Saturday, 9 August 2014

St Luke 10:25-37

Today the Good Samaritan:

25 Et ecce quidam legisperitus surrexit tentans illum, et dicens: Magister, quid faciendo vitam æternam possidebo? 26 At ille dixit ad eum: In lege quid scriptum est? quomodo legis? 27 Ille respondens dixit: Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua, et ex omnibus virtutibus tuis, et ex omni mente tua: et proximum tuum sicut teipsum. 28 Dixitque illi: Recte respondisti: hoc fac, et vives. 29 Ille autem volens justificare seipsum, dixit ad Jesum: Et quis est meus proximus? 30 Suscipiens autem Jesus, dixit: Homo quidam descendebat ab Jerusalem in Jericho, et incidit in latrones, qui etiam despoliaverunt eum: et plagis impositis abierunt semivivo relicto. 31 Accidit autem ut sacerdos quidam descenderet eadem via: et viso illo præterivit. 32 Similiter et Levita, cum esset secus locum, et videret eum, pertransiit. 33 Samaritanus autem quidam iter faciens, venit secus eum: et videns eum, misericordia motus est. 34 Et appropians alligavit vulnera ejus, infundens oleum et vinum: et imponens illum in jumentum suum, duxit in stabulum, et curam ejus egit. 35 Et altera die protulit duos denarios, et dedit stabulario, et ait: Curam illius habe: et quodcumque supererogaveris, ego cum rediero reddam tibi. 36 Quis horum trium videtur tibi proximus fuisse illi, qui incidit in latrones? 37 At ille dixit: Qui fecit misericordiam in illum. Et ait illi Jesus: Vade, et tu fac similiter.

[25] And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?[26] But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? [27] He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself. [28] And he said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. [29] But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour? [30] And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead.[31] And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. [32] In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. [33] But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. [34] And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. [35] And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee.[36] Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers? [37] But he said: He that shewed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner. 

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 29.—But he, willing to justify himself. To justify himself, i.e. to show himself to be more just than others. “Show me any one who comes nigh me in righteousness, who is as just and upright as I am. Such an one you will scarcely find.” So Titus, Euthymius, and Isidore of Pelusium, who think that the lawyer spoke with the pride and arrogance of a Pharisee.

“He thought,” says Isidore, “that the neighbour of a righteous man must be righteous, and the neighbour of an exalted man one of high degree. Show me some one so great as to be worthy to be compared with me.”

But the answer of Christ proved the contrary, as is clear from a consideration of the passage. For when this lawyer heard Christ commend the answer he had given, his purpose changed, and his aversion turned into love and reverence for the Lord. Hence he earnestly asked, Who is my neighbour? that by loving him he might fulfil the law.

Hence, “willing to justify himself,” means that he wished to show his love for that which was right, that he was anxious out of an awakened conscience to understand and learn the law of God, in order that he might fulfil its precepts. Toletus, Jansenius, and others.
And who is my neighbour? There was much questioning amongst the scribes concerning this, and much error. For because it is written, Lev. xix. 18, “Thou shalt love thy friend” (רע rea), they inferred the contrary, “thou shalt hate thy enemy,” i.e., the Gentile, every one not a Jew: an error which Christ corrected, S. Matt. v. 43.

Hence the scribes thought that the Jew alone, as a worshipper of the one true God, and, of the same religion and race, could be a friend, or a neighbour, and even of their countrymen only those who were faithful in their observance of the law, were to be loved or to be held in honour.

Well, therefore, might this lawyer ask, Who is my neighbour? I love all my countrymen who walk uprightly, and regard them as my neighbours, but are there others whom I ought to love? Christ answers that all men are our neighbours, because they partake of the same life, the same grace, the same salvation through Christ, the same sacraments, the same vocation and calling and are journeying with us to the same eternity of happiness.

Every man, therefore, is our “rea,” our friend and our fellow; or in the Greek πλησίος, near to us, from πελαζω or πλάω, I draw nigh, which is more forcibly rendered in Latin by “proximus,” because we are “proximi” next or nearest to each other in a direct sense by virtue of the life we live in common with them, and the blessings which we enjoy.

But by proximus Cicero and the Latins understood vicinissimus, i.e. neighbour in the strictest sense. Hence Isidore (lib. x. etymol.). We call him the nearest to us, who is next of kin; and Cicero (lib. II De legibus), “Whatever is best, that we must look upon as next or nigh unto God.” But now all men are our neighbours by creation, and by their redemption and calling in Christ.

Figuratively. The word “neighbour” is suggestive of the tenderest affection and love, such as that of brother for brother, or of a son for his father, for no one comes between them, inasmuch as there is no higher relationship; yet there are degrees of this love, for we must love our father more than our brother, and our brother more than any more distant relation, for amongst our nearest of kin one is nearer to us than another, and therefore more to be loved...

Ver. 37.—And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Hereby we understand, says S. Augustine, “that he is our neighbour to whomsoever we must show compassion, if he need it, and would have shown it if he had needed it.” Hence it follows that even he who must in turn show us this duty is our neighbour. For the name of neighbour relates to something else, nor can any one be a neighbour except to a neighbour.

Hence it is clear that to no one, not even to our enemy, is mercy to be denied. And S. Augustine very appositely adds, “What more remote than God from men? For God possesses two perfections, righteousness and immortality. But man two evils, sin and death. God was made man, and so like unto us, yet not like us, for He was without sin, and by bearing the punishment, but not the guilt of sin, He abolished both the guilt and the punishment.”

Isidore of Pelusium assigns the cause. Relationship is reckoned according to nature, not virtue; in essence, not by worth; by compassion, not by place; by the manner of treatment, not by neighbourhood. For we must account him as a neighbour who is most in need of our aid, and be willing at once to render him help.

