Sunday and Daily Masses to Resume at St Joseph’s

The following information pertains to both St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s. We will continue to provide videos of the Sunday Masses. These are posted late Saturday or early Sunday mornings. Commentaries on the readings for the Sunday and Solemnity Masses are available on this site.

As of 6/6/20, churches have been given the go-ahead to have mass with up to a 25% capacity crowd. Beginning next weekend, June 13-14, 2020, we will begin to have mass at our regularly scheduled hours at both of our home churches. In order to participate in mass, the following procedures will need to be followed:

*Parishoners will be asked to only attend mass at their home church (The only exception will be daily mass, which will be open to both parishes and held at St. Joe’s)

*You MUST call your home church number, from 9-12 on Wednesdays & Thursdays, in order to “make a reservation” for your preferred mass:
{St. Pat’s: (315) 363-7570}
{St. Joe’s: (315) 761-1780}

*You will be given an ASSIGNED seat for mass

*You MUST wear a mask to mass, and throughout the mass. You must also follow the social distancing guidelines of 6 feet.

*Only ONE door will be used for entrance into the churches. Use the handicapped entrances.

*Upon arrival to the church, be prepared to have your temperature taken, to sanitize your hands, and to be escorted to your ASSIGNED seat. You will also be given instructions at the conclusion of mass about how to leave after mass has ended.

*There will NOT be any Breaking Bread hymnals/ mass readings available in the pews.

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Video: Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Easter From St Patrick’s, Oneida

Keep in mind that a number of commentaries and other resources on today’s Mass readings can be found here on our site. Our index page allows you to access commentaries on the readings for every Sunday and Solemnity. Be sure to hit the like button and subscribe to the feed.

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Commentaries on the Sunday, Solemnity and Feast Readings, Years A, B, C (where applicable)

PARISH CORONAVIRUS NEWS: Until things return to normal, Sunday Masses from our parish can be viewed here as they become available. You can view daily Masses live at 12 noon from the cathedral on the Diocese’s youtube channel. EWTN broadcasts live Masses at 12 AM; 8AM; 12 Noon and 7 PM. Their full TV program schedule can be found here. Commentaries on the daily Mass readings can be found here


First Sunday of Advent:  A  C
Second Sunday of Advent:  A  B  C.
Third Sunday of Advent:   A  B  C.
Fourth Sunday of Advent:  A  B  C.


Vigil for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec. 24).
Christmas Mass During the Night (Midnight Mass).
Christmas Mass At Dawn.
Christmas Mass During the Day.
Sunday Within the Octave of Christmas.
Jan. 1. Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
The Epiphany of the Lord.

(Scroll down for the Lenten and Easter Seasons)

Baptism of the Lord: B  C. Always Corresponds to the First Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time: A  B  C.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time:  A  B  C.
Solemnity of Christ the King (always the final Sunday of the year):  A  B  C.


Ash Wednesday.
Thursday After Ash Wednesday.
Friday After Ash Wednesday.
Saturday After Ash Wednesday.
First Sunday of Lent:  A  B  C.
Second Sunday of Lent:  A  B  C.
Third Sunday of Lent:  A  B  C.
Fourth Sunday of Lent:  A  B  C.
Fifth Sunday of Lent:  A  B  C.
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion:  A  B  C.
Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
Holy Thursday Chrism Mass.
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion.

Including Ascension and Pentecost

Easter Vigil. In the evening of Holy Saturday.
Easter Sunday The Resurrection of the Lord.
Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter):  A  B  C.
Third Sunday of Easter:  A  B  C.
Fourth Sunday of Easter:  A  B  C.
Fifth Sunday of Easter:  A  B  C.
Sixth Sunday of Easter:  A  B  C.
Seventh Sunday of Easter:  A  B  C.
The Ascension of the Lord:  A  B  C.
Vigil of Pentecost Years A, B and C.



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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians Chapter 2

Text in red are my additions.

A Summary of 2 Cor 2:1-4.

The vindication begun in 2 Cor 2:15 is continued here. The reason the Apostle did not pay the Corinthians the visit which he had intended and which they desired was because their disorders were such that another visit from him would be to their sorrow, and not to their joy. Hence he preferred to write to them.

 2 Cor 2:1. But I determined this with myself, not to come to you again in sorrow.

Not to come to you again, etc. Better, “Not again in sorrow to come to you” (B א A C D F G), i.e., he would not pay them a second sorrowful visit. This implies that he had already come to them in sorrow, which certainly could not refer to the first time he visited Corinth and founded the Church with great success and reason for joy (Acts 18:1 ff.). That the Apostle here refers to a second visit to Corinth, which must have occurred after writing 1 Cor., is further confirmed by 2 Cor 12:14; 13:1, where he speaks of his coming visit as the third.

 2 Cor 2:2. For if I make you sorrowful, who is he then that can make me glad, but the same who is made sorrowful by me? 

Here the Apostle tenderly observes that if he comes to Corinth bringing pain to the faithful, there will be no one else there who can give joy to him ; if his visit must cause them sorrow, they will not be in a condition to contribute to his joy, and they alone can give him joy. The singular ὁ λυπούμενος (= ho lympoumenos)  sums up the Corinthian Church as one individual (Plum.).

 2 Cor 2:3. And I wrote this same to you ; that I may not, when I come, have sorrow upon sorrow, from them of whom I ought to rejoice: having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.

 I wrote this, etc. Comparing this passage with vii. 8 we see that there must be a reference here to some Epistle previous to the present one.

This can refer back to the determination of verse 1, or, more probably, to the severe rebuke which he had been obliged to send before, and to which allusion is made in verse 4. Now since the language of this and the following verse cannot well be applied to 1 Cor., we must conclude that the Apostle is referring to what he said in the lost letter written between 1 and 2 Cor. He wrote that severe Epistle that the Corinthians might correct their disorders before he should arrive, and thus make his visit one of joy.

To you (Vulg., vobis after scripsi) should be omitted according to the best authorities.

2 Cor 2:4. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote to you with many tears : not that you should be made sorrowful : but that you might know the charity I have more abundantly towards you.

Here again the reference seems plainly to be to a letter more severe than our First Corinthians.

I wrote to you, etc., i.e., in the lost letter between 1 and 2 Cor. The Apostle’s purpose in writing was not to cause sorrow, but to show the greatness of his charity for the faithful, whose disorders he would not be so cruel as to condone, but whose feelings he would spare by writing rather than by appearing before them in person. He wanted to correct them, but with as little pain as possible.

The in vobis of the Vulgate should be in vos, or erga vos.

A Summary of 2 Cor 2:5-11.

According to the traditional opinion, followed by Comely, MacRory and most Catholic exegetes, St. Paul is speaking in this section of the incestuous man of 1 Cor. 5:1-8. But Le Camus, Lemonnyer and many other recent interpreters believe that the present passage and 2 Cor 7:8-12 refer to some other offender of whom we know nothing outside this letter, and who in some way gave particular offence to St. Paul. In favor of this latter opinion it is argued (a) that the language of the present passage is too mild to refer to a crime so heinous as incest; (b) that if the incestuous man is meant here, his crime was even greater than represented in 1 Cor. 5:1;; for, since 2 Cor 7:12 and this passage are the same, it would follow that the incestuous man married his father’s wife while his father was still living—a crime which we can hardly imagine the Corinthians would have tolerated for a moment; (c) in 1 Cor. 5:1 ff. the Apostle is resenting a stain on the whole Church, whereas here the offence seems to be rather an individual affair. These arguments, however, are not entirely convincing. At any rate, St. Paul is now urging charity toward a repentant sinner. The obedience of the faithful has been manifest before in punishing crime, and now it will not be wanting in granting pardon. The Apostle, therefore, promises to ratify their decision.
2 Cor 2:5. And if any one have caused grief, he hath not grieved me; but in part, that I may not burden you all.

The sense is that the offender referred to has not only grieved St. Paul, but in a measure all the faithful. The conditional form, if any one, etc., is used to spare the feelings of the repentant sinner.

But in part, etc. Better, “But in measure (not to be too severe with him) all of you.” The offender has grieved the whole Church, although ἀπὸ μέρους (= apo merous) may imply that some of the Christians were not pained. This could apply to the incestuous man, or to the other offender.

2 Cor 2:6. To him who is such a one, this rebuke is sufficient, which is given by many:

To him who is, etc. The meaning is: The punishment he has received from many is sufficient for one who has committed such a crime. St. Paul had ordered the excommunication of the incestuous man (1 Cor. 5:1, 13), and if the reference here is to him, the faithful are now told that they may resume friendly relations with him.

By many. This may imply that many were present when the sentence was pronounced, or that a minority of the Christians were not satisfied with the penalty. Did they think it insufficient or too severe? Since the context implies that this minority were devoted to St. Paul, it would seem that they regarded the penalty as inadequate. This interpretation is made very probable by what follows.

2 Cor 2:7. So that on the contrary, you should rather forgive him and comfort himlest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

On the contrary, etc., i.e., instead of continuing the punishment of the repentant sinner, or wishing that he had received a severer penalty, the faithful ought now to forgive him and comfort him, lest a continuation of severity do more harm than good.

2 Cor 2:8. Wherefore, I beseech you, that you would confirm your charity towards him.

Confirm your charity, etc. “Your” should be omitted. The sense is given by Theodoret: “Unite the member to the body, add the sheep to the fold, show him warm affection.” How the faithful are to do this is not stated. Although a legal term, κυρῶσαι (= kyrosai), to ratify, perhaps does not mean that a formal decree is suggested.
2 Cor 2:9. For to this end also did I write, that I may know the experiment of you, whether you be obedient in all things.
Did I write. As in verse 3, the reference here seems to be to the lost letter which was written between 1 and 2 Cor., rather than to our First Corinthians. In that former letter St. Paul put to test the obedience of the Corinthians by requesting that they punish the sinner, and now he again tries them by asking that they receive back their repentant brother. He wants to see if the faithful are obedient in all things.
2 Cor 2:10. And to whom you have pardoned anything, I also. For, what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ.

The Apostle tells the Corinthians not to hesitate to forgive the sinner, because he will ratify their action. Have pardoned should be present, “pardon” (χαρίζεσθε = charizesthe).

What I have pardoned. Very probably the Apostle means here that he has already forgiven the sinner in question, and that the Corinthians need not hesitate, therefore, in forgiving him also. It is possible that some other pardon is referred to, such as the remission of the punishment he had intended to inflict by handing the guilty man over to the power of Satan (1 Cor. 5:3-5).

If I have pardoned, etc. The conditional form here, as in verse 5, is merely a mild way of stating the fact; no doubt is implied.

In the person of Christ, i.e., with the authority of Christ (Estius), or in the presence and with the approval of Christ (Cornely). In forgiving the offender St. Paul did not act merely to please the faithful.

The donastis of the Vulgate should be donatis.
2 Cor 2:11. That we be not overreached by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his devices.

The purpose St. Paul had in pardoning the sinner was to defeat the machinations of Satan who might make use of severe punishment to tempt the offender to despair.

We, i.e., St. Paul and the Corinthian Christians, must not allow our efforts for good to be turned to evil by the low devices of the wicked one.

We are not ignorant, etc. St. Paul and the faithful knew from Scripture that Satan could draw evil out of good, as of old he had tempted Eve to sin under the guise of good (Gen. 3:4-5)

A Summary of 2 Cor 2:12-17.

Speaking in verse 4 of his great sorrow and anguish of heart the Apostle was led to digress (verses 5-11) into speaking about the cause of his pain; but now he returns to the thought of the first part of the chapter. It was his great charity for the Corinthians that caused him to defer his visit and change his plan to go to them. After writing to them he sent Titus to Corinth, hoping to meet him later at Troas and receive his report of Corinthian conditions. Titus finally returned and the two met in Macedonia. St. Paul was delighted at the good news, and thanked God, who throughout his ministry had been so faithful to him, giving his labors everywhere divine assistance and approval.

