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 August, 2014

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2014

Text in purple indicates the Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red are my additions.

1 Cor 2:10 But to us God hath revealed them by his Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

But, although this wisdom be mysterious, and for ages hidden from the world, it has been made known to us by the revelation of God’s spirit, who is intimately acquainted with all the secret counsels of God.

In this verse the Apostle answers an objection which might be made to him, viz.:—If these things be so hidden and mysterious, how came you to know them? He answers, that he has known them from the revelation of God’s spirit, who is intimately acquainted with the secrets of God. “Searcheth all things.” These words express perfect and intimate knowledge, and contain an allusion to the mode in which human knowledge is acquired; for the Holy Ghost sees all things intuitively without requiring to search for them.

1 Cor 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God, no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God.

(And that the spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost, alone is capable of knowing the secret thoughts and designs of God, may be easily illustrated by a human example); for, who is it that knows the private and hidden thoughts of man, except his own spirit? So it is also with regard to the private thoughts of the divine mind.

He illustrates by a human example, how the Holy Ghost, and He only, is intimately acquainted with the secret designs of God. As no one on earth knows the hidden thoughts of man’s mind, but his own spirit; so no one knows the hidden thoughts of God but “the Spirit of God;” i.e., the Holy Ghost, co-essential with him and possessing the same divine nature. Of course the Son of God is no more excluded here than the Holy Ghost is in another passage, where it is said: “No one knows the Father but the Son,” &c., because when there is a question of the absolute, essential attributes of the Godhead, they alone are excluded, who have a different nature.

1 Cor 2:12 Now, we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God: that we may know the things that are given us from God.

And it is this same spirit, co-essential with God—a spirit opposed to the spirit of this world—that we have received, so that through him we may be enabled to know the general gifts which have been bestowed on the Church by Christ.

“Of this world,” in Greek, τοῦ κοσμοῦ (tou kosmou), “of the world.” “That we may know the things,” &c. These words refer to the general effects of God’s goodness, contained in the wisdom of God, of which he speaks all through this chapter. Hence they furnish no argument in favour of the justifying faith of heretics, which requires a particular knowledge, and has a special object, viz., the justification of the particular individual who has this faith; whereas here, there is a question of general knowledge imparted by God’s spirit.

1 Cor 2:13 Which things also we speak: not in the learned words of human wisdom, but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Of which general gifts and blessings, contained in the wisdom of God, we treat, not in the learned language borrowed from human wisdom, but in the language taught us by the same spirit of God, accommodating spiritual language and subjects to spiritual persons.

“But in the doctrine of the spirit.” (In the common Greek, of the Holy Ghost; the epithet, “Holy,” is wanting in some of the chief MSS. and some versions, and rejected by Griesbach). “Comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” The interpretation of these words, given in the Paraphrase, is the one that accords best with the entire context. The Apostle wishes to convey by them, that his reason for not preaching the sublime truths of religion to the Corinthians was, because they were not “spiritual” persons, to whom alone such spiritual subjects were suited. This interpretation derives probability from the following verse. The words may also be interpreted thus: accommodating spiritual language to spiritual matters or subjects; according to which interpretation these latter words are nothing more than a repetition in a different form of the idea conveyed by the words, “not in the learned words of human wisdom.” It is by no means unusual with writers to repeat the same idea in different words.

1 Cor 2:14 But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God. For it is foolishness to him: and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined.

And my reason for not treating of these exalted spiritual subjects indiscriminately before all is, that the sensual or animal man, that is to say, the man who is not practised in the principles of faith, cannot understand the exalted truths of God’s spirit. To such a man they are folly, because they arc to be examined on spiritual principles, with which he is not conversant.

“But the sensual man perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God.” In this verse, the Apostle assigns a reason for not preaching the sublime truths of the Christian economy to the Corinthians. “By the sensual man,” (“animalis homo”) is meant the man who, although he may have received the faith and may be a saint—and this the Apostle supposes; for, in the next chapter (verse 1), he calls the same persons, “little ones in Christ”—still, is not practised in its principles, and cannot, therefore, relish the more sublime truths of religion, “these things that are of the Spirit of God.” “For it is foolishness to him;” such things appear to him quite unmeaning. “Because it is spiritually examined.” The Greek, πνευματικῶς ανακρινεται (pneumatikos anakrinetai), may also be translated, and with more propriety, “because they are spiritually examined.” These things are to be examined on spiritual principles, in which he is not versed; just as the sublime truths of natural philosophy (v.g.), those regarding the revolution of the earth, the magnitude of the sun, &c.—would appear “foolishness” to a child or untutored peasant, who judges from sensation; because, such truths are to be examined on scientific principles, with which these persons are not conversant.

1 Cor 2:15 But the spiritual man judgeth all things: and he himself is judged of no man.

But the spiritual man—the man who is fully conversant with the principles of faith taught us by God’s holy spirit—understands and discerns all spiritual matters, and he himself is judged by no man for this line of conduct, when acting upon the principles of faith.

“But the spiritual man,” i.e., the man who has not only received the faith—in which respect he and the sensual or animal man do not differ—but is also, unlike the sensual man, practised in its principles. “Judgeth all things.” In Greek, ανακρίνει μεν πάντα (anakrinei men panta), discerneth all things. Such a man understands all spiritual matters. “And he himself is judged,” or examined by no man in order to be set right—not surely by the “sensual man,” who is supposed to be incapable of such a judgment, for “he perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God;” nor by the spiritual man, who would himself have acted in the same way. These latter words are added by the Apostle to show how foolish a part the Corinthians acted in censuring his own mode of preaching.

