Fr. Tom Welbers has up a number of videos on the Passion of Christ according to Paul and the Gospels. I haven’t viewed these yet so I cannot speak concerning their quality, interest, etc. Let me know what you think in the combox. I’ve embedded the first three videos below, the remaining 14 can be found here.
Archive for the ‘Lectures on the Passion’ Category
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 31, 2010
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 30, 2010
Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Lectures on the Passion, Notes on the Gospel of John, Quotes, SERMONS | Tagged: Bible, Catholic, Notes on John's Gospel, Patristics, Scripture, Sermon | 1 Comment »
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 27, 2010
This post contains resources for both forms of the rite, along with some general interest stuff.
The History Of Palm Sunday. by Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B. From his classic work on the liturgy.
All About Palm Sunday. History, Information, Prayers, Resources, Traditions.
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. Three talks delivered on Good Friday in 1977. These are only lengthy parts of a three hour talk and not the full presentation, nonetheless, they are excellent.
Ordinary Form Of The Rite:
The Passion Of Jesus Christ According To Luke. A condensed version of Father Donald Senior’s excellent 4 volume work. Links to various sections of the Gospel are on the right side of the page. Links on the left side of page relate to the history and archeology of the Passion. Links to other Gospels are at the bottom.
Update: The Navarre Bible Commentary. This Popular commentary series was inaugurated by St Jose Marie Excriva. The publisher has generously allowed the publication of its commentary online (restricted to the daily Mass Readings. That permission is granted only to the site linked to below, so no copying).
- First reading/commentary.
- Second reading/commentary.
- Gospel reading/commentary. Treats of the entire Passion in Luke.
Update: Word Sunday. Besides the Palm Sunday links below this site offers many other resources for all of Holy Week (see final link for more)
- Processional Gospel. Popular and literal text of reading, followed by notes.
- First Reading. Reading with brief commentary.
- Responsorial Psalm. Reading with brief notes on entire Psalm.
- Second Reading. Popular & literal translation, brief notes.
- Gospel Reading. Deals only with the shorter reading and it two parts:
- More Holy Week Resources. Covers the readings from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.
Update: Haydock Bible Commentary. Readings from the Douay-Rheims, followed by commentary from the old Haydock Bible Commentary.
Update: Sunday Bible Reflections. By Dr. Scott Hahn. Brief audio (text available as well). Dr. Hahn has a knack for relating the readings together.
Notes On Philippians 2:6-11. By Father Bernardine De Picquigny, a 17th century scholar.
St John Chrysostom’s Two Homilies On Philippians 2:5-11.
Update: St Cyril On The Entry Into Jerusalem. Luke 19:28-40 is read as part of the procession with Palms.
Update: St Cyril Of Alexandria’s Exegetical Homilies On The Passion Of Luke. A number of homilies will appear under this heading over the next few days. Each post will probably contain two or more homilies. I hope to have them all posted before this Sunday, but if not, they will be all posted before Holy Thursday.
- On Luke 21:37-22:16. Two homilies in one post.
- On Luke 22:17-30.
- On Luke 22:31-38.
- On Luke 22:39-53.
- On Luke 22:54-71.
- On Luke 23:1-31.
- On Luke 23:32-43. The last part of this homily has not come down to us. Likewise, the last few homilies in this series have survived only in fragments, which I have included in this post.
The Passion Of Jesus Shows Us Up As Sinners and Heals Us. Homily by Father Tommy Lane.
The Various Characters In The Passion Represent Our Sins Which Led Jesus To Crucifixion. Homily by Father Tommy Lane.
Which King? Whose Kingdom? Audio Sermon by Father Robert Barron.
Extraordinary Form Of The Rite: Please note that the readings for this form of the Rite differ from those of the Ordinary Form.
Devout Instructions On The Epistle and Gospel. Readings, notes, prayers, meditations.
Homily On The Epistle. prefaced by Epistle reading.
Homily On The Gospel. Prefaced by Gospel reading.
Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Lectures on the Passion, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes On Luke's Passion Account, Notes on Philippians, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: Aquinas, Audio/video, Bible, Catholic, Latin Mass, liturgy, Meditations, notes on Psalms, Passion of Luke, Patristics, Scripture, Sermon | 1 Comment »
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 6, 2010
To see my notes on Luke 22:1-13 click here.
Luk 22:14 And when the hour was come, he sat down: and the twelve apostles with him.
Mark introduces the Last Supper with the words “When evening came,” but Luke uses the more formal and solemn word hour. Its usage here calls to mind its previous usage in 20:19-And the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him the same hour: but they feared the people, for they knew that he spoke this parable to them. But the “hour” was not under their control, as their fear of the people made clear, and with the betrayal of Judas they no doubt thought they had brought the desired death of Jesus under their power and according to their time-line, in reality, however, what was about to befall Jesus was according to the divine plan: For I say to you that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me. And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end (22:37). Him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay (Acts 2:23).
He sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. The Greek text actually speaks of Jesus reclining. The word “twelve” is found in Mark and Matthew’s account but is not original to the Lucan text and is consequently not found in modern translations. Most scholars note that by not using the term twelve Luke minimizes Judas’ presence at the feast. Jesus had appointed the twelve and named them apostles immediately before delivering his Sermon on the Plain with its demanding morality, Judas apparently couldn’t live up to it (see 6:12-49).
Whereas Mark has “They reclined at table,” and Matthew has “he reclined at table with the twelve,” Luke has it that the twelve reclined with Jesus. This is brought out well by the RSV: he sat at table, and the apostles with him. This serves to highlight our Lord’s functioning as the host, which contrasts nicely with his words in verse 27: For which is greater, he that sitteth at table or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth. In Luke, the serving of food is often a metaphor for authority, which is given in order to serve others (see 9:12-17; 12:36-48).
Luk 22:15 And he said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer. Both Mark and Matthew place our Lord’s announcement of Judas’ betrayal before the institution of the Eucharist, but Luke places it after that event. He chose to begin the meal account on a different note.
With desire I have desired is quite emphatic, as reflected in the RSV “I have earnestly desired…” The phrase is used a sizable amount of times in the Greek Old Testament (LXX), with the most interesting usage being found in Numbers 11:4 and Psalm 105:14 (Ps 106:14 in modern Bibles). The Numbers passage reads: For a mixed multitude of people, that came up with them, burned (desired) with desire, sitting and weeping, the children of Israel also being joined with them, and said: Who shall give us flesh to eat? In our Lord’s day this was one of the reading used in the synagogue right before Passover. The Psalm 105:14 passage refers to the Numbers event. In addition, the phrase “I have desired” is used in Psalm 132 (131 in some Bibles), a song of ascent which celebrates the covenant between God and the dynasty of David. It celebrates, among other things, the presence of God and mentions the people being fed with bread: For the Lord hath chosen Sion:
Psa 132:13 he hath chosen it for his dwelling.
Psa 132:14 This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen (desired) it.
Psa 132:15 Blessing I will bless her widow: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Psa 132:16 I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall rejoice with exceeding great joy.
Psa 132:17 There will I bring forth a horn to David: I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
Psa 132:18 His enemies I will clothe with confusion: but upon him shall my sanctification flourish.
Luk 22:16 For I say to you that from this time I will not eat it, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
Luk 22:17 And having taken the chalice, he gave thanks and said: Take and divide it among you.
Luk 22:18 For I say to you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God come.
The references to not eating until the Pasch (Passover) be fulfilled in the kingdom of God, and to not drinking of the fruit of the vine till the kingdom of God comes, give the reason for Jesus earnest desire in verse 15. He is here talking about the Old Covenant Passover, a banquet of deliverance, and is looking forward to the eschatological banquet spoken of in 13:28-29. The Eucharist which he is about to institute is another step working towards that fulfillment. By his death and resurrection Jesus experiences personally the ultimate deliverance from all that separates man from God, but the ultimate fulfillment of the Passover and its first stage of fulfillment in the Eucharist awaits the end, when Christ returns (see Acts 3:19-21). It should be noted however that with the Resurrection of Jesus the Kingdom is already breaking into this world. For more details on this complex issue see pages 56-58 of THE PASSION OF JESUS IN THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, by Fr. Donald Senior.
