The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for December, 2016

Commentareis for the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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

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

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

MONDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 4:1-15, 25.

One Bread, One Body: Walking with a Cain.

On Bread, One Body: The Best or the Rest. On Gen 4:4.

One Bread, One Body: Sin is a Lurking Demon. On Gen 4:7.

Living Space: Commentary on Genesis 4:1-15, 25.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 50.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 50.

St Thomsa Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 50.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 50.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 8:11-13.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 8:11-13.

One Bread, One Body: Truth Seekers. On Mark 8:11-13.

Living Space: Commentary on Mark 8:11-13.

TUESDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 6:5-8, 7:1-5, 10.

Living Space: Commentary on Genesis 6:5-8, 7:1-5, 10.

Presentation Ministries: Heartbroken God. On Gen 6:5-6.

Presentation Ministries: Heart to Heart. On Gen 6:6.

Presentation Ministries: Flood Stage. On Gen 7:10.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 29.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 29.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Psalm 29.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 29.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 8:14-21.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 8:14-21.

Living Space: Commentary on Mark 8:14-21.

Presentation Ministries: Under the Influence. On Mk 8:15.

Presentation Ministries: Blinding Speed. On Mk 8:17-18.

WEDNESDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Living Space: Commentary on Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 116.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 116.

Pope St John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 116:10-19.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 8:22-26.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 8:22-26.

Living Space: Commentary on Mark 8:22-26.

THURSDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 9:1-13.

Living Space: Commentary on Genesis 9:1-13.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 102.

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

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 102.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 102.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 8:27-33.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 8:27-33.

Living Space: Commentary on Mark 8:27-33.

FRIDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
In 2019 this day falls on Feb. 22, the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. The first link is to commentaries for that feast. Remaining links are for the normal readings of the day.

2019. Commentaries for the Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 11:1-9.

Living Space: Commentary on Genesis 11:1-9.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 33.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 33.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 33.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 33.

Pope St John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 33.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 8:34-9:1.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 8:34-9:1.

Living Space: Commentary on Mark 8:34-9:1.

SATURDAY OF THE SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-7.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-7.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-7.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-7.

Living Space: Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-7.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 145.

Pope Benedict’s Commentary on Psalm 145.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 9:2-13.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 9:2-13.

Living Space: Commentary on Mark 9:2-13.

SUNDAY OF THE SEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Year A: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year B: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Year C: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

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

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

Note: The following is excerpted from several homilies.

EXCERPT FROM HOMILY 21 ON HEBREWS 11:1-2

[4.] (Heb 11:1-2) “Now faith is the substance  of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.” O what an expression has he used, in saying, “an evidence of things not seen.” For [we say] there is “evidence,” in the case of things that are very plain. 14 Faith then is the seeing things not plain (he means), and brings what are not seen to the same full assurance with what are seen. So then neither is it possible to disbelieve in things which are seen, nor, on the other hand can there be faith unless a man be more fully assured with respect to things invisible, than he is with respect to things that are most clearly seen. For since the objects of hope seem to be unsubstantial, Faith gives them substantiality, 15 or rather, does not give it, but is itself their substance. 16 For instance, the Resurrection has not come, nor does it exist substantially, but hope makes it substantial in our soul. This is [the meaning of] “the substance of things.”

If therefore it is an “evidence of things not seen,” why forsooth do you wish to see them, so as to fall away from faith, and from being just? 17 Since “the just shall live by faith,” whereas ye, if ye wish to see these things, are no longer faithful. Ye have labored (he says), ye have struggled: I too allow this, nevertheless, wait for this is Faith: do not seek the whole “here.”

2105  [5.] These things were indeed said to the Hebrews, but they are a general exhortation also to many of those who are here assembled. How and in what way? To the faint-hearted; to the mean-spirited. For when they see the wicked prospering, and themselves faring ill, they are troubled, they bear it impatiently: while they long for the chastisement, and the inflicting vengeance on others; while they wait for the rewards of their own sufferings. “For yet a little time, and He that shah come will come.”

Let us then say this to the slothful: Doubtless there will be punishment; doubtless He will come, henceforth the events of the 18 Resurrection are even at the doors.

Whence [does] that [appear] (you say)? I do not say, from the prophets; for neither do I now speak to Christians only; but even if a heathen be here, I am perfectly confident, and bring forward my proofs, and will instruct him. How (you say)?

Christ foretold many things. If those former things did not come to pass, then do not believe them; but if they all came to pass, why doubt concerning those that remain? And indeed, it were very unreasonable, 19 nothing having come to pass, to believe the one, or when all has come to pass, to disbelieve the others.

But I will make the matter more plain by anexample. Christ said, that Jerusalem should be taken, and should be so taken as no city ever was before, and that it should never be raised up: and in fact this prediction came to pass. He said, that there should be “great tribulation” (Mt 24,21), and it came to pass. He said that a grain of mustard seed is sown, so should the preaching [of the Gospel] be extended: and every day we see this running over theworld. He said, that they who left father or mother, or brethren, or sisters, should have both fathers and mothers; And this we see fulfilled by facts. He said, “in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16,33), that is, no man shall get the better of you. And this we see by the events has come to pass. He said that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church” (Mt 16,18), even though persecuted, and that no one shall quench the preaching [of the Gospel]: and the experience of events bears witness to this prediction also: and yet when He said these things, it was very hard to believe Him. Why? Because all these were words, and He had not as yet given proof of the things spoken. So that they have now become far more credible. He said that “when the Gospel should have been preached among all the nations, then the end shall come” (Mt 24,14); lo! now ye have arrived at the end: for the greater part of the world hath been preached to, therefore the end is now at hand. Let us tremble, beloved.

COMPLETE HOMILY 22 ON HEBREWS 11:3-6

[1.] Faith3 needs a generous and vigorous soul, and one rising above all things of sense, and passing beyond the weakness of human reasonings. For it is not possible to become a believer, otherwise than by raising one’s self above the common customs [of the world].

Inasmuch then as the souls of the Hebrews were thoroughly weakened, and though they had begun from faith, yet from circumstances, I mean sufferings, afflictions, they had afterwards become faint-hearted, and of little spirit, and were shaken from [their position], he encouraged them first indeed from these very things, saying, “Call to remembrance the former days” (c. 10:32); next from the Scripture saying, “But the just shall live by faith” (c. 10:38); afterwards from arguments, saying, “But Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (c. 11:1.) And now again from their forefathers, those great and admirable men, as much as saying; If where the good things were close at hand, all were saved by faith, much more are we.

For when a soul finds one that shares the same sufferings with itself, it is refreshed and recovers breath. This we may see both in the case of Faith, and in the case of affliction: “that there may be comfort for you4 it is said through our mutual faith.” (Rom. 1:12.) For mankind are very distrustful, and cannot place confidence in themselves, are fearful about whatever things they think they possess, and have great regard for the opinion of the many.

[2.] What then does Paul do? He encourages them by the fathers; and before that by the common notions [of mankind].5 For tell me, he says, since Faith is calumniated6 as being a thing without demonstration7 and rather a matter of deceit, therefore he shows that the greatest things are attained through faith and not through reasonings. And how does he show this, tell me?8 It is manifest, he saith, that God made the things which are, out of things which are not,9 things which appear, out of things which appear not, things which subsist, out of things which subsist not. But whence [is it shown] that He did this even “by a Word”? For reason suggests nothing of this kind; but on the contrary, that the things which appear are [formed] out of things which appear.

Therefore the philosophers expressly say that ‘nothing comes out of things that are not’10 being “sensual” (Jude 19), and trusting nothing to Faith. And yet these same men, when they happen to say anything great and noble, are caught entrusting it to Faith. For instance, that “God is without beginning,11 and unborn”12 for reason does not suggest this, but the contrary. And consider, I beseech you, their great folly. They say13 that God is without beginning; and yet this is far more wonderful than the [creation] out of things that are not. For to say, that He is without beginning, that He is unborn, neither begotten by Himself nor by another is more full of difficulties,14 than to say that God made the things which are, out of things which are not. For here there are many things uncertain: as, that some one made it, that what was made had a beginning, that, in a word, it was made. But in the other case, what? He is self-existing,15 unborn, He neither had beginning nor time; tell me, do not these things require faith? But he did not assert this, which was far greater, but the lesser.

Whence [does it appear], he would say, that God made these things? Reason does not suggest it; no one was present when it was done. Whence is it shown? It is plainly the result of faith. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were made.” Why “through faith”? Because “the things that are seen were not made of things which do appear.” For this is Faith.

[3.] Having thus stated the general [principle ],16 he afterwards tests1 it by individuals. For a man of note is equivalent to the world. This at all events he afterwards hinted. For when he had matched it against one or two hundred persons, and then saw the smallness of the number, he afterwards says, “by whom the world was outweighed in worth.”2 (c. 11:38.)

And observe whom he puts first, him who was ill-treated, and that by a brother. It was their own affliction,3 “For you also” (he says) “have suffered like things of your own countrymen.” (1 Thess. 2:14.) And by a brother who had been nothing wronged, but who envied him on God’s account; showing that they also are looked on with an evil eye and envied. He honored God, and died because he honored Him: and has not yet attained to a resurrection. But his readiness is manifest, and his part4 has been done, but God’s part has not yet been carried out towards him.

And by a “more excellent sacrifice” in this place, he means that which is more honorable, more splendid, more necessary.

And we cannot say (he says) that it was not accepted. He did accept it, and said unto Cain, [“Hast thou] not [sinned], if thou rightly offer, but dost not rightly divide?” (Gen. 4:7, LXX.) So then Abel both rightly offered, and rightly divided. Nevertheless for this, what recompense did he receive? He was slain by his brother’s hand: and that sentence which his father endured on account of sin, this he first received who was upright. And he suffered so much the more grievously because it was from a brother, and he was the first [to suffer].

And he did these things rightly looking to no man. For to whom could he look, when he so honored God? To his father and his mother? But they had outraged Him in return for His benefits. To his brother then? But he also had dishonored [God]. So that by himself he sought out what was good.

