Saturday, 24 May 2014

St Mark 9: 1-12

St Mark 9 on the Transfiguration:

1 Et post dies sex assumit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem, et ducit illos in montem excelsum seorsum solos, et transfiguratus est coram ipsis. 2 Et vestimenta ejus facta sunt splendentia, et candida nimis velut nix, qualia fullo non potest super terram candida facere. 3 Et apparuit illis Elias cum Moyse: et erant loquentes cum Jesu. 4 Et respondens Petrus, ait Jesu: Rabbi, bonum est nos hic esse: et faciamus tria tabernacula, tibi unum, et Moysi unum, et Eliæ unum. 5 Non enim sciebat quid diceret: erant enim timore exterriti. 6 Et facta est nubes obumbrans eos: et venit vox de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus carissimus: audite illum. 7 Et statim circumspicientes, neminem amplius viderunt, nisi Jesum tantum secum.8 Et descendentibus illis de monte, præcepit illis ne cuiquam quæ vidissent, narrarent: nisi cum Filius hominis a mortuis resurrexerit. 9 Et verbum continuerunt apud se: conquirentes quid esset, cum a mortuis resurrexerit. 10 Et interrogabant eum, dicentes: Quid ergo dicunt pharisæi et scribæ, quia Eliam oportet venire primum? 11 Qui respondens, ait illis: Elias cum venerit primo, restituet omnia: et quomodo scriptum est in Filium hominis, ut multa patiatur et contemnatur. 12 Sed dico vobis quia et Elias venit (et fecerunt illi quæcumque voluerunt) sicut scriptum est de eo.

1] And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter and James and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them. [2] And his garments became shining and exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller upon earth can make white. [3] And there appeared to them Elias with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Rabbi, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] For he knew not what he said: for they were struck with fear. [6] And there was a cloud overshadowing them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying: This is my most beloved son; hear ye him. [7] And immediately looking about, they saw no man any more, but Jesus only with them. [8] And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them not to tell any man what things they had seen, till the Son of man shall be risen again from the dead. [9] And they kept the word to themselves; questioning together what that should mean, when he shall be risen from the dead. [10] And they asked him, saying: Why then do the Pharisees and scribes say that Elias must come first? [11] Who answering, said to them: Elias, when he shall come first, shall restore all things; and as it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things and be despised. [12] But I say to you, that Elias also is come, (and they have done to him whatsoever they would,) as it is written of him

Commentary

De Lapide:

Ver. 12. And be despised: Gr. ε̉ξουδενωθη̃, i.e., be nothing accounted of. Understand, thus shall it happen to Elias, that when by his great labours he has restored the faith, he shall in return for such great benefits receive curses and ill-treatment from the ungrateful and the impious, and shall at last be killed by them.

From the Catena Aurea:

PSEUDO-JEROME; After the consummation of the cross, the glory of the resurrection is shown, that they, who were to see with their own eyes the glory of the resurrection to come, might not fear the shame of the cross; wherefore it is said, And after six days Jesus takes with him Peter, and James, and John, and led them up into an high mountain apart by themselves, and he was transfigured before them. 

BEDE; Our Savior then when transfigured did not lose the substance of real flesh, but showed forth the glory of His own or of our future resurrection; for such as He then appeared to the Apostles, He will after the judgment appear to all His elect. It goes on, And his raiment became shining. 

GREG. Because, in the height of the brightness of heaven above, they who shine in righteousness of life, will cling to Him; for by the name of garments, He means the just whom He joins to Himself. There follows And there appeared to them Elias with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 

CHRYS. He brings Moses and Elias before them; first, indeed, because the multitudes said that Christ was Elias, and one of the Prophets, He shows Himself to the Apostles with them that they might see the difference between the Lord, and His servants. And again because the Jews accused Christ of transgressing the law, and thought Him a blasphemer, as if He arrogated to Himself the glory of His Father, He brought before them those who shone conspicuous in both ways; for Moses gave the Law, and Elias was zealous for the glory of God; for which reason neither would have stood near Him, if He had been opposed to God and to His law. 

And that they might know that He holds the power of life and of death, He brings before them both Moses who was dead, and Elias who had not yet suffered death. Furthermore He signified by this that the doctrine of the Prophets was the schoolmaster to the doctrine of Christ. He also signified the junction of the New and Old Testament, and that the Apostles shall be joined in the resurrection with the Prophets, and both together shall go forth to meet their common King. It goes on, And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for you, and one for Moses, and one for or Elias. 

BEDE; If the transfigured humanity of Christ and the society of but two saints seen for a moment, could confer delight to such a degree that Peter would, even by serving them, stay their departure, how great a happiness will it be to enjoy the vision of Deity amidst choirs of Angels for ever? it goes on, For he wist not what to say; although, however, Peter from the stupor of human frailty knew not what to say, still He gives a proof of the feelings which were within him; for the cause of his not knowing what to say, was his forgetting that the kingdom was promised to the Saints by the Lord not in any earthly region, but in heaven; he did not remember that he and his fellow-Apostles were still hemmed in by mortal flesh and could not bear the state of immortal life, to which his soul had already carried him away, because in our Father's house in heaven, a house made with hands is not needed. But again even up to this time he is points at, as an ignorant man who wishes to make three tabernacles for the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, since they in no way can be separated from each other. 

CHRYS. Again, Peter neither comprehended that the Lord worked His transfiguration for the showing forth of His true glory, nor that He did this in order to teach men, nor that it was impossible for them to leave the multitude and dwell in the mountain. It goes on, For they were sore afraid. But this fear of theirs was one by which they were raised from their usual state of mind to one higher, and they recognized that those who appeared to them were Moses and Elias. The soul also was drawn on to a state of heavenly feeling, as though carried away from human sense by the heavenly vision. 

