Saturday, 27 September 2014

St Luke 24: 46-53

St Luke:

et dixit eis: Quoniam sic scriptum est, et sic oportebat Christum pati, et resurgere a mortuis tertia die: 47 et prædicari in nomine ejus pœnitentiam, et remissionem peccatorum in omnes gentes, incipientibus ab Jerosolyma. 48 Vos autem testes estis horum. 49 Et ego mitto promissum Patris mei in vos; vos autem sedete in civitate, quoadusque induamini virtute ex alto.50 Eduxit autem eos foras in Bethaniam, et elevatis manibus suis benedixit eis. 51 Et factum est, dum benediceret illis, recessit ab eis, et ferebatur in cælum. 52 Et ipsi adorantes regressi sunt in Jerusalem cum gaudio magno: 53 et erant semper in templo, laudantes et benedicentes Deum. Amen.

[46] And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: [47] And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] And you are witnesses of these things. [49] And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high. [50] And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.[51] And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up to heaven. [52] And they adoring went back into Jerusalem with great joy. [53] And they were always in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

Commentary

Ver. 46.—And said unto them, Thus it is written (Isa. liii., Ps. xxii et alib.) and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, &c. See how by these articles of faith Christ opened the understanding of the Apostles, to the acknowledging the Scriptures, which foretold these events.

Ver. 47.—And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name, i.e.—1. By His authority. 2. At His command. 3. In His stead. That the Apostles should continue the teaching of Christ, and spread the doctrine of repentance and remission of sins throughout the world. 4. In His name, i.e., in virtue of His meritorious death upon the cross, whereby alone God gives the spirit of repentance and remission of sin.

Beginning at Jerusalem. A command to the Apostles to commence their preaching at Jerusalem, and from thence to go unto all nations. “Beginning” (α̉ζξάμενον, incipientibus, Vulgate). The Apostles were to begin their preaching at Jerusalem: 1. Because there the Synagogue was flourishing, and there the Church had its origin, for the old Jewish dispensation was transformed into the Christian Church by the preaching of Christ, according to the words of the prophet: “Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isaiah ii. 3. And again, “Arise, shine; for thy light has come.” Ibid. lx. (Vulgate). 2. Because Christ, with all the blessings He came to bestow, was promised to the Jews by the prophets, and Jerusalem was their chief city; and 3. Because David and Solomon had reigned there, and Christ, the son of David, had come to restore their kingdom, but in a higher and a spiritual sense (see Acts i. 4).

Ver. 48.—And ye are witnesses of these things. (See commentary on Acts i.)

Ver. 49.—And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you, i.e., after a few days, when the Feast of Pentecost is come, I will send you the Holy Spirit, who will teach you clearly many things besides these, and enable you to preach the gospel to all nations.

But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. δυνάμιν, i.e., with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for “as a general does not permit his soldiers who are about to meet a large number, to go out until they are armed, so also the Lord did not permit His disciples to go forth to the conflict before the descent of the Spirit.”  S. Chrysostom in Catena.

Tropologically. S. Gregory (Past. iii 26) says, “We abide in a city when we keep ourselves close within the gates of our minds, lest by speaking we wander beyong them; that when we are perfectly endued with divine power we may then as it were go out beyond ourselves to instruct others.”
Ver. 50.—And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and from thence to the mount of Olives. Bethany was about fifteen furlongs [stadia] from Jerusalem, and close by the mount of Olives. Christ went to Bethany to say farewell to Lazarus and his sister, and to bring them with Him to mount Olivet, in order that they might witness His ascension, and share in His triumph.

And He lifted up his hands towards heaven, as if seeking a special blessing for his disciples.
And blessed them, signing them with the sign of the Cross, as Dionysius the Carthusian and others think. Indeed, S. Jerome, commenting on the words, “I will set a sign upon them,” Isa. lxvi. 19, says, Our ascending Lord left us this sign, or rather placed it on our foreheads, so that we may freely say, “The light of Thy countenance is lifted up upon us, O Lord.” For the Cross is the sign of Christ, which is the fountain of all benediction and grace. Hence the tradition which has come down from the time of Christ and the Apostles that in giving a blessing the hands should always form the sign of the Cross.

Therefore, says Theophylact, we should learn when about to leave our dependents or friends, to give them our blessing, and, signing them with the sigh of the Cross, commit them to the keeping of God.
Ver. 52.—And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They rejoiced greatly because they had seen their Master triumphantly ascend into heaven, because they eagerly and without doubting looked for the promised gift of the Comforter, and because they had good hope that Christ would, in like manner, after they had laboured in the gospel cause, receive them to Himself, according to His gracious promise. S. John.

Ver. 53.—And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. “Continually.” We may either take this word to refer to the time of the descent of the Holy Spirit, for before His coming they remained at home for fear of the Jews, or we may take it absolutely, for the upper room in which they dwelt was near the temple, so that they could easily go to and fro. Acts i. 13.

In midst of prayers and praises, with eager preparation of heart, they waited for the promise of the Spirit, says Bede, who also observes “that S. Luke, who commenced his Gospel with the ministry of Zacharias, the priest in the temple, very fitly concludes it with the devotion of the Apostles in the same holy place. For he has placed them there, about to be the ministers of a new priesthood, not in the blood of sacrifices, but in the praises of God, and in blessing.”

Morally, the Apostles and the disciples teach us by their example to make the Christian life a perpetual round of praise to God and Christ. For thus we enter upon the life of the blessed, to whom the ceaseless praise of God is, as I have often shown, for everlasting their labour and their rest. “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be alway praising Thee.”

Friday, 26 September 2014

St Luke 24:36-45

St Luke:

36 Dum autem hæc loquuntur, stetit Jesus in medio eorum, et dicit eis: Pax vobis: ego sum, nolite timere. 37 Conturbati vero et conterriti, existimabant se spiritum videre. 38 Et dixit eis: Quid turbati estis, et cogitationes ascendunt in corda vestra? 39 videte manus meas, et pedes, quia ego ipse sum; palpate et videte, quia spiritus carnem et ossa non habet, sicut me videtis habere. 40 Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et pedes. 41 Adhuc autem illis non credentibus, et mirantibus præ gaudio, dixit: Habetis hic aliquid quod manducetur? 42 At illi obtulerunt ei partem piscis assi et favum mellis. 43 Et cum manducasset coram eis, sumens reliquias dedit eis. 44 Et dixit ad eos: Hæc sunt verba quæ locutus sum ad vos cum adhuc essem vobiscum, quoniam necesse est impleri omnia quæ scripta sunt in lege Moysi, et prophetis, et Psalmis de me. 45 Tunc aperuit illis sensum ut intelligerent Scripturas, 

[36] Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. [37] But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. [38] And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? [39] See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. [40] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet.[41] But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? [42] And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. [43] And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. [44] And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. [45] Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

Commentary

...Ver. 39.—Behold My hands and My feet,&c. If you cannot believe your sight, believe your touch. Let your hands prove whether your eyes have played you false. S. Augustine. For the sense of touch is more to be relied upon than the sight.

Handle me (ψηλαφήσατέ), that by touching my body you may be assured of the reality of its existence. Hence it is clear, says S. Gregory, that a glorified body is immaterial (subtile) by reason of its spiritual powers, but material (palpabile) inasmuch as it is true to its nature.
You will ask, firstly, how the glorified body of Christ could be at one and the same time material and immaterial?

I answer. First, because glorified bodies possess (1) the property of permeability, and hence are able not only to offer no resistance to another body, but even to penetrate it. And they possess (2) the power of eluding the touch, as they have the power of vanishing from the sight, according to what I have just said. These properties or powers they use or not, according as they are inclined.
Consequently, glorified bodies can be apprehended by the touch or not, according as they will.
You will ask secondly, whether this handling of Christ, His sitting at meat with the disciples, and such like, are sufficient proofs of His resurrection?

I answer that these proofs were not absolutely and physically certain, for the angels, when they appeared in bodily form, were touched and handled by Abraham, Lot, and others; but they are certain in a moral sense, and as far as human certainty permits.