Friday, 8 August 2014

St Luke 10:1-24

1 Post hæc autem designavit Dominus et alios septuaginta duos: et misit illos binos ante faciem suam in omnem civitatem et locum, quo erat ipse venturus. 2 Et dicebat illis: Messis quidem multa, operarii autem pauci. Rogate ergo dominum messis ut mittat operarios in messem suam. 3 Ite: ecce ego mitto vos sicut agnos inter lupos. 4 Nolite portare sacculum, neque peram, neque calceamenta, et neminem per viam salutaveritis. 5 In quamcumque domum intraveritis, primum dicite: Pax huic domui: 6 et si ibi fuerit filius pacis, requiescet super illum pax vestra: sin autem, ad vos revertetur. 7 In eadem autem domo manete, edentes et bibentes quæ apud illos sunt: dignus est enim operarius mercede sua. Nolite transire de domo in domum. 8 Et in quamcumque civitatem intraveritis, et susceperint vos, manducate quæ apponuntur vobis: 9 et curate infirmos, qui in illa sunt, et dicite illis: Appropinquavit in vos regnum Dei. 10 In quamcumque autem civitatem intraveritis, et non susceperint vos, exeuntes in plateas ejus, dicite: 11 Etiam pulverem, qui adhæsit nobis de civitate vestra, extergimus in vos: tamen hoc scitote, quia appropinquavit regnum Dei. 12 Dico vobis, quia Sodomis in die illa remissius erit, quam illi civitati. 13 Væ tibi Corozain! væ tibi Bethsaida! quia si in Tyro et Sidone factæ fuissent virtutes quæ factæ sunt in vobis, olim in cilicio et cinere sedentes pœniterent. 14 Verumtamen Tyro et Sidoni remissius erit in judicio, quam vobis. 15 Et tu Capharnaum, usque ad cælum exaltata, usque ad infernum demergeris. 16 Qui vos audit, me audit: et qui vos spernit, me spernit. Qui autem me spernit, spernit eum qui misit me.17 Reversi sunt autem septuaginta duo cum gaudio, dicentes: Domine, etiam dæmonia subjiciuntur nobis in nomine tuo. 18 Et ait illis: Videbam Satanam sicut fulgor de cælo cadentem. 19 Ecce dedi vobis potestatem calcandi supra serpentes, et scorpiones, et super omnem virtutem inimici: et nihil vobis nocebit. 20 Verumtamen in hoc nolite gaudere quia spiritus vobis subjiciuntur: gaudete autem, quod nomina vestra scripta sunt in cælis. 21 In ipsa hora exsultavit Spiritu Sancto, et dixit: Confiteor tibi Pater, Domine cæli et terræ, quod abscondisti hæc a sapientibus et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis. Etiam Pater: quoniam sic placuit ante te. 22 Omnia mihi tradita sunt a Patre meo. Et nemo scit quis sit Filius, nisi Pater: et quis sit Pater, nisi Filius, et cui voluerit Filius revelare. 23 Et conversus ad discipulos suos, dixit: Beati oculi qui vident quæ vos videtis. 24 Dico enim vobis quod multi prophetæ et reges voluerunt videre quæ vos videtis, et non viderunt: et audire quæ auditis, et non audierunt.

And after these things the Lord appointed also other seventy-two: and he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come. [2] And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send labourers into his harvest. [3] Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. [4] Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way. [5] Into whatsoever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house. [6] And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. [7] And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. [8] And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. [9] And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. [10] But into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you not, going forth into the streets thereof, say: [11] Even the very dust of your city that cleaveth to us, we wipe off against you. Yet know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand. [12] I say to you, it shall be more tolerable at that day for Sodom, than for that city. [13] Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida. For if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the mighty works that have been wrought in you, they would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement, than for you. [15] And thou, Capharnaum, which art exalted unto heaven, thou shalt be thrust down to hell. [16] He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. [17] And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying: Lord, the devils also are subject to us in thy name. [18] And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven. [19] Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall hurt you. [20] But yet rejoice not in this, that spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven. [21] In that same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Ghost, and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight. [22] All things are delivered to me by my Father; and no one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and to whom the Son will reveal him. [23] And turning to his disciples, he said: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. [24] For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.

Commentary (de Lapide)

...Here observe,

1. That as Moses at the beginning of his leadership chose elders or princes for the twelve tribes of Israel and afterwards, by reason of the increase of the people and of the cares of government, made a further choice of six from each tribe, i.e. of seventy-two, to act as rulers: so Christ ordained that each tribe, should have its Apostle, and six presbyters or elders, for such were these disciples, who were commanded to go throughout all Judæa, preaching that the kingdom of God and of Christ was nigh, and confirming their preaching by miracles, that so the work of the Apostles might be furthered and spread.
This number was mystically prefigured by the seventy-two translators of the Septuagint; by the “men of the elders of the people” whom Moses chose (Numbers xi. 16); by the number of the Sanhedrin, and by the wells and palm trees of Elim, Exod. xv. 27.

Again, the seventy-two disciples, saith Bede, answer to the seventy-two nations of the world, as if Christ had appointed to each nation its own disciple or teacher. For S. Augustine, S. Jerome, and others hold that after the confusion of tongues, mankind was divided into seventy-two nations and languages. See Gen. x. 32.

3. Hence, it is clear that there was distinction and difference in the degrees and duties of the priests. For these disciples were not equal in dignity to the Apostles; indeed Matthias, who was, according to Clement of Alexandria, one of their number, was chosen from them to the Apostolate, Acts i. Hence the Fathers teach that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, and the priests of the seventy disciples. Although, in the early days of the Church, saith Bede, both the one and the other were called Presbyters or Bishops, in the one case to signify the ripeness of their wisdom, in the other case their zeal in the pastoral office.

Symbolically. As in twenty-four hours the whole world moves round the sun and receives light, so is the world enlightened by Christ through the Gospel of the Trinity, which was preached at His command by the seventy-two -disciples. For three times twenty-four makes seventy-two. S. Augustine (Quæst. Evang.)

And sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come, i.e. into Judæa, as He had before sent the twelve Apostles into Galilee. Jesus wished to make Himself known to the Jews as the Messiah, and to offer them salvation through faith in Him. Therefore as He was Himself unable to go throughout their towns and cities, because the time of His departure was now nigh at hand, He chose the seventy to go before Him and heal the sick, that the minds of His countrymen might be prepared to acknowledge Him as the Christ, and to receive at His hands pardon and forgiveness. But He kept the twelve Apostles with Him to witness to His life, and that they might also assist Him in ministering to the necessities of those who waited on His teaching, and learn how in their turn they should labour for the conversion of the world.

Two by two. For these reasons:

1. That the one might aid and support the other, as Origen, Theophylact and S. Gregory say, and that if one were weary or from any cause unable to carry on the work, the other might take his place. “Two are better than one. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth.” Eccles. iv. 9, 10.

Wherefore Pachonius rules: If the Superior permit, let him take a trustworthy companion and then go forth to visit a brother or a neighbour. And again, Let no one be sent on any business unless another go with him. S. Augustine writes, When ye are journeying, walk together—when at your journey’s end, together rest. And so rule all the other founders of the religious orders.

