Saturday, 13 September 2014

St Luke 21: 25-38

25 Et erunt signa in sole, et luna, et stellis, et in terris pressura gentium præ confusione sonitus maris, et fluctuum: 26 arescentibus hominibus præ timore, et exspectatione, quæ supervenient universo orbi: nam virtutes cælorum movebuntur: 27 et tunc videbunt Filium hominis venientem in nube cum potestate magna et majestate.28 His autem fieri incipientibus, respicite, et levate capita vestra: quoniam appropinquat redemptio vestra. 29 Et dixit illis similitudinem: Videte ficulneam, et omnes arbores: 30 cum producunt jam ex se fructum, scitis quoniam prope est æstas. 31 Ita et vos cum videritis hæc fieri, scitote quoniam prope est regnum Dei. 32 Amen dico vobis, quia non præteribit generatio hæc, donec omnia fiant. 33 Cælum et terra transibunt: verba autem mea non transibunt. 34 Attendite autem vobis, ne forte graventur corda vestra in crapula, et ebrietate, et curis hujus vitæ, et superveniat in vos repentina dies illa: 35 tamquam laqueus enim superveniet in omnes qui sedent super faciem omnis terræ. 36 Vigilate itaque, omni tempore orantes, ut digni habeamini fugere ista omnia quæ futura sunt, et stare ante Filium hominis.37 Erat autem diebus docens in templo: noctibus vero exiens, morabatur in monte qui vocatur Oliveti. 38 Et omnis populus manicabat ad eum in templo audire eum.

[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;[26] Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; [27] And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. [28] But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. [29] And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees: [30] When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh;[31] So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. [32] Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled. [33] Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. [34] And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly. [35] For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth.[36] Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man. [37] And in the daytime, he was teaching in the temple; but at night, going out, he abode in the mount that is called Olivet. [38] And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, to hear him.

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 35.—For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. As careless birds are taken craftily by snares, so in the day of judgment shall the men of pleasure be. 2 “As the snare strangles the birds, so shall the day of judgment choke sinners.” 3. “As the snare always keeps hold,” says the Interlinear, “of that which it has once caught, so shall the sentence, given by one Christian judge, be perpetual; and either for ever glorify him who is judged, in heaven, or consume him with fire in hell.”

Ver. 36.—Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand bore the Son of man. The Arabic has, “That you may be strengthened in flight.”

Stand before the Son of Man. So Wisdom v. i: “They shall stand with great constancy.” “To those therefore who give themselves up to vigils, prayers, and good works, that day shall not be a snare, but a festival,” says Theophylact.

Ver. 37.—And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. Because olives abounded in it. Christ gave the day to preaching and to His neighbour, but the night to prayer, to Himself, and to God. Thus He gave very little time to repose and slumber. The same did S. Paul, Dominic, F. Xavier, and others like them. “He went by night,” says Theophylact, “into the mountain, to show us that we ought to hold communion with God in quiet at night. By day we should be gentle, and do good.” So Bede: “What He commanded in words, He confirmed by His own example; for when the time of His Passion drew near, He was instant in teaching, in watching, and in prayers, either urging those, for whom He was to suffer, to faith by His words, or commending them to His Father by His prayers.”

Ver. 38.—And all the people came early in the morning to Him. The senses are in their vigour in the morning, and the morning therefore, as the best part of the day, is to be given to God.

Friday, 12 September 2014

St Luke 21: 5-24

5 Et quibusdam dicentibus de templo quod bonis lapidibus et donis ornatum esset, dixit: 6 Hæc quæ videtis, venient dies in quibus non relinquetur lapis super lapidem, qui non destruatur. 7 Interrogaverunt autem illum, dicentes: Præceptor, quando hæc erunt, et quod signum cum fieri incipient? 8 Qui dixit: Videte ne seducamini: multi enim venient in nomine meo, dicentes quia ego sum: et tempus appropinquavit: nolite ergo ire post eos. 9 Cum autem audieritis prælia et seditiones, nolite terreri: oportet primum hæc fieri, sed nondum statim finis. 10 Tunc dicebat illis: Surget gens contra gentem, et regnum adversus regnum. 11 Et terræmotus magni erunt per loca, et pestilentiæ, et fames, terroresque de cælo, et signa magna erunt. 12 Sed ante hæc omnia injicient vobis manus suas, et persequentur tradentes in synagogas et custodias, trahentes ad reges et præsides propter nomen meum: 13 continget autem vobis in testimonium. 14 Ponite ergo in cordibus vestris non præmeditari quemadmodum respondeatis: 15 ego enim dabo vobis os et sapientiam, cui non poterunt resistere et contradicere omnes adversarii vestri. 16 Trademini autem a parentibus, et fratribus, et cognatis, et amicis, et morte afficient ex vobis: 17 et eritis odio omnibus propter nomen meum: 18 et capillus de capite vestro non peribit. 19 In patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras.20 Cum autem videritis circumdari ab exercitu Jerusalem, tunc scitote quia appropinquavit desolatio ejus: 21 tunc qui in Judæa sunt, fugiant ad montes, et qui in medio ejus, discedant: et qui in regionibus, non intrent in eam, 22 quia dies ultionis hi sunt, ut impleantur omnia quæ scripta sunt. 23 Væ autem prægnantibus et nutrientibus in illis diebus! erit enim pressura magna super terram, et ira populo huic. 24 Et cadent in ore gladii, et captivi ducentur in omnes gentes, et Jerusalem calcabitur a gentibus, donec impleantur tempora nationum.

[5] And some saying of the temple, that it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said:
[6] These things which you see, the days will come in which there shall not be left a stone upon a stone that shall not be thrown down. [7] And they asked him, saying: Master, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when they shall begin to come to pass? [8] Who said: Take heed you be not seduced; for many will come in my name, saying, I am he; and the time is at hand: go ye not therefore after them. [9] And when you shall hear of wars and seditions, be not terrified: these things must first come to pass; but the end is not yet presently. [10] Then he said to them: Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.[11] And there shall be great earthquakes in divers places, and pestilences, and famines, and terrors from heaven; and there shall be great signs. [12] But before all these things, they will lay their hands upon you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, dragging you before kings and governors, for my name' s sake. [13] And it shall happen unto you for a testimony. [14] Lay it up therefore into your hearts, not to meditate before how you shall answer: [15] For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.[16] And you shall be betrayed by your parents and brethren, and kinsmen and friends; and some of you they will put to death. [17] And you shall be hated by all men for my name' s sake. [18] But a hair of your head shall not perish. [19] In your patience you shall possess your souls. [20] And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army; then know that the desolation thereof is at hand.[21] Then let those who are in Judea, flee to the mountains; and those who are in the midst thereof, depart out: and those who are in the countries, not enter into it. [22] For these are the days of vengeance, that all things may be fulfilled, that are written. [23] But woe to them that are with child, and give suck in those days; for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. [24] And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled.

Commentary (De Lapide)

Ver. 18.—But there shall not an hair of your head perish. “Because,” says S. Gregory, “what was said about death was hard, comfort is added at once, from the joy of the resurrection, when it is said, ‘a hair of your head shall not perish.’ For we know that the flesh when wounded, causes pain, but the hair when cut does not. Our Lord therefore said to His martyrs, ‘A hair of your head shall not perish.’” From these words of Christ, we may conclude that we shall rise again with our actual bodies. S. Augustine (De Civitate, chap.19, 2O.) So S. Bonaventure, S. Thomas, the master of the sentences, Soto, and others. Their proof is from Matt. x. 30: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered;” and from this of S. Luke, “Not a hair of your head shall perish.” “Not in length,” says S. Augustine, “but in number.”

2. We may collect this from reason, for our bodies will rise without deformity, with their natural adornments and comeliness; the adornment of the head is the hair, the beard, the nails. If any one has not these he is a deformed.