THEOPHYL. Or else, Peter, fearing to come down from the mount because he has now a presentiment that Christ must be crucified, said, It is good for us too be here, and not to go down there, that is, in the midst of the Jews; but if they who are furious against You come hither, we have Moses who beat down the Egyptians, we have also Elias, who brought fire down from heaven and destroyed the five hundred. 

ORIGEN; Mark says his own person, For he wist not what to say. Where it is matter for consideration, whether perchance Peter spoke this in the confusion of his mind, by the motion of a spirit not his own; whether perchance that spirit himself who wished, as far as in him lay, to be a stumbling-block to Christ, so that He might shrink from that Passion, which was the saving of all men, did not here work as a seducer and wish under the color of good to prevent Christ from condescending to men, from coming to them, and taking death upon Himself for their sakes 

BEDE; Now because Peter sought for a material tabernacle, he was covered with the shadow of the cloud, that he might learn that in the resurrection they are to be protected not by the covering of houses, but by the glory of the Holy Ghost; wherefore it goes on, There was a cloud that overshadowed them. And the reason why they obtained no answer from the Lord was, that they asked unadvisedly; but the Father answered for the Son, wherefore there follows And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 

CHRYS. The voice proceeded from a cloud in which God is wont to appear, that they might believe that the voice was sent forth from God. But in that He says, This is my beloved Son, He declares that the will of the Father and the Son is one, and that, save that the is the Son, He is in all things One with Him who begot Him. 

BEDE He then whose preaching, as Moses foretold, every soul that wished to he saved should hear when He came in the flesh, He now come in the flesh is proclaimed by God the Father to the disciples as the one whom they were to hear. There follows, And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves; for as soon as the Son was proclaimed, at once the servants disappeared, lest the voice of the Father should seem to have been sent forth to them. 

THEOPHYL. Again mystically; after the end of this world, which was made in six days, Jesus will take us up (if we be His disciples) into a high mountain, that is, into heaven, where we shall see His exceeding glory. 

BEDE; And by the garments of the Lord are meant His saints, who will shine with a new whiteness. By the fuller we must understand Him, to whom the Psalmist says, Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin; for He cannot give to His faithful ones upon earth that glory which remains laid up for them in heaven. 

REMIG. Or else, by the fuller are meant holy preachers and purifiers of the soul, none of whom in this life can so live as not to be stained with some spots of sin; but in the coming resurrection all the saints shall be purged from every stain of sin. Therefore the Lord will make them such as neither they themselves by taking vengeance on their own members, nor any preacher by his example and doctrine, can make. 

CHRYS. Or else, white garments are the writings of Evangelists and Apostles, the like to which no interpreter can frame. 

ORIGEN; Or else, fullers upon earth may by a moral interpretation be considered to be the wise of this world, who are thought to adorn even their foul understandings and doctrines with a false whitening drawn from their own minds. But their skill as fullers cannot produce any thing like a discourse which shows forth the brightness of spiritual conceptions in the unpolished words of Scripture, which by many are despised. 

BEDE; Moses and Elias, of whom one, as we read, died, the other was carried away to heaven, signify the coming glory of all the Saints, that is, of all who in the judgment-time are either to be found alive in the flesh, or to be raised up from that death of which they tasted, and who are all equally to reign with Him. 

THEOPHYL, Or else it means, that we are to see in glory both the Law and the Prophets speaking with Him, that is we shall then find that all those things which were spoken of Him by Moses and the other prophets agree with the reality; then too we shall hear the voice of the Father, revealing to us the Son of the Father, and saying, This is my beloved Son, and the cloud, that is, the Holy Ghost, the fount of truth, will overshadow us. 

BEDE; And we must observe, that, as when the Lord was baptized in Jordan, so on the mountain, covered with brightness, the whole mystery of the Holy Trinity is declared, because we shall see in the resurrection that glory of the Trinity which we believers confess in baptism, and shall praise it all together. Nor is it without reason that the Holy Ghost appeared here in a bright cloud, there in the form of a dove; because he who now with a simple heart keeps the faith which He has embraced, shall then contemplate what he had believed with the brightness of open vision. But when the voice had been heard over the Son, He was found Himself alone, because when He shall have manifested Himself to His elect, God shall be all in all, yes Christ with His own, as the Head with the body, shall shine through all things.

Friday, 23 May 2014

St Mark 8:22-39

St Mark 8: 22-39:

22 Et veniunt Bethsaidam, et adducunt ei cæcum, et rogabant eum ut illum tangeret. 23 Et apprehensa manu cæci, eduxit eum extra vicum: et exspuens in oculos ejus impositis manibus suis, interrogavit eum si quid videret. 24 Et aspiciens, ait: Video homines velut arbores ambulantes. 25 Deinde iterum imposuit manus super oculos ejus: et cœpit videre: et restitutus est ita ut clare videret omnia. 26 Et misit illum in domum suam, dicens: Vade in domum tuam: et si in vicum introieris, nemini dixeris.27 Et egressus est Jesus, et discipuli ejus in castella Cæsareæ Philippi: et in via interrogabat discipulos suos, dicens eis: Quem me dicunt esse homines? 28 Qui responderunt illi, dicentes: Joannem Baptistam, alii Eliam, alii vero quasi unum de prophetis. 29 Tunc dicit illis: Vos vero quem me esse dicitis? Respondens Petrus, ait ei: Tu es Christus. 30 Et comminatus est eis, ne cui dicerent de illo. 31 Et cœpit docere eos quoniam oportet Filium hominis pati multa, et reprobari a senioribus, et a summis sacerdotibus et scribis, et occidi: et post tres dies resurgere. 32 Et palam verbum loquebatur. Et apprehendens eum Petrus, cœpit increpare eum. 33 Qui conversus, et videns discipulos suos, comminatus est Petro, dicens: Vade retro me Satana, quoniam non sapis quæ Dei sunt, sed quæ sunt hominum. 34 Et convocata turba cum discipulis suis, dixit eis: Si quis vult me sequi, deneget semetipsum: et tollat crucem suam, et sequatur me. 35 Qui enim voluerit animam suam salvam facere, perdet eam: qui autem perdiderit animam suam propter me, et Evangelium, salvam faciet eam. 36 Quid enim proderit homini, si lucretur mundum totum et detrimentum animæ suæ faciat? 37 Aut quid dabit homo commutationis pro anima sua? 38 Qui enim me confusus fuerit, et verba mea in generatione ista adultera et peccatrice, et Filius hominis confundetur eum, cum venerit in gloria Patris sui cum angelis sanctis. 39 Et dicebat illis: Amen dico vobis, quia sunt quidam de hic stantibus, qui non gustabunt mortem donec videant regnum Dei veniens in virtute.

 [22] And they came to Bethsaida; and they bring to him a blind man, and they besought him that he would touch him. [23] And taking the blind man by the hand, he led him out of the town; and spitting upon his eyes, laying his hands on him, he asked him if he saw any thing. [24] And looking up, he said: I see men as it were trees, walking. [25] After that again he laid his hands upon his eyes, and he began to see, and was restored, so that he saw all things clearly. [26] And he sent him into his house, saying: Go into thy house, and if thou enter into the town, tell nobody. [27] And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. And in the way, he asked his disciples, saying to them: Whom do men say that I am? [28] Who answered him, saying: John the Baptist; but some Elias, and others as one of the prophets. [29] Then he saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Peter answering said to him: Thou art the Christ. [30] And he strictly charged them that they should not tell any man of him. [31] And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the ancients and by the high priests, and the scribes, and be killed: and after three days rise again. [32] And he spoke the word openly. And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him. [33] Who turning about and seeing his disciples, threatened Peter, saying: Go behind me, Satan, because thou savorest not the things that are of God, but that are of men. [34] And calling the multitude together with his disciples, he said to them: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. [35] For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it. [36] For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? [37] Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? [38] For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. [39] And he said to them: Amen I say to you, that there are some of them that stand here, who shall not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God coming in power.

Commentary by de Lapide

Ver. 23. And taking the blind man by the hand, He led him out of the town, i.e., outside of Bethsaida, as is plain from ver. 22. He led him forth for the same reason that when He was about to heal the deaf and dumb man He took him aside from the multitude. This was, ist. For the sake of prayer, that, being alone, He might collect His thoughts, and unite Himself wholly to God, and pray the more intently and collectedly. 2nd. To fly from the applause of men, and teach us to do the same. 3rd. Because the citizens of Bethsaida were unworthy of the miracle of Christ ; for although they had seen Him work so many miracles, they would not believe in Him. And spitting upon his eyes. Fasting spittle does good to the purblind, but does not illuminate those who have actually lost their sight. The saliva, therefore, of Christ was not a natural but a supernatural remedy for blindness, being the instrument by which Christ s Godhead wrought. S. Hilarion imitated this miracle by which Christ gave sight to a blind man, as S. Jerome relates in his Life. "A blind woman was brought to B. Hilarion, who said that she had expended all her substance upon physicians. Hilarion said to her, If thou hadst given to the poor what thou hast thrown away upon physicians, Christ the true Physician would have healed thee." Laid His hands, i.e., when He had placed His hands upon the eyes of the blind man, and again removed them. For that is improbable which the Scholiast in S. Chrysostom says, that this blind man saw people (ver. 24) when Christ s hands were over his eyes. For this would have been a new and uncalled-for miracle. 

Ver. 24. And looking up, he said, 1 see men as it were trees, walking. As much as to say, I see something obscurely and confusedly; for I see men walking, but in such a way that I cannot distinguish whether they are men or trees. Just as it happens to ourselves, says Bede ; when we see people at a great distance, we can only distinguish men from trees- by their motion, because men walk, but trees do not. The word walking must be referred to men, not to trees, as is plain by the Greek. The word walking in the Latin text, however, might refer to trees in this sense : I see men as it were trees split, and therefore two-footed, and so walking. This blind man, therefore, as yet in darkness, saw men as it were through a mist and cloud, in which they appeared greater than they really were, it might be as thick and tall as trees, as by means of magnifying glasses letters appear larger than they are in reality. 

It is related of S. Gregory Thaumaturgus, that in the Decian persecution he fled with his deacon to a certain hill. A certain traitor made known where they were to the persecutors, who carefully searched the whole hill to discover Gregory. With strong faith in God, he stood in prayer, with eyes immovable and hands stretched out But God smote the persecutors with inability to see. They returned and reported that they had seen nothing on the hill except two trees a little distant from one another. When they had gone away, the traitor himself went up the hill and saw two men, Gregory and his deacon, instead of the trees. He acknowledged that it was the work of Divine power that they had appeared to the persecutors to be trees, and he fell down at their feet, and from a traitor became a confessor of the faith. (S. Greg. Nyss. in Vita.) 

Mystically: The Scholiast in S. Jerome says, "The blind man is a penitent sinner. He sees men as trees walking, because he esteems every one superior to himself. With David he counts himself unworthy to be called a man, deeming himself to be a dead dog and a flea" (2 Sam. xvi.). 

Ver. 25. After that again He laid His hands upon his eyes, and he began to see, and was restored so that he saw all things dearly. Christ wished not suddenly, but by degrees, perfectly to illuminate this blind man: 1st. That He might exhibit miracles of every description. 2nd. That this miracle might be more esteemed. 3rd. And principally, That He might accommodate Himself to the imperfect faith of the blind man and those who brought him, their faith increasing as the miracle proceeded ; and that He might the more kindle in them faith, hope, and desire that it might be brought to a perfect work. " In the first place, He cured this blind man imperfectly," says Euthymius, "inasmuch as he believed imperfectly, that he who as yet had but a little vision might by means of the little light believe more perfectly, and be healed more completely ; for He was the wise Physician." And by and by he says, " Increase of faith deserved increase of healing." 

