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Commentaries for the Feast of the Holy Family (Sunday in the Octave of Christmas)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

READINGS: alternate readings are allowed for the 1st and 2nd readings and the responsorial. Shorter forms of the second and gospel readings are also allowed.

NABRE. Used in the USA.

New Jerusalem Bible. Used in most English speaking countries.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14, or Gen 15:1-6, 21:1-3.

Word-Sunday Notes on Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14.

Alternate First Reading. Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3.

COMMENTARIES OF THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, or Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 128.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 128.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 128.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 128.

Alternate Responsorial: Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 105.

Alternate Responsorial: St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 105.

Alternate Responsorial: St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 105.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Colossians 3:12-21. Shorter reading 3:12-17. Alternate reading Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-18.

Bernardin de Piconio on Colossians 3:12-21. Shorter reading 12-17.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 3:12-21. Shorter reading 12-17

Navarre Bible Commentary on Colossians 3:12-21. Shorter reading 12-17

Shorter reading: Father Callan’s Commentary on Colossians 3:12-17.

Shorter reading: Word-Sunday Notes on Colossians 3:12-17.

Alternate Second Reading: Father Callan’s Commentary on Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-18. On 8-19.

Alternate Second Reading: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-18. On 8-18.

Alternate Second Reading: Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-18.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: Luke 2:22-40, or Lk 2:22, 39-40.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Luke 2:22-40.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 2:22-40.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 2:22-40.

 

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:8-19

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

Introduction to Hebrews Chapter 11.

Heb 11:1-38. The close of the preceding Chapter has shown that faith is essential to salvation, and hence the author will now describe so important a virtue and illustrate its value and power by citing some of the religious heroes of the past. These examples of what faith has done for so many of those ancient saints whom Jewish history most revered will be especially consoling to the readers of this Epistle, for it will show them that their own Christian faith is not something new and distinct from the religious assurance and conviction which sustained their ancestors, but rather a continuation of the same sustaining virtue, only on a much more elevated plain.

11:8.  By faith he that is called Abraham, obeyed to go out into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

8. As Abraham was the supreme example of faith among the Jews, the writer now dwells at length on his faith. The great patriarch’s faith is illustrated: (a) by his obedience to the call of God to go forth from his own country in search of the Promised Land and his wanderings in that strange land (ver. 8-10); (b) by the confidence with which he and his wife Sara received God’s promise of offspring (ver. 11-12); (c) by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac (ver. 17-19).

The call of God came to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees, and in obedience to it he left home and kindred, wandering and enduring privations and hardships in search of the land of Canaan which God had promised to give to him and his descendants (Gen 12:1ff.).

He that is called Abraham. Here the author alludes to the fact that God, as a mark of special favor, changed the patriarch’s original name Abram to Abraham (Gen17:5).

11:9. By faith he abode in the land as a stranger, dwelling in cottages, with Isaac and Jacob, the co-heirs of the same promise.

9. Faith not only made Abraham obedient to the call of God, but also gave him patience to wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises, dwelling as a sojourner in a foreign country. His son, Isaac, and his grandson, Jacob, persevered in the same faith, never doubting the promise of God. Cf. Gen 12:8, 13:3, 17:1 ff.

11:10. For he looked for a city that hath foundations; whose builder and maker is God.

10. Abraham was sustained in his faith by the conviction that there was an abiding city awaiting him hereafter in heaven, a city whose architect and master-builder is God. The land of Canaan which God had promised him was but a figure of an eternal inheritance which God would bestow upon him above.

A city that hath foundations means the heavenly Jerusalem (12:22; Gal 4:26; Apoc. 21:2).

11: 11. By faith also Sara herself, being barren, received strength to conceive seed, even past the time of age ; because she believed that he was faithful who had promised.
11:12. For which cause there sprung even from one (and him as good as dead) issue like the stars of heaven in multitude, and like the sand which is by the seashore innumerable
.

11-12. Though Sara was already ninety years of age when she received the promise of a son, she believed, even if somewhat less promptly than Abraham, and as a result she was given the power to conceive (Gen 17:17). Likewise, though far beyond the age of begetting children, Abraham, as a reward of his faith, became the father of a posterity as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the sea-shore (Gen 21:17; cf, Rom 4:19).

11:13. All these died according to faith, not having received the promises, but beholding them afar off, and saluting them and confessing that they are pilgrims and strangers on the earth.
11:14. For they that say these things do signify that they seek a country.
11:15. And truly if they had been mindful of that from whence they came out, they had doubtless time to return.
11:16. But now they desire a better, that is to say, a heavenly country. There- fore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city
.

13-16, In these verses the author interrupts his argument to reflect on the great faith of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The vision which faith had disclosed to them was too glorious to find its realization during their lifetime, or on earth.

The fulfillment of the divine promises they saw dimly in the far future; but they were not disappointed, for they sought a city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Therefore, God recognized their faith and bestowed on them a celestial home. If the “country” they sought had been the earthly one whence they had come, they could have returned to it; but the object of their quest was “a heavenly country.”

11:17. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac, and he that had
received the promises offered up his only-begotten son,
11:18. To whom it was said: In Isaac shall thy seed be called:
11:19. Accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Whereupon also he received him for a parable
.

17-19. The faith of Abraham was sorely tried when God demanded of him the sacrifice of his son Isaac, but the aged patriarch did not waver (Gen 22:1-18). Isaac was indeed the son of promise, who had been born of a freewoman, and on whom the future depended; but at God’s command Abraham made ready to immolate him, feeling sure that He who had given this son in the first instance by a miracle, could restore him if necessary by a second miracle.

Isaac is called “the only-begotten son,” because to him alone were the promises made, Ishmael being excluded from them.

Whereupon also he received him for a parable, i.e., as a reward of his faith Abraham received his son safely back from the jaws of death, and this delivery made Isaac a “parable,” i.e., a figure or type of the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 11:8-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

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, inight 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 offaith, 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 if, 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 11:8  By faith he that is called Abraham obeyed to go out into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing whither he went.

“He that is called.” The Greek copy, followed by the Vulgate, had, ὅ  καλουμενος. This is also the reading of the Alexandrian Manuscript. In this reading, allusion is made to the change of name in Abraham (Genesis, xvii. 3). The article (ὅ) 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.

Heb 11:9  By faith he abode in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in cottages, with Isaac and Jacob, the co-heirs of the same promise.

He dwell as a pilgrim in the land of promise where he did not occupy a foot of  ground, as his fixed habitation, “with Isaac and Jacob:” “with” has the meaning of as well as, it denotes parity of circumstances, Though it might be said that he dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob; for, Jacob was fifteen years old at Abraham’s death,the former meaning, viz. : they, as well as Abraham, dwelt successively in tents; is the more probable.

Heb 11:10  For he looked for a city that hath foundations: whose builder and maker is God.

“For, he looked for a city,” &c. In this verse, the Apostle proves that it was owing to faith that Abraham dwelt as a stranger in moveable tents in the land of promise, because he locked forward to the heavenly city of eternal stability, firmly fixed and founded by God himself. What an idea of the condition of man here below is conveyed to us, in the faith of the Patriarch!—like him, we are here but strangers in this foreign land; heaven is our true home, our eternal dwelling-place, on which our thoughts and affections should be fixed. Our conversation should be in heaven, whither we are tending.

Heb 11:11  By faith also Sara herself, being barren, received strength to conceive seed, even past the time of age: because she believed that he was faithful who had promised.

“Being barren.” These words are omitted in the ordinary Greek copies, but they are found in the Alexandrian and other Manuscripts.

Objection.—Was not Sara rebuked by the angel for laughing from incredulity?—(Genesis, xxiii. 15).

Answer.—Although Sara smiled at first, still, on discovering the dignity of him who made the promise, she believed. Some, among whom is Estius, by “faith” understand the faith of Abraham himself, which the Apostle would appear to be specially commending, and in consideration of which, Sara conceived; in the same way, the walls of Jericho are said to have fallen by faith, i.e., the faith of the Jews, and the following verse in some measure favours this opinion. However, the following words, “She believed,” are in favour of the other interpretation. “To conceive seed;” to which the Greek adds, and brought forth.

Heb 11:12  For which cause there sprung even from one (and him as good as dead) as the stars of heaven in multitude and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

“As the stars… as the sand,” &c. These are hyperboles easily understood, signifying a very numerous progeny. They may refer to carnal Israel, in the first place, and to spiritual Israel, or to all Christians, in the second.

Heb 11:13  All these died according to faith, not having received the promises but beholding them afar off and saluting them and confessing that they are pilgrims and strangers on the earth.

