Mourning Innocent Souls
Double of the Second Class Feast of the holy Apostle St. John the Evangelist, Beloved Disciple
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
Editor's Note: This special feature, provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible, With the type so small in most bibles, we publish it here in larger type in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass provided by John Gregory with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock on the Douay-Rheims version of the New Testament. The commentary for the Double of the Second Class Feast of the Holy Innocents you can feel the great sorrow of Rachel in Rama, the weeping over the slain innocents, a parallel with those free of sin who have bee slain by the world for their faithfulness to Christ. Often the Holy Innocents are referred to as the "First Martyrs", for many believe they were among those "in the bosom of Abraham" who were taken up into Heave when Christ descended into hell before His Resurrection.
Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 15: 1-6
He that feareth God, will do good: and he that possesseth justice, shall lay hold on her,
Commentary on Verse 1 Good. Greek, "these things, and he who possess the knowledge of the law will find her," (Calmet) or, "he who keeps the law, will receive her." (Grabe) (1 Corinthians iv. 20.) (Haydock) --- All who resolve to be virtuous, will have God's grace, which preventeth them, and continueth to afford them assistance. (Worthington)
And she will meet him as an honorable mother, and will receive him as a wife married of a virgin.
Commentary on Verse 2 Married. Literally, "from virginity." (Haydock) Those who have been espoused in youth have the most durable love for one another, Proverbs ii. 17., and Malachias ii. 14. (Calmet)
With the bread of life and understanding, she shall feed him, and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink: and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved:
And she shall hold him fast, and he shall not be confounded: and she shall exalt him among his neighbors.
And in the midst of the church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with a robe of glory.
Commentary on Verse 5 She. Or Greek, "he shall open his mouth, (6.) he shall find joy and a crown of exultation, and shall inherit," &c. (Haydock) --- Church, or assembly of the people. In both, the wise shall be heard with respect. (Calmet)
She shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name.
Gospel: St. John 21: 19-24
At that time, Jesus, signifying by what death he should glorify God, when He saith to Peter: Follow Me.
Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on His breast at supper, and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray Thee?
Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do?
Commentary on Verse 21 Lord, what shall this man do? St. John Chrysostom thinks, it was the love and friendship, that St. Peter had for St. John, that moved him to ask this question. (Witham)
Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? follow thou Me.
Commentary on Verse 22 Jesus saith: so I will have him remain, &c. That is, in case I will have him remain; or, as it is in the Greek, if I will have him remain, what is that to thee? It is thy duty, and thy concern, to follow me. (Witham) --- When Christ told St. Peter to follow him, he meant, that he should go like himself to the death of the cross; but when he says of St. John, So I will have him to remain till I come, he insinuates that his beloved disciple should not undergo a violent death; but remain in the world, till he should visit him by death, and conduct him to glory. It may likewise be understood of the Revelations, in which our Saviour manifested himself in his glory to this his beloved disciple. [Apocalypse i. 13.] In the Greek, it is, if I will have him to remain; and this is the true reading, according to Estius, and Jansenius, bishop of Ghent, authorized by many Latin copies. Others refer these words of Christ to his coming to destroy Jerusalem: an epoch which St. John survived.
This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but, So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee?
Commentary on Verse 23 This saying, therefore: that is, a report went about among the disciples, the John was not to die. But St. John himself, as St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom observe, took care to tell us, that Christ said not so. Nor do we find any sufficient grounds to think that St. John is not dead. (Witham)
This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
Commentary on Verse 24 This is that disciple, &c. Some conjecture, that these words were added by the Church of Ephesus. But the ancient Fathers, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril, and St. Augustine, expound them as they do the rest, without any such remark. Nor is it unusual for a person to write in this manner of himself, as of a third person. It is what St. John hath done of himself, chap. xix. ver. 35. (Witham) --- Some conjecture, that these words were added by the Church of Ephesus, to point out St. John to be the real author of this history, and to record their own assent to this his testimony. But the ancient Fathers give no such comment. Nor is it unusual for a person to write of himself, as of a third person. It is what St. John hath done before.
Haydock Commentary for the Feast of St. John the Apostle