2 Cor 2:12. And when I was come to Troas for the gospel of Christ, and a door was opened unto me in the Lord, 
 2 Cor 2:13. I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother; but bidding them farewell, I went into Macedonia.

To Troas. Troas was the name of a district and of a town on the northwest coast of Asia Minor. The town is referred to here. St. Paul had arranged to meet Titus returning from Corinth at Troas, but having been himself obliged to leave Ephesus earlier than was expected (Acts 19:23), he arrived at Troas before the appointed time and did not find his ambassador there. So anxious was the Apostle about the effect of his letter and the mission of Titus to Corinth that, though he found an excellent opening for preaching the Gospel at Troas, he pressed on across the Aegean Sea into Macedonia, in order to meet Titus sooner.

For the gospel of Christ, i.e., for preaching the Gospel. On a previous occasion St. Paul had preached at Troas (Acts 16:8).

No rest in my spirit. Better, “No relief for my spirit.” The Apostle’s mind was in a state of extreme anxiety and tension, and so he could not tarry at Troas. The opportunity here was not so pressing as the crisis at Corinth. There was danger in delay.

My brother, i.e., my fellow-worker in preaching the Gospel. Titus was afterwards made Bishop of Crete (Titus i. 5), and St. Paul addressed one of his last Epistles to him.

2 Cor 2:14. Now thanks be to God, who always maketh us to triumph in Christ Jesus, and manifesteth the odour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Now thanks be to God, etc. The Greek is much stronger and marks the transition more emphatically; Τῷ δὲ Θεῷ χάρις (= to de Theo charis). So relieved and exhilarated was St. Paul by the news learned through Titus that he burst out into thanksgiving for God’s great mercies to him in preaching the Gospel, which have caused his labors and those of his companions to issue in triumph everywhere.

Maketh us to triumph. This is the sense commonly given to θριαμβεύοντι (= thriambeuonti) here, but in the only other passage of the New Testament where it occurs (Col. 2:15) and in classical Greek it means “to lead in triumph.”

In Christ Jesus, i.e., by means of Christ’s help.

Jesus is not in the Greek.

The odour of his knowledge, i.e., the knowledge of God in Christ, diffused by the Apostles and their followers in every part of the world. God is revealed in Christ, and this revelation was preached everywhere by the Apostles. The preaching of the Apostles and their co-workers is represented as a sweet perfume ascending from earth to heaven.

In the Vulgate Jesu should be omitted.

2 Cor 2:15. For we are the good odour of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.

We are the good odour, etc., i.e., the Apostles were the sweet fragrance of Christ unto God at all times. They were this also to those among men who were ready to welcome the revelation of Christ, namely, to those that are saved, i.e., to those that are in the way of salvation (Luke 13:23; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 1:18) ; and to them that perish, i.e., to those who are in the way of perdition (2 Cor 4:3; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Thess. 2:10).

2 Cor 2:16. To the one indeed the odour of death unto death : but to the others the odour of life unto life. And for these things who is so sufficient?

Of death … of life. The best MSS. Read: The preaching of the Apostles is a source of spiritual life to those who are willing to receive it and put it into practice; but to those who refuse it, or fail to conform their lives to its requirements, it occasions spiritual ruin. The true preachers of the Gospel are, like their divine Master, “set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel” (Luke 2:34).

Who is so sufficient? “So” should be omitted. If the preaching of the Apostles is so tremendous, being an occasion of life to some and of death to others, who of himself and with his own strength is capable of undertaking it. St. Paul is emphasizing the responsibility of the Apostolate preparatory to an inquiry into his own Apostolic office and a vindication of his own conduct.

The tam of the Vulgate should be omitted.

2 Cor 2:17. For we are not as many, adulterating the word of God; but with sincerity, but as from God, before God, in Christ we speak.

Unlike certain teachers, as in Corinth, who mixed false doctrines with the Gospel teaching, or degraded that teaching by seeking money through it, St. Paul and his companions preached with sincerity, as sent and inspired by God, and as laboring in God’s presence and with His approval through the grace given them as members and ministers of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Rom. 16:10).

Many cannot mean the majority here, at least as regards the Church at large. The reference is doubtless to the ludaizers who were scattered about in Corinth and other places.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians Chapter 1

Text in red are my additions.


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 1:1Here 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.


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.

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 beexhorted, 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 19:23), 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. 19:13).

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 (ἀλλὰ) 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 1:10. 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 emit 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.

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:12-14

There has been a mutual sharing of benefits between St. Paul and the Corinthians: the good things which he experienced, like the evils that he suffered, have both turned to the welfare of the faithful ; while he, in turn, has been assisted by their prayers in rising above his afflictions. And he is confident that they will continue to help in the future as in the past. This confidence is grounded on the testimony of his conscience that when with them he always acted with the utmost sincerity and candor, and he firmly trusts they will find that same spirit of sincerity in this letter, and that they will continue to acknowledge that they have reason to glory in him and his helpers as their Apostles, while he and his co-workers will rejoice in them as in their spiritual children when Christ comes in judgment. This section leads up to the first part of the body of the Epistle in which the Apostle gives a general defense of his Apostolic life. The Judaizers at Corinth as in other places sought by defaming the Apostle, to destroy his Apostolic authority, and thus remove the great obstacle to the spread of their errors. They said he was a weak and inconstant man who was always changing his mind and plans, that he was proud and full of conceit, that he forced people to accept his doctrines by constant threats, and so on. Such reports as these naturally made some, if not many, of the faithful suspicious of St. Paul. But when the Apostle learned of conditions at Corinth he lost no time in refuting these calumnies of his adversaries, so that when he would later arrive there the situation might not demand severity. Therefore in the first part of the present Epistle (2 Cor 1:12-7:16) he is chiefly at pains to disprove accusations of fickleness and inconstancy (2 Cor 1:15-2:17); to show that he was not guilty of pride and arrogance (2 Cor 3:1-4:6); and finally, by laying bare his motives in preaching and by explaining the reasons that impelled him in the exercise of his ministry, to foil all the efforts of his enemies (2 Cor 4:7-6:10). The Apostle terminates this part of his letter with an affectionate exhortation to the faithful to entertain towards him the same tender love which he has always cherished for them (2 Cor 6:11-7:16).

2 Cor 1:12. For our glory is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity if heart and sincerity of God, and not in carnal wisdom, but in the grace of God, we have conversed in this world : and more abundantly towards you.

For our glory is this, etc., i.e., the reason for glorying in the future help of the prayers of the Corinthians is founded on the testimony of his conscience that, while he and his companions were doing the work of God among them, they were at all times moved by candor and sincerity.

In simplicity. This is according to D F L, the Vulgate, Old Latin, and Syriac versions; but the best Greek MSS. read: “In holiness” (ἐν ἁγιότητι), and this reading has been adopted by all modern critics.

Sincerity of God, i.e., the sincerity that comes from God, God given sincerity.

Carnal wisdom is here set over against “simplicity” (holiness) and sincerity, and means the product of hypocrisy and duplicity; it is not to be confounded with the “wisdom of this world” (1 Cor. 2:5-6).

In the grace of God, i.e., moved by the grace of God.

We have conversed, etc., i.e., St. Paul and his co-workers have everywhere in their preaching been moved in simplicity and candor by God’s grace, but more especially so at Corinth, where they refused even the support to which they were entitled (2 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Cor. 9:1-15).

Of heart (Vulg., cordis) should be omitted.

2 Cor 1:13. For we write no other things to you, than what you have read and known. And I hope that you shall know unto the end: 
2 Cor 1:14. As also you have known us in part, that we are your glory, as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You have read and known. Better, “You read and even acknowledge.” The meaning is that he is not writing anything in this Epistle which the Corinthians do not already know from his life and conduct when among them, and from the other letters he has sent them and which they have.

And I hope, etc. This clause should be separated from what follows in verse 14 by a comma only. The Apostle is not quite certain, but he hopes the Corinthians will continue to the end of their lives, even to the end of the world, to acknowledge, as in part, i.e., as some of them have already done, that he and his companions, as Apostles, are their glory, while they are his glory, as his spiritual children, in the day of judgment.

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:15-22

The Judaizers who sought to destroy the Apostle’s authority and work at Corinth charged him, among other things, with fickleness and instability, and they gave as an instance his change of plan regarding his visit to Corinth from Ephesus. Against these calumniators he now asserts the consistency of his teaching, which is based on the truthfulness of God Himself, and upon the special character as Apostles with which God has consecrated him and his companions for their ministerial labors and duties.

2 Cor 1:15. And in this confidence I had a mind to come to you before, that you might have a second grace:
2 Cor 1:16. And to pass by you into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be brought on my way towards Judea.

In this confidence, etc., i.e., in view of the Apostle’s firm belief in the mutual reasons for glorying which existed between the Corinthians and himself, he had at first planned to go directly from Ephesus to Corinth, then to Macedonia, and finally back to Corinth again; and it seems he had made known this plan, or a part of it, to the faithful at Corinth, perhaps through the letter, now lost, which he first sent them (1 Cor. 5:9). When, therefore, he told them in 1 Cor. 16:5 ff. that he had made other arrangements and would go first to Macedonia and then come to Corinth, his enemies seized upon this change to accuse him of lightmindedness and inconsistency.

A second grace. i.e., a second joy and a spiritual favor. The first joy would be on his way to Macedonia, the second on his return from there. Some, with Estius, hold that the first “grace” was when St. Paul first preached the Gospel at Corinth, and that consequently the “second grace” here would have been his second visit there. But this view would be against the very probable opinion that the Apostle paid a hurried visit to Corinth between the writing of our First and Second Corinthians (see Introduction, 1).

Towards Judea, whither he was to carry the collection for the poor Christians of Palestine.

2 Cor 1:17. Whereas then I was thus minded, did I use lightness? Or, the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that there should be with me, it is and it is not?

Did I use lightness? i.e., did I change my mind out of mere fickleness? That he did not is shown by the fact that his resolutions are not made according to human considerations and passions, but according to the illumination and direction of the Holy Ghost. If he did not go directly from Ephesus to Corinth, it was because the Spirit restrained him, as had happened before, when he and Silas attempted to go into Bithynia (Acts 16:7).

That I purpose. The change here from the past to the present tense draws attention to the Apostle’s general conduct.

That there should be, etc. Better, “So that with me it is now ‘Yea, yea,’ and now ‘Nay, nay.’ ” i.e., that he should resolve to do a thing while at the same time having the intention not to do it.

Both in the English and in the Vulgate here the affirmation and the negation should be repeated twice to agree with the Greek.

2 Cor 1:18. But God is faithful, for our preaching which was to you, was not, It is, and It is not. 

Digressing for a moment from the question of his visit to Corinth St. Paul insists upon the consistency of his teaching in general.

God is faithful. This may mean that he calls God, as by an oath, to witness the truth of what he is saying (cf. 2 Cor 11:10; Rom. 14:11) ; or, more likely, that “God is faithful to His promises; He had promised to send you preachers of truth, and therefore since I am sent to you, our preaching is not ‘Yes and No’ i.e., there is no falsity in it” (St. Thomas).

Our preaching . . . was not. Better, “Our preaching . . . is not” (B K A C D F G P), i.e., all the promises and preaching of the Apostle and his companions are reliable and consistent.

The Vulgate qui fuit and in illo are not represented in the Greek.

2 Cor 1:19. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, and Sylvanus, and Timothy, was not, It is and It is not, but, It is, was in him.

In this and the three following verses St. Paul is proving the faithfulness and consistency of his promises and of his preaching at all times. His argument is: “Just as the Son of God whom we preached to you was faithful to God’s promises (verse 19), since through Him were fulfilled all the promises of God (verse 20), so we ministers of that faithful Christ, having been confirmed and anointed by God (verse 21) and sealed with the pledge of His Spirit (verse 22), are also faithful to our promises and consistent in our preaching.”

The Son of God, etc., whom we preached to you, and who, as God, is truth and immutability itself, was not fickle and unfaithful, but, on the contrary, was the fulfillment of all God’s promises to men.

Silvanus was doubtless the same as Silas (Acts 15:40; 16:1 ff.), who, together with Paul and Timothy, had labored in the foundation of the Church in Corinth (Acts 18:5).

2 Cor 1:20. For all the promises of God are in him. It is; therefore also by him, amen to God, unto our glory.

The last words of the preceding verse are now explained.

For all the promises, etc. Better, “For how many soever are the promises,” etc., i.e., all the Messianic promises made by God to the Patriarchs and Prophets (1 Cor 7:1; Rom. 9:4; Gal. 3:16-21; Heb. 6:12; 8:6; 11:13, etc.) are verified and fulfilled in Christ.

Therefore also by him. Better, “Wherefore also through him.” The meaning is that since through Christ have been fulfilled all the Messianic promises, through Him also is made possible the Amen by which the fulfill ment of those promises is acknowledged. The Apostle is alluding to the practice on the part of the faithful of saying Amen in response to the prayers of the priest in the public religious assemblies (1 Cor. 14:16).

To God, unto our glory. Better, “To God’s glory through us.” The sense is that the acknowledgment of the fulfillment of God’s promises, as preached by Paul and his companions (which is expressed by the word Amen), redounds to the glory of God.

The nostram of the Vulgate should be per nos.

2 Cor 1:21. Now he that confirmeth us with you in Christ, and that hath anointed us, is God:

As Christ, whom the Apostles have announced, is unchangeable, so is their preaching of Him, and this by a special spiritual anointing which they have received from God.

Confirmeth us, i.e., renders us Apostles firm and unchangeable in teaching the doctrines of revelation to the faithful. The words with you imply that the faithful also received from God the firmness and stability with which they retained the doctrines preached to them.

Hath anointed us, i.e., has especially called us to preach the Gospel, and has given us the graces necessary to discharge this high office. The word χρίω (= chriō) from which the name Christ is derived, is used only four times in the New Testament, and in each instance of our Saviour (Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; Heb. 1:9). Therefore the anointing here spoken of must mean that Paul and his companions were especially called to preach the Gospel and perform their ministry. The reference is not to the Sacrament of Confirmation, nor to Baptism, which is received by all the faithful, but more properly to ordination, since God was the anointer and the purpose of the anointing was to enable the Apostles to discharge the spiritual duties of their ministry. In the Old Testament kings, priests, and prophets were anointed before undertaking their offices (1 Sam 9:16; Ex 40:13).

 2 Cor 1:22. Who also hath sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts.

Hath sealed us. Not only did God anoint and consecrate Paul and his companions for the work of preaching the Gospel, but He also stamped upon them, as it were, the seal of His divine authority and sanction by giving them the power of miracles, and by enriching them with the various gifts of the Holy Ghost These gifts were a pledge and an earnest of the still more precious endowments reserved for them in the life to come.

The pledge of the Spirit
. The sense is that the Holy Ghost dwelling in the hearts of the Apostles was an earnest of the still greater gifts awaiting them hereafter.


2 Cor 1:23. But I call God to witness upon my soul, that to spare you, I came not any more to Corinth: not because we exercise dominion over your faith : but we are helpers of your joy: for in faith you stand.

After having proved the firmness and consistency of his promises and preaching the Apostle now returns to the subject of verse 17, and explains why he did not go directly from Ephesus to Corinth as he had planned.

Upon my soul, etc. He calls God to witness against his soul, meaning that God should destroy it, if he is not telling the truth when he says that the reason why he did not come to Corinth as first planned was in order to spare the Corinthians. The condition of the Church there was so bad that the Apostle could not at the time have gone thither without using great severity, and hence he preferred to remain away till later. But even in this he was not acting “according to the flesh”: he was acting under the guidance of the Spirit, as in Acts 16:7 (St. Chrys.).

I came not any more. The Apostle here seems to be repeating the complaint of the Corinthians, who regretted that he “came not any more to Corinth.” He means to say that he did not pay the visit alluded to in verse 15 above. This statement does not interfere with the very probable opinion which holds that St. Paul paid a short and painful visit to Corinth after writing 1 Cor. (2 Cor. 12:14, 21; 13:1), because that painful visit was not of the nature, duration or extent of the one alluded to in verse 15 above, and promised very likely in the lost letter to the Corinthians of which there is question in 1 Cor. 5:9.

Not because we exercise, etc. Better, “Not that we exercise,” etc. Having just spoken of sparing the Corinthians the Apostle now explains his meaning. He does not want the faithful to think that he and his companions desire to tyrannize over their faith, using despotic methods with them: rather he wishes to promote their joy in believing; and since, on account of their factions and disorders he could not do this, he preferred to remain away. As regards their faith they were not in need of correction, but they were at fault in other matters (Theod.).

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Father Callan’s Introduction to Second Corinthians

Text in red are my additions. This commentary was published nearly one hundred years ago. Those wanting newer resources are encouraged to acquire the following:

Ignatius Study Bible: First and Second Corinthians. An excellent place to begin a bible study. Can be used for both individual and group studies.

Navarre Bible Commentary: St Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians. Doctrinal and spiritual commentary.

Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: 2 Corinthians. Outstanding.

The Occasion and Purpose of this Letter.

Although the present Epistle is the only extant source from which we may gather the events and causes that called it forth, scholars find in the information which it affords reasons for two opposing conclusions. All are agreed that it immediately followed upon knowledge communicated to St. Paul in Macedonia regarding conditions in Corinth (2 Cor. 2:12-13; 7:6). But what in particular was it among the faithful there, reported by Titus, that gave rise to this Epistle? Was it the reception of First Corinthians, or of a letter subsequent to First Corinthians? Certainly whatever Paul had written thither had much to do with the situation as observed and reported by Titus.

The opinion universally accepted until recently held that this second Epistle was occasioned by information brought to St. Paul from Corinth, perhaps by Timothy first (1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10) but later certainly by Titus (2 Cor. 7:6), shortly after the Corinthians had received our first canonical letter. In recent years, however, the opinion has been gaining adherents which believes that the present letter was occasioned by the report that followed a letter written by St. Paul to the faithful of Corinth after their reception of First Corinthians. According to this latter opinion, then, St. Paul addressed four Epistles to the Corinthians : (a) that mentioned in 1 Cor. 5:9, which has been lost; (b) our First Corinthians; (c) this intermediate Epistle, which has also been lost; (d) our Second Corinthians.

1. Patrons of the first opinion explain as follows: St. Paul sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia and Corinth (Acts 19:22; 1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10) shortly before he dispatched our first canonical letter. Whether Timothy ever reached Corinth or not, we do not know. If he did, his arrival there likely took place about the same time that First Corinthians was received. At any rate, St. Paul, perhaps fearing for the certainty, or for the success, of Timothy’s visit to Corinth, soon sent Titus thither with instructions to take account of conditions among the Corin thians, to observe the effect of the letter recently sent them, and to report to him at Troas (2 Cor. 2:12-13; x12:18). The Apostle was intending to remain at Ephesus until Pentecost (1 Cor. 16:8), but the unexpected tumult stirred up by Demetrius (Acts 19:23) caused him to hasten his departure. Arriving at Troas earlier than he had calculated and not finding Titus there, he went immediately to Macedonia (2 Cor. 2:13). Shortly the envoy arrived, and gave the Apostle a complete account of con ditions and affairs at Corinth. The report was, on the whole, consoling (2 Cor. 7:6). The letter had been well received and had produced salutary results, causing many of the faithful to feel real sorrow for their misdeeds and to grieve for having offended the Apostle, whose authority they now admitted without question (2 Cor. 7:7 ff.). They had expelled the incestuous man from their number, thus bringing him to repentance; and now they asked St. Paul how they should conduct themselves towards this repentant sinner (2 Cor. 2:5 ff.).

But Titus also had something unpleasant to report. There were still in the Corinthian community those who refused to acknowledge St. Paul’s Apostolic authority. While his letter had saddened some of the faithful unto repentance, it had turned others against him and had greatly aroused the fury of his enemies, who now seemed to belong to the faction of the Judaizers, but who pretended to be Apostles of a very superior order (2 Cor. xi. 5; 12:11). They redoubled their bitter attacks on St. Paul, accusing him of fickleness and vacillation (2 Cor. 1:15-17), and of commending himself because no one else had recommended or would recommend him (2 Cor. 3:1-2). They said his preaching was most obscure and full of veiled meanings (2 Cor. 4:2-3) ; when present he was grovelling in his humility, but when absent he was full of pride and arrogance (2 Cor. 10:1-2) ; his appearance was weak and insignificant (2 Cor. 10:10) ; he acted like a fool, an insane man (2 Cor. 11:1, 16) ; he was too proud, or too uncertain of the reality and truth of his Apostolate, to accept support from the faithful (2 Cor. 11:16-21) ; his pretended visions and revelations were only the ravings of his own disordered brain and imagination (2 Cor. 12:1-10) ; he was a nobody (2 Cor. 12:11) ; he was crafty, a deceiver full of guile (2 Cor. 12:16-18) ; and he seemed to realize that he was a self-appointed, untimely Apostle (1 Cor. 15:8-9). Titus had further to report that the collection for the poor Christians in Jerusalem was not making sufficient progress (2 Cor. 8:1 ff.), and that there was grave danger of a new outbreak of dissension and trouble (2 Cor. 12:20-21; 13:1-10).

These tidings, partly pleasing and partly saddening, announced by Titus to Paul in Macedonia were, according to the first opinion explained above, the occasion of the present Epistle. The Apostle wished, first of all, to express his satisfaction that so many of the faithful were now true to him, to explain why he had written the previous letter, and to give definite instructions for the collection in behalf of the poor of Jerusalem. Secondly, he wished to reply to the attacks of his adversaries, and thus to establish, on a final and unshaken basis, his Apostolic authority.

2. The opinion which is more popular to-day gives a different explanation of the cause which was chiefly responsible for the information that provoked our Second Corinthians. The effect of our first canonical Epistle to the Corinthians seems to have been disappointing. Paul’s authority and influence at Corinth appeared to be waning. The letter which he had hoped would promote a spirit of peace and harmony between the various factions, while doing some good, stirred up among his enemies a new and violent storm. His excommunication of the incestuous man (1 Cor. 5:1-13) had so enraged the Judaizers that Timothy, who had been sent to Corinth (1 Cor. 16:10), was unable to handle the situation, and so returned to Ephesus, bringing to Paul a sad report of the state of affairs. Straightway the Apostle set out for Corinth in person (2 Cor. 12:14). Upon arriving there his reception was very humiliating. Being unprepossessing in appearance and inelegant in speech he availed but little by his presence against his powerful enemies (2 Cor. 10:10). On the contrary, he seems to have sustained some severe public insult or injury (2 Cor. 2:4-11; 7:12). In affliction and sorrow of spirit he therefore returned to Ephesus; but from there he soon addressed to the Corinthians a letter so terrible in its tone and contents that he afterwards repented having written it (2 Cor. 2:4; 7:8). Anxious to learn the effect of this letter he sent Titus to Corinth, perhaps as bearer of the letter, with instructions to observe effects and investigate matters, and report to him at Troas. As said above, the Apostle was obliged to leave Ephesus sooner than he had first planned, and so met Titus in Macedonia, before the latter could arrive at Troas (2 Cor. 2:13). The tidings brought by Titus relative to the general situation, and in particular with regard to the effect of this severe letter sent by St. Paul, occasioned the writing of 2 Corinthians, which, according to this opinion, was in reality the fourth Epistle addressed to the Church of Corinth. The force of this opinion depends upon the establishment of three points: (a) that St. Paul visited Corinth before leaving Ephesus; (b) that a letter intervened between our First and Second Corinthians; (c) that the offender of 2 Cor. 2:5 ff. was other than the incestuous man of 1 Cor. 5:1 ff.

