"More Than a Prophet" |
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 Second Sunday of Advent expresses hope for all in both the Epistle where St. Paul speaks of patience in persevering for Christ and in the Gospel our Lord manifests to the Baptist's disciples that Jesus is indeed the Messias Whom John the Baptist has strived to make way the path for. Christ proves this through the prophecies of the Old Testament, specifically the prophet Isaias who foretold the "Root of Jesse" and affirming St. John the Baptist as a prophet as the immediate Precursor of the Messias.
Epistle: Romans 15: 4-13
For what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope.
Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ:
That with one mind, and with one mouth, you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath received you unto the honour of God.
Commentary on Verse 7 Receive one another, in the spirit of charity, peace, patience, as Christ also hath received you, and bore with your infirmities. (Wi.) – Mutually support each other for the glory of God: learn to practice a grand lesson of Christian morality, to bear and to forbear. (A.)
For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.
Commentary on Verse 8 Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision, who came both for the salvation of the Jews, and of the Gentiles, who preached and would have His gospel first preached to the Jews, for the truth of God to confirm the promises made to the fathers, the He, the Messias, should be sent for their salvation; but at the same time also for the salvation and conversion of the Gentiles, which He confirms by divers evident testimonies of the holy Scriptures. (Witham) – He calls our Saviour the minister of circumcision, that is, of the Jews, because He appeared amongst them, dwelt amongst them, and Himself preached amongst them. This was a privilege which the Gentiles did not enjoy, having never seen, nor heard Jesus Christ, since He confined his preaching to they strayed sheep of the house of Israel; and this, to accomplish the promises made totheir fathers. (Calmet)
But that the Gentiles are to glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: Therefore will I confess to Thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will sing to Thy name.
And again he saith: Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people.
And again: Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and magnify Him, all ye people.
And again Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and He that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.
Gospel: St. Matthew 11: 2-10
At that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to Him:
Commentary on Verse 2 The order of time is not here observed by the evangelist. Saint John’s deputation to Jesus Christ took place some time before; and the text of the 7th chapter of Saint Luke, gives it soon after the cure of the centurion’s servant; hence all that follows, in chapter 11 of Saint Matthew, is placed by persons who have drawn up evangelical harmonies, immediately after the first 17 verses of chapter 8. (A.)
Art Thou He that art to come, or look we for another?
Commentary on Verse 3 Art Thou He that is to come? (Greek, Who cometh?) i.e. the Messias. John the Baptist had already, on several occasions, declared that Jesus was the Messias. (John 1). He could not then doubt of it himself, but sent his disciples to take away their doubt. (Wi.) – Saint John the Baptist sent his disciples not to satisfy his own doubts, but for the sake of his disciples, who, blinded by the love they bore their Master, and by some emulation, would not acknowledge Christ to be the Messias. (Saint John Chrysostom in Baradius) – This expression of Saint John is much taken notice of, as conveying with it a very particular question. “Tell me, says Saint John, now that I am departing out of this world, whether Thou art coming to redeem the patriarchs and holy fathers; or wilt Thou send another?” (Saint Thomas Aquinas) – And Saint John Chrysostom also explains it thus, Art Thou He that art to come to limbo? But the Baptist omitting this last word, sufficiently indicated to our Saviour what was the purport of this question. Saint Jerom e and Saint Gregory say, that by his death, he was going to preach to the holy fathers that Christ, the Messias, was come. John does not here propose this question as ignorant of the real case, but in the same manner as Christ asked where Lazarus was laid. So John sends his disciples to Jesus, that seeing the signs and miracles He performed, they might believe in Him. As long, therefore, as John remained with his disciples, he constantly exhorted them to follow Jesus; but now that he is going to leave them, he is more earnest for their belief in Him. (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
And Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen.
Commentary on Verse 4 Go, and relate, & c. Saint Luke here relates that Christ wrought more miracles when the disciple of Saint John came than usual, by which He proved in a much stronger manner than He could have done by words, that He was the Messias. For the prophets only wrought miracles by invoking the name of God, whereas he did it by His own authority. (Saint Cyril) – The reason why our Saviur did not return a plain answer in words to Saint John’s disciples is, because as the Jews expected the Messias to be a great and powerful king, had He acknowledged Himself to be the Messias in the presence of the multitude, He might have given umbrage to the secular power, of afforded a pretext to the Scribes and Pharisees of calumniating Him, and putting Him to death before the time preordained for His passion. (Baradius)
The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Commentary on Verse 5 The blind see, & c. Christ shows them who He was by the miracles, which were foretold concerning the Messias. – The poor have the gospel preached to them. This is the sense held forth by the prophet Isaias. (Chapter 61 verse 1) (Wi.) – That is, they are declared to have the kingdom of Heaven, and are styled blessed. Here also He fulfills the prophecy of Isaias, (Chapter 61) which in the Septuagint version is rendered, He sent me to preach the gospel to the poor. (Nicholas de Lyra)
And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me.
Commentary on Verse 6 Scandalized in Me. That is, who shall not take occasion of scandal or offence from My humility, and the disgraceful death of the cross which I shall endure: (Ch.) or on My account, that is, at the doctrine of the cross; or when I shall die on an infamous cross. (Wi.) – Blessed is he, & c. That is, who shall not be offended by My doctrine or manners; for Christ was a stumbling block to many, but this was entirely their own fault. He seems indeed directly to mark the disciples of Saint John, and at the same time to shew that He knew their hearts. (M.)
And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind?
But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings.
Commentary on Verse 8 Clothed in soft, & c. That the Baptist was not like the reeds, changeable by nature, the respect that the whole Jewish people paid him sufficiently evinced. Our Redeemer, therefore, proceeds to show that Saint John was not changeable by his manner of life. Delicacies and effeminacy (the ordinary sources of fickleness of behavior,) being found in the houses of kings, and the great ones of this earth, were far from being desired by the precursor. This he showed to the world by his garments of camels’ hair, his habitation in the wilderness, his slender and insipid food of wild honey and locusts, and the prisons to which his constancy brought him. (Saint John Chrysostom, homily 38).
But what went you out to see? a prophet? yea I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Commentary on Verse 9 More than a prophet. John was a prophet, because he foretold the coming of Christ; and he was more than a prophet, because he saw Him, which was a privilege that none of the ancient prophets enjoyed; and not only did he see Him, but pointed Him out, before He was acknowledged in that character. Again, he was more than a prophet, in as much as he was the precursor of the Messias, who even deigned to receive baptism at His hands. (M.)
For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send My angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.