I will not eat it, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God…I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God come… The meaning of this passage is variously interpreted, it is important though to keep in mind that we are still dealing here with the Passover. Luke Timothy Johnson, in his commentary on Luke, notes two possibilities concerning how the eating and drinking will be fulfilled: (A) the eschatological banquet as suggested by 13:29 and 14:15-24. (B) the meals at which the risen Lord was present (Lk 24:30, 42; Acts 10:41). “A similar idea occurs in Mk 14:25 and Mt 26:29 after the words of institution over the bread and wine. Mark and Matthew thereby seem to refer Jesus’ words to his Second Coming. But Luke transfers the sentences (vss 15-16) to a place before the words of institution. Thus each liturgical celebration becomes a new manifestation of the glorious Lord…The Eucharist, Lk seems to infer, expresses the moment when Jesus, now enthroned at the table of the heavenly kingdom, makes his presence most vitally experienced within the community…” (Jerome Biblical Commentary)
Luk 22:19 And taking bread, he gave thanks and brake and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.
Luk 22:20 In like manner, the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.
We move now from Passover to Eucharist
“The remarkable fact that each synoptist gives a different version of the actual words of consecration furnishes a useful example of the manner in which the evangelists deal with common incidents, which each records after his own manner. It might have been thought that they all would have been scrupulous to observe identical phrasing in such a matter. Lk’s version comes nearest, as might be expected, to that of St Paul; 1Co_11:24 ff. Note the following changes and additions: in 19 ‘giving thanks’ (eucharistia), which provides the name Eucharist, instead of Mk’s and Mt’s ‘blessing’ (eulogia), cf.Mat_15:36; Mar_8:6 with Mat_14:19; Mar_6:41; Luk_9:16; ‘which is given for you’ is added after the consecration of the bread, indicating that our Lord has already offered his body to be immolated like the lamb, and that the sacrifice of himself is now an accomplished fact; ‘do this for a commemoration of me’ is added as in 1Co_11:24. 20. ‘This chalice is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you’. DV following Vg says ‘shall be shed’ without authority in the Greek, but ‘shed’ seems to be parallel with ‘given’ in 19, indicating a sacrifice already offered. For ‘the new covenant’ see Exo_24:7-8; Jer: 31:31 ff” (Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture).
From the Haydock Commentary: “The learned bishop of Meaux, in his Exposition of the Catholic Faith, desires all Christians to take notice, that Christ does not command them to remember him, but to take his body and blood with a remembrance of him, and his benefits: this is the import of all the words, put together. This is my body: this is my blood: do this in, for, or with a remembrance of me. (Witham) — This sacrifice and sacrament is to be continued in the Church to the end of the world, to shew forth the death of Christ, until he cometh. But this commemoration, or remembrance, is by no means inconsistent with the real presence of his body and blood, under these sacramental veils, which represent his death; on the contrary, it is the manner that he himself hath commanded, of commemorating and celebrating his death, by offering in sacrifice, and receiving in the sacrament, that body and blood by which we were redeemed(Challoner)…Which is given, &c. He does not say, which shall be offered for you, but which is offered; because it was already a true sacrifice, in which Christ was truly present which he offered in advance to his eternal Father, before that which he was going to offer the next day, in a different manner, on the cross. This sacrifice was the consummation of the figurative Pasch, and the promise or pledge of the bloody offering, which Christ would make on the cross. … It was not the mere figure of his body, which was crucified, but the true body and the true blood. In the same manner it is both the one and the other which are given, and really present, in the Eucharist. (Calmet) — To renew the memory of what I have this day done, in giving you my body; and what I shall do to-morrow, in delivering my blood and my life for the whole world, do you hereafter what you now see me do. Take bread, break it, sand say, This is my body; and it will become so really and truly, as it now is in my hands. (Calmet)”.