“All these,” i.e., the three last mentioned Patriarchs, to whom were made the promises, “died according to faith,” i.e., persevered till death in faith, believing in God’s promises, although they did not receive the promises, nor did they enjoy them immediately themselves. This is true, whether the promises be referred to the occupation of Chanaan by their innumerable offspring, or to heaven, which was closed until after the ascension of Christ; they contessed themse.ves, on aii occasions, to be foreigners and sojourners on earth; “but beholding them from afar, and saluting them,” like sailors, who, after a dangerous and distant voyage, on descrying land for the first time, joyously salute it. After the words, “beholding them afar off,” are added in some Greek copies, being persuaded of them. But, this addition is generally rejected by critics, as unsupported by the authority of the chief Manuscripts. The Apostle refers to the promises, which the Patriarchs themselves did not obtain during life, in order to show the firmness of their faith, and thus to animate the Hebrews, of his own day, to perseverance under affliction, although the promised goods of heaven in store for them, were distant and invisible; for, tiiey had been stih more so, for the Patriarchs.

Heb 11:14  For they that say these things do signify that they seek a country.

Having observed in the preceding verse, that the Patriarchs died without obtaining the promises, the Apostle shows what the promises regarded, at least, so far as they themselves were to enjoy them; surely, not the possession by them or the land of Chanaan; for, by saying they saluted them from afar, there could not be question of the place where they actually dwelt. Moreover, by calling themselves pilgrims, they showed that they were in search of some permanent country, and Cnanaan was not their country.

Heb 11:15  And truly, if they had been mindful of that from whence they came out, they had doubtless, time to return.

Nor was there question of Chaldea; for, if so, they might have returned, as it was not more than fifty leagues distant from Chanaan.

Heb 11:16  But now they desire a better, that is to say, a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Then, it follows, they were in search of a better, that is to say, their heavenly country; hence it is, that God, though God of all mankind, calls hiuiseit their God in particular, as if rendering them equal value with the rest of creation.

Heb 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Some interpreters make the words, “he who had received the promises,” refer to Isaac, thus: he offered up his only begotten son, who had received the promises. The former construction, which refers it to Abraham s receiving the promises, is more probable, as appears from the following verse. “Offered Isaac,” i.e., was aboutoffering him, and would have done so if he were not prevented; he did so in heart and will.

Heb 11:18  (To whom it was said: In Isaac shalt thy seed be called).

The seed promised him was to come only through Isaac. Hence, the heroic firmness of Abraham’s faith in sacrificing him.

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Commentaries for the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

Today’s Mass Readings.

St Augustine’s Homily on 1 John 1:5-2:2.

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

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

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 124.

Pope Benedict XVI on Psalm 124.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 2:13-18.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 2:13-18. On 13-23.

My Notes on Matthew 2:13-18.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 2:13-18.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 2:41-52

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

41 And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch.

And His parents went every year,” &c. The men were commanded by the law of Moses (Exodus 23:14–17; 34:23; Deut. 16:16) to go to the Temple three times in the year, viz., at the solemn festivals of the Pasch, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. It was not enjoined on the women; the Blessed Virgin, however, out of devotion, accompanied her husband. Whether Joseph himself went up on these three occasions, or, only at the Pasch—the greatest solemnity of all—and whether Mary accompanied him on these three occasions, with the child Jesus, is disputed. Some hold, Joseph went up only at the Pasch, from which there was no dispensation; and that, on account of the great distance of Jerusalem from Nazareth, he was dispensed from going to the two other feasts. It is, however, more commonly held, that Joseph attended on all three occasions each year; and that his holy Virgin spouse accompanied him on these several occasions; and, as it is most unlikely, they left their heavenly charge behind them; it is, therefore, commonly held that our Lord always accompanied them. Moreover, in this, they would give a lesson to parents as to the practical early teaching of children in the duties of religion. But, St. Luke refers only to their annual attendance at the Pasch, as it was only at the Pasch, the following wonderful occurrence, in the Temple, where our Lord showed He was “full of wisdom,” took place. He does not deny it regarding other occasions. And, although the cruel Archelaus still reigned in Jerusalem, the dread of whose cruelty caused Joseph to give up all idea of dwelling in Judea (Matt. 2); still, the parents of the child naturally expected He would pass unnoticed in the crowd that flocked to Jerusalem on these solemn festivals. Besides, they had great trust in Providence, for whose honour and service they underwent this risk, and they dreaded offending God, by neglect, more than the danger they incurred from Archelaus, which was diminished by their immediate return home on each occasion. Some hold, that our Redeemer did not go to the Temple till he was twelve years old, when, according to them, Archelaus, in the tenth year of his reign, was banished by Augustus, and sent into exile. Hence, no danger from him.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast,

To the end of this verse should be added, in order to complete the sense, the words, “the child also went up with them.”

43 And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem. And his parents knew it not.

They religiously remained till the Octave day, although not bound to remain, at Jerusalem; and then, returned home, while “the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem.” Some say, He rendered Himself invisible on this, as He did on subsequent occasions (Origen in Luc., Hom. 19). He assigns Himself the reason of His remaining (v. 49).

And His parents knew it not.” Some Greek copies have, “Joseph and His mother knew it not.” Very likely, He concealed His design from His parents, lest if He asked their permission, which they probably might refuse, He would seem guilty of disobedience by remaining; and He also may have in view to show, He had a more exalted Parent in heaven, whose glory and business He should promote, independently of all earthly relations and considerations. He wished, by remaining, to give a glimpse of the glory concealed within Him, and to prepare men for its manifestation in due time, marked out in the decrees of His Eternal Father. He “remained,” not by accident, but, by the all-ruling designs of Providence. The parents may be freed from the charge of negligence regarding Him, if it be borne in mind, that those of the same neighbourhood and kindred returned in companies: those of one household being mixed up with those of another, till, at evening, they were to be recognised at the place of public entertainment. Probably, the men formed one company apart; and the women, another. Thus, Joseph might have supposed that the Divine Infant was with His mother’s company; and, His mother, that he was with Joseph. This is held by St. Bernard (Serm. infra Octav. Epiph.), by Ven. Bede, St. Bonaventure, &c. However, the Evangelist seems to favour the former supposition, viz., that the persons of the same neighbourhood used to travel in companies without minding the distinction of families, or household, on their journey, till they halted at evening. For, he says, His parents thought, “He was in the company,” among whom they searched for Him in the evening.

44 And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’s journey and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance.

They came a day’s journey.” Nazareth was three days’ journey from Jerusalem. “And sought Him,” when they reached the term of their day’s journey, at the place of common resort. The Evangelist would seem to exculpate Mary and Joseph, as the practice of allowing children to travel with the members of the same company was probably quite common, and it may be, that our Lord did so on former occasions when He went up, in company with them, to attend the festival celebrations at Jerusalem.

45 And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him.

They returned to Jerusalem,” as they got no tidings from any one regarding His having been seen leaving it. “Seeking Him,” inquiring regarding Him on their way thither.

46 And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions.

After three days,” or on the third day after they left. It is quite common in Sacred Scriptures to say that a thing occurred after a day on which it took place (v. 21; also Mark 8:31). One day was spent on their way home; a second, on their return to Jerusalem. On the third, they found Him. “They found Him in the Temple,” engaged in His Father’s business, in His Father’s house, and not in places of public diversion or entertainment. Probably, the “Temple” here means, a court of it, in which the doctors sat for the purpose of public instruction.

Sitting in the midst of the doctors,” not that the child took His place among them. This His own modesty would forbid, and the pride of these learned teachers would not submit to it. It only means, that He was sitting in their presence, as a hearer, listening to them treating of the Divine law.

Hearing them and asking them questions.” He so managed His questions, which He proposed modestly, not by way of disputation, as to convey knowledge; and, in turn, elicited from them questions, to which He replied with marvellous wisdom and knowledge. It was wonderful to see this child of twelve, answering and proposing questions connected with the Law of God to these learned doctors, which elicited the admiration of all. It is very likely, He managed to turn their attention to the great question of the coming of their Messiah, and to the fulfilment of all the prophecies that had reference to Him, viz., the passing away of the sceptre from Judah—the seventy weeks of Daniel, &c. Very likely, He proved the Messiah must now have come. His personal appearance showed His human nature; the maturity of His judgment and knowledge, and wisdom, at that age, showed He was something more than man. He thus early gave a passing proof of what He was. He darted forth a ray of His Divinity in order to prepare men for a fuller manifestation of it, when He would, at no distant day, enter on His public mission, and the instruction of the world.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers.

His wisdom and His answers,” that is, the wisdom of His answers.

48 And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

His parents “seeing Him, wondered.” Not that it caused them surprise to see Him, whom they knew to be the Eternal Son of God, display such knowledge. But as He never before publicly acted thus—very likely in private, He might have given proofs of His latent Divinity—they were surprised at His doing so now, for the first time, the more so, as it was these very doctors who had been consulted formerly by Herod the Great as to the place of His birth (Matthew 2:4), and this wonderful display, on the part of so young a child might make them suspect, He was the very Messiah referred to.

