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 2nd, 2013

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 5:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 2, 2013

The following is excerpted from Father Anthony John Maas’ (1859-1927) Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew. He authored numerous articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia. His wide knowledge of scripture commentators from the early church to his own day will be readily apparent to anyone who reads this post. Father Maas usually abbreviated the names of author he was citing or critiquing, so I tried to give their full last names in this post but found it quite time consuming and stopped. At the end of this post you will find Fr. Maas’ list of abbreviation and the identity of those designated by them.

Summary of Matthew 5:1-16~This section refers to the citizens of the Messianic kingdom, but for convenience’ sake it may be subdivided into the following parts: 1. Introduction [Matt 5:1-2]; 2. character of the citizens both in themselves [Matt 5:3–6] and in reference to others [Matt 5:7–12]; 3. influence of the citizens both to preserve [Matt 5:13] and to guide [Matt 5:14–16] others.

Mat 5:1  And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him.

Introduction. Here we become acquainted with the time, the place, the occasion, the nature, and the hearers of the following discourse. a. The time is implied in the clause “and seeing the multitudes.” For these must be those mentioned in the preceding chapter as coming from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. It is extremely probable that they are identical with the multitudes mentioned in the third gospel [Lk. 6:17].

Reasons: [a] They come from nearly the same place; [b] many commentators maintain their identity: Bede, Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron, Tostatus, Maldonado, Jansenius, Lapide, Grimm, Schanz, Fillion, Keil, Mansel, etc.; [c] the discourse of our Lord pronounced on the occasion has the same beginning and end, and treats of the same subject in both the first and third gospel; [d] it is true that some commentators leave this question of identity to the judgment of their readers [e.g. Cornely], that others regard the identity as doubtful [Augustine, Rabanus], and that others again clearly deny the identity of the two discourses [Anselm of Laon, Albert, Toletanus, Barradus Sylveira, Arnoldi]; but their arguments are not Strong enough to convince us: [1] The omission of the legal discussions in the third gospel is in keeping with the class of readers for whom it was written, since Gentiles would not have been able to understand the bearing of these points; hence St. Luke has only 30 verses, while St. Matthew has 107. [2] If according to the first gospel Jesus ascends a mountain, while according to the third he descends before addressing the multitudes, we remember that he had prayed the whole night at the very top of the mountain where he chose the twelve apostles in the morning. From here he descended to a level place on the mountain where he met the multitudes, so that the report of both the first and the third gospel is correct. [3] It is not true that our Lord held the discourse before the election of the twelve according to the first gospel, and after the election according to the third: the first gospel does not mention the election of the twelve, but only enumerates them Mt. 10:2, so that there can be no contradiction between Matthew and Luke on this point.

The identity between the discourse of our Lord as contained in Mt. 5–7 and Lk. 6:27–49 once established, we may determine the time of the discourse from the third gospel. After settling in Capharnaum in the beginning of the second year of his public life, Jesus caused the miraculous draught of fishes, and called the four disciples [Lk. 5:1–10]. Then follows the healing of the demoniac, of Simon’s wife’s mother, of other sick people, the first missionary journey through the cities of Galilee, the cleansing of the leper, the return to Capharnaum, the healing of the paralytic, the call of Levi, and the feast in his house [cf. Mk. 1:21–2:22]. After this comes the Pasch with its details as described in Jn. 5:1–47. After Easter, Jesus passes with his disciples through the cornfields, has an encounter with the Pharisees, heals the withered hand in the synagogue whereupon the Pharisees conspire against him, works the miracles by the seaside, and is followed by the multitudes; finally he ascends a mountain, spends the night in prayer, chooses the twelve, and on descending meets the multitudes on the mountain-level where he delivers the discourse now under discussion [Mk. 2:23–3:19].

He went up into a mountain. b. The place of the discourse. Jer. has nothing certain about the mountain, but believes that it is either Thabor or any other prominent mountain in Galilee; he excludes, however, the opinion of certain “simple brethren” who identify the mountain with Mount Olivet. Euthymius concludes from the Greek article that the mountain must have been well known to the readers of the evangelist, and is inclined to infer from this that it was somewhere near the city of our Lord. Others see in the expression an opposition to Mt. 4:13, where our Lord is represented as acting on the seashore; but there is too great an interval between 4:13 and 5:1. An old tradition which seems to have come down from Brocardus [1283] identifies the mountain with the Kurun Hattin, or the Horns of Hattin. This mountain lies about midway between Thabor and Capharnaum, almost facing Tiberias, and a journey of about three hours from the Sea of Galilee. We may be allowed to take the following description of its site from Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine [p. 436]: “Skirting the hills of Galilee, on the east, is an undulating tableland, which is broken by a long, low ridge, rising at its northern extremity into a square-shaped hill with two tops, which give it the modern name of the ‘Horns of Hattin,’ Hattin being the village on the ridge at its base. This mountain or hill—for it rises only sixty feet above the plain—is that known to pilgrims as the Mount of the Beatitudes, the supposed scene of the sermon on the mount.… That situation so strikingly coincides with the intimations of the gospel narrative that, in this instance, the eye of those who selected the spot was for once rightly guided.” Though on the west side the height of the hill does not exceed forty feet, it rises on the northeast about four hundred feet above the surrounding plain. Besides, each of its horns tapers to a height of about thirty additional feet; between the two horns is a saddle-like plain, 400 paces long, capable of containing a considerable audience, and furnishing a charming view over the surrounding country. Among the mountains west of the Sea of Galilee, Kurun Hattin is the most considerable, and deserves more than any other the Greek title “the mountain.” Jesus ascended this mountain not to escape the multitudes [Cajetan, Maldonado], but to gain a suitable position for teaching them [Albert, Thomas Aquinas; cf. Mt. 7:28; Lk. 6:19]. The sermon on the mount may therefore, even as to the locality of its delivery, be compared with the law of Sinai: both were given on a mountain; the one by the ministry of angels, the other by our Lord himself [cf. Heb. 2:2; Gal. 3:19]; the one was written on stone tables, the other on the heart of men [cf. 31:33]; the one addresses slaves, the other sons; the one begins with terror, the other with blessings; the one threatens punishment, the other proposes rewards [Pasch.]; the one is accompanied by thunder and lightning, and no one is allowed to touch the mountain; the other is given with the greatest peace and serenity to people pressing around the Word incarnate [Jansenius Syleira].

And when he was set down. c. Occasion and audience of the discourse. Jesus has chosen the twelve from among the large number of disciples who had followed him, and, descending from the top of one of the horns, meets the multitude in the saddle-like plain. He sits down, after the manner of the Jewish teachers, in a spot that commands the whole plateau; his twelve surround him immediately; then come the disciples, and around them the vast multitude forms an enclosing circle. It is therefore not necessary to distinguish between a discourse delivered on the mountain to the disciples [Mt.] and another delivered on the plain to the multitudes [Lk. cf. Augustine]; much less need we assume a protracted stay of Jesus on the mountain near Capharnaum [cf. Lk. 24:49; Acts 18:11], during which he gave the lessons of the sermon on the mount gradually [Lutteroth]. That the discourse as related by the first evangelist was not addressed to the disciples alone is evident from Matt 7:28; and similarly, the discourse contained in the third gospel [Lk. 6:20 ff.] was not addressed to the multitudes alone, because our Lord began to speak, “lifting up his eyes on his disciples.”

