Saturday, 29 March 2014

Fourth Sunday of Lent

This Sunday's Gospel is St John 6:1-15:

1 Post hæc abiit Jesus trans mare Galilææ, quod est Tiberiadis: 2 et sequebatur eum multitudo magna, quia videbant signa quæ faciebat super his qui infirmabantur. 3 Subiit ergo in montem Jesus et ibi sedebat cum discipulis suis. 4 Erat autem proximum Pascha dies festus Judæorum. 5 Cum sublevasset ergo oculos Jesus, et vidisset quia multitudo maxima venit ad eum, dixit ad Philippum: Unde ememus panes, ut manducent hi? 6 Hoc autem dicebat tentans eum: ipse enim sciebat quid esset facturus. 7 Respondit ei Philippus: Ducentorum denariorum panes non sufficiunt eis, ut unusquisque modicum quid accipiat. 8 Dicit ei unus ex discipulis ejus, Andreas, frater Simonis Petri: 9 Est puer unus hic qui habet quinque panes hordeaceos et duos pisces: sed hæc quid sunt inter tantos? 10 Dixit ergo Jesus: Facite homines discumbere. Erat autem fœnum multum in loco. Discumberunt ergo viri, numero quasi quinque millia. 11 Accepit ergo Jesus panes: et cum gratias egisset, distribuit discumbentibus: similiter et ex piscibus quantum volebant. 12 Ut autem impleti sunt, dixit discipulis suis: Colligite quæ superaverunt fragmenta, ne pereant. 13 Collegerunt ergo, et impleverunt duodecim cophinos fragmentorum ex quinque panibus hordeaceis, quæ superfuerunt his qui manducaverant. 14 Illi ergo homines cum vidissent quod Jesus fecerat signum, dicebant: Quia hic est vere propheta, qui venturus est in mundum.15 Jesus ergo cum cognovisset quia venturi essent ut raperent eum, et facerent eum regem, fugit iterum in montem ipse solus. 

[1] After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. [2] And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. [3] Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. [4] Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. [5] When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?[6] And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do. [7] Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. [8] One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: [9] There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many? [10] Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand.[11] And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. [12] And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. [13] They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. [14] Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. [15] Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.

The Matins readings on it are from St Augustine (from Divinum Officium):

Reading 9: The miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did were the very works of God, and they enlighten the mind of man by mean of things which are seen, that he may know more of God. God is Himself of such a Substance as eye cannot see, and the miracles, by the which He ruleth the whole world continually, and satisfieth the need of everything that He hath made, are by use become so common, that scarce any will vouchsafe to see that there are wonderful and amazing works of God in every grain of seed of grass. According to His mercy He kept some works to be done in their due season, but out of the common course and order of nature, that men might see them and be astonished, not because they are greater, but because they are rarer than those which they lightly esteem, since they see them day by day.

Reading 10: Or it is a greater miracle to govern the whole universe, than to satisfy five thousand men with five loaves of bread; and yet no man marvelleth at it. At the feeding of the five thousand, men marvel, not because it is a greater miracle than the other, but because it is rarer. For Who is He Who now feedeth the whole world, but He Who, from a little grain that is sown, maketh the fulness of the harvest? 

Reading 11: God worketh in both cases in one and the same manner. He Who of the sowing maketh to come the harvest, is He Who of the five barley loaves in His Hands made bread to feed five thousand men; for Christ's are the Hands which are able to do both the one and the other. He Who multiplieth the grains of corn multiplied the loaves, only not by committing them to the earth whereof He is the Maker.

Reading 12: This miracle, then, is brought to bear upon our bodies, that our souls may thereby be quickened; shown to our eyes, to give food to our understanding; that, through His works which we see, we may marvel at that God Whom we cannot see, and, being roused up to believe, and purified by believing, we may long to see Him, yea, may know by things which are seen Him Who is Unseen. Nor yet sufficeth it for us to see only this meaning in Christ's miracles. Let us ask of the miracles themselves what they have to tell us concerning Christ for, soothly, they have a tongue of their own, if only we will understand it. For, because Christ is the Word of God, therefore the work of the Word is a Word for us.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Feast of the Annunciation

The Gospel for the feast of the Annunciation is St Luke 1:26-38:

26 In mense autem sexto, missus est angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilææ, cui nomen Nazareth, 27 ad virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David: et nomen virginis Maria. 28 Et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit: Ave gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus. 29 Quæ cum audisset, turbata est in sermone ejus, et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio. 30 Et ait angelus ei: Ne timeas, Maria: invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum. 31 Ecce concipies in utero, et paries filium, et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum: 32 hic erit magnus, et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris ejus: et regnabit in domo Jacob in æternum, 33 et regni ejus non erit finis. 34 Dixit autem Maria ad angelum: Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco? 35 Et respondens angelus dixit ei: Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. 36 Et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filium in senectute sua: et hic mensis sextus est illi, quæ vocatur sterilis: 37 quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. 38 Dixit autem Maria: Ecce ancilla Domini: fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Et discessit ab illa angelus.

[26] And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. [28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. [31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. [33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [36] And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: [37] Because no word shall be impossible with God. [38] And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

The Matins readings are from St Ambrose:

Reading 9: The mysteries of God are unsearchable, and it is especially declared by a Prophet, that a man can hardly know His counsels. Wisd. ix. 13. Nevertheless, some things have been revealed to us, and we may gather from some of the words and works of the Lord our Saviour, that there was a special purpose of God, in the fact that she who was chosen to be the mother of the Lord was espoused to a man. Why did not the power of the Highest overshadow her before she was so espoused? Perhaps it was lest any might blasphemously say that she had conceived in fornication the Holy One.

