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Archive for June, 2016

Some Notes on Amos 2:6-10, 13-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2016

The following is excerpted from an old Protestant reference work, The Cambridge Bible Commentary. Text in red are my additions.

The sin of Israel, and its punishment

Amos 2:6–16. At last Amos comes to Israel (up to this point he has been uttering invective against her neighbors). The Israelites might listen with equanimity, or even with satisfaction, whilst their neighbours’ faults were being exposed: but they now find that precisely the same standard is to be applied to themselves. The stereotyped form is not preserved after the first verse; both the indictment and the punishment being developed at much greater length than in the case of any of the previous nations. The indictment (Amo 2:6-8) consists of four counts: 1. maladministration of justice; 2. oppression of the poor; 3. immorality; 4. inordinate self-indulgence, practised in the name of religion—all, in view of the signal favours conferred by Jehovah upon Israel in the past, aggravated by ingratitude (Amo 2:9-12). The judgement, viz. defeat and flight before the foe, follows in Amo 2:13-16.

Amos 2:6

sold the righteous for sliver] The venal Israelitish judges, for a bribe, pronounced the innocent guilty, i.e. ‘sold’ them for a consideration to any one whose advantage it might be to have them condemned: in a civil case, by giving judgement in favour of the party really in the wrong, in a criminal case, by condemning the innocent in place of the guilty. Righteous is used here not in an ethical, but in a forensic sense, of one ‘righteous’ in respect of the particular charge brought against him, exactly as Deut 25:1. Corrupt justice, that most common of Oriental failings, is the sin which Amos censures first; the sin which legislators in vain strove to guard against (Ex 23:6-8; Lev 19:15; Deut 16:18-20), and which prophet after prophet in vain attacked (Isa 1:23; Isa 3:14 f., Isa 5:23, Isa 10:1 f.; Mic 3:9-11; Mic 7:3; Jer 5:28; Jer 22:3; Eze 22:29; Mal 3:5): the great men, the nobles, in whose hands the administration of justice rests, abuse their office for their own ends, are heedless of the rights of the helpless classes (the “needy,” the “poor,” and the “meek”), and sell justice to the highest bidder.
and the poor] R.V. the needy (exactly as Jer 5:28; Jer22:16 al., in the A. V.); a different word from that rendered poor in Am 2:7.

for the sake of a pair of sandals] named as an article of trifling value. The reference in this clause is not, it seems, to the unjust judge, but to the hard-hearted creditor who, if his debtor could not pay the value of some trifling article, was forthwith sold by him into slavery (2 Kings 4:1; Mt 18:25). In the use of the word sell, there is a slight ‘zeugma’: for it is used figuratively in the first clause, and literally in the second.

Amos 2:7

That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor] The expression is a singular one; but, if the text be sound, the meaning is probably (Hitzig, Pusey, Duhm), “who are so avaricious that they are eager even to secure the dust strewn upon their heads by the poor, in token of their distress,”—whether after an unjust condemnation, or any other misfortune. Dust on the head was a sign of grief or misfortune: see e.g. 2 Sam 1:2; 2 Sam 15:32; Lam 2:10. Others (Keil, Gunning) think the meaning is merely, Who are eager to see dust on the head of the poor, i.e. to see them reduced to a state of misery. The former explanation involves a thought which, it must he owned, is somewhat far-fetched; but it is more exact exegetically than the second. Jerome, pronouncing the verb differently (shâphîm, for shô’ăphîm), and not expressing the prep. on, renders; “Who crush (Gen 3:15; Ps 94:5, Targ.) the heads of the poor upon the dust of the earth,”—a forcible metaphor (cf. Isaiah’s ‘grind the faces of the poor,’ Am 3:15), and Micah’s ‘strip the flesh off their bones,’ Am 3:2-3) for oppression. This yields a good sense, and may be the original text. Wellh. also reads crush, omitting ‘upon the dust of the earth’ (cf. Am 8:4, “Who pant after [or crush] die needy”); but if these words are not genuine, it is difficult to understand how they found their way into the text.—The word rendered poor (dal) is lit. thin (of kine, Gen 41:19, of Amnon, 2Sa_13:4); fig. reduced in circumstances, poor, Ex 23:3, and frequently.

turn aside the way of the meek] place hindrances in their way, thwart their purposes, oblige them to turn aside from the path that they would naturally follow, to land them in difficulties. Cf. Job 24:4, “and turn aside the needy from the way” (mentioned among other acts of high-handed oppression). By the meek are meant the humble-minded servants of Jehovah, who by character, and often also by circumstances, were unable to protect themselves against the oppressions or persecutions of a worldly-minded aristocracy, and who, especially in the Psalms, are often alluded to as both deserving and receiving Jehovah’s care. In Isa 32:7 they are the victims of the unscrupulous intriguer; in Isa 29:19 they are described as able by the overthrow of injustice (Isa 29:20-21) to rejoice thankfully in their God; in Isa 11:4 the Messianic king judges their cause with righteousness. They are named, as here, in parallelism with the ‘poor’ (dal) in Isa 11:4, and with the ‘needy’ (ebhyôn) in Isa 29:19; Isa 32:7; Ps 9:19; Job 24:4; see also Isa 61:1; Ps 22:26; Ps 34:2; Ps 37:11; Ps 76:9.

will go in] go (R.V.) i.e. resort: the verb is not the one (bâ) used in Gen 16:4, &c. ‘Will go’ means ‘are in the habit of going’: will having the same force as in Prov 19:6; Prov 19:24; Prov 20:6 &c.); but it is better omitted in translation.

unto the same maid] to a girl: the art. is generic, and, as such, is properly represented in English by the indef. article: the enormity lies not in its being an exaggeration of ordinary immorality (1 Cor 5:1), but in the frequency and publicity with which it was practised: father and son are thus found resorting to the same spots. The allusion is in all probability not to common immorality, but to immorality practised in the precincts of a temple, especially in the service of Ashtoreth, as a means by which the worshippers placed themselves under the patronage and protection of the goddess; a singular and revolting practice, found in many Semitic religions, and frequently alluded to in the Old Testament. The persons attached to a temple who prostituted themselves with the worshippers were called Kĕdçshôth, i.e. sacred or dedicated (to the deity in question): see Gen 38:21-22 and (in N. Israel) Hos 4:14; and comp. the masc. Kědçshîm, 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7 (under Manasseh, even in the Temple at Jerusalem). Deut 23:17 forbids Israelites (of either sex) to be made such temple-prostitutes. Comp. in Babylon Hdt. 1. 199, Bar 6:43, Strabo xvi. 1, 20, in Byblus, Lucian, De dea Syria, § 4, in Cyprus (in the service of the Cyprian Aphrodite, who corresponded to Ashtoreth), Hdt. I. 199 end, Clem. Alex. Protrep. pp. 12, 13; see also the present writer’s note on Deut 23:17 f.

to profane my holy name] in order to profane &c.: it ought to have been so clear to them that such practices were contrary to Jehovah’s will that Amos represents them as acting in deliberate and intentional contravention of it. To profane Jehovah’s name is an expression used more especially in the “Law of Holiness” (Leviticus 17-26), and by Ezekiel. Jehovah is Israel’s Owner; and as such, His name is ‘called over it’ (see on Amos 9:12): hence the name is said to be ‘profaned,’ when something is done bringing it into discredit, or, in virtue of His connexion with Israel, derogatory to Him: for instance, by the worship of Molech (Lev 18:21; Lev 20:3), perjury (Lev 19:12), the humiliation of Israel in exile (Isa 48:11; Ezek 20:9; Ezek 20:14; Ezek 36:20-23).

Amos 2:8

The self-indulgence, practised by the worldly-minded Israelites in the name of religion, and at the expense of the poor.

upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar] R.V. beside every altar upon clothes taken in pledge. To be understood in connexion with the last clause: the carnally-minded Israelites visit their sanctuaries for the purposes indicated in Amos 2:7; they lay themselves down there, with their partners in sin (Hos 4:14), beside the altars; and to aggravate their offence they repose, not on their own garments, but on garments which they have taken in pledge from men poorer than themselves, and which, in contravention of the Law, Ex 22:26 f., they have neglected to return before nightfall. The large square outer garment, or cloak, called the salmah, thrown round the person by day, was used as a covering at night; and hence the provision that, if a poor man (whose sole covering it probably would be) were obliged to pawn it, it should be restored to him for the night.

every altar] Not only at Beth-el (Amos 3:14), Gilgal, and Dan (Amos 3:4 f., Amos 8:14), but also, no doubt, at local sanctuaries in many other parts of the land: comp. Hos 8:11; Hos 10:1-2; Hos 10:8; Hos 12:11.

drink the wine of the condemned] R.V. drink the wine of such as have been fined: the fines which they have received—if not, as the context suggests, unjustly extorted—from persons brought before them for some offence, are spent by them in the purchase of wine, to be consumed at a sacrificial feast in their temples. The peace-or thank-offering was followed by a sacred meal, in which the worshippers partook of such parts of the sacrificial victim as were not presented upon the altar or did not become the perquisite of the priest; and at such meals wine would naturally be drunk: cf. (in the same connexion) “to eat and drink,” Ex 24:11; Ex 32:6; Num 25:2; Jdg 9:27 (“in the house of their god”); also 1 Sam 1:24; 1 Sam 10:3. For fined cf. Ex 21:22, Deut 22:19 (A. V., R.V. amerce), Prov 17:26 (see R.V. marg.).

god] or gods, the Hebrew being ambiguous (as is sometimes the case with this word). It is not certain whether the practices referred to were carried on in sanctuaries nominally dedicated to Jehovah, but desecrated by the admixture of heathen rites (as the temple at Jerusalem was in Manasseh’s day), or in sanctuaries avowedly consecrated to Baal (2 Kings 10:21 ff; 2 Kings 11:18) or other Canaanitish deities.

Amos 2:9

Yet destroyed I] The pron. is emphatic: ‘Yet I (whom you thus requite) destroyed the Amorites, that mighty and seemingly invincible nation, from before you, and settled you in their land.’ Destroyed before (lit. from before) you: the same expression in Josh 24:8—a passage belonging to the Hexateuchal narrator, commonly designated by the letter E: “And I brought you into the land of the Amorite, who dwelt beyond Jordan, and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand, and ye possessed their land, and I destroyed them from before you”; cf. also Deut 2:21-22. Amorite is the term used (1) in the passage just quoted, and frequently, of the peoples ruled by Sihon and Og, east of Jordan, conquered by the Israelites; (2) as a general designation of the pre-Israelitish population of the territory W. of Jordan, especially in the Hexateuchal writer ‘E,’ and in Deuteronomy (as Gen 48:22; Deut 1:7; Deut 1:19-20; Josh 24:15; Josh 24:18, and occasionally besides (as Jdg 1:34-35; Jdg 6:10; 2 Sam 21:2): see, more fully, the writer’s Commentary on Deuteronomy, pp. 11–12. It is used here, evidently, in the second sense.

like the height of the cedars &c.] A hyperbolical description of the stature and strength of the Amorites: cf. Num 13:32; Deut 1:28 (“a people greater and taller than we; cities great and fenced up to heaven”). The cedar was, among the Hebrews, the type of loftiness and grandeur (Isa 2:13; Ezek 17:23; Ezek 31:3).

his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath] i.e. completely, or, as we might say, root and branch: not only was the fruit which existed destroyed, but the stock from which fresh fruit might have been put forth afterwards was destroyed likewise. For the figure comp. Hos 9:16, Ezek 17:9; and especially Job 18:16, Isa 37:31, and the Inscription on the tomb of Eshmunazar, king of Sidon (Corp. Inscr. Sem. I. i. p. 19), Isa 50:11-11 (an imprecation uttered against any one who violates the tomb): “may he have no root beneath, or fruit above, or any beauty among the living under the sun.”

Amos 2:10

Also I brought you up, &c.] as before, “And I (emph.)” &c. The providential guidance in the wilderness is instanced as a further motive to obedience, the appeal to it being made the more forcible and direct, by the change from the 1st to the 2nd person. Comp. the same motive, Deut 6:12, Hos 13:4 (R.V. marg.), and elsewhere.

forty years] Deut 2:7; Deut 8:2; Deut 29:5 (in nearly the same phrase) &c.

Amos 2:13

Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed &c.] The intransitive sense of the Hifil conjugation העיק (properly, to shew pressure, or constraint), though just possible, cannot be said to be probable; and Behold (with the ptcp.) strongly supports the view that the verse introduces the description of the punishment. Better, therefore, with R.V., and many ancient and modern expositors (Targ., Ibn Ezra, Kimchi; Ges., Ew., Keil, &c.): “Behold, I will press (you) in your place, as a cart presseth that is full of sheaves” [in Hebrew beneath a person is said idiomatically for in his place, where he stands: see e.g. Jdg 7:21; Isa 25:10; Job 40:12]: Jehovah will press them where they stand, like a cart laden with sheaves, so that they will be held fast and unable to escape. The verb is, however, an Aramaic rather than a Hebrew one; nor does it occur elsewhere in the O.T. (only two derivatives in Ps 55:4; Ps 66:11): it is properly the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebr. הציק to constrain, distress (Jdg 14:17; Jer 19:9; Isa 29:2; Isa 51:13); and is used for it in the Targum of the three passages last quoted. It is doubtful, therefore, whether the text is correct. A plausible emendation is that of Wellh. (adopted with slight modification from Hitzig), מֵפִיק for מֵעִיק, and תָּפוּק for תָּעִיק: “Behold, I will make it totter beneath you, as a cart tottereth that is full of sheaves”; the ground will totter or give way under their feet,—the symbol of an approaching ruin.

Amos 2:14

(verses 14-16 detail) A disaster, in which neither the swiftest nor the best equipped warrior will be able to escape, brings the kingdom of Israel to its end.

Therefore] simply And (as R.V.).

the flight shall perish from the swift] rather place of flight, refuge; for perish from we should say fail (R.V. marg.). The idiom used occurs elsewhere, viz. Jer 25:35; Job 11:20 (see R.V. marg.); Ps 142:4 (A.V. “refuge failed me”).

the strong shall not strengthen his force] i.e. not collect his powers; he will be unmanned in presence of the foe.

the mighty] or the warrior. The word means specifically one mighty in war: see Isa 3:2; Jer 46:6; Jer 46:12; Isa 42:13; Nah 2:4 (noticing in each case the context): in the plural it is the term used to denote David’s select band of warriors, 2 Sam 16:6; 2 Sam 23:8, &c.

Amos 2:15

stand] i.e. keep his place, or halt in the flight: so Nah 2:8; Jer 46:21.
swift of foot] For this virtue of a warrior cf. 2 Sam 1:23; 2 Sam 2:18 (the same expression as here), 1 Chron 12:8.

deliver himself] As the text stands, himself must be understood from the next clause: but it is better, with a change of vowel-points, to read yimmâlçṭ, which will itself mean ‘deliver himself.’

Amos 2:16

courageous] lit. strong (cognate with strengthen, Amo_2:14) of his heart: cf. Ps 27:14; Ps 31:24 (“Be firm; and let thy (your) heart shew strength,” i.e. let it take courage). Mighty, as Amos 2:14.

naked] having thrown off everything, whether weapon, or armour, or article of dress, which might encumber him in his flight.

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Father Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 8:28-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2016

Mat 8:28 And when he was come on the other side of the water, into the country of the Gerasens, there met him two that were possessed with devils, coming out of the sepulchres, exceeding fierce, so that none could pass by that way.

And when he was come on the other side, &c. This miracle of healing the demoniac is given with greater fulness by S. Luke. The commentary, therefore, upon it will be given in S. Luk_8:27-40.

Mat 8:29 And behold they cried out, saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? Mat 8:30 And there was, not far from them, a herd of many swine feeding.
Mat 8:31 And the devils besought him, saying: If thou cast us out hence, send us into the herd of swine.
Mat 8:32 And he said to them: Go. But they going out went into the swine, and behold the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea: and they perished in the waters.
Mat 8:33 And they that kept them fled: and coming into the city, told every thing, and concerning them that had been possessed by the devils.
Mat 8:34 And behold the whole city went out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart from their coast.

 

Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? From these words some have thought that the devils have not yet received the extreme punishment of their offences, and that they will not be condemned to be tormented in hell before the Day of Judgment. S. Hilary has been thought to be of this opinion, by saying (Can. 8), “It cried out, why should He grudge them their position? (in the demoniac) why should He attack them before the time of judgment?” The same opinion is by some ascribed to S. Irenæus, Justin, Lactantius, Eusebius, Nicephorus; but I have found nothing of the kind in their writings. And the words of S. Hilary do not bear that meaning, but only say what S. Matthew relates.

For it is certain from Scripture and the Fathers that the devils, from the beginning of the world were condemned as soon as they sinned, and were tormented in the fire of hell. For by that fire they are tormented, even when they are away from it, having gone forth from hell, and taken up their abode in the air. This is brought about by the omnipotence of God. The fire of hell is a supernatural instrument of the omnipotent God, hence by the will of God, it can operate in the most distant places.

When therefore they said to Christ, Art thou come, &c., they did not speak of the ancient, perpetual, irrevocable torment of hell fire, but they deprecated any new torment being inflicted upon them by Christ. This new torment was their expulsion from the bodies of those whom they were in the habit of possessing, as S. Chrysostom says, and their banishment to the prison-house of hell.

 

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:28-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2016

Mat 8:28 And when he was come on the other side of the water, into the country of the Gerasens, there met him two that were possessed with devils, coming out of the sepulchres, exceeding fierce, so that none could pass by that way.
Mat 8:29 And behold they cried out, saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
Mat 8:30 And there was, not far from them, a herd of many swine feeding.
Mat 8:31 And the devils besought him, saying: If thou cast us out hence, send us into the herd of swine.

And when he was come.] 4. Concerning the dangers of the spiritual life. The gospel describes first the place of the occurrence, v. 28; secondly, the demoniacs and their language, vv. 29–31; thirdly, the miraculous events, v. 32; fourthly, the consequences of the miracle, vv. 33, 34.

a. The place. The gospel states that the miracle took place “on the other side of the water,” in “the country of the Gerasens.” The first of these clauses occasions no further difficulty; but the second has given rise to lengthy discussions. The Vulgate version of the three synoptists [Mk. 5:1; Lk. 8:26] places the miracle in the country of the Gerasens; but the better codd. of the Greek text read “Gadarens” in the first gospel, “Gerasens” in the second [Tisch. Westc. H.], and either “Gerasens” [W. H.] or “Gergesens” [T.] in the third. The reading “Gergesens” appears to date back to a correction of Or. who was induced by geographical considerations to make it. For Gerasa was situated at a great distance from the lake near the river Jabbok; Gadara was a strong metropolis of Perea [Jos. B. J. IV. vii. 3], situated about seven miles from Tiberias, on a mountain near the river Hieromax, in the site of Omkeis; of the Gergesens only the name remained at the time of our Lord [Jos. Ant. I. vi. 2; cf. Gen. 15:21; 10:16; Deut. 7:1; Jos. 24:11], but its ruins, identified with Gersa [Chersa], lie within a few rods of the shore, and an immense mountain rises immediately above them, in which are ancient tombs. Well, then, might Or. be led to his correction of the text, and well may Eus. and Euth. follow him. But how reconcile the original readings? Since Gadara was the principal city in the vicinity of the Perean side of the lake, the district may well have been called “the country of the Gadarens”; the reading “Gerasens” must be explained either in the same manner as the reading “Gadarens,” Gerasa being a city important enough to have a considerable tract of country called after it, or it must be regarded as a corruption, perhaps a variation, of “Gergesens.” Since one district included the other, there is no contradiction in the accounts [cf. Thomson, The Land and the Book, ii. pp. 34–37].

b. The demoniacs. The second and the third gospel speak of only one possessed person, because he was the more wretched of the two [Chrys. Mald.], or because he was the more prominent [Aug. Bed. Theoph. Euth.]. It can hardly be said that the first gospel summarizes two miraculous cures, or that tradition had failed to mention two distinct demoniacs to Mark and Luke. The violence of the demoniacs is more fully described in the second gospel [Mk. 5:2–5], where we see that they dwelt not only in the tombs, but that they could not be bound with fetters and chains, and were cutting themselves with stones, and crying in the mountains; Lk. [8:27] adds that they wore no clothes, and the first evangelist says that they made the road insecure. The second and the third gospel, moreover, state plainly that they lived in the sepulchres; some of these were natural caves, others recesses hewn out of the solid rock, with cells on their sides for the reception of the dead. They thus afforded ample shelter, and their tenants were not molested, for the Jews regarded all such places as unclean. Besides, the resting-place of the dead is the home best adapted for the demons [Salm.] who delight in dead works [Bed.] and are the authors of death [Pet. chrys.]. Thomson, in “The Land and the Book,” gives cases of epileptic fits with phenomena resembling those of the two demoniacs; but it must be remembered that no epileptic fit ever spoke to the physician as the demons spoke to our Lord, and that no nervous attack was ever expelled from man and placed in a herd of swine. As the demoniacs could not be brought to Jesus, he came to them in order to relieve them of their frightful suffering [Pasch. Jans.], thus showing that he had other sheep whom he must bring into his fold [cf. Jn. 10:16]. The language of the demoniacs is not a voluntary acknowledgment of the divinity of our Lord, but the expression of fear, as when runaway slaves come into the presence of their master [Jer.; cf. Chrys. Bed. Pasch. Br. Tost. Salm.]. The demons know that they will be judged on the last day, and punished with more severe torments [2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6]. It is true that they carry now their pain of damnation with them, but having the power to harm men, to roam about the world, they feel their punishment less [cf. Euth. Pasch. Tost. Caj. Salm. Mald. Bar. Reischl, Grimm, Fil. Suar. De ang. lib. viii. c. ii. n. 3, 13, 14; c. xvii.; c. xv. n. 16]. The territories of the Gentiles were especially under the influence of the demons [1 Cor. 10:20; 5:5]. Knowing, therefore, that the time of the last judgment had not yet arrived, they complain in a way that Jesus is about to punish them before their time; for that our Lord had come to crush the sway of Satan is plainly stated in Heb. 2:14. The demon’s eager wish to stay on earth at any price is expressed in the petition to be allowed to enter the swine. Thus they show also their longing to harm and frighten men in some way at least, while they give us a clear proof that they can do absolutely nothing without divine permission [cf. Bed. Br. Thom. Fab. Caj. Salm. Jans.]. According to the second gospel the herd of swine numbered about two thousand. While according to the Vulgate they were not far from Jesus and his companions, the Greek text says that they were far from them, and Mk. 5:11 and Lk. 8:32 merely state that they were there. But distance is a wholly relative term.

Mat 8:32 And he said to them: Go. But they going out went into the swine, and behold the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea: and they perished in the waters.

And he said to them.] c. The miracle. Jesus suffers the evil spirits to go into the swine, not to punish the owners for breaking the law,—it was not forbidden by the law to keep swine [Jans.],—but to show the number of demons he had expelled [Salm. Tost. Caj. Mald. Jans.], the misery from which the possessed had been freed [Euth.], his power to help all those needing assistance [Jer. Rah. Pasch.], and the filthy nature of the unclean spirit [Petr. chrys.]. Most commentators, both ancient and modern, believe that the swine were driven into the water by the possessing demons; they point to the consequent unpopularity of our Lord among the inhabitants of Perea, and the spiritual harm brought on by their own petition, as sufficient reasons for the action of the unclean spirits. On the other hand, it cannot be admitted that Jesus was deceived by the specious pretext alleged by the demons for entering the swine. The inspired text does not represent the destruction of the swine as intended by the demons; on the contrary, the text suggests that the death of the swine was a disappointment to the devils, who had to return to their dreaded abyss. Petr. chrys. Sylv. Ambr. Lam. Reischl, Grimm, Knab. etc. are therefore justified in regarding the destruction of the herd as the result of the possession in so far only as the swine preferred death to the close alliance with the evil spirits. According to this view the evil spirit has not even the power of interfering with the instincts of animals unless God permits it. That the destruction of the herd of swine was not necessarily a punishment has already been stated; even if the proprietors were Jews, no law forbade them to keep swine either for sale or for any other purpose, except eating. The lessons conveyed by the event are weighty enough to explain why our Lord made use of his sovereign right in the case of the Gadarene proprietors.

Mat 8:33 And they that kept them fled: and coming into the city, told every thing, and concerning them that had been possessed by the devils.
Mat 8:34 And behold the whole city went out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart from their coast.

And they that kept them.] d. The consequences of the miracle. Jer. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Dion, believe the Gerasens asked through humility that Jesus might leave them; but where this was the sole motive of similar petitions, as in the case of Peter and the Gentile centurion, the language is quite different from that in the present passage. At the same time, it may be readily granted that the Gerasens were less guilty than the Nazarenes, who ruthlessly expelled our Lord from their town, after he had shown them great kindness [cf. Lk. 4:29; Mt. 13:57; Salm.].

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 8:23-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2016

Mat 8:23 And when he entered into the boat, his disciples followed him.

“His disciples followed Him” into the ship, to cross the lake with Him.

Mat 8:24 And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep.

“A great tempest.” The Greek, word “σεισμος,” generally signifies an earthquake; but in Luke 8:25; Mark 4:37, the word used is λαιλαψ, which denotes a hurricane. All lakes bounded by mountain ranges are subject to such.

“But He was asleep.” This was a natural sleep, brought on by our Lord’s own voluntary act, with the view of showing His human nature, and that He was subjected to its ordinary wants; and also, of showing His own power, of testing the faith of His disciples, and of confirming it, by a display of His Divine power. This boat, as indeed does the whole passage, in a mystical sense, represent God’s holy Church, through every phase of her chequered history.

St. Chrysostom tells us (Hom. 23, in Mattheum), that the sea represents the world; the wind and storm, the attempts of evil spirits, and wicked men, to upset the Church. The sleep of our Lord, while the hurricane was raging, reminds us that, sometimes, He permits persecution, and other trials, to assail His Church, to such a pitch of violence, as to threaten her utter destruction, which, no doubt, humanly speaking, they would long since have compassed, only that the Almighty helmsman, when fervently invoked by His suffering children, awakes from His sleep, allays the storm, restores tranquillity in His own good time; and, after testing the faith and heroism of His followers, scatters her enemies, humbling them to the dust, and showing how little human malice, or human strength, can prevail against the never-failing promises of an Almighty and Infinitely veracious God. Never, perhaps, did a more violent hurricane assail the Church of God, never did the enemies of God, devils, and their wicked instruments, the powers of this world, combine, with more apparent success, to swamp the vessel of God’s Church, than at this moment. But the children of God know on whom they have to lean. They have unbounded confidence in the midst of the storm, which assails them. They have Him on board, whom “the sea and the winds must obey,” who, by a single fiat of His will, can at once destroy their enemies. Relying on His promises, and holy protection, they never cease to cry out, with the firmest confidence of being finally heard, “Lord, save us, we perish.”