Mat 5:2  And opening his mouth he taught them, saying:

And opening his mouth. d. Character of the discourse. The solemn scriptural form “opening his mouth” calls attention to the importance of the subject [cf. Job 3:1; 33:2; Dan. 10:16; Acts. 8:35; Acts 10:34; Acts 18:14], and suggests that he who had hitherto opened the months of the prophets, now opened his own month to instruct his followers [Suarez, de legib. IX. ii. 6; cf. Heb 1:2; Augustine Rabanus], and that the following sublime doctrine on Christian perfection had never before been proposed [Maldonado]. But then the question arises, whether our Lord really delivered the whole discourse contained in the first gospel, cc. 5–7, on any single occasion. The reasons for answering in the affirmative are the following:—

[1] There is a perfect logical and oratorical order in the discourse: it describes first the citizens of the kingdom as to their character [5:3–12] and their influence [13–16]; secondly, it compares the new kingdom with the old, in general [17–20] and in special commandments [21–48]; thirdly, it describes the proper means to be employed in the new law, whether they be acts of devotion [6:1–18], or acts of will and intention [19–34], or again, modes of conduct [7:1–12]; finally, a warning against danger [7:13–23] and a contrast with the old law conclude the discourse [24–27]. We grant that the evangelist might have given this form to the instructions and precepts of our Lord delivered on divers occasions; but the following considerations appear to exclude this supposition. [2] It has been pointed out that this discourse is identical with that in Lk. 6:20 ff.; now, the whole of this latter was delivered on one occasion. This argument holds, even if the reader does not admit the identity of the discourse in the first with that in the third gospel; for the third gospel shows that our Lord held, at times, more lengthy discourses, so that we have no reason for presupposing a medley in Mt. 5–7 unless proofs be advanced for such a supposition. [3] The contents of the discourse render it very probable that it was delivered by our Lord as the first gospel relates it. For it was of the highest importance that the Jewish adherents of Jesus should know accurately in what relation the Christian dispensation was to stand with regard to the Synagogue; now, the explanation of this point forms the burden of the sermon on the mount as contained in the first gospel. Besides, the words of Mt. 7:28 imply that the discourse had been a continuous instruction. [4] Hence among the recent commentators Arnoldi, Schegg, Bisping, Schanz, Fillion, Keil, Knabenbauer, defend, at least as probable, the opinion that our Lord delivered the sermon on the mount on one occasion. [5] The circumstance that the first evangelist follows elsewhere a topological arrangement [cf. 8–10, 13] does not prove that he does so in cc. 5–7; if several portions of the discourse are in other passages of the gospels connected with different contexts [e.g. Mt. 5:13 in Mk. 9:49 and Lk. 14:34; Mt. 5:15 in Mk. 4:21 and Lk. 8:16; Mt. 5:18 in Lk. 16:17; Mt. 5:25 in Lk. 12:58; Mt. 5:29 in Mt. 18:9 and Mk. 9:46; Mt. 5:32 in Mt. 19:9 and Lk. 16:18; Mt. 6:9 ff. in Lk. 11:2 f.; Mt. 6:14 in Mt. 18:35 and Mk. 11:25; Mt. 6:20, 21 in Lk. 12:33, 34; Mt. 6:22 in Lk. 11:34; Mt. 6:24 in Lk. 16:13; Mt. 6:25 in Lk. 12:22; Mt. 7:2 in Mk. 4:24; Mt. 7:7 in Mt. 21:22, Mk. 11:24, Lk. 11:9 f. and Jn. 14:13; Mt. 7:13 in Lk. 13:24, 27], it must be remembered that our Lord repeated certain parts of his doctrine more than once. This is clear from the following passages that have evidently been repeated: cf. Lk. 8:16 and 11:33; Mt. 9:32 and 12:22; 12:38 and 16:4. Such repetitions are most natural, since Jesus taught in different localities and before different audiences. In the sermon on the mount we are prepared to admit a number of doctrinal and moral principles that occur elsewhere also, because this sermon is a kind of a summary of our Lord’s position with regard to the law. The length and the copiousness of matter contained in the sermon on the mount are no valid argument against its being delivered on a single occasion; coming, as it did, after the second Pasch of the public life of Jesus, his followers were prepared for it, and on account of their manner of learning, their memory was sufficiently cultivated to retain its doctrine.

Mat 5:3  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the poor in spirit. 2 Character of the citizens. a. In themselves. The evangelist describes the citizens of the Messianic kingdom negatively and positively: negatively, they are not attached to the riches, to the honors, to the pleasures of this world; positively, they earnestly desire after the goods of the next world. Each of these points is further developed in the gospel.

A. Detachment from riches. This virtue is inculcated by the evangelist in the first beatitude.

[a] Our Lord begins with the promise of blessedness or happiness, after which all men are so earnestly striving, and by which all are so effectively attracted. The nature of this blessedness is more fully described in the immediate context: “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We have already seen that the first evangelist designates by “kingdom of heaven” the Messianic kingdom promised in the Old Testament.

[b] The condition of the subjects to whom Jesus promises the possession of this kingdom corrects the corrupt Messianic idea of the Jews. For the citizens of the kingdom are not the rich and honored of this earth, but the poor in spirit. That the Greek word employed by the evangelist means “poor” is evident from Mt. 19:21; 26:9, 11; Mk. 10:21; 12:42; 14:5; Lk. 14:13; 16:20; etc. This meaning of the word is confirmed by the Old Testament passages Is. 61:1; 66:2; Ps. 4:2, 3; 72:4; etc.; cf. also 2 Cor. 8:2, 9; Apoc. 3:17. If further proof of our statement were needed we might point to Lk. 6:20, 24, where poor is used in opposition to rich. The classical meaning of πτωχός does not differ from its signification in Sacred Scripture: “poor, strictly, one who crouches or cringes … a beggar” is the interpretation of the word given by Liddell and Scott [s. v.]. Hilgenfeld and Köstlin are so thoroughly convinced of this signification of πτωχός that they reject τῷ πνεύματι as a later addition, appealing to Clementine Homilies, 15:10; Polycarp ad Phil. 2.

[c] The additional clause τῷ πνεύματι has been understood in various ways: [1] The word “spirit” applies to our intellect, so that the poor in spirit are the ignorant and the stupid [Julian, cf. Or. De princ. iv. 22; Luther. Fritzsche, Grimm Lex.]. St. Paul [1 Cor. 1:16, 17] and Barnabas 19  do not favor this interpretation, since they do not depreciate wisdom and knowledge on account of themselves, but on account of the accompanying pride and want of simplicity. Besides, the word “spirit” hardly signifies either intellectual endowments or acquirements. [2] Keil believes “poor in spirit” applies to those that are destitute of the Holy Spirit; need we say that those “in their knowledge destitute of truth, in their will destitute of holiness, in their feeling destitute of happiness” are supremely wretched rather than attractively blessed [Tholuck]? [3] Jerome, Rabanus Salmeron, understand by “poor in spirit” those that are poor by the grace of the Holy Ghost. Though this opinion is right as far as it goes—for πνεῦμα signifies in the New Testament either the Holy Ghost or the human soul imbued with the grace of the Holy Ghost [cf. Mt. 4:1; 12:31; 22:43; 26:41; Mk. 1:10, 12; 8:12; 14:38; Lk. 1:17, 80; 2:27; etc.]—yet it does not go far enough; for the Holy Ghost may inspire man in various ways as to earthly possessions. [4] What has been said excludes the opinion that the “poor in spirit” are those that are poor by their own choice, not by necessity [Chrysostom Anselm of Laon Cajetan, Jansenius, Maldonado, Sylveira Barradus, Calmet, Suarez de grat. lib. II. xxii. 5]. These are, at best, only a part of the poor in spirit. [5] The “poor in spirit” are all those whose mind and heart are wholly detached from the riches of this earth, whether they be really poor or use the goods of the world as if they used them not. This interpretation of the clause is confirmed by the following considerations: such a state of detachment cannot be reached by the unassisted human will; it is implied by the opposition to the rich, described in Lk. 6:24 as having their consolation in their riches, so that they are rich by reason of their attachment to their wealth; it is also implied by the repeated invitations of our Lord himself [Mt. 13:22; 19:21], which warn us against anxiety about the things of this world, and advise us to abandon our earthly goods in order to attain the true poverty of spirit. Again, this view is supported by overwhelming extrinsic evidence: Chromatius, Gregory of Nyssa,  Basil, Paschasius, Anselm of Laon, Bruno, Arnoldi, Albert, Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron, Cajetan Jansenius, Maldonado, Lapide Barradus, Sylveira, Calmet, Fillion, Knabenbauer. [6] Since poverty of spirit as described is followed by humility, and since both together produce an intimate sense of our own spiritual destitution, the interpretation of Hilary, Chrysostom, Euthymius, Theophylact, Gregory Zachar. chrysop. Augustine, who identify the poor in spirit with the penitent and humble, and that of Ambrose [in Lc. lib. v. n. 53, 54], Leo [serm. 95], Jer. Bed. Rab. gl. ord. Pasch. Dion. Mar. who understand by poor in spirit both the actually poor and the humble, and finally that of Fab. Arn. Schegg, Reischl, Grimm, Schanz, Keil, op. imp. Alb. who understand by poor in spirit those that feel and bemoan their own spiritual helplessness, the obscurity of their understanding, and the weakness of their will: these interpretations may be regarded as giving the consequent meaning of the clause, though they miss the genuine sense.

