Wednesday, 1 April 2015

John 21:20-25



The final section of St John's Gospel is an autobiographical note on the 'beloved disciple' (St John himself).

The New Advent page can be found here.  The Latin is:

20 Conversus Petrus vidit illum discipulum, quem diligebat Jesus, sequentem, qui et recubuit in cœna super pectus ejus, et dixit: Domine, quis est qui tradet te? 21 Hunc ergo cum vidisset Petrus, dixit Jesu: Domine, hic autem quid? 22 Dicit ei Jesus: Sic eum volo manere donec veniam, quid ad te? tu me sequere. 23 Exiit ergo sermo iste inter fratres quia discipulus ille non moritur. Et non dixit ei Jesus: Non moritur, sed: Sic eum volo manere donec veniam, quid ad te? 24 Hic est discipulus ille qui testimonium perhibet de his, et scripsit hæc: et scimus quia verum est testimonium ejus. 25 Sunt autem et alia multa quæ fecit Jesus: quæ si scribantur per singula, nec ipsum arbitror mundum capere posse eos, qui scribendi sunt, libros.

Douay-Rheims:

Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on his breast at supper, and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray thee?[21] Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? [22] Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? follow thou me. [23] This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but, So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? [24] This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. [25] But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.

Commentary

Catena Aurea on the beloved disciple:

AUG. He calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved, because Jesus had a greater and more familiar love for him, than for the rest; so that He made him lie on His breast at supper. In this way John the more commends the divine excellency of that Gospel which he preached.

Some think, and they no contemptible commentators upon Scripture, that the reason why John was loved more than the rest, was, because he had lived in perfect chastity from his youth up. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not to him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you?


THEOPHYL. i.e. Shall he not die?


AUG. Jesus says to him, What is that to you? and He then repeats, Follow you Me, as if John would not follow Him, because he wished to remain till He came; Then went this saying abroad among the disciples, that disciple should not die. Was it not a natural inference of the disciple's? But John himself does awes With such a notion: Yet Jesus said not to him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? But if any so will, let him contradict, and say that what John says is true, viz. that our Lord did not say that that disciple should not die, but that nevertheless this was signified by using such words as John records.


THEOPHYL. Or let him say, Christ did not deny that John was to die, for whatever is born cries; but said, I will that he tarry till I come, i.e. to live to the end of the world, and then he shall suffer martyrdom for Me. And therefore they confess that he still lives, but will be killed by Antichrist, and will preach Christ's name with Elias. But if his sepulcher be objected, then they say that he entered in alive, and went out of it afterwards.


AUG. Or perhaps he will allow that John still lies in his sepulcher at Ephesus, but asleep, not dead; and will give us a proof, that the soil over his grave is moist and watery, owing to his respiration. But why should our Lord grant it as a great privilege to the disciple whom He loved, that he should sleep this long time in the body, when he released Peter from the burden of the flesh by a glorious martyrdom, and gave him what Paul had longed for, when he said, I have a desire to depart and be with Christ? If there really takes place at John's grave that which report says, it is either done to commend his precious death, since that had not martyrdom to commend it, or for some other cause not known to us. Yet the question remains, Why did our Lord say of one who was about to die, I will that he tarry till I come? It may be asked too why our Lord loved John the most, when Peter loved our Lord the most? I might easily reply, that the one who loved Christ the more, was the better man, and the one whom Christ loved the more, the more blessed; only this would not be a defense of our Lord's justice. This important question then I will endeavor to answer. The Church acknowledges two modes of life, as divinely revealed, that by faith, and that by sight. The one is represented by the Apostle Peter, in respect of the primacy of his Apostleship; the other by John: wherefore to the one it is said, Follow Me, i.e. imitate Me in enduring temporal sufferings; of the other it is said, I will that he tarry till I come: as if to say, Do you follow Me, by the endurance of temporal sufferings, let him remain till I come to give everlasting bliss; or to open out the meaning more, Let action be perfected by following the example of My Passion, but let contemplation wait inchoate till at My coming it be completed: wait, not simply remain, continue, but wait for its completion at Christ's coming. Now in this life of action it is true, the more we love Christ, the more we are freed from sin; but He does not love us as we are, He frees us from sin, that we may not always remain as we are, but He loves us heretofore rather, because hereafter we shall not have that which displeases Him, and which He frees us from. So then let Peter love Him, that we may be freed from this mortality; let John be loved by Him, that we may be preserved in that immortality. John loved less than Peter, because, as he represented that life in which we are much more loved, our Lord said, I will that he remain (i.e. wait) till I come; seeing that that greater love we have not yet, but wait till we have it at His coming. And this intermediate state is represented by Peter who loves, but is loved less, for Christ loves us in our misery less than in our blessedness: and we again love the contemplation of truth such as it will be then, less in our present state, because as yet we neither know nor have it. But let none separate those illustrious Apostles; that which Peter represented, and that which John represented, both were sometime to be.


