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, 2014

Resources for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2014

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Revelation 11:19a, 12:1-6a, 10ab.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 45.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 45.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s 2nd Reading (1 Corinthians 15:20-27). Includes verse 28.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:20-27. On 19-28.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:20-27.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:20-27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:39-56.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-56.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-56.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:39-56.


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Resources for the Vigil of the Assumption of the Blesssed Virgin Mary

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2014


Mass Readings for the Vigil of the Assumption.

Today’s Divine Office.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: 1 Chronicles 15:3-4, 15-16, 16:1-2.

Link updated: Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Chronicles 15:3-4, 15-16, 16:1-2.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 132:6-7, 9-10, 13-14.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 132.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 132.

Update: St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 132.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 132.


Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57. On verses 50-58.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57. On 54-58.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57. On 54-58.

Link updated: Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57.


Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 11:27-28.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 11:27-28.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 11:27-28.

Link updated: Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 11:27-28.

General Resources: Apologetics, History, Devotions.

The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Immaculate Conception and Assumption.

The Assumption of Mary.

Update: Fr. Paul Haffner on the Assumption. Excerpted from “Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons.”

Update: Two Homilies on the Feast of the Assumption.

Update: The Resurrection of the Lost Ark and the Assumption of Mary. By Catholic biblical scholar Dr. Brant Pitre.

How to Argue for Mary’s Assumption.

Assumptions About Mary.

Solemnity of the Assumption.

Assumption Day Traditions.

The Assumption/Dormition: Mystery of Mary, Meaning of Life. Page 1Page 2.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2014

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 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 10:5  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). 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.


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Commentaries and Resources for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2014


Today’s Mass Readings (NABRE). Translation used in the USA.

Today’s Mass Readings (NJB). Scroll down slightly. The NJB is used in most other English speaking countries.


Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 55:1-3. Readings form several translations followed by commentary.

Word-Sunday Notes on Isaiah 55:1-3.

Homilist’s Catechism on Isaiah 55:1-3.

COMMENTARIES ON RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 145.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 145.


Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:35, 37-39. On 31-39

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:35, 37-39.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:35, 37-39. On 31-39

Word-Sunday Notes on Romans 8:35, 37-39.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Romans 8:35, 37-39.

Homilist’s Catechism on Romans 8:35, 37-39.


Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 14:13-21.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21. On 13-22.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21.

Word-Sunday Notes on Matthew 14:13-21.

Homilist’s Catechism on Matthew 14:31-21.

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Background and Notes on Jeremiah 18:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2014

BACKGROUND: Here I will primarily be summarizing the content of chapters 2 and 7 for these contain major themes (not the only ones) which recur throughout much of the book.

God’s people in Jeremiah’s day were under the delusion that God would defend them no matter what. With intense irony the Book of Jeremiah opens with God’s threats against the people, indicating that punishment was indeed coming (Jer 1:11-16), and is followed by the promise that He would protect Jeremiah as he delivered this news to them (Jer 1:17-19).

Just as God has it in his power to protect His people in their devotion to him (Jer 2:3), so too He has it in His power to bring punishment upon them for their infidelity and loss of devotion (Jer 2:4-13). It is their sin of forsaking their Lord that has corrupted them and brought trouble upon them (Jer 2:14-17). Human powers cannot save them (Jer 2:18-19). Neither can they cleanse themselves from their wickedness (Jer 2:20-21), and still less can they deny its existence (Jer 2:23-24). They have become helplessly in need of their idols (Jer 2:25-26), yet when these cannot help them in time of trouble, they call to the Lord (Jer 2:27), but He will leave them to their false gods (Jer 2:28). How dare they still plead with Him! (Jer 2:28).

God has not been useless to His people, yet they have moved on; they have forgotten their God (Jer 2:30-32). Steeped in the blood of those they have murdered the pick their way among their lover gods, still pleading their innocence and thinking that God’s anger is turned from them; but they are deluded (Jer 2:33-35). The human powers they have relied upon will come to naught, having been rejected by God, and the people will go into exile (Jer 2:36-37).

The people have taken to presuming upon the Lord’s presence in the Temple as a safeguard against his punishing them for their sins of oppression and idolatry (Jer 7:1-10). But judgement will come upon the Temple (Jer 7:11-14). The people will be cast away (Jer 7:15). The Temple, the city will bear the wrath of God because of the people’s presumptions, idolatries, child sacrifices, disobedience and rejection of prophecy, ( (Jer 7:16-34).

NOTES: Read Jeremiah 18:1-6.

Jer 18:1 is stock prophetic phrasing employed to introduce prophetic words or actions. What follows in Jer 18:2-3 is a brief command and compliance narrative. The prophet does as he is told and this provides the Lord with an opportunity to instruct the prophet concerning His power, using as his starting point a lesson from a humble, commonplace image: that of a potter working with clay.

Jeremiah observes that when the object the potter is fashioning from a lump of clay turns out badly, he simply begins to refashion the lump into another object as seems right to his professional potter’s eye and judgment (Jer 18:4).

The words in Jeremiah 18:5 recall the stock prophetic phrasing of Jer 18:1 which opened the passage and indicates that the point of the command to Jeremiah, along with the observation he made as a result, have come to fruition, i.e., the teaching which follows beginning in Jer 18:5. The Lord can do to Israel as he sees fit, just as the potter can with his lump of clay (Jer 18:6).