Reading 11: And the angel came in unto her. Let us learn from this Virgin how to bear ourselves, let us learn her modesty, let us learn by her devout utterance, above all let us learn by the holy mystery enacted. It is the part of a maiden to be timid, to avoid the advances of men, and to shrink from men's addresses. Would that our women would learn from the example of modesty here set before us. She upon whom the stare of men had never been fixed was alone in her chamber, and was found only by an angel. There was neither companion nor witness there, that what passed might not be debased in gossip and the angel saluted her.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Third Sunday of Lent

This Sunday's Gospel is St Luke 11:14-28:

14 Et erat ejiciens dæmonium, et illud erat mutum. Et cum ejecisset dæmonium, locutus est mutus, et admiratæ sunt turbæ. 15 Quidam autem ex eis dixerunt: In Beelzebub principe dæmoniorum ejicit dæmonia. 16 Et alii tentantes, signum de cælo quærebant ab eo. 17 Ipse autem ut vidit cogitationes eorum, dixit eis: Omne regnum in seipsum divisum desolabitur, et domus supra domum cadet. 18 Si autem et Satanas in seipsum divisus est, quomodo stabit regnum ejus? quia dicitis in Beelzebub me ejicere dæmonia. 19 Si autem ego in Beelzebub ejicio dæmonia: filii vestri in quo ejiciunt? ideo ipsi judices vestri erunt. 20 Porro si in digito Dei ejicio dæmonia: profecto pervenit in vos regnum Dei. 21 Cum fortis armatus custodit atrium suum, in pace sunt ea quæ possidet. 22 Si autem fortior eo superveniens vicerit eum, universa arma ejus auferet, in quibus confidebat, et spolia ejus distribuet. 23 Qui non est mecum, contra me est: et qui non colligit mecum, dispergit. 24 Cum immundus spiritus exierit de homine, ambulat per loca inaquosa, quærens requiem: et non inveniens dicit: Revertar in domum meam unde exivi. 25 Et cum venerit, invenit eam scopis mundatam, et ornatam. 26 Tunc vadit, et assumit septem alios spiritus secum, nequiores se, et ingressi habitant ibi. Et fiunt novissima hominis illius pejora prioribus. 27 Factum est autem, cum hæc diceret: extollens vocem quædam mulier de turba dixit illi: Beatus venter qui te portavit, et ubera quæ suxisti. 28 At ille dixit: Quinimmo beati, qui audiunt verbum Dei et custodiunt illud.

[14] And he was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb: and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it: [15] But some of them said: He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.[16] And others tempting, asked of him a sign from heaven. [17] But he seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall. [18] And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. [19] Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub; by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. [20] But if I by the finger of God cast out devils; doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you.[21] When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth. [22] But if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcome him; he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. [23] He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. [24] When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out. [25] And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. [26] Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. [27] And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. [28] But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.

The Patristic readings from the Office are from St Bede:

Reading 9: We read in Matthew xii. 22 that the devil, by which this poor creature was possessed, was not only dumb, but also blind; and that, when he was healed by the Lord, he saw as well as spake. Three miracles, therefore, were performed on this one man; the blind saw, the dumb spake, and the possessed was delivered. This mighty work was then indeed wrought carnally, but it is still wrought spiritually in the conversion of believers, when the devil is cast out of them, so that their eyes see the light of faith, and the lips, that before were dumb, are opened that their mouth may show forth the praise of God. 

Reading 10: But some of them said He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. These some were not of the multitude, but liars among the Pharisees and Scribes, as we are told by the other Evangelist. While the multitude, who were less instructed, wondered ever at the works of the Lord, the Pharisees and Scribes, on the other hand, denied the facts when they could, and when they were not able, twisted them by an evil interpretation, and asserted that the works of God were the works of an unclean spirit. 

Reading 11: And others, tempting Him, sought of Him a sign from heaven. They would have had Christ either to call down fire from heaven like Elias, to have made thunder roll, and lightning flash, and rain fall at midsummer. And yet and if he had so done, they had been still able to explain away these signs also, as being the natural result of some unusual, though, till that moment, unremarked state of the atmosphere. O thou, who stubbornly deniest that which thine eye seeth, thine hand holdeth, and thy sense perceiveth, what wilt thou say to a sign from heaven? In good sooth, thou wilt say that the magicians in Egypt also wrought divers signs from heaven.

Reading 12: But He, knowing their thoughts, said unto them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and an house divided against an house falleth. He answered not their words, but their thoughts; as though He would compel them to believe in the power of Him Who seeth the secrets of the heart. But if every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, then have not the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost a divided kingdom, since His is a kingdom that, without all contradiction, shall never be brought to desolation by any shock, but abideth unchanged and unchangeable for ever. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because ye say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub. In saying this, He sought to draw from their own mouth a confession that they had chosen for themselves to be part of that devil's kingdom, which, if it be divided against itself, cannot stand.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Feast of St Benedict

In the Benedictine calendar, today is the feast of St Benedict, a solemnity which displaces the Lent day, accordingly, I'll provide the Gospel for that feast here (alas, the patristic readings on the Gospel for the feast in the 1962 Breviary, Homily 9 on the saint by St Peter Damian, don't seem to be available online).

For those following the EF Roman calendar however, the feast is reduced to a commemoration in Lent and the Gospel is St Matthew 21:33-46.  You can find the patristic readings set for it under Matins on the Divinum Officium website (select 1960 rubrics).

Gospel for the feast of St Benedict

The Gospel for the feast of St Benedict is St Matthew 19:27-29:

27 Tunc respondens Petrus, dixit ei: Ecce nos reliquimus omnia, et secuti sumus te: quid ergo erit nobis? 28 Jesus autem dixit illis: Amen dico vobis, quod vos, qui secuti estis me, in regeneratione cum sederit Filius hominis in sede majestatis suæ, sedebitis et vos super sedes duodecim, judicantes duodecim tribus Israël. 29 Et omnis qui reliquerit domum, vel fratres, aut sorores, aut patrem, aut matrem, aut uxorem, aut filios, aut agros propter nomen meum, centuplum accipiet, et vitam æternam possidebit.