And he that is worthy of so great honor, what does he suffer? He is put to death. And how too was he otherwise “testified of that he was righteous”? It is said, that fire came down and consumed the sacrifices. For instead of [“And the Lord] had respect to Abel and to his sacrifices” (Gen. 4:4), the Syriac5 said, “And He set them on fire.” He therefore who both by word and deed bare witness to the righteous man and sees him slain for His sake, did not avenge him, but left him to suffer.

But your case is not such: for how could it be? You who have both prophets and examples, and encouragements innumerable, and signs and miracles accomplished? Hence that was faith indeed. For what miracles did he see, that he might believe he should have any recompense of good things? Did he not choose virtue from Faith alone?

What is, “and by it he being dead yet speaketh”? That he might not cast them into great despondency, he shows that he has in part obtained a recompense. How? ‘The influence coming from him6 is great, he means, “and he yet speaketh”; that is, [Cain] slew him, but he did not with him slay his glory and memory. He is not dead; therefore neither shall ye die. For by how much the more grievous a man’s sufferings are, so much the greater is his glory.’

How does he “yet speak”? This is a sign both of his being alive, and of his being by all celebrated, admired, counted blessed. For he who encourages others to be righteous, speaks. For no speech avails so much, as that man’s suffering. As then heaven by its mere appearance speaks, so also does he by being had in remembrance. Not if he had made proclamation of himself, not if he had ten thousand tongues, and were alive, would he have been so admired as now. That is, these things do not take place with impunity, nor lightly, neither do they pass away.

[4.] (Ver. 5) “By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him.” This man displayed greater faith than Abel. How (you ask)? Because, although he came after him, yet what befell [Abel] was sufficient to guide him back.7 How? God foreknew that [Abel] would be killed. For He said to Cain: “Thou hast sinned: do not add thereto.”8 Honored by him, He did not protect him. And yet neither did this throw him [Enoch] into indifference. He said not to himself, ‘What need of toils and dangers? Abel honored God, yet He did not protect him. For what advantage had he that was departed, from the punishment of his brother? And what benefit could he reap therefrom? Let us allow that he suffers severe punishment: what is that to him who has been slain?’ He neither said nor thought anything of this kind, but passing beyond all these things, he knew that if there is a God, certainly there is a Rewarder also: although as yet they knew nothing of a resurrection. But if they who as yet know nothing of a resurrection, and see contradictory things here, thus pleased [God], how much more should we? For they neither knew of a resurrection, nor had they any examples to look to. This same thing then made [Enoch] well-pleasing [to God], namely, that he received nothing. For he knew that [God] “is a rewarder.” Whence [knew he this]? “For He recompensed Abel,” do you say? So that reason suggested other things, but faith the opposite of what was seen. Even then (he would say) if you see that you receive nothing here, be not troubled.

How was it “by faith” that “Enoch was translated”? Because his pleasing [God] was the cause of his translation, and faith [the cause] of his pleasing [Him]. For if he had not known that he should receive a reward, how could he have pleased [Him]? “But without faith it is impossible to please” Him. How? If a man believe that there is a God and a retribution, he will have the reward. Whence then is the well-pleasing?

[5.] It is necessary to “believe that He is,” not ‘what He is.’1 If “that He is” needs Faith, and not reasonings; it is impossible to comprehend by reasoning ‘what He is.’ If that “He is a rewarder” needs Faith and not reasonings, how is it possible by Reasoning to compass His essence?2 For what Reasoning can reach this? For some persons say that the things that exist are self-caused.3 Seest thou that unless we have Faith in regard to all things, not only in regard to retribution, but also in regard to the very being of God, all is lost to us?

But many ask whither Enoch was translated, and why he was translated, and why he did not die, neither he nor Elijah, and, if they are still alive, how they live, and in what form. But to ask these things is superfluous. For that the one was translated, and that the other was taken up, the Scriptures have said; but where they are, and how they are, they have not added: For they say nothing more than is necessary. For this indeed took place, I mean his translation, immediately at the beginning, the human soul [thereby] receiving a hope of the destruction of death, and of the overthrow of the devil’s tyranny, and that death will be done away; for he was translated, not dead, but “that he should not see death.”

Therefore he added, he was translated alive, because he was well-pleasing [unto God]. For just as a Father when he has threatened his son, wishes indeed immediately after he has threatened, to relax his threat, but endures and continues resolute, that for a time he may chasten and correct him, allowing the threat to remain firm; so also God, to speak as it were after the manner of men, did not continue resolute, but immediately showed that death is done away. And first He allows death to happen, wishing to terrify the father through the son: For wishing to show that the sentence is verily fixed, He subjected to this punishment not wicked men at once, but him even who was well-pleasing, I mean, the blessed Abel; and almost immediately after him, He translated Enoch. Moreover, He did not raise the former, lest they should immediately grow bold; but He translated the other being yet alive: having excited fear by Abel, but by this latter giving zeal to be well-pleasing unto Him. Wherefore they who say that all things are ruled and governed of themselves,4 and do not expect a reward, are not well-pleasing; as neither are the heathen. For “He becomes a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” by works and by knowledge.

[6.] Since then we have “a rewarder,” let us do all things that we may not be deprived of the rewards of virtue. For indeed the neglecting such a recompense, the scorning such a reward, is worthy of many tears. For as to “those who diligently seek Him,” He is a rewarder, so to those who seek Him not, the contrary.

“Seek” (He says) “and ye shall find” (Matt. 7:7): but how can we find the Lord? Consider how gold is found; with much labor. [“I sought the Lord] with my hands” (it is said) “by night before Him, and I was not deceived” (Ps. 77:2. See LXX [Ps. 76:3]), that is, just as we seek what is lost, so let us seek God. Do we not concentrate our mind thereon? Do we not enquire of every one? Do we not travel from home? Do we not promise money?

For instance, suppose that any among us has lost his son, what do we not do? What land, what sea do we not make the circuit of? Do we not reckon money, and houses, and everything else as secondary to the finding him? And should we find him, we cling to him, we hold him fast, we do not let him go. And when we are going to seek anything whatever, we busy ourselves in all ways to find what is sought. How much more ought we to do this in regard to God, as seeking what is indispensable; nay rather, not in the same way, but much more! But since we are weak, at least seek God as thou seekest thy money or thy son. Wilt thou not leave thy home for Him? Hast thou never left thy home for money? Dost thou not busy thyself in all ways? When thou hast found [it], art thou not full of confidence?

[7.] “Seek” (He says) “and ye shall find.” For things sought after need much care, especially in regard of God. For many are the hindrances, many the things that darken, many that impede our perception. For as the sun is manifest, and set forth publicly before all, and we have no need to seek it; but if on the other hand we bury ourselves and turn everything upside down, we need much labor to look at the sun; so truly here also, if we bury ourselves in the depth of evil desires, in the darkness of passions and of the affairs of this life, with difficulty do we look up, with difficulty do we raise our heads, with difficulty do we see clearly. He that is buried underground, in whatever degree he sees upwards, in that degree does he come towards the sun. Let us therefore shake off the earth, let us break through the mist which lies upon us. It is thick, and close, and does not allow us to see clearly.

And how, you say, is this cloud broken through? If we draw to ourselves the beams of “the sun of righteousness.” “The lifting up of my hands” (it is said) “is an evening sacrifice.” (Ps. 141:2.) With our hands let us also lift up our mind: ye who have been initiated know what I mean,1 perhaps too ye recognize the expression, and see at a glance what I have hinted at. Let us raise up our thoughts on high.

I myself know many men almost suspended apart from the earth, and beyond measure stretching up their hands, and out of heart because it is not possible to be lifted into the air, and thus praying with earnestness. Thus I would have you always, and if not always, at least very often; and if not very often, at least now and then, at least in the morning, at least in the evening prayers.2 For, tell me, canst thou not stretch forth the hands? Stretch forth the will, stretch forth as far as thou wilt, yea even to heaven itself. Even shouldst thou wish to touch the very summit, even if thou wouldst ascend higher and walk thereon, it is open to thee. For our mind is lighter, and higher than any winged creature. And when it receives grace from the Spirit, O! how swift is it! How quick is it! How does it compass all things! How does it never sink down or fall to the ground! These wings let us provide for ourselves: by means of them shall we be able to fly even across the tempestuous sea of this present life. The swiftest birds fly unhurt over mountains, and woods, and seas, and rocks, in a brief moment of time. Such also is the mind; when it is winged, when it is separated from the things of this life, nothing can lay hold of it, it is higher than all things, even than the fiery darts of the devil.

The devil is not so good a marksman, as to be able to reach this height; he sends forth his darts indeed, for he is void of all shame, yet he does not hit the mark; the dart returns to him without effect, and not without effect only, but it [falls] upon his own head. For what is sent forth by him must of necessity strike [something]. As then, that which has been shot out by men, either strikes the person against whom it is directed, or pierces bird, or fence, or garment, or wood, or the mere air, so does the dart of the devil also. It must of necessity strike; and if it strike not him that is shot at, it necessarily strikes him that shoots it. And we may learn from many instances, that when we are not hit, without doubt he is hit himself. For instance, he plotted against Job: he did not hit him, but was struck himself. He plotted against Paul, he did not hit him, but was struck himself. If we watch, we may see this happening everywhere. For even when he strikes, he is hit; much more then [when he does not hit].

[8.] Let us turn his weapons then against himself, and having armed and fortified ourselves with the shield of faith, let us keep guard with steadfastness, so as to be impregnable. Now the dart of the devil is evil concupiscence. Anger especially is a fire, a flame; it catches, destroys, consumes; let us quench it, by longsuffering, by forbearance. For as red-hot iron dipped into water, loses its fire, so an angry man falling in with a patient one does no harm to the patient man, but rather benefits him, and is himself more thoroughly subdued.

For nothing is equal to longsuffering. Such a man is never insulted; but as bodies of adamant are not wounded, so neither are such souls. For they are above the reach of the darts. The longsuffering man is high, and so high as not to receive a wound from the shot. When one is furious, laugh; but do not laugh openly, lest thou irritate him: but laugh mentally on his account. For in the case of children, when they strike us passionately, as though forsooth they were avenging themselves, we laugh. If then thou laugh, there will be as great difference between thee and him, as between a child and a man: but if thou art furious thou hast made thyself a child. For the angry are more senseless than children. If one look at a furious child, does he not laugh at him? “The poor-spirited” (it is said) “is mightily simple.” (Prov. 14:29.) The simple then is a child: and “he who is longsuffering” (it is said) “is abundant in wisdom.” This “abundant wisdom” then let us follow after, that we may attain to the good things promised us in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.

