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 November, 2013

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:27-31

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2013

Mat 9:27  And as Jesus passed from thence, there followed him two blind men crying out and saying, Have mercy on us, O Son of David.

On His way home, after leaving the house of Jairus, “two blind men,” who heard of the many miraculous cures He performed, “followed Him,” (loudly) “crying out,” &c., “Son of David.” This was one of the titles ascribed by the Jews to the promised Messiah, and in this sense, the words are used on this, as on another occasion, by two other blind men (Matt. 20:30; Mark 10:47; Luke 18:38)—“have mercy on us,” and restore our sight. It implies their belief in His power, as the promised Messiah, who was expected about this time, by the Jews (John 1:25). They only invoke the exercise of His mercy.

Mat 9:28  And when he was come to the house, the blind men came to him. And Jesus saith to them, Do you believe, that I can do this unto you? They say to him, Yea, Lord.

Our Lord deferred complying with their earnest prayer, for the purpose of testing and confirming their faith, and of showing the necessity of persevering prayer. So, when they came “to His house” at Capharnaum, He asked, did they believe in His power, “that I can do this?” not merely by obtaining it for you through prayer, but, by My own power, not merely as legate, but as God; and on their replying in the affirmative, He cured them.

Mat 9:29  Then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it done unto you.

“Do you believe that I can do this?” Hence, the primary conception of the theological virtue of faith—this virtue so essential for justification—is not faith in the remission of our sins, through the merits of Christ, as some Protestants imagine it; but an act of assent, on the part of the intellect, accompanied by the pious motion of the will, enlightened and aided by God’s grace, to receive all that God has taught. No doubt, to this faith was joined, on the part of those whom our Redeemer cured, on several occasions, an act of firm confidence in His mercy and goodness. Indeed, any one who will take the trouble of reading the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, will see that faith consists in a belief in God’s attributes, especially His veracity.

The blind men could come to a knowledge of our Saviour’s miracles, merely through hearing. He required of them a profession of faith, and, according to that faith, that is, to the belief in His power, accompanied with confidence in His merciful goodness, was the miracle performed.

Mat 9:30  And their eyes were opened, and Jesus strictly charged them, saying, See that no man know this.

“Their eyes were opened” (i.e.), they began to see. Thus, in common conversation, we say of a man, who sees something, he did not see before, “his eyes are opened.” In the same way, we say of men who received the faculty of hearing, “his ears were opened.”

“He strictly charged them,” for the reasons already explained (v. 25), “see that no man know this.”

Mat 9:31  But they going out, spread his fame abroad in all that country.

“But they, going out, spread His fame,” &c. Some Protestant writers maintain that they sinned, in thus openly violating our Lord’s positive injunction. However, it is more generally held, that they did not sin; for, many of the Holy Fathers hold, with St. Chrysostom, Theophylact, St. Jerome, Venerable Bede, St. Gregory (Moral, lxiv. c. 18), that our Lord did not moan to enjoin this on them absolutely; but that He meant to repress their first emotions of gratitude, so that the knowledge of the miracle would only gradually reach the people. No doubt, He acted from feelings of humility, and with a view to teach us to avoid all ostentation and vain glory. Hence, they, looking to our Redeemer’s motive and intention, rather than to the strict meaning of His words, published it in good faith, from feelings of gratitude, believing it would redound so much to the glory of their Benefactor, when the people were made aware of His goodness and power in these miracles. Our Lord acted from motives of prudence also. The more stupendous the miracle, the greater the hostility of the Pharisees, with whom He did not wish, at the time, to come into open collision, nor would it suit His designs, to be now delivered up by them. His prohibition regarding publicity, only extended to raising the dead, or restoring sight to the blind, as these works, being beyond the reach of natural agency, would expose Him to greater odium and peril.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 118

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2013

1. … We are taught in this Psalm, when we chaunt Allelujah, which meaneth, Praise the Lord, that we should, when we hear the words, “Confess unto the Lord” (ver. 1), praise the Lord. The praise of God could not be expressed in fewer words than these, “For He is good.” I see not what can be more solemn than this brevity, since goodness is so peculiarly the quality of God, that the Son of God Himself when addressed by some one as “Good Master,” by one, namely, who beholding His flesh, and comprehending not the fulness of His divine nature, considered Him as man only, replied, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”3 And what is this but to say, If thou wishest to call Me good, recognise Me as God? But since it is addressed, in revelation of things to come, to a people freed from all toil and wandering in pilgrimage, and from all admixture with the wicked, which freedom was given it through the grace of God, who not only doth not evil for evil, but even returneth good for evil; it is most appropriately added, “Because His mercy endureth for ever.”

2. “Let Israel now confess that He is good, and that His mercy endureth for ever” (ver. 2). “Let the house of Aaron now confess that His mercy endureth for ever” (ver. 3). “Yea, let all now that fear the Lord confess that His mercy endureth for ever” (ver. 4). Ye remember, I suppose, most beloved, what is the house of Israel, what is the house of Aaron, and that both are those that fear the Lord. For they are “the little and the great,”4 who have already in another Psalm been happily introduced into your hearts: in the number of whom all of us should rejoice that we are joined together, in His grace who is good, and whose mercy endureth for ever; since they were listened to who said, “May the Lord increase you more and more, you and your children;”5 that the host of the Gentiles might be added to the Israelites who believed in Christ, of the number of whom are the Apostles our fathers, for the exaltation of the perfect and the obedience of the little children; that all of us when made one in Christ, made one flock under one Shepherd, and the body of that Head, like one man, may say, “I called upon the Lord in trouble, and the Lord heard me at large” (ver. 5). The narrow straits of our tribulation are limited: but the large way whereby we pass along hath no end. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?”6

3. “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear what man doeth unto me” (ver. 6). But are men, then, the only enemies that the Church hath? What is a man devoted to flesh and blood, save flesh and blood? But the Apostle saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against,” … he saith, “spiritual wickedness in high places;”7 that is, the devil and his angels; that devil whom elsewhere he calleth “the prince of the power of the air.”8 Hear therefore what followeth: “The Lord is my helper: therefore shall I despise mine enemies” (ver. 7). From what class soever my enemies may arise, whether from the number of evil men, or from the number of evil angels; in the Lord’s help, unto whom we chant the confession of praise, unto whom we sing Allelujah, they shall be despised.