[27] Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? [28] And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name' s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Feast of St Joseph

The Gospel for today's feast is St Matthew 1:18-21:

18 Christi autem generatio sic erat: cum esset desponsata mater ejus Maria Joseph, antequam convenirent inventa est in utero habens de Spiritu Sancto. 19 Joseph autem vir ejus cum esset justus, et nollet eam traducere, voluit occulte dimittere eam. 20 Hæc autem eo cogitante, ecce angelus Domini apparuit in somnis ei, dicens: Joseph, fili David, noli timere accipere Mariam conjugem tuam: quod enim in ea natum est, de Spiritu Sancto est. 21 Pariet autem filium: et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum: ipse enim salvum faciet populum suum a peccatis eorum.

[18] Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. [19] Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. [20] But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.[21] And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins.

Third Nocturn Matins Readings

Reading 9 (Homily by St Jerome): Why was the Lord conceived of an espoused virgin rather than of a free? First, for the sake of the genealogy of Mary, which we have obtained by that of Joseph. Secondly, because she was thus saved from being stoned by the Jews as an adulteress. Thirdly, that Himself and His mother might have a guardian on their journey into Egypt. To these, Ignatius, the martyr of Antioch, has added a fourth reason namely, that the birth might take place unknown to the devil; who would naturally suppose that Mary had conceived by Joseph.

Reading 10: Before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. She was found, that is, by Joseph, but by no one else. He had already almost an husband's privilege to know all that concerned her. Before they came together. This doth not imply that they ever did come together the Scripture merely showeth the absolute fact that up to this time they had not done so.

Reading 11: Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. If any man be joined to a fornicatress they become one body; and according to the law they that are privy to a crime are thereby guilty. How then can it be that Joseph is described as a just man, at the very time he was compounding the criminality of his espoused? It must have been that he knew her to be pure, and yet understood not the mystery of her pregnancy, but, while he wondered at that which had happened, was willing to hold his peace.

(Note: reading 12 for the Benedictine Office is not available online)

Monday, 17 March 2014

St Patrick's Day.

Today is the feast of St Patrick, and the Gospel for  confessor bishop if St Matthew 25:14-23:

14 Sicut enim homo peregre proficiscens, vocavit servos suos, et tradidit illis bona sua. 15 Et uni dedit quinque talenta, alii autem duo, alii vero unum, unicuique secundum propriam virtutem: et profectus est statim. 16 Abiit autem qui quinque talenta acceperat, et operatus est in eis, et lucratus est alia quinque. 17 Similiter et qui duo acceperat, lucratus est alia duo. 18 Qui autem unum acceperat, abiens fodit in terram, et abscondit pecuniam domini sui. 19 Post multum vero temporis venit dominus servorum illorum, et posuit rationem cum eis. 20 Et accedens qui quinque talenta acceperat, obtulit alia quinque talenta, dicens: Domine, quinque talenta tradidisti mihi, ecce alia quinque superlucratus sum. 21 Ait illi dominus ejus: Euge serve bone, et fidelis: quia super pauca fuisti fidelis, super multa te constituam; intra in gaudium domini tui. 22 Accessit autem et qui duo talenta acceperat, et ait: Domine, duo talenta tradidisti mihi, ecce alia duo lucratus sum. 23 Ait illi dominus ejus: Euge serve bone, et fidelis: quia super pauca fuisti fidelis, super multa te constituam; intra in gaudium domini tui.

[15] And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey. [16] And he that had received the five talents, went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five. [17] And in like manner he that had received the two, gained other two. [18] But he that had received the one, going his way digged into the earth, and hid his lord' s money. [19] But after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. [20] And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above.
 [21] His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. [22] And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me: behold I have gained other two. [23] His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord

The Patristic readings on it set for today:

Reading 9: (Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great): Dearly beloved brethren, this Lesson from the Holy Gospel moveth us to take good heed lest we, who are seen in this world to have received more than others, should thereby bring ourselves into greater condemnation from the Maker of this world. To whom much is given, of the same is much required. Therefore, let him that receiveth much, strive to be all the more lowly, and all the more ready to do God service, for his very gifts' sake, knowing that he will be obliged to give account thereof. 

Reading 10: Behold, a man, travelling into a far country, calleth his own servants, and delivereth unto them talents, to the end that they may trade therewith. After a long time, the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them, and to them that have done well He rendereth a reward of their labours, but that servant which was careless of his master's work He condemneth. What other, then, is that man travelling into a far country but our Redeemer, Who is gone up from us into heaven in that Flesh Which He had taken into Himself? For the earth is the home of the Flesh, Which travelleth into a far country when our Redeemer giveth It a place in heaven. But that man travelling into a far country delivered unto his servants his goods and so doth our Redeemer give spiritual gifts unto His faithful people. 

Reading 11: "And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one." There are five bodily senses that is, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. By the five talents therefore are signified the five senses, that is, outward knowledge. By the two, wit and work. And by the figure of the one talent, understanding, which is alone.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Second Sunday of Lent

The Gospel this Sunday is St Matthew 17:1-9, on the Transfiguration (from New Advent):

1 Et post dies sex assumit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et ducit illos in montem excelsum seorsum: 2 et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies ejus sicut sol: vestimenta autem ejus facta sunt alba sicut nix. 3 Et ecce apparuerunt illis Moyses et Elias cum eo loquentes. 4 Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ad Jesum: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse: si vis, faciamus tria tabernacula, tibi unum, Moysi unum, et Eliæ unum. 5 Adhuc eo loquente, ecce nubes lucida obumbravit eos. Et ecce vox de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui: ipsum audite. 6 Et audientes discipuli ceciderunt in faciem suam, et timuerunt valde. 7 Et accessit Jesus, et tetigit eos: dixitque eis: Surgite, et nolite timere. 8 Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.9 Et descendentibus illis de monte, præcepit eis Jesus, dicens: Nemini dixeritis visionem, donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat.


1] And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. [6] And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. [8] And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead. 

The third Nocturn Matins readings on it are from a Homily by St Leo the Great (from Divinum Officium, but rearranged as for the Benedictine Office):

Reading 9: Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and manifested forth the brightness of His glory. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in Him the Majesty of God, they knew not the power of that Body which veiled the Godhead. And therefore He had individually and markedly promised to some of the disciples that had stood by Him that they should "not taste of death till they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom, that is, in the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God, and which He willed to make visible to those three men.

Reading 10: This it was that they saw, for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live. When the Father saith "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased hear ye Him did they not plainly hear Him say This is My Son, Whose it is to be of Me and with Me without all time " For neither is He That begetteth, before Him That is begotten, neither He That is begotten, after Him That begetteth Him. " This is My Son between Whom and Me, to be God is not a point of difference to be Almighty, a point of separation nor to be Eternal, a point of distinction. "

Reading 11: This is My Son not by adoption, but My very Own not created from, or of another substance, or out of nothing, but begotten of Me not of another nature, and made like unto Me, but of Mine own Being, born of Me, equal unto Me.This is My Son by Whom all things were made, and without Whom was not anything made that was made, Who maketh likewise all things whatsoever I make and what things soever I do He doeth likewise, inseparably and indifferently."

Reading 12: This is My Son Who thought it not robbery, nor hath taken it by violence, to be equal with Me, but, abiding still in the form of My glory, that He may fulfil Our common decree for the restoration of mankind, hath bowed the unchangeable Godhead even to the form of a servant. Him therefore in Whom I am in all things well pleased, by Whose preaching I am manifested, and by Whose lowliness I am glorified, Him instantly hear ye. For He is the Truth and the Life My Power, and My Wisdom.

You can also read my post with St John Chrysostom's take on it.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

St Matthew 28:11-15

The events of the Resurrection are chronicled in Chapter 28 of St Matthew's Gospel, of which verses 1-7 are used at the Easter Vigil.  The continuation of the narrative on the soldiers guarding the tomb is picked up in verse 11:

11 Quæ cum abiissent, ecce quidam de custodibus venerunt in civitatem, et nuntiaverunt principibus sacerdotum omnia quæ facta fuerant. 12 Et congregati cum senioribus consilio accepto, pecuniam copiosam dederunt militibus, 13 dicentes: Dicite quia discipuli ejus nocte venerunt, et furati sunt eum, nobis dormientibus. 14 Et si hoc auditum fuerit a præside, nos suadebimus ei, et securos vos faciemus. 15 At illi, accepta pecunia, fecerunt sicut erant edocti. Et divulgatum est verbum istud apud Judæos, usque in hodiernum diem.

11 They had not finished their journey, when some of the guards reached the city, and told the chief priests of all that befell. 12 These gathered with the elders to take counsel, and offered a rich bribe to the soldiers; 13 Let this, they said, be your tale, His disciples came by night and stole him away, while we were asleep. 14 If this should come to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him, and see that no harm comes to you. 15 The soldiers took the bribe, and did as they were instructed; and this is the tale which has gone abroad among the Jews, to this day.

The Catena Aurea anthology notes:

JEROME; Thus the Chief Priests, who ought to have been by this turned to penitence, and to seek Jesus risen, persevere in their wickedness, and convert the money which was given for the use of the Temple to the purchase of a lie, as before they had given thirty pieces of silver to the traitor Judas. 

CHRYSOL. Not content to have put the Master to death, they plot how they may destroy the disciples, and make the Master's power matter of charge against His disciples. The soldiers indeed lost Him, the Jews missed Him, but the disciples carried Him away, not by theft, but by faith; by virtue, and not by fraud; by holiness, and not by wickedness; alive, and not dead. 

CHRYS. How should the disciples carry Him away by stealth, men poor, and of no station, and who scarcely dared to show themselves? They fled when afterwards they saw Christ alive, how, when He was dead, would they not have feared so great a multitude of soldiers? How were they to remove the door of the sepulcher? One might have done it unperceived by the guard. But a large stone was rolled to the mouth requiring many hands. And was not the seal thereon? And why did they not attempt it the first night, when there was none at the sepulcher? For it was on the Sabbath that they begged the body of Jesus. 

Moreover, what mean these napkins which Peter sees laid here? Had the disciples stolen the Body, they would never have stripped it, both because it might so receive hurt, and cause unnecessary delay to themselves, and so expose them to be taken by the watch; especially since the Body and clothes were covered with myrrh, a glutinous spice, which would cause them to adhere. The allegation of the theft then is improbable. So that their endeavors to conceal the Resurrection do but make it more manifest. For when they say, His disciples stole the body, they confess that it is not in the sepulcher. And as they thus confess that they had not the Body, and as the watch, the sealing, and the fears of the disciples, make the theft improbable, there is seen evidence of the Resurrection not to be gainsaid. 

REMIG. But if the guards slept, how saw they the theft? And if they saw it not, how could they witness thereto? So that what they desire to show, they cannot show. 

GLOSS. That the fear of the Governor might not restrain them from this lie, they promise them impunity. 

CHRYS. See how all are corrupted; Pilate persuaded; the people stirred up; the soldiers bribed; as it follows, And they took the money, and did as they were instructed. If money prevailed with a disciple so far as to make him become the betrayer of his Master, what wonder that the soldiers are overcome by it. 