In order to see how utterly unfounded is the objection against church authority derived from the two preceding verses, we have only to examine the meaning of the several words, and also their bearing on the context. “Sensual” or “animal” has, in Sacred Scripture, different significations, according to the different functions of anima (ψυχη = psuchē), from which it is derived; and anima denotes—first, the vegetative soul, or the principle of life; thus it is said of Adam in Genesis, “factus est in animam viventem” (and man became a living soul~Gen 2:7) secondly, it denotes the soul, inasmuch as it is the principle or seat of sensation; thirdly, inasmuch as it is the seat of carnal affections, or the anima concupisciblis. Viewed without reference to the grace of God or faith, it designates the inferior part of the soul as it judges from sensation, rather than from reason, ψυχη, its corresponding Greek word, has the same meaning in the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy; it designates the animal nature of man, common to him with the beasts. “Spiritual” also has as many significations as the word, spiritus has (in Greek, πνευμα = pneuma), from which it is derived. Abstracting from grace and faith, it denotes the superior part of the soul, as it follows reason. Then, in a natural point of view, anima and spiritus, from which animal or “sensual” and spiritual are derived, designate different states or faculties of the soul: anima, inasmuch as it is directed by sensation; spiritus, as guided more by reason. But considering the operation of divine grace, the words have another signification analogous to their former meaning. And it is in this latter or spiritual point of view, St. Paul here regards them. He considers the soul as imbued with the principles of faith in different ways. “The spiritual” man—the man who has the faith, and is conversant with its principles, a signification analogous to that which the word bears, when, in a natural point of view, it means the man practised in the principles of reason. “Animal” or “sensual.” the man who has received the faith, is versed in its rudiments and necessary points of belief, but unpractised in its principles. The word by no means signifies a man who has not the Holy Ghost, and is not in justice; for, St. Paul calls the same “little ones in Christ” (chap. 3), consequently baptized; and these he always regards as saints. Hence, then, the passage means, that the Apostle refrained from discoursing on the sublime truths of faith, “the wisdom of God in mystery, before the Corinthians. Why? Because, being “sensual” or “animal,” and not conversant with the principles of faith, they were incapable of understanding them, or his explanations regarding them; for “they are examined on spiritual principles,” spiritualiter examinantur; just as it would be downright folly to treat of the sublime truths of natural science before children or rustics, whose ideas are derived from sensation. From a want of acquaintance with the principles of science, the very terms thereof would be to them unintelligible. But “the spiritual man” understands all the truths of faith, because practised in its principles, “and he is judged by no one.”—(See Commentary, verse 15). Hence, the utter folly of the Sectaries who understand by “spiritual man,” the man who has the Holy Ghost; for then “animal” or “sensual,” would mean one who has not the Holy Ghost; and that the Apostle supposes the very reverse, has been already shown. Besides, the answer which the foregoing plain and obvious interpretation of the word “sensual” and “spiritual” contains, in reply to the objection against church authority, founded on this passage, the meaning of the word “judgeth” fully refutes the objection. The word corresponding with “judgeth” in the Greek (ανακρίνει = anakrinei), never means passing a judgment or sentence at all; it is a juridical term, designating the examination of witnesses. Hence, St. Paul by no means here speaks of a definitive, but only a discretionary judgment, or the faculty of understanding the matter in question, in consequence of being versed in its principles. Moreover, can it be supposed for an instant, that St. Paul declined preaching the sublime truths of religion to the “sensual” or “animal” man, because such a person was incapable of passing a definitive judgment on the doctrine which he proposed? In other words, can we suppose that the Apostle would submit to the definitive judgment of any man the truth of that doctrine, which he knew would outlive the heavens and the earth: which he received from the Holy Ghost: which he quoted from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and confirmed by numerous miracles; and, particularly, when addressing men who received the faith (such as “the sensual” man is supposed here)—men whose very first duty it was, “to reduce their intellect to captivity unto the obedience of Christ”?—(2 Cor. 10:5). The judgment, then, of which St. Paul ascribes the faculty to the spiritual man, regards not disputed truth, but the mere faculty of understanding proved and admitted doctrine. And even supposing the Protestant interpretation, for an instant, to be correct, how will they prove that they have the Holy Ghost, according to their understanding of the passage?

No doubt, the words, “sensual” and “spiritual” have here a moral signification also, and convey to us, what we know from daily experience, that those gross, carnal men, “whose God is their belly,” spending their whole lives in the pursuit of forbidden pleasures, and the gratification of their guilty passions, “cannot understand,” i.e., can have no idea of the spiritual, unmixed joys which the faithful servants of God enjoy even in this life. Talk to these voluptuaries of the mortification of their passions—of faithfully following the model divinely pointed out to them on the Mount—of seeking the things that are above—of the consequent joys and tranquillity of conscience; such language sounds in their ears as no better than folly; they cannot understand it. However, at a future day, when it shall be too late, they shall be forced to see things in a different light. “We fools esteemed their life madness … behold now they are numbered among the children of God … therefore, we have erred from the way of truth,” &c.—(Wisdom, 5:5). Oh! Jesus, crucified for our sakes, preserve us from ever experiencing these unavailing regrets!

1 Cor 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct him?—(and to judge the spiritual man, acting as such would be only judging the Lord himself, by whom the spiritual man is instructed). But we, when preaching to you, were instructed by Christ himself.

In this verse, he assigns a reason why the spiritual man, acting as such, can “be judged by no man,” not by the sensual man, who cannot “perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God,” nor by the spiritual man, who, in this judgment of discretion of which there is question here, would apply the same criterion or standard of judgment, which he himself had applied—I say, acting as such, because, should he not judge spiritually, he may err, and, therefore, be corrected as was St. Peter by the Apostle himself (Gal. 2:11)—and in it he also assigns a reason why the Apostle himself should not be judged or undervalued for his mode of preaching the Gospel among the Corinthians. “For who hath known the sense of the Lord?” These words are a quotation from Isaias, 40:13; at least, they express the sense of the prophet. “That he may instruct him.” If the word “him” refer to the “Lord,” then, these words are a part of the prophetic quotation. If it refer to the “spiritual man,” they are the words of the Apostle, and mean, that to attempt the correction of the spiritual man, judging as such, would be only instructing the Lord himself, by whom he is guided in his spiritual judgments. The Greek word tor “instruct,” συμβιβασει (simbibesai), in a physical signification, means to make come together. In a moral sense, as here, it means to put mentally together, to prove, to instruct others.

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My Notes on Luke 4:31-37

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2014

Lk 4:31 And he went down into Capharnaum (Capernuam), a city of Galilee: and there he taught them on the sabbath days.
Lk 4:32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his speech was with power

We have already seen that the episode in Nazareth, narrated in Lk 4:16-30, was not the first act of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, and that he has previously operated in Capernuam  (Lk 4:23). Whether the four events which follow in Lk 4:31-44 are to be dated as preceding the Nazareth visit, or are subsequent to it cannot be determined from Luke. The markan parallel places these events before the Nazareth visit (Mark 1:21-29; 6:1-6).

There he taught them. Literally, “he was teaching them.” The imperfect tense of “was” indicates continual action, suggesting that whenever He was in that city on a Sabbath he made it a point of teaching. Jesus spent a great deal of time in Capernuam and it seems that it was a sort of missionary base of operations during his early Galilean ministry (see Mk 2:1; Matt 11:23-24; Lk 10:15).

(He taught them) on the Sabbath days. Literally, “on the Sabbaths.” The plural is sometimes used by Luke even when a single Sabbath is in view (Lk 13:10, and Lk 6:2 in one manuscript). As used here the plural may be taken as bolstering the suggestion given above in connection with the imperfect tense of the phrase “he was teaching them,’ i.e., that “whenever He was in that city on a Sabbath he made it a point of teaching.”

And they were astonished at his doctrine, i.e., his teaching. The reason is given in the remainder of the verse: for his speech was with power. The word here translated as power is exousia, and it is better translated as “authority.” The same word is used in the second temptation at Luke 4:6 where Satan promises to give Jesus all the authority and glory of the kingdoms of the world if he will bow down and worship him. But Jesus’ authority transcends what Satan has or can claim to have. His authority is through the power of the Spirit  (Lk 4:14, 18). The response of the people to Jesus was a theme introduced in Lk 4:14-15. There nothing was said specifically about what motivated the spread of Jesus fame among the people and the praise of him which accompanied it, though the implication to the reader-as opposed to those in the account-was that it was the result of the spirit’s power and Jesus’ teaching. Here the crowd begins to understand that something of significance is at work in Jesus. At Nazareth the people were amazed at Jesus’ words because they were seemingly at odds with his nondescript existence as the son of Joseph. The people in Capernuam have advanced a little farther.

Lk 4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had an unclean devil: and he cried out with a loud voice,
Lk 4:34 Saying: Let us alone. What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God

Unlike the people of Nazareth and Capernuam, the unclean devil shows that he knows significantly more about who Jesus is. Why he cried out with a loud voice is not indicated here; what he says however suggests that the level of his voice is motivated by hostility.

Let us alone. These words translate a single word in the Greek text: εα (ea). Most translations take the word as an imperative of ἐάω (eao), meaning, “let be.” In reality it is an ejaculatory phrase suggesting displeasure (as here) or surprise.