4. But, when my enemies have been brought to contempt, let not my friend present himself unto me as a good man, so as to bid me repose my hope in himself: for “It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put any confidence in man” (ver. 8). Nor let any one, who may in a certain sense be styled a good angel, be regarded by myself as one in whom I ought to put my trust: for “no one is good, save God alone;”9 and when a man or an angel appear to aid us, when they do this of sincere affection, He doth it through them, who made them good after their measure. “It is” therefore “better to trust in the Lord, than to put any confidence in princes” (ver. 9). For angels also are called princes, even as we read in Daniel, “Michael, your prince.”10

5. “All nations compassed me round about, but in the Name of the Lord have I taken vengeance on them” (ver. 10). “They kept me in on every site, they kept me in, I say, on every side; but in the Name of the Lord have I taken vengeance on them” (ver. 11). He signifieth the toils and the victory of the Church; but, as if the question were asked how she could have overcome so great evils, he looketh back to the example, and declareth what she had first suffered in her Head, by adding what followeth, “They kept me in on every side:” and the words, “All nations,” are with reason not repeated here, because this was the act of the Jews alone. There that very religious nation (which is the body of Christ, and in behalf of which was done all that was done in mortal form with immortal power, by that inward divinity, through the outward flesh), suffered from persecutors, of whose race that flesh was assumed and hung upon the cross.

6. “They came about me as bees do a hive, and burned up even as the fire among the thorns: and in the Name of the Lord have I taken vengeance on them” (ver. 12). Here then the order of the words corresponds with the order of events. For we rightly understand that our Lord Himself, the Head of the Church, was surrounded by persecutors, even as bees surround a hive. For the Holy Spirit is speaking with mystic subtlety of what was done by those who knew not what they did. For bees make honey in the hives: while our Lord’s persecutors, unconscious as they were, rendered Him sweeter unto us even by His very Passion; so that we may taste and see how sweet is the Lord,1 “Who died for our sins, and arose for our justification.”2 But what followeth, “and burned up even as the fire among the thorns,” is better understood of His Body, that is, of a people spread abroad, whom all nations compassed about, since it was gathered together from all nations. They consumed this sinful flesh, and the grievous piercings of this mortal life, in the flame of persecution. “Taken vengeance on them:” either because they themselves, that wickedness, which in them persecuted the righteous, having been extinguished, were joined with the people of Christ; or because the rest of them, who have at this time scorned the mercy of Him who calleth them, will at the end feel the truth of Him who judgeth them.

7. “I have been driven on like a heap of sand, so that I was falling, but the Lord upheld me” (ver. 13). For though there were a great multitude of believers, that might be compared to the countless sand, and brought into one communion as into one heap; yet “what is man, save Thou be mindful of Him?”3 He said not, the multitude of the Gentiles could not surpass the abundance of my host, but, “the Lord,” he saith, “hath upheld me.” The persecution of the Gentiles succeeded not in pushing forward, to its overthrow, the host of the faithful dwelling together in the unity of the faith.

8. “The Lord is my strength and my praise, and is become my salvation” (ver. 14). Who then fall, when they are pushed, save they who choose to be their own strength and their own praise? For no man falleth in the contest, except he whose strength and praise faileth. He therefore whose strength and praise is the Lord, falleth no more than the Lord falleth. And for this reason He hath become their salvation; not that He hath become anything which He was not before, but because they, when they believed on Him, became what they were not before, and then He began to be salvation unto them when turned towards Him, which He was not to them when turned away from Himself.

9. “The voice of joy and health is in the dwellings of the righteous” (ver. 15); where they who raged against their bodies thought there was the voice of sorrow and destruction. For they did not know the inward joy of the saints in their future hope. Whence the Apostle also saith, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;”4 and again, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also.”5

10. “The right hand of the Lord hath brought mighty things to pass” (ver. 16). What mighty things? saith he. “The right hand of the Lord,” he saith, “hath exalted me.” It is a mighty thing to exalt the humble, to deify the mortal, to bring perfection out of infirmity, glory from subjection, victory from suffering, to give help, to raise from trouble; that the true salvation of God might be laid open to the afflicted, and the salvation of men might remain of no avail to the persecutors. These are great things: but what art thou surprised at? hear what he repeateth: “The right hand of the Lord hath brought mighty things to pass.”

11. “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” (ver. 17). But they, while they were dealing havoc and death on every side, thought that the Church of Christ was dying. Behold, he now declareth the works of the Lord. Everywhere Christ is the glory of the blessed Martyrs. By being beaten He conquered those who struck Him; by being patient of torments, the tormentors;6 by loving, those who raged against Him.

12. Nevertheless, let him point out to us, why the body of Christ, the holy Church, the people of adoption, suffered such indignities. “The Lord,” he saith, “hast chastened and corrected me, but He hath not given me over unto death” (ver. 18). Let not then the boastful wicked imagine that aught hath been permitted to their power: they would not have that power, were it not given them from above. Oft doth the father of a family command his sons to be corrected by the most worthless slaves; though he designeth the heritage for the former, fetters for the latter. What is that heritage? Is it of gold, or silver, or jewels, or farms, or pleasant estates? Consider how we enter into it: and learn what it is.

13. “Open me,” he saith, “the gates of righteousness” (ver 19). Behold, we have heard of the gates. What is within? “That I may,” he saith, “go into them, and give thanks unto the Lord.” This is the confession of praise full of wonder, “even unto the house of God, in the voice of joy and confession of praise, among such as keep holiday:”1 this is the everlasting bliss of the righteous, whereby they are blessed who dwell in the Lord’s house, praising Him for evermore.2

14. But consider how the gates of righteousness are entered into. “These are the gates of the Lord” he saith, “the righteous shall enter into them” (ver. 20). At least let no wicked man enter there, that Jerusalem which receiveth not one uncircumcised, where it is said, “Without are dogs.”3 Be it enough, that in my long pilgrimage “I have had my habitation among the tents of Kedar:”4 I endured even unto the end the intercourse of the wicked, but “these are the gates of the Lord: the righteous shall enter into them.”

15. “I will confess unto Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation” (ver. 21). How often is that confession proved to be one of praise, that doth not point out wounds to the physician, but giveth thanks for the health it hath received. But the Physician Himself is the Salvation.

16. But who is this whom we speak of? “The Stone which the builders rejected” (ver. 22); for “It hath become the head Stone of the corner;” to “make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body;”5 circumcision, to wit, and uncircumcision.

17. “By the Lord was it made unto it” (ver. 23): that is, it is made into the head stone of the corner by the Lord. For although He would not have become this, had He not suffered: yet He became not this through those from whom He suffered. For they who were building, refused Him: but in the edifice which the Lord was secretly raising, that was made the head stone of the corner which they rejected. “And it is marvellous in our eyes:” in the eyes of the inner man, in the eyes of those that believe, those that hope, those that love; not in the carnal eyes of those who, through scorning Him as if He were a man, rejected Him.

18. “This is the day which the Lord hath made” (ver. 24). This man remembereth that he had said in former Psalms, “Since He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live;”6 making mention of his old days; when

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, fathers of the church, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

My Notes on Luke 21:12-19

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 24, 2013

Luk 21:12  But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, dragging you before kings and governors, for my name’s sake.

Before all these things. The words are a reference to what Jesus has just said; i.e., his warning regarding false Messiahs and his prediction of disasters (Lk 21:6-11).

