Monday, 18 July 2016

Hebrews 10:19-25 - Entering the city of God

Hebrews 10:19-21
Having therefore, brethren, a confidence in the entering into the holies by the blood of Christ; A new and living way which he hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, And a high priest over the house of God: 
Habentes itaque, fratres, fiduciam in introitu sanctorum in sanguine Christi, quam initiavit nobis viam novam, et viventem per velamen, id est, carnem suam, et sacerdotem magnum super domum Dei: 
Aquinas:

Adhere to Christ: After showing the many ways in which Christ’s priesthood is superior to that of the Old Law, the Apostle, in keeping with his practice, comes to a conclusion and exhorts us to adhere faithfully to that priesthood. For above, after recommending something the Apostle always gave an admonition, because he took the trouble to commend Christ’s grace, in order to incline them to obey Christ and desist from the ceremonies of the Law.

We have confidence because Christ has prepared the way:... His blood opened a new and living way for us: ‘He shall go up that shall open the way before them’; ‘If I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself’; ‘It shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it’. This, therefore, is the way to go to heaven. It is new, because before Christ no one had found it: ‘No man has ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven’.

The city of God: Therefore, he that would ascend must inhere in Him as a member in the head: ‘To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is the paradise of my God’; ‘And I will write upon him the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem’, because they will be brought in anew.

Living: , i.e., always continuing. In this appears the power of the godhead, because it is always living. But he shows what that way is when he says, through the curtain [veil], that is, through his flesh. For just as the priest entered into the holy of holies through the veil, so we, if we would enter the holy of glory, must enter through Christ’s flesh, which was a veil of his divinity: ‘Verily, you are a hidden God’. For faith in the godhead is not enough without faith in the incarnation: ‘You believe in God, believe also in me’. Or, through the veil, i.e., through His flesh given to us under the veil of the appearance of bread in the sacrament. He is not offered to us under His own form because of dread and to obtain the merit of faith.

The house of God:...He is called a great priest, because His priesthood is not merely over one people, as Aaron’s was, but over the house of God, i.e., the entire Church Militant and Triumphant: ‘That you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church’ (1 Tim. 3:15). He says, over, because ‘Moses was faithful in all my house as a servant’ (Num. 12:7), but Christ over the whole house as the Son, Who is the Lord of all things: ‘All power is given to me in heaven and in earth’ (Mt. 28:18).

Hebrews 10:22-25
Let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (for he is faithful that hath promised), And let us consider one another, to provoke unto charity and to good works: Not forsaking our assembly, as some are accustomed; but comforting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.
accedamus cum vero corde in plenitudine fidei, aspersi corda a conscientia mala, et abluti corpus aqua munda, teneamus spei nostræ confessionem indeclinabilem (fidelis enim est qui repromisit), et consideremus invicem in provocationem caritatis, et bonorum operum: non deserentes collectionem nostram, sicut consuetudinis est quibusdam, sed consolantes, et tanto magis quanto videritis appropinquantem diem.
We adhere to Christ through faith, hope and charity

Faith: For the first there are two things required, namely, faith itself: ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’, and the sacrament of faith...Nor is just any faith sufficient, but full faith is required. But this involves two things, namely, that all things proposed for our belief be believed, and that it be formed faith, which is accomplished by charity: ‘Love is the fullness of the law'...

Baptism prefigured: having our hearts sprinkled...is an allusion to Numbers, where is described the ceremony of the red cow, the water from which was sprinkled on an unclean person on the third; but on the seventh day his body and clothing were washed with other water. By the sprinkling with water of the red cow the passion of Christ was prefigured, because on the third day, i.e., by faith in the Trinity in baptism we are cleansed from our sins...Of the washing performed on the seventh day he says, and our bodies washed with pure water. For in baptism not only does the power of the passion work, but the gifts of the Holy Spirit are infused in us. Hence, on the seventh day, i.e., in the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit the entire man is washed inside and out from all sin, both actual and original, which is, as it were, corporeal, because the soul contracts it by uniting with tainted flesh. The Holy Spirit is called water, because He cleanses...As a sign of this the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form upon Christ baptized.

Hope: ...by faith in Christ is given to us the hope of eternal life and entrance into the kingdom: ‘He has regenerated us unto a lively hope’. Hence, he says, Let us hold fast, not the hope, but the confession of our hope, because it is not enough to have hope in one’s heart, but it must be confessed with the mouth: ‘With the heart we believe unto justice; but with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation’. Furthermore, it must be not only by word, but also by deeds; against those of whom it says in Titus: ‘They profess that they know God, but in their works they deny him.’

Charity: ...although charity principally clings to God, it is shown by love of neighbor: ‘He that does not love his neighbor, whom he sees, how can he love God whom he does not see?’...

Importance of community: Then he removes the contrary of charity when he says, not neglecting to meet together. For since charity is love, whose function is to unite, because, as Dionysius says, love is a uniting force: ‘That they may be one, even as we are one… and the world may know that you have loved them as you have also loved me’; therefore, to withdraw from one another is directly opposed to charity. Hence, he says, not neglecting to meet together in the assembly, namely, of the Church...if you observe that your companion is not behaving well, do not desert him, but console him, not as those who forsake the assembly, of whom he says, as some do.

Grace perfects nature: ...For someone could say: Why should we make progress in the faith? Because a natural movement, the closer it gets to its goal, the more intense it becomes, whereas the opposite is true of a forced movement. But grace inclines in the manner of nature; therefore, he says, not neglecting, as some do, but encouraging; and this all the more as you see the day, i.e., the end, approaching: ‘The night is passed, and the day is at hand'; ‘The path of the just, as a shining light, goes forward and increases even to perfect day’.

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