2. That one may always have in the other a witness to his life, and an adviser and guide. Experience teaches us that they who are associated together two by two, rarely or never are tempted to sins of impurity, but that those who are alone lay themselves open to accusations of evil, even if they have not actually fallen away. Hence S. Thomas was wont to say, A monk away from his brethren is an active evil. S. Augustine rules (Reg. cap. xii.), When ye are in a church, or wheresoever there are women, let each protect the other’s modesty. For thus God, who dwelleth in you, will protect you from yourselves. Another writer, S. Jerome, enjoins: If in the exercise of the priestly office, thou art called upon to visit a widow or a virgin, enter not the house alone; and again, Abide not alone with any woman, unless in the presence of a witness. So also S. Basil. Possidonius also tells us that if S. Augustine was asked by any women to visit them, he never entered their house or conversed with them, even on private matters, unless in the presence of some of his clergy. And so S. Charles Borromeo in our times adopted the rule of S. Augustine, for he never conversed with any of his female relations except one of his upper servants was present. (Vita. Lib. vii. cap. vi). And Seneca even (Epist. 25), says, “Solitude tempts us to every evil;” and as a corrective adds, “Without doubt, it is profitable to place a guard over thyself, so as to have some one to look to, some one to be acquainted with the very thoughts;” and adds, from Epicurus, “Do everything as if there was some one beholding thy actions;” and again (Epist. ii.), “Most sins would be avoided, if a man had a witness beside him when he was about to sin.” The Emperor Justinian also (De Monachis), decrees that monks should go about in company, “to bear witness to each other’s integrity.” And Pope Lucian (Epist. i. ad Episc.) decrees, “We exhort you, for reputation’s sake, that according to the rule of our holy Church ye always take with you priests and deacons as witnesses of your life and conversation; for although ye may have a conscience void of offence, yet because of evilly disposed men, it behoveth you, as the Apostle saith, to have a good report amongst them that are without. 1 Tim. iii. 7. Hence we have ordained that, as a testimony to the Church, two priests or three deacons should always and in all places accompany their Bishop.”

Lastly, we have the authority of S. Thomas of Canterbury, a man of great sanctity and wisdom, who says, “I who have been for thirty years a Bishop know how true is the saying, ‘Woe to him that is alone.’ For I have frequently heard of fearful dangers, and fearful scandals having befallen those who either in public or private affect a solitary life, evils into which they would not have fallen had they not shunned the companionship of their fellow men.”

3. That their preaching might be more powerful to persuade. At the mouth of two or of three witnesses shall the matter be established, Deut. xix. 15. So we find Christ and His apostles constantly acting on this rule. For Christ sent two of His disciples, Peter and John, to loose the ass and to prepare the passover. After the resurrection Cleophas and a companion went to Emmaus. In like manner we find Peter and John often associated together: they run both to the sepulchre, they go up together to pray at the ninth hour, and both are sent to Samaria by the apostles.

So Paul and Barnabas were separated for the work of the Holy Spirit; Silas and Judas, surnamed Barsabas, sent to Antioch; and Paul and Silas to Syria; and according to the universal belief of the Church, Enoch and Elias will re-appear in the time of Antichrist as witnesses to the truth.
Figuratively. S. Gregory (hom. 17. in Evang.) says, The Lord sent His disciples two by two to preach, because the precepts of charity are two, the love of God and the love of our neighbour, and charity cannot exist without at least two, and thereby he silently suggests to us that he who has not love to another ought not to undertake the office of preaching.

So Origen. It seems from the word of God to be an ancient custom, that two should be associated in His service. For God led Israel out of Egypt by the hands of Moses and Aaron. Joshua and Caleb also united together to appease the people. Hence a brother aided by a brother is as a fortified city. So two by two the animals entered into the ark, unclean by natural generation, but cleansed by the sacrament of the Church, by the spiritual grace attendant on the preaching of the disciples. Gloss.

Into every city and place, whither He Himself would come. Mystically signifying, as S. Gregory says, that the Lord Himself attends on His preachers. For the words of the preacher persuade men of the truth, and make their hearts ready to be the abiding place of Christ. Hence Isaiah, chap. xl. 3, says, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight a highway for our God.” And the Psalmist, “Make a way for Him who ascendeth upon the west, the Lord is His name.” Ps. lxvii. 5, Douay version...

Thursday, 7 August 2014

St Luke 9:37-62

The final section of St Luke chapter 9:

37 Factum est autem in sequenti die, descendentibus illis de monte, occurrit illis turba multa. 38 Et ecce vir de turba exclamavit, dicens: Magister, obsecro te, respice in filium meum quia unicus est mihi: 39 et ecce spiritus apprehendit eum, et subito clamat, et elidit, et dissipat eum cum spuma, et vix discedit dilanians eum: 40 et rogavi discipulos tuos ut ejicerent illum, et non potuerunt. 41 Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: O generatio infidelis, et perversa, usquequo ero apud vos, et patiar vos? adduc huc filium tuum. 42 Et cum accederet, elisit illum dæmonium, et dissipavit. 43 Et increpavit Jesus spiritum immundum, et sanavit puerum, et reddidit illum patri ejus. 44 Stupebant autem omnes in magnitudine Dei: omnibusque mirantibus in omnibus quæ faciebat, dixit ad discipulos suos: Ponite vos in cordibus vestris sermones istos: Filius enim hominis futurum est ut tradatur in manus hominum. 45 At illi ignorabant verbum istud, et erat velatum ante eos ut non sentirent illud: et timebant eum interrogare de hoc verbo.46 Intravit autem cogitatio in eos quis eorum major esset. 47 At Jesus videns cogitationes cordis illorum, apprehendit puerum, et statuit illum secus se, 48 et ait illis: Quicumque susceperit puerum istum in nomine meo, me recipit: et quicumque me receperit, recipit eum qui me misit. Nam qui minor est inter vos omnes, hic major est. 49 Respondens autem Joannes dixit: Præceptor, vidimus quemdam in nomine tuo ejicientem dæmonia, et prohibuimus eum: quia non sequitur nobiscum. 50 Et ait ad illum Jesus: Nolite prohibere: qui enim non est adversum vos, pro vobis est.51 Factum est autem dum complerentur dies assumptionis ejus, et ipse faciem suam firmavit ut iret in Jerusalem. 52 Et misit nuntios ante conspectum suum: et euntes intraverunt in civitatem Samaritanorum ut parerent illi. 53 Et non receperunt eum, quia facies ejus erat euntis in Jerusalem. 54 Cum vidissent autem discipuli ejus Jacobus et Joannes, dixerunt: Domine, vis dicimus ut ignis descendat de cælo, et consumat illos? 55 Et conversus increpavit illos, dicens: Nescitis cujus spiritus estis. 56 Filius hominis non venit animas perdere, sed salvare. Et abierunt in aliud castellum.57 Factum est autem: ambulantibus illis in via, dixit quidam ad illum: Sequar te quocumque ieris. 58 Dixit illi Jesus: Vulpes foveas habent, et volucres cæli nidos: Filius autem hominis non habet ubi caput reclinet. 59 Ait autem ad alterum: Sequere me: ille autem dixit: Domine, permitte mihi primum ire, et sepelire patrem meum. 60 Dixitque ei Jesus: Sine ut mortui sepeliant mortuos suos: tu autem vade, et annuntia regnum Dei. 61 Et ait alter: Sequar te Domine, sed permitte mihi primum renuntiare his quæ domi sunt. 62 Ait ad illum Jesus: Nemo mittens manum suam ad aratrum, et respiciens retro, aptus est regno Dei.