Ver. 19.—In your patience possess ye your souls. Patience, therefore, is the possession of our souls. Firstly, because patience rules the soul and directs it in peace, and bends and influences it as it pleases. Secondly, because no one can keep the hope of a future life, as S. Augustine says, unless he have patience in the labours of the present one. Thirdly, S. Gregory (Homily xxxv. in Evangel.): “The possession of the soul consists of the virtue of patience, because patience is the root and guardian of all virtues. Through patience, we possess our souls, because, while we learn to govern ourselves, we begin to possess the knowledge that we are (quod sumus, quod adverb). It is patience to endure calmly the evils we suffer from others, and to be affected with no painful feeling against him who inflicts them upon us. For whoever so takes the oppressions of others, as to grieve in silence, but to look out for a time of retribution, does not possess this virtue, but only makes a show of it. Again, Solomon says, Prov. xvi. 32: ‘The patient man is better than the valiant, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh cities.’ The taking of a city is therefore a less victory, because the conquest is outside ourselves. That which is subdued by patience is greater, because the mind is subdued by itself, and subjects itself to itself when patience subdues it to the humility of endurance.” S. Gregory adds the example of the Abbot Stephen, who returned contumelies with thanks, and thought a gain, loss, and considered his adversaries his helpers. Hence, at his death, angels were seen taking his soul to heaven.

The impatient do not possess their souls, but are possessed by the vices of wrath and vindictiveness, and consequently by Satan. They, only, who have ardent love can gain true patience, as those fervent martyrs—SS. Ignatius, Laurence, Sebastian, Vincent, and others. Trajan the Emperor, consequently, said when he conferred, by his sentence, martyrdom on S. Ignatius, “No people suffer so much for their God as the Christians.” S. Gregory (book v. Moral. chap. 13), “What is it to possess our souls, but to live perfectly in all things, and to govern all the emotions of our minds by the art of virtue? Whoever therefore possesses patience, possesses his soul, because he is thus made strong against all adversities, so that he rules even by subduing himself. By whatever he masters himself, he clearly shows himself unmastered, for when he masters himself in his pleasures, he prepares himself to be unmastered by their opposites.” In his 39th Epistle to Theoclister; “In your patience possess your souls. Consider a moment where patience would be if there were nothing to be endured. I suspect that he would not be an Abel who had no Cain. For if the good were without misfortunes, they could not be perfectly good, for they would have no purgation. Their very society with evil is the purification of the good.” Hence, says Theodore Studita in his 19th Catechetical Lecture, “Endurance is the highest perfection of virtue;” and Lucan (lib. ix.):

—Serpens, sitis, ardor, arenæ 

Dulcia Virtutis, gaudet Patientia duris.

The sandy desert’s burning heat; the pangs 
Of raging thirst; its serpent’s cruel fangs, 
Are Virtue’s sweets; for Patience joys in these,
And welcomes hardships more than softest case.

Lastly, the whole band of virtues flows into patience, so that it appears to be the complex of all virtues. Sencea (Ep. 69. and following): “There is i fortitude of which the brands are patience, endurance, and toleration. There is prudence, without which no undertaking is entered upon, and which persuades us to endure bravely what we cannot escape. There is constancy which cannot be cast down from its pedestal, and the determination of which no force can overthrow. Here is that indivisible society of virtues.” And see the words of S. James. i. 4.

Ver. 34.—And take heed to yourselves, lest “the cares of this life absorb the mind and sink the faculties,” says Euthymius, “and do not allow men to think about their salvation.” “The cares of this life,” says Titus, “debauchery and ebriety, deprive men of their senses, obscure their faith, and cause forgetfulness of all that is useful and necessary. They distract the mind, seize hold of it, and absorb it in the cares of this world.”

Thursday, 11 September 2014

St Luke 21:1-4

The story of the widow's mite:

1 Respiciens autem, vidit eos qui mittebant munera sua in gazophylacium, divites. 2 Vidit autem et quamdam viduam pauperculam mittentem æra minuta duo. 3 Et dixit: Vere dico vobis, quia vidua hæc pauper plus quam omnes misit. 4 Nam omnes hi ex abundanti sibi miserunt in munera Dei: hæc autem ex eo quod deest illi, omnem victum suum quem habuit, misit.

