Saturday, 9 July 2016

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

The Matins readings for the eighth Sunday after Pentecost in the Benedictine Office are  set out below.

Nocturn I: 3 Kings (aka I Samuel) 9:1-14

Reading 1: And it came to pass when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king's house, and all that he desired, and was pleased to do,That the Lord appeared to him the second time, as he had appeared to him in Gabaon. And the Lord said to him: I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, which thou hast made before me: I have sanctified this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever, and my eyes and my heart shall be there always.And if thou wilt walk before me, as thy father walked, in simplicity of heart, and in uprightness: and wilt do all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my ordinances and my judgments.  I will establish the throne of thy kingdom over Israel for ever, as I promised David thy father, saying: There shall not fail a man of thy race upon the throne of Israel.

R. Prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him Only* And He will deliver you out of the hand of your enemies.
V. Return unto Him with all your hearts, and put away the strange gods from among you.
R. And He will deliver you out of the hand of your enemies.

Reading 2: But if you and your children revolting shall turn away from following me, and will not keep my commandments, and my ceremonies, which I have set before you, but will go and worship strange gods, and adore them: I will take away Israel from the face of the land which I have given them; and the temple which I have sanctified to my name, I will cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb, and a byword among all people.

R. God, Which heareth all, even He sent His Angel, and took me from keeping my father's sheep, and
* Anointed me with the oil of His mercy.
V. The Lord That delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear
R. And anointed me with the oil of His mercy.

Reading 3: And this house shall be made an example of: every one that shall pass by it, shall be astonished, and shall hiss, and say: Why hath the Lord done thus to this land, and to this house: And they shall answer: Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and followed strange gods, and adored them, and worshipped them: therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil.

R. The Lord That delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear
* He will deliver me out of the hand of mine enemies.
V. God hath sent forth His mercy and His truth, and delivered my soul from among the lion's whelps.
R. He will deliver me out of the hand of mine enemies.

Reading 4: And when twenty years were ended after Solomon had built the two houses, that is, the house of the Lord, and the house of the king, (Hiram the king of Tyre furnishing Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and gold according to all he had need of.) then Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out of Tyre, to see the towns which Solomon had given him, and they pleased him not, And he said: Are these the cities which thou hast given me, brother? And he called them the land of Chabul, unto this day. And Hiram sent to king Solomon a hundred and twenty talents of gold.

R. Remember, O Lord, thy covenant, and say unto the destroying Angel: Stay now thine hand * That the land be not utterly laid waste, and that thou destroy not every living soul.
V. Even I it is that have sinned, and done evil indeed but these sheep what have they done? Let thine anger, I pray thee, O Lord, be turned away from thy people.
R. That the land be not utterly laid waste, and that Thou destroy not every living soul.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. That the land be not utterly laid waste, and that Thou destroy not every living soul.

Nocturn II: From St Augustine's City of God, Bk 17 ch 8

Reading 5: Things which were then still to come were in a certain manner imagined in Solomon, who built the temple, who had that peace which his name implieth (for the name Solomon signifieth "the Peaceful One") and who, at the beginning of his reign, was marvellously praiseworthy. By these things he foreshadowed in his own person, though he set not forth with his mouth, our Lord Christ.

R. Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.* Because the hand of the Lord was with him, he smote the Philistine, and took away the reproach from Israel.
V. Is not this David? Did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying: Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
R. Because the hand of the Lord was with him, he smote the Philistine, and took away the reproach from Israel.

Reading 6: Thus are some things written of Solomon which are, as it were, things written concerning Christ, the Holy Scripture in this way, by giving the history of things past, prophesying all the while of things to come.Nor besides the books of the Divine history wherein his reign is recorded, the 71st Psalm is superscribed with his name.

R. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you * For there are the mighty of Israel fallen
V. All ye mountains that stand round about, the Lord look upon you but let Him pass by Gilboa
R. For there are the mighty of Israel fallen

Reading 7: In this Psalm are many things which cannot suit him, but are most clearly applicable to the Lord Christ, thus showing that Solomon was, as it were, a shadowy figure cast before, of that which was afterwards revealed in very truth in the Person of Christ.

R. Thus saith the Lord I took thee out of thy father's house, and appointed thee to be ruler over My people, over Israel * And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, to establish thy kingdom for ever.
V. And I have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies.
R. And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, to establish thy kingdom for ever.

Reading 8: Without going into the rest, I may say that it is known what were the limits of Solomon's dominions, and yet in that Psalm we read: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." This we see fulfilled in Christ. It was from the river, that is, from His Baptism by John in Jordan, that He began His assumption of dominion, for then it was when John bare testimony unto Him that His disciples began to acknowledge Him, calling Him, not Master only, but Lord.

R. O Lord, Thou hast hearkened unto the prayer of thy servant, that I might build a temple unto thy Name,* O God of Israel, bless Thou, and hallow this house for ever.
V. O Lord, Who keepest covenant with thy servants that walk before thee in all their heart.
R. O God of Israel, bless Thou, and hallow this house for ever.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. O God of Israel, bless Thou, and hallow this house for ever.

Nocturn III (from  St Jerome, Letter 121)

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?

R. My sins are many, yea, they are more in number than the sands of the sea; I am not worthy to look up toward heaven because of the multitude of my iniquities; for I have provoked thee to anger * And done evil in thy sight.
V. For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me, for against thee only have I sinned
R. And done evil in thy sight.

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?

R. Hearken, O Lord, unto the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee today, that thine eyes may be open and thine ears attend;* Toward this house day and night.
V. Look down from thine high and holy place, O Lord, even from heaven thy dwelling.
R. Toward this house, day and night.

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.

R. Lord, when thy people shall turn again to thee, and shall pray unto thee in this house * then hear Thou in heaven, O Lord, and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies.
V. If thy people sin against thee, and turn again, and repent, and come and pray unto thee in this house.
R. Then hear Thou in heaven, O Lord, and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies.

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?

R. One Seraph cried unto another * Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts the whole earth is full of His glory.
V. There are Three That bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these Three are One.
R. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The whole earth is full of His glory.

Gospel: St Luke 16:1-9

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.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Hebrews 9:1-7 - The tabernacle as an allegory of the new covenant and heaven

St Thomas Aquinas summarises Hebrews 9 and 10 as follows:
 Having showed in general the dignity of the New Testament as compared to the Old, the Apostle now shows the same in particular by reaching down to the individuals in each Testament. In regard to this he does two things: first, he compares things of the Old Testament with those of the New to show the dignity of the New; secondly, he clarifies some things he had presupposed.
Hebrews goes on to describe this section as an allegory, and St Thomas takes up this theme, explaining how the things in the tabernacle prefigure Christ and the New covenant so that: "the things of the Old Testament were a figure of the New, and the New a figure of the heavenly country."

Hebrews 9:1-5
The former indeed had also justifications of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made the first, wherein were the candlesticks, and the table, and the setting forth of loaves, which is called the holy.  And after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the holy of holies: Having a golden censer, and the ark of the testament covered about on every part with gold, in which was a golden pot that had manna, and the rod of Aaron, that had blossomed, and the tables of the testament.  And over it were the cherubims of glory overshadowing the propitiatory: of which it is not needful to speak now particularly.
Habuit quidem et prius justificationes culturæ, et Sanctum sæculare. Tabernaculum enim factum est primum, in quo erant candelabra, et mensa, et propositio panum, quæ dicitur Sancta. Post velamentum autem secundum, tabernaculum, quod dicitur Sancta sanctorum:  aureum habens thuribulum, et arcam testamenti circumtectam ex omni parte auro, in qua urna aurea habens manna, et virga Aaron, quæ fronduerat, et tabulæ testamenti, superque eam erant cherubim gloriæ obumbrantia propitiatorium: de quibus non est modo dicendum per singula.
The candlestick: ‘I am the light of the world’. In it are six orders: three on the left, namely, the perfect of the Old Testament; and three on the right, namely, of the New Testament. They are designated in Ezekiel: By Noah, prelates; by Daniel, contemplatives; by Job, the actives. Those branches receive light and impart it: ‘As every man has received grace, ministering the same one to another’...

