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 6th, 2013

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 10:24-33

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

Mat 10:24  The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord.

Having foretold persecutions, our Lord now adduces some considerations, for the purpose of animating them to bear the persecutions in store for them, with courage and patience. He first employs certain familiar adages, clearly understood, and, probably, in vogue among the Jews, such as, the disciple and servant cannot expect better treatment, or to be better off than their master and lord. This is applied to Himself, next verse. So, He adduces His own example, in the first instance, to animate and encourage them.

Mat 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?
The servant and disciple should be content with being treated as well as their master and lord; nor should they refuse to submit to the same privations which their master had to undergo.

“If they called the good-man of the house.” In this, as well as in the preceding verse, we cannot but admire and adore the wonderful modesty of our Lord, who speaks of Himself in the third person, “the good-man of the house,” Himself, who is the head and founder of God’s house, the Church, of which the Apostles were members and inmates.

“Beelzebub,” which means, “Lord of flies,” dominus muscarum, an idol of the Accaronites, so called, either because he was invoked by these Pagans against the plague of flies, or because the blood of victims, with which he was besmeared, attracted the flies, and caused the idol to be covered all over with them. This filthy idol was such an object of horror and execration to the Jews, that they designated the devil by that name; just as they called Gehenna, hell, owing to the shocking and barbarous rites carried on there by the Chanaanites. This opprobious epithet, the Jews did not scruple, in the height of their fury and malevolence, to apply to our blessed Lord, as is expressly mentioned here, although we find no place in the Gospel where they call Him such. It is only said of Him, that He makes use of Beelzebub, “in principe Dæmoniorum, Beelzebub, ejicit dæmonia” (Matt. 12:24). But here it is expressly stated, they called Him Beelzebub, very likely, when their rage and malevolence had reached the highest pitch of excitement. If He, the Lord and Master of the house, was treated with such contumely, His disciples should be content, with His Divine example before their eyes, to bear reproaches and contumely with meekness and patience.

Mat 10:26  Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known.

“Therefore,” as in suffering reproaches and calumnies, as well as in persecutions of all sorts, you are only enduring what your Lord and Master had to endure before you. “Fear them not.” Fear not their calumnies, nor any punishment they may desire to inflict on you.

“For, nothing is covered,” &c. As a motive for consolation to the Apostles, these words may mean: That, although the private virtues of the Apostles, and their upright motives may now be hidden and unknown, in the Day of Judgment, and even in this life, their hidden virtues would be made known, and the hypocrisy and malignity of their persecutors publicly revealed or exposed, so that men would now honour them, in proportion to the contumelious treatment they were hitherto subjected to; or, that, although the Gospel was now regarded by men as hidden and obscure, the day would soon come, when it would be announced and believed all over the earth; and, hence, the Apostles should not be deterred by calumnies and opposition, from courageously announcing it. This accords well with the following.

Mat 10:27  That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops.

“The dark,” and “the ear,” mean, privately; “the light,” and “the house-tops,” denote, publicly, OPENLY. “House-tops,” is allusive to the style of houses in Judea They had flat roofs, which served as a usual promenade for the people. What was said there might be overheard by others; and it might be regarded as spoken in public. There are two evils which cause men the greatest pain—the loss of honour, and the loss of life. Our Redeemer, in this and the preceding verses, fortifies His Apostles against any fear regarding the former. In time, their honour, their character, shall be publicly vindicated. In the following verse, He fortifies them against any timid fears regarding the latter; and although He had already spoken of the loss of life (v. 21), still, He here first treats of the loss of character; because, honour is held in the greatest estimation among men, and He had been treating of the contumelious, reproachful treatment they should endure immediately before (v. 25).

Mat 10:28  And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Having fortified them against the fear of infamy and calumnies, He now fortifies them against the fear of death. He wishes them to overcome, by the consideration of the fear of God, the inordinate fear of man, which might influence them to desert the proper line of duty, and offend God.

“That kill the body,” by depriving it of temporal life, which, in any event, it is destined soon to lose. They can go no farther. They cannot kill the soul, by either depriving it of immortality, or, what is worse, of the life of grace or glory, which is the second death of the soul. But, if they fear at all, “but rather,” let them fear Him, who will not kill soul or body—for carnal men would wish for this—but by an eternal living death, or dying life, “can”—irrevocably—“destroy both soul and body in hell,” where their worm shall never die, and their fire shall never be extinguished (Isa. 66:24). This refers to God, to whom alone belongs the high prerogative of life and death. To demons, the Scripture never ascribes such a prerogative.

Mat 10:29  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father.

Our Lord here adduces another reason to fortify them against fear of persecution, and of the loss of life. Nothing happens in this world save by the will and superintending providence of God, who will not permit anything to befall them, except as far as He sees it will tend to their greater good. This He demonstrates, from the example of the most worthless and insignificant objects in nature.

“Two sparrows,” worthless birds—one is hardly worth mentioning—“sold for a farthing.” “Farthing,” is put up for the smallest coin, “and not one of them,” which is hardly worth anything, “shall fall on the ground,” shall be killed by falling dead from the air to the earth. “Without your Father,” without His special providence and permission. The words, “your Father,” have a peculiar significance in the present matter. He is their Father, and can hardly be said to have this relation in regard to “sparrows.” When the Apostle says (1 Cor. 9:9), “Doth God take care for oxen?” there is no contradiction between these words and the words of our Redeemer. Our Redeemer speaks of God’s general providence, which extends to the minutest things, to the very brute animals, and provides for them according to the course of general laws (Gen. 8:1; Psa. 146:9; Job 38:41); whereas, the Apostle speaks of a special providence exerted by Him, as Father, towards man. He speaks of a law, suggesting humanity, which was chiefly intended for man, rather than for oxen (1 Cor. 9:10). In this passage there is question of this two-fold providence of God—of His general provision for all creatures, according to the operation of certain fixed laws, and of His special providence as Father, “your Father,” which makes special provision for man, and ordains His law, in regard to irrational creatures, for his special benefit, and has regard to all men, without exception of persons (Wisdom 6:8).

Mat 10:30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

“But, the very hairs,” &c. “But” (δε, καὶ) signifies, nay more, the most insignificant and superfluous parts of your persons are under God’s special providence. Instead of inferring from the foregoing (v. 29)—as one would imagine—whereas the sparrows are not killed, save with God’s permission, with how much greater concern will your Father protect you from being killed; or, should death befall you, it will be arranged by Him for your greater good; our Redeemer goes farther, and says, that not only are their life, and the members of their bodies, a subject of concern to God, but so, also, are the very hairs of their head. It is an argumentum a minore ad majus.

“Have been numbered.” The past tense is meant to show, that already are placed under God’s special care and protection, not alone, their life, their members; but the very minutest parts of them.

Mat 10:31  Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows.
“Fear not, therefore,” &c. Proceed intrepidly and courageously in the holy work of preaching the Gospel, committing yourselves to God’s special providence. “Therefore,” expresses the practical conclusion from the foregoing.

“You,” on whose account the sparrows and all animals exist—which is common to all men—and who are specially the sons of God, “are better,” &c. Although hated by all men, proceed, therefore, courageously to your work of preaching, casting yourselves on God’s providence, who will provide for you better than you could for yourselves, and will make your sufferings subserve to His own greater glory, and your final salvation.

Mat 10:32  Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven.

Having animated His disciples already against persecutions, without fear of infamy or death, our Redeemer now animates them by placing before them the utility of confessing Him, and the misfortune entailed by the denial of Him.

“Therefore,” may be an inference from the foregoing (16–22), or it may be regarded as a continuation of the preceding, as in Luke (12:28). “And I say to you,” &c. Here, is conveyed an additional reason to preach Christ intrepidly. “Every one that shall,” by word, or example, or by act, “confess Me before men,” in due circumstances, and shall persevere to the end in doing so, and, interrogated by tyrants regarding the faith, shall openly and ingenuously profess that he believes in Me, as the eternal Son of God, and shall also, sooner than violate My law, submit to death, thus honouring Me and My law, such a one, “HIM,” “will I also confess before my Father,” &c., i.e., I shall honour him before all mankind on the Day of Judgment (Mark 8:38), “cum venerit filius hominis,” &c. He here proposes a reward, to induce them to preach Him intrepidly; and He contrasts, the glory which they shall publicly receive, in presence of His Heavenly Father, and all mankind, with the honour they give Him before men. He compares His Father and the Angels (Luke 12) with men, and Himself with us, mortals.

Mat 10:33  But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.
If the hope of reward will not animate them, then let the fear of punishment do so. There are certain circumstances in which the open confession of our faith is a matter of precept, under pain of damnation. “He will deny them; He will know them not,” and so they shall be condemned, “discedite a me, &c.”

For “confess Me,” the Greek is, “confess in Me,” a Hebrew and Greek construction for “confess ME;” or, the words may mean, as with Maldonatus, “glory in Me,” make Me the subject of their glorying in due circumstances; in Him shall I glory, and make the subject of my boasting, in turn. Or, “in Me,” may mean, concerning Me.

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

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 10:16-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

Mat 10:16  Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

He forewarns and guards them against the dangers that were awaiting them. “Behold,” arrests their attention. “I send you,” “I,” who am God, the Almighty, whom no power can resist; I, who heretofore commissioned the Prophets, Moses, Elias, Isaias, &c.; I, who am “the Lord of the harvest” (Luke 10:2); I send you—therefore, have courage, and display magnanimity—“as sheep in the midst of wolves,” shows their great peril. It is not the case of one wolf attacking a flock of sheep; but, a number of wolves, “in the midst of wolves,” surrounding them on all sides, so as render their escape, humanly speaking, impossible. But in their case, “the power (of God) is perfected in infirmity” (2 Cor. 12:9). “Sheep” are, of all animals, the most timid and harmless, most easily destroyed. This more clearly explains the sending of them without “staff,” &c., without any weapons, offensive or defensive. Their defenceless state is the more liable to danger, in consequence of being surrounded by “wolves.” He explains, next verse, who the “wolves” are, viz., men who give obstinate resistance to the Gospel, and use violence besides. Some interpreters maintain, that the following portion of this chapter was not spoken by our Redeemer on this occasion; and that St. Matthew records here, on account of the connexion of the subjects, things spoken by our Redeemer on several distinct occasions, which, according to those interpreters, is also true of the Sermon on the Mount, as given by St. Matthew. So that he gives a connected narrative of what was spoken in detached portions. For, Mark and Luke record them as spoken on separate occasions. They give, as a reason for this opinion, that the persecutions, on the part of Jews and Gentiles, could not apply to the first mission of the Apostles, which was confined to the Jews. From this, the seventy-two returned, far from suffering persecution, rejoicing rather in their success. However, we find the words of this verse (16), also given in St. Luke (10:3, &c.), in connexion with the mission of the Seventy-two; and it might be said, also, in reply to the foregoing, that some of the things addressed to the Apostles on the occasion of this first mission, had reference to what was in reserve for them, and what did actually befall them on their future mission among the Gentiles.

(Ninth Precept). “Be ye, therefore,” &c. “Therefore,” is a practical conclusion, derived from the foregoing account of the danger they were to undergo. “Wise as serpents,” in order to avoid the dangers they were exposed to. As the “wolves” are the natural enemies of the “sheep,” so, also, were those who opposed the Gospel, enemies of the Apostles, ready to devour them. Hence, the Apostles, in dealing with these, should imitate the caution of the serpent in avoiding men, by whom he is naturally hated. The Scriptures elsewhere refer us to the industrious ant (Prov. 6:6). St. Paul employed the “cunning of the serpent” (Acts 9:25), when he was let down in a basket from the walls at Damascus; when (Acts 23:6), he raised a dispute among the Jews, while professing himself a Pharisee; when (Acts 16:37), he proclaimed himself to be a Roman citizen. At the same time, his whole life exhibited the meekness, gentleness, and “simplicity of the dove.” They are not, however, to imitate the malice of the serpent, in transfusing his poison when attacked. With the serpent’s cunning, they should combine “the simplicity,” the candid, unoffending harmlessness “of doves.”

The Greek for “simple” (ακεραιοι), conveys an allusion to unhorned animals, destitute of the natural means of self-defence, so that, when attacked or injured, they should not retaliate or inflict injury. There are various reasons assigned for this allusion to the serpent. Some say, the example of the serpent is allusive to the serpent that tempted Eve; as, with the delusive promise that sue would become “like unto God,” he tempted the weaker sex, and watched his opportunity, so ought the Apostles adopt prudent means, and watch every befitting occasion to withdraw men from evil, and bring them to God by the promises and hopes of immortal glory. They should do in the interests of truth, what the old serpent did for the purposes of evil and deception (St. Hilary).

Others say, that there is reference made to the natural serpent, whose cunning is proposed as a model of imitation to the Apostles in their dealing with the world; and this, according to some commentators, in some particular points—1st. The serpent exposes his entire body for the protection of his head; the Apostles should likewise submit to every hardship, even to death itself, to guard their Head, who is Christ, and to keep His faith pure and incorrupt. (SS. Jerome, Chrysostom, Augustine, Hilary, &c.) 2ndly. We are told by naturalists (Aristotle, Lib. 8, Histor. Animal, c. 17; Pliny, Lib. 8, c. 27) that the serpent, in spring and autumn, lays aside his old and puts on a new skin; and some writers say, although Aristotle makes no allusion to it, that he does so by forcing himself through narrow chinks; so ought Apostolic men, by putting off the old man put on the new, by treading in the narrow way, which alone leads to life. Again, the serpent watches an opportunity for communicating his virus; so ought Apostolic men, on the other hand, watch every opportunity of imparting true doctrine. The chief scope, however, of our Redeemer is, that the prudence of the serpent should be imitated in the avoidance of injuries and snares on the part of men, and the simplicity of the dove, in not retaliating for injuries received. Also, that by “prudence,” they would seasonably avail themselves of every opportunity of gaining over others to the cause of truth; and by “simplicity,” they would avoid all fraud or deceit in so doing.