1. Because on this account Christ willed to abide long with the Apostles, and to manifest Himself after His resurrection, as in His death, to their hearing, sight, and touch, senses which are held by men to be most trustworthy.
2. Because it pertained to the providence of God not to let these so great signs pass unnoticed, but to take away all pretence of deception. For the truth of the Messiah and the new religion was at stake, specially the point as to whether He really had risen from the dead.
3. Because these signs, taken in conjunction with the miracles of Christ, and the prophecies of His coming, made it both credible and certain, that He had indeed risen from the dead.

Ver. 40.—And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and His feet—“pierced, and still bearing the prints of the nails,” says Euthymius; as is clear from S. John xx. 27. For Christ willed that these five wounds, or rather wound-prints, should remain in His glorified body as trophies of His victory over sin and death and hell.

“He bore them with Him to heaven,” says S. Ambrose, “in order to show them to God the Father, as the price of our liberty.” For “He who destroyed the kingdom of death would not efface the signs of death.” In like manner also the martyrs will exhibit their scars in heaven, as so many glorious tokens of their victory.

For they will be to them not a disfigurement but dignity, and in their bodies a certain beauty will shine forth, a beauty not of the body, but of merit; for such marks as these must not be accounted blemishes.  S. Augustine (De Civit. Lib. xxii. cap. xx.)

You will ask whether the disciples actually handled and touched the pierced hands and feet of Christ after His resurrection?

I answer that this is a matter of uncertainty, because Scripture is silent on the subject. But it is probable that some both handled and touched the Lord, especially those who were the more doubtful concerning His resurrection, because they, on their part, were anxious to satisfy themselves, by actual touch, that it was no phantom, but Christ alive from the dead—because also Christ Himself bade them “handle” Him, so that there might be no room for doubt, but that the Apostles might be able to preach to the Gentiles that Christ had indeed risen from the dead.

So we read, “That which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of Life . . . declare we unto you.”  1 S. John I. i.

Ver. 41.—And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered. On the one hand, because they had handled Him, the disciples believed that Jesus had risen, and taken again His true body; but on the other hand, so great was their joy and their wonder at the strangeness of the event, that they could scarcely believe that it was the very Jesus who had been so recently crucified. They rejoiced greatly because they believed, but the greatness of their joy reacted on their faith. So it is a matter of common experience that if a trustworthy person brings us some unexpected good news, our joy is so great that we refuse to credit it, lest if it prove untrue, and we find that we have been deceived, we sorrow as much as we before rejoiced. We restrain our joy until we are sure that it is well founded. So was it with the Apostles: “their exceeding great joy,” says Vatablus, “obscured their judgment.”
Have ye here any meat? Christ appeared to His disciples “as they sat at meat” (S. Mark, xvi. 13), and they, when they saw Him, out of reverence rose up from the table and ran to meet Him, full of joy and astonishment, and therefore doubtingly. Hence, Jesus suffered them to handle Him, and since they did not even then fully believe, asked for meat, in order that He might eat before them, and so show that He was alive again.

Ver. 42.—And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. A proof of the frugality of the Apostles, for if they had had any better food they would have offered it to their Master. But as fishermen they fed on fish, just as Athæneus (De Cœnis Sapientum) tells us the frugal men of old were accustomed to do; and in point of fact up to the time of the deluge flesh was not known as an article of food. (See Gen. ix.)

Symbolically, says Bede, “the broiled fish signifies the sufferings of Christ. For He, having condescended to lie in the waters of the human race, was willing to be taken by the hook of our death, and was as it were burnt up by anguish at the time of His passion. But the honeycomb was present to us at the resurrection; the honey in the wax being the divine nature in the human;” and again “He ate part of a broiled fish, signifying that having burnt by the fire of His own divinity our nature swimming in the sea of this life, and dried up the moisture which it had contracted from the waves, He made it divine food of sweet savour in the sight of God, which the honeycomb signifies. Or we may take the broiled fish to mean the active life drying up the moisture by the coals of labour, and the honeycomb is the sweet contemplation of the oracles of God.” Theophylact. “By the command of the law the passover was eaten with bitter herbs, but after the resurrection the food is sweetened with a honeycomb.” Gregory Nyssen.

Tropologically, says the Gloss: “Those who endure tribulation (assantur tribulalionibus) for the sake of God, will hereafter be satisfied with true sweetness.”

Another reason why Christ ate the broiled fish is given by an anonymous writer in the Greek Catena: “The word of God as a new and unapproachable fire, by the hypostatic union, dried up the moisture in which human nature as a fish—because of its incontinency—was immersed, and set it free by mixture of His passion, fulfilling so sweetly this dispensation as to make ready sweet food for Himself; for the salvation of men is the food of God.”

Hence Christ soon after He had eaten, breathed on the Apostles, and bestowed on them the gift of the Holy Ghost for the remission of sins. S. John xx. 22....

Thursday, 25 September 2014

St Luke 24:13-35

St Luke:

13 Et ecce duo ex illis ibant ipsa die in castellum, quod erat in spatio stadiorum sexaginta ab Jerusalem, nomine Emmaus. 14 Et ipsi loquebantur ad invicem de his omnibus quæ acciderant. 15 Et factum est, dum fabularentur, et secum quærerent: et ipse Jesus appropinquans ibat cum illis: 16 oculi autem illorum tenebantur ne eum agnoscerent. 17 Et ait ad illos: Qui sunt hi sermones, quos confertis ad invicem ambulantes, et estis tristes? 18 Et respondens unus, cui nomen Cleophas, dixit ei: Tu solus peregrinus es in Jerusalem, et non cognovisti quæ facta sunt in illa his diebus? 19 Quibus ille dixit: Quæ? Et dixerunt: De Jesu Nazareno, qui fuit vir propheta, potens in opere et sermone coram Deo et omni populo: 20 et quomodo eum tradiderunt summi sacerdotes et principes nostri in damnationem mortis, et crucifixerunt eum: 21 nos autem sperabamus quia ipse esset redempturus Israël: et nunc super hæc omnia, tertia dies est hodie quod hæc facta sunt. 22 Sed et mulieres quædam ex nostris terruerunt nos, quæ ante lucem fuerunt ad monumentum, 23 et non invento corpore ejus, venerunt, dicentes se etiam visionem angelorum vidisse, qui dicunt eum vivere. 24 Et abierunt quidam ex nostris ad monumentum: et ita invenerunt sicut mulieres dixerunt, ipsum vero non invenerunt.25 Et ipse dixit ad eos: O stulti, et tardi corde ad credendum in omnibus quæ locuti sunt prophetæ! 26 Nonne hæc oportuit pati Christum, et ita intrare in gloriam suam? 27 Et incipiens a Moyse, et omnibus prophetis, interpretabatur illis in omnibus scripturis quæ de ipso erant. 28 Et appropinquaverunt castello quo ibant: et ipse se finxit longius ire. 29 Et coëgerunt illum, dicentes: Mane nobiscum, quoniam advesperascit, et inclinata est jam dies. Et intravit cum illis. 30 Et factum est, dum recumberet cum eis, accepit panem, et benedixit, ac fregit, et porrigebat illis. 31 Et aperti sunt oculi eorum, et cognoverunt eum: et ipse evanuit ex oculis eorum. 32 Et dixerunt ad invicem: Nonne cor nostrum ardens erat in nobis dum loqueretur in via, et aperiret nobis Scripturas? 33 Et surgentes eadem hora regressi sunt in Jerusalem: et invenerunt congregatos undecim, et eos qui cum illis erant, 34 dicentes: Quod surrexit Dominus vere, et apparuit Simoni. 35 Et ipsi narrabant quæ gesta erant in via, et quomodo cognoverunt eum in fractione panis.

[13] And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. [14] And they talked together of all these things which had happened. [15] And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. [16] But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. [17] And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? [18] And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? [19] To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; [20] And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him.[21] But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. [22] Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, [23] And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. [24] And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. [25] Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken.[26] Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? [27] And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. [28] And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. [29] But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. [30] And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them.[31] And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. [32] And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? [33] And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, [34] Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. [35] And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.

Commentary

...Ver. 16.—But their eyes were holden. You will ask, How was this effected?