EXCERPTED FROM HOMILY 23 ON HEBREWS 11:7

[1.] “By faith” (he says) “Noah being warned of God.” As the Son of God, speaking of His own coming, said, “In the days of Noah they married and were given in marriage” (Luke 17:26, Luke 17:27), therefore the Apostle also recalled to their mind an appropriate image. For the example of Enoch, was an example only of Faith; that of Noah, on the other hand, of unbelief also. And this is a complete consolation and exhortation, when not only believers are found approved, but also unbelievers suffer the opposite.

For what does he say? “By faith being warned of God.”2 What is “being warned of God”? It is, “It having been foretold to him.” But why is the expression “divine communication”3 (Luke 2:26) used? for in another place also it is said, “and it was communicated4 to him by the Spirit,” and again, “and what saith the divine communication?”5 (Rom. 11:4.) Seest thou the equal dignity of the Spirit? For as God reveals,6 so also does the Holy Spirit. But why did he speak thus? The prophecy is called “a divine communication.”

“Of things not seen as yet,” he says, that is of the rain.

“Moved with fear, prepared an ark.” Reason indeed suggested nothing of this sort; For “they were marrying and being given in marriage”; the air was clear, there were no signs [of change]: but nevertheless he feared: “By faith” (he says) “Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.”

How is it, “By the which he condemned the world”? He showed them to be worthy of punishment, since they were not brought to their senses even by the preparation.

“And he became” (he says) “heir of the righteousness which is by Faith”: that is, by his believing God he was shown to be righteous. For this is the [part] of a soul sincerely disposed towards Him and judging nothing more reliable than His words, just as Unbelief is the very contrary. Faith, it is manifest, works righteousness. For as we have been warned of God respecting Hell, so was he also: and yet at that time he was laughed at; he was reviled and ridiculed; but he regarded none of these things.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, fathers of the church, Notes on Hebrews, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture, SERMONS | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

This post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s brief introductory analysis of Hebrews 11 followed by his comments on today’s reading. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the text he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF HEBREWS CHAPTER 11

The Hebrews, it would appear, were not sufficiently impressed with the importance and necessity of faith, and were, therefore, in danger of losing it by apostasy. They were taught to look upon it as a mode of justifying wholly unknown to the saints of the Old Testament; and to these false notions, with which they were imbued, might be traced their fatal facility, in deserting it under the pressure of persecution. The Apostle (10:38) takes occasion from the words of the Prophet Habacuc, to confute this pernicious error. Before making the application of it, in this chapter, to the sainted heroes of old, he first gives a description of faith, describing it by two of its qualities, best accommodated to the circumstances of those, whom he addresses (verse 1).

In the next place, applying this faith to the saints of old, he shows that it was owing to it, the most distinguished among them obtained justification (2–39).

He, finally shows the great advantage which we, in the New Law, possess over the ancients. We can, at once, enter on the possession of the promised blessings, while they were obliged to wait for our time to enjoy them in common with us; and, surely, we should display no less heroism in the cause of faith, of which the blessings and promise are present, than they did, for whom the fulfilment of the promise was distant.

Heb 11:1 Now, faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.

(As, then, the just man lives by faith, [10:38] it is of importance for us to know the nature of this virtue, which is the spiritual life of our souls). Faith is the foundation of the blessings we hope for; or, the subsistence in our intellect of the things we hope for; it is the fullest convincing argument of the existence of these things, which are neither the immediate object of our sight nor perceived by reason, but which we still more firmly believe than if we saw them.

“Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for.” In order to render more clear the application of faith to the examples he is about adducing, the Apostle commences with a description of faith, and he describes it, by two of its leading qualities, First—“It is the substance of things to be hoped for,” to which words, some, with St. Augustine give this construction, “it is the substance of those who hope.” These attach an active signification to the middle verb in the Greek, ελπιζομενων ὑπόστασις, corresponding to the words in our version, “to be hoped for.” Ours is the more probable construction. “The substance,” i.e., the basis and foundation, on which rest the blessings of salvation we hope for. For, it is, “the root and foundation of all justification.” (Council of Trent, SS. 6, c. viii.) Without faith we could no more obtain justification than we could build a house without a foundation, or have an accident, ordinarily speaking, without a substance. Or, the word “substance” (in Greek, ὑπόστασις) more probably means, subsistence, of the things to be hoped for; inasmuch as, faith makes the future goods of the life to come, so to exist in our apprehension, as if we actually possessed them. It gives these things, we hope for, a new and anticipated existence in our minds.

Secondly—It is “the evidence of things that appear not” (οὐβλεπομένων), i.e., of things that are neither visible to the senses, nor perceived by reason. This by no means appears to be an adequate or reciprocal definition of faith; for, things to be dreaded form subjects of faith no less than “things to be hoped for” (v.g.) hell’s torments; so did Noe’s deluge (verse 7). Neither does it appear that obscurity essentially belongs to subjects of faith; for, if so, how could the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Apostles have faith in many of the miraculous works of our Divine Redeemer, which they witnessed? Do we not believe in death, although sensibly taking place, and its universality confirmed by experience? Do we not believe in God, as Creator of heaven and earth, an evident natural truth? This definition, cannot exclude the application of faith to things clear; because, although such things be naturally evident, we can abstract from their natural evidence, and believe them like every point of faith, on the authority of God, whose revelation is necessary in order that they should become subjects of faith. Moreover, in the present obscured state of the human intellect, there are but few things so evident as not to be susceptible of confirmation, and of greater subjective certainty, from the authority of God, upon which all faith must be based. The opinion, therefore, of the Thomists requiring obscurity in an object to be necessary, in order to become a point of faith, appears improbable; because, the principal ground of this opinion, viz., that the Apostle here gives a reciprocal definition of faith, is unfounded. The Apostle only describes faith by two of its qualities, the most praiseworthy, viz., its giving the things to be hoped for, an anticipated existence in our minds; and its making certain for us, things that are obscure and inevident—two qualities best accommodated to the circumstances of those whom he addresses, who possessed not, and could, therefore, only “hope for” the invisible blessings of the life to come; neither did they clearly see them, because they “appear not.” These men were to be animated to patient suffering, with the prospect of the same blessings in hope.

Heb 11:2 For by this the ancients obtained a testimony.

For, it was by this faith in God’s promises, holding out distant and, humanly speaking, unattainable goods, that the ancient fathers were distinguished, and obtained from God an illustrious testimony of their sanctity.

Some interpreters connect this verse immediately with verse 38 of last chapter, “the just man liveth by faith, … for by this the ancients obtained,” &c. Others, with preceding verse, as in the Paraphrase.

It is not undeserving of remark, that the faith commended by the Apostle in this chapter, is not the special faith of Protestants, in reference to each man’s justification and salvation; but, as is clear from the entire chapter, a firm belief in the things revealed by God, which all the examples quoted clearly demonstrate.

Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God: that from invisible things visible things might be made.

Such a faith is as necessary for us, as for them, for understanding the very first principles of revealed religion; for, by faith we learn that creation was moulded into its present harmonious and perfect form, by the command of God, so that from being an invisible shapeless mass or chaos, it assumed its present visible perfect appearance.

The Apostle, before applying the faith now described to the saints of old, shows that even in reference to the Hebrews whom he addresses, it is “the evidence of things that appear not;” because, creation, the first truth proposed to the Jews in Genesis, was not known from any other source than faith; for, the ancient philosophers, one of whose favourite axioms was, ex nihilo nihil fit, derided it. “That the world was framed by the word of God,” this some understand of the first creation or education out of nothing; others, more probably of the arrangement into its present form, of the matter of creation already educed from nothing into existence; “that from invisible things,” i.e., from the pre-existent dark, confused or shapeless mass of matter, this the word “invisible” means in Genesis; (for, instead of the words, “the earth was void and empty”—Genesis 1:2.—the Septuagint version, followed all through, by St. Paul in this Epistle, has, Ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν αορατος και ακατασκευαστος, the earth was invisible and confused) it would become visible in its present perfect form. Of course, the creation of matter from nothing is supposed in this arrangement or last finish given to it, referred to here by the Apostle.

Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice exceeding that of Cain, by which he obtained a testimony that he was just, God giving testimony to his gifts. And by it he being dead yet speaketh.

It was owing to his being animated with a lively faith that Abel offered a more choice and more excellent sacrifice than did Cain (who made no selection in the gifts offered), by means of which sacrifice offered through faith he obtained the testimony of being just, God himself testifying the acceptance of his gifts by some external sign; and even after his death, he sends forth a cry for redress, which God listened to in consideration of his faith and justice.

It was his faith that made Abel select the choicest portions of his flock to offer them in sacrifice, while Cain heeded not to make any selection: he is not commended in Genesis for making any choice in the fruits of the earth which he offered—“by which” faith or sacrifice, or perhaps both; that is to say, his sacrifice offered through faith, “God giving testimony to his gifts” by some sensible sign, commonly said to be his sending fire from heaven to consume them, while no such sign was exhibited in the case of Cain. “And by it being dead he still speaketh,” which some understand of his blood crying to God (vide Paraphrase). Others say, he speaks by the force of his good example.

Heb 11:5 By faith Henoch was translated that he should not see death: and he was not found because God had translated him. For before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God.

It was by faith Henoch was translated into some place of rest, to escape death, and he was not found, because God had translated him (Genesis, 5:24). That his translation was owing to his faith is clear; for, before his translation, the Scripture bears testimony, that he pleased God.

“Was translated” into some seat of rest, or, as in Ecclesiasticus (chap. 40:4), “into paradise,” in order to escape death. The common opinion of the Holy Fathers is, that he still lives in some place of rest expressed by the general term of “paradise,” whence he and Elias will come at the end of the world to war with Antichrist, “and he was not found, because God had translated him.” These are the words of Genesis (chap. 5:24), according to the Septuagint, from which the Apostle proves Henoch’s translation. In the Vulgate version of Genesis, by St. Jerome, the words are, “he was seen no more, because God took him.” And that it was owing to faith he was translated, the Apostle proves thus—for, before his translation, the Scriptures testify that he pleased God, “he walked with God,” (Gen. 5:22), and, therefore, pleased Him.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is: and is a rewarder to them that seek him.

