The Last shall be First

    Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
by
Fr. George Leo Haydock
provided by
John Gregory

      Editor's Note: We continue with this special feature provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible. We publish it here in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass, with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock. For the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost we have first St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians in which he expands on a measure that cannot be measured, the breadth and width and length and depth of Christ's Love, true Charity for man. In the Gospel recorded by St. Luke, Our Lord provides the parable of the wedding feast to show that whomever exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself before God, shall be exalted.


Epistle: Ephesíans 3:13-21

13 Wherefore I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

    Commentary on Verse 13 Wherefore, I beseech you, be not discouraged nor disheartened at my tribulations and persecutions on the account of the gospel, nor at your own, which ought to be a subject both for you and me to glory in. (Witham)
14 For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named,

    Commentary on Verse 14-15 For this cause I pray and bow my knees to the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity (or fatherhood[5]) in heaven and earth is named. The Greek word oftentimes signifies a family, and therefore may signify, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named; and thus the sense will be, that God is not only the Father of his eternal Son, but (as not only the Latin text, but even the Greek may signify) of all angelical spirits in heaven, and of all men, especially Christians, made his adoptive sons in baptism. But here may be signified not only a family, but those in particular who are honored with the name and dignity of fathers; so that the name which they have of fathers, or patriarchs, is derived from God the Father of all, and communicated to them in an inferior degree. This exposition is found in St. Jerome, in Theodoret, Theophylactus, St. John Damascene, &c. (Witham) --- All paternity, or the whole family; patria. God is the Father both of angels and men: whosoever besides is named father, is so named with subordination to him. (Challoner)
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man,

17 That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity,

    Commentary on Verse 17 Christ dwelleth in us by his gifts, and we are just by those his gifts remaining in us; and not by Christ's proper justice only, as some modern innovators will have it. (Bristow) --- And this not by faith only, but by faith rooted and founded in charity, which accomplishes all virtues. (Bristow)
18 You may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth:
    Commentary on Verse 18 What is the breadth, &c. It is not expressed to what must be referred these metaphorical words of breadth, length, &c. Some expound them of the charity which in our hearts we ought to have for one another; others, of the love which Christ shewed towards mankind, in coming to redeem all. (Witham) --- What, &c. This thought seems borrowed from Job xi: "Peradventure thou wilt comprehend the steps of God, and wilt find out the Almighty perfectly." The inspired writer then shews us how the Almighty is incomprehensible; for, says he, "God is higher than the heavens; and what wilt thou do? he is deeper than hell; and how wilt thou know? The measure of him is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." The apostle, alluding to these words, prays that the Ephesians may have faith and charity sufficient to enable them to comprehend all that is comprehensible of God; as St. Dionysius explains it. But we are not hence to conclude, that there exists such a thing as dimension or size with regard to God, for he is a pure Spirit: but these expressions are merely metaphorical. For by breadth we are to understand his virtue and wisdom, which extend over all his creatures: (Ecclesiasticus i.) "he poured out wisdom upon all his works." By length is meant his eternal duration: (Psalm ci.) "but thou, O Lord, remainest for ever." By height we are taught the infinite superiority of his nature over ours: (Psalm cxii.) "The Lord is high above all nations." And by depth we are shewn the incomprehensibility of his wisdom: (Ecclesiastes) "Wisdom is a great depth; who shall find it out?" Hence it appears that the end of faith and charity is, that we may arrive at a perfect faith; which may know, as far as it is intelligible, the greatness of his wisdom, his eternal duration, &c. (St. Thomas Aquinas, in Eph.)
19 To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God.
    Commentary on Verse 19 That you may be filled unto all the fulness of God; i.e. that as God is full of love and charity for all, so may you in an inferior degree, according as you are capable, be filled with charity. (Witham)
20 Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us;

21 To him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, world without end. Amen.


Gospel: St. Luke 14: 1-11

1 At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chiefs of the Pharisees on the Sabbath day to eat bread, they watched Him.

    Commentary on Verse 1 This was the Hebrew expression for taking a meal; their frugality probably suggested this method of expression, bread being the principal part of their repast. (Calmet) --- What a contrast here between the actions of the Pharisees and those of our Saviour! They watched all his actions, in order to have an opportunity of accusing him, and of putting him to death; whilst he, on the contrary, seeks after nothing but the salvation of his enemies' souls. (Tirinus)
2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him that had the dropsy.
    Commentary on Verse 2 Our divine Savior, regardless of the wicked designs which these Pharisees meditated to destroy him, cures the sick man, who did not dare to ask the favour of him, for fear of the Pharisees. He could only persuade himself to stand in his presence, hoping that Christ would at length cast a compassionate look upon him: who being well pleased with him, did not demand of him if he wished to be cured, but without demur proceeded to work this stupendous miracle in his behalf. (St. Cyril) --- In which Christ did not so much consider whether the action would give scandal to the Pharisees, as whether it would afford the sick man comfort; intimating, that we ought ever to disregard the raillery of the fools, and the scandal which men of this world may take at our actions, as often as they are for the honour of God, and the good of our neighbour. (Theophylactus)
3 And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
    Commentary on Verse 3 Is it lawful? Jesus knew their thoughts, and that they would blame him as a sabbath-breaker: yet he healed the man, and confounded them by the example and common practice of pulling an ass out of a pit on the sabbath-day. (Witham)
4 But they held their peace. But He taking him, healed him, and sent him away.

5 And answering them, He said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out, on the sabbath day?

    Commentary on Verse 5 By this example Christ convicts his adversaries, as guilty of sordid avarice, since, in delivering beasts from the danger of perishing on the sabbath-day, they consult only their own advantage, whilst he was only employed in an act of charity towards his neighbour; an action they seemed so warmly to condemn. (Ven. Bede)
6 And they could not answer Him to these things.

7 And He spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them:

    Commentary on Verse 7 A parable. What parable? In the text there is no parable, but only instruction. Maldonatus thinks that our Saviour spoke a parable on this occasion, which St. Luke has omitted, giving us only the moral and the substance of the instruction conveyed by it. (Calmet) --- To take the lowest place at a feast, according to our Saviour's injunctions, is certainly very becoming; but imperiously to insist upon it, is far from acting according to our Saviour's wishes, particularly when it is destructive of regularity, and productive of discord and contention. (St. Basil)
8 When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him:

9 And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place.

    Commentary on Verse 9 The lowest place. A person of the first quality is not to do this literally, which would be preposterous; but it is to teach every on humility of heart and mind. (Witham)
10 But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee.

11 Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.




Haydock Commentary for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost