Stand with Him or be cast out |
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
As St. Paul urges us in his Epistle to guard our appetites and St. Luke depicts in today's Gospel, we must be on guard against the devil for if we are not careful another seven times worse will enter and shackle us even deeper in sin.
Fr. George Leo Haydock
Editor's Note: We continue with this special feature provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottome 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. The problem has always been that the typeface is so small that many cannot read the gems contained in these commentaries and miss out on discernments listed by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church as well as many saints and theologians. Now, thanks to John's efforts, we can provide readers with those words republished here in larger type and immediately following each respective verse to aid the contemplation of our readers. Today for the Third Sunday of Lent we can see the sage discernment of Christ's words in the St. Luke's Gospel intended for the Jews who had been waiting for just such a Messias but when He shewed Himself they rejected Him because they were thinking in temporal ways. The benefit of the Haydock reminds Christians that it also refers to us as well for we have the benefit of Baptism, but when we sin then we fall prey to the devil and even worse, seven times worse, so that we will be held even more responsible. This is brought home specifically in St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians.
Epistle: Ephesians 5: 1-9
1 Be ye therefore, followers of God, as most dear children:
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God, for an odour of sweetness.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as it becometh saints:
Commentary on Verse 1: Covetousness. The Latin word is generally taken for a coveting or immoderate desire of money and riches. St. Jerome and others observe, that the Greek word in this and divers other places in the New Testament may signify any insatiable desire, or the lusts of sensual pleasures; and on this account, St. Jerome thinks that it is here joined with fornication and uncleanness. But St. Chrysostom in the last chapter, (v. 19. and on this chap. v. 3.) shews that by the Greek word is understood avarice, or an immoderate desire of riches, when he tells that this sin is condemned by those words of Christ, Luke xvi. 13. You cannot serve God and mammon.
4 Nor obscenity, nor foolish talking, nor scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather giving of thanks.
Commentary on Verse 4: Nor obscenity. What is here meant by this word, St. John Chrysostom tells us at large in the moral exhortation after his 17th homily; to wit, jests with immodest suggestions or a double meaning, and raillery or buffoonery against the rules of good conversation, scarce made use of by any but by men of low condition and of a mean genius, which is not to the purpose of a Christian, who must give an account to God of all his words.
5 For know ye this, and understand, that no fornicator, nor unclean, nor covetous person, which is a serving of idols, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, and of God.
Commentary on Verse 5: Nor covetous person, which is a serving of idols. It is clear enough by the Greek that the covetous man is called an idolater, whose idol is mammon; though it may be also said of other sinners, that the vices they are addicted to are their idols.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief.
Commentary on Verse 6: The apostle here puts them in mind of the general judgment, when the angel of God will, on account of their crimes of avarice, fornication, & c. fall on the children of unbelief; by which are meant the wicked. He had before assured them that the perpetrators of such crimes would be excluded from the kingdom of Heaven; and now he moreover informs them, that the severest punishments will be inflicted on such wicked people. Estius.
7 Be ye not, therefore, partakers with them.
Commentary on Verse 7: Be ye not, therefore, partakers with them: do not imitate their wickedness, or the wrath of the Almighty will likewise fall on you. Estius.
8 For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk ye as children of the light:
Commentary on Verse 8: By darkness is here meant the state of infidelity into which they had been plunged so far as to adore stones as God, and committed without remorse the above-mentioned grievous sins. But delivered by Christ from this darkness, they have become light in the Lord, shining in faith and justice. Estius.
9 For the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth:
Commentary on Verse 9: For the fruit of the light. So the Latin and divers Greek copies; not the fruit of the spirit, as we read in many Greek manuscripts; and in this Dr Wells thought fit to change the Prot. translation.
Gospel: St. Luke 11: 14-28
1 And He was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb. And when He had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke, and the multitude wondered.
Commentary on Verse 1: This possessed person is said in St. Matthew to have been also blind. Upon him, therefore, were wrought three wonders: the blind saw, the dumb spoke, the possessed was delivered; which daily takes place in the persons of such as are converted to the number of true believers: the devil is expelled, and they both receive the light of faith beaming upon their eyes, and have the strings of their silent organs loosed to sound forth the praises of God. Venerable Bede. - And the multitude, & c. The multitude, though devoid of learning, were constant admirers of the actions of our Lord, whilst the Scribes and Pharisees either denied them, or by a sinister interpretation, ascribed them to the power of the unclean spirit. Venerable Bede.
15 But some of them said: He casteth out devils, through Beelzebub, the prince of devils.
16 And others tempting, asked of Him a sign from Heaven.
17 But He seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall.
Commentary on Verse 17: And house upon house shall fall. He speaks of a house or family divided, which thereby shall fall to ruin.
18 And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils.
19 Now if I cast out devils through Beelzebub: through whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
Commentary on Verse 19:
Your judges. They will condemn you of injustice, envy, and hatred against Me, and blasphemy against God; because when they perform any exorcisms, though they appear but little more than human in their actions, yet you ascribe them to the virtue of God; but when I perform any miracle, though there always appear most evident signs of the power and virtue of God, you ascribe all to the hand and machinations of the devil. Tirinus.
20 But if I by the finger of God cast out devils: doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you.
21 When a strong man, armed, keepth his court, those things which he possesseth are in peace.
22 But if a stronger than he come upon him and overcome him, he will take away all his armor wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils.
23 He that is not with Me, is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth.
24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out.
Commentary on Verse 24:
Man, & continued. By this one man is meant the whole Jewish people, out of whom the unclean spirit had been driven by the law. St. Ambrose. For as long as they were in Egypt, they lived after the manners of the Egyptians, and were the habitation of the unclean spirit; but it was expelled from them, when they slew the paschal lamb in figure of Christ, and escaped destruction by sprinkling themselves with its blood. St. Cyril. But the evil spirit returned to his former habitation, the Jews, because he saw them devoid of virtue, barren, and open for his reception. And their latter state is worse than their former; for more wicked demons possessed the breasts of the Jews than before. Then they raged against the prophets only; but now they persecute the Lord Himself of the prophets: therefore have they suffered much greater extremities from Vespasian and Titus, than from Egypt and Babylon; for besides being deprived of the merciful protection of Providence, which before watched over them, they are destitute of all grace, and delivered up to a more poignant misery, and a more cruel tyranny of the devil. St. John Chrysostom.
25 And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished.
26 Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in, they dwell there. And the last state of that man becometh worse than the first.
Commentary on Verse 26:
The last state, & c. But these words are also addressed to us Christians, who may often, and with reason, fear lest the vice we think extinguished in us, again return and seize on our slothful and careless souls, finding them cleansed indeed from the filth of sin by the grace of baptism, but destitute of every ornamental and protective virtue. It brings with it seven other evil spirits, by which we must understand every vicious inclination. Venerable Bede. The latter state of these souls is worse than the former; because having been delivered from all former sins, and adorned with grace, if they again return to their iniquities a much more grievous punishment will be due for every subsequent crime. St. John
27 And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman, from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck.
28 But He said: Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.
Commentary on Verse 28: Our Savior does not here wish to deny what the woman had said, but rather to confirm it: indeed how could He deny, as Calvin impiously maintained, that His mother was blessed? By these words, He only wishes to tell His auditors what great advantages they might obtain by attending to His words. For the blessed Virgin, as St. Augustine says was more happy in having our Savior in her heart and affections, than in having conceived Him in her womb. Tirinus.
29 And when the people were gathered together, He began to say: This generation is a wicked generation: they ask a sign, and a sign shall not be given them, but the sign of Jonas, the prophet.
Commentary on Verse 29:
But the sign of Jonas. Instead of a prodigy in the heavens or in the air, I will give you one in the bosom of the earth, more wonderful than that of the prophet Jonas, who came out alive from the belly of the fish, which had swallowed him. Thus I will return alive from the bosom of the earth three days after My death. Calmet. He gave them a sign, not from Heaven, for they were unworthy to behold it, but from the deep; the sign of His incarnation, not of His divinity; of His passion, not of His glory. Venerable Bede.