The Voice of the Precursor|
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 Third Sunday of Advent expresses joy for all in both the Epistle where St. Paul speaks of the attributes of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with Repentant Prayer, Adoration, Petition and Thanksgiving in preparation for the Lord and in the gospel of St. John, his namesake the Baptist, when grilled by the Jews, confounds them by not identifying Who the Lord is by name, but by the Old Testament prophecies and when interrogated as to who the Baptist is he answers with what Isaias foretold as "the voice of one crying in the wilderness."
Epistle: Philippians 4: 4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice.
Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh.
Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God.
Commentary on Verse 6 But in every thing by prayer, & c. By the Greek, the sense and construction cannot be in every prayer; but in every thing, in all circumstances, have recourse to prayer. (Wi.)
And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gospel: St. John 1: 19-28
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: Who art thou?
Commentary on Verse 19 The Jews sent, & c. These men, who were priests and Levites, seem to have been sent and deputed by the sanhedrin, or great council at Jerusalem, to ask of John the Baptist, who was then in great esteem and veneration, whether he was not their Messias; who, as they knew by the predictions of the prophets, was to come about that time. John declared to them he was not. To their next question, if he was not Elias? He answered: he was not: because in person he was not; though our Saviour (Matthew 11: 14) says he was Elias: to wit, in spirit and office only. Their third question was, if he was a prophet? He answered, no. Yet Christ (Matthew 11) tells us, he was a prophet, and more than a prophet. In the ordinary acceptation only, they were called prophets who foretold things to come: John then, with truth, as well as humility, could say he was not a prophet; not being sent to foretell the coming of the Messias, but to point Him out as already come, and present with the Jews. (Wi.)
And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ.
And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No.
They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself?
He said: I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias.
Commentary on Verse 23 The voice of one crying in the wilderness. See Matthew 3: 3.; Mark 1: 3.; Luke 3: 4.; and Isaias 40: 3. by all which John was His immediate precursor. (Wi.)
And they that were sent, were of the Pharisees.
And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?
John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood One in the midst of you, Whom you know not.
Commentary on Verse 26 Hath stood. Saint John the Baptist, by these words, which he spoke to the priests and Levites, sent to him by the Pharisees, did not mean to tell them, that Jesus was either at the present time standing amongst them, or that He had ever been in the presence of the self same people; but they may be understood two different ways, either with regard to His divinity; and in that sense, Jesus was always by His divine presence amongst them; or in regard to His humanity; either that He lived in the same country, and among their countrymen, or, that He stood actually amongst them, because Jesus was accustomed yearly to go up to Jerusalem on the festival of the Pasch. (D. Dionysius. Car)
The same is He that shall come after me, Who is preferred before me: the latchet of Whose shoe I am not worthy to loose.
These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.