HILARY; The concealment of the Resurrection, and the false allegation of theft, is purchased by money; because by the honor of this world, which consists in money and desire, Christ's glory is denied. 

RABAN. But as the guilt of His blood, which they imprecated upon themselves and their children, presses them down with a heavy weight of sin, so the purchase of the lie, by which they deny the truth of the Resurrection, charges this guilt upon them for ever; as it follows, And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. 

CHRYSOL. Among the Jews, not among the Christians; what in Judea the Jew concealed by his gold, is by faith blazed abroad throughout the world.

JEROME; All who abuse to other purposes the money of the Temple, and the contributions for the use of the Church, purchasing with them their own pleasure, are like the Scribes and Priests who bought this lie, and the blood of the Savior.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

First Sunday of Lent

The Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent is St Matthew 4:1-11 (the temptation of Christ):

1 Tunc Jesus ductus est in desertum a Spiritu, ut tentaretur a diabolo. 2 Et cum jejunasset quadraginta diebus, et quadraginta noctibus, postea esuriit. 3 Et accedens tentator dixit ei: Si Filius Dei es, dic ut lapides isti panes fiant. 4 Qui respondens dixit: Scriptum est: Non in solo pane vivit homo, sed in omni verbo, quod procedit de ore Dei. 5 Tunc assumpsit eum diabolus in sanctam civitatem, et statuit eum super pinnaculum templi, 6 et dixit ei: Si Filius Dei es, mitte te deorsum. Scriptum est enim: Quia angelis suis mandavit de te, et in manibus tollent te, ne forte offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum. 7 Ait illi Jesus: Rursum scriptum est: Non tentabis Dominum Deum tuum. 8 Iterum assumpsit eum diabolus in montem excelsum valde: et ostendit ei omnia regna mundi, et gloriam eorum, 9 et dixit ei: Hæc omnia tibi dabo, si cadens adoraveris me. 10 Tunc dicit ei Jesus: Vade Satana: Scriptum est enim: Dominum Deum tuum adorabis, et illi soli servies. 11 Tunc reliquit eum diabolus: et ecce angeli accesserunt, et ministrabant ei.

The Douay-Rheims renders it as follows:

Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. [3] And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. [5] Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple, [6] And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [8] Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, [9] And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. [10] Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. [11] Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.

Patristic readings

The Third Nocturn Matins readings in the Benedictine Office are from St Gregory the Great:

(Reading 9): Some persons are accustomed to question what Spirit it was of which Jesus was led up into the wilderness, on account of the words a little farther on Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city and again The devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain. But in truth, and without any searching, we may very fitly take it that we are to believe it was the Holy Ghost Who led Him up into the wilderness; His own Spirit led Him where the evil spirit found Him to tempt Him. 

(Reading 10): When however it is said that He, God and man, was taken up by the devil either into an exceeding high mountain or into the holy city, the mind shrinketh from believing, and the ears of man tingle to hear it. Yet these things we know not to be incredible, when we consider certain other things concerning Him.

(Reading 11): In truth, the devil is the head of all the wicked, and every wicked man is a member of this body, of which the devil is the head. Was not Pilate a limb of Satan? Were not the Jews that persecuted, and the soldiers that crucified Christ, likewise limbs of Satan? Is it then strange that He should allow Himself to be led up into a mountain by the head, Who allowed Himself to be crucified by the members? Therefore it is not unworthy of our Redeemer, Who came to be slain, that He was willing to be tempted. It was meet that He should thus overcome our temptations by His own, even as He came to conquer our death by His own.

(Reading 12): We ought to know that temptation worketh through three forms. There is, first, the suggestion; then the delectation; lastly, the consent. When we are tempted, it often happeneth that we fall into delectation, and even into consent, because in the sinful flesh of which we are begotten, we carry in ourselves matter to favour the attack. But God, when He took Flesh in the womb of the Virgin, and came into the world without sin, did so without having in Himself anything of this lusting of the flesh against the spirit. It was possible therefore for Him to be tempted in the first stage, namely suggestion; but there was nothing in His Mind in which delectation could fix its teeth. And thus all the temptation which He endured from the devil was without, and none within Him.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

St Matthew 28

The final verses of St Matthew's Gospel deal with the great commission.  Verses 16-20 are the Gospel for the Friday in the Easter Octave; and 18-20 on the Feast of the Holy Trinity:

16 Undecim autem discipuli abierunt in Galilæam in montem ubi constituerat illis Jesus. 17 Et videntes eum adoraverunt: quidam autem dubitaverunt. 18 Et accedens Jesus locutus est eis, dicens: Data est mihi omnis potestas in cælo et in terra: 19 euntes ergo docete omnes gentes: baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti: 20 docentes eos servare omnia quæcumque mandavi vobis: et ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus, usque ad consummationem sæculi.

And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. [18] And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

The Catena Aurea anthology includes the following:

BEDE; When Saint Matthew has vindicated the Lord's resurrection as declared by the Angel, he relates the vision of the Lord which the disciples had, Then the eleven disciples went into Galilee into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. For when coming to His Passion the Lord had said to His disciples, After I am risen I will go before you into Galilee; and the Angel said the same to the women. Therefore the disciples obey the command of their Master. Eleven only go, for one had already perished. 

JEROME; After His Resurrection, Jesus is seen and worshipped in the mountain in Galilee; though some doubt, their doubting confirms our faith. 

REMIG. This is more fully told by Luke; how when the Lord after the Resurrection appeared to the disciples, in their terror they thought they saw a spirit. 