Mat 10:17  But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.

(Tenth Precept). “But, beware of men.” “But,” is the same as “therefore.” In this verse is assigned a reason why they should have the cunning of serpents; and from it is also seen who are the “wolves” (v. 16), viz., wicked men, enemies of the Gospel. The Apostles should observe the utmost caution in regard to placing any trust or confidence in such men, who would not fail to have recourse to threats of punishment and persecution, or to blandishments, to turn them aside from the right path of Gospel truth. They should avoid such men, as far as the public discharge of the Apostolic ministry would permit.

“In councils”—(Greek), “INTO councils”—to be examined and tried.

“And they will scourge you in their synagogues.” By “councils,” some understand the tribunals of the Gentiles; “synagogues,” meetings of the Jews. (The Jews were wont to scourge in their synagogues the transgressors against their laws.) The word, “synagogue,” which strictly signifies, a congregation or gathering, might be understood of Gentile assemblies also.

Others understand both words in this verse, of Jewish meetings. The “councils” (συνεδρια) of the greater council among the Jews, that took cognizance of graver offences (see c. 5:23); for, in the next verse (18), there is question of Gentile tribunals. SS. Peter and John were brought before “the council” (Acts 4:5–7); and so were all the Apostles (Acts 5:27); St. Stephen (Acts 6:12); Christ our Lord (Luke 22:26). In all these places, in which there is clearly reference to Jewish tribunals, the term used is, συνεδριον. “Scourge you” (Acts 5:40; 2 Cor. 11:24).

Mat 10:18  And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles:

(Eleventh Precept). “Governors” of provinces, such as Pontius Pilate; Felix and Festus, before whom St. Paul was brought.

“Kings.” Witness Paul before Agrippa. (Acts 25)

“You shall be brought,” to be tried for your lives. Not content with the foregoing punishments, they shall also thirst for your lives.

“For my sake,” for having preached the Gospel of salvation. Hence, we find them afterwards rejoicing for being deemed worthy to suffer reproach in the name of Jesus (Acts 5:11).

“For a testimony to them,” the Jews, of whom He spoke (v. 17); “and to the Gentiles” (v. 18), of the truth of the Gospel. The preaching of the Gospel, under circumstances of such pressure, will furnish them with an opportunity of giving the strongest proof of the doctrine they preach, at the peril of their lives. Hence, the word, martyr, signifies a witness, who suffers for the faith; or, it may mean, a testimony of condemnation, rendered public on the day of judgment, to Jews and Gentiles, against the persecutors of the Apostles, for having rejected the truth confirmed by so many self-sacrificing evidences of meek suffering. The Apostles, at this first mission, were not to be brought before Gentile governors; but, our Lord here describes what was to occur on future occasions.

Mat 10:19  But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak:

Poor, illiterate fishermen would naturally feel anxious and embarrassed what to say, when questioned in presence of the great ones of the earth. In these verses three things are expressed—1. The prohibition of all anxious thoughts and reliance on mere human erudition. 2. The promise of Divine assistance, “it shall be given to you.” 3. The reason, “For, it is not you that speak,” &c.

Our Lord does not here encourage sloth, nor does He dispense with all preparation, study, or ordinary diligence. He only wishes them to divest themselves of all excessive anxiety, all timorous, excessive, corroding solicitude (which the Greek word, μεριμνησητε, means (see c. 6:25) beforehand, as to the result. When they shall be actually in the hands of their enemies, they must confidently rely on God’s providence, to give them, then, the necessary strength and power (Mark 13:4; Luke 21:14).

“For, it shall he given to you,” by the whole blessed Trinity, to speak, in such circumstances, in a befitting manner. Here, it is said, “the Spirit of your Father.” In St. Luke (21:15), it is said, “I will give a mouth,” i.e., eloquence, “and wisdom,” &c., in regard to what and how you shall speak. “In that hour,” i.e., in the hour of need and actual danger, on account of God’s truth.

Mat 10:20  For it is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.

“For, it is not you that speak,” &c. This is comparative. It is not so much you that shall speak, as “the Spirit of your Father.” Elsewhere (Luke 21:15), He says, He Himself will supply them with eloquence. He is the chief agent; they, the subordinate instruments—His mere organs.

Not but they too will speak. He, however, shall be the principal agent. Thus, we find it said, “neque currentis, neque volentis; sed Dei miserentis” (Rom. 9:16), referring to God as principal, although not the only cause. The cause or the defence is not theirs, so much as the Holy Ghost’s. While, therefore, they do their part, and employ due diligence, they should leave the rest to the Holy Ghost, who shall Himself speak, by suggesting to them what they are to say, and how to say it, as it is His own interests chiefly that are in question. He will do for them what He did for the Prophets of old. He will speak in them, as the Angel spoke through the dumb beast (Num. 22:28), and as the Holy Ghost spoke through Peter and the Apostles in presence of the Jewish pontiffs. (Acts 4:29, &c.)

Mat 10:21  The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death.

Our Redeemer forewarns; and thus, forearms His followers, against a most painful description of persecution, viz., domestic persecution. Those to whom they should naturally look for consolation in their sufferings and trials, will only help to aggravate their afflictions, and add to them. The nearest relatives, fathers and brothers, divesting themselves of all natural affection, shall persecute unto death their sons and brethren; and children, on the other hand, fogetting all ties of natural affection, shall treat their parents in a similar manner; for, as St. Jerome observes, “natural affection is lost in those who are of a different faith”—“nec ullus inter eos fidus affectus, quorum diversa est fides.” (St. Jerome, in chap. 6 Matth.)

Mat 10:22  And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.

By all men,” i.e., “by all (wicked) men;” or, by many; or by every description of men, relatives and strangers, rich and poor, noble and lowly, Jew and Gentile.

“Shall be hated,” although injuring no one, but doing good to all.

“For My name’s sake.” Not through any fault of your own (1 Peter 4:15), but, solely on account of your professing My faith and worship.

“Shall persevere,” &c. He now encourages them, with the prospect of the reward which shall be given them. “Persevere,” the Greek (ὑπομεινας), endure, bear up, in suffering and in faith to the end. St. Mark (13:13) has, “endure.”

“Shall be saved.” This is the reward of merit, which is, however, founded on grace. Our Redeemer conveys two things here—1st. That we must suffer, as is clearly expressed elsewhere—“per multas tribulationes oportet nos intrare in regnum Dei;” 2ndly. That we must persevere in suffering; otherwise, it shall be of no avail to us. We must persevere in patient suffering “to the end,” to the final term of our existence in this life. Salvation is the crown of perseverance.

Mat 10:23  And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.
(Twelfth Precept). It might be said, or rather, objected, if we are hated by all men, and sought after to be persecuted, how, then, can we preach the Gospel? Our Redeemer, anticipating this objection, tells them, that when men will obstinately resist their preaching in one place, and seek their death, let them “flee,” thus exhibiting the prescribed cunning of the serpent, by avoiding the snares of men. They, however, are not merely to flee into solitudes or deserts, to remain inactive; they should “flee into another city,” and thus make their persecution, and the consequent flight, the occasion of extending the kingdom of Christ. For, it is not simply flight, to be made the occasion of indolence; but flight, to be made the occasion of the wider propagation of the faith, that is here enjoined. Hence, against Tertullian (Lib. de fuga, &c.), it is sometimes lawful to fly from persecution, when charity or justice do not require the contrary, as is sanctioned by the example of our Redeemer Himself flying into Egypt (c. 2:14), and when His enemies sought His life (Luke 4:30), “for His hour had not yet come;” and of St. Paul (Acts 9:25; 2 Cor. 11:33). It is sometimes a duty to fly, when the glory of God and the utility of the Church demand it, and when it is necessary for the cause of God, that a public, distinguished character, should not be prematurely cut off, and when no injury would result to others from such flight. It is sometimes permitted, and a matter of counsel; and sometimes unlawful, whenever either charity or justice may prevent it; as, for instance, in the case of a man charged with the care of others, and when it is not the pastor, but the flock, that is primarily and principally assailed, whose faith and morals would be seriously exposed and injured, owing to the absence of their pastor, who, moreover, would be deprived of the sacraments. To fly from his post in such circumstances, would be to act the part of a hireling. (John 10) Some commentators confine this to the first mission, on account of what follows.

“Amen, I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities,” &c. Others, more probably, say, that, although these words were uttered on the occasion of the first mission, when the evils referred to did not occur; still, they had reference to the entire course of the Apostolic mission, and serve as a rule for the pastors of the Church, and all Apostolic men till the end of time.

“You shall not finish” You shall always have places for flying to, and for extending the Gospel ministry. The words may mean: You shall not have overrun, in preaching, all the cities of Israel, in this your first mission, until the Son of man shall return to you in a glorious state, after His resurrection, when He shall give you another commission, and assign the world as the theatre of your labours. The coming of the “Son of man” is, however, more generally understood of His glorious coming to judgment. Hence, others understand it: You shall not have fully converted the Jewish people until the final coming of Jesus Christ to judgment; thus, taxing the incredulity of the Jews, whose total conversion is reserved till after the Gentile world is converted, or, till the final end of all things (Rom. 11:25). Others, by “Israel,” understand, spiritual Israel, consisting of converted Jews and Gentiles, the duodecim millia signati, of the several tribes of the entire earth, to whom the Apostles, whose second mission also is included here, shall have ample room to flee at all periods of the world. For, the fulness of the Gentiles shall not have entered the Church till the Day of Judgment (Rom. 11:25).

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

This Week’s Commentaries and Posts: Sunday, July 7–Sunday, July 14, 2013

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

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

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday, June 30-Sunday, July 7.

MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013
MONDAY OF THE FOURTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 28:10-22a).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 91).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 91).

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 91).

Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:18-26).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:18-26).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:18-26).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:18-26).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:18-26).

TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2013
TUESDAY OF THE FOURTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 32:23-33).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 17).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 17).

Patrsitic/Medieval Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 17).

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 17).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:32-38).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:32-38).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:32-38).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:32-38).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:32-38).

WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2013
WEDNESDAY OF THE FOURTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading: (Gen 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 33).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 33).

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 33).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 33).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7).

My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7).

THURSDAY, JULY 11, 2013
MEMORIAL OF ST BENEDICT, ABBOT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 44:18-21, 23b-29, 45:1-5).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 105).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 105).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:7-15).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:7-15).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:7-15).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:7-15).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:7-15).

FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2013
FRIDAY OF THE FOURTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 46:1-7, 28-30).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 37).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 37).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:16-23).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:16-23).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:16-23).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:16-23).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:16-23).

SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2013
SATURDAY OF THE FOURTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Gen 49:29-32, 50:15-26a).

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 105).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 105).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:24-33).

Father Maas’ Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:24-33).

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:24-33).

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:24-33).

SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2013
FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Next Week’s Posts: Sunday, July 14-Sunday, July 21, 2013.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 10:7-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

Mat 10:7  And going (on the mission I have empowered you for), preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Note: verse 7 closed out yesterday’s reading so the notes on this verse appeared in yesterday’s post.

(The second Precept.) “The kingdom of heaven” (see c. 3:2), i.e., the Church of Christ is shortly to be established, which is the threshold or entrance into the kingdom of God’s glory. This kingdom of bliss, so long closed against mankind, is soon to be thrown open by the blood of Christ. Prepare, by penance, faith, and good works, to obtain admission into it. The theme of the preaching of the Apostles was the same as His own (Matt. 4:17); of the Baptist (3:2). It is clear, the preaching of penance, was also included and inculcated in the commission given the Apostles. For, the Apostles preached penance (Mark 6:12). Notice the close association here between the Church and the Kingdom. Lumen Gentium, art. 3: To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that kingdom. By His obedience He brought about redemption. The Church, or, in other words, the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God [Catholic Church. (2011). Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: Lumen Gentium. Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana].

The form, “kingdom of heaven,” is peculiar to St. Matthew. The other Evangelists for it use the form, “the kingdom of God,” “heavenly kingdom,” “the kingdom of Christ.” The words, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” is a summary of the things preached; and convey an exhortation to perform the good works that may lead to it, and avoid the evils, that may prove an obstacle to our admittance, into that kingdom of everlasting bliss; in a word, “to avoid evil and do good.” St. Luke informs us (10:9), that this precept of “preaching the kingdom of God,” was given to the seventy-two disciples. He insinuates that it was also given to the twelve Apostles (9:2).

Mat 10:8  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely have you received, freely give.

(The third Precept). “Heal the sick,” &c. The operation of mighty and stupendous miracles was to form the credentials of their Divine mission, necessary to beget belief in a new and unheard of doctrine; otherwise, the proud and haughty would pay no attention to the teaching of ignorant, illiterate fishermen, “these weak and foolish things of the world,” whom God employed “to confound the wise and the strong.” (1 Cor. 1) He gave the like power to Moses, so that the opposing magicians exclaimed, “Digitus Dei est hic” (Exod. 8:19). The miracles they were to perform were works of beneficence, calculated to win the people to embrace the faith. Doubtless, this power was not allowed to be idle or inoperative, although we have hardly any record of its exercise left us in the Gospels.

(Fourth Precept.) “Freely have you received,” i.e., these powers they received without labour, and irrespective of merit, solely from God’s gratuitous concession. This represses every feeling of pride, and begets humility. All they have is “received.” “Freely give,” gratuitously, and generously bestow it on the people, without price or payment; since, it is priceless. Thus is repressed every feeling of simony and sordid avarice. This may refer to the two preceding powers—of preaching (v. 7), and of working miracles (v. 8); or, rather, to the one immediately preceding, viz., the working of cures, &c. The injunction is put in so general a form, that it will apply to the selling of all kinds of spiritual gifts, which, being far beyond all price, would be undervalued, were they sold for money. What is given gratuitously by God, should not be made the subject of traffic, but be made subservient to God’s glory alone. Moreover, they are not the masters of them; but only the dispensers. There are three reasons generally assigned why spiritual things cannot be sold—1st. Because a spiritual thing is above all earthly price. It is “more precious than all riches” (Prov. 3:15). St. Peter tells Simon Magus, “thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8:20). 2ndly. Because no one is master of such gifts; but only the dispenser (1 Cor. 3). 3rdly. Because, as they come gratuitously from God, one acts irreverently towards God, whenever he exacts a price for what God wishes to be dispensed gratuitously. These two latter reasons are involved in the words, “freely, or gratis, give.” A. Lapide observes here, that the reason why spiritual gifts cannot be sold, is not precisely because they are gratuitously given by God; for, God may bestow a gratuitous gift, as He bestowed science and all knowledge of art on Beseleel, the builder of the Tabernacle (Exodus 31); and this he could sell and teach others for price, like any other master of an art—but, because, spiritual gifts are so exalted and sublime, so incomparably exceeding all human skill and exertions, that to self them for money, would be treating the Author of them, God, with indignity, and would constitute the crime of sacrilege and simony.

Mat 10:9  Do not possess gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses:

(Fifth Precept.) Our Redeemer here points out how they should proceed on their mission, and what provision they should make for their journey. According to some commentators, the prohibition contained in this verse is not confined to the present mission of the Apostles among the Jews; it applies also to their final mission among the Gentiles. Our Redeemer, they say, here draws a true and perfect picture of an Apostolic man in every age, whose chief characteristic should be detachment from earthly goods. Unencumbered with worldly possessions, wholly devoted to his duties, he should cast all his care on God’s merciful providence.

Others maintain, and it would seem with greater probability, that the prohibition conveyed in this verse is not only of a personal, but also of a temporary character, confined to this mission of the Apostles among the Jews, to which it is immediately subjoined. No such mandate is attached to their last solemn commission (“euntes docete omnes gentes,” &c.), similar to the injunction regarding the place and subjects of their preaching on this first mission. This our Redeemer would Himself seem to insinuate (Luke 22:35), “When I sent you without purse … but now he that hath a purse,” &c., leaving it to be inferred, that the period for observing the precept conveyed here was past—we find that St. Paul had a cloak in reserve (2 Tim. 4:13). Again, such a precept would be impracticable among the barbarous Gentiles, who would give no support to those who preached down their gods. And the Apostles, in the course of their preaching, had to provide for catechists, by whom they were accompanied. They allowed certain persons to accompany them and provide for their temporal wants (1 Cor. 9:5). Our Redeemer Himself permitted Judas to be purse-bearer to his companions. (A. Lapide, Jansenius Gandav., c. 45, &c.) At the same time, these latter authors admit, that the spirit of these precepts, which were meant to inspire a feeling of disinterestedness and detachment from earthly possessions, and an unbounded reliance in God’s providence, on the part of the ministers of the Gospel, extends to all times. We find that after the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles, in the course of their preaching among the Gentiles, literally adhered to them; and, no doubt, the spirit of these precepts has reference, as far as circumstances will permit, to all future ministers of the Gospel.

“Do not possess,” &c. Following St. Mark (c. 6:8), and St. Luke (9:3), this means: Do not provide anything unnecessary, even for journeying purposes, as the words, “for your journey,” here imply.

“Nor money.” The Greek, χαλκον, means, “brass,” as if He said: Nor any other description of money. Neither money nor any other valuables, equivalent to money, should be carried by them as a store, or to be held as a reserve for their journey.

“In your purses.” The original word, ζωνας, means girdles, which is the same as purses. It is allusive to the custom among travellers of old, to carry their purses attached to their belts or girdles, or to make their girdles serve as purses—a custom still prevalent in the East. Hence, the well known phrase, “perdidit zonam,” when there was question of losing one’s money.

Mat 10:10  Nor scrip (food pouch) for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff; for the workman is worthy of his meat.

“Nor scrip.” In Mark and Luke is added, “nor bread.” The idea is conveyed here by St. Matthew. In prohibiting them the use of a scrip for carrying meat or drink, he prohibits them to carry provisions of any kind.

“Two coats,” any stock of duplicate clothes in reserve, or for the purposes of change. The wearing of two coats or two garments is not prohibited, if necessary. Our Redeemer Himself at the time of His sacred Passion (John 19:23), were more than one garment. He only prohibits duplicates of the same.

“Nor shoes.” St. Mark (6:9) says, our Redeemer permitted them to be “shod with sandals.” To reconcile this with St. Matthew here, some say, our Lord here prohibits them to have two pairs of shoes, to be kept in reserve, as in the case of the coats, &c. Against this solution it may be urged, that our Redeemer says (Luke 22:35), “I sent you without scrip and shoes.” Hence, others reconcile the passages in this way: He prohibits the use of shoes which covered the entire foot, as such might retard them in their journey, and betray a concern for bodily comforts; that they were to go forth as they stood at that moment in His presence, “shod with sandals” only (Mark 6:9), which merely protected the soles of the feet against the roughness of the roads, and were very necessary for this purpose in a stony country like Judea. This was the description of shoes worn by the poorer classes, and our Redeemer, most likely, Himself used them against the roughness of the roads. The history of the sinful woman bathing His feet with her tears, would render it probable, that He did not use shoes, the upper part of His feet being exposed.

“Nor a staff.” St. Mark (6:8) says, He allowed them a staff, “but a staff only.” Some expositors (among the rest Euthymius) say, that our Redeemer having, in the first instance, prohibited it, afterwards dispensed in the precept (Victor of Antioch), in accommodation to the weakness of His Apostles, and allowed them to carry a staff, as is stated by St. Mark, who, writing after St. Matthew, records this dispensation. These apply the same solution to the former question regarding the sandals. The more probable solution, however, seems to be that St. Matthew and St. Mark speak of a different description of staff. St. Matthew of a weapon, for the purposes of offence or defence; St. Mark, of a staff for support, for leaning on. This is implied in the words of St. Mark, “but a staff only,” as if allowed only for the purpose of support or propping up. Moreover, our Redeemer’s object is to render them less encumbered with care or anxiety in regard to their future provision and protection—with which a walking staff did not interfere—and to cast aside all superfluities. Our Redeemer opposes the “rod,” which He prohibits here, to a sword (Luke 22:36), where He would seem to revoke the precept given to the Apostles at their first mission here. At their first mission, He prohibited offensive weapons. In St. Luke (22) He allows them, which would show it is of a rod as a weapon of offence, and not as a means of support, He speaks here.

Some expositors, among them Patrizzi (Mark 6:8), reconcile both readings by saying, that the reading in most of the old Greek MSS. in the Coptic, Armenian, and later Syriac versions, is in the plural, ραβδους; that our Lord prohibits more than one staff, but in St. Mark, He allows one. But there are as good authorities for the reading in the singular. There would seem to be no reason for preventing a change of staffs, as in the case of clothes.

“For the workman,” &c. As the Apostles might allege that they could not help providing the necessaries for their journey and support, our Redeemer here meets that plea, by saying, they need not trouble themselves, as they shall be provided with everything. St. Luke has, “his hire” (10:7), to convey to us, that support is due to the Evangelical labourer, as his “hire” is due to the workman; but, it by no means signifies, that it is the price of the labour done, or an equivalent for it; since the spiritual work of preaching and of the ministry transcends all price; or that the spiritual work of the Gospel ministers should be performed with the view or end of gaining temporal remuneration. It is more properly termed by St. Paul, “a stipend,” such as is given to the soldier, who serves, not for the pay—his small pay would be no price for his life or labours—but to serve his country. The stipend, however, is given to him, as it also is to the Evangelical labourer, to enable him to perform the service assigned to him. Support is to be given the Evangelical workman, by the people; the reward by God. “Accipiant prædicatores,” says St. Chrysostom, “SUSTENTATIONEM a populo, MERCEDEM a Deo.” The word, “workman,” shows, that, in order to be entitled to his support, the minister of religion must work, must labour, for the spiritual good of his people. “His meat,” shows he should be contented with the necessary support, and must not seek to become rich by the Gospel.

Mat 10:11  And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till you go thence.

(Sixth Precept.) Lest the Apostles should imagine they were free to receive food, hospitality, &c., from every description of persons indiscriminately, our Lord gives them instructions regarding the lodgings they were to choose on their mission, and the prudent precautions and discrimination they were to use in this matter.

“Town,” a smaller place than a “city.” “You shall enter,” for the purposes of preaching. “Who is worthy,” distinguished for a good and edifying life, and willing to exercise hospitality towards pious strangers. Were they to seek hospitality from an enemy of the Gospel and lodge with him, they might be maltreated and forced to change; if with any infamous character, their ministry might be brought into disrepute, and the cause of the Gospel might thus suffer. Our Lord does not tell them to ask, who is wealthy, or who could afford the most comfortable accommodation, but, “who is worthy.”

“And there abide,” &c. The same is expressed more clearly by St. Luke (10:7); “remove not from house to house.” As they should be careful as to their lodgings, and should avoid all precipitancy in choosing them, so having chosen a worthy abode, they should also be still more cautious to avoid all precipitancy in leaving it, lest they might be liable to the reproach of inconstancy, or a desire for better cheer; or, perhaps, give offence and pain to their former host.

Mat 10:12  And when you come into the house, salute it, saying: Peace be to this house.

(Seventh Precept.) Our Lord here gives instructions to the Apostles, as to how they are to treat the house to which they may be directed, and next verse, He also indicates a means for ascertaining if the parties so represented be really worthy. “Salute it,” that is, its inmates. Our Lord wishes the Apostles to anticipate their host in urbanity and humility, by “saluting” him, so as to conciliate his good will. The Syriac version is, “precamini pacem illi,” which is, probably, the form of words employed by our Redeemer, in the Syro-Chaldaic language. For, the following words, “Peace be to this house,” are wanting in the Greek and many Latin copies. Neither are they found in St. Jerome’s text in his Commentary of this passage. They are read, however, in Luke (10:5). The words, “peace be to you,” was quite a common form of salutation among the Jews, who referred to temporal things; but, our Lord includes spiritual blessings, which He came on earth to bestow, “pax hominibus,” &c. It conveyed, that the ingress of a man was peaceful, the act of a friend, and not of an enemy. “Peace,” meant the quiet, undisturbed possession of the fulness of all blessings, spiritual and temporal. In the case of the Apostles, referred to here, it implied the fulness of Gospel blessings.

Mat 10:13  And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you.

“And if that house be worthy” of the peace you pray for it, which St. Luke (10:6), more clearly expresses, “if the Son of peace be there,” i.e., if the host deserves the blessings you pray for on his behalf, and show a worthy disposition to receive the blessings of the Gospel, by hospitably harbouring its first heralds and ministers.

“Your peace shall come upon it.” Your prayer shall be not without due effect. God will give due efficacy to your prayers.

“Your peace shall return to you.” Some understand this to mean: You shall have the merit of your peaceful salutation still, even though it suffered a repulse from others. Similar are the words (Psa. 34:13), “oratio mea in sinu meo convertetur.” (St. Jerome, &c.) Against this interpretation, the word, “return,” would seem to militate, because the merit and reward of the blessing given, always remained with the Apostles who bestowed it. Others understand it thus: the peace prayed for, notwithstanding its repulse by others, shall still return to you as you gave it, uninjured; so that it shall accompany and conduct you to others, who will co-operate and correspond with your good wishes. Peace is here personified, and represented as coming back to the Apostles, and accompanying them until it finds a host worthy of it.

The Greek for “shall come”—“shall return,” is in the imperative form, “may it come”—“may it return.” But, the imperative form is commonly employed by the Hebrews for the future indicative, so that the Vulgate and our English version, give the sense of the passage, and it is read in the future in Luke (10:6); or, it may be, that the imperative form was used for the purpose of expressing the Divine power. “I wish, and therefore, shall take care, that your peace would come upon it.… I wish that your peace would return to yourselves.”

Mat 10:14  And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet.
(Eighth Precept.) “Shake the dust,” &c. That this precept was meant literally, seems clear, from the fact, that Paul and Barnabas literally observed it (Acts 13:51). The reason of this usage among the Jews may have been, to express, that they had nothing in common with the Gentiles, or a certain description of persons, just as in hearing of blasphemy, it was usual with them to rend their garments (Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5).