They will lay their hands upon you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons…. These words recall Lk 12:11-12 and, as a consequence, their broader context (Lk 12). The allusion to Luke 12 reminds the reader that one is to avoid hypocrisy brought about by fear  (Lk 12:1-3); especially a fear of persecution and death (Lk 12:4-12); a fear of losing ones possession due to legal judgments imposed as a form of persecution (Lk 12:13-21), and anxiousness about how one will survive if this happens (Lk 12:22-34).

The words lay their hands upon you will be used in Luke’s second volume, Acts of Apostles, in reference to the persecutions here predicted (see Acts 4:3; 5:18). See also: persecution in Acts 9:4; 22:4. Synagogues in Acts 9:2, 26:11. Prisons in Acts 5:19; 8:3; 12:4; 16:23.

Dragging you before kings and governors (ηγεμονος). This is the danger Jesus faced when men tried to entrap him (Lk 20:20). The Greek word here translated as dragging (απαγομενους) will reappear in Lk 22:54 when Jesus is arrested (ηγαγον). Both words are from the Greek root ἄγω (lead, bring, drive, etc.). His being dragged away led to his appearing before King Herod (Lk 23:6-12), and Pilate, the Governor. See Lk 23:1-5, 13-25.  The followers of Jesus will have to endure what he did, facing kings (Acts 12:1; 25:13) and governors (Acts 23:24; 26:30).

For my name’s sake. Concerning suffering for the sake of Christ’s name see Lk 6:22; Acts 4:7-18; 5:28, 40.

Luk 21:13  And it shall happen unto you for a testimony.

What is to befall the followers of Jesus is to be an opportunity to witness. In Acts of Apostles the act of witnessing both leads to persecution and the persecution becomes an opportunity for further witnessing (read Acts 3-5 and note especially Acts 3:15, 4:33; 5:32). See St Paul’s attitude in the face of persecution and imprisonment in Philippians 1:12-18. See also Acts 16:25-32Eph 3:1-13; Eph 6:18-20; 2 Tim 2:8-10. 

Luk 21:14  Lay it up therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before how you shall answer:
Luk 21:15  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.

Lay it up therefore in your hearts. Dragged before human courts, before human judges, they are themselves not to rely on human means when it comes to witnessing to the Gospel. Jesus will himself supply them with what they are to say (I will give you a mouth), and with a wisdom which their adversaries will not be able to resist or gainsay. He is here speaking about the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Lk 12:11-12). See the promise God makes regarding Moses and Aaron in Exodus 4:15. Stephen experienced such help (Acts 6:9-10). Boldness in the face of opposition and hostility thus becomes a trademark of the early disciples (Acts 4:8-13; Acts 4:23-31). This is part of the fulfillment of prophecy celebrated by Zachariah, the father of the Baptist (Lk 1:68-73).  

Luk 21:16  And you shall be betrayed by your parents and brethren and kinsmen and friends: and some of you they will put to death.

How many pressures do Christians face today from family and friends because they will not cater to their views regarding politics and moral issues such as the intrinsic value of all human life, euthanasia, abortion, sex, marriage, contraception, etc. Judas was an apostle of Christ; Brutus was a friend of Caesar; Absalom was David’s son; Benedict Arnold was a general in the Continental Army. Historically, all these have been reprehended and loathed, even by those they sided with (e.g., Arnold died in Britain alone and virtually friendless; and see the priests response to Judas in Mt 27:3-10). Today, however, Catholic politicians and news-mongers who distort, deny, obfuscate the truths of the faith and encourage others to do so are honored for having concocted a Jesus according to their own imagination and liking! A Jesus that does their bidding, and this will be the end result: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God (Jn 16:2).

Luk 21:17  And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake.

The phrase for my name’s sake recalls verse 12,  where I noted: Concerning suffering for the sake of Christ’s name see Lk 6:22; Acts 4:7-18; 5:28, 40.

Luk 21:18  But a hair of your head shall not perish.  
Luk 21:19  In your patience you shall possess your souls.

The phrase is used in Scripture to indicate that God protects his own; see 1 Sam 14:45; Lk 12:7. See also 2 Sam 14:11 and 1 Kings 1:52 where the phrase is used as an oath of protection. Like other statement in the today’s reading this one echoes back to Lk 12. Christians are to maintain courage under persecution because of the great value their creator places upon them. This should lead to the patience required and spoken of in the next verse. What is promised here is not preservation from persecution and death-that would contradict what has just been said-rather, the promise here refers to eternal life: you shall possess your souls. The use of the word posses in relation to souls recalls Jesus’ teaching regarding what is of most value to those wishing to follow him (Lk 9:24-25; 12:15, 33-34; 14:33; 18:29).

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

Session 3 on Matthew’s Gospel: An audio Power Point Presentation

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 24, 2013

Session Three. Father Mcllhone examines the infancy narrative in this session. The first two sessions (providing background and introduction) can be found here.

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catholic, Christ, Notes on Matthew | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Study the Gospels Online in a Year with the Ignatius Study Bible (And Study the Catechism Too!)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 24, 2013

Last year, as a result of Pope Benedict XVI’s proclamation of the Year of Faith, an organization known as flocknote offered a daily (and free!) email service allowing subscribers to study the Catechism in a year. Each day subscribers received a brief excerpt from the Catechism, thus allowing them to slowly work their way through the entire text. Flocknote is once again offering this program and, also, an opportunity to study the Gospels in a year using the very popular Ignatius Bible Study. Here is the letter I received from Flocknote announcing these programs:

Advent starts soon. What better way to kick off the new liturgical year than by dedicating yourself, your group or your parish to learning a little more about our Faith in a super simple way!

But we need your help to spread the word…announce these at Mass, post to your social media, print in your bulletin, email to friends, just get it out. Let’s transform the world by helping as many people take a step forward in their faith as possible. This project has been so successful (and world-record breaking) because it is so simple.

We have two amazing options for you this year…

Read the Catechism in a Year (starting from the beginning)

NEW: Study the Gospels in a Year (w/ Ignatius Study Bible commentary)
Both are free and life-changing. And also great to do with a group of friends. Although, if you’re doing it as a community, you may want to just pick ONE of them to do together so it’s more manageable and focused for you.
Both will be kicking off anew during the first week of Advent (so very soon!), so let’s make sure we invite as many people to start from the beginning with us as possible!
Thank you and God bless you,
Matthew Warner

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This Week’s Commentaries and Posts~Sunday, December 1-Sunday, December 8, 2013 (First Week of Advent)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 23, 2013



EXTRAORDINARY FORM: Commentaries and Resources.

Last Week’s Posts.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.

Update: The Time of the Antichrist: Newman’s First Advent Discourse. The first of four discourse on the Antichrist by John Henry Newman.


Today’s Mass Readings

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Isaiah 4:2-6.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 122.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 122.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 122.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on 122.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 8: 8:5-11.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew  8:5-11.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:5-11.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 8:5-11.