The wording of the event would certainly call to mind the feeding of the crowd in Luke 9:10-17. That passage, seen in its context is instructive concerning the meaning of the present passage. The multiplication comes (1) immediately after the return of the twelve from a mission, and a question about Jesus identity (2) immediately before Peter’s confession of faith, (3) followed by the first prediction of the Passion and the demands of discipleship which following Jesus entails. These themes reappear in the verses which follow (vss 24-38).
Luk 22:21 But yet behold: the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.
But yet represents a strong adversative conjunctive in the Greek. We are to see these words as closely connected with the previous words of Jesus concerning the eucharist, but what they are expressing is completely opposite (adverse) to them. It is as if he said: This is my body and blood which I deliver over to my enemies for your sake and salvation, but yet, the one who will deliver me over to my enemies sits at table with me.”
The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture: “It is only now that Lk makes that reference to the treason of Judas which precedes the institution of the Eucharist in Mk and Mt, as if they wish to remove the traitor from the scene before the solemn moment; cf.Joh_13:21-30. But in Lk it looks as if the giving of his body and blood by our Lord is deliberately contrasted with the contrary action of the traitorous disciple; note the force of but yet behold’ in 21.”
There is a word play between verse 19 and this one. The former reads: And taking bread, he gave thanks and brake and gave (Gr. didomai) to them, saying: This is my body, which is given (didomai) for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. The current verse is: But yet behold: the hand of him that betrayeth (paradidomai) me is with me on the table. The meaning is highly ironic, Jesus is voluntarily pledging to undergo what Judas has taken money to do to him. One could say that both are acting on behalf of Judas, but from very different motives (salvation and lucre respectively; those two forces so often opposed to one another in Luke’s Gospel).
Luk 22:22 And the Son of man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined: but yet, woe to that man by whom he shall be betrayed.
The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture: “In vs. 22 Lk expresses with more pronounced emphasis than Mt and Mk the divine preordination of events, though vs. 22b insists that the crime of Judas is contrary to the will of God.”
Judas’ actions were his own, freely made and therefore he was culpable. Jesus’ words at one and the same time highlight the divine plan, Judas’ perfidy, and Christ’s concern for him. Theophylact: And this He said not only to show that He knew all things, but also to declare to us His own especial goodness, in that He left nothing undone of those things which belonged to Him to do; (for He gives us an example, that even to the end we should be employed in reclaiming sinners;) and moreover to point out the baseness of the traitor who blushed not to be His guest. St John Chrysostom adds: Because then Judas in the things which are written of him acted with an evil purpose, in order that no one might deem him guiltless, as being the minister of the dispensation, Christ adds, Woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.
As events play out however, it becomes apparent that Judas is unmoved by our Lord’s warning of “Woe”.
Chrysostom: “Yet though partaking of the mystery, he was not converted. Nay, his wickedness is made only the more awful, as well because under the pollution of such a design, he came to the mystery, as that coming he was not made better, either by fear, gratitude, or respect.”
Luk 22:23 And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
The revelation set the Apostles to questioning among themselves concerning who was capable of such a deed. Some scholars maintain that the questioning is interior, i.e., Peter asking himself, “am I the one He speaks of?” This gives, however, a somewhat forced meaning to the Greek συζητέω (suzeteo=inquire). The Greek particle ἀρα suggest doubt, they really can’t bring themselves to believe that one of them was capable of such a crime. Their self assurance about themselves as individuals and as a group will soon be suspect to the readers of the Gospel as an argument will break out among them as each apparently argues in their own favor about their self-perceived greatness.
Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Eucharist, fathers of the church, Lectures on the Passion, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes On Luke's Passion Account, Quotes | Tagged: Bible, Catholic, Passion of Luke, Patristics, Scripture | 1 Comment »
Posted by Dim Bulb on February 18, 2008
To see “Lecture 1″ CLICK HERE. To see “Lecture 2” CLICK HERE.
As I noted in my first “lecture,” I highly doubt I’ll ever lecture on the Passion, but if I did here is an idea of what it might sound like:
26:17 Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.”’”The disciples did as Jesus commanded them, and they prepared the Passover. (WEB Bible)
Matthew tells us that it is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which means it is also the Day of the Feast of Passover. But Matthew’s chronology here, like Mark’s, is somewhat confusing. In reality it is still the afternoon of the day of preparation,-late Wednesday afternoon, according to our mode of reckoning,- however, it should be noted that we find this same sort of imprecise time reference in Josephus and in rabbinical literature. It seems that in Jesus’ day Passover was popularly considered to begin with the slaying of the Passover lambs which took place in the early afternoon of the day of preparation.
Passover/Unleavened Bread was a pilgrimage feast, requiring that all male Jews of legal age travel to Jerusalem for its celebration. According to experts, in Jesus day the City of Jerusalem would more than double its population at this time. According to law the feast had to be celebrated within the city or its immediate environs, this meant that the inhabitants of the city were expected to open their homes so the pilgrims could celebrate the feast. We are not told whose house was used by Jesus when he celebrated the Passover, however, many think there is good reason to believe that it was the house of John Mark’s mother.
Matthew’s account of the preparation is quite simple in comparison to Mark’s. Gone is Mark’s detailed description of the man with the water bottle; gone also is his emphasis that the disciples who were sent for the preparation found things in the home just as Jesus said they would be. Mark wished to emphasize our Lord’s foreknowledge of events as a way of showing that Jesus was in full control of, and was fully aware of the situation about to befall him. We see a similar emphasis in his account of Our Blessed Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. Matthew’s account of these preparations is different. In both he emphasizes Jesus’ command and the disciples compliance. This is in keeping with a major theme of his relating to discipleship. Recall that in the infancy narrative St Joseph is portrayed as a model disciple who does what the Angel of the Lord commands him to do. Recall that Our Lord ended his Sermon on the Mount by describing the man who hears and does his word as being like a man who built his house on rock; and the man who refuses to hear and do is described like one who built his house on sand. Recall that the Gospel ends with Our Lord commissioning the Apostles to teach the nations “all that I have commanded.” St Matthew, I think, would not be very happy with the way in which some people partake of the Eucharist; or with those Bishops who allow them to do so.
- “Go to Bethel, and sin;
- to Gilgal, and sin more.
- Bring your sacrifices every morning,
- your tithes every three days,
- offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,
- and proclaim free will offerings and brag about them:
- for this pleases you, you children of Israel,” says the Lord Yahweh. (Amos)
Is not such a thing an abomination in the eyes of the Prophet? In the eyes of God?
- “Therefore thus will I do to you, Israel;
- because I will do this to you,
- prepare to meet your God, Israel.
- For, behold, he who forms the mountains,
- and creates the wind,
- and declares to man what is his thought;
- who makes the morning darkness,
- and treads on the high places of the earth:
- Yahweh, the God of Armies, is his name.”
- Is not the sacrilegious partaking of the Sacrifice of Christ an offering of leaven-which is corruption-to God?
- 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump? Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners; yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world. But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Don’t even eat with such a person. For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Don’t you judge those who are within? But those who are outside, God judges. “Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”
- At the Liturgy we say as a community, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Ought we not also say to ourselves the words of the Psalmist which our Lord showed to be a prophecy concerning himself and Judas? “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.”
- In sending the disciples to prepare the feast, Our Lord instructs them to tell the homeowner: “My time is at hand. I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.” The time of which Jesus speaks is the time of his death and resurrection; but it is also the time in which the final, eschatological (end-time) age begins. It is a time which is simultaneously a time of judgment and a time of salvation.