 Eyewitness testimony:

CHRYS. John appeals to his own knowledge of these events, having been witness of them: This is the disciple which testifies of these things. When we assert any undoubted fact in common life, we do not withhold our testimony: much less would he, who wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. And thus the other Apostles, And we are witnesses of these things, and wrote these things. John is only one who appeals to his own testimony; and he does so, because he was the last who wrote. And for this reason he often mentions Christ's love for him, i.e. to show the motive which led him to write, and to give weight to his history. And we know that his testimony is true. He was present at every event, even at the crucifixion, when our Lord committed His mother to him; circumstances which both show Christ's love, and his own importance as a witness. 

There is more to the tradition than contained in Scripture:

CHRYS: But if any believe not, let him consider what follows:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did. If, when there were so many things to relate, I have not said so much as the other, and have selected often reproaches and contumelies in preference to other things, it is evident that I have not written partially. One who wants to show another off to advantage does the very contrary, omits the dishonorable parts.


AUG. The which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should, be written; meaning not the world had not space for them, but that the capacity of readers was not large enough to hold them: though sometimes words themselves may exceed the truth, and yet the thing they express be true; a mode of speech which is used not to explain an obscure and doubtful, but to magnify or estimate a plain, thing: nor does it involve any departure from the path of truth; inasmuch as the excess of the word over the truth is evidently only a figure of speech, and not a deception. This way of speaking the Greeks call hyperbole, and it is found in other parts of Scripture.


CHRYS. This is said to show the power of Him Who did the miracles; i. e that it was as easy for Him to do them, as it is for us to speak of them, seeing He is God over all, blessed for ever.


And that concludes this series of lectio notes on the Gospel of St John.  I hope that it has stimulated you to do more lectio divina; that the notes proved helpful, and your reading proved fruitful.   May you have a holy Sacred Triduum and joyous Easter.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

John 21:12-19

Raphael

Today's section of St John's Gospel continues on from the story of the miraculous catch of fish, and includes the important 'commissioning' of St Peter.

Text

The New Advent page can be found here.

2 Dicit eis Jesus: Venite, prandete. Et nemo audebat discumbentium interrogare eum: Tu quis es? scientes, quia Dominus est. 13 Et venit Jesus, et accipit panem, et dat eis, et piscem similiter. 14 Hoc jam tertio manifestatus est Jesus discipulis suis cum resurrexisset a mortuis.15 Cum ergo prandissent, dicit Simoni Petro Jesus: Simon Joannis, diligis me plus his? Dicit ei: Etiam Domine, tu scis quia amo te. Dicit ei: Pasce agnos meos. 16 Dicit ei iterum: Simon Joannis, diligis me? Ait illi: Etiam Domine, tu scis quia amo te. Dicit ei: Pasce agnos meos. 17 Dicit ei tertio: Simon Joannis, amas me? Contristatus est Petrus, quia dixit ei tertio: Amas me? et dixit ei: Domine, tu omnia nosti, tu scis quia amo te. Dixit ei: Pasce oves meas. 18 Amen, amen dico tibi: cum esses junior, cingebas te, et ambulabas ubi volebas: cum autem senueris, extendes manus tuas, et alius te cinget, et ducet quo tu non vis. 19 Hoc autem dixit significans qua morte clarificaturus esset Deum. Et cum hoc dixisset, dicit ei: Sequere me.

