Thursday, April 27, 2017

Father Callan's Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1:1-11

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

THE APOSTOLIC GREETING

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:1-2~As in the previous letter so here, St. Paul begins by an assertion of his Apostolic authority and divine commission. Timothy, his faithful companion and fellow-laborer in preaching the Gospel (1 Cor 16:10; Rom 16:21), is associated in the writing of this Epistle because, since the Apostle is going to speak much of himself and defend his life and actions against his adversaries, he could have no better witness than Timothy, and no one who was more highly esteemed by the Corinthians. Here too, all the faithful, not only of Corinth, but of the whole Roman Province of Achaia, are addressed.

2 Cor 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother: to the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints that are in all Achaia:

Paul, an apostle, etc. See on Rom 1:1. Here is what Fr. Callan wrote in his comments on Rom 1:1~Paul. The Apostle probably assumed this name for the first time in Cyprus when he converted the Proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7-12), perhaps, as St. Jerome says (in Philem.), in honor of his victory in making so great a convert. St. Thomas and others, however, think he was called both Paul and Saul from his infancy; the latter being his Jewish, and the former his Latin name. As Tarsus, the Apostle’s birth place, was under the Roman Empire, it seems not improbable that he should have been given a Latin, as well as a Jewish name, from the beginning. It seems unlikely (pace St Jerome) that St Paul would have been so ostentatious as to “honor his victory in making so great a convert” as to adopt the name Paulus from the Proconsul Sergius Paulus Gallio.

Of Jesus Christ (Vulg., Jesu Christi) is according toA D G K; whereas B M P read, "Of Christ Jesus."

Our brother. Literally, "The brother," i.e., not only a fellow-Christian, but a co-laborer in preaching the Gospel. In five other Epistles (Philip., Col., 1 and 2 Thess. and Philem.) Timothy is similarly associated with St. Paul.

With all the saints, etc., i.e., this letter is addressed to Corinth, and also to all the other Christian communities of Achaia. Unlike Galatians, however, this was not a circular Epistle. It embraced
the outlying Churches of Achaia only so far as they shared the disorders and opinions of the central Church at Corinth.

Achaia was a distinct Roman Province including the Peloponnesus and north Greece as far as Macedonia. Corinth was its capital.

2 Cor 1:2. Grace unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

See on Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3. Concerning grace and peace Fr. Callan wrote this on Rom 1:7~Grace . . . peace, etc. This form of well-wishing, which occurs in nearly all the Epistles of St. Paul, is found nowhere before the Apostle, and therefore seems to have been his own creation (Lagrange). Grace, in its proper sense, is a special gift of God by which one is made holy and agreeable in God’s sight, and is rendered a participant of the divine nature, a brother of Christ, and heir to the glory of the Father in heaven. Peace with God insures interior tranquility of mind and soul, and is one of the most precious effects of grace. St. Paul here speaks of these eminent gifts as coming from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, thus placing the latter on a level with the former, but not identifying the two as persons.

At 1 Cor 1:3 he wrote~Cf. 1 Thess 1:1 and 3:11, where the Father and the Son stand together as subjects of a verb in the singular, showing the perfect unity of their nature.

THANKSGIVING FOR RECENT BENEFITS

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:3-11~The Apostle has lately passed through dire perils, for deliverance from which he now thanks God, especially since his trials and his safe escape from them have been ordained to the ultimate good and comfort of his dear ones in the faith. It was by their prayers that he was assisted in time of danger, and he trusts to their devout cooperation for deliverance from similar circumstances in the future.
2 Cor 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

The Apostle now thanks God the Father for the mercy and comfort which he, Timothy, and perhaps other fellow-laborers (verse 19) have experienced in their trials and toils.

The God and Father ( ο θεος και πατηρ). The one article for the two names shows that they both refer to the one Divine Person. The Father is called the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, just as the Saviour Himself said: “I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God” (John 20:17).

The Father of mercies, etc., i.e., the merciful Father who is the source of all consolation (Eph 2:4).

2 Cor 1:4. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation; that we also may be able to comfort them who are in all distress, by the exhortation wherewith we also are exhorted by God.
God comforts St. Paul, Timothy and their fellow-workers in the ministry, in order that they in turn may comfort the faithful in their afflictions.

Distress represents the same word in Greek (θλιψει) as tribulation; and likewise comfort and  
comforteth render the same Greek terms as exhortation and exhorted. The same variation between our version and the Vulgate, on the one hand, and the Greek text, on the other, occurs again in verse 6.

The et . . . et (“also”) of the Vulgate here are not in the Greek. The Vulgate reads: qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra ut possimus et ipsi consolari eos qui in omni pressura sunt per exhortationem qua exhortamur et ipsi a Deo.

2 Cor 1:5. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us: so also by Christ doth our comfort abound.

If the sufferings of the Apostles were extraordinary, their consolations were correspondingly great.

The sufferings of Christ, i.e., the sufferings which Christ bore for the diffusion of the Gospel and the salvation of souls, and which are continued in the members of His mystical body (Col 1:24). There is no thought here of Christ now suffering in glory.

2 Cor 1:6. Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation: or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation, which worketh the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.

The Apostle wishes to say now that whatever happens to him and his fellow workers for Christ—whether it be joy or sorrow, comfort or affliction, it is all ordained for the good of the faithful. Their afflictions beget patience, and their comfort inspires hope in the goodness of God.

The text of this verse causes much confusion. In the first place the Vulgate clause, sive autem tribulamur pro vestra exhortatione et salute must be omitted as a repetition of the last part of the first clause (a case of scribal dittography). The corresponding words in our version, or whether we be
exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation must likewise be omitted.

This done, there are two principal readings of the verse: (a) “Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is wrought out in the endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer; or whether we be comforted it is for your consolation, knowing that,” etc. [as in verse 7] (see manuscripts B D F G K L); (b) “Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we be comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer” (see manuscripts A C M P). The latter reading is more like the Vulgate and is preferable.

2 Cor 1:7. That our hope for you may be steadfast: knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.

The Apostle expresses his unwavering hope that as the Corinthians bear their afflictions courageously they may also experience much comfort and consolation.

