Ver. 3. And Satan entered into Judas. The meaning only seems to be, that the devil tempted and overcame him. Wi.
--- Satan entered into Judas not all at once, but by degrees. He first gained possession by avarice, next by theft, and lastly he impelled him to the blackest treachery and cruel parricide. The Scripture only says that Satan had entered into him when he was entirely abandoned to iniquity, had hardened his heart against all grace, and shut his ears against every instruction of Jesus. In like manner the Scripture says of a good man, who is strengthened in grace, that the Holy Spirit dwells in him. Calmet.
Ver. 4. Many even now shudder at the mention of the crime of Judas, and are surprised to think that he could be guilty of such ingratitude, when themselves are negligent in avoiding the like crimes. For he who breaks the law of charity and truth, betrays Christ, who is charity and truth, and does it not through any infirmity or ignorance, but designedly and maliciously. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 15. With desire I have desired: lit. with a desire have I desired.† The repetition expresseth a great and earnest desire. Wi.
[†] V. 15. With a desire have I desired. This is commonly reputed a Hebraism, or form of speech peculiar to the Hebrews: hearing, I have heard; seeing, I have seen, &c. But the judicious critic, Mr. Blackwall, has produced parallel expressions out the most exact Greek classics, in his learned book, entitled, The Sacred Classics defended and illustrated; and has clearly proved, by examples, that many forms of speech, called, reputed, and carped at, as Hebraisms, are frequently found in the best Greek classics. Wi.
Ver. 17. Taken the chalice. This is not the chalice of his blood, (the latter is spoken of v. 20, and 1 Cor. xi. 25.) but it is the cup which the master of the repast blessed with ceremony, then drank of it, and gave it to all the guests. The modern Jews still observe this custom; not only on the Pasch, but on all other great feasts. The father of the family pours wine into a cup, takes it in his right hand, elevates it, blesses it, tastes, and gives it round to the invited. Our Saviour on this occasion complies with the custom; and after supper takes the chalice, which he converts into his own blood. Calmet.
Ver. 18. I will not drink, &c. i.e. from this hour of the supper, to the time of his resurrection, in which he will come in the kingdom of God, he would not taste wine. For S. Peter testifies, (Acts x. 41.) that he took meat and drink after his resurrection. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 19. THIS IS MY BODY. See the annotations on the same words of consecration, Matt. xxvi. 26. Mark xiv. 22. and 1 Cor. xi. 24.
--- Do this for a commemoration of me. By these words he gave a power and precept to them, and their successors, to all bishops and priests, to consecrate and offer up the same; yet so, that they are only the ministers and instruments of Jesus Christ, who instituted this sacrifice, this and all other sacraments, who is the chief and principal Priest, or offerer. It is Christ that chiefly consecrates and changes the elements of bread and wine into his own body and blood; it is he that chiefly and principally forgiveth sins in the sacraments of baptism, penance, &c. It is what S. Aug. so often repeats against the Donatists, that it is Christ that baptizeth, though the instrumental minister be a sinner or a heretic; and this is what all Catholics confess and profess.
--- The holy sacrifice and sacrament is to be offered and received with a devout and grateful remembrance of Christ's benefits, and especially of his sufferings and death for all mankind. But to teach that it is a bare, though devout memorial, or a remembrance only, so as to exclude the real presence of Christ, under the outward appearances of bread and wine, is inconsistent with the constant belief and consent of all Christian churches, both of the west and east, and contradicts the plain words of Christ. The learned bishop of Meaux, in his Exposition of the Catholic Faith, desires all Christians to take notice, that Christ does not command them to remember him, but to take his body and blood with a remembrance of him, and his benefits: this is the import of all the words, put together. This is my body: this is my blood: do this in, for, or with a remembrance of me. Wi.
--- This sacrifice and sacrament is to be continued in the Church to the end of the world, to shew forth the death of Christ, until he cometh. But this commemoration, or remembrance, is by no means inconsistent with the real presence of his body and blood, under these sacramental veils, which represent his death; on the contrary, it is the manner that he himself hath commanded, of commemorating and celebrating his death, by offering in sacrifice, and receiving in the sacrament, that body and blood by which we were redeemed. Ch.
--- Which is given, &c. He does not say, which shall be offered for you, but which is offered;† because it was already a true sacrifice, in which Christ was truly present which he offered in advance to his eternal Father, before that which he was going to offer the next day, in a different manner, on the cross. This sacrifice was the consummation of the figurative Pasch, and the promise or pledge of the bloody offering, which Christ would make on the cross. . . . It was not the mere figure of his body, which was crucified, but the true body and the true blood. In the same manner it is both the one and the other which are given, and really present, in the Eucharist. Calmet.
--- To renew the memory of what I have this day done, in giving you my body; and what I shall do to-morrow, in delivering my blood and my life for the whole world, do you hereafter what you now see me do. Take bread, break it, sand say, This is my body; and it will become so really and truly, as it now is in my hands. Calmet.
[†] V. 19. In the original, the present tense is used in this and in the following verse. Touto esti to swma mou, to uper umwn didomenon. And, Touto to pothrion, . . . to uper umwn ekcunomenon. Here we must also remark, that the relative To, which, is not governed or ruled (as some would perhaps think) by the noun, blood, but by the word chalice, or cup; (pothrion) which evidently sheweth that the blood, as the contents of the chalice, or as in the chalice, is shed for us: (in the present tense, for so the Greek hath it, and not only as upon the cross) And, therefore, as it followeth hence evidently, that it is no bare figure, but his blood indeed, so it followeth necessarily that it is a sacrifice and propitiatory, as shed for our sins. For all who know Scripture phraseology, know also that blood to be shed for sin, is to be sacrificed in atonement for sin.
--- Beza, in his Annot. Nov. Test. an. 1556, says this cannot be truly said either of the chalice, or of the contents of the chalice; which is to give the lie to the evangelist, or to deny it to be true Scripture, though he declares the words are found in all both Greek and Latin copies. B.
Ver. 29. And I assign to you, as my Father hath assigned to me, a kingdom; i.e. as my heavenly Father decreed to exalt me, even as man, and with my human nature, above all creatures; so will I also make you, according to your different merits, partakers of my glory. Wi.
Ver. 30. That you may eat and drink of the spiritual banquet of the joys of heaven which in the Scriptures are divers times compared to a feast or banquet. Wi.
--- Sit upon thrones. Judas is excepted from the dignity of this great promise. For it is probable he had gone out before the Lord spoke these words. They likewise are excepted, who (S. John vi. 66.) having heard the words of an incomprehensible mystery, turned back and went away. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 31. Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. In these words is expressed both what Satan desired, and what God permitted. Satan desired leave to tempt them, that he might make them fall from their faith in Christ. Almighty God permitted this temptation, this trial, to convince them how weak they were of themselves: he permitted their frailty to be partly overcome, yet so that rising again by his grace, they should be cleansed and purified as wheat when it is sifted: and that shortly after, being strengthened and confirmed by the coming of the Holy Ghost, they might become new men, enabled to stand firm against all the attacks of their greatest adversaries. Wi.
Ver. 32. That thy faith fail not. The faith of Peter, established by the coming of the Holy Ghost, hath never failed, nor can fail, being built upon a rock, which is Christ himself, and being guided by the spirit of truth, as Christ promised. Jo. xv. 26. and xvi. 13.
--- And thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren, even all the other apostles and bishops, over whom I have made and constituted thee and thy successors the chief head, that such a head being appointed by divine authority, all occasions of schisms and divisions might cease, says S. Jerom. Wi.
--- Admire the superabundance of the divine patience. That the disciple might not lose courage, he promised him pardon before he has committed the crime, and restores him again to his apostolic dignity, saying, confirm thy brethren. S. Cyril.
Ver. 36. That hath not, &c. Whilst the apostles are contending for prerogative, he reminds them that now is the time of danger and slaughter; for I, your Master, (says he) shall be led to a dishonourable death, and reputed among the wicked: as all which hath been foretold of me shall have their end; that is, be fulfilled. Wishing also to insinuate the violence of the assaults they themselves will have to sustain, he mentions a sword; but does not reveal all, lest they should be too much alarmed; nor does he entirely suppress the mention of it, lest sudden attacks might overpower them, had they not been forewarned. Theophylactus.
Ver. 38. Behold here are two swords, &c. The disciples not understanding the hidden meaning of the words in the preceding verse, and thinking they should have need of swords against the attack of the traitor Judas, say, behold here two swords. S. Cyril.
--- But if he had wished them to rely upon human aid, not even a hundred swords would have sufficed; but, if the power of man was unnecessary in their regard, even two swords are sufficient, and more than are wanted. S. Chrysostom.
--- Even two swords are sufficient testimony of our Saviour's having suffered spontaneously. One to shew that the apostles had courage to contend for their Master, and that their Lord had the power of healing the servant, Malchus, who was maimed; the other, which was not drawn from its scabbard, shews that the apostles were withheld from doing in his defence as much as they could have done. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 43. An angel . . . strengthening him. Christ, our Redeemer, was truly God and truly man. And being made man by a real union of his divine person and nature, to our weak and infirm human nature, he likewise took upon him our infirmities, sin excepted. We must consider him as man, when we read of his being tempted in the wilderness, (Matt. iv.) when he wept at the raising of Lazarus out of the grave, (John xi.) as often as we read of his praying; and here, when we read of his praying, and redoubling his prayer in the garden, when we find him seized with fear, sadness, and grief: for though, as God, he could prevent and hinder these passions and affections natural to man, yet he could also permit them to affect his human nature; as he permitted himself to be seized with hunger, after fasting forty days; and so he permitted his human nature to be seized with fear and grief in this garden of Gethsemani. As angels came and ministered to him after his fast in the wilderness, so an angel came as it were to propose to him the divine decree, that he was to suffer and die for the redemption of mankind; and as man, he is said to be strengthened and comforted by the angel: he, who as God, was Lord and maker of the angels, and so needed not to be strengthened by his creatures. Besides what happened to Christ as man, were ordained as instructions for us. We are taught by angels appearing, that they were not only ready to assist and wait upon Christ, but that, by the order of divine Providence, they are also ready to assist us in our temptations and afflictions.
--- In an agony. This Greek word signifies, a strife, or combat; not that there could be any opposition or contrariety in the interior of Christ, whose human will was always perfectly subject to his divine will, and the sensitive part to reason: yet, inasmuch as he was truly man, his human nature dreaded all those sufferings which at that time were represented to his soul, and which in a few hours he was to undergo. Wi.
Ver. 44. And his sweat became as drops of blood, &c. This has sometimes happened, though in a lesser degree, to persons under extraordinary grief, if we believe Aristotle, l. iii. Animanium, c. xix. p. 891, and lib. de part. Animalium, c. v. p. 1156. Ed. Aureliæ Allobr. an 1607.
--- This passage of Christ's bloody sweat, and of the apparition of the angel, was heretofore wanting in divers both Greek and Latin copies; as appears by S. Jerom, (l. ii. cont. Pelagianos. tom. iv, part 2, p. 521) and by S. Hilary, l. x. de Trin. p. 1062. Nov. Ed. It seems to have been left out by ignorant transcribers, who thought it not consistent with the dignity of Christ. But we find it in the above-said place, in S. Jerom, in S. Chrys. (hom. lxxxiv. in Matt.), in S. Aug. (in Ps. cxl. tom. iv, p. 1564, and in Psal. xciii, p. 1013.) in S. Epiphan. in Ancorato, p. 36, Ed. Petav. Wi.