[37] And it came to pass the day following, when they came down from the mountain, there met him a great multitude. [38] And behold a man among the crowd cried out, saying: Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son, because he is my only one. [39] And lo, a spirit seizeth him, and he suddenly crieth out, and he throweth him down and teareth him, so that he foameth; and bruising him, he hardly departeth from him. [40] And I desired thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. [41] And Jesus answering, said: O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring hither thy son. [42] And as he was coming to him, the devil threw him down, and tore him. [43] And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and cured the boy, and restored him to his father. [44] And all were astonished at the mighty power of God. But while all wondered at all the things he did, he said to his disciples: Lay you up in your hearts these words, for it shall come to pass, that the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. [45] But they understood not this word; and it was hid from them, so that they perceived it not. And they were afraid to ask him concerning this word. [46] And there entered a thought into them, which of them should be greater. [47] But Jesus seeing the thoughts of their heart, took a child and set him by him, [48] And said to them: Whosoever shall receive this child in my name, receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth him that sent me. For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater. [49] And John, answering, said: Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. [50] And Jesus said to him: Forbid him not; for he that is not against you, is for you. [51] And it came to pass, when the days of his assumption were accomplishing, that he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. [52] And he sent messengers before his face; and going, they entered into a city of the Samaritans, to prepare for him. [53] And they received him not, because his face was of one going to Jerusalem. [54] And when his disciples James and John had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them? [55] And turning, he rebuked them, saying: You know not of what spirit you are. [56] The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save. And they went into another town. [57] And it came to pass, as they walked in the way, that a certain man said to him: I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. [58] Jesus said to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. [59] But he said to another: Follow me. And he said: Lord, suffer me first to go, and to bury my father. [60] And Jesus said to him: Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou, and preach the kingdom of God. [61] And another said: I will follow thee, Lord; but let me first take my leave of them that are at my house. [62] Jesus said to him: No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 49.—And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting, out devils in Thy name; and we forbad him, because he followed not with us, i.e. because he was not Thy disciple. For he thought that only the Apostles, to whom that power was given, were permitted to do this. Cyril and S. Ambrose remark, “He thinks that he who does not render obedience, should not enjoy the benefit arising therefrom.” S. John asks the question, because from his love he was the more zealous for his Master’s honour.

Ver. 50.—And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us. They were taught that no one was to be hindered from the exercise of such powers of doing good as he possessed, but rather to be encouraged to seek to increase them. Gloss. God rewards the strong, but does not reject the weak.  S. Ambrose. For, saith Theophylact, the grace of God operates even by means of the unworthy who are not disciples of Christ: like as men are made holy by priests who are not holy themselves. Hence Bede remarks, In the case of heretics, it is not their sacraments which they hold in common with us, but their divisions, so contrary to the truth and peace, which we ought to detest and strive to amend. See S. Mark ix. 37.

Ver. 51.—And it came to pass when the time was come (i.e. was drawing nigh) that He should be received up. The time when, after having fulfilled His earthly ministry, He was to return again to the Father. The day foreordained of God when He was to be taken up into heaven. Euthymius. Up to this time Christ had, for two years and a half, been preaching the Gospel everywhere, but chiefly in the towns and villages of Galilee. There yet remained to Him six months of life. He therefore now set forth to preach more particularly to the inhabitants of the holy city and Judæa, in order to prepare for His passion in Jerusalem and resurrection from the dead. S. Luke therefore implies that hitherto he had written of those things which Christ had done in Galilee, but was henceforward about to tell of what was done in Judæa.

He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. With a firm and undismayed mind. Bede. Christ turned not aside, as timid and hesitating people are wont to do, but went direct to Jerusalem, eager for the dread encounter. Titus, Theophylact, and others. “For,” says Jerome, “He who of His own will was hastening to His passion, needed both fortitude and firmness.”

Thus it behoves us also to nerve our hearts, after the example of the martyrs, to endure hardship, like the lions described by Pliny, who tells us that, “when a lioness fights for her young, she keeps her eyes fixed on the ground, that she may not be terrified by the sight of the hunters.”

S. Mark adds, x. 32, “and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed;” because they saw Him cheerfully and with a good courage going up to suffer and to die, and “as they followed, they were afraid” lest they might be called upon to die with Him.

It seems clear, as I have said in my chronological table, that this journey of Christ from Galilee to Judæa, is the same as that mentioned by S. Matt. xix. i; by S. Mark x. 32; and S. Jolin vii. 2 and 14.
From the latter Evangelist it is apparent that the journey was undertaken at the time of the feast of tabernacles, which falls in the September of our year, and since Christ suffered in the following March, it follows that the events here recorded happened about six months before the crucifixion. It is also evident, from what is recorded by S. Luke in the subsequent chapters, that during this period Christ often went to Jerusalem, and returned thence through Judæa, preaching and working miracles, as He had before done in Galilee; but we must bear in mind that S. Luke at times interrupts his narrative to recapitulate certain things which had happened before our Lord had come to Judæa. Jansenius, Francis Lucas, and others.

On the other hand, Maldonatus places this journey a year before the death of our Lord, and is of opinion that Christ returned again to Galilee, and only went up to Jerusalem to suffer and to die. But this explanation does not agree with the words of the fifty-first verse, “when the time was come that He should be received up”—words which would not have been written if the time had been a year distant.

Ver. 52.—And sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him, to prepare food and lodging for Him and His companions, the twelve Apostles and the holy women who had followed Him out of Galilee. See chap. viii. 2, xxiii. 49.
Christ sent them in order that they might become accustomed to act independently of Him, and to be despised of men. Theophylact, Euthymius, and Maldonatus are of opinion that these messengers were James and John. Maldonatus also thinks that by the Greek κώμην, we are to understand city, possibly Samaria itself; but other commentators agree that the disciples were sent to some small town or village of the Samaritans which lay on the road to Jerusalem.

Ver. 53.—And they (the Samaritans) did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem. Because He appeared to be going up to Jerusalem (Syriac), for it was plain, from the bearing of Jesus and His messengers, that they were on their way to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, S. John vii. 2. The Samaritans, contrary to the Law, had erected a temple on Mount Gerizim for the worship of God, and therefore there was on this account a constant enmity between the Jews and them. S. John iv, 20, and Josephus. Hence they rejected Jesus, as despising their form of worship and favouring that of their enemies, the Jews.

“His face was as though,” a Hebraism for םיככּ, i.e. πζόσωπον, or face, is often used for the person himself.

Ver. 54.—And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? They show themselves to be indeed Boanerges, or sons of thunder, for with excess of zeal they would destroy these Samaritans, because of their inhospitality and refusal to receive Christ. They remembered how Elijah had destroyed those who had been sent by Ahaziah to apprehend him (2 Kings i. 10), and they knew that Jesus was mightier than that prophet; and if fire was sent from heaven to protect Elijah from harm, and to consume the Jews, who had come to take him, how much more deserving of punishment were these Samaritans, who had refused to receive the Son of God.