BEDE. The Lord appeared to them in the mountain to signify, that His Body which at His Birth He had taken of the common dust of the human race, He had by His Resurrection exalted above all earthly things; and to teach the faithful that if they desire there to see the height of His Resurrection, they must endeavor here to pass from low pleasures to high desires. And He goes before His disciples into Galilee, because Christ is risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept. And they that are Christ's follow Him, and pass in their order from death to life, contemplating Him as He appears with His proper Divinity. And it agrees with this that Galilee is interpreted 'revelation.' 

 REMIG. The disciples then, when they saw Him, knew the Lord; and worshipped Him, bowing their faces to the ground. And He their affectionate and merciful Master, that He might take away all doubtfulness from their hearts, coming to them, strengthened them in their belief; as it follows, And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 

JEROME; Observe the order of these injunctions. He bids the Apostles first to teach all nations, then to wash them with the sacrament of faith, and after faith and baptism then to teach them what things they ought to observe; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

St Matthew 27: 62-65

The Latin, Greek and English translations of St Matthew 27 can be found here.  It covers the events  of Jesus trial and crucifixion.

The chapter concludes with the Jewish authorities being concerned over the possibility of  deceit over the resurrection:

62 Altera autem die, quæ est post Parasceven, convenerunt principes sacerdotum et pharisæi ad Pilatum, 63 dicentes: Domine, recordati sumus, quia seductor ille dixit adhuc vivens: Post tres dies resurgam. 64 Jube ergo custodiri sepulchrum usque in diem tertium: ne forte veniant discipuli ejus, et furentur eum, et dicant plebi: Surrexit a mortuis: et erit novissimus error pejor priore. 65 Ait illis Pilatus: Habetis custodiam, ite, custodite sicut scitis. 66 Illi autem abeuntes, munierunt sepulchrum, signantes lapidem, cum custodibus.

"62 Next day, the next after the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered in Pilate’s presence, 63 and said, Sir, we have recalled it to memory that this deceiver, while he yet lived, said, I am to rise again after three days. 64 Give orders, then, that his tomb shall be securely guarded until the third day; or perhaps his disciples will come and steal him away. If they should then say to the people, He has risen from the dead, this last deceit will be more dangerous than the old. 65 Pilate said to them, You have guards; away with you, make it secure as you best know how. 66 And they went and made the tomb secure, putting a seal on the stone and setting a guard over it." (Knox translation)

The Catena Aurea comments:

HILARY; Their fear lest the body should be stolen, the setting a watch on the tomb, and sealing it, are marks of folly and unbelief, that they should have sought to seal up the tomb of One at whose bidding they had seen a dead man raised from the tomb. 

RABAN. When they say, And the last error will be worse than the first, they utter a truth unwittingly, for their contempt of penitence was worse for the Jews than was their error of ignorance. 

CHRYS. Observe how against their will they concert to demonstrate the truth, for by their precautions irrefragable demonstration of the resurrection was attained. The sepulcher was watched, and so no fraud could have been practiced; and if there was no collusion, it is certain that the Lord rose again. 

RABAN. Pilate's answer to their request is as much as to say, Be it enough for you that you have conspired the death of an innocent man, henceforth let your error remain with you. 

CHRYS. Pilate will not suffer that the soldiers alone should seal. But as though he had learnt the truth concerning Christ, he was no longer willing to be partner in their acts, and says, Seal it as you will yourselves, that you may not be able to accuse others. For had the soldiers alone sealed, they might have said that the soldiers had suffered the disciples to steal the body, and so given the disciples a handle to forge a tale concerning the resurrection; but this could they not say now, when they themselves had sealed the sepulcher.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Matthew 26

The New Advent page for St Matthew 26, which covers the events of Jesus celebrating the Paschal feast with his disciples, his arrest, the desertion of the disciples, and Peter's betrayal, can be found here.  It is read on Palm Sunday.

From the interrogation of Jesus by the Chief Priests:

59. Now the Chief Priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

60. But found none: yes, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

61. And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

62. And the High Priest arose, and said to him, Answer you nothing? what is it which these witness against you?

63. But Jesus held his peace. And the High Priest answered and said to him, I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you be the Christ, the Son of God.

64. Jesus said to him, You have said: nevertheless I say to you, Hereafter shall you see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

65. Then the High Priest rent his clothes, saying, He has spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now you have heard his blasphemy.

66. What think you? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

67. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

68. Saying, Prophesy to us, you Christ, Who is he that smote you?

The Catena Aurea:

When the Chief Priests were thus assembled, this conventicle of ruffians sought to give their conspiracy the character of a legal trial. But it was entirely a scene of confusion and uproar, as what follows shows, Though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. 

False witnesses have place when there is any good color for their testimony. But no pretext was found which could further their falsehoods against Jesus; notwithstanding there were many desirous to do a favor to the Chief Priests. This then is a great testimony in favor of Jesus, that He had lived and taught so irreproachably, that though they were many, and crafty, and wicked, they could find no semblance of fault in Him.

At last came two false witnesses. How are they false witnesses, when they repeat only what we read that the Lord spoke? A false witness is one who takes what is said in a different sense from that in which it was said. Now this the Lord had spoken of the temple of His Body, and they cavil at His expressions, and by a slight change and addition produce a plausible charge. The Lord's words were, Destroy this temple; this they make into, I can destroy the Temple of God. He said, Destroy not 'I will destroy,' because it is unlawful to lay hands on ourselves. Also they phrased it, And build it again, making it apply to the temple of the Jews; but the Lord had said, And I will raise it up again, thus clearly pointing out a living and breathing temple. For to build again, and to raise again, are two different things. 

CHRYS. Why did they not bring forward now His breaking the Sabbath? Because He had so often confuted them on this point. 

Headlong and uncontrolled rage, unable to find even a false accusation, moves the High Priest from his throne, the motion of his body showing the emotion of his mind. And the High Priest arose, and said to him, Answer you nothing to the things which these witness against You? 