Now, without faith it is impossible to please God; for, in order to come to God, i.e., to worship and please him, one must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek and serve him (in which it is implied that he punishes those who offend, and disobey him).

But, without faith no one can please God; it was, therefore, through the merits of faith, Henoch pleased him. The Apostle proves that without faith no one can please God; for, in order to please God, a man must approach him, “must come to him,” but no one can approach or come to him, without first believing “that he exists, and that he is a rewarder to them that seek him.” In these latter words, it is implied, that he punishes those who disobey him; the words, “come to God,” mean, to pay him due worship. The Greek for “rewarder,” μισθαποδοτης, means, that God gives a reward due to merit; hence, an argument in favour of the Catholic doctrine of merit, it is a point of faith, that a reward is strictly due to merit. The two articles now referred to were of indispensable necessity for salvation at all times and under every dispensation, the explicit faith in them being a necessary means of salvation. This is clear, from the universal assertion made regarding them by the Apostle without limitation either as to time or place—“it is impossible;” and also from his asserting it in reference to Henoch, who lived long before the written law was given to Moses. In addition to these two articles, the explicit faith in the Trinity and Incarnation, also, is now commonly considered by Divines to be necessary, as they term it, necessitate medii, that is to say, necessary as a means of salvation, after the promulgation of the gospel, so that be the ignorance of them vincible, or invincible, there can be no justification for the sinner; and consequently, no salvation without them; they are necessary means for the justification of a sinner; without them, the end of salvation can, in no case, be secured by adults, requiring justification. From the very creation, God communicated his supernatural knowledge to man by revelation, without which, in the present order of things, the supernatural end cannot be attained. The Gentiles could have the necessary faith, through the primitive revelations made to Adam, which were transmitted among them from father to son. In the above, there is question of responsible beings, attaining the use of reason.

Heb 11:7 By faith Noe, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house: by the which he condemned the world and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith.

It was by faith, that is to say, by his firm reliance on the divine veracity, holding out threats and promises, that Noe, seized with religious awe, after having been admonished by the divine oracle respecting the things still hidden in the womb of futurity, built with great labour, for his own salvation and that of his family, the ark, by which ark built through faith, he sealed the condemnation of an incredulous world, who scoffingly disregarded his preparation against the coming deluge, and was made the abundant participator and inheritor of the justice of faith.

“Concerning those things which as yet were not seen.” This shows that faith is “the evidence of things that appear not,” (verse 1). “Moved with fear,” shows that besides “things to be hoped for,” things to be dreaded also form subjects of faith. “Framed the ark” &c.; the building of the ark, in consequence of its magnitude and the number of its compartments, must have been very laborious; and hence, a great proof of his faith. “By which,” some refer to “faith,” others to “the ark;” it may refer to both; by which ark, built through faith, he condemned by word and work an incredulous world (1 Peter, 3), “and was instituted heir,” i.e., the abundant participator in “the justice of faith,” or, the inheritor of the justice of his fathers, Henoch, Seth, &c., “which is by faith.” This latter interpretation is grounded on the strict signification of the word “heir,” which implies the possession of an inheritance transmitted from father to son. On the last day, those who, with simplicity and with unhesitating faith in God’s promises, work out their salvation in the practice of good works, will condemn the world which scoffs and derides their simplicity. “Nos insensati, vitam illorum estimabamus insaniam,” &c.—(Wisdom, 5:4).

“He that is called.” The Greek copy, followed by the Vulgate, had, ὁ καλουμενος. This is also the reading of the Alexandrian Manuscript. In this reading, allusion is made to the change of name in Abraham (Genesis, 17:3). The article () is omitted in the ordinary Greek copies, and the words are rendered, Abraham, when called, obeyed to go, &c., in which rendering the participle “called,” which in the Greek, is the present tense, receives a past signification. Our reading is, however, the better sustained.

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

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 31

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 25, 2016

PSALM 31
A prayer of a just man under affliction

Title: Unto the end, a psalm for David, in an ecstasy.

1 In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in thy justice.

King David, in his flight from Absalom, destitute of all earthly assistance, appeals to God, and says, “In thee have I hoped,” and I am therefore confident, as you are all powerful, and most true to me, that you will not disappoint me in my hope. Agreeable to such hope, therefore, “Deliver me in thy justice;” that justice that prompts you to punish the wicked and free the just.

2 Bow down thy ear to me: make haste to deliver me. Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge, to save me.

The persecution was pressing on him; his friends had sent him word to rest in no one place, to continue his flight, unless he chose to be destroyed; and therefore he prays to be heard at once, and to be delivered from the impending danger. “Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge, to save me.” Be like a well protected strong house to me; for there is no fortified place in this champaign country to which I can fly.

3 For thou art my strength and my refuge; and for thy name’s sake thou wilt lead me, and nourish me.

You are my stronghold to which I will fly for refuge. “And for thy name’s sake thou wilt lead me, and nourish me,” corresponds exactly with David’s history. His flight was so sudden, that he knew not whither to betake himself, nor whence to obtain the necessaries of life, until Providence directed Siba to him, with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs, and a vessel of wine; and he therefore says, “For thy name’s sake,” for the glory of your name, you will lead me to a safe place, and there supply me with provisions.

4 Thou wilt bring me out of this snare, which they have hidden for me: for thou art my protector.

You will not only bring me to a safe place, and there provide for me, but you will also deliver me from the conspiracy, which, like a hidden snare, they have laid for me; alluding, to the conspiracy got up in Hebron against him by Absalom, when he neither dreaded nor even thought of the like.

5 Into thy hands I commend my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth.

Though full of hope, when he said, “Thou wilt bring me out of this snare,” being not yet quite secure of his life, he adds, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” to your care I entrust my life. And, as you have at other times frequently “redeemed me,” saved me from death, you who are a most true and most faithful God. These expressions lead many to think that the whole Psalm has reference to Christ, by reason of his having, while hanging on the cross, exclaimed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” But though the Psalm, to the letter, may not be applicable to Christ, the Lord might have taken these words from the Psalm, when he wished to commend his spirit to his Father, just as St. Nicholas, in his last moments, repeated this with the preceding verses; and we, not infrequently, ourselves use them. The words, “Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth,” appear to be against the application of the verse to Christ, for, instead of being the redeemed, he is the Redeemer. St. Augustine, attributes the first part of the verse to Christ, the latter to his people; for he is of opinion that the prophet is fond of speaking in the person of different characters—sometimes of Christ, sometimes in that of the people. All right and pious enough, when one is looking for a mystic sense or explanation; but when we look for the literal sense, it does not appear why different persons should be introduced, when there is nothing in the context or the punctuation to call for such change.

6 Thou hast hated them that regard vanities, to no purpose. But I have hoped in the Lord:

He assigns another reason for having “commended” his life to the hands of God, because God is wont to hate them who, instead of trusting in him, trust in “vanities,” that can afford them no possible help. “Thou hast hated them that regard vanities to no purpose;” those who regard dreams or omens, or the responses of demons, as Saul did, when he consulted the pythoness. Under the word “vanities,” may also be included those who, relying on human industry, craft, cunning, human aid or help to the exclusion of the divine help and counsel; all of which are vain and useless; and he, therefore, adds the words “to no purpose,” for all such exertions are, in reality, “to no purpose.” “But I have hoped in the Lord:” not so with me, I hoped in none, in nothing but God.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy. For thou hast regarded my humility, thou hast saved my soul out of distresses.
8 And thou hast not shut me up in the hands of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a spacious place.

As “I hoped in the Lord,” I will “be glad and rejoice in thy mercy,” for the Divine mercy never deserts those who hope in him. “For thou hast regarded.” He brings up past favors, in the hope that, by his acknowledgment of them, he may obtain fresh ones. “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy,” for I have a pledge of it in my deliverance from Saul; for then you “regarded my humility,” my abjection, and affliction; and then you “saved my soul” from the troubles that surrounded me, and from which I could not extricate myself. “And thou hast not shut me up in the hands of the enemy;” you did not allow Saul, who sought my death, to accomplish his purpose; but “thou hast set my feet in a spacious place;” you freed me from the troubles that encompassed me, and placed me, free and disembarrassed, as it were, on an open plain; at liberty to go about at pleasure.

9 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am afflicted: my eye is troubled with wrath, my soul, and my belly:

Bearing past favors in mind, he prays for future ones, and relates his misfortunes. “Have mercy on me, O Lord.” As you have had mercy on me in former tribulations, have mercy now, too; for tribulation has again set in on me; and here they are, “My eye is troubled with wrath.” Whose wrath? God’s or his own? I rather think, with St. Augustine, God’s; for, it is clear, from the First and Second Book of Kings, that David, in all his persecutions, never burst into wrath, but was always most mild and most patient; and I, therefore, take the meaning to be, “in thy wrath,” in which you punish me for my sins, “my eye is troubled;” my corporeal eye has grown dim with my tears; or, the eye of my soul has grown dark: “my soul,” too, is confused, for it has been fearfully frightened; so also has been “my belly,” the very interior of my soul; that is, my memory; the receptacle of my thoughts. Thus the prophet makes brief allusion to the functions of the soul eye representing the intellect; the soul, the will; and the belly, the memory.

10 For my life is wasted with grief: and my years in sighs. My strength is weakened through poverty and my bones are disturbed.

David, being now an old man, could justly say, “For my life is wasted with grief:” was spent in constant trouble and “sighs.” In the first thirty years of his life his troubles were innumerable. On being made king, for seven years he had to wage war against the descendants of Saul; he then had various wars with neighboring kingdoms; then with his own son. Then, the very care of a kingdom, to one who wishes to govern it conscientiously, is enough to “waste” one, and make them “sigh.” “My strength is weakened through poverty.” In addition to all his other afflictions, he has lost his strength. The first and last members of this sentence are synonymous; they mean the same thing: “my strength is weakened,” is the same as “my bones are disturbed;” for bones stand for health, power, strength. That was literally the case with David. He had to fly, without any provision whatever, to the most desert places; not only on foot, but even barefooted; and there to remain until relieved by his friends.