Wilt Thou that we command? For as S. Jerorne goes on to say (Epist. 151), “The command of the Apostles can effect nothing, unless by the permission and will of God.” They therefore seek from Christ, as from a judge, justice, and the punishment of the wicked, according to their deserts.

Ver. 55.—But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. By spirit we must understand “disposition of mind,” whether for virtue or vice. Ye know not what spirit worketh in you. Ye think ye are led by the spirit of God, when ye are prompted by impatience and the spirit of vengeance. Ye know not to what spirit ye are called. Ye know not that ye should be meek and lowly, as I your Lord and Master am. Ye would imitate the zeal of Elijah, and demand “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” Exod. xxi. 24. But this is not my spirit, nor is it the teaching of the new and Gospel Law, for I say unto you “Love your enemies, and do good unto those that hate you.”  S. Matt. v. 44. Have ye not heard and learned this from Me, or are ye so soon forgetful of my doctrine and teaching? He who had come, not for judgment but to show mercy, not in power but in humility, not in the glory of His Father but in lowly fashion as a man, rebuked them because they were forgetful both of His teaching and of the merciful precepts of His Gospel.  S. Jerome.

Ver. 56.—For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. Act, therefore, saith Bede, according, to the spirit ye are of. Following the example of Christ, bear patiently as becometh saints. Titus.

And they went to another village, where they might meet with a better reception. By this He teaches His Apostles that hereafter, when they went throughout the world to preach the Gospel, if they were cast out of one city, they were patiently to go on to another. Hence He allowed Himself to be rejected by the Samaritans, that by His rebuke of James and John, He might teach the Apostles a life-long lesson. For, as saith S. Ambrose, mercy promoteth in thee patience, in the offender correction. Thus we find that these Samaritans who were spared punishment the sooner became believers. S. John iv.; Acts viii.
Perfect virtue desireth not vengeance, nor can anger exist where love aboundeth. The infirmities of our fellow men are to be borne with and remedied, not to be rejected as incapable of cure. Titus.
Ver. 61.—And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. This verse has been variously explained.

1. Suffer me to give notice to my parents and to consult with them; for he was doubtful what he should do. But Christ would not grant his request, because parents very often do not approve of the higher life, and sometimes dissuade their children from adopting it. Titus.

2. Suffer me to tell my parents of my intention, that knowing what is become of me, they may neither be anxious about me, nor come to seek me. S. Augustin (serm. vii. De verbis Domini) and, Toletus.

3. S. Basil (Constit. cap. xxi.) thinks that the man, like the one who preceded him, was a disciple, and that he only sought permission to say farewell to his friends, as about to return to them no more. The Syriac favours this interpretation, and translates, “Let me go to salute, i.e. to bid farewell to my family at home, and I will come again.”

4. The best rendering is that of the Vulgate, which for “them” substitutes “those things.” Let me go bid “those things” farewell. Give me time to dispose of my property at home, and divide it amongst my brethren and kinsmen; for this is the trite meaning of the Greek word ὰποτάξασθαι. Hence the Arabic has, “Suffer me to make division amongst my friends at home.” So also S. Augustin, Maldonatus, and others.

Ver. 62.—And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God, or, to carry on the metaphor, is fit to work in the vineyard of God. For as the ploughman who seeks to make his furrows straight ought to look forward and never back, so he who has determined to consecrate himself to God’s service, is unworthy to be Christ’s disciple and to be an heir of the heavenly kingdom, if he still has regard for the perishable possessions of this world which he has renounced and given up; and so Euthymius says, “He who follows Christ ought forthwith to give up all things, lest by averting his eyes from his leader and guide, he might again be entangled by the sight of those things which he has left.” So also Titus, Jansenius, Toletus, and others.

Christ in this very remarkable verse points out the way of perfection, and endeavours to withdraw the man from his own anxiety for his friends and possessions, in order that he might give himself up wholly to God. Especially as there was danger lest, delayed in the disposal of his property, or impressed with the value of his possessions, he might change his purpose, and like many others, lose the hope of his calling. And again, there was no need of his presence, for his brethren and kinsfolk could divide his property without him.

Thus James and John, when they were called, left their father and their nets, and straightway followed Christ, S. Matt. iv. 20. But on the other hand Elisha (1 Kings xix. 20) was permitted to bid farewell to his father and mother, apparently because there was in his case little danger of his being forgetful of his call. Hence S. Basil saith (serm. 1 De Baptism): He looks back who delays, however briefly, that obedience which is to be rendered at once and promptly to the call of God.

Hence of the cherubim we read (Ezek. i. 12), “They went every one straight forward: they turned not when they went.” Whereon S. Gregory says the winged creatures, i.e. holy preachers, turn not as they go, because they are passing through earthly things to heavenly; and therefore no more return to these things which they have left behind. For to seek in heart and mind after better things is, as it were, to advance or go along a certain road. Hence S, Paul, Phil. iii. 13, 14: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” And to the bride it is said, “Forget thine own people and thy father’s house,” Ps. xlv. 10.

Hence also S. Augustine (serm. 7 De verbis Domini) says, “The east calleth thee, and thou turnest to the west.”

Figuratively, says Bede, he putteth his hand to the plough, who by the Cross of Christ, as if by an instrument of remorse, wears away the hardness of his heart, and opens it to bear the fruit of good works. But he must not look back like Lot’s wife to the things which he has left, and if the follower of the Lord, who wishes to bid farewell to them which are at home, is worthy of reproach, what will become of them, who for no sufficient reason visit the houses of those whom they have left in the world? For the frequent looking back on the things which we have forsaken, by force of habit draws us again to our past way of life. For practice, by which habits are formed, is very powerful; and habits become a second nature, which it is difficult to do away with or change. For it rapidly returns to itself...


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Feast of the Transfiguration

The Gospel for the feast is St Matthew's account of the Transfiguration, 17:1-9.

However, as we are up to St Luke's account of the event, here that is first:

St Luke 9:28-36

28 Factum est autem post hæc verba fere dies octo, et assumpsit Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem, et ascendit in montem ut oraret. 29 Et facta est, dum oraret, species vultus ejus altera: et vestitus ejus albus et refulgens. 30 Et ecce duo viri loquebantur cum illo. Erant autem Moyses et Elias, 31 visi in majestate: et dicebant excessum ejus, quem completurus erat in Jerusalem. 32 Petrus vero, et qui cum illo erant, gravati erant somno. Et evigilantes viderunt majestatem ejus, et duos viros qui stabant cum illo. 33 Et factum est cum discederent ab illo, ait Petrus ad Jesum: Præceptor, bonum est nos hic esse: et faciamus tria tabernacula, unum tibi, et unum Moysi, et unum Eliæ: nesciens quid diceret. 34 Hæc autem illo loquente, facta est nubes, et obumbravit eos: et timuerunt, intrantibus illis in nubem. 35 Et vox facta est de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus dilectus, ipsum audite. 36 Et dum fieret vox, inventus est Jesus solus. Et ipsi tacuerunt, et nemini dixerunt in illis diebus quidquam ex his quæ viderant.

[28] And it came to pass about eight days after these words, that he took Peter, and James, and John, and went up into a mountain to pray. [29] And whilst he prayed, the shape of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became white and glittering. [30] And behold two men were talking with him. And they were Moses and Elias, [31] Appearing in majesty. And they spoke of his decease that he should accomplish in Jerusalem. [32] But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. And waking, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. [33] And it came to pass, that as they were departing from him, Peter saith to Jesus: Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias; not knowing what he said. [34] And as he spoke these things, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them; and they were afraid, when they entered into the cloud. [35] And a voice came out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son; hear him. [36] And whilst the voice was uttered, Jesus was found alone. And they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of these things which they had seen.

Here is St Matthew's for reference purposes:

1 Et post dies sex assumit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et ducit illos in montem excelsum seorsum: 2 et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies ejus sicut sol: vestimenta autem ejus facta sunt alba sicut nix. 3 Et ecce apparuerunt illis Moyses et Elias cum eo loquentes. 4 Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ad Jesum: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse: si vis, faciamus tria tabernacula, tibi unum, Moysi unum, et Eliæ unum. 5 Adhuc eo loquente, ecce nubes lucida obumbravit eos. Et ecce vox de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui: ipsum audite. 6 Et audientes discipuli ceciderunt in faciem suam, et timuerunt valde. 7 Et accessit Jesus, et tetigit eos: dixitque eis: Surgite, et nolite timere. 8 Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.9 Et descendentibus illis de monte, præcepit eis Jesus, dicens: Nemini dixeritis visionem, donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat.

And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. [6] And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. [8] And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

Matins readings (from St John Chrysostom)

Reading 9: Since the Lord had spoken much concerning dangers, much concerning His Own sufferings, much concerning death, and the killing of His disciples, and had laid upon them many hard and grievous things, and since all these were in this present life, and already hanging over them, whereas the good things were matter for hope and waiting as, for example, that whosoever should lose his life for His sake should find it, for that the Son of Man should come in the glory of His Father, and reward every man according to his works. Matth. xvi. 25, 27. Therefore, to assure them by their own eyes, and show them what the glory is wherein He will come, He manifested and unveiled it to them, as far as in this life they were able to grasp it, lest they and especially Peter should grieve over their own deaths, or the death of their Lord.

Reading 10: Behold what He doth, when He treateth of heaven and hell. Where He saith Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. And again He shall reward every man according to his works in these words He pointeth at heaven and hell. 

Reading 11: But although He speaketh concerning both, He giveth a glimpse of heaven only and not of hell. To see hell would have profited the brutish and stupid, but His disciples were upright and clear-sighted, and therefore for them it was enough to be strengthened by the better things. This was what suited Him the best. Yet He left not the other altogether undone. Sometimes He set the horrors of hell, as it were, before the eyes, as for instance in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, and that of him who was fain to wring the hundred pence from his fellow-servant.

Reading 12: But mark well Matthew's good will, in not concealing the names of those who were preferred. John also likewise often recordeth the special praises of Peter with great truthfulness and care. For in this companionship of the Apostles, there was no envy, nor did vainglory find place. It was therefore the leaders of the Apostles whom Christ took apart from the others. And wherefore did he take these only? Because there were evidently superior to the rest. And why did he not do this straightway, and not until after six days? Evidently to spare the natural feelings of the other disciples; and for the same reason Christ did not for six days announce who were to go up.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

St Luke 9:18-27

St Luke chapter 9 continued:

18 Et factum est cum solus esset orans, erant cum illo et discipuli: et interrogavit illos, dicens: Quem me dicunt esse turbæ? 19 At illi responderunt, et dixerunt: Joannem Baptistam, alii autem Eliam, alii vero quia unus propheta de prioribus surrexit. 20 Dixit autem illis: Vos autem quem me esse dicitis? Respondens Simon Petrus, dixit: Christum Dei. 21 At ille increpans illos, præcepit ne cui dicerent hoc, 22 dicens: Quia oportet Filium hominis multa pati, et reprobari a senioribus, et principibus sacerdotum, et scribis, et occidi, et tertia die resurgere. 23 Dicebat autem ad omnes: Si quis vult post me venire, abneget semetipsum, et tollat crucem suam quotidie, et sequatur me. 24 Qui enim voluerit animam suam salvam facere, perdet illam: nam qui perdiderit animam suam propter me, salvam faciet illam. 25 Quid enim proficit homo, si lucretur universum mundum, se autem ipsum perdat, et detrimentum sui faciat? 26 Nam qui me erubuerit, et meos sermones: hunc Filius hominis erubescet cum venerit in majestate sua, et Patris, et sanctorum angelorum. 27 Dico autem vobis vere: sunt aliqui hic stantes, qui non gustabunt mortem donec videant regnum Dei.

 [18] And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples also were with him: and he asked them, saying: Whom do the people say that I am? [19] But they answered, and said: John the Baptist; but some say Elias; and others say that one of the former prophets is risen again. [20] And he said to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answering, said: The Christ of God. [21] But he strictly charging them, commanded they should tell this to no man. [22] Saying: The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the ancients and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day rise again. [23] And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. [24] For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; for he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall save it. [25] For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, and cast away himself? [26] For he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of man shall be ashamed, when he shall come in his majesty, and that of his Father, and of the holy angels. [27] But I tell you of a truth: There are some standing here that shall not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God. 

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 26.—For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels, i.e. at the day of judgment, when he shall sit as judge in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and in the presence of all, both men and angels, reward the just, and punish the evildoers.

Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me. Whosoever, from false shame or from fear of others, shall deny his faith in Me or refuse to obey My commandments, or fear the reproach of the Cross and a crucified Saviour, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, i.e. him will Christ pass over, and make of no account when He comes in that glory which He has acquired by the humiliation of His passion. For the Cross of Christ seemed to many a shame and a reproach, for Christ crucified was “unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness,” 1 Cor. i. 23. Many, therefore, from shame or fear, did not dare to profess their belief in the Cross, much less to preach Christ crucified. In opposition to whom S. Paul boldly declares, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” Rom. i. i6.

So the monk Martyrius took Christ, who appeared to Him as a wearied leper, upon his shoulders, and carried Him to the monastery, but felt not the weight of his burden, for the burden he was carrying supported him. There Christ assumed His own proper form, and ascending to heaven said, “As thou, Martyrius, wast not ashamed of Me on earth, I will not be ashamed of thee in heaven.”

S. Gregory (hom. 39), also, explaining this passage of S. Luke, writes, “Each one should ask himself, in order to test the reality of his confession of Christ, not whether he is ashamed of the name of the Redeemer, but rather whether by strength of purpose he has subdued all false feelings of earthly shame. In time of persecution believers might have had cause for shame at the treatment to which they were subjected; but now that persecutions are past, there is another aspect of the matter to which we should give heed. We shrink often from being lightly esteemed, and from being evilly spoken of by our fellow men, and in case of a dispute with our neighbour, we are ashamed to be the first to make amends. Because the carnal heart, seeking this world’s glory, refuses the grace of humility;” and further on he gives the remedy for this false shame. “Let human pride be confounded, and let every man be ashamed, if he be not the first to seek to make amends to his neighbour; since, after we have done amiss, God by His ministers beseeches us to be reconciled to Him, whom we have offended.”

Monday, 4 August 2014

St Luke 9:1-17

St Luke chapter 9:

1 Convocatis autem duodecim Apostolis, dedit illis virtutem et potestatem super omnia dæmonia, et ut languores curarent. 2 Et misit illos prædicare regnum Dei, et sanare infirmos. 3 Et ait ad illos: Nihil tuleritis in via, neque virgam, neque peram, neque panem, neque pecuniam, neque duas tunicas habeatis. 4 Et in quamcumque domum intraveritis, ibi manete, et inde ne exeatis. 5 Et quicumque non receperint vos: exeuntes de civitate illa, etiam pulverem pedum vestrorum excutite in testimonium supra illos. 6 Egressi autem circuibant per castella evangelizantes, et curantes ubique.7 Audivit autem Herodes tetrarcha omnia quæ fiebant ab eo, et hæsitabat eo quod diceretur 8 a quibusdam: Quia Joannes surrexit a mortuis: a quibusdam vero: Quia Elias apparuit: ab aliis autem: Quia propheta unus de antiquis surrexit. 9 Et ait Herodes: Joannem ego decollavi: quis est autem iste, de quo ego talia audio? Et quærebat videre eum.10 Et reversi Apostoli, narraverunt illi quæcumque fecerunt: et assumptis illis secessit seorsum in locum desertum, qui est Bethsaidæ. 11 Quod cum cognovissent turbæ, secutæ sunt illum: et excepit eos, et loquebatur illis de regno Dei, et eos, qui cura indigebant, sanabat. 12 Dies autem cœperat declinare, et accedentes duodecim dixerunt illi: Dimitte turbas, ut euntes in castella villasque quæ circa sunt, divertant, et inveniant escas: quia hic in loco deserto sumus. 13 Ait autem ad illos: Vos date illis manducare. At illi dixerunt: Non sunt nobis plus quam quinque panes et duo pisces: nisi forte nos eamus, et emamus in omnem hanc turbam escas. 14 Erant autem fere viri quinque millia. Ait autem ad discipulos suos: Facite illos discumbere per convivia quinquagenos. 15 Et ita fecerunt: et discumbere fecerunt omnes. 16 Acceptis autem quinque panibus et duobus piscibus, respexit in cælum, et benedixit illis: et fregit, et distribuit discipulis suis, ut ponerent ante turbas. 17 Et manducaverunt omnes, et saturati sunt. Et sublatum est quod superfuit illis, fragmentorum cophini duodecim.

 Then calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. [2] And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. [3] And he said to them: Take nothing for your journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats. [4] And whatsoever house you shall enter into, abide there, and depart not from thence. [5] And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off even the dust of your feet, for a testimony against them. [6] And going out, they went about through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere. [7] Now Herod, the tetrarch, heard of all things that were done by him; and he was in a doubt, because it was said [8] By some, that John was risen from the dead: but by other some, that Elias had appeared; and by others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. [9] And Herod said: John I have beheaded; but who is this of whom I hear such things? And he sought to see him. [10] And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all they had done. And taking them, he went aside into a desert place, apart, which belongeth to Bethsaida. [11] Which when the people knew, they followed him; and he received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed them who had need of healing. [12] Now the day began to decline. And the twelve came and said to him: Send away the multitude, that going into the towns and villages round about, they may lodge and get victuals; for we are here in a desert place. [13] But he said to them: Give you them to eat. And they said: We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless perhaps we should go and buy food for all this multitude. [14] Now there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples: Make them sit down by fifties in a company. [15] And they did so; and made them all sit down. [16] And taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed them; and he broke, and distributed to his disciples, to set before the multitude. [17] And they did all eat, and were filled. And there were taken up of fragments that remained to them, twelve baskets.

Commentary

de Lapide:

Ver. 8.—One of the old prophets was risen again. As Enoch and Elias will rise again before the end of all things, to resist Antichrist. In like manner as Peter, Bishop and Martyr, the son of Urijah the prophet (Jer. xxvi. 20), was recalled to life by S. James the Apostle, and ordained first Bishop of Braga, six hundred years after his decease.  S. Athanasius and others, cited by Bivarius.

Ver. 14.—Make them sit down by fifties in a company, κλισίας, i.e. in companies, in ranks or rows. Syriac.

Catena Aurea:

CYRIL; It was fitting that those who were appointed the ministers of holy teaching should be able to work miracles, and by these very acts themselves be believed to be the ministers of God. Hence it is said, Then called he his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils. Herein He brings down the haughty pride of the devil, who once said, There is none who shall open his mouth against me. 

EUSEB. And that through them the whole race of mankind may be sought out, He not only gives them power to drive away evil spirits, but to cure all kind of diseases at His command; as it follows, And to cure diseases. 

CYRIL; Mark here the divine power of the Son, which belongs not to a fleshly nature. For it was in the power of the saints to perform miracles not by nature, but by participation of the Holy Spirit; but it was altogether out of their power to grant this authority to others. For how could created natures possess dominion over the gifts of the Spirit? But our Lord Jesus Christ, as by nature God, imparts graces of this kind to whomsoever He will, not invoking upon them a power which is not His own, but infusing it into them from Himself. 

CHRYS. But after that they had been sufficiently strengthened by His guidance, and had received competent proofs of His power, He sends them out, as it follows, And he sent them to teach the kingdom of God. And here we must remark, that they are not commissioned to speak of sensible things as Moses and the Prophets; for they promised a land and earthly goods, but these a kingdom, and whatsoever is contained in it. 

GREG. NAZ. Now in sending His disciples to preach, our Lord enjoined many things on them, the chief of which are, that they should be so virtuous, so constant, so temperate, and, to speak briefly, so heavenly, that no less through their manner of living than their words, the teaching of the Gospel might be spread abroad. And therefore were they sent with lack of money, and staves, and a single garment; He accordingly adds, And he said to them, Take nothing in the way, neither staves. 

CHRYS. Many things indeed He ordained hereby; first indeed it rendered the disciples unsuspected; secondly, it held them aloof from all care, so that they might give their whole study to the word; thirdly, it taught them their own proper virtue. But perhaps some one will say that the other things indeed are reasonable, but for what reason did He command them to have no scrip on their way, nor two coats, nor staff? In truth, because He wished to rouse them to all diligence, taking them away from all the cares of this life, that they might be occupied by the one single care of teaching. 

EUSEB. Wishing then that they should be free from the desire of wealth and the anxieties of life, He gave this injunction. He took it as a proof of their faith and courage, that when it was commanded them to lead a life of extreme poverty, they would not escape from what was ordered. For it was fitting that they should make a kind of bargain, receiving these saving virtues to recompense them for obedience to commands. And when He was making them soldiers of God, He girds them for battle against their enemies, by telling them to embrace poverty. For no soldier of God entangles himself in the affairs of a secular life. 

AMBROSE; Of what kind then he ought to be who preaches the Gospel of the kingdom of God is marked out by these Gospel precepts; that is, he must not require the supports of secular aid; and clinging wholly to faith, he must believe that the less he requires those things, the more they will be supplied to him. 

THEOPHYL. For He sends them out as very beggars, so that He would have them neither carry bread, nor any thing else of which men are generally in want. 

AUG. Or, the Lord did not wish the disciples to possess and carry with them these things, not that they were not necessary to the support of this life, but because He sent them thus to show that these things were due to them from those believers to whom they announced the Gospel, that so they might neither possess security, nor carry about with them the necessaries of this life, either great or little. He has therefore, according to Mark, excluded all except a staff, showing that the faithful owe every thing to their ministers who require no superfluities. But this permission of the staff He has mentioned by name, when He says, They should take nothing in the way, but a staff only. 

AMBROSE; To those also who wish it, this place admits of being explained, so as to seem only to represent a spiritual temper of mind, which appears to have castoff as it were a certain covering of the body; not only rejecting power and despising wealth, but renouncing also the delights of the flesh itself. 

THEOPHYL. Some also understand by the Apostles not carrying scrip, nor staff, nor two coats, that they must not lay up treasures, (which a scrip implies, collecting many things,) nor be angry and of a quarrelsome spirit, (which the staff signifies,) nor be false and of a double heart, (which is meant by the two coats.) 

CYRIL; But it may be said, How then shall necessary things be prepared for them. He therefore adds, And into whatsoever house you enter, there abide, and thence depart. As if He said, Let the food of disciples suffice you, who receiving from you spiritual things, will minister to you temporal. But He ordered them to abide in one house, so as neither to incommode the host, (that is, so as to send him away,) nor themselves to incur the suspicion of gluttony and wantonness. 

AMBROSE; He pronounces it to be foreign to the character of a preacher of the heavenly kingdom to run from house to house and change the rights of inviolable hospitality; but as the grace of hospitality is supposed to be offered, so also if they are not received the dust must be shaken oil; and they are commanded to depart from the city; as it follows, And whosoever will not receive you when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony, &c. 

THEOPHYL; The dust is shaken off from the Apostles' feet as a testimony of their labors, that they entered into a city, and the apostolical preaching had reached to the inhabitants thereof. Or the dust is shaken off when they receive nothing (not even of the necessaries of life) from those who despised the Gospel. 

CYRIL; For it is very improbable that those who despise the saving Word, and the Master of the household, will show themselves kind to His servants, and seek further blessings. 

AMBROSE; Or it is a great return of hospitality which is here taught, i.e. that we should not only wish peace to our hosts, but also if any faults of earthly infirmity obscure them, they should be removed by receiving the footsteps of apostolical preaching. 

THEOPHYL; But if any by treacherous negligence, or even from zeal, despise the word of God, their communion must be shunned, the dust of the feet must be shaken off, lest by their vain deeds which are to be compared to the dust, the footstep of a chaste mind be defiled. 

EUSEB. But when the Lord had girded His disciples as soldiers of God with divine virtue and wise admonitions, sending them to the Jews as teachers and physicians, they afterwards went forth, as it follows, And they departed, and went through the towns preaching the gospel, and healing every where...

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Today's Gospel is St Luke 16:1-9

1 Dicebat autem et ad discipulos suos: Homo quidam erat dives, qui habebat villicum: et hic diffamatus est apud illum quasi dissipasset bona ipsius. 2 Et vocavit illum, et ait illi: Quid hoc audio de te? redde rationem villicationis tuæ: jam enim non poteris villicare. 3 Ait autem villicus intra se: Quid faciam, quia dominus meus aufert a me villicationem? Fodere non valeo, mendicare erubesco. 4 Scio quid faciam, ut, cum amotus fuero a villicatione, recipiant me in domos suas. 5 Convocatis itaque singulis debitoribus domini sui, dicebat primo: Quantum debes domino meo? 6 At ille dixit: Centum cados olei. Dixitque illi: Accipe cautionem tuam: et sede cito, scribe quinquaginta. 7 Deinde alii dixit: Tu vero quantum debes? Qui ait: Centum coros tritici. Ait illi: Accipe litteras tuas, et scribe octoginta. 8 Et laudavit dominus villicum iniquitatis, quia prudenter fecisset: quia filii hujus sæculi prudentiores filiis lucis in generatione sua sunt. 9 Et ego vobis dico: facite vobis amicos de mammona iniquitatis: ut, cum defeceritis, recipiant vos in æterna tabernacula.

And he said also to his disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. [2] And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship: for now thou canst be steward no longer. [3] And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed. [4] I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. [5] Therefore calling together every one of his lord' s debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? [6] But he said: An hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty. [7] Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. [8] And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. [9] And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity; that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

Matins readings (from  St Jerome)

Reading 9: The lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely though wickedly. The lord, although himself defrauded by it, could not but praise the shrewdness of his dishonest servant, because he had cheated him with profit to himself. How much more will our Master Christ, Who is above any defrauding by us, and is Himself the Great Forgiver, praise us if we win a blessing from Him by dealing indulgently with those who are to believe in Him?

Reading 10: After this parable the Lord saith: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness.” This word "mammon" is a Syriac not an Hebrew) word, signifying illgotten gains. If then even ill-gotten gains can be so used by such as have them as to profit them, how much more can they who, like the Apostles, are "stewards of the mysteries of God," those true and blameless riches, how much more can they profit themselves, (1 Cor. iv. 1, even everlastingly, by their right use of them?

Reading 11: Therefore it is immediately written: “He that is faithful in that which is least, that is to say, in bodily things, is faithful also in much that is to say, in spiritual things.” “And he that is unjust in the least”, that is to say, by not giving to his needy brother succour of those things which are needful for the body, and which God hath made for all men, such an one is unjust also in much that is to say, he will deal out spiritual things unfairly, this to one and that to another, and not according to their true spiritual needs.

Reading 12: "If therefore," saith the Lord, "ye have not been faithful in the "use of earthly riches which pass away, "who will commit to your trust the true and abiding riches," that is, the spiritual riches of the word of God?  And if in those things which are foreign (and everything which is of the world is foreign to us) you have been unfaithful, who will entrust to you those things which are yours and properly given over to man?