What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art.  It should here be noted that the possessed man has lost his individuality, while the demon has kept his. Note how he speaks on behalf of both himself and the man as he attempts to distance both himself and his victim from Jesus: “What have we to do with thee…” Note also how the demon seeks to hide behind the man he possesses by implying that what Jesus might do to him (the demon) will adversely affect the man as well: “Art thou come to destroy us? On the other hand his individuality show through when he talks of recognizing Jesus: “I know thee”…

Lk 4:35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying: Hold thy peace and go out of him. And when the devil had thrown him into the midst, he went out of him and hurt him not at all. 

The demon’s attempt to associate his victim with his own hostility and lack of common cause with Jesus is all for naught. Though the demon attempted to speak on behalf the the man Jesus rebuked him (the demon), saying: hold thy peace and go out of him. Likewise, the demon’s suggestion that whatever Jesus does to him will be done to the victim comes to nothing. It is the demon (not Jesus) who attempts to hurt the man by throwing him, but Jesus’ forced separation of demon and man leads to the man being  hurt not at all by the demon

 Lk 4:36 And there came fear upon all; and they talked among themselves, saying: What word is this, for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they go out? 

Once again we recall that Satan had promised Jesus the authority (exosuia) of all the kingdoms of the world if he had bowed down to his will and worshiped him (Lk 4:6). But here we see in the defeat of Satan’s minion, the unclean demon, that Jesus’ authority is something other than that possessed by the kingdoms of this world.

We were told that after the temptations in the desert that Satan (the Devil) left Jesus “for a time,” implying that he would again attempt to thwart Jesus’ mission. Even a person reading the gospel for the first time might, however, begin here to have a sense that all will not end well for him, whatever his future machinations might be.

Lk 4:37 And the fame of him was published into every place of the country

Recalls Lk 4:14-15 and helps explain the actions of the people in Lk 4:40 and the pressing of the crowd in Lk 5:1.

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My Notes on Luke 4:14-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2014

Lk 4:14  And Jesus returned in the power of the spirit, into Galilee: and the fame of him went out through the whole country.
Lk 4:15  And he taught in their synagogues and was magnified by all

The conjunctive and provides a link with the previous material.  The purpose then of these two verses is to link with what has preceded and  provide an introduction to Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee.

And Jesus returned (υπεστρεψεν = hypestrepsen) in the power of the spirit, into Galilee. This phrasing recalls Lk 4:1~ And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned (υπεστρεψεν = hypestrepsen)  from the Jordan and was led the by the spirit into the desert. Lk 4:1 itself provided a transition from the genealogy of Jesus to the temptation narrative. The mission of Jesus, the Son of Adam and the Son of God, is thus a continuing assault on that being who ultimately instigated the need for it (see Luke 3:23-38, especially v. 38. See also Gen 3:1-19). He who in the power of the Spirit was confronted by Satan in the desert and bested him, will now in turn confront the power of the demonic in His ministry of teaching, healing, exorcising.  The fact that News spread of Him is probably to be understood as a result of His actions in the Spirit. Certainly His teachings in the synagogues should be seen as done by the Spirit’s power.

And was magnified (glorified) by all. As the episode at Galilee-and especially Jesus’ words in Lk 4:24-27-will suggest, much of the fame and acclaim is misguided, but certainly not all of it. The one who was to be glory for Israel (Lk 2:32) was also the one who was set for the fall and the rising of many in Israel, and a sign of contradiction (Lk 2:34). This prophecy of Simeon’s will play out throughout the Gospel, and will continue in Acts where the preaching of the Gospel will bring about the fall and rising of many, and contradictions and opposition. Luke has arranged his presentation of Jesus’ public ministry so as to make the events at Nazareth a sort of paradigm for what will follow in Luke/Acts.

Lk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he was brought up: and he went into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the sabbath day: and he rose up to read.

The conjunctive and here recalls the introductory verses quoted above with all that they imply. Jesus is here presented as a devout Jew who is loyal to ancestral custom as His parents were (lk 2:42).

He rose to read. According to the synagogue practice of the day any devout, adult,  Jewish male, could be asked to deliver and exhortation on a reading from the Law or prophets (Acts 13:15). Apparently, at least in some synagogues, such a Jewish male could also be asked to read a text before speaking upon it; such seems to be the case in the current passage. The reading was done while standing, it is unclear if sitting down while commenting on the passage was the standard practice. Note that  in verses 20-21 Jesus sits down after the reading and only then begins to speak about it. In Acts 13:16 St Paul rises in order to address his “word of exhortation” to the people. The practice of sitting or standing may have differed from synagogue to synagogue, or from those in the Holy Land to those outside of it. We know very little about the 1st century synagogue practices.

Lk 4:17 And the book of Isaias the prophet was delivered unto him. And as he unfolded the book, he found the place where it was written:
Lk 4:18 The spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart,
Lk 4:19 To preach deliverance to the captives and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised
(oppressed), to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of reward.
Lk 4:20 And when he had folded the book, he restored it to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
Lk 4:21 And he began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears

And the book of Isaias (Isaiah) the prophet was delivered unto him. Apparently Jesus didn’t chose the book to read from. Did He choose the passage, or was it assigned? We cannot be sure, but the more plausible interpretation of the second part of verse 17 is that He chose the passage.

As he unfolded the book, he found the place where it is written.  “unfolded” reflects the Greek word anoixas. Most scholars prefer those manuscripts that employ the word anaptyxas, meaning “having unrolled.”

The passage Jesus read was taken from Isaiah 61:1-2 and conflated with Isaiah 58:6. None of these verses are quoted in full. Technically, the quotation of the parts of the verses runs as follows: Isaiah 61:1a, b, d; 58:6d; 61:2a. Conflation of texts and partial quotes were common (e.g., Mk 1:2-3), serving to keep the listener’s minds focused on a key theme or themes which the preacher wanted to emphasize. This practice is often maintained in modern Christian lectionaries.

The most notable omission is Isa 61:2b~(to proclaim)….the day of vengeance of our God. The day of vengeance will come, but it is in the future, not part of that sabbath day of fulfillment in Nazareth (21).  See Lk 21:20-24; also Lk 3:7-9, 17.

The quote from Isa 58:6 (to set at liberty those who are bruised/oppressed) is interesting. That passage forms part of prophet’s teaching regarding the point and nature of true fasting and its rewards (Isa 58:1-12). Are we meant to recall Jesus fasting and the first temptation? (Lk 4:1-4). In addition, Isaiah 58:13-14 is concerned with motivating the people to act rightly on the Sabbath, which includes not following their own self-interests; and it is precisely the self-interest of the people of Nazareth which is behind Jesus’ words in Lk 4:23-27. (see comments there).

Lk 4:22 And all gave testimony to him. And they wondered at the words of grace that proceeded from his mouth. And they said: Is not this the son of Joseph?
Lk 4:23 And he said to them: Doubtless you will say to me this similitude: Physician, heal thyself. As great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy own country.
Lk 4:24 And he said: Amen I say to you that no prophet is accepted in his own country. 

Lk 4:25 In truth I say to You, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the earth.
Lk 4:26 And to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman.
Lk 4:27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian.
Lk 4:28 And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger.
Lk 4:29 And they rose up and thrust him out of the city: and they brought him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
Lk 4:30 But he passing through the midst of them, went his way

The people think that Jesus is simply one of them; a native of their town and the son of Joseph. Readers familiar with the preceding chapters know that He is much more. He cannot be confined so narrowly. The words of grace that proceeded from His mouth (22) through His preaching cannot be imprisoned in Nazareth, Capernuam (Lk 4:42-44), or Israel (Lk 2:31-32. Nazareth was, apparently, a town of little prestige (Jn 1:46), and what better way for it to gain respectability than through a hometown boy who has become noteworthy. A physician who cannot heal himself is not much of a doctor (23), and a hometown wonder-worker who wont work wonders in his hometown is not much of an asset; such appears to be their unspoken reasoning which Jesus reveals. Behind the physician proverb is the idea, common in the Near East, that one’s own personal well-being is intimately tied up with the well being of those with whom you are most intimately connected. The idea is that of a very narrow, mutual self-interest.

