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

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 7:21-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 26, 2016

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Not every one that saith to me. c. Danger of spiritual barrenness. Here our Lord declares that neither the empty invocation of God’s name, nor even the “dona gratis data” of prophecy and miracles suffice to enter into life eternal, but that the fulfilment of the will of God is absolutely necessary for this. Hil. Aug. op. imp. Mald, are of opinion that these words are still addressed to the false prophets, but Chrysostom, Jerome, Euthymius, Theophylact, Dionysius the Carthusian, Jansenius, Cajetan, Lapide, Calmet, Arnoldi, Schegg, Schanz, Fillion maintain that Jesus speaks here to all men in general; Lk. 6:46 favors this latter view. It is here that Jesus for the first time calls God the Father “my Father.” Since in the early days of Christianity the gifts of miracles and prophecy were more common than later on, the warning of our Lord against too great confidence in these graces was especially in place [cf. 1 Cor. 12:4; Gal. 3:5; etc.]. The question whether bad and unbelieving men can have the gift of miracles and prophecy is of minor importance for us, since we have seen that the words of our Lord are not limited to false prophets. Cf. Maldonado, Suarez [De Rel. torn. ii. lib. i. de orat. c. 25. § 4], Benedict, 14. [De Canoniz. lib. iv. p. 1, cap. iii. n. 6], Melchior Cano, Est. etc. “On that day “refers to the day of judgment, as is clear from Lk. 17:24; 21:34; Acts 2:20; 1 Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 1 Thess. 5:2; etc. Since our Lord here declares that he will be the judge on the last day, he implicitly declares his divinity [cf. Mt. 5:25, 29, 30; 7:19; 25:41]. The clause of the judicial sentence “you that work iniquity” insists again on the uselessness of mere lip-service and faith without works, just as St. Paul declares, 1 Cor. 13:2.

Mat 7:24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock,
Mat 7:25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these my words and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand,
Mat 7:27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.

Every one therefore. 2. Exhortation to practise the Christian principles. The similitude speaks of rain, winds, and floods; the rain falls on the roof of the house, the winds blow against its sides, the floods attack its foundation [Cajetan, Jansenius, Schanz]. The vehemence of the winter rains, the fury of the winds, and the suddenness of the floods or swollen rivers rendered the similitude especially pointed in the East, and on the mountain-side where our Lord pronounced the sermon on the mount. The picture applies, according to Maldonado, Schanz, Keil, to the last judgment; but Euthymius, Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius the Carthusian, Cajetan, Jansenius, Arnoldi, Fillion, Knabenbauer, refer it, with more reason, to the trials of the present life. The three agents of destruction have been variously interpreted: Jerome, Paschasius, Dionysius the Carthusian, see in them the degrees of our spiritual attacks in which we feel first the rain of sensual pleasure, then the torrents of the stronger passions, and finally the full blast of the powers of hell; Augustine sees in the rains our darksome superstitions, in the winds the opinions of men, in the floods our carnal passions; Lapide explains the three agencies as representing the flesh, the world, and the devil, or as symbolizing the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life. Chrysostom applies the rain, the winds, and the floods to all the miseries of this life of whatever nature. At any rate, our Lord teaches that by faithfully keeping his word we shall be enabled to withstand all these trials and difficulties, both in this life and at the last judgment; while he who does not keep it will come to grief now and on the last day. Cf. Ezech. 13:11; Is. 28:16, 17; Prov. 10:25. That the love of God is strong enough to overcome all trials has been clearly expressed by St. Paul, Rom. 8:35 f.

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