1. Dionysius the Carthusian replies, and S. Augustine (lib. xxii. chap. 9 De Civit.) favours his opinion, that they were struck with blindness like the men of Sodom, Gen. xix. 11. But this can hardly be true, for they saw Christ, and conversed with Him, although they knew Him not.
2. Cajetan thinks that their eyes were holden because their minds were so preoccupied, and taken up with the events which had come to pass. But the words of S. Mark xvi. 12, “He appeared in another form” are against this view.
3. S. Augustine (Epist. 59, Quæst. viii.) is of opinion that some change had come over the countenance of Christ, as at the transfiguration. But this does not accord with the dignity of his glorified body, which is changeless and everlasting. Later on, Augustine (De Consens. Evang. iii. chap. 25) changed his opinion and says that the eyes of the disciples were clouded over by Satan, or a darkness of some kind cast upon them, so that they might not recognise Christ. But, like as He appeared to the Magdalen in the form of a gardener, so he appeared to the two disciples in another form. The circumstances of His appearance were in accordance with His will and uninfluenced by the action of Satan.

I say, therefore, that they did not know the Lord, because although the body of Christ is unchanged, yet because it was glorified and united to the divine Word it possessed the power both of withdrawing itself from view, and also of affecting the sight of beholders either by appearing in a different form, by changing the medium as mirrors do, and even by a direct change of vision. For this is what, S. Luke says, “their eyes were holden,” by Jesus, just as if they had been covered by a veil so that they were unable to exercise their functions. Hence immediately that Jesus willed, they recognised Him.
It is much more easy to account for the fact that the disciples did not recognise the voice of Christ, for many without any difficulty so change the sound of their voices as to appear other than they are.  S. Thomas, Suarez, and others.

There are several reasons why Christ appeared in another form to these disciples.

1. Because Christ and the angels when they appear to men make themselves like those to whom they appear. The two disciples were journeying: Christ therefore appeared to them as a wayfarer. They were in doubt concerning Him: therefore He made as if He were a stranger. So S. Augustine (de Consens. Evang. iii. 35) and S. Gregory (hom. 23 in Evang.) say, “The Lord did that outwardly in the eyes of the body which was done by themselves inwardly in the eyes of the mind. For they themselves inwardly both loved and doubted, but to them the Lord was present outwardly, although He did not reveal himself. To them, therefore, as they talked of Him He exhibited His presence, but as they doubted of Him He concealed the appearance which they knew. He indeed conversed with them, upbraided them with their hardness of heart, expounded the mysteries of holy Scripture which referred to Himself, yet because in their hearts He was a stranger to their faith, He made as though He would have gone further.”
2. Lest, if He at once manifested himself to the disciples they might be overcome by the novelty and newness of His resurrection, and imagine that they saw not Christ but a phantom, and therefore might remain doubtful whether He had risen from the dead. But now since He had conversed with them for some time, and then made Himself known, they could no longer doubt that He had risen from the dead.
3. “That the disciples might lay bare their sorrows and be cured of their doubt.” Theophylact. For if He had at once said that He was Christ, they would not have dared to confess that they had been doubtful of the resurrection.
4. That from the circumstances of His appearance He might teach us that we are pilgrims and strangers, seeking an heavenly country, which we should be ever longing for, and strive our utmost to obtain. Wherefore S. Francis, who happened on a certain occasion to be spending his Easter in a monastery, where there were none of whom he could ask charity, mindful of our Lord’s appearance to the two disciples in the form of a stranger on that very day, asked alms of the brothers themselves; and when he had received their alms, in a burst of sacred eloquence, he reminded them with all humility, that on their way through the desert of this world as strangers and pilgrims, like the true Israel they should in all lowliness of mind continue to celebrate the Passover of the Lord, i.e. their passage from this world to the Father; and he went on to inform them that it is the pilgrim’s rule to seek shelter under the roof of others, to thirst for their own country; and peacefully journey thereunto. (Chronicle of the order of S. Francis)...

Ver. 19.—And He said unto them, What things? Christ constrains them to open their grief and to confess their doubts as to His resurrection.

And they said unto him, concerning Jesus of Nazareth. They acknowledge Him, says Bede, to be a great prophet, but they do not speak of Him as the Son of God, either because their faith was imperfect, or because they feared lest they might fall into the hands of the persecuting Jews. For they knew not with whom they were speaking and therefore concealed what they believed to be true. Because they say (verse 21) that they trusted that it had been he, as being the Messiah and the Son of God, which should have redeemed Israel.

Mighty in deed and in ward. So should every Christian be, especially those who have devoted themselves to a religious life, or have been called to any office in the Church. What they preach they should perform, and teach first by example and then by word.

Ver. 20.—And how the chief priests, and our rulers delivered him, &c. They do not accuse the chief priests and the rulers, although they were persuaded of the injustice of their actions. For they feared lest this stranger might be a spy, seeking some cause of accusation against them.

Ver. 21.—But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel from the power of their enemies, e.g., from the power of the Romans.

“We trusted that he had been the Messiah who would have restored the kingdom of Israel to the same, or even greater, dignity than it had possessed in the time of David and of Solomon. But now that he has been so unworthily put to death, although we do not despair, we have but little hope.”
This was their grief, the wound which their faith had received, which Christ desired to hear from them, in order to heal.

“0 disciples,” says S. Augustine (serm. 140 De Temp.), “ye were hoping, therefore ye do not now hope. Behold Christ lives, but your hope within you is dead;” and again, “He was walking with them as their companion, and yet was their leader and guide.”
And beside all this, to-day is the third day, &c. For Christ was crucified on the sixth day, and after three days rose from the dead. This is an aposiopesis, for the disciples, anxious and perplexed, knowing not what to think about Christ, as good as say, ‘Jesus when He was alive said that He would rise from the dead on the third day; but although this is the third day we know not whether He has risen or is yet to rise.” They were doubtful, balanced between hope and fear. “They speak thus,” says Theophylact, “as men in doubt, and seem to me to be very undecided in their minds, for they are not absolutely unbelieving, nor do they believe aright. For their words ‘we trusted that it had been he,’ &c., indicate incredulity, but when they make mention of the third day, they show themselves mindful of the words of Christ, ‘on the third day I shall rise again;’” and again, “On the whole they spake as men in perplexity and doubt.”...

Ver. 26.—Ought not Christ . . . to enter into His glory? He calls His glorious resurrection and ascension, the sending of the Holy Spirit, His exaltation over every creature, the adoration of His name, the spread of the gospel throughout all the world, and His eternal kingdom, “glory.”
“Ought not,” (“futurum erat,” the Arabic and Syriac). It behoved Christ through the Cross to enter glory:
1. Because the prophets had foretold it.
2. Because God the Father had decreed it from all eternity.
3. Because it was necessary that He should purchase our redemption by His death upon the Cross.
4. Because it was fitting that such glory should be obtained through the merit of such sufferings and labour.
5. Because it behoved Christ, as leader, to become an example to the martyrs, and to all those who strive through much tribulation to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The meaning is, “My death upon the Cross has shaken your faith and hope in My resurrection, therefore ye said ‘we trusted’ (sperabamus). But ye spake rashly and without cause. For this ought to have confirmed your faith, for there is none other way to the resurrection save through death, nor to glory save through suffering, and the reproach of the Cross.”...

Ver. 30.—He took bread and blessed it. He blessed it by causing it to become His body as in the consecration of the Eucharist. For that Christ thus consecrated it, although Jansenius and some others deny it, is clear:

1. Because S. Matthew, S. Mark, and S. Luke use the same words concerning the institution of the Eucharist, as S. Luke uses here.
2. Because this blessing does not appear to have been given it the commencement of the meal, for Christ wished not to vanish out of their sight before He had eaten with them, lest they might think him a phantom. It was given in the midst, or rather at the end, of the meal. It was not therefore the ordinary blessing on what had been provided for their use, but solemn and eucharistic.
3. This is clear also from the effect which this blessing of the bread had upon the disciples. “their eyes were opened and they knew Him.”
4. Furthermore, this is the opinion of the great majority of the Fathers. So the author quoted by S. Chrysostom (Hom. 17) says, “The Lord not only blessed the bread, but gave it with His own hand to Cleopas and his companion. But that which is given by His hand is not only sanctified, but sanctification and a cause of sanctity to the recipient.”

Again, “How did the Lord will to make Himself known? By the breaking of bread. We are content then; in the breaking of bread the Lord is made known unto us. In no other way is it His will to reveal Himself. Therefore, although we shall not see Him in bodily form, He has given us His flesh to eat.” S. Augustine (Serm. 140 De Temp.)