No prophet is accepted in his own country. The one who proclaimed an acceptable year of the Lord (Lk 4:19) is not accepted. Familiarity can breed contempt and a lack of appreciation (24), especially if the one we are familiar with acts in ways we don’t agree with. But there is something more at work here than just this. God’s people have always had trouble with the prophets sent to them, often because they did not understand the ways of God manifested through the working of the prophets. Elijah and Elisha were active during times when prophecy was little valued by their people. Prophets were silenced, hunted down, killed (1 Kings 19:10; 2 Kings 6:31-33). In these times non-Israelites came to benefit from the prophet. As had been the case in the days of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:9; 2 Kings 5:14), people outside the boundaries of Israel would once again come to benefit from God through Jesus (Lk 7:1-10; 17:11-19), showing greater openness than His own people (Lk 7:9; 17:17-18) as had been the case in the past (Lk 11:29-32).

In confirmation of His statement that no prophet is without honor accept among his own the people of Nazareth are filled with anger, they rose up and thrust Him out of the city in order to cast Him down headlong from the brow of the hill whereon their city was built. In essence, by seeking to put Him to death they treat Him as a false prophet (Deut 13:1-5); as Jeremiah had been treated centuries before (Jer 12:6, 21).

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Commentaries for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2014


Sunday’s Mass Readings.

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


Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 20:7-9. Readings from several versions followed by the commentary.

Word-Sunday Notes on Jeremiah 20:7-9.

Homilist’s Catechism on Jeremiah 20:7-9.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9.

Father Boylan’s Commentary on Psalm 63. On all of Psalm 63.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 63. On all of Psalm 63.

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 63. On all of Psalm 63.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 63. On all of Psalm 63.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 63. On all of Psalm 63.


Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 12:1-2. This post is actually on verses 1-8 but, needless to say, today’s verses and commentary can be easily found.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 12:1-2. This post is on verses 1-5.

Father Rickaby’s Commentary on Romans 12:1-2.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Romans 12:1-2. On 1-5 actually.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Romans 12:1-2. On 1-5. Can be used for points of meditation, reflection, further study.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Romans 12:1-2. The lecture is actually on 1-3.

Word-Sunday Notes on Ropmans 12:1-2.

Homilist’s Catechism on Romans 12:1-2.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Romans 12:1-2.


Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 16:21-27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 16:21-27. This post includes commentary on verses 20-28.

Word-Sunday Notes on Matthew 16:21-27.

Homilist’s Catechism on Matthew 16:21-27.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 16:21-27.

The Cost of Discipleship. Blog post on the readings by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 23:27-32

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2014

Ver 27. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.28. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Origen: As above they are said to be “full of extortion and excess,” so here they are “full of hypocrisy and iniquity,” and are likened to dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Justly are the bodies of the righteous said to be temples, because in the body of the righteous the soul has dominion, as God in His temple; or because God Himself dwells in righteous bodies. But the bodies of sinners are called sepulchres of the dead, because the sinner’s soul is dead in his body; for that cannot be deemed to be alive, which does no spiritual or living act.

Jerome: Sepulchres are whitened with lime without, and decorated with marble painted in gold and various colours, but within are full of dead men’s bones. Thus crooked teachers who teach one thing and do another, affect purity in their dress, and humility in their speech, but within are full of all uncleanness, covetousness, and lust.

Origen: For all feigned righteousness is dead, forasmuch as it is not done for God’s sake; yea, rather it is no righteousness at all, any more than a dead man is a man, or an actor who represents any character is the man whom he represents. There is therefore within them so much of bones and uncleanness as are the good things that they wickedly pretend to. And they seem righteous outwardly, not in the eyes of such as the Scripture calls “Gods,” but of such only as “die like men.” [Psa_82:6]

Greg., Mor., xxvi, 32: But before their strict Judge they cannot have the plea of ignorance, for by assuming in the eyes of men every form of sanctity, they witness against themselves that they are not ignorant how to live well.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But say, hypocrite, if it be good to be wicked, why do you not desire to seem that which you desire to be? For what it is shameful to seem, that it is more shameful to be; and what to seem is fair, that it is fairer to be. Either therefore be what you seem, or seem what you are.

Ver 29. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,30. And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.31. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.”

Jerome: By a most subtle syllogism He proves them to be the sons of murderers, while to gain good character and reputation with the people, they build the sepulchres of the Prophets whom their fathers put to death.

Origen: Without just cause He seems to utter denunciations against those who build the sepulchres of the Prophets; for so far what they did was praiseworthy; how then do they deserve this “woe”?

Chrys., Hom. lxxiv: He does not blame them for building the sepulchres, but discovers the design with which they built them; which was not to honour the slain, but to erect to themselves a triumphal monument of the murder, as fearing that in process of time the memory of this their audacious wickedness should perish.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, they said within themselves, If we do good to the poor not many see it, and then but for a moment; were it not better to raise buildings which all may see, not only now, but in all time to come; O foolish man, what boots this posthumous memory, if, where you are, you are tortured, and where you are not there you are praised?

While He corrects the Jews, He instructs the Christians; for had these things been spoken to the former only, they would have been spoken, but not written; but now they were spoken on their account, and written on ours. When one, besides other good deeds, raises sacred buildings, it is an addition to his good works; but if without any other good works, it is a passion for worldly renown.

The martyrs joy not to be honoured with money which has caused the poor to weep. The Jews, moreover, have ever been adorers of saints of former times, and contemners, yea persecutors, of the living. Because they could not endure the reproaches of their own Prophets, they persecuted and killed them; but afterwards the succeeding generation perceived the error of their fathers, and thus in grief at the death of innocent Prophets, they built up monuments of them. But they themselves in like manner persecuted and put to death the Prophets of their own time, when they rebuked them for their sins. This is what is meant, And ye say, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets.”

Jerome: Though they speak not this in words, they proclaim it by their actions, in ambitious and magnificent structures to their memory.

Pseudo-Chrys.: What they thought in their hearts, that they spoke by their deeds. Christ lays bare here the natural habit of all wicked men; each readily apprehends the other’s fault, but none his own; for in another’s case each man has an unprejudiced heart, but in his own case it is distorted. Therefore in the cause of others we can all easily be righteous judges. He only is the truly righteous and wise who is able to judge himself.

It follows, “Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the Prophets.”

Chrys.: What kind of accusation is this, to call one the son of a murderer, who partakes not in his father’s disposition? Clearly there is no guilt in being so; wherefore this must be said in proof of their resemblance in wickedness.

Pseudo-Chrys.: The character of the parents is a witness to the sons; if the father be good and the mother bad, or the reverse, the children may follow sometimes one, sometimes the other. But when both are the same, it very rarely happens that bad sons spring of good parents, or the reverse, though it be so sometimes. This is as a man is sometimes born out of the rule of nature, having six fingers or no eyes.

Origen: And in the prophetic writings, the historical sense is the body, the spiritual meaning is the soul; the sepulchres are the letter and books themselves of Scripture. They then who attend only to the historical meaning, honour the bodies of the Prophets, and set in the letter as in a sepulchre; and are called Pharisees, i.e. ‘cut off’ as it were cutting off the soul of the Prophets from their body.