That our hope, etc. ( Vulg., Ut spes nostra, etc.) should be “And our hope,” etc. This clause is transferred by the Vatican MS. and many other authorities to the middle of the preceding verse, but such placing is against the best internal and external evidence. It is true that the participle knowing is without an antecedent, but this is not uncommon in St. Paul.

2 Cor 1:8. For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, of our tribulation, which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure above our strength, so that we were weary even of life.

A particular instance of great suffering endured by St. Paul, and perhaps by Timothy, in Asia is now recalled to the minds of the Corinthians. What was this terrible affliction? Since it seemed to be well known to the Corinthians, it was probably the report of the rebellion in Corinth against the Apostle's authority. It overwhelmed him with grief. Now this could hardly be said of the uproar caused by Demetrius at Ephesus (Acts xix. 23), for Timothy was not there at that time (Acts 19:22). Neither could we easily suppose it to have been some mere private distress caused by sickness, shipwreck or the like.

In Asia, i.e., in the Roman Province of Asia, which consisted of the coastlands of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea, of which Ephesus was the capital.

That we were pressed, etc., i.e., exceedingly above our strength, so that we were weary, etc., i.e., so that we despaired even of life. The Apostle is saying that his affliction was more than his natural
strength could support, but which he was able to bear by the grace of God (1 Cor. 10:13).

 2 Cor 1:9. But we had in ourselves the answer of death, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.

So great was the affliction of St. Paul and Timothy that they felt sure they must die, if left to their own strength. This extremity of suffering was given them that they might learn to trust in God who is able to raise the dead to life, and so, a fortiori, can rescue from death (Rom. 4:17).

But (ἀλλά = alla) is not adversative here; it confirms what was said before and should be translated, "Nay."

The answer of death, i.e., the sentence, the judgment, the expectation of death (St. Chrys.).

2 Cor :10. Who hath delivered and doth deliver us out of so great dangers: in whom we trust that he will yet also deliver us.

So great dangers. More literally, "So great a death." The danger was naturally tantamount to death.

That he will yet also, etc. This shows that the same situation might occur again, which is against the supposition that the affliction in question was caused by the uproar of the silversmiths (Acts 19:23).

And doth deliver (Vulg., et eurit with F G K L) would better be "and will deliver," et eruet (B, א, C). 

2 Cor 1:11. You helping withal in prayer for us: that for this gift obtained for us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many in our behalf.

 The Apostle is confident that in future the help of God will not be wanting to him, because he trusts in the prayers of all the faithful, and of the Corinthians in particular.

That for this gift, etc. The meaning is : That from many persons (faces) thanks may be given on our behalf for the gift obtained for us through the prayers of many. St. Paul desires many prayers to be offered for him and his companions, so that when the favor is obtained God may be honored by the thanksgiving of many.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Jesus Confronts the High Priest and is Rejected. Peter is Twice More Confronted as a Disciple and Denies it (John 18:19-27)

Today's post is on Jn 18:19-27, however, I've included at the end of this post an outline to Jn 18:13-27 because these verses appear to form a literary unity. .

Read John 18:19. Although Caiaphas "was high priest that year" (Jn 18:13) Jesus was first led to Annas. He was without doubt the single most influential Jew of that time. His collusion with the Romans had led them to appoint him high priest for ten straight years (AD 6-15). Though deposed by the Romans in the year 15, they soon realized they could not do without him and in this way he was able to establish something akin to a dynasty in the high priesthood. Through his five sons and Caiaphas, his son-in-law, Annas' family controlled the priesthood until AD 63, the year the youngest of Annas' sons was deposed. That son, called Annas the younger, was murdered in AD 66 at the beginning of the Jewish revolt against Rome because he was advocating continuing submission to Rome and engaging in armed resistance against the zealots who sought to overthrow the Romans. The whole dynasty appears to have been hated for in the Talmud it is written: "Woe to the house of Annas! Woe to their serpent's hiss! They are high priests; their sons are keepers of the treasury; their sons-in-laws are guardians of the Temple; and their servants beat the people with their staves."

Read John 18:20-23.  Annas' questioning of Jesus and His response raise a number of points; I deal with two here:

[1] Jews took pride in the humanity of their jurisprudence. Any trial--formal or otherwise--had to begin with witnesses being called in order to establish a foundation for any charges; an accused person's testimony could not be used for this purpose. These points were especially important in capital cases. Jesus' response is a subtle critique of what is unfolding: Where are your witnesses, Annas? They are not few in number. The action of the guard (22) and Jesus' response (23) are in the same vein: You must give testimony to the wrong I've done, otherwise the punishment meted out is unjustifiable. Behind this is Jesus' teaching about the hatred of the world for Him and His followers: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you...It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause" (see Jn 15:18-25)

[2] Jesus' words concerning His teaching employs two different tenses The first tense is perfect, indicating a past action which is ongoing in its effects: "I have spoken (lelaleka) openly to the world." The second tense is aorist indicative, indicating something done in the past that is completed: "I have always taught (edidaxa) in the synagogue and in the temple, wither all the Jews resort." Father Francis Moloney captures the point: The perfect tense, I have spoken placed in close proximity to the aorist I have taught indicates that, although the teaching of Jesus to 'the Jews' has come to an end, the word of Jesus is still available. It was proclaimed in the past and its consequences are still abroad." [The Gospel of John Sacra Pagina, Vol. 5]. Jesus is looking prophetically into the future. The ones who know what He said will deliver it to the world, thus bringing to reality the speculation of some: Where does this man intend to go that we shall not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? (see Jn 7:32-36). Jesus, the Good Shepherd had spoken about other (non-Jewish) sheep He would lead, thus establishing one fold, and one shepherd (Jn 10:16). 

Read John 18:24-27. Jesus' interrogation (19-23) is sandwiched between Peter denials (15-18, 24-27). While Jesus is questioned by the most influential Jew of the era and turns the interrogative tables on him, Peter is questioned by a maid keeping the gate and denies being a disciple (Jn 18:17). The questions Jesus asks Annas demand integrity, whereas Peter's response to the questions put to him are mendacious. As Jesus is being backhanded by a police official (hypereton), Peter is keeping warm in the company of such officials (hyperatai, Jn 18:18), and again denies being a disciple when they confront him (Jn 18:25). As Jesus is stating that those who heard Him can testify to what He has taught (Jn 18:21), Peter is in the process of denying His status as a disciple (matheton = taught one) three times. In each instance the personal pronoun in Peter's response is emphatic in the Greek text: "I am not." This contrasts nicely with the three emphatic uses of the pronoun by Jesus: twice in the garden ("I am he," Jn 18:5-6), and once to Annas ("I have spoken openly").

