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 July, 2013

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 84

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2013


THIS is a genuine pilgrim-song—full of enthusiastic love and longing for Sion and its sacred ceremonial, and for the Holy-City, Jerusalem. It should be read in close connection with Ps 122 and with Ps 96 and Ps 87. In verses 2-4 a layman, who may only enter the Courts of the Temple tells of his vehement longing for the holy places. He has come from far away, and now in Jerusalem he is at home again, and compares his mood to that of the bird, that, after long absence, has found again its nest and its young.

In verse 5 the psalm turns to the praise of the Levites and priests—the dwellers in the House of the Lord.

Yet, as verse 6 tells us, not only are they happy that dwell ever in God’s House: they also are happy who, when far away, set their heart on visiting the Holy City, trusting in God’s help to carry out their plan. Even though their path to the Sanctuary (verse 7) may pass through dark valleys and arid steppes, God will make springs to flow for them, and turn the desert into fertile land, and upborne by the thought of their goal, they will be conscious of no hindrance or peril on their way. So will they march forward, not growing weary but rather gathering strength as they go, until they come into the presence of God in Sion (8) .

Arrived in the Temple the pilgrims make their prayer. It is not chiefly for themselves. They beseech God to look graciously on His Anointed—either the King, or the people—so that all may be well with Israel.

In verse 11 the singer turns back to the delight of his soul in the nearness of Yahweh (cf. Ps 27:4). Even though, as a layman he cannot enter the inner Temple, a day for him in the Temple Courts is worth a thousand days in his own dwelling far away. He would fain dwell even on the threshold of the Temple for ever. For there (12) he has security and happiness, peace and divine favour.

If it is true, as many critics hold, that the psalms which speak of eager longing to revisit the Temple express the spirit of the Judaism of the Diaspora, we must date this and similar psalms in the post-Exilic period. But as there is no convincing reason for supposing that there was no Diaspora before the Exile, or that pious Jews were not wont to return from foreign lands in the pre-Exilic period to celebrate the great feasts in Jerusalem, we cannot take the post-Exilic dating as assured.

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

Sunday, August 4, 2013: Commentaries and Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2013



  • Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17.

  • Pending: St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 90. Whole psalm.
  • Pending: Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17.



  • Pending: Bishop Knecht’s Practical Commentary on Luke 12:13-21. From the St Joe of O blog. I’m assuming it will be posted.


  • Sacerdos. Gives theme of the readings, doctrinal message, suggested pastoral applications.
  • The Bible Workshop. Guide to the Gospel; review of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background.
  • The Wednesday Word. Reflections and commentary on the Sunday readings by Father Dom Henry Wansbrough, O.S.B. He is a world renowned biblical scholar who contributed four commentaries on the NT section of the New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (Matt, Mark, Acts, Pastorals), and was general editor of the New Jerusalem Bible.

Dominica XI Post Pentecosten I. Augusti ~ II. classis





  • Abuse of Speech. Homily on the Gospel by Fr. Agustine Wirth, O. S.B., a famed preacher of his day.

HOMILY NOTES: May supply suggestions or ideas for a homily but can also be used as points for meditation and prayer.

  • Correspondence to Grace. Pending. On the Epistle.

Posted in Catholic Sunday Lectionary | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Haydock Bible on Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2013

The Haydock Bible was published in the mid-nineteenth century and is very basic. Text in red are my additions.

Ecc 1:2  Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes: vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.

Vanities.  Most vain and despicable, (Calmet) and frustrating the expectations of men.  (Menochius) — St. Augustine reads vanitantium, and infers that this vanity of sublunary things is an effect of man’s sin.  Yet he afterwards discovered that he had read incorrectly.  (Retractions i. 7.)

The word vanity in Hebrew (הבל = hebel) means that which is empty, transitory, or unsatisfactory; something passing, absent, or incomplete. The phrase vanity of vanities reflects the fact that ancient Hebrew did not have many superlatives. For example, it had the word “holy,” but not the word “holiest.” To express this latter idea it used the phrase “holy of holies,”  thereby conveying the meaning “holiest”. Vanity of vanities conveys the idea of that which is supremely or surpassingly vain.  The term vanity of vanities is often said to be the keynote or motto of the book and man’s life “under the sun” (verse 3) seems meaningless, uncontrollable, and without much of a point; but certainly the closing words must be seen in conjunction with this motto/keynote:  The end of the whole matter let us hear: –`Fear God, and keep His commands, for this is the whole of man. The twofold use of the word “whole” stands in nice contrast to the words “vanity of vanities.” God is the answer to the seeming vanity of everything under the sun, even if man cannot discern it fully.

Ecc 2:21  For when a man laboureth in wisdom, and knowledge, and carefulness, he leaveth what he hath gotten to an idle man: so this also is vanity, and a great evil.

Wisdom.  The writings of the wise are often perverted by perverse heretics. See the summary on Eccl 1:3-6:12 in the Navarre Bible Commentary.  (St. Jerome) — Idle heirs dissipate the possessions, which had been accumulated with such industry.  (Calmet) — Riches tend to encourage the profligacy of the heir.  (Menochius)

Ecc 2:22  For what profit shall a man have of all his labour, and vexation of spirit, with which he hath been tormented under the sun?
Ecc 2:23  All his days are full of sorrows and miseries, even in the night he doth not rest in mind: and is not this vanity?

Laboring to the point of exhaustion for that which is passing, and for that which may in fact pass to a man less studios (verses 21) is vanity, not in itself, but without reference to God: So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God (Luke 12:21, from today’s Gospel reading, Luke 12:13-21).

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

St Cyril of alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 12:13-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2013

12:13-21. And one of the multitude said unto Him, Teacher, bid my brother divide with me the inheritance. But He said unto him, Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you? And He said unto them, Take heed, and keep yourselves from all greediness: for a man’s life is not from his possessions by reason of his having a superfluity. And He spoke a parable unto them, saying, The land of a certain rich man brought forth unto him plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have not where to gather my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my storehouses, and build greater: and there will I gather all my crops and my goods. And I will say to myself, Self you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, enjoy thyself But God said unto him, You fool, this night they demand of you your soul. But whose shall those things be which you have provided? So is he that lays up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God.

PAUL, as a wise man, recommends constancy in prayer: for he said, “Pray without ceasing.” And in very truth it is a thing full of benefit. But I say this, that whosoever draws near unto God, ought not to do so carelessly; nor may he offer unbefitting petitions. And one may very justly affirm, of a multitude of petitions, that they are unbefitting, and such as are not suitable for God to give, nor beneficial for us to receive. And if we will direct the penetrating glance of the mind upon the passage before us, we shall see without difficulty the truth of what I have said. For a certain man drew near to Christ, the Saviour of us all, and said, “Teacher, bid my brother divide with me the inheritance. But He said unto him, Man, who set Me as judge or divider over you?” For the Son indeed, when He appeared in our likeness, was set by God the Father as “Head and King over Sion, His holy mount,” according to the Psalmist’s words: and the nature |410 of His office He again Himself makes plain, “For I am come, He says, to preach the commandment of the Lord.” And what is this? Our virtue-loving Master wishes us to depart far from all earthly and temporal matters; to flee from the love of the flesh, and from the vain anxiety of business, and from base lusts; to set no value on hoards, to despise wealth, and the love of gain; to be good and loving unto one another; not to lay up treasures upon earth; to be superior to strife and envy, not quarrelling with the brethren, but rather giving way to them, even though they seek to gain an advantage over us; “for from him, He says, who takes away what is yours, demand it not again;” and rather to strive after all those things which are useful and necessary for the salvation of the soul. And for those who habitually thus live, Christ lays down laws by which they become illustrious and praiseworthy. For He said, “Possess neither silver nor gold: nor two coats, nor scrip, nor brass in your purses.” And again, “Make for yourselves purses that grow not old: a treasure that does not fail for ever in heaven.” And when a young man drew near saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” “Go, He answered, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come after Me.” To those therefore who bow down to Him the obedient neck of their minds, He both gives commandments and appoints laws: He lays down for them precepts, distributes to them the heavenly inheritance, gives them spiritual blessings, and is a storehouse for them of never-failing gifts. While for those who think only of earthly things, and whose heart is set on wealth, and their mind hardened, and unmerciful, and without gentleness or love for the poor, to such He will justly say, ” Who set Me as ruler or divider over you? He rejects the man therefore as troublesome, and as having no desire to learn ought fitting for him to know.

But He does not leave us without instruction: for having found, so to speak, a seasonable opportunity, He frames a profitable and saving discourse; and protesting as it were against them, declares, “Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness.” He showed us that pitfall of the devil, |411 covetousness, a thing hateful to God, and which the wise Paul even calls idolatry, perhaps as being suitable for those only who know not God, or as being equal in the balance with the defilement of those men who choose to serve stocks and stones. It is a snare of evil spirits, by which they drag down man’s soul to the meshes of hell. For this reason He says very justly, as setting them on their guard, “Take heed and keep yourselves from all covetousness:” that is, from great and small, and from defrauding any one whoever he may be. For as I said, it is a thing hateful to God and men. For who does not flee from him who uses violence, and is rapacious and greedy, and ready for iniquity in those things to which he has no right, and who with avaricious hand gathers that which is not his? What beast of prey does not such a man surpass in savageness? Than what rocks is he not more hard? For the heart of him who is defrauded is torn, and even melted sometimes by the penetrating pain as it were by fire: but he takes pleasure therein, and is merry, and makes the pains of them that suffer a cause of rejoicing. For the wronged man is sure generally to be one without power, who can but raise his eyes to Him Who alone is able to be angry for what he has suffered. And He, because He is just and good, accepts his supplication, and pities the tears of the sufferer, and brings punishment on those who have done the wrong.

And this you may learn from what He Himself says thereupon by the mouth of the holy prophets; “Therefore because you have bruised the heads of the poor, and taken from them chosen gifts, you shall build houses of carved stone, but you shall not dwell therein: and you shall plant desirable vineyards, but you shall not drink of their wine. For I know |412 your many wickednesses, and mighty are your sins.” And again, “Woe unto those who add house to house, and join field to field, that they may take away something from their neighbour. Will you dwell alone in the earth? For these things have been heard in the ears of the Lord of hosts. For though your houses be many, they shall be a desolation: though they be great and fair, there shall be none to inhabit them. For the ground that ten yoke of oxen till shall produce one pitcher full: and he that sows six artabae shall gather three measures,” Although therefore houses and fields may be the fruit of the oppression of others, yet these, He says, shall lie waste, without inhabitants, and shall yield no profit whatsoever to those who will act wickedly, because the just wrath of God is poured out upon them. In every way therefore there is no profit in covetousness.

And to view it in yet another light; it avails nothing, because a man’s life, as He says, is not from his possessions, by reason of his having a superfluity. And this is plainly true: for the duration of a man’s life is not extended in proportion to his wealth, nor does the sum of his life run parallel with that of his wicked gains. And this the Saviour has clearly and manifestly shown us, by very excellently adding the present parable in connexion with His previous argument. “For the ground, He said, of a certain rich man brought forth abundant crops.” Consider it exactly, that you may admire the beautiful art of the discourse. For He has not pointed out to us an estate of which one portion only brought forth abundant harvests; but the whole of it was fertile for its owner, showing thereby the vastness of his wealth. Similar to this is that passage of one of the holy apostles; “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped your land, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries out: and the supplications of those that reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” The Saviour therefore said that all his estate brought forth abundant harvests. |413

What therefore does the rich man do, surrounded by a profusion of so many blessings beyond all numbering? In distress and anxiety he utters the words of poverty. “For what, he says, shall I do? The man who is in want of necessaries constantly ejaculates this miserable language: but lo! one here of boundless wealth uses similar expressions. He determined then to build more spacious storehouses: he purposed to enjoy for himself alone those revenues that were sufficient for a populous city. He looks not to the future; he raises not his eyes to God; he does not count it worth his while to gain for the mind those treasures which are above in heaven: he does not cherish love for the poor, nor desire the estimation to be gained thereby: he sympathizes not with suffering; it gives him no pain, nor awakens his pity. And what is still more irrational, he settles for himself the duration of his life, as if he would reap this too from the ground: for he says, “I will say to myself, Self, you have goods laid up for many years; eat, drink, enjoy thyself.” ‘But, O rich man, one may say, you have indeed storehouses for your fruits, but from where will you obtain your many years? for by the decree of God your life is shortened. For God, it tells us, said unto him, You fool, this night they shall require of you your soul. But whose shall these things be that you have prepared?’

It is true therefore, that a man’s life is not from his possessions, by reason of his having a superfluity: but very blessed, and of glorious hope is he who is rich towards God. And who is he? Evidently one who loves not wealth, but virtue rather, and to whom few things are sufficient: and whose hand is open to the necessities of the indigent, comforting the sorrows of those in poverty, according to his means, and the utmost of his power. It is he who gathers in the storehouses that are above, and lays up treasures in heaven. Such a one shall find the usury of his virtue, and the recompense of his upright and blameless life; Christ shall bless him: by Whom, and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen. |414  (source)

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 12:13-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2013

Luk 12:13  And one of the multitude said to him: Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me.

St. Luke does not record the circumstances of this difference among the brothers, nor the merits of the case which our Lord was called upon to settle; nor does he say whether both parties appealed to Him either as umpire, arbitrator, or Judge—or only one party appealed to Him, on account of His influence among the people. We need not suppose the party spoken of regarded our Lord as the promised Messiah, who was to be the protector of the poor (Psalm 72:1-2). According to the law of inheritance among the Jews, the first-born was to obtain a double portion of his father’s property (Deut. 21:17). Some authors hold, that in the case of inheritance by the mother, the property was to be divided equally among all (Selden de Success. in bona, c. 5, 6).