Mat 8:25 And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish.

“We perish.” We are on the very point of perishing, and of being lost.

Mat 8:26 And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

“O ye of little faith?” This He probably said before the miracle, as St. Matthew, who is careful to observe the order of events, records it, although Mark and Luke say, it was after it. This excessive fear, which St. Mark tells us (4:38), made them imagine that our Lord was utterly unconcerned for them, shows how weak their faith was. They had on board the Lord God, whose Divine eye never sleeps. The suddenness of the storm, or, as the Evangelists express it, of the hurricane, which overtook them, utterly bewildered them; so that they hardly knew what they were about. They were not long accustomed, at this time, to the converse of our Lord; and, hence, it was no wonder, that the dreadful danger that they were in, should have caused such fear.

“He commanded.” The Greek word means, to command authoritatively. St. Mark (4:39), gives us the form of command used. “Peace, be still.” While His sleep indicated His humanity, this miracle proved His divinity. God alone can command the elements; according to the words of the Psalmist, “Thou rulest the power of the sea, and appeasest the motion of the waves thereof” (Psa. 88); also, “He said the word, and there arose a storm of wind, and the waves thereof were lifted up,” &c. (Psa. 106:25) The words of this verse are strongly figurative, and expressive of the sovereign power of our Blessed Lord over all creation, animated and inanimate.

“And there came a great calm,” without a vestige of the storm remaining. This shows the reality of the miracle. For, after a great storm, and commotion of the waters, the waves also continue, for some time, in a state of agitation, and the sea never becomes suddenly calm, save in case of a miracle, as here.

Mat 8:27 But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?

“The men wondered.” This may refer both to the disciples and to the men who manned the boat, as well as to those in the other boats which accompanied them across (Mark 4:36). It may also include the multitudes on the shore.

“What manner of man is this?” He must be surely, something even more than we regarded Him. He has worked greater wonders than Moses or any other. The very elements are obedient to His will. It need hardly be observed, that the whole occurrence which took place, while our Redeemer and His disciples were crossing the lake, was clearly typical of the future condition and circumstances of God’s holy Church, and never more so than at the present moment (A.D. 1876).

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Commentaries for the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 25, 2016

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Note: we are in Year C

Year A: Commentaries for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Commentaries for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Commentaries for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

MONDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

My Notes on Amos 2:6-10, 13-16. On verses 6-16.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Amos 2:6-10, 13-16.

A Protestant Commentary on Amos 2:6-10, 13-16.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 50.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 50.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 50.

Psalm 50 and the Catholic Encyclopedia. Greek, English, Latin text of Psalm hyperlinked with the C E.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 8:18-22.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 8:18-22.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:18-22.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 8:18-22.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 8:18-22.

TUESDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

My Notes on Amos 3:1-8, 4:11-12.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Amos 3:1-8, 4:11-12.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 5.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 5.

My Notes on Psalm 5.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:23-27.

St Jerome’s Homily on Matthew 8:23-27.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 8:23-27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 8:23-27.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 8:23-27.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 8:23-27.

WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Note: in 2016 this day falls on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. The first two links below are to commentaries for that solemnity (Vigil and Mass of the Day), the remainder are to the normal weekday.

2016: VIGIL~Commentaries for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.

2016: MASS DURING THE DAY~Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Today’s Mass Readings.

My Notes on Amos 5:14-15, 21-24.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Amos 5:14-15, 21-24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 50.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 50.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 50.

Psalm 50 and the Catholic Encyclopedia. Greek, English, Latin text of Psalm hyperlinked with the C E.

Father MacEvily’s Commentary on Matthew  8:28-34.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:28-34.

Father Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 8:28-34.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 8:28-34.

THURSDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

My Notes on Amos 7:10-17.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Amos 7:10-17.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 19.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 19. On entire psalm.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 19.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 19. On entire psalm.

Psalm 19 and the Catholic Encyclopedia. Greek, English and Latin text hyperlinked to the C E.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 9:1-8.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 9:1-8.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 9:1-8.

FRIDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

My Notes on Amos 8:4-6, 9-12.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Amos 8:4-6, 9-12.

Fr. Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 119.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Catechesis on Psalm 119.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Psalm 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 9:9-13.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:9-13.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 9:9-13.

Father Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 9:9-13.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 9:9-13.

SATURDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

An Overview of Amos 7:1-9:15. Briefly sets the structure of the final chapters of Amos from which today’s first reading is taken.

My Notes on Amos 9:11-15.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Amos 9:11-15.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 85.

My Notes on Psalm 85. With introduction by Fr. Boylan.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 85.

Psalm 85 and the Catholic Encyclopedia. Greek, English and Latin text of the Psalm hyperlinked to the C E.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 9:14-17.

Father John MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 9:14-17.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 9:14-17.

Father Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 9:14-17.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 9:14-17.

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Note: We are in Year C.

Year A: Commentaries for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Commentaries for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Commentaries for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

 

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Commentaries for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 25, 2016

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C

READINGS AND OFFICE:

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.

Today’s Divine Office.

Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Isaiah 66:10-14c.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 66:10-14c.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Isaiah 66:10-14.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 66.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 66. Entire psalm.

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 66. Entire psalm.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Galatians 6:14-18.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18. On 11-18.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20. The Lectionary allows for a shorter reading: Luke 10:1-9.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 10:1-12, 17-20.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 10:1-12, 17-20. Several sermons giving commentary on verses 1-7 and 17-20.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 10:1-12, 17-20.

GENERAL RESOURCES:

Sacred Page Blog: Gathering the New Jerusalem. Insightful reflections on the readings from Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma.

Update: The Mysterious 70 Disciples. Video by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. Brant Pitre.

Update: Doctrinal Homily Outlines. Gives theme of the readings, doctrinal message, suggested pastoral applications.

Scripture in Depth. Succinct summary of the readings.

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background.

Thought From the Early Church. Brief commentary from St Augustine.

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

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 13

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 25, 2016

OBEDIENCE DUE TO CIVIL AUTHORITY
 A Summary of Romans 13:1-7

We find here no special introduction to the subject which the Apostle begins to discuss. The connection, however, with what precedes is this, that after having given certain counsels regarding the private life of Christians, he now turns to consider their duties to the civil authority. Aside from a desire for completeness in indicating the duties of Christians, there seems to have been no special reason why St. Paul took up this question of civil obedience. The treatment is general, and does not appear to have been occasioned by any pressing need in Rome. Of course in those early days the Christians were generally regarded as a Jewish sect, or at least as having sprung from the Jews, and there was perhaps reason to fear lest, for some causes, the punishments which were frequently inflicted by the Roman authority on the latter might at times be visited on the former. At any rate, the Christian communities throughout the Empire were becoming more and more numerous, and there was an ever-increasing need, for the sake of private duty as well as public peace and safety, of clear and explicit views regarding the Christian’s attitude and obligations toward lawful civil authority. Therefore, the Apostle enjoins that the faithful be obedient to their civil rulers; for to resist their lawful superiors is to resist God, from whom all authority is derived. Civil superiors are divinely empowered for the promotion of good and the repression of evil. Hence it is needful to be obedient for the sake of one’s conscience. The Apostle confirms his doctrine by the fact that the faithful pay their taxes to civil magistrates as if to the ministers of God. Let each one, therefore, render to all men their dues.

Rom 13:1. Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.

Every soul, i.e., every human being. There is no question here of animals or things inanimate.

Be subject, i.e., be respectful and obedient, saving, of course, the rights of God and of conscience. St. Paul is supposing the authority to be just and lawful, and to be rightly exercised.

To higher powers, i.e., to the State, to those that have lawful authority in any degree. Those who have authority are said to be higher powers (υπερεχουσαις = hyperechousais) , or to possess higher powers by reason of the superiority which is theirs with respect to those under them. Hence the meaning is that all lawful superiors are to be obeyed, whether those superiors are personally good or bad, or are in places of higher or lower dignity. And the reason for this is that all power is from God. God is the Creator and supreme Regulator of all things, and consequently all power to administer affairs, or to rule under God, comes radically from Him alone.

Those that are, i.e., the superiors that now possess authority are ordained, i.e., have been constituted by God, and should therefore be obeyed in all things that come within the limits of their authority.

Rom 13:2. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.

Since all authority is from God, it follows that he who resisteth power or authority, i.e., he who will not be subject to authority, opposes the divine ordinance which God has established. To rebel, therefore, against authority is to sin against God and against man; and they who act thus purchase, better, “shall purchase,” to themselves damnation, i.e., they shall become liable to temporal punishment here and to eternal punishment hereafter. As said before, St. Paul is supposing the civil power to be exercised within its proper limits, and consequently not to encroach upon the rights of God. Habet autem hoc divina ordinatio, ut potestati inferiori non obediatur contra superiorem = “But the divine order requires that a lower power not be obeyed in opposition to a higher one” (St. Thomas).  The quote is taken from Aquinas’ Lectures on Romans 13, #1028: “But contrary to this is the fact that the Apostles and Martyrs appear to have resisted potentates and authorities and did no receive damnation from God as a result, but rather, a reward. The response is that the Apostle is now speaking of one who resists a lower power as established by God. But the divine order requires that a lower power not be obeyed in oppostion to a higher one, as a duke is not obeyed against God, as in Acts 5:29: ‘We must obey God rather than men.'”