- When we celebrate our Passover, the Eucharist, Christ is present as the one who gives life (see john 6), but he is present also as the one who will come in judgment and who can bring judgment now:
- For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.” In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he doesn’t discern the Lord’s body. For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. For if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged. But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
- Ought we not then build our house on rock? Ought not the Bishops lead the sheep-even with the crook if necessary- rather than follow in their wake?
- Posted by Dim Bulb. Check out my other site for lots of great online books, articles and audio by going to CATHOLIC BOOKWORM and clicking on the various pages listed on the left.
Posted by Dim Bulb on February 17, 2008
To see “Lecture 1” CLICK HERE
As I noted in my first “lecture,” I highly doubt I’ll ever lecture on the Passion, but if I did here is an idea of what it might sound like:
26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, cb(26,7);26:7 a woman came to him having an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. cb(26,8);26:8 But when his disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? cb(26,9);26:9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.”cb(26,10);
26:10 However, knowing this, Jesus said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? Because she has done a good work for me. cj(26,11); 26:11 For you always have the poor with you; but you don’t always have me. cj(26,12); 26:12 For in pouring this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. cj(26,13); 26:13 Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of as a memorial of her.”cb(26,14);
26:14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, cb(26,15); 26:15 and said, “What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver him to you?” They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver. cb(26,16); 26:16 From that time he sought opportunity to betray him. (WEB Bible)
Our Blessed Lord was on the western slope of the Mount of Olives looking down upon Jerusalem and the temple when he uttered his End Time Discourse and his fourth passion prediction. Some time after this, perhaps as evening was drawing near, he headed east and crested the mount, descending a slight distance down it’s eastern side to the town of Bethany; a place where he has been lodging since his arrival in Jerusalem (21:17). He enters the house of Simon the leper,-possibly the man Jesus healed in chapter 8:1-4,- and he sits down, presumably to take a meal, though Matthew doesn’t tell us this. At some point and time, while he is thus sitting, a woman, possibly Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, enters and breaks the seal on an alabaster jar containing a very expensive ointment which she proceeds to pour over the head of our Lord.
The scene recalls to my mind an event from the infancy narrative; namely, the gifts, or, as Matthew calls them, the treasures of the Magi. Recall what the situation was then. The infant Jesus was facing the possibility of persecution and death and the hands of a ruler who was part Jewish and part Pagan. In the present narrative he is facing persecution and death at the hands of Jewish and Pagan leaders. Then he was presented with gold, a tribute fit for a king; soon he will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, a paltry sum, the price of a slave; consequently, it is as if he receives an anointing as did the kings in the Old Testament. Then he received from the Magi frankincense, a form of incense used by priests in the temple, the burning of which formed part of the Day of Atonement sacrifices; soon Our blessed Lord would perform the priestly service of offering himself in sacrifice; consequently, he is as it were, anointed as a priest. Then he was presented by the Magi with myrrh, a burial spice; now he is anointed for his death.
The woman’s action raises the indignation of the disciples. This is not the first time St Matthew has used this word in relation to them. Earlier in the Gospel, as a result of the third passion prediction, James and John sought glory for themselves while attempting to avoid the cross they were to pick up and follow Jesus with. This, Matthew tells us, made the other ten disciples indignant, not because they understood or appreciated better than James and John the significance of what was said by Jesus, but because they saw the brother’s action as an assault on their own expected glory. In the present narrative, although Jesus had just a few hours before told them they knew what was about to befall him, the disciples show that they still are not in touch with the reality, the significance, of what is looming. They stand in marked contrast to the woman. Soon they will hear Our Blessed Lord predict that their faith in him would be shaken, and they would be scattered; as a result, they would be unable to perform the function of disciples and anoint their teacher for his burial.
Judas’ betrayal reminds us of how the passion narrative began with the plotting of the leaders. The defection and betrayal of Judas is introduced in the Greek text of verse 14 with what is called and adversative conjunctive, usually translated into English by the words “then” or “now”. As a conjunctive Matthew intends us to see the defection of Judas as closely connected to the woman’s action. As an adversative, he wants us to see the connection as one of contrast and difference.
Judas is described as being one of the twelve, a designation which recalls the commissioning of the Apostles which we read of in chapter 10:
He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. cb(10,2); 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother; cb(10,3); 10:3 Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; cb(10,4); 10:4 Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.cb(10,5);
10:5 Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, “Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. cj(10,6); 10:6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. cj(10,7); 10:7 As you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ cj(10,8); 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers*, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give. cj(10,9); 10:9 Don’t take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts. cj(10,10); 10:10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food.
Since nothing is told to us concerning the contrary we are to assume that Judas fulfilled this initial mission “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” with fidelity. What has changed? Has he succumbed to greed? That may be part of it; but is there something more? Jesus, in defending the woman who anointed him has just spoken of the Gospel being proclaimed “in the whole world.” Is Judas offended that the Gospel is going to transcend the national and racial boundaries of Israel? Recall that the first time the murderous intention of the chief priests is mentioned in Matthew is when Jesus speaks the Parable of the Tenants to them and follows it up with the statement from Psalm 118 that the stone rejected by the builders would become the cornerstone, which led to the conclusion: “For this reason, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given over to a people who will produce its fruit” (see 21:33-46).
What I’ve said concerning the motivation of Judas is speculative, the contrast between Judas and the woman is quite clear. Judas had been chosen to proclaim that Gospel which would immortalize the woman’s beautiful deed forever, but as a result of his decision to betray Jesus, he himself would be immortalized by the very same Gospel for his evil deed, in contrast to the woman’s, and to his everlasting disgrace.
Posted by Dim Bulb. Check out my other site for lots of great online books, articles and audio by going to CATHOLIC BOOKWORM and clicking on the various pages listed on the left.
Posted by Dim Bulb on February 16, 2008
I highly doubt I’ll ever lecture on the Passion, but if I did here is an idea of what it might sound like:
26:1 It happened, when Jesus had finished all these words, that he said to his disciples, 26:2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
26:3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. 26:4 They took counsel together that they might take Jesus by deceit, and kill him. 26:5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest a riot occur among the people.” (WEB Bible)
It is late morning or early afternoon on Wednesday of Passover week; or Holy Week, as we would say. It is a day known in the Catholic liturgical tradition as “Spy Wednesday” for, as St Mark tells us, it was the day on which the chief priests, scribes, and elders hatched their plan against Our Lord and, (quote) “Kept on looking for a way to arrest him.” According to Matthew, Our Blessed Lord has just ended his fifth great discourse of this Gospel. As at the end of the previous discourses Matthew provides a transitional passage into a narrative; here, however, the transition is rather emphatic: “When Jesus had finished all these words…” Matthew isn’t simply telling us that another sermon has come to an end, he is telling us that the teaching ministry of Jesus is now done, one thing only remains for him to do- to be delivered up and crucified on Passover; the great day of remembrance concerning what God had done for Israel, how he freed them from bondage so that they might serve and worship him. But the feast also pointed forward to a time Jesus was to inaugurate (the eschaton, or end-time), and to a future he was to secure for us, when, by his death, “he might bring to nothing” not a pharaoh, but him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, acb(2,15)nd might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:14-15) and thus, transfer them from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son, his own kingdom (Col 1:13).
In telling us that Jesus had “finished all these words,” Matthew is alluding to Moses, the first great deliverer of God’s people, a type, a foreshadowing of our Lord. As I noted just a moment ago, Jesus has finished his fifth discourse of this gospel, and many have seen a parallel between the five great discourses found in Matthew gospel, and the five discourses which make up the bulk of the book of Deuteronomy. In that book, the last discourse ends thus: “Moses made an end (finished) of speaking all these words to all Israel…” (Deut 32:45). The parallel with the opening of the Passion Narrative is obvious. It becomes even more obvious when we realize that the only thing left for Moses to do is climb Mount Nebo, look out into the promised land he was forbidden to enter because of his disobedience, and die.
32:48 Yahweh spoke to Moses that same day, saying, cb(32,49); 32:49 “Go up into this mountain of Abarim, to Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and see the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel for a possession; cb(32,50); 32:50 and die on the mountain where you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people: cb(32,51); 32:51 because you trespassed against me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because you didn’t sanctify me in the midst of the children of Israel. cb(32,52); 32:52 For you shall see the land before you; but you shall not go there into the land which I give the children of Israel.”
Moses never achieved the full end for which he was chosen by God; he never led the People of God into the promised land, and in this sense he was a failure. But “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor 1:25). Even in his failure the great prophet pointed toward the Redeemer. It was left to Joshua, or, as we would say in Greek, Jesus, the son of Nun, to finish what had begun under Moses. In this way was foreshadowed the need for a greater exodus, a greater, covenant, a greater sacrifice, a greater redemption. In two days time our Blessed Lord, like Moses before him, will ascend a mountain to die. To most of those who witnessed the spectacle it no doubt appeared he was (in the words of a song popular a few years ago) “One more starry-eyed messiah” meeting “a violent farewell,” for he was condemned by both church and state, and, as it is written: “Cursed is anyone who hangs upon a tree” (Deut 21:23). But, as St Paul tells us, Christ “ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13). He was “delivered up for our trespasses, and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25). He was “vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the nations,, believed in throughout the world “(1 Tim 3:16) .
All of this seems lost on the Apostles. They may indeed “know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified,” but it seems to have had no effect on them. Our blessed Lord has just announced his fourth Passion prediction. In the first, Peter had taken him aside and rebuked him for saying such a thing (Mt 16:21-23); in the second, the apostles were overwhelmed by grief ((17:22-24); in the third, James and John focused on the glory that would result from his death and crassly sought to capitalize on it. The other disciples were indignant with them, not because of the crassness of the sons of Zebedee, but because of their own crassness (20:17-28). They may indeed know what is about to befall their Lord, but, as the anointing a Bethany and other events in the passion make clear, they do not understand its full significance and are unprepared.
The Feast of Passover was instituted before the tenth plague on Egypt. God ordered the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb, put its blood on the door-posts of their homes, and eat the lamb within their homes, for he would on the night of its inaugural celebration pass through the land of Egypt, slaying all the firstborn, but he would passover the houses marked with the blood of the lamb. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to begin on the same night as Passover and continue for seven days. The Exodus, motivated by the Passover of the Lord, was seen as a pilgrimage to God, and this pilgrimage was commemorated by the eating of unleavened bread for the speed with which the Israelites left Egypt did not allow them time to let their bread rise. As part of the preparation for the feast, the Jews had to rid their house of leaven. Since leaven was a corrupting corrupting agent and since the events inaugurated by the Passover were seen as a new beginning, the searching out of leaven from the home became a symbol of the need for the people to search out all that was corrupting their covenant life with God and with their fellow Jews. In Jesus’ day, and in our own, devout Jews would begin ridding their houses of leaven up to a week before feast began. They would take a candle and search out every dark corner, lest a crumb of bread be missed. Also, they washed every inch of the interior of their homes, but always with the understanding that such meticulous outward preparation was to be matched by an interior cleansing of their hearts. It is against this ceremonial and moral backdrop that the Jewish leaders plot their course of action. At a time when they should have been preparing for the celebration of the deliverance of the first-born from death, and the liberation of their people from bondage, they are planning to take away the liberty and the life of Jesus by arresting him, and having him put to death.
“‘But,’ they said, ‘not during the feast, lest a riot occur among the people.'” As we will see, however, God is not acting on their timetable.
Posted by Dim Bulb. Check out my other site for lots of great online books, articles and audio by going to CATHOLIC BOOKWORM and clicking on the various pages listed on the left.