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Commentaries for the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary time, Year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 26, 2014


Commentaries for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.

Last Week’s Posts.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 28:1-17.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 119.

Pope Benedict’s Commentary on Psalm 119.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 14:22-36.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.


Today’s Mass Readings. Please note that today’s Gospel reading is the same as yesterday’s. This is a very rare.

Today’s Divine Office.

Sacred Space Commentary on Jeremiah 30:-12, 12-15, 18-22.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 102.

Father McSwiney’s Summary and Brief Notes on Psalm 102.

Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 102.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 14:22-36.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 14:22-36.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14. Readings from a couple of translations followed by commentary.

Sacred Space Commentary on Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 97.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 97.

St Augustine’s Commentary on Psalm 97.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 2 Peter 1:16-19.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Pet 1:16-19.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 17:1-9.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 17:1-9.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Matthew 17:1-9.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 17:1-9.

St Augustine’s Homily on Matthew 17:1-9.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 51.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on the Responsorial (Psalm 51).

Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 51.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 51.

Part 1: St John Fisher’s Homiletic Commentary on Psalm 51:1-10.

Part 2: St John Fisher’s Homiletic Commentary on Psalm 51:11-21.

Audio Study of Psalm 51. Podcast on entire Psalm from St. Irenaeus Ministries.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 16:13-23.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 16:13-23.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 16:13-23.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 16:13-23.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Sacred Space Commentary on Nahum 2:1,3;3:1-3,6-7.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Deuteronomy 32:35cd-36ab, 39abcd, 41.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 16:24-28.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 16:24-28.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Sacred Space Notes on Habakkuk 1:12-2:4.

Pending: My Notes on Habakkuk 1:12-2:4.

Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 9.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 9.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 17:14-20. Includes verse 21.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.

Pending: Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 17:14-20.


Commentaries for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 13:44-52

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 20, 2014

Mat 13:44  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure. The treasure, α. As the preceding parables illustrate the efficient force of the kingdom, so do the two following describe its moral power or its desirability [Cajetan]; but there is this difference between them. that in one parable the kingdom is sought, while in the other it is found as if by accident [Cajetan, Jansenius, Sylveira, Schegg, Schanz, Fillion Knabenbauer]; in the one we see its beauty, in the other its many advantages [Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas].

The “kingdom” is like a treasure, because it incloses countless and numberless goods, as the treasure implies countless and numberless riches [cf. Ps. 19:11; 119:127; Prov. 8:11; Job 28:15–19; Wisd. 7:9]. It is like a “hidden” treasure because its value is not recognized by a soul not illumined by supernatural grace [cf. Acts 9:6; St Bruno]. The finder “hid it,” and thus in the supernatural order the finder must make a careful use of grace [Maldonado]. “For joy thereof” [Vulgate, Chrysostom, Euthymius, Fillion] rather emphasizes “his” joy according to the analogy of “his” fear [cf. Mt. 14:26; Lk. 24:41; Acts 12:14; recent commentators], than the joy over the treasure. But while the treasure and the joy it causes are expressions of the excellency of the kingdom, the sacrifices it demands are indicated by the fact that the finder “selleth all that he hath.” Though according to Rabbinic law [Surenhus. leg. mischn. iv. p. 113] the treasure belongs to the buyer of the field, Jesus does not pronounce his judgment on the manner in which the finder of the treasure acted, just as he employed the parable of the unjust steward without approving of his proceedings [cf. Lk. 16:8].

“The kingdom of heaven” in this parable and the following is Christ himself as the head of the Church [Hilary, Jerome, Paschasius, Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron], or the canon of Sacred Scriptures [Jerome, Origen, Paschasius, Alb.], or the revealed truths of faith in general [Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius], or the desire after heavenly things [Gregory], or charity, or the state of the evangelical counsels [Salmeron, Sylveira Barradas, Lapide, Schegg, etc.]. 

Mat 13:45  Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls.
Mat 13:46  Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it. 

Again the kingdom of heaven. The pearl. The seeking after the pearl presupposes a general knowledge of its excellency together with an ignorance of the individual object; thus should all men endowed with ordinary intellectual faculties appreciate in general the worth of truth and goodness, though they may doubt, for a time, about what is really true and good. The parable insists on the necessity of being a prudent merchant, of investing all one’s goods in the purchase of the precious pearl [cf. St Bruno, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Gregory hom. xi. in evang.], which is according to the evangelist the “one pearl of great price,” and therefore worthy of notice even among the pearl-kind. The relation of this parable to the foregoing, and the various meanings of “the kingdom” have been considered in the last section.

Mat 13:47 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes.  ‎
Mat 13:48 Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth.  ‎
Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just.  ‎
Mat 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  ‎

Again the kingdom of heaven. The net. This parable refers principally to the state of the Messianic kingdom “at the end of the world” [cf. v. 49], and shows that preaching on the part of the ministers and faith on the part of the hearers are not sufficient for salvation [cf. Chrysostom, Jansenius, Barradas]. The “net” is a drag, or draw-net, which sweeps the bottom of the water and permits nothing to escape it; it represents the teaching and believing Church [Origen, Hilary, Chrysostom], and may be conceived as being woven of the apostolic doctrine, the testimony of miracles, and the predictions of the prophets [Theophylact, Jerome]. The fishermen implied in the parable are the apostles and their successors in the ministry [cf. Mt. 4:19; Mk. 1:17; Lk. 5:10]. “The sea” is the world with its storms, its instability, and its many bitternesses [cf. Jansenius, Chrysologus, serm. 47], and in particular the waters of baptism may be regarded as the waters in which the fish are caught [St Bruno]. The net was “cast into the sea” when our Lord gave his disciples the commission to teach all nations [St Bruno]; it is a “gathering together of all kinds of fishes” because there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, rich and poor. The net will be “filled,” when after the fulness of the Gentiles has entered, all Israel shall be saved [cf. Rom. 11:25-26], when the gospel shall have been preached to all nations Mt. 24:14]. The gospel does not say that all fish, or men, shall be caught, but that the net shall be full. Then follows the process of separation in the Church as well as in the fisherman’s trade: “they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad [i. e. the putrid and maimed] they cast forth”; there is this difference, however, that in the Church the separation is effected by “the angels” [verse 50], not by the fishermen, and again that the wicked are not merely rejected from the kingdom, but “cast into the furnace of fire, [where] there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The torment and despair indicated by this expression have been pointed out above; we may add here that Jesus repeats this threat of eternal punishment with a frightful frequency [cf. Mt. 5:20 ff.; 8:12; 10:28; 12:32; 13:42, 50], so that these words must be feared rather than explained [Gregory].

Mat 13:51 Have ye understood all these things? They say to him: Yes.  ‎52 He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old. 
Mat 13:52 He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.

Have ye understood. Conclusion of the Sermon. As if to show that for the present there is no need of further parables, the evangelist records here our Lord’s question concerning the disciples’ understanding of what has been said, and the disciples’ affirmative answer which is true of their limited knowledge before the coming of the Holy Ghost. Jesus then continues, and draws a practical conclusion regarding the use the apostles must make of their knowledge. “Therefore” is not merely an asseverative particle in the Greek original [cf. Euthymius]; nor does it connect with the parable of the treasure-trove, as if the apostles had to be like the householder because the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure [cf. Augustine, qu. in evang. Mt. 16; Maldonado]; but it connects with the affirmative answer of the apostles [Chrysostom, Jansenius, Sylveira, Barradas, Arnoldi, Schanz, Fillion, Knabenbauer]. “Every scribe” is not every scribe in the Jewish sense, but the scribe “instructed in the kingdom of heaven,” or better “enrolled as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven.” Concerning the Greek word here rendered “instructed,” cf. Mt. 27:57; 28:19; Acts 14:21; in the Greek text the kingdom is construed personally as if it were the teacher of the apostles, so that Euthymius explains it as “the king of heaven.” The “new things and old” represent the revelation of the New and Old Testament [cf. Origen, Hilary, Jerome, Chrysostom, Cyril, Euthymius, Paschasius, Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius the Carthusian, Salmeron, Cajetan, Maldonado], or the teaching of the New Testament confirmed by the authority of the Old [Theophylact], or the Old Testament in the light of the revelations of the New [Thomas], or the truths referring to the old and the new man, i. e. to the unregenerate and the regenerate [Alb. Paschasius, Salmeron], or the truths concerning the horrors of punishment and those referring to the happiness of the kingdom [Gregory], or truths already known and truths as yet unknown, but explained by means of the known [Barradas, Sylveira], or truths in plenty and abundance of all kinds [cf. Jansenius, Maldonado, Barradas, Lapide, Calmet, Lam. Arnoldi, Fillion, Knabenbauer; Cant. 7:13]. According to this last view the expression is proverbial [cf. Maldonado]. The order “new things and old” is either owing to the proverbial character of the expression, or to the importance of the subject [Augustine, civ. dei, xx. 4], or to the order to be observed in teaching, or even to that followed in learning [cf. Knabenbauer].

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:28-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 20, 2014

This post opens with an Analysis of Romans chapter 8 followed by the notes on verses 28-30. Text in purple indicates a paraphrasing of the biblical text being commented on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

In this chapter, after inferring from the foregoing that the baptized have nothing deserving of damnation, except so far as they consent to the motions of concupiscence (Rom 8: 1), the Apostle tells us that we are rescued from the dominion of concupiscence by the grace of the Gospel (Rom 8:2-4.) He shows the different motions and effects of the flesh and of the spirit (Rom 8:4–9). He exhorts us to live according to the spirit, and points out the spiritual and eternal life of both soul and body, resulting from such a course (Rom 8:9–11). He next exhorts us to follow the dictates of the spirit, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh, in order to escape death and obtain life (Rom 8:12-13)—to act up to our calling as sons of God, and to conform to the spirit of charity and love, which we received, unlike to that of the Jews of old, and by thus acting as sons of God, to secure the Heavenly inheritance, which we shall certainly obtain, on condition, however, of suffering (Rom 8:13–17). Lest this condition should dishearten them, he points out the greatness of God’s inheritance,—so great indeed is it, that he personifies inanimate creatures, and represents them as groaning for this glorious consummation. The very Christians themselves, although in the infancy of the Church, they received the sweet pledge of future glory in the choice gifts of the Holy Ghost, were sighing for it (Rom 8:17–24). The Holy Ghost, besides the assurance he gave them of being sons of God, was also relieving their necessities and prompting them to pray with ineffable ardour of spirit (Rom 8:26-27). The Apostle encourages them to patient suffering by pointing out to them that they were predestined for these sufferings as the means of their sanctification and future glorification (Rom 8:28–30), and, finally, he excites them to confidence in God (Rom 8:31–38).

