December 13 2010 Monday Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr
Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a
And lifting up his eyes, he saw Israel abiding in their tents by their tribes: and the spirit of God rushing upon him, He took up his parable and said: Balaam the son of Beor hath said: The man hath said, whose eye is stopped up: The bearer of the words of God hath said, he that hath beheld the vision of the Almighty, he that falleth, and so his eyes are opened: How beautiful are thy tabernacles O Jacob, and thy tents, O Israel! As woody valleys, as watered gardens near the rivers, as tabernacles which the Lord hath pitched, as cedars by the waterside. Water shall flow out of his bucket, and his seed shall be in many waters. For Agag his king shall be removed, and his kingdom shall be taken away.
Therefore taking up his parable, again he said: Balaam the son of Beor hath said: The man whose eye is stopped up, hath said: The hearer of the words of God hath said, who knoweth the doctrine of the Highest, and seeth the visions of the Almighty, who falling hath his eyes opened: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near. A STAR SHALL RISE out of Jacob and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel
Responsorial Psalm 24:4-9 (Ps 25 NAB)
DR Challoner Text Only
Let all them be confounded that act unjust things without cause.
Shew, O Lord, thy ways to me, and teach me thy paths.
Direct me in thy truth, and teach me;
for thou art God my Saviour;
and on thee have I waited all the day long.
Remember, O Lord, thy bowels of compassion;
and thy mercies that are from the beginning of the world.
The sins of my youth and my ignorances do not remember.
According to thy mercy remember thou me:
for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.
The Lord is sweet and righteous:
therefore he will give a law to sinners in the way.
He will guide the mild in judgment:
he will teach the meek his ways.
The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ According to Saint Matthew 21:23-27
Haydock New Testament
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and ancients of the people came to him as he was teaching, saying:
By what authority dost thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?
Jesus answering, said to them:
I also will ask you one word, which if you shall tell me, I will tell also tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?
But they thought within themselves, saying:
If we shall say, From heaven, he will say to us: Why then did you not believe him? But if we shall say, From men, we are afraid of the multitude: for all held John as a prophet.
And answering Jesus, they said:
We know not.
And he said to them:
Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Haydock Commentary Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a
Notes Copied From Haydock Commentary Site
- Ver. 3. Up. The same term only occurs again, (Lament. iii. 8,) where it may have the same sense, though the Sept. &c. give it here a quite opposite meaning, “the man whose eyes are open,” the prophet. But Balaam alludes to his not being able to see the angel as soon as his ass, as he does, v. 4. C. xxii. 31. C.
- Ver. 4. Falleth. Out of respect to God, or in a trance. Sept. “in sleep, his eyes are uncovered.” He was accustomed to commune with the spirits in the night. C. xxii. 8. H. — He who is clear-sighted enough in teaching others, neglecteth his own salvation; or, being naturally incapable of diving into futurity, he derives this power solely from the operation of the spirit. M.
- Ver. 6. Woody. Heb. also “extensive torrents.” — Tabernacles. Heb. ahalim, which some render lign-aloes, or stacte, as S. Jerom does, Ps. xliv. 9. Prov. vii. 17. Cant. iv. 14. The aloe-tree, however, was brought from India, and was not common in Arabia. The Syrian aloe was only a shrub; and this tree, of which Balaam speaks, must have been tall and beautiful. — Pitched. Heb. “planted.” C. — The Sept. agree however with the Vulg. H. — Side. Cedars grow very large on the top of Libanus, and are always green; the fruit resembles the pine-apple; the wood is incorruptible. Sionita 6. By humility we must rise to the summit of perfection. D.
- Ver. 7. Waters. Sept. Chal. and Syr. “From his seed a man shall spring, who shall have dominion over many nations.” This must be understood of the Messias; or, his posterity shall be very numerous; (see Prov. v. 15. 16,) or his country shall be well watered, and his crops luxuriant. — Agag. Saul lost his crown for sparing the king of the Amalecites, who always took this title, 1 K. xv. 9. Heb. may be translated, “Above Agag shall his (Israel’s) king be exalted, yet,” &c. or “and his kingdom shall increase.” Philo and S. Ambrose read, “his kingdom shall be raised on high.” The Sam. and some copies of the Sept. have, “Over Gog;” while others have Og, (C.) which may be referred to the king of Basan, who, though lately overthrown, had been possessed of great power and wealth. Israel was not satisfied with the extent of his dominions. H. — Those who read Gog, suppose that the victories of Christ over Antichrist are foretold. Origen, hom. 17. S. Cyp. Test. i. 10. C.
- Ver. 16. Who knoweth. This is a new title, which he had not before assumed, v. 4.
- Ver. 17. Him. The great personage whom I have in view, whose coming is deferred yet for many ages. H. — The whole prediction refers to the Messias, whom Balaam beheld by the eyes of his posterity, the wise men, (C.) or in the prophetic vision. M. — Some modern Rabbins pretend that he speaks of David, who was indeed a figure of Christ, (C.) and defeated the Moabites, 2 K. v. 8. But the prophecy was perfectly fulfilled only in our Saviour’s person, who is called the bright and morning star, (Apoc. xxii. 16,) to whom all nations were given for an inheritance. Ps. ii. Acts i. 8. W. — Heb. also, “I see this thy ruin, but,” &c. Sept. “I will shew to him, yet not now; I will make him happy, (C.); but (makarizo, I bless) it, or he does not approach.” God executed what he ever promised in favour of all Israel, when he sent them his beloved Son. — A star. Christ, the light of the world, the splendour of his Father’s glory, whose birth was made known in the East, by a star, or meteor of unusual brightness. H. — This material star is not the primary object of the prediction, since it did not rise out of Jacob, but it pointed out the orient from on high, and then disappeared. The ancient Jews understood this passage of the Messias. Onkelos, &c. Hence the impostor, Ben. Cusiba, took advantage of this general opinion, to draw the people after him, as the person designated; when he assumed the title of Bar-chocheba, “the son of the star,” in the second age of the church. — Of Seth. Though David, as the figure of the Messias, conquered the Moabites, he cannot be said to have subdued all nations, the descendants of Seth, by Noe, nor all the just of whom Seth was the father, in opposition to the children of Cain. But Christ will subject all the just to his empire, and will judge all mankind. Some, nevertheless, take the children of Seth to be the Moabites, who had been already mentioned; and Junius translates the Heb. with allusion to the shameful origin of that people. The Samar. may also signify, if we substitute d for r in korkor, as Jeremias also reads (C. xlviii. 45,) kodod. “He shall penetrate the ends of Moab, and shall overturn the walls of the children of elevation, or of pride.” There were many hills in the country of the Moabites, and the people were noted for haughtiness. Jer. xlviii. 28. 29. 45. C. — Some also assert, that Seth was the name of a king, (Grot.) and of a town of Moab. R. Nathan. — But of this there is no proof. H.
Haydock Commentary Matthew 21:23-27
- Ver. 24-25. The baptism of John, by which is also understood his doctrine and preaching, was it from heaven or not? Wi.
- Ver. 26. He will say to us: Why then did not you believe him? When he divers times bore witness to you that I am your Messias. Wi.
Catena Aurea Matthew 21:23-27
- Pseudo-Chrys.: The Priests were tormented with jealousy, because they had seen Christ entering the Temple in great glory. And not being able to master the fire of jealousy which burnt in their breasts, they break forth in speech.
- Chrys.: Forasmuch as they could not detract from His miracles, they bring matter of blame from His forbidding to sell in the Temple. As though they had said, Hast Thou assumed the seat of authority? Hast Thou been anointed Priest, that Thou exertest this power?
- Pseudo-Chrys.: By that they add, “Or who gave thee this authority?” they shew that there be many persons who give power to men, whether corporal or spiritual! as though they had said, Thou art not come of a priestly family; the Senate has not conferred on Thee this power, neither has Caesar granted it. But had they believed that all power is from God, they would never have asked, “Who gave thee this authority?” For every man judges of others by himself. The fornicator thinks that none are chaste; the chaste does not readily suspect any of fornication; he who is not a Priest of God, thinks no man’s Priesthood to be of God.
- Jerome: Or in these words they urge the same cavil as above, when they said, “He casteth out demons through Beelzebub the Prince of the demons.” [Mat_12:24] For when they say, “By what authority doest thou thee things?” they doubt concerning the power of God, and would have it understood that the things He does are of the Devil. But when they add, “Who gave thee this authority?” they most clearly deny the Son of God, whom they suppose to work miracles, not by His own, but by others’ strength. The Lord could have confuted the calumny of His tempters by a simple answer, but He put a question to them of such skilful contrivance, that they must be condemned either by their silence or their knowledge; “Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one question.”
- Pseudo-Chrys.: Not that they should answer it, and thereupon hear of Christ the answer to their question, but that being puzzled they should ask Him no farther; according to that precept He had given above, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.” [Mat_7:6] For even if He had told them, it would have profited nothing, because the darkened will cannot perceive the things that are of the light. For him that enquires we ought to instruct, but him that tempts, to overthrow by a stroke of reasoning, but not to publish to him the power of the mystery. The Lord thus sets before them in His question a dilemma; and that they might not escape Him, says, “Which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.” His question is this; “The baptism of John whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”
- Aug., in Joan. Tr., v. 4: John received his authority to baptize from Him, whom he afterwards baptized; and that baptism which was committed to him is here called the baptism of John. He alone received such a gift; no righteous man before or after him was entrusted with a baptism to be called from himself. For John came to baptize in the water of repentance, to prepare the way for the Lord, not to give inward cleansing, which mere man cannot do.
- Jerome: What the Priests revolved in their malice is shewn when he adds, “But they reasoned with themselves.” For had they replied that it was from heaven, the question was inevitable, Why then were ye not baptized by John? But should they reply that it was an invention of human device, and had in it nothing divine, they feared a tumult among the people. For all the assembled multitudes had received John’s baptism, and held him accordingly for a Prophet. This godless party therefore make answer, and by a seeming humility of speech confessing that they know not, turned to hide their insidious designs. And they answered Jesus, and said, “We know not.” In saying that they knew not, they lied; and it might have followed upon their answering thus, that the Lord also should say, I know not; but truth cannot lie, and therefore it follows, “And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” This shews that they knew, but would not answer, and that He also knew, but would not answer, because they would not speak what they knew.
- Origen: But some one will say in opposition to this, that it was absurd to ask by what authority Jesus did these things. For that it could not be that He would answer, that He did these by the Devil’s authority; and He would not tell them as it truly was, that He did them by His own power. If it should be said, that the rulers put this question to Him in order to deter Him from His proceedings; as when we say to one who is dealing with what is ours in a way which we do not like, we say to him, Who bade thee do this? meaning to deter him from what he is so doing; — if it is to be taken so, what means Christ’s answer, Do you tell Me this, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Perhaps therefore, the place should be understood as follows. There are in the general two opposite powers, one on the side of God, the other on the side of the Devil; but of particular powers there are many; for it was not one and the same power that wrought in all the Prophets to enable them to do miracles, but one in these, another in those; and, it may be, for lesser things a lesser power, for greater things a greater power. The Chief Priests had seen Jesus working many miracles, whereupon they desired to know the special degree and properties of that power which wrought in Him. For others who have wrought miracles wrought them at first in one power, and afterwards when more advanced in another and greater power; but the Saviour wrought all in one power, that which He received of the Father. But because they were not worthy to hear such mysteries, therefore He gives them no answer, but on the contrary put a question to them.
- Raban.: There are two reasons why the knowledge of truth should be kept back from those who ask; either when he who asks is unfit to receive, or from his hatred or contempt of the truth is unworthy to have that which he asks opened to him.