Friday, 1 August 2014

St Luke 8:1-21

St Luke chapter 8:

1 Et factum est deinceps, et ipse iter faciebat per civitates, et castella prædicans, et evangelizans regnum Dei: et duodecim cum illo, 2 et mulieres aliquæ, quæ erant curatæ a spiritibus malignis et infirmatibus: Maria, quæ vocatur Magdalene, de qua septem dæmonia exierant, 3 et Joanna uxor Chusæ procuratoris Herodis, et Susanna, et aliæ multæ, quæ ministrabant ei de facultatibus suis. 4 Cum autem turba plurima convenirent, et de civitatibus properarent ad eum, dixit per similitudinem: 5 Exiit qui seminat, seminare semen suum. Et dum seminat, aliud cecidit secus viam, et conculcatum est, et volucres cæli comederunt illud. 6 Et aliud cecidit supra petram: et natum aruit, quia non habebat humorem. 7 Et aliud cecidit inter spinas, et simul exortæ spinæ suffocaverunt illud. 8 Et aliud cecidit in terram bonam: et ortum fecit fructum centuplum. Hæc dicens clamabat: Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat.9 Interrogabant autem eum discipuli ejus, quæ esset hæc parabola. 10 Quibus ipse dixit: Vobis datum est nosse mysterium regni Dei, ceteris autem in parabolis: ut videntes non videant, et audientes non intelligant. 11 Est autem hæc parabola: Semen est verbum Dei. 12 Qui autem secus viam, hi sunt qui audiunt: deinde venit diabolus, et tollit verbum de corde eorum, ne credentes salvi fiant. 13 Nam qui supra petram, qui cum audierint, cum gaudio suscipiunt verbum: et hi radices non habent: qui ad tempus credunt, et in tempore tentationis recedunt. 14 Quod autem in spinas cecidit: hi sunt qui audierunt, et a sollicitudinibus, et divitiis, et voluptatibus vitæ euntes, suffocantur, et non referunt fructum. 15 Quod autem in bonam terram: hi sunt qui in corde bono et optimo audientes verbum retinent, et fructum afferunt in patientia.16 Nemo autem lucernam accendens, operit eam vase, aut subtus lectum ponit: sed supra candelabrum ponit, ut intrantes videant lumen. 17 Non est enim occultum, quod non manifestetur: nec absconditum, quod non cognoscatur, et in palam veniat. 18 Videte ergo quomodo audiatis? Qui enim habet, dabitur illi: et quicumque non habet, etiam quod putat se habere, auferetur ab illo.19 Venerunt autem ad illum mater et fratres ejus, et non poterant adire eum præ turba. 20 Et nuntiatum est illi: Mater tua et fratres tui stant foris, volentes te videre. 21 Qui respondens, dixit ad eos: Mater mea et fratres mei hi sunt, qui verbum Dei audiunt et faciunt.

And it came to pass afterwards, that he travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and evangelizing the kingdom of God; and the twelve with him: [2] And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities; Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth, [3] And Joanna the wife of Chusa, Herod' s steward, and Susanna, and many others who ministered unto him of their substance. [4] And when a very great multitude was gathered together, and hastened out of the cities unto him, he spoke by a similitude. [5] The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.[6] And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. [7] And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it. [8] And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. [9] And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. [10] To whom he said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand.[11] Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] And they by the way side are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. [13] Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, they fall away. [14] And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. [15] But that on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.[16] Now no man lighting a candle covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it upon a candlestick, that they who come in may see the light. [17] For there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come abroad. [18] Take heed therefore how you hear. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given: and whosoever hath not, that also which he thinketh he hath, shall be taken away from him. [19] And his mother and brethren came unto him; and they could not come at him for the crowd. [20] And it was told him: Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.[21] Who answering, said to them: My mother and my brethren are they who hear the word of God, and do it.

Commentary

You can find the readings set for verses 4-15 (from St Gregory the Great), the Gospel for Sexagesima Sunday here.

De Lapide:

Ver. 1.—And the twelve (apostles) were with Him, i.e. they accompanied Jesus as He went through the cities and villages preaching.

Ver. 2.—And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils. These women followed Christ (1.) out of gratitude, because He had healed their diseases, and cast out the devils which possessed them. (2.) For safety, lest if they were away from their physician, their former ills might again overtake them. (3.) From pious motives, that from His companionship and preaching they might advance in holiness.
Mary. In Hebrew, Mary signifies a “bitter sea” of repentance. Bede.

