Note: This post includes Fr. MacEvily’s brief summary analysis of all of Romans 13 in order to help provide context. The commentary on the Sunday reading follows the analysis. The commentary includes Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrase (in purple) of the verses he is commenting on.
Summary of Romans 13~The Apostle employs the first seven verses of this chapter in inculcating the duty of obedience to temporal authority or it should be rather said, in enforcing the natural duty of obedience to legitimate authority by the sanction of Christianity: his reason for so doing shall be explained in the Commentary. He grounds the duty of obedience-first, on the source of all authority, God (verses 1, 2); secondly, on the end and object of the institution of supreme and governing authority (3, 4); thirdly, on the fact that supreme rulers are appointed as ministers of God in securing the general welfare, by protecting the good and punishing the wicked. Hence, their claims to obedience on religious grounds; hence, their claim to tribute on the same grounds (5, 6). In vene 7, he draws a general conclusion regarding the payment of their respective dues to all men in authority. He again reverts to the duty of charity due to all men, of which he treated more at large in Rom 12:8-10; and, finally, he exhorts all to enter on a life of greater fervour, to lay aside the works of darkness, and put on Jesus Christ (11).
Rom 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another. For he that loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled the law.
Finally, discharge all your debts of what kind soever, so as to owe nobody any debt, save the debt of charity and love, which is of such a nature as to be always paid, and yet still due. By this exhibition of mutual charity, you shall fulfill the law.
All other debts, once paid, cease to be any longer clue, but the debt of charity is of such a nature, that though always paid, it remains always due; for, our neighbour is to be always loved by us He that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. By the law, both in this and verse 10, some understand the entire law, as regards God and our neighbour; since the love of God is included in the love of our neighbour, as a cause in its effect; for, the supernatural love of our neighbour and the love of God, have the same motive, the same formal object, viz., God loved for his infinite good in se. By loving our neighbour, we wish him the enjoyment of sovereign happiness, which is to enjoy God; and by loving God, we Avish him to be enjoyed, known, and loved by all his creatures. Others say, the word law only refers to the second table, which regards our neighbour, for it is of the precepts which regard our neighbour he speaks in the next verse.
Rom 13:9 For: Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet. And if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
For the precepts of the law, Thou shalt no commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, Thou shalt not covet, and every other precept of the law whatsoever, regarding our neighbor, are briefly recapitulated and summed up in this short precept of charity, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
For all the precepts of the law regarding our neighbour, viz., Thou shalt not commit adultery; Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not bear false witness is wanting in the Greek copies), and if there be any other commandment, i.e., every other commandment regarding our neighbour, are comprised, i.e., recapitulated or summed up in this word, i.e., in this general precept: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The word as does not imply love in an equal degree, but love of the same kind, as is expressed by our Redeemer: whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them (Matthew 7:12). The Apostle omits quoting the only positive precept contained in the second table of the Decalogue, honour thy father and thy mother; because, it was sufficiently expressed in verse 7, to whom honour, honour.&
Rom 13:10 The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law.
The love of neighbor, in the prescribed degree, neither prompts nor even allows us to inflict injury on him (It, on the contrary, procures for him every possible good). Love, therefore, is the perfect fulfillment of the law.
The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. There is here, a Meiosis. The
Apostle intends more than he expresses. He wishes to convey that it prompts not only not to work evil, but also to procure for him all possible amount of good. And hence, by loving our neighbour, we fulfil the entire law which regards him, both as to abstaining from inflicting any injury on him and doing him a service. The fulfilling of the law, may regard the entire law, which has reference to God and our neighbour, as in verse 8.
- Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Romans 4:20-25 (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)