With his third denial of discipleship the cock crows, reminding the readers of Jesus' prophecy and Peter's presumptions. Notice that John says nothing about the effect of the cock crow on Peter. The reader will have to wait until the end of the gospel to see what becomes of him.

AN OUTLINE TO JOHN 18:13-27

My last post, on John 18:15-18, focused on the first denial of St Peter. Those verses form part of a broader whole which incorporates the verses we'll focus on today.  This broader whole may have a reverse parallel arrangement. Note how the subject of the "A" sections and "B" sections relate:

A1). Peter, at the house of Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, denies Jesus a first time (Jn 18:13-18).

B1). The high priest questions Jesus about His teaching (Jn 18:19).

C). Jesus defends His teaching (Jn 18:20).

B2). Jesus questions the high priest (Jn 18:21-23).

A2). While Jesus is being sent from Annas to Caiaphas, Peter denies Jesus a second and a third time. (Quoted from THE GENIUS OF JOHN, by Peter F. Ellis, pg. 253).

In such a structure the middle section ("C") often provides an interpretive or thematic key to the entire unit.


Saturday, April 01, 2017

Father MacEvilly's Commentary on Acts 10:1-48

Acts 10:1. “Cæsarea,” of Palestine. Cæsarea Philippi was a great way off from Joppe.
“Cornelius.” The name is Roman. Generally supposed to be a Gentile (10:28, 11:1). Allusion is clearly made to him and those who were with him as Gentiles.
“A centurion,” commander of one hundred men.
“Italian band,” as contradistinguished from the divisions in which men from remote quarters and provinces of the empire were enrolled. The men of this band, “Italians,” probably, claimed superiority over others.
Acts 10:2. “A religious man.” A pious worshipper, “fearing God,” according to the lights of the Natural Law, and, consequently, observant of the Divine Commandments through a reverential fear of God. It may be, that his residence among the Jews gave Cornelius a more definite idea of the true God, whom he served according to his lights, following the dictates of the Natural Law.
“Giving much alms to the people,” in which he is contrasted with the Roman officials, who made it a point to fleece and rob the subject people.
“And always praying to God.” Likely, while his mind was constantly raised up to God, he fervently prayed for light to be directed in the paths of salvation, by embracing the form of religion most pleasing to God.
Acts 10:3. “Manifestly,” conveys that it was for certain a real vision, while he was at prayer (v. 30) about the “ninth hour of the day,” or three o’clock.
“An angel,” assuming a visible body, deputed from God, stood before him. His prayers and almsdeeds (v. 4) rendered him pleasing to God, who sent His angel. The occasion was a very important one; the calling of the Gentile world in the person of this devout Centurion.
Acts 10:4. “Seized with fear.” The usual effect supernatural visions and appearances have on men, as we find everywhere recorded in the SS. Scriptures.
“Lord,” here a term of courtesy, equivalent to “Sir,” as it was not likely Cornelius regarded Him as God.
“For a memorial.” These good works have been wafted up before God to serve as a reminder of what you did, and cause Him to remember you in mercy and with complacency.
Acts 10:5. “And now.” Now, then. “One Simon,” &c. It was congruous that the head of the Church should be the first to introduce the Gentiles within its saving fold.
Acts 10:6. “Lodges as a guest with one Simon,” &c. “He will tell thee.” These words are not found in some Greek MSS. They seem, however, to be necessary in order that Cornelius should know why he was to send for Peter to Joppe. St. Peter himself says Cornelius spoke to him in these or similar words (11:14).
Acts 10:7. This God-fearing soldier was, no doubt, influenced by the example of Cornelius on whom he was in constant attendance.
Acts 10:8. He told the servants and the soldier all that occurred and why he sent them to Joppe (v. 22).
Acts 10:9. “Higher parts of the house.” The flat roof, the place usually resorted to for prayer.
“Sixth hour.” 12 o’clock. The more religious among the Jews had recourse to the exercise of prayer, not only when people in general did so, viz., morning and evening, but also at mid-day (Psalm 54:17; Daniel 6:10–19).
Acts 10:10. “Preparing.” Cooking the repast. Probably, it was dinner hour.
“Ecstasy of mind.” This sudden condition of mind would show its supernatural character, as sent from above. “Ecstasy” means that state in which the soul of a man is, as if alienated supernaturally from the body, to the contemplation of intelligible objects presented to the mind.
Acts 10:11, 12. A linen vessel or great sheet tied above at the four extremities thus preventing the contents from falling off, so as to present the form of a vessel, containing all kinds of animals tame and wild, clean and unclean, without distinction, “was let down from heaven.” No doubt, among the others might be counted these animals—swine, &c.—whose flesh the Jews were not allowed to eat. Whether he saw all this in reality or merely in mental contemplation is not determined.
Acts 10:13. “A voice.” Some (among whom Beelen) say, mentally, he seemed to hear it. Others (Patrizzi, &c.) a real voice.
“Arise,” proceed, … “and eat,” without any distinction of food, clean or unclean.
Acts 10:14. “Common and unclean.” Considering the Jewish distinctions of food. They called “unclean,” food commonly used by the Gentiles. But it was only unclean food as such, but not, strictly speaking, common food; that was prohibited. Hence, here “common” and “unclean” food should be joined, viz., common food, that is also unclean.
Acts 10:15. “God has cleansed,” or declared pure, do not regard as common or impure.
Acts 10:16. “Thrice,” to impress the whole occurrence more deeply on Peter’s mind. “And was taken up to heaven.” A symbolical history of God’s dealing with His Church. She was established and came down from Heaven and returned thither.
Acts 10:17. No comment.
Acts 10:18. “Called,” to enquire about Peter.
Acts 10:19. “The Spirit” of the Lord by whose influence he was guided and directed, “said to him” by an interior inspiration.
Acts 10:20. “Doubting nothing.” These men were Gentiles, between whom and the Jews there was still a wall of separation debarring almost all intercourse. Hence, the Spirit assures Peter.
“I have sent them.” Though directly sent by Cornelius, it is under my guidance and inspiration he did so.
Acts 10:21. “Going down to the men.” In the Greek it is added “who were sent to him by Cornelius.” But these words are wanting in many MSS. and versions, and are generally rejected as spurious. Bloomfield asserts “They have been with reason cancelled by every editor of note.”
Acts 10:22. No comments.
Acts 10:23. “Some of the brethren.” Six converts to Christianity (11:12) as witnesses of the course of events. This would have the effect of them. And the mollifying Jewish prejudices then so rife.
Acts 10:24. “The morrow after;” the day they set out on their journey; the fourth day after the vision of Cornelius (v. 30).
Acts 10:25. “Adored.” Cornelius, as a pious, God-fearing man, could not intend this as an act of supreme worship, which he knew could be paid to God alone. But, knowing Peter to be a friend of God vested with supernatural powers, he paid him great reverence, exhibited in his prostration.
Acts 10:26. Peter’s humility, however, shrunk from such honours. Besides, he knew it was not conformable to Roman custom to pay such save to Divinity, and the Romans present might regard it as an act of supreme worship paid to a God. When St. John prostrated himself before the angel, though from a man so enlightened, it could not mean divine worship, but only an act of civil homage, the angel, out of humility, declined it (Apoc. 19:10).
Acts 10:26. No comments.
Acts 10:28. “How abominable.” In Greek, illicit. There was no express enactment in the Pentateuch prohibiting intercourse with the Gentiles. But it was implied and practically acted on by the Jews, who following the Mosaic institutions and customs, kept aloof from the Gentiles, St. Peter mildly and considerately uses the words “of another nation.” It is observed by Salmeron that St. Peter wisely employs this preface, to avoid scandalizing the Jews present, who saw him, a Jew, consort with pagans, and in order that the Gentiles seeing that God was propitious to them would be animated with the desire of embracing the faith. He thus satisfied Jews and Gentiles.
Acts 10:29. “I ask, therefore,” &c. He knew it already, but it was right that the statement should be made before all present by Cornelius himself, whose words carried great weight with all. “For what cause?” intent, or purpose.
Acts 10:30-32. No comments.
Acts 10:33. “Done well in coming,” expressing grateful thanks. “To hear,” ready to carry out whatever thou art instructed by God to communicate to us.
Acts 10:34. “Opening his mouth,” beginning to speak. “In very deed,” undoubtedly. “I perceive,” from all that is occurring around me, and especially in connection with the call of Cornelius, and the various visions accorded to him and me.
“God is not a respecter of persons” (see James 2:1). “Respect or exception of persons” takes place when an unjust preference is shown to one party beyond another, as in the case of a judge who would pronounce sentence on account of the external appearance or circumstance of a person, such as friendship, or rank, or influence, without regard to the merits of the case. The Jews thought God peculiarly favoured them, because they were Jews, and all others excluded from Salvation because they were not. St. Peter now says he perceives how erroneous this is. No one is favoured by God simply because he is a Jew, externally pro-professing Judaism, and carnally descended from Abraham. Nor is anyone excluded from the Divine favour because he is not a Jew (see Romans 9, &c).