Called Magdalene. As we have before explained, from the castle or fort near Bethsaida and Capernaum.  S. Augustine infers that she was a married woman (Hom. 33), and therefore calls her not a harlot but an adulteress. But according to S. Jerome, the author of the commentary on S. Mark calls her a widow, which is much the same thing; so also Jansenius, Luke and others. That she was an inhabitant of Judæa, and like Lazarus and Martha lived at Bethany, is clear from S. John xii. 1. Adricomius, in his description of the Holy Land, tells us that the Magdalene’s home was situated on the shore of the sea of Galilee, and towards the north-east looks out on an extensive plain, and that it was called Magdala from the battlements and towers, wherewith it was fortified. Hence Jerome asserts that she was rightly called Magdalene, that is to say, “turreted” because of her zeal and love. Josephus makes mention of this castle, and tells us that Agrippa fruitlessly sent an expedition against it.

In the Hebrew then Magdalene signifies (1.) turreted, or tower-bearing, from the root מגרל migdol, a tower; for she was tall of stature, and of a yet loftier mind. “Thy neck is like the tower of David,” Cant.iv. 4. (2.)Or “magnificent” (Origen), or “magnified,” according to Pagninus, because, says Origen, she followed Jesus, ministered unto Him, and beheld the mystery of His Passion. For the root צרל gadal, means, “to be great and magnificent,” and the Magdalene was greatly exalted by Christ. (3.) 

Pagninus says that Magdalene means, “remarkable for the standard,” “bearing, or raising the standard,” from the root רצל deghol, which, when the letters ghimel and daleth are transposed, signifies a standard. For the Magdalene raised the standard of penitence and love, and of the contemplative life. Like as we read, “His banner over me was love,” Cant. ii. 4. (4). Or otherwise, as the same writer remarks, the name means, “brought up, nourished,” i.e. led by the teaching of Christ to a holy and a virtuous life. For the Hebrew ברל gadal means the same thing as to nourish and bring up.

Out of whom went seven devils, i.e. seven capital sins, pride, avarice, gluttony, luxury, anger, envy, and careless living. Bede, Theophylact and S. Gregory. For in a literal sense we are to understand that she had been possessed by devils or evil spirits, as I have before said, and that they had gone out of her, or (S. Mark xvi. 9) been cast out. So teach S. Ambrose, Euthymius, Jansenius, and others.

We may conclude, therefore, that the Magdalene, because of her wickedness and sins, had been possessed by seven devils, and that with other demoniacs she had been made whole by Christ; that on her repentance she had obtained pardon and forgiveness, and, no longer under the power of Satan, but filled with the spirit of God, she devoted her whole after life to the service of Christ. John of Rochester and others.

Seven devils, either seven in actual number, or “seven” in the sense of many, or all; for, as I have often pointed out, “seven” is the sign of multitude or totality.

Ver. 3.—And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward (manager or treasurer, according to the Arabic version) and Susanna and many others which ministered unto Him of their substance. For they were rich, and grateful to their deliverer, and therefore sought to further His preaching, and to spread the faith.

So SS. Plautilla, Priscilla, and many other rich and noble matrons ministered unto SS. Peter, Paul, Clement, and other Roman Pontiffs, and other orders of the clergy.

And Susanna, an illustrious woman who, healed by Christ, had become His disciple. Her name in the Hebrew signifies “a lily.” On, account of the sweet radiance of a heavenly life (Interlinear Gloss), and the golden fervour of her inward affection. Bede.

Ver. 15.—Which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it. The Council of Basle observes that for the right hearing of the word of God there is required,
1. A place fitted to receive it, i.e. an honest and good heart.
2. A proper disposition, to “keep” the word when heard; and
3. That best return, fruit brought forth with patience.

A heart is honest and good, says Lyranus, because of the faith which illumines it, and good (optimum) in a higher sense because of grace working in it; or, as others hold, it is “bonum” because disciplined and exercised in virtue, and “optimum” because of inward peace and consolation. Again, it is “bonum” because purified from sin, and “optimum” because conformed to the will of God (Albertus Magnus); or “bonum” in discerning the truth, and “optimum” in its desire of that which is right (Bonaventura); or, according to S. Augustine on Ps. vii., “bonum” on account of the love it bears its neighbour and itself, “optimum” on account of its exceeding love for God.

Hence we may take the Greek, καλη̃ καί α̉γαθη̃, to mean the same as the Vulgate “bono et optimo,” for the copula καί, or “et,” signifies gradation and increase. They, therefore, who keep the word of God in an honest and good heart bring forth fruit in proportion: good fruit if the heart is good, better if the heart is better, and the best fruit if the heart is perfect, i.e. thirty fold, sixty fold, or one hundred fold.  S. Matt. xiii. 8. And it does not follow of necessity, as Toletus holds, that these words apply to different persons, for the heart of a believer may grow in grace, until at last it is “optimum,” perfect in sight of God.

With patience, ὲν ύπομονη̃, i.e. in the endurance of labour, disappointment, and sorrow in the plowing, seeding, and harrowing of the soul, and in the long expectation of harvest.

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