From the Douay-Rheims:

[12] Jesus saith to them: Come, and dine. And none of them who were at meat, durst ask him: Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. [13] And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner. [14] This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead. [15] When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.[16] He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. [17] He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep. [18] Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not. [19] And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me.

Commentary

The Catena Aurea anthology on the reasons for Jesus' questioning of Peter:

THEOPHYL. The dinner being ended, He commits to Peter the superintendence over the sheep of the world, not to the others: So when they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, Do love you Me more than these do?

AUG. Our Lord asked this, knowing it: He knew that Peter not only loved Him, but loved Him more than all the rest.


ALCUIN. He is called Simon, son of John, John being his natural father. But mystically, Simon is obedience, John grace, a name well befitting him who was so obedient to God's grace, that he loved our Lord more ardently than any of the others. Such virtue arising from divine gift, not mere human will.


AUG. While our Lord was being condemned to death, he feared, and denied Him. But by His resurrection Christ implanted love in his heart, and drove away fear. Peter denied, because he feared to die: but when our Lord was risen from the dead, and by His death destroyed death, what should he fear? He says to Him, Yea, Lord; you know that 1 love You. On this confession of his love, our Lord commends His sheep to him: He says to him, Feed My lambs. as if there were no way of Peter's showing his love for Him, but by being a faithful shepherd, under the chief Shepherd.


CHRYS. That which most of all attracts the Divine love is care and love for our neighbor. Our Lord passing by the rest, addresses this command to Peter: he being the chief of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, and head of the college. Our Lord remembers no more his sin in denying Him, or brings that as a charge against him, but commits to him at once the superintendence over his brethren. If you love Me, have rule over your brethren, show forth that love which you have evidenced throughout, and that life which you said you would lay down for Me, lay down for the sheep.


 He says to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me? He says to Him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love You. Well does He say to Peter, Love you Me, and Peter answer, Amo Te, and our Lord replies again, Feed My lambs. Whereby, it appears that amor and dilectio are the same thing: especially as our Lord the third time He speaks does not say, Diligis Me, but Amas Me.


He says to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me? A third time our Lord asks Peter whether he loves Him. Three confessions are made to answer to the three denials; that the tongue might show as much love as it had fear, and life gained draw out the voice as much as death threatened.


CHRYS. A third time He asks the same question, and gives the same command; to show of what importance He esteems the superintendence of His own sheep, and how He regards it as the greatest proof of love to Him.


THEOPHYL. Thence is taken the custom of threefold confession in baptism.


CHRYS. The question asked for the third time disturbed him: Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, Love you Me? He was afraid perhaps of receiving a reproof again for professing to love more than he did. So he appeals to Christ Himself: And he said to Him, Lord, you know all things, i.e. the secrets of the heart, present and to come.


AUG. He was grieved because he was asked so often by Him Who knew what He asked, and gave the answer. He replies therefore from his inmost heart; you know that I love You.


AUG. He says no more, He only replies what he knew himself; he knew he loved Him; whether any else loved Him he could not tell, as he could not see into another's heart: Jesus says to him, Feed My sheep; as if to say, Be it the office of love to feed the Lord's flock, as it was the resolution of fear to deny the Shepherd.


The nature of the commission:

THEOPHYL. There is a difference perhaps between lambs and sheep. The lambs are those just initiated, the sheep are the perfected.

ALCUIN. To feed the sheep is to support the believers in Christ from falling from the faith, to provide earthly sustenance for those under us, to preach and exemplify withal our preaching by our lives, to resist adversaries, to correct wanderers.