His mother said to Him,” not in a spirit of rebuke or reproach, but, from a feeling of sorrow that had hitherto overwhelmed her and her blessed spouse, she lovingly addresses Him—“Son,” specially confided to my care by your Heavenly Father, “why hast Thou done so to us?”—to leave us without knowing it, and thus overwhelm us with unspeakable sorrow at your loss and absence, and the fear lest through any fault of ours, we should have the unspeakable misfortune of losing you for ever. Joseph, who knew he had no claim of paternity, save that he was His reputed father, the husband of her who gave Him birth, observes a guarded and respectful silence, though, he also was oppressed with grief at the loss of the child.

Behold Thy father,” commonly reputed such by men, “and I have sought Thee sorrowing,” fearing lest we might be guilty of any neglect, or have merited the punishment of losing you. It is likely, the Virgin thus spoke to Him apart, after they left the meeting of the doctors in the Temple, and she lovingly gives Joseph a share in their common sorrow and anxiety concerning Him. St. Augustine here notes the singular modesty and humility of the Virgin, in putting Joseph before herself, “Thy father and I,” thus giving an example of the respect wives should never fail to show their husbands.

49 And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my father’s business?

How is it that you sought Me?” as if He said, It is a wonder you, who knew who I am, viz., the Eternal Son of God, did not reflect, that My departure and absence for a time, was not the result of mere accident; that it was arranged by the all—ruling providence of My Eternal Father. In this, He by no means censures or blames them, since they did only what it was right and natural for them to do. They were guilty of no fault, and therefore gave no cause for blame or censure. It was great natural affection, and a laudable pious solicitude and fear for the safety of their heavenly charge, that prompted them in what they had done.

Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” The Virgin mother had speken of His putative father on earth; He refers to His true and Eternal Father in heaven. This Father sent Him to earth to redeem mankind. It was to this all His thoughts and actions were to be referred; it was to this, His appearing on this occasion in the Temple was to be attributed. These are the words recorded in the Gospel as the first spoken by our Lord, and they convey to us the most important of all lessons, viz., that we should be always engaged in the business of our Heavenly Father, and the advancement of His glory. In them, He also conveys, that while subject in all His merely human actions, to His earthly parents, still, when aims and objects of a higher order interfered, He ceased to be subject to them, or to be influenced by any human feelings or affections whatever. In regard to His mission, He was to be guided, solely by the good-will and pleasure of His Eternal Father in heaven, to have no dependence on flesh or blood; to know neither father nor mother on earth. These words, though apparently reproachful, convey not a reproof, because such was undeserved; but only instruction to His parents regarding His relations towards them, His utter independence of them, whenever the work of God was to be done, and His Father’s precept urgent; and consolation also, by intimating that it was solely on account of the loftier duties that devolved upon Him, He was forced as it were, to ignore them, and cause them the sorrow and pain they lately endured.

Whenever in the Gospel, there is mention of any interference on the part of friends in what was peculiarly the business of His Eternal Father, and the action of His Divine nature, our Lord employs language apparently reproachful, (though really not so, because unmerited, as in this case) for the instruction of children in all ages, as to how they are to act whenever their parents, or feelings of natural affection, would interfere with what is clearly their duty towards God; as for instance, should parents unreasonably oppose their children’s entrance into religion, when clearly called to that state by God. In such a case, ordinarily speaking, the higher call of duty to God is to be preferred.

50 And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them.

And they understood not,” &c. Although the parents of our Redeemer, especially the Holy Virgin, knew our Lord to be the Eternal Son of the Father, and that He was sent into this world to save mankind, and promote His Father’s glory; still, they did not fully comprehend the meaning of His words. They did not see what connexion His withdrawal from them, His appearing at that age in the Temple and disputation with the doctors had with this general object. No doubt, the Blessed Virgin was at this time perfect in charity; but, we need not suppose her perfect in the gift of knowledge. God gradually developed the fulness of this gift in her, and left her nescient of several details connected with her Son, which she knew in course of time. Although Mary and Joseph did not fully understand our Lord’s words, they devoutly and reverently acquiesced in all He said without asking further questions, without entertaining or expressing any doubts regarding them, fully resigning themselves to the Divine will, perfectly satisfied with having found and received Him back again.

51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.

And was subject to them.” Having for a moment displayed His Divinity, and after showing in what things children are not subject to their parents, He now returns to His usual occupations, and gives an example of obedience to His earthly parents in their home at Nazareth, which all children are strictly bound to follow, under pain of being deprived of the special reward promised to dutiful children, and of being excluded from the inheritance, or land which the Lord God is to give them. The Evangelist, probably, adds this to let us see, that the passing manifestation of His Divine origin did not exempt Him from the duty of obedience, which, as man, He felt to be due to His parents in human and domestic affairs. It is likely, He laboured as a carpenter, and assisted Joseph in his workshop. Hence, called “a carpenter” (Mark 6:3), as well as “the carpenter’s Son” (Matthew 13:55). From these words we see the great merit of obedience, the entire private life of our Lord, from the age of twelve to thirty, being briefly summed up in these words, “et crat subditus illis.” This is the abridgment of Christian duty. The spirit of religion is a spirit of submission; its practice is the practice of obedience. On these words, St. Bernard (Sermo 1, super missus est), cries out, Who was subject? God. To whom? To men. He, whom the powers of heaven obey, was subject to Mary, and not to Mary only; but to Joseph. On both sides, an astounding wonder. On both sides, a miracle. That God would obey a woman, is an instance of unexampled humility. That a woman should rule a God, of unequalled sublimity. Blush, proud ashes, a God humbles Himself; and dost thou exalt thyself? A God subjects Himself to man, and dost thou anxiously wish to prefer thyself to the Author of thy being? Learn therefore, man, to obey; learn, O earth, to be subject; and thou, O dust, to submit.

His mother kept all these words in her heart.” She constantly meditated on all the words and acts and events connected with her Son, whom she knew to be God, thus nourishing her piety, acquiring a more certain knowledge of all the mysteries of His life, which she might be enabled to communicate with undoubting certainty to the Apostles and Evangelists, who were, at the appointed time, to announce them throughout the world. It is likely, it was from her, St. Luke obtained the information he here gives regarding the Incarnation, birth and infancy of our Redeemer.

We have no further mention of Joseph in the Gospel. It is likely he passed to his reward, before our Lord entered on His public mission. No doubt, with Jesus and Mary presiding at his death bed, the approach of death only revealed to him, by anticipation, the unspeakable joys in store for him. We find no mention of him even at the first public manifestation of our Saviour at the marriage feast of Cana in Galilee. (John 2, &c.)

52 And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and men.

And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age,” &c. Hitherto the Evangelist called Him “the child,” παιδιον; but, henceforth, after His having displayed so much wisdom, he calls Him “Jesus.” Nothing more is recorded of Him, than that He was subject to His parents, probably toiling in His workshop with His reputed father (Mark 6:3), and discharging faithfully all the other offices of a dutiful son. “And He advanced in wisdom and age.” The word “age,” may mean stature, ἡλκία, as it is rendered (Luke 12:25). How it is He “advanced in wisdom,” in whom, from His Incarnation, from the moment of the hypostatic union, when the Holy Ghost anointed Him with “the oil of gladness beyond His fellows,” were “hid all the treasures of knowledge and of wisdom” (Col. 2:2); “who was full of grace and of truth” (John 1:14), has caused a difference of opinion among Commentators. The usual modes of explaining this point are—First, He advanced in the external manifestation of hidden wisdom, by words and acts proportioned to His advancing age, which, before men, were indications of greater wisdom; from wise words and acts, progressing to acts and words wiser still; the interior habit, however, or fund of infused wisdom which was perfect from the Incarnation in a finite degree, of which alone the soul of Christ was capable, received no real increase; just as the sun, according to its position above the horizon, increases not in itself, as it is always the same; but, in its effects, in its light and greater brilliancy in regard to us. In SS. Scripture, words and external acts emanating from wisdom, are called “wisdom.” Thus, “The queen of the south came to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (Luke 11:31; Matthew 12:42). Thus it is said, “we speak the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 2:7). Secondly, He increased in wisdom, as to a new mode of acquiring it, viz., experimentally, He advanced in acquired experimental knowledge, which He had not before, and which could result from experience only, just as is said of Him, “And whereas, indeed, He was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).

And grace with God and man.” As regards men, all His acts, His entire demeanour procured Him greater favour and acceptability with them, conciliated more and more the esteem and love of all. This has reference to His private hidden life. In His public missionary life, many, for whose ruin He was set, were found to find fault with Him, owing to their own perversity.

In regard to God, He increased in grace, inasmuch as its external manifestation before men was genuine, and not affected, but real in the sight of God, who felt complacency in this external manifestation of it before men. While His body grew in stature, His soul grew in wisdom and grace, not as to the internal habit, but, as to its external manifestation in acts before men, which was not affected but real, emanating from the internal habit, as seen by God and pleasing in His sight.

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Commentaries for the Fourth Week of Advent

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

SPECIAL NOTE: The weekday readings for the Fourth Week of Advent always fall sometime between December 17-24. Click on the link provided and find the appropriate date with its corresponding commentaries.