In the Vulgate acquirunt should be future, to agree with the Greek. As indicated above, purchase should read in the future tense, shall purchase.

Rom 13:3. For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same.

The civil authority has been ordained by God and holds its power from God, in order to promote good and to curb evil.

Princes, i.e., rulers (αρχοντες = archontes) are not objects of fear to those who do good, but to those who do evil. Those who do good, far from fearing, have a right to expect praise from those in authority. Cf. 1 Pet. 2:13-14.

The boni operis, sed mali of the Vulgate should be bono operi, sed malo, according to many MSS.

Rom 13:4. For he is God’s minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God’s minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.

He, i.e., civil authority, or the one possessing it, has been constituted by God and ordained for good, i.e., for the benefit of all the members of society. The first object of authority, then, is to promote the welfare of its subjects; the second is to repress and punish evil as a menace to the good to which the members of society are entitled. The sword is the symbol or emblem of the right to inflict capital punishment for crimes committed against the social and civil power.

Rom 13:5. Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

As a result of the fact that authority is from God, and the possessor of authority is God’s minister, it follows that we should be subject to our lawful superiors by the very nature of the case. Not that our liberty is taken away, but only that there is need to be subject (αναγκη υποτασσεσθαι = ananke hypotassesthai) , and this for two reasons: for wrath, i.e., out of fear of the punishment which disobedience merits, and for conscience’ sake, i.e., for the peace of our conscience, which dictates submission to those who represent God. From this it is clear that legitimate human law and authority oblige in conscience, so that those who transgress them are liable to temporal punishment and are guilty of sin and deserve punishment from God.

Rom 13:6. For therefore also you pay tribute. For they are the ministers of God, serving unto this purpose.

For therefore (δια τουτο γαρ = dia touto gar) . St. Paul appeals to the ordinary practice of the Christians to prove their duty of obedience to the civil authority. They pay tribute, because they recognize that they are held in conscience to obey the law, and further because they look upon the revenue officers as ministers of God (λειτουργοι θεου = leitourgoi theou), i.e., as taking care of the public interest and providing for the public welfare—functions committed to them by God. Civil rulers who fulfil their charge faithfully are truly ministering to God, they are “God’s ministers” in temporal and profane affairs; as, in a higher and more sacred sense, they who serve God in spiritual and eternal matters are His ministers.

The servientes of the Vulgate should be assidue incumbentes (Cornely), or perseverantes (St. Aug.).

Rom 13:7. Render therefore to all men their dues. Tribute, to whom tribute is due: custom, to whom custom : fear, to whom fear: honour, to whom honour.

Making some practical applications of his doctrine the Apostle, in conformity with the teaching of our Lord (Matt. 22:21), says to render to every superior, high or low, the obedience which is due him according to his office. Tribute is tax on land or on persons, land-tax or poll-tax. Custom is tax on exports and imports. Fear means the respect and reverence that are due to lawful superiors.

The ergo of the Vulgate is not represented in the Greek; hence therefore should be omitted.

THE NECESSITY OF CHARITY AND VIGILANCE
A Summary of
Romans 13:8-14

 That which is fundamental to all our duties to all men, whether superiors or equals, is charity, the distinctive mark of the Christian. In it are summed up all the precepts of the Decalogue. There is special need for us to practice this virtue, since our lives are drawing to a close. 

Rom 13:8. Owe no man anything, but to love one another. For he that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. 

Owe no man anything, etc., i.e., have no debt to any man, except the debt of love or charity. All other debts besides this latter can be paid finally and completely, so as no longer to exist; but the debt of charity, however constantly paid, is ever due, because it rests on God’s abiding precept and upon the relations of nature and of grace that we have in common with our neighbor. Semper autem debeo caritatem quae sola etiam reddita definet redditorem (St. Aug.). St. Thomas gives the reasons why we can never pay our debt of charity to our neighbor: “First, because we owe our neighbor love for the sake of God, whom we can never sufficiently recompense (1 John 4:21); secondly, because the motive of love always remains, being likeness in nature and grace (Ecclus 13:19) ; thirdly, because charity does not diminish, but increases by love (Phil 1:9).” 

He that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law, because the love of one’s neighbor is founded on the love of God (John 15:17), and the love of God implies the fulfillment of all the precepts of “the law” of Moses. Cf. Matt 22:35 ff.; Gal 5:14; 1 John 4:20, 21. 

Rom 13:9. For Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

This verse proves that “law” of the preceding verse meant the Law of Moses, of which only certain precepts are here cited. St. Paul does not recite the whole Decalogue, but only those precepts of it regarding the neighbor which one might fail to see were involved in the general precept of charity. That he did not wish the other Commandments regarding God and the neighbor to be omitted is evident from the words, “and if there be any other commandment,” etc. The order here differs from the Hebrew text in Exod 20:13 ff.; Deut 5:17 ff.; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20. 

Thou shalt not bear false witness. These words are omitted in the best Greek copies, but they are included in the statement, and if there be any other commandment, etc.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour, etc. These words are taken from Lev 19:18, and signify that we should love all men with the same kind of love with which we love ourselves.

The instauratur of the Vulgate would better be recapitulatur (St. Jer., St. Aug.). 

Rom 13:10. The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law.

Summing up what he has said about charity the Apostle observes that love of our neighbour worketh no evil to the neighbour, as it is in the Greek. That over and above this negative good it works positive good to the neighbor is clear from what follows in the verse, which is a repetition of the end of verse 8. To love perfectly is to fulfil the law, because, as said above, the love of the neighbor is based on the love of God, and this, when perfect, means the fulfilling of all the precepts of the law.

In the Vulgate dilectio proximi should be dilectio proximo, according to the Greek.

Rom 13:11. And that knowing the season; that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed.

Another reason for practicing charity is drawn from the special circumstances of time in which the Romans found themselves. The Apostle admonishes them that it is now needful that they should rise from sleep, i.e., from the state of tepidity and negligence into which some may have fallen since their conversion. The reason is because time is growing shorter for them. 

Our salvation, i.e., our final deliverance from earth is nearer than when we believed, i.e., than when we were converted to the faith, consequently we should lose no time, but should stimulate all our energies and increase our fervor. Every day that passes brings us nearer to death and to our eternal reward. This was certainly true of individuals, and of the whole generation whom St. Paul was addressing, but we must not thence gather that the Apostle meant to teach anything about the nearness of the Second Coming of Christ for all; he had not forgotten his teaching (11:25) regarding the conversions of the nations and of Israel, which were surely far off”. The “salvation” of the Christians began with their conversion, and its final glorious consummation is drawing nearer every day. This fact the Apostle makes use of here to rouse the faithful from tepidity and negligence, and to stimulate them to vigorous and spiritual effort. Beyond this his argument at present does not go. 

Rom 13:12. The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. 

The night is passed, i.e., our course in this world of darkness and sin is far advanced (προεκοψεν). The night began with the sin of Adam, but the day of salvation dawned with the death of Christ. This day, already shedding its light over the world, and cheering the Christians in particular, will reach its meridian later on in the final glorification of our souls and bodies (5:9; 2 Tim 4:18). Since, therefore, we are living in the daylight of redemption, we should conduct ourselves as children of light and put aside all sins, because these are works of darkness (5:13; John 3:20; Eph 6:12) and lead to eternal night; we should put on the armour of light, i.e., the armor of Christian virtues, and war against evil (1 Thess 5:8; Eph 6:11 ff.; 2 Cor 10:4 ff.). 

Rom 13:13. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy:

In this verse the Apostle is showing how different should be the conduct of Christians from the practices of pagans. The vices he enumerates were those commonly practiced by the pagan Romans during the night at their feasts and banquets. The Christians, then, who are living in the bright day of redemption, should be adorned with all virtues and should live and act as becomes children of light, and not according to the immoral standards of paganism.

The first two vices here mentioned pertain to gluttony and debauchery (Gal 5:21); the second two refer to sins of luxury (Gal 5:19); and the remaining were sins against charity and one’s neighbor (1 Cor 3:3; 2 Cor 12:20; Gal 5:20). 

Chambering means all kinds of acts of impurity. 

Rom 13:14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.

Not only should the Christian put away and shun the works of darkness, but he must go further and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, i.e., he must clothe himself with the virtues, the spirit, and the grace of Christ. Already in Baptism Christians are clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27), but it is their duty thereafter to cooperate with grace and thus increase their likeness to our Lord by constantly imitating the virtues which shone in Him. 

Make not provision, etc., i.e., cease to provide for the flesh in the way of exciting and satisfying its unclean and perverse desires and tendencies; all necessary provision and care for the body is not here in question, except in so far as the needs of the body must not be the dominant motives in the Christian’s life.

It is well known that St. Augustine was converted by the reading of the last two verses of this chapter {Confess., viii. 12, 22).

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Commentaries for the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time, year II

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2016

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Note: we are in year C

Year A: Commentaries for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Commentaries for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Commentaries for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

MONDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Haydock Bible Commentary on 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 60.