Tropologically : Christ wished to teach us that the unbeliever and the sinner are gradually illuminated by God, and that they ought correspondingly to make gradual increase in the knowledge and worship of God. "He did it," says Bede, "that He might show the greatness of human blindness, which is wont to arrive step by step, and by certain grades, as it were, of progression, at the light of the Divine knowledge." For as the Scholiast says, "There are degrees of knowledge; neither can any one arrive in a single hour, or, indeed, without considerable time, at perfect knowledge." We have experience of this in children and scholars, who must be taught and instructed step by step. For if the teacher, being impatient of delay and trouble, should wish to teach them everything at once, he would crush their memory and intellect, so that they would take in nothing. It is like wine when it is poured into a vessel with a narrow neck ; if you try to pour it all in at once, you pour in scarcely anything, but nearly the whole is spilled. Worthy of note is the Italian proverb, "Gently, gently, if you would go far ; " or the saying of the philosopher, " Progression is by degrees." 

Symbolically : The Scholiast in S. Jerome says, "Christ laid His hands upon his eyes, that he might see all things clearly, that is, that by visible works he might understand things invisible, and which eye hath not seen ; and that after the film of sin he might clearly behold the state of his soul with the eye of a clean heart. For blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

St Mark 8:1-21

St Mark 8 on the feeding of the multitude:

1 In diebus illis iterum cum turba multa esset, nec haberent quod manducarent, convocatis discipulis, ait illis: 2 Misereor super turbam: quia ecce jam triduo sustinent me, nec habent quod manducent: 3 et si dimisero eos jejunos in domum suam, deficient in via: quidam enim ex eis de longe venerunt. 4 Et responderunt ei discipuli sui: Unde illos quis poterit saturare panibus in solitudine? 5 Et interrogavit eos: Quot panes habetis? Qui dixerunt: Septem. 6 Et præcepit turbæ discumbere super terram. Et accipiens septem panes, gratias agens fregit, et dabat discipulis suis ut apponerent, et apposuerunt turbæ. 7 Et habebant pisciculos paucos: et ipsos benedixit, et jussit apponi. 8 Et manducaverunt, et saturati sunt, et sustulerunt quod superaverat de fragmentis, septem sportas. 9 Erant autem qui manducaverunt, quasi quatuor millia: et dimisit eos.10 Et statim ascendens navim cum discipulis suis, venit in partes Dalmanutha. 11 Et exierunt pharisæi, et cœperunt conquirere cum eo, quærentes ab illo signum de cælo, tentantes eum. 12 Et ingemiscens spiritu, ait: Quid generatio ista signum quærit? Amen dico vobis, si dabitur generationi isti signum. 13 Et dimittens eos, ascendit iterum navim et abiit trans fretum.14 Et obliti sunt panes sumere: et nisi unum panem non habebant secum in navi. 15 Et præcipiebat eis, dicens: Videte, et cavete a fermento pharisæorum, et fermento Herodis. 16 Et cogitabant ad alterutrum, dicentes: quia panes non habemus. 17 Quo cognito, ait illis Jesus: Quid cogitatis, quia panes non habetis? nondum cognoscetis nec intelligitis? adhuc cæcatum habetis cor vestrum? 18 oculos habentes non videtis? et aures habentes non auditis? nec recordamini, 19 quando quinque panes fregi in quinque millia: quot cophinos fragmentorum plenos sustulistis? Dicunt ei: Duodecim. 20 Quando et septem panes in quatuor millia: quot sportas fragmentorum tulistis? Et dicunt ei: Septem. 21 Et dicebat eis: Quomodo nondum intelligitis?

In those days again, when there was a great multitude, and had nothing to eat; calling his disciples together, he saith to them: [2] I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat. [3] And if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off. [4] And his disciples answered him: From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness? [5] And he asked them: How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven.[6] And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, he broke, and gave to his disciples for to set before them; and they set them before the people. [7] And they had a few little fishes; and he blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. [8] And they did eat and were filled; and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets. [9] And they that had eaten were about four thousand; and he sent them away. [10] And immediately going up into a ship with his disciples, he came into the parts of Dalmanutha.[11] And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, asking him a sign from heaven, tempting him. [12] And sighing deeply in spirit, he saith: Why doth this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, a sign shall not be given to this generation. [13] And leaving them, he went up again into the ship, and passed to the other side of the water. [14] And they forgot to take bread; and they had but one loaf with them in the ship. [15] And he charged them, saying: Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.[16] And they reasoned among themselves, saying: Because we have no bread. [17] Which Jesus knowing, saith to them: Why do you reason, because you have no bread? do you not yet know nor understand? have you still your heart blinded? [18] Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? neither do you remember. [19] When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took you up? They say to him, Twelve. [20] When also the seven loaves among four thousand, how many baskets of fragments took you up? And they say to him, Seven.[21] And he said to them: How do you not yet understand?

Commentary

From the Catena Aurea:

BEDE; The typical difference between this feeding and the other of the five loaves and two fishes, is, that there the letter of the Old Testament, full of spiritual grace, is signified, but here the truth and grace of the New Testament, which is to be ministered to all the faithful, is pointed out. Now the multitude remains three days, waiting for the Lord to heal their sick as Matthew relates, when the elect, in the faith of the Holy Trinity, supplicate for sins, with persevering earnestness; or because they turn themselves to the Lord in deed, in word, and in thought. 

THEOPHYL. Further, the seven loaves are spiritual discourses, for seven is the number which points out the Holy Ghost, who perfects all things; for our life is perfected in the number of seven days. 

PSEUDO-JEROME; Or else, the seven loaves are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the fragments of the loaves and the mystical understanding of the first week. 

BEDE; For our Lord's breaking the bread means the opening of mysteries; His giving of thanks shows how great a joy He feels in the salvation of the human race; His giving the loaves to His disciples that they might set them before the people, signifies that He assigns the spiritual gifts of knowledge to the Apostles, and that it was His will that by their ministry the food of life should be distributed to the Church.

PSEUDO-JEROME. The small fishes blessed are the books of the New Testament, for our Lord when risen asks for a piece of broiled fish; or else in these little fishes, we receive the saints, seeing that in the Scriptures of the New Testament are contained the faith, life, and, sufferings of them who, snatched away from the troubled waves of this world, have given us by their example spiritual refreshment. 

PSEUDO-JEROME; Again, the seven baskets are the Seven Churches. By the four thousand is meant the year of the new dispensation, with its four seasons. Fitly also are there four thousand, that in the number itself it might be taught us that they were filled with the food of the Gospel. 

De Lapide:

Ver. 15. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod. The leaven is the doctrine of the Pharisees, by which they taught children to say to their parents corban, as well as other things contrary to the law of God. The leaven of Herod is the doctrine of the Sadducees, for with them Christ had had His most recent controversy, as appears from Matt. xvi. 1-12. For Herod, as well as many of the principal people at that time, were Sadducees (see Jos. xviii. c. 2). They denied the immortality of the soul, and lived as Atheists. So Herod lived in adultery, killed John, and committed many other crimes, having no fear of God. For although he thought that John had risen again in Christ, yet that opinion did not arise, out of faith, but was wrung out of him by fear. Others, with Origen and S. Jerome, understand by leaven the sect of the Herodians, who flattered Herod, saying that he was the Messiah. But that referred to Herod of Ascalon, not Herod Antipas, as I have shown on Matt. xxii. 16.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

St Mark 7: 24-37

Verses 31-37 of St Mark 7 are the Gospel for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost.  St Mark 7: 24-37:

24 Et inde surgens abiit in fines Tyri et Sidonis: et ingressus domum, neminem voluit scire, et non potuit latere. 25 Mulier enim statim ut audivit de eo, cujus filia habebat spiritum immundum, intravit, et procidit ad pedes ejus. 26 Erat enim mulier gentilis, Syrophœnissa genere. Et rogabat eum ut dæmonium ejiceret de filia ejus. 27 Qui dixit illi: Sine prius saturari filios: non est enim bonum sumere panem filiorum, et mittere canibus. 28 At illa respondit, et dixit illi: Utique Domine, nam et catelli comedunt sub mensa de micis puerorum. 29 Et ait illi: Propter hunc sermonem vade: exiit dæmonium a filia tua. 30 Et cum abiisset domum suam, invenit puellam jacentem supra lectum, et dæmonium exiisse.
31 Et iterum exiens de finibus Tyri, venit per Sidonem ad mare Galilææ inter medios fines Decapoleos. 32 Et adducunt ei surdum, et mutum, et deprecabantur eum, ut imponat illi manum. 33 Et apprehendens eum de turba seorsum, misit digitos suos in auriculas ejus: et exspuens, tetigit linguam ejus: 34 et suscipiens in cælum, ingemuit, et ait illi: Ephphetha, quod est, Adaperire. 35 Et statim apertæ sunt aures ejus, et solutum est vinculum linguæ ejus, et loquebatur recte. 36 Et præcepit illis ne cui dicerent. Quanto autem eis præcipiebat, tanto magis plus prædicabant: 37 et eo amplius admirabantur, dicentes: Bene omnia fecit: et surdos fecit audire, et mutos loqui.

[24] And rising from thence he went into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon: and entering into a house, he would that no man should know it, and he could not be hid. [25] For a woman as soon as she heard of him, whose daughter had an unclean spirit, came in and fell down at his feet. [26] For the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophenician born. And she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. [27] Who said to her: Suffer first the children to be filled: for it is not good to take the bread of the children, and cast it to the dogs. [28] But she answered and said to him: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat under the table of the crumbs of the children. [29] And he said to her: For this saying go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter. [30] And when she was come into her house, she found the girl lying upon the bed, and that the devil was gone out.[31] And again going out of the coasts of Tyre, he came by Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. [32] And they bring to him one deaf and dumb; and they besought him that he would lay his hand upon him. [33] And taking him from the multitude apart, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, he touched his tongue: [34] And looking up to heaven, he groaned, and said to him: Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened. [35] And immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right. [36] And he charged them that they should tell no man. But the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it. [37] And so much the more did they wonder, saying: He hath done all things well; he hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Commentary by de Lapide

Ver. 26. A Gentile: Gr. έλλήνις, i.e., a Grecian woman, for where the Greeks bore sway, all Gentiles were called Greeks. Hence the expression in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, “The Jew first, and also the Greek” i.e., the Gentile.

A Syrophonician, i.e., belonging to that part of Phœnicia which looks towards Syria.

Ver. 32. And dumb: Gr. μογιλάλον, i.e., speaking with difficulty or an impediment, stammering. For when he was healed by Christ he spake right, i.e., freely, as it is in the 35th verse. He was not, therefore, entirely dumb, as they are who are born deaf. These are called in Greek άλαλοι.

Ver. 33. And spitting, He touched his tongue. Christ wrought harmoniously, as though by His healing saliva He would moisten and loosen the dumb mouth, which was bound through drought.

Now He spat not upon the mouth of the mute, but upon His own finger, and by means of His finger applied the saliva to the mouth of the mute, as may be gathered from the Greek. This was required by propriety and decorum. Moreover, when Christ opened the ears and unloosed the tongue of the body, He opened also the ears and tongue of the soul, that they might listen to His inspiration, and believe that He was the Messiah, and that they might ask and obtain of Him pardon of their sins.

Tropologically: Every one ought to seek the same thing, and say with the Psalmist, “0 Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise” (Ps. li. 17). We ought to do the same as regards our ears, that we may be able to sing aloud with Isaiah (1. 4), “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Now this is done when He Himself with His own Finger, that is, the Holy Ghost (for He is “the Finger of God,” Exod. viii. 19), and the spittle of Heavenly Wisdom, which is He Himself proceeding forth from the mouth of the Most High, touches the tongue of the soul.

Ver. 34. And looking up to heaven (because from thence come words to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, healing for all infirmities, says Bede), He groaned; both because He sympathised with the misery of the deaf and dumb man, as because in groaning He prayed and obtained healing for him from God.
Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened, ie., which so signifies. “Where,” says Bede, “the two natures of the one and the same Mediator between God and man are plainly set forth. For, looking up to heaven as man, He groaned, being about to pray to God; presently by a single word, as having the power of Divine Majesty, He healed.” For we all have eyes, but the blind have theirs shut and closed, which in the Syriac idiom are elegantly said to be opened when their shutters are unclosed, as Angelus Caninius says (in Nom. Heb. c. 10). Moreover, the Heb. patach signifies to open. From whence is the imperative passive, or Niphal, hippateach, by crasis hippatach, for which the Syrians use Ephpheta, be open.
Ver. 36. He charged them that they should tell no man. This was not properly a command, involving a fault if disobeyed, but merely a token of urbanity and modesty, that, indeed, He might signify He would not make a parade of His miracles, or by their means obtain the vain glory of men. Wherefore they did not commit sin who nevertheless divulged them. Wherefore it follows, the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it. “We are taught by this,” says Theophylact, “that when we confer benefits we should not seek for applause therefrom; but when we have received benefits we should praise our benefactors, even though they are unwilling to be praised.” And S. Augustine says, “By His prohibition the Lord wished to teach us how very fervently they ought to preach to whom He has given a command to preach, when they who were commanded to be silent could not hold their peace”

Ver. 37. He hath done all things well: Gr. καλω̃ς, i.e., beautifully, becomingly, harmoniously. Christ did nothing which the Pharisees or such like fault-finders could justly blame. Again, the Heb. for well is heteb, i.e., beneficently, because He gave hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb. Indeed, Christ’s whole life was one continuous beneficence. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

St Mark 7:1-23

St Mark 7:1-23 takes us to the difference between traditions confected by men to suit their own purposes, and the true law:

1 Et conveniunt ad eum pharisæi, et quidam de scribis, venientes ab Jerosolymis. 2 Et cum vidissent quosdam ex discipulis ejus communibus manibus, id est non lotis, manducare panes, vituperaverunt. 3 Pharisæi enim, et omnes Judæi, nisi crebro laverint manus, non manducant, tenentes traditionem seniorum: 4 et a foro nisi baptizentur, non comedunt: et alia multa sunt, quæ tradita sunt illis servare, baptismata calicum, et urceorum, et æramentorum, et lectorum: 5 et interrogabant eum pharisæi et scribæ: Quare discipuli tui non ambulant juxta traditionem seniorum, sed communibus manibus manducant panem? 6 At ille respondens, dixit eis: Bene prophetavit Isaias de vobis hypocritis, sicut scriptum est:Populus hic labiis me honorat, cor autem eorum longe est a me: 7  in vanum autem me colunt, docentes doctrinas, et præcepta hominum. 8 Relinquentes enim mandatum Dei, tenetis traditionem hominum, baptismata urceorum et calicum: et alia similia his facitis multa. 9 Et dicebat illis: Bene irritum facitis præceptum Dei, ut traditionem vestram servetis. 10 Moyses enim dixit: Honora patrem tuum, et matrem tuam. Et: Qui maledixerit patri, vel matri, morte moriatur. 11 Vos autem dicitis: Si dixerit homo patri, aut matri, Corban (quod est donum) quodcumque ex me, tibi profuerit: 12 et ultra non dimittitis eum quidquam facere patri suo, aut matri, 13 rescindentes verbum Dei per traditionem vestram, quam tradidistis: et similia hujusmodi multa facitis. 14 Et advocans iterum turbam, dicebat illis: Audite me omnes, et intelligite. 15 Nihil est extra hominem introiens in eum, quod possit eum coinquinare, sed quæ de homine procedunt illa sunt quæ communicant hominem. 16 Si quis habet aures audiendi, audiat.17 Et cum introisset in domum a turba, interrogabant eum discipuli ejus parabolam. 18 Et ait illis: Sic et vos imprudentes estis? Non intelligitis quia omne extrinsecus introiens in hominem, non potest eum communicare: 19 quia non intrat in cor ejus, sed in ventrum vadit, et in secessum exit, purgans omnes escas? 20 Dicebat autem, quoniam quæ de homine exeunt, illa communicant hominem. 21 Ab intus enim de corde hominum malæ cogitationes procedunt, adulteria, fornicationes, homicidia, 22 furta, avaritiæ, nequitiæ, dolus, impudicitiæ, oculus malus, blasphemia, superbia, stultitia. 23 Omnia hæc mala ab intus procedunt, et communicant hominem.

And there assembled together unto him the Pharisees and some of the scribes, coming from Jerusalem. [2] And when they had seen some of his disciples eat bread with common, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. [3] For the Pharisees, and all the Jews eat not without often washing their hands, holding the tradition of the ancients: [4] And when they come from the market, unless they be washed, they eat not: and many other things there are that have been delivered to them to observe, the washings of cups and of pots, and of brazen vessels, and of beds. [5] And the Pharisees and scribes asked him: Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients, but they eat bread with common hands? [6] But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men. [8] For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups: and many other things you do like to these. [9] And he said to them: Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. [10] For Moses said: Honour thy father and thy mother; and He that shall curse father or mother, dying let him die.[11] But you say: If a man shall say to his father or mother, Corban, (which is a gift,) whatsoever is from me, shall profit thee. [12] And further you suffer him not to do any thing for his father or mother, [13] Making void the word of God by your own tradition, which you have given forth. And many other such like things you do. [14] And calling again the multitude unto him, he said to them: Hear ye me all, and understand. [15] There is nothing from without a man that entering into him, can defile him. But the things which come from a man, those are they that defile a man.
[16] If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. [17] And when he was come into the house from the multitude, his disciples asked him the parable. [18] And he saith to them: So are you also without knowledge? understand you not that every thing from without, entering into a man cannot defile him: [19] Because it entereth not into his heart, but goeth into the belly, and goeth out into the privy, purging all meats? [20] But he said that the things which come out from a man, they defile a man.[21] For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile a man. [24] And rising from thence he went into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon: and entering into a house, he would that no man should know it, and he could not be hid.

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 2. To eat with common, that is, with unwashen hands. Hands unwashed were called common, because unclean and profane things were common to both Jews and Gentiles, to clean and unclean persons alike.

Observe, the Apostles were not so boorish as not to wash their hands before dining or supping, which even husbandmen and artisans do before meals; but they abstained from the ceremonial, or rather the superstitious washing of the Pharisees, which they scrupulously observed from the tradition of their ancestors.

Ver. 3. Often washing: Syr. betilarth, i.e., diligently or carefully; Gr. πυγμη̃, zealously; Heb. caph el cabh, i.e., hand to hand, namely, by constant rubbing, as they do who wish to cleanse defiled hands.
Ver. 4. From the market. Because in the market are all kinds, both of persons and things, clean and unclean, by coming in contact with which they feared they had incurred pollution, and so they thought they could not cleanse themselves from such contamination except by washing, not their hands only, but their whole body. Whence it follows:

Unless they be baptized, i.e., unless they immerse and wash their whole body, as the Jews do frequently, even at the present time. For to be baptized is more than to wash the hands. Because, therefore, by conversing with and touching Gentiles in the market they were compelled to handle some things that were unclean, they washed themselves all over when they came home.

Of pots: Gr. ξεστω̃ν, i.e., of wine-drinking vessels. The Syriac has ænophororun, vessels in which wine is carried. Vatablus understands wooden vessels, which were turned and polished, or ornamented with carving.

And beds: on which they reclined at table.

Ver. 15. Make a man common (Vulg.), i.e., defile him, as some MSS. read.

Ver. 19. Because it entereth not into his heart, i.e., into his soul, and cannot therefore defile it. But goeth into the belly, where the purer portion of the food, being separated, proceeds to the liver and heart; but that which is impure and feculent into the draught, by its going forth, purging, i.e., leaving pure all meats. For in that it, the impure, goeth away, it cleanses and purifies the remainder of the food.

Monday, 19 May 2014

St Mark 6:33-56

In St Mark 6:33-56 Our Lord feeds the crowd, and walks on water:

33 Et viderunt eos abeuntes, et cognoverunt multi: et pedestres de omnibus civitatibus concurrerunt illuc, et prævenerunt eos. 34 Et exiens vidit turbam multam Jesus: et misertus est super eos, quia erant sicut oves non habentes pastorem, et cœpit docere multa. 35 Et cum jam hora multa fieret, accesserunt discipuli ejus, dicentes: Desertus est locus hic, et jam hora præteriit: 36 dimitte illos, ut euntes in proximas villas et vicos, emant sibi cibos, quos manducent. 37 Et respondens ait illis: Date illis vos manducare. Et dixerunt ei: Euntes emamus ducentis denariis panes, et dabimus illis manducare. 38 Et dicit eis: Quot panes habetis? ite, et videte. Et cum cognovissent, dicunt: Quinque, et duos pisces. 39 Et præcepit illis ut accumbere facerent omnes secundum contubernia super viride fœnum. 40 Et discubuerunt in partes per centenos et quinquagenos. 41 Et acceptis quinque panibus et duobus pisces, intuens in cælum, benedixit, et fregit panes, et dedit discipulis suis, ut ponerent ante eos: et duos pisces divisit omnibus. 42 Et manducaverunt omnes, et saturati sunt. 43 Et sustulerunt reliquias, fragmentorum duodecim cophinos plenos, et de piscibus. 44 Erant autem qui manducaverunt quinque millia virorum.45 Et statim coëgit discipulos suos ascendere navim, ut præcederent eum trans fretum ad Bethsaidam, dum ipse dimitteret populum. 46 Et cum dimisisset eos, abiit in montem orare. 47 Et cum sero esset, erat navis in medio mari et ipse solus in terra. 48 Et videns eos laborantes in remigando (erat enim ventus contrarius eis) et circa quartam vigiliam noctis venit ad eos ambulans supra mare: et volebat præterire eos. 49 At illi ut viderunt eum ambulantem supra mare, putaverunt phantasma esse, et exclamaverunt. 50 Omnes enim viderunt eum, et conturbati sunt. Et statim locutus est cum eis, et dixit eis: Confidite, ego sum: nolite timere. 51 Et ascendit ad illos in navim, et cessavit ventus. Et plus magis intra se stupebant: 52 non enim intellexerunt de panibus: erat enim cor eorum obcæcatum.53 Et cum transfretassent, venerunt in terram Genesareth, et applicuerunt. 54 Cumque egressi essent de navi, continuo cognoverunt eum: 55 et percurrentes universam regionem illam, cœperunt in grabatis eos, qui se male habebant, circumferre, ubi audiebant eum esse. 56 Et quocumque introibat, in vicos, vel in villas aut civitates, in plateis ponebant infirmos, et deprecabantur eum, ut vel fimbriam vestimenti ejus tangerent, et quotquot tangebant eum, salvi fiebant.

[33] And they saw them going away, and many knew: and they ran flocking thither on foot from all the cities, and were there before them. [34] And Jesus going out saw a great multitude: and he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things. [35] And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came to him, saying: This is a desert place, and the hour is now past: [36] Send them away, that going into the next villages and towns, they may buy themselves meat to eat. [37] And he answering said to them: Give you them to eat. And they said to him: Let us go and buy bread for two hundred pence, and we will give them to eat. [38] And he saith to them: How many loaves have you? go and see. And when they knew, they say: Five, and two fishes. [39] And he commanded them that they should make them all sit down by companies upon the green grass. [40] And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties. [41] And when he had taken the five loaves, and the two fishes: looking up to heaven, he blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave to his disciples to set before them: and the two fishes he divided among them all. [42] And they all did eat, and had their fill. [43] And they took up the leavings, twelve full baskets of fragments, and of the fishes. [44] And they that did eat, were five thousand men. [45] And immediately he obliged his disciples to go up into the ship, that they might go before him over the water to Bethsaida, whilst he dismissed the people. [46] And when he had dismissed them, he went up to the mountain to pray. [47] And when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and himself alone on the land. [48] And seeing them labouring in rowing, (for the wind was against them,) and about the fourth watch of the night, he cometh to them walking upon the sea, and he would have passed by them. [49] But they seeing him walking upon the sea, thought it was an apparition, and they cried out. [50] For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he spoke with them, and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I, fear ye not. [51] And he went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased: and they were far more astonished within themselves: [52] For they understood not concerning the loaves; for their heart was blinded. [53] And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Genezareth, and set to the shore. [54] And when they were gone out of the ship, immediately they knew him: [55] And running through that whole country, they began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. [56] And whithersoever he entered, into towns or into villages or cities, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch but the hem of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Commentary (from the Catena Aurea of St Thomas)

Teaching the apostles and the crowd - on the virtues of taking stock:

GLOSS. The Evangelist, after relating the death of John, gives an account of those things which Christ did with His disciples after the death of John, saying, And the Apostles gathered themselves together to Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 

PSEUDO-JEROME; For they return to the fountain-head whence the streams flow; those who are sent by God, always offer up thanks for those things which they have received.

THEOPHYL. Let us also learn, when we are sent on any mission, not to go far away, and not to overstep the bounds of the office committed, but to go often to him, who sends us, and report all that we have done and taught; for we must not only teach but act. 

BEDE; Not only do the Apostles tell the Lord what they themselves had done and taught, but also his own and John's disciples together tell him what John had suffered, during the time that they were occupied in teaching, as Matthew relates. It goes on: And he said to them, Come you yourselves apart, &c. 

AUG. This is said to have taken place, after the passion of John, therefore what is first related took place last, for it was by these events that Herod was moved to say, This is John the Baptist, whom I beheaded. 

The need for rest and private prayer:

THEOPHYL. Again, He goes to a desert place from His humility. But Christ makes His disciples rest, that men who are set over others may hear, that they who labor in any work or in the word deserve rest, and ought not to labor continually. 

BEDE; How arose the necessity for giving rest to His disciples, He shows, when He adds, For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat; we may then see how great was the happiness of that time, both from the toil of the teachers, and from the diligence of the learners. It goes on, And embarking into a ship, they departed into a desert place privately. The disciples did not enter into the ship alone, but taking up the Lord with them, they went to a desert place, as Matthew shows. Here He tries the faith of the multitude, and by seeking a desert place. He would see whether they care to follow Him. And they follow Him, and that not on horseback, nor in carriages, but laboriously coming on foot, they show how great is their anxiety for their salvation. 

GLOSS. The Lord indeed by the miracle of the loaves showed that He is the Creator of the world: but now by walking on the waves He proved that He had a body free from the weight of all sin, and by appeasing the winds and by calming the rage of the waves, He declared Himself to be the Master of the elements. Wherefore it is said, And straight way he constrained his disciples to yet into the ship, and to go to the other side before to Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 

PSEUD-CHRYS. This we must understand of Christ, in that He is man; He does it also to teach us to he constant prayer. 

THEOPHYL. But when He had dismissed the crowd, He goes up to pray, for prayer requires rest and silence. 

BEDE; Not every man, however, prays goes up into a mountain, but he alone prays well, who seeks God in prayer. But he who prays for riches or worldly labor, or for the death of his enemy, sends up from the lowest depths his vile prayers to God. John says, When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force and make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. 

It goes on; and when even was come the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 

The Church as the boat struggling on the sea:

BEDE; The disciples indeed, who were still carnal , were amazed at the greatness of His virtue, they could not yet however recognize in Him the truth of the divine Majesty. Therefore it goes on, For their hearts were hardened. But mystically, the toil of the disciples in rowing, and the contrary wind, mark out the labors of the Holy Church, who amidst the beating waves of the world, and the blasts of unclean spirits, strives to teach the repose of her celestial country. 

And well is it said that the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on land, for sometimes the Church is afflicted by a pressure from the Gentiles so overwhelming, that her Redeemer seems to have entirely deserted her, but the Lord sees His own, toiling on the sea, for, lest they faint in tribulations, He strengthens them by the look of His love, and sometimes frees themselves by a visible assistance. Further, in the fourth watch He came to them as daylight approached, for when man lifts up his mind to the light of guidance from on high, the Lord will he with him, and the dangers of temptations will he laid asleep.