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
We are in Year B

Year A Commentaries.

Year B Commentaries.

Year C Commentaries.

Last Week’s Posts.

MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

 

Pick the appropriate date. Commentaries on the weekday readings Dec 17-24.

TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Pick the appropriate date. Commentaries on the weekday readings Dec 17-24.

 

WEDNESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Pick the appropriate date. Commentaries on the weekday readings Dec 17-24.

 

THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Pick the appropriate date. Commentaries on the weekday readings Dec 17-24.

 

FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Pick the appropriate date. Commentaries on the weekday readings Dec 17-24.

SATURDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Pick the appropriate date. Commentaries on the weekday readings Dec 17-24.

 

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Commentaries on the Mass Readings for December 17-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

NOTE: When a Sunday falls on one of these dates the Sunday readings are used.

DECEMBER 17

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Genesis 49:2, 8-10. On 8-12.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 49:2, 8-10.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 72.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 72.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 72.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 72.

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

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 1:1-17.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 1:1-17.

Thephylact’s Commentary on Matthew 1:1-17. Non-Catholic. Late 11th century. Considered a saint by some Orthodox churches.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 1:1-17.

DECEMBER 18

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Jeremiah 23:5-8. On 23:1-8, and 33:14-26.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 23:5-8.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 72.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 72.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 72.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 72.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25.

Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 1:18-25.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25.

DECEMBER 19

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Judges 13:2-7, 24-25.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Judges 13:2-7, 24-25.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 71.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 71.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 71.

My Notes on Psalm 71. Just on today’s verses.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:5-25.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:5-25.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:5-25.

DECEMBER 20

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Isaiah 7:10-14. On 1-17.

St Bernard’s Homily on Isaiah 7:10-14.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 24.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 24:1-6. Covers today’s verses.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 24.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 24.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 24.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:26-38.

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.

DECEMBER 21

Today’s Mass Readings. Note: an alternate 1st reading is allowed.

Today’s Divine Office.

Pending (maybe): St Bernard on Song of Songs 2:8-14.

Navarre Bible Commentary on the Song of Songs 2:8-14.

Alt First Reading: My Notes on Zephaniah 3:14-18.

Alt. First Reading: Navarre Bible Commentary on Zephaniah 3:14-18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 33.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 33.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 33.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 33.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:39-45.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-45.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-45.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:39-45.

DECEMBER 22

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Samuel 1:24-28.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8). On 1-10.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-56.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-56.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-56.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:46-56.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:46-56.

DECEMBER 23

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 25.

Father Berry’s Introduction to Psalm 25.

St Augustine on Psalm 25.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 25.

Lectio Divina Notes on Psalm 25.

Some Rambling on Psalm 25. “Off the top of my head” reflections on St John the Baptist in relation to today’s first reading (the Baptist is the focal point of both the first and Gospel readings today).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:57-66.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:57-66.

DECEMBER 24

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Augustine on 2 Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16 and Psalm 89.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 89.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 89.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 89.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 89.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:67-79.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Luke 1:67-79.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:67-79.

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2017

18 Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost.

Now the generation of Christ.] The following paragraph of the gospel gives first the reason why Jesus is said to be born of Mary; secondly, it tells of Joseph’s doubt and its solution; in the third place, it shows the fulfilment of a prophecy in the birth, or rather in the conception, of Jesus.

a. Why is Jesus said to be born of Mary? In verse 16 the evangelist breaks his genealogical chain; for instead of saying “and Joseph begot Jesus,” he continues, “Joseph the husband of Mary of whom [Mary] was born Jesus who is called Christ.” That the evangelist is going to give the reason for this special expression, he indicates in the words: “Now (for) the generation of Christ was in this wise.” This phrase must not, therefore, be understood as referring merely to the genealogy [Jer. Orig.], or as referring cither to the genealogy or the description of the conception that follows [Rab. Bed.], but it refers wholly to the manner of the conception of Jesus [Chrys. Knab.]. The words constitute, as it were, a new heading of the following paragraph, in which we must consider: (1) the name Mary; (2) the verb “was espoused”; (3) the phrase “before they came together”; (4) the expression “she was found with child”; (5) the words “of the Holy Ghost.”

(1) Mary has been variously interpreted by different authors: my illuminatrix, illuminating them, myrrh of the sea, star of the sea, enlightened, enlightening, bitter sea, drop of the sea, mistress, bitter one, fat or strong one, afflicted one, exalted one, contumacy, are some of the explanations of the name [cf. Bardenhewer, Der Name Maria, Freiburg, 1895; de Lagarde, Onomast. s. xiv. 7; lxx. 1; lxxiv. 21; cciii. 14; xiv. 8; Zeitschr. d. d. m. Gesellsch. 1877, p. 183; Linzer Quartalsch. 1880, pp. 58–64; Innsbrucker Zeitsch. 1880, p. 387; Isidor. Hispal. etymol. vii. 10; Jer. in Exod.; in Mt.; etc.]. Knabenbauer is of opinion that the explanations of the name which regard it as compound with the Hebrew word meaning “sea” should be abandoned; he eliminates also the renderings “contumacy,” “afflicted one,” “bitter one,” as being unlikely to be given to a newly born child; the meanings “exalted one,” “mistress,” “myrrh,” he admits as probable, since names of this meaning might be given to a child. It is clear that absolute certainty as to the meaning of the name cannot with our present data be expected.

(2) The word “espoused” [μνηστευθείσης] signifies properly “to be promised in marriage,” “to be betrothed”; but the meaning of betrothment according to the Hebrew law differs essentially from the idea usually connected with that term in our day. It is not a mere promise to marry, but it is the very initiation of marriage. The betrothed parties are really married, though by custom they are not yet entitled to the marital rights, nor bound to fulfil any of the mutual duties of conjugal life. The betrothment is dissolved only by death or a bill of divorce; faithlessness on the part of the betrothed female is treated as adultery. Without obtaining a formal divorce, she cannot enter a marriage contract with another person, and if she does so, it is void. The betrothed parties are called “Arus” and “Arusa” respectively, the state of being betrothed is called “Arusin,” and the act of betrothing, “Kiddushin.” The mode of betrothal is either by money [Kaseph], or by a written document [Sh’tar]. Between the betrothal and the nuptials an interval elapses, varying from a month for widows to a year for virgins. The nuptials are termed Chuppa [bridal chamber] or Nissuin [taking]. The essence of the nuptial ceremonies consists in conducting the bride from her home to that of the bridegroom, or a place representing his home. After this they are considered in all respects as husband and wife, though no conjugal intercourse has actually taken place [cf. Mielziner, The Jewish Law of Marriage and Divorce, pp. 76 ff.; Patrizi, De Prima Angeli ad Josephum Mariæ Sponsum Legatione, nn. 4, 5, 17; Deut. 22:23, 26; 1 Kings 18:25; Gen. 34:12; 29:18, 20, 25, 27; 31:4; Deut. 20:7; 2 Kings 3:14; etc.].

To distinguish, therefore, between marriage and the use of marriage: Christians have after betrothment a “jus ad rem” with regard to marriage, and after the nuptials a “jus in re,” while the Jews had no “jus ad rem,” but only a “jus in re”; with regard to the use of marriage, the Jews had a “jus ad rem” after the betrothment, and after the nuptials a “jus in re,” but Christians have a “jus in re” only, after the nuptials.

Still, as now we apply the terms “bride” and “bridegroom” to newly married persons, so does St. Luke [2:5] use the word “espoused” of Mary even after her nuptials with St. Joseph. The question to be decided here is whether “espoused” in the present passage of St. Matthew must be taken in the Christian meaning of the term, or in its legal Jewish meaning, or again in its metaphorical meaning in which the third evangelist employs it. The first signification is excluded by the nationality of the author and by the nature of the case. The third signification is excluded by the context, according to which St. Joseph had not yet “taken” Mary unto him, so that the nuptials had not yet taken place [verses 20, 24]. St. Matthew uses the term, therefore, in its second, strictly literal, meaning.

The only difficulty is to explain how God, according to this opinion, attained the four ends for which he wished Mary to be joined in marriage to St. Joseph. He intended a. to conceal for a time the mystery of the incarnation which could not then be understood; b. to shield the honor of Mary; c. to give Mary a helper and consoler, and a guardian of her virginity; d. to conceal the miraculous conception of Jesus from the devil. This last reason was first stated by Ign., and has been repeated by Ambr. [lib. ii. n. 3], Thom. [p. iii. qu. 29 a. 1], Sylv. and Suar. [in p. iii.]; but Scot, [in 4, sent. dist. 30, qu. 2], Tost. [in Mt. i. qu. 31], Salm. and Mald, appear to be right in rejecting it. Even though Mary was espoused to St. Joseph, the devil, if not impeded by God’s special intervention, could naturally know whether Jesus was conceived and born in the ordinary way or not. Besides, commentators do not tell us that God prevented the devil from perceiving other signs that proved the Messiasship of our Lord more clearly than his virginal conception and birth do; why, then, assert such a preventive action of God in this latter case? Thom. [l. c] assigns also a fifth reason for the marriage of Mary: God wished to honor in her both the state of virginity and of matrimony against the false teaching of future heretics.