Luk 12:14  But he said to him: Man, who hath appointed me judge or divider over you?

Our Lord, seeing that this man was more intent on earthly gain than on heavenly treasures, or, on the attainment of these spiritual joys, of which He had been treating, at once refuses to take up the case; and in His reply, He denies, while reprehending this man for his unseasonable interruption, that it was any business of His to interfere in such matters. They had civil judges to go to, to arrange their differences. “Man”—a form of expression used to denote, He knew him not (chap. 22:58–60). Our Lord does not here deny His judicial power, or His right, or that of His Church—in which point the Anabaptists err—to interfere if He pleased, since He was constituted “King of kings and Lord of lords,” &c., and He, also, gave His Church the plenitude of His authority; but, He here wishes to convey, that the primary end of His mission was not, to arrange temporal disputes, or to interfere in secular matters; thus, teaching His followers and the ministers of His Gospel, that spiritual matters should primarily engross all their attention; and temporal matters should be embarked in only as a secondary concern, and subordinate, as means, to the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls. He also desired not to favour the opinions of the carnal Jews, who expected in their Messiah, a powerful, earthly Prince and Conqueror. Circumstances do sometimes arise, rendering it imperative on those engaged in the Sacred Ministry, to embark in temporal concerns, as a necessary means of advancing the spiritual welfare of their people, and of averting great spiritual evils and dangers.

He who had come on earth for Divine purposes, properly declined meddling in earthly strife, and having to judge the living and the dead, and to pass sentence on them according to their deserts, He does not vouchsafe to be judge of lawsuits and to act as umpire in regard to possessions (St. Ambrose, Lib. 7, in Luc. n. 121). “Bene terrena despicit, qui propter divina descenderat,” (Well then does He avoid earthly things who had descended for the sake of divine things) says the same Father (hic).

Luk 12:15  And he said to them: Take heed and beware of all covetousness: for a man’s life doth not consist in the abundance of things which he possesseth.

Taking occasion from this man’s petition, which seemed to savour of avarice, He now warns His followers against “all covetousness,” not only as regards the desire of other men’s property; but, also as regards an excessive attachment to one’s own. Hence, the words, “all covetousness.” “He said to them,” His disciples and the crowd that was present. It may be, He addressed the two brothers, if present, who were contending about the inheritance. “Take heed and guard against all covetousness.” From the present case, take a lesson, and beware of all inordinate love for riches and earthly possessions. “For a man’s life, &c.” The happiness and prolongation of man’s life in this world are not brought about by the possession of riches; but, rather the contrary; that is to say, corroding cares and shortening of one’s days, owing to the temptations to commit excess, are produced by earthly possessions.

Luk 12:16  And he spoke a similitude to them, saying: The land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of fruits.

To illustrate His precepts on the subject of avarice, and to show the utter folly of excessive attachment to the things of this earth and over-confidence in riches, as the means of prolonging life, or rendering it happy, our Lord proposes a very striking and startling similitude, founded on an event which might have happened, or, at least, which was possible.

“The land.” The Greek word means, “farm,” or large number of fields, like those of the men reproached by Isaiah5:8. “Brought forth plenty of fruit,” yielded an abundant produce.

Luk 12:17  And he thought within himself, saying: What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
Luk 12:18  And he said: This will I do: I will pull down my barns and will build greater: and into them will I gather all things that are grown to me and my goods.

The increase of riches produced not peace, but anxiety and disquietude. St. Basil (Hom. de Avaritia), observes, that this rich man, in the midst of his riches, felt all the disquietude of the poor, when they are in want of bread or necessary subsistence. He never thought of bestowing his superfluities on the poor. His ears were deaf to their cries. Instead of destroying his granaries to enlarge them, he should have opened them to the poor, to feed the hungry, and like Joseph of old, should have proclaimed to all who were in want to come and receive aid at his hands.

“And my goods,” refers to those already stored there. “All things that are grown to me,” the increased produce of the present year.

Luk 12:19  And I will say to my soul: Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thy rest: eat, drink, make good cheer.

“My soul,” an emphatic expression for, myself. It refers to the prolongation of his life. “My soul.” The following is the soliloquy of this rich man with himself: “for many years;” but who promised him “many years,” nay, a single day to enjoy them?

“Take thy rest,” &c. Indulge in all kinds of animal gratification, and enjoy all kinds of sensual delight, deny thyself no pleasure. “O, singular, egregious folly,” cries out St. Basil, “if you had the soul of a hog, what else could you enunciate?”

Luk 12:20  But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee. And whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?

The rich man thus pondered secretly in his own mind; for, “he thought within himself” (v. 17). But, his thoughts were heard and examined in Heaven, which is not slow in pronouncing judgment on him. “But God said to him,” either by some secret inspiration, or some sudden mortal stroke, sending him a mortal disease, which was taking him out of life and thus showing his folly; or by an angel, “thou fool,” while thou hast not a day which thou canst call thine own, thou promisest thyself many years, on which all thy calculations of long happiness are based. Such is the judgment, not of man, but of Divine wisdom regarding him, and, indeed, it is not difficult even for man, enlightened by faith, to pronounce the same.

“This night.” This very night on which thou dost calculate on a long life, “they require” a form of personal for impersonal, by no means rare, either in Greek or Hebrew, signifying, “shall be required,” thy soul shall be required. It may also be understood personally, of God and His angels. The angels, as ministers of God’s decree, by a just judgment, “require his soul,” and cut short the thread of his life, that very night. “Require that soul,” about whose enjoyments during many long years to come, the rich man was so solicitous.

“And whose shall the things be,” &c. Certainly not thine own, since thy works alone shall accompany thee. They may, possibly, come to some worthless heir; to the very man whom thou abhorrest most. Thou canst not say, to whom they may fall, whether to stranger or relative, friend or foe (Ecclesiastes 11:19). (Psalm 38:7), “He knoweth not for whom he shall gather those things.”

Luk 12:21  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.

This is the moral conclusion from the above. Such shall be the end and sad fate of him who, engrossed with acquiring and accumulating temporal wealth for his own selfish purposes, for his own pleasure and gratification—“for himself” (only), is opposed to “towards God”—is regardless of acquiring true riches for himself. “Not rich towards God,” rich in good works, which please God, especially in distributing our wealth to the needy poor, His representatives on earth, and thus having our treasures laid up in heaven. “Rich towards God,” means rich in good works; “rich” in bestowing our goods on God, who will reward us liberally hereafter. The man who makes God his heir, need not fear if suddenly called out of this life; he is prepared; he has sent his treasures before him, securely laid up for him in heaven. The Greek word for “rich,” πλουτων, is a participle, signifying “making himself rich in God,” by the practice of those virtues, especially charity to the poor, and by the acquisition of merits, which constitute riches in God.


Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 12:13-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2013

Luk 12:13  And one of the multitude said to him: Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me.

And one of the multitude said to Him. My brother is injuring me, for he wishes to seize the whole of our father’s property, and he will give me no share of it. Command him therefore to do me justice, for Thou by Thy authority canst do this with a word, which I cannot effect by many suits and much litigation. For it is Thy office to defend the right and assist the oppressed, for Thou art the Lord of justice.

Luk 12:14  But he said to him: Man, who hath appointed me judge or divider over you?

The word “man” is a Hebraism for an unknown person, as in Luke  22:58, Peter said, “Man, I am not,” and Luk_22:60, “Man, I know not what thou sayest.” The meaning is, This is a matter of the courts which dispose of secular questions: it has no part in Me, who teach and dispense a heavenly heritage. Christ does not here deny that He has judicial power, for He was the King of kings and the Lord of lords; but He wished to use His power over a covetous man to cure him of his greed, and to teach him to prefer heavenly to earthly things, and to give way willingly to them, according to His own words, vi. 29, “From him that taketh away thy cloke withhold not thy coat also.” “He rightly sets aside earthly things,” says S. Ambrose, “who came down to us for heavenly ones. Hence this brother is rebuked not undeservedly, for he would fain have occupied the dispenser of heavenly things with those of earth.” At the same time He taught that ecclesiastics and spiritual persons ought not to meddle with secular things, but to employ themselves in divine ones, as S. Paul says, 2 Tim 2:4, “No ma, being a soldier of God, entangleth himself with secular business.” So S. Ambrose, Euthymius, Bede, and de Lyra from S. Augustine (serm. 196)—that is, unless the faithful have any suit; secular Bishops in former ages used to settle these, as S. Augustine says that he has done. Lib. de Opere Monachor, c. 29.

Luk 12:15  And he said to them: Take heed and beware of all covetousness: for a man’s life doth not consist in the abundance of things which he possesseth.

and he said to them, “as well to His disciples,” the Syriac says, “as to the multitude,” especially to him who had spoken about his brother dividing the property, Take heed. In this contention of brothers how much ill was caused by avarice. Whilst one from avarice refused to divide the inheritance, the other, with too much cupidity and out of all season, urged the division. Strife and dissention arose among them. Not only should we guard against the lust of seizing what is another’s, but also from too great cupidity to get possession of what is our own, for they who are too eager for earthly riches, neglect heavenly ones. S. Augustine, in his 28th Sermo. De diversis: “Not only is he avaricious who seizes what is another’s, but he also who covetously keeps his own.” The Arabic has, “See and beware of all evil—for avarice is the cause of all evil,” as in 1Tim 6:10, “The desire of money is the root of all evils.”

For a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. That is, it is not because a man abounds in riches that his life is abundant, so as to be longer and happier on that account, for it is shortened and made unhappy from the anxiety and luxury which attend upon great wealth. The Syriac version has, “Life is not in the abundance of riches;” the Arabic, “Man has not abundance in his much wealth”—that is, abundance does not prolong our lives, but rather shortens them. Theophylact says, “The measure of life is not contained in its abundance. For he who has great possessions does not live longer for them, nor does length of life attend upon the multitude of his riches;” and Euthymius, “Not because a man abounds in riches, does his life abound from such abundance. The measure of his life does not depend upon this.” The meaning is, Thou, 0 man, who greedily seekest a heritage from thy brother, seekest it that thou mayest live long and comfortably. But thou errest; for the rich, from their cares and the gluttony they indulge in, often pass short and miserable lives. If thou wouldest live long and profitably, despise money, be poor in spirit, entrust thy hopes and wealth to God alone, for He is the only giver of length of life and happiness. To show this Christ adds the following parable. S. Augustine, On Abel and Cain, i. 5, at the end: “If thou seek treasures, choose the unseen and hidden, those which are to be found in the highest heavens, not sought in the veins of the earth. Be poor in spirit and thou shalt be rich by every reckoning; for the life of man consists not in the abundance of his wealth, but in virtue and faith. These riches make us rich indeed, if we be rich in God.”

Luk 12:16  And he spoke a similitude to them, saying: The land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of fruits.

And he spoke this similitude (parable) unto them, saying: the land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of fruits. The ground in the Greek (χώζα) means a large extent of land, a number of fields.

Luk 12:17  And he thought within himself, saying: What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do? &c. Behold the care, behold the poverty of this rich man—he who is overflowing with wealth and receptacles has need of some place in which to store his goods. He is in doubt and perplexity, says Euthymius, as if he were really poor, though he is in truth wealthy. And S. Basil, in his homily on these words of Christ: “The earth did not return fruits but lamentations; for this unhappy man is afflicted quite as much as they who are oppressed by want, and he cries out saying, ‘What shall I do?’ Does not he who is in straits from his poverty utter the same words? and he who has to beg?” From all the good things that flowed in upon him he derived no gratification. They rather annoyed his mind and troubled him.

I have no room where to bestow my fruits.  “Did he not,” says S. Basil, “collect his crops and incur the reputation of avarice when he called them his own (i.e., ‘my fruits’)?” For how many dangers are there before the harvest is gathered in. The hail often beats it down, and the heat snatches it out of the very grasp, and rains suddenly rush down from the mountains and sweep it away

Luk 12:18  And he said: This will I do: I will pull down my barns and will build greater: and into them will I gather all things that are grown to me and my goods.

And he said, This will I do, I will pull down my barns, &c. All the harvests collected in past years. He took counsel of his cupidity, not of his charity, which would have said to him, “Spend them on the poor.” “Dost thou want barns? Thou hast them in the bellies of the poor,” says S. Basil; and S. Ambrose (Lib. de Naboth, cap. vii.), “Thou hast storehouses; the bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows and orphans, the mouths of infants. Let these be thy barns, and they will last thee for ever.”  S. Basil again, in the homily above: “He is a despoiler who, when he receives what he ought to dispense, considers it as his own. The bread thou hast is the bread of the famishing, thy robe is the robe of the naked, thy silver that is buried in the ground is the silver of the indigent: wherefore dost thou wrong so many poor whom thou mightest support?” He adds, “And, when thou hast filled thy barns, what wilt thou do with the harvest of the following year? Wilt thou pull them down again and build new ones for ever? Thou wilt always be consuming thy substance and thy wealth in pulling down the old and building new, that the fruits which sprang from the earth may return to it again. Thou wilt not bestow them upon the poor, because thou enviest others the use of them, and thus, when earth restored them again to thee, thou deprivest all men of their benefit, nay even thyself; for as corn, falling into the ground, brings gain to the sower, so thy bread, if thou gavest it to the hungry, would bring thee much profit hereafter.”