AUG. They who feed Christ's sheep, as if they were their own, not Christ's, show plainly that they love themselves, not Christ; that they are moved by lust of glory, power, gain, not by the love of obeying, ministering, pleasing God. Let us love therefore, not ourselves, but Him, and in feeding His sheep, seek not our own, but the things which are His. For whoso loves himself, not God, loves not himself: man that cannot live of himself, must die by loving himself; and he cannot love himself, who loves himself to his own destruction. Whereas when He by Whom we live is loved, we love ourselves the more, because we do not love ourselves; because we do not love ourselves in order that we may love Him by Whom we live


AUG. But unfaithful servants arose, who divided Christ's flock, and handed down the division to their successors: and you hear them say, Those sheep are mine, what seek you with my sheep, I will not let you come to my sheep. If we call our sheep ours, as they call them theirs, Christ has lost His sheep.


On St Peter's future martyrdom:

CHRYS. Our Lord having made Peter declare his love, informs him of his future martyrdom; an intimation to us how we should love: Verily, verily, I say to you, When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked where you would. He reminds him of his former life, because, whereas in worldly matters a young man has powers, an old man none; in spiritual things, on the contrary, virtue is brighter, manliness stronger, in old age; age is no hindrance to grace. Peter had all along desired to share Christ's dangers; so Christ tells him, Be of good cheer; I will fulfill your desire in such a way, that what you has not suffered when young, you shall suffer when old: But when you are old. Whence it appears, that he was then neither a young nor an old man, but in the prime of life.

ORIGEN. It is not easy to find any ready to pass at once from this life; and so he says to Peter, When you are old, you shall stretch forth your hand.


AUG. That is, shall be crucified. And to come to this end, Another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not. First He said what would come to pass, secondly, how it would come to pass. For it was not when crucified, but when about to be crucified, that he was led where he would not. He wished to be released from the body, and be with Christ; but, if it were possible, he wished to attain to eternal life without the pains of death; to which he went against his will, but conquered by the force of his will, and triumphing over the human feeling, so natural a one, that even old age could not deprive Peter of it. But whatever be the pain of death, it ought to be conquered by the strength of love for Him, Who being our life, voluntarily also underwent death for us. For if there is no pain in death, or very little, the glory of martyrdom would not be great.


CHRYS. He says, Where you would not, with reference to the natural reluctance of the soul to be separated from the body; an instinct implanted by God to prevent men putting an end to themselves.


Then raising the subject, the Evangelist says, This spoke He, signifying by what death he should glorify God: not, should die: he expresses himself so, to intimate that to suffer for Christ was the glory of the sufferer. But unless the mind is persuaded that He is very God, the sight of Him can in no way enable us to endure death. Wherefore the death of the saints is certainty of divine glory.


AUG. He who denied and loved, died in perfect love for Him, for Whom he had promised to die with wrong haste. It was necessary that Christ should first die for Peter's salvation, and then Peter die for Christ's Gospel.



Monday, 30 March 2015

John 21: 1-11


Spoleto Cathedral

The final chapter of St John's Gospel deals with Jesus' appearances after the Resurrection.  Today, the miraculous catch of fish.

Text

The New Advent page can be found here.

1 Postea manifestavit se iterum Jesus discipulis ad mare Tiberiadis. Manifestavit autem sic: 2 erant simul Simon Petrus, et Thomas, qui dicitur Didymus, et Nathanaël, qui erat a Cana Galilææ, et filii Zebedæi, et alii ex discipulis ejus duo. 3 Dicit eis Simon Petrus: Vado piscari. Dicunt ei: Venimus et nos tecum. Et exierunt, et ascenderunt in navim: et illa nocte nihil prendiderunt. 4 Mane autem facto stetit Jesus in littore: non tamen cognoverunt discipuli quia Jesus est. 5 Dixit ergo eis Jesus: Pueri, numquid pulmentarium habetis? Responderunt ei: Non. 6 Dicit eis: Mittite in dexteram navigii rete, et invenietis. Miserunt ergo: et jam non valebant illud trahere præ multitudine piscium. 7 Dixit ergo discipulus ille, quem diligebat Jesus, Petro: Dominus est. Simon Petrus cum audisset quia Dominus est, tunica succinxit se (erat enim nudus) et misit se in mare. 8 Alii autem discipuli navigio venerunt (non enim longe erant a terra, sed quasi cubitis ducentis), trahentes rete piscium. 9 Ut ergo descenderunt in terram, viderunt prunas positas, et piscem superpositum, et panem. 10 Dicit eis Jesus: Afferte de piscibus, quos prendidistis nunc. 11 Ascendit Simon Petrus et traxit rete in terram, plenum magnis piscibus centum quinquaginta tribus. Et cum tanti essent, non est scissum rete.

From the Douay-Rheims:

After this, Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And he shewed himself after this manner. [2] There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathanael, who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. [3] Simon Peter saith to them: I go a fishing. They say to him: We also come with thee. And they went forth, and entered into the ship: and that night they caught nothing. [4] But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. [5] Jesus therefore said to them: Children, have you any meat? They answered him: No. [6] He saith to them: Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore; and now they were not able to draw it, for the multitude of fishes. [7] That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved, said to Peter: It is the Lord. Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him, (for he was naked,) and cast himself into the sea. [8] But the other disciples came in the ship, (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. [9] As soon then as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon, and bread. [10] Jesus saith to them: Bring hither of the fishes which you have now caught. [11] Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken.

Commentary

The Catena Aurea anthology draws out the reasons for Christ's appearances:

AUG. The preceding words of the Evangelist seem to indicate the end of the book, but He goes on farther to give an account of our Lord's appearance by the sea of Tiberias: After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias.

CHRYS. He says, Afterwards, because He did not go continually with His disciples as before; and, manifested Himself, because His body being incorruptible, it was a condescension to allow Himself to be seen. He mentions the place, to show that our Lord had taken away a good deal of their fear, and that they no longer kept within doors, though they had gone to Galilee to avoid the persecution of the Jews.


BEDE. The Evangelist, after his wont, first states the thing itself, and then says how it took place: And on this wise showed He Himself.


CHRYS. As our Lord was not with them regularly, and the Spirit was as not given them, and they had received no commission, and had nothing to do, they followed the trade of fishermen: And on this wise showed He Himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee he who was called by Philip and the sons of Zebedee, i.e. James and John, and two other of His disciples.


Why did the apostles go back to fishing?

GREG. It may be asked, why Peter, who was a fisherman before his conversion, returned to fishing, when it is said, No man putting his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

AUG. If the disciples had done this after the death of Jesus, and before His resurrection, we should have imagined that they did it in despair. But now after that He has risen from the grave, after seeing the marks of His wounds, after receiving, by means of His breathing, the Holy Ghost, all at once they become what they were before, fishers, not of men, but of fishes. We must remember then that they were not forbidden by their Apostleship from earning their livelihood by a lawful craft, provided they had no other means of living. For if the blessed Paul used not that power which he had with the rest of the preachers of the Gospel, as they did, but went a warfare upon his own resources, lest the Gentiles, who were aliens from the name of Christ, might be offended at a doctrine apparently venal; if, educated in another way, he learnt a craft he never knew before, that, while the teacher worked with his own hands, the hearer might not be burdened much more might Peter, who had been a fisherman, work at what he knew, if he had nothing else to live upon at the time. But how had he not, some one will ask, when our Lord promises, Seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you? Our Lord, we answer, fulfilled this promise, by bringing them the fishes to catch: for who else brought them? He did not bring upon them that poverty which obliged them to go fishing, except in order to exhibit a miracle.


GREG. The craft which was exercised without sin before conversion, was no sin after it. Wherefore after his conversion Peter returned to fishing; but Matthew sat not down again for the receipt? of custom. For there are some businesses which cannot or it can hardly be carried on without sin; and these cannot be returned to after conversion.


CHRYS. The other disciples followed Peter: They say to him, We also go with you; for from this time they were all bound together; and they wished too to see the fishing: They went forth and entered into a ship immediately. And that night they caught nothing. They fished in the night, from fear.


GREG. The fishing was made to be very unlucky, in order to raise their astonishment at the miracle after: And that night they caught nothing


Jesus' intervention:

CHRYS. In the midst of their labor and distress, Jesus presented Himself to them: But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

He did not make Himself known to them immediately, but entered into conversation; and first He speak after human fashion: Then Jesus says to them, Children, have you any meat? as if He wished to beg some of them. They answered, No.


He then gives them a sign to know Him by: And He said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. The recognition of Him brings out Peter and John in their different tempers of mind; the one fervid, the other sublime; the one ready, the other penetrating.


John is the first to recognize our Lord: Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved says to Peter, It is the Lord; Peter is the first to come to Him... 


The meaning of the catch:

AUG. Mystically, in the draught of fishes He signified the mystery of the Church, a such as it will be at the final resurrection of the dead. And to make this clearer, it is put near the end of the book. The number seven, which is the number of the disciples who were fishing, signifies the end of time; for time is counted by periods of seven days.

THEOPHYL. In the night time before the presence of the sun, Christ, the Prophets took nothing; for though they endeavored to correct the people, yet these often fell into idolatry.


GREG. It may be asked, why after His resurrection He stood on the shore to receive the disciples, whereas before He walked on the sea? The sea signifies the world, which is tossed about with various causes of tumults, and the waves of this corruptible life; the shore by its solidity figures the rest eternal. The disciples then, inasmuch as they were still upon the waves of this mortal life, were laboring on the sea; but the Redeemer having by His resurrection thrown off the corruption of the flesh, stood upon the shore.


AUG. The shore is the end of the sea, and therefore signifies the end of the world. The Church is here typified as she will be at the end of the world, just as other draughts of fishes typified her as she is now. Jesus before did not stand on the shore, but went into a ship which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land.


In a former draught the nets are not thrown to the right, or to the left, so that the good or the bad should be typified alone, but indifferently: Let down your nets for a draught, meaning that the good and bad were mixed together. But here it is, Cast the net on the right side of the ship; to signify those who should stand on the right hand, the good. The one our Lord did at the beginning of His ministry, the other after His resurrection, strewing therein that the former draught of fishes signified the mixture of bad and good, which composes the Church at present; the latter the good alone, which it will contain in eternity, when the world is ended, and the resurrection of the dead completed.


But they who belong to the resurrection of life, i.e. to the right hand, and are caught within the net of the Christian name, shall only appear on the shore, i.e. at the end of the world, after the resurrection: wherefore they were not able to draw the net into the ship, and unload the fishes, as they were before. The Church keeps these of the right hand, after death, in the sleep of peace, as it were in the deep, till the net come to shore. That the first draught was taken in two little ships, the last two hundred cubits from land, a hundred and a hundred, typifies, I think, the two classes of elect, circumcised and uncircumcised.


BEDE. By the two hundred cubits is signified the twofold grace of love; the love of God and the love of our neighbor; for by them we approach to Christ. The fish broiled is Christ who suffered. He deigned to be hid in the waters of human nature, and to be taken in the net of our night; and having become a fish by the taking of humanity, became bread to refresh us by His divinity.


GREG. To Peter was the holy Church committed; to him is it specially said, Feed My sheep. That then which is afterwards declared by word, is now signified by act. He it is who draws the fishes to the firm shore, because he it was who pointed out the stability of the eternal country to the faithful. This he did by word of mouth, by epistles; this he does daily by signs and miracles. After saying that the net was full of great fishes, the number follows: Full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty and three.


AUG. In the draught before, the number of the fishes is not mentioned, as if in fulfillment of the prophecy in the Psalm, If I should declare them, and speak of them, they should be more than l am able to express, but here there is a certain number mentioned, which we must explain.


The number which signifies the law is ten, from the ten Commandments. But when to the law is joined grace, to the letter spirit, the number seven is brought in, that being the number which represents the Holy Spirit, to Whom sanctification properly belongs. For sanctification was first heard of in the law, with respect to the seventh day; and Isaiah praises the Holy Spirit for His sevenfold work and office. The seven of the Spirit added to the ten of the law make seventeen, and the numbers from one up to seventeen when added together, make a hundred and fifty-three.


GREG. Seven and ten multiplied by three make fifty-one. The fiftieth year was a year of rest to the whole people from all their work. In unity is true rest; for where division is, true rest cannot be.