To return to the foregoing difficulty, the first, the third, and the fifth purpose of God in causing Mary to enter the married state do not require that “espoused” in the passage of St. Matthew should refer to the Virgin’s state after her nuptials; but the second end, or the inconvenience that would follow if the Virgin Mary appeared pregnant before her nuptials, seems at first sight to demand the metaphorical meaning of “espoused,” found in Luke 2:5. Still, even if “espoused” be taken in its Hebrew signification as explained above, Mary did not become pregnant before her marriage, but only before her solemn passage into the house of her husband. The exercise of the marriage rights before this period was not forbidden by the law of Moses, but only by tradition; an offence against the latter was not considered as adultery or fornication, though it was punished, if it had taken place in the house of the bride’s father, and was denounced to the judges; the offspring was considered illegitimate only when the husband testified that there had not been any marital intercourse. We may suppose that Mary went to visit Elisabeth almost immediately after conceiving of the Holy Ghost; and it is not improbable that the mystery was made known supernaturally to her parents after her return, as it had been made known to Zachary and Elisabeth, and to St. Joseph. The marriage festivities might take place almost immediately after her return to the parental home, and it does not seem difficult to conceal at such an early period the state of pregnancy, especially in the case of a person so retiring as Our Blessed Lady. The circumstance that she gave birth to Our Lord when away from home, and that she probably did not return to Nazareth until after her flight to Egypt, would shield her against any suspicions and obloquies of her neighbors [cf. patr., De Prima Angeli ad Josephum Mariæ? Sponsum Legatione Commentation. 2 sqq. 17, 39]. This opinion is held by Bas. Epiph. Baronius, Salm. Calm. Lam. patr. Bisp. Curci, Knab. and others.

—before they came together.] (3) This phrase may, according to the meaning of the verb συνέρχεσθαι refer either to marital intercourse or to the solemn introduction of the bride into the house of the bridegroom. In the former sense the Greek verb is used by Xenophon [Mem. II. ii. 4] and Origen [c. Celsum, i. 17], but never either in the Septuagint or the New Testament, except 1 Cor. 7:5, where, however, the Vatican Cod. has ῆτε, which reading is approved by Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tischendorf. Helvidius argued from this meaning of the word against the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, and St. Jerome in his answer did not deny the sense Helvidius had given to the passage [Adv. Helvid. 4]. But this argumentative concession of the Saint does not prove that he adhered to his adversary’s interpretation, though he refutes the heretic’s argument thoroughly.

Verses 20, 24 show plainly that the “coming together” refers to the solemn introduction of Mary into the house of Joseph. This is confirmed by the fact that the evangelist expresses marital intercourse by the verb “to know” in verse 25, and also by the list of the most illustrious commentators who favor the foregoing interpretation: Hil. Cat. Aur. Br. Salm. Mar. Calm. Lam. patr. Schegg, Bisp. Arn. Meyer, Grimm, Reischl, Schanz, Fil. Keil, Weiss, Knab.; it is true that the meaning “conjugal intercourse” was more commonly admitted by the older commentators: Chrys. Ambr. Jer. Pasch. Euth. Mald. Bar. Tost. Jans. Lap. Sylv. Sa, Est. and Men. But then they had to solve the above mentioned difficulty against the perpetual virginity of Our Blessed Lady, without gaining any additional argument for the virginal conception of Our Lord. This dogma is as clearly implied in the statement that Jesus Christ was conceived before the solemn passing over of Mary into the house of Joseph, as in the statement that Jesus was conceived before any marital intercourse took place; for Joseph being a just man, such intercourse was out of the question while Mary still lived in the house of her parents.

—she was found with child.] (4) After her return from Zachary’s house, where she had spent three months, the signs of Mary’s condition became apparent. Br. remarks that the members of her family noticed her pregnancy, but did not consider it strange, since they knew her to be espoused to Joseph; only the latter was surprised at the fact which he could not help noticing. “To find out accidentally,” “to notice without scrutiny,” is said to be the true meaning of the Greek verb by Chrys. Theoph. Thom. Mald., who differ in this point from Jer.

—of the Holy Ghost.] (5) There are two ways of construing these words: a.] They must be taken together with the preceding, so that the object of Joseph’s discovery was Mary’s pregnancy by the Holy Ghost. The principal reasons for this view are the following: α. The extrinsic authority of its defenders: Ps. Bas. Eus. Ps. Orig. Rab. Theoph. Salm. Richard of Saint-Victor, Gerson, Eckius, Catharinus, St. Brigitta, Turrecremata, Major, Soto, Rossignol, Paludanus, Druthm. Busto, Isolani, Natalis, Canisius, Morales, Grimm, etc.; β. the wording of the text which does not allow a separation of the clause “she was found with child” from the words “of the Holy Ghost”; γ. St. Joseph cannot have remained in ignorance of the mystery after the occurrences in the house of Zachary; δ. the Blessed Virgin cannot have concealed from her husband what she had publicly acknowledged in her solemn hymn of thanksgiving, the “Magnificat”; ε. St. Joseph thought of separating from Mary through motives of humility, as St. Peter afterwards asked Our Lord to go away from him.

b.] According to the second view, the words “of the Holy Ghost” are an addition of the evangelist declaring a matter of fact, and do not belong to the object of the discovery. The following are the main reasons for this view: α. It is the more common view of the Fathers and commentators, so that even Orig. Bas. and Hil., who were quoted by Grimm in support of his interpretation, have had to be abandoned by the learned writer, while Pasch. Thom. Alb. Bar. Jans. Mald. and the majority of commentators follow the lead of the Fathers in believing that Joseph did not discover the pregnancy of Mary and its divine origin at the same time. β. The context almost forces us to this interpretation, since in verse 20 the angel admonishes Joseph to take unto him Mary his wife, alleging as a reason that “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost,” or the very fact on account of which Joseph wished to send Mary away, if we believe the interpretation of our opponents. γ. Mary’s fear that she could not easily convince Joseph of the mystery, or her humility, or her complete self-surrender into the hands of divine providence, or all three motives together, sufficiently explain the difference between her behavior towards her husband and that towards Zachary and Elisabeth, in whose society the Spirit of God had inspired her with that most sublime canticle of thanksgiving; δ. St. Matthew adds the words “of the Holy Ghost,” either by way of prolepsis or, more probably, in order to prevent in the reader a doubt which in the case of Joseph had to be removed by the ministry of an angel. These reasons serve also to refute those for the preceding view.

As to the meaning of the phrase “of the Holy Ghost,” it does not differ from what is said in Lk. 1:35; the Holy Ghost supplied by his creative power and virtue what was needed for the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, and God taught us by the words of the angel and the evangelist the proper mode of expressing this divine action. But was not this an external act of God, and are not all of God’s external acts common to the three divine persons? why then attribute it to the Holy Ghost? The following are the principal reasons for this manner of expression: 1.] On the part of God, the incarnating action was the height of divine love for man, and the Holy Ghost is the substantial love of God; 2.] on the part of man, human nature was assumed into hypostatic union with the divine word, and grace is attributed to the Holy Ghost; 3.] on the part of Jesus Christ, his sanctity is rightly ascribed to the action of the Holy Ghost, to whom all sanctification is attributed; 4.] on the part of the Holy Ghost, he is the substantial divine love completing and perfecting the eternal divine processions, and therefore God’s chief work of love is fitly attributed to him; 5.] with regard to the world, the Holy Ghost is regarded as its breath and vivifying principle [Gen. 1:2; 2:7; Ps. 103:30; Jn. 6:63], and therefore, again, the incarnation which is the principle of all supernatural life and fecundity is aptly ascribed to the Holy Ghost; 6.] finally, since to the third person the work of grace is commonly attributed, he is rightly represented as the author of the incarnation too, because this is the source and fountain of all grace [Thom. p. iii. q. 32, a. 1; Suar. in h. l.; Rab. Bed. Salm. Mald.].

19 Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.

Whereupon Joseph.] b. The second part of the present section considers 1. the doubt of Joseph; 2. the manner in which God delivered him from his doubt.

1. The doubt of Joseph. In order to understand the first of these points, we shall explain: 1.] the expression “her husband”; 2.] the phrase “being a just man”; 3.] Joseph’s intended private separation from Mary.

1.] Though the expression “her husband” may be fairly urged to show that Mary and Joseph were married before this period, it does not necessarily imply that Mary had been solemnly taken into Joseph’s house [cf. Gen. 29:21; Deut. 22:24]. At any rate, the word implies the vital interest Joseph took in Mary’s condition, α. We have had occasion already to mention one view of Joseph’s attitude under the present circumstances, defended by all those who maintain that Joseph learned at the same time Mary’s pregnancy and its real cause. We have rejected this view as improbable. β. A second view of Joseph’s attitude under the present circumstances makes him suspect Mary of adultery [Just. Ambr. Aug. Chrys. Euth. Pet. Chrysol. Br. Tost. Caj. Jans. Bar. Sa, Est. Mald. Schanz, Fil.]. But this opinion strikes us as harsh, injurious to Mary, unworthy of Joseph, offensive to Jesus Christ, and as not required by the context. γ. The third view regards Joseph as thrown into and overwhelmed by the pains of doubt: on the one side he feels certain of Mary’s innocence and blameless conduct; on the other he cannot deny the fact of her pregnancy, of which he himself is surely not the cause [Jer. op. imp. Pasch. Haym. Alb. Bernardin. Bonavent. Sylv. Lap. Tir. Men. Calm. Schegg, Meschl. Keppler, Knab. etc.]. This opinion satisfies the requirements of the context, and at the same time avoids the extremes of the two preceding views.

—being a just man.]. 2.] The meaning given by commentators to the phrase “being a just man” depends to some extent on their interpretation of the attitude of St. Joseph during the period of his trial, α. Those who think that he knew already the whole truth place his justice in his humility which prompted him to consider himself unworthy of Mary’s society. β. Chrys. and patr. are of opinion that Joseph is called a just man because he patiently bore the injustice that might have been done him, and he complied with the law in putting away his wife. This last reason is not wholly valid, because the husband was not bound to bring a charge of infidelity against his spouse or wife, no matter how clear her guilt, nor to give a bill of divorce, except when the wife or spouse was seduced before her espousals; in that case the seducer was bound to marry her [Ex. 22:16; Deut. 22:28]. It had, however, become customary (perhaps on account of Prov. 18:22, Lev. 5) to regard it as strict duty to put away the faithless wife or spouse in every case, though no such obligation can be proved from the law. The wording of the Greek text is also appealed to in favor of this meaning of “just.” It may be rendered “being a just man, and [yet] not willing to expose her,” so that the second part of the sentence forms a contrast with, and is no mere explanation of, the first part. γ. Mald. and Jans. are of opinion that Joseph’s justice consisted in his meekness and charity, so that according to them the phrase “being a just man” is further explained by the subsequent words “and not willing publicly to expose her.” Pasch. Euth. Eus. Salm. appear to favor this view; the Greek text does not exclude it, whatever may be said to the contrary by the patrons of the foregoing opinion.

—to put her away privately.] 3.] α. Tost. Mald. Lap. Tir. Men. Calm. Grimm believe that Joseph intended to leave Mary privately, by retiring to a foreign and unknown country; they deny that before the spouse had been solemnly led into the house of the husband, a bill of divorce was needed to effect the separation. It is true that in the Rabbinic writers the law of Deut. 24:1 is so explained as to comprise the case of merely betrothed persons; but the foregoing writers contend that we cannot infer from this that the same interpretation of the law was given at the time of Jesus Christ. β. Salm. Bar. Jans. Lam. patr. Schegg, Bisp. Fil. Wuensche, think that the separation had to be effected by a bill of divorce even before the spouse had been solemnly transferred into the house of the husband, but they maintain at the same time that this ceremony might take place either before judges or before two witnesses. In the specimen of a bill of divorce, found in Surenhusius [Mischn. iii. 323, 325, Tract. Git.], no cause for the separation is mentioned. It appears, therefore, that even according to this opinion strict privacy might be secured as to the real motive of the separating parties.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.

But while he thought.] 2. The anxiety of Joseph is allayed: 1.] by the ministry of an angel; 2.] by the promised companionship of Mary; 3.] by the honor God conferred on his wife; 4.] by the promised paternity of Mary’s and God’s son; 5.] by the Messianic office of his son.

—behold the angel.] 1.] An angel. α. Chrys. Tost. Moral. Knab. believe that the angel appeared almost immediately after the doubt began to afflict Joseph, probably in the first night after Mary’s return. This seems to agree best with God’s merciful providence, and also with the words of the evangelist: “but while he thought on those things, behold.” β. It is not improbable that Br. Thom. Salm. Knab. are right in supposing that the angel appearing to Joseph was Gabriel, the angel of the incarnation; he appeared to Daniel, Zachary, and Mary. γ. The translation “in his sleep” renders the meaning of the Greek text [κατʼ ὄναρ; cf. ὄναρ καὶ ὕπαρ] faithfully; the view of Bisp. Meyer, Sevin that we ought to translate “after the manner of a dream” is inadmissible [cf. Gen. 20:3, 6; 31:10, etc.; Mt. 2:12, 19, 22; 27:19; Deut. 22:4; 23:32; 29:8]. δ. Tost. Jans. Bar. are of opinion that the angel did not appear in visible form, nor in person, but only in pictures of Joseph’s imagination. The wording of the gospel “the angel of the Lord appeared” seems to exclude this view.

—Joseph, son of David.] 2.] Companionship of Mary. α. The consolation of the angel is prefaced by the title he gives to Joseph; according to the common interpretation, Joseph was thus reminded of the promises made to David and his royal house, and this the more vividly since the fulfilment of the Messianic promises was then most eagerly expected. β. The angel claims authority for his mission and his words by the fact that he is fully acquainted with the interior of Joseph’s soul, with his doubts and perplexities; and he confirms this sign by the prophecy he utters, γ. Instead of giving way to doubt and fear, Joseph is bidden to follow the inclination of his heart, and complete his engagement with Mary by solemn nuptials, taking her into his own house. This passage shows both that Mary was really married to Joseph before this period, and that she had not yet been solemnly introduced into his house: the former fact follows from the word “thy wife” which the evangelist applies to Mary both according to the Greek text and its English translation; the latter is necessarily implied in the words “fear not to take unto thee.” The various subterfuges suggested by the writers who believe that Mary had been before solemnly wedded to Joseph show this more plainly than any positive proof could do. According to them, the phrase “take unto thee” means “receive into thy house [after her three months’ absence],” or “keep with thee,” or “take unto thee [anew after being separated from her in thought].” And after all their labor, they have not been able to explain the text without doing violence to its plain meaning. We believe, therefore, that the opinion of Thom. Salm. patr. Schegg, Schanz, Knab. Fil. on this point is preferable to that of Chrys. Euth. Mald. Jans. Bar. Sylv.

3.] Mary’s exalted dignity. α. Joseph’s doubt or ignorance concerning the cause of Mary’s pregnancy had been more painful to him than the thought of his coming separation from her; and as the angel changed the pain of separation into the joy of union, so he changed the pain of ignorance or doubt into the most sincere exultation over Mary’s innocence and ineffable dignity: “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost,” or as the Greek text more properly reads: “that which is begotten in her.” β. Besides all this, the angel shows that the Holy Ghost and Mary have not been causes in the same way: it is begotten IN Mary, but OF the Holy Ghost, γ. Had Joseph known the whole truth before, he might have answered the angel: “It is for this very reason that I intend to separate from Mary.” But the text plainly demands that the reason which the angel gives Joseph for taking Mary unto him must be one that he had not considered before.

21 And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.

And she shall bring forth a son.] 4.] Joseph shall be father of Mary’s son. α. There is a new cause of joy in the promise of a son; but this son is not promised to Joseph in particular as John the Baptist had been promised to Zachary, for according to Is. 9:5, Mary’s son must be born for the whole world [Thom. Salm. Jans. Bar.]. β. Joseph is, however, to be considered as the real father of Mary’s son, since he is to name the child [cf. Gen. 4:1; 5:29; 19:37; 21:3; 29:32–35; 30:6 f.; Ex. 2:22; etc.]. Another title to Joseph’s real fatherhood of Mary’s son is implicitly indicated by the angel: Joseph’s wife has lawfully conceived of the Holy Ghost; but the lawful fruit of the wife’s womb belongs to the husband. γ. The name of the child is no matter of indifference; since Jesus as God has a proper name [Word], so he must have a proper name as man. It must not be a mere appellative as is the name “Christ”; nor a metaphorical name, such as Pastor or Door; but it must express his essence as closely as it can be expressed. That the holy name Jesus has these requirements follows from the fact that it was given by God himself, who knew his Son perfectly, and loved him with an infinite love. This “a priori” reason is confirmed by the meaning of the word Jesus, “salvation of the Lord” or “Saviour.” As the nature of a mechanical instrument is fully determined by the work it has to do, so is the essence of Mary’s child fully manifested by the mission for which God has fitted him; if the mission of “Saviour” requires a God-man, a natural son of God, endowed with substantial sanctity, then the child that is named by God “Saviour” infallibly possesses all these qualities. Others had borne the name Jesus before [Eccli. 46:1; 1 Mach. 2:55; 2 Mach. 12:15; Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8; Agg. 1:1, 12; Zach. 3:1; 6:11; Esd. 2:2, 30; 3:2; 8:33; 2 Esd. 7:7, 39; 8:17; 12:1, 10, 26; 1 Par. 24:11; 2 Par. 31:15; etc.], but they had been intended as saviours only in some one respect or another, while Jesus is the Saviour of all men in the full meaning of the word.