Our Redeemer’s reason for enjoining it here, probably, was, to signify, that the labour undergone by the Apostles, and their long toilsome journeys, indicated by “the dust of their feet,” had no effect on these people, which would aggravate their sin of incredulity; or, it may denote, that they would have nothing in common with a race execrable for having rejected the Gospel preached with so much toil; not even the very worthless dust of their streets, which partook of the general Anathema they incurred; or, to show they took nothing from those incredulous men, not even the very dust. St. Mark (6:11); Luke (9:5) adds, “for a testimony against them,” which Origen (Gen. 8, Homil. 4); Hilary (Matth. 10), interpret thus: The dust thus contracted by toilsome journeys, would be “a testimony” on the Day of Judgment, against the incredulity and obstinacy of these cities, and a proof that they perished through their own fault alone, “signo pulveris pedibus excussi æterna maledictio relinquitur.” (St. Hilary, in Matth. 10) It was customary with the Jews to perpetuate the recollection of any notable event, by some material monument (Josue 24:27; Gen. 31:51, 52, &c.) Hence, he adds, v. 15—

Mat 10:15  Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

“Amen, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable,” &c., i.e., the incredulous, who refuse your ministry, shall be treated with more rigour on the day of judgment, than the Sodomites, &c., whom fire and brimstone from heaven sunk alive into hell; because, the former resisted greater graces and neglected greater aids, than had been offered to the sinful Sodomites, &c., among whom no such preaching took place; moreover, they had longer time for penance. Some maintain, that their sin was more grievous; that Infidelity, Heresy, Schism, are more grievous sins than Sodomy, which is the most grievous among carnal sins. The inhospitable rejection of the Apostles, may be allusive to the inhumanity and inhospitality of the Sodomites, which is reckoned among the other sins with which Sodom is charged by Ezechiel (16:49). It is in this latter respect only, they are compared here according to some. However, as the comparison is general and absolute, the former interpretation seems preferable.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 10:1-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

This post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of Matthew 10, followed by his comments on verses 1-7.

ANALYSIS OF MATTHEW CHAPTER 10

Anticipating the prayer of His disciples, our Lord sends workmen into the harvest, His twelve Apostles, on whom He bestows miraculous powers, as the credentials of their Divine commission. As it is important to know who these workmen are, the names of the twelve are given (1–4). He gives them certain instructions, and enjoins certain precepts on them, as to their mode of proceeding on their mission. He tells them, where and what they are to preach, and how to confirm their teaching (5–8). To avoid every appearance of avarice, to make no unnecessary provision for their journey, and give an example of disinterestedness (9–10). To be select as to the character of their hosts, and to treat them with Christian urbanity, and address to them on entrance, a Christian salutation; He describes the rewards of such as receive them hospitably, and the punishment in store for such as refuse to receive them or their ministrations, and how they are to act in regard to such obstinate unbelievers (11–15). He warns them beforehand of the perils they were to encounter, and tells them how they were to act in difficult circumstances (16). He predicts the persecution they were to suffer from Jews and Gentiles. He assigns motives to inspire them with courage and confidence in God in such trying circumstances (17–20). He forewarns them of another painful kind of persecution, viz., domestic persecution, and exhorts them to endure such with patience and perseverance (21–22). He instructs them to fly in cases of persecution (23). He stimulates them to the courageous endurance of persecutions and sufferings by several motives. 1st. His own example; who endured worse things from the Jews (24–25). 2ndly. Because, in due time, their true character shall be made known, and themselves duly honoured (26–27). 3rdly. Because God alone is to be feared, who exercises a special providence in their regard (29–31). 4thly. Because such as act intrepidly, and boldly confess the faith, shall be rewarded and publicly honoured hereafter; whereas the fainthearted shall be dishonoured publicly and punished eternally (32–33). He describes the peace which He came to establish, not a worldly peace, arising from self-indulgence, but a spiritual peace, which shall be the accidental cause of sowing divisions in religious matters between the nearest and dearest friends, who may range themselves under opposite banners in this spiritual warfare (35–36). He shows that the love and service of God is to be preferred to every other love that may be opposed to it, whether of near relatives (37), or even of oneself, or our own corrupt self-love (38). He points out the reward of bearing every cross patiently for Christ’s sake (39). He conseles them by pointing to the merit of those who shall receive them hospitably on His account, and the merit of any charitable work, be it ever so insignificant, done from the pure motive of Christian charity, for any of His humblest followers (40–42).

COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 10:1-7

Mat 10:1  And having called his twelve disciples together, he gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities.

“And having called His twelve disciples together.” This is connected with (c. 9:37, 38), and has immediate reference to the subject there treated of. Our Redeemer Himself, does by anticipation, what He told His disciples to pray for, viz., He of Himself sends labourers to gather in the harvest, “His twelve disciples,” afterwards called “Apostles” (v. 2), thus showing, that He Himself was “Lord of the harvest.” The other Evangelists (Mark 3:13; Luke 6:13), inform us, that our Lord had chosen His twelve Apostles before He delivered the Sermon on the Mount, in order that they might be constantly in His society, as witnesses of His doctrine and miracles, to be sent in due time to preach, vested with miraculous powers and authority required for the efficacious discharge of their exalted functions. St. Matthew, in recording the Sermon on the Mount (c. 5, &c.), omits all allusion to the election of the twelve Apostles from among His disciples, or, the circumstances of the time and place in which this first occurred, as is circumstantially narrated by St. Luke. (6:13, &c.) He merely briefly alludes to it here immediately in connexion with the first public mission on which they were sent as Apostles, with miraculous powers to confirm their teaching. The mission referred to here is recorded (Mark 6:7; Luke 9:2).

Most likely, the account of this mission should be inserted between chapters 13 and 14 of St. Matthew. For, St. Mark interposes the account of the mission recorded here, between the history of our Lord’s arrival in Nazareth, and that of the Baptist’s death; and both Mark (6) and Luke (9) relate, that the Apostles returned to our Lord to render an account of their mission, after Herod had expressed his belief that John had been resuscitated in the person of our Lord, and, that then, our Lord and the Apostles retired into a desert place. The order, then, in which things occurred, is this: The Apostles are sent to teach the Jews; John is beheaded; Herod hearing of Jesus, is perplexed who He is; the Apostles return from their mission; our Redeemer retires with them beyond the lake to a desert place; He satiates, with five loaves and two fishes, the vast multitude, who, on the near approach of the Pasch, flocked around Him, &c.

“He gave them power over unclean spirits.” The devils, or evil spirits, are called “unclean,” because, they delight in unclean, sinful acts, and impel men to the commission of such acts. Before the coming of Christ, the devil had greater power over the world than he has at present. His power, which he so much abused, was crippled by the death of Christ (Heb. 2:14), and by the benign influence and spread of the Gospel. The power given to the Apostles over devils, was, “to cast them out,” and expel them from the bodies of the possessed.

“All manner of diseases,” i.e., of a chronic description; “and infirmities,” of an incipient, less aggravated kind (see c. 9:35; c. 4:23). These miraculous powers were to be the seal of their Divine mission, “the fruits by which they were to be known” and they were to be acknowledged as vested with such. (c. 7) He gives these powers, lest the Scribes and Pharisees should be preferred to them. Moreover, as Messiah sending His legates, it was but fitting He should give them the credentials of their authorized commission. Our Redeemer shows how far He surpassed the Prophets of old. These possessed and themselves exercised miraculous powers in several instances, but in no case could they (nor indeed did they ever attempt it), communicate them permanently, as is done here, to others.

Mat 10:2  And the names of the twelve Apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother,

“The twelve Apostles.” The word, “Apostle,” like the word, “Angel,” is expressive, not of nature or person, but of office. In the Scriptures of the New Testament, it denotes one sent as a legate, either in a general sense; hence, applied to our Redeemer Himself (Heb. 3:2), or, in a special sense, as in the case of Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), or, Doctors of the Church (Acts 14:4–14; 1 Cor. 4:9), or, those specially sent by our Redeemer Himself, as occupying the highest and most exalted rank in the Church, referred to here, and Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28. In this last and most exalted meaning of the term, which is now attached to it by ecclesiastical usage, the word, “Apostle,” is confined exclusively to “the twelve,” whom our Redeemer Himself marked out as such (although, for a long period, ecclesiastical usage extended the title to others besides, as St. Jerome remarks on the Epistle to the Galatians).

For an Apostle, several conditions are required—1. To have seen our Lord in person (1 Cor. 9:1; Acts 1:21, 22; 22:14; 1 Cor. 15:8). 2. An immediate vocation, or to be immediately sent by God Himself. 3. An universal commission, both as to place, and persons; and also in regard to functions, embracing teaching, loosing, and binding, establishing churches, and propagating the ministry. 4. The power of miracles (Mark 16:20; Acts 2:43), this being the most necessary of Divine credentials, to prove their extraordinary mission from God, and thus beget “reasonable service” in their hearers. Hence, in preaching, the Apostles exhibited the seal of their Divine mission by working miracles, speaking unknown tongues, &c. 5. Personal infallibility and inerrancy in preaching the doctrine and precepts of Christ.

The third condition was to be exercised with a due subjection to the supreme jurisdiction of him to whom all were subjected, “lambs and sheep,” pastors and people. In regard to the Apostles, who were each specially guided and directed by the Holy Spirit, there was no danger of collision or confusion in the discharge of this universal commission. There was no need for the exercise of the supreme authority of Peter. But, still, the supreme authority over the rest was given by our Sovereign Lord to Peter. It was, per accidens, that, its exercise was unnecessary. These qualities were extraordinary and personal in the other Apostles, granted to them as Divine legates immediately sent by God, whose office of legates was to cease with themselves; and, therefore, these characteristics were not transmitted to their successors, the bishops. But, Peter’s was not only the extraordinary Apostolic commission granted to him in common with the others, as Divine legate, in which respect his Apostolic power would not be transmissible; but, also, the ordinary commission given to him, and to him alone, as universal pastor, “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep” (John 21:15–17); and hence, the Apostolic power being in Peter, a real as well as a personal quality, was meant to be transmitted to his successors in the Holy Roman See, which is, therefore, justly styled, the Apostolic See, in which the plenitude of Peter’s power and Apostolic authority resides; which alone is the centre and source of all Apostolicity throughout the earth, and which, therefore, can alone claim all the privileges conferred on the Apostles. (See admirable Dissertation on Supremacy of Peter, “Annual Miscellany,” vol. iv., Very Rev. Dr. Murray.)

“Of the twelve Apostles.” Our Redeemer, it is commonly supposed, fixes on the number “twelve,” in order that the heads or fathers of spiritual Israel, from whom the whole Christian family, the “duodecim millia signati,” out of the several tribes of the spiritual Israel of the New Law are descended, would correspond with the twelve Fathers or Patriarchs of the Jewish nation, who prefigured these twelve chosen Fathers of the spiritual Israel of the New Law.

“The FIRST, Simon who is called Peter.” This seems to corroborate the undoubted proof contained in other leading texts, of the primacy, not alone of honour, but of jurisdiction also, divinely conferred on St. Peter. St. Mark (3:16), and St. Luke (6:14), also give him the first place on their catalogue, although they vary from St. Matthew as to the place given to the other Apostles. Hence, it is not casually, but by design, he is placed first. Four times are the Apostles referred to, collectively, in the New Testament. Besides, the catalogues of the Apostles, found in the passages from the three first Evangelists here referred to, another is found in the Acts of the Apostles (1:13), and on all these is he placed first. Nay, St. Matthew calls him πρωτος, the first (such is the definite force of the ordinal). If he were called so from mere order, the others should be called second; St. Matthew pointedly not only places him first, but calls him “first,” without any ordinal reference to the others. The form, “Simon, who is called Peter,” would seem to be the reason for placing Peter “first,” implying that the change of name from “Simon” to “Peter” was the cause of this preference, and of the dignity and primacy connected with it. The Holy Fathers remark, that in all the catalogues of the Apostles, St. Peter is placed first, just as Judas is invariably placed last. This cannot arise from Peter having been called first to the Apostleship; for, Andrew, his brother, was known to our Lord before him (John 1:41), and both were called when together in the same boat (Matt. 4:18; Mark 1:16, 17). In point of years, St. Epiphanius tells us (Heresi 51), that it was well-known from tradition, that Andrew was his senior. In Acts of the Apostles, and in St. Mark, Andrew is placed fourth on the list. It was not on account of our Lord’s greater affection for him; for John was the well beloved disciple, who alone was permitted to lean on His breast at the Last Supper.

St. Matthew here, and St. Luke (6:14), show why Peter occupied the first place. “Who is called Peter”—“whom He surnamed Peter” (Luke 6:14), which is allusive to, his primacy. “First,” means highest in dignity, in which sense the word is used elsewhere, “qui vult fieri primus,” i.e., princeps or præcipuus. Whenever the Apostles are mentioned collectively, or two or three of them, he is always first. Mark (1:36), says, “Simon and they that were with him.” Whenever they act together, Simon acts and speaks in their name. The order varies in the lists of the Evangelists regarding the other Apostles, to show their equality in regard to each other, subject to Peter, the head of them all.

Mat 10:3  James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus,

“James,” the greater, brother of John the Evangelist. He was put to death by Herod (Acts 12:2). “Matthew, the publican.” The mention of what was humiliating to him, shows the admirable humility of St. Matthew. The other sacred writers make no allusion to his former position, or rather, odious occupation in life. “Thaddeus,” also called Jude, brother of James the lesser, and writer of the Catholic Epistle of St. Jude.

Mat 10:4  Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

“Simon the Cananean.” The epithet, “Cananean,” which distinguishes him from the other Simon Peter, does not mean that he was from Chanaan. All the Apostles were from Judea. He was from Cana of Galilee. Some writers assert that he was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana, at which our Lord performed His first public miracle. The Hebrew word, cana, means, zeal. Hence, Simon is termed zelotes (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13).

“Iscariot,” according to some, means, of the tribe of Issachar; others, say, it refers to the town where he was born, “a man from Carioth,” a town well known in SS. Scripture (Josue 15:25; Amos 2:2, &c.); others give different etymologies of the word, such as, a mercenary man, or, one who was strangled. The Hebrew root will admit these meanings, which are quite applicable to Judas the traitor. St. Jerome (Isaias 28), says, he was from the town of Iscarioth, in the tribe of Ephraim, to which tribe Judas belonged. This town of Iscarioth was, probably, of recent growth, built after the captivity, as we find no mention of it in the Old Testament (Calmet).