Rom 8:28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.

 But although out infirmity be so great as not to know what to pray for, or how to pray as we ought; still we should not be disheartened under crosses and sufferings. For, we know that by the disposition of an all-wise Providence, all things work together unto the good of those who love God; of those, I say, who have been, by his gratuitous decree, called by him to the profession and practice of sanctity, and obey his call.

“To such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” The word “saints” is not in the Greek: “called,” as appears from the Greek, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν, is not a participle, but a noun.

This passage is intended by the Apostle to stimulate the Romans to the patient endurance of the crosses of this life; for we know that all things, whether prosperity or adversity, nay, even their very sins (as is added by some of the Commentators), which serve the purpose of humiliation, work together unto the good of those who love God. And to show that this love regarded the faithful among the Romans, the Apostle explains it, by saying, “such as according to his purpose,” πρόθεσιν, i.e., his gratuitous decree, “are called to be saints.”

Commentators are greatly divided as to the object of this “purpose” or decree in question. Some assert that it regards the decree of giving glory; and even these are divided on this subject; one class of them says, that the decree of giving glory is prior to, and quite independent of, the good works of man. Those hold predestination to glory to be, ante prævisa merita (see note below). On the other hand, a second class maintain that the prevision of man’s future merits is prior, in the divine mind, to the decree of giving glory. These are the advocates of Predestination to glory, post prævisa merita (see note below). Others assert, that this decree in question regards not glory directly, but grace and sanctity (Father MacEvilly will treat of this position in the next paragraph, following my note). The advocates of the former opinion ground their interpretation: 1st, On the words “all things work together,” &c. Now, it is only of those called to glory, this could be true. 2ndly, They say, the word “purpose,” in Greek, πρόθεσιν, signifies a decree or infallible efficacy. 3rdly, The words, “called according to his purpose,” (for the words “to be saints,” are not in the Greek), are restrictive of the preceding. 4thly, The word “glorifies,” (verse 30), shows glory to be the term of the decree. Those who think the decree refers to grace and sanctity have a response to these four points. This response is given in the second paragraph below my note.

NOTE: The two Latin phrases, ante prævisa merita, and post prævisa merita, relate to the question “whether God’s eternal resolve of Predestination has been taken with (post) or without (ante) consideration (praevisa) of the merits (merita) of the man” [Ott, L. (1957). Fundamentals of Catholic dogma. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company.Text within parentheses are my additions].

The advocates of the interpretation, which makes the decree refer to grace and sanctity, ground it: 1st, On the words, “called to be saints,” which is the term of the decree, and the words mean, called to state and profession of sanctity—the meaning in which the same words are taken in the different introductory salutations in the Epistle of St. Paul, 2ndly, The very object of the Apostle introducing the concurrence of all things towards their good, as a motive to induce them to bear patiently the crosses of this life, would prove the same; since all whom he addresses were called to grace and sanctity, but they could not all regard themselves as called to glory. Finally, the general objects of the Apostle in this Epistle, which regards the gratuitous call to grace of the Romans (for it was regarding this alone there was any controversy), makes it probable that here, too, he refers to the same.

In reply to the arguments of the preceding interpretation (that the decree concerns glory), they say: 1st, That “all things,” may be restricted by the subject matter to mean, all sufferings; and that the words, “work together,” do not necessarily imply actual working together, but only that these sufferings are intended, according to the antecedent will of God, for their sanctification. And even though all sufferings may not work together for the good of such as fall away from justice; still the Apostle, in the fervour of his charity, abstracts from the possible chance of their not persevering, and to draw a line of distinction between those called to glory and those rejected from it, would only injure the object he has in view, by throwing some into despondency. 2ndly, They say the word “purpose,” does not involve absolute infallible efficacy (v.g. Acts, 11:23); and morever, even though it did, no inconvenience would result; because, the grace and sanctity, which, in their opinion, it regards, are infallibly conferred. 3rdly. These words are explanatory, not restrictive. 4thly, Glory is only the reward of justice, and are we to wonder if the great charity of the Apostle made him abstract from the possibility of their not persevering, who were called, and represent all those whom God predestined to sanctity, as receiving the crown of glory which is decreed only for those who persevere? The latter opinion seems far the more probable. Hence, we have nothing to do here with the relative probability or improbability of the opinions regarding the decrees of glory, ante prævisa merita, or post prævisa merita. No doubt, the latter opinion appears far more in accordance with the doctrine of the Apostles, asserting that “God wishes all men to be saved,” and “none to perish;” more in accordance with our ideas of the goodnesss of God manifested in the death of Christ for all, and his tears and labours for the conversion of sinners during his mortal life. It is still free for any Theologian to hold either opinion. It is, however, to be observed, that although we can hold, that in predestinating men to glory, God is actuated by the prevision of the good works of those whom he predestines—post prævisa merita—and this is even, as has been just stated, the more probable opinion; still, no one could hold, without falling into the semi-Pelagian heresy, that in predestining men to grace, God is actuated by the prevision of their correspondence with this grace, as the motive of his conferring it. And although we may hold, negative reprobation, or, the non-predestinating, and selecting men out of the mass of perdition, to be, ante prævisa demerita—no doubt a very improbable opinion—still, no one, without falling into the shocking heresy of Calvin, could hold positive reprobation, or the decree of devoting anyone to eternal punishment, to be, ante prævisa demerita. The reason is, that Predestination ante prævisa merita, being a free gratuitous act of goodness of the part of God, he could exercise it as he pleased; but it would be unjust to inflict a punishment without some fault. Hence, God would be cruel and unjust in marking out men for punishment without some fault, i.e., in reprobating them positively, ante prævisa demerita. Of all the errors of Calvin, this is, perhaps, the most shocking and blasphemous. Concerning the subject matter dealt with in the preceding paragraphs see here.