This passage of Holy Scripture is a proof of the use of one species only in the Eucharist, for it is clear that Christ neither consecrated nor gave the cup to the disciples. After He had blessed the bread, and given it to them, they knew Him, and immediately He vanished out of their sight.  S. Augustine, Chrysostom, Bede and others....

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

St Luke 24: 1-12

St Luke 24:

1 Una autem sabbati valde diluculo venerunt ad monumentum, portantes quæ paraverant aromata: 2 et invenerunt lapidem revolutum a monumento. 3 Et ingressæ non invenerunt corpus Domini Jesu. 4 Et factum est, dum mente consternatæ essent de isto, ecce duo viri steterunt secus illas in veste fulgenti. 5 Cum timerent autem, et declinarent vultum in terram, dixerunt ad illas: Quid quæritis viventem cum mortuis? 6 non est hic, sed surrexit: recordamini qualiter locutus est vobis, cum adhuc in Galilæa esset, 7 dicens: Quia oportet Filium hominis tradi in manus hominum peccatorum, et crucifigi, et die tertia resurgere. 8 Et recordatæ sunt verborum ejus. 9 Et regressæ a monumento nuntiaverunt hæc omnia illis undecim, et ceteris omnibus. 10 Erat autem Maria Magdalene, et Joanna, et Maria Jacobi, et ceteræ quæ cum eis erant, quæ dicebant ad apostolos hæc. 11 Et visa sunt ante illos sicut deliramentum verba ista, et non crediderunt illis. 12 Petrus autem surgens cucurrit ad monumentum: et procumbens vidit linteamina sola posita, et abiit secum mirans quod factum fuerat.

1] And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. [2] And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre. [3] And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. [4] And it came to pass, as they were astonished in their mind at this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining apparel. [5] And as they were afraid, and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said unto them: Why seek you the living with the dead?[6] He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke unto you, when he was in Galilee, [7] Saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. [8] And they remembered his words. [9] And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. [10] And it was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were with them, who told these things to the apostles.[11] And these words seemed to them as idle tales; and they did not believe them. [12] But Peter rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid by themselves; and went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

Commentary

deLapide:

Ver. 1.—Now upon the first day of the week. The first day after the Sabbath, the Lord’s day, i.e. the day on which Christ rose from the dead. See S. Matt. xxviii. I.

Ver. 10.—Joanna. A disciple, although her husband Chusa was the steward of Herod, who was an avowed enemy of Christ. So, as in the cases of SS. Serena, the wife of Diocletian, Antherina, her daughter, Tryphonia and others who were the near relatives of emperors notorious for their persecutions. God gathers roses from thorns, and wills that wives should win over their husbands, and that queens should make of none effect the evil counsel of kings.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

St Luke 23:44-56

St Luke 23:44-56:

4 Erat autem fere hora sexta, et tenebræ factæ sunt in universam terram usque ad horam nonam. 45 Et obscuratus est sol, et velum templi scissum est medium. 46 Et clamans voce magna Jesus ait: Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum. Et hæc dicens, expiravit. 47 Videns autem centurio quod factum fuerat, glorificavit Deum, dicens: Vere hic homo justus erat. 48 Et omnis turba eorum, qui simul aderant ad spectaculum istud, et videbant quæ fiebant, percutientes pectora sua revertebantur.49 Stabant autem omnes noti ejus a longe, et mulieres, quæ secutæ eum erant a Galilæa, hæc videntes. 50 Et ecce vir nomine Joseph, qui erat decurio, vir bonus et justus: 51 hic non consenserat consilio, et actibus eorum: ab Arimathæa civitate Judææ, qui exspectabat et ipse regnum Dei: 52 hic accessit ad Pilatum et petiit corpus Jesu: 53 et depositum involvit sindone, et posuit eum in monumento exciso, in quo nondum quisquam positus fuerat. 54 Et dies erat parasceves, et sabbatum illucescebat. 55 Subsecutæ autem mulieres, quæ cum eo venerant de Galilæa, viderunt monumentum, et quemadmodum positum erat corpus ejus. 56 Et revertentes paraverunt aromata, et unguenta: et sabbato quidem siluerunt secundum mandatum.

[44] And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. [45] And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.[46] And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost. [47] Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man. [48] And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts. [49] And all his acquaintance, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. [50] And behold there was a man named Joseph, who was a counsellor, a good and just man,[51] (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings;) of Arimathea, a city of Judea; who also himself looked for the kingdom of God. [52] This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. [53] And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid. [54] And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the sabbath drew on. [55] And the women that were come with him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
[54] Parasceve: That is, the eve, or day of preparation for the sabbath.[56] And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment.

Commentary

Ver. 46.—Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit. The Arabic has pono, Tertullian depono (cont. Prax. cap. xxv.). The Hebrew word Hiphid means the same as our “commend.” “My Spirit.”  S. Athanasius in his work De Human. Nat. cont. Apollin., says, “When Christ said on the cross, Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit, He commends all men to the Father, to be, by Him and through Him, restored to life; for we are members, and those many members are one body, which is the Church. He commends therefore all who are in Him to God.” Christ therefore, according to S. Athanasius, calls men His soul and spirit. What then ought we not to do to profit and save souls, that we may keep as it were for Christ, His soul and spirit? So S. Paul to Philemon and Onesimus, “His bowels.” “He gave His life,” says S. Cyril, “into the hands of His Father (Lib. ii on John chap. xxxvi.), that by this and through this, as a beginning, we might have certain hope of this, firmly believing that we shall be in the hands of God after our death.” So Victor Antiochus on S. Mark, “This recommendation of Christ tends to the good of our souls, which, when freed from the bodies previously inhabited by them, He gave by these words, as a kind of deposit, into the hands of the living God.” And Euthymius: “God did this for us, that the souls of the just should not henceforth go down into hell, but should rather ascend to God.” He cites Ps. xxxi. 5, when David, afflicted and in danger of death, spoke as much in his own person as in that of Christ and said, “into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” And, from this, the Church daily uses the same Psalm and verse, and sings it in the Compline at night, to teach us, when we retire to rest, to commend our souls to God, because at night we run many risks of sudden death. The dying use the same words, as did S. Nicholas, Louis King of France, and S. Basil. S. Basil did it in the presence of angels, who brought him away; as S. Gregory Nazianzen testifies in his oration on him.  S. Stephen also cried, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

By these words we testify—1. That at our birth we received our souls, not from our father and mother, but from God alone; and that we therefore give Him back the same, as His own creatures. 2. That we believe that our souls do not die at our death, but survive and are immortal, and return to God who gave them and who will judge them. 3. That we believe in the resurrection of the flesh. For in death we commend our souls to God that He may keep them, as it were as a deposit, and restore them again at the resurrection to our bodies. 4. That in the last agony which we undergo, most bitterly, from the devils, we implore the assistance of God, that in giving back our souls to Him, we may overcome and triumph over the devil. Hence many think that each of us has his own peculiar devil, who appears to the dying in some terrible form, and tempts them to despair, and to other sins, as he did to S. Martha and others, but not to all. S. Ephrem seems to think this in his sermon on those who sleep in Christ. S. Chrysostom (Hom. 34 on S. Matt.), and others whom our own Lorinus cites on Eccles viii. 8. Many think the same of Christ. Hence Eusebius (Demonstrat. Lib. iv. cap. ult.) understands Christ’s words, Ps. xxii. 12, “Many strong bulls of Basan have beset me round,” of devils whom Christ saw, mocking Him on the cross as a criminal and wicked, and insulting Him for His crucifixion and impending death. Habakkuk seems to support this idea, iii. 5: “Burning coals” (diabolus) went forth at His feet;” and S. John, xiv. 30: “The prince of this world cometh, and he hath nothing in Me.” Christ lays down His Spirit therefore into the hands of God, certain that no one can sever Him from it. For God is a most faithful and strong protector. So S. Jerome on Psalm xxxi. 5, “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” That is, “into Thy power.” This example the Church received from Christ, and S. Stephen followed it. The saints when departing, use the same words; as the following: “They commend their souls to the faithful Creator for His good acts;” our Lord said this, when hanging on the cross, commending His Spirit to the hands of the Father as being to receive it again at the resurrection.