—for he shall save his people.] 5.] The mission of Jesus. α. The next consolation offered by the angel to Joseph is derived from the office of the son of Mary. He shall be a Saviour not in a partial sense of the word, but he shall deliver us from sin, which is the root and the cause of all evil. After sin has been taken away, that peace and abundance of all blessings shall come which the prophets predicted for the Messianic age [Is. 9:7; 11:5; etc.]. β. Chrys. and Pasch. remark that in the case of the Messias “his people” comprises all men, as may be inferred from the words of the prophets: Ps. 2:8; 21:2–8; 71:8–11; 86:4, 6; Is. 11:9, 10; 42:4; 49:6; 52:15; 60:6; etc. Chrys. Jans. Bar. Sylv. infer the divinity of Jesus from the two facts that he is to save us from sin, and that his people is God’s people. γ. Chrys. and Mald. draw also attention to the circumstance that whereas the God-man might have assumed a name indicative of his divine majesty, he preferred a title that breathes nothing but mercy and love.

22 Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying:
23 Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Now all this was done.] c. The third part of the present section contains (1) an introductory statement; (2) a prophecy; (3) Joseph’s action subsequent to the solution of his doubt.

(1) In the introductory statement the following points deserve our attention: a. Iren. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. patr. Arn. Weiss, Mor. Grimm, and others arc of opinion that the words introducing the fulfilment of the prophecy were uttered by the angel. Not all the evangelist has said, they argue, was done to fulfil the prophecy, but all the angel has said; as if the evangelist might not sum up all the angel said, in the words “all this.” Rab. Haym. Salm. Sylv. and most of the recent commentators maintain that the evangelist adds the words, “now all this.” They appeal to the usual formula in which St. Matthew shows the fulfilment of prophecy, to the unsuitableness of the words in the mouth of the angel, and to their agreement with the whole scope of the first gospel. β. Chrys. Theoph. Tost. Dion. Mald. Calm. Kuinoel, Berlepsch, and others are inclined to render here “and so was fulfilled the saying of the Lord by the prophet,” arguing that God predicted the future event because he had predetermined its futurity rather than predetermined its futurity because he had predicted it. But Pasch. Thom. Salm. Bar. patr. Haym. Knab. and many other commentators render the passage “that it might be fulfilled”; while these writers grant to their opponents that God predicted the event because he had predetermined it, they at the same time insist on the fact that the event with all its circumstances came to pass in order that God’s prediction might be sensibly verified, and his divine foreknowledge proved. γ. Again, we may remind the reader that the evangelist here suggests the true idea of Scriptural inspiration; “the Lord spoke by the prophet,” as he speaks through all inspired authors.

(2) As to the prophecy itself, α. the evangelist follows the text of the Alexandrian version, differing from it in three points: (a) he substitutes “a virgin shall have in her womb” for “a virgin shall receive in her womb”; (b) he writes “they shall call his name” instead of “thou shalt call his name”; (c) he adds “which being interpreted is God with us.” β. The explanation of the prophecy may be seen in any commentary on Is. 7:14. Here it must suffice to prove its literal reference to the Messias. This may be established from the fact that Emmanuel refers literally to Jesus Christ; for the Emmanuel of Is. 7:14 is identical with the person described in Is. 8:8, 10; 9:6, 7; 11:1–10, and the latter can be no other than the Messias. We are then warranted in maintaining with nearly all Catholic commentators and several Protestant writers the literal Messianic sense of the prophecy to which St. Matthew refers. γ. The passage shows also that the Virgin in the prophecy was to be Virgin “in sensu composito,” both Virgin and mother. δ. Theoph. and Chrys. have explained the name Emmanuel or “God with us” as signifying Christ’s divine nature: Theoph. maintains that Sacred Scripture takes its names of persons from their works, and the works of Jesus showed his divinity; Chrys. places the names of persons in Scripture on a level with their being, so that the name “God with us,” applied to Jesus, implies that Jesus is God.

24 And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.
25 And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus.

And Joseph rising up from sleep.] (3) In the concluding part of the section, the evangelist insists on the obedience of Joseph, on his continency, and on the accomplishment of the angel’s words. α. Theoph. and Alb. call Joseph’s obedience prompt; Pasch. and Thom. further explain it as fulfilling the angel’s injunction both with regard to its matter and manner. Joseph solemnly introduced Mary to his own home as soon as circumstances would permit. This passage is another proof that Joseph not merely kept Mary as his wife, nor took her back after her stay with Zachary, nor gave her back his affection. β. In order to emphasize the virginal conception and birth of Jesus, the evangelist asserts that there was no intercourse between Joseph and Mary; for we need not mention the interpretation of op. imp. and gl. ord. according to which “to know” means “to know intellectually” or “to see”; Mary was therefore a virgin not only when conceiving, but also when bringing forth Jesus Christ. The words “till she brought forth” have been added, (a) because the evangelist had the birth of Jesus principally in view; (b) again, there was no need of adding anything of this nature regarding the period after Christ’s birth, since it was well known among the Jews that Mary did not conceive or bring forth a second time; (c) from this limitation in the evangelist’s words we cannot infer that Joseph knew Mary after the time of Jesus’ birth, just as we cannot conclude from Gen. 8:7 that the raven returned to Noe’s ark after the earth was dry, or from 2 Kings 6:23 that Michol brought forth after her death. The word “until” neither affirms nor denies anything after the limit of time to which it refers. (d) Even prescinding from the strict meaning of the words, it is not at all probable that Joseph should have known his spouse after witnessing all the miraculous signs at the time of Christ’s birth, if he had observed continency till then on account of the angel’s words. (e) That Mary observed perpetual virginity follows from her words in Luke 1:34, which have no meaning at all, if they are limited to the time before Christ’s birth. (f) Nor is the phrase Mary’s “first-horn son” conclusive against her perpetual virginity; for that term only denies that she gave birth to other sons before Jesus, without affirming that others were born after Jesus [cf. Ex 34:19, 20; Num. 18:15, where God himself defines the “first-born” as signifying him that opens his mother’s womb—Br. Pasch. Haym. Alb. Thom. etc.]. (g) Bed. Rah. Haym. Pasch. Alb. Sylv. Grimm, explain the word “first-born” as meaning what is meant by the predicate of Wisdom in Eccli. 24:5 [cf. Col. 1:15], while others interpret it as referring to Jesus’ brethren by adoption, or to his resurrection from the dead, or to similar relations. Though all these considerations are worthy of regard, they do not answer the difficulty of the present passage. γ. Finally the evangelist states the accomplishment of the angel’s words: Mary brought forth her first-born, and Joseph named the child according to the angel’s command.

d. St. Matthew then proves the Messiasship of Jesus from his virginal conception, and this he establishes by three arguments: 1. Christ’s virginal conception is revealed by the angel; 2. it had been predicted by the prophet; 3. it is confirmed by Joseph’s obedience to the angel; for Joseph would not have taken Mary to his house, had he not believed the angel’s testimony concerning her manner of conception. As the doubt of St. Thomas confirms us in our faith of the resurrection, so the doubt of Joseph confirms us in our faith of the virginal conception of Jesus.

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An Introduction to Ezekiel 33-39 and an Overview of Ezekiel 33

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 4, 2017

Note: The following is taken from a Protestant reference work, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. It provides a good overview of chapters 33-39. I’ve included a brief list of mostly Catholic resources on Ezekiel at the end.

Ch. 33–39. Prophecies of Israel’s Restoration and Eternal Peace

Only one date appears in connexion with these prophecies, that in Eze 33:21. Though this date does not stand at the beginning of ch. 33 seq., it may be held to indicate the time generally to which the whole seven chapters are to be assigned. There is something suspicious, however, in the date of the arrival of the fugitives—fifth day of tenth month of twelfth year—nearly, a year and a half after the fall of the city. The Syr. read or suggested eleventh year, which would leave about six months for the news of the city’s fall to be carried by messengers to the exiles in Babylon, and this date is now very generally accepted. The various chapters may not all belong to the same period. The dates throughout the book are little else than rubrics of a very general kind, under which, in default of more precise details, a number of discourses, extending over considerable periods, have been grouped. The occupation of part of the country by Edom (35:36) would not take place just close upon the fall of the kingdom; and perhaps the state of despondency of the people and their sense of sinfulness (Eze 33:10) was one which the fall of the country and the confirmation of the predictions of the prophet took some time to create in their minds. The precise dates are of little consequence, it is the general situation alone that is important. The fall of the city is presupposed (Eze 33:21), the overthrow of the royal house (Ezekiel 34), the extinction of the nationality (Ezekiel 37), the dispersion of the people among all nations (Eze 36:16 seq.), the occupation of part of the country by Edom and the neighbouring tribes (35; cf. Jeremiah 41), and the complete prostration of men’s minds under their calamities and the unbearable burden of the sin that had occasioned judgments so unparalleled (Lam 1:12; Lam 2:13; Lam 2:20, &c.). Only the prophet stood erect, while all others were overwhelmed in despair. The greatness of the blow had stunned them, and, as the prophet had foreshewn (Eze 24:23), a stupor had fallen on them. Yet the Lord had not made a full end of Israel. The old era was closed, but a new era was about to open, and a new Israel about to arise. It is of this new era that the prophet has now to speak, and of the hopes of the new Israel and of the conditions of being embraced in it. It is in these chapters that the prophet’s contributions to Old Testament theology are chiefly to be found. The passage contains these general conceptions:—

First, ch. 33. The function of the prophet in preparation for the new age. It is to awaken the moral mind, to create the sense of individual worth and responsibility, and to shew that the conditions of belonging to the new Israel are moral only. This chapter defines the place of the individual human mind, and its duties; the following chapters describe rather the divine operations in bringing in the new and perfect kingdom of the Lord.