Acts 10:35. “But in every nation,” and people, without distinction of Jew or Gentile, or without reference to external advantages of any sort, “he that feareth Him,” who, under the influence of Divine grace from reverential fear of God, repairs from evil, “and worketh Justice,” does good works, aided by God’s grace. This is evidently allusive to Cornelius and his.… “is acceptable to him” and a sharer in the Divine favour, so as to be disposed to be called to the faith and embrace the true religion.
This is a brief epitome of the teaching of St. Paul in his Epistle to Romans, in which he fully explains the doctrine of justification, and God’s gracious and gratuitous deallings with man, without distinction of Jew or Gentile. In all this, the preventing and co-operating grace of God is supposed. Since, without God’s grace, no one can perform any good work conducive to Salvation. This affords no ground for advocating indifference as regards religion. For, if indifferentism were allowable, might not Cornelius remain as he was, and why should St. Peter go to such trouble to preach to him and his the necessity of embracing the Faith of Jesus Christ, as being for all men the only true means of Salvation, and the only means established by God for obtaining the remission of sin?
The indifference put forward here is not indifference of Faith; but indifference of nations and peoples in regard to God’s supernatural favours and gratuitous calls to His Church.
Acts 10:36–38. This is a summary of certain technical issues concerning the Greek text. Comments on the individual verses are given further below. “God sent the word,” &c. Commentators are perplexed about the construction of this and the following verses, chiefly on account of the Greek Text, wherein, after “the word” λογον, we have (“ον”) “which,” λογον ον απεστειλε, &c. In this construction “word” is in the accusative case, and would seem to have no verb on which to depend. Some commentators (among them Bloomfield) say τον λογον is governed by οίδατε. “You know” (v. 37) and put it in apposition with its equivalent term, ρἡμα in v. 37, which they say, is repeated thus: “the word, ρἡμα, I say.” The construction in the Greek should run thus: “You know that He (viz., God) proclaiming peace through Jesus Christ (He is the Lord of all) sent (or caused to be announced) to the children of Israel, the word of the Gospel which had been announced through all Judea commencing with Galilee, after the Baptism, which John preached. You know. I say, that the word was sent by God, viz., Jesus of Nazareth anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power (with the power of the Holy Ghost) who went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Steenkiste.)
Acts 10:36. Commening to catechize Cornelius and those present, St. Peter says “God sent the word,” that is, the message of pardon and reconciliation, conveyed in His Gospel. The term, “God” is not in the Greek, but is understood from the context.
“Children of Israel,” in the first instance.
“Preaching peace.” Pointing out the way of reconciliation with God, and union among themselves.
(“For He is Lord of all.”) All men are the work of His hands, Jew and Gentile, and he wishes all without distinction, to be saved.
Acts 10:37. “You know the word,” the whole Gospel economy, the series of events, connected with the preaching of the Gospel.
“Published,” &c. “Galilee” was not far from Cæsarea, so that Cornelius, a religious man, alive to all religious teachings, doubtless had heard of the fame of the Gospel teaching and miracles, which must have spread throughout Palestine and the neighbouring countries. Cornelius and his friends, though not fully instructed in the doctrine of Christ, must have heard of it.
Acts 10:38. “Jesus of Nazareth” depends on “You know.”
“How God,” the entire Trinity, to whom is common every act, ad extra, “anointed,” poured out upon him the fulness of the graces of the Holy Spirit at his incarnation, when he was conceived of the Holy Ghost.
Jesus Christ, the man God, was, according to His human nature anointed by the whole Trinity with the plenitude of the graces of the Holy Ghost, in the Hypostatic union.
St. Cyril, of Alexandria, teaches regarding opera ad extra “Quœ omnia sunt a Patre per Filium in Spiritu Sancto.” St. Peter represents our Lord as “going about doing good,” and also as the conqueror of the devil, who held the Gentiles subject to his power.
“Anointed him.” A ceremony employed in the inauguration of Kings, Prophets, &c. It points to our Lord as the “Christ,” or anointed, the expected Messiah.
The operation, whereby the Son of God assumed to himself human nature, though, in reality, common to the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, was, however, by appropriation, attributed to the Holy Ghost, who on account of his procession from the Father and Son, is goodness and love itself.
“Holy Ghost, and with power,” that is, the power of the Holy Ghost, whereby he worked miracles of every degree.
“For God was with him,” which more clearly and emphatically expresses what is conveyed in the words “anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with power,” viz., that it was in virtue of the Divine power our Lord performed the great prodigies.
Acts 10:39. No comments.
Acts 10:40. “Made manifest,” leaving no grounds for doubting it.
Acts 10:41. “Not to all the people,” which, besides being almost impracticable, was unnecessary to establish the truth of His Resurrection.
“Pre-ordained,” “elected beforehand, such as Peter himself and the other Apostles, “who did eat and drink,” &c., thus showing the reality of his Resurrection. Though our Lord is said (Luke 24:43) to have eaten with the Apostles. Nowhere is it said he drank. However, it is implied in the repast (John 21:13).
Acts 10:42. “To be judge of the living,” &c. The Greeks hold a peculiar opinion on this point. They maintain that such of the just as shall be alive at the approach of the day of judgment shall not die, but shall be changed without death. The common doctrine which is in accordance with the SS. Scriptures and the faith of the church at all times is that, all shall die. Hence the word “living” denotes those who shall be alive, immediately before the coming of the Judge, and shall be destroyed by the fire of conflagration which immediately precedes the judge (2 Peter 3:10). “Dead,” such as have been already in their graves. He refers to the Judicial power of the Judge, to inspire them with salutary fear.
Acts 10:43. “All the Prophets,” very many, such as Jeremiah, (31:14)—or all the Prophets, more or less, testify of Christ, directly or indirectly. Peter’s discourse, likely, intended to be of longer duration (11:15), was interrupted by the descent of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 10:44. “Holy Ghost fell on,” &c. Probably, not in a sensible form as on the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday; but, in visible effects, such as speaking and praising God in strange tongues (v. 46), and other marks of his presence.
It is remarked by commentators, that this is a wonderful and singular instance of the giving of the Holy Ghost. He anticipated the ministry of Peter, in order to show that the vocation of the Gentiles was altogether God’s own work; and the converts from Judaism would see that they owed their call and the gifts of the Holy Ghost not to circumcision or to the Law, but to faith in Jesus Christ. Whereas Cornelius received the gifts of the Holy Ghost without Baptism or circumcision, it was a peremptory proof that the Gentiles, in order to receive Baptism and be incorporated with the Church need not be incorporated with the Jewish Church by circumcision or subjection to the Law of Moses.
Acts 10:45-46. No comments.
Acts 10:47. “Answered,” often in SS. Scriptures signifies, to begin to speak without reference to any question, or it may imply answering some latent question in the mind of the speaker.
“Forbid water.” Though they had received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and all His gifts, still in accordance with the ordinance of our Lord (John 3) they should receive the Baptism of water, in order to be externally incorporated with the Church, and made one with the body of the faithful.
“Forbid water,” clearly shows the necessity of Baptism, when those who were replenished with the gifts of the Holy Ghost should necessarily be subjected to it. “Forbid water,” shows it was carried, and that Baptism was administered by infusion.
“As well as we” Jews, when He descended on us at Pentecost.
Acts 10:48. “He commanded,” &c. Probably, using the ministry of the six who accompanied him. It may be that Peter himself did so. The words may mean, he gave orders to them to prepare at once for Baptism which possibly he himself may have conferred. The words do not necessarily convey that he did not.
It may be asked, what need had Peter of a vision to know that the Gentiles were to be admitted into the Church, after our Lord’s express mandate “docete omnes gentes?” In reply, it is said, the Apostles did not understand our Lord’s injunctions in detail or practice.
“In the name” by the authority, and with the Baptism, in the usual form, “of Jesus Christ.”