32. “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Chrys.: He had said against the Scribes and Pharisees, that they were the children of those who killed the Prophets; now therefore He shews that they were like them in wickedness, and that was false that they said, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets.”

Wherefore He now says, “Fill ye up the measure of your fathers.” This is not a command, but a prophecy of what is to be.

Pseudo-Chrys.: He foretels, that as their fathers killed the Prophets, so they also should kill Christ, and the Apostles, and other holy men. As suppose you had a quarrel with some one, you might say to your adversary, Do to me what you are about to do; but you do not therein bid him do it, but shew him that you are aware of his manoeuvres. And in fact they went beyond the measure of their fathers; for they put to death only men, these crucified God.

But because He stooped to death of His own free choice, He does not lay on them the sin of His death, but only the death of the Apostles and other holy men. Whence also He said, “Fill up,” and not “Fill over;” for a just and merciful Judge overlooks his own wrongs, and only punishes those done to others.

Origen: They fill up the measure of their fathers’ sins by their not believing in Christ. And the cause of their unbelief was, that they looked only to the letter and the body, and would understand nothing spiritual in them.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 24:42-51

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2014

Mt 24:42 Watch ye therefore, because you know not what hour your Lord will come.

This is the conclusion which our Redeemer derives from the foregoing; and in it is insinuated, that His reason for leaving us in a state of uncertainty, in regard to the time of His coming, is, in order to keep us always vigilant in expectation of it. He illustrates this in the following example. St. Mark (13:33, &c.), adds, “and pray ye,” in order to show us, that our vigilance and personal exertions, of themselves, shall avail nothing; they must be sustained by God’s grace and providence. St. Luke, after warning men against the obstacles to vigilance (21:34), adds, “praying at all times” (v. 36). St. Augustine (Epist. 80) observes, that these words apply to all men, even those who shall have died before the Day of Judgment; because, the Son of God comes at death, when the Day of Judgment virtually takes place for each one. For, the condition of all, on the last day, shall depend on the state they may be found in at death, “quod in die Judicii futurum est omnibus, hoc in singulis, die mortis impletur” (St. Jerome).

“Because you know not at what hour,” &c., contains an allusion to the conduct of servants, who are always on the watch for the arrival of their master, about the time of whose coming they may be uncertain. The sentence, in order to convey its meaning accurately, should be arranged as follows: “Because, therefore, you know not … watch.” Our Redeemer does not speak of bodily watching, but of mental vigilance, ever keeping the coming of the Lord in mind, and acting accordingly, which is conveyed in verse 44. “Be ready,” or prepared, on that day, by being in a state in which we would wish the Lord to find us, viz., a state of grace.

Mt 24:43 But this know ye, that, if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch and would not suffer his house to be broken open.

This illustration shows the vigilance we should employ, while expecting the coming of our Lord. In it, our Redeemer, at the same time, conveys a tacit censure on the indifference of men, in regard to the paramount concern of eternal salvation compared with their vigilant care and solicitude, when there is question of temporal and passing interests.

“At what hour.” The Greek, φυλακῆ (phylake), means, watch, or, hour of the night, in allusion to the military divisions of the night, into four watches, or principal hours, for relieving guard (Luke 12:38). In this verse, our Redeemer compares the unexpected suddenness of His approach to that of a thief breaking into the house of one off his guard.

By “thief,” some understand, the devil, who always endeavours to break into our house, that is, our bodies. By his wicked inspirations, and criminal pleasures, he desires to deprive them of the costly and precious ornaments of sanctifying grace.

St. Mark (13:35), expresses this more circumstantially. “Watch ye, therefore,” for you know not when the Lord of the house cometh; at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning,” which may be understood, of the several stages of man’s life. In several passages of SS. Scripture, the coming of our Lord is compared to the unexpected approach of the midnight thief. (Luke 12:39; 1 Thess. 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10, &c.)

In the Greek, instead of, “he knew,” “would watch,” “would not suffer,” it is in the past, “if he had known,” “would have watched,” “would not have suffered,” according to which reading, the example proposed refers to a householder, who, for want of due vigilance, had actually been robbed, and his house broken into, by the nightly robber, whose slothful example, therefore, we should be careful not to imitate; but, rather, be always on the watch, for fear of incurring the like misfortune, in reference to our eternal salvation.

Mt 24:44 Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.

“Therefore.” In order to complete the connexion of this with the preceding verse, and see the force of our Redeemer’s conclusion, the following sentence, which is implied, must be expressed: “But because no householder can know the precise time of the robber’s stealthy approach, he must, therefore, be always on the watch, if he wish to guard his house.” Therefore, as your condition of uncertainty is somewhat similar to that of the householder referred to, as regards “the coming of the Son of man,” you must be always ready, if you wish to secure the salvation of your souls, and escape the ruin symbolized by that of the householder in question.

Mt 24:45 Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season?

“Who thinkest thou,” &c. The order of the sentence should be this: “What servant, whom his lord hath set over his family, to give them meat, in due season, is faithful and wise?” This question was asked, on the occasion of St. Peter questioning our Redeemer (Luke 12:40), if the foregoing parable, regarding vigilance, was intended for the Apostles, as well as for the rest of the faithful. For, it would seem, the Apostles fancied they had privileges and exemptions, which would not permit certain things, addressed to the multitude, to apply to them.

Our Redeemer’s reply, which is put in an interrogative form, for greater emphasis’ sake, corrects this error and conveys, that, as regards the Apostles, and all placed in charge of others, they have need of greater vigilance still, than others, and of greater prudence and fidelity, in the interests of their master; this interrogative form, as St. Chrysostom remarks, conveys, that such faithful servants are very rarely met with. Those placed in charge of others, should bear in mind, that they are “servants” of another, and not themselves masters. “Faithful,” so as not to deceive; “prudent,” so as not to be deceived. “Faithful,” in seeking the interests of their master, and the good of their fellow-servants, not their own; “prudent,” in employing the most efficacious means for this end. “Faithful,” in not refusing their fellow-servants their due measure of food; “prudent,” in distributing it properly, according to each one’s wants and requirements. “Faithful,” in not converting to their own use, what belongs to their fellow-servants; “prudent,” in disposing of these means in due time.

Both qualities are absolutely required in those placed in authority, especially in those charged with the spiritual care of souls. Without “prudence,” “fidelity” may prove injurious; and without “fidelity,” “prudence” would degenerate into cunning selfishness. Hence, they should unite the cunning of the serpent with the simplicity of the dove. This applies, as St. Chrysostom remarks, to temporal rulers also. It applies to the rich of this world, no less than to the doctors and pastors of the Church. To both is confided the stewardship of treasures of different kinds, which they should dispense with fidelity and prudence. And, as if to remind them, that they are mere stewards (Luke 12:42), our Lord calls the servant in question, “a steward.”

“Meat in season,” which is expressed by St. Luke (12:42), “measure of wheat in due season,” is allusive to the custom among masters, of appointing a head slave, or steward, to give out monthly rations, the allotted portions of food, to their fellow-slaves.

In the foregoing, our Redeemer refers, not to the prudence of the flesh, which is death; but, to the prudence of the Spirit, which is life (Rom. 8:6).

Mt 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing.
Mt 24:47 Amen I say to you: he shall place him over all his goods.