Mat 10:5  These twelve Jesus sent: commanding them, saying: Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not.
Mat 10:6  But go ye rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

“These twelve Jesus sent,” as His legates, vested with His power; probably “two and two” (Mark 6:7), in the order in which they are joined together here, by St. Matthew and Mark (3:16), for mutual consolation and support, and to show the blessing of fraternal concord. “A brother that is helped by a brother is like a strong city.” Proverbs (18:19).

“Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles,” for the purpose of preaching. This is our Lord’s first precept to them, which was only of a temporary nature, to cease after His death, which broke down the middle wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles, and made them one fold under one shepherd. “The way of the Gentiles,” a Hebrew form of expression, denoting “among the Gentiles,” like the phrase, “What hast thou to do IN THE WAY OF EGYPT?” (Jer. 2:18), i.e., what brings thee into Egypt?

“And into the cities of the Samaritans enter ye not,” i.e., into any of their cities to preach the Gospel. In order to know who these Samaritans were, it is to be borne in mind, that after the ten tribes of Israel seceded from Juda and Benjamin, under Jeroboam, Amri, one of Jeroboam’s successors, built Samaria, which was to be the capital of the kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 16:24). Salmanasar, king of Assyria, carried the ten tribes captive into Assyria (2 Kings 17), and sent in their place, to colonize the country, people from Babylon and Cutha, &c. On the arrival of these latter, who carried with them their idolatrous worship, Samaria was infested with lions, which destroyed the country, and killed its inhabitants. This scourge was attributed to their neglect of the worship of the Deity of the land. Hence, in order to appease him, the king of Assyria had one of the captive priests sent back from Babylon, to instruct the new colonists in the ordinances and worship of the God of Israel.

After this, they united the worship of God with that of idols. (2 Kings 17) In this state did the Samaritans live under the kings of Assyria, having little or no intercourse with the Jews. When the Jews were permitted to rebuild the city and temple of Jerusalem, the Samaritans offered to assist them in their undertaking (Ezra 4:2). The rejection of this offer by the Jews, sowed the seeds of the undying hostility which ever after existed between both peoples. The breach was rendered irreparable, when, after the return of the Jews from captivity, and the rebuilding of the temple, the Samaritans had a rival temple built on Mount Garazim, near Samaria, where victims were offered up, as at Jerusalem, and served as a place also of resort for some malcontent Jews. From this period, the Samaritans, forgetful of their Pagan origin, wished to be considered as true Israelites, who preserved in all its purity the observance of the law, with an unbroken succession of high priests, who now ministered on Mount Garazim, the seat of their religion. For a long period, before the time of our Redeemer, they gave up the worship of idols; otherwise, they could have no pretensions to be considered true Israelites, rivals of the Jews, in regard to the observance of the law, and the purity of Divine worship.

The temple of Garazim and city of Samaria were demolished by John Hyrcanus, 120 years before the time of our Redeemer. Lest the Apostles might suppose that the Samaritans, who held a sort of intermediate place between the Jews and Gentiles, were to be confounded with the Jews, our Lord specially mentions them in connexion with the Gentiles. His object in prohibiting the Apostles from preaching to the Gentiles on this first mission was, to take away all excuse from the Jews, who might justify their incredulity and resistance on the ground, that, according to the ordination of God, and His promises through the predictions of the Prophets, the message of salvation was first promised to the Jews, “the children of the kingdom,” “the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” to whom these promises were specially made (Acts 13:46). To the Jews the Gospel was given, according to promise and mercy; to the Gentiles, out of pure mercy, without a promise. (Rom. 15)

“Lost sheep.” The Jews were “the sheep of His pasture.” (Psa. 73) They belonged specially to His fold; the objects of His special care and predilection. They were spiritually “lost,” having gone astray from God. (Rom. 3) Hence, compared, in the preceding chapter, to “sheep without a shepherd.” This first precept was to be observed only during our Redeemer’s mortal life. For, after His glorious resurrection, He gave the Apostles an unlimited, universal commission. “Euntes docete OMNES gentes.” (Matthew 28) “Eritis mihi testes … usque ad ultimum terræ” (Acts 1:8).

Mat 10:7  And going, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(The second Precept.) “The kingdom of heaven” (see c. 3:2), i.e., the Church of Christ is shortly to be established, which is the threshold or entrance into the kingdom of God’s glory. This kingdom of bliss, so long closed against mankind, is soon to be thrown open by the blood of Christ. Prepare, by penance, faith, and good works, to obtain admission into it. The theme of the preaching of the Apostles was the same as His own (Matt. 4:17); of the Baptist (3:2). It is clear, the preaching of penance, was also included and inculcated in the commission given the Apostles. For, the Apostles preached penance (Mark 6:12).

The form, “kingdom of heaven,” is peculiar to St. Matthew. The other Evangelists for it use the form, “the kingdom of God,” “heavenly kingdom,” “the kingdom of Christ.” The words, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” is a summary of the things preached; and convey an exhortation to perform the good works that may lead to it, and avoid the evils, that may prove an obstacle to our admittance, into that kingdom of everlasting bliss; in a word, “to avoid evil and do good.” St. Luke informs us (10:9), that this precept of “preaching the kingdom of God,” was given to the seventy-two disciples. He insinuates that it was also given to the twelve Apostles (9:2).

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:32-38

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

Mat 9:32  And when they were gone out (from the house in verse 28), behold they brought him a dumb man, possessed with a devil.

“When they had gone out,” full of joy and gratitude at their deliverance, they met a wretched sufferer—“a dumb man possessed of a devil,” and brought him. The Greek for “dumb” (κωφον), may also be rendered “deaf.” In fact, it means that the devil, who possessed, him, deprived him of the use of his senses, rendering him perfectly insensible. Hence, the demon is called “mute” by St. Luke (11:14), from the effect produced by him on the man possessed. Some hold that this miracle is different from that recorded (Luke 11); and that this latter is the same as that recorded in Matthew 12.

Mat 9:33  And after the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke, and the multitudes wondered, saying, Never was the like seen in Israel.

“The dumb man spoke,” thereby showing his dumbness to be, not a natural effect; but attributable solely to diabolical agency or demoniac possession.

“Never was the like,” &c. The admiration of the crowd was not caused by this solitary miracle. It was caused by the many miracles wrought by our Divine Redeemer. Never before did such miracles appear “in Israel,” or, never before did such a person appear in Israel, if we regard the number of miracles wrought, their variety, the facility, celerity, and, above all, the authority with which they were wrought. The prophets wrought miracles, after invoking the Divine aid. He wrought them from His own innate power. In this sense, no such miracles were ever wrought in Israel.

Mat 9:34  But the Pharisees said, By the prince of devils he casteth out devils.

This was a favourite calumny of the Pharisees, which our Redeemer formally refutes (c. 12:25, &c.) It seems probable that the miracle recorded is quite different from that recorded (c. 12:22). While the people were extolling the miracles of our Lord, the Pharisees, maddened by envy, and unable to gainsay the facts, ascribed them to diabolical agency, to magic, and a compact with the chief of the demons. The Jews believed, that there was a variety of ranks and powers among demons, which is comformable to SS. Scripture. They never, for an instant, seemed to reflect, that the expulsion of demons was not the only miracle He performed; that He performed some miracles which exceeded the power of demons, such as raising the dead; that He performed others, which were opposed to their nature, such as remitting sin, and leading men to God, by preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, &c. Our Redeemer, unmoved by these calumnies, goes about doing good, and accomplishing His heavenly mission. It would seem, that here these charges were made in our Redeemer’s absence, before the multitude who extolled His miracles.

Mat 9:35  And Jesus went about all the cities and towns, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease, and every infirmity.

Our Lord, regardless of the calumnies with which He was assailed, went about all the towns and villages of Galilee, of which Capharnaum, where He fixed His abode, was the metropolis, “teaching in their synagogues,” which were established in all the cities and populous towns of Judea—nay, in large cities, there were more than one synagogue, “and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom,” the glad tidings regarding the near approach of redemption, which was to throw open the gates of heaven, so long closed against the human race, and, confirming his teaching, by curing all their ailments, whether inveterate and confirmed “disease” (νοσος), or, in an incipient stage, “infirmity” (μαλακιαν). The one form of expression (νοσος), disease, denotes a more advanced step of illness than infirmity (μαλαχιαν). The former signifies, a confirmed, inveterate disorder; the latter, incipient, temporary infirmity. Thus, our Blessed Lord cured, not only their minds, but their bodies also. (See c. 4:23, where, in the Vulgate and Greek, the words are the same as here.)

Mat 9:36  And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd.

“He had compassion.” The Greek word εσπλαγχνισθη (splagchnizomai), expresses the deepest and most intense feelings of tenderness and compassion. It conveys that His bowels—σπλαγχνα (splagchna)—the seat of compassion, were moved to tenderness on their account. The Greek word σπλαγχνα (splagchna) is basically a reference to the inner organs. In modern American terms our Lord “had a gut reaction.”

“Distressed,” means worried, afflicted with various evils, especially spiritual diseases. It is likely it refers to their being worried by “unclean spirits” (c. 10:1), and this is borne out by the context.

“Lying,” left abandoned and unprotected by their spiritual guides—who only cared for their own interests—a prey to every evil. “Like sheep that have no shepherd.” This gives an idea of their neglected, unprotected state, which so much touched the tender bowels of our Divine Redeemer, “Viscera misericordiæ Dei Nostri.”

Mat 9:37  Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few.

“The harvest is great,” &c. Here we have a figurative term, borrowed from husbandry, strongly expressive of the great spiritual wants of the people; of their dispositions to profit by spiritual ministrations; of the necessity of having spiritual teachers sent amongst them; of the good dispositions of the people, embracing Jews and Gentiles; of their longing desire to be gathered into the granary of God’s holy Church, and the society of the saints, like a harvest ready for the sickle; of their destitution, having no one to care them “The labourers few.” As yet, only our Redeemer Himself and the Baptist. The Scribes and Pharisees, who pretended to be their guides, utterly neglected their duty. The word, “harvest,” also conveys, that the lot of those in charge of the people is work, and not idleness.

Mat 9:38  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.

“Therefore,” a practical conclusion from the preceding verse. Some make this verse the beginning of the next chapter (10)

“The Lord of the harvest,” according to some, means, God the Father. Our Lord calls His Father, “the Lord of the vineyard” (21:40), and also “the husbandman” (John 15:1). Others understand it, of our Redeemer Himself, who may be regarded as the husbandman and “Lord of the harvest,” by whom the labourers were to be sent, as were the Apostles here. The Prophets sowed the seed; the harvest is now ripe; the honour and labour are now reserved for them; the Scribes and Pharisees neglected the ripe field confided to them; it only remains for the Apostles to put their hands to the work; without waiting to be asked, He Himself sends “labourers,” that is, preachers and pastors, whose duty it was to labour. Of them the Psalmist speaks (Psa. 125), “Who sow in tears, shall reap in exultation,” &c. He also indicates the preciousness of the gift of good labourers, when He asks them to pray fervently for it. “That He send forth,” since, without a mission, without being sent, they can produce no fruits, but rather mischief, as always happens in regard to heretics and self-sent preachers. “I did not send prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied” (Jer. 23:21).

 

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:18-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 9 as a whole, followed by his notes on verses 18-26. The opening analysis may have appeared in other posts on Matt 9.

ANALYSIS OF MATTHEW CHAPTER 9

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

COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 9:18-26

Mat 9:18  As he was speaking these things unto them, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
Mat 9:19  And Jesus rising up followed him, with his disciples. 

“As He was speaking these things.” A different order of narrative is given by Mark and Luke. But the order followed by St. Matthew is, most probably, the correct one (see v. 2). While He was in the act of refuting the calumnious charges of the Pharisees, “behold a certain ruler,” &c. This shows, how deserving of condemnation was the obstinate malice and unbelief of the Pharisees, since the fame of our Redeemer’s miraculous works had reached every order of persons, rich and poor. The word, “behold,” would show that the ruler came up at once while our Redeemer was speaking. “A certain ruler.” St. Mark says (5:22), “one of the rulers of the synagogue”—it would seem that there were many such—“named Jairus, falleth down at His feet.” St. Luke (8:41) says, the same. Whether this implies supreme worship, which the Greek word (προσεκυνει) may, and generally does imply, or mere bodily prostration in token of reverence for a holy man, it is hard to determine from the context. Some think, from the fact of his asking our Lord to “come and lay His hand on her,” which did not equal the great faith of the centurion (8:8), that it was not supreme adoration. At all events, it conveyed a silent censure on the carping Pharisees, to whose sect, very likely, this ruler belonged, who regarded the power of Jesus as the most efficacious means of resuscitating his daughter.

“My daughter.” St. Luke (8:42) says, she was “an only daughter, almost twelve years old.” “Is even now dead.” The other Evangelists represent him as saying “she is at the point of death” (Mark); “she was dying” (Luke). Most likely, he made both statements—first, that she was on the point of death, when he left; and, then, in his hurried excitement, judging from the symptoms, and other circumstances he witnessed, he said, “she is dead,” at the time he was speaking. The other Evangelists (Mark 5:35; Luke 8:49) say, that while he was with our Lord, word was brought to him, “thy daughter is dead, trouble Him no further,” and that our Lord told him, “fear not,” and went and raised the girl to life. “Lay Thy hand upon her.” He heard of the cure of the centurion’s servant, and of other miracles, at Capharnaum; his faith, however, was not so strong as that of the centurion.

Mat 9:20  And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment.
Mat 9:21  For she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed.