Update: Free Study of the Gospels in a Year Using the Ignatius Study Bible.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Isaiah 11:1-10. This post is actually on verses 1-16.

My Notes on Isaiah 11:1-10.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 72.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 72.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 72.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 10:21-24.

Update: Free Study of the Gospels in a Year Using the Ignatius Study Bible.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Haydock’s Commentary on Isaiah 25:6-10. Very basic notes.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 23.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 23.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 23.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 23.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 15:29-37.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 15:29-37.

Update: Free Study of the Gospels in a Year Using the Ignatius Study Bible.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Isaiah 26:1-6.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 118.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 118.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 118.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 7:21, 24-27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 7:21, 24-27. This post includes commentary on verses 22 & 23 as well.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 7:21, 24-27. This post includes commentary on verses 22 & 23 as well.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 7:21, 24-27. On 21-27.

Update: Free Study of the Gospels in a Year Using the Ignatius Study Bible.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Isaiah 29:17-24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 27.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 27.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 9:27-31.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 9:27-31.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 9:27-31.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:27-31.

Update: Free Study of the Gospels in a Year Using the Ignatius Study Bible.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 147.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 147.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 147. On verses 1-11.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8.

Update: Free Study of the Gospels in a Year Using the Ignatius Study Bible.


Resources and Commentaries for the Second Sunday of Advent (Ordinary Form). Not yet complete.

Extraordinary Form: Resources and Commentaries.

Update: Free Study of the Gospels in a Year Using the Ignatius Study Bible.

Update: Next Week’s Posts: Second Week of Advent, Year A.

Related articles

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 8:5-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 23, 2013

Mat 8:5  And when he had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him,

The probability is, that the preceding miracle was performed near, or in the suburbs of, Capharnaum, or in some town on His way from the Mount. The narrative of St. Luke and St. Matthew may be very easily reconciled, if we suppose the cure of the leper to be performed on His entrance into Capharnaum. The narrative of St. Matthew, referring in this verse to “when He had entered Capharnaum,” admits of this interpretation and mode of solution.

“There came to Him a centurion.” The time, place, and other circumstances would seem to render it clear, that the miracle here recorded is the same as that mentioned by St. Luke (c. 7) The trifling diversity in the narrative of both Evangelists is easily explained, and both are easily reconciled. When St. Luke says (c. 7:3, &c.), he sent some influential friends, “the ancients of the Jews,” to our Redeemer; that He went with them, and when near the house the centurion sent his friends to meet Him, and through them addressed Him, all this presents no discrepancy whatever in regard to what St. Matthew records here, as it may be said, with truth, that a man himself says, what he says through others, or employed others to say for him. The Greek commentators (St. Chrysostom, Theophylact, &c.) say, the words of St. Matthew ought to be understood literally, that the elders of the Jews, on behalf of the centurion, first accosted our Lord (as St. Luke says); that when the centurion found that our Lord Himself meant to come, he sent his friends, who addressed Him, as is recorded by St. Luke (7); and that then the centurion himself finally met Him quite close to his house, and addressed Him, as is mentioned here by St. Matthew.

Mat 8:6  And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented.

“Servant.” St. Luke has “my slave” (δουλος). But, the word here employed (παις) may mean, either a boy or a slave. Hence, it means, “a boy slave,” much prized by the centurion, as St. Luke informs us.

Mat 8:7  And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him.

“I will come,” &c. These words were addressed to “the ancients of the Jews” (Luke 7:3). It is deserving of remark, and has been frequently observed by interpreters, that when there is question of a poor slave, our Redeemer goes to visit him in person, although his master, the centurion, did not ask Him; but in the case of the Ruler’s son, He cures him only at a distance (John 4:50).

Mat 8:8  And the centurion, making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.

“Lord, I am not worthy,” &c. These words the centurion commissioned his friends to express in his name as our Lord was approaching his house; and hence, he expressed them through others. Or, if we adopt the interpretation of St. Chrysostom, they may have been personally uttered by the centurion himself, on seeing the Redeemer approaching his house.

“Only say the word,” a Hebrew phrase, signifying, only command it; only express a wish, and it shall be well with my afflicted servant. It would appear from St. Luke, that, in the first instance, when the centurion employed the mediation of the Jewish ancients, he wished Him to come. Now, his faith is increased and enlightened, as Jesus approaches his house; and he unhesitatingly proclaimed His omnipotence.

Mat 8:9  For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

“Under authority,” means, as St. Luke expresses it, “subject to authority,” a subordinate, subject to higher officers, captains or generals. “Having soldiers under me.” This he says not out of vain ostentation, but to show why his commands are obeyed. The conclusion, which may be regarded as, an argumentum a minori ad majus, so expressive of the great faith of the centurion, is: If I, a mere man, myself subject to others above me, can command my subordinates, and by my mere word, ensure a ready compliance and obedience from them, how much more canst Thou, who art Sovereign Lord of all things, subject to no one, having no one over or above Thee, command diseases and bodily infirmities, and by Thy mere word, insure the most perfect obedience and compliance with Thy wishes, “Mare et venti obediunt ei.”

Mat 8:10  And Jesus hearing this, marvelled; and said to them that followed him. Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel.

“Marvelled,” i.e., expressed wonder at this external manifestation of faith, which may be explained, consistently with our Lord’s omniscience, as St. Thomas explains it (3 Part, q. 15, Art. 18), thus; although, in virtue of His Divine omniscience, our Lord knew the faith of the centurion already, and, moreover, could not be ignorant of it, as it was He Himself that inspired the centurion by His heavenly grace; still, He really and interiorly marvelled, owing to the experimental knowledge of the fact; just as the astronomer, who predicts an eclipse, expresses his admiration and astonishment on witnessing it actually taking place. Others, with St. Augustine, &c., understand the word to convey the mere external expression of His praise, and commendation of it; and of astonishment, as evidenced by His whole external appearance and countenance. It may, probably, also, denote the expression of commendation conveyed in the following words: “Amen I say to you,” &c.

“In Israel,” the Jewish people, the depositaries of God’s oracles, favoured with His special graces and revelations. In the Greek it is more expressive still (ουδε εν τω Ισραηλ), “neither in Israel.” From this, it would appear that the centurion was a Gentile, a Roman soldier. Our Redeemer says, He did not find such faith, as was shown by a Pagan soldier, among the carnal descendants of Abraham. In this, He did not surely refer to those who, from the very nature of things, and the well-known evidence of facts, were excepted, such as the Blessed Virgin, John the Baptist, the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets, the Apostles, as when speaking of the Baptist He says, “No greater arose among the born of women.” Nor, of course, did He include Himself. Or the words may be confined to the period of His public mission; since He began to preach publicly and work miracles, He found no such instance of faith in the mass of the Jewish people in general.