Rom 8:29 For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son: that he might be the Firstborn amongst many brethren.

Because these are they whom he foreknew, nay, even predestined to a conformity in patience with the model presented by his Son in patient suffering; in order that he who, in his Divine nature, is the only begotten Son of God, would, as Man, be the first begotten among many adopted brethren.

In this verse, the Apostle explains why all things work together unto the good of those “called according to the purpose,” or gratuitous decree of God. The construction of the verse, adopted by the generality of Commentators, is this, “for whom he foreknew (those) he also predestinated.” Such of them as make the passage refer to predestination to glory, by “foreknew,” understand “those whom he foreknew by a knowledge of love and predilection,” i.e., whom he loved from eternity, those he predestined. The others say the words mean, “those whom he foreknew would be conformable to the image of his Son, he predestined to be such.” A’Lapide, whose interpretation has been adopted in the Paraphrase, says that the Apostle in this verse enters on an explanation of the nature of predestination referred to here, and then resumes the word “predestinated,” in next verse (Rom 8:30) in which the sentence suspended is completed. This construction perfectly accords with the style of the Apostle, who, carried away by some idea that occurs to him, sometimes, defers, for a long time, the completion of a sentence (v.g. Rom 5:12; chap. 3. Epistle to the Ephesians). According to this construction, the words of our English version: “For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated,” should be rendered from the Vulgate, quos præscivit et prædestinavit, “whom he foreknew and predestinated;” and, then, a marked difference is clearly perceptible in the text, between the mode in which the words, “he foreknew,” and “predestinated,” in this verse are connected, and the connexion which exists between any of the verbs in next verse. He says here, “whom he foreknew and predestinated.” In the next verse, “whom he predestinated, them he also called—whom he called, them he also justified,” &c. And this interpretation of A’Lapide requires the introduction of no other word in the sentence. Hence, his interpretation is adopted in the Paraphrase, in preference to any other. He connects Rom 8:29 with Rom 8:28, thus: “all things work together, &c.” (verse 28). Because these are they whom God foreknew, and predestinated to be conformable to the image of his Son, or to the model which his Son presents (v. 29). This conformity is to exist in suffering and justice; no doubt, it will extend to glory also. According to A’Lapide, “also” or “and” has the meaning of “because,” “nay even,” as if to say, “he foreknew, because he predestined them to be conformable to the image of his Son,” in justice and suffering. “That he might be the first-born,” &c. This predestination redounds to the glory of Christ, who, as God, is the only begotten, and as Man, is the natural Son of God, and first-born among the others who are only his adopted sons.

Rom 8:30 And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Those (I say), whom he predestined to a conformity in suffering with his Son, he called to these sufferings; and whom he called, he has justified by these sufferings; and whom he justified, he has glorified.

“And whom he predestinated.” Resuming the sentence suspended last verse, he says, “those (I say) whom he predestinated” to a conformity with the Son in suffering, he called to the same; “whom he called, he justified” by these sufferings, “and whom he justified, he glorified” by the same. The Apostle uses the past tense, though some of the events are future in regard to many, to show the certainty of the future events marked out in God’s decrees. We are not to suppose each of the terms which express the order in which the decrees of God are executed to be equally extensive, so that all are glorified, who are called. The words only mean, that out of the “called” are the “justified,” and out of the “justified” the “glorified.”

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalms 9 and 10 (Psalm 9 in LXX and Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 16, 2014

In the Greek Septuagint (LXX) and the Latin Vulgate Psalms 9 and 10 are treated (correctly) as a single psalm, numbered 9. Most modern bibles treat them as two separate psalms, numbered 9 and 10. Father Boylan follows the LXX/Vulgate numbering. What he refers to as part one of the psalm corresponds to the modern psalm number 9. Part two corresponds to the modern psalm number 10.


THE first part of this psalm (verses 2-21) is a song of thanks giving for the rescue of Israel from foreign enemies; the second part (22-39) i s a prayer for protection against troubles which have arisen within the Hebrew State.

Part I. The Lord has held judgment over the heathen strangers. He has reduced their cities to ruins, and blotted out their name forever. Israel, avenged and victorious, sings glad songs of praise and thanks in Jerusalem. The heathens have met with that same fate which they had planned for Sion. The first part ends with a strong appeal to the Lord to set a masterful ruler over the heathens that they may realise that they are but mere men.

Part II begins with a complaint that the Lord is not helping in the hour of need. He seems to stand afar off, and to give no thought to His friends. The friends of the Lord are here the poor and the God-fearing, who are pursued and oppressed by godless Israelites. The oppression of the weaker Israelites by the wealthy and insolent and God-defying aristocrats is vividly described. The psalmist prays to God, as the sole refuge of the weak and lowly, to break the power of their ruthless oppressors.

