Thursday, 24 July 2014

St Luke 6:1-26

St Luke 6 on the true nature of the law:

1 Factum est autem in sabbato secundo, primo, cum transiret per sata, vellebant discipuli ejus spicas, et manducabant confricantes manibus. 2 Quidam autem pharisæorum, dicebant illis: Quid facitis quod non licet in sabbatis? 3 Et respondens Jesus ad eos, dixit: Nec hoc legistis quod fecit David, cum esurisset ipse, et qui cum illo erant? 4 quomodo intravit in domum Dei, et panes propositionis sumpsit, et manducavit, et dedit his qui cum ipso erant: quos non licet manducare nisi tantum sacerdotibus? 5 Et dicebat illis: Quia dominus est Filius hominis etiam sabbati. 6 Factum est autem in alio sabbato, ut intraret in synagogam, et doceret. Et erat ibi homo, et manus ejus dextra erat arida. 7 Observabant autem scribæ et pharisæi si in sabbato curaret, ut invenirent unde accusarent eum. 8 Ipse vero sciebat cogitationes eorum: et ait homini qui habebat manum aridam: Surge, et sta in medium. Et surgens stetit. 9 Ait autem ad illos Jesus: Interrogo vos si licet sabbatis benefacere, an male: animam salvam facere, an perdere? 10 Et circumspectis omnibus dixit homini: Extende manum tuam. Et extendit: et restituta est manus ejus. 11 Ipsi autem repleti sunt insipientia, et colloquebantur ad invicem, quidnam facerent Jesu.12 Factum est autem in illis diebus, exiit in montem orare, et erat pernoctans in oratione Dei. 13 Et cum dies factus esset, vocavit discipulos suos: et elegit duodecim ex ipsis (quos et apostolos nominavit): 14 Simonem, quem cognominavit Petrum, et Andream fratrem ejus, Jacobum, et Joannem, Philippum, et Bartholomæum, 15 Matthæum, et Thomam, Jacobum Alphæi, et Simonem, qui vocatur Zelotes, 16 et Judam Jacobi, et Judam Iscariotem, qui fuit proditor. 17 Et descendens cum illis, stetit in loco campestri, et turba discipulorum ejus, et multitudo copiosa plebis ab omni Judæa, et Jerusalem, et maritima, et Tyri, et Sidonis, 18 qui venerant ut audirent eum, et sanarentur a languoribus suis. Et qui vexabantur a spiritibus immundis, curabantur. 19 Et omnis turba quærebat eum tangere: quia virtus de illo exibat, et sanabat omnes.20 Et ipse elevatis oculis in discipulis suis, dicebat: Beati pauperes, quia vestrum est regnum Dei. 21 Beati qui nunc esuritis, quia saturabimini. Beati qui nunc fletis, quia ridebitis. 22 Beati eritis cum vos oderint homines, et cum separaverint vos, et exprobraverint, et ejicerint nomen vestrum tamquam malum propter Filium hominis. 23 Gaudete in illa die, et exsultate: ecce enim merces vestra multa est in cælo: secundum hæc enim faciebant prophetis patres eorum. 24 Verumtamen væ vobis divitibus, quia habetis consolationem vestram. 25 Væ vobis, qui saturati estis: quia esurietis. Væ vobis, qui ridetis nunc: quia lugebitis et flebitis. 26 Væ cum benedixerint vobis homines: secundum hæc enim faciebant pseudoprophetis patres eorum.

And it came to pass on the second first sabbath, that as he went through the corn fields, his disciples plucked the ears, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. [2] And some of the Pharisees said to them: Why do you that which is not lawful on the sabbath days? [3] And Jesus answering them, said: Have you not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was hungry, and they that were with him: [4] How he went into the house of God, and took and ate the bread of proposition, and gave to them that were with him, which is not lawful to eat but only for the priests? [5] And he said to them: The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.[6] And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And there was a man, whose right hand was withered. [7] And the scribes and Pharisees watched if he would heal on the sabbath; that they might find an accusation against him. [8] But he knew their thoughts; and said to the man who had the withered hand: Arise, and stand forth in the midst. And rising he stood forth. [9] Then Jesus said to them: I ask you, if it be lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy? [10] And looking round about on them all, he said to the man: Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth: and his hand was restored. [11] And they were filled with madness; and they talked one with another, what they might do to Jesus. [12] And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God. [13] And when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles). [14] Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, [15] Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes, [16] And Jude, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor. [17] And coming down with them, he stood in a plain place, and the company of his disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast both of Tyre and Sidon, [18] Who were come to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits, were cured. [19] And all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him, and healed all. [20] And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.[21] Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh. [22] Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man' s sake. [23] Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets. [24] But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation. [25] Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep.[26] Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets.

Commentary (de Lapide)

1....Figuratively, saysS. Ambrose, we may understand this Sabbath to mean the Gospel, which is second to the law in point of time, but first in dignity and importance.

He further adds, commenting on Ps. xlvii., the words “second Sabbath after the first” mean the Jewish Sabbath, for after the resurrection the Lord’s day took its place. From that time therefore it became second in dignity, yet at the same time it was rightly called first, because of its sanctity and the priority of its institution.

Figuratively, Christ taught and worked His chief miracles on the Sabbath not only to prefigure the spiritual Sabbath, when the mind, no longer taken up with evil lusts and passions, will be free to serve God alone, but because of the gathering together of the people, as they assemble now on the Lord’s-day.

There was also another reason, viz., to teach the Jews the true observance of the Sabbath, and that they might no longer be offended at the wonderful works which Christ wrought on that day, as were the Scribes, who accused Him of transgressing the law, and gave Him up to that death by means of which God effected the redemption of mankind. Bede...

Ver. 12.—He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God—communing with God in prayer, asking the Father that He might choose for the ministry men fitted to be apostles, and would obtain for them an abundance of spiritual grace to enable them to fulfil the duties of their office; and also that He might teach us to pray in like manner.

So the Church at Ember-tide enjoins her children to fast and to pray that fitting persons may be chosen for the work of the ministry, and that those admitted to any holy function may be filled with grace and heavenly benediction; for as with the priest so with the people. When a chief pastor is zealous and God-fearing, he is a blessing and a strength to his diocese, but if he be an evil liver or slothful, he becomes a stumbling-block and offence to believers. In like manner, also, a good priest makes a good parish, but an evil one is for a destruction to his people.

Figuratively, Christ teaches us to pray in the night season that we may be the better able in silence and solitude to collect our thoughts and lift our hearts unto God; that we may be preserved from terror by night and from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and also that by our prayers during the night we may obtain spiritual graces for the profit of our fellow-men during the ensuing day.

Hence Christ prayed by night and taught in the daytime. So did S. Paul, Acts xvi 25; and many other saints; 1 Tim. v. 5.

For the same reason David so often commends prayer during the night time:
“Ye that by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,” Ps. cxxxiv. 1, 2. 
“At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto Thee,” Ps. cxix. 62.
“In the night I commune with mine own heart,” Ps. lxxvii. 6.
“My tears have been my meat day and night,” Ps. xlii. 3.
See also Commentary on Deut. vi. 7.

Ver. 20.—Blessed are ye poor . . . in spirit (See S. Matt. V. 3), for poorness of spirit is a rich and precious virtue. Therefore S. Ambrose rightly concludes that poverty, privations, and sorrow, which the world counts evil, not only are no hindrances, but on the contrary have been declared by Him who could neither deceive nor be deceived, to be of great assistance towards the attainment of a holy and a happy life.

The same writer goes on to give the reason why S. Luke has reduced the number of the beatitudes to four. He was content that they should include the four cardinal virtues. Justice, which, coveting not the possessions of others, rejoices in holy poverty; temperance, which had rather suffer want than be full; prudence, which chooses to sorrow here, in hope of the joy which shall be revealed; and Fortitude, which for sake of Christ and His Gospel, endures persecution and so triumphs over every enemy. Hence we read that the poor, the temperate, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (S. Matthew), the just, those who weep, the prudent who despise earthly things and seek heavenly, those hated of their fellowmen, not because of any misdeeds but for the Gospel’s sake, who, steadfast in the faith, seek for future happiness by pleasing God rather than men—that these are indeed blessed.
Ver. 24.—But woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation. To the four beatitudes Christ, by antithesis, opposes as many states of misery and unhappiness.

The poor are blessed for all eternity, but the rich receive in this world their consolation; the hungry shall be satisfied with good things, but those that are full now shall be sent empty away. They who weep here shall hereafter rejoice, but for those who laugh now there is reserved a future of mourning; and those that are spoken well of by their fellow men, are laying up for themselves an eternity of woe.
For Ου̉̀αὶ, Latin væ, as S. Gregory points out (Hom. ix. on Ezekiel), oftentimes in Scripture denotes the wrath of God and everlasting punishment. Hence this word is here used by Christ partly as a lament over the future and eternal misery of the worldly, (S. Chrysostom, Hom. 44 ad pop.); partly as a prophecy of it (Titus); partly as threatening and decreeing such punishment against them (Tertullian, bk. iv. against Marcian).

You that are rich. As by poor we understand those poor in spirit who love poverty because thereby they are the better able to please God, so we may take the word rich to mean those who, greedy of gain, heap up riches by any means in their power, and look upon wealth as their sole happiness and the one object of their life. Hence mortal sin, robbery, extortion, unfair dealing, and other such like sins. Therefore the denunciation of Christ. But those who are rich by inheritance and honest labour, as long as they are not corrupted by their riches, but use them for the glory of God and the good of their fellow men, in reality are poor, as were the patriarchs, David, and many other of the saints of old.

For it is not the amount he possesses, but the use a man makes of his riches which is accounted sin. So “they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil.” See 1 Tim. vi. 9.
Ye have received your consolation. Ye set your heart on your riches, use them for your own evil gratification, and put them in the place of your God. Therefore ye are allowed the enjoyment of them in this life, but in the life which is to come ye will, as Christ has here declared, come short of everlasting happiness, for those who have in this world received their consolation will lose their eternal reward.
Hence S. Hieronymus (Epist. xxxiv.), when endeavouring to persuade Julian, a rich nobleman, to give up the world and devote himself to a holy and religious life, uses this powerful argument. “It is difficult, it not impossible,” he says, “to enjoy happiness in both worlds—to give ourselves up to our evil lusts and passions here, but to become spiritually minded after death—to pass from one state of happiness to the other—to acquire glory both in this world and in the next, . . . and to be distinguished equally in heaven and on earth. Hence Abraham returned none other answer to the rich man than this, ‘Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now be is comforted and thou art tormented.’” See chapter xvi. 25.

So also Christ is said to have offered S. Catherine of Siena two crowns, one set with jewels, the other begirt with thorns, bidding her choose which she would wear in this life, which in the life to come. She chose the thorny crown, and, regardless of the anguish, pressed it firmly on her head...

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