Mat 8:11  And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven:

“And I say to you,” &c. The centurion being a Gentile, as clearly appears from the contrast, “in Israel,” as also from the words of the ancients of the Jews, “He loveth our nation” (Luke 7:5), our Redeemer takes occasion, by way of digression, to refer to the vocation of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews—a subject referred to by the Prophets in many places, but especially by Isaias (43:5, 6, 10)—after which digression, He resumes the subject of the centurion’s appeal.

“That many,” attracted by God’s grace, like the centurion, “shall come from the East,” &c., from the four quarters of the globe, and the remotest regions of the Gentiles—the Gentiles may be called, “many,” compared with the Jews—“and shall sit down with Abraham,” &c., the Patriarchs, the three great Princes of Israel, and fathers of the spiritual sons of promise, to whom were first made the promises of eternal bliss.

“Shall sit down,” is allusive to the recumbent posture in which the ancients partook of their banquets—a fit emblem of the bliss they shall, one day, fully enjoy, in supreme security and rest. Our Redeemer, in accordance with a Scriptural usage, represents the eternal bliss of the saints, under the figure of an earthly banquet.

“The kingdom of heaven,” conveys an idea of the joys of that blessed country in which the saints shall enjoy God for ever and ever.

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

Commentaries and Resources for the First Sunday of Advent (Extraordinary Form)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 23, 2013



Suggested Themes on the Lesson: Romans 13:11-14.

Spiritual Combat: A fight against sin (Rom 7:23; Heb 12:4; 1 Pet 2:11); Satan (Lk 22:31-32; 2 Cor 2:11; Eph 6:10-13; 1 Pet 5:8-9). A combat fought with divine weapons (2 Cor  6:7; 10:3-4), the whole armor of God (Eph 6:13-18). It takes courage (Josh 1:9; 10:25; 1 Cor 16:13); steadfastness and endurance (2 Thess 1:4; Heb 10:23; 1 Pet 5:9-10); staying alert (1 Pet 5:8; 1 Cor 16:13; Eph 6:18); and especially prayer (Ps 55:16-8; Eph 6:18; Mt 6:13; 26:41).

Exhortations to Thorough Conversion
Sir 5:8–9; Sir 5:4–7; Ro 13:11–14; La 3:40; Ps 33:15; Sir 35:5; Is 45:22; Ex 14:6; Is 55:7; Je 24:7; Ex 18:23, 27, 31–32; Jl 2:12–14; Hos 12:5; Hos 14:2; Am 5:15; Mal 3:7; Mt 18:3; Mt 13:15; Ac 3:26, 19; Jam4:8; 1 Pt 2:25; 2 Cor 5:19–20; 2 Cor 7:1; Ep 5:1; Sir 17:21–24; Ep 4:17–19; Ac 8:22; Je 7:3; Jb 33:26. [VAUGHAN, KENELM, The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture, Catholic Book Exchange, Public Domain 1894The American Edition Revised.]

Exhortations to Shun Envy
Ro 13:13; Ga 5:19–21; Ga 5:26; 1 Pt 2:1; Sir 4:4; Sir 9:16; Prov 3:31. [VAUGHAN, KENELM, The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture, Catholic Book Exchange, Public Domain 1894The American Edition Revised.]

Warnings against Drunkenness and Gluttony
Ro 13:13, 14; Is 5:11, 12; Ep 5:18; 1 Cor 6:13; Prov 31:4, 5; Sir 26:11; 1 Cor 6:9, 10; Prov 23:31, 32; Prov 23:33–35; Is 28:1; Prov 23:6–8. [VAUGHAN, KENELM, The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture, Catholic Book Exchange, Public Domain 1894The American Edition Revised.]


Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 13:11-14 .

Father Boylan’s Commentary on Romans 13:11-14.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 13:11-14.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Romans 13:11-14. Scroll down slightly to find Lecture 3, #1060.

Father Rickaby’s Commentary on Romans 13:11-14.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 13:11-14.

Suggested Themes on the Gospel: Luke 21:25-33.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. See CCC 668-682.

Signs that Will Accompany the End of the Present World. Blog Post.

On the General or Last Judgment. Blog Post.


Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 21:25-33.

Pending. My Notes on Luke 21:25-33. Still hoping to post, but don’t hold your breath.


Homily on the Gospel by Pope St Gregory the Great.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on the Epistle. Can provide points for meditation and further study. For the actual homily see next link..

Aquinas’ Sermon on the Epistle.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on the Gospel. PLEASE NOTE that in Thomas’ day the Gospel reading was Matt 21:1-11. I’ve included the link here anyway. For the actual homily see next link.

Aquinas’ Homily on the GospelAs in previous link the text is on Matt 21:1-11.

St Bernard: The Advent of Our Lord and its Six Circumstances.

St John Henry Newman: Worship, A Preparation for Christ’s Coming.

Reflection/Meditation on Newman’s Sermon. Not by Newman but included here.

Pope St Leo the Great’s First Homily on the Advent Fast

Pope St Leo the Great’s Second Homily on the Advent Fast.

Pope St Leo the Great’s Third Homily on the Advent Fast.

Pope St Leo the Great’s Fourth Homily on the Advent Fast.


Homily on the Epistle. By Bishop Bonomelli, a renowned preacher of his day.

Spiritual Awakening: Homily on the Epistle.

Homily on the Gospel. By Bishop Bonomelli.

The Last Judgment. Homily on the Gospel.

Sermon on the Last Judgment.  Homily on the Gospel.

The Wrathful Countenance of the Judge Will Be a Terror To Sinners. Homily on the Gospel, start near bottom page.

Warning and Exhortations from the Apostle. Homily on the Epistle by Father Johann Evangelist Zollner, famous preacher of his time.

The Coming of Christ at the Judgment. Homily on the Gospel by Fr. Zollner.

The General Judgment. A dogmatic homily on the Gospel by Fr. Zollner.

The Last Judgment. A symbolic homily on the Gospel by Fr. Zollner.

The Sanctification of Advent. A moral homily on the Epistle by Fr. Zollner.

Many Christians Try to Dissuade Themselves of the Fear of Judgment. A moral homily by Fr. Zollner.

Work for Advent. A sermon plan on the Epistle, can provide points for meditation or study. This and the next three sermon plans are from Father George Howe.

Mortal Sin. A sermon plan on the Epistle, can provide points for meditation or study.

The General Judgment. A sermon plan on the Gospel, can provide points for meditation or study.

Christ the Judge. A sermon plan on the Gospel, can provide points for meditation or study.

Posted in Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

This Week’s Commentaries and Posts: Sunday, November 24-Sunday, December 1 (Beginning of Advent), 2013

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 23, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: For some reason I am no longer able to access and link to the Daily Word (Navarre Bible Commentary) site. I am trying to rectify that situation. For this and other reasons commentaries will be sparse this week. Also, a site called Flocknote will be offering a free, year long study of the Gospels and the Catechism via email subscription. A post with the information and subscription links is listed below (repeatedly).