The concluding verses (37-39) serve as a conclusion to both parts of the psalm. The foreign enemies have been ruined, and the oppressors within Israel have learned the lesson that man is but man, and that God is the shield of the weak and oppressed. The two parts of the poem end with the same thought.

In this analysis it is assumed that the two parts constitute a single poem. The Hebrew text regards them as two separate poems. The combined arrangement is, however, supported by certain features of the Hebrew text itself. This psalm is one of the alphabetical psalms, and the alphabetical structure is continued through the two parts. The two parts form a single psalm in the Greek versions, and in Jerome s version. The Hebrew text of the second part (Ps. 10 Hebrew) has no title as if it had been set in isolation by some accident. As we see, the two parts, besides being connected by the acrostic arrangement, end similarly, and the situation of Part I is implied in the conclusion of Part II. The Vulgate arrangement of the two parts as one poem is, therefore, to be retained. Since, however, Part II forms a separate psalm in the Hebrew text, the Vulgate numbering of the psalms will henceforth, for the most part, be different from that of the Massoretic text (and therefore also, of the Revised Version).

The occasion of this poem cannot be determined. David had many experiences of victories abroad and troubles at home. Yet it is very difficult to find in any known incidents of his reign a background for the ninth Psalm. The tendency of many modern commentators
is to parallel Part I with the prophecy of Nahum, and to explain the defeat of the heathen as referring to the fall of Niniveh. More radical critics would find the inspiration for the two parts in events of the Maccabean period. If we set aside the Vulgate ascription of the psalm to David, we shall have nothing to guide us in placing the poem but mere subjectivism. The words of the title: Pro occultis filii may point back to a consonantal Hebrew text which could be translated, According to the death of the Son but this again, would give us no help in discovering the historical context of the psalm.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 12:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 16, 2014

Matt 12:1 AT that time Jesus went through the corn on the sabbath: and his disciples being hungry, began to pluck the ears, and to eat.

“At that time.” This form of words is frequently found in the Gospels, to refer, in merely a general way, to the period of our Redeemer’s preaching and public mission, without specifying any particular time, or marking out any connected order of events. From Mark (2) and Luke (6) it seems quite clear, that the events recorded here by St. Matthew, occurred before the mission of the Apostles (10).

“Went through the corn,” that is, the corn-fields, where the corn was ripe for the sickle.

“On the Sabbath.” The word, “Sabbath,” literally means, rest, in allusion to the rest of God, after perfecting the works of creation. (Heb. 4) It commonly denotes the seventh day, specially appointed, in the Jewish law, to be kept holy, and free from servile works of any kind (Exod. 35:3). It also was intended to denote all feasts among the Jews, and was employed, too, to designate the entire week. Hence, the words, first, second, third, &c., days of the Sabbath.

Here, the word would seem to be taken in its strict signification, as denoting the seventh day of the week, which, by a perpetual law, whether from creation, or, at least, from the time of Moses, was appointed to be kept “holy.” That it refers not to the great festivals, or the days of the week, seems very probable, from the fact, that it was allowed, on these festival days, to prepare meat, &c.; and, hence, the Pharisees would have no ground for accusing our Redeemer’s disciples, which, with all their malice, they would hardly do, if the letter of the law was not infringed upon; and, although our Redeemer’s reply does not expressly admit, that the letter of the Jewish law was violated by His disciples.—He does not openly say, that pulling of ears of corn was a servile work,—still, it indicates that His disciples did what was justified only by the necessity of the case. It was only on the Sabbath, strictly so called, such mode of acting was unlawful.

St. Luke (6:1), terms it, “the second first Sabbath.” What this “second first” means is much disputed. Some understand by it, a Sabbath on which another great festival had fallen, or with which such a festival concurred. So that it was doubly solemn—doubly a day of rest. “Secundo,” i.e., bis primum (St. Chrysostom). And, as it was a time when the ears of corn were ripe, it must be either the Pasch, or its seventh day (for, the seventh day of the Pasch was a solemn festival), or Pentecost. According to some, it was at the Paschal time; for, then the sheaf of first fruits was usually presented (Lev. 23:10). And at the Feast of Pentecost, that is, full seven weeks after the Pasch (Lev. 23:15), they were to offer two loaves of the first fruits (Lev. 23:17). Hence, it must fall on either Pasch or Pentecost; for, with these only could the season of ripe corn correspond. The feasts of new moons were only festivals in the temple, but not of obligation among the people.

Others say, that the word, “second first” (δευτεροπρώτῳ—secundo-primo), means, the Sabbath that concurred with the Feast of Pentecost, or fell within the week of Pentecost, which had no octave, like the Pasch (which had seven days), or the Feast of Tabernacles (which had eight days), and it was called “second first” or first, in the second place; because, the Sabbath that fell within the week of the Pasch, was first first, or πρωτοπρωτον, or, absolutely, the first of all the great Sabbaths of the year. Hence, St. John says of it, “it was a great Sabbath day” (John 19:31). So that as the Pasch was the greatest of all festivals, the Sabbath that fell within the Pasch was the greatest, or first first, Sabbath; and as Pentecost was the second greatest festival, so the Sabbath that fell within it was next in dignity to the Sabbath within the Pasch. Hence, “second first.” The three great festivals were termed, πρωτα, or first. Pasch had the πρωτοπρωτον, the first first Sabbath, by excellence. Pentecost, δευτεροπρωτον, the second first. Tabernacles, the third, τριτοπρωτον. Others, by second first, understand the octave day of the festival having an octave, which, it was commanded, should be celebrated with solemnity equal to that of the feast itself (Lev. 23; Num. 29:35).