1] And looking on, he saw the rich men cast their gifts into the treasury. [2] And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in two brass mites. [3] And he said: Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: [4] For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her want, hath cast in all the living that she had. 

Commentary (Catena Aurea)

GLOSS. Our Lord having rebuked the covetousness of the Scribes who devoured widows' houses, commends the almsgiving of a widow; as it is said, And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting into the treasury, &c.

BEDE; In the Greek language, signifies to keep, and gaza in Persian means riches, hence gazophylacium is used for the name of the place in which money is kept. Now there was a chest with an opening at the top placed near the altar, on the right hand of those entering the house of God, into which the Priests cast all the money, which was given for the Lord's temple. But our Lord as He overthrows those who trade in His house, so also He remarks those who bring gifts, giving praise to the deserving, but condemning the bad. Hence it follows, And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in there two mites. 

CYRIL; She offered two oboli, which with the sweat of her brow she had earned for her daily living, or what she daily begs for at the hands of others she gives to God, showing that her poverty is fruitful to her. Therefore does she surpass the others, and by a just award receives a crown from God; as it follows, Of a truth I say to you, that this poor widow has cast in more, &c. 

BEDE; For whatever we offer with an honest heart is well pleasing to God, who has respect to the heart, not the substance, nor does He weigh the amount of that which is given in sacrifice, but of that from which it is taken as it follows, For all these have cast in of their abundance, but she all that she had. 

CHRYS. For God regarded not the scantiness of the offering, but the overflowing of the affection. Almsgiving is not the bestowing a few at things out of many, but it is that of the widow emptying herself of her whole substance. But if you cannot offer as much as the widow, at least give all that remains over.

BEDE; Now mystically, the rich men who cast their gifts into the treasury signify the Jews puffed up with the righteousness of the law; the poor widow, the simplicity of the Church which is called poor, because it has either cast away the spirit of pride, or its sins, as if they were worldly riches. But the Church is a widow, because her Husband endured death for her. She cast two mites into the treasury, because in God's sight, in whose keeping are all the offerings of our works, she presents her gifts, whether of love to God and her neighbor, or of faith and prayer. And these excel all the works of the proud Jews, for they of their abundance cast into the offerings of God, in that they presume on their righteousness, but the Church casts in all her living, for every thing that has life she believes to be the gift of God. 

THEOPHYL. Or the widow may be taken to mean any soul bereft as it were of her first husband, the ancient law, and not worthy to be united to the Word of God. Who brings to God instead of a dowry faith and a good conscience, and so seems to offer more than those who are rich in words, and abound in the moral virtues of the Gentiles.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

St Luke 20: 41-47

41 Dixit autem ad illos: Quomodo dicunt Christum filium esse David? 42 et ipse David dicit in libro Psalmorum: Dixit Dominus Domino meo: sede a dextris meis, 43 donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum. 44 David ergo Dominum illum vocat: et quomodo filius ejus est? 45 Audiente autem omni populo, dixit discipulis suis: 46 Attendite a scribis, qui volunt ambulare in stolis, et amant salutationes in foro, et primas cathedras in synagogis, et primos discubitus in conviviis, 47 qui devorant domos viduarum, simulantes longam orationem: hi accipient damnationem majorem.

[41] But he said to them: How say they that Christ is the son of David? [42] And David himself saith in the book of Psalms: The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, [43] Till I make thy enemies thy footstool. [44] David then calleth him Lord: and how is he his son? [45] And in the hearing of all the people, he said to his disciples:[46] Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and love salutations in the marketplace, and the first chairs in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts: [47] Who devour the houses of widows, feigning long prayer. These shall receive greater damnation.

Commentary (Catena Aurea)

THEOPHYL. Although our Lord was shortly about to enter on His Passion, He proclaims His own Godhead, and that too neither incautiously nor boastfully, but with modesty. For He puts a question to them, and having thrown them into perplexity, leaves them to reason out the conclusion; as it follows, And he said to them, How say they that Christ is David's son?