Dominica XXIV et ultima Post Pentecosten V. Novembris ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR TODAY’S MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Last Week’s Posts.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20.

My Notes on Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on the Responsorial: Daniel 3:52-56.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 21:1-4.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 21:1-4.

Update: On Matthew’s Gospel: (Chapter 1) An Audio Power Point Presentation. The third in a projected 25 part series. Two previous sessions can be found here.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel 2:31-45.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 21:5-11.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 21:5-11.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 21:12-19.

My Notes on Luke 21:12-19.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.

(Thanksgiving Day resources further below)

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel 6:12-28.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 21:20-28.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Luke 21:20-28.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.

(Normal Thursday readings above)

Mass Readings for Thanksgiving Day.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 145.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:3-9.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:3-9. On 1-9.

Father Rickaby’s Notes on 1 Corinthians 1:3-9. On 1-9.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:3-9. On 1-9.

My Notes on 1 Corinthians 1:3-9. On 1-9.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 17:11-19.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 17:11-19.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel 7:2-14. On 1-14.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 21:29-33.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Rom 10:9-18). On 9-21.

Pending: Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Rom 10:9-18).

St Augustine’s Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 19).

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 19).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 19).

My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Matt 4:18-22). On 12-22.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 4:18-22). On 12-22.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 4:18-22). On 12-22.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.



EXTRAORDINARY FORM: Commentaries and Resources.

Next Week’s Posts. Almost complete.

Update: Study the Gospels and the Catechism Online in a Year.

Update: The Time of the Antichrist: Newman’s First Advent Discourse. The first of four discourse on the Antichrist by John Henry Newman.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Daily Catholic Lectionary | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

St Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel 7:1-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 23, 2013

Verse 1. “In the first year of Belshazzar, King [reading regis for regias] of Babylon, Daniel beheld a dream. And a vision of his head [came to him] upon his bed. And when he wrote the dream down, he comprehended it in a few words and gave a brief summary of it, saying. . ..” This section (663) which we now undertake to explain, and also the subsequent section which we are going to discuss, is historically prior to the two previous sections [i.e., chap. 5 and chap. 6]. For this present section and that which follows it are recorded to have taken place in the first and third years of the reign of King Belshazzar (Jer. 39). [Jerome’s citation of Jer. 39 seems quite pointless in this connection.] But the section which we read previously to the one just preceding this [i.e., chap. 5], is recorded to have taken place in the last year, indeed on the final day, of Belshaz-zar’s reign. And we meet this phenomenon not only in Daniel but also in Jeremiah [cf. Jer. 35 and Jer. 34] and Ezekiel (Ezek. 17), as we shall be able to show, if life spares us that long. But in the earlier portion of the book, the historical order has been followed, namely the events which occurred in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar, and Darius or Cyrus. But in the passages now before us an account is given of various visions which were beheld on particular occasions and of which only the prophet himself was aware, and which therefore lacked any importance as signs or revelations so far as the barbarian nations were concerned. But they were written down only that a record of the things beheld might be preserved for posterity.

Verses 2, 3. “And during the night I saw in my vision, and behold, the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea, and four great beasts were coming up out of the sea, differing from one another.” The four winds of heaven I suppose to have been angelic powers to whom the principalities have been (p. 528) committed, in accordance with what we read in |72 Deuteronomy: “When the Most High divided the nations and when He separated the children of Adam, He established the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the angels. [St Jerome here follows the Septuagint rendering of Deut 32:8. In the Vulgate he follows the Massoretic text which speaks of “the sons of Israel,” not “angels”] For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the line of His inheritance (B) (Deut. 32:8). But the sea signifies this world and the present age, overwhelmed with salty and bitter waves, in accordance with the Lord’s own interpretation of the dragnet cast into the sea (Matt. 13). Hence also the sovereign of all creatures that inhabit the waters is described as a dragon, and his heads, according to David, are smitten in the sea (Ps. 73). And in Amos we read: “If he descends to the very depth of the sea, there will I give him over to the dragon and he shall bite him” (Amos 9:3). But as for the four beasts who came up out of the sea and were differentiated from one another, we may identify them from the angel’s discourse. “These four great beasts,” he says, “are four kingdoms which shall rise up from the earth.” And as for the four winds which strove in the great sea, they are called winds of heaven because each one of the angels does for his realm the duty entrusted to him. This too should be noted, that the fierceness and (664) cruelty of the kingdoms concerned are indicated by the term “beasts.”

Verse 4. “The first beast was like a lioness and possessed the wings of an eagle. I beheld until her wings were torn away, and she was raised upright from the ground and stood on her feet like a human being, and she was given a human heart.” The kingdom of the Babylonians was not called a lion but a lioness, on account of its brutality and cruelty, or else because of its luxurious, lust-serving manner of life.  For writers upon the natural history of beasts assert that lionesses are fiercer than |73 lions, especially if they are nursing their cubs, and constantly are passionate in their desire for sexual relations. And as for the fact that she possessed eagle’s wings, this indicates the pride of the all-powerful kingdom, the ruler of which declares in Isaiah: “Above the stars of heaven will I place my throne, and I shall be like unto the Most High” (Isa. 14). Therefore he is told: “Though thou be borne on high like an eagle, thence will I drag thee down” (Obad.). Moreover, just as the lion occupies kingly rank among beasts, so also the eagle among the birds. But it should also be said that the eagle enjoys a long span of life, and that the kingdom of Assyrians had held sway for many generations. And as for the fact that the wings of the lioness or eagle were torn away, this signifies the other kingdoms over which it had ruled and soared about in the world. “And she was raised up,” he says, “from the ground”; which means, of course (C), that the Chaldean empire was overthrown. And as for what follows, “And she stood upon her feet like a human being, and she was given a human heart,” if we understand this as applying to Nebuchadnezzar, it is very evident that after he lost his kingdom and his power had been taken away from him, and after he was once more restored to his original state, he not only learned to be a man instead of a lioness but he also received back the heart which he had lost. But if on the other hand this is to be understood as applying in a general way to the kingdom of the Chaldeans, then it signifies that after Belshazzar was slain [reading interfecto for the impossible inperfecto of the text], and the Medes and Persians succeeded to imperial power, then the men of Babylon realized that theirs was a frail and lowly nature after all. Note the order followed here: the lioness is equivalent to the golden head of the image [in chap. 2] (p. 529).

Verse 5. “And behold another beast like a bear stood up on one side; and there were three rows in his mouth and in his teeth; and they said to him: ‘Arise up and devour flesh in abundance.’ ” The second beast resembling a bear is the same as that of which we read in the vision of the statue (2:32): “His chest and arms were of silver.” In the former case the comparison was based on the hardness of the metal, in this case on the ferocity of the bear. For the Persian kingdom followed a rigorous and frugal manner of life (665) after the manner of the Spartans, and |74 that too to such an extent that they used to use salt and nasturtium-cress in their relish. Let us consult the record of the childhood of Cyrus the Great (i.e., “The Education or Training” of Cyrus) [Jerome refers here to Xenophon’s “Cyropaideia”]. And as for the fact that the bear is said to have “stood up on one side,” the Hebrews interpret it by saying that the Persians never perpetrated any cruelty against Israel. Hence they are described in the Prophecy of Zechariah also as white horses (Zech. 1). But as for the three rows or ranks that were in his mouth and between his teeth, one authority has interpreted this to mean that allusion was made to the fact that the Persian kingdom was divided up among three princes, just as we read in the sections dealing with Belshazzar and with Darius that there were three princes who were in charge of the one hundred and twenty satraps. But other commentators affirm that these were three kings of the Persians who were subsequent to Cyrus, and yet they fail to mention them by name (A). But we know that after Cyrus’s reign of thirty years his son Cambyses ruled among the Persians, and his brothers the magi [the plural seems unwarranted, since there was but one brother involved, namely, Smerdis], and then Darius, in the second year of whose reign the rebuilding of the Temple was commenced at Jerusalem. The fifth king was Xerxes, the son of Darius; the sixth was Artabanus [actually only the assassin of Xerxes; he never became king]; the seventh, Artaxerxes who was surnamed Makrokheir, that is Longimanus (“Long-handed”); the eighth, (B) Xerxes; the ninth, Sogdianus [the reigns of the last two totaled no more than eight months]; the tenth, Darius surnamed Nothos (“Bastard”); the eleventh, the Artaxerxes called Mnemon, that is, “The Rememberer”; the twelfth, the other Artaxerxes, who himself received the surname of Ochus; the thirteenth, Arses, the son of Ochus; and the fourteenth, Darius the son of Arsamus, who was conquered by Alexander, the king of the Macedonians. How then can we say that these were three kings of the Persians? Of course we could select some who were especially cruel, but we cannot ascertain them on the basis of the historical accounts. Therefore the three rows in the mouth of the Persian kingdom and between its teeth we must take to be the three kingdoms of the Babylonians, the Medes, and the Persians, all of which were reduced to a single realm. And as for |75 the information, “And thus they spake to him: ‘Devour flesh in abundance,’ ” this refers to the time when in the reign of the Ahasuerus whom the Septuagint calls Artaxerxes, the order was given, at the suggestion of Haman the Agagite, that all the Jews be slaughtered on a single day (Esth. 3). And very properly, instead of saying, “He was devouring them” the account specifies, “Thus they spake unto him….” This shows that the matter was only attempted, and was by no means ever carried out.

Verse 6. “After this I beheld, and lo, there was another beast (C) like unto a leopard, and it had jour wings of a bird (666) all its own [?the per se here is obscure], and there were four heads to the beast, and power was given to it.” The third kingdom was that of the Macedonians, of which we read in connection with the image, “The belly and thighs were of bronze.” It is compared to a leopard because it is very swift and hormetikos [impetuous], and it charges headlong to shed blood, and with a single bound rushes (p. 530) to its death. “And it had four wings….” There was never, after all, any victory won more quickly than Alexander’s, for he traversed all the way from Illyricum and the Adriatic Sea to the Indian Ocean and the Ganges River, not merely fighting battles but winning decisive victories; and in six years he subjugated to his rule a portion of Europe and all of Asia. And by the four heads reference is made to his generals who subsequently rose up as successors to his royal power, namely Ptolemy, Seleucus, Philip [i.e., Philip Arrhidaeus, an illegitimate brother of Alexander, who was proclaimed king upon Alexander’s death, but never exercised genuine power, and died after seven years], and Antigonus [the precursor of Seleucus in the rule of the Asiatic portion of Alexander’s empire]. “And power was given to it” shows that the empire did not result from Alexander’s bravery but from the will of God.

Verse 7. “After this, I beheld in the night-vision, and behold, there was a fourth beast, terrible and wonderful and exceedingly strong. He had large iron teeth, devouring and crushing, and everything that was left he stamped to pieces under his feet.” The fourth empire is the Roman Empire, which now occupies the entire world, and concerning which it was said in connection with the image, “Its lower legs were of iron, and part of its feet were of iron, and part of clay.” And yet from the iron |76 portion itself Daniel calls to mind that its teeth were iron, and solemnly avers that they were large in size. I find it strange that although he had set forth a lioness, a bear and a leopard in the case of the three previous kingdoms, he did not compare the Roman realm to any sort of beast. Perhaps it was in order to render the beast fearsome indeed that he gave it no name, intending thereby that we should understand the Romans to partake of all the more ferocious characteristics we might think of in connection with beasts. The Hebrews believe that the beast which is here not named is the one spoken of in the Psalms: “A boar from the forest laid her waste, and a strange wild animal consumed her” (Ps. 79:14). [This is the citation according to the Septuagint and Vulgate, whose translation of the Septuagint is here quoted; but the citation in the Hebrew text is Ps. 80:14, and in the English Version, 80:13.] Instead of this the Hebrew reads: “All the beasts of the field have torn her.” [A more accurate rendering of the Hebrew would be: “. . .and the moving creatures (or “swarms”) of the field do feed upon her.”] While they are all included in the one Empire of the Romans, we recognize at the same time those kingdoms which were previously separate. And as for the next statement, “. . .devouring and crushing, and pounding all the rest to pieces under his feet,” this signifies that all nations have either been slain by the Romans or else have been subjected to tribute and servitude.

“. . .But it did not resemble the other beasts which I had previously seen” (Vulgate: “…which I had seen before it”). In the earlier beasts he had seen various symbols of fright-fulness, but they were all concentrated in this one.

“. ..and it had ten horns.” Porphyry assigned the last two beasts, that of the Macedonians and that of the Romans, to the one realm of the Macedonians and divided them up as follows. He claimed that the leopard was Alexander himself, and that the beast which was dissimilar to the others represented the four successors of Alexander, and then he enumerates ten kings up to the time of Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, and who were very cruel. And he did not assign the kings themselves to separate kingdoms, for example Macedon, Syria, Asia, or Egypt, but rather he made out the various kingdoms a single realm consisting of a series. This he did of course in order that the words |77 which were written: “.. .a mouth uttering overweening boasts” [in the last part of verse 8] might be considered as spoken about Antiochus instead of about Antichrist.

Verse 8. “I was looking at the horns, and behold, another small horn rose up out of the midst of them, and three of the earlier horns were torn away before it. And behold, there were in that horn eyes like unto human eyes, and a mouth uttering overweening boasts.” Porphyry vainly surmises that the little (p. 531) horn which rose up after the ten horns is Antiochus Epiphanes, and that the three uprooted horns out of the ten are (A) Ptolemy VI (surnamed Philometer), Ptolemy VII (Euergetes), and Artaraxias, King of Armenia. The first two of these kings died long before Antiochus was born. Against Artarxias, to be sure, we know that Antiochus indeed waged war, but also we know that Artarxias remained in possession of his original kingly authority. We should therefore concur with the traditional interpretation of all the commentators of the Christian Church, that at the end of the world, when the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, there shall be ten kings who will partition the Roman world amongst themselves. Then an insignificant eleventh king will arise, who will overcome three of the ten kings, that is, the king of Egypt, the king of [North] Africa, and the king of Ethiopia, as we shall show more clearly in our later discussion. Then after they have been slain, the seven other kings also will bow their necks to the victor. “And behold,” he continues, “there were eyes like unto human eyes in that horn.” Let us not follow the opinion of some commentators and suppose him to be either the Devil or some demon, but rather, one of the human race, in whom Satan will wholly take up his residence in bodily form. “. . .and a mouth uttering overweening boasts…” (cf. II Thess. 2). For this is the man of sin, the son (668) of perdition, and that too to such a degree that he dares to sit in the temple of God, making himself out to be like God.

Verse 9. “I beheld until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of days took His seat. His garment was as white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was composed of fiery flames and its wheels were set on fire. From before His presence there issued forth a rushing, fiery stream.” We read something similar in John’s Apocalypse: (Rev. 4:2 ff.) |78 “After these things I was immediately in the Spirit, and lo, a throne was set up in heaven, and one was seated upon the throne; and He who sat upon it had the likeness of jasper and sardine stone, and there was a rainbow round about the throne like the appearance of emerald. Around the throne there were twenty-four other thrones, and upon the twenty-four thrones there sat twenty-four elders, clothed in shining garments; upon their heads was a golden crown (B), and lightning flashes issued from the throne, and voices and thunder. And in front of the throne there were seven torches of burning fire, which were the seven spirits of God. And in front of the throne lay a glassy sea like unto crystal.” And so the many thrones which Daniel saw seem to me to be what John called the twenty-four thrones. And the Ancient (C) of days is the One who, according to John (p. 532) sits alone upon His throne. Likewise the Son of man, who came unto the Ancient of days, is the same as He who, according to John, is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5), the Root of David, and the titles of that sort. I imagine that these thrones are the ones of which the Apostle Paul says, “Whether thrones or dominions. . .” (Col. 1:16). And in the Gospel we read, “Ye yourselves shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 10:28). And God is called the One who sits and who is the Ancient of days, in order that His character as eternal Judge might be indicated. His garment is shining white like the snow, and the hair of His head is like pure wool. The Savior also, when He was transfigured on the mount and assumed the glory of His divine majesty, appeared in shining white garments (Matt. 17). And as for the fact that His hair is compared to perfectly pure wool, the even-handedness and uprightness of His judgment is shown forth, a judgment which shows no partiality in its exercise. Moreover He is described as an elderly man, in order that the ripeness of His judgment may be established. His throne consists of fiery flames, in order that sinners may tremble before the severity of the (669) torments [of hell], and also that the just may be saved, but so as by fire. The wheels of the throne are set aflame, or else it is the wheels of His chariot which are aflame. In Ezekiel also God is ushered on the scene seated in a four-horse chariot (Ez. 1), and everything pertaining to God is of a fiery consistency. In another place also a statement is made on this subject: “God |79 is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24), that we might know that wood, hay and stubble are going to burn up in the day of judgment. And in the Psalms we read: “Fire goeth before Him, and He shall set aflame all His enemies round about Him” (Ps. 96:3). A rushing, fiery stream proceeded from before Him in order that it might carry sinners to hell (Gehenna).

Verse 10. “There were millions ministering unto Him, and a billion stood by His side.” [The Aramaic original is more conservative: “A million were ministering unto Him, and a hundred million were standing (in His presence).”] This was not intended to be a specific number for the servants of God, but only indicates a multitude too great for human computation. These are the thousands and tens of thousands of which we read in the Psalms: “The chariot of God is attended by ten thousands; thousands of them that rejoice. The Lord is among them” (Ps. 67:18). And in another place: “He who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flaming fire” (Ps. 103:4). [The Protestant reader should always add one to the Vulgate Psalm-number in order to arrive at the Psalm-number of the Hebrew Bible or the English Version.] Now the duty of angels is twofold: the duty of one group is to bestow rewards upon just men; the duty of the other is to have charge over individual calamities [i.e., calamities in the lives of individuals? The original is: qui singulis praesunt cruciatibus]. (D)

“. .. The court was in session, and the books were opened.” The consciences of men, and the deeds of individuals which partake of either character, whether good or bad, are disclosed to all. One of the books is the good book of which we (p. 533) often read, namely the book of the living. The other is the evil book which is held in the hand of the accuser, who is the fiend and avenger of whom we read in Revelation: “The accuser of our brethren” (Rev. 12:10). This is the earthly book of which the prophet says: “Let them be written on earth” (Jer. 17:13).

Verse 11. “I looked on because of the sound of the lofty words which that horn was uttering.” The judgment of God descends for the humbling of pride. Hence the Roman Empire also will be destroyed, because [it is] the horn [which] was uttering the lofty words.

“. . .And I saw that the beast was slain and its body |80 perished.” In the one empire of the Romans, all the kingdoms at once are to be destroyed, because of the blasphemy of the Antichrist. (670) And the [succeeding] empire shall not be an earthly empire at all, but it is simply the abode of the saints which is spoken of here, and the advent of the conquering Son of God.

Verses 13, 14. “And behold, there came One with the clouds of heaven like unto the Son of man.” He who was described in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar as a rock cut without hands, which also grew to be a large mountain, and which smashed the earthenware, the iron, the bronze, the silver, and the gold is now introduced as the very person of the Son of man, so as to indicate in the case of the Son of God how He took upon Himself human flesh; according to the statement which we read in the Acts of the Apostles: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up towards heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

“. . .And He arrived unto the Ancient of days, and they brought Him before His presence, and He gave unto Him authority and honor and royal power.” All that is said here concerning His being brought before Almighty God and receiving authority and honor and royal power is to be understood in the light of the Apostle’s statement: “Who, although He was in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and was found in His condition to be as a man: He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8). And if the sect of the Arians were willing to give heed to all this Scripture with a reverent mind, they would never direct against the Son of God the calumny that He is not on an equality with God.

“.. .And He is the one whom all the peoples, tribes, and language-groups shall serve. His authority is an eternal authority which shall not be removed, and His kingdom shall be one that shall never be destroyed… .” Let Porphyry answer the query of whom out of all mankind this language might apply to, or who this person might be who was so powerful as to break and smash to pieces the little horn, whom he interprets to be Antiochus? If he replies that the princes of Antiochus were defeated |81 by Judas Maccabaeus, then he must explain how Judas could be said to come with the clouds of heaven like unto the Son of man, and to be brought unto the Ancient of days, and how it could be said that authority and royal power was bestowed upon him, and that all (671) peoples and tribes and language-groups served him, and that his power is eternal and not terminated by any conclusion (p. 534).

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