11 I am become a reproach among all my enemies, and very much to my neighbours; and a fear to my acquaintance. They that saw me without fled from me.

Another misfortune, consequent on his notorious persecution, the neighboring people, “enemies” of his, having heard of his base flight, began to despise him. His “acquaintances,” too began to fear that Absalom, should he succeed, may wreak his vengeance on them for having proved friendly to David. “They that saw me without;” an explanation of a fear to my acquaintance. Many of my acquaintance, when they saw me an outcast and afflicted, “Fled from me,” ran, fearing for their lives, should they be found to have come near me; and thus,

12 I am forgotten as one dead from the heart. I am become as a vessel that is destroyed.

Their heart neither remembers me nor thinks of me, no more than if I were dead and buried, for they consider I am just as if such had been the case with me. “I am become as a vessel that is destroyed.” My friends and acquaintances have not only abandoned and forgotten me; but even the people around me despise and look down upon me, as they would upon a broken vessel, of no use or value, which is evident from the abuse they heap upon me. He evidently alludes here to Semei’s abuse, who, not content with abusing him, sought to stone him; looking upon him as an outcast and an exile, and as a broken vessel, that should be thrown into the sewer. And though the Scripture makes mention of Semei alone abusing him, it is probable that others did the same, and that they are here alluded to, when he says, “I have heard the blame of many.”

13 For I have heard the blame of many that dwell round about. While they assembled together against me, they consulted to take away my life.

After the abuse of Semei, a conspiracy was entered into, in the presence of Absalom, to take David’s life, which is here alluded to. I am abused to my face; behind my back a conspiracy is entered into at Jerusalem to have my life.

14 But I have put my trust in thee, O Lord: I said: Thou art my God.

The holy soul, in all his troubles, shows he did not despond, because he did not put his trust in the fallacious help of man, but in the all powerful God, whom no one can resist. “But I have put my trust in thee, O Lord.” Why? Because “I said” in my heart, “Thou art my God.” I have a great protector, without whose consent no one can take my life, because,

15 My lots are in thy hands. Deliver me out of the hands of my enemies; and from them that persecute me.

My life does not depend on lot or chance, but depends on your will and power. “Deliver me out of the hands of my enemies.” The meaning is quite plain, and needs no explanation.

16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save me in thy mercy.
17 Let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon thee. Let the wicked be ashamed, and be brought down to hell.

The same petition renewed, but with additional arguments, calculated to move God to mercy. “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant;” that means, show me your face, or look on me, which is the same. For as God, when he is angry with us by reason of our sins, is said to turn away his face, or to put a cloud between him and us, and not to look on us; so, on the contrary, when he is reconciled, he is said to turn his face to us to regard us, and make “it shine upon us, so as to make us, too, a mass of light. He, therefore, first asks to be reconciled to God, in case he should have been angry with him; and assigns as a reason, his being a servant most ready at all times to do God’s behest and commands. He then adds, “Save me,” which is only the consequence of reconciliation; and to move him thereto, he adds, “In thy mercy,” not through my merits, but through your own pure mercy; and he adds a third argument, “Let me not be confounded, for I have called upon thee.” For it is the duty of a good and faithful master, who has promised to help those that confide in him, not to suffer one who so unceasingly and so confidently invoked him to be confounded. “Let the wicked be ashamed, and be brought down to hell.”

A prophetic imprecation, and one fulfilled immediately after; for Achitophel, the principal minister of Absalom, who had advised the most impious proceeding against David, was so confused, on his plans being defeated by divine Providence, and being unable to bear up against the confusion consequent thereon, hanged himself; and thus, “The wicked became ashamed, and was brought down to hell.”

18 Let deceitful lips be made dumb. Which speak iniquity against the just, with pride and abuse.

Achitophel’s lips are called deceitful, because for a long time he pretended to be the fast friend of David; but the moment he got the opportunity, he betrayed his perfidy. “Which speak against the just;” against David, who had offered no injury to either Achitophel or to Absalom; and they spoke “Iniquity;” gave advice full of injustice, “With pride and abuse;” that is, with the greatest contempt and arrogance.

19 O how great is the multitude of thy sweetness, O Lord, which thou hast hidden for them that fear thee! Which thou hast wrought for them that hope in thee, in the sight of the sons of men.

The holy prophet, feeling that he had been heard, and having felt a gleam of heavenly consolation, exclaims in admiration, as above. The verse may be thus explained. In the time of tribulation, God conceals the “Multitude of his sweetness;” that is, the unbounded rewards he has in store for the just, in order to prove them; but in a little time after he displays those very prizes and rewards, “In the sight of the sons of men,” that his servants may learn from thence to have greater hope in him. Thus, for a time he concealed his sweetness from David, while he was flying from his son’s persecution; but soon after he displayed the extent of his goodness to him, when he restored his kingdom to him in the greatest triumph. The very same thing happens to all the just, whose reward is now hid, but will appear to all on the day of judgment. It may be interpreted differently; thus, Truly manifold are the consolations, O Lord, that you pour into the inmost recesses of the hearts of those that fear you—that fear you with a filial, fond, and loving, not a servile, fear. For this is “The hidden manna which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it.” Such as was felt by David, when, in Psalm 94, he said, “According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, thy comforts have given joy to my soul.” And, as St. Paul, 2 Cor. 7, says, “I am filled with comfort, I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation.” And if, in time of tribulation, such be the “Multitude of the sweetness” in the heart of the exile, who can conceive the amount of the joy in his heart when his triumph shall have been accomplished! “Which thou hast wrought for them that hope in thee, in the sight of the sons of men.” The sweetness “Thou hast wrought” for those who refuse all consolation but yours is perfect, most copious, most abundant; and all this “In the sight of the sons of men;” that is, in spite of them all, before their face; because the more pain they inflict externally, the more consolations you multiply internally. This sweetness is infused into the hearts of the just, “In the sight of the sons of men,” in another way, when the sons of men, who persecute the children of God, see what and how they suffer; for, carnal as they are, with the palate of their soul infected by sin, they cannot feel, nor even have an idea of the sweetness, though they see its effects in the meekness, patience, nay, even hilarity and peace of the just; and thus, their sweetness is, to a certain extent, hidden in the sight of the sons of men, though its effects are apparent.

20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy face, from the disturbance of men. Thou shalt protect them in thy tabernacle form the contradiction of tongues.

He gives a description of the manner in which the just feel the sweetness of God in the day of tribulation; for, by love and contemplation, they are carried up to God; and in him find a house of refuge, as he says in this very Psalm, “Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge;” for those who know how to take refuge in God, think as little of all manner of tribulation as if it did not at all belong to them. “Thou shalt hide them,” those that fear thee, “In the secret of thy face;” in that hidden place, that is, in thy face; for the soul wrapt up in contemplation, feeling that God is attentively looking on it, observant of God’s slightest expression, burning with love at the idea of God’s beauty that is lodged, in dwelling, proof against “The disturbance of men;” that is, from all manner of evil that usually disturbs man. “Thou shalt protect them in thy tabernacle;” the same just will be protected in the very house in which yourself is lodged, for God has no house capable of containing him, he is his own house; and those who, in love and contemplation, dwell in God, “Make the Most High their refuge. No evil shall come to them, nor shall the scourge come near their dwelling,” as it is beautifully expressed in Psalm 91. In this tabernacle they are protected, not only from evil doers, as was explained in the preceding verse, but also from evil speakers, for such is the meaning of “The contradiction of tongues,” for they who can call upon God as a witness, care little for what man can say. And if the face of the Lord be such a retreat and a refuge to the elect, in the time when he is seen only “Through a glass in an obscure manner,” how will matters be when we shall see him as he really is? Then truly will our dwelling be in Jerusalem, the vision of peace, of which is written, in Psalm 147, “Who hath placed peace in thy borders.”

21 Blessed be the Lord, for he hath shewn his wonderful mercy to me in a fortified city.

He now applies to himself, as being one of the just, what he had said in general, touching the consolation they feel in their troubles, and thanks God for it. “Blessed be the Lord, for his wonderful mercy to me in a fortified city,” because he “So hid me in the secret of his face,” which is like “a fortified city,” that my enemies could do me no harm.

22 But I said in the excess of my mind: I am cast away from before thy eyes. Therefore thou hast heard the voice of my prayer, when I cried to thee.

He accuses himself of the despondence he was in when his persecution commenced. When I was almost idiotic through fear, I said to myself, “I am cast away from before thy eyes;” that is, you wish me no longer to govern; or no longer to live, as appears from your withholding that look of benignity and kindness, and that help with which you were wont to countenance me. As we read, in 2 Sam 15, of David, “If I shall find grace in the sight of the Lord, he will bring me again. If he shall say to me, Thou pleasest me not, I am ready, let him do that which is good before him.”

23 O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord will require truth, and will repay them abundantly that act proudly.
24 Do ye manfully, and let your heart be strengthened, all ye that hope in the Lord.

He now encourages all pious people, similarly suffering, not to cease loving God, and putting their trust in him; for, though the wicked may seem to persecute them with impunity for a while, they will ultimately suffer the bitterest punishment for it.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture, St Robert Bellarmine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commentaries for the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 24, 2016

FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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

Year B Commentaries for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

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

MONDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Suggested Theme: The Lord reveals His goodness in creation (1st reading) and takes joy in His work (responsorial antiphon). Jesus heals wounded creation (Alleluia verse, Gospel) and so we worship our Creator God and celebrate His blessings (entrance antiphon, responsorial psalm)

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 1:1-19.

St Ambrose’s Sermons on Genesis 1:1-19. Please note that this works (online book) examines the six days of creation in nine homilies (known as The Hexaemeron), and includes further homilies on Paradise, and Cain and Abel. The first six homilies (pages 3-159) deal with Gen 1:1-19. St Basil also produced a Hexaemeron of nine homilies on the six days of creation, see below.

St Basil’s Sermons on the Six Days of Creation (Hexaemeron). The first six homilies deal with Genesis 1:1-19.

St Athanasius on the Doctrine of Creation.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 104.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 104.

A Lectio Divina Notes on Psalm 104.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 6:53-56.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 6:53-56.

TUESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Suggested Theme: God created an ordered and good world (1st reading, Ps, CCC 299) and gave man–His image–kingly dominion over it (1st reading, Ps, CCC 399). He must show a king’s care for it; especially for his fellow man (Gospel, CCC 307, 373, 2401).

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 1:20-2:4a.

Gaudium Et Spes on Genesis 1:20-2:4a.

Centesimus Annus on Genesis 1:20-2:4a.

St Basil’s Hexaemeron on Genesis 1:20-2:4. Homilies 7-9.

St Ambrose’s Hexaemeron on Genesis 1:20-2:4. Pages 159-283.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecutre on Psalm 8.

St Augustine Notes on Psalm 8.

My Notes on Psalm 8.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 8.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 7:1-13.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 7:1-13.

WEDNESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-17. Scroll down.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 104.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 104.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 104.

A Lectio Divina Notes on Psalm 104.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 7:14-23.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 7:14-23.

THURSDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 2:18-25.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 128.

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 128.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 128.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 128.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 7:24-30.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 7:24-30.

Video: Father Philip’s Bible Study. Begins with Mk 7:5

FRIDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 3:1-8.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 32.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 32.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 32.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 32.

St Ambrose on Mark 7:31-37.

Pope St Gregory the Great’s Homily on Mark 7:31-37.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Mark 7:31-37.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 7:31-37.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 7:31-37.

SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 3:9-24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 90.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 90.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 90.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 90.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 90.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 8:1-10.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 8:1-10.

SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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

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

Year C: Commentaries for the Sixth 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 Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 24, 2016

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year A.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time:Year B.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year C.

MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Suggested Theme(s): A. the relationship between (or the necessity of) faith [1st reading] and hope [Ps]. B. Jesus, who has the power to save a man from demon possession, nakedness, and homelessness [Gospel] has the power to save the faithful from whatever afflictions faithfulness to him might bring [1st reading]. This is our hope and our comfort [Ps].

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:32-40.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on Hebrews 11:32-40. On 11:37-12:4

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on Hebrews 11:32-40. Read lectures 11-5 and 11-6

Navarre Commentary on Hebrews 11:32-40.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 31.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 31.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 31.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 5:1-20.

Navarre Commentary on Mark 5:1-20.

TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:1-4.

Navarre Commentary on Hebrews 12:1-4.

Father Boylan’s Commentary on Psalm 22.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 22.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 22.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 22.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 5:21-43.

Navarre Commentary on Mark 5:21-43.

WEDNESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15.

Navarre Commentary on Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 103.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 103.

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 103.

My Notes on Mark 6:1-6.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 6:1-6.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 6:1-6.

THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 48.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 48.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 48.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 6:7-13.

Navarre Commentary on Mark 6:7-13.

FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 13:1-8.

Navarre Commentary on Hebrews 13:1-8.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 27.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 27.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 6:14-29.

Navarre Commentary on Mark 6:14-29.

SATURDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21.

Navarre Commentary on Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 23.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 23.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 23.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 23.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 23.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 6:30-34.

Navarre Commentary on Mark 6:30-34.

FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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

Year B Commentaries for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

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

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

Commentaries on the Daily and Sunday Readings (Advent Through Easter Sunday)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 24, 2016

NOTE: FOR THE SUNDAY READINGS WE ARE IN YEAR A. FOR THE DAILY READINGS WE ARE IN YEAR I. EACH WEEK INCLUDES COMMENTARIES FOR BOTH THE CURRENT AND UPCOMING SUNDAY (e.g., the Second Week of Advent includes both the second and third Sundays).

ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS

First Week of Advent.
Second Week of Advent.
Third Week of Advent.
Fourth week of Advent.
Commentaries  for Christmas Through Epiphany. Includes octave days and Christmas weekdays

ORDINARY TIME. WEEKS 1 THROUGH 8

First Week.
Second Week.
Third Week.
Fourth Week.
Fifth Week.
Sixth Week.
Seventh Week.
Eighth Week. Note: in 2017 Ash Wednesday Begins this week (see below)

ASH WEDNESDAY THROUGH EASTER SUNDAY

Commentaries for Ash Wednesday Through the Second Sunday of Lent.

Commentaries for the Second Week of Lent.

Commentaries for the Third Week of Lent.

Commentaries for the Fourth Week of Lent.

Commentaries for the Fifth Week of Lent.

Commentaries for Holy Week. Includes Easter.

Commentaries for Easter Sunday Through Divine Mercy Sunday.

Commentaries for the Second Week of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday–3rd Sunday of Easter).

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

Commentaries for the Third Week in Ordinary Time, Year I

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 24, 2016

THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year A.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C.

MONDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 9:15, 24-28.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 9:15, 24-28.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 98.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 98.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 98.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 98.

Pope St John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 98.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 3:20-21.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 3:22-30.

TUESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Boylan’s Commentary on Hebrews 10:1-10.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 10:1-10.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 10:1-10.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 40.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 40.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 40.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 3:31-35.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 3:31-35.

WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 10:11-18.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 10:11-18.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 10:11-18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 110.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 110.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 110.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 4:1-20.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 4:1-20.

THURSDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 10:19-25.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 10:19-25.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 24. Entire psalm.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 24. 1-6.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 24. Entire psalm.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 24.

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

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 4:21-25.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 4:21-25.

FRIDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 10:32-39.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 10:32-39.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 37.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 37.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 37.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 4:26-34.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 4:26-34.

SATURDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
In 2019 this day falls on Feb. 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The first link is to commentaries for that feast. Remaining links are for the normal readings of the day.

2019. Commentaries for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.

Father MacEvilly on the Responsorial: Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75. On 67-79.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75. On 68-79.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 4:35-41.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 4:35-41.

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year A.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time:Year B.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year C.

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

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 7:25-8:6

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 21, 2016

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

Heb 7:25 Whereby he is able also to save for ever them that come to God by him; always living to make intercession for us.

Whence, he can convey perfect salvation, of grace here, and of eternal glory hereafter, on those who, through him, approach to God, because always living and exercising an eternal priesthood, he can always make intercession for us, in quality of high priest.

“Whereby,” i.e., because, “he continueth for ever, and hath an everlasting priesthood” (verse 24), he can save those who have recourse to his intercession, bestowing on them the life of grace here, to be consummated and perfected by a life of glory hereafter. “Always living to make intercession for us.” In Greek, for them. Of course, this intercession is quite different from the intercession of the saints, to which it is no ways opposed. Christ intercedes, as high priest; whereas, the intercession of the saints has no reference to the priestly character, which some of them may have borne on earth.—(See 1 John, 2:2). The Apostle, for reasons already stated (verse 10), forbears referring to the principal exercise of Christ’s priesthood, in the sacrifice of the Mass. In this verse, the Apostle merely refers incidentally to one of the effects, or results of his priesthood, viz., his interceding for us.

Heb 7:26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens:

For, Christ alone is gifted with the qualities and attributes with which it is meet and necessary that the Pontiff who undertakes to make full and adequate reparation for the sins of man, should be gifted, viz., endowed with sanctity, free from malice, exempt from the stain of sin, segregated from sinners, and placed beyond the reach of moral contamination, more exalted than the highest creatures in heaven.

Another argument of the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over that of Aaron is derived from the superior qualities and attributes, which Christ, as high priest, possesses over the Jewish high priests. Christ alone has the attributes required in every high priest who can make reparation for sin, being, “holy, innocent,” &c. “And made higher than the heavens,” which means, that he has penetrated the highest heavens, and is more exalted than the highest creature therein; for, no creature, however exalted, could redeem us. The implied contrast supposes that the Jewish high priest was not possessed of such qualities.

Heb 7:27 Who needeth not daily (as the other priests) to offer sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, in offering himself.

Who is not bound by the Law (like the Levitical high priests) to offer up daily sacrifice of expiation, in the first place, for his own sins, and in the next place, for those of the people; for, he offered himself once as a sacrifice of expiation, not for his own sins, but for the sins of the world—the value of which bloody oblation of himself being such, as to render any repetition thereof, as a Redemptory sacrifice, and in a bloody manner, quite useless.

Another point in which Christ was superior to the Levitical priest. First, he had no sins to expiate, and therefore, was not bound by the law to offer a sacrifice of expiation for his own sins; this first point is proved next verse, 28; secondly, he was not bound by the law prescribing the offering of daily sacrifice of expiation for the sins of the people; this second point he proves in this verse; for, the meritorious value of the bloody oblation of himself, which he “once” offered, as a redemptory sacrifice for others, on the altar of the cross, are such as to render its repetition useless. It is to be observed, that although Christ once offered himself, in a bloody manner on the cross, he still continues to offer himself, in an unbloody manner. This he does in heaven by presenting his humanity continually to his Father (9:24); but it is on earth, he chiefly performs this function, by offering himself daily, being really, truly, and substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine, in the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the same with the Sacrifice of the Cross—the victim the same, the principal offerer the same; differing only in manner; the one, bloody, the other, unbloody. This latter part is abundantly proved in the several treatises on Theology. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is, then, a commemoration and continuation of the Sacrifice of the Cross. The principal parts or actions of a sacrifice are, the immolation of the victim, and the oblation of the same, once immolated. Now, the Sacrifice of the Cross ended only as to the bloody immolation; the same victim is immolated mystically by the separate consecration of the bread and wine, and continues, as to the oblation. It is also to be borne in mind, that the oneness of Christ’s sacrifice no more excludes sacrifices applicatory of this one Redemptory Sacrifice, than it excludes the sacraments, which are merely the channels for applying the merits purchased on the Sacrifice of the Cross. The Apostle makes two assertions in this verse, viz., that our High Priest was not under the necessity of offering up sacrifices daily, first, for his own sins, and secondly, for those of his people. In proving these points, he inverts the order, proving the second point in the first place.

Heb 7:28 For the law maketh men priests, who have infirmity: but the word of the oath (which was since the law) the Son who is perfected for evermore.

The law very properly enacted that the priests should offer up sacrifice for their own sins; because it instituted as high priests men liable to sin, which required a sacrifice of expiation. But the oath referred to by David, long after the promulgation of the law and the institution of the Levitical priesthood, has constituted as High Priest, the Son of God, not for a time but for ever, not subject to sin, but wholly perfect; and free from it.

The Apostle explains the words “as the other priests,” or as the Greek has it ἀρχιερεῖς, high priests (verse 27), and proves the first assertion made by him in preceding verse, viz., that our High Priest did not offer up daily sacrifice for his own sins, because he was sinless; the enactment was necessary as regarded the Levitical priests; because, they themselves were subject to sin; but Christ, whom God constituted priest by oath, which was expressed by David long after the law, was the Son of God, free from all sin; in all things perfect and constituted, for evermore.

Heb 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of majesty in the heavens,

The summary abridgment of all we have said concerning the priesthood of Christ is this: that in him we have a Pontiff, who sits at the right hand of the throne of majesty in heaven,

St. Chrysostom understands by “sum,” κεφάλαιον, the chief, the greatest of all the qualities yet enumerated; others, the recapitulation of the foregoing; but, the interpretation in the Paraphrase is preferable.

Heb 8:2 A minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man.

The ministering pontiff of the celestial Holy of Holies, that is to say, of the true tabernacle (to which the Jewish bore the relation of type), which the Lord hath framed, and not man.

He was minister of the true tabernacle, of which the Jewish tabernacle—built after the model proposed to Moses on the Mount, verse 5—was a mere type. The Greek for “minister,” λειτουργος, means one who performs publicly religious services; it is a term, which applies to all priests; but particularly to a high priest. “Holies and true tabernacle,” probably refer to the same thing—viz., the Church triumphant in heaven and militant on earth; then, “and” means, that is. He is “minister of the holies and (that is) of the true tabernacle”—or, if they refer to different things; then, “the holies” refer to heaven, and “the true tabernacle,” as distinguished from it (although, in reality, “the holies,” formed a part of the Jewish tabernacle), means the Church militant; and Jesus is minister in both; for, he exercises his priesthood in heaven and on earth. “True” is said, not in opposition to false, it means real, opposed to type and figure.

By an allusion to the duties of the high priest in the old law, the Apostle points out the superior excellence of Christ. The great duty of the Jewish high priest was to enter yearly and minister in the earthly “Holy of Holies,” which might be termed a “throne of majesty” (verse 1), but not “in the heavens.” He did not “sit” there; he rather trembled before it. Our High Priest sits down in the real Holy of Holies, “in the heavens,” next the majesty of God himself.

Heb 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is necessary that he also should have some thing to offer.

(Although sitting at the right hand of God, he still acts as ministering pontiff of the true tabernacle), because every high priest, by the very nature of his office, is constituted to offer gifts and victims in sacrifice to God. Hence, as Christ is priest even in heaven, he must have something to offer.

Christ exercises the office of priest by presenting his humanity and passion to God the Father (9:24); but especially by the ministry of his vicars on earth, in the sacrifice of the Mass. It is the former mode of ministering that the Apostle here principally regards. The question of the Eucharist did not fall within his scope, and he omitted direct reference to it, for reasons already assigned. However, the universal proposition employed by the Apostle, together with the word “gifts,” which refers to unbloody oblations, as well as his frequent allusions to the order of Melchisedech, which is fulfilled only in the Eucharistic sacrifice, renders it very probable, that reference is here made to that sacrifice, at least in such a way, as to be perceived and understood by the faithful.

Heb 8:4 If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest: seeing that there would be others to offer gifts according to the law.

If, then, he were a priest of an earthly tabernacle, and belonged to that department which is opposed to the celestial, or rather, if this “something,” or victim, which, as priest, he must offer, were terrestrial, he would be no priest at all; because, not belonging to the tribe of Levi, he would be disqualified by the law for such offerings, or, rather, because his priesthood would be quite useless, since the established ministry of the Aaronic priests would suffice for that purpose:

“If then.” In the ordinary Greek copies, εἰ μὲν γὰρ, for if. The Vulgate is supported by the Alexandrian and other manuscripts, and is generally preferred by critics.

“On earth,” may refer to the priest, if Christ were priest of an earthly tabernacle, or, more probably, it refers to the victim, “should have something to offer” (verse 3), as if he said, If then thissomething,” or victim, were earthly, Christ would not be priest at all; since “there would be others to offer gifts according to the law,” which law would disqualify him, not being of the tribe of Levi. Moreover, his priesthood would be, in that case, quite useless; as the Aaronic priests would suffice. And since, according to the Psalmist, he is a priest; he is, therefore, a priest of the heavenly tabernacle, of which the Jewish is a mere type. He is, of course, as superior to the Levitical priests, as heaven is to earth; as the reality, to its type and figure.

Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things. As it was answered to Moses, when he was to finish the tabernacle: See (saith he) that thou make all things according to the pattern which was shewn thee on the mount.

Who minister in the tabernacle, which is but the obscure delineation, and mere shadowing representation of the heavenly (of which Christ is ministering pontiff—verse 2), according to the divine response given to Moses, when about to make the tabernacle:—“See (he says), that thou do all things according to the model shown thee on the mount.”

The Aaronic priests “serve.” The Greek word, λατρευουσι, implies worship, in a tabernacle, which is but “the example.” In Greek, ὑποδείγματι, a mere obscure delineation; “and shadow of heavenly things,” i.e., of the heavenly sanctuary and true tabernacle of the Church, militant and triumphant (verse 2). The word “example” is not taken here in its ordinary signification, which is, that of model or pattern, as in the words, “according to the pattern,” κατὰ τον τὺπον. The Greek word already quoted, shows the meaning given in the Paraphrase to be correct. “As it was answered to Moses,” &c. The tabernacle of Moses was, according to the Apostle, only a figure and obscure representation of things done by Christ in the Church militant and triumphant. And this, Moses clearly perceived, from the divine oracle commanding him, when about to frame the tabernacle, to make it according to the pattern, sensibly presented to him on the Mount. He saw that this pattern had a typical relation to the future things to be done by Christ in his Church and in heaven. “See thou make all things,” &c. The words, “all things,” are not found in the text (Exodus, 25:40), they have been added by the Apostle.

Heb 8:6 But now he hath obtained a better ministry, by how much also he is a mediator of a better testament which is established on better promises.

But now, in his heavenly sanctuary, Christ has obtained a priestly ministry as far exceeding in superior excellence the priesthood of Aaron, as the covenant, of which he is mediator, surpasses the covenant of Moses and as the promises, with which this new testament is promulgated, exceed the promises of the old.

The Apostle having already clearly proved the translation of the Aaronic priesthood, is preparing, in this verse, while adducing a further argument in favour of the superior excellence of Christ’s priesthood, to show us, that the entire Mosaic law or covenant is to make way for, and to be abolished by, a more excellent one introduced by Christ.

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

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 110

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 21, 2016

Christ’s exaltation, and everlasting priesthood

Psa 110:1 A psalm for David. The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand: Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.

David, in spirit, saw the Messias ascending into heaven after his death and resurrection, and tells us the language the Father made use of when he invited him to sit beside him and reign along with him. He makes use of the past tense, “the Lord said,” instead of the future; because, in the spirit of prophecy, he looks upon the matter as a thing of the past. “The Lord said,” God the Father said, “to my Lord,” to Christ, for it cannot apply to Abraham or Ezechias, as some of the Jews will have it, neither of whom sat on the right hand of the Father, nor were they begot from the womb before the day star, nor were they priests according to the order of Melchisedech; and, furthermore, when this passage was quoted by Christ when arguing with the Jews, they did not attempt to question its reference to the Messias. “Sit thou at my right hand.” Sitting denotes peace and supreme power, which Christ was to enjoy; and sitting “at my right hand, denotes equality, and an equal share in that supreme power enjoyed by God the Father. Christ, as far as his divine nature was concerned, had that equality at all times, but he only got it as regards his human nature after his humiliation unto death, even to the death of the cross, as St. Paul says, “Wherefore God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and in hell, and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.” Sitting on the right hand of God, then, is the same as being in the glory and the majesty of God, and that glory consists in having a name above every name, at which every knee shall bend; for, as the same Apostle has it, “He must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet;” when the Apostle proves that the expression “sit thou at my right hand” means nothing more or less than share my sovereign power. The same Apostle, Heb. 1, has, “For to which of the Angels hath he said at any time, sit on my right hand? Are they not all ministering spirits sent to minister?” Thus proving the difference between Christ and the Angels, from the fact of the latter being merely ministers and servants, and, therefore, not allowed to sit, but obliged to stand, in readiness for the execution of their Lord’s commands; while Christ, as Lord and King, sits with his Father above all creatures. Finally, St. Peter, Acts 2, says, “Being exalted, therefore, by the right hand of God, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear; for David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself said, The Lord said to any Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool. Therefore, let all the house of Israel know most assuredly that God hath made him Lord and Christ, this same Jesus whom you have crucified.” St. Peter clearly says here that “sitting at the right hand of God” means his having ascended into heaven, and ruling and governing in all places as God only can rule and govern. “Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.” The kingdom of Christ, then, is never to have an end, nor is there any danger of its being subverted by its enemies, God having determined to bring them all under subjection by degrees, that Christ may then reign peaceably forever after. The word, then, “until,” does not imply that Christ’s reign was only to hold until his enemies should be subjected; but it means that his kingdom would be always extended more and more until as much as one single enemy not bowing the knee to him would not remain; as if he said, in other words, Come on ruling with me, and cease not extending our kingdom so long as one solitary enemy shall remain uunconquered. That extension of Christ’s kingdom is daily going on through the conversion of some to faith and obedience, who willingly put themselves under Christ’s feet, that he may rest in them as he would on a footstool, and who, after finishing their exile, set out for their country, where they felicitously rest in God: others have either been perverted, or have got hardened in their perversity and are, in the end, hurried away by death to judgment, and, on being condemned, are consigned to hell, where they are, for all eternity, trampled under the feet of Christ. The extension of Christ’s kingdom will be completed on the last day, when every knee shall bend of those that are in heaven, on earth, and in hell, to Christ. But why is the assertion “until I make” attributed to the Father? does not the Son, too, “make thy enemies thy footstool?” Everything done by the Father is also done by the Son, as he himself asserts; but the Father is made to act here, in order, as it were, to reward the obedience of the Son, as the Apostle says, “Wherefore, God also hath exalted him.” With that, everything implying power is usually attributed to the Father, though the Son has the same power, because the Father shares it with him, though the Son cannot share it with the Father, he having had it from the Father by generation. The Son also, as man, enjoys it but by virtue of the hypostatic union. The part the Son takes in subduing the common enemy will be treated of in the next verse.

Psa 110:2 The Lord will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.

David having, in spirit, heard the Father saying to the Son, “Sit thou at my right hand,” now addresses the Son, and, in the same spirit of prophecy, shows how the propagation of Christ’s kingdom on earth was to be commenced. “The Lord will send forth the scepter of thy power out of Sion;” that is, God the Father, in order to put your enemies under your feet, will begin to extend the scepter of your royal power out of the city of Jerusalem, and to extend it from Mount Sion, and propagate it to the remotest corners of the earth. This corresponds with the language of our Lord after his resurrection. “And thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead on the third day, and that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” And in the first chapter of the Acts, “And you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.” The scepter of his power was sent out of Sion, as if it grew on that mountain; for it was in Jerusalem that the spiritual kingdom of Christ commenced, as there were the first believers, and there the faith began to be propagated by the Apostles. “Rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.” All success, triumph, and happiness to you on the way; extend your kingdom to all nations; carry the banner of your cross in the midst of Jews and pagans; plant it where they are thickest and strongest; “rule everywhere in the midst of them;” and in spite of them, and in opposition to them, set up your kingdom. That was very soon accomplished; for within a few years, in spite of both Jews and pagans, many Christian churches were established, for the Apostle writes to the Colossians, chap. 1, “The truth of the Gospel is in the whole world, and bringeth forth fruit and groweth;” and St. Ireneus, who lived in the century next the Apostles, writes, “The Church has been planted through the entire world, even to the ends of the earth;” and he specifies the Churches of Germany, Spain, Lybia, Egypt, France, the East, and the churches he calls those in the middle of the world, meaning Greece and Italy. The Psalm most appropriately adds, “in the midst of thy enemies;” because, however prosperous and triumphant the Church may be, she will always be surrounded by enemies—by pagans, Jews, heretics, and bad Christians—as long as she sojourns here below. But at the end of the world, when the good shall come to be separated from the bad, the kingdom of Christ will be no longer in the midst of her enemies, but will rise above, and be exalted over all her enemies.

Psa 110:3 With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength: in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee.

Having said, “Rule thou in the midst of thy enemies,” which meant at the time that Christ’s kingdom in this world was besieged by his enemies, he now tells us how matters will be on the last day, when all his enemies shall have been subdued, and made his footstool. “With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength;” your power or principality will then be evident to all, and it will be seen that yours is the kingdom. “In the day of thy strength;” on the last day, when your strength will move the heavens, darken the sun, shake the earth, raise the dead, and summon all to your tribunal. “In the brightness of thy saints;” when you shall be surrounded by your saints, who will shine like the sun. “From the womb, before the day star, I begot thee;” you will have such a principality with you, because I, your Almighty Father, “begot you,” not as I did all other created things, from nothing, but “from the womb,” from my own womb, as my true, natural, and consubstantial Son, and that “before the day star,” before I created the stars, before any creature, before all ages. “From the womb.” The holy fathers very properly use this expression as a proof of the divinity of Christ; for, if he were a creature, he could not be said to be born of the womb, for no one can say that a house, or a seat, or anything manufactured, is born of the womb; nor does God anywhere say that the heavens or the earth were born of the womb. By the womb is meant the secret and intimate essence of the Deity; and, though the womb is to be found in woman only, still it is applied to the Father, to show more clearly the consubstantiality of the Son with him, as also to show that God needed not the cooperation of woman to bring forth and produce. Himself begot and gave birth. As Isaias says, “Shall not I, that made others to bring forth children, myself bring forth, saith the Lord.”—“Before the day star.” Here we have a proof of the eternity of Christ; for he was born before the day star, and, consequently, before all created things; but he named the day star, for he himself, as the Son of God, is the increate light. For he is the true light, that enlighteneth every man and Angel.

Psa 110:4 The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.

He now passes from the regal to the sacerdotal dignity, and shows that Christ is a priest forever, not by reason of his succeeding to Aaron, but as a priest immediately appointed by God, and of whom Melchisedech was a type. “The Lord hath sworn,” hath confirmed his promise by an oath, “and he will not repent;” firmly resolved upon it, a resolution he will never alter; and that is, that though the priesthood of Aaron was to be changed, that of Christ’s never would. God is said to be sorry, a thing he cannot be subject to, when he acts as men do who are sorry for anything; thus, God says in Genesis, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, from man even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.” And, again, in 1 Kings 15, the Lord says, “It repenteth me that I have made Saul king.”—“Thou art a priest forever.” These are the words of the Father to the Son, and not of David, as St. Paul reasserts in Heb. 5. Now Christ is said to be a priest forever, because the effect of the one sacrifice in which he offered his body on the cross holds forever, as the Apostle, in Heb. 10 has it, “For by one oblation he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified;” as also, because he, living forever, daily, through the hands of the priests of his Church, who succeed each other, offers a sacrifice to which the Apostle alludes, when he says, “And the others indeed were made many priests, because, by reason of death, they were not suffered to continue; but this, for that he continueth forever, hath an everlasting priesthood.”—“According to the order of Melchisedech;” that is, the rite, law, or custom of Melchisedech, whose order is distinguished from that of Aaron, and from which it differs in many respects. In the first place, Melchisedech succeeded no priest, nor had he a successor; and, thus, the Apostle says of him, “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” While in the priesthood of Aaron one succeeded another, the son supplied the father’s place. Secondly, Melchisedech was both king and priest; Aaron was simply a priest. Thirdly, Melchisedech’s offering consisted of bread and wine, that of Aaron was of sheep and oxen. Fourthly, Melchisedech was the priest of mankind, Aaron’s priesthood was confined to the Jews. Fifthly, Melchisedech required neither tent, tabernacle, nor temple for sacrifice, Aaron did; and hence, to the present day, the Jews have no sacrifice, because they have no temple. Christ, then, is a priest according to the order of Melchisedech, by reason of his having succeeded no priest, and by reason of his having had no priest to succeed him in the great dignity of his everlasting priesthood; and he in fact, as to his human nature has really no father, and as to his divine nature has no mother. The same Christ is both King and Priest, and he offered bread and wine at his last supper, that is, his body under the appearance of bread, and his blood under the appearance of wine; and he is the priest, not only of the Jews, but of the gentiles; nor is his priestly office confined to one temple or one tabernacle, but, as Malachy predicted, “From the rising of the sun, even to the going down, in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation.”

Psa 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.

Having asserted that the Son was called a priest forever by the Father, the prophet now addresses the Father, and says that Christ will be really a priest forever; for though many kings of the earth will conspire against him in order to upset his religion and his priesthood, he, however, seated at the right hand of his Father, will break his adversaries down, and, in spite of them all, will perpetuate his priesthood and his sacrifice. “The Lord at thy right hand;” Christ, as you spoke to him sitting there, when you said, “Sit thou at my right hand.” “Hath broken kings in the day of his wrath;” when he shall be angry with his enemies, the kings of the earth, for persecuting his Church, he will break them, and, as far as I can foresee, has already broken them; for in the spirit of prophecy, I already see Herod stricken by the Angel. Nero, in his misery, laying violent hands on himself; Domitian, Maximinus and Decius put to death; Valerian taken captive by the barbarians; Diocletian and Maximinus throwing up the reins of government in despair; Julian, Valens, and Honoricus, and nearly all the kings hostile to Christ meeting a miserable end here, and well merited punishment in hell afterwards for all eternity.

Psa 110:6 He shall judge among nations, he shall fill ruins: he shall crush the heads in the land of many.

Having told us how Christ would deal for the present with his enemies, the kings and princes of the earth, he tells us now, in addition, how he will deal, on the day of judgment, with all his enemies, “He shall judge among nations;” he who, while here below, beat down the impetuosity of princes, and preserved his Church in time of persecution, will afterwards, at the end of the world, judge all nations; and having condemned all the wicked amongst them, “he shall fill ruins,” will utterly exterminate, ruin, and destroy the whole body of the wicked; and thus “he shall crush the heads in the land of many.” He will humble and confound all the proud, that now, with heads erect, make against him; for he will then trample on their pride, when he shall make their weakness known to the whole world, and thus render them both contemptible and confused; and such is the meaning of crushing their heads: and he adds, “in the land of many,” because the truly humble and pious in this world are very few indeed, when compared to the proud and the haughty, who are nearly innumerable.

Psa 110:7 He shall drink of the torrent in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

He now assigns a reason for Christ being endowed with such power as to be able to break kings, to judge nations, to fill ruins, and to crush heads, and says, “He shall drink of the torrent in the way, therefore shall he lift up the head;” as if he said with the Apostle, “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also hath exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name.” The torrent means the course of human affairs; for, as a torrent flows with great noise and force, full of mud and confusion, and soon after subsides without leaving even a trace of itself, so it is with the affairs of this mortal life—they all pass away, having, generally speaking, been much troubled and confused. Great battles and revolutions, such as those in the time of Caesar and Alexander, and others, have been heard of, but they and their posterity have passed away without leaving a trace of their power. The Son of God, through his incarnation, came down this torrent, and “in the way,” that is, during his mortal transitory life, drank the muddy water of this torrent in undergoing the calamities consequent on his mortality; nay, even he descended into the very depth of the torrent through his passion, the waters of which, instead of contributing to his ease and refreshment, only increased his pains and sufferings, as he complains in Psalm 69. “The waters have come in even unto my soul. I stick fast in the mire of the deep, and there is no sure standing. I am come into the depth of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.” In consideration, then, of such humiliation, freely undertaken for the glory of the Father and the salvation of mankind, he afterwards “lifted up his head,” ascended into heaven, and, sitting at the right hand of the Father, was made Judge of the living and the dead.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture, St Robert Bellarmine | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: