Saturday, 17 May 2014

Gospel and readings for Fourth Sunday after Easter

The Gospel for the Fourth Sunday after Easter is St John 16:5-14:

5 Hæc autem vobis ab initio non dixi, quia vobiscum eram. Et nunc vado ad eum qui misit me; et nemo ex vobis interrogat me: Quo vadis? 6 sed quia hæc locutus sum vobis, tristitia implevit cor vestrum. 7 Sed ego veritatem dico vobis: expedit vobis ut ego vadam: si enim non abiero, Paraclitus non veniet ad vos; si autem abiero, mittam eum ad vos. 8 Et cum venerit ille, arguet mundum de peccato, et de justitia, et de judicio. 9 De peccato quidem, quia non crediderunt in me. 10 De justitia vero, quia ad Patrem vado, et jam non videbitis me. 11 De judicio autem, quia princeps hujus mundi jam judicatus est. 12 Adhuc multa habeo vobis dicere, sed non potestis portare modo. 13 Cum autem venerit ille Spiritus veritatis, docebit vos omnem veritatem: non enim loquetur a semetipso, sed quæcumque audiet loquetur, et quæ ventura sunt annuntiabit vobis. 14 Ille me clarificabit, quia de meo accipiet, et annuntiabit vobis. 

[5] But I told you not these things from the beginning, because I was with you. And now I go to him that sent me, and none of you asketh me: Whither goest thou? [6] But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. [7] But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. [8] And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. [9] Of sin: because they believed not in me. [10] And of justice: because I go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. [11] And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged. [12] I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. [13] But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. [14] He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. [15] All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you. [16] A little while, and now you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father.

Matins readings (from St Augustine)

Reading 9: The Lord Jesus told His disciples what things they should suffer after that He was gone away from them, and then He said: "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you ; but now I go My way to Him That sent Me." Let us first see whether it had been that He had not told them before this what they were to suffer in time coming. That He had done so amply before the night of the last Supper, is testified by the three first Evangelists, but it was when that Supper was ended that, according to John, He said: "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you."

Reading 10: Are we then to try and loose the knot of this difficulty by asserting that, according to these three Evangelists, it was on the eve of the Passion, albeit before the Supper, that He had said these things unto them, and therefore not at the beginning, when He was with them, but when He was about to leave them, and go His way to the Father And in this way we might reconcile the truthfulness of what this Evangelist saith here "These things I said not unto you at the beginning" with the truthfulness of the other three. 

Reading 11: But this explanation is rendered impossible by the Gospel according to Matthew, who telleth us how that the Lord spake to His Apostles concerning their sufferings to come, not only when He was on the point of eating the Passover with them, but at the very beginning, when the names of the twelve are first given, and they were sent forth to do the work of God.

Reading 12: It would seem then that when He said: "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you," He meant by "these things," not the sufferings which they were to bear for His sake, but His promise of the Comforter Who should come to them, and testify while they suffered, xv. 26, 27. This Comforter then, or Advocate, (for the Greek word "Parakletos" will bear either interpretation,) would be needful to them when they saw Christ no more, and therefore it was that Christ spoke not of Him "at the beginning" (of the Gospel Dispensation) while He Himself " was with " His disciples, because His visible Presence was then their sufficient Comfort.

St Mark 6:1-32

St Mark 6:1-32 finds Jesus preaching in Nazareth, and the death of St John the Baptist:

1 Et egressus inde, abiit in patriam suam: et sequebantur eum discipuli sui: 2 et facto sabbato cœpit in synagoga docere: et multi audientes admirabantur in doctrina ejus, dicentes: Unde huic hæc omnia? et quæ est sapientia, quæ data est illi, et virtutes tales, quæ per manus ejus efficiuntur? 3 Nonne hic est faber, filius Mariæ, frater Jacobi, et Joseph, et Judæ, et Simonis? nonne et sorores ejus hic nobiscum sunt? Et scandalizabantur in illo. 4 Et dicebat illis Jesus: Quia non est propheta sine honore nisi in patria sua, et in domo sua, et in cognatione sua. 5 Et non poterat ibi virtutem ullam facere, nisi paucos infirmos impositis manibus curavit: 6 et mirabatur propter incredulitatem eorum, et circuibat castella in circuitu docens.7 Et vocavit duodecim: et cœpit eos mittere binos, et dabat illis potestatem spirituum immundorum. 8 Et præcepit eis ne quid tollerent in via, nisi virgam tantum: non peram, non panem, neque in zona æs, 9 sed calceatos sandaliis, et ne induerentur duabus tunicis. 10 Et dicebat eis: Quocumque introieritis in domum, illic manete donec exeatis inde: 11 et quicumque non receperint vos, nec audierint vos, exeuntes inde, excutite pulverem de pedibus vestris in testimonium illis. 12 Et exeuntes prædicabant ut pœnitentiam agerent: 13 et dæmonia multa ejiciebant, et ungebant oleo multos ægros, et sanabant.14 Et audivit rex Herodes (manifestum enim factum est nomen ejus), et dicebat: Quia Joannes Baptista resurrexit a mortuis: et propterea virtutes operantur in illo. 15 Alii autem dicebant: Quia Elias est; alii vero dicebant: Quia propheta est, quasi unus ex prophetis. 16 Quo audito Herodes ait: Quem ego decollavi Joannem, hic a mortuis resurrexit. 17 Ipse enim Herodes misit, ac tenuit Joannem, et vinxit eum in carcere propter Herodiadem uxorem Philippi fratris sui, quia duxerat eam. 18 Dicebat enim Joannes Herodi: Non licet tibi habere uxorem fratris tui. 19 Herodias autem insidiabatur illi: et volebat occidere eum, nec poterat. 20 Herodes enim metuebat Joannem, sciens eum virum justum et sanctum: et custodiebat eum, et audito eo multa faciebat, et libenter eum audiebat. 21 Et cum dies opportunus accidisset, Herodes natalis sui cœnam fecit principibus, et tribunis, et primis Galilææ: 22 cumque introisset filia ipsius Herodiadis, et saltasset, et placuisset Herodi, simulque recumbentibus, rex ait puellæ: Pete a me quod vis, et dabo tibi: 23 et juravit illi: Quia quidquid petieris dabo tibi, licet dimidium regni mei. 24 Quæ cum exisset, dixit matri suæ: Quid petam? At illa dixit: Caput Joannis Baptistæ. 25 Cumque introisset statim cum festinatione ad regem, petivit dicens: Volo ut protinus des mihi in disco caput Joannis Baptistæ. 26 Et contristatus est rex: propter jusjurandum, et propter simul discumbentes, noluit eam contristare: 27 sed misso spiculatore præcepit afferri caput ejus in disco. Et decollavit eum in carcere, 28 et attulit caput ejus in disco: et dedit illud puellæ, et puella dedit matri suæ. 29 Quo audito, discipuli ejus venerunt, et tulerunt corpus ejus: et posuerunt illud in monumento.30 Et convenientes Apostoli ad Jesum, renuntiaverunt ei omnia quæ egerant, et docuerant. 31 Et ait illis: Venite seorsum in desertum locum, et requiescite pusillum. Erant enim qui veniebant et redibant multi: et nec spatium manducandi habebant. 32 Et ascendentes in navim, abierunt in desertum locum seorsum.

1] And going out from thence, he went into his own country; and his disciples followed him. [2] And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were in admiration at his doctrine, saying: How came this man by all these things? and what wisdom is this that is given to him, and such mighty works as are wrought by his hands? [3] Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him. [4] And Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred. [5] And he could not do any miracles there, only that he cured a few that were sick, laying his hands upon them. [6] And he wondered because of their unbelief, and he went through the villages round about teaching. [7] And he called the twelve; and began to send them two and two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. [8] And he commanded them that they should take nothing for the way, but a staff only: no scrip, no bread, nor money in their purse, [9] But to be shod with sandals, and that they should not put on two coats. [10] And he said to them: Wheresoever you shall enter into an house, there abide till you depart from that place.[11] And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you; going forth from thence, shake off the dust from your feet for a testimony to them. [12] And going forth they preached that men should do penance: [13] And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. [14] And king Herod heard, (for his name was made manifest,) and he said: John the Baptist is risen again from the dead, and therefore mighty works shew forth themselves in him. [15] And others said: It is Elias. But others said: It is a prophet, as one of the prophets.[16] Which Herod hearing, said: John whom I beheaded, he is risen again from the dead. [17] For Herod himself had sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her. [18] For John said to Herod: It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother' s wife. [19] Now Herodias laid snares for him: and was desirous to put him to death, and could not. [20] For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man: and kept him, and when he heard him, did many things: and he heard him willingly.[21] And when a convenient day was come, Herod made a supper for his birthday, for the princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee. [22] And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and had danced, and pleased Herod, and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel: Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee. [23] And he swore to her: Whatsoever thou shalt ask I will give thee, though it be the half of my kingdom. [24] Who when she was gone out, said to her mother, What shall I ask? But she said: The head of John the Baptist. [25] And when she was come in immediately with haste to the king, she asked, saying: I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish, the head of John the Baptist. [26] And the king was struck sad. Yet because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her: [27] But sending an executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish. [28] And he beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a dish: and gave it to the damsel, and the damsel gave it to her mother. [29] Which his disciples hearing came, and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. [30] And the apostles coming together unto Jesus, related to him all things that they had done and taught.
[31] And he said to them: Come apart into a desert place, and rest a little. For there were many coming and going: and they had not so much as time to eat. [32] And going up into a ship, they went into a desert place apart.

Commentary by de Lapide

The mission work of the apostles:

Because the Council of Trent (Sess. 14) says that the Sacrament of Extreme Unction was hinted at in S. Mark, but was commanded and promulgated to the faithful by S. James, the Lord’s brother. This anointing, therefore, was a type, and as it were a prelude, of the institution of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, not the sacrament itself. This, then, was a miraculous anointing, or a gift of miracles, bestowed upon the Apostles for a time, that they might by its means confirm their preaching of Christ. It was not the sacrament itself. So S. Genoveva and many holy authorites were wont to heal the sick by means of oil blessed by them and sent to the sick. Victor of Antioch gives the reason why they used oil rather than wine,—“oil, amongst other things, assuages the affliction of labours, cherishes light, and promotes gladness.” Oil, therefore, which is used in the holy anointing, signifies the mercy of God, the healing of disease, and the enlightenment of the heart. In a similar way the baptism of John was not a sacrament, but a type and prelude of the Sacrament of Baptism.

Death of St John:

In prison. Josephus adds that John was incarcerated in the fortress of Macher, on the confines of Galilee and Arabia, where he was beheaded. This prison was made famous by S. John, for the place, says Philo (lib. de Joseph.), was not so much a prison as a school of discipline. Seneca says (in Consolat. ad Albinam), “When Socrates entered his prison, he was about to deprive the very place of ignominy, for that could not seem to be a prison where Socrates was.” Whence S. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 1, ad Martyr.) says, “0 blessed prison, which your presence has made illustrious: 0 darkness, brighter than the sun himself, where the temples of God have been!” The same (lib. 3, epist. 25) says concerning the chains of the martyrs, “They are ornaments, not bonds. They do not link the feet to infamy, but glorify them for the crown.” Wherefore S. Ambrose says (lib. de Joseph. c. 5) “Let not the innocent be distressed when they are the victims of false accusations. God visits His own, even in their prison. Then, therefore, is there the more help where is the greater peril. And what marvel is it if God visit those who are in prison, who speaks of Himself as shut up with His people in prison? I was in prison, He says, and ye visited Me not” (Matt. xxv. 44).

On account of Herodias. This Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus, Herod’s brother. Herod, then, had married her who was his niece, being his brother’s daughter. So Josephus. Herodias, therefore, was the sister of Herod Agrippa, who killed James, and who was himself slain by an angel (Acts xii.). Wherefore Rufinus, and following him S. Jerome, Eusebius, and Bede, are in error, who say that she was a daughter of Aretas, a king of the Arabians. For they confound Herod’s first wife, who was the daughter of Aretas, with Herodias, his second wife. For Herod repudiated the daughter of Aretas to marry Herodias. For this reason Aretas made war upon him, and cut his army to pieces, as Josephus relates (lib. xviii. Antiq. c. 7), adding, “It was an opinion among the Jews that Herod’s army was destroyed by the just vengeance of God because of John the Baptist, a holy man, whom he had slain.”
His brother’s wife. You will say that Josephus (lib. xviii. Ant. c, 7, 9) says that she was the wife of another Herod, who was the brother of Philip and Herod Antipas. I reply that Josephus is in error in this matter, as well as in many others; unless you choose to suppose that Herodias was previously married to Herod Antipas. Josephus falls into another mistake in the same place, when he says that John was put to death not because of Herodias, but because Herod was afraid lest, on account of the concourse of the people to John, an insurrection might occur.

Whether Herodias married Herod whilst her husband Philip was alive, or after his death, commentators are not agreed. But it is certain that either way it was an illicit marriage, and involved incest, to which was added adultery, if Philip were still alive. For by Leviticus (xviii. 16) it is forbidden for a brother to marry his brother’s wife if there were offspring of the marriage, and Philip had left this dancing daughter, whom Josepbus calls Salome. But I say that Herod did marry Herodias during his brother’s lifetime, and against his will, and so committed a threefold sin,—the first, adultery; the second, incest; the third, violence. This is proved: 1st Because Josephus expressly asserts it (lib. xviii. Ant. c. 7). 2nd Because the incestuous marriage took place about the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar; for that was when John began to preach, as is plain from Luke iii. 1; but Philip died in the twentieth year of Tiberius, as Josephus affirms (xviii. 6), where he praises him for his justice and modesty. 3rd Because the Fathers everywhere accuse Herod of adultery, because he took away his wife from his brother, who was of a meek disposition, whilst he was yet living. Thus Herod took advantage of his gentleness.
Ver. 20. For Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a just man and a holy. At first, therefore, it was only Herodias who wished to kill John, as the rebuker of her adultery. Herod did not assent, as Mark here signifies, and Luke (ix.). But afterwards she persuaded Herod, which she did the more easily, because, as Josephus asserts, he was of a malignant disposition, and prone to cruelty; and he was incensed against John on account of his frequent reproofs. “Herodias was afraid,” says Bede, lest Herod should some time or other come to a proper mind under John’s rebuke, and dissolve the marriage, and restore Herodias to his brother Philip.”

Ver. 22. And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and danced, and pleased Herod. That female dancers were formerly introduced into their feasts by the Jews out of luxuriousness appears from Josephus (lib. xii. Ant. c. 4). That there was a similar fashion among the Greeks we learn from Xenophon’s Symposium, and from Lucian’s Dialogue de Saltatricibus, where he shows by many examples, and by the opinions of philosophers, that dancing enervates even a manly mind. Truly saith Ecclesiasticus (c. 9), “Use not much the company of a female dancer, nor listen to her, lest perchance thou perish through her influence.” Truly saith Remigius (on Matt. xiv.), “The shameless woman brought up a shameless daughter, teaching her to dance instead of to be modest. Nor was Herod less to be blamed for allowing a woman to make a theatre of his palace-hall.”

Ver. 25. I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish the head of John the Bapist. You will say, John the Baptist was not, then, a martyr, because Herod slew him not because of his faith, nor because of his rebuking him for his adultery, but for the sake of pleasing this dancing girl, and fulfilling his promise. I answer by denying the conclusion. For, 1st This girl asked the head of John at the instigation of her mother, who wished to cut off John for reproving her adultery. Herodias, therefore, was the virtual cause of John’s death, because she impelled Herod to behead him. 2nd Herod assented to her. Knowing the malignant disposition of his wife, he gave way to her, and killed John. 3rd Herod himself desired to kill John, as Matthew says expressly (xiv. 5); but he did not dare to do it through fear of the people, who made great count of John as a holy man. Lastly, many are of opinion that probably all was done collusively and of set purpose—namely, that Herod had suggested to Herodias that she should send her dancing daughter in to supper, and that she should ask for the head of John; that thus he might have from his promise a colourable pretext for killing him; and that this is the reason why Christ calls him a fox (Luc. xiii. 32). S. John, therefore, was a victim of chastity, because he died a martyr for it, like S. Paul, S. Matthew, S. Clement, and many others.

Moreover, S. Gregory Nazianzen assigns a loftier cause for the early death of John from the hidden counsel of God (Orat. 20). “Who,” saith he, “was the precursor of Jesus? John, as a voice of speech, as a lantern of light; before Whom also he leapt forth in strength, and was sent forward to Hades by Herod, that there likewise he might preach Him who was shortly to come.” The same Nazianzen (Orat. 39) teaches that S. John, by the spirit of prophecy, was aware of this his martyrdom. For he says, “I ought, 0 Christ, to be baptized by Thee; yes, and for Thee.” For he had found out that he was to be baptized by martyrdom. For he knew what was to come; that as after Herod Pilate would reign, so Christ would follow him after life was over.

Ver. 26. The king was sorry, i.e., he pretended to be so, say SS. Hilary and Jerome. For he really wished John to be killed, as Matthew says. Wherefore the Gloss on the fourteenth of S. Matthew says, “Herod’s sorrow was like Pilate’s repentance” And the Interlinear, “The dissembler showed sorrow in his face, but was glad in his heart.”

But more simply. S. Chrysostom and Euthymius think that Herod was really sorry is the meaning of SS. Matthew and Mark. For though he wished John to die, yet he was sorry for his cruel and shameful death, that he should have killed so great a prophet for the gratification of a dancing girl.
For his oath’s sake. Herod made a pretext of his oath; for he knew that in such a case, that is, at such an iniquitous and sacrilegious a request of the girl, it was not binding. However, he thought it a king’s part not to retract it before the nobles, according to the saying, The word of the king is the king. Thus this worldling acted. Whence S. Augustine says, “A girl dances, and a mother rages, and there is rash swearing in the midst of the luxurious feast, and an impious fulfilment of what was sworn.” For, as S. Isidore says, faith ought to be broken in wicked promises; that is, an impious promise which is fulfilled by a crime....

S. John, then, has many laurels—1st That of doctor; 2nd of virginity; 3rd of martyrdom; 4th of a prophet; 5th of a hermit; 6th of an apostle; 7th of the precursor, index, and baptizer of Christ.
You will ask, At what time was John put to death? 1st Abulensis says it cannot be determined.
2nd. Bede, and from him Baronius (A.C. 33), Maldonatus, and Barradi think that John was slain about the time of the Passover in Christ’s thirty-third year. They support this view, because Matthew says (xiv. 13) that Christ departed into the wilderness when He heard of the death of John, and there fed the 5000, an event which happened about the time of the Passover (John vi. 4).

Friday, 16 May 2014

St Mark 5:21-43

The second of St Mark 5 has the revival from the dead of the daughter of Jairus, as well as the healing of the woman with an issue of blood.  The latter event is an important attestation to the use of relics:

21 Et cum transcendisset Jesus in navi rursum trans fretum, convenit turba multa ad eum, et erat circa mare. 22 Et venit quidam de archisynagogis nomine Jairus, et videns eum procidit ad pedes ejus, 23 et deprecabatur eum multum, dicens: Quoniam filia mea in extremis est, veni, impone manum super eam, ut salva sit, et vivat. 24 Et abiit cum illo, et sequebatur eum turba multa, et comprimebant eum. 25 Et mulier, quæ erat in profluvio sanguinis annis duodecim, 26 et fuerat multa perpessa a compluribus medicis: et erogaverat omnia sua, nec quidquam profecerat, sed magis deterius habebat: 27 cum audisset de Jesu, venit in turba retro, et tetigit vestimentum ejus: 28 dicebat enim: Quia si vel vestimentum ejus tetigero, salva ero. 29 Et confestim siccatus est fons sanguinis ejus: et sensit corpore quia sanata esset a plaga. 30 Et statim Jesus in semetipso cognoscens virtutem quæ exierat de illo, conversus ad turbam, aiebat: Quis tetigit vestimenta mea? 31 Et dicebant ei discipuli sui: Vides turbam comprimentem te, et dicis: Quis me tetigit? 32 Et circumspiciebat videre eam, quæ hoc fecerat. 33 Mulier vero timens et tremens, sciens quod factum esset in se, venit et procidit ante eum, et dixit ei omnem veritatem. 34 Ille autem dixit ei: Filia, fides tua te salvam fecit: vade in pace, et esto sana a plaga tua.35 Adhuc eo loquente, veniunt ab archisynagogo, dicentes: Quia filia tua mortua est: quid ultra vexas magistrum? 36 Jesus autem audito verbo quod dicebatur, ait archisynagogo: Noli timere: tantummodo crede. 37 Et non admisit quemquam se sequi nisi Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem Jacobi. 38 Et veniunt in domum archisynagogi, et videt tumultum, et flentes, et ejulantes multum. 39 Et ingressus, ait illis: Quid turbamini, et ploratis? puella non est mortua, sed dormit. 40 Et irridebant eum. Ipse vero ejectis omnibus assumit patrem, et matrem puellæ, et qui secum erant, et ingreditur ubi puella erat jacens. 41 Et tenens manum puellæ, ait illi: Talitha cumi, quod est interpretatum: Puella (tibi dico), surge. 42 Et confestim surrexit puella, et ambulabat: erat autem annorum duodecim: et obstupuerunt stupore magno. 43 Et præcepit illis vehementer ut nemo id sciret: et dixit dari illi manducare.

21] And when Jesus had passed again in the ship over the strait, a great multitude assembled together unto him, and he was nigh unto the sea. [22] And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue named Jairus: and seeing him, falleth down at his feet. [23] And he besought him much, saying: My daughter is at the point of death, come, lay thy hand upon her, that she may be safe, and may live. [24] And he went with him, and a great multitude followed him, and they thronged him. [25] And a woman who was under an issue of blood twelve years,[26] And had suffered many things from many physicians; and had spent all that she had, and was nothing the better, but rather worse, [27] When she had heard of Jesus, came in the crowd behind him, and touched his garment. [28] For she said: If I shall touch but his garment, I shall be whole. [29] And forthwith the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the evil. [30] And immediately Jesus knowing in himself the virtue that had proceeded from him, turning to the multitude, said: Who hath touched my garments?[31] And his disciples said to him: Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou who hath touched me? [32] And he looked about to see her who had done this. [33] But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. [34] And he said to her: Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole: go in peace, and be thou whole of thy disease. [35] While he was yet speaking, some come from the ruler of the synagogue' s house, saying: Thy daughter is dead: why dost thou trouble the master any further? [36] But Jesus having heard the word that was spoken, saith to the ruler of the synagogue: Fear not, only believe. [37] And he admitted not any man to follow him, but Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. [38] And they come to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; and he seeth a tumult, and people weeping and wailing much. [39] And going in, he saith to them: Why make you this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. [40] And they laughed him to scorn. But he having put them all out, taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. [41] And taking the damsel by the hand, he saith to her: Talitha cumi, which is, being interpreted: Damsel (I say to thee) arise. [42] And immediately the damsel rose up, and walked: and she was twelve years old: and they were astonished with a great astonishment. [43] And he charged them strictly that no man should know it: and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

Commentary by de Lapide

Ver. 25. And a woman which had an issue of blood, &c. This woman was of Cæsarea Philippi, which was formerly called Dan, and afterwards Paneas. This is the celebrated woman who, being healed by Christ of her issue of blood, erected in memory of so great a benefit that statue to Christ at Cæsarea Philippi from whose base grew an herb which cured all diseases (Eus. H. E. vii. 14). Julian the Apostate threw the statue down, and set up one of himself in its place. But this was shivered to pieces by lightning, as S. Jerome testifies, and the Tripartite History (l. vi. c. 19). Our innovators, who cast away, burn the relics of the saints, whilst they preserve and venerate the relics of their own leaders, act like Julian the Apostate...

Ver. 28. For she said, If I shall touch but His garment, I shall be whole. Matthew (ix. 20), instead of garment, has the hem of His garment. This hem was a fringe of threads attached to the bottom of the robe, of a hyacinth or violet colour, which God commanded the Jews to wear, that it might put them continually in mind of God’s precepts and of heaven itself. This Christ wore, according to the law, as a mark that He belonged to the Jewish race and religion.

There is here an example and proof of the use and efficacy of holy relics. For of such a nature was the hem or fringe of Christ which healed her that had the issue of blood. Calvin replies that the woman was superstitious, and that a certain amount of superstition was mingled with what she did. But Christ and Mark refute this; for they ascribe her healing not to superstition, but to her faith, and commend her for it. For in the 30th verse it is said, And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue was gone out from Him (de illo), i.e., from (de) His fringe. And 34, Daughter, thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace. Rightly says S. Hilary, “Like as the Author of nature has given to a magnet the power of attracting iron, so did Christ give to His garment the power of healing her who touched in faith.” And if it were so with a garment, how much more with the Eucharist? Hence S. Gorgonia was healed of a severe disease by touching the Eucharist. (See Nazianzen, Orat. 11.) So, too, was S. Catherine of Sienna, and many others. (See Salmeron, tom. 6, tract. 15.)

Tropologically: The issue of blood, says Bede, is fleshly delight, as gluttony, luxury. The most pure flesh of Christ heals these when piously received in the Eucharist.

Ver. 30. And Jesus . . . had gone out of Him, and had healed her; not as if any quality had gone out from Christ’s hem, or as if this virtue had gone from place to place, from the hem into the woman who had the issue of blood, but by reason of the effect which it produced in the woman. For the virtue abiding in Christ wrought the effect of healing in the woman. Like as, saith Theophylact, the learning of doctors is said to be communicated to their disciples, when, nevertheless, the learning itself remains in the doctors, and produces its effect only, that is, a like knowledge in the disciples.

Observe, this virtue of healing and working miracles conferred by the Word upon the humanity of Christ, was not a physical quality. For that would have been infinite, as having divine and infinite efficacy, of which the humanity of Christ was not capable, being created. But it was a moral quality, that is to say, an instrumental virtue. For the humanity of Christ did these things as an instrument of the divinity.

Who hath touched My garments? Christ asks this question, says Bede, that the healing which He had given to the woman, being declared and made known, might advance in many the virtue of faith, and draw them to believe in Christ.

Ver. 33. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth. Fearing and trembling, not because she had been guilty of an act of superstition, as Calvin would have it, but because she had approached secretly, and, unclean, had touched Christ the clean, and had, as it were, stolen a gift of healing from Christ without His knowledge. Therefore she was afraid lest Christ should rebuke her, or lest He should recall the benefit, or afflict her with a worse evil. Hence it is plain that she had not perfect faith and hope in Christ, or she would not have thought that she could be hid from Him, nor would she have been afraid of Him. Wherefore Christ said, to reassure her, Daughter, be of good courage, as Matthew says.

Ver. 34. But He said to her, Daughter, thy faint hath made thee whole. Christ here confirms the healing which had been conferred upon this trembling woman. It was as though He said to her, “Not My mere fringe, which with great faith of obtaining, healing thou hast touched, hath saved thee, but chiefly My omnipotence, but secondarily thine own faith. For this, either as a disposition or a meritorious cause, has delivered thee from the issue of blood, which deliverance I ratify and confirm.”

Go in peace. For God dwells in peace, that she may know that she is cleansed from her sins. For whom Christ healed in body, He likewise sanctified in soul.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

St Mark 5: 1-20

Chapter 5 of St Mark takes us to the demons that are legion:

1 Et venerunt trans fretum maris in regionem Gerasenorum. 2 Et exeunti ei de navi, statim occurrit de monumentis homo in spiritu immundo, 3 qui domicilium habebat in monumentis, et neque catenis jam quisquam poterat eum ligare: 4 quoniam sæpe compedibus et catenis vinctus, dirupisset catenas, et compedes comminuisset, et nemo poterat eum domare: 5 et semper die ac nocte in monumentis, et in montibus erat, clamans, et concidens se lapidibus. 6 Videns autem Jesum a longe, cucurrit, et adoravit eum: 7 et clamans voce magna dixit: Quid mihi et tibi, Jesu Fili Dei altissimi? adjuro te per Deum, ne me torqueas. 8 Dicebat enim illi: Exi spiritus immunde ab homine. 9 Et interrogabat eum: Quod tibi nomen est? Et dicit ei: Legio mihi nomen est, quia multi sumus. 10 Et deprecabatur eum multum, ne se expelleret extra regionem. 11 Erat autem ibi circa montem grex porcorum magnus, pascens. 12 Et deprecabantur eum spiritus, dicentes: Mitte nos in porcos ut in eos introëamus. 13 Et concessit eis statim Jesus. Et exeuntes spiritus immundi introierunt in porcos: et magno impetu grex præcipitatus est in mare ad duo millia, et suffocati sunt in mari. 14 Qui autem pascebant eos, fugerunt, et nuntiaverunt in civitatem et in agros. Et egressi sunt videre quid esset factum: 15 et veniunt ad Jesum: et vident illum qui a dæmonio vexabatur, sedentem, vestitum, et sanæ mentis, et timuerunt. 16 Et narraverunt illis, qui viderant, qualiter factum esset ei qui dæmonium habuerat, et de porcis. 17 Et rogare cœperunt eum ut discederet de finibus eorum. 18 Cumque ascenderet navim, cœpit illum deprecari, qui a dæmonio vexatus fuerat, ut esset cum illo, 19 et non admisit eum, sed ait illi: Vade in domum tuam ad tuos, et annuntia illis quanta tibi Dominus fecerit, et misertus sit tui. 20 Et abiit, et cœpit prædicare in Decapoli, quanta sibi fecisset Jesus: et omnes mirabantur.