He pronounces, “Blessed,” that servant whom, at His coming, He shall find persevering in the faithful and prudent discharge of the stewardship confided to him. He is “blessed,” because, his master will not only place him over his fellow-servants, but, “over all his goods,” as if to share with him His own supreme power, dominion, and happiness, and make him a partner and associate, as Pharaoh did in regard to the faithful Joseph. These latter words convey the idea, of the sovereign felicity and happiness of the saints, and their never-ending remuneration in glory. They point out the more abundant honour and glory, which Christ will bestow on His faithful ministers, beyond the rest of the elect, when returning to judge the world, He shall make them His assessors, in judging the rest of mankind.

Mt 24:48 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming:

Having pointed out the office and rewards of the good steward, our Redeemer proceeds to describe the vices and punishment of the faithless and wicked servant. He particularizes two leading vices, viz., the oppression of his fellow-servants, given in charge to him; and the abuse of his master’s goods, in extravagance and in the indulgence of illicit pleasures. Against these vices, St. Peter cautions the prelates of the Church (1 Pet. 5:2).

“If that evil servant,” that is, that servant whom his master shall have placed over his fellow-servants, forgetful of his duty, having become “evil” and wicked.

“Shall say in his heart,” that is, shall think within himself, “My lord is long a coming,” that is, has deferred his coming.

Mt 24:49 And shall begin to strike his fellow servants and shall eat and drink with drunkards:

“And shall begin to strike his fellow-servants,” for whom, as servants of the same household and occupation, having the same relation to their common master, he should entertain feelings of humanity.

“And shall eat and drink,” &c., that is, squander in luxurious living, in society, where he should but seldom appear, the goods which should be expended in works of mercy to the poor, vying with the worldly rich in pomp and worldly show. This is very applicable to worldly-minded ministers of religion.

Mt 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not and at an hour that he knoweth not:

At a day and hour, when he may not expect it, shall come the master of that wicked servant, who forgot that he had a master to whom he was, one day, to be accountable, whose goods he dissipated, whose servants he maltreated, acting more as a cruel, oppressive master himself, than as a kind, humane fellow-servant.

Mt 24:51 And shall separate him and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Shall separate him.” The Greek word, διχοτομήσει—literally, shall cut in two—may either mean, that He will have him literally slain, and cut in two, the just punishment of faithless slaves; or, have him separated from the rest of his household, and confined to prison, with other wicked servants.

“And appoint his portion with the hypocrites”—(St. Luke 12:46, “with unbelievers”)—may either refer to unfaithful servants; and this is expressed here by “hypocrites,” these faithless slaves, who serve to the eye of their master, and pretend fidelity in his presence, but, loiter and misspend their time in his absence. This is the meaning of the word, if we adhere to the parable throughout. Or, the words, “unbeliever” and “hypocrite,” may express, those whom the wicked servant represents, viz., the unbeliever, who is condemned to hell for unbelief; and the wicked Christian, who is condemned for his hypocrisy and wicked life. It is not unusual for our Redeemer, at the close of a parable, to use expressions which are only applicable to the subject which the parable is introduced to illustrate, just as the punishment of “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” is that of the persons whom the wicked servant only figuratively represents.


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Commentaries for the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time Year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2014


Commentaries for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.

Last Week’s Posts.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Rickaby’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians2:1-5.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Psallam Domino on Psalm 119:97-104.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:16-30.

My Notes on Luke 4:16-30. On 14-30.

The Word Made Clear: Luke 4:1-30. Video power point lecture examines the temptation narrative and today’s reading.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 4:16-30.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. Includes verse 9.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10-16.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary Psalm 145. Site incorrectly identifies this as ps 144. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:31-37.

My Notes on Luke 4:31-37.

The Word Made Clear: Luke 4:31-5:26. Video lecture on Luke 4:31-5:26. It thus covers today and tomorrow’s reading.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 4:31-37.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

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

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. On 1-11.

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

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:1-9.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 33. On entire psalm.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 33. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:38-44.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 4:38-44.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:18-23. On 16-23.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:18-23.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:18-23.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 24. On entire psalm.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 24. On entire psalm.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 24. On entire psalm.

Part 1: Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 24.  Verses 1-6.

Part 2: Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 24. Verses 7-10.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 5:1-11.

My Notes on Luke 5:1-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 5:1-11.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

Father MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. Includes verse 6.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.

St Augustine’s Notes Psalm 37. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 5:33-39.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 5:33-39.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15. On 6-17.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Father Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145. On entire psalm.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary Psalm 145. Site incorrectly identifies this as ps 144. On entire psalm.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 6:1-5.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 6:1-5.


Commentaries for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.

Next Week’s Commentaries.

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

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2014

6. And these things, brethren, I have transfigured to myself and Apollo, on your account: that you may learn in us not to be inflated against one another for another above what is written.

I have transfigured. The Greek reads, I have changed the appearance or figure of. In all these remarks, which I have made ostensibly and nominally in reference to myself and Apollo, I have not in reality intended to allude so much to myself and Apollo, who are thoroughly in
harmony, the only difference between us being in our mode of instruction, according to individual difference of mental habit, or variety of circumstances. I intended in reality to designate under our names, several other teachers whom I do not name, who have established themselves as heads of rival parties, and the contentions among whose followers divide and trouble the Church of Corinth. And this on your account.

That you may learn in us, the Greek has, not to be wise above what is written. The Syriac, not to think of yourselves above what is written, and this is followed by the Arabic version, Saint Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylact. This would mean that the teachers are not to arrogate to themselves more than I have accorded them in the words I have written above: nor you, their hearers, engage in party rivalry. The Vulgate omits to be wise, and reads as in the text; the meaning of which is that their followers were not to exalt their several leaders in opposition to one another in rivalry or contrast: championing against one another the cause of some favoured teacher. This, in the Greek, follows as an additional reason.
7. For who distinguishes thee? and what hast thou which thou hast not received? But if thou didst receive it, why dost thou boast as if thou hadst not received it?

Who distinguishes thee? If thou thinkest thou art superior to others in eloquence and wisdom, from whom didst thou receive these gifts? Either they are gifts of nature, or of grace: in either case they come from God. Why dost thou boast of them as if they proceeded from thyself, and could be used for thine own glory? Saint Augustine, and the second Council of Orange, Can. 6., apply these words to the distinction of Divine grace and election, and assert, against the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, that no individual can distinguish himself from the multitudes of the lost human race, and originate his own salvation, by the powers of nature alone; but for this there is indispensably required the grace of God, moving them, and co-operating with them, so as to aid and support the freedom of the will. This, though in accordance with the doctrine of Saint Paul, is not the primary and literal meaning of his words in this passage.

8. Already are you satiated, already are you become rich; you reign without us: and I would you did reign, that we also may reign with you.
9. For I think that God exhibits us the Apostles last, as destined to death; because we are become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men.
10. We are fools on account of Christ, but you are prudent in Christ: we infirm, but you strong: you noble, but we ignoble.
11. To this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are cuffed, and homeless.
12. And we labour, working with our hands: we are cursed, and bless: we are persecuted, and patient under it.
13. We are blasphemed, and we entreat: we are become as the excrements of this world, the off-scouring of all things to this day.

8. Already you are satiated, saturati estis. A forcible comparison between these arrogant Corinthian party leaders and the true Apostles of Christ. Already, though only a few months have elapsed since I left Corinth, you are filled to satiety with spiritual knowledge, and enriched with every gift of God: you reign over the Corinthian Church, and want nothing of us. I am quite willing you should reign: I only wish we did. (9) God seems to have made us like the last and lowest of the criminals condemned to be torn to pieces by wild beasts in the arena: the whole universe seated and looking on at our conflict, angels and men. (10) We are laughed as fools, because we teach the Gospel of Christ; you are proclaimed as wise in Christ. We are feeble and insignificant, you are powerful and influential. You are honoured, we are despised. (11) From the time we first entered on our mission to this day we suffer hunger, thirst, poverty, opprobrium, driven from place to place as homeless wanderers. (12) We work for our living, and get curses with it, but we bless those who curse us. We are prosecuted before the courts, and accept their judgment. We are reviled, and we entreat forbearance. (13) We are of all things in this world the vilest and most abject. Among the pagans great criminals were sometimes sacrificed to the gods, or thrown into the sea, as an atonement for the sins of the rest of the community, with the words, be for us a peripsema, or expiatory offering. This is the word the Apostle here uses. The scape-goat, Lev 16:21, was a sacrifice of a similar kind.