Mat 9:22  But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

“And behold.” While on His way to Jairus’ house (Mark 5:24), our Redeemer had it mercifully so arranged, that He would work the following miracles, so as to strengthen the ruler’s faith. “Twelve years,” shows the inveteracy of the disease. Mark (5:25), and Luke (8:43), say, it was incurable; that she suffered great pain in striving to have the cure effected by physicians, and incurred great expense also, but all to no effect. “Came behind Him,” both from feelings of modesty, owing to the nature of her ailment, and also from a fear lest she might be driven away by the crowd, if she came not as privately as possible and unobserved, this flux of blood being reckoned among legal uncleanness by the law of Moses (Lev. 15:25). “The hem.” The Greek word (τοῦ κρασπἑδου) more properly signifies, a tassel. The Jewish garment should, according to law, have four corners, from each of which a tassel of strings, or threads, was suspended, to distinguish them from the Gentiles (Deut. 22:12; Num. 15:38). Circumcision was also meant for the same purpose, that thus the Jews would be reminded of their obligation to observe the law. Even now, the dress of religious is meant to remind them of their religious obligations. From this verse is derived an argument in favour of the veneration of relics of the saints, and of attaching efficacy to them, as is sanctioned by the Catholic Church. The same is clear, also, from the miracles wrought by the contact of the bones of Eliseus (2 Kings 13:21), and the shadow of Peter curing diseases (Acts 5:15). That the woman referred to here, did not act superstitiously, as is irreverently asserted by some Protestants, is clear from our Redeemer’s attributing her cure to her great faith. The woman, not only believed in our Redeemer, but she touched His garment, from a conviction, that there was some efficacy in it, and our Redeemer felt that a virtue had proceeded from Him (Mark 5:30).

“Thy faith,” viz., her belief in the power of our Lord, and her confidence in His goodness. For the word “faith,” here includes both. “Hath made thee whole.” His omnipotent power was the primary and principal cause of her cure; but her own faith acted as a disposition, or meritorious cause, for the beneficent exercise of this Almighty power in her favour (see v. 2, Commentary). Faith, though, at all times, essential, it being the “radix et fundamentum omnis justificationis” (Council of Trent), was especially so in the beginning of the Church, as being the essential characteristic of the believers, to distinguish them from unbelievers. The woman here did more than believe, although to faith her cure is attributed. She also touched the hem of His garment, and believed there was efficacy in it. Eusebius (Lib. 7, His. Eccles. c. xviii.); Sozomen (Lib. 5, c. vi.), and Philostorgius (Lib. 7, n. 3), say, this woman was a native of Cæsarea Philippi, and that she erected a statue of our Lord in front of her house, to commemorate this event. Socrates relates, in his Tripartite History (Lib. 6, c. 41), that Julian, the apostate, removed this statue, and had his own set up in its place, and that a strong fire from heaven shattered the apostate’s statue to pieces.

Mat 9:23  And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout,

“Minstrels,” hired mourners, introduced in accordance with the prevailing usage among the Jews, for the purpose of lamentation, and of exciting and stimulating, by their mournful strains, the grief of the relatives of the deceased. This shows that the girl had really departed this life. The practice of employing mourners of both sexes, with musical accompaniments, to bewail the dead, was commonly in use among the Greeks and Romans. Jeremias (9:17) speaks of “mourning women;” Ecclesiastes (12:5), “the mourners shall go round about in the street.”

“And the multitude making a rout.” By their external manifestations of grief, at the premature death of the girl (Mark 5:38; Luke 8:52).

Mat 9:24  He said: Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

“The girl is not dead, but sleepeth.” Death is frequently called sleep in the Scriptures (Psa. 75:6; Jer. 51:39; 1 Thess. 4:12, &c.) Hence, from Christian usage, the word, cemeteries, or sleeping-places, to designate the graves of the departed. Our Redeemer says, “the girl is not dead,” in the way the crowd imagined, in the sense that she would remain in death, and not to be soon resuscitated. In the same sense, He says of Lazarus, in his grave, “he sleepeth” (John 11:11), because he was at once to be raised from the grave, by the same Divine power. His temporary death was like a sleep. Some Rationalists, and others, say the girl was not really dead. But that she was really dead, appears clear from the context, “the crowd laughed at Him, knowing she was dead” (Luke 8:53). How know this, if she were not dead? Nor would “the minstrels” be present, if she were not dead? Hence, our Redeemer says here, “she sleepeth,” just as He said of Lazarus, “Our friend, Lazarus, sleepeth,” and afterwards explains it, by saying plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” This explanation He gives in the case of Lazarus, as the disciples who heard Him, required it. Here, it was not wanted, as all saw the girl was dead. Hence, “not dead” means, so as not to return to life, which the idea of death implies.

Mat 9:25  And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose.

“When the multitude was put forth.” Our Lord permitted no one to be present, on His own part, at the miracle, except the chief among His Apostles (Mark 5; Luke 8), Peter, James and John, who were specially admitted to witness other manifestations of His glory, as on Thabor, and were destined to be unimpeachable witnesses, to disclose this to others, at a future day; and, on the part of the girl, He admitted her parents, who were most closely allied to her. He put out all the others, for several reasons; among the rest, probably, to conceal the miracle from those who were disposed to attribute it to diabolical agency. Moreover, He did not wish to irritate His enemies too much at this period, as His hour for suffering, at their hands, had not yet come, and He may not have wished to drive them to desperation, before the time. When He raised Lazarus, He made no secret of it from the multitude, as His destined hour was near at hand.

“Took her by the hand,” to show that there resided in His sacred flesh, from its hypostatic union with the Divinity, a vivifying power. The other Evangelists add that our Lord addressed to her the words, Tabitha, cumi—“Maiden, arise,” and that He ordered food to be set before her (Luke 8:55), in proof of the reality of her resuscitation.

Mat 9:26  And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.

This is added by the Evangelist, in proof or confirmation of the truth of the miracle. The entire of Galilee, including men interested in denying the truth of the miracle, if they could, were witnesses of it. The other Evangelists (Luke 8:56; Mark 5:43), say our Lord charged her parents to tell no one of it, probably, with a view of avoiding the imputation of vain glory, and not to give offence to His enemies, as also to prevent the excesses of popular applause.

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 10:24-33

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

Mat 10:24  The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?

The disciple is not above the master. β. The apostles’ relation to their Master and Lord. The consolation contained in this passage is drawn from the fact that Jesus has suffered the same or similar hardships; the two proverbs contained in vv. 24, 25 express the same truth, with this difference, that the first is worded negatively, the second positively. Whatever other proverbs may be quoted against the two now in question, it remains certainly true that the disciple, as long as he is disciple, and the servant, as long as he is servant, must be content with the honor and the proficiency of their master and lord. This consolation contained in the example of the suffering lord and master is the reason why the suffering saints of the New Testament express themselves so differently from those of the Old Testament: cf. Rom. 5:3; 1 Pet. 4:14; Ps. 72:2–13; Jer. 12:1–3; 20:14–18; etc. We read that the Pharisees accused Jesus of expelling devils by the power of Beelzebub [Mt. 12:24; Lk. 11:15], and that the scribes accused him of having Beelzebub [Mk. 3:22], but it is not stated anywhere that the Jews called our Lord Beelzebub. Euthymius is of opinion that the Jews may have added this calumny to their other blasphemies, and that our Lord referred to it because it pained him more than all the others; Knabenbauer considers that another reading of the Greek text, found in B* and adopted by Lachmann, may be the correct one, because, according to it, we must render, “if they have objected Beelzebub [i.e. his alliance] against the good-man of the house.” Jesus calls himself “the good-man of the house” because he considers his Church as his family, and the apostles are the members of his household. Finally, commentators have found difficulty in explaining the word “Beelzebub.” The Greek codd. and some Latin ones read “Beelzebul,” a word susceptible of a double interpretation: for it may be derived from כַּעַל זֶכֶל or from בַּעַל וְבוּל. The former derivation gives us the meaning “lord of dung,” the latter “lord of the habitation.” It is true that in the language of Talmudic writers “dung” and the verbs connected with it are used to express idol-worship; but if the word in question were thus derived, it ought to read “Beelzabel,” as we read “Jezabel” [cf. Schanz, Weiss]. The other name, “lord of the habitation.” does not directly signify “the devil,” though the word itself may allude to the title “good-man of the house,” claimed by our Lord. The opinion of Holzammer [Kirchenl. 2 ed. sub Baal], that the later Jews called the supreme god of Accaron, Beelzebub, also Beelzebul or “lord of the heavenly mansion,” because the god had that title among his worshippers, is a mere conjecture. The more probable view considers Beelzebul a mere variation of Beelzebub, as Beliar is a variation of Belial, and Bab el mandel of Bab el mandeb [cf. Wolf Baudissin, Real-encyclop. für protestant. Theol. 2 ed. ii. p. 210]. Beelzebub or בַּעַל זְבוּב signifies “lord of flies,” the idol being invoked against pestilence from flies. This idea of Beelzebub agrees with Josephus [Ant. IX. ii. 1], 4 Kings 1:2, the lxx. version, and the Latin and Greek name of the deity [myiagrus dens, Ζεὺς ʼΑπόμυιος]. Scholz [Götzendienst und Zauberwesen, 1877, p. 173] is of opinion that Beelzebub was taken as the representative god of Accaron because his statue was the most ugly of all the statues of the idols.

Mat 10:26  Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known.
Mat 10:27  That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops.

Therefore fear them not. γ. Future revelation. The “therefore” refers back to what Jesus has said about his own suffering in his apostolic ministry; the apostles shall share his glory. The latter is described more in particular:—

[1] “Nothing is covered that shall not be revealed,” i. e. the ignored truth of the gospel message shall come to be recognized [Jansenius, Lam, Calmet, Arnoldi], or the justice of the apostles shall be made known together with the wickedness of their enemies [Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius, Opus Imperfectum, Theodoret, heracl. in cat. Maldonado, Lapide, Bisping, Schanz, Knabenbauer], or the day of judgment will vindicate the cause of the apostles and bring their enemies to their deserved punishment [Hilary, Jerome, Bede, Paschasius, Dionysius, Cajetan, Sylveira], or the apostles’ name shall be glorified both in this life and in the day of judgment [Fillion], or the apostles shall be glorified in this life and their message shall be made known [Reischl], or finally, the message of the apostles shall come to be known, their cause shall be rectified both in this life and in the day of judgment [Alb., Barradas].

[2] “That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light.” Though Lightfoot and Schöttg. are of opinion that this passage alludes to the practice in the synagogue according to which a passage from Scripture was read first in Hebrew, and then translated into the popular dialect by a Targumist, there is really little correspondence between the words of our Lord and the foregoing custom; Schanz, etc. have a better right of appealing to the custom of the Rabbis, who used to reserve certain favorite portions of their doctrine for the ears of their favorite disciples, and Knabenbauer regards the language, perhaps with still greater probability, as metaphorically expressing the small and unknown part of the earth in which Jesus instructed his disciples [cf. Chrysostom]. Since proclamations are often made in the East from the flat housetops, there is nothing extraordinary in the injunction of our Lord; it merely indicates the publicity and the fearlessness with which the apostles must accomplish their ministry.

Mat 10:28  And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.

And fear ye not them that kill the body. δ. Weakness of the enemy. Our Lord here touches the utmost suffering that the enemies of his name can inflict on the apostles; but even this punishment is nothing but the death of the body, a temporal evil, which is a mere nothing compared with the eternal death inflicted by God himself on his enemies and his unfaithful apostles [cf. Mt. 5:29, 30]. If, then, the apostles, in spite of their confirmation in grace, were warned to fear the eternal punishment of God, what must not be said to an ordinary disciple of Christ [cf. Knabenbauer]?

Mat 10:29  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father.
Mat 10:30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31  Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? ε. Special divine providence. It is not only through fear that our Lord wishes the apostles to perform the duties of their calling amidst the outer difficulties of persecution, but also through a trustful confidence in the special care of divine providence. The existence of the latter is proved by an appeal to the care God takes of even the smallest creatures. Little birds are still strung together and sold for two farthings in the towns of Palestine [Farrar]; our Lord alludes to this custom, for the Greek text reads “little birds” instead of “sparrows” [only Lk. 12:6, 7 and here in New Testament, but often in lxx.], and fixes the price of a pair at a farthing [as], or about one cent. Still even the “little bird” enjoys the special care of providence, so that he cannot be shot or struck down or die in any other manner without the special intervention of providence. This doctrine fully agrees with God’s love of all creatures [Wisd. 11:25], and his care for the brute creation [Prov. 12:10], while it does not contradict the absence of that special providence in the case of animals which he accords his rational creatures [1 Cor. 9:9; cf. Cornely, ad l.]. Jerome warns us here against superstition, and Hilary appears to stretch the meaning of the passage too far, when he infers the licitness of bird-catching from it. Our Lord descends to objects of even less value, “the very hairs of your head,” and shows that God’s providence extends even to them, for the saying proverbially expresses special care [1 Sam 14:45; Lk. 21:18; Acts 27:34] what is numbered is known to its master, and cared for individually [Chrysostom, Euthymius, Jerome, Lapide]. Our Lord finally infers a practical conclusion for the apostles: they exceed many sparrows in value, and need not therefore fear.

Mat 10:32  Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 10:33  But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.

Every one therefore that shall confess me. ζ. the faithful and the unfaithful confessor. The Greek text reads, “that shall confess in me”; Wichelhaus sees here an influence of the Hebrew, but “to confess in” is as foreign to Hebrew as it is to Greek; Fritzsche, Weiss, etc. admit an Aramaic influence in this phrase, and they thus arrive at the meaning “to testify in one’s cause” [Grimm] or “to testify by one’s person” Arnoldi, Keil, Weiss, Wichelh.]; Euthymius and Cyril explain the “in me” as equivalent to “me,” while Chrysostom and Theophylact interpret it “by my grace,” “in my strength.” Heracleon [Clement of Alexandria, Strom, iv. p. 595] and Origen [cat.] suggest the meaning “in union with me,” according to the promise that there shall be mutual union between Christ and his faithful servants [Jn. 15:4; Rom. 3:24; 6:5, 11; etc.]. According to this explanation it is clear why Jesus promises in the second part of the verse, “I will also confess in him.” The confession in question is not the merely secret adherence of the heart, but extends to an outward profession of discipleship [Rom. 10:10], though the inward faith must be the root of the outward confession [op. imp.]. According to Schöttgen “to deny a master” amounted among the Rabbis to a refusal of having him as one’s teacher; the denial of Jesus before his Father implies that such a one will not be the heir of the heavenly kingdom, but will suffer the fate described in Mt. 8:12. The preaching of the gospel is therefore in very deed unto the ruin and the resurrection of many.

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 10:16-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

Mat 10:16  Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

Behold, I send you as sheep. 3. The apostles’ further needs, vv. 16–42. This section contains the following parts: first a prediction of the apostles’ persecution, vv. 16–22; secondly, an encouragement to a fearless confession, vv. 23–33; thirdly, conditions of faithful discipleship, vv. 34–39; fourthly, blessing of the apostles’ benefactors, vv. 40–42.

a. Prediction of persecution, vv. 16–22. The persecution shall come from the part of the Jews [17], of the Gentiles [18–20], of the nearest relatives [21], and of all men [22]. From this outline it is evident that our Lord did not speak in this section of the immediate needs of the apostles, since they were not to come into immediate contact with the Gentiles. But Chrysostom well describes the need of preparing the soldiers of the cross for their hardships long before they have to bear them actually. This preparation is well connected with the preceding instruction concerning the immediate needs of the apostles; because it inculcates supreme detachment from life and its comforts, as the preceding instruction insists on perfect detachment from the goods of this life [cf. Barradas].

α. Before coming to the different classes of enemies, Jesus enounces the general truth that the apostles will have as many and ferocious enemies as the sheep have in the midst of wolves, and draws a general principle of life from this fact. It is, however, the source of the greatest consolation that the apostles are sent by Jesus himself: “Behold, I send you.” Even as Absalom encouraged his servants [2 Kings 13:28] with the assurance that they were sent by him, so does Jesus encourage his disciples by drawing their attention to his commission [Cajetan; cf. Theophylact, Opus Imperfectum, Bede, Paschasius, Maldonado, Jansenius, Knabenbauer etc.]. Jesus does not say that he sends his apostles to the wolves, though Chrysostom considers this as a possible meaning, but that his apostles on their mission will be like sheep among wolves; this is indicated by the Greek preposition ἐν, not ποός. Their own helplessness is therefore an additional motive for relying wholly on the power of their Master. The following proverbial expression occurs even in Rabbinic writings; R. Jehuda [Midrasch Schir hasch. f. 17 b] has it “God says: towards me the Israelites are simple, pious as doves; but towards the Gentiles they are prudent as serpents.” Even in the Old Testament the serpent is identified with cunning [Gen. 3:1], and the dove with simplicity and purity [Hosea 7:11]. In the writings of the Fathers we find the cunning of the serpent expressed in their belief that it covers its head, the seat of its life, with its whole body [Chrysostom, Hilary, Jerome, Paschasius, Thomas Aquinas, Faber Stapulensis, Cajetan, Jansenius], that it places one of its ears against the rock and stops up the other with its tail so as not to hear the voice of the enchanter [Augustine in Ps. 57 n. 5; Bede, Dionysius, Sylveira, Barradas, Lapide], that its tongue is sharper than a sword [Reischl], that it cunningly devised the best ways and means to induce our first parents to sin [St Basil, Hilary]. Euthymius, Jansenius and other writers extol the purity and the other good qualities of the dove. Calmet illustrates in the various events of St. Paul’s life both the prudence of the serpent and the simplicity of the dove. Prudence relies, in a manner, on human resources, simplicity on God’s help; as prudence without simplicity degenerates into mere cunning, so does simplicity without prudence degenerate into folly. The words do not, therefore, mean that the apostles are to be among the infidels as serpents among serpents, and amidst the faithful as doves among doves [cf. Opus Imperfectum], but they must unite both qualities, however hard they may be to join [Euthymius; cf. Alb. Jansenius, St Bruno]. Prudence alone will impede the undertaking of heroic labors, while simplicity alone will entail insuperable difficulties.

Mat 10:17  But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.

But beware of men. β. Jewish enemies. Taking men as they were at the time of our Lord they were the natural enemies of his messengers. Hence the greatest care was needed, on the part of the latter, against the wiles and machinations of their surrounding [cf. St Bruno, Jansenius]. But even here it is not prudence alone that is required, but the simplicity of the dove must exert its spiritual force of edification [cf. Meyer, Schegg, Keil]. The first reason for great care against too much confidence in men is taken from the hostility of the Jews, who will bring the apostles before their councils and scourge them in their synagogues. Small towns of the Holy Land had, according to Rabbinic tradition [Edersheim ii. 554], a council of three judges; in larger towns, counting more than 120–130 men, they had a council of twenty-three, while the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was the highest court. The common corporal punishment consisted, among the Jews, in scourging, which was inflicted in the synagogues [Acts 22:19; 26:11], at the word of any of the foregoing courts or even of a Rabbi of authority, provided it did not exceed the legal thirty-nine stripes [2 Cor. 11:24; cf. Wünsche, p. 132]. About the scourging unto death less is known for certain.

Mat 10:18  And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles:
Mat 10:19  But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak:
Mat 10:20  For it is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.

And you shall be brought before governors, and before. γ. Gentile enemies. The Greek particles of transition show here that there is a gradation in the words of our Lord. The “governors” and “kings” here in question are the proconsuls, the procurators, etc. [e.g. Cyrinus, Felix, Sergius Paulus, Festus] and those honored with the royal title, whether subject to Rome or independent [e.g. Agrippa, Aretas, Nero, Domitian, etc.]. The phrase “for my sake” adds the needed consolation to the fearful prediction [cf. Acts. 4:7; 5:18, 40]. The words “for a testimony” show that the sufferings of the apostles will be either the occasion of the conversion of their enemies, or if they remain obdurate, it will be a testimony against them before the tribunal of God [Theophylact, Hilary]. This testimony will be “to [i.e. either for or against] them [i.e. either the Jews: Theophylact, Euthymius, Meyer, Schegg, Keil, Schanz, Knabenbauer; or the governors and kings: Bleek, Weiss] and to the Gentiles.” Under the stress of this persecution the apostles are not to be anxious or solicitous [Jansenius, Maldonado, Lam.] concerning the matter or the manner of their defence [cf. Lk. 12:11; Mt. 6:25]. Their ordinary human care will be aided by the special assistance of divine providence. “It shall be given” to the apostles [cf. Chrysostom, St Bruno, Lapide] in their hour of need what to say, so that they shall enjoy the privilege of the Old Testament prophets [Is. 50:4; Lk. 21:15; 1 Cor. 2:10 ff.; Eph. 6:19]. St. Thomas well remarks that the words “it is not you that speak” do not exclude the instrumental activity of the apostles, but they merely denote that God will be the principal agent, using the apostles as his instruments. Theophylact sees in “the Spirit of your Father” a great source of consolation for the suffering apostolic laborer.

Mat 10:21  The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death.

The brother also shall deliver up the brother.] δ. Domestic enemies. It is not known that the apostles personally had to suffer from domestic enemies for the sake of Jesus, but they surely suffered from those most closely connected with them by blood, and our Lord’s thought swerved here to the converts of the apostles, in whom his prediction was fulfilled to the letter [Hilary, Jerome]. A similar breaking of the most sacred ties is depicted in Mich. 7:6; this is the sword which Jesus said he had brought on earth [Paschasius]. Since there is a similar prediction connected with the eschatologic prophecies of our Lord, Schanz infers that the conditions in which the apostles found the world resemble those of the last days.

Mat 10:22  And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.

And you shall be hated by all men. ε. General enmity. This may be compared to the “odium generis humani” of Tacitus [An. xv. 44]; “all men” refers here to all unbelievers in Christ [Opus Imperfectum, Theophylact, Euthymius]. But “for my name’s sake” removes here again the sting from the fearful prediction [Euthymius, Tertullian apol. c. 2, 3; cf. Acts 9:15]. But it is not enough to have a glorious cause, one needs also personal fortitude [Euthymius]; for only “he that shall persevere unto the end” [i.e. the end of the persecution: cf. Schanz, Mt. 24:13; Dan. 12:11, 12; or the end of the world: Meyer; cf. Tertullian scorp. c. 9; or the end of one’s earthly life: Chrysostom, Euthymius, Lapide, Jerome, etc.], “he shall be saved.”

Mat 10:23  And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.

And when they shall persecute you. b. Fearless confession. This section shows first the general behavior of the persecuted apostle, 23; secondly, it draws a motive of consolation from the relation of the apostle to his Master and Lord, 24, 25; thirdly, it calls attention to the future revelation of their sufferings, 26, 27; fourthly, it shows the real weakness of the enemies, 28; fifthly, it reveals the special divine providence watching over the apostles, 29–31; sixthly, it compares the future of the faithful confessor with that of the unfaithful one, 32, 33.

α. Behavior under persecution. What has been said might lead one to believe that the patient sufferer ought to remain in the place where he suffers persecution; the example of our Lord [Mt. 2:14; Lk. 4:30; Jn. 7:50] and of the disciples [Acts 8; 9:25; 12:17] agrees with the passage now under consideration in advising a different course of action. Bede, Jansenius, see in this very arrangement or permission of divine providence one of the ordinary means of spreading the gospel, as is illustrated in Acts 13:51; 14:6, 19–25; 17:10, 14; etc. Commentators have found a great difficulty, real or imaginary, in harmonizing this precept of the Lord with the duties of the good shepherd incumbent on every apostle. Euthymius, Theophylact, Chrysostom, Tertullian, Jerome, Bede, have therefore understood the command to flee only of the first mission of the apostles, though there was no occasion at that early period to put the command in practice; Augustine [ep. 228, al. 180, ad Honoratum] Jansenius, Maldonado, are inclined to regard the Lord’s command as the exception, not as the general rule, though Clement of Alexandria is right in urging the universality of the precept; but if we adhere strictly to the words of Jesus, who speaks not to regular parish priests, but to missionaries, there hardly exists any difficulty at all: for if the missionary has already founded a Christian centre, he has also provided a religious head for his new foundation; if he has not yet founded a church, he will not be able to found one under the opposition contemplated in the precept of our Lord; in either case, his withdrawal from the place of his labor till a more quiet season will not harm his mission, and will preserve the usefulness of a missionary. An accidental source of consolation may be found in the assurance that the apostles shall never want a place whither they may flee in times of difficulty.

Commentators have been exercised by a second difficulty springing from the present passage: The coming of the Son of man signifies in the synoptic gospels his second advent: Mt. 24:30, 44; Mk. 13:26; Lk. 12:40; 18:8; 21:27. Now Jesus says, “You shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.” Hence, the second coming should have happened in the lifetime of the apostles. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius, Jansenius restrict the present words to the first mission of the apostles, but their view has already been rejected; Bede explains the second coming as the resurrection, Calvin, Grote, Bleek see in it the coming of the Holy Ghost, Schott, Ebrard, Gass identify it with the destruction of Jerusalem, Origen, Theodoret Heracl., Bede, Kuinoel regard the second coming as expressing any special divine help assisting the persecuted apostles: but all these explanations disregard the common meaning of the expression in the synoptic gospels. Maldonad, Jansenius, Ypr. Hofmann, etc. explain the phrase “finish all the cities of Israel” as meaning “bring all the cities of Israel to Christian perfection,” but this meaning of the phrase is surely not natural and obvious; Chrysostom, Euthymius, Thomas Aquinas, Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius, etc. retain the obvious signification of the phrase “finish your mission in all the cities of Israel” [i.e. in all the cities in which there are Jewish inhabitants, whether in or out of Palestine]. Thus the present passage is brought into harmony with Rom. 11:25, according to which the remnant of the Jews is to enter the Church only after the fulness of the Gentiles [cf. Augustine, Hilary, Bede, Paschasius, Origen in cat. græc.; Mt. 24:33; 28:20].

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 10:7-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 6, 2013

Mat 10:7  Jesus said, And going, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

And going, preach, saying. b. Contents of the message. The ministry of the apostles must continue that of the Master, as the Master’s had been prepared by that of the precursor [cf. Mt. 3:2; 4:17]. In the kingdom of heaven we have the object of our faith, hope, and charity; it implies also the removal of all obstacles and impediments [cf. Jansenius, Cajetan].

Mat 10:8  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely have you received, freely give.