“Sabbath.” St. Mark (2:23), has the plural, and so has the Greek here, τοις σαββατοις, on the Sabbaths, which, by a Hebrew idiom, is used for the singular, and means, on one of the Sabbath days.

“And His disciples being hungry.” Very likely, owing to the concourse of the multitude, they forgot to make any provision for their corporal wants.

“Began to pluck the ears,” &c. St. Luke says (6:1), “they rubbed the ears in their hands.” It was allowed the Jews to do this, when passing through their neighbour’s field (Deut. 23:25). This whole passage indicates the austere and mortified life led by our Redeemer and His disciples, who were content with the simplest fare, with what came next to hand, sometimes suffering the pangs of hunger, poor, without scrip or staff. It contains a clear refutation of the implied charge, made against our Lord and His disciples, on the subject of not fasting (9:14; Luke 5:33). Hence, the occurrence recorded here, is narrated by St. Mark (2:23), after the charge referred to.

Matt 12:2 And the Pharisees seeing them, said to him: Behold thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days.

The Pharisees do not make it a charge, or subject of accusation, against our Lord’s disciples, that they plucked the ears of corn, or were guilty, in any way, of theft. Their charge is confined to the violation of the Sabbath, as if this was a servile work, included in the prohibition of the law.

“Said to Him.” St. Luke, “said to them.” Probably, they charged both Him and them; or, it may be said, that in reproaching our Redeemer with the act of His disciples, they charged Him, at the same time. It was not for walking on the Sabbath, they reproached them. A walk to a certain distance was allowed on the Sabbath. The law permitted “a Sabbath-day’s journey.”

Matt 12:3 But he said to them: Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him:

Our Redeemer adduces several reasons to exculpate, or justify, the conduct of His disciples; the first is, the plea of necessity. A law of a higher order, and of more binding force, the law of Nature, which prompted them to sustain life and appease the pangs of hunger, predominated over the positive enactment regarding the abstention from servile work on the Sabbath. He quotes the conduct of David—a man according to God’s own heart—which had the sanction and approval of the high priest at the time, as a case in point.

“Have you not read,” in which He reproaches them with their ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures, their knowledge of which they made a subject of boasting.

“What David did.” (See 1 Kings 21:1–6)

“And they that were with him.” From the passage referred to (v. 1), it would seem David was alone. “Why art thou alone,” says Achimelech, “and no one with thee?” The answer is, that David was alone when he went to Achimelech (“and no one with thee”); but that he brought the holy bread to his attendants, whom “he appointed to such and such a place” (21:2).

Matt 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the loaves of proposition, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for them that were with him, but for the priests only?

“How he entered into the house of God.” This was at Nobe. It does not mean the temple which was not then built, but the place, or hall, contiguous to the Tabernacle, which was kept at Nobe, a sacerdotal city (1 Sam 22:19). The ark was not there; it was kept at Silo. St. Mark 2:26 says, this occurred “under Abiathar the high priest.” In the 1 Sam 21:1, Achimelech is said to be the high priest in question. Some expositors, with St. Chrysostom (Hom. 40, in Mattheum), Theophylact, Jansenius, &c., undertake to reconcile both accounts by saying, that Achimelech, the father, and Abiathar, his son, had each the two names. So that each was called Achimelech and Abiathar. For (2 Sam 8:17), it is said, that when David mounted the throne, Achimelech, the son of Abiathar, was high priest with Sadoc, the son of Achitob. Now, by Abiathar here, is meant he who is called Achimelech (1 Sam 21:1). For, Achimelech, the father, was slain by Saul (1 Sam 22:18); and his son, Abiathar, was high priest during the whole of David’s reign, and during a part of Solomon’s. Hence, by Achimelech, is meant Abiathar; and so, both had the two names in common.

Others, with Venerable Bede, Cajetan, &c., say, Abiathar was present and sanctioned the act; and, so made it his own. Likely, he was associated with his father in the priestly functions, which old age prevented him from fully exercising.

Others say, the words, “under Abiathar,” should be rendered, “in the chapter called Abiathar;” because, the Jews divided the SS. Scriptures into parts, and called the parts from the principal person spoken of in them. Thus, “in Elias” (Rom. 11:2), means, the part called “Elias.”

“And did eat the loaves of proposition,” called in Hebrew, “bread of the face,” because placed in the Holy, in the Tabernacle, six on each side, before the face or throne of God, which was in Holy of Holies. These breads, corresponding in number with the twelve tribes of Israel, served as a constant memorial, and perpetual recognition, on the part of the Jewish people, that they were continually fed and supported by the Lord.

“Nor for them that were with him.” David, although a king and a prophet—and as such entitled to extraordinary privileges—had no privilege whatever, any more than his attendants had, to partake of this holy bread. The privilege of partaking of it was exclusively reserved for the priests.

The argument from David’s case is very strong. First, not only did David himself partake of these breads, but so did also his followers; and the high priest had no scruple in giving them, under the circumstances of necessity. Secondly, there seems to be greater deordination for laics in partaking of holy bread, which priests alone were allowed to eat, than in working on the Sabbath; and if necessity justified, or excused, the former, how much more the latter.

