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Sept 14 2007 Friday 23rd Week Ordinary Time.
The readings on this site are not official for the Mass of Roman Catholic Church, but are from sources free from copyright. They are here to present the comparable readings alongside traditional Catholic commentary as published in the Haydock Bible. Sometimes I don’t clip as much in order to provide the entire passage, whereby the Mass readings are clipped for more brevity.
Official Readings of the Liturgy at – dead link removed – Go here for NAB translation
Numbers 21:4b-9 Douay-Rheims Challoner
4b And the people began to be weary of their journey and labour:
5 And speaking against God and Moses, they said: Why didst thou bring us out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness? There is no bread, nor have we any waters: our soul now loatheth this very light food.
6 Wherefore the Lord sent among the people fiery serpents, which bit them and killed many of them.
7 Upon which they came to Moses, and said; We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and thee: pray that he may take away these serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the Lord said to him: Make a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: whosoever being struck shall look on it, shall live.
9 Moses therefore made a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed.
Haydock Commentary Numbers 21:4b-9
- Ver. 5. God. They had before often directed their complaints against the two brothers. Now, Aaron being no more, they attack God himself, who had always resented the injury done to his ministers.—Food. So they call the heavenly manna: thus worldlings loathe the things of heaven, for which they have no relish. Ch.—Sept. “our soul is indignant at this most empty bread,” which has no solidity in it, nor support. Many translate the Heb. “most vile bread.” Thus, in the Blessed Eucharist, the substance of bread is removed, and the accidents only appear; so that to the worldly receiver, it seems very empty and light,though in reality it be supersubstantial; containing Christ himself, who fills the worthy communicant with grace and comfort, and enables him to go forward, on the road to heaven, without fainting. H.
- Ver. 6. Fiery serpents. They are so called, because they that were bitten by them were burnt with a violent heat. Ch.—Hence they are called seraphim, by which name an order of angels is known. The Egyptians adored a serpent which they called serapis, at Rome; and they represented their god serapis, with a serpent entwining a monstrous figure, composed of a lion, a dog, and a wolf. Macrob. Saturn i. 20. The seraph was a winged serpent. Isai. xiv. 29. and xxx. 6. Such often infested Egypt, in spring, coming from Arabia, unless they were intercepted by the ibis. Their wings resembled those of bats. Herod. ii. 76. Mela, &c. God probably sent some of this description into the camp of the Israelites. C.—Some call them prœster, (Plin. xxiv. 13,) from their burning; others the hydra, or, when out of water, the chershydra, the venom of which is most dangerous. The Sept. style them simply, “the destroying, or deadly serpents.” See Bochart. T. ii. B. iii. 13. Deut. viii. 15. Wis. xvi. 5. 10. H.
- Ver. 8. Brazen. Heb. “fiery.” But in the following vers, it is said to have been “of brass.” We might translate, “make a seraph, and fix it upon a standard,” (C.) in which form it would resemble one suspended on a cross. It was placed at the entrance of the tabernacle. S. Just. Apol. Ezechis afterwards destroyed it, because it was treated with superstitious honours. 4 K. xviii. 4. Thus the best things are often abused. H.—God commands this image to be erected, while he forbids all images of idols. W.—By comparing the different passages of Scripture, we may discern the true import of them. Pictures may often prove very useful and instructive. They serve the ignorant instead of books. But then the ignorant must be carefully instructed not to treat them with improper respect, as S. Gregory admonishes. And is not the same caution requisite for those who read even the word of God, lest they wrest it to their own destruction, as both the unlearned and the unstable frequently do. 2 Pet. iii. 16. If every thing must be rejected which is liable to abuse, what part of the creation will be spared? The Bible, the sacraments, all creatures must be laid aside. For we read, (Rom. viii. 20. 22,) the creature was made subject to vanity—every creature groaneth. H.—It is probable that Moses represented on the standard, such a serpent, as had been the instrument of death. This was not intended for a charm or talisman, as Marsham would impiously pretend. Chron. x. p. 148. Such inventions proceed from the devil; and the Marsi were famous for curing the bites of serpents, by giving certain plates of brass. Arnob. ii. See Psalm lviii. 5. But this image was set up by God’s express command; and the Book of Wisdom (xvi. 5. 7,) assures us, that the effect was entirely to be attributed to him, the figure of a brazen serpent being rather calculated to increase than to remove the danger. Kimchi. Muis. Hence Jonathan well observes, that only those were healed who raised their hearts to God. C.
- Ver. 9. A brazen serpent. This was a figure of Christ crucified, and of the efficacy of a lively faith in him, against the bites of the hellish serpent. John iii. 14. (Ch.) S. Ambrose Apol. i. 3. As the old serpent infected the whole human race, Jesus Christ gives life to those who look at him with entire confidence. Theod. q. 38. The brazen serpent was destitute of poison, though it resembled a most noxious animal; so Jesus Christ assumed our nature, yet without sin. C.
Philippians 2:6-11 Haydock NT
6 Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery, to be himself equal to God: 7 But debased himself, taking the form of a servant, being made to the likeness of men, and in shape found as a man. 8 He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death on the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
Haydock Commentary Philippians 2:6-11
- Ver. 6. Who being in the form of God, (that is truly, properly, and essentially God from eternity, as the ancient Fathers here observed against the Arians) taking the form of a servant, (i.e. taking upon him our human nature) became truly a man, and as man the servant of God, but remaining always God as before, thought it not robbery, no injury to his eternal Father, to be equal, to be esteemed, and to declare himself equal to God, to be one thing with him: as on divers occasions he taught the people, as we have observed in the notes on S. John’s gospel, &c. Wi.
- Ver. 7. But debased himself: divested himself of all the marks of greatness, for the love of mankind. The Greek text signifies, he made himself void;+ on translation, has changed it into emptied himself; not but that the true Son of God must always remain truly God, as well as by his incarnation truly man, but that in him as man appeared no marks of his divine power and greatness.—Made to the likeness of men, not only as to an exterior likeness and appearance, but at the same time truly man by uniting his divine person to the nature of man.—In shape (or habit) found as a man: not clothed exteriorly only, as a man is clothed with a garment or coat, but found both as to shape and nature a man; and, as S. Chrys. says, with the appearance of a sinful man, if we consider him persecuted by the Jews, and nailed to an infamous cross. Wi.
- Ver. 9. God … hath given him a name, &c. The name or word Jesus represents the dignity of him who is signified by the name, and who is exalted even as man, above all creatures in heaven, earth, and hell; all which creatures either piously reverence him. Or are made subject to him against their will, that every tongue may confess our Lord Jesus to be now, and to have been always, in the glory of his Father, equal to him in substance and in all perfections. Wi.
- Ver. 10. If we shew respect when the name of our sovereign is mentioned, may we not express our respect also at the name of Jesus; and if to his name why not to his cross as well as to the throne of the king?
John 3:13-17 Haydock NT
13 And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man, who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.
Haydock Commentary John 3:13-17
- Ver. 13. No one hath ascended—but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man, who is in heaven. These words, divers times repeated by our Savious, in their literal and obvious sense, shew that Christ was in heaven, and had a being before he was born of the Virgin Mary, against the Cerinthians, &c. That he descended from heaven: that when he was made man, and coversed with men on earth, he was at the same time in heaven. Some Socinians give us here their groundless fancy, that Jesus after his baptism took a journey to heaven, and returned again before his death. Nor yet would this make him in heaven, when he spoke this to his disciples. Wi.
- Ver. 14. This comparison of the serpent lifted up in the desert, upon which whoever looked was immediately cured from the bite of the fiery serpents, is a figure of the crucifixion of Christ on Calvary. And we remark, that our divine Saviour makes use of these words, the Son of man must be lifted up or exalted; (exaltari) by which form of expression he would teach us, that he does not consider the cross as a disgrace, but as a glory; (Theo. And S. Chrys.) and moreover, that as the Israelites, bitten by the fiery serpents, were cured by looking up on the brazen serpent, so are Christians cured by looking up with an active faith, replete with love and confidence, on Jesus Christ crucified.
- Ver. 16-17. Give his only begotten Son—God sent not his Son intot he world. He was then his Son, his only begotten Son, before he sent him into the world. He was not, therefore, his Son, only by the incarnation, but was his Son from the beginning, as he was also his word from all eternity. This was the constant doctrine of the Church, and of the Fathers, against the heresy of the Arians, that God was always Father, and the Son always the eternal Son of the eternal Father. See note on chap. i. v. 14. Wi.—The world may be saved. Why, says S. Austin, is Christ called the Saviour of the world, unless from obligation he took upon himself at his birth? He has come like a good physician, effectually to save mankind. The man, therefore, destroys himself, who refuses to follow the prescriptions of his physician. S. Aust.