Mat 5:4  Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.

Blessed are the meed. β. Detachment from honors. The blessedness promised in the second beatitude consists in possessing the land. Since the possession of Palestine had been promised to the Israelites, both the national and the individual happiness of the Jews was connected with the fulfilment of this promise. It was on this account that the promises of the prophets Is. 60, 62, 65, 66, 30, 31, Zach. 14:7 ff., Ps. 37:11 etc. were of such vital importance to the Jewish community. Our Lord repeats in his second beatitude the promise of Ps. 36:11, in order to show that through him the national promises of Israel must be fulfilled.

[a] What land are the meek to inherit? [1] The land implies temporal prosperity [Chrys. Theoph. Euth.], so that it includes all earthly goods. [2] The promise refers only to the possession of heavenly happiness of which Palestine was a figure [Jer. Aug. Nyss. op. imp. Rab. gl. ord. Fab. Jans. Bar. Lap. Calm. Arn. cf. Rom. 8:21; 2 Pet. 3:12; Apoc. 21:2–5]. [3] Palestine represented rather the Messianic kingdom than the future life in heaven; if then “the land” must be taken according to its typical meaning, our Lord promises entrance into the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God, to the meek. And since the Messianic reign extends over both this and the next life, the promise of our Lord is not confined to either this or the next life, but repeats under a different form the blessing of the first beatitude. [4] We need not mention the opinions of those according to whom our Lord promises to the meek the perfect command over their own hearts, or the future glorification of their bodies, or the winning over of other men to their friendship, etc. [cf. Salm. t. 5, p. 66; Bar.].

[b] Who are the “meek” mentioned in the second beatitude? The meek [πραεῖς, עֲכָוִים] are repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament, where they are assured of God’s special direction [Ps. 24:9], or salvation [Pss. 75:10; 146:6; 149:4], or of a share in the Messianic promises [Is. 11:4; 29:19; Ps. 21:28]. But it is especially in Ps. 36 [Heb. 37] that the expression finds a clear explanation; in fact, the second beatitude agrees with part of v. 11. In v. 9 the possession of the land is promised to those “that wait upon the Lord” [as opposed to “evil doers”); in v. 11 the same promise is made to the meek [as opposed to the “wicked” in 10]; in v. 22 the land is promised to “such as bless” the Lord [as opposed to such as curse him]; in v. 29 “the just shall inherit the land” in opposition to the unjust and the seed of the wicked in v. 28, and in parallelism to the Saints in the same verse; finally, in v. 34 those that “expect the Lord and keep his way” will inherit the land [in opposition to the sinners who shall perish forever]. It is therefore not without reason that we assign to πραεῖς [עֲכָוים] the meaning of meek; for meekness is primarily the virtue that regulates the passion of anger, not allowing it to exceed the boundaries of reason. The virtue of meekness falls, therefore, under the general head of temperance, just as detachment from earthly goods falls under the cardinal virtue of justice. In the first beatitude, therefore, those are called blessed that subdue their desire after earthly goods; in the second, those that bear patiently all earthly loss. And since contempt is practically the greatest earthly evil, the meek may be identified with those detached from the love of earthly honors.

Mat 5:5  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they that mourn. γ. Detachment from pleasure. [a] The blessedness consists here in the promised consolation. [1] This consolation refers not merely to our eternal beatitude [Hil. Nyss. Arn. Alb. Caj.], but to this life also. [2] That the consolation refers to this life, also, is defended by Chrys. Aug. Jans. Lap. Knab. etc., and is based on the promises of both the Old and the New Testament. For though Apoc. 7:17; 21:4; Is. 66:6–14 may refer to the next life only, the promised consolation was so intimately identified with the Messias that even in the Rabbinic language the Messias is called the “consoler,” and the time of his appearance bears the name “consolation” [cf. Lightfoot, Hor. heb. ad Joann. xiv. 16]; even according to Lk. 2:25 the Messias is “the consolation of Israel.” This general hope was based on the promises contained in Is. 40:1, 11; 49:14 f.; 51:3 f.; 52:1 f.; 54:1 f.; 60:4f.; 61:1–3; 62:3; 65:18; etc. Our Lord therefore promises here again the entrance into the Messianic kingdom, but under a form corresponding to the moral condition of those to whom he makes the promise.

[b] The receivers of the third promise are those that mourn; mourning properly implies the presence of evil, since it is the effect of the will caused by the recognized presence of evil. That the sorrow implied in the passage of the gospel has a sacred character follows from Is. 61:3; Soph. 3:18 [heb.]; Ezech. 9:4. This evil is identified with our sins, by Hil. Chrom.; with our sins and those of our neighbor, by Chrys. Theoph. Jer. Leo, Bed. Br. Rab. Pasch.; with the evils of this life generally, by Nyss. Alb. Dion. Jans. Caj. Calm. Fil.; with the presence of the earthly evils and the absence of the heavenly goods, by Nyss. Bed. Ans. laud. Alb. Dion. Jans. Sylv.; in general, with the tears caused by the fear and the love of God, by Calm. [cf. Suar. de leg. IX. ii. 10]. As the first beatitude refers to a detachment from earthly goods that prescinds from their presence or absence, and as the second implies patient bearing of evil that is hard to remove, so the third refers to the pain of the will at the presence of any evil whatever, or to a perfect detachment from the feeling of pleasure.

Mat 5:6  Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst. δ. Positive characteristic of the citizens. [a] The subjects of this beatitude have been identified in various ways: [1] Since Lk. 6:21 reads “Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled,” the words “hunger” and “thirst” have been applied to the feeling of bodily wants; the clause “after justice” is then explained as signifying “for justice’ sake.” Hence result the meanings: blessed are those that suffer hunger and thirst, because justice is denied them [cf. Mald.]; or because they fast voluntarily in order to acquire justice; or because they have to bear privations in order to comply with the demands of justice [cf. Lap. Jans. Calm.]. But the text of the gospel hardly permits this interpretation, since it represents justice as the object of hunger and thirst, not as the motive for bearing them patiently.

[2] Hunger and thirst must be taken metaphorically, so that they refer to spiritual, not to bodily wants. Am. 8:11 shows that such a metaphorical meaning of hunger and thirst is not unknown to the inspired writers; cf. Is. 55:1; Ps. 41:3; 62:2; Prov. 9:5; etc. As hunger and thirst surpass the other appetites of the animal life, so shall the desire after justice prevail over all the other longings of the citizens of the Messianic kingdom. Justice means here not only the special virtue which gives to every one his due, but implies the general virtue inclining our will to conform itself with the will of God. It may therefore be identified with holiness or perfection in general, comprising the observance of both God’s precepts and counsels.

[b] The blessedness promised in the fourth beatitude consists in the divine favor which God shows to all those that observe his holy will perfectly. This state of happiness had been predicted by the prophets as accompanying the Messianic kingdom: cf. Is. 4:3; 11:4; 42:3; 53:11; 23:5; 30:9; 31:33; 33:15; Ezech. 11:19; 36:26; Dan. 9:24; Os. 2:19; 3:5; Mich. 4:2; 7:18; Ps. 44:5; 71:4; etc. The promise, therefore, coincides again practically with the promise of entering the Messianic kingdom. Allusions to the manner in which this hunger and thirst will be filled we find repeatedly in the New Testament: cf. Jn. 4:13, 14; 6:35; 7:37; Rom. 7:24; 8:2, 4; etc. Hence the longing of those ardent souls shall be partially satisfied in this life, and perfectly in the next [op. imp.].

Mat 5:7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the merciful. b. The citizens of the kingdom in their relation to others. The relation of the citizens may be considered under ordinary circumstances, or under external difficulties. a. Under ordinary circumstances the Christian life may be active, contemplative, or a combination of the active and contemplative. Each of these three cases is considered in the following three beatitudes: [α] The active life. [a] For the active Christian life our Lord recommends mercy, consisting not merely in forgiving the injuries done us by others, or in sympathizing with them in their trials and sufferings; but also in practically relieving them in their bodily and spiritual necessities [cf. Aug. Pasch. Br. Nyss. Jans. Sylv. Theoph. Caj. Jer. Chrom. op. imp. Fab. Dion. Bar. Suar. l. c. 14]. [b] Though the promise seems at first to give only a reward equal to the work [Chrys.], in reality it does not differ from the promises of the other beatitudes. For it must be remembered, in the first place, that the Messias is described by the prophets of the Old Testament as preëminently merciful [Ps. 71:12–14; Is. 11:4; 42:3; 50:4; 53:5; 61:1; Ezech. 34:16]. In the second place, the Messianic salvation was announced in the Old Testament as the principal work of God’s mercy: cf. Is. 48:11; 43:22–25; Ezech. 16:61–63; 36:32; Os. 2:19; Mich. 7:18–20; Soph. 3:19; Zach. 12:7, 10. The mercy therefore promised to the merciful is again a share in the Messianic salvation. [c] It must also be noted that Jesus opposes the current Pharisaic opinion concerning the Messianic kingdom in two ways. First, at the time of Christ, all earthly misfortune was regarded as the effect of personal sin [cf. Jn. 9:2], so that the foundation of all mercy was removed. Hence sprang the Jewish self-righteousness, and their proud disdain of all in misery [cf. Jn. 9:34]. Secondly, the Messianic kingdom is not only not due to the legal justice of the Jews, but is a work of pure mercy on the part of God, that will be given to those who do not despise the misery of their unhappy brethren. We need not point out the effect that these words of our Lord have produced in the Christian community in the form of innumerable institutions of charity and mercy [cf. Coleridge, The Public Life, ii. p. 240].

Mat 5:8  Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God.

Blessed are the clean of heart. [β] The sixth beatitude seems to be intended for the contemplative Christian life. This follows both from the subjects of the beatitude, and from the promise connected with it. [a] The description of the subjects opposes them to those only legally clean [cf. Mk. 7:3 f.; Mt. 23:25 f.], so that the hypocritical Pharisees are not included. But the clean of heart are not only the chaste [Theoph. Arn. Schegg], or the simple and upright of heart [Aug. Bed. Rab. Zach. chrys. Men. Lam. Schanz], or the chaste and simple [Mald.]; for had Jesus wished to designate these classes, he would no doubt have expressed them by their proper name, just as he names the merciful and the peacemakers [Bar.]. The phrase “clean of heart” signifies those that are not defiled by any stain of sin [Bas. reg. brev. 280; Nyss. Chrom. Hil. Jer. Leo, Pasch. Br. Arn. op. imp. Ans. laud. Alb. Fab. Tost. Dion. Caj. Salm. Jans. Lap. Suar. Bar. Sa, Sylv. Men. Gord. Coleridge, l. c. p. 271; Fil. Meschler, i. 294; Knab. etc.]. It may prove useful to refer to those Old and New Testament passages that are commonly connected with the subject of this beatitude: Ps. 33:4; 72:1; 50:12; Prov. 20:9; 24:7; Ezech. 11:19; 36:26; 1 Tim. 1:5; 3:9; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:22.

[b] The promise made to the clean of heart corresponds with their spiritual condition. The expression is taken from the Oriental custom according to which kings were rarely seen in public, so that only their immediate surrounding and their familiar friends enjoyed the privilege of seeing their face continually. Moreover, the passage alludes to the Old Testament passages in which the prophets promise the Israelites the vision of a great light, of the glory of the Lord, of the salvation of God, of the beauty of God, of the king in his beauty [Is. 9:2; 33:17; 35:2; 40:5; 52:10; 60:2; 66:14; 66:18]. Impurity of heart is therefore to our power of seeing God what scales are to the eyes. The full vision of God is, of course, identical with the beatific vision, and reserved for the life to come; but even in the present life the pure of heart see the beauty of God, not merely in his revealed truth, but also in the objects of nature and in their own interior acts of mind and will. The happiness implied in the vision may be inferred from the observation of St. Augustin that “if the damned spirits could see for an instant the face of God, the pains of hell would come to an end.” We need not point out that contemplative souls especially enjoy the vision of God, even in this life, as far as this privilege is possible.

Mat 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are the peacemakers. [γ] This beatitude regards especially the apostolic or the mixed life. For peacemakers are those that cause peace, and are, therefore, themselves at peace with God and men. [a] The word is understood in a general sense by Nyss. Chrom. Ambr. Jer. Br. Bed. Arn. Fab. Dion. Salm. Mald. Suar. Sylv. Lam. Calm. But the higher idea of causing men to make peace with God is added by Bas. Chrom. Theoph. Euth. Br. Dion. Salm. Jans. Reischl, Coleridge, Meschler, etc. This meaning of the word is in accord with Is. 53:7, where the excellency of the preachers of peace is described. Besides, the prophecies of the Old Testament announced the Messias as the great peacemaker [Ps. 71:3, 7; Is. 9:6, 7; 26:3, 12; 32:17; 52:7; 54:10, 13; 40:17; 66:12; 33:6, 9; Ezech. 34:25; 37:26; Mich. 4:3; 5:5; Agg. 2:10; Zach. 6:13; 9:10], so that in the language of Sacred Scripture peace must refer especially to the peace between God and man. Finally, the apostles are represented as the messengers of peace [Eph. 2:14; Col. 1:20; Eph. 6:15; Rom. 14:17–19; 2 Cor. 13:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 3:11–17].

[b] The promise made to the peacemakers consists in the sonship of God; for they would not be “called” children of God if they were not so in reality. The reasons for this reward of the peacemakers may be reduced to the following: peace is preëminently a characteristic of God [2 Cor. 13:11], so that the peacemakers resemble God in a special manner, and are therefore his sons or images [Nyss. Zach. Chrys. Alb. Mald. Dion. Calm. Fil.]. Again, the peacemakers do the work proper to Jesus Christ the Son of God, so that they may be said to share his sonship as they share his labor [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Chrom. Br. Arn.]. The excellency and dignity of the sonship of God are well developed by Nyss. [De beatitud. or. 7].

Mat 5:10  Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11  Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake:
Mat 5:12  Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution. b. The citizens in time of trial. Jesus announces first the general principle that guides the Christian in his difficulties, and then applies this in a special manner to his apostles. a. The general principle [a] The experience of the just men of the Old Testament [Ps. 36:1; 38:2; 72:3; Job 9:22; 12:6], the history of the persecutions of the prophets [cf. Mt. 23:37; Acts 7:52], and the very words of the Messianic predictions [Ps. 44:4–8; Zach. 13:7; Joel 3:9 f.] rendered it more than probable that the citizens of the Messianic kingdom would have to undergo their special trials. The doctrine of our Lord on this point could, therefore, not scandalize his Jewish hearers, while it has been the comfort of the numberless Christian sufferers since the foundation of the Church.

[b] But mere suffering is not sufficient to render one the subject of this beatitude: “for what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure?” says St. Peter to the early Christians [1 Pet. 2:20]. “But if doing well,” the apostle continues, “you suffer patiently, this is thank-worthy before God.” Aug. [Enarr. in Ps. 34:23] fully agrees with this: “it is not the suffering,” he says, “but the cause of the suffering, that maketh martyrs.” Similar observations are found in Aug. c. Gaudent. i. 20; op. imp. etc. The gospel expresses this cause in the words “for justice’ sake,” where justice signifies the whole complex of Christian virtues, both theological and moral [cf. 1 Pet. 4:15].

[c] The reward promised in this beatitude is really and formally the same as that promised in the first beatitude; but still the reason of the promise differs from that in v. 3: there the kingdom is promised to the poor on account of its riches, here the kingdom is promised to the persecuted on account of its honors and power [cf. Nyss. Arn. Schegg, Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17]. Besides, the promise of the kingdom gives the form of a circle to the eight beatitudes, since they begin and end with the same promise [Coleridge, p. 348; Chrom.].