Luk 12:19  And I will say to my soul: Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thy rest: eat, drink, make good cheer.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. This rich man again errs and commits sin. First, in promising himself very many years, when he was to die that night. He who promised himself a long life did not see the following day,” says S. Gregory (22 Moral chap. 6). And S. Cyril, in the Catena, “Thou hast fruits in thy barns, 0 rich man, but whence hast thou many years?” Secondly, in giving himself up to gluttony and luxury, saying, “Eat, drink, and be merry like an Epicurean.” For after death is no enjoyment.

Take thy rest. To the plague of avarice is joined that of sloth, says the Gloss. “If you had the soul of a sow,” says S. Basil, “what else could you propose for yourself?—you are so brutish, so ignorant of the soul’s good, that you indulge it in carnal gratification.” Being wholly of the flesh, you make yourself a slave to its lusts. An appellation worthy of you, was bestowed upon you, “Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee.”

S. Ambrose (Lib. ii. de Interpell. in Job c. 5) says wisely, “A great incitement to fall away is an influx of prosperity. It makes us supine, puffs us up, causes forgetfulness of its author.”

Luk 12:20  But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee. And whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?

But God said to him. God said this, not in word but in deed, sending him a fever or some other mortal disease, and causing his conscience by this means to speak thus to him. “God said this to the rich man,” says Euthymius, “through his conscience, which, as he felt death coming upon him, said this to him.”

Thou fool. Because in thy plan, in which thou appearedst to thyself wise, thou now perceivest that thou wast a fool.

This night. “His soul, which would take no heed of light, and which was tending on to Gehenna, was taken in the night.” Gregory, Moral., lib. xv. xi. II.

(this night) do they require thy soul of thee. (Repetunt, απαιτου̃σιν, Greek). They require: that is, God and His angels, who are His instruments, not by misfortune but by the just judgment of God, as if against His will.

Thy soul. “That thou mayest give account of all thy fruits and of the riches and other property which God has given to thee.” So Toletus. They seek it again, because thy soul does not die with the body, but is immortal; thy soul, too, is not thy own, but God’s, who breathed it into thee and entrusted it to thee as a sacred gift. Rightly, therefore, does He now seek it of thee again by a sudden death. Hear S. Jerome on the death that is imminent on all (Ep. iii. to Heliodorus): “Xerxes, that most mighty king, who overthrew mountains, who controlled seas, when he had viewed from a lofty place an infinite multitude of men and an immense army, is said to have wept, because after a hundred years none of those whom he then saw would be surviving. Oh, if we could ascend such a tower from which we could see the whole earth under our feet! I would show you the ruins of the world—nations in strife with nations—kings with kings—and, not the army of Xerxes alone, but the inhabitants of the entire globe, who are now alive, in a short space of time, passed away.”

And whose shall those things be which thou hast provided (for thyself)? “They shall not only not belong to thee,” says Euthymius, “they shall not be thine; but thou dost not know whose they will be—whether thy heir’s or a stranger’s, a friend’s or an enemy’s;—and this increases thy grief.” S. James says, “They shall eat your flesh as fire” (v. 3); and S. Ambrose, “The things that we cannot carry with us are not our own. Virtue alone is the companion of the dead. Mercy alone follows us—and mercy alone gains abodes for the departed.”  S. Augustine: “The purse contains that which Christ receives not” (Hom. 48, inter. 50). Well says the wise man, “What fortune has lent let her take, what nature has changed let her seek again, what virtue has gained she will retain.” See what I have collected from the Fathers on vanity and the perniciousness of riches on Isaiah v. 9.

Luk 12:21  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself. Such an end and such a death did the rich covetous man meet who had not laid up treasure toward God. It will be asked, Who is rich towards God? I answer—He who has by alms and other good works many merits and safeguards hidden up as treasures before God, and who day by day hides more, as the apostle teaches at length, 1 Tim 6:17 and following. See what is said thereon.

Secondly, “He is rich in God who studies to please God alone, who fixes all his hope and love on God, who rests wholly on Him, that he may be blessed by Him and made eternally happy.” “He is rich,” says the Gloss, “whose expectation is the Lord, and whose substance is with God.” “The rich in God,” says S. Augustine, “is poor in gold” (Serm. xxviii. de verb. Apostoli)—that is, poor in spirit, as St. Peter was when he said to the lame man, “Silver and gold have I none; but what I have, that I give thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” Acts 3:6 On Ps. xl. he says, “When Christ was rich He became poor, that by His poverty He might make you rich. He enriches the truly poor, He brings the falsely rich to poverty. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,'” Matt 5:3. “Let us endeavour,” says Theophylact, “to be made rich in God, that is, to have trust in Him, that He may have our wealth and the granary of it, and not call our goods our own but God’s, and if they are God’s, let us not deprive Him of His own. This is to be rich in God, to believe that if I give Him all things and empty myself, nothing that is needful for my good shall ever fail me. God is my storehouse, which I will open and take from it all of which I have need.”

Thirdly, He who is rich, that is liberal, in God, is charitable to the poor. For what is done to them God holds to be done to Himself and rewards it. “Let him,” says Bede, “who wishes to be rich in God, not lay up treasure to himself, but distribute his possessions among the poor.” The meaning is good, but it is not complete: for Christ is not speaking here exclusively of almsgiving, but of the true riches, which He declares to be not the fruits of the ground and the wealth of mines, but virtues and good works, for these procure us long life and blessing, as well in this world as in the world to come.

Fourthly, S. Augustine, in his 44th Discourse on the Temptation, teaches that “he is rich to God who is full of love and therefore of God.” “God is love and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him,” 1 John 4:16. “If you have love you have God. What has the rich man if he have not love? If a poor man have love, what has he not? You think him rich perhaps whose chest is full of gold; and is he not so whose conscience is full of God? He is truly rich in whom God deigns to dwell.” S. Augustine.

Lastly, The rich man toward God is one who abounds in every virtue. So S. Ambrose explains at length (lib. iv. epis. 27), to Simplicianus, whose words I have cited on 1 Peter 3:4, “That which is not corruptible, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

In allegory. The rich toward God are the blessed who enjoy God and all His works. S. Augustine (Serm. 74 de Temp.) teaches that the blessed alone are happy, both because they possess God, and want nothing. “He,” he says, “is truly rich who wants nothing, but the blessed alone want nothing—the blessed alone are truly happy.” He says in the preface of Psalm 41, “Christ was rich to the Father, and poor to us—rich in heaven, poor on earth—rich as God, poor as man.”

St Ambrose in his Epistle to Demetrias, wisely says, “By what price can the repose of this world be more fitly purchased than by the restoration to the world itself of all riches, all dignities, and all desires; and the purchase of Christian liberty by a holy and happy community by which the sons of God, from having been poor will be made rich, from patient will become brave, from humility be exalted?”

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 103:6-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 27, 2013

6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment: for all them that are oppressed with wrong.

This He did for us men (says St Basil), when we were oppressed by the wrong-doing of the enemy that held us in bondage, for He executed righteousness (according to Chrysostom), or, as LXX. and Vulgate read, mercies, for man in redeeming him with His own Blood (Didymus), while at the same time executing judgment in overthrowing the dominion of our spiritual foes, triumphing over them openly on the Cross; of which twofold operation the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, accompanied by the plagues and destruction of their oppressors, was a type (according to Eusebius and Cardinal Hugo). And the verse teaches us that lesson inculcated in another place, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the LORD” (Rom 12:9), warning us therefore not to take the office of revenging our wrongs with our own hands, but to imitate the patience of the Saints in leaving it in His, for, as the Wise Man has written, “He that revengeth shall find vengeance of the LORD, and He will surely retain his sins” (Sirach 28:1).

7 He showed his ways unto Moses: his works unto the children of Israel.

According to Chrysostom, those ways of GOD were the precepts He delivered to Moses, and they are so named, partly because they were designed for the Israelites to walk in, and partly because the Law itself was but a transition to the Gospel, a road to the fuller dispensation of grace. And in that it is said in another place, “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth” (Ps 25:10), He showed His ways unto Moses when the Prophet besought Him, saying, “Show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee” (Agellius referencing Ex 33:13) and He made that proclamation before him as He passed by, “The LORD, the LORD GOD, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Ex 34:6). He made known His works unto the children of Israel, says Cardinal Bellarmine, in permitting them to behold the miracles He wrought in the deliverance out of Egypt, and for their sustenance or their chastisement in the wilderness. The LXX. and Vulgate for works read wills, (Lorinus) and they explain that though the will of GOD is one and indivisible, yet in its multiplicity of effects it may be spoken of as manifold. Some will have it that there is a marked distinction to be drawn here between the knowledge communicated to Moses, as GOD’S faithful servant and interpreter, who was suffered to know His ways, and that given to the rebellious people, (Cassiodorus) who were told His will, which they did not obey, and therefore never attained to true knowledge of His ways, so as to walk in them (Cardinal Hugo).  And as He literally taught Moses the road by which the Israelites were to journey towards Canaan, (St Augustine) while enjoining on them simply obedience to the leader He had set over them, so in the Church He makes known His ways to His Saints, teaching them the inner secrets of the spiritual life and of the path to heaven, while instructing the general mass of believers simply as to what His will is, which is plainly set before us (Balthazar Corderius), “for this is the will of GOD; even your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3).

8 The LORD is full of compassion and mercy: long-suffering, and of great goodness.

According to Cardinal Bellarmine, these four titles denote all the bounties of GOD, from the first to the last. The first is the grace of predestination (as Agellius notes), or the eternal love of GOD; then follow the gift of justification and the remission of our various sins, and finally there is added the crown of glory, which He bestows on penitent sinners.

9 He will not alway be chiding: neither keepeth he his anger for ever.

According to St Augustine, He does chide us in this world, from the cradle to the grave, in chastising us for our sins, and in purifying us with trials and afflictions; but He reserves His mercies for us in the perfect happiness of His kingdom. Remigius of St Germanus says we have a pledge of this in that, while we were yet in our sins, He justified us, and gave us blessings instead of parental punishments. (Cassiodorus) And, spoken especially of His chosen people, the words tell us of the final restoration and conversion of Israel, so long suffering under the wrath of GOD (St Chrysostom). They are careful to warn us that the verse does not prove the Universalist theory, (Dinoysius the Cathusian) as it is dealing only with the promises of GOD to His elect and to all penitent souls, (Cardinal Bellarmine) not to such as harden themselves in sin, who must look for wrath and fiery indignation.

10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins: nor rewarded us according to our wickednesses.

That is as some will have it, He has not punished our original guilt, (Honorius) but has rather shown us how we may be cleansed from it, nor has He straightway taken vengeance on our actual transgressions, but has given us time and means of repentance. And others remind us that when He does punish, (Cardinal Hugo) it is with far greater leniency than our guilt merits. So Ezra makes his confession: “And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that Thou our GOD hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given such deliverance as this, should we again break Thy commandments?” (Ezra 9:13)

11 For look how high the heaven is in comparison of the earth: so great is his mercy also towards them that fear him.
12 Look how wide also the east is from the west: so far hath he set our sins from us.

Lorinus, writing at a time when Galileo was but on the track of his astronomical discoveries, and when the almost total lack of instruments narrowed the range of observation and even of conjecture, endeavours to exhibit the forcible nature of these similes by setting before his readers some calculations as to the vast distances of the heavenly bodies from us, the extent of the firmament which is penetrable to our gaze. It is enough to say, in briefly substituting some of the incomparably greater results of modern science for those which the learned Jesuit offered his readers two centuries and a half ago, that there are nebula? visible to the telescope now, but too distant to be resolvable into separate stars, whence light, travelling at the rate of twelve millions of miles in a minute, must have required seven hundred thousand years to reach our earth; that at the very least one hundred millions of stars believed to be suns, the centres of planetary systems like our own, are countable, each of which systems revolves in a minimum orbit of six thousand millions of miles, and is probably distant from its next neighbour nineteen billions of miles; while all this inconceivable vastness is merely one tiny point in space which our feeble organs and imperfect instruments have enabled us to observe and map out. So great is His mercy, so far hath He set our sins from us. (St Augustine) For He hath caused our sins to set in the grave of Baptism, (Cassiodorus) and made the Man, (Honorius) Whose Name is the East, the Sun of Righteousness, the Day-star (2 Pet 1:19), to arise in our hearts, so that we, who were sometimes darkness, are now light in the LORD (Eph 5:8), Who ascended to the height of heaven from the earth, shows His mercy thence to those that fear Him, by His perpetual mediation on behalf of His tried and suffering Church. In the mention of the East and West there may be very possibly a reference to the restoration of the Jewish exiles from Babylon to their own land (Rabbi David Kimichi).  And a Rabbinical commentator observes that we do not find the North and South named, because much of the space lying between their extreme points is uninhabitable by man, owing to the bitter cold, whereas life can be supported in every part of East and West, which therefore serve as better types of the fostering love of GOD.

13 Yea, like as a father pitieth his own children: even so is the LORD merciful unto them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth whereof we are made: he remembereth that we are but dust.