Symbolically, Didymus in his Catena on Psalm xxxi. “The spirit is threefold—1. Our thought. 2. Our soul. 3. Our conscience. These three we ought to commend to God.”
And having said thus, He gave up the ghost. The Syriac. “He said this, and ended,” His life, that is. The Arabic, “And when He had said this He gave up His Spirit.” This was a certain sign that He was the Son of God the Father, who was called upon by Him, and that the Father heard the cry of the Son and received His soul. “For when He had said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit;’ then, at last, He suffered death to come to Him.” Says Euthymius, on Matt. xxvii: “As certainly knowing that the spirit, placed in His hands as a deposit, the Father would keep securely, and would give back in the resurrection on the third day. Firm in this hope He gladly and with alacrity rendered up His Spirit to the Father.”

Monday, 22 September 2014

St Luke 23:26-44

Luke 23:

26 Et cum ducerent eum, apprehenderunt Simonem quemdam Cyrenensem venientem de villa: et imposuerunt illi crucem portare post Jesum. 27 Sequebatur autem illum multa turba populi et mulierum, quæ plangebant et lamentabantur eum. 28 Conversus autem ad illas Jesus, dixit: Filiæ Jerusalem, nolite flere super me, sed super vos ipsas flete et super filios vestros. 29 Quoniam ecce venient dies in quibus dicent: Beatæ steriles, et ventres qui non genuerunt, et ubera quæ non lactaverunt. 30 Tunc incipient dicere montibus: Cadite super nos; et collibus: Operite nos. 31 Quia si in viridi ligno hæc faciunt, in arido quid fiet? 32 Ducebantur autem et alii duo nequam cum eo, ut interficerentur. 33 Et postquam venerunt in locum qui vocatur Calvariæ, ibi crucifixerunt eum: et latrones, unum a dextris, et alterum a sinistris. 34 Jesus autem dicebat: Pater, dimitte illis: non enim sciunt quid faciunt. Dividentes vero vestimenta ejus, miserunt sortes.35 Et stabat populus spectans, et deridebant eum principes cum eis, dicentes: Alios salvos fecit, se salvum faciat, si hic est Christus Dei electus. 36 Illudebant autem ei et milites accedentes, et acetum offerentes ei, 37 et dicentes: Si tu es rex Judæorum, salvum te fac. 38 Erat autem et superscriptio scripta super eum litteris græcis, et latinis, et hebraicis: Hic est rex Judæorum. 39 Unus autem de his, qui pendebant, latronibus, blasphemabat eum, dicens: Si tu es Christus, salvum fac temetipsum et nos. 40 Respondens autem alter increpabat eum, dicens: Neque tu times Deum, quod in eadem damnatione es. 41 Et nos quidem juste, nam digna factis recipimus: hic vero nihil mali gessit. 42 Et dicebat ad Jesum: Domine, memento mei cum veneris in regnum tuum. 43 Et dixit illi Jesus: Amen dico tibi: hodie mecum eris in paradiso.

[26] And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus. [27] And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. [28] But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [29] For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. [30] Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us. [31] For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry? [32] And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death. [33] And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him there; and the robbers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. [34] And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots. [35] And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God. [36] And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, [37] And saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. [38] And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [39] And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. [40] But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation?[41] And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. [42] And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. [43] And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 39.—And one of the malefactors which were hanged—(this one, according to tradition, hung on the left hand of Christ)—railed on Him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
If thou be the Christ, and Saviour of the world, save Thyself and us, free us from the cross and restore us to life and liberty. Christ chose to undergo the most bitter sufferings from all classes, and to be mocked and blasphemed, not only by the scribes and Jews, but even by the robber, the companion of His punishment. This made His trial the more hard; for the robber ought to have suffered with Christ and to have taken thought for the salvation of his soul, and to have begged it of Christ; as we also should beg that we may be quiet under scoffs, derisions, and insults, and be patient in mind and silent in speech.

Ver. 40.—But the other (who is said to have hung on the right side) answering rebuked him. The Syriac says, “Dost thou not fear, no, not even from God” (etiam, non, a Deo, non tirmes tu)?—that is, the scribes and Jews are well and strong and do not fear God, and therefore scoff at Christ; but thou, who art tormented on the cross, oughtest to fear Him, lest He punish thee severely, for blaspheming His Christ so sacrilegiously. This robber showed that he not only feared God himself, for “the beginning of wisdom” (and salvation) “is the fear of the Lord” (Ecclus. i. 16), but he also exhorted his companion to the same fear. That is, Let the Jews mock at Christ; we ought to fear God, because we are in the same condemnation—the punishment of the cross, to which we are justly condemned. 

But Christ, who was innocent was so condemned unjustly. Again, we should rather compassionate a companion in punishment, especially if innocent, than reproach him; because we ought to prepare ourselves for death and the judgment of God, where we shall give account for our blasphemy and undergo the heavy punishment of Gehenna. In his words, “Dost thou not fear God?” he seems to allude to Christ and to confess Him to be God. As if he had said, “Fear thou the retribution of Christ, whom thou blasphemest, for He is not only man but God also.” For, that he believed this from Christ’s illumination we shall shortly see. So S. Ambrose, and Eusebius, whose words I will produce.

Ver. 41.—And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds. This was an act of profound and public confession, contrition, and repentance, by which he expiated his former sins.
But this man hath done nothing amiss. The Greek is άτοπον, which means out of harmony, unbecoming incongruous, nothing worthy of the slightest blame or reprehension. Lo! a free and public confession of, and testimony to, the innocence of Christ, given before the scribes and rulers, who had condemned Him, fearing nothing.

Ver. 42.—And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom. “The heavenly and divine kingdom, to which Thou passest through the death of the cross, that shortly Thou mayest enter into it by death, and bring into it Thine elect. Wherefore I beseech Thee to bring me also into it with Thyself, and I implore of Thee pardon for all sinners, for whom I very greatly grieve. I offer to Thee, moreover, the torments of this cross, and the death upon it which I willingly undergo. To this end, I wholly resign, dedicate, and consecrate myself to Thee; I would that it were given to me to suffer these and still other torments for Thy faith and love.” These words show his living and ardent faith, hope, love, humility, patience, contrition, and other virtues.

Moraliter. Learn from this the strength, efficacy, and swiftness of the grace of Christ, by which, from the cross itself, He made a man holy, most holy. Wonderful was the conversion of S. M. Magdalene—wonderful that of S. Paul, but much more wonderful this of the thief. For S. Mary had witnessed the words and miracles, of Christ; and S. Paul had felt Him strike him from heaven; but the thief on the very cross, where Christ was suffering the infamous and atrocious death of a criminal, was converted to Him by herioc acts of faith, love, devotion, &c...

Ver. 43.—And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise. That is, in a place of pleasure where thou mayest be in the beatitude and beatific vision of God, i.e. To-day I will make thee for ever happy; I will make thee a king reigning in the kingdom of glory with me this day. So S. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechet. Lect. c. 13); S. Chrysostom (Hom. ii. de Cruce et Latrone); S. Gregory of Nyssa (Serm. on the Resurrection); S. Augustine (Tract. III on John). He explains paradise by heaven, that is celestial beatitude. It is certain that Christ on the day on which He died, did not go up to heaven with the thief, but went down into the Limbus Patrum (S. Augustine Lib. ii. de Genese ad litt. chap. 34; and Maldonatus by paradise here understand Abraham’s bosom), and imparted to them the vision of His Godhead and thus made them blest, changing the order of things; for He then made limbus to be paradise, and the lower parts the upper, so that hell should be heaven. For where Christ is, there is paradise; where, the vision and beatitude of God, there, heaven. For, as to what Euthymius and other Greeks say, denying that the souls of the saints see God before the judgment and are happy: by paradise they understand an earthly place; that to which Enoch was carried. But it cannot be so—for it is of the faith that Christ, shortly after His death went down in infernum—that is, the limbus of the Fathers, but He did not go into any earthly paradise. It is, moreover, uncertain whether, after the Deluge, there be any earthly paradise remaining. But grant that there be such, it is the happy and joyful habitation, not of souls, but of bodies only. Hence it is plain from this passage, against the Greeks, Calvin, and the other innovators, that the souls of the saints, when thoroughly purged from sin, do not sleep till the day of judgment, but there behold God, and are beatified by a vision of Him.