[d] That there are eight beatitudes is the common opinion of commentators, though Tost. Köstlin, Ewald, Hilgenfeld admit only seven, Jans, enumerates nine, and Delitzsch as many as ten. The numbers nine and ten can be obtained only by adding vv. 11, 12 to the beatitudes. The difference between these verses and the preceding has been pointed out by Aug. Ans. laud. Thom. Tost. etc. The beatitudes enounce general principles, the following verses are directed to the apostles [cf. infra] to whom they apply the last beatitude in a special way. Nor can we reduce the number of beatitudes to seven; though the promise of the eighth agrees with that of the first [cf. Tost.], the condition of the promise is entirely different in the two beatitudes. That seven is a sacred number in Scripture does not favor the opinion, because four and eight, too, are often used in a mystic meaning.

[e] Admitting, then, eight beatitudes, they have been variously classified by theologians and commentators. [1] Knab. is of opinion that they oppose the various Jewish prejudices concerning the nature of the Messianic kingdom. In point of fact, there can be no doubt that all the promises present either the whole Messianic kingdom, or some special part of it; the conditions, too, found in the single beatitudes are wholly opposed to the conditions which, according to Jewish ideas, were requisite for sharing the blessings of the Messias. But though this be granted, we cannot infer that our Lord followed a merely negative train of thought. [2] Aug. [De serm. in mont. i. 4, 11, 12], Rab. Zach. chrys. compare the beatitudes with the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost; this arrangement combines poverty with the fear of God; meekness with piety; mourning with knowledge; hunger and thirst for justice with fortitude; mercy with counsel; cleanness of heart with understanding; peacemaking with wisdom; the last beatitude returns to the beginning, and declares that man is perfect. [3] St. Thomas [la 2ae, qu. 69, a. 3] thinks the foregoing arrangement of the beatitudes follows the different motives of the virtues. He then proposes an order according to the matter of the beatitudes: knowledge and counsel direct the first five beatitudes; piety embraces mercy and hunger and thirst after justice; fortitude embraces meekness; fear contains poverty and mourning, by which man withdraws from the concupiscence and pleasure of the world. [4] In other passages St. Thomas proposes three more divisions of the beatitudes: the first rests on the various opinions of men concerning their happiness, which is placed by some in merely external goods, by others in the satisfaction of their desires [cf anger, of love of pleasure, and of ambition], by others again in the virtues of the active life, and finally, by a fourth class in the contemplative life. These four false views concerning happiness are contradicted in the eight beatitudes. [5] The second division rests on the effects of different virtues on our inner life: some remove our inordinate affections [avarice, anger, and pleasure]; others effect the doing of good works [justice and mercy]; others again dispose us for the most excellent spiritual gifts [purity of heart, peace, and suffering for justice’ sake]. [6] The third division of the beatitudes views them according to their progress from external to internal goods: freedom from earthly possessions and from inborn passions is followed by external good works, by sentiments of compassion, by spiritual insight and order, and finally by patient suffering for justice’ sake [cf. St. Thom. Exposit. Mt.; in 3 sent. dist. 34, qu. 1, a. 4; Summ. 1a 2ae, qu. 69, a. 3].

β. Application of the last beatitude. [1] In v. 11 our Lord proposes three conditions of the special blessedness of the apostles. [a] They must bear insults, persecutions, and detractions; [b] these must be unjust in themselves; [c] they must be inflicted for our Lord’s sake [cf. Thom. Jans. Chrys. Euth. Knab. Schanz]. [2] In v. 12 the special blessedness of the apostles is further developed: [a] they are to be glad and rejoice, even under their sufferings; [b] but the motive of this joy is their reward in heaven; [c] the promise of this reward is confirmed by the example of the persecuted prophets, concerning whose heavenly blessedness there could be no doubt. The joy of the apostles in their sufferings may be illustrated by Acts 5:41; James 1:2. Supposing the Catholic doctrine that a supernatural work is always performed with the aid of supernatural grace, we may conclude from this special promise that the apostles were by their suffering to merit, in the strict sense of the word, their heavenly glory. If the heavenly glory promised here to the apostles were a mere grace, and not a reward, Jesus would have used his words in a false meaning [cf. Jans. Schanz, Lap. Sylv. Caj. Br. Fil. Knab.].

Abbreviation~Fathers and Medieval Period: Ambr. St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan 374–397; Migne, patr. lat. 14–17.
Ammon. Ammonius of Alexandria, about 220; cf. cat. græc.
Ans. laud. Anselm of Laon, 1050–1117; “enarr. in Matt.”; cf. Migne, patr. lat. 162, 1227–1500.
Apollin. Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, about 370; his commentary is lost; cf. cat. græc.; author of a heresy.
Athan. St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria 327–373; Migne, patr. græc. 25–28.
Athen. Athenagoras of Athens, about 177; “legat. pro Christ.” and “lib. de resurrect. mortuor.”; Eng. transl. by Humphreys.
Aug. St. Augustin, bishop of Hippo 395–430; here belong his “de sermone in monte,” ll. 2; “de consensu evangelist.” ll. 4; “quæst. evangel.” ll. 2; quæst. 27 in evang. Matt.; Migne, patr. lat. 34, 35.
Barn. St. Barnabas, of the first or second century; his “epist. ad fideles” has been edited by Funk, opp. patr. apost., 1879; Gebhardt, Harnack et Zahn, ed. ii. patr. apost. opp. 1877.
Bas. St. Basil, bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia 370–379; cf. cat. græc.
Bed. Venerable Bede, about 731; here belongs his “in Matt. evang. expos. ll. 4.”; Migne, patr. lat. 92; the writer follows Jer. Ambr. Aug. op. imp.
Br. or Brun. St. Bruno, bishop of Segni, born in Asti 1044, died 1123; cf. Migne, patr. lat. 165.
Cat. græc. “Catena græcorum patrum in ev. Matt.,” edited by J. A. Cramer, Oxford, 1844; based on the homilies of Chrys.; it contains extracts from Acacius, Apollin. Bas. Clem. Cyr. Alex. Eus. Isid. Orig. Sever. Theodoret, Theod. her. Theod. mon. Theod. mops., and an anonymous author; more rarely are met extracts of Epiph. Hesych. Naz. Nyss. Severian.
Caj. Cajetan, 1469–1534; his commentary is brief and literal.
Chrys. St. Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople 397–407; he wrote 90 [or 91] homilies on the first gospel; Migne, patr. græc. 57, 58.
Clem. St. Clement of Alexandria, about 194; cat. græc.
Clem. Rom. St. Clement of Rome, wrote about 95; edit, by Lightfoot, London and Cambridge, 1869, 1877; Funk, opp. patr. apost., Tübing. 1878; Gebhardt et Harnack, Lips. 1876.
Cypr. St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage 248–258; especially “de orat. dom.”; Migne, patr. lat. 4.
Cyr. St. Cyril, bishop of Alexandria 412–444; fragments are found in Migne, patr. græc. 72, 365–474; extracts in cat. græc.
Cyr. Jer. St. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem 348–386; Migne, patr. græc. 23.
Did. Didymus of Alexandria, about 370; his comment, is lost; cf. cat. græc.
Diod. Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus 378–394; cat. græc.
Dion. Dionysius the Carthusian, 1403–1473; cf. his “enarrat. in quatuor evangelistas.”
Druth. Druthmar, monk of Corbie, about 850; his “expositio in Matt. evangelist.” is found in Migne, patr. lat. 106, 1261–1504.
Ephr. St. Ephrem Syrus, 299–378.
Epiph. St. Epiphanius, bishop in Cyprus 368–403; cat. græc.; cf. Migne, patr. græc. 41–43.
Eus. H. E. Eusebii historia ecclesiastica; Eusebius was bishop of Cæsarea 315–320; Migne, patr. græc. 19–24; cat. græc.
Eustath. Eustathius, bishop of Antioch about 323.
Euth. Euthymius Zigabenus, about 1116; he follows Chrys., but has also matter of his own; Migne, patr. græc. 129.
Fab. Faber Stapulensis or Lefèvre d’Etaples, 1455–1537; his commentaries were placed on the Index “donec corrigantur.”
Fortun. Fortunatius, referred to by Jer.
Gloss, ord. Glossa ordinaria, by Walafridus Strabus, who died in 849.
Greg. Naz. St. Gregory, bishop of Nazianzus about 370–389; cat. græc.
Greg. Nyss. St. Gregory, bishop of Nyssa about 371; cat. græc.
Greg. the Great. St. Gregory I., 590–605; Migne, patr. lat. 75–79.
Hesych. Hesychius, bishop of Jerusalem, died 609 [?]; cat. græc.
Hil. St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers about 354; Migne, patr. lat. 9, 917–1078.
Hippol. St. Hippolytus, bishop of Portus about 220; Migne, patr. græc. 10.
Ign. St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, died about 107; edit. by Lightfoot, London, 1885; Funk, Tübing. 1878–1881; Zahn, Lips. 1876.
Iren. St. Irenæus, bishop of Lyons about 178; Migne, patr. græc. 7.
Isid. St. Isidore of Pelusium, about 412; cat. græc.
Jac. Edess. Jacob of Edessa, about 580.
Jac. Nis. St. Jacobus of Nisibis, about 320–340.
Jer. St. Jerome, about 378–420; he wrote his “commentariorum in evangelium Matthæi libros iv.” very hastily, following Orig. and Hil. quite closely; Migne, patr. lat. 26, 21–218.
Lyr. Nicolaus of Lyra, about 1320; his “postilla in universa biblia” must here be noted.
Mops. Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia 399–428; cat. græc.; cf. Migne, patr. græc. 66.
Naz. See Greg. Naz.
Nic. Lyr. See Lyr.
Nyss. See Greg. Nyss.
op. imp. “opus imperfectum” consists of 53 homilies on part of the first gospel; formerly the work was found among those of Chrys., but the author must have been an Arian of the sixth or seventh century; Migne, patr. græc. 56, 611–946.
Orig. Origen, 185–354; only tt. x.–xvii. on Matthew xii. 36–xxiii. 53 are left in Greek; the comment. on the following part of the first gospel, up to xxviii. 13, is preserved in Latin; Migne, patr. græc. 13, 836–1800. Jer. relates that he read 25 vols. of Origen’s commentaries on Matthew, and as many homilies, together with his “commaticum interpretationis genus.”
Pasch. Radbert Paschase, a French monk, died about 865; Migne, patr. lat. 120.
Rab. Rabanus Maurus, 776–856; his “comment. in Matt. ll. octo” must here be mentioned; Migne, patr. lat. 107, 727–1156.
Rup. Rupertus, abbot, about 1130; his “de trinitate et operibus eius” as well as “in Matt. de gloria et honore filii hominis ll.13” deserve attention; Migne, patr. lat. 167, 1533 ff., 168, 1307 ff.
Sever. Severus of Antioch, sixth cent.; cat. græc.
Severian. Severianus, bishop in Syria about 400; cat. græc.
Tert. Tertullian, about 200; Migne, patr. lat. 1, 2; note especially his comment, on the Our Father.
Theod. her. Theodore of Heraclea, about 394; cat. græc.; his commentary is lost.
Theod. mops. See Mops.
Theodor. Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus 420–458; cat. græc.
Theoph. or Thph. Theophylact, archbishop in Bulgaria about 1071; his commentary is in a manner a synopsis of Chrys.; Migne, patr. græc. 123.
Theoph. ant. Theophilus of Antioch 170–182; his commentary is lost, but referred to by Jer.
Thom. St. Thomas of Aquin, died 1274; his “in Matthæum evangelistam expositio” and “catena aurea in Matthæum …” must here be noted.
Tost. Aphonsus Tostatus or Abulensis, died 1445; his 4 vols. fol. of “quæstiones” on the first gospel belong here.
Vict. Victorinus, referred to by Jer.

Abbreviations for Catholic Authors Cited:
Jans. Cornelius Jansenius, bishop of Ghent, died 1576; he wrote “concordiam evangelicam” and “comment, in concordiam et totam histor. evangelicam,” besides several other works.
Mald. Maldonatus, died 1583; here belongs his classical work, “comment. in quatuor evangelia.”
Luc. or Luc. Brug. Lucas Brugensis, died 1600; his “in ss. quatuor Jesu Christi evangelia commentarius” is noted for brevity and grammatical accuracy.
Bar. Sebast. Barradas, died 1615; here belong his “commentaria in concordiam et historiam evangelicam,” tt. 4.
Lap. Cornelius a Lapide [van den Steen], died 1637; his “commentarii in quatuor evangelia” contain much patristic and philological erudition, but are less critical than Mald.’s.
Jans. jun., or Yprens. Cornelius Jansenius, bishop of Ypres, died 1638; here must be noted his “tetrateuchus seu commentarius in quatuor evangelia.”
Sylv. Johannes de Sylveira, died 1687; here belongs “in textum evangelicum commentaria quinque tomis distributa”; he gives regularly different versions for the text.
Calm. Aug. Calmet, died 1757; his commentary, translated into Latin by Mansi, is literal, concise, and clear.
Kist. Kistemacker, die heiligen Evangelien, Münster, 1818.
Gratz. Gratz, krit. histor. Commentar über d. Evang., Matt., Tübing. 1820.
Massl. Massl, Erklärung d. heil. Scriften Neuen Test., Straubing. 1836.
Berl. Berlepsch, quatuor Novi Test. evangelia, Ratisb. 1849.
Schegg. Schegg, Evangelium nach Matthäus übersetz, u. erklärt München, 1856–58.
Arn. Arnoldi, Comm. z. Evang. d. h. Matt., Trier, 1856.
Bisp. Bisping, Erklär. d. Evang. nach Matt., Münster, 1864.
Loch or Reischl. Loch und Reischl, die heil. Schriften d. Neuen Test., Regensburg, 1866.
Mc E. McEvilly, Exposition of the Gospels, Dublin, 1876.
Steenk. Van Steenkiste, Evang. S. Matt., Brug. 1876; 2d ed. 1882.
Fil. Fillion, Evangile selon St. Matthieu, Paris, 1878.
Schanz. Schanz, Comm. über d. Evang. d. h. Matth., Freib. 1879.
Knab. Knabenbauer, Evangelium sec. Matthæum, Parisiis, 1892.

Abrreviations of Protestant Authors Cited:
Luth. Lutheri annotationes in aliqu. cap. Matt., Vitemb. 1538.
Buc. Mart. Bucer, enarratio in quat. evangelia, Argent. 1527.
Calv. Calvini comment, in harm, ex trib. evang. comp., Genev. 1553.
Bez. Theod. Beza, annotat. maiores in Nov. Test., Gen. 1565.
Grot. Hugo Grotius, Annotationes, 1641.
Cappell. Jac. Cappellus, Observationes, 1656.
Calov. Calovii Biblia Nov. Test, illstr., Lips. 1719.
Beng. Bengel, Gnomon Nov. Test., Tübing. 1742.
Fritzsche, evangelium Matthæi recensuit et cum comment. ed. Lips. 1826.
Olsh. Olshausen, biblischer Comment., Königsberg, 1830–32.
Meyer, H. A. W. Meyer, krit. exeget. Handbuch über d. Ev. d. Matth., Gött. 1832.
De Wette, Kurze Erklärung d. Evangeliums Matthäi, Leipzig, 1836.
Bleek, synoptische Erklärung d. drei ersten Evangelien, ed. Holtzm., Leipzig, 1862.
Lutt. Henri Lutteroth, essai d’interpretation de quelques parties de l’évangile selon S. Matthieu, Paris, 1860, 64, 67, 76.
Weiss, das Matthäusevangelium und seine Lucasparallelen, Halle, 1876.
Wichelh. Joh. Wichelhaus, akademische Vorlesungen über d. Neue Test., edited by Dr. Zahn, Halle, 1876.
Keil, Commentar über d. Evangelium d. Matth., Leipzig, 1877.
Mans. Mansel, in the Speaker’s Commentary, London, 1878–80.
Alf. Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, Boston, 1886.
Schaff. Philip Schaff, in the International Commentary on the New Testament, vol. i. New York, 1888.
Holtzm. H. J. Holtzmann, Hand-Commentar z. Neuen Test., vol. i. Freib. 1892.

Abbreviations for Other Works and Authors Cited: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, etc.
Jos. B. J. Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, or Jewish War.
Jos. Antiq. Josephus, Antiquitates, or Antiquities.
Salm. Salmeron, died 1485; he throws light on gospel history.
Lightf. Lightfoot, Horæ Hebraicæ et talmudicæ, 1658–74; English transl. by Gandell, Oxford, 1859.
Schöttg. Schöttgen, Horæ hebraicæ et talmudicæ, Dresdæ et Lips. 1733.
Reuss, die Geschichte d. h. Schriften N. T., 1842; Engl. transl. by Houghton, Boston, 1884.
Patr. Patrizi, de evangeliis, Friburgi, 1853.
Hilgenf. Hilgenfeld, die Evangelien nach ihrer Entstehung und geschichtlichen Bedeutung, 1854.
Winer, Grammatik des neutest. Sprachidioms, 7th ed. 1867.
Grimm, Einheit der vier Evangelien, Regensburg, 1868.
Hausr. Hausrath, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, i. 1868.
Wittich. Wittichen, Leben Jesu, 1876.
Coleridge, The Public Life of our Lord, London, 1876.
Wünsche. Neue Beiträge zur Erläuterung der Evangelien aus Talmud und Midrasch, Göttingen, 1878.
Weber, System der altsynagogalen paläst. Theologie, 1880; die Lehren des Talmud, 1886.
Weizs. Weizsäcker, Untersuchungen über die evang. Geschichte, 1864; das apostol. Zeitalter der christl. Kirche, 1886.
Schürer, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, i. 1890; ii. 1886; English transl. Edinburgh, ii. 1885; i. 1890.
Ed. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 3d ed. London, 1886.
Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, New York, 1887.
Meschler, Leben Jesu, Freiburg, 1890.
Didon, Jésus Christ, Paris, 1891.
Viteau, Etude sur le Grec du Nouveau Testament, Paris, 1893 and 1896.
Fridl. J. H. Fridlieb, Archäologie der Leidensgeschichte, Bonn, 1843.
Lang. Langen, die letzten Lebenstage Jesu, Freiburg, 1864.
Ol. Ollivier, La Passion, essai historique, Paris, 1891.
P. Fr. Pölzl, Commentar zur Leidens und Verklärungsgeschichte Jesu Christi, Graz, 1892.

The lives of Jesus Christ by Neander, Lange, Renan, Strauss, Schenkel, Keim, Hase, Farrar, Camus, Fouard, etc., have also been used.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:16-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 2, 2013

Ver  15. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.16. Then said he to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:17. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.18. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray you have me excused.19. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray you have me excused.20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.21. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.22. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room.23. And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

EUSEB. Our Lord had just before taught us to prepare our feasts for those who cannot repay, seeing that we shall have our reward at the resurrection of the just. Some one then, supposing the resurrection of the just to be one and the same with the kingdom of God, commends the above-mentioned recompense; for it follows, When one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

CYRIL; That man was carnal, and a careless hearer of the things which Christ delivered, for he thought the reward of the saints was to be bodily.

AUG. Or because he sighed for something afar off, and that bread which he desired lay before him. For who is that Bread of the kingdom of God but He who says, I am the living bread which came down from heaven? Open not your mouth, but your heart.

BEDE; But because some receive this bread by faith merely, as if by smelling, but its sweetness they loathe to really touch with their mouths, our Lord by the following parable condemns the dullness of those men to be unworthy of the heavenly banquet. For it follows, But he said to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many.

CYRIL; This man represents God the Father just as images are formed to give the resemblance of power. For as often as God wishes to declare His avenging power, He is called by the names of bear, leopard, lion, and others of the same kind; but when He wishes to express mercy, by the name of man. The Maker of all things, therefore, and Father of Glory, or the Lord, prepared the great supper which was finished in Christ.

For in these latter times, and as it were the setting of our world, the Son of God has shone upon us, and enduring death for our sakes, has given us His own body to eat. Hence also the lamb was sacrificed in the evening according to the Mosaic law. Rightly then was the banquet which was prepared in Christ called a supper.

GREG. Or he made a great supper, as having prepared for us the full enjoyment of eternal sweetness. He bade many, but few came, because sometimes they who themselves are subject to him by faith, by their lives oppose his eternal banquet. And this is generally the difference between the delights of the body and the soul, that fleshly delights when not possessed provoke a longing desire for them, but when possessed and devoured, the eater soon turns from satiety to loathing; spiritual delights, on the other hand, when not possessed are loathed, when possessed the more desired. But heavenly mercy recalls those despised delights to the eyes of our memory, and in order that we should drive away our disgust, bids us to the feast. Hence it follows, And he sent his servant, &c.

CYRIL; That servant who was sent is Christ Himself, who being by nature God and the true Son of God, emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant. But He was sent at supper time. For not in the beginning did the Word take upon Him our nature, but in the last time; and he adds, For all things are ready. For the Father prepared in Christ the good things bestowed upon the world through Him, the removal of sins, the participation of the Holy Spirit, the glory of adoption. To these Christ bade men by the teaching of the Gospel.

AUG. Or else, the Man is the Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus; He sent that they who were bidden might come, i.e. those who were called by the prophets whom He had sent; who in the former times invited to the supper of Christ, were often sent to the people of Israel, often bade them to come at supper time. They received the inviters, refused the supper. They received the prophets and killed Christ, and thus ignorantly prepared for us the supper. The supper being now ready, i.e. Christ being sacrificed, the Apostles were sent to those, to whom prophets had been sent before.

GREG. By this servant then who is sent by the master of the family to bid to supper, the order of preachers is signified. But it is often the case that a powerful person has a despised servant, and when his Lord orders any thing through him, the servant speaking is not despised, because respect for the master who sends him is still kept up in the heart. Our Lord then offers what he ought to be asked for, not ask others to receive. He wishes to give what could scarcely be hoped for; yet all begin at once to make excuse, for it follows, And they all began with one consent to make excuse. Behold a rich man invites, and the poor hasten to come. We are invited to the banquet of God, and we make excuse.

AUG. Now there were three excuses, of which it is added, The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it. The bought piece of ground denotes government. Therefore pride is the first vice reproved. For the first man wished to rule, not willing to have a master.

GREG. Or by the piece of ground is meant worldly substance. Therefore he goes out to see it who thinks only of outward things for the sake of his living.

AMBROSE; Thus it is that the worn out soldier is appointed to serve degraded offices, as he who intent upon things below buys for himself earthly possessions, can not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Our Lord says, Sell all that you have, and follow me.

It follows, And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them.

AUG. The five yoke of oxen are taken to be the five senses of the flesh; in the eyes sight, in the ears hearing, in the nostrils smelling, in the mouth taste, in all the members touch. But the yoke is more easily apparent in the three first senses; two eyes, two ears, two nostrils. Here are three yoke. And in the mouth is the sense of taste which is forma to be a kind of double, in that nothing is sensible to the taste, which is not touched both by the tongue and palate. The pleasure of the flesh which belongs to the touch is secretly doubled. It is both outward and inward. But they are called yoke of oxen, because through those senses of the flesh earthly things are pursued. For the oxen till the ground, but men at a distance from faith, given up to earthly things, refuse to believe in any thing, but what they arrive at by means of the five-fold sense of the body. “I believe nothing but what I see.” If such were our thoughts, we should be hindered from the supper by those five yoke of oxen. But that you may understand that it is not the delight of the five senses which charms and conveys pleasure, but that a certain curiosity is denoted, he says not, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and go to feed them, but go to prove them.

GREG. By the bodily senses also because they cannot comprehend things within, but take cognizance only of what is without, curiosity is rightly represented, which while it seeks to shake off a life which is strange to it, not knowing its own secret life, desires to dwell upon things without. But we must observe, that the one who for his farm, and the other who to prove his five yoke of oxen, excuse themselves from the supper of their Inviter, mix up with their excuse the words of humility. For when they say, I pray you, and then disdain to come, the word sounds of humility, but the action is pride. It follows, And this said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

AUG. That is the delight of the flesh which hinders many, I wish it were outward and not inward. For he who said, I have married a wife, taking pleasure in the delights of the flesh, excuses himself from the supper; let such a one take heed lest he die from inward hunger.

BASIL; But he says, I cannot come, because that the human mind when it is degenerating to worldly pleasures, is feeble in attending to the things of God.

GREG. But although marriage is good, and appointed by Divine Providence for the propagation of children, some seek therein not fruitfulness of offspring, but the lust of pleasure. And so by means of a righteous thing may not unfitly an unrighteous thing be represented.

AMBROSE; Or marriage is not blamed; but purity is held up to greater honor, since the unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and spirit, but she that is married cares for the things of the world.

AUG. Now John when he said, all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, began from the point where the Gospel ended. The lust of the flesh, I have married a wife; the lust of the eyes, I have bought five yoke of oxen; the pride of life, I have bought a farm. But proceeding from a part to the whole, the five senses have been spoken of under the eyes alone, which hold the chief place among the five senses. Because though properly the sight belongs to the eyes, we are in the habit of ascribing the act of seeing to all the five senses.

CYRIL; But whom can we suppose these to be who refused to come for the reason just mentioned, but the rulers of the Jews, whom throughout the sacred history we find to have been often reproved for these things?

ORIGEN; Or else, they who have bought a piece of ground and reject or refuse the supper, are they who have taken other doctrines of divinity, but have despised the word which they possessed. But he who has bought five yoke of oxen is he who neglects his intellectual nature, and follows the things of sense, therefore he cannot comprehend a spiritual nature. But he who has married a wife is he who is joined to the flesh, a lover of pleasure rather than of God.

AMBROSE; Or let us suppose that three classes of men are excluded from partaking of that supper, Gentiles, Jews, Heretics. The Jews by their fleshly service impose upon themselves the yoke of the law, for the five yoke are the yoke of the Ten Commandments, of which it is said, And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. That is, the commands of the Decalogue. Or the five yoke are the five books of the old law. But heresy indeed, like Eve with a woman’s obstinacy, tries the affection of faith. And the Apostle says that we must flee from covetousness, lest entangled in the customs of the Gentiles we be unable to come to the kingdom of Christ. Therefore both he who has bought a farm is a stranger to the kingdom, and he who has chosen the yoke of the law rather than the gift of grace, and he also who excuses himself because he has married a wife.

It follows, And the servant returned, and told these things to his Lord.

AUG. Not for the sake of knowing inferior beings does God require messengers, as though He gained aught from them, for He knows all things steadfastly and unchangeably. But he has messengers for our sakes and their own, because to be present with God, and stand before Him so as to consult Him about His subjects, and obey His heavenly commandments, is good for them in the order of their own nature.

CYRIL; But with the rulers of the Jews who refused their call, as they themselves confessed, Have any of the rulers believed on him? the Master of the household was wroth, as with them that deserved His indignation and anger; whence it follows, Then the master of the house being angry, &c.

PSEUDO-BASIL; Not that the passion of anger belongs to the Divine substance, but an operation such as in us is caused by anger, is called the anger and indignation of God.

CYRIL; Thus it was that the master of the house is said to have been enraged with the chiefs of the Jews, and in their stead were called men taken from out of the Jewish multitude, and of weak and impotent minds. For at Peter’s preaching, first indeed three thousand, then five thousand believed, and afterwards much people; whence it follows, He said to his servant, Go out straightway into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

AMBROSE; He invites the poor, the weak, and the blind, to show that weakness of body shuts out no one from the kingdom of heaven, and that he is guilty of fewer sins who lacks the incitement to sin; or that the infirmities of sin are forgiven through the mercy of God. Therefore he sends to the streets, that from the broader ways they may come to the narrow way.

Because then the proud refuse to come, the poor are chosen, since they are called weak and poor who are weak in their own judgment of themselves, for there are poor, and yet as it were strong, who though lying in poverty are proud, the blind are they who have no brightness of understanding; the lame are they who have walked not uprightly in their works. But since the faults of these are expressed in the weakness of their members, as those were sinners who when bidden refused to come, so also are these who are invited and come; but the proud sinners are rejected, the humble are chosen. God then chooses those whom the world despises, because for the most part the very act of contempt recalls a man to himself. And men so much the sooner hear the voice of God, as they have nothing in this world to take pleasure in. When then the Lord calls certain from the streets and lanes to supper, He denotes that people who had learnt to observe in the city the constant practice of the law. But the multitude who believed of the people of Israel did not fill the places of the upper feast room.

Hence it follows, And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room. For already had great numbers of the Jews entered, but yet there was room in the kingdom for the abundance of the Gentiles to be received.

Therefore it is added, And the Lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. When He commanded His guests to be collected from the wayside and the hedges, He sought for a rural people, that is, the Gentiles.

AMBROSE; Or, He sends to the highways and about the hedges, because they are fit for the kingdom of God, who, not absorbed in the desire for present goods, are hastening on to the future, set in a certain fixed path of good will. And who like a hedge which separates the cultivated ground from the uncultivated, and keeps off the incursion of the cattle, know how to distinguish good and evil, and to hold up the shield of faith against the temptations of spiritual wickedness.

AUG. The Gentiles came from the streets and lanes, the heretics come from the hedges. For they who make a hedge seek for a division; let them be drawn away from the hedges, plucked asunder from the thorns. But they are unwilling to be compelled. By our own will, say they, will we enter. Compel them to enter, He says. Let necessity be used from without, thence arises a will.

GREG. They then who, broken down by the calamities of this world, return to the love of God, are compelled to enter. But very terrible is the sentence which comes next. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. Let no one then despise the call, lest if when bidden he make excuse, when he wishes to enter he shall not be able.

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

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 112

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 2, 2013


THIS psalm, as has been said in the introduction to Ps 109, applies to the just man and his works the things which are said of Yahweh and His works in Ps 109. As Ps 109 ends with the praise of the fear of the Lord as life’s highest wisdom, so this psalm begins with a reference to the man who practises that wisdom, and then goes on to describe the blessedness of his condition. If the two psalms are read side by side it will be realised how strikingly the predicates applied, to Yahweh and His works in Ps 109 are here transferred to the just man (the man that fears the Lord) and his doings. Ps 112 may be taken, in a sense, as an elaborate way of saying that the life of the just man is a sort of participation in the life of God. This psalm, like Ps 109, is alphabetically arranged, each of the twenty-two lines of which it consists beginning with the twenty-two letters ,of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Vulgate text the psalm is connected with the time immediately following the return from the Babylonian Exile—the time of the prophets Haggai and Zachariah. If the two psalms, 109 and 112, are, as seems not unlikely, from the same author, the title of Ps 112 determines the date of Ps 109 also. It would seem that in the original text of the Septuagint both psalms were connected by their superscriptions with the time of Haggai and Zachariah.

Posted in Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

This Week’s Posts: Sunday, June 2–Sunday, June 9, 2013

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 2, 2013

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THIS BLOG: This will be the final week in which I will be offering daily commentary on the Extraordinary Form readings (EF commentaries on the Sunday readings will continue). I need to make time to archive all the existing commentaries on this site for easy access. Also, I would like to begin posting and archiving commentaries on entire books, chapter by chapter, as I’m currently doing with Father Callan’s  Commentary on Romans.

Dominica II post Octavam Pentecostes ~ II. classis

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

Last Week’s Posts.

MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2013
Feria II infra Hebdomadam II post Octavam Pentecostes ~ IV. classis




S. Francisci Caracciolo Confessoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria III infra Hebdomadam II post Octavam Pentecostes



  • Pending (maybe): Notes on Wisdom 4:7-14.


S. Bonifacii Episc. et Mart. ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria IV infra Hebdomadam II post Octavam Pentecostes




Saint of the Day: St Boniface. St Joe of O Blog.

S. Norberti Episc. et Confessoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria V infra Hebdomadam II post Octavam Pentecostes



FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2013
Sanctissimi Cordis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi ~ I. classis



Sanctae Mariae Sabbato ~ IV. classis


  • Pending: My Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Tobit 13:2, 6efgh, 7, 8).
  • Pending: Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 2:41-51.


SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 2013
Dominica III Post Pentecosten ~ II. classis

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

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Daily Catholic Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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