14. I do not write these things to shame you, but, as my dearest sons, I admonish you,
15. For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel.
16. I entreat you, therefore, be imitators of me, as I also of Christ.
17. On this account I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear son, and faithful in the Lord: who will remind you of my ways, which are in Christ Jesus, as I teach everywhere in every Church.

14. I do not write these things to shame you. Saint Paul proceeds to explain why he has adopted the extraordinary language of the last few verses, in which, while he does not use terms of exaggeration, he has painted in the darkest colours the sufferings of the Apostles of Christ, in a tone which sounds more like repining than rejoicing. I write this for you, the faithful Christians of Corinth, not to put you to shame. He has put them to shame. Saint Chrysostom observes, but he now says he has not, or rather that he has not done so with any unkind intention. My object is to warn you, for your improvement. (15-16) You may have thousands of advisers, exhorting you to perfection. The word instructors means literally those who have the care of children. But I am your spiritual father, and it was through me that you first believed; and what you require is not wordy exhortation, of which no doubt you get enough and to spare, but simply to imitate the example I set you. (17) You need not be afraid of Timotheus, one of the bearers of this letter, and who is a young man. His mission is not to teach you anything new, but to remind you of what you already know, namely, my rule of life, which you would do well to follow. For the doctrine I have taught you is in every respect the same as I teach everywhere and always. You are safe in following my example, because that which I myself follow is that of Christ.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:6-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2014

The Faithful Should Not Judge Their Teachers
A Summary of First Corinthians 4:1-6

Thinking themselves capable of judging their spiritual teachers the Corinthians had made distinctions between them, preferring one to another and glorying in their choice.  after having shown that their glorying was human and vain, the Apostle points out the true norm by which the preachers of the Gospel are to be judged, but at the same time he warns that only the Omniscient God is able to make use of that norm.  The faithful, therefore, must refrain from judging their teachers, not putting one above another, but leaving all things for the final manifestation at the Last Judgment. 

1 Cor 4:6  But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written.

The Apostle now observes that what he has been saying about Apollo and himself applies equally to all preachers. 

These things, i.e., what he has just been telling them regarding the preachers of the Gospel.  I have

in a figure transferred, etc., i.e., I have by a change of form (μετασχηματίζω = metaschēmatizō=met-askh-ay-mat-id’-zo), i.e., figuratively, applied only to Apollo and myself, for your sakes, i.e., for your benefit, that through us you may learn how to regard all preachers of the Gospel. 

That no one be puffed up, etc.  The meaning is that no one, or class, of the faithful should be considered better than another on account of any particular leader or teacher.  All should learn to practice humility according to “that which is written” in many passages of Holy Scripture.  The allusion is doubtless to such passages as 1 Cor 1:19, 31; 3:19-20; or perhaps to what is said in verses 1-2 of the present chapter; or, as some authors think, to a rabbinical proverb.  Cornely thinks the reference is to the Old Testament as a whole, where throughout man’s proper relation to God and genuine humility are taught. 
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 4:7-13

When recommending humility to all the Corinthians in the preceding verse, the Apostle doubtless had chiefly in mind the leaders of the factions at Corinth. Now he directly attacks them with bitter irony, placing before them the life of real Apostles (Estius, Comely, etc.). St. Thomas, however, and the Fathers generally believe that the present section continues the thought of verse 6, and that the Apostle consequently is here, as there, addressing the faithful rather than their leaders. We see no reason why both in general cannot be meant. 

1 Cor 4:7. For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

How foolish it was for the Corinthians to glory in those human leaders, in whom there was nothing whereof to glory; or to glory in themselves as if they were better than their neighbors! If they have anything that distinguisheth them, whether in the natural, or in the supernatural order, this is not due to them, but to God from whom they have received all they possess. Therefore they have nothing in themselves whereof to glory.

St. Thomas and most of the Fathers have understood this verse to refer to supernatural, as well as natural gifts; and St. Augustine constantly urged it against the Pelagians and Semipelagians to prove that man cannot accomplish, or even begin, a salutary work without the grace of God (MacR.). Using this verse the Second Council of Orange declared: “If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). [I’ve here quoted the text of Orange in full, Fr. Callan quoted just the pertinent part in Latin]. 
1 Cor 4:8. You are now full; you are now become rich; you reign without us; and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you.

In their own estimation the Corinthian faithful and leaders of factions are completely sufficient unto themselves. They are full, i.e., they want nothing; they are rich, i.e., they possess all wealth ; they reign, i.e., already arrived at the state of the blessed they reign with Christ triumphantly even in this life,—all this without us, i.e., without the true Apostles, Paul and his companions, who converted them to Christianity and put them on the way to happiness. 

I would to God, etc. Dropping the irony of his remarks, St. Paul says I wish you actually did reign, so that we Apostles, the founders of your Church, might also share in your felicity, being freed from our distresses, trials, labors, and the like.  

1 Cor 4:9. For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.  

I think that. “That” (Vulg., quod) is omitted by all the best MSS. How different from the apparently glorious condition of the Corinthians is the state of the true Apostles! Far from already reigning in Christ’s kingdom, the Apostles are like men reserved for the beasts in the grand finale of the games; they are the most abject and the last of men.  

God hath set forth, etc. God has made public display of us Apostles 

Appointed to death, i.e., doomed to die as gladiators or slaves in the public arena; “they were appointed to fight with beasts” (Tertull.).  

A spectacle to the world, etc. Like men exposed to wild beasts in the theatre, the Apostles became a spectacle to good angels and good men who admired their fortitude, mildness and humility in the midst of sufferings and persecutions, and to bad angels and evil men who rejoiced at their trials and sorrows.  

1 Cor 4:10. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ; we arc
weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour.

Continuing ironically to take the Corinthians at their own measure the Apostle further contrasts their fancied state with the condition of the Apostles.  

We are fools, etc., i.e., the Apostles who preached Christ crucified in simple language were regarded as fools by the worldly Corinthians who gloried in eloquence and human wisdom. 

We are weak, etc., i.e., the Apostles were regarded as weak, because destitute of human resources; they were without honour, i.e., derided and despised, because wanting in worldly science and eloquence: whereas the Corinthians gloried in their human aids and natural attainments.  

1 Cor 4:11. Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode;

The abject and destitute condition of the Apostles was not something of the past that no longer endured; it continued even unto this hour when the Apostle was writing, and throughout his life. At all times Christ’s true Apostles were in want of the things that were necessary for human life, such as food, drink and clothing; and moreover, they were unceasingly pursued by persecutions from one place to another.  

1 Cor 4:12. And we labour, working with our own hands; we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it.

In order not to be dependent on those for whom he labored preaching the Gospel, St. Paul worked at his trade of tent making to earn his daily bread (Acts 18:3; 20:34; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8). For reviling and persecutions on the part of his enemies he returned blessing, sweetness and resignation.  