AMBROSE; They are not blamed here because they acknowledge Him to be David's Son, for the blind man for so doing was thought worthy to be healed. And the children saying, Hosanna to the Son of David, rendered to God the glory of the highest praise; but they are blamed because they believe Him not to be the Son of God. Hence it is added, And David himself says in the book of Psalms, The Lord said to my Lord. Both the Father is Lord and the Son is Lord, but there are not two Lords, but one Lord, for the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. He Himself sits at the right hand of the Father, for He is coequal with the Father, inferior to none; for it follows, Sit you at my right hand. He is not honored by sitting at the right hand, nor is He degraded by being sent. Degrees of dignity are not sought for, where is the fullness of divinity.

AUG. By the sitting we must not conceive a posture of the human limbs, as if the Father sat on the left and the Son on the right, but the right hand itself we must interpret to be the power which that Man received who was taken up into Himself by God, that He should come to judge, who at first came to be judged. 

CYRIL; Or, that He sits on the Father's right hand proves His heavenly glory. For whose throne is equal, their Majesty is equal. But sitting when it is said of God signifies a universal kingdom and power. Therefore He sits at the right hand of the Father, because the Word proceeding from the substance of the Father, being made flesh, puts not off His divine glory.

THEOPHYL. He manifests then that He is not opposed to the Father, but agrees with Him, since the Father resists the Son's enemies, Until I make your enemies your footstool. 

AMBROSE; We must believe then that Christ is both God and man, and that His enemies are made subject to Him by the Father, not through the weakness of His power, but through the unity of their nature, since in the one the other works. For the Son also subjects enemies to the Father, in that He glorifies the Father upon earth. 

THEOPHYL. There fore He asks the question, and having excited their doubts, leaves them to deduce the consequence; as it follows, David therefore calls him Lord, how is he then his son? 

CHRYS David in truth was both the Father and the servant of Christ, the former indeed according to the flesh, the latter in the Spirit.

CYRIL; We then likewise in answer to the new Pharisees who neither confess the Son of the holy Virgin to be the true Son of God, nor to be God, but divide one son into two, put the like objections: How then is the Son of David David's Lord, and that not by human lordship, but divine?

 CHRYS. Now nothing is more powerful than to argue from the Prophets. For this is even of more weight than miracles themselves. For when Christ worked miracles, He was often gainsaid. But when He cited the Prophets, men were at once silent, because they had nothing to say. But when they were silent, He warns against them, as it is said, Then in the audience of all the people he said to his disciples...

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Luke 20: 27-40

27 Accesserunt autem quidam sadducæorum, qui negant esse resurrectionem, et interrogaverunt eum, 28 dicentes: Magister, Moyses scripsit nobis: Si frater alicujus mortuus fuerit habens uxorem, et hic sine liberis fuerit, ut accipiat eam frater ejus uxorem, et suscitet semen fratri suo. 29 Septem ergo fratres erant: et primus accepit uxorem, et mortuus est sine filiis. 30 Et sequens accepit illam, et ipse mortuus est sine filio. 31 Et tertius accepit illam. Similiter et omnes septem, et non reliquerunt semen, et mortui sunt. 32 Novissime omnium mortua est et mulier. 33 In resurrectione ergo, cujus eorum erit uxor? siquidem septem habuerunt eam uxorem. 34 Et ait illis Jesus: Filii hujus sæculi nubunt, et traduntur ad nuptias: 35 illi vero qui digni habebuntur sæculo illo, et resurrectione ex mortuis, neque nubent, neque ducent uxores: 36 neque enim ultra mori potuerunt: æquales enim angelis sunt, et filii sunt Dei, cum sint filii resurrectionis. 37 Quia vero resurgant mortui, et Moyses ostendit secus rubum, sicut dicit Dominum, Deum Abraham, et Deum Isaac, et Deum Jacob. 38 Deus autem non est mortuorum, sed vivorum: omnes enim vivunt ei. 39 Respondentes autem quidam scribarum, dixerunt ei: Magister, bene dixisti. 40 Et amplius non audebant eum quidquam interrogare.

[27] And there came to him some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is any resurrection, and they asked him, [28] Saying: Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man' s brother die, having a wife, and he leave no children, that his brother should take her to wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. [29] There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. [30] And the next took her to wife, and he also died childless.[31] And the third took her. And in like manner all the seven, and they left no children, and died. [32] Last of all the woman died also. [33] In the resurrection therefore, whose wife of them shall she be? For all the seven had her to wife. [34] And Jesus said to them: The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: [35] But they that shall be accounted worthy of that world, and of the resurrection from the dead, shall neither be married, nor take wives. [36] Neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. [37] Now that the dead rise again, Moses also shewed, at the bush, when he called the Lord, The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; [38] For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him. [39] And some of the scribes answering, said to him: Master, thou hast said well. [40] And after that they durst not ask him any more questions.

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 36.—They are equal unto the angels. So the Arabic, Syriac, Egyptian, Persian, and Ethiopic; equal in celibacy, immortality, glory. As therefore the angels do not marry nor generate, so neither do the Blessed, because, being immortal per se, and glorious, they will remain for ever. For generation is desired in this life, because of death; as a mortal father might, as it were, survive and endure in the son whom he leaves alive. So S. Cyril: “As the angels are not of generation, so they who rise again will have no need of marriage.” S. Chrysostom on Matt. xxiii: “Wives are married that the diminution, which is by death, may be supplied by birth. But death will not be there, and, in consequence, neither marriages, nor wives, nor generation.”

And are, &c. “They are called the children of God,” says Theophylact, “as being born again through the Resurrection, not only through grace, but also through glory, that they may thus resemble God most closely, as is taught by S. John, 1 Ep. iii. 2. Then as sons they shall enter into the inheritance of God the Father.”

“They are called the sons of the Resurrection,” says Theophylact, “because they appear to be as it were born to a new, happy, and divine life.”

2. They will be the sons of the Resurrection, that is, worthy of the Resurrection, for the word “son” when it is added in Hebrew to the genitive of reward or punishment, means one subject to, one who deserves, or who is destined to, such a punishment or reward. Thus men are called the sons of Death and Gehenna, that is, men subject to death and hell; and the sons of the kingdom and the Resurrection, that is, they who are worthy of the kingdom of heaven, and of the Resurrection of the blessed.

Ver. 40.—And after that they durst not ask Him any question at all. That is the Sadducees, for the Pharisees asked Him afterwards which was the greatest commandment, as we find from Matt. xxii 35.

Monday, 8 September 2014

St Luke 20: 19-26

19 Et quærebant principes sacerdotum et scribæ mittere in illum manus illa hora, et timuerunt populum: cognoverunt enim quod ad ipsos dixerit similitudinem hanc. 20 Et observantes miserunt insidiatores, qui se justos simularent, ut caperent eum in sermone, ut traderent illum principatui, et potestati præsidis. 21 Et interrogaverunt eum, dicentes: Magister, scimus quia recte dicis et doces: et non accipis personam, sed viam Dei in veritate doces. 22 Licet nobis tributum dare Cæsari, an non? 23 Considerans autem dolum illorum, dixit ad eos: Quid me tentatis? 24 ostendite mihi denarium. Cujus habet imaginem et inscriptionem? Respondentes dixerunt ei: Cæsaris. 25 Et ait illis: Reddite ergo quæ sunt Cæsaris, Cæsari: et quæ sunt Dei, Deo. 26 Et non potuerunt verbum ejus reprehendere coram plebe: et mirati in responso ejus, tacuerunt.

 [19] And the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him the same hour: but they feared the people, for they knew that he spoke this parable to them. [20] And being upon the watch, they sent spies, who should feign themselves just, that they might take hold of him in his words, that they might deliver him up to the authority and power of the governor.[21] And they asked him, saying: Master, we know that thou speakest and teachest rightly: and thou dost not respect any person, but teachest the way of God in truth. [22] Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no? [23] But he considering their guile, said to them: Why tempt you me? [24] shew me a penny. Whose image and inscription hath it? They answering, said to him, Caesar' s. [25] And he said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar' s: and to God the things that are God' s.[26] And they could not reprehend his word before the people: and wondering at his answer, they held their peace.

Commentary (Catena Aurea)

CYRIL; It became indeed the rulers of the Jews, perceiving that the parable was spoken of them, to depart from evil, having been thus as it were warned concerning the future. But little mindful of this, they rather gather a fresh occasion for their crimes. The commandment of the Law restrained them not, which says, The innocent and righteous men you shall not slay, but the fear of the people checked their wicked purpose. For they set the fear of man before the reverence of God. The reason of this purpose is given, for they perceived that he spoke this parable against them. 

BEDE; And so by seeking to slay Him, they proved the truth of what He had said in the parable. For He Himself is the Heir, whose unjust death He said was to be punished They are the wicked husbandmen who sought to kill the Son of God. This also is daily committed in the Church when any one, only in name a brother, is ashamed or afraid, because of the many good men with whom he lives, to break into that unity of the Church's faith and peace which he abhors. And because the chief priests sought to lay hold of our Lord but could not by themselves, they tried to accomplish it by the hands of the governor; as it follows, And they watched him, &c. 

CYRIL; For they seemed to be trifling, yet were in earnest, forgetful of God, who says, Who is this that hides his counsel from me? For they come to Christ the Savior of all, as though He were a common man, as it follows, that they might take him in his speech.

THEOPHYL. They laid snares for our Lord, but got their own feet entangled in them. Listen to their cunning, And they asked Him, saying, Master, we know that you say and teach rightly. 

BEDE; This smooth and artful question was to entice the answerer to say that he fears God rather than Caesar, for it follows, Neither accept you the person of any, but teach the way of God truly. This they say, to entice Him to tell them that they ought not to pay tribute, in order that the servants of the guard, (who according to the other Evangelists are said to have been present,) might immediately upon bearing it seize Him as the leader of a sedition against the Romans. 

And so they proceed to ask, Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? For there was a great division among the people, some saying that for the sake of security and quiet, seeing that the Romans fought for all, they ought to pay tribute; while the Pharisees, on the contrary, declared, that the people of God who gave tithes and first fruits, ought not to be subject to the law of man. 

THEOPHYL. Therefore it was intended, in case He said they ought to give tribute to Caesar, that He should be accused by the people, as placing the nation under the yoke of slavery, but if He forbade them to pay the tax, that they should denounce Him as a stirrer up of divisions to the governor. 

But He escapes their snares, as it follows, Perceiving their craftiness, he said to them, Why tempt you me? Show me a penny. Whose image and superscription has it? 

AMBROSE; Our Lord here teaches us, how cautious we ought to be in our answers to heretics or Jews; as He has said elsewhere, Be you wise as serpents.

BEDE; Let those who impute the question of our Savior to ignorance, learn from this place that Jesus was well able to know whose image was on the money; but He asks the question, that He might give a fitting answer to their words; for it follows, They answered and said, Caesar's. We must not suppose Augustus is thereby meant, but Tiberius, for all the Roman kings were called Caesar, from the first Caius Caesar. But from their answer our Lord easily solves the question, for it follows, And he said to them, Render to Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and to God the things which be God's. 

TITUS; As if He said, With your words you tempt me, obey me in works. You have indeed Caesar's image, you have undertaken his offices, to him therefore give tribute, to God fear. For God requires not money, but faith. 

BEDE; Render also to God the things which be God's, that is to say, tithes, first fruits, offerings, and sacrifices. 

THEOPHYL. And observe that He said not, give, but return. For it is a debt. Your prince protects you from enemies, renders your life tranquil. Surely then you are bound to pay him tribute. Nay, this very piece of money which you bring you have from him. Return then to the king the king's money. God also has given you understanding and reason, make then a return of these to Him, that you may not be compared to the beasts, but in all things may walk wisely. 