The twelve loaves are the doctrine of the Apostles and their successors: they are put out on the Sabbath of hope to the Sabbath of hope; and if in the meantime one is removed by death, another is substituted.

The ark made of sethim wood:  is Christ’s pure and most precious flesh, which is called a gold urn because of His wisdom full of the sweetness of the godhead. 

The tablets: are His wisdom

The rod: is His eternal priesthood, or it is Christ’s power.

The manna: the sweetness of grace given by the priesthood of Christ or by obedience to His commandments, as a man obeys the power.

The mercy seat: But because no one has grace without having sinned, except Christ and His mother, it is necessary to have a mercy seat.

The two angels:  are the two testaments looking peacefully at Christ; or all the angels serving Christ in concord and unity of spirit...guard Christ’s Church.

The propitiatory: Christ is the propitiation of our sins’ (1 Jn. 2:2).

Hebrews 9:6-7
but this was the general fashion of it. Into the outer tabernacle the priests made their way at all times, in the performance of their duties; into this other, only the high priest, once a year, and even then not without an offering of blood, for the faults which he and the people had committed unknowingly.
 His vero ita compositis, in priori quidem tabernaculo semper introibant sacerdotes, sacrificiorum officia consummantes: in secundo autem semel in anno solus pontifex non sine sanguine, quem offert pro sua et populi ignorantia:
Priests of the outer tabernacle: there was in the forepart of the tabernacle near the center the altar of thyme or of incense, which is the same thing, and the golden candlestick; but at the southern part opposite, the table of proposition. Every day in the morning and in the evening the priest entered the holies for two reasons: to dress the lamps and to renew the incense, in order that light and all good odor might be continually present in the holies. He says, therefore: Now these preparations, namely, which pertain to the appearance of the tabernacle, having been thus made, the priests go continually into the outer tent [first tabernacle] performing their ritual duties: not to sacrifice in the holies, because they sacrificed on the altar of holocausts in front of the door of the tabernacle under the sky; but he calls the renewal of the incense and the devotion of the offerers a sacrifice.

The veil:  It should be noted that the priests entered into the holies every day; but into the second, which was beyond the veil the high priest alone once a year...the interposition of the veil signifies that heavenly things were veiled from them...Furthermore, the fact that they did not enter signifies that the Old Testament is not the way to enter heaven before Christ’s coming.

The high priest: ...on the day of atonement (which occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month, namely, September, which is the seventh month after our March, which coincides with part of our April, when the Jewish year begins: ‘This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first in the months of the year’, for they began their month with the full moon which always begins in March, unless prevented by an embolism), the high priest offered a calf for himself and his whole house, and a goat for the sin of the people. When these were immolated, he took some of their blood and filled the thurible with the burning coals from the altar of holocausts, which was in the court in front of the tabernacle, and with all these things entered into the holy of holies to expiate the tabernacle with blood, sprinkling some of the blood on the veil. After he came out, he used the same blood to anoint the altar of incense. He did this once a year...and not without taking blood, which he offered for himself and the people’s errors, i.e., sins.

The mystical meaning: ...by the first tabernacle is designed the present Church, in which the faithful should sacrifice themselves: ‘Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God’, ‘A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit’. They should also sacrifice their property in alms: ‘By such sacrifices God’s favor is obtained’. But the high priest alone, i.e., Christ in soul and body, entered into the holy of holies, i.e., into the heavenly country. Yet according to the letter the intention of the Apostle is that the Old Law is signified by the holy, and by the holy of holies the state of the New Testament and heaven, because one enters heaven by the New Law.


Thursday, 7 July 2016

Hebrews 8:6-13 - The new covenant implanted in our inmost thoughts and written on our hearts

St Thomas Aquinas summarises the next section of Hebrews as follows:
Having proved that Christ is a high priest and, consequently, a minister of holy things, but not according to the Old Law, the Apostle now shows that He is a minister of greater and better things than they had been.
Hebrews 8:6 -7
6 As it is, he has been entrusted with a more honourable ministry, dispenser as he is of a nobler covenant, with nobler promises for its sanction. There would have been no room for this second covenant, if there had been no fault to find with the first. 
6 Nunc autem melius sortitus est ministerium, quanto et melioris testamenti mediator est, quod in melioribus repromissionibus sancitum est. Nam si illud prius culpa vacasset, non utique secundi locus inquireretur. 
The priesthood of Christ is called a ministry: because it does not belong to Him except in the sense that He was a minister as a man: ‘I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God'.

Mediator of grace: But He is the mediator of a better covenant, namely, of man to God, because by Him we are made partakers of the divine nature...

The Old law vs the new: in the Old Law there were precepts pertaining to the worship of God, namely, the ceremonial precepts, and some that pertained to correct conduct, namely, the moral precepts, which continue; but the others do not. But in the New Law counsels are added to the precepts and they are given to the perfect, who are capable of spiritual things.

The weakness of the old law: ...it is said to have a fault in two ways: first, because it did not confer the power to cleanse one’s sins...Secondly, because it did not give a helping grace to avoid sins, but merely to recognize them...

Hebrews 8:8
But God, you see, does find fault; this is what he tells them: Behold, says the Lord, a time is coming when I will ratify a new covenant with the people of Israel, and with the people of Juda. 
Vituperans enim eos dicit: Ecce dies venient, dicit Dominus: et consummabo super domum Israël, et super domum Juda, testamentum novum, 
 He quotes Jeremiah 31:31 as the authority: ‘Behold the days shall come, says the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant I made with their fathers, in that day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: the covenant which they made void and I had dominion over them.’

The perfection of the New Covenant:  He says, I will perfect, which implies perfection: ‘Behold I make all things new’ (Rev. 21:5).

But is it given to the Jews alone? No, because ‘all are not Israelites that are of Israel’; furthermore, ‘not they that are the children of the flesh are the children of God, but they that are the children of the promise, are accounted for the seed’. They, therefore, who have obtained God’s grace are Israel by faith and Judah by confession: ‘With the heart we believe unto justice; but with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation’.

The house of Israel and the house of Judah: ...because Christ personally preached to the Jews but not to the Gentiles...because the Gentiles were made partakers of the New Testament as a graft inserted in a good olive tree partakes of its fatness...because in the time of Rehoboam and Jeroboam the kingdom of Judah was divided from the kingdom of the ten tribes which continued in idolatry; but the kingdom of Judah clung more to God, but not altogether.

Hebrews 8:9
9 It will not be like the covenant which I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand, to rescue them from Egypt; that they should break my covenant, and I (says the Lord) should abandon them. 
9 non secundum testamentum quod feci patribus eorum in die qua apprehendi manum eorum ut educerem illos de terra Ægypti: quoniam ipsi non permanserunt in testamento meo: et ego neglexi eos, dicit Dominus. 
Is the New like the Old? : In this he shows that the Old is not to be observed along with the New...For if something is found in the Old which the Gentiles are supposed to observe, it must be referred to the spiritual meaning, as it says in Is: ‘They shall worship him with sacrifices and offerings,’ all of which is to be understood spiritually.

Law of servile fear: For the Old Testament was delivered to servants and to the infirm: to servants, because they had at one time left their thralldom in Egypt, in regard to which he says, to lead them out of the land of Egypt: ‘The one from Mount Sinai, engendering unto bondage, which is Hagar’ (Gal. 4:24), and because it was a law of servile fear: ‘You have not received the spirit of adoption again in fear’. The slight difference between the Old and New Testaments is fear and love.

Guilt: Then when he says, for they did not continue in my covenant, he shows the failings of the Old Testament as far as guilt was concerned... Hence, right after the Law was given, they made a golden calf: ‘They made also a calf in Horeb, and they adored the graven thing’ ...so I paid no heed to them, for a person is said not to regard something, when he permits it to perish. So he regarded them not, because He permitted them to be destroyed by the destroyer...