(a) That St. Paul paid the Corinthians an unexpected visit before writing our present letter seems certain from his own words. He says he will not come to them again in sorrow (2 Cor. 2:1). But his first visit to them, when he came as a stranger to announce the glad tidings of the Gospel, was surely not in sorrow ; it must have been in great joy, with high anticipations of the harvest he would reap there. Again he says: “Behold, now the third time I am ready to come to you” (2 Cor. 12:14) ; “this is the third time I am coming to you” (2 Cor. 13:1). If this second visit to Corinth had preceded the writing of First Corinthians, as some have suggested, there would cer tainly be some mention of it in that Epistle; but such a thing is not even hinted in that letter.

(b) To the supporters of this second hypothesis it seems that the terms used by St. Paul in 2 Cor. relative to the Epistle that had immediately preceded it cannot be applied to 1 Cor., and hence they must refer to an intermediate letter. Referring to that letter the Apostle says (2 Cor. 2:4) that he wrote it “out of much affliction, and anguish of heart, and with many tears,” etc. He not only flayed his adversaries, but he delivered, as it were, an ultimatum to the faithful themselves that he might test their spirit (2 Cor. 2:9; 7:11). The letter was so severe that he was afterwards sorry he had sent it (2 Cor. 7:8). Such passages as these, as well as those of 2 Cor 7:12; 10:1, 9, 10, can only with greatest difficulty be made applicable to First Corin thians; they postulate an intermediate letter. This conclusion is made still more likely when we reflect that St. Paul could hardly have sent Titus to Corinth where he was unknown without some letter of recommendation, some sign of authorization. Influenced by the force of these arguments some scholars have gone so far as to say that the last part of our Second Corinthians (2 Cor 10:1-13:10) constitute that intermediate Epistle, or at least a part of it. This, however, we cannot well admit, although there is doubtless a very sudden break in the continuity of thought at x. 1, and the tone of the following chapters is very different. We must remember that this letter throughout is one of many different, swiftly changing and contrary moods.

The defenders of the first opinion, explained above, say that the expressions of rebuke, denunciation and sorrow alluded to in the passages just cited from 2 Cor. can find their explanation in certain sections of our first canonical letter. The severe words referred to as addressed to the Corinthians, they maintain, are found in 1 Cor. 4:18-21; 5:1-2; 6:8; 11:17-22; while others, which the Apostle’s enemies regarded as proud and arrogant, are in 1 Cor. 2:16; 4:1; 9:11; 14:8; 15:8.

(c) The references in 2 Cor. 2:5-1 1 to some offender cannot very well apply to the incestuous man. They seem rather to refer to some bitter member of the Judaizing party. It does not appear at all likely that the “indignation,” the “fear,” the “revenge,” etc., of 2 Cor. 7:11-12 could refer to what is said of the incestuous person of 1 Cor. 5:1 ff. In 2 Cor. 7:12 the Apostle seems to be utterly careless of the destiny of the transgressor: “I wrote to you . . . not for his sake that did the wrong . . . but to manifest our carefulness that we have for you” ; whereas in 1 Cor. 5:5 he says that his action against the offender was in order that his “spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Against the traditional view, then, it would seem that the great transgressor of 2 Cor. 2:5-11 was not the incestuous man of 1 Cor. 5:1, but some outrageous and personal opponent of the Apostle himself.

No matter which of the two hypotheses just exposed we prefer, it still remains true that St. Paul wrote our Second Corinthians in response to information given him by Titus in Macedonia upon the latter’s return from Corinth. The Apostle expresses his satisfaction at the good tidings reported, but turns all the fire and force of his wrath upon those who were trying to destroy his Apostolic authority and his work.

Date and Place of Writing.

The first Epistle was written at Ephesus in the spring of perhaps the year 57. Around Pentecost of the same year St. Paul left Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:8) and went to Troas. Not finding Titus there he passed over to Macedonia where he was soon met by Titus and informed of the conditions in Corinth (2 Cor. 2:12-13; 7:5-6). It was there in Macedonia, perhaps at Philippi, as the Vatican MS. and the Peshitto version indicate, that this letter was written probably some time in the autumn of the same year 57. This would allow about four or five months between the writing of the First and Second Epistles. At least so much time would seem to be necessary for the developments that took place at Corinth after the reception of the first letter. But if we accept the second opinion explained above, which to many now seems more probable, a longer period would be required between our first and our second canonical Epistle. Enough time would have to be granted for the intervening visit of St. Paul to Corinth, for the intermediate

letter which is supposed to have followed upon that visit, and for the ensuing developments in the Corinthian Church. Prob ably, therefore, this second letter was not written before the first part of the year 58.

The bearer of the Epistle was perhaps Titus, accompanied by those companions who were to assist in organizing the collection for the poor of Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:16-24). Who the brother was, “whose praise is in the gospel through all the churches” (2 Cor. 8:18), we do not know. Perhaps it was Barnabas, or Silas, or Luke, or Mark. Likewise we do not know who is meant in verse 22 of the same chapter by the brother who had been “proved diligent in many things.” Probably the reference is to Timothy, or Apollo, or Sosthenes, or St. Luke.


That St. Paul was the author of this Epistle is admitted not only by all Catholic scholars, but also by the vast majority of non-Catholic authorities. It is true that external wit nesses for its genuineness are somewhat later than for the First Epistle, but from the middle of the second century we find abundant testimonies in its favor. The supposed allusions to it in the writings of Clement of Rome and of St. Ignatius are too vague and uncertain to be of any great value. In Polycarp, however, there are passages which seem clearly to prove that he was familiar with this letter, as well as First Corinthians. “He that raised Him from the dead will raise us also” (Poly., Ad Philip, ii. 2) is evidently a quotation from 2 Cor. 4:14. Also “providing always for that which is honourable in the sight of God and of men” (Poly., op. cit. vi. 1) is very much like 2 Cor. 8:21. Again, “among whom the blessed Paul laboured,” etc. (Poly., op. cit. xi. 3) doubtless refers to 2 Cor. 3:2 (This reference is erroneous. Polycarp is probably alluding to Phil 1:5). St. Irenaeus explicitly cites our Epistle several times (Adv. Haer. iv; xxviii. 3; xix. 1 and iii, vii. 1; v, iii. 1; xiii. 4). Sometimes this is done by name: “The Apostle says in the second epistle to the Corinthians” (op. cit. iv, xxviii. 3) ; “in the second to the Corinthians saying” (op. cit. v, iii. 1), after which he quotes from 2 Cor. 2, 3, 4, 5, 13. Clement of Alex, quotes this letter more than forty times (cf. Strom, iv. 16), and Tertullian over seventy times (cf. Adv. Marc, v, xi, xii; de Pud. xiii). St. Cyprian quotes from every chapter of it, excepting 1 and 10. The Epistle was known to the heretics Basilides, and Marcion included it in his own canon. It is also found in the Muratorian Fragment.

Many other authorities might be cited, but the above are some of the principal ones.

The internal evidence in favor of the authorship of this Epistle is as strong as it could be. First of all here we see the person ality, the style, and the peculiar characteristics of St. Paul plainly stamped on every page. Here we find expressed in a very high degree his entire devotedness to the cause of Christ, his intense love for his children in the faith, his burning zeal and that fire of temperament which are so peculiar to the great Apostle. “In its individuality of style, intensity of feeling, inimitable expression of the writer’s idiosyncrasy, it may be said to stand at the head of all the Pauline Epistles, Galatians not excepted” (Rob ertson, in Hastings Diet, of the Bible, I. p. 491). Furthermore, so numerous and evident are the similarities between this letter and the Acts of the Apostles and other letters of St. Paul, especially First Corinthians, Romans and Galatians, that no critic could, with out stultifying himself, pretend to deny that the author of all these Epistles was one and the same. This Second Epistle is, in fact, the natural and logical sequel to First Corinthians, either directly or indirectly. The conditions and evils which occasioned the first letter had simply increased and developed at the time when this one was deemed necessary.


That this letter with all its parts was written by St. Paul is, therefore, so universally admitted as to remove all question thereof. As we have seen, both the internal and the external evidence in this regard is overwhelming. And until modern times the integrity of the Epistle has been quite as certain as its authenticity, so far as external evidence goes. All MSS., versions and Fathers are for the entirety of our Epistle as we have it. But some recent scholars, looking carefully into the contents of the letter, have concluded that it contains portions of two or more Epistles, joined together at a very early date, perhaps by some copyist. This conclusion was first drawn by Semler (fi79i), but was little heeded until Hausrath of Heidelberg published a pamphlet in 1870 on “The Four Chapter Epistle of St. Paul.” Since that time two portions of the letter especially (2 Cor 6:14-7:1 and 2 Cor 10:1-13:13) have been suspected by many authorities of belonging to some other letter or letters of St. Paul. The reason for regarding the first section (2 Cor 6:14-7:1) as out of place are, (a) because it seems to interrupt the natural flow of the letter, and (b) because 2 Cor 6:13 joins so well with 2 Cor 7:2. Of the authors who hold that this portion does not belong to our present letter some (like Hausrath, McGiffert, Pfleiderer, etc.) think it is a fragment of some other Pauline letter that has been inserted here; while others (such as Sabatier, Hilgenfeld, etc.) believe it to be a part of the letter mentioned in 1 Cor. 5:9.

But the reasons given for this opinion are of little weight, and are against all textual evidence 1 The section is found here in all MSS. How could a fragment of one roll get inserted into the middle of another roll? (Plum.). Many letters and chapters of books contain abrupt paragraphs which do not fit in smoothly with the rest, but no one would therefore necessarily conclude that they are out of place. Moreover, the exhortation of 2 Cor 6:14 ff. follows not unnaturally on what is said in 2 Cor 5:10 and 2 Cor 6:1-2.

The case with x-xiii is not so easily settled. In the first part of the letter (2 Cor 1:12-7:16) St. Paul defends himself against his enemies, in the second part (2 Cor 8:1-9:15) he speaks about the collection for the poor in Jerusalem. Then suddenly in chapter x, without any apparent reason, he opens fire anew on his enemies. The commencement of the chapter is like the beginning of a letter: “Now I Paul myself beseech you,” etc. (2 Cor. 10:1). The reasons, therefore, that have led many scholars to regard this section (10-13) as not belonging to 2 Cor. are mainly the notable differences between what is said here and in the first part of the Epistle. For example, here he fears that when he arrives among them he will find them guilty of all kinds of sins and vices (2 Cor 12:20) ; there he recognizes the abundance of their faith and charity (2 Cor 8:7). Here he speaks with harshness and violence (2 Cor 3:1-10) ; there he is so full of sweetness as to feel almost obliged to apologize for it (2 Cor 2:4; 7:8).

But notwithstanding these and other marked differences be tween the first and last parts of this Epistle there seems to be hardly sufficient reason for denying the integrity of the letter. If we take what seems to us probably a more correct view of the matter, we shall find that the last chapters follow pretty naturally upon those that precede.

In the first part of the Epistle the Apostle is speaking more directly to that portion of the Corinthian community which has remained faithful to him, or at least has returned to him; and to these he explains, in calm and moderate language, the events and circumstances that have occasioned the misunderstanding between him and them. But toward the end of the letter, while still addressing the whole Church, he is speaking of his deter mined enemies, and therefore he uses more vigorous language and takes occasion to show his adversaries how superior to them he really is. The last part appears to suppose the first part and could not very well have been written before it, at least in its entirety. There seems to be a rather necessary and natural connection between the two. For instance, we find the same ideas expressed in 2 Cor 1:15 and 2 Cor 10:14; in 2 Cor 2:2; 7:9; 13:10; in 2 Cor 3:1; 5:12; 10:18; 11:16. 2 Cor 13:11-13. are evidently addressed to the readers of the first chapters, whom they presuppose. And even within the last section (10-13) a marked distinction is made at times between different readers. Some are addressed in terms of affection (2 Cor 11:2, 11; 12:19), while others are objects of extreme severity (2 Cor 11:4, 13, 21).