He said this with a design to draw from Him some indefensible answer which might be made a snare for Him. But Jesus held his peace, for defense had availed nothing when none would listen to it. For here was only a mockery of justice, it was in truth nothing more than the anarchy of a den of robbers. 

ORIGEN; This place teaches us to contemn the clamors of slanderers and false witnesses, and not to consider those who speak unbeseeming things of us worthy of an answer; but then, above all, when it is greater to be manfully and resolutely silent, than to plead our cause in vain. 

JEROME; For as God, He knew that whatever He said would be twisted into an accusation against Him. But at this His silence before false witnesses and ungodly Priests, the High Priest was exasperated, and summons Him to answer, that from any thing He says he may raise a charge against Him. 

Under the Law, we do indeed find many instances of this adjuration; but I judge that a man who would live according to the Gospel should not adjure another; for if we are not permitted to swear, surely not to adjure. But he that regards Jesus commanding the demons, and giving His disciples power over them, will say, that to address the demons by the power given by the Savior, is not to adjure them. But the High Priest did sin in laying a snare for Jesus; imitating his father, who twice asked the Savior, If you be Christ the Son of God. Hence one might rightly say, that to doubt concerning the Son of God, whether Christ be He, is the work of the Devil. It was not fit that the Lord should answer the High Priest's adjuration as though under compulsion, wherefore He neither denied nor confessed Himself to be the Son of God. For he was not worthy to be the object of Christ's teaching, therefore He does not instruct him, but taking up his own words retorts them upon him. This sitting of the Son of Man seems to me to denote a certain regal security; by the power of God, Who is the only power, is He securely seated to Whom is given by His Father all power in heaven as in earth. And there will come a time when the enemies shall see this establishment. Indeed this has begun to be fulfilled from the earliest time of the dispensation; for the disciples saw Him rising from the dead, and thereby saw Him seated on the right hand of power. Or, In respect of that eternity of duration which is with God, from the beginning of the world to the end of it is but one day; it is therefore no wonder that the Savior here says, Shortly, signifying that there is but short time before the end come. He prophesies moreover, that they should not only see Him sitting at the right hand of power, but also coming in the clouds of heaven. These clouds are the Prophets and Apostles, whom He commands to rain when it is required, they are the clouds that pass not away, but bearing the image of the heavenly, are worthy to he the throne of God, as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. 

The same fury which drew the High Priest from his seat, impels him now to rend his clothes; for so it was customary with the Jews to do whenever they heard any blasphemy, or any thing against God. 

CHRYS. This He did to give weight to the accusation, and to confirm by deeds what He taught in words. 

JEROME; And by this rending his garments, he shows that the Jews have lost the priestly glory, and that their High Priest's throne was vacant. For by rending his garment he rent the veil of the Law which covered him. 

Then, after rending his garment, he did not give sentence of himself; but asked of others, saying, What think you? As was always done in undeniable cases of sin, and manifest blasphemy, and as by force driving them to a certain opinion, he anticipates the answer, What need we any further witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. What was this blasphemy? For before He had interpreted to them as they were gathered together that text, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, and they had held their peace, and had not contradicted Him. How then do they call what He now says blasphemy? They answered and said, He is guilty of death, the same persons, at once accusers, examiners, and sentencers. 

ORIGEN; How great their error! to pronounce the principle of all men's life to be guilty of death, and not to acknowledge by the testimony of the resurrection of so many, the Fount of life, from Whom life flows to all that rise again. 

CHRYS. As hunters who have started their game, so they exhibit a wild and drunken exultation. 

They spit in his face, and buffeted him, to fulfill the prophecy of Esaias, I gave my cheek to the smiters, and turned not away my face from shame and spitting. 

Prophesy to us; is said in ridicule of His claim to be held as a Prophet by the people. 

JEROME; But it would have been foolish to have answered them that smote Him, and to have declared the smiter, seeing that in their madness they seem to have struck; Him openly. 

CHRYS. Observe how circumstantially the Evangelist recounts all those particulars even which seem most disgraceful, hiding or extenuating nothing, but thinking it the highest glory that the Lord of the earth should endure such things for us. This let us read continually, let us imprint in our minds, and in these things let us boast. 

AUG. That, they did spit in his face, signifies those who reject His proffered grace. They likewise buffet Him who prefer their own honor to Him; and they smite Him on the face, who, blinded with unbelief, affirm that He is not yet come, disowning and rejecting His person.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Readings for Quinquagesima Sunday

The Gospel for Quinquagesima Sunday is Luke 18:31-43.

The Third Nocturn Readings on it at Matins in the Benedictine Office are from St Gregory the Great:

Reading 9: Our Redeemer, foreseeing that the minds of His disciples would be troubled by His suffering, told them long before both of the pains of that suffering, and of the glory of His rising again, to the end that, when they should see Him die as He had prophesied, they might not doubt that He was likewise to rise again. But, since His disciples were yet carnal, and could not receive the words telling of this mystery, He wrought a miracle before them. A blind man received his sight before their eyes, that if they could not receive heavenly things by words, they might be persuaded of heavenly things by deeds.

Reading 10: But, dearly beloved brethren, we must so take the miracles of our Lord and Saviour, as believing both that they were actually wrought, and that they have some mystic interpretation for our instruction. For in His works, power speaketh one thing and mystery again another. Behold here, for instance. We know not historically who this blind man was, but we do know of what he was mystically the figure.

Reading 11: Mankind is blind, driven out from Eden in the persons of his first parents, knowing not the light of heaven, and suffering the darkness of condemnation. But, nevertheless, through the coming of his Redeemer, he is enlightened, so that now he seeth by hope already the gladness of inward light, and walketh by good works in the path of life.One must note that as Jesus drew to Jericho a blind man received his sight. Now, this name Jericho, being interpreted, signifieth the city of the moon and in Holy Scripture the moon is used as a figure of our imperfect flesh, of whose gradual corruption her monthly waning is a type.

Reading 12: As, therefore, our Maker draweth nigh to Jericho, a blind man receiveth his sight. While the Godhead taketh. into itself our weak manhood, man receiveth again the light which he had lost. By God's suffering in the Manhood, man is raised up toward God. This blind man is also well described as sitting by the wayside begging, for the Truth saith: “I am the Way.”

St Matthew 25

The New Advent page for St Matthew 25 can be found here.    Verses 1-15 (parable of the wise and foolish virgins) are used in the Common of Virgins.  The chapter also takes in the parable of the talents, and the sorting of the sheep from the goats (verses 31-46, the Gospel for the Monday after First Sunday of Lent).

Here is the parable of the talents in St Matthew's version:

"Then He spoke again another parable. A man travelling into a far country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods; to one five talents, to another two, to another one, to every man according to his several ability, and took his journey. Then, when the two had brought him the double, he that had been entrusted with the one talent brought it alone, and being blamed says, I knew that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered; and I was afraid, and hid your talent; lo! There you have that is yours. His Lord answered and said, Thou wicked servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered: you ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I might have received my own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that has ten talents. For to him that has shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly; but from him that has not, shall be taken away even that which he has. And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Chrysostom comments:

Let us hearken then to these words. As we have opportunity, let us help on our salvation, let us get oil for our lamps, let us labor to add to our talent. For if we be backward, and spend our time in sloth here, no one will pity us any more hereafter, though we should wail ten thousand times. He also that had on the filthy garments condemned himself, and profited nothing. He also that had the one talent restored that which was committed to his charge, and yet was condemned. The virgins again entreated, and came unto Him and knocked, and all in vain, and without effect.

Knowing then these things, let us contribute alike wealth, and diligence, and protection, and all things for our neighbor's advantage. For the talents here are each person's ability, whether in the way of protection, or in money, or in teaching, or in what thing soever of the kind. Let no man say, I have but one talent, and can do nothing; for you can even by one approve yourself. For you are not poorer than that widow; you are not more uninstructed than Peter and John, who were both unlearned and ignorant men; Acts 4:13 but nevertheless, since they showed forth a zeal, and did all things for the common good, they attained to Heaven. For nothing is so pleasing to God, as to live for the common advantage.

For this end God gave us speech, and hands, and feet, and strength of body, and mind, and understanding, that we might use all these things, both for our own salvation, and for our neighbor's advantage. For not for hymns only and thanksgivings is our speech serviceable to us, but it is profitable also for instruction and admonition. And if indeed we used it to this end, we should be imitating our Master; but if for the opposite ends, the devil. Since Peter also, when he confessed the Christ, was blessed, as having spoken the words of the Father; but when he refused the cross, and dissuaded it, he was severely reproved, as savoring the things of the devil. But if where the saying was of ignorance, so heavy is the blame, when we of our own will commit many sins, what favor shall we have?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

St Matthew 24

The New Advent page for Matthew 24 can be found here.  Verses 15 to 35 are the Gospel for the Last Sunday after Pentecost, and is a warning of the destruction of the Temple and the end times.

And once again, we have a reference to the sign of the fig-tree:

32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree, When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh:
33. So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34. Verily I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

The Catena Aurea on this:

CHRYS. Because He had said that these things should come to pass immediately after the tribulation of those days, they might ask, How long time hence? He therefore gives them an instance in the fig. 

JEROME; As much as to say, When the tender shoots first show themselves in the stem of the fig tree, and the bud bursts into flower, and the bark puts forth leaves, you perceive the approach of summer and the season of spring and growth; so when you shall see all these things that are written, do not suppose that the end of the world is immediate, but that certain monitory signs and precursors are showing its approach. 

CHRYS. He shows that the interval of time shall not be great, but that the coming of Christ will be presently. By the comparison of the tree He signifies the spiritual summer and peace that the just shall enjoy after their winter, while sinners on the other hand shall have a winter after summer. 

ORIGEN; As the fig has its vital powers torpid within it through the season of winter, but when that is past its branches become tender by those very powers and put forth leaves; so the world and all those who are saved had before Christ's coming their vital energies dormant within them as in a season of winter. Christ's Spirit breathing upon them makes the branches of their hearts soft and tender, and that which was dormant within burgeons into leaf, and makes show of fruit. To such the summer and the coming of the glory of the Word of God is nigh at hand. 

CHRYS. This analogy also adds credit to His foregoing discourse; for wherever He speaks of what must by all means come to pass, Christ ever brings forward parallel physical laws. 

AUG. That now from the Evangelic and Prophetic signs that we see come to pass, we ought to look that the Lord's coming should be nigh, who is there that denies? For daily it draws ever more and more near, but of the exact time it is said, It is not for you to know the times, or the seasons. See how long ago the Apostle said, Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. What he spoke was not false, and yet how many years have elapsed, how much more may we not say that the Lord's coming is at hand now, that so great an accession of time has been made?

HILARY; Mystically; The Synagogue is likened to the fig tree; its branch is Antichrist, the son of the Devil, the portion of sin, the maintainer of the law; when this shall begin to swell and to put forth leaves, then summer is nigh, i.e. the approach of the day of judgment shall be perceived. 

REMIG. Or, when this fig shall again bud, that is, when the synagogue shall receive the word of holy preaching, as the preaching of Enoch and Elias, then we ought to understand that the day of the consummation is at hand. 

AUG. Or, by the fig tree understand the human race, by reason of the temptations of the flesh. When its branch is tender i.e. when the sons of men through faith in Christ have progressed towards spiritual fruits, and the honor of their adoption to be the sons of God has shone forth in them.