Friday, March 31, 2017

Father Callan's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:14-21

EXHORTATION TO THE FAITHFUL
1 Corinthians 4:14-21

14-21. After severely upbraiding the factionists at Corinth the Apostle now gives expression to the tender love which he really bears toward the faithful there. He is their spiritual father, and as such, ought to be an object of imitation for them. Timothy is coming to them; he himself will come later, and when he arrives he will deal with them according to need.

1Co 4:14  I write not these things to confound you: but I admonish you as my dearest children. 

The severe language of the preceding verses had not for its purpose to humiliate and shame the faithful and their leaders, but to admonish and correct them. As a father out of love may use harsh words to his children, so has St. Paul spoken to his dearest children.

1Co 4:15  For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you. 

If the Apostle has spoken harshly to the Corinthians it is because, as their father, he has a right to do so. However many instructors and preachers of the Gospel they may have, there is only one who has founded their Church and begotten them spiritually, and that is himself. 

Ten thousand, i.e., a very great number, an indefinite number. 

Instructors, i.e., tutors, pedagogues (παιδαγωγους) . The pedagogue was a trusted slave who looked after a child during his minority, corrected his faults, and took him to those charged with his education. See on Gal 3:24. By tutors and pedagogues the Apostle means here the different preachers of the Gospel at Corinth who had followed him after he had founded the Church there. 

For in Christ Jesus, etc., i.e., by the power and authority of Christ St. Paul, in leading the Corinthians to the faith, had given them a new and spiritual life. 

1Co 4:16  Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ. 