Let Him be as stern as He will, (St Augustine) He is our FATHER. He hath scourged us, hath afflicted us, hath crushed us; He is our FATHER. Son, if thou weepest, weep under a FATHER’S hand, be not angered nor violent in pride. What thou sufferest, what thou lamentest, is not punishment, but medicine, it is chastisement, not condemnation. Refuse not the scourge, if thou wouldst not be ousted from thine heritage. Think not of the pain of the scourge, but of thy place in the testament (Targum); for He knoweth whereof we are made, He knoweth our weakness, our proneness to sin (Dionysius the Carthusian), the fuel of evil that abides within us. He knows what He made, how it fell, how it may be restored, adopted, enriched. Behold, we were made out of clay. “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the LORD from heaven” (1 Cor 15:47). Observe, too, that a father’s affection for his children is of much earlier date than theirs for him (Michael Ayguan).  He cares for them even before their birth, bears with their childish faults, provides them with all necessaries, and rules them, usually, with more justice and firmness than their mother (De Muis); while, on the other hand, children need to emerge out of infancy before they begin to have any intelligent love for their fathers, and it rarely becomes their task to contribute to their support. Whence we are here taught the lesson that GOD’s love and care for us does not depend on our goodness, but on His own, and that we are not less His children, nor less the objects of His tenderness when we rebel against Him (Cardinal Bellarmine), for He remembereth that we are but dust, and making full allowance for our frailty, is more ready to forgive than we to sin.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 106:19-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 27, 2013

19 They made a calf in Horeb: and worshipped the molten image.
20 Thus they turned their glory: into the similitude of a calf that eateth hay.

There is a peculiar stress on the words in Horeb (as Agellius notes) as denoting the very place where the great manifestation of GOD’S Power and presence had been made, and where the Law had been given, whose very first words were a prohibition of the sin of idolatry (as Honorius noted). And the Prayer Book wording of the twentieth verse implies that while without doubt the Egyptian worship of the bull Apis suggested the form of the idol which Aaron made, the intention of the Israelites was to worship the true GOD under a visible symbol, not to substitute another deity for Him. But others interpret it, They bartered their glory for an ox, &c., which implies a change in the object of worship. Mystically (according to Cardinal Hugo), their guilt is repeated by all such as in the “dry place” (Horeb = parched or dry) of a heart un-watered by the HOLY SPIRIT, turn from heavenly things to carnal ones, and barter their glory, the promise of a divine inheritance, for the gratification of the flesh, which is the devouring of grass (Isa 40:6), or who (according to St Albert the Great) flatter and abase themselves before unworthy prelates and princes, instead of keeping their tokens of reverence for GOD only. And the Jews themselves repeated this sin (says Cassiodorus), when at Calvary they rejected their Glory, and chose Barabbas, fit type of that coarse and sensual multitude of which the poet says,

Nos numerus sumus, et fruges consumere nati.
We are a crowd, born but to eat of food.

21 And they forgot GOD their Saviour: who had done so great things in Egypt;
22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham: and fearful things by the Red Sea.

The three epithets of GOD’S manifestations in these verses (according to Cassiodorus), rising to a climax, are intended to emphasize the incredible folly and fickleness of the people, in that they not merely failed in gratitude, but were unable to retain such striking and important events in their memory (as Honorius notes).  Disloyal Christians do the like (as St Albert the Great notes) when they forget the great things of CHRIST’S Incarnation and Nativity (Cardinal Hugo), the wondrous works of His miracles wrought in this dark world, the fearful things of the sanguine tide of His bitter Passion, which so many men fear to imitate, which caused such dismay to the evil spirits. Wherefore we ought not to forget Him, Who hath borne such things for us, “Forget not the friendship of thy Surety, for He hath given His life for thee” (Sirach 29:15). “So long as I live,” exclaims a Saint (St Bernard), “I will remember the toils which the LORD endured in preaching, His weariness in going about, His temptations in the fasting, His watchings in prayer, His tears of compassion. I will remember also the sorrows, reproaches, spittings, buffetings, mockings, insults, scourgings, and the like; for if I do not, the Blood of that Righteous One, which was poured forth upon the earth, will be required of me.”

23 So he said, he would have destroyed them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the gap: to turn away his wrathful indignation, lest he should destroy them.

Whilst they murmured only for bread and water (says St Athanasius), He bore with them as a nurse with her fosterchild, but when their madness reached such a pitch of wickedness as this, they were scourged. And GOD (notes Agellius), very wroth because of their impious course, was minded to destroy them utterly, and spake to Moses, saying, “Let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation (Ex 32:10).  But Moses, the one whom He had chosen to deliver the people out of Egypt, like a valiant champion, standing in the very breach and gap of the shattered wall which they had broken down by their guilt, opposed himself bravely to the wrath of GOD, as it was rushing on the people, and repelled His advancing vengeance with prayers and supplication, saying, “LORD, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people?” (Ex 32:11) Therefore Moses fought with prayer, as the strongest of weapons against GOD, and blunted His shafts and swords, and that according to His own will, nay, His indirect suggestion. For He told Moses that He would destroy them, for that their deserving was such that they might be justly rooted out altogether. And so He complains by the mouth of Ezekiel: “I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none; therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them” (Ezek 22:30). A greater than Moses, One “drawn out” of the many waters of His sore tribulations (says St Albert the Great) has taken His stand for us in the gap of that broken fence of mankind, His own most Sacred Body, broken by and for our sins, broken in the Blessed Sacrament, broken with nails and spear upon the Cross, to plead on our behalf (Cardinal Hugo). When, therefore, the Priest at the Altar makes the fraction of the Host, we may bear in mind the perpetual intercession which goes up for us before the throne of GOD, and take courage (pseudo-Hieronymus); and all earthly deputies of our great High Priest may remember (says Honorius) that intercessory prayer will often effect the conversion of sinners, who have remained unmoved by the preaching of the Word.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, fathers of the church, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

This Week’s Posts: Sunday, July 28-Sunday, August 4, 2013

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: unless indicated otherwise, all commentaries and introductions relating to a Responsorial are for the entire Psalm, not to the selected verses.

SUNDAY, JULY 28, 2013

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday, July 21–Sunday, July 28.

MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34).

Update: Bishop Knecht’s Practical Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34). St Joe Of O Blog. Fairly brief, on all of chapter 32.

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

Update: A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 106:19-23).

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

Update: Some Brief Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 106:19-23). St Joe of O Blog.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 11:19-27). On 17-27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 11:19-27). On 17-27.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 11:19-27).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 11:19-27).

TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2013

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Exodus 33:7-11, 34:5b-9, 28).

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

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

Update: Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 103:6-13). Includes verse 14.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:36-43).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:36-43).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:36-43).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 13:36-43).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:36-43).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Exodus 34:29-35).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 99).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 99).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 99).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44-46).

Maldonado’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44-46).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44-46).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44-46).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 84).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 84).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:47-53).

Maldonado’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:47-53).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:47-53).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:47-53).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:47-53).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37).

Pending: Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 81).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 81).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 81).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:54-58). On 53-58.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:54-58).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:54-58).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:54-58).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Leviticus 25:1, 8-17).

Pending: Father Boylan’s INtroduction to Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 67).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 67).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 67).

Lectio Divina Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Psalm 67).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:1-12).