1 Cor 4:13. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now.  

The refuse . . . offscouring, etc. The Apostles were treated as outcasts, as scapegoats (περίψωμα) , as unfit to live in human society. Some think the above words refer to the custom at Athens of reserving certain worthless persons to be cast into the sea as a kind of scapegoat sacrifice against plagues, famines, or other public calamities.
Note: the words περικάθαρμα, refuse, filth, and περίψωμα, offscouring, scum, were sometimes used to denote scapegoats. Because St Paul speaks in this verse of being made refuse and offscouring of this world some see a connection with verse 9: “For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.” St Paul is expressing a willingness to be a victim on behalf of others, as in 1 Cor 15:31; 2 Cor 4:10-11; Gal 6:17; Phil 2:17 


After severely upbraiding the factionists at Corinth the Apostle now gives expression to the tender love which he really bears toward the faithful there. He is their spiritual father, and as such, ought to be an object of imitation for them. Timothy is coming to them; he himself will come later, and when he arrives he will deal with them according to need. 

1 Cor 4:14  I write not these things to confound you: but I admonish you as my dearest children.
The severe language of the preceding verses had not for its purpose to humiliate and shame the faithful and their leaders, but to admonish and correct them. As a father out of love may use harsh words to his children, so has St. Paul spoken to his dearest children. 

1 Cor 4:15  For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.

If the Apostle has spoken harshly to the Corinthians it is because, as their father, he has a right to do so. However many instructors and preachers of the Gospel they may have, there is only one who has founded their Church and begotten them spiritually, and that is himself. 

Ten thousand, i.e., a very great number, an indefinite number. 

Instructors, i.e., tutors, pedagogues (παιδαγωγους) . The pedagogue was a trusted slave who looked after a child during his minority, corrected his faults, and took him to those charged with his education. See on Gal 3:24. By tutors and pedagogues the Apostle means here the different preachers of the Gospel at Corinth who had followed him after he had founded the Church there.

For in Christ Jesus, etc., i.e., by the power and authority of Christ St. Paul, in leading the Corinthians to the faith, had given them a new and spiritual life.

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My Notes on Ezekiel 24:15-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 17, 2014

Background~In 603 BC the Kingdom of Judah came under the vassalage of the Babylonian empire.  In 601 BC Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, met Pharaoh  Neco of Egypt in battle; a battle in which both sides suffered heavy losses. Encouraged by this setback to Babylon’s military might, the reigning king of Judah, Jehoiakim, decided to rebel. Busy rebuilding his army after the devastating stalemate with Pharaoh Neco the king of Babylon was unable to campaign in 600-599 BC, and throughout much of 598 BC his revitalized forces were busy elsewhere. However, he was able to send small forces of his Babylonian regulars, along with mercenaries, into Judah to harass king and populous. In December 598 he was able to send his army. That same month the rebellious king of Judah, Jehoiakim, died, leaving his 18 year old son, Jehoiachin to deal with the problem. On March 16, 597 BC the young king surrendered and he, along with his family, government official, and leading citizens were taken into exile in Babylon. His uncle, Mattaniah, renamed Zedekiah, was place on the throne as the new vassal king to Babylon (see 1 Kings 23:36-24:17). It was in this deportation that Ezekiel was also taken into Babylon where, on July 31, 593 BC he received his call to prophecy (Ezek 1:1-2). In spite of prophecies to the contrary (i.e., by Jeremiah), the people in exile were under the delusion that Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah would continue in existence, and that their exile would soon end. It was one of Ezekiel’s primary prophetic duties to disabuse the people of this expectation. Jerusalem would fall; the exile would continue (see Ezek 4:1-11:13; 12:1-28; 15:1-8; 16:1-63, etc.).

On January 15, 587 BC Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, laid siege to Jerusalem (Ezek 24:1-2). On this very day God commanded Ezekiel to declare a parable about a cauldron unto the exiles (see Ezek 24:3-14). To understand the overall point of the passage one has to recall that in Ezek 11:3 the people of Jerusalem had compared their city to a cauldron, and themselves as the meat in it. The point of this comparison seems to be the following: just as a pot protects meat from the fire, so too Jerusalem–the Holy City where God manifested His presence in the Temple–would provide protection for the people.  But because of the blood shed in the city it would not be a protective kettle for the arrogant who placed their hope in its protection (Ezek 11:7-11). The people were unaware that the Divine Presence had already left the Temple and the city, sealing their fate (Ezek 10:18-23).

In the parable of the cauldron (Jerusalem) the people are the choice meat which will be given out indiscriminately, an image of exile (Ezek 24:3-6). But blood has corrupted the cauldron (Jerusalem) and it must be purified. God will heap up a great fire to cook the meat (people) within the pot (Jerusalem), then, with the pot empty, (due to exile) He will heat the pot until its corrupting rust disappears (Ezek 24:9-11). The corrupting rust will not disappear, however (Ezek 24:12). It is implied that a greater cleansing must take place. So too with the people, their willful corruption makes an intense purification by God necessary (Ezek 24:13-14). It is at this point that today’s reading begins.

Ezek 24:15  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Ezek 24:16  Son of man, behold I take from thee the desire of thy eyes with a sudden stroke, and thou shall not lament, nor weep; neither shall thy tears run down.
Ezek 24:17  Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead: let a fancy covering for thy head be upon thee, and thy shoes on thy feet, and cover not thy lip, nor eat the food of mourners.

On the same day on which Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, and Ezekiel was told to speak the parable of the cauldron, his wife died. Although she is the desire of his eyes he is not to engage in the usual physical mourning (lament, crying). He is to maintain silence. Then as now in the Middle East loud, public expressions of grief were the norm at the death of a loved one. He is not to divest himself of a head covering-a traditional mourning practice-but rather place an ornate covering upon it. He is not to go barefoot, as was the norm of people mourning. Neither shall he cover his lip (i.e., mustache and beard). He is to abstain from the food of mourners (i. e., food prepared by others since food could not be prepared in the house of a dead person.

Ezek 24:18  So I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening: and I did in the morning as he had commanded me

“The prophet-any prophet-was never a person who could divorce himself from the people to whom the Lord sent him both as a messenger and a representative.  Not even Amos (cf. Am 7:1-6) could do this. It was part of the prophetic vocation and its burden that it had to share in the destiny of its people…So as Ezekiel records, ‘I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died.’ Apparently he was simply a causality of divine providence, a sign, a symbol. Some faith is necessary. ‘And on the next morning I did as I was commanded'” (Father Bruce Vawter and Father Leslie J. Hoppe,  A NEW HEART, page 115).  

Ezek 24:19  And the people said to me: Why dost thou not tell us what these things mean that thou doest?
Ezek 24:20  And I said to them: The word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Ezek 24:21  Speak to the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will profane my sanctuary, the glory of your realm, and the thing that your eyes desire, and for which your soul feareth: your sons, and your daughters, whom you have left, shall fall by the sword.
Ezek 24:22  And you shall do as I have done: you shall not cover your faces, nor shall you eat the meat of mourners.
Ezek 24:23  You shall have crowns on your heads, and shoes on your feet: you shall not lament nor weep, but you shall pine away for your iniquities, and every one shall sigh with his brother

The question the people put to the prophet is answered by God through the prophet. Just as he lost the “desire of his eyes,” so too will they lose what their eyes desire, the sanctuary (Temple), along with their sons and their daughters. No reason is given as to why the people are forbidden to mourn. Some scholars speculate that the enormity of the event would make the normal rites of mourning inadequate. Other scholars think the fact that since it is the people’s corruption and sins that have brought such calamity, any kind of mourning would be out of place, hypocritical.

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