Second, ch. 34. The royal house, the shepherds of the people, had destroyed alike themselves and the flock (17, Eze 19:14). The Lord himself will take in hand the gathering of his scattered sheep together, and the feeding of them henceforth; he will appoint his servant David to lead them.

Third, ch. 35–6. The land, the mountains of Israel, usurped by aliens, shall be rescued from their grasp and given again to the people as of old. The reproach of barrenness shall no longer cleave to it; the mountains of Israel shall shoot forth their branches and yield their fruit to the people, and man and beast shall be multiplied.

Fourth, ch. 37. The nation is dead and its bones bleached, but there shall be a resurrection of the dead people and a restoration of them to their own land. Two kingdoms shall no more exist there, but the Lord’s people shall be one, and his servant David shall be prince over them for ever.

Fifth, ch. 38–9. The peace of his people shall be perpetual. The Lord shall be their everlasting defence. When the armies of Gog come up from the uttermost regions of the earth, with all the nations which have not heard God’s fame nor seen his glory, to assail his people, drawn by the hope of boundless plunder, they shall be destroyed by fire out of heaven.

Ch. 33 The function of the Prophet

Though the prophet seems the chief figure in the chapter, he is really but the medium through whom the principles of the new kingdom of God and the conditions of entering it are enunciated. These principles are: (1) that God desires that men should live. (2) The new Israel shall be composed of members who enter it individually. (3) The condition of entering on man’s part is repentance. (4) Man is free to repent—to do good or do evil. The righteous may fall from his righteousness and sin; and the sinner may turn from his evil and do righteousness. He that doeth righteousness shall live; and the soul that sinneth shall die. These principles of the worth and freedom of the individual man, though latent in many parts of the Old Testament, had never been stated so explicitly before. They are no more than what all men will now allow. If pressed indeed and regarded as exhaustive (as everything in this prophet is pressed to his disadvantage), they might seem to ascribe more power to man than he possesses. But in subsequent chapters the prophet lays sufficient emphasis upon the operation of God in regenerating the individual mind and in founding the new kingdom. It would be a novelty indeed if an Old Testament writer were found ascribing too much to man and too little to God. There is a certain vagueness in the prophet’s delineation. It is evident that he is moving among religious principles, and that the enunciation of them is his chief interest; the time and circumstances in which they shall operate are left indefinite. When he says that the righteous shall live and the sinner die, the question, When? naturally occurs. No precise answer is given. But there floats before his view an approaching crisis. The advent of the new era presents itself as a moment of trial and decision; it is like the approach of war upon a people (Eze 33:1-6). The remarkable passage ch. Eze 20:33-44 may be compared in supplement of the present chapter.

The chapter contains these parts:

(1) Eze 33:1-6. Illustration taken from life—the part of the watchman in war. It is his duty to blow the trumpet when danger is coming. If he does so, the fate of those who hear will lie at their own door. If he fails, the blood of those that perish will be on his head.

(2) Eze 33:7-9. Such is the place of the prophet: the same his duties and responsibilities.

(3) Eze 33:10-20. This is the place of the prophet, but the state of the people’s mind is such that his warnings may be addressed to deaf ears. Their calamities have stunned and paralysed the people; they feel lying under an irrevocable doom, entailed upon them by their past history—our sins be upon us, we pine away in them; how, then, shall we live? Nothing is reserved for them but to bear the inexhaustible penalty of their past evil, until, like those in the wilderness, they fall prostrated beneath it. In answer to this stupor of despair comes the voice from heaven with two consoling words: first, that Jehovah has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but desires that all should turn and live; and secondly, it is not by that which men have been that they shall be judged, but by that which they shall become. The past writes no irrevocable doom over men.

(4) Eze 33:21-29. Fugitives from Judaea arrive among the exiles saying, the city is smitten. This confirmation of all the prophet’s past predictions opens his mouth and gives him boldness to address his countrymen. He proceeds to pass judgment on those left in the land, and to state anew that the conditions of inheriting the land are only moral.

(5) Eze 33:30-33. The confirmation which the fall of the city gave to the prophet’s past predictions awakened the interest of his fellow exiles in him and his words.

SUGGESTED RESOURCES:  Titles marked with a “P” refer to Protestant reference works; “E” indicates that the book in question is from an ecumenically oriented series; the author or editor(s) may or may not be Catholic; “O” indicates an Orthodox author or series.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast Study of Ezekiel. Currently in production. See the 2017 archives on the right hand side of the page. The series began in June and is ongoing.

The New Jerusalem Bible With Introduction and Notes. This is not the Readers Edition. The extensive footnotes provide valuable aid.

Navarre Bible Commentary: Major Prophets. Very popular and well received. Provides both theological and spiritual commentary.

“E” Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible: Ezekiel. A commentary series that seeks to interpret scripture in the light of the Nicene faith. This particular volume was authored by a Lutheran.

“E” Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Ezekiel and Daniel. Extensive quotations from the Fathers of the Church. For a brief summary of the purpose and intentions of this series, see here. Compilers of the individual books provide summaries and overviews but do not seek to interpret the Fathers.

“E” International Theological Commentary: A New Heart: A Commentary on the Book of Ezekiel. By Father Bruce Vawter and Father Leslie J. Hoppe. From the back cover: “The series aims, first, to develop the theological significance of the Old Testament and, second, to emphasize the relevance of each book for the life of the church.”

Ancient Christian Writers Series: Origen: Homilies 1-14 on Ezekiel. From Amazon: “In these homilies Origen endeavors to show his audience in the church of Caesarea how the text of Ezekiel points to and prefigures Jesus Christ and the church. Following in the footsteps of St. Paul (Rom 15.4: For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction… ) and Hebrews (10.1: For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come… ), Origen looks for the reality of Christ symbolized in the shadowy words of the prophet Ezekiel. The result is a deeply moving, reverent, and edifying exposition of the Old Testament prophet in a manner that doubtless would have been received with pleasure by St. Paul himself. The homilies are of intrinsic interest on important Christian themes such as persecution and martyrdom, purification, justification, progress, Church unity, God s passionate love for humanity, Catholic versus heretical doctrine, and freedom of the will. The present volume offers the first published English translation of the fourteen homilies, along with Jerome s preface.”

Ancient Christian Writers Series: St Jerome: Commentary on Ezekiel.

“P” Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible: Ezekiel.

“E” Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Prophets: Commentary on Ezekiel. Volume 2 of a three part series on Theodoret. Robert Hill was a leading Catholic Patristic scholar.

“O” The Homilies of St Gregory the Great on the Prophet Ezekiel.

“E” T & T Clark’s Approaches to Biblical Studies: An Introduction to the Study of Ezekiel. For the more advanced. From the publisher’s webpage: “These guides have been developed for those taking a course in biblical studies in theological or ministerial education, and are designed to introduce the reader to the various approaches to the study of the bible. The series is ecumenical, and all the writers are professionally engaged in the teaching of biblical studies.”

“E” Interpretation:  A Bible Commentary for Preaching and Teaching: Ezekiel. Joseph Blenkinsopp is a well know Catholic biblical scholar who specializes in the Old Testament.

“E” Yale Anchor Bible Series: Ezekiel. The author is Jewish. The work is in three volumes.

 

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Extraordinary Form: Commentaries for Holy Thursday

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 12, 2017

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

Roman Missal.

Roman Breviary.

Devout Instructions on the Epistle and Gospel.

COMMENTARIES ON THE EPISTLE: 1 Corinthians 11:20-32.

Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Cor 11:20-32.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Cor 11:20-32.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:20-32.

Pending: Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:20-32.

EWTN’s In the Footsteps of St Paul. Listen to episode 8.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: John 13:1-15.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 13:1-15 for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

St Cyril of Alexandria on John 13:1-15 for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 13:1-15.

Pending: Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 13:1-15.

Pending: St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 13:1-15.

Pending: St Augustine’s Tractates on John 13:1-15.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast on John: The Last Supper.

 

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Extraordinary Form, Latin Mass Notes, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture, SERMONS | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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