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Readings for Psalm Sunday

Today's Gospel at Mass is the reading of the Passion according to St Matthew, Matthew 26:36-75 and Matthew 27:1-66.  As this is very long indeed, I won't reproduce it here in full here, but will let you read it on the New Advent pages (if you prefer the Douay-Rheims to the Knox translation, you can find it starting here).

At Matins in the older forms of the Benedictine and Roman Office, however, the Gospel is St Matthew 21:1-9 (used in the blessing of palms ceremony, or as last Gospel at a Mass without the ceremony):

Et cum appropinquassent Jerosolymis, et venissent Bethphage ad montem Oliveti: tunc Jesus misit duos discipulos, 2 dicens eis: Ite in castellum, quod contra vos est, et statim invenietis asinam alligatam, et pullum cum ea: solvite, et adducite mihi: 3 et si quis vobis aliquid dixerit, dicite quia Dominus his opus habet: et confestim dimittet eos. 4 Hoc autem totum factum est, ut adimpleretur quod dictum est per prophetam dicentem: 5 Dicite filiæ Sion: Ecce rex tuus venit tibi mansuetus, sedens super asinam, et pullum filium subjugalis. 6 Euntes autem discipuli fecerunt sicut præcepit illis Jesus. 7 Et adduxerunt asinam, et pullum: et imposuerunt super eos vestimenta sua, et eum desuper sedere fecerunt. 8 Plurima autem turba straverunt vestimenta sua in via: alii autem cædebant ramos de arboribus, et sternebant in via: 9 turbæ autem, quæ præcedebant, et quæ sequebantur, clamabant, dicentes: Hosanna filio David: benedictus, qui venit in nomine Domini: hosanna in altissimis. 

And when they drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, [2] Saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them and bring them to me. [3] And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them: and forthwith he will let them go. [4] Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: [5] Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke.[6] And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. [7] And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. [8] And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: [9] And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

The Patristic readings

The Matins readings on the Gospel are from St Ambrose:

Reading 9: Beautiful is the type, when the Lord, about to leave the Jews, and to take up His abode in the hearts of the Gentiles, goeth up into the Temple; a figure of His going to the true Temple wherein He is worshipped, not in the deadness of the letter, but in spirit and in truth, even that Temple of God whereof the foundations are laid, not in buildings of stone, but in faith. He leaveth behind Him such as hate Him, and getteth Him to such as will love Him. And therefore cometh He unto the Mount of Olives that He may plant upon the heights of grace those young olive-branches, whose Mother is the Jerusalem which is above. 

Reading 10: Upon this mountain standeth He, the Heavenly Husbandman, that all they which be planted in the House of the Lord may be able each one to say: "But I am like a fruitful olive-tree in the House of God.And perchance that mountain doth signify Christ Himself. For what other is there that beareth such fruit of olives as He doth, not rich with store of loaded branches, but spiritually fruitful with the fulness of the Gentiles? He also it is on Whom we go up, and unto Whom we go up; He is the Door; He is the Way; He is He Which is opened and Which openeth; He is He upon Whom knocketh whosoever entereth in, and to Whom they that have entered in, do worship. 

Reading 11: A figure also was it that the disciples went into a village, and that there they found an ass tied and a colt with her neither could they be loosed, save at the command of the Lord. It was the hand of His Apostles which loosed them. He whose work and life are like theirs will have such grace as was theirs. Be thou also such as they, if thou wouldest loose them that are bound.Now, let us consider who they were, who, being convicted of transgression, were banished from their home in the Garden of Eden into a village, and in this thou wilt see how Life called back again them whom death had cast out. 

Reading 12: For this reason, we read in Matthew that there were tied both an ass and her colt; thus, as man was banished from Eden in a member of either sex, so is it in animals of both sexes that his re-call is figured. The she-ass is a type of our sinful Mother Eve, and the colt of the multitude of the Gentiles; and it was upon the colt that Christ took His seat. And thus it is well written of the colt, Luke xix. 30, that thereon never yet had man sat, for no man before Christ ever called the Gentiles into the Church which statement thou hast in Mark also xi. 2: Whereon never man sat.