March 31 2009 Tuesday Fifth Week of Lent
Saint of the Day – St. Stephen of Mar Saba
About the sources used. The readings on this site are from the Haydock Bible according to the daily Lectionary readings for the American Roman Catholic Church. The Haydock Bible contains traditional Catholic commentary and is free from copyright. Due to verse numbering differences and pastoral deletions in the actual Lectionary, these readings may at times vary from the actual readings.
Official Readings of the Liturgy at – http://www.usccb.org/nab/readings/033109.shtml
And they marched from mount Hor, by the way that leadeth to the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom. And the people began to be weary of their journey and labour: 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.
Wherefore the Lord sent among the people fiery serpents, which bit them and killed many of them. 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. 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.
Moses therefore made a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign: which when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed.
Responsorial Psalm 101:2-3, 16-21 (Ps 102 NAB)
DR Challoner Text Only
Hear, O Lord, my prayer: and let my cry come to thee.
Turn not away thy face from me:
in the day when I am in trouble, incline thy ear to me.
In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me speedily.
All the Gentiles shall fear thy name, O Lord,
and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
For the Lord hath built up Sion: and he shall be seen in his glory.
He hath had regard to the prayer of the humble:
and he hath not despised their petition.
Let these things be written unto another generation:
and the people that shall be created shall praise the Lord:
Because he hath looked forth from his high sanctuary:
from heaven the Lord hath looked upon the earth.
That he might hear the groans of them that are in fetters:
that he might release the children of the slain:
The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ According to Saint John 8:21-30
Haydock New Testament
Then Jesus said to them again:
I go, and you shall seek me, and you shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come.
The Jews, therefore, said:
Will he kill himself, because he said: Whither I go you cannot come?
And he said to them:
You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore, I said to you, that you shall die in your sins: for you if believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin.
They said, therefore, to him:
Who art thou?
Jesus said to them:
The beginning, who also speak to you. I have many things to speak, and to judge of you. But he that sent me is true: and the things I have heard from him, the same I speak in the world.
Now they did not understand that he called God his father. Jesus, therefore, said to them:
When you shall have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as the Father hath taught me, these things I speak: And he that sent me is always with me, and he hath not left me alone: for I do always the things that please him.
When he spoke these things, many believed in him.
Haydock Commentary Numbers 21:4-9
Notes Copied From Haydock Commentary Site
- Ver. 4. Edom, one of the princes, had refused them a passage; upon which they went by Salmona to Phunon, (C. xxxiii. 37. 42,) where they probably murmured, (C. v.) and were bitten by the serpents, as we read in this chapter. C.
- 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 are 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. Wisd. xvi. 5. 10. H.
- Ver. 8. Brazen. Heb. “fiery.” But, in the following verse, 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. Ezechias 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 Psal. 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. Amb. Apol. i. 3. As the old serpent infected the whole human race, Jesus Christ gives life to those that 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.
Haydock Commentary John 8:21-30
- Ver. 21. I go my way, and you shall seek me, &c. See the foregoing chapter, v. 34. Wi.
- Ver. 23. I am not of this world: he speaks of his divine person, as the words evidently shew. Wi.
- Ver. 25. Who art thou? Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak to you. This text and the construction of it is obscure, both in the Latin and in the Greek. S. Aug. and some of the Latin Fathers, expound it in this manner: I am the beginning of all things, who now being made man, speak to you. But this does not seem the construction, if we consult the Greek text; (where the beginning is not in the nominative, but in the accusative case) and therefore S. Aug. having considered more attentively the Greek, thinks that something must be understood, as believe me to be the beginning: he looks upon this to be the sense and the construction, as being connected with what was said two verses before; to wit, if you believe not that I am he, the true Messias, you shall die in you sins. “That they might,” says S. Aug. (tract. 38, num. 11, p. 560) “know what they were to believe,” he made them this answer, as if he had said: believe me to be the beginning, the cause, the author of all things, who am now become man, and speak to you. Other later interpreters are of opinion that the beginning is here a Grecism, and signifies that same as at first, or from the beginning. The sense therefore and construction may be, I am, what I said and told you at first, and from the beginning; that is, I am your Messias, the true Son of God, sent into the world, &c. Wi. — The Pharisees, indignant at the liberty with which Jesus spoke to them, demand of him in a rage, Who art thou, to speak to us in this imperious manner, to say that we shall die in our sins? Jesus answered them, that he was the Beginning, Author, Creator, and Ruler of all things. This is the more orthodox and more becoming interpretation. Or, I am, in the first place, what I have already told you; viz. (v. 12.) I am the light of the world; he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Or, it may mean, I am what I have always from the beginning told you. I am the Son of God, the Messias, &c. Calmet.
- Ver. 26. And the things I have heard from him, &c. For Christ, to hear from his Father, to see, &c. is the same as to proceed from him, to be of the same nature and substance. See c. v, v. 19. Wi.
- Ver. 27. Now they, &c. Some of the more ignorant among the Jews understood not Christ when he clearly enough signified that he was equal to God, and of one and the same nature; but at other times they that heard him, perceived it very well; and so, in this place, they were for stoning him to death. Wi.
- Ver. 28. When you shall have lifted up, &c. That is, have put me to the death of the cross; (see John iii. 14. and xii. 32.) you, that is, many of you, shall know, and believe in me, as your Messias. Wi.