Hebrews 8:10
No, this is the covenant I will grant the people of Israel, the Lord says, when that time comes. I will implant my law in their innermost thoughts, engrave it in their hearts;
Quia hoc est testamentum quod disponam domui Israël post dies illos, dicit Dominus: dando leges meas in mentem eorum, et in corde eorum superscribam eas:
The manner in which it was given:  by externals, by proposing words suited to their understanding; by acting inwardly, and this is peculiar to God: ‘the inspiration of the Almighty gives understanding’. This is the way the New Testament was given, because it consists in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Who instructs inwardly.

Enlightening the intellect: But it is not enough to know, for one must act. Therefore, He first enlightens the intellect to understand; hence, he says, I will put my laws into their minds. He uses the plural, because there are various precepts and counsel. This the Holy Spirit does: ‘His unction teaches you’; ‘He will teach you all things.

Written on our hearts: Furthermore, He inclines the will to act well; hence, it is impressed on their heart. In regard to this he says, and write them on their hearts, i.e., I will write charity on their knowledge: ‘Above all things have charity, which is the bond of perfection’; ‘The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us’. This is the epistle of which he says in 2 Cor: ‘Not in ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in the fleshly tablets of the heart.’

Hebrews 8:10b-13
I will be their God, and they shall be my people. There will be no need for neighbour to teach neighbour, or brother to teach brother, the knowledge of the Lord; all will know me, from the highest to the lowest. I will pardon their wrong-doing; I will not remember their sins any more. In speaking of a new covenant, he has superannuated the old. And before long the superannuated, the antiquated, must needs disappear.
et ero eis in Deum, et ipsi erunt mihi in populum:  et non docebit unusquisque proximum suum, et unusquisque fratrem suum, dicens: Cognosce Dominum: quoniam omnes scient me a minore usque ad majorem eorum: quia propitius ero iniquitatibus eorum, et peccatorum eorum jam non memorabor.  Dicendo autem novum: veteravit prius. Quod autem antiquatur, et senescit, prope interitum est.
Aquinas: Having mentioned the qualities of the New Testament from the way it was given, the Apostle now describes three of its effects: the first is man’s perfect union with God; the second is perfect knowledge of God; the third is the remission of sins.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Hebrews 8:1-5 - The true tabernacle

Hebrews 8:1-2
And here we come to the very pith of our argument. This high priest of ours is one who has taken his seat in heaven, on the right hand of that throne where God sits in majesty, ministering, now, in the sanctuary, in that true tabernacle which the Lord, not man, has set up. 
Capitulum autem super ea quæ dicuntur: Talem habemus pontificem, qui consedit in dextera sedis magnitudinis in cælis, sanctorum minister, et tabernaculi veri, quod fixit Dominus, et non homo. 
Aquinas:

Throne signifies judicial power: Its dignity is that we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. The throne is judicial power, which befits certain persons as ministers of God, as all kings..:

‘Is seated’: can be referred to Christ as God, and then He is seated in that way, because He has the same authority as the Father, although distinct in person; and so ‘majesty’ is taken for the person of the Father. Or, to Christ as man: and this is more in keeping with the Apostle’s intention, because he is speaking about the high priesthood of Christ,

Ministering in the sanctuary, the holy of holies: He is the minister of the holies, because He administers the sacraments of grace in the present life and of glory in the future. He is also the minister of the true tent [tabernacle] that cannot be removed’; ‘Lord, who shall dwell in your tabernacle?'. But the man Christ is a minister because all the goods of glory are dispensed by Him.

Hebrews 8:3
After all, if it is the very function of a priest to offer gift and sacrifice, he too must needs have an offering to make. 
Omnis enim pontifex ad offerendum munera, et hostias constituitur: unde necesse est et hunc habere aliquid, quod offerat. 
Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; ...it is necessary that He have something to offer: ‘Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that He may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sin’. The sacrifice is offered with animals; the gifts with anything else: ‘They offer the burnt offerings of the Lord and the bread of their God’.

Christ offered Himself:  But it was a clean oblation, because His flesh had no stain of sin: ‘And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year’. Furthermore, it was suitable, because it was fitting that a man should satisfy for man: ‘He offered himself unspotted unto God’. It was also fit to be immolated, because His flesh was mortal: ‘God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and sin’. Also it was the same as the one to whom it was offered: ‘I and the Father are one’. And it unites to God those for whom it is offered: ‘That they may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us’.

Hebrews 8:4-5
Whereas, if he were still on earth, he would be no priest at all; there are priests already, to offer the gifts which the law demands, men who devote their service to the type and the shadow of what has its true being in heaven. (That is why Moses, when he was building the tabernacle, received the warning, Be sure to make everything in accordance with the pattern that was shewn to thee on the mountain.)
Si ergo esset super terram, nec esset sacerdos: cum essent qui offerent secundum legem munera, qui exemplari, et umbræ deserviunt cælestium. Sicut responsum est Moysi, cum consummaret tabernaculum: Vide (inquit) omnia facito secundum exemplar, quod tibi ostensum est in monte.
Christ is not a minister of the sacrifices of the Law:  This can be understood in two ways: in one way so that the sense would be: If that which is offered were something earthly, Christ would not be a priest. As if to say: There would be no need for a priesthood, because there would be many to offer such things...His oblation is not ordained to obtaining something earthly: ‘You are of this world; I am not of this world’...

Type and shadow: The sacraments of the Old Law were figures of other things in two respects: first, in regard to knowledge; secondly, in regard to fulfillment. In regard to knowledge he says, exemplar, because in the Old Law, as in an exemplar could be read that to which our knowledge should be led. But it seems that he is speaking in an improper sense: for an exemplar is prior to that of which it is an exemplar, namely, an example...a shadow, because just as a shadow represents a body without ever becoming a body, so those things represented the New Testament: ‘For the Law, having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things’.

The tabernacle:..when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was instructed by God saying, ‘See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain’, because inferior things naturally tend to a likeness of superior things. For the Lord wished to lead us by sensible things to intelligible and spiritual things: ‘Do you know the order of heaven, and can you set down the reason thereof on the earth?’.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Hebrews 7:22-28 - Christ has offered himself once and for all

Today's section of Hebrews focuses on the nature of Christ's priesthood.

Hebrews 23-25a:
Of those other priests there was a succession, since death denied them permanence;  whereas Jesus continues for ever, and his priestly office is unchanging; that is why he can give eternal salvation to those who through him make their way to God; 
Et alii quidem plures facti sunt sacerdotes, idcirco quod morte prohiberentur permanere: hic autem eo quod maneat in æternum, sempiternum habet sacerdotium.  Unde et salvare in perpetuum potest accedentes per semetipsum ad Deum: 
Aquinas: 

The succession of Old Testament priests: He shows that he is the true priest, because the others were prevented by death from continuing, because all must die. Hence, when Aaron died, Eleazar succeeded, as is clear from Numbers and so on. For as we notice in natural things, which are signs of spiritual things, incorruptible things are not multiplied under the same species; hence, there is but one sun: so in the spiritual things in the Old Testament, which was imperfect, the priests were multiplied. This was a sign that the priesthood was corruptible, because incorruptible things are not multiplied in the same species.

The one priest of the new covenant: But the priest who is Christ is immortal, for He remains forever as the eternal Word of the Father, from Whose eternity redounds an eternity to His body, because ‘Christ rising from the dead, dies now no more’. Therefore, because he continues forever, he holds his priesthood permanently. Therefore, Christ alone is the true priest, but others are His ministers: ‘Let a man so account of us as the ministers of Christ’.

Hebrews 25b:
he lives on still to make intercession on our behalf.  
semper vivens ad interpellandum pro nobis. 
Making intercession for us: ...He interposes for us, first, His human nature, which He assumed for us by representing; secondly, His most holy soul’s desire, which He had for our salvation and with which He intercedes for us.

Hebrews 7:26
Such was the high priest that suited our need, holy and guiltless and undefiled, not reckoned among us sinners, lifted high above all the heavens;  
Talis enim decebat ut nobis esset pontifex, sanctus, innocens, impollutus, segregatus a peccatoribus, et excelsior cælis factus: 
Aquinas: So he sets down four qualities in Him that were supposed to be in the priesthood of the Law: first, that he is holy...

Christ is holy: ‘They offer the burnt offerings of the Lord and the bread of their God, and therefore they shall be holy’. But Christ had this perfectly. For holiness implies purity consecrated to God: ‘Therefore, also the Holy which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God’; ‘That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; ‘The saint of saints will be anointed'.

Guiltless: ‘Let them keep my precepts that they may not fall into sin’. But, properly speaking, innocence is purity toward one’s neighbor: ‘The innocent in hands, and clean of heart: who has not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor’. But Christ was completely innocent, being One Who did not sin’ ‘I have walked in my innocence’.

Undefiled: ‘Whosoever of our seed through their families has a blemish, he shall not offer bread to his God’. Of Christ it is said in a figure: ‘It shall be a lamb without blemish’.

Not reckoned among sinners:  ‘He shall not mingle the stock of his kindred with the common people of his nation’. But Christ was perfectly separated from sinners: ‘Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly nor stood in the way of sinners’. This is, of course, true in regard to a like life: ‘His life is not like other men’s’, but not in regard to His dealings with others, because ‘He conversed with men’ and this with a view to their conversion: ‘Why does your master eat with sinners?’. And to such a degree He was separated that He was made higher than the heavens, i.e., exalted above the heavens: ‘He sits on the right hand of the majesty on high’.

Therefore, he is a sufficiently competent priest.

Hebrews 7:27-28
one who has no need to do as those other priests did, offering a twofold sacrifice day by day, first for his own sins, then for those of the people. What he has done he has done once for all; and the offering was himself.The law makes high priests of men, and men are frail; promise and oath, now, have superseded the law; our high priest, now, is that Son who has reached his full achievement for all eternity.
qui non habet necessitatem quotidie, quemadmodum sacerdotes, prius pro suis delictis hostias offerre, deinde pro populi: hoc enim fecit semel, seipsum offerendo.  Lex enim homines constituit sacerdotes infirmitatem habentes: sermo autem jurisjurandi, qui post legem est, Filium in æternum perfectum.
The imperfect sacrifices of atonement: what was imperfect was that he [Aaron] needed the sacrifices of atonement: ‘He shall offer the calf for himself; and the goat for the people. Therefore, he prayed for himself; and not only once but frequently. The reason for this is that the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests: ‘A weak man and of a short time’.

Christ's perfect offering: But the word of the oath established the Son (Who had none of these imperfections, but was completely perfect), Who is after the Law, a priest to continue forever. For He did not offer for His own sins but for ours: ‘He was wounded for our iniquities’. Nor did He offer for us frequently, but only once: ‘Christ died for our sins’. For His one offering is enough to take away the sins of the entire human race.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Hebrews 7:11-22 - A better hope

Hebrews 7:11-12:
Now, there could be no need for a fresh priest to arise, accredited with Melchisedech’s priesthood, not with Aaron’s, if the Levitical priesthood had brought fulfilment. And it is on the Levitical priesthood that the law given to God’s people is founded. When the priesthood is altered, the law, necessarily, is altered with it. 
Si ergo consummatio per sacerdotium Leviticum erat (populus enim sub ipso legem accepit) quid adhuc necessarium fuit secundum ordinem Melchisedech, alium surgere sacerdotem, et non secundum ordinem Aaron dici? Translato enim sacerdotio, necesse est ut et legis translatio fiat. 
Aquinas

The imperfection of the Levitical priesthood: But the [Levitical] priesthood brought nothing to perfection, for its entire perfection was through the Law, which they administered...it did not confer grace ex opere operato, as the sacraments of the New Law do.

Priesthood and the law: ...if a law is administered by a priesthood, which he proves, because under it, i.e., by its administration, the people received the law; not that the priesthood preceded the Law, but conversely...for under it the people received the law...But he makes mention of the priesthood specifically in order to pass to the Law, which was administered by the priestly office: for as a Gloss says, there can be no priest without a testament and a law and precepts...Hence, according to the Philosopher in the Politics, when the mode of life is changed, it is necessary for the law to be changed. But just as human law is ordained to human guidance, so a spiritual and divine law to divine guidance. But this guidance is regulated by a priesthood. Therefore, the priesthood being translated, it is necessary that a translation be made of the Law.

Hebrews 7:13-17
After all, he to whom the prophecy relates belonged to a different tribe, which never produced a man to stand at the altar; our Lord took his origin from Juda, that is certain, and Moses in speaking of this tribe, said nothing about priests. And something further becomes evident, when a fresh priest arises to fulfil the type of Melchisedech, appointed, not to obey the law, with its outward observances, but in the power of an unending life; (Thou art a priest in the line of Melchisedech, God says of him, for ever). 
In quo enim hæc dicuntur, de alia tribu est, de qua nullus altari præsto fuit.  Manifestum est enim quod ex Juda ortus sit Dominus noster: in qua tribu nihil de sacerdotibus Moyses locutus est. Et amplius adhuc manifestum est: si secundum similitudinem Melchisedech exsurgat alius sacerdos, qui non secundum legem mandati carnalis factus est, sed secundum virtutem vitæ insolubilis. Contestatur enim: Quoniam tu es sacerdos in æternum, secundum ordinem Melchisedech. 
Tribe of Judah: It is evident that our Lord descended from Judah...In connection with that tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. For the Law commanded that no one be entrusted with the ministry of the tabernacle, except from the tribe of Levi only; hence, in the tribe of Judah, Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

Order of Melchizek: he emphasizes the phrase forever, because if the priesthood is eternal, it is clear that it involves perpetuity.
18-19 The old observance is abrogated now, powerless as it was to help us; the law had nothing in it of final achievement. Instead, a fuller hope has been brought into our lives, enabling us to come close to God.
Reprobatio quidem fit præcedentis mandati, propter infirmitatem ejus, et inutilitatem:  nihil enim ad perfectum adduxit lex: introductio vero melioris spei, per quam proximamus ad Deum.
The old law relates to the physical, not spiritual:...the Old Testament...is a carnal commandment, and this because it had certain carnal observances, as circumcision and purifications of the flesh, and because it promised carnal rewards and punishments...the New Testament, which is not dispensed by carnal things, but consists of spiritual things: for it is founded upon a spiritual power, by which a perpetual life is produced in us; and this because perpetual goods and punishments are promised in it...

The Old Testament is unsuited to the times:..it was not evil in itself, but inasmuch as it was unsuited to the time. For the things of the Old Testament are not to be kept in the New Testament: ‘Sacrifice and oblation you did not desire: then said I: behold, I come’. Therefore, it is said to be set aside because of its weakness and uselessness. For that is said to be weak which cannot produce its effect; but the proper effect of the Law and of the priesthood is to justify. This the Law was unable to do:

A better hope: ...a better hope is introduced by the new priest, through which we draw near to God. For if a new priest arises, it is according to the power of an indestructible life...; and the introduction of a better hope...He is that new Priest, namely, Christ, Who takes away the sins of the world...

Hebrews 7:20-22
And this time there is a ratification by oath; none was taken when those other priests were appointed, but the new priest is appointed with an oath, when God says to him, The Lord has sworn an irrevocable oath, Thou art a priest for ever; all the more solemn, then, is that covenant for which Jesus has been given us as our surety. 
  Et quantum est non sine jurejurando (alii quidem sine jurejurando sacerdotes facti sunt, hic autem cum jurejurando per eum, qui dixit ad illum: Juravit Dominus, et non pœnitebit eum: tu es sacerdos in æternum): 22 in tantum melioris testamenti sponsor factus est Jesus. 
Power of an oath: That which is instituted without an oath is less valid than that which is instituted with an oath. But the priesthood of Christ was instituted with an oath, as is clear from what he says, the Lord has sworn; but not the priesthood of Aaron, as is clear from Exodus...Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath...