Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
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. For the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost the theme is that if one is reconcilied with his fellow man then he will always be reconciled with God for he will remain in the state of grace,which is necessary for participating in the sacramental fullness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Epistle: 1 St. Peter 3: 8-15
And in fine, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble:
Commentary on Verse 8 Be ye all of one mind. These instructions are not only for man and wife, but for every one, to whom in general these virtues are recommended. And every one's duty is comprised in these few words of Psalm xxxiii. "Turn away from evil, and do good. . . . The eyes of the Lord are upon the just. . . . But the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil things," & c. Nothing can hurt you, and you need fear no menaces, no terrors, if with zeal you follow and adhere to what is good. Wi
Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing: for unto this are you called, that you may inherit a blessing.
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.
Let him decline from evil, and do good: let him seek after peace and pursue it:
Because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers: but the countenance of the Lord upon them that do evil things.
And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good?
But if also you suffer any thing for justice' sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled.
But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.
Commentary on Verse 15 Always ready to satisfy,& c. St. Peter would have every Christian, according to his circumstances and capacity, ready to give general reasons of his faith and hope of salvation, both to infidels and heretics that refuse to believe. Wi.
Gospel: St. Matthew 5: 20-24
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples:For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Commentary on Verse 20 Of the Scribes and of the Pharisees. The Scribes were the doctors of the law of Moses; the Pharisees were a precise set of men, making profession of a more exact observance of the law: and upon that account greatly esteemed among the people. Ch. See how necessary it is, not only to believe, but to keep all the commandments, even the very least. B. Our Savior makes this solemn declaration at the opening of His mission, to show to what a height of perfection He calls us. St. Thomas Aquinas. "Your justice." It is our justice when given us by God. Aug. in Ps. xxx. l. de. spir. & lit. c. ix.) So that Christians are truly just, and have in themselves inherent justice, by observing God's commandments, without which justice of works, no man can be saved. Aug. de fide & oper. c. xvi.) Whereby we see salvation, justice and justification, do not come by faith only, or imputation of Christ's justice. B.
You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.
Commentary on Verse 21 Shall be liable to the judgment. That is, shall deserve to be punished by that lesser tribunal among the Jews, called the judgment, which took cognizance of such crimes. Ch. Among the Jews at the time of Christ, there were three sorts of tribunals: the first composed of three judges to try smaller causes, as theft; there was one in each town: the second of twenty-three judges, who judged criminal causes, and had the power of condemning to death. This was called the Little Sanhedrim, and of this it is supposed Jesus Christ speaks: the third, or Great Sanhedrim of seventy-two judges, who decided on the most momentous affairs, relating to religion, the king, the high priest, and the state in general. It is this last that is designated under the name of council in the next verse. A.
But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Commentary on Verse 22 Whosoever is angry with his brother. In almost all Greek copies and manuscripts we now read angry without a cause: yet St. Jerome, who corrected the Latin of the New Testament from the best copies in his time, tells us that these words, without a cause, were only found in some Greek copies, and not in the true ones. It seems at first to have been placed in the margin for an interpretation only, and by some transcribers afterwards taken into the text. This as well as many other places may convince us, that the Latin Vulgate is many times to be preferred to our present Greek copies. Raca. St. Augustine thinks this was no significant word, but only a kind of interjection expressing a motion of anger. Others take it for a Syro-Chaldaic word, signifying a light, foolish man, though not so injurious as to call another a fool shall be guilty of the council: that is, shall deserve to be punished by the highest court of judicature, called the council, or sanhedrin, consisting of seventy-two persons, where the highest causes were tried and judged, and which was at Jerusalem. Thou fool; this was a most provoking injury, when uttered with contempt, spite, or malice. Shall be in danger of hell fire. Literally, according to the Greek, shall deserve to be cast into the Gehennom of fire. Gehennom [Gehenna] was the valley of Hinnom, near to Jerusalem, where the worshippers of the idol Moloch used to burn their children, sacrificed to that idol. In that place was a perpetual fire, on which account it is made use of by our Savior (as it hath been ever since), to express the fire and punishments of hell. Wi. Here is a plain difference between sin and sin; some mortal, that lead to hell; some venial, and less punished. B.
If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee;
Commentary on Verse 23 He commands us to leave unfinished any work we may have begun, though in its own nature most acceptable to God, in order to go and be reconciled to our brother; because God will have mercy and not sacrifice. Thus He in a manner seems to prefer the love of our neighbor to the love of himself. M.
Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.
Commentary on Verse 24 Leave thy offering. This is not to be understood, as if a man were always bound to go to the person offended; but it is to signify, that a man is bound in his heart and mind to be reconciled, to forgive every one, and seek peace with all men. Wi. Beware of coming to the holy table, or to any sacrament, without charity. Be first reconciled to your brother, and much more to the Catholic Church, which is the whole brotherhood of Christian men. Heb. xiii. 1. B.