Moraliter. Observe here the liberality of Christ, who exceeds our prayers and vows. The thief only prayed Christ to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Christ at the same time promised him a kingdom, that he might reign in it as a king. “This day,” says Eusebius of Emissa, in his “Homily on the Blessed Thief”—“as if He would say, 0 my faithful companion and one only witness of so great a triumph, dost thou think that I need to be so earnestly entreated to remember thee? this day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” And again, “Christ when placed in the yoke (patibulum) as an arbiter between the two condemned, rejected him who denied, and received the one who confessed; on the latter He bestows a kingdom, the former He leaves in hell. Let us then believe that He will come to judge, whom we see to have already on the cross exercised judgment.” This is that most sweet answer of Christ to the thief which Fulgentius (serm. nov. 60), calls “the testament of Christ, written with the pen of the cross.”

Lastly, the name of this most blessed thief is said to have been Dismas, for some chapels are found, in the name of “Dismas the Robber.” His day in the Cataloaue of Saints is the 25th March, for on that day he seems to have suffered, and Christ in consequence on the same day. For we find in it, “At Jerusalem, the commemoration of the holy thief who confessed Christ on the cross, and who therefore merited to hear ‘This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.’”

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

This week's Gospel is St Luke 7: 11-16:

11 Et factum est: deinceps ibat in civitatem quæ vocatur Naim: et ibant cum eo discipuli ejus et turba copiosa. 12 Cum autem appropinquaret portæ civitatis, ecce defunctus efferebatur filius unicus matris suæ: et hæc vidua erat: et turba civitatis multa cum illa. 13 Quam cum vidisset Dominus, misericordia motus super eam, dixit illi: Noli flere. 14 Et accessit, et tetigit loculum. (Hi autem qui portabant, steterunt.) Et ait: Adolescens, tibi dico, surge. 15 Et resedit qui erat mortuus, et cœpit loqui. Et dedit illum matri suæ. 16 Accepit autem omnes timor: et magnificabant Deum, dicentes: Quia propheta magnus surrexit in nobis: et quia Deus visitavit plebem suam.

11] And it came to pass afterwards, that he went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. [12] And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. [13] Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. [14] And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. [15] And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. [16] And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.

Matins readings (St Augustine)

Reading 9: That her son was called again to life was the joy of that widowed mother; that souls of men are every day called to life is the joy of our Mother the Church. He was dead in body they have been dead in mind. His death was outward, and was outwardly bewailed; their inward. Death hath been neither mourned for nor seen. But He hath sought for them, Who hath seen that they are dead, and He only hath seen that they are dead, Who hath been able to make them alive. If He had not come to raise the dead, the Apostle had not said: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

Reading 10: We find written how the Lord raised from the dead three persons visibly, but thousands invisibly. But how many they may have been whom He raised visibly, who knoweth For all the things which He did are not written. John saith thus: "There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." xxi. 25. There were then, doubtless, many more raised to life, but it is not meaningless that three are recorded. 

Reading 11: For our Lord Jesus Christ hath willed that those things which He did carnally, we should understand also spiritually. He worked not miracles only for the sake of working wonders, but that His works might be at once wonderful to them that beheld, and true to them that understand them. Even as one that looketh upon a scroll right fairly written, and knoweth not how to read therein, praiseth the hand of the old scribe when he seeth the beauty of the points, but what it saith, what those points mean, he knoweth not, and praiseth by the eye, without understanding by the mind.  

Reading 12: And as, on the other hand, he that can not only gaze on it, as can all men, but also can read it, praiseth the penmanship, and catcheth the sense likewise, which the unlearned cannot do even so. There were some that saw the miracles which Christ did, and understood not what they meant, nor what they, as it were, hinted to such as did understand them, and these only marvelled to see them wrought. And other some there were which saw the works, and marvelled, and understood them, and profited by them. And it is as these last that we ought to be in the school of Christ.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

St Luke 23:1-25

1 Et surgens omnis multitudo eorum, duxerunt illum ad Pilatum. 2 Cœperunt autem illum accusare, dicentes: Hunc invenimus subvertentem gentem nostram, et prohibentem tributa dare Cæsari, et dicentem se Christum regem esse. 3 Pilatus autem interrogavit eum, dicens: Tu es rex Judæorum? At ille respondens ait: Tu dicis. 4 Ait autem Pilatus ad principes sacerdotum et turbas: Nihil invenio causæ in hoc homine. 5 At illi invalescebant, dicentes: Commovet populum docens per universam Judæam, incipiens a Galilæa usque huc. 6 Pilatus autem audiens Galilæam, interrogavit si homo Galilæus esset. 7 Et ut cognovit quod de Herodis potestate esset, remisit eum ad Herodem, qui et ipse Jerosolymis erat illis diebus. 8 Herodes autem viso Jesu, gavisus est valde. Erat enim cupiens ex multo tempore videre eum, eo quod audierat multa de eo, et sperabat signum aliquod videre ab eo fieri. 9 Interrogabat autem eum multis sermonibus. At ipse nihil illi respondebat. 10 Stabant autem principes sacerdotum et scribæ constanter accusantes eum. 11 Sprevit autem illum Herodes cum exercitu suo: et illusit indutum veste alba, et remisit ad Pilatum. 12 Et facti sunt amici Herodes et Pilatus in ipsa die: nam antea inimici erant ad invicem.3 Pilatus autem, convocatis principibus sacerdotum, et magistratibus, et plebe, 14 dixit ad illos: Obtulistis mihi hunc hominem, quasi avertentem populum, et ecce ego coram vobis interrogans, nullam causam inveni in homine isto ex his in quibus eum accusatis. 15 Sed neque Herodes: nam remisi vos ad illum, et ecce nihil dignum morte actum est ei. 16 Emendatum ergo illum dimittam. 17 Necesse autem habebat dimittere eis per diem festum unum. 18 Exclamavit autem simul universa turba, dicens: Tolle hunc, et dimitte nobis Barabbam: 19 qui erat propter seditionem quamdam factam in civitate et homicidium missus in carcerem. 20 Iterum autem Pilatus locutus est ad eos, volens dimittere Jesum. 21 At illi succlamabant, dicentes: Crucifige, crucifige eum. 22 Ille autem tertio dixit ad illos: Quid enim mali fecit iste? nullam causam mortis invenio in eo: corripiam ergo illum et dimittam. 23 At illi instabant vocibus magnis postulantes ut crucifigeretur: et invalescebant voces eorum. 24 Et Pilatus adjudicavit fieri petitionem eorum. 25 Dimisit autem illis eum qui propter homicidium et seditionem missus fuerat in carcerem, quem petebant: Jesum vero tradidit voluntati eorum.

And the whole multitude of them rising up, led him to Pilate. [2] And they began to accuse him, saying: We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ the king. [3] And Pilate asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? But he answering, said: Thou sayest it. [4] And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitudes: I find no cause in this man. [5] But they were more earnest, saying: He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.[6] But Pilate hearing Galilee, asked if the man were of Galilee? [7] And when he understood that he was of Herod' s jurisdiction, he sent him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem, in those days. [8] And Herod, seeing Jesus, was very glad; for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him. [9] And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing. [10] And the chief priests and the scribes stood by, earnestly accusing him.[11] And Herod with his army set him at nought, and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him back to Pilate. [12] And Herod and Pilate were made friends, that same day; for before they were enemies one to another. [13] And Pilate, calling together the chief priests, and the magistrates, and the people, [14] Said to them: You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people; and behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse him. [15] No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him.[16] I will chastise him therefore, and release him. [17] Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day. [18] But the whole multitude together cried out, saying: Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: [19] Who, for a certain sedition made in the city, and for a murder, was cast into prison. [20] And Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus.[21] But they cried again, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. [22] And he said to them the third time: Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause of death in him. I will chastise him therefore, and let him go. [23] But they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified; and their voices prevailed. [24] And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. [25] And he released unto them him who for murder and sedition, had been cast into prison, whom they had desired; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

Commentary (Catena Aurea) 

AUG. Luke, after he had finished relating the denial of Peter, recapitulated all that took place concerning our Lord during the morning, mentioning some particulars which the others omitted; and so he has composed his narrative, giving a similar account with the rest, when he says, And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate, &c. 

BEDE; That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which He prophesied of His own death, He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, that is, to the Romans. For Pilate was a Roman, and the Romans had sent him as governor to Judea.

AUG. He next relates what happens before Pilate, as follows, And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting our nation, &c. Matthew and Mark do not give this, though affirming that they accused Him, but Luke has laid open the very charges which they falsely brought against Him.

THEOPHYL. Most plainly are they opposed to the truth. For our Lord was so far from forbidding to give tribute, that He commanded it to be given. How then did He pervert the people? Was it that He might take possession of the kingdom? But this is incredible to all, for when the whole multitude wished to choose Him for their king, He was as aware of it, and fled. 

BEDE; Now two charges having been brought against our Lord, namely, that He forbade to pay tribute to Caesar, and called Himself Christ the King, it may be that Pilate had chanced to hear that which our Lord spoke, Render to Caesar the things which be Caesar's; and therefore setting aside this accusation as a palpable lie of the Jews, he thought fit to ask concerning that alone of which he knew nothing, the saying about the kingdom; for it follows, Pilate asked him, saying, Are you the King of the Jews, &c. 

THEOPHYL. It seems to me that he asked this question of Christ by way of deriding the wantonness or hypocrisy of the alleged charge. As if he said, you a poor humble naked man, with none to help You, are accused of seeking a kingdom, for which you would need many to help You, and much money. 

BEDE; He answers the governor in the same words which He used to the Chief Priests, that Pilate might be condemned by his own voice; for it follows, And he answering said, You say.

THEOPHYL. Now they finding nothing else to support their calumny, have resort to the aid of clamor, for it follows, And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. As if they said, He perverts the people, not in one part only, but beginning from Galilee He arrives at this place, having passed through Judea. I think then that they purposely made mention of Galilee, as desirous to alarm Pilate, for the Galileans were of a different sect and given to sedition, as, for example, Judas of Galilee who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. 

BEDE; But with these words they accuse not Him, but themselves. For to have taught the people, and by teaching to have roused them from their former idleness, and doing this to have passed through the whole land of promise, was an evidence not of sin, but of virtue. 

AMBROSE; Our Lord is accused and is silent, for He needs no defense. Let them cast about for defense who fear to be conquered. He does not then confirm the accusation by His silence, but He despises it by not refuting it. Why then should He fear who does not court safety? The Safety of all men forfeits His own, that He may gain that of all.


Friday, 19 September 2014

St Luke 22: 63-71

St Luke 22:

63 Et viri qui tenebant illum, illudebant ei, cædentes. 64 Et velaverunt eum, et percutiebant faciem ejus: et interrogabant eum, dicentes: Prophetiza, quis est, qui te percussit? 65 Et alia multa blasphemantes dicebant in eum. 66 Et ut factus est dies, convenerunt seniores plebis, et principes sacerdotum, et scribæ, et duxerunt illum in concilium suum, dicentes: Si tu es Christus, dic nobis. 67 Et ait illis: Si vobis dixero, non credetis mihi: 68 si autem et interrogavero, non respondebitis mihi, neque dimittetis. 69 Ex hoc autem erit Filius hominis sedens a dextris virtutis Dei. 70 Dixerunt autem omnes: Tu ergo es Filius Dei? Qui ait: Vos dicitis, quia ego sum. 71 At illi dixerunt: Quid adhuc desideramus testimonium? ipsi enim audivimus de ore ejus.

[63] And the men that held him, mocked him, and struck him. [64] And they blindfolded him, and smote his face. And they asked him, saying: Prophesy, who is it that struck thee? [65] And blaspheming, many other things they said against him.[66] And as soon as it was day, the ancients of the people, and the chief priests and scribes, came together; and they brought him into their council, saying: If thou be the Christ, tell us. [67] And he saith to them: If I shall tell you, you will not believe me. [68] And if I shall also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let me go. [69] But hereafter the Son of man shall be sitting on the right hand of the power of God. [70] Then said they all: Art thou then the Son of God? Who said: You say that I am.[71] And they said: What need we any further testimony? for we ourselves have heard it from his own mouth.

Commentary (Catena Aurea)


AUG. The temptation of Peter which took place between the mockings of our Lord is not related by all the Evangelists in the same order. For Matthew and Mark first mention those, then Peter's temptation; but Luke has first described the temptations of Peter, then the mockings of our Lord, saying, And the men that held Jesus mocked him, &c. 

CHRYS. Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, sustains and suffers the mockings of the ungodly, giving us an example of patience. 

THEOPHYL. Likewise the Lord of prophets is derided as a false prophet. It follows, And they blindfolded him. This they did as a dishonor to Him who wished to be accounted by the people as a prophet. 

But He who was struck with the blows of the Jews, is struck also now by the blasphemies of false Christians. And they blindfolded Him, not that He should not see their wickedness, but that they might hide His face from them. But heretics, and Jews, and wicked Catholics, provoke Him with their vile actions, as it were mocking Him, saying, Who smote you? while they flatter themselves that their evil thoughts and works of darkness are not known by Him.

AUG. Now our Lord is supposed to have suffered these things until morning in the house of the High Priest, to which He was first led. Hence it follows, And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Are you the Christ? &c. 

BEDE; They wished not for truth, but were contriving calumny. Because they expected that Christ would come only as man, of the root of David, they sought this of Him, that if He should say, "I am the Christ," they might falsely accuse Him of claiming to Himself the kingly power.

THEOPHYL. He knew the secrets of their hearts, that they who had not believed His works would much less believe His words. Hence it follows, And he said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe, &c. 

BEDE; For He had often , declared Himself to be the Christ; as when he said, I and my Father are one, and other such like things. And if I also ask you, you will not answer me. For He had asked them how they said Christ was the Son of David, whereas David in the Spirit called Him his Lord. But they wished neither to believe His words nor to answer His questions. 

However, because they sought to accuse falsely the seed of David, they hear something still farther; as it follows, Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. 

THEOPHYL. As if he said, There is no time left to you any longer for discourses and teaching, but hereafter shall be the time of judgment, when you shall see the Son of man, sitting on the right hand of the power of God. 

CYRIL; Whenever sitting and a throne are spoken of God, His kingly and supreme majesty is signified. For we do not imagine any judgment-seat to be placed, on which we believe the Lord of all takes His seat; nor again, that in any wise right hand or left hand appertain to the Divine nature; for figure, and place, and sitting, are the properties of bodies. But how shall the Son be seen to be of equal honor and to sit together on the same throne, if He is not the Son according to nature, having in Himself the natural property of the Father? 

THEOPHYL. When then they heard this, they ought to have been afraid, but after these words they are the more frantic; as it follows, All said, &c. 

BEDE; They understood that He called Himself the Son of God in these words, The Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power of God. 

AMBROSE; The Lord had rather prove Himself a King than call Himself one, that they might have no excuse for condemning Him, when they confess the truth of that which they lay against Him. It follows, And he said, You say that I am. 

CYRIL; When Christ spoke this, the company of the Pharisees were very wroth, uttering shameful words; as it follows, Then said they, What need we any further witness? &c. 


THEOPHYL. Whereby it the manifest, that the disobedient reap no advantage, when the more secret mysteries are revealed to them, but rather incur the heavier punishment. Wherefore such things ought to be concealed from them.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

St Luke 22:47-62

St Luke 22:

47 Adhuc eo loquente, ecce turba: et qui vocabatur Judas, unus de duodecim, antecedebat eos, et appropinquavit Jesu ut oscularetur eum. 48 Jesus autem dixit illi: Juda, osculo Filium hominis tradis? 49 Videntes autem hi qui circa ipsum erant, quod futurum erat, dixerunt ei: Domine, si percutimus in gladio? 50 Et percussit unus ex illis servum principis sacerdotum, et amputavit auriculam ejus dexteram. 51 Respondens autem Jesus, ait: Sinite usque huc. Et cum tetigisset auriculam ejus, sanavit eum. 52 Dixit autem Jesus ad eos qui venerant ad se principes sacerdotum, et magistratus templi, et seniores: Quasi ad latronem existis cum gladiis et fustibus? 53 Cum quotidie vobiscum fuerim in templo, non extendistis manus in me: sed hæc est hora vestra, et potestas tenebrarum.54 Comprehendentes autem eum, duxerunt ad domum principis sacerdotum: Petrus vero sequebatur a longe. 55 Accenso autem igne in medio atrii et circumsedentibus illis, erat Petrus in medio eorum. 56 Quem cum vidisset ancilla quædam sedentem ad lumen, et eum fuisset intuita, dixit: Et hic cum illo erat. 57 At ille negavit eum, dicens: Mulier, non novi illum. 58 Et post pusillum alius videns eum, dixit: Et tu de illis es. Petrus vero ait: O homo, non sum. 59 Et intervallo facto quasi horæ unius, alius quidam affirmabat, dicens: Vere et hic cum illo erat: nam et Galilæus est. 60 Et ait Petrus: Homo, nescio quid dicis. Et continuo, adhuc illo loquente, cantavit gallus. 61 Et conversus Dominus respexit Petrum, et recordatus est Petrus verbi Domini, sicut dixerat: Quia priusquam gallus cantet, ter me negabis. 62 Et egressus foras Petrus flevit amare.

[47] As he was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus, for to kiss him. [48] And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss? [49] And they that were about him, seeing what would follow, said to him: Lord, shall we strike with the sword? [50] And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.[51] But Jesus answering, said: Suffer ye thus far. And when he had touched his ear, he healed him. [52] And Jesus said to the chief priests, and magistrates of the temple, and the ancients, that were come unto him: Are ye come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs? [53] When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. [54] And apprehending him, they led him to the high priest' s house. But Peter followed afar off. [55] And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them.[56] Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light, and had earnestly beheld him, she said: This man also was with him. [57] But he denied him, saying: Woman, I know him not. [58] And after a little while, another seeing him, said: Thou also art one of them. But Peter said: O man, I am not. [59] And after the space, as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: Of a truth, this man was also with him; for he is also a Galilean. [60] And Peter said: Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew.[61] And the Lord turning looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. [62] And Peter going out, wept bitterly. 

Commentary (Catena Aurea)

CHRYS. For just as incurable wounds yield neither to severe nor soothing remedies, so the soul when once it is taken captive, and has sold itself to any particular sin, will reap no benefit from admonition. And so it was with Judas, who desisted not from His betrayal, though deterred by Christ by every manner of warning. Hence it follows, And drew near to Jesus to kiss him. 

CYRIL; Unmindful of the glory of Christ, he thought to be able to act secretly, daring to make an especial token of love the instrument of his treachery...

PSEUDO-AUG. For to Peter were delivered the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to him were entrusted an innumerable multitude of people, who were wrapped up in sin. But Peter was somewhat too vehement, as the cutting off the ear of the High Priest's servant ant betokens. If he then who was so stern and so severe had obtained the gift of not sinning, what pardon would he have given to the people committed to him? Therefore Divine Providence suffers him first to beholden of sin, that by the consciousness of his own fall he might soften his too harsh judgment towards sinners. When he wished to warm himself at the fire, a maid came to him, of whom it follows, But a certain maid beheld him, &c. 

AMBROSE; What means it, that a maid is the first to betray Peter, whereas surely men ought the more easily to have recognized him, save that that sex should be plainly implicated in our Lord's murder, in order that it might also be redeemed by His Passion; But Peter when discovered denies, for better that Peter should have denied, than our Lord's word should have failed. Hence it follows, And he denied, saying, Woman, I know him not.

AUG. What ails you, Peter, your voice is suddenly changed? That mouth full of faith and love, is turned to hatred and unbelief. Not yet awhile is the scourge applied, not yet the instruments of torture. Your interrogator is no one of authority, who might cause alarm to the confessor. The mere voice of a woman asks the question, and she perhaps not about to divulge your confession, nor yet a woman, but a door-keeper, a mean slave.

AMBROSE; Peter denied, because he promised rashly. He does not deny on the mount, nor in the temple, nor in his own house, but in the judgment-hall of the Jews. There he denies where Jesus was bound, where truth is not. And denying Him he says, I know him not. 

It were presumptuous to say that he knew Him whom the human mind can not grasp. For no one knows the Son but the Father. Again, a second time he denies Christ; for it follows, And after a little while another saw him, and said, You were also one of them.

AUG. And it is supposed that in the second denial he was addressed by two persons, namely, by the maid whom Matthew and Mark mention, and by another whom Luke speaks of. With respect then to what Luke here relates, And after a little while, &c. Peter had already gone out of the gate, and the cock had crowed the first time, as Mark says; and now he had returned, that, as John says, he might again deny standing by the fire. Of which denial it follows, And Peter said, Man, I am not. 

AMBROSE, For he preferred to deny himself rather than Christ, or because he seemed to deny being of the company of Christ, he truly denied himself. 

BEDE; In this denial then of Peter we affirm that not only is Christ denied by him who says that He is not Christ, but by him also, who, being a Christian, says he is not.

AMBROSE; He is also asked a third time; for it follows, And about the space of one hour after, another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him.

AUG. What Matthew and Mark call after a little while, Luke explains by saying, about the space of one hour after; but with regard to the space of time, John says nothing. Likewise when Matthew and Mark record not in the singular but in the plural number those who conversed with Peter, while Luke and John speak of one, we may easily suppose either that Matthew and Mark used the plural for the singular by a common form of speech, or that one person in particular addressed Peter, as being the one who had seen him, and that others trusting to his credit joined in pressing him. But now as to the words which Matthew asserts were said to Peter himself, Truly you are one of them, for your speech betrays you; as also those which to the same Peter, John declared to have been said, Did not I see you in the garden? whereas Mark and Luke state that they spoke to one another concerning Peter; we either believe that they held the right opinion who say that they were really addressed to Peter; (for what was said concerning him in his presence amounts to the same as if it had been said to him;) or that they were said in both ways, and that some of the Evangelists related them one way, some the other... 

AMBROSE; That is, I know not your blasphemies. But we make excuse for him. He did not excuse himself. For an involved answer is not sufficient for our confessing Jesus, but an open confession is required. And therefore Peter is not represented to have answered this deliberately, for he afterwards recollected himself, and wept.

BEDE; Holy Scripture is often wont to mark the character of certain events by the nature of the times in which they take place. Hence Peter who sinned at midnight repented at cock-crow; for it follows, And immediately, while be yet spoke, the cock crew. The error he committed in the darkness of forgetfulness, he corrected by the remembrance of the true light. 

AUG. The cock-crow we understand to have been after the third denial of Peter, as Mark has expressed it. 

BEDE; This cock must, I think, be understood mystically as some great Teacher, who rouses the listless and sleepy, saying, Awake, you righteous, and sin not.

CHRYS. Marvel now at the case of the Master, who though in He was a prisoner, had exercised much forethought for His disciple, whom by a look He brought to Himself, and provoked to tears; for it follows, And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.

AUG. How we should understand this requires some careful consideration; for Matthew says, Peter was sitting without in the hall, which he would not have said unless the transaction relating to our Lord were passing within. Likewise also, where Mark said, And as Peter was beneath in the hall, he shows that the things he had been speaking of took place not only within but in the upper part. How then did our Lord look upon Peter? not with His bodily face, since Peter was without in the hall among those who were warming themselves, while these things were going on in the inner part of the house. Wherefore, that looking upon Peter seems to me to have been done in a divine manner. And as it was said, Look you, and hear me, and Turn and deliver my soul, so I think the expression here used, The Lord turned and looked upon Peter. 

BEDE; For to look upon him is to have compassion, seeing that not only while penance is being practiced, but that it may be practiced, the mercy of God is necessary.

AMBROSE; Lastly, those whom Jesus looks upon weep for their sins. Hence it follows, And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, Before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice. 

And he went out, and wept bitterly. Why did he weep? Because he sinned as man. I read of his tears, I do not read of his confession. Tears wash away an offense which it is shame to confess in words. The first and second time he denied and wept not, for as yet our Lord had not looked upon him. He denied the third time, Jesus looked upon him, and he wept bitterly. So then if you will obtain pardon, wash away your guilt in tears. 

CYRIL. Now Peter did not dare to weep openly, lest he should be detected by his tears, but he went out and wept. He wept not because of punishment, but because he denied his beloved Lord, which was more galling than any punishment.