Matt 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple break the sabbath, and are without blame?

He adduces another, and still clearer, example, to show that His disciples did not act unlawfully, as was alleged.

“Read in the law,” of Moses. (The fact of David might be referred to the Prophets.)

“That on the Sabbath-days, the priests,” &c. This is not expressly said in the law; but, it is substantially contained in several parts of it, v.g., Numbers (28) and elsewhere, where the rite of sacrificing, which necessarily involves great servile labour, in slaying, burning, offering the victims, is sanctioned.

“How that on the Sabbath-days the priests,” &c. Every word is expressive—the time, “Sabbath-days;” the place, “in the temple;” the persons, of all others, who should be most observant, “the priests.”

“Break,” a stronger phrase than, observe not. They did so materially; but, still, they acted, according to the precepts of the law.

“And are without blame.” The law itself allowed, in this case, this apparent departure from its general enactments. The act of sacrificing, &c., was, per se, a servile act. But it was allowed by the law; otherwise, it would be against the general provisions of the law of Moses.

Matt 12:6 But I tell you that there is here a greater than the temple.

They might object, and say: You are no priest; nor is the work done for the service of the temple. He replies, and shows how the alleged example of Sabbath breaking in the temple applies in the present case. If the sanctity of the temple excused those who laboured in its service, how much more will ministering to, and waiting upon, the Lord of the temple, excuse those who are employed in this meritorious office. If the service of the temple justified the priests in violating the letter of the law, how much more can I, who am still greater than the temple, nay, the Lord of the temple, to serve whom is still more meritorious, dispense My disciples from the Sabbatical law, while attending on Me. In this unavoidable attendance on Him, His disciples were excused as much, by so doing, as were the priests of the Old Law, in sacrificing, owing to their unavoidable attendance at the temple, on the Sabbath. This is an argumentum a minori ad majus (argument from the minor to the major). The law relating to the observance of the Sabbath, admits of the interpretation, or rather limitation, that it does not extend to the labours of the temple. For, the priests in the temple perform works which, in se, and looking to the mere letter of the law, would seem to be a violation of the Sabbath. And, still, they are excused; because, they perform works prescribed by the Legislator Himself on the Sabbath. How much more ought My disciples be blameless, when, merely plucking a few ears of corn, to appease hunger, while ministering to Me, who am Lord of the temple.

Matt 12:7 And if you knew what this meaneth: I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: you would never have condemned the innocent.

Another reason to excuse His disciples. If the Pharisees properly understood the words of God, quoted by the Prophet Hosea 6:6, I prefer mercy, i.e., the exercise of humanity, and benevolence, and charity towards the poor, to sacrifice, and all other external observances, they would not have condemned the disciples, when in the exercise of mercy to the souls of their brethren, whom they wished to rescue from eternal perdition, they did what seemed to be a mere material violation of the letter of the law. Or, “mercy,” might contain an allusion to the conduct of the Pharisees, who, devoid of all feelings of humanity and benevolence, were accusing the disciples, out of excessive zeal for the law. They were preferring sacrifice to mercy, which they failed to exercise. If the disciples, while suffering from hunger, were prevented from plucking a few ears of corn to appease hunger, this would be against charity and mercy; and if they gave over the sacred ministry, in obedience to ceremonial precepts, they would be preferring sacrifice to mercy. Had the Pharisees attended to this, they “would never have condemned the innocent” disciples.

Matt 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath.

“For the Son of man,” &c. This is the final reason adduced to justify the disciples. They were dispensed by Himself, who, as Man God, “was Lord even of the Sabbath,” and could dispense with its observance; or, could command it to be observed in what way soever He pleased.

“Even of the Sabbath,” that is, of the Sabbath, as well as of everything else. “Even,” is rejected by several MSS. The particle, “for,” shows this to be an additional reason to prove the innocence of the disciples; because, they were dispensed by legitimate authority—viz., by Himself, “the Son of man,” His peculiar designation in the New Testament.

St. Mark (2:27), adduces an additional reason: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The Sabbath rest was instituted for man’s benefit and advantage, in order that he would be free, and obtain a respite from bodily labour, and might thus be at leisure to attend to God’s worship, and meditate on His heavenly law and benefits, “and not man for the Sabbath.” So that if man’s corporal or spiritual necessity or utility required it, man would be free to dispense with the Sabbath observances and obligations. In a word, man’s benefit, his life, his salvation, and whatever serves to forward both, being the end for which the Sabbatical rest was instituted, are, therefore, superior to it. Hence, whenever the end or object of the Sabbatical ordinances becomes incompatible with the observance of the Sabbath, or Sabbatical observances become injurious to man’s corporal or spiritual interests, these latter, as being more important, are to be consulted for in preference. St. Mark seems to make this (5:8) an inference from the foregoing, “THEREFORE, the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.” St. Luke (6:5), records them, as does St. Matthew here without making them an inference: “And he said to them: The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

Our Redeemer having, in four ways, excused His disciples, assigns four causes for transgressing a law. 1. Its opposition to the law of nature. 2. Its opposition to another particular and superior law. 3. Its opposition to humanity and love of our neighbour. 4. A dispensation from it by legitimate authority. (Jansenius Gandav.)

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