And they came over the strait of the sea into the country of the Gerasens. [2] And as he went out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the monuments a man with an unclean spirit, [3] Who had his dwelling in the tombs, and no man now could bind him, not even with chains. [4] For having been often bound with fetters and chains, he had burst the chains, and broken the fetters in pieces, and no one could tame him. [5] And he was always day and night in the monuments and in the mountains, crying and cutting himself with stones. [6] And seeing Jesus afar off, he ran and adored him. [7] And crying with a loud voice, he said: What have I to do with thee, Jesus the Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not. [8] For he said unto him: Go out of the man, thou unclean spirit. [9] And he asked him: What is thy name? And he saith to him: My name is Legion, for we are many. [10] And he besought him much, that he would not drive him away out of the country. [11] And there was there near the mountain a great herd of swine, feeding. [12] And the spirits besought him, saying: Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. [13] And Jesus immediately gave them leave. And the unclean spirits going out, entered into the swine: and the herd with great violence was carried headlong into the sea, being about two thousand, and were stifled in the sea. [14] And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the fields. And they went out to see what was done: [15] And they came to Jesus, and they see him that was troubled with the devil, sitting, clothed, and well in his wits, and they were afraid. [16] And they that had seen it, told them, in what manner he had been dealt with who had the devil; and concerning the swine. [17] And they began to pray him that he would depart from their coasts. [18] And when he went up into the ship, he that had been troubled with the devil, began to beseech him that he might be with him. [19] And he admitted him not, but saith to him: Go into thy house to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had mercy on thee. [20] And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men wondered.

Commentary 

De Lapide notes:

Ver. 7. I adjure thee by God. Because the devil knew that Christ would grant nothing to his prayers or deserts, he inter-poses the name of God, to which he knew Christ gave the highest reverence. It was as though he said, “I entreat Thee, by the authority of the Divine name, and as far as I can, I constrain Thee, that Thou wilt not cast me out of this body, and banish me to hell.” For this was the greatest torment to a demon.

Ver. 9. My name is Legion; Syriac, our name, &c., adding, by way of explanation, for we are many. A legion contained properly 6666 soldiers. See what is said in Matt. xxvi. 53. In this place a certain number is put for an uncertain. Observe, the devil is God’s ape. Hence he imitates God, who is “the Lord of hosts,” that is, of angels. In a like way the devil calls himself legion, because he leads out many companions into line of battle to fight against God and His faithful people. Wherefore me have a right to dread that battle, knowing that their warfare is not with men, but devils, and those many in number, who conspire for their destruction. Therefore they ought to implore the help of God and the holy angels, as Elisha did (2 Kings vi. 17).

The anthology of commentaries prepared by St Thomas Aquinas in the Catena Aurea make the following additional points about the demons:

GREG. NYSS. Now the assembly of the devils had prepared itself to resist time divine power. But when He was approaching Who had power over all things, they proclaim aloud His eminent virtue. 

Wherefore there follows, But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, saying, &c. 

CYRIL; See how the devil is divided between two passions, fear amid audacity; he hangs back and prays, as if meditating a question; he wishes to know what he had to do with Jesus, as though be would say, Do you cast me out from men, who are mine? 

BEDE; And how great is the impiety of the Jews, to say that He cast out devils by the prince of the devils, when the very devils confess that they have nothing in common with Him. 

CHRYS. Then praying to Him, he subjoins, I adjure you by God, that you torment me not. For he considered being cast out to be a torment, or else he was also invisibly tortured. For however bad the devils are, they know that there awaits them at last a punishment for their sins; but that the time of their last punishment was not yet come, they full well knew, especially as they were permitted to mix among men. But because Christ had come upon them as they were doing such dreadful deeds, they thought that, such was the heinousness of their crimes, He would not wait for the last times, to punish them; for this reason they beg that they may not be tormented. 

BEDE; For it is a great torment for a devil to cease to hurt a man, and the more severely he possesses him, the more reluctantly he lets him go. For it goes on, For he said to him, Come out of the man, you unclean spirit. 

CYRIL; Consider the unconquerable power of Christ; He makes Satan shake, for to him the words of Christ are fire and flame; as the Psalmist says, The mountains melted at the presence of the Lord, that is, great and proud powers. 

The Catena also provides some explanations for the sending of the demons into the pigs:

REMIG. The devils entered not into the swine of their own will, but their asking for this concession, was, that it might be shown that they cannot hurt men without Divine permission. They did not ask to be sent into man, because they saw that He, by whose power they were tortured, bore a human form. Nor did they desire to be sent into the flocks, for they are clean animals offered up in the temple of God. But they desired to be sent into the swine, because no animal is more unclean than a hog, and devils always delight in filthiness. It goes on: And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. 

BEDE; And He gave them leave, that by the killing of the swine, the salvation of men might be furthered. 

PSEUD-CHRYS. He wished to show publicly the fury which devils entertain against men, and that they would inflict much worse things upon men, if they were not hindered by Divine power because, again, His compassion would not allow this to his shown on men, He permitted them to enter into the swine that on them the fury and power of the devils might be made known. There follows: And the unclean spirits went out. 

TITUS; But the herdsmen also took to flight, lest they should perish with the swine, and spread the same fear amongst the inhabitants of the town. Wherefore there follows: And they that fed them, &c. The necessity of their loss, however, brought these men to the Savior; for frequently when God makes men suffer loss in their possessions, he confers a benefit on their souls. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

St Mark 4:21-40

The second half of chapter 4 of St Mark's Gospel continues the discussion on the nature of the kingdom, and concludes with Jesus calming the stormy waters at seas:

21 Et dicebat illis: Numquid venit lucerna ut sub modo ponatur, aut sub lecto? nonne ut super candelabrum ponatur? 22 Non est enim aliquid absconditum, quod non manifestetur: nec factum est occultum, sed ut in palam veniat. 23 Si quis habet aures audiendi, audiat. 24 Et dicebat illis: Videte quid audiatis. In qua mensura mensi fueritis, remetietur vobis, et adjicietur vobis. 25 Qui enim habet, dabitur illi: et qui non habet, etiam quod habet auferetur ab eo.6 Et dicebat: Sic est regnum Dei, quemadmodum si homo jaciat sementem in terram, 27 et dormiat, et exsurgat nocte et die, et semen germinet, et increscat dum nescit ille. 28 Ultro enim terra fructificat, primum herbam, deinde spicam, deinde plenum frumentum in spica. 29 Et cum produxerit fructus, statim mittit falcem, quoniam adest messis.30 Et dicebat: Cui assimilabimus regnum Dei? aut cui parabolæ comparabimus illud? 31 Sicut granum sinapis, quod cum seminatum fuerit in terra, minus est omnibus seminibus, quæ sunt in terra: 32 et cum seminatum fuerit, ascendit, et fit majus omnibus oleribus, et facit ramos magnos, ita ut possint sub umbra ejus aves cæli habitare. 33 Et talibus multis parabolis loquebatur eis verbum, prout poterant audire: 34 sine parabola autem non loquebatur eis: seorsum autem discipulis suis disserebat omnia.35 Et ait illis in illa die, cum sero esset factum: Transeamus contra. 36 Et dimittentes turbam, assumunt eum ita ut erat in navi: et aliæ naves erant cum illo. 37 Et facta est procella magna venti, et fluctus mittebat in navim, ita ut impleretur navis. 38 Et erat ipse in puppi super cervical dormiens: et excitant eum, et dicunt illi: Magister, non ad te pertinet, quia perimus? 39 Et exsurgens comminatus est vento, et dixit mari: Tace, obmutesce. Et cessavit ventus: et facta est tranquillitas magna. 40 Et ait illis: Quid timidi estis? necdum habetis fidem? et timuerunt timore magno, et dicebant ad alterutrum: Quis, putas, est iste, quia et ventus et mare obediunt ei?

[21] And he said to them: Doth a candle come in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? [22] For there is nothing hid, which shall not be made manifest: neither was it made secret, but that it may come abroad. [23] If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. [24] And he said to them: Take heed what you hear. In what measure you shall mete, it shall be measured to you again, and more shall be given to you. [25] For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, that also which he hath shall be taken away from him. [26] And he said: So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the earth, [27] And should sleep, and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring, and grow up whilst he knoweth not. [28] For the earth of itself bringeth forth fruit, first the blade, then the ear, afterwards the full corn in the ear. [29] And when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. [30] And he said: To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? or to what parable shall we compare it? [31] It is as a grain of mustard seed: which when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that are in the earth: [32] And when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches, so that the birds of the air may dwell under the shadow thereof. [33] And with many such parables, he spoke to them the word, according as they were able to hear. [34] And without parable he did not speak unto them; but apart, he explained all things to his disciples. [35] And he saith to them that day, when evening was come: Let us pass over to the other side. [36] And sending away the multitude, they take him even as he was in the ship: and there were other ships with him. [37] And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled. [38] And he was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake him, and say to him: Master, doth it not concern thee that we perish? [39] And rising up, he rebuked the wind, and said to the sea: Peace, be still. And the wind ceased: and there was made a great calm. [40] And he said to them: Why are you fearful? have you not faith yet? And they feared exceedingly: and they said one to another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey him?

Commentary by de Lapide

Ver. 21. Doth a candle come in, i.e., is it brought into a house, to be put under a bushel or under a bed? That it should be hidden under a vessel? No! but that it should be exposed publicly, and give light to all. Christ signified by this parable that it was not His will that the mysteries of this parable and the other doctrines of the Gospel should be concealed and hidden, but that His disciples should unfold them in their time, and communicate to others who at that time were not able to receive them. It was His will that they should publish and preach them openly. This is plain from what follows.

Ver. 22. For there is nothing hid which shall not be made manifest; neither was it made secret, but that it may come abroad. This is the Greek and Latin reading. Although the doctrine of the Gospel and My deeds and words are as yet hidden and secret, I do not wish them always to remain so. At the proper time they must be openly proclaimed by you, 0 My disciples. So SS. Jerome and Bede. This is what Christ says in S. Matt. x. 27, What I say unto you in darkness, that speak ye in light, &c.

Ver. 24. And He said unto them, Take heed what ye hear. The meaning, says Euthymius, is, “Attend to the things which ye hear of Me, that ye may understand them, and commit them to memory, that when the proper time shall arrive ye may communicate them to others.” And He assigns the reason, which, as Theophylact says, is, “That none of My words may escape you.” Hear Bede, “He teaches us carefully to hear His words, in such manner that we should carefully digest them in our hearts, and be able to bring them forth for the hearing of others.”

In what measure you shall mete, it shall be measured to you again, and more shall be given to you. He means, if ye largely and copiously communicate and preach My doctrine to others, I also will copiously impart to you more understanding and greater wisdom, grace, and glory, as a recompense and reward to you. Thus fountains, the more they pour out above, the more they receive from below. Therefore, let preachers, teachers, and catechists learn from this promise of Christ, that the more pains they bestow in teaching others, the more grace and wisdom they will receive from Christ themselves, according to the words, “He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he that soweth in blessings,” i.e., abundantly, “shall reap also in blessings” (2 Cor. ix. 6), Vulg.

Ver. 25. For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, that also which he hath shall be taken away from him. Hath, that is, uses, and shows that he hath by using. For such a one hath indeed, but he who useth not a gift or grace hath it but in name. This is what theologians say, that he who uses his grace hath it in a second act; but he who uses it not hath it only in the first act, that is, in power and possession. The meaning therefore is, he who, by study or by imparting to others, uses learning given him by God, an increase of learning shall be given; but from him who uses not his learning, shall God take it away.

Ver. 26. And He said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the earth. This is another parable, different from that of the Sower, which precedes it. Both, however, are taken from seed, but differently applied and explained. Moreover, by the seed, as SS. Chrysostom and Bede rightly explain, both here and in S. Matt. xiii., is signified evangelical doctrine. By the field, hearers; by the harvest, the end of the world, or each one’s death, is meant.

Ver. 27. And should sleep, that is to say, the sower, and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up whilst he knoweth not. Some refer the words rise night and day to the seed; meaning that the seed should germinate, it knoweth not how, that is, like a man sleeping. More obviously, S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Maldonatus, and others refer the words to the sower, so that night pertains to the word sleep, day to the word rise. The meaning is, As the husbandman who has sowed is sleeping idly in the night, and is employed in various occupations during the day, and thinks not about the seed, that seed is germinating by its own innate force, and is growing up whilst the husbandman knoweth it not. So also it puts forth first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. So, too, in the same manner is the doctrine and preaching of the Gospel. They were sown by Christ and His Apostles, that is, they were preached from small beginnings. But by degrees they grew insensibly into the mature and mighty harvests of the faithful, whilst Christ was, as it were, sleeping in heaven, and permitting the Jews and unbelieving nations and tyrants to rise up against His Apostles, and persecute and kill them. It increases, I say, and propagates itself gradually, until it fills the world, when, the harvest being ripe, the corn, i.e., the elect, shall be gathered into the granary of heaven.

By this parable, then, is signified the power of the Gospel, which by degrees has pervaded the whole world, and is converting it to Christ. Tacitly, also, it is signified that preachers of the Gospel must not glory in their preaching, as though they by it were converting the world. For, as the Apostle saith, “Neither he that planteth is anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase (1 Cor. iii. 7). Christ further intimates that preachers ought not to be downcast if they see small and tardy fruits of their preaching, because God will, by the few converted by them, gradually convert many more. So S. James, by means of seven, or, as some say, by nine, whom he converted in Spain, converted the whole country.

Ver. 28. For the earth of itself bringeth forth fruit; first the blade, then the ear, afterwards the full corn in the ear. Arabic, Because the earth alone bringeth forth fruit; . . . afterwards the ear is filled, and when the fruit is perfect, then the sickle is applied, because it is harvest. Thus, in like manner, by the preaching of the Gospel, the faith of Christ and His Church grew by various degrees of increase.
Moraliter: Expositors adapt these three expressions, blade, ear, full corn, to a threefold increment of virtues and merits. For the earth of our heart germinates, first, the blade, when it conceives good desires; secondly, the ear, when it proceeds to earnest working; thirdly, the grain, when it brings the works of virtue to full maturity and perfection. Theophylact says, “The blade is the beginning of good; the ear is when we resist temptations; the fruit is perfect work.”

Hear S. Gregory (Hom. 15, in Ezek.), “To produce the blade is to hold the first tender beginning of good. The blade arrives at perfection when virtue conceived in the mind leads to advancement in good works. The full corn fructifies in the ear when virtue makes such great progress that it has its perfect work.”

Christ here intimates that the Apostles, and those who work for the conversion of souls, ought with long-suffering to await the fruit of their labours, as husbandmen do. They ought to cherish those who are tender in the faith, and gradually lead them on to the height of virtue by teaching, admonishing, and exercising them. Let no one, therefore, says Bede, who is beheld to be of good purpose in the tenderness of his mind, be despised, because the fruit takes its rise from the blade, and becomes corn.
Symbolically: The Scholiast says the blade was in the law of nature, the ear in the law of Moses, the fruit in the Gospel.

Ver. 29. And when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he pulleth in the sickle. Greek, όταν δὲ παραδω̃ ό καρπός, that is, when indeed the fruit has brought itself forth; for fruit is here in the nominative case. The Syriac has, when it has become fat; Arabic, when it is perfect. This is a Hebraism, for in Hebrew verbs in the conjugation Hitpael have a passive, or reflex, signification, by which the agent receives the action in himself, so that the agent is the same as the recipient of the action. Wherefore some codices read, when the fruit has produced itself. Otherwise Maldonatus explains, “When the fruit, that is, the seed itself, which was the fruit of former seed, shall have brought forth, that is to say, other seed from itself.”

Ver. 33. And with many such parables He spake the word unto them, as they were able to hear it, that is, as they were worthy to hear, as Maldonatus says, from Bede and Euthymius. More simply and plainly, Theophylact and Franc. Lucas explain with such, i.e., common and easy parables, which all could understand, not with what was abstruse; so that they might take in their literal drift, and perceive that there was something heavenly and divine lying beneath the surface, although they did not comprehend each particular. Thus, by what was known of the parable they were stirred up by Christ to investigate what lay hid.

Ver. 36. As He was in the ship. The disciples took up Christ upon the deep sea, that they might cross over it with Him; Christ, I say, as He was in the ship, namely, sitting and teaching the people standing on the shore. This is plain from ver. 1, for afterwards it appears that He changed His position, sleeping in the ship. It marks the ready obedience of the disciples, and in turn Christ’s facile accommodation of Himself to their promptitude, that He might escape the tumult of the thronging multitude. The Syriac translates, when He was in he ship; the Arabic, they took Him up in the ship.

And there were other ships with Him. It happened by the counsel of God that the many persons who were carried in those ships should be spectators and witnesses of the miracle very shortly to be wrought by Christ, namely, the appeasing the tempest. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

St Mark 4:1-20

St Mark chapter 4 takes us to some key parables on the nature of the kingdom:

1 Et iterum cœpit docere ad mare: et congregata est ad eum turba multa, ita ut navim ascendens sederet in mari, et omnis turba circa mare super terram erat: 2 et docebat eos in parabolis multa, et dicebat illis in doctrina sua: 3 Audite: ecce exiit seminans ad seminandum. 4 Et dum seminat, aliud cecidit circa viam, et venerunt volucres cæli, et comederunt illud. 5 Aliud vero cecidit super petrosa, ubi non habuit terram multam: et statim exortum est, quoniam non habebat altitudinem terræ: 6 et quando exortus est sol, exæstuavit: et eo quod non habebat radicem, exaruit. 7 Et aliud cecidit in spinas: et ascenderunt spinæ, et suffocaverunt illud, et fructum non dedit. 8 Et aliud cecidit in terram bonam: et dabat fructum ascendentem et crescentem, et afferebat unum triginta, unum sexaginta, et unum centum. 9 Et dicebat: Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat.10 Et cum esset singularis, interrogaverunt eum hi qui cum eo erant duodecim, parabolam. 11 Et dicebat eis: Vobis datum est nosse mysterium regni Dei: illis autem, qui foris sunt, in parabolis omnia fiunt: 12 ut videntes videant, et non videant: et audientes audiant, et non intelligant: nequando convertantur, et dimittantur eis peccata. 13 Et ait illis: Nescitis parabolam hanc? Et quomodo omnes parabolas cognoscetis? 14 Qui seminat, verbum seminat. 15 Hi autem sunt, qui circa viam, ubi seminatur verbum, et cum audierint, confestim venit Satanas, et aufert verbum, quod seminatum est in cordibus eorum. 16 Et hi sunt similiter, qui super petrosa seminantur: qui cum audierint verbum, statim cum gaudio accipiunt illud: 17 et non habent radicem in se, sed temporales sunt: deinde orta tribulatione et persecutione propter verbum, confestim scandalizantur. 18 Et alii sunt qui in spinas seminantur: hi sunt qui verbum audiunt, 19 et ærumnæ sæculi, et deceptio divitiarum, et circa reliqua concupiscentiæ introëuntes suffocant verbum, et sine fructu efficitur. 20 Et hi sunt qui super terram bonam seminati sunt, qui audiunt verbum, et suscipiunt, et fructificant, unum triginta, unum sexaginta, et unum centum.

[1] And again he began to teach by the sea side; and a great multitude was gathered together unto him, so that he went up into a ship, and sat in the sea; and all the multitude was upon the land by the sea side. [2] And he taught them many things in parables, and said unto them in his doctrine: [3] Hear ye: Behold, the sower went out to sow. [4] And whilst he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and ate it up. [5] And other some fell upon stony ground, where it had not much earth; and it shot up immediately, because it had no depth of earth.[6] And when the sun was risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. [7] And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. [8] And some fell upon good ground; and brought forth fruit that grew up, and increased and yielded, one thirty, another sixty, and another a hundred. [9] And he said: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. [10] And when he was alone, the twelve that were with him asked him the parable.[11] And he said to them: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but to them that are without, all things are done in parables: [12] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand: lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. [13] And he saith to them: Are you ignorant of this parable? and how shall you know all parables? [14] He that soweth, soweth the word. [15] And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown, and as soon as they have heard, immediately Satan cometh and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. [16] And these likewise are they that are sown on the stony ground: who when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with joy. [17] And they have no root in themselves, but are only for a time: and then when tribulation and persecution ariseth for the word they are presently scandalized. [18] And others there are who are sown among thorns: these are they that hear the word, [19] And the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts after other things entering in choke the word, and it is made fruitless. [20] And these are they who are sown upon the good ground, who hear the word, and receive it, and yield fruit, the one thirty, another sixty, and another a hundred.

Commentary

de Lapide comments on the inner circle to whom he explains the parables (verse 10):

And when He was alone: Gr. καταμόνας, Vulg. singularis, solitary, by Himself.
The twelve that were with Him asked Him. The Greek, Syriac, and Arabic have with the twelve, meaning that the seventy disciples, who, with the twelve Apostles, were followers of Jesus, asked Him what was the meaning of the parable of the Sower.

The Catena Aurea provides a more extensive discussion of this scene:

PSEUD-CHRYS. As if He said to them, You that are worthy to be taught all things which are fitted for teaching, shall learn the manifestation of parables; but I use parables with them who are unworthy to learn, because of their wickedness. For it was right that they who did not hold fast their obedience to that law which they had received, should not have any share in a new teaching, but should be estranged from both; for He showed by the obedience of His disciples, that, on the other hand, the others were become unworthy of mystical doctrine. But afterwards, by bringing in a voice from prophecy, He confounds their wickedness, as having been long before reproved; wherefore it goes on, that seeing they might see, and not perceive, &c. as if He said, that the prophecy might be fulfilled which foretells these things. 

THEOPHYL. For it was God Who made them to see, that is, to understand what is good. But they themselves see not, of their own will making themselves not to see, lest they should be converted and correct themselves, as if they were displeased at their own salvation. It goes on, Lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins be forgiven them. 

PSEUD-CHRYS. Thus, therefore, they see and they do not see, they hear and do not understand, for their seeing and hearing comes to them from God's grace, but their seeing and not understanding comes to them from their willingness to receive grace, and closing their eyes, and pretending that they could not see; neither do they acquiesce in what was said, and so are not changed as to their sins by hearing and seeing, but rather are made worse. 

THEOPHYL. Or we may understand in a different way His speaking to the rest in parables, that seeing they might not perceive, and hearing, not understand. For God gives sight and understanding to men who seek for them, but the rest He blinds, lest it become a greater accusation against them, that though they understood, they did not choose to do what they ought. Wherefore it goes on, Lest at any time they should be, &c. 

AUG. Or else they deserved this, their not understanding., and yet this in itself was done in mercy to them, that they might know their sins, and, being converted, merit pardon. 

BEDE; To those then who are without, all things are done in parables, that is, both the actions and the words of the Savior because neither in those miracles which He was working, nor in those mysteries which He preached, were they able to acknowledge Him as God. Therefore they are not able to attain to the remission of their sins. 

PSEUD-CHRYS. But His speaking to them only in parables, and yet not leaving off speaking to them entirely, shows that to those who are placed near to what is good, though they may have no good in themselves, still good is shown disguised. But when a man approaches it with reverence and a right heart, he wins for himself an abundant revelation of mysteries; when on the contrary his thoughts are not sound, he will he neither made worthy of those things which are easy to many men, nor even of hearing them. There follows, And he said to them, Know you not this parable, how then shall you know all parables? 

PSEUDO-JEROME; For it was necessary that they to whom he spoke in parables should ask for what they do not understand, and learn by the Apostle whom they despised, the mystery of the kingdom which they themselves had not. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

St Mark 3: 13-35

St Mark 3:

13 Et ascendens in montem vocavit ad se quos voluit ipse: et venerunt ad eum. 14 Et fecit ut essent duodecim cum illo: et ut mitteret eos prædicare. 15 Et dedit illis potestatem curandi infirmitates et ejiciendi dæmonia. 16 Et imposuit Simoni nomen Petrus: 17 et Jacobum Zebedæi, et Joannem fratrem Jacobi, et imposuit eis nomina Boanerges, quod est, Filii tonitrui: 18 et Andræam, et Philippum, et Bartholomæum, et Matthæum, et Thomam, et Jacobum Alphæi, et Thaddæum, et Simonem Cananæum, 19 et Judam Iscariotem, qui et tradidit illum.20 Et veniunt ad domum: et convenit iterum turba, ita ut non possent neque panem manducare. 21 Et cum audissent sui, exierunt tenere eum: dicebant enim: Quoniam in furorem versus est. 22 Et scribæ, qui ab Jerosolymis descenderant, dicebant: Quoniam Beelzebub habet, et quia in principe dæmoniorum ejicit dæmonia. 23 Et convocatis eis in parabolis dicebat illis: Quomodo potest Satanas Satanam ejicere? 24 Et si regnum in se dividatur, non potest regnum illud stare. 25 Et si domus super semetipsam dispertiatur, non potest domus illa stare. 26 Et si Satanas consurrexerit in semetipsum, dispertitus est, et non poterit stare, sed finem habet. 27 Nemo potest vasa fortis ingressus in domum diripere, nisi prius fortem alliget, et tunc domum ejus diripiet. 28 Amen dico vobis, quoniam omnia dimittentur filiis hominum peccata, et blasphemiæ quibus blasphemaverint: 29 qui autem blasphemaverit in Spiritum Sanctum, non habebit remissionem in æternum, sed reus erit æterni delicti. 30 Quoniam dicebant: Spiritum immundum habet. 31 Et veniunt mater ejus et fratres: et foris stantes miserunt ad eum vocantes eum, 32 et sedebat circa eum turba: et dicunt ei: Ecce mater tua et fratres tui foris quærunt te. 33 Et respondens eis, ait: Quæ est mater mea et fratres mei? 34 Et circumspiciens eos, qui in circuitu ejus sedebant, ait: Ecce mater mea et fratres mei. 35 Qui enim fecerit voluntatem Dei, hic frater meus, et soror mea, et mater est.

And going up into a mountain, he called unto him whom he would himself: and they came to him. [14] And he made that twelve should be with him, and that he might send them to preach. [15] And he gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. [16] And to Simon he gave the name Peter: [17] And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he named them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: [18] And Andrew and Philip, and Bartholomew and Matthew, and Thomas and James of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Cananean: [19] And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. [20] And they come to a house, and the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. [21] And when his friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him. For they said: He is become mad. [22] And the scribes who were come down from Jerusalem, said: He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils he casteth out devils. [23] And after he had called them together, he said to them in parables: How can Satan cast out Satan? [24] And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand [26] And if Satan be risen up against himself, he is divided, and cannot stand, but hath an end. [27] No man can enter into the house of a strong man and rob him of his goods, unless he first bind the strong man, and then shall he plunder his house. [28] Amen I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme: [29] But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin. [30] Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.[31] And his mother and his brethren came; and standing without, sent unto him, calling him. [32] And the multitude sat about him; and they say to him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. [33] And answering them, he said: Who is my mother and my brethren? [34] And looking round about on them who sat about him, he saith: Behold my mother and my brethren. [35] For whosoever shall do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Commentary from de Lapide

On changing names:

And Simon He surnamed Peter. Several Greek codices prefix to these words, πρω̃τον Σίμων, first Peter. The rest omit them. The same thing is sufficiently gathered from the fact that Peter is here first named by Christ, and his name changed, so that he who was first called Simon, is afterwards called in Syriac Cephas, in Greek and Latin Petrus, that is, a rock, because he was to be made by Christ the rock and foundation of the Church.

And James the son of Zebedee (James is named first because he was the elder), and John the brother of James. And he called the Boanerges, which is, Sons of thunder. He saith not name, but names, because they were two. They were thunderers, thundering forth, as it were, Christ’s Gospel and doctrines.
Boanerges: so the Arabic, Egyptian, and Persian. The Ethiopic has Baanerges. This name is a corruption, for in Hebrew, or rather in Syriac, it would be Banerges or Bonerges, as it is found in certain MSS., as Franc. Lucas attests in his Notation. For the Syrians, like the Bavarians and the Westphalians, pronounce the vowel a like o, and e like a. For Semuel they say Samuel, and for bene, or sons, bane. It may be that Banerges has been changed into Boanerges by persons ignorantly supposing that boa signifies the sound of thunder.

Banerges, as Jansen observes, is a compound word, consisting of כני, bane, sons, and כנש, regesch, a roaring, i.e., of thunder. Thus Jupiter is called by the Greeks ύψιβρεμέτης, loftily roaring, i.e., thundering on high. The Syriac version has in this place bane reges, sons of thunder, instead of the Hebrew expression, bene raam. For Christ here spoke in the Syriac of that age. There is here, then, a metathesis or transposition of the letters r and e, banerges, instead of bane reges. A similar transposition is common in many languages, as Angelus Caninius shows (Hellen. p. 64). Thus, for καρδία the Greek poets say κραδίη, κρατερός for καρτερός; for νεϋρον the Latins say nervus; for άρπαξ, rapax; for μορφή, forma. Punic has gerac for άκρα, i.e., arx, a citadel. Etruscan has bigr, virgo, a virgin; darag, gradus, a step; elmara, mulier, a woman; cabbirim, cherubim, &c.

The meaning, then, is as follows: Christ called James and John by a new name, Banerges, Sons of thunder, because He charged them above the rest of the Apostles with the glorious preaching of His Gospel, that by the holiness of their lives and their miracles they might be like thunderbolts, and might, by the power of their voices, shake as with claps of thunder unbelievers and barbarians, and bring them to repentance and a holy life. This appears in the history of S. James. Because of his liberty and zeal in preaching, he was the first among the Apostles to incur the wrath of Herod and the Jews, by whom he was beheaded (Acts xii.). The same converted the Spaniards, and by their means the inhabitants of the East and West Indies, to the faith of Christ. John preached for a very long period, and very efficaciously. He was the last of the Apostles to depart this life, which he did after he had subdued Asia and other provinces to Christ by his preaching. Hence, also, his Gospel begins with divine thunder, as it were an eagle of God crying with a voice of thunder, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (S. Epiphanius, Hæres. 73). Wherefore, when he was writing his Gospel, there were lightnings and thunderings from heaven, like as it lightened from Mount Sinai when God gave the law to Moses. So Baronius shows from Metaphrastes (A.D. 99 in fin).
See what I have said on Ezek. i. 14, on the words, “They went like a flash of lightning,” where I have given a threefold meaning to the expression, Sons of thunder. Thus Pericles, as an orator, seemed, says Quintilian, not so much to speak as to thunder and lighten. Wherefore he was called by the poets the Olympian, that is, the heavenly.