Through Christ our Lord - Per Christum Dominum nostrum |
In today's Gospel of St. John, our Lord reaffirms His divinity in His discourse with His apostles in reminding them that He must return to the Father Who sent Him. But He encourages them that they shall know great joy and anything they ask of the Father in Christ's name, it will be granted. Quite a promise that has been fulfilled ever since to all who comply with all He asks.
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
In his epistle, St. James reinforces that sincerity is vital for God knows man's heart. Though man may preen as if looking in a mirror, only the penitent man who heeds God's law and will shall not fear. In other words, as great as the Corporal Works of Mercy might be, they are hollow if the Spiritual Works of Mercy are not applied. To work out one's salvation in fear and trembling, one cannot be passive, but rather active for the good of souls as God so wills.
Fr. George Leo Haydock
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. Following Easter we continue to bask in the light of the Gospel of St. John the Evangelist on reinforcing that we are indeed doing the right thing by rejecting the world and the influence of man for the path to hell is lined with roses and good intentions but all for the wrong reasons. Today Christ reaffirms His divinity and the Trinity. For further discernment on this, Fr. Haydock provides more food for thought in his commentary as John shows below.
Epistle: St. James 1: 22-27
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if a man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass.
Commentary on Verse 23: He shall be compared to a man, & c. The sense is, that it is not enough for a man to examine and look into his interior, and the state of his conscience in a negligent and superficial manner, no more than one that goes to a looking-glass, but does not take care to take away the dirt or spots which he might discover. Wi.
24 For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.
25 But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty, and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Commentary on Verse 25: The law of Christ, called here the perfect law of liberty, as it is distinguished from the Jewish law of fear and slavery, is as it were a looking-glass, which may make us know ourselves, and discover and correct our failings. Wi.
26 And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
Commentary on Verse 26: If any man think, & c. He here blames those hot disputes, which seem to have been frequent amongst the converted Jews, concerning the necessity of observing the legal rites. In vain, says he, do you pique yourselves upon the rigorous observance of the law, and your zeal to unite its ceremonial rites with the practice of the gospel. If you be void of the essence of Christianity, which is charity, prudence, and moderation, your religion will avail you nothing. C. - This may also be understood of those devotees who are fond of making a parade of their virtues, and who, as S. Gregory says, (hom. xii. In Mat.) afflict their bodies indeed with fasting, but for this they expect to be esteemed by men. A. - A man must not imagine himself to be religious, and perfect in the way of virtue, unless he governs and bridles his tongue from oaths, curses, calumnies, detractions, lies, of which more in the third chapter. Wi.
27 Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.
Commentary on Verse 27: Religion pure and unspotted, & c. St. James may use the word pure, as a proper admonition to the Jews, who were generally mostly solicitous to avoid legal uncleanesses, such as were incurred by eating meats forbidden in their law as unclean, by touching a dead body, & c. He therefore tells them that the Christian religion is known by acts of charity, by visiting and assisting widows, the fatherless, and such as are under afflictions, and in general by keeping our consciences interiorly clean, unspotted, and undefiled from this world, from the corrupt maxims and sinful practices so common in this wicked world. Wi.
Gospel: St. John 16: 22-30
22 So also you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you.
Commentary on Verse 22:
The joy you will feel at My resurrection, shall ever be unalterable, and unremitting, because there I shall give you assurances and proofs of your future resurrection, and immortality. As you have been partners in my labours, in my ignominies, and in my sorrows, so also shall you have a share in my glory, in my resurrection, and immortal bliss. Behold, these will rise to your ever unalterable and permanent joy. This is the opinion of St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril, Theoplyl. and others.
23 And in that day you shall not ask Me any thing. Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in My name, He will give it you.
Commentary on Verse 23: In that day, or at that time, in that happy state, you shall not ask, you shall not need to ask Me any questions: nor even desire to have any happiness, but what you will enjoy. But now if you ask, that is, petition for any thing of the Father in My name, He will give it you, whatever graces or assistances you stand in need of: ask them in My name, as I am your chief Mediator, through whose merits all shall be granted you. This is the constant practice of the Church, to ask for all graces through our Lord Jesus Christ. Wi. - In My name. In consequence of this promise, the Church concludeth all her prayers, even those that are addressed to the saints, Per Christum Dominum nostrum, through Christ our Lord.
24 Hitherto you have not asked any thing in My name. Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may be full.
Commentary on Verse 24:
Hitherto you have not asked any thing in My name: by the merits of Me, your Mediator and Redeemer. They were not yet acquainted, says St. Cyril, with this manner of praying and petitioning, as they were afterwards. Wi.
25 These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh, when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will shew you plainly of the Father.
26 In that day you shall ask in My name; and I say not to you, that I will ask the Father for you:
27 For the Father Himself loveth you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Commentary on Verse 26-27: In that day . . . I say not to you that I will ask the Father for you, or shall need to ask the Father for you, though I am your Redeemer, your chief Advocate and Mediator, by dying for all the world. - For the Father Himself loveth you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God, sent to be your Redeemer. - I came forth from the Father, both as begotten of Him from all eternity; and I also came into the world, as sent from Him to become man, to become the Redeemer of the world, both as God and man. Now I am going, as man, to leave the world, and go to the Father, with Whom I am, and have always been, as God. Wi.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and I go to the Father.
29 His disciples say to Him: Behold, now thou speakest plainly, and speakest no proverb.
30 Now we know that Thou knowest all things, and Thou needest not that any man should ask Thee. By this we believe that Thou camest forth from God.
Commentary on Verse 29-30:
In this we believe that thou camest forth from God; that is, we are more confirmed than ever, that Thou art the Messias, the true Son of God. Yet St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril, and St. Augustine take notice, that their faith was but imperfect, till after Christ's resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Ghost; and therefore Christ answered them, (v. 31. & c.) Now do you believe? The hour cometh, that you shall be dispersed, & c. Wi.
Haydock Commentary for the Fifth Sunday after Easter