We are well aware that opponents of the integrity of the Epistle point to a great number of passages in Chapters 1-9 which, they say, suppose the previous writing of many things contained in the last four chapters. Thus they tell us that 2 Cor. 1:23, “To spare you, I came not any more to Corinth,” etc., and 2 Cor. 2:1, “I determined this with myself, not to come to you again in sorrow,” find their natural explanation only in 2 Cor. 10-13, where it is explicitly stated, “If I come again, I will not spare” (2 Cor. 13:2). Also 2 Cor. 2:4, “Out of much affliction, and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears,” cannot be understood aside from reference to the affliction and anguish that are expressed in 2 Cor. 10-13, which, therefore, must have been written beforehand. Again 2 Cor. 3:1 says, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves?” and 2 Cor. 5:12, “We commend not ourselves again to you,” etc. Now when do we find St. Paul commending himself, except in the closing chapters of 2 Cor., where there is question of “boasting” seventeen different times? Likewise 2 Cor. 7:8-9, “Although I made you sorrowful by my epistle,” etc., does not apply to 1 Cor., but is very natural if referred to the last chapters of 2 Cor. Furthermore, in 2 Cor. 7:15 St. Paul, speaking of the report made to him by Titus, upon the latter’s return from Corinth, says, “He remembereth the obedience of you all,” etc. How, we are asked, can this be made to harmonize with 2 Cor. 10:6, where the Apostle says he is “in readiness to revenge all disobedience,” etc., unless the latter was written before the former?

Finally, to sum up, we are asked how it is possible that St. Paul, in the same letter, could speak with so much confidence and approval in the first nine chapters, and then with such distrust and fear in the closing chapters. For example, “In faith you stand” (2 Cor 1:23) ; “my joy is the joy of you all” (2 Cor 2:3) ; “You are the epistle of Christ” (2 Cor 3:3) ; “great is my glorying for you” (2 Cor 7:4) ; “your zeal for me” (2 Cor 7:7) ; “in all things you have shewed yourselves to be undefiled in the matter” (2 Cor 7:11); “remembering the obedience of you all” (2 Cor 7:15); “I rejoice that in all things I have confidence in you” (2 Cor 7:16) ; “in all things you abound in faith, and word, and knowledge, and all carefulness,” etc. (2 Cor 8:7). And after all these commendations to say towards the end: “I fear lest perhaps when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found by you such as you would not. Lest perhaps contentions, envyings, animosi ties, dissensions, detractions, whisperings, swellings, seditions, be among you. Lest again, when I come, God humble me among you : and I mourn many of them that sinned before, and have not done penance for the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness, that they have committed” (2 Cor 12:20-21). To speak at the close of a letter so harshly, and in tones so contrary to what has preceded in the first part is, we are reminded, an incongruity and a want of tact which can hardly be supposed in St. Paul.

These are some of the passages cited and some of the arguments adduced by those who think the last four chapters of our Epistle preceded, in time, the writing of the other chapters. But in view of what we have said above we are not convinced that there is sufficient reason for departing from the traditional position regarding the integrity of this letter. St. Paul in the closing chapters was speaking of his inveterate enemies, and it would be only natural if there he repeated many things he had already said in the severe intermediate letter written previously from Ephesus. It is to this intermediate letter, now lost, that the above passages from 2 Cor. 1-11 doubtless refer. Cf. Jacquier, in Diet, de la Bible, torn, ii, col. 1000 ff.

Characteristics and Style.

In no other letter of St. Paul have we such a variety of thoughts and feelings as in Second Corinthians. It is one continuous alternation of “joy and depression, anxiety and hope, trust and resentment, anger and love” (Weizsacker). At one time we see the Apostle’s eyes flash with indignation, then fill with tears; at one time he lifts his head with dignity and independence, then bows down with sorrow and humility; now he is flushed with righteous anger, now pale with anxiety; first he moves with might and vehemence against his enemies, then he gives way to tenderness and love for his children in the faith. “The letter exhibits a tumult of contending emotions. Wounded affection, joy, self-respect, hatred of self-assertion, consciousness of the authority and the importance of his ministry, scorn of his opponents, toss themselves like waves on the troubled sea of his mind. . . . Strong language . . . figurative expressions, abrupt turns, phrases seized and flung at his assailants, words made up, iterated, played upon, mark this Epistle far more than any other of the Apostle’s letters” (Davies).

This is the most personal of all the Apostle’s writings. Here we learn how much he suffered for the Gospel; how he was beaten, shipwrecked, and in perils; how he labored, fasted, and prayed (2 Cor 11:24 ff.). Here also we are told of the marvelous divine favors that were accorded him, how he was rapt into the third heaven to hear unearthly words which mortal man is not allowed to utter (2 Cor 12:2 ff.). In this Epistle we see the Apostle’s “ardent love for Jesus Christ, his sense of personal weakness, his pride in his Apostolic authority, his contempt of temporal sufferings, his faith in the eternal, his anxiety for the poor, his tender love for his spiritual children, his burning indignation with those who sought to corrupt them, his withering sarcasm, his fearless courage, his melting compassion” (MacRory).

The style is in keeping with the thought. In the first part it is generally calm and peaceful, but vehement and polemical to an extreme degree in the four closing chapters. The language, like the thought, is like “a river which sometimes flows in a gentle stream, sometimes rushes as a torrent bearing all before it, sometimes spreads out like a placid lake, sometimes loses itself, as it were, in the sand, and breaks out in its fulness at some unexpected place” (Erasmus). On the whole it is doubtless true that “the style of this Epistle has not been so universally admired as that of the first. The Greek is rough. The account and the reasoning are often involved and broken, and there is a lack of ease and smoothness throughout. The thoughts, as beautiful in general as in the First Epistle, are not so well expressed; there is not one passage which in loftiness of eloquence equals the first letter. Nevertheless, in spite of the faults of the language, the eloquence of this Second Epistle is powerful. The intensity of the contending sentiments under the influence of which it was written has broken the rhythm and the arrangement of the phrases, but it gives an impression of life and of power which a more polished diction would be unable to do. One feels at each phrase that the writer is speaking from the bottom of his heart, of that heart on which Corinth is inscribed” (Plummer).

Relation Between First and Second Corinthians.

From what has been said above it is clear that the first letter was much more carefully done than the second. The latter was written in a hurry, and under high tension of thought and feeling, and hence is lacking, not only in the grace and polish, but also in the orderly arrangement of the former. In the second letter there is such a jumble of emotions, passions and feelings that, turning to it from the first letter, “one feels like passing from a park with paths intersecting but easily discernible into a pathless or tractless forest” (Schmiedel). In this letter St. Paul is concerned only with his personal defense and the collection for the poor in Jerusalem; whereas First Corinthians treats a larger number of topics of varied and great importance than perhaps any of the Pauline Epistles. As no other book of the New Testament tells us so much about the inside history and practices of the early Church as First Corinthians, so there is no book that gives us such a concrete and personal view of the character of St. Paul as Second Corinthians. In the one we behold the internal activities of the great Christian society, in the other the internal working of the ardent soul of the great Apostle.

 Division and Analysis.

Besides an Introduction and Conclusion, this Epistle contains three distinct parts: (a) A defense of the Apostle; (b) an exhortation regarding the collection for the poor in Jerusalem; (c) proofs of St. Paul’s Apostolic authority.

The Introduction (2 Cor 1:1-11)  contains (a) the salutations of St. Paul and Timothy to the Church of Corinth (2 Cor 1:1-2); (b) acts of thanksgiving for consolations received in the midst of afflictions (2 Cor 1:3-10); (c) a request that the Corinthians will lend their prayers (2 Cor 1:11).

The First Part (2 Cor 1:12-7:16) is a general apology for the Apostle’s life. St. Paul defends himself against the accusation of inconstancy and fickleness, in particular with regard to his intended visit to Corinth (2 Cor 1:12-17), and shows that his firmness of purpose is based on the faithfulness of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:18-22). He explains the reason for his change of plan to go directly from Ephesus to Corinth (i. 23-ii. 17).

The Apostle’s enemies had accused him of arrogance and pride, because he spoke with authority and at times alluded to himself. This he did only on account of the greatness of the ministry committed to him. He says that he is in need of no recommendation to the Corinthians; they are his commendation (2 Cor 3:1-3). His trust is in God, who has made him a minister of the New Testament (2 Cor 3:4-6). The Apostolic ministry is far superior to that of the Mosaic Law, and gives the right to speak with liberty and authority (2 Cor 3:7-18). Having this higher ministry the Apostle speaks with assurance and clarity; there is no obscurity in his Gospel, except for those who are blind, because he preaches only Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:1-6). Apostles must be prepared to suffer (2 Cor 4:7-12), but in their trials they are sustained by the hope of the resurrection (2 Cor 4:13-18). Borne up by this glorious hope St. Paul seeks only to please Jesus Christ, his future Judge (2 Cor 5:1-10). It is the fear of the judgment of God that makes him defend himself (2 Cor 5:11-13) ; it is his love of Christ that moves him to seek, not his own interest, but only the glory of God (v. 14-21). His conduct has been in imitation of Christ (vi. 1-10). The Corinthians are exhorted to avoid the vices of the pagans (2 Cor 6:11-7:1). St. Paul protests his affection for them; he has joy over the good effects of his letter (2 Cor 7:2-16).

The Second Part (2 Cor 8:-9:15) treats of the collection for the poor in Jerusalem. The Apostle reminds the Corinthians of the generosity of the faithful of Macedonia (2 Cor 8:1-5). He sends Titus to take their gifts which, because of their many virtues, he is sure will be bountiful (2 Cor 8:6-7). Remembering Christ, who became poor for their sakes, the Corinthians will give willingly and generously according to their means (2 Cor 8:8-15). St. Paul recommends to them Titus and two others, who are charged with making the collection (2 Cor 8:16-24). The faithful of Corinth ought to give liberally, first, because the Macedonians who are coming with the Apostle understand that they are generous (2 Cor 9:1-5), and secondly because of the great reward attached to almsdeeds (2 Cor 9:6-15).

The Third Part (2 Cor 10:1-13:10) contains the Apostle’s personal defense of his Apostolate against his inveterate opponents, the Judaizers. He knows how to conquer all his adversaries (2 Cor 10:1-6), and at his forthcoming visit he will vindicate in person the Apostolic authority in which he glories (2 Cor 10:7-1 1). He will not imitate those who glorify themselves, for he is glorified by God and his own labors (2 Cor 10:12-16); it is God who must praise and recommend (2 Cor 10:17-18).

The Apostle affirms his superiority to his adversaries. He asks to be borne with while he commends himself and his labors (2 Cor 11:1-6). His disinterestedness among the Corinthians is proved by the fact that he refused recompense for his spiritual work (11:7-15). He again begs to be excused if, like his enemies, he glorifies himself (2 Cor 11:16-21); like them, he is a Jew, a servant of Christ (2 Cor 11:22-23); but he has suffered much more than they for his Apostolic ministry (2 Cor 11:24-33). He has enjoyed marvelous visions and revelations wherein he might glory (2 Cor 12:1-5), but he prefers to glory only in his infirmities (2 Cor 12:6-10). If he has had thus to commend himself, it is because the Corinthians have not defended him as they should have done (2 Cor 12:11-18). He is not trying to justify himself before the Corinthians; he is speaking before God for their edification, so that they may not be found back in their former sins when he comes to them (2 Cor 12:19-21). Upon his third visit he will be severe against those who are found impenitent (2 Cor 13:1-6), and he writes these things as a warning, hoping severity may not be necessary (2 Cor 13:7-10).

The Conclusion (2 Cor 13:11-13) consists of a brief exhortation (2 Cor 13:11), mutual salutations (2 Cor 13:12), and an Apostolic Benediction (2 Cor 13:13). We may observe here that there are some authors who make the conclusion of this Epistle begin at 2 Cor 12:19 (cf. Coghlan, St. Paul, p. 16

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St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 22


1 Unto the end, for the morning protection, a psalm for David.
2 O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.

David speaks here in the person of Christ hanging on the cross, in the height of his suffering, as appears from Mt. 27, in which we read that the Redeemer, just before he expired, exclaimed: “O God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The words, “Look upon me,” are not in the Hebrew; they were added by the Septuagint, for explanation sake. When Christ complains of having been forsaken by God, we are not to understand that he was forsaken by the Second Person, or that there was a dissolution of the hypostatic union, or that he lost the favor and friendship of the Father; but he signifies to us that God permitted his human nature to undergo those dreadful torments, and to suffer an ignominious death, from which he could, if he chose, most easily deliver him. Nor did such complaints proceed either from impatience or ignorance, as if Christ were ignorant of the cause of his suffering, or was not most willing to bear such abandonment in his suffering; such complaints were only a declaration of his most bitter sufferings. And whereas, through the whole course of his passion, with such patience did our Lord suffer, as not to let a single groan or sigh escape from him, so now, lest the bystanders may readily believe that he was rendered impassible by some superior power; therefore, when his last moments were nigh, he protests that he is true man, truly passible; forsaken by his Father in his sufferings, the bitterness and acuteness of which he then intimately felt. “O God, my God;” looking upon himself as a mere servant, he addresses the Father as his God, because, at that very moment, he was worshipping him as the true God, offering to him the most perfect sacrifice that ever had been offered, the sacrifice of his body. “Look upon me;” he asks him to behold how he suffers for his honor, to acknowledge, therefore, the obedience of his Son, and to accept the sacrifice so offered for the human race. “Why hast thou forsaken me?” As if he were surprised! Is it possible you could allow your beloved and only begotten Son to be overwhelmed in such an abyss of pain and sorrow? Similar expressions are met in Jn. 3, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son;” and, Rom. 8, “He did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.” “Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.” Many, afraid of imputing sin to Christ, give a very forced explanation of these words. Some read them by way of interrogation, without any authority whatever. Others explain thus, “My sins,” having none, “are far from my salvation;” that is, are no obstacle to it. Without entering into other interpretations, mere gratuitous ones, inconsistent with the punctuation, the meaning simply is: with justice I said I was forsaken in my sufferings, because my exemption from them would be incompatible with my satisfying for the sins of the human race, which I have taken upon me, and which I mean to wipe away. And that Christ could take the sins of the human race upon himself, as if they were his own, is plainly shown in the Scripture, 1 Peter 2, “Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree:” Isaias 53, “And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all:” and, 2 Cor. 5, “Him who knew no sin he hath made sin for us;” that is, a victim for sin. As a victim for sin, then, must be immolated, in order to cleanse from the sin, so Christ, having undertaken to become the victim for the sins of the world, with much propriety says, “Far from my salvation are the words of my sins;” that is, I cannot avoid death, since the sins of the whole world are upon me to satisfy for them. “The words of my sins” is a Hebraism, meaning the sins themselves. “Are far from my salvation,” are inconsistent with my salvation, and I must, therefore, needs suffer.

3 O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.

He assigns another proof of his being forsaken by God, and without any hope of temporal salvation. Though I may cry out day and night to be delivered from this death of the body, you will not hear me. He alludes to his two prayers, one at night in the garden, the other by day on the cross. “And it shall not be reputed as folly in me.” Though I may cry, and though I know you will not hear me, so far as my escaping temporal punishment or suffering is concerned; still, it will “not be folly in me,” because my principal object, the redemption of the human race, will be effected, and I will not be kept in death, but will rise to life everlasting.

4 But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.

He proves that it was not folly in him to cry out at night, even though he was not heard by day, and that for four reasons. First, because God is holy and merciful. Secondly, because he is wont kindly to hear those that call upon him. Thirdly, because he is in the greatest straits. Fourthly, because, from his nativity, he has confided in God, and in him alone. The present verse contains the first reason. You, O Lord, will certainly hear me, for you “dwell in the holy place;” you are all sanctity and piety; malice or cruelty cannot come near you, and, therefore, you are “the praise” of thy people “Israel;” both because the people of Israel praise thee, and they are praised on your account. For the greatest praise thy people can have is their having a God so holy in every respect.

5 In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them.
6 They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

Reason the second, from the instances of his kindness, numbers of which are to be found in Judges. As often as the children of Israel appealed to him, so often did he send them one of the judges to deliver them, such as Gedeon, Samson, Samuel etc.

7 But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
8 All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
9 He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him.

The third reason, derived from the straits in which Christ is placed. “But I am a worm, and no man:” I am just now in that position that I am not only “made less than the Angels,” but even made less than man. “Despised and the most abject of men,” Isaias 53, nay, even beneath them, when even Barabbas and the robbers were preferred to me, and thus, I am now become so wretched, more “a worm than a man;” “the reproach of men;” at whom men blush, as they would at some opprobrious character; as did Peter, when he swore a solemn oath, “he knew not the man;” and “the outcast of the people;” one so rejected by the very scum of the people, that they called out, “Not this man but Barabbas.” “All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn:” When they saw me in that state they all mocked me, all manner of persons, high and low, priests and laics, Jews and gentiles; which was fulfilled when, as St. Luke 23, writes, “And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided. And the soldiers also mocked him.” “They have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.” This, too, was accomplished, as St. Matthew writes, chap. 27, “They blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying, Vah, thou who destroyest the temple of God.” “He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him.” St. Matthew testifies in the same place that the Jews made use of the very words, saying, “He trusted in God, let him deliver him now, if he will.” Wonderful prophecy, predicting not only the facts, but the very words that would be used on the occasion.

10 For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother.
11 I was cast upon thee from the womb. From my mother’s womb thou art my God,

The fourth reason, drawn from the eternal innocence of Christ. The word “For” does not imply a consequence; it is very often used in the Scriptures as a mere copulative; sometimes it is quite redundant. “You art he that hast drawn me out of the womb.” I am thine from my birth; specially so, because I have not been born like others; but, through thy singular favor, have been both conceived and born, my mother’s virginity remaining intact. “My hope from the breasts of my mother.” Not content with having “drawn me out of the womb,” it is you who principally nourished me; for, though apparently on the breast of any mother, I know milk from heaven was supplied by you; and, therefore, from her very breasts, I learned to hope and confide in thee. “I was cast upon thee from the womb;” The moment I left my mother’s womb, I fell into thy bosom, where I was cared with such singular love and affection. “From my mother’s womb thou art my God.” As well as you, from the moment of my birth, so providentially protected me, so I, from the earliest dawn of my life, began to serve and to love you as my God.

12 Depart not from me. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.

“Depart not from me,” according to some, is a part of the preceding verse, a matter of no great moment; it means, since “I was cast upon thee from the womb,” since “thou art my God,” I may with justice ask you to “depart not from me,” especially when my most grievous and my last “tribulation is very near;” that is, my death. “For tribulation is very near.” This verse may, perhaps, apply to his agony in the garden, when he was so overwhelmed with fear at the idea of his approaching passion; but, I am more inclined to think it should be understood of his actual passion at hand, both because he uses the perfect tense, when he says, “They have dug my hands and feet.” “They parted my garments amongst them;” and because he, before that, quoted the language of the Jews, boasting of their having nailed him to the cross; and, finally, because the very first verse of this Psalm was quoted by our Savior, when hanging on his cross. According, then, to his expression in the 2nd verse, “it shall not be reputed as folly in me.” I will not cry to thee to deliver me from death, but not to detain me therein.

13 Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.

An account of the cruelty of his enemies, whom he compares to bulls, lions, and dogs. He alludes to the High Priests and Pharisees, who insult him like bulls, goring him, as it were, with their horns, saying “Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God;” or, like lions with their mouths open, hungering for him; thirsting for his blood, and bellowing, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him;” or like dogs gnawing and biting him when they belied him, saying, “We have found this man perverting our nation;” and again, “If he were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him up to thee:” which calumnies and detractions were the cause of our Lord’s immediate crucifixion; and, therefore, he says presently, “They have dug my hands and feet.” To come now to particulars. “Many calves have surrounded me.” We are not to understand young weak calves, but grown, with horns, almost bulls; for the following, “fat bulls have besieged me,” is only a repetition. The High Priests and Pharisees are called “strong” and “fat,” because they were powerful and rich. Some will have it that by the “calves” he meant the populace; by the “bulls,” the Pharisees; not at all improbable; but I prefer the first explanation.

14 have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.
The High Priests and Pharisees panting for his death.
15 I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.
16 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.

He tells in these verses how he dealt with the cruelty of his enemies. He offered no opposition to their violence, but always exhibited the humility, patience, and mildness, spoken of in Isaias, chap. 1, “I have not turned away my face from them that rebuke me and spit upon me;” and by 1 St. Peter, 2, “Who when he was reviled, did not revile; when he suffered he threatened not, but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly.” He, therefore, says, “I am poured out like water;” I made no resistance, allowed myself to be turned, driven in all directions, as one would turn a stream of water. “And all my bones are scattered;” I have lost all my strength, not in reality, but I do not wish to exercise it. I let my enemies use theirs, according to St. Luke 22, “This is your hour and the power of darkness.” I have, therefore, shown myself weak and feeble in my resistance, as if I were flesh entirely; “And all my bones are scattered;” and thus incapable of resistance. “My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels;” I have patiently borne, and meekly borne, all those injuries before man, but I have been also interiorly “humble of heart;” which heart has not been swollen with anger, nor hardened with rage, in a spirit of vengeance, but has been on the contrary, like “melted wax,” in the spirit of affection and love to them, in the spirit of mercy for their blindness, by virtue of which I prayed of you, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” “In the midst of my bowels;” a usual phrase in the Scripture, to express our internal feelings; thus, John 7, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water:” and, Cant. 5, “My bowels were moved at his touch:” “My strength is dried up like a potsherd.” My whole strength has dwindled away, dried up like a brickbat, when I allowed myself to be tied and beaten as if I were incapable of resisting them. “And my tongue adhered to my jaws:” I did not choose to say an offensive word to my enemies, or to complain of their wrongs. “And thou hast brought me down into the jaws of death.” In consequence of their persecutions, and my non resistance, you have, my God, without whose permission nothing can happen, brought me to my death and burial.

17 For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet.
18 They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me.
19 They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.
All which was fulfilled to the letter, as may be read in St. John, chap. 19.
20 But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me; look towards my defence.

He returns to the prayer with which he commenced the Psalm, and to which he recurred again in verses 10 and 11, and now resumes it here. Having gone through the details of his passion, he now prays to God for a speedy resurrection, as it is it that will deliver him perfectly from the persecution of his enemies. “But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me.” My enemies have arrived at the height of their malice, have put out all their strength against me; it is, therefore, your part to look to me now, to defer your help no longer, but kindly to defend me against their machinations.

21 Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.
22 Save me from the lion’s mouth; and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.

He tells the sort of assistance he requires. “Deliver my soul from the sword.” Deliver me from the instrument of death, making use of the word sword for any instrument, a thing common in the Scriptures, 2 Sam 12, “The sword shall not depart from thy house;” Ezechiel 33, “And see the sword coming upon the land;” Rom. 8, “Who, then, shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? or distress? or famine? or nakedness? or persecution? or the sword?” In like manner, the word soul is used here for life, a thing not uncommon in the Scriptures. “My only one from the hand of the dog;” by “the dog,” he means those dogs he had already spoken of; but he makes use here of the singular number by a figure, to show that the malice of them all appeared to be now concentrated in one, and, therefore, so much the more violent and malignant. “My only one;” he means his own life, which he loved in a singular manner, as being that of the incarnate Word. “Save me from the lion’s mouth;” that lion of which ver. 13. says, “They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring;” “and my lowness from the horns of the unicorn.” He said before, “Fat bulls have besieged me.” Unicorns are now substituted for bulls, being much more fierce and wild, to show that the cruelty and ferocity of his enemies, so far from being softened by his many sufferings, was only excited and increased. Now, in all these petitions the Lord does not ask to have his temporal life spared; but, as we have repeatedly explained before, he asks that his life may be repaired quickly, and so repaired that he shall be no longer exposed or subject to the bite of the dog, the claws of the lion, or the horn of the bull or the unicorn.

23 I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.

He now begins to tell the fruit of his resurrection, the conversion of the world to God. “I will declare thy name to my brethren. When I shall have risen, I will send my apostles through the entire world, and through them, “I will declare my name;” that is, I will impart the knowledge of thy name and of thy Godhead to all men through them; all being my brothers, by reason of the flesh I assumed; and thus, “in the midst of the church will I praise thee;” no longer in a corner of Judea, but in the midst of the immense church, composed of Jews and gentiles, through the mouths of my ministers will I praise thee. St. Paul, writing to the Hebrews, quotes this passage, chap. 2, “For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church I will praise thee.”

24 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.
25 Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man. Neither hath he turned away his face form me: and when I cried to him he heard me.

Having said that he would “praise God in the midst of the church,” which was to be effected by getting his faithful to do so, he now exhorts the faithful to praise God, “Ye that fear the Lord;” ye who know and worship him; for fearing God, in the Scriptures, is synonymous with worshipping him; thus, Jonas, when questioned about his people, says, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the God who made the heavens and the earth;” and Daniel says, “Let all fear the God of Daniel;” and it is said of Judith, “that she feared God exceedingly.” The meaning, then, is, you who know and worship the true God, praise him; and, lest we should imagine this exhortation was addressed to a few, the Jews, for instance, he adds, “All ye seed of Jacob, glorify him. Let all the seed of Israel fear him;” that means, glorify, praise, and fear God, all ye children of Israel, and not only ye who are children in the flesh, but ye who are children according to the promise, namely, all the gentiles converted to Christianity; “Because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man.” He assigns a reason for wishing God to be praised by all, namely, because he heard the prayer he put up to him for his resurrection and glory, for his victory over the devil, and for the redemption of the human race. He calls himself “a poor man,” as, in truth, he was, when, in his agony, hanging on the cross, he hung naked, deserted, and suffering from hunger and thirst. “Neither hath he turned away his face from me, and when I cried to him he heard me.” A repetition of the preceding sentences.

26 With thee is my praise in a great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.

Having encouraged his faithful to praise God, he now predicts the certainty of it. The praise I will chant to thee through my faithful will not be from a corner, nor from a handful of the Jews, but from the church of all nations. “I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.” Vows here signify sacrifices and oblations, as Isaias 9 has it, “They shall worship him in victims and offerings, and they shall make vows to the Lord, and perform them;” for when Christ saw how agreeable was the holocaust of his death to the Almighty, he promises now that, through his ministers, he will, in the best manner he can, most frequently renew the same holocaust, which he says, in the words, “I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him;” through my ministers, the priests of the New Testament, I will most constantly immolate that most agreeable of all sacrifices to God; “in the sight of them that fear him;” of those that acknowledge, worship him, for the sacrifice may not be performed before infidels.

27 The poor shall eat and shall be filled: and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.

Of this sacrifice “the poor shall eat,” when they acknowledge their spiritual neediness and poverty; “and shall be filled, because they will taste of the good, exceeding all good; “and they shall praise the Lord,” thanking him for such an immense favor: “that seek him;” those that hunger for and eagerly seek him; “their hearts shall live forever.” Such will be the fruit of this reflection, that the hearts nourished by such excellent and noble food will lead a spiritual life—a life of grace here, and of glory forever; for so the Truth speaketh, in John 6, “Whosoever eateth of this bread shall live forever.” For, as perishable food supports the body for a time, so the imperishable food confers life everlasting.

28 All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord: And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.

He shows how it will happen that he shall have to praise God “in a great church,” because all nations will be converted to God through the merits of the sacrifice on the cross. “They shall remember” their first origin, how they were formed in their first parent, a thing they had quite forgotten, through original sin; and, therefore, they said to the wood and the stones, “Thou art my father,” Jerem. 3 “They shall remember” their first creation, “and all the ends of the earth shall be converted to the Lord;” that is, all the nations on the face of the globe, even to its remotest ends; that is to say, some from every nation. “And all the kindred of the gentiles shall adore in his sight.” An explanation of the preceding verse; because, “adoring” the Lord, and being converted to the Lord, imply the same thing; namely, the abandonment of idolatry by the whole human race all over the world.

29 For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he shall have dominion over the nations.
They will deservedly be converted to and adore the Lord, because he, not the infernal spirits, being the true and natural king of all, will justly “have dominion over the nations.”
30 All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.

Having stated that “The poor shall eat and shall be filled, and shall praise the Lord;” and that “All the kindred of the gentiles shall adore in his sight,” for fear any one may suppose it was only the poor and the hungry would be called and converted, he now introduces the rich and the powerful. “All the fat ones have eaten, and have adored.” The very “fat ones” of this world, who abound in its blessings, such as princes, emperors, kings, they, too, shall eat of the Lord’s table, and will adore and praise the common Lord, whose sway is over all nations. In the style of the prophets, the perfect tense is used here for the future. Finally the words “that go down to the earth,” mean all mortals who to earth must return. “Shall fall before him;” shall bend their knees, and adore; and thus the conversion of the gentiles, the fruit of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, will be truly general.

31 And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.

He concludes by saying, that he and his posterity would thence forward live for God’s glory alone, and for his faithful service; the soul is put here for the entire man, which is often done in the Scripture.

32 There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall shew forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

An explanation of the expression, “My seed shall serve him,” for “the generation to come;” meaning the people, under the new dispensation, will get good news concerning the Lord and his justice, the justice of Faith. “Then shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come;” that means, the generation to come shall get the news; it shall be announced to them, for it is a Greek phrase, like the expression, “The poor have the gospel preached to them;” whereas, literally translated, it would mean, the poor preached the gospel: the meaning, then, is, not that the Lord will be declared to the generation to come, but the generation to come will be declared, as enlisted to the Lord; this is plain from the following, where he says, “The heavens shall show forth his justice to a people that shall be born;” now, “that shall be born,” and “the generation to come,” are one and the same. The Lord, then, will be declared to the coming generation, for the heavens, that holy people, will do it. The justice of faith is called the justice of God, which makes men truly just, and which God gratuitously gives to those who believe in Christ. For the gospel strongly inculcates that we are all sinners, that we cannot be justified of ourselves, but that through faith in Christ we are to expect justice from God alone.

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On Matthew 1-7: The Authority of Jesus Word is Established

Matthew 1-7 consists of two parts: A narrative (Mt 1:2-4:25) and a sermon (Mt 5:1-7:29). The narrative is foundational to the sermon and can help explain its contents and, likewise, the sermon can help explain the significance of the narrative. Here I examine Matthew’s typological presentation of Jesus in the narrative and suggest ways in which such presentations prepare for the sermon.

By the time one gets to the Sermon on the Mount one should have in one’s mind the idea that Jesus is the prophet like–but greater than–Moses, and that he is the prophesied Righteous Son of David who makes known the will of God by the word of God–which is Jesus’ own word (“but I say to you,” Mt 5:21-48).

DEFINITIONS: Type: a sign, figure or foreshadowing of a greater reality. Antitype: means “in place of the type,’ designating the reality indicated by the sign, figure or foreshadowing.

MOSES – JESUS TYPOLOGY: That Jesus is presented as the prophet like Moses is well known. This is brought out in a multitude of ways, some very obvious, some subtle. Here are just a few examples:

Both faced state sponsored death of infants~ Ex 1:15-22 with Mt 2:16-18.

Both infants were saved by a family member~ Ex 2:1-9 with Mt 2:13-14.

Both lives were preserved by flight; the adult Moses fled out of Egypt, infant Jesus into Egypt~ Ex 2:11-22 with Mt 2:13-14.

Under God’s orders both returned to the land they fled from~ Ex 4:19 with Mt 2:19-20.

Both fasted forty days and nights in the desert~ Ex 24:18; 34:28 with Mt 4:2.

There are also a number of parallels between Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel and the figure of Moses in Jewish traditions. For example, Moses’ father, learning of his wife’s pregnancy was fearful and had a dream concerning his son and is told that “he will deliver the Hebrew nation” (Josephus, Antiquities, 2.210-216. see Mt 1:18-21).  Pharaoh persecuted the infants because he learned from his magicians that a deliverer of the Hebrews would be born (Targum Pseudo-Johnathan on Ex 1:15 see Mt 2:1-7). In a different version of this he learned it from royal scribes (Antiquities, 2.216, see Mt 2:4-6).

After presenting Jesus as like Moses he subtly present him as greater, especially in the so-called antithesis (Mt 5:21-48). Jesus taught with authority, unlike the scribes (Mt 7:29) who derived their authority from Moses (Mt 23:2). See Heb 3:1-6.

SOLOMON – JESUS TYPOLOGY: The typology is rooted in the title Son of David. Solomon asked God for wisdom and this pleased God who not only made him wise, but promised him riches and glory besides (1 Kings 3:5-14). Solomon reached the apex of his wisdom and glory with the visit of the Queen of Sheba who praised the God of Israel for establishing the wise Solomon to carry out righteousness and justice (1 Kings 10:1-9). Yet immediately following this we get details of his reign that are ominous. A comparison between the law of the king in Deut 17:14-20 with details of Solomon’s reign in 1 Kings 10:14-11:13 shows Solomon’s failures. Note that in this latter passage God is said to be the source of his wisdom, but not the source of his wealth, weapons, or wives. It seems that Solomon had ceased to be dependent on God for wealth and protection, hence his idolatry. This would result in the division of the kingdom and, eventually, the virtual disappearance of the ten northern tribes from history because of the Assyrian conquest.

As one like but greater than Solomon (Mt 12:42) Jesus is a sage king. Two of the most common features of wisdom teaching are beatitudes [the sermon begins with these] and two ways [or two roads] teachings [the sermon ends with this]. Other wisdom elements in the sermon are contrasts between good and bad deeds and the differing judgements they bring, almsgiving, curbing anger, avoiding rash judgements, etc.

Solomon was supposed to carry out justice and righteousness, major concerns in the sermon.

Solomon’s name is related to shalom [peace] but his sins inaugurated 200 years of internecine warfare between the brother tribes of Israel. Jesus, the true man of shalom, started his ministry in the tribal territories where the series of disasters begun by Solomon’s sins came to a head, signaling a reversal (Mt 4:12-17). He declares that peacemakers are blessed, and shall be called sons of God (Mt 5:9). He teaches the things that make for peace: avoiding anger and seeking reconciliation with adversaries (Mt 5:21-26); avoiding retaliation and loving enemies (Mt 5:38-48); avoiding false judgements (Mt 7:1-5) and observing the Golden Rule (Mt 7:12).

While Solomon ceased to be dependent on God for wealth Jesus counseled dependence on God (Mt 6:24-34) I see the reference to Solomon in this passage (Mt 6:29) as a subtle rebuke.

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Sunday with St Augustine

“Let us inquire, then, how according to reason man ought to live. Certainly, we all wish to live happily. There is no human being who would not assent to this statement almost before it is uttered. However, in my opinion, neither he who lacks what he loves can be called happy, whatever it be, nor he who has what he loves if it be harmful, nor he who does not love what he ahs although it be the best. For he who desires what he cannot obtain is tormented, and he who has attained what he should not have desired is deceived, while he does not desire what he should seek to obtain, is diseased. To souls such as these, there remains nothing but misery, and since misery and happiness are not accustomed to dwell in the same man simultaneously, none of these can be happy. As I see it, however, a fourth alternative remains in which the happy life may be found–when that which is best for man is both loved and possessed. For what else is meant by enjoyment than but the possession of what one loves? But no one is happy who does not enjoy what is supremely good for man, and whoever does enjoy it is not unhappy. We must possess our supreme good, therefore, if we intend to live happily. It follows that we must seek to discover what is man’s supreme good, and it cannot, of course be anything inferior to man himself; for whoever strives after something inferior to himself becomes himself inferior. But all men are obliged to seek what is best. Therefore, man’s supreme good is not inferior to man.” St Augustine, The Catholic and Manichean Ways of Life, Chapter 3 [De Moribus Ecclesiae, Catholicae Et De Moribus Manichaeorum].

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Online Audio/Video Bible Studies

Most of the EWTN links are not working. They changed how they archive their audio, so, instead of being able to link to an EWTN page with all the episodes of a series available (that is what the links were originally for), I have to create my own page onsite, or find an alternate source (e.g., You Tube). 

The Institute of Catholic Culture (ICC) offers many podcasts on scripture but I’ve only linked to a few. You can access all their audio and video stuff by registering on their site (it’s free).

1 Corinthians

Acts of Apostles (ICC)

Acts of Apostles (NL)

Bible Musings

Book of Revelation (ICC)

Book of Revelation (TM)

Deep In Scripture

Ephesian (EWTN)

Ephesians (ICC)

Available: EWTN: Exodus

Available: EWTN: In the Footsteps of St Paul. On 1 Corinthians.

EWTN: John

Available: EWTN: Gospel of Mark (The Way to Follow Jesus).

EWTN: Matthew

Available: EWTN: Old Testament Prophets. 52 thirty minute episodes.

EWTN: Proverbs

EWTN: Seeds of Abraham

Fr. Mike’s Study


Gospel of Holy Ghost

Gospel of Matt (ICC)

Gospel of Matt (NL)

Introduction to the Old Testament

St Irenaeus Ministries

Understanding Scripture

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 10:8-18

This post opens with a brief summary analysis of chapter 10, followed by Fr. MacEvilly’s notes on Verses 9-18. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.


In this chapter, the Apostle continues the subject of the rejection of the Jews, and dilates on the cause of this rejection, as assigned, verse 30, of the preceding; but in order to remove the harshness involved in the announcement of the rejection of the Jews, he expresses his affectionate feelings towards them, and his anxious desire for their salvation (verse 1). He bears testimony to their zeal—a zeal, however, which missed its true object, Christ (1–4). Having referred (verse 3), to the system of justice at variance with the true justice of God, which the Jews vainly endeavoured to establish, he proves from Moses the superiority of the justice by faith (5–8), and he reduces the duties of a Christian life to two heads, faith in the heart and its external profession, both of which, of course, accompanied with the other conditions which faith prescribes, confer justice on all men, without distinction of Jew or Gentile (8–13).

He takes occasion to justify his mission of preaching among the Gentiles, since otherwise they would not become partakers of the blessings which God had designed for them as well as for the Jews (14–16). He shows, from Moses and Isaias, that God had determined to call the Gentiles, and to reject the Jews, on account of their obstinacy and resistance to his gracious calls and invitations (17–21).

Rom 10:8 But what saith the scripture? The word is nigh thee; even in thy mouth and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which we preach.

But let us hear what the Scripture says on the subject; the matter is neither difficult nor remote from thee, it is in thy mouth and in thy heart; by acts of both one and the other, that is, by internal acts of faith, and by the external profession of the same, thou canst attain to this true justice. The whole gospel which we preach is reduced to this narrow compass.

Our faith does not, any more than the law, demand any such impossibilities; of it are also verified these words, which originally were spoken of the law, “What saith the Scripture?” the word “Scripture” is not in the Greek, which simply is, but what saith it? according to this, the nominative to “saith” is, the justice of faith (verse 6), what saith the justice? &c. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart.” As the law was in the mouths and hearts of the Jews, so is it with our faith. “This is the word of the faith,” &c., i.e., the word of faith which we preach is the same, as the preceding words spoken in reference to the law.

Rom 10:9 For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ‎

If, then, you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, that Jesus Christ our Lord is Son of God, and became incarnate and suffered for us, and that God raised him from the dead, you shall obtain the salvation of true justice here, and of eternal glory hereafter.

All you require is, to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who descended from heaven, became man, and died for us, and believe in his resurrection, or “that God hath raised him,” &c., and profess the same externally, and you “shall be saved,” i.e., you shall obtain not temporal life—the reward of the law—but life eternal. The raising of Christ from the dead being an act of power, is, by appropriation, ascribed to God the Father. These are the leading articles of our faith. Of course, under them are included the other articles of faith necessary to be believed, together with faith, hope, charity, without which, man, although he have true faith, cannot be saved. The words, “thou shalt be saved,” like the attribute of every affirmative proposition, are understood restrictively. Instead, then, of going up to heaven to bring down Christ, or descending to the abyss, all you require is, to believe in your heart and profess with your mouth, that Christ did come, &c., and “you shall be saved,” the other conditions, the principal of which is the performance of good works, being observed.

Romans 10:10 For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. ‎

For, the interior assent and faith of the heart is required to obtain justice, but the external profession of the same faith is necessary to preserve this justice and obtain final salvation.

The external profession of our faith is, sometimes, an imperative duty, under pain of mortal sin, and, therefore, necessary to preserve justice and sanctifying grace.

Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded. ‎

This is clearly proved from Scripture (Isaias 38:16), Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded, or frustrated in his expectations.

He proves the truth of his assertion (verse 9), viz., that by believing in Christ, whosoever thou art, “thou shalt be saved.” This he shows from the prophet Isaias (28.) Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded, i.e., frustrated in his expectation. Hence, he is here treating of faith to which hope is annexed—(See 9:33). The prophecy of Isaias, just quoted, regards the Messiah, since by “him” is meant the Messiah.

Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him. ‎

By saying, “whosoever,” the Scripture removes all distinction, whether of Jew or Gentile, without exception; for God is equally the Supreme Lord of all, and the riches of his bounty are held out to all who sincerely invoke Jesus as the Messiah.

The Apostle assigns a reason, why no distinction should be made between Jew and Gentile; because God is equally the Supreme Lord of all, and “rich,” i.e., bountiful towards all who invoke him, and profess him to be the Son of God.

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ‎

We have in proof of this, the testimony of the prophet Joel (2:32), Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved.

He proves from the prophet (Joel 2) that God is bountiful to all, without exception, who call on his name, “Whosoever shall call,” etc. We have the authority of St. Peter (Acts, 2:17–37), that these words of Joel are to be referred to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? ‎

But since we must believe in God before invoking his name, how can men invoke God in whom they have not believed? or, how shall they be able to believe in him, unless they first hear of him? or, how shall they be able to hear of him, unless there be some person to make him known to them by preaching?

The Apostle takes occasion, from the general promises of God regarding Jew and Gentile alike, to justify his own mission and preaching among the Gentiles. He shows the necessity of preaching, in order that they might be partakers in the rich blessings which God has in store for them; he proceeds, step by step, from invocation to faith; from faith to hearing; from hearing to preaching; from preaching to mission; so that, in a certain sense, mission becomes, in this summary recapitulation, the basis of our salvation; since, without this mission on the part of God, imparted to his preachers, the people shall not have true faith, nor the true worship of God. From this the Apostle leaves it to be inferred, that, as God is rich in bounty towards the Gentiles, and since, for the communication of his blessings, preaching the gospel with a legitimate mission is necessary, he himself has preached to the Gentiles by the orders and commission of God himself.

There are many Divines who, from this passage, undertake to prove the necessity of having a doctrine propounded by the true Church, before it can become a point even of divine faith; in other words, they assert that the proposition of a doctrine by the true Church enters the formal object of faith. At all events, we can clearly infer from this passage, that the preaching through a legitimate ministry is the ordinary means of imparting the true faith, and that God will not permanently impart his sanction to a system of faith promulgated by an uncommissioned teacher. In fact, it is clearly inferable that in the ordinary Providence of God, a divine mission and appointment are necessary for the due effect of preaching the Gospel; for, it is on this supposition that the Apostle’s argument in favour of his own mission among the Gentiles is based. God might, undoubtedly, by interior inspirations, teach an infidel the necessary truths of faith. He might also, if he pleased, aid, by the interior enlightenment of grace, the preaching of an heretical minister propounding, in a particular instance, revealed truth, so as to beget faith in the hearers; but, this is not in accordance with his ordinary Providence; nor can we admit for an instant, that he would give permanent stability to any system of faith emanating from such a teacher.

Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things? ‎

But how shall heralds of salvation preach him with permanent success, unless they are his own appointed messengers receiving a commission from him? It is of those preachers only, sent by divine commission, that we are to understand the words of the prophet (Isaias, 52:7): How joyous the approach of those preachers of the gospel, who announce to us peace, reconciliation with God, and all good things conducive to salvation!

As it is written (Isaias 52:7), “How beautiful.” i.e., such a mission from God is necessary, in order that the teachers would be the true heralds of salvation, in whom shall be verified the words of the prophet, “How beautiful,” &c. These words, in their literal and primary signification, refer to the messengers who first brought the news of the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, and in their mystical signification, to the preachers of the Gospel. The Apostle here follows, with the omission of the unimportant words, (upon the mountains), the Hebrew version, which runs thus: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and that preacheth peace; of him that sheweth forth good,” &c. The quotation differs widely from the Septuagint, which most probably had been corrupted in this passage of Isaias.

Rom 10:16 But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report? ‎

But, although the advent of the heralds of salvation is thus pleasing; still, all men do not obey the gospel. This, however, is not to be wondered at; since, it was predicted by Isaias, who, in the person of the Apostle, says, “how few have believed and obeyed the words they heard from us.”

“Our report,” in Greek, τῇ ἀκουῇ ἡμῶν, our hearing, or the doctrine heard from our preaching. He answers the objection by showing that this obduracy was predicted by Isaias.

Rom 10:17 Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ. ‎

From the foregoing (14–19), I conclude that faith comes from hearing, and the hearing, from which faith springs, comes from preaching the word of God.

This is the point which he wished to establish (verse 14), “How shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? “And hearing by the word of Christ.” In the ordinary Greek, ῤήματος θεου, the word of God. The chief MSS. have, Χριστου, “of Christ.”

Rom 10:18 But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily: Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the whole world.

But I ask, is it from want of hearing of the word of God that men have not embraced it? Certainly not. For, as the heavens, by their silent eloquence, proclaim the attributes and perfections of God throughout the entire extent of creation; so has the voice of the Apostles and of the heralds of divine truth been heard all over the globe.

Their sound hath gone forth,” &c. These words are quoted by the Apostle from Psalm 18:5, according to the Septuagint version of the Psalms. In their primary and literal signification, they refer to the heavenly bodies, and the order and harmony of the visible creation, which so eloquently proclaim the glory and attributes of God: but in their mystical signification, they refer to the preaching of the Apostles. In this sense they are to be regarded as a prophecy in the text of David, which prophecy, St. Paul announces, was about to be accomplished, and shall be gradually fulfilled before the end of the world; and hence, the Apostle, as well as the Psalmist, employs words of the past tense, “hath gone forth,” on account of the certainty of its accomplishment; or it might be said, that the prediction was really accomplished in the days of the Apostle; because the Apostles and the first heralds of salvation had announced the Gospel in the principal places of the world, from which the fame of their preaching had been heard throughout the rest of the globe. It is to be observed, that in this, and the following verse, 19, the Apostle meets a twofold objection, which the Jews might allege in excuse for their incredulity, viz., that they did not hear the Gospel, or were ignorant of its communication to the Gentiles, and so might be excused from embracing it. The first is answered in this verse., and the second, next verse, where Moses, their own favourite legislator, predicts the call of the Gentiles.—(Beelen).

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