Haydock Bible Commentary on Psalm 60:3, 4-5, 12-13.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 7:1-5.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 7:1-5.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew  7:1-5.

TUESDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Kings 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31a-35a, 36.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 48.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 48.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 48.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 7:6, 12-14.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 7:6, 12-14.

Father Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 7:6, 12-14.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 7:6, 12-14.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 7:6, 12-14.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 7:6, 12-14.

WEDNESDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Kgs 22:8-13; 23:1-3.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 119.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Catechesis on Psalm 119.

Psallam Domino’s Commentary on Ps 119:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40. On verses 33-40.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 7:15-20.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 7:15-20.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 7:15-20.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 7:15-20.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 7:15-20.

THURSDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Kings 24:8-17.

Background to Psalm 79.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 79.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 79.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 7:21-29.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 7:21-29.

John MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 7:21-29.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 7:21-29.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 7:21-29.

FRIDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Note: in 2016 this day falls on June 25, The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. The first link is to commentaries for that Solemnity (both the Vigil and Mass of the Day). The remaining links are for the normal weekday.

Commentaries for the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Vigil and Mass of the Day).

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Kings 25:1-12.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 137.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 137.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 8:1-4.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:1-4.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 8:1-4.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 8:1-4.

SATURDAY OF THE TWELFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 74.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 74.

Father Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 8:5-17.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:5-17.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 8:5-17.

St Augustine’s Homily on Matthew 8:8.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 8:5-17.

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Note: we are in Year C

Year A: Commentaries for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Commentaries for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Commentaries for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

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

Commentaries for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2016

READINGS AND OFFICE:

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.

Today’s Divine Office.

Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: 1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21.

Homilist’s Catechism on 1 Kings 19:16b 19-21.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 16.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 16. Whole psalm.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 16. Whole psalm.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 16.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 16.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

Father Rickaby’s Commentary on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

Homilist’s Catechism on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: Luke 9:51-62.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 9:51-62.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 9:51-62.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 9:51-62.

Homilist’s Catechism on Luke 9:51-62.

GENERAL RESOURCES:.

Sacred Page Blog: The Radical Call to Discipleship. Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma on the readings.

Doctrinal Homily Outlines. Gives theme of the readings, doctrinal message, suggested pastoral applications.

Scripture in Depth. Succinct summary of the readings.

Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background.

Thought From the Early Church. Brief commentary from St Hilary of Poitiers.

PODCASTS:

Dr, Scott Hahn’s Podcast. Very brief. Does good job of highlighting the major theme(s) of the readings. Text available.

Fr. Robert Barron’s Podcast Homily: Elisha and the Path of True Freedom.From a noted speaker and theologian.

Institute of Catholic Culture’s Podcast on Galatians. Two lectures on the letter.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast on Luke 8 & 9.

Father Francis Martin’sReflections in Four Parts: Each approx. 15 minutes.

Part 1: The Theme: Discipleship.

Part 2: First Reading and Psalm.

Part 3: The Second Reading.

Part 4: The Gospel Reading.

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

St Augustine’s Homily on Matthew 8:8

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2016

ON THE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL, MATT. 8:8, “I AM NOT WORTHY THAT THOU SHOULDEST COME UNDER MY ROOF,” ETC., AND OF THE WORDS OF THE APOSTLE, 1 COR. 8:10, “FOR IF A MAN SEE THEE WHO HAST KNOWLEDGE SITTING AT MEAT IN AN IDOL’S TEMPLE,” ETC.

[I] 1. WE have heard, as the Gospel was being read, the praise of our faith as manifested in humility. For when the Lord Jesus promised that He would go to the Centurion’s house to heal His servant, He answered, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and he shall be healed.”3 By calling himself unworthy, he showed himself worthy for Christ to come not into his house, but into his heart. Nor would he have said this with so great faith and humility, had he not borne Him in his heart, of whose coming into his house he was afraid. For it were no great happiness for the Lord Jesus to enter into his house, and yet not to be in his heart. For this Master of humility both by word and example, sat down even in the house of a certain proud Pharisee, by name Simon;4 and though He sat down in his house, there was no place in this heart, “where the Son of Man could lay His Head.”5

2. For so, as we may understand from the words of the Lord Himself, did He call back from His discipleship a certain proud man, who of his own accord was desirous to go with Him. “Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.”6 And the Lord seeing in his heart what was invisible, said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His Head.”7 That is, in thee, guile like the fox doth dwell, and pride as the birds of heaven. But the Son of Man simple as opposed to guile, lowly as opposed to pride, hath not where to lay His Head; and this very laying, not the raising up of the head, teaches humility. Therefore doth He call back this one who was desirous to go, and another who refused He draweth onward. For in the same place He saith to a certain man, “Follow Me.” And he said, “I will follow Thee, Lord, but let me first go and bury my father.”1 His excuse was indeed a dutiful one: and therefore was he the more worthy to have his excuse removed, and his calling confirmed. What he wished to do was an act of dutifulness; but the Master taught him what he ought to prefer. For He wished him to be a preacher of the living word, to make others live. But there were others by whom that first necessary office might be fulfilled. “Let the dead,” He saith, “bury their dead.” When unbelievers bury a dead body, the dead bury the dead. The body of the one hath lost its soul, the soul of the others hath lost God. For as the soul is the life of the body; so is God the life of the soul. As the body expires when it loses the soul, so doth the soul expire when it loses God. The loss of God is the death of the soul: the loss of the soul the death of the body. The death of the body is necessary; the death of the soul voluntary.

3. The Lord then sat down in the house of a certain proud Pharisee. He was in his house, as I have said, and was not in his heart. But into this centurion’s house He entered not, yet He possessed his heart. Zacchæus again received the Lord both in house and heart.2 Yet the centurion’s faith is praised for its humility. For he said, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof;”3 and the Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel;”4 according to the flesh, that is. For he too was an Israelite undoubtedly according to the spirit. The Lord had come to fleshly Israel, that is, to the Jews, there to seek first for the lost sheep, among this people, and of this people also He had assumed His Body. “I have not found there so great faith,” He saith. We can but measure the faith of men, as men can judge of it; but He who saw the inward parts, He whom no man can deceive, gave His testimony to this man’s heart, hearing words of lowliness, and pronouncing a sentence of healing.

[II] 4. But whence did he get such confidence? “I also,” saith he, “am a man set under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh: and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”5 I am an authority to certain who are placed under me, being myself placed under a certain authority above me. If then I a man under authority have the power of commanding, what power must Thou have, whom all powers serve? Now this man was of the Gentiles, for he was a centurion. At that time the Jewish nation had soldiers of the Roman empire among them. There he was engaged in a military life, according to the extent of a centurion’s authority, both under authority himself, and having authority over others; as a subject obedient, ruling others who were under him. But the Lord (and mark this especially, Beloved, as need there is you should), though He was among the Jewish people only, even now announced beforehand that the Church should be in the whole world, for the establishment of which He would send Apostles; Himself not seen, yet believed on by the Gentiles: by the Jews seen, and put to death. For as the Lord did not in body enter into this man’s house, and still, though in body absent, yet present in majesty, healed his faith, and his house; so the same Lord also was in body among the Jewish people only: among the other nations He was neither born of a Virgin, nor suffered, nor walked, nor endured His human sufferings, nor wrought His divine miracles. None of all this took place in the rest of the nations, and yet was that fulfilled which was spoken of Him, “A people whom I have not known, hath served Me.” And how if it did not know Him? “Hath obeyed Me by the hearing of the ear.”6 The Jewish nation knew, and crucified Him; the whole world besides heard and believed.

[III] 5. This absence, so to say, of His body, and presence of His power among all nations, He signified also in the instance of that woman who had touched the edge of His garment, when He asketh, saying, “Who touched Me?”7 He asketh, as though He were absent; as though present, He healeth. “The multitude,” say the disciples, “press Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched Me?” For as if He were so walking as not to be touched by anybody at all, He said, “Who touched Me?” And they answer, “The multitude press Thee.” And the Lord would seem to say, I am asking for one who touched, not for one who pressed Me. In this case also is His Body now, that is, His Church. The faith of the few “touches” it, the throng of the many “press” it. For ye have heard, as being her children, that Christ’s Body is the Church, and if ye will, ye yourselves are so. This the Apostle says in many places, “For His body’s sake, which is the Church;”8 and again, “But ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”9 If then we are His body, what His body then suffered in the crowd, that doth His Church suffer now. It is pressed by many, touched by few. The flesh presses it, faith touches it. Lift up therefore your eyes, I beseech you, ye who have wherewithal to see. For ye have before you something to see. Lift up the eyes of faith, touch but the extreme border of His garment, it will be sufficient for saving health.

6. See ye how that which ye have heard out of the Gospel was at that time to come is now present. Therefore, said He, on occasion of the commendation of the Centurion’s faith, as in the flesh an alien, but of the household in heart, “Therefore I say unto you, Many shall come front the east and west.”1 Not all, but “many;” yet they shall “come from the East and West;” the whole world is denoted by these two parts. “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.” “But the children of the kingdom,” the Jews, namely. And how “the children of the kingdom”? Because they received the Law; to them the Prophets were sent, with them was the temple and the Priesthood; they celebrated the figures of all the things to come. Yet of what things they celebrated the figures, they acknowledged not the presence. And, “Therefore the children of the kingdom,” He saith, “shall go into outer darkness, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” And so we see the Jews reprobate, and Christians called from the East and West, to the heavenly banquet, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, where the bread is righteousness, and the2 cup wisdom.