AMBROSE; Be unwilling then, if you would not offend Caesar, to possess worldly goods. And you rightly teach, first to render the things which be Caesar's. For no one can be the Lord's unless he has first renounced the world. Oh most galling chain! To promise to God, and pay not. Far greater is the contract of faith than that of money.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday's Gospel in the traditional calendar is St Luke 17: 11-19:

11 Et factum est, dum iret in Jerusalem, transibat per mediam Samariam et Galilæam. 12 Et cum ingrederetur quoddam castellum, occurrerunt ei decem viri leprosi, qui steterunt a longe: 13 et levaverunt vocem, dicentes: Jesu præceptor, miserere nostri. 14 Quos ut vidit, dixit: Ite, ostendite vos sacerdotibus. Et factum est, dum irent, mundati sunt. 15 Unus autem ex illis, ut vidit quia mundatus est, regressus est, cum magna voce magnificans Deum, 16 et cecidit in faciem ante pedes ejus, gratias agens: et hic erat Samaritanus. 17 Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: Nonne decem mundati sunt? et novem ubi sunt? 18 Non est inventus qui rediret, et daret gloriam Deo, nisi hic alienigena. 19 Et ait illi: Surge, vade: quia fides tua te salvum fecit.

11 Et factum est, dum iret in Jerusalem, transibat per mediam Samariam et Galilæam. 12 Et cum ingrederetur quoddam castellum, occurrerunt ei decem viri leprosi, qui steterunt a longe: 13 et levaverunt vocem, dicentes: Jesu præceptor, miserere nostri. 14 Quos ut vidit, dixit: Ite, ostendite vos sacerdotibus. Et factum est, dum irent, mundati sunt. 15 Unus autem ex illis, ut vidit quia mundatus est, regressus est, cum magna voce magnificans Deum, 16 et cecidit in faciem ante pedes ejus, gratias agens: et hic erat Samaritanus. 17 Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: Nonne decem mundati sunt? et novem ubi sunt? 18 Non est inventus qui rediret, et daret gloriam Deo, nisi hic alienigena. 19 Et ait illi: Surge, vade: quia fides tua te salvum fecit.

Matins readings in the Benedictine Office (from St Augustine)


Reading 9: The ten lepers "lifted up their voices and said: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said unto them Go, show yourselves unto the Priests. And it came to pass that, as they went, they were cleansed." Question why did the Lord send them unto the Priests, that, as they went, they might be cleansed Lepers were the only class among those upon whose bodies He worked mercy, whom we find that He sent unto the Priests. It is written in another place that He said to a leper whom He had cleansed " Go, and show thyself to the Priest, and offer for thy cleansing according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them" Luke v. 14, Lev. xiv. seq. 

Reading 10: We ask then, of what leprosy was a type, whereof they that were ridded were called, not "healed," but "cleansed." It is a disease which doth first appear in the skin, but destroyeth not immediately the strength, nor the use of feeling and the limbs. The lepers, therefore, we may not absurdly suppose such to be figured as have not the knowledge of the true faith, but do show forth divers-coloured teachings of error. They hide not their witlessness, but do use all such wit as they have to make it manifest, and proclaim it in high-sounding phrases. 

Reading 11: There is no false doctrine but hath some truth mixed up with it. A man's discourse then, with some truths in it unequally mingled with falsehoods, and all confounded in one mass, is like to the body of one that is stricken with leprosy, whereon all manner of foul colours do appear in this and that place along with the true colour of skin.

Reading 12: Such men as these are banished out of the walls of the Church, to the end that haply when they stand afar off they may lift up their voices and cry to Christ for pardon, just as those ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off, outside the village, lifted up their voices and said "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." That they styled Him Master, by which title I know not if any besought the Lord for bodily healing, I think doth sufficiently show that leprosy signifieth false doctrine, whereof the Good Master doth cleanse us.