Heal the sick, raise the dead. c. Credentials of the message. The clause “raise the dead” is omitted in most codd., but is read in א* א* c B C* D Cyril, Hilary, Tischendorf, Wescott and Hort, and many Min.; its omission is’ easily explained by its absence in Mt. 10:1; Mk. 6:13; Lk. 9:6. For it is more probable that scribes should have omitted it on account of its absence in parallel passages than that they should have inserted it without cause. With Br. and Jer. we may here admire the divine guarantee our Lord gave for the truth of his and the apostle’s message.

freely have you received. d. Price of the message. [1] These words secure the humility of the apostles, reminding them that their powers are not due to their own merit [Theophylact, Faber Stapulensis Jansenius]; [2] “freely give” does not contradict v. 10, where the workman is said to be worthy of his meat. For though St. Paul practised the precept of the Lord in its greatest perfection [2 Cor. 11:7; cf. 1 Cor. 9:12, 15–18; 2 Cor. 11:9–12; 12:13–18; Phil. 4:15; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:7; Acts 40:33–35], he recognized the exception stated in v. 10 [1 Cor. 9:4–14; 2 Thess. 3:9; cf. Holtzmann]. [3] The precept therefore prohibits any abuse of the apostolic authority for the furtherance of temporal ends, such as is alluded to in Doct. xii. apostol. xi. 5–xii. 5 [Holtzmann Jerome, Chrysostom]. Schanz sees something annoying in any allusion to a possible abuse, and appeals to the Jewish custom according to which teachers and judges could not claim remuneration. But whatever view may be defended, the words of Jesus exclude, at any rate, all simoniacal abuse [St Bruno, Dionysius]. [4] Our Lord implicitly indicates the reasons why the apostles were not to receive any remuneration: God had given them their supernatural gifts freely, and wished them freely communicated to others; even the acceptance of presents would be contrary to the will of God, and would bring on the danger of avarice. [5] Maldonado, Berlepsch, Reischl are of opinion that “freely” in the second part of the Lord’s precept has the sense of “abundantly” or “frequently”; but the abundance of the apostolic benefits and their frequency is implied in the manifold powers granted by Jesus to his apostles [Knabenbauer]. [6] Chrysostom infers from the words of our Lord that the apostles were not to exercise their powers even in favor of their benefactors who had received them into their house; but this inference does not appear to be intended in Christ’s precept [Knabenbauer Schanz].

Mat 10:9  Do not possess gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses:
Mat 10:10  Nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff; for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Do not possess gold, nor silver. e. The messengers on the road. The Greek expression for “do not possess” means properly “do not acquire,” do not get or take with you [cf. Weiss]. Chrysostom, Hilary, Euthymius, Maldonado, Schanz, etc. take a more general meaning out of the word than a mere preparation for the journey. Our Lord distinguishes three kinds of money: gold, silver, and brass [copper; Holtzmann]; the second gospel speaks only of brass, i. e. the least valuable metal, and the third has only “silver” in the meaning of money in general. The “purses” literally mean “belts” or “girdles” in which valuables used to be carried as in our pockets [cf. Mk. 5:1, 8]. The “scrip” was the satchel or small bag for food, bread, drink, meat, etc. [cf. Judith. 13:10]. The “two coats” signify, according to the original text, “two interior garments”; our Lord’s words may be understood as prohibiting either the carrying along of another under garment besides the one actually worn, or as prohibiting the actual wearing of two inner garments [cf. Mk. 6:9], or finally the successive wearing of two under garments [cf. Schanz]. The “shoes” may either mean “sandals” or regular shoes covering the upper part of the foot; since, according to Mk. 6:9, the apostles wore sandals when they were sent, our Lord’s prohibition means either that they were not to wear regular shoes even on their longer journeys, however useful they might appear to be, or that they were not to carry an extra pair of sandals besides those actually on their feet. Instead of μηδὲ ῥάβδον [nor a staff], א B D Min Lachm. Tischendorf, other codd. have ῥάβδους [C L Δ al.], “nor staves”; the plural well agrees with the preceding plurals.

According to the second gospel the apostles are allowed to carry a staff because it does not fall under the head of valuables; it reads [6:8], “and he commanded them that they should take nothing for the way but the staff only.” How, then, are we to reconcile the first and second gospel on this point? [1] Those who admit the foregoing plural “staves” in the first gospel see here a prohibition not to procure a staff beside the one in actual use [Keil], or not to secure a staff for defending themselves beside the one used in walking [cf. Jansenius, Barradas].

[2] Even if the singular “staff” be regarded as the true reading, the first gospel may forbid to acquire a staff beside the one already in possession [cf. Fillion], or the two evangelists may record words of Jesus spoken on two different occasions [Euthymius, St Bruno].

[3] The interpretation of St. Augustin [De consensu evang. ii. n. 71–74] according to which the first gospel forbids the use of a staff in its proper meaning, and the second allows the use of a staff in its metaphorical sense, signifying the apostolic authority, seems to do violence to the two passages now under consideration [Maldonado].

[4] The best harmony of the two parallel passages is suggested by the very notion of inspiration according to which the Holy Ghost does not dictate the words to the inspired writers, but the meaning. Now the meaning of “nor a staff” [Mt.] and “but the staff only” [Mk.] is the same; for both the first and second evangelist convey the idea that the apostles are to carry only necessaries with them on their journey. That St. Matthew considered the staff as a superfluity, while St. Mark considered the staff as a necessity, does not affect the Lord’s prohibition regarding the avoidance of superfluities; for this is expressed in both gospels [Maldonado, Theophylact, Jerome, Euthymius; cf. Knabenbauer].

[5] Other explanations, especially of the more recent commentators, are therefore as superfluous as they are unsatisfactory. Schegg thinks that the first gospel views the apostles as occupied in preaching when they need no staff, while the second views them on their journeys when a staff is necessary [2:12]; Godet [S. Luc, i. 429] gives the opinion of Ebrard, who translates the words of the second gospel into the elliptic Aram, phrase כי אם מטה, “for if … a staff.” Since this ellipse could be explained as meaning either “for if you take a staff, you have sufficient” or “for if you take a staff, you have too much,” the second gospel has expressed the first of these explanations, while the first and the third gospel have adhered to the second. In any case, Jesus adds both for the instruction and the consolation of his apostles that God must be, and will be, their special protector, even as an earthly employer provides for the needs of his laborers.

Edersheim [i. p. 643] sees a parallelism between the precepts of Jesus and the Jewish traditions: the command “freely give” he compares with the Rabbinic injunction not to receive remuneration for teaching, which extension of Deut. 4:5 is expressed by Rabbi Jehuda [Berachoth, fol. 29 a; cf. Wünsche, p. 130]; another parallelism the learned author discovers between the Lord’s prohibition to provide things not necessary for the missionary journeys and the Rabbinic prescription not to enter the temple with staff and shoes and girdle. But in the first place, there is a notable discrepancy in both cases between the Rabbinic law and the precept of the Lord: the latter regards the free exercise of the power to work miracles and an entire self-surrender into the hands of divine providence during the time of missionary labor, while the former enjoins the free exercise of the profession of teaching and the honor due to the house of God as inconsistent with the presence of worldly superfluities [cf. Knabenbauer]. In the second place, the Rabbinic injunctions knew no distinction between the spirit and the letter, while our Lord’s precepts hold always as to their spirit, but not always as to their letter [Lapide]. That the letter of these precepts does not bind the missionaries of all times, and did not bind even the apostles in all their later labors, may be inferred from the following considerations: [1] It is expressly stated only before the first missionary labors of the apostles which differed in many respects from their later labors: their field of labor was among the Jews, who were at the time rather friendly to the person and claims of Jesus, while later on they had to work among the Gentiles, or among Jews who were either prejudiced against the cause of Christ, or were openly committed to the cause of his opponents [cf. Acts 17:5]. [2] If we read the history of the later apostolic labors, we find that not all the apostles followed the same manner of living: while St. Paul provided his own sustenance by the labors of his hand, receiving nothing from his converts, except from the Philippians [cf. Acts 20:33, 34; 1 Cor. 4:12; 9:15; Phil. 4:15; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8], he openly taught that he was not bound to this manner of life [1 Cor. 9:7–14; Gal. 6:6; Rom. 15:27], and showed that other apostles lived differently [1 Cor. 9:5]. But even St. Paul did not urge the principle that he could burden those whom he intended to convert with his necessary expenses before they were brought over to the doctrine of his Master. [3] Though, therefore, the apostolic laborers must always remain spiritually detached from earthly gain, prudence may demand that they should provide their necessaries of life, till their field of labor has received the spirit and the principles of Christianity.

Mat 10:11  And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till you go thence.

And into whatsoever city or town. f. The residence of the messengers. [1] On coming to a new city or town the apostles must inquire for an upright and pious citizen who is willing to receive them [Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, Dionysius], who is worthy of the kingdom of God [Caj. Jans.], and who will not injure their preaching by his impiety [Jerome]. [2] Having found such a worthy citizen, the apostles are to remain in his house, so as not to appear desirous after delicacies [Theophylact], or fickle and inconstant [cf. Chrysostom, Dionysius, Faber Stapulensis, Jansenius, Maldonado, etc.].

Mat 10:12  And when you come into the house, salute it, saying: Peace be to this house.
Mat 10:13  And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you.
Mat 10:14  And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet.
Mat 10:15  Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

And when you come into the house. g. The recipients of the messengers. The English version agrees with most commentators in supposing that “the house” mentioned in this verse is the same as the home of the citizen who has been found worthy, in the preceding verse. But [1] this does not well agree with the following verse, where the house may be found “not worthy,” unless we suppose that the apostles will be quite frequently deceived in the choice of their host. [2] Nor does this view agree with v. 14, in which the apostles are supposed to enter into many houses to announce the kingdom of God. [3] Thirdly, the definite article before “house,” even in Greek, does not necessarily identify “the house” in v. 12 with the worthy citizen’s home in v. 11 [cf. Winer, Neutest. Sprachidiome, xviii. 1], since it may indicate a class of objects. [4] Knabenbauer is therefore right in explaining “the house” of v. 12 as parallel to Lk. 10:5, where there is question of “whatsoever house.” The apostles are therefore to salute whenever they enter a house, without waiting for the greeting of the inhabitants; the apostolic salute includes the Messianic blessings, for even the Jews expected that the Messias would begin to speak by pronouncing the salute of peace [Schöttgen, ad l.]. “If that house be worthy” has its parallel in Lk. 10:6: “if the son of peace be there.” The son of peace is he that is desirous after the Messianic peace; the peace comes upon the house when its inhabitants become the sharers of the Messianic blessings.

but if it be not worthy. h. The rejecters of the messengers. Concerning the rejecters of the message, our Lord states three things: first, they shall not receive the Messianic blessings; secondly, the apostles shall leave their house or city; thirdly, their lot shall be worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrha. [1] The “peace” is here represented as a person, as coming and going. “Your peace shall return to you” does not mean that the apostles shall have the merit of their action [cf. Jerome, Thomas Aquinas, Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius, Cajetan, Jansenius, Lapide, Arnoldi, Reischl, Weiss], for they always have the merit due to their work; nor does it mean that the apostles themselves shall now obtain the blessing which they had invoked for others [cf. Schegg, Maldonado, W. Grimm]; nor must we distinguish between the peace expressed in words and the peace or the compassion felt in the heart, allowing the former to he addressed to all, but limiting the latter only to the worthy [cf. Hilary]; nor finally can the words contain a consolation for the apostles alone, assuring them that their merit will not depend on the worthiness of their hearers, or that their own profit will be greater if they are repelled by their hearers [cf. Schanz, Knabenbauer]; but according to the language of Scripture the words signify that the salutation shall remain fruitless [cf. Is. 45:23; 55:11; Euthymius, Maldonado, Calmet, Bisping, Schegg, Schanz, Fillion, Knabenbauer etc.]. That the word of the apostles may remain fruitless appears even in the Old Testament [Ez. 2:5, 7 heb.; 3:19; 33:9; cf. 1 Cor. 3:8].

[2] The second part of the fate of the rejecters of the apostolic message is expressed in the words “going forth out of that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” The apostles do not declare by this action that the abandoned house or city is legally unclean [cf. Weiss, Keil], though legal uncleanness was expressed by the Pharisees in this manner [cf. Lightfoot, ii. 331 f.]; nor does the action merely signify that the apostles have received nothing from the house or city in question, though the dust on the feet or clothes of a traveller is a sign of his toil and labor [cf. Chrysostom]; but the action symbolizes that the house and city are an abomination in the sight of God and his servants, even as the Jews expressed the abomination of the Gentile countries through which they had passed by shaking the dust off their feet [cf. Lightfoot, Hilary, St Bruno, Cajetan, Jansenius, Lapide, Barradas]. The second and third gospel add “for a testimony to them” [Mk. 6:11; Lk. 9:5]; for while the action encouraged the apostles themselves by reminding them of the holiness of their message, it must have impressed the beholders with a sacred awe of the coming retribution. We see in Acts 13:51; 18:6 that the apostolic messengers acted according to the word of their Master.

[3] The third punishment of the rejecters of the apostolic message consists in the ratification on the part of Christ himself of the apostolic sentence against the unworthy house or city. Since the grievousness of sin is proportionate to the knowledge of its malice and to the wickedness of the sinner’s will, it is easily understood how the sins of the Jews rejecting the Messianic message exceed the sins of Sodom and Gomorrha. The Jews acted against the evidence of numberless miracles, and despised the voice of the Holy Ghost speaking in the apostles; the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha had neither the one nor the other [cf. Mt. 11:23]. Similar comparisons between the sin of Juda and Israel on the one hand, and that of Sodom and Gomorrha on the other, we find in Jer. 3:11; Ez. 16:47–51. Since the Old Testament [Gen. 13:13; 18:20; 19:13] and the Rabbinic tradition viewed the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrha as a type of the most grievous chastisement [Wünsche, p. 131; Edersheim i. p. 644], the threat of our Lord must have been most impressive in the ears of his Jewish hearers. Though this passage shows that the wicked will suffer different degrees of punishment [Jerome], it hardly proves, if taken by itself, that the wicked like the just will rise again; absolutely speaking, the universal judgment might be held over the souls, just and unjust unlike, without the resurrection of their bodies; to appeal to a Jewish belief in the resurrection of the just, and infer therefrom the resurrection of the sinners, is not arguing from the passage now in question.

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