[IV] 7. Consider then, brethren, for of these are ye; ye are of this people, even then foretold, and now exhibited.3 Yes, verily, ye are of those who have been called from the East and West, to sit down in the kingdom of heaven, not in the temple of idols. Be ye then the Body of Christ, not the pressure of His Body. Ye have the border of His garment to touch, that ye may be healed of the issue of blood, that is, of carnal pleasures. Ye have, I say, the border of the garment to touch. Look upon the Apostles as the garment, by the texture of unity clinging closely to the sides of Christ. Among these Apostles was Paul, as it were the border, the least and last; as he saith himself, “I am the least of the Apostles.”4 In a garment the last and least thing is the border. The border is in appearance contemptible, yet is it touched with saving efficacy.5 “Even to this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked and buffeted.”6 What state so low, so contemptible as this! Touch then, if thou art suffering from a bloody flux. There will go power out of Him whose garment it is, and it will heal thee. The border was proposed to you just now to be touched, when out of the same Apostle there was read, “For if any one see him which hath knowledge sit at meat in an idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him who is weak, be emboldened to eat things offered to idols? And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish, for whom Christ died!”7 How think ye may men be deceived by idols, which they suppose are honoured by Christians? A man may say, “God knows my heart.” Yes, but thy brother did not know thy heart. If thou art weak, beware of a still greater weakness; if thou art strong, have a care of thy brother’s weakness. They who see what you do, are emboldened to do more, so as to desire not only to eat, but also to sacrifice there. And lo, “Through thy knowledge the weak brother perisheth.” Hear then, my brother; if thou didst disregard the weak, wouldest thou disregard a brother also? Awake. What if so thou sin against Christ Himself? For attend to what thou canst not by any means disregard. “But,” saith he, “when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience ye sin against Christ.”8 Let them who disregard these words, go now, and sit at meat in the idol’s temple; will they not be of those who press, and do not touch? And when they have been at meat in the idol’s temple, let them come and fill the Church; not to receive saving health, but to make a pressure there.

[V] 8. But thou wilt say, I am afraid lest I offend those above me. By all means be afraid of offending them, and so thou wilt not offend God. For thou who art afraid lest thou offend those above thee, see whether there be not One above him whom thou art afraid of offending. By all means then be loth to offend those above thee. This is an established rule with thee. But then is it not plain, that he must on no account be offended, who is above all others? Run over now the list of those above thee. First are thy father and mother, if they are educating thee aright; if they are bringing thee up for Christ; they are to be heard in all things, they must be obeyed in every command; let them enjoin nothing against one above themselves, and so let them be obeyed. And who, thou wilt say, is above him who begat me? He who created thee. For man begets, but God creates. How it is that man begets, he does not know; and what he shall beget, he does not know. But He who saw thee that He might make thee, before that he whom He made existed, is surely above thy father. Thy country again should be above thy very parents; so that whereinsoever thy parents enjoin aught against thy country, they are not to be listened to. And whatsoever thy country enjoin against God, it is not to be listened to. For if thou wilt be healed, if after the issue of blood, if after twelve years’ continuance in that disease, if after having spent thine all upon physicians, and not having received health, thou dost wish at length to be made whole; O woman, whom I am addressing as a figure of the Church, thy father enjoineth thee this, and thy people that. But thy Lord saith to thee, “Forget thine own people, and thy father’s house.”1 For what good? for what advantage? with what useful result? “Because the King hath desired thy beauty.” He hath desired what He made, since when deformed He loved thee, that He might make thee beautiful. For thee unbelieving, and deformed, He shed His Blood, and He made thee faithful and beauteous, He hath loved His own gifts in thee. For what didst thou bring to thy spouse? What didst thou receive for dowry from thy former father, and former people? Was it not the excesses2 and the rags of sins? Thy rags He cast away, thy robe impure3 He tore asunder. He pitied thee that He might adorn thee. He adorned thee, that He might love thee.

[VI] 9. What need of more, Brethren. Ye are Christians, and have heard, that “If ye sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.” Do not disregard it, if ye would not be wiped out of the book of life. How long shall I go about to speak in bright and pleasing terms to you, what my grief forceth me to speak in some sort, and will not suffer me to keep secret? Whosoever they are who are minded to disregard these things, and sin against Christ, let them only consider what they are doing. We wish the rest of the Heathen to be gathered in; and ye are stones in their way: they have a wish to come; they stumble, and so return. For they say in their hearts, Why should we leave the gods whom the very Christians worship as we do? God forbid, thou wilt say, that I should worship the gods of the Gentiles. I know, I understand, I believe thee. But what account art thou making of the consciences of the weak which thou art wounding? What account art thou making of their price, if thou disregard the purchase? Consider for how great a price was the purchase made. “Through thy knowledge,” saith the Apostle, “shall the weak brother perish;” that knowledge which thou professest to have, in that thou knowest that an idol is nothing, and that in thy mind thou art thinking only of God, and so sittest down in the idol’s temple. In this knowledge the weak brother perisheth. And lest thou shouldest pay no regard to the weak brother, he added, “for whom Christ died.” If thou wouldest disregard him, yet consider his Price, and weigh the whole world in the balance with the Blood of Christ. And lest thou shouldest still think that thou art sinning against a weak brother, and so esteem it after that he had heard that he was “Peter,” a a trivial fault, and of small account, he saith, “Ye sin against Christ.” For men are in the habit of saying, “I sin against man; am I sinning against God?” Deny then that Christ is God. Dost thou dare deny that Christ is God? Hast thou learned this other doctrine, when thou didst sit at meat in the idol’s temple? The school of Christ doth not admit that doctrine. I ask; Where learnedst thou that Christ is not God? The Pagans are wont to say so. Seest thou what bad associations4 do? Seest thou, “that evil communications corrupt good manners?”5 There thou canst not speak of the Gospel, and thou dost hear others talking of idols. There thou losest the truth that Christ is God; and what thou dost drink in there, thou vomitest out in the Church. It may be thou art bold enough to speak here; bold enough to mutter among the crowds; “Was not then Christ a man? Was He not crucified?” This hast thou learned of the Pagans. Thou hast lost thy soul’s health, thou hast not touched the border. On this point then touch again the border, and receive health. As I taught thee to touch it in this that is written, “Whoso seeth a brother sit at meat in the idol’s temple;”6 touch it also concerning the Divinity of Christ. The same border said of the Jews, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever,”7 Behold, against Whom, even the Very God, thou dost sin, when thou sittest down with false gods.

10. It is no god, you will say; because it is the tutelary genius of Carthage. As though if it were Mars or Mercury, it would be a god. But consider in what light it is esteemed by them; not what it is in itself. For I know also as well as thou, that it is but a stone. If this “genius” be any ornament, let the citizens of Carthage live well; and they themselves will be this “genius” of Carthage. But if the “genius” be a devil, ye have heard in that same Scripture, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.”8 We know well that it is no God; would that they knew it too! but because of those weak ones who do not know it, their conscience ought not to be wounded. It is this that the Apostle warns us of. For that they regard that statue as something divine, and take it for a god, the altar is witness. What does the altar there, if it be not accounted a god? Let no one tell me; it is no deity, it is no God. I have said already, “Would that they only knew this, as we all do.” But how they regard it, for what they take it, and what they do about it, that altar is witness. It is convincing against the intentions of all who worship there, grant that it may not be convincing also against those who sit at meat with them!

[VII] 11. Yes, let not Christians press the Church, if the Pagans do. She is the Body of Christ. Were we not saying, that the Body of Christ was pressed, and not touched. He endured those who pressed Him; and was looking out for those who “touched” Him. And, Brethren, I would that if the Body of Christ be pressed by Pagans, by whom it is wont to be pressed; that at least Christians would not press the Body of Christ. Brethren, it is my business to speak to you, my business it is to speak to Christians; “For what have I to do to judge them that are without?”1 the Apostle himself saith. Them we address in another way, as being weak. With them we must2 deal softly, that they may hear the truth; in you the corruption must be cut out. If ye ask whereby the Pagans are to be gained over, whereby they are to be illuminated, and called to salvation; forsake their solemnities, forsake their trifling shows; and then if they do not consent to our truth, let them blush at their own scantiness.

12. If he who is over thee be a good man, he is thy nourisher; if a bad man, he is thy tempter. Receive the nourishment in the one case with gladness, and in the temptation show thyself approved. Be thou gold. Regard this world as the furnace of the goldsmith; in one narrow place are there things, gold, chaff, fire. To the two former the fire is applied, the chaff is burned, and the gold purified. A man has yielded to threats, and been led away to the idol’s temple: Alas! I bewail the chaff; I see the ashes. Another has not yet yielded to threats nor terrors; has been brought before the judge, and stood firm in his confession, and has not bent down to the idol image: what does the flame with him? Does it not purify the gold? Stand fast then, Brethren, in the Lord; greater in power is He who hath called you. Be not afraid of the threats of the ungodly. Bear with your enemies; in them ye have those for whom ye may pray; let them by no means terrify you. This is saving health, draw out in this feast here from this source; here drink that wherewith ye may be satisfied, and not in those other feasts, that only whereby ye may be maddened. Stand fast in the Lord. Ye are silver, ye shall be gold. This similitude is not our own, it is out of Holy Scripture. Ye have read and heard, “As gold in the furnace hath He tried them, and received them as a burnt-offering.”3 See what ye shall be among the treasures of God. Be ye rich as touching God, not as if to make Him rich, but as to become rich from Him. Let Him replenish you; admit nought else into your heart.

[VIII] 13. Do we lift up ourselves unto pride, or tell you to be despisers against the powers ordained? Not so. Do ye again who are sick on this point, touch also that border of the garment? The Apostle himself saith, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God. He then who resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.”4 But what if it enjoin what thou oughtest not to do? In this case by all means disregard the power through fear of Power. Consider these several grades of human powers. If the magistrate5 enjoin anything, must it not be done? Yet if his order be in opposition to the Proconsul, thou dost not surely despise the power, but choosest to obey a greater power. Nor in this case ought the less to be angry, if the greater be preferred. Again, if the Proconsul himself enjoin anything, and the Emperor another thing, is there any doubt, that disregarding the former, we ought to obey the latter? So then if the Emperor enjoin one thing, and God another, what judge ye? Pay me tribute, submit thyself to my allegiance. Right, but not in an idol’s temple. In an idol’s temple He forbids it. Who forbids it? A greater Power. Pardon me then: thou threatenest a prison, He threateneth hell. Here must thou at once take to thee thy “faith as a shield, whereby thou mayest be able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy.”6

[IX] 14. But one of these powers is plotting, and contriving evil designs against thee. Well: he is but sharpening the razor wherewith to shave the hair, but not to cut the head. Ye have but just now heard this that I have said in the Psalm, “Thou hast worked deceit like a sharp razor.”7 Why did He compare the deceit of a wicked man in power to a razor? Because it does not reach, save to our superfluous parts. As hairs on our body seem as it were superfluous, and are shaven off without any loss of the flesh; so whatsoever an angry man in power can take from thee, count only among thy superfluities. He takes away thy poverty; can he take away thy wealth? Thy poverty is thy wealth in thy heart. Thy superfluous things only hath he power to take away, these only hath he power to injure, even though he had license given him so far as to hurt the body. Yea even this life itself to those whose thoughts are of another life, this present life, I say, may be reckoned among the things superfluous. For so the Martyrs have despised it. They did not lose life, but they gained Life.

[X] 15. Be sure, Brethren, that enemies have no power against the faithful, except so far as it profiteth them to be tempted and proved. Of this be sure, Brethren, let no one say ought against it. Cast all your care upon the Lord, throw yourselves wholly and entirely upon Him. He will not withdraw Himself that ye should fall. He who created us, hath given us security touching our very hairs. “Verily I say unto you, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”1 Our hairs are numbered by God; how much more is our conduct known to Him to whom our hairs are thus known? See then, how that God doth not disregard our least things. For if He disregarded them, He would not create them. For He verily both created our hairs, and still taketh count of them. But thou wilt say, though they are preserved at present, perhaps they will perish. On this point also hear His word, “Verily I say unto you, there shall not an hair of your head perish.”2 Why art thou afraid of man, O man, whose place is in the Bosom of God? Fall not out of His Bosom; whatsoever thou shalt suffer there, will avail to thy salvation, not to thy destruction. Martyrs have endured the tearing of their limbs, and shall Christians fear the injuries of Christian times? He who would do thee an injury now, can only do it in fear. He does not say openly, come to the idol-feast; he does not say openly, come to my altars, and banquet there. And if he should say so, and thou wast to refuse, let him make a complaint of it, let him bring it as an accusation and charge against thee: “He would not come to my altars, he would not come to my temple, where I worship.” Let him say this. He does not dare; but in his guile he contrives another attack. Make ready thy hair; he is sharpening the razor; he is about to take off thy superfluous things, to shave what thou must soon leave behind thee. Let him take off what shall endure, if he can. This powerful enemy, what has he taken away? what great thing has he taken away? That which a thief or housebreaker could take: in his utmost rage, he can but take what a robber can. Even if he should have license given him to the slaying of the very body, what does he take away, but what the robber can take? I did him too much honour, when I said, “a robber.” For be the robber who and what he may, he is a man. He takes from thee what a fever, or an adder, or a poisonous mushroom can take. Here lies the whole power of the rage of men, to do what a mushroom can! Men eat a poisonous mushroom, and they die. Lo! in what frail estate is the life of man; which sooner or later thou must abandon; do not struggle then in such wise for it, as that thou shouldest be abandoned thyself.

[XI] 16. Christ is our Life; think then of Christ. He came to suffer, but also to be glorified; to be despised, but to be exalted also; to die; but also to rise again. If the labour alarm thee, see its reward. Why dost thou wish to arrive by softness at that to which nothing but hard labour can lead? Now thou art afraid, lest thou shouldest lose thy money; because thou earnest thy money with great labour. If thou didst not attain to thy money, which thou must some time or other lose, at all events when thou diest, without labour, wouldest thou desire without labour to attain to the Life eternal? Let that be of higher value in thine eyes, to which after all thy labours thou shalt in such sort attain as never more to lose it. If this money, to which thou hast attained after all thy labours on such condition as that thou must some time lose it, be of high value with thee; how much more ought we to long after those things which are everlasting!

17. Give no credit to their words, neither be afraid of them. They say that we are enemies of their idols. May God so grant, and give all into our power, as He hath already given us that which we have broken down. For this I say, Beloved, that ye may not attempt to do it, when it is not lawfully in your power to do it; for it is the way of ill-regulated men, and the mad Circumcelliones,3 both to be violent when they have no power, and to be ever eager in their wishes to die without a cause. Ye heard what we read to you, all of you who were present in the Mappalia.4 “When the land shall have been given into your power (he saith first, “into your power,” and so enjoined what was to be done); “then,” saith he, “ye shall destroy their altars, and break in pieces their groves, and hew down all their images.”5 When we shall have got the power, do this. When the power has not been given us, we do not do it; when it is given, we do not neglect it. Many Pagans have these abominations on their own estates; do we go and break them in pieces? No, for our first efforts are that the idols in their hearts should be broken down. When they too are made Christians themselves, they either invite us to so good a work, or anticipate us. At present we must pray for them, not be angry with them. If very painful feelings excite us, it is rather against Christians, it is against our brethren, who will enter into the Church in such a mind, as to have their body there, and their heart anywhere else. The whole ought to be within. If that which man seeth is within, why is that which God seeth without?

[XII] 18. Now ye may know, Dearly Beloved, that these unite their murmurings with Heretics and with Jews. Heretics, Jews, and Heathens have made a unity against Unity. Because it has happened, that in some places the Jews have received chastisement because of their wickednesses; they charge and suspect us, or pretend, that we are always seeking the like treatment for them. Again, because it has happened that the heretics1 in some places have suffered the penalty of the laws for the impiety and fury of their deeds of violence; they say immediately that we are seeking by every means some harm for their destruction. Again, because it has been resolved that laws should be passed against the Heathen, yea for them rather, if they were only wise. (For as when silly boys are playing with the mud, and dirtying their hands, the strict master comes, shakes the mud out of their hands, and holds out their book; so has it pleased God by the hands of princes His subjects to alarm their childish, foolish hearts, that they may throw away the dirt from their hands, and set about something useful. And what is this something useful with the hands, but, “Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring the houseless poor into thy house”?2 But nevertheless these children escape from their master’s sight, and return stealthily to their mud, and when they are discovered they hide their hands that they may not be seen.) Because then it has so pleased God, they think that we are looking out for the idols everywhere, and that we break them down in all places where we have discovered them. How so? Are there not places before our very eyes in which they are? Or are we indeed ignorant where they are? And yet we do not break them down, because God has not given them into our power. When does God give them into our power? When the masters of these things shall become Christians. The master of a certain place has just lately wished this to be done. If he had not been minded to give the place itself to the Church, and only had given orders that there should be no idols on his property; I think that it ought to have been executed with the greatest devotion, that the soul of the absent Christian brother, who wishes on his land to return thanks to God, and would not that there should be anything there to God’s dishonour, might be assisted by his fellow-Christians. Added to this, that in this case he gave the place itself to the Church. And shall there be idols in the Church’s estate? Brethren, see then what it is that displeases the Heathens. It is but a little matter with them that we do not take them away from their estates, that we do not break them down: they would have them kept up even in our own places. We preach against idols, we take them away from the hearts of men; we are persecutors of idols; we openly profess it. Are we then to be the preservers of them? I do not touch them when I have not the power; I do not touch them when the lord of the property complains of it; but when he wishes it to be done, and gives thanks for it, I should incur guilt if I did it not.

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