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:1-12).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:1-12).

Pending: Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:1-12).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:1-12).

Dominica XI Post Pentecosten I. Augusti ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Rite). Usually posted on Wednesday evenings, but sometimes on Tues. or Thurs. evenings.

Next Week’s Posts: Sunday, August 4-Sunday, August 11. Mostly complete.

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

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:54-58

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2013

PRELIMINARIES: The following verses (54-58) inform us of Christ’s rejection in Nazareth. How can the present passage of the first gospel be harmonized with its seeming parallel of the third [Lk. 4:16–30]? Augustine, Chrysostom, Faber Stapulensis, Jansenius, Maldonado, Barradas, Sylveira, Lapide, Grimm, Schanz, Cornely, etc. contend that the two gospels refer to the same incident, the time of which must be determined either by the third or the first gospel. Both of these views are open to serious difficulties. Again, the third gospel mentions incidents connected with our Lord’s visit to Nazareth not only different from those recorded in the first and second [Mk. 6:1 ff.], but incompatible with them; e. g. the miracles related in the first and second gospel cannot be placed before the attempted violence [Lk. 4:23] nor after it, while the violence narrated by Luke is hardly compatible with the peaceful narratives of Matthew and Mark. Then, why should Matthew especially, intent as he is on proving the guilt of those Jews who rejected Jesus, omit the violence of the men of Nazareth, if he narrated the visit to Nazareth described in the third gospel? Finally, it is highly probable that Jesus gave his fellow citizens more than one opportunity of entering the kingdom. Arnoldi, Schegg, Bisping, Fillion, Keil. Edersheim, Storr, Wieseler, Ebrard, Godet, Krafft, Tischendorf, Knabenbauer, etc. are therefore justified in assuming that the gospels speak of two different visits of Jesus to Nazareth, the first [Lk. 4:16–30] occurring about December of our Lord’s first year of public life, the second nearly a year later Mt. 13:53 ff.; Mk. 6:1 ff.].

But how harmonize Mk. 6:1 ff. with the present passage of the first gospel? According to the second gospel a number of events intervene between the parables and the visit to Nazareth [cf. 4:35–6:1], while the first gospel narrates the visit immediately after the parables. But the connecting clause is not so stringent in the first gospel as to exclude the events narrated in Mk. 4:40–6:1 from between the parables and the rejection in Nazareth.

Mat 13:54  And coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogues, so that they wondered and said: How came this man by this wisdom and miracles?
Mat 13:55  Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude:
Mat 13:56  And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence therefore hath he all these things?
Mat 13:57  And they were scandalized in his regard. But Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
Mat 13:58  And he wrought not many miracles there, because of their unbelief.

And coming into. “His own country” is the city of Nazareth where Jesus had been brought up, and where his mother lived [cf. Mt. 2:23]. When teaching in “their synagogues” [cf. 4:23.], the people were amazed and said: How came this man [a term of contempt; cf. Jn. 6:42] by this wisdom in his words and power in his action [cf. Origen, St Bruno, Alb. Cajetan, Dionysius, Tostatus, Maldonado, Barradas, Lapide], or by his knowledge and power to work miracles [Chrysostom, Theophylact]? In any case, Jesus must have wrought the miracles mentioned in verse 58 before his appearance in the synagogue. The Greek word rendered “carpenter” may mean a worker in iron, stone, wood, gold, silver, or any other material [cf. Cajetan, Maldonado, Barradas], though it refers more frequently to the “carpenter”; Hilary, Ambrose, Bede, are of opinion that Joseph was a smith, and that our Lord worked at the same trade [cf. Mk. 6:3], but Justin [c. Tryph. 88], Theodoret [E. H. iii. 18], Suicer [cf. Thes. ii. p. 1255], Evang. infantiæ [Arab. c. 38; Tisch. p. 201], Evang. Thomæ [græce c. 13; Tisch. p. 152], testify that Joseph was a carpenter, and according to Mk. 6:3 Jesus followed the same trade, though Origen [c. Cels. vi. 36] must have had a different reading of Mark before him, since he says that Jesus is not called “carpenter” anywhere in the gospel. Concerning the “brethren” and the “sisters” of the Lord, see 12:47. James, called James the Less, was son of Alpheus [Mt. 10:3; Lk. 6:15; Mk. 3:18; Acts 1:13] and of Mary Cleophas [Mt. 27:56; Mk. 15:40; Lk. 24:10; John 19:25]; he was also the “brother of the Lord” [Gal. 1:19], and brother of St. Jude [Lk. 6:16; Acts 1:13; Jude 1]; he was, moreover, “one of the Twelve” [Mt. 10:3], and surnamed the Just [Eusebius H. E. ii. 23]; he was finally first bishop of Jerusalem [Eusebius H. E. ii. 1], and as such took a prominent part in the first Council of Jerusalem [Acts 15:13, 19], received the news of Peter’s release from prison [Acts 12:17], and was favored by a special vision of our Lord [1 Cor. 15:7]. Jude, also called Thaddeus or Lebbeus [Mt. 10:3], and Simon the Zealot [Mt. 10:4], too belonged to the Twelve [cf. Cornely, Introd. iii. pp. 595, 649]. The “sisters” must have been related to Jesus in the same manner as the “brethren”; usually, two are named [cf. Thilo. cod. apocr. p. 363], either Mary Salome and Mary Cleophas [Epiphanius, Theophylact], or Ester and Tamar Hippolytus ap. Niceph. ii. 3]. Though their wonder and their question [vv. 54, 56] should have led to a different result, “they were scandalized,” not as if in strict logic they had derived Christ’s wisdom and miracles from the devil [Tostatus, Dionysius, Maldonado, Arnoldi], but their envy [Chrysostom, Jerome] and the common human weakness which always despises the known and familiar [cf. 1 Sam. 16:11; 17:28; Jn. 4:44; Lk. 4:25 f.; Jerome, Theophylact, Euthymius, Thomas Aquinas, Dionysius Seneca, De ben. iii. 3; Pliny, Hist. nat. xxxv. 36; Grotius] did not permit the rude inhabitants of Nazareth to submit in humble faith to their reputed equal or inferior. This throws additional light on the complete obscurity of the hidden life. The repetition of what had been said on the occasion of Christ’s previous visit to Nazareth [Lk. 4:24] agrees well with similar repetitions of other sayings [cf. Mt. 7:16 and 12:33; Mt. 5:29 and 18:8; Lk. 8:16 and 11:33]. The “unbelief” of Nazareth was not a physical, but a moral impediment of our Lord’s miracles. Chrysostom, Euthymius, Jerome, Bede, Paschasius, are of opinion that Jesus did not work more miracles because he did not wish to increase the guilt of the unbelievers, already inexcusable by reason of those that had been wrought in their city; but the text assigns their unbelief as the reason of our Lord’s limited beneficence.

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

%d bloggers like this: