the eyes of faith. Lastly, this prophecy is fulfilled among all the nations.… Is it not fulfilled? Is it not seen, as it is written? And they who remain have eyes, and see not; have nostrils, and smell not. They perceive not that savour. “We are a good savour of Christ,”2 as the apostle says everywhere. What profiteth it, that they have nostrils, and smell not that so sweet savour of Christ? Truly it is done in them, and truly it is said of them, “All they who make them,” etc.

15. But daily do men believe through the miracles of Christ our Lord; daily the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf are opened, the nostrils of the senseless are breathed into, the tongues of the dumb are loosed, the hands of the palsied are strengthened, the feet of the lame are guided; sons of Abraham are raised up of these stones, to all of whom be it said, “Bless the Lord, ye house of Israel” (ver. 19). All are sons of Abraham; and if sons of Abraham are raised up from these stones, it is plain that they are rather the house of Israel who belong to the house of Israel, the seed of Abraham, not by the flesh, but by faith. But even granting that it is said of that house, and the people of Israel is meant, from thence did the Apostles and thousands of the circumcised believe? “Bless the Lord, ye house of Aaron. Bless the Lord, ye house of Levi” (ver. 20). Bless the Lord, ye nations, this is, the “house of Israel” generally; bless Him, ye leaders, this is, the “house of Aaron;” bless Him, ye servants, this is, the “house of Levi.” What of the other nations? “Ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord.”

16. Let us also with one voice say what follows: “Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, who dwelleth in Jerusalem” (ver. 21). Out of Zion is Jerusalem too. Zion is “watching,” Jerusalem the “vision of peace.” In what Jerusalem will He dwell now? In that which has fallen? Nay, but in that which is our mother, which is in the heavens, of which it is said, “The desolate hath more children than she which hath a husband.” For now the Lord is from Zion, because we watch when He will come; now as long as we live in hope, we are in Zion. When our way is ended, we shall dwell in that city which will never fall, because the Lord dwelleth in her, and keepeth her, which is the vision of peace, the eternal Jerusalem; for the praise of which, my brethren, language sufficeth not; where we shall find no enemy, either within the Church or without the Church, neither in our flesh, nor in our thoughts. For “death shall be swallowed up in victory,”5 and we shall be free to see God in eternal peace, being made citizens of Jerusalem, the city of God.

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 135

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

THE PRAISE OF YAHWEH AS THE MIGHTY GOD OF THE COVENANT

THE people, the priests, the Levites and the Proselytes are summoned to join in praising and thanking the Lord for the many favours which He has conferred on Israel. In nature and history Yahweh has shown Himself to be the almighty Helper of His people. The impotence of the heathen divinities brings out in clearer light the omnipotence of the Lord. Let all Israel, then, join in the praise of its God!

This psalm contains numerous echoes of other psalms. It is generally agreed that it is of post-Exilic origin.

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St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 115

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

1. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give the praise” (ver. 1). For that grace of the water that gushed from the rock (“now that rock was Christ”), was not given on the score of works that had gone before, but of His mercy “that justifieth the ungodly.”13 For “Christ died for sinners,” that men might not seek any glory of their own, but in the Lord’s Name.

2. “For Thy loving mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake” (ver. 2). Observe how often these two qualities, loving mercy and truth, are joined together in the holy Scriptures. For in His loving mercy He called sinners, and in His truth He judgeth those who when called refused to come. “That the heathen may not say, Where is now their God?” For at the last, His loving mercy and truth will shine forth, when “the sign of the Son of man shall appear in heaven, and then shall all tribes of the earth cry woe;” nor shall they then say, “Where is their God?” when He is no longer preached unto them to be believed in, but displayed before them to be trembled at.

3. “As for our God, He is in heaven above” (ver. 3). Not in heaven, where they see the sun and moon, works of God which they adore, but “in heaven above,” which overpasseth all heavenly and earthly bodies. Nor is our God in heaven in such a sense, as to dread a fall that should deprive Him of His throne, if heaven were withdrawn from under Him. “In heaven and earth He hath made whatsoever pleased Him.” Nor doth He stand in need of His own works, as if He had place in them where He might abide; but endureth in His own eternity, wherein He abideth and hath done whatsoever pleased Him, both in heaven and earth; for they did not support Him, as a condition of their being created by Him: since, unless they had been created, they could not have supported Him. Therefore, in whatsoever He Himself dwelleth, He, so to speak, containeth this as in need of Himself, He is not contained by this as if He needed it. Or it may be thus understood: “In heaven and in earth He hath done whatsoever pleased Him,” whether among the higher or the lower orders of His people, He hath made His grace His free gift, that no man may boast in the merits of his own works.…

4. “Their idols,” he saith, “are silver and gold, even the work of men’s hands” (ver. 4). That is, although we cannot display our God to your carnal eyes, whom ye ought to recognise through his works; yet be not seduced by your vain pretences, because ye can point with the finger to, the objects of your worship. For it were much worthier for you not to have what to point to, than that your hearts’ blindness should be displayed in what is exhibited to these eyes by you: for what do ye exhibit, save gold and silver? They have indeed both bronze, and wood, and earthenware idols, and of different materials of this description; but the Holy Spirit preferred mentioning the more precious material, because when every man hath blushed for that which he sets more by, he is much more easily turned away from the worship of meaner objects. For it is said in another passage of Scripture concerning the worshippers of images, “Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth.” But lest that man who speaketh thus not to a stone or stock, but to gold and silver, seem wiser to himself; let him look this way, let him turn hitherwards the ear of his heart: “The idols of the Gentiles are gold and silver.” Nothing mean and contemptible is here mentioned: and indeed to that mind which is not earth, both gold and silver is earth, but more beautiful and brilliant, more solid and firm. Employ not then the hands of men, to create a false Deity out of that metal which a true God hath created; nay, a false man, whom thou mayest worship for a true God.…

5. “For they have mouths, and speak not: eyes have they, and see not” (ver. 5). “They have ears, and hear not: noses have they, and smell not” (ver. 6). “They have hands, and handle not; feet have they, and walk not; neither cry they through their throat” (ver. 7). Even their artist therefore surpasseth them, since he had the faculty of moulding them by the motion and functions of his limbs: though thou wouldest be ashamed to worship that artist. Even thou surpassest them, though thou hast not made these things, since thou doest what they cannot do. Even a beast doth excel them; for unto this it is added, “neither cry they through their throat.” For after he had said above, “they have mouths, and speak not;” what need was there, after he had enumerated the limbs from head to feet, to repeat what he had said of their crying through their throat; unless, I suppose, because we perceive that what he mentioned of the other members, was common to men and beasts? For they see, and hear, and smell, and walk, and some, apes for instance, handle with hands. But what he had said of the mouth, is peculiar to men: since beasts do not speak. But that no one might refer what hath been said to the works of human members alone, and prefer men only to the gods of the heathen; after all this he added these words, “neither cry they through their throat:” which again is common to men and cattle.… How much better then do mice and serpents, and other animals of like sort, judge of the idols of the heathen, so to speak, for they regard not the human figure in them when they see not the human life. For this reason they usually build nests in them, and unless they are deterred by human movements, they seek for themselves no safer habitations. A man then moveth himself, that he may frighten away a living beast from his own god; and yet worshippeth that god who cannot move himself, as if he were powerful, from whom he drove away one better than the object of his worship.… Even the dead surpasseth a deity who neither liveth nor hath lived.…

6. But they seem to themselves to have a purer religion, who say, I neither worship an idol, nor a devil; but in the bodily image I behold an emblem of that which I am bound to worship.… They presume to reply, that they worship not the bodies themselves, but the deities which preside over the government of them. One sentence of the Apostle, therefore, testifieth to their punishment and condemnation; “Who,” he saith, “have changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” For in the former part of this sentence he condemned idols; in the latter, the account they give of their idols: for by designating images wrought by an artificer by the names of the works of God’s creation, they change the truth of God into a lie; while, by considering these works themselves as deities, and worshipping them as such, they serve the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.…

7. But, it will be said, we also have very many instruments and vessels made of materials or metal of this description for the purpose of celebrating the Sacraments, which being consecrated by these ministrations are called holy, in honour of Him who is thus worshipped for our salvation: and what indeed are these very instruments or vessels, but the work of men’s hands? But have they mouth, and yet speak not? have they eyes, and see not? do we pray unto them, because through them we pray to God? This is the chief cause of this insane profanity, that the figure resembling the living person, which induces men to worship it, hath more influence in the minds of these miserable persons, than the evident fact that it is not living, so that it ought to be despised by the living.

8. The result that ensueth is that described in the next verse: “They that make them are like unto them, and so are all such as put their trust in them” (ver. 8). Let them therefore see with open eyes, and worship with shut and dead understandings, idols that neither see nor live. “But the house of Israel hath hoped in the Lord” (ver. 9). “For hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” But that this patience may endure to the end, “He is their helper and defender.” Do perhaps spiritual persons (by whom carnal minds are built up in “the spirit of meekness,”4 because they pray as higher for lower minds) already see, and is that already to them reality which to the lower is hope? It is not so. For even “the house of Aaron hath hope in the Lord” (ver. 10). Therefore, that they also may stretch forward perseveringly towards those things which are before them, and may run perseveringly, until they may apprehend that for which they are apprehended, and may know even as they are known,6 “He is their helper and defender.” For both “fear the Lord, and have hoped in the Lord: He is their helper and defender” (ver. 11).

9. For we do not by our deservings prevent the mercy of God; but, “The Lord hath been mindful of us, and hath blessed us. He hath blessed the house of Israel, He hath blessed the house of Aaron” (ver. 12). But in blessing both of these, “He hath blessed all that fear the Lord” (ver. 13). Dost thou ask, who are meant by both of these? He answereth, “both small and great.” That is, the house of Israel with the house of Aaron, those who among that nation believed in Jesus the Saviour.… For in the character of those who out of that nation believed, it is said, “Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.” Seed, because when it has been scattered over the earth, it multiplied.

10. For the great ones, of the house of Aaron, have said, “May the Lord increase you more and more, you and your children” (ver. 14). And thus it hath happened. For children that have been raised even from the stones have flocked unto Abraham: sheep which were not of this fold, have flocked unto him, that there might be one flock, and one shepherd;9 the faith of all nations was added, and the number grew, not only of wise priests, but of obedient peoples; the Lord increasing not only their fathers more and more, who in Christ might show the way to the rest who should imitate them, but also their children, who should follow their fathers’ pious footsteps.

11. Therefore the Prophet saith unto these great and small, the mountains and the little hills, the rams and the young sheep, what followeth: “Ye are the blessed of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (ver. 15). As if he should say, Ye are the blessed of the Lord, who made the heaven in the great, earth in the small: not this visible heaven, studded with luminaries which are objects to these eyes. For “The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s” (ver. 16); who hath elevated the minds of some saints to such a height, that they became teachable by no man, but by God Himself; in comparison of which heaven, whatever is discerned with carnal eyes is to be called earth; which “He hath given to the children of men;” that when it is contemplated, whether in that region which illumineth above, as that which is called heaven, or in that which is illumined beneath, which is properly called earth (since in comparison with that which is called heaven of heaven, the whole, as we have said, is earth;) the whole therefore of this earth He hath given to the children of men, that by the consideration of it, as far as they can, they may conceive of the Creator, whom with their yet weak hearts they cannot see without that aid to their conception.

12. … But nevertheless since they derive the truth and richness of wisdom, not from man nor through man, but through God Himself, they have received little ones who shall be heaven, that they may know that they are heaven of heaven; as yet however earth, unto which they say, “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” For to those very sons of men whom He made heaven, He who knoweth how to provide for the earth through heaven, hath given earth upon which they work. May they therefore abide, heaven and earth, in their God, who made them, and let them live from Him, confessing unto Him, and praising Him; for if they choose to live from themselves, they shall die, as it is written, “From the dead, as though he were not, confession ceaseth.”2 But, “The dead praise not Thee, O Lord, neither all they that go down into silence” (ver. 17). For the Scripture in another passage proclaimeth, “The sinner, when he cometh into the abyss of wickednesses, scorneth.” “But we, who live, will praise the Lord, from this time forth for evermore” (ver. 18).

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalms 114 and 115

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

Please note: In the Septuagint (i.e., the LXX) and Vulgate versions, Psalm 113 consists of 26 verses. The Massoretic text (i.e., the MT) treated these verses as two separate psalms (psalms 114 & 115). What is designated as Psalm 113:1-8 in the Sept./Vulg., is Psalm 114 in the MT. Psalm 113:9-26 in the Sept./Vulg., is Psalm 115 in the MT. Fathe Boylan’s numbering follows the Sept./Vulg., but he provided introductions to both part. Since most modern translations follow the MT numbering I have changed the numbering in the following post to correspond. The numbering employed by Fr. Boylan (following the Sept./Vulg.,) appears in square brackets, i.e., […].

Psalm 114 [113:1-8]
THE WONDERS OF THE EXODUS

This hymn to God’s glory and power in the Exodus is poetically one of the finest passages in the Psalter. It is peculiarly regular in construction, swift in the movement of its thought, and strikingly vivid in its imagery. It consists of four short strophes. In the first strophe (1-2), the poet shows how the Exodus made the Hebrew people in an intimate way the possession of Yahweh. Juda became His sanctuary, and Israel his special belonging: the Hebrews in general became Yahweh’s “holy people,” His “royal priesthood.” The psalmist has fully realised that the events of the Exodus were the beginnings of the national life of Israel. The designation of Juda as the sanctuary of Yahweh is an implied reference to the Temple: it may indicate, perhaps, that the psahn was composed after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C.

In the second strophe (3-4), the poet in a few brief words makes the chief incidents of the Exodus and of the desert-wanderings stand out vividly; he depicts the Red Sea fleeing in dread before the coming of Israel, the Jordan rushing back headlong towards its source, and Sinai so quaking at the presence of Yahweh that the poet likens its motion to the frisking of lambs.

In the third strophe (5-6) , the psalmist asks the Sea, and River, and Mountain with a sort of ironical chiding why they have acted with such strange want of dignity.

In the final strophe (7-S) he answers his own question. Before the face of Yahweh, the mighty God, at whose command water leaped from the rock, nature must tremble with reverent fear.

Psalm 115 [113:9-26]
ISRAEL’S GOD AND THE IDOL

The song begins with a prayer of the people assembled for worship (verses 1-2 [9-10]). In this prayer Yahweh is entreated to be mindful of His people, Israel, both for the sake of His customary graciousness and fidelity, and to prevent the possibility of mockery on the part of the heathen. It is true that Israel does not deserve any help from the Lord, for she has sinned, but, for His own sake, Yahweh ought to afford help.

In verses  3-8 [11-16] a choir of special singers makes a contrast between Yahweh and the gods of the heathen. Yahweh is a living and mighty God, but the gods of the heathens are mere products of man’s handiwork—helpless things, without sense or life. If the heathens mock Israel because she trusts in Yahweh, with infinitely more reason do they deserve to be mocked who put their trust in idols that are deaf and dumb and blind and altogether impotent.

In verses 9-11 [17-19] the different sections of the worshippers present—the people generally (Israel) those of the priestly class (House of Aaron), and the Proselytes (Those who fear the Lord) declare solemnly their trust in Yahweh.

After verse 11 [19] we may suppose a pause during which the sacrifice was offered. Then in verses 12-13 [20-21] the priest who is entrusted with the giving of the blessing pronounces it over the three groups already mentioned, and in verse 14 [22] a choir repeats the blessing, applying it to the entire people. The blessing invoked on the worshippers appears here more or less explicitly as an increase in the number of the people.

In verses 14-18 [22-26] the people join in a song, as at the beginning. In the introductory prayer they had asked for Yahweh’s help for Israel, because the kindness and fidelity of Yahweh demanded that such help should be given, and because if it were not given the heathens might come to look on Yahweh as helpless. Now the Lord is besought for help on the ground that if Israel is destroyed. He will have no real worshippers on earth. Sheol is so far removed from the heaven which Yahweh has chosen for dwelling-place that the Lord has no interest in its dwellers, and receives thence no worship of praise. Let Him then, keep Israel alive, and Israel will be mindful, on her part, of the ever-binding duty of praising Yahweh.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 20:24-29

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

This post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of John, chapter 20, followed by his notes on verses 24-29.

ANALYSIS OF JOHN CHAPTER 20

In this chapter, we have an account of Magdalen’s arrival at our Lord’s sepulchre, at twilight, on the first day of the week; finding the stone removed, she hastens to inform Peter and John (1, 2). They coming in haste, saw from the linen cloths and bandages that were scattered about, that the Resurrection had taken place. John, in consequence, believed in the Resurrection. After that, they retired to their respective homes (3–11).

Magdalen returning to the sepulchre had a vision of angels. She had, moreover, the ineffable happiness of being met by our Lord Himself, who making Himself known to her, addressed her in consoling language, and instructed her to inform His brethren of it, which she faithfully did (11–18).

Late, on the evening of the same day, after the disciples had returned from Emmaus, our Lord entering the chamber, where the disciples were gathered together, the doors being shut, communicates His peace, imparts the Holy Ghost, and gives power to remit and retain sins. Thomas was absent, this time (19, 23).

The incredulity of Thomas, which our Lord, at His apparition on the eighth day after the Resurrection, mercifully removes, by condescendingly giving Thomas the proofs he desired of our Lord’s real Resurrection (24–28).

Thomas’s ardent faith, and profession in our Lord’s Divinity and Humanity (28).

Our Lord’s commendation of the faith of the simple believers (29).

The Evangelist declares his reason for writing this Gospel (30, 31).

Joh 20:24  Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

“Thomas, one of the twelve.” He says, “one of the twelve,” although the Apostolic College was now reduced to eleven, because “twelve” was the original number, just as in the case of the “Decemvirs,” they would be thus termed, although only nine out of the ten were present on a particular occasion.

“Who is called Didymus.” “Didymus” is not a sirname, but, only a Greek rendering of the term, “Thomas,” which, in Hebrew, means what Didymus signifies, in Greek, that is to say, “twin,” probably, because he was one of two who were born at the same birth.

Some Commentators seem to think Thomas was present; because, St. Luke (24:33), informs us, that when the disciples returned from Emmaus, they found “the eleven gathered together” where our Lord appeared to them. But, as the Apostolic College went by the name of “the eleven,” after our Lord’s death, they might be called “the eleven,” even if any of them were absent on any particular occasion. The words of this verse very clearly state that Thomas was absent on this occasion. It may be, he did not return after the flight of the Apostles at our Lord’s Passion; or, he may have gone out on some business, and be absent when our Lord appeared. Possibly, the account given by the disciples, who returned that evening from Emmaus, may have been too much for his incredulity; and he may, becoming impatient at their recital, have left the chamber.

Joh 20:25  The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Our Lord, as we learn from St. Luke (24:40), showed them His feet also. Hence, not only His hands were each perforated with a rough nail; but, His feet also—“foderunt manus meas et pedes meos.” Whether two distinct nails were used for His feet, a nail for each, or only one for both feet, is disputed. In this is displayed the obstinate incredulity of Thomas.

Our Lord mercifully permitted this hesitation on the part of Thomas, in order to strengthen our faith, and remove all doubt on our part, “Plus enim nobis Thomœ infidelitas ad fidem, quam fides credentium discipulorum profuit. Quia, dum ille ad fidem palpando reducitur, nostra mens omni dubitatione posthabita, in fide solidatur”—(“The unbelief of Thomas is more profitable to our faith, than the belief of the other disciples; for, the touch by which he is brought to believe, confirming our minds in belief, beyond all question” St. Gregory, Homil. in Evangel. 26).

Joh 20:26  And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said: Peace be to you.

“The disciples were within.” It is disputed whether this took place in the same room at Jerusalem, where He appeared before, or in Galilee, whither He ordered them to repair. (Matthew 28) It seems more likely, that it occurred at Jerusalem, as the Apostles, who were well known, and would be closely watched by the persecuting Jews, would hardly venture much out at this time, while the memory of recent events was still fresh in men’s minds. Moreover, the uniformity of narrative in regard to this and the preceding apparition would indicate the same place. There was no reason for assembling with closed doors in Galilee. The eighth day was selected, as likely having been assembled on the preceding Sabbath, they did not depart all at once. Our Lord wished to appear when they were together, so that in bestowing the faith on Thomas, He could confirm the faith of all the rest.

Joh 20:27  Then he said to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither and see my hands. And bring hither the hand and put it into my side. And be not faithless, but believing.

“Then He saith to Thomas,” specially addressing Him, whose infidelity he came to cure. He employs the language of doubt used by Thomas, thereby showing His Divinity and Omniscience, conveying to him, that, although absent when Thomas used the language of unbelief, He still knew what he said. Hence, with merciful condescension, He said to him: as you would not believe unless you saw the prints of the nails in My hands, etc., thus irreverently dictating to Me what proof of My Resurrection I was to adduce, as if I could not bring home conviction by the sole act of My will; come now, do what you said, and, by touching Me, “see My hands,” etc.

We cannot but admire the wonderful love and condescension of our Lord in coming to bring about the conversion of His unbelieving Apostle. It is likely, though others think He durst not do it, that Thomas did actually touch our Lord’s hands and feet, which, although now glorified, were, by divine dispensation, made sensible to the sense of touch. “See My hands,” etc. The sense of seeing is made to comprise all the other senses.

“And be not faithless, but believing,” as if He said, thou didst say that unless thou hadst seen My perforated hands and side, thou wouldst not believe. Now, thou hast seen them; I have done My part, by exhibiting My wounds for your inspection, with the merciful design of curing thy blindness and unbelief. Do thou, therefore, thy part; give up thy incredulity, and become a sincere believer.

St. Thomas, it is thought, was guilty of the sin of disbelieving our Lord’s Resurrection. As regards His Divinity, he would seem to have very unsettled and hazy notions. He was guilty of pride, obstinacy and self-conceit, from which his sin of incredulity sprang.

Joh 20:28  Thomas answered and said to him: My Lord and my God.

“Thomas”—addressing our Lord—“said to Him, My Lord,” etc. This short incisive sentence, clearly expresses Thomas’s earnestness. It was a clear confession, on the part of Thomas, of our Lord’s humanity, through which He accomplished Redemption, and thus became, by purchase, Thomas’s “Lord” and Master; and of His Divinity, “my God.” In these words, Thomas acknowledges our Lord to be Man and God, and, that not only did He rise again, but raised Himself up by His own power.

The attempt on the part of some to evade the force of these words, which, in their plain and literal import, clearly denote faith in our Lord’s Divinity and humanity; by saying they were a mere exclamation, “O, My God,” as the Pagans used to exclaim, “Mi Hercle(“By my god”), etc., is more deserving of ridicule than refutation, as Patrizzi (in hunc locum) observes.

The language is addressed to our Lord Himself. “Thomas … said to Him,” without reproof from our Lord, who, far from reproving him for this irreverent exclamation, as He would have done were it so; on the contrary, commends His faith, of which these words are the only expression on record.

Moreover, it would have been a shocking profanity on the part of Thomas—a thing held in horror by the Jews—to invoke the name of God, so inconsiderately. These words are, therefore, an expression of faith on the part of St. Thomas, in our Lord’s Divinity, accepted and commended by our Lord as such.

Joh 20:29  Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.

Because thou hast seen Me … thou hast believed.” Our Lord clearly commends the faith of Thomas, who, having seen the proofs of His Resurrection, aided by God’s grace, believed in His invisible Divinity, and also believed in what he did not see. viz., that His Resurrection was brought about by His own Divine power. This followed from his believing Him to be his “God.” Our Lord does not reprimand Thomas’s faith, but accepts it. Hence, He accepts his profession, that He was Himself God by nature, and not by participation. He was his “Lord” in right of Redemption, thus indicating His human nature. His “God,” in whom the Divine nature and all the Divine attributes were essentially resplendent.

The words, “thou hast believed,” may be understood of faith in our Lord’s Resurrection. Thomas did not believe in our Lord’s Resurrection, until he had the testimony of the senses and his own experience in proof of it. But, then, having experimental knowledge of the fact, he believed in it, not on account of his knowledge; but, on account of the authority of God revealing it. For His Resurrection proved Him to be God. Our Lord had frequently predicted His own Resurrection. The truth of this Revelation at once dawned on Thomas, and aided by Divine grace, he believed in our Lord’s Resurrection. He believed in His Divinity and Humanity, believed in all He revealed and disclosed. While our Lord commends the faith of Thomas, He tacitly reproaches him for his mode of believing, for his tardiness, and for not simply confiding in the narrative of the other Apostles, who declared they saw Him. In contrast with the obstinate tardiness of Thomas, He praises the simple faith of the others.

“Blessed are they that have not seen.” Under the past, by a Hebrew idiom, often used by the prophets in expressing future events in a past form, is, as if they had actually occurred, included the present, and not the Apostles alone, but, all future believers, such as are referred to, “who have not seen.”

“Blessed,” is used in a comparative sense, a thing, by no means unusual in Scriptures—more blessed. For, Thomas himself was “blessed,” in his faith, “credidisti,” which faith our Lord commends.

The faith of these simple believers referred to by our Lord, is deserving of higher commendation, who, without waiting for the argument of experience and demonstration, as a motive of credibility, accept the proposed truths at once on competent authority propounding them.

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St Augustine’s Tractate on John 20:24-29

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days, again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.” He saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other. “Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed.” He saith not, Thou hast touched me, but, “Thou hast seen me,” because sight is a kind of general sense. For sight is also habitually named in connection with the other four senses: as when we say, Listen, and see how well it sounds; smell it, and see how well it smells; taste it, and see how well it savors; touch it, and see how hot it is. Everywhere has the word, See, made itself heard, although sight, properly speaking, is allowed to belong only to the eyes. Hence here also the Lord Himself says, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands:” and what else does He mean but, Touch and see? And yet he had no eyes in his finger. Whether therefore it was by looking, or also by touching, “Because thou hast seen me,” He says, “thou hast believed.” Although it may be affirmed that the disciple dared not so to touch, when He offered Himself for the purpose; for it is not written, And Thomas touched Him. But whether it was by gazing only, or also by touching that he saw and believed, what follows rather proclaims and commends the faith of the Gentiles: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” He made use of words in the past tense, as One who, in His predestinating purpose, knew what was future, as if it had already taken place. But the present discourse must be kept from the charge of prolixity: the Lord will give us the opportunity to discourse at another time on the topics that remain.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Ephesians 2:19-22

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of Epehsians 2, followed by his notes on verses 19-22. Text in purple represents his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2

In this chapter, the Apostle applies to the Ephesians in particular, what he had said in general regarding the power of God exerted in the spiritual resuscitation of sinners (chap. 1 verse 19). He depicts the wretched condition of the Ephesians when dead in sin; and he shows, that the same description applied to the Jews as well as to the Gentiles (1–3). He also shows how, through the infinite mercy of God, they were resuscitated unto a spiritual resurrection—of which the resurrection of Christ was the model—and made sharers in his heavenly kingdom (4–7). He reminds them, that those favours were purely the result of God’s gratuitous goodness, without any merits of theirs; for, their justification was a kind of new creation, and as well might the world glory in its production out of nothing, as they, in their new spiritual existence (8–12). In order to inspire them with due feelings of gratitude, and to stimulate them to serve God with greater fervour, he tells them, in the next place, to keep always in mind, their former spiritual destitution, and wretched state, and their present blessedness secured for them through the merits of Christ; and he explains how Christ brought about such exalted ends (11–19). From all this he concludes, that they are no longer strangers, but domestics of God; and he illustrates the union that subsisted between the Ephesians and the rest of the faithful by the metaphor of a spiritual edifice of which they form a part, having been built on Christ and his Apostles.

Eph 2:19  Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: but you are fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of God,

19. Now, therefore, you are no longer, as you were in your Gentile, unconverted state, strange citizens and mere guests in the family; but you are fellow-citizens of the saints, and inmates of God’s own house.

Among the benefits resulting from their justification is this, viz., that they are no longer “strangers,” deprived of the rights of citizens, as they were before, when “strangers to the testament” (verse 12), and “foreigners,” not belonging to the household of God, for they were “afar off” (verse 13), nay, “without God.” But they now are “fellow-citizens with the saints,” which may refer to the Patriarchs and saints of old with whom they were connected, as being the spiritual Israel—or, it may refer to the faithful members of the Church of Christ, who are frequently called “saints,” by the Apostle; and they are inmates of God’s own family.

Eph 2:20  Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:

20. You are built upon the Apostles and Prophets, who hold the place of secondary foundations in the spiritual edifice of the Church, Jesus Christ himself being its primary foundation, as chief corner-stone laid at the bottom of the building, supporting in one, both Jew and Gentile.

The Apostle introduces the metaphor of the house to which he already had compared the Church of Christ (verse 14). He shows the union that had subsisted between the Ephesians and the rest of the faithful, as they form a part of the spiritual edifice built upon Christ and the Apostles, &c. Christ is the primary foundation in this edifice; it is by his faith and grace it is sustained. “The Prophets,” who ushered in the Gospel, and “the Apostles,” who were the first to announce it, are called a “foundation,” but only secondary foundations, since Christ is the corner-stone, on which both the walls, that is to say, Jews and Gentiles, were united, on which both rested; and by which, both were supported, forming only one edifice. This furnishes no objection against the Primacy of St. Peter; for, there is an order of priority and preference between the secondary foundations, as is shown in the proofs of the Primacy. The Apostles were foundations; but, still, subordinate to St. Peter, the “rock on which Christ built his Church,” the chief shepherd to whom the entire flock was given in charge, “lambs and sheep,” pastors and people.

Eph 2:21  In whom all the building, being framed together, groweth up into an holy temple in the Lord.

21. Upon whom, as chief corner-stone, the entire edifice of the Church, compactly joined and cemented together, is reared up unto a holy temple consecrated to the Lord.

“A holy temple in the Lord,” i.e., of the Lord; or, “holy,” through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 2:22  In whom you also are built together into an habitation of God in the Spirit.

22. Upon whom as chief corner-stone, you Ephesians also are built together with the rest of Christians, constituting parts of this temple, so as to become the habitation of God; this is effected by the Spirit of God, who by his holy grace cements you together and prepares you to be his holy habitation.

The Ephesians form a part of this holy temple; hence, the close union they have contracted with the friends of God, forming a part of the same spiritual edifice with them.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on Ephesians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

This Week’s Commentaries and Posts: Sunday, June 30-Sunday July 7, 2013

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2013

Several resources for various days are still pending.

SUNDAY, JUNE 30, 2013
THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Dominica VI Post Pentecosten ~ II. classis
DAY 10: FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM
To destroy a man wrongfully in his judgment, the Lord hath not approved (Lamentation 3:36).

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms). Usually posted during the evening hours of Tuesday-Thursday.

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday, June 23–Sunday, June 30, 2013.

MONDAY, JULY 1, 2013
MONDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
DAY 11:FORTNIGHT FOR FREDOM
Woe to them who turn justice into wormwood, and cast justice upon the ground~Amos 5:7

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading: Genesis 18:16-33.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 103).

St Augustine’ Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 103).

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 103).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:18-22).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:18-22).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:18-22).

Update: St Augustine on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:18-22). St Joe of O blog.

TUESDAY, JULY 2, 2013
TUESDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
DAY 12: FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM
And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.  And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the old man, and the base against the honorable~Isaiah 3:4-5

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 19:15-29).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 26).

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 26).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:23-27). On 18-27.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:23-27).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:23-27).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:23-27).

Update: St Augustine on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:23-27). St Joe of O Blog.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 2013
FEAST OF ST THOMAS THE APOSTLEDAY 13: FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!~Isaiah 5:20-21

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Eph 2:19-22).

Father Bertrand’s Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Eph 2:19-22).

Father Callan’s Copmmentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Eph 2:19-22). On 12-22.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Eph 2:19-22).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Eph 2:19-22).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 117).

St Augustine’ Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 117).

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 117).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 117).

Father McIntyre’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29). On 19-31.

Pope St Gregory the Great on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29). On 19-31.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29). On 19-31.

St Augustine’s Tractate on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29).

THURSDAY, JULY 4
THURSDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
DAY 14: FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh~Jude 17-23.

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 22:1b-19).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 115). On 114 and 115.

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 115).

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 115).

My Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 115).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:1-8).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:1-8).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:1-8).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:1-8).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Reading (Matt 9:1-8).

FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2013
FRIDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 106).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 106).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:9-13).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:9-13).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:9-13).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:9-13).

SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2013
SATURDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 27:1-5, 15-29).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 135).

Pending: Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 135).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 135).

Maldonado’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:14-17).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:14-17).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:14-17).

Pending: Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:14-17).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:14-17).

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013
FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Dominica VII Post Pentecosten ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Next Week’s Posts and Commentaries: Sun., July 7-Sun., July 14. This post will be moved to the top of the blog on Sunday, July 7.

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