As a father loves his children more than any pedagogue does, so should children love and imitate their father more than others. The Apostle, by his humility, modesty and patience imitates the example of Christ; the Corinthians should likewise follow the example of their Apostle and founder.

The words, as I also am of Christ are not found here in the best MSS. and many versions; they are doubtless a gloss from 11:1. Therefore their equivalents in the Vulgate should be omitted.

1Co 4:17  For this cause have I sent to you Timothy, who is my dearest son and faithful in the Lord. Who will put you in mind of my ways, which are in Christ Jesus: as I teach every where in every church. 

For this cause, etc., i.e., in order that they may be able the better to imitate him he has sent to them Timothy, his faithful companion, who will remind them of himself. Apparently Timothy had already been sent into Macedonia with instructions to visit Corinth (Acts 16:10-16). 

My dearest son, etc. Timothy had been converted by St. Paul (1 Tim 1:2, 18; 2 Tim 1:2) and had been the Apostle’s companion on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1 ff.). 

My ways, i.e., my whole manner of life and action (Cornely). Some authors understand “ways” to refer to the Apostle’s doctrine. It is not, however, his doctrine, but his manner of life that is proposed for imitation. 

As I teach everywhere, etc., i.e., I teach in every Church that we Apostles are to be imitated; hence nothing singular is required of you Corinthians (Estius). Others explain thus: Timothy will remind you of my ways, which are uniformly the same in every Church. 

1Co 4:18  As if I would not come to you, so some are puffed up. 1Co 4:19  But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will: and will know, not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power.

It seems that some of the Apostle’s adversaries at Corinth had circulated the report that, on account of the greater reputations there of Apollo and others, he would not dare to visit the city again (2 Cor 10:9-1 1). In view of this rumor he announces his coming. 

The power, i.e., the efficacy and fruit of their preaching for the increase and progress of the Church of Christ. Miracles are perhaps not referred to here. 

1Co 4:20  For the kingdom of God is not in speech, but in power.

The kingdom of God, i.e., the Church of God owes neither its existence nor its growth to human eloquence and other natural means, but to the grace of the Holy Ghost working in the hearts of men. 

1Co 4:21  What will you? Shall I come to you with a rod? Or in charity and in the spirit of meekness?

What will you? etc. It is left to the Corinthians to choose whether the Apostle shall come to them as a teacher to chastise his disciples, or as a father to greet them with mildness and love.

APPENDIX
I have added a few resources that make use of one or more verses from today's passage

From the Moral Concordance of St Anthony of Padua: Of the severe correction that is to be administered to the hardened~ Gen. 34:30; 1 Kings 14:6; Job 38:2; Is. 1:10, 23; 22:15; 28:14; 49:2; 56:10; 57:3; Mic. 5:1; Sir. 4:27; S. Matt. 3:7; 12:39 15:7; 16:4; 17:17; 23:33; S. Luke 3:7; Acts 7:51; 14:10; 23:3; 1 Cor. 4:21; Gal. 2:11; 1 Tim. 5:20; Tit. 1:13.

St Ignatius of Antioch: EXHORTATION TO CONSISTENCY OF CONDUCT~ Ye have been the disciples of Paul and Peter; do not lose what was committed to your trust. Keep in remembrance Euodias,10 your deservedly-blessed pastor, into whose hands the government over you was first entrusted by the apostles. Let us not bring disgrace upon our Father. Let us prove ourselves His true-born children, and not bastards. Ye know after what manner I have acted among you. The things which, when present, I spoke to you, these same, when absent, I now write to you. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema" (1 Cor 16:22). Be ye followers of me (1 Cor 4:16). My soul be for yours, when I attain to Jesus. Remember my bonds (Col 4:18).

From the Banquet of the Ten Virgin by St Methodius~Now we should consider the case of the renowned Paul, that when he was not yet perfect in Christ, he was first born and suckled, Ananias preaching to him, and renewing him in baptism, as the history in the Acts relates (see Acts 9:10-19). But when he was grown to a man, and was built up, then being moulded to spiritual perfection, he was made the help-meet and bride of the Word; and receiving and conceiving the seeds of life, he who was before a child, becomes a church and a mother, himself labouring in birth of those who, through him, believed in the Lord, until Christ was formed and born in them also. For he says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Gal 4:19); and again, “In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel" (1 Cor 4:15).

It is evident, then, that the statement respecting Eve and Adam is to be referred to the Church and Christ. For this is truly a great mystery and a supernatural, of which I, from my weakness and dulness, am unable to speak, according to its worth and greatness. Nevertheless, let us attempt it. It remains that I speak to you on what follows, and of its signification.



 

 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

RSM Notes on John 18:15-18

A couple of weeks ago I caught a sever cold with chronic coughing which led to sever back pain and bruised ribs. I continued to work under these conditions (there's no one to fill in for me) but I had no inclination to do anything with my free time, including hunching over a computer. Since I had little time to work on it, this post is nothing like what I hoped it would be.

PETER IS CONFRONTED AS A DISCIPLE OF JESUS AND DENIES IT IN BOTH WORD AND DEED

15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest,
16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in.
17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”
18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. (NRSVCE).

In the last post we saw that the themes of the Parable of the Good Shepherd figured prominently at the opening of the Passion Narrative. It continues in the verses under discussion today.

Verse 15, Greek text: followed Jesus did Simon Peter, and another disciple. Notice in this structure that the focus is primarily on Peter following Jesus and only secondarily on the other disciple. Peter's action here calls to mind his insistence that he would follow Jesus anywhere, and that, shepherd-like, he would even lay down his life for him, and Jesus' response that such would not happen until much latter (Jn 13:36-38 with Jn 10:15-18).

Who is the other disciple that is mentioned? In light of these passages, Jn 13:21-27; 20:2-10; 21:7, 21-23, virtually all scholars identify the unnamed disciple as the Beloved Disciple (widely accepted as St John the Apostle). However, there is another disciple St Peter has been connected with, Judas, the Betrayer.

St Peter has on several occasions been highlighted in relation to Judas. In the Eucharistic Discourse in John 6, as a multitude of disciples defect from Jesus, it is St Peter who speaks words of faith on behalf of the Twelve (Jn 6:67-69). But immediately following this is Jesus' words announcing that one of the Twelve would betray Him (Jn 6:70-71). In chapter 13 Jesus' act of washing the disciple's feet (a symbol of service unto death) and Peters attempt to stop it (Jn 13:3-9) is sandwiched between references to Judas' betrayal (Jn 13:2, 10-11). Later, in the same chapter, St Peter seeks the beloved disciple's help in learning the identity of the betrayer (Jn 13:21-27), only to soon here a prediction of his own failure as a disciple (Jn 13:36-38). 

The association is not so far-fetched as it may seem. Recall that in the previous post I identified Judas as a false shepherd, a thief when I wrote:  "Judas is here being portrayed as a false shepherd. Having already been identified as 'a thief' (kleptes, Jn 12:6; cf. Jn 10:1) he now comes as 'the thief' (kleptes) who 'comes (erchetai) only to steal (klepse) and kill and destroy' (Jn 10:10); thus those he comes with are bearing weapons (Jn 18:3)." On that occasion we saw St Peter act as if he was a part of Judas' false flock because he used a sword to maim the High Priest's servant's ear (Jn 18:10-11).

Verse 15 continued: Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard (aule) of the high priest,
Verse 16: but Peter was standing outside at the gate (thyra). So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate (thyroro), and brought Peter in.


The High Priest's courtyard (aule), like the garden (kepos, 18:1) is an enclosed area and calls to mind the image of the sheepfold (aulen, Jn 10:1) which figured prominently in chapter 10. Recall that in that chapter reference was also made to a gate or door (thyras, Jn 10:1-2) later identified as Jesus (Jn 10:7, 9) and to a gate or door keeper (thyroros, Jn 10:3). Here, however, all these things are associated, not with Jesus, but with the High Priest who had previously spoken of the expediency of Jesus dying (Jn 11:47-50). 

Ominously [so it seems to me], the unnamed disciple [Judas?] goes with Jesus into the courtyard/sheepfold (aule/aulen) but not on the basis of his relationship with Jesus; rather, it is on the basis of the fact that he was known (gnostos) by the High Priest. In the Greek Old Testament the word gnostos designates a close relationship. It is implied in verse 16 that it is on the basis of this relationship that the unnamed disciple is able to bring Peter through the gate/door and into the courtyard/sheepfold. 

Verse 17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”  

Here, of course, Jesus' prediction that St Peter would deny Him three times begins to come to fulfillment (Jn 13:36-38).

Verse 18 Now the slaves (douloi) and the police (hyperatai) had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself

 St Peter, who had cut off the ear of the High Priest's servant (doulon, Jn 18:10) as officers (hyperatai, Jn 18:3, 12) sought to arrest Jesus, now begins to keep company with them. He who had insisted that he would lay down (tithemi) his life for Jesus (Jn 13:37) is now standing (histemi) with some of those who made it possible for Jesus to lay down His life for Peter and all the sheep.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

RSM Notes on John 18:1-14

JESUS THE GOOD SHEPHERD CONFRONTS HIS OPPONENTS; IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AND PROTECTS HIS DISCIPLES
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;  ‎but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep... The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.  ‎I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  ‎He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  ‎He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.  ‎I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,  ‎as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Jn 10:1-2, 10-15


When he had said this. The NABRE and the NIV give the impression that the Evangelist is merely drawing a connection to the "High Priestly Prayer" of chapter 17, but this is incorrect. The Greek phrase used here, tauta eipon, and its synonymous equivalent, tauta lelaleka, are plural and are correctly translated as "these things."  Repeated and emphatic use of these phrases in chapters 13-17 indicate that what follows in chapters 18-21 should be read in close connection to the themes Jesus has been talking about, and the people he has been talking too, in those earlier chapters.

Jesus went out (exelthon) with his disciples to the further side of the winter flowing Kidron, where there was an enclosed garden, into which he entered (eiselthon), himself and his disciples (My translation). Notice how the sentence begins and ends with a reference to Jesus' movements and associates them with his disciples. The language is purposely intended to recall the teaching concerning the Good Shepherd and his sheepfold (Jn 10:1-18). "if any one enters (eiselthen) by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out (eiselusetai ksi exeleustai) and find pasture."  The fact that it is an enclosed garden into which Jesus and his disciple enter recalls the image of the door (or gate) and the sheepfold (see Jn 10:1-3, 8-9). 

Judas, "one of the twelve" into whom Satan entered, leading him to betray Jesus (Jn 6:70-71; 13:2, 27) now reappears. Recall that the last time he appeared in the narrative was when Jesus was "with his own who were in the world," and whom "he loved unto the end" (Jn 13:1). We were told that he "went out" (exelthon), leaving the company of Jesus "and it was night" (Jn 13:30). Having left Jesus, "the Light of the world" (Jn 8:12) we now see that Judas came (erchetai) with a cadre of people bearing lanterns and torches (phanon kai lampodon). Judas now walks in the night and the darkness (see Jn 8:12, 9:5; 12:46) as a spiritually blind man, like the chief priest and pharisees whose minions (guards) he now leads shepherd-like (Jn 9:35-40). 

Indeed, Judas is here being portrayed as a false shepherd. Having already been identified as "a thief" (kleptes, Jn 12:6; cf. Jn 10:1) he now comes as "the thief" (kleptes) who "comes (erchetai) only to steal (klepse) and kill and destroy" (Jn 10:10); thus those he comes with are bearing weapons. Only the Good Shepherd and his sheep can enter into and go out of the sheepfold, and so we see that Judas and his flock do not enter into the enclosed garden (image of the sheepfold). Rather, Jesus went out (exelthon) and said to them, "whom do you seek (zeteo)?" The question is ominous, for it recalls the fact that those who were not Jesus' sheep sought to kill him (Jn 10:26-39).  It also recalls other instances when people were "seeking" to kill Jesus (e.g., Jn 5:16, 18; 7:1, 25; 8:37, 40; 11:8). It also recalls the first words of Jesus recorded in this gospel which he put to the first men desiring to follow him as disciples: "What do you seek?" (zeteo, Jn 1:37-38). At one and the same time the failure of Judas' discipleship is being highlighted, but also the futility of being a disciple of a false shepherd.

The failure of discipleship theme continues as Jesus identifies Himself to the soldiers and guards with the Divine Name: I Am. In response to this we read: Now Judas His betrayer was standing with them. When He said to them, "I Am,' they went away back [apelthon eis ta opiso] and fell to the ground (my translation). Readers of John's Gospel are reminded of the first time they learned of Judas' defection, at the end of the Eucharistic Discourse when many of the disciples "went away back [apelthon ies ta opiso] and no more walked with Him" (my trans., see Jn 6:66-71). Here one should also recall that within the New Testament tradition the multiplication of loaves was not without its shepherd/sheep theme (Mk 6:34; Lk 9:11; see Ezek 34:11-16).


Having used the Divine Name to identify Himself, our Lord then says: So if you are looking for Me, let these men go. St John explains the reason for this: "This was to fulfill the word He had spoken: 'Of all those Thou gavest Me, I lost not one.'" The reference here is to Jn 17:12, but given the broader context it must also be seen in light of the Good Shepherd teaching. The thief and those with him have come armed with weapons to steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10) but Jesus offers Himself on behalf of the sheep to keep them from His fate.

It is at this point that St Peter acts more like a thief than a good shepherd. Having pronounced his willingness to "lay down my life" for Jesus (Jn 13:37, as if our Lord needed a good shepherd to protect Him!), Peter now acts like a thief, drawing his sword and striking with it. In response Jesus tells him to put the sword away; He must drink the cup the Father has given Him, for that is His sustenance (Jn 4:34).

Today's account ends with Jesus being led to Caiaphas who had previously stated that it was better for one man to die rather than that the nation should perish (Jn 11:49-50; 18:14); words reminiscent of the theme of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (Jn 10:11, 17-18).






Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Father Callan's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 4:7-13

Notes in red represent my additions.

THE LEADERS OF THE DIFFERENT FACTIONS SHOULD IMITATE THE
HUMILITY OF THE APOSTLES

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 4:7-13. When recommending humility to all the Corinthians in the preceding verse, the Apostle doubtless had chiefly in mind the leaders of the factions at Corinth. Now he directly attacks them with bitter irony, placing before them the life of real Apostles (Estius, Comely, etc.). St. Thomas, however, and the Fathers generally believe that the present section continues the thought of verse 6, and that the Apostle consequently is here, as there, addressing the faithful rather than their leaders. We see no reason why both in general cannot be meant.

1 Cor 4:7. For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

How foolish it was for the Corinthians to glory in those human leaders, in whom there was nothing whereof to glory; or to glory in themselves as if they were better than their neighbors! If they have anything that distinguisheth them, whether in the natural, or in the supernatural order, this is not due to them, but to God from whom they have received all they possess. Therefore they have nothing in themselves whereof to glory.

St. Thomas and most of the Fathers have understood this verse to refer to supernatural, as well as natural gifts; and St. Augustine constantly urged it against the Pelagians and Semipelagians to prove that man cannot accomplish, or even begin, a salutary work without the grace of God (MacR.). Using this verse the Second Council of Orange declared: If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). [I've here quoted the text in full, Fr. Callan quoted just the pertinent part in Latin].

1 Cor 4:8. You are now full; you are now become rich; you reign without us; and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you.

In their own estimation the Corinthian faithful and leaders of factions are completely sufficient unto themselves. They are full, i.e., they want nothing; they are rich, i.e., they possess all wealth ; they reign, i.e., already arrived at the state of the blessed they reign with Christ triumphantly even in this life,—all this without us, i.e., without the true Apostles, Paul and his companions, who converted them to Christianity and put them on the way to happiness.

I would to God, etc. Dropping the irony of his remarks, St. Paul says I wish you actually did reign, so that we Apostles, the founders of your Church, might also share in your felicity, being freed from our distresses, trials, labors, and the like.

1 Cor 4:9. For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.

I think that. "That" (Vulg., quod) is omitted by all the best MSS. How different from the apparently glorious condition of the Corinthians is the state of the true Apostles! Far from already reigning in Christ's kingdom, the Apostles are like men reserved for the beasts in the grand finale of the games; they are the most abject and the last of men.

God hath set forth, etc. God has made public display of us Apostles.

Appointed to death, i.e., doomed to die as gladiators or slaves in the public arena; "they were appointed to fight with beasts" (Tertull.).

A spectacle to the world, etc. Like men exposed to wild beasts in the theatre, the Apostles became a spectacle to good angels and good men who admired their fortitude, mildness and humility in the midst of sufferings and persecutions, and to bad angels and evil men who rejoiced at their trials and sorrows.

1 Cor 4:10. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour.

Continuing ironically to take the Corinthians at their own measure the Apostle further contrasts their fancied state with the condition of the Apostles.

We are fools, etc., i.e., the Apostles who preached Christ crucified in simple language were regarded as fools by the worldly Corinthians who gloried in eloquence and human wisdom.

We are weak, etc., i.e., the Apostles were regarded as weak, because destitute of human resources ; they were without honour, i.e., derided and despised, because wanting in worldly science and eloquence: whereas the Corinthians gloried in their human aids and natural attainments.

1 Cor 4:11. Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode;

The abject and destitute condition of the Apostles was not something of the past that no longer endured; it continued even unto this hour when the Apostle was writing, and throughout his life. At all times Christ's true Apostles were in want of the things that were necessary for human life, such as food, drink and clothing; and moreover, they were unceasingly pursued by persecutions from one place to another.

1 Cor 4:12. And we labour, working with our own hands; we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it.

In order not to be dependent on those for whom he labored preaching the Gospel, St. Paul worked at his trade of tent making to earn his daily bread (Acts 18:3; 20:34; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8). For reviling and persecutions on the part of his enemies he returned blessing, sweetness and resignation.

1 Cor 4:13. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now.

The refuse . . . offscouring, etc. The Apostles were treated as outcasts, as scapegoats (περίψωμα) , as unfit to live in human society. Some think the above words refer to the custom at Athens of reserving certain worthless persons to be cast into the sea as a kind of scapegoat sacrifice against plagues, famines, or other public calamities.

Note: the words περικάθαρμα, refuse, filth, and περίψωμα, offscouring, scum, were sometimes used to denote sacrificial scapegoats. Because St Paul speaks in this verse of being made refuse and offscouring of this world some see a connection with verse 9: "For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men." St Paul is expressing a willingness to be a victim on behalf of others, as in 1 Cor 15:31; 2 Cor 4:10-11; Gal 6:17; Phil 2:17.