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AND it came to pass on the second first sabbath, that as he went through the corn fields, his disciples plucked the ears, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

Ver. 1.  As this chapter is almost verbally like to the 5th, 7th, and 12th of S. Matthew, and the 3d of S. Mark, the reader is referred to these for further explanation.

 

--- On the second-first sabbath.  An obscure passage, on which S. Jerom says to Nepotianus,† that he consulted his master, S. Greg. Nazianzen, but in vain.  S. Chrys. Hom. xl. in Matt. takes it for a double feast, or a double rest: by which we may either understand a sabbath, and another feast concurring on the same day; or a sabbath and a feast immediately succeeding to each other.  Theophylactus says the same; and that then the latter day, on which they were to rest, was called the second-first.  Others say, that when the Jews kept their solemn paschal feast for seven days, the last day was called the second-first, because it was kept with equal solemnity as the first day had been.  See Maldonatus.  Later interpreters have found out other expositions, of which the most plausible seems to be, that by the second-first sabbath may be understood the feast of Pentecost (which also happened when corn was ripe in Palestine).  To understand this we must take notice, that the Jews had three great and solemn feasts:  1. That of the Pasch, or the great paschal feast, with the seven days of unleavened bread; the 2d. was the great feast of Pentecost; and the 3d. was the feast, called of tabernacles.  It is supposed then that the paschal feast was called the first-first sabbath, that Pentecost was called the second-first sabbath, and that of tabernacles the third-first, or great sabbath.  Wi.

 

[†]  V. 1.  In Sabbato secundo-primo  en sabbatw deuteroprwtw.  See S. Chrys. Hom. xl. in Matt. in the Latin edition, in the Greek of Savil om lq p. 262, tom. ii. otan h argia h, kai tou sabbatou tou kuriou, kai eteraV eorthV diadecomenhV.  See S. Hieron. ad Nepotianum. tom. iv, part 2, p. 262.  Ed. Ben.


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2 And some of the Pharisees said to them: Why do you that which is not lawful on the sabbath days?

Ver. 2.  The Scribes and Pharisees boasted much, as do many modern teachers, of their great knowledge of Scriptures, but our Saviour often sheweth their profound ignorance.  B.


3 And Jesus answering them, said: Have you not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was hungry, and they that were with him: 4 How he went into the house of God, and took and ate the bread of proposition, and gave to them that were with him, which is not lawful to eat but only for the priests?

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5 And he said to them: The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. 6 And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And there was a man, whose right hand was withered.

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7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched if he would heal on the sabbath; that they might find an accusation against him. 8 But he knew their thoughts; and said to the man who had the withered hand: Arise, and stand forth in the midst. And rising he stood forth. 9 Then Jesus said to them: I ask you, if it be lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy? 10 And looking round about on them all, he said to the man: Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth: and his hand was restored. 11 And they were filled with madness; and they talked one with another, what they might do to Jesus. 12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God.
13 And when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles):

Ver. 13.  These twelve Christ chose as individual companions and domestics.  To these he committed the charge of founding and governing his Church.  He sent them as legates, or ambassadors, (for this is the import of the word apostle) to all the world.  Hence their power was more universal than that of bishops, which is confined to their own dioceses or districts.  The jurisdiction of the apostles was not limited to place.  Tirinus.

 

--- This power which Jesus Christ delegated to his apostles, and which was for the benefit and regulation of the universal Church in all future ages, the apostles, in their turn, delegated to their successors in the ministry, with such regulations and limitations as have been judged in the Holy Ghost necessary for the proper government of the spiritual kingdom of God upon earth.  And it is the height of presumption to question any ordinations that come to us with the authority of the Catholic Church: for, "whatever the Church says, is true; whatever she permits is lawful; whatever she forbids, is evil; whatever she ordains, is holy; whatever she institutes, is good."  S. Augustine.

 

--- How futile then is the objection of Calvin, who pretends, that an apostle, being nothing but a legate, can make no laws, nor prescribe or teach any thing not expressed in his mandatum!  Calv. Inst. l. iv. c. 8.



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14 Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes, 16 And Jude, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.

Ver. 16.  Judas, surnamed Thaddeus in S. Matt. x. 3. and in S. Mark iii. 18.  At the head of his epistle he styles himself Judas, brother of James.  V.


17 And coming down with them, he stood in a plain place, and the company of his disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast both of Tyre and Sidon,

Ver. 17.  To a more extended and even part of the mountain, as we learn from comparing this text with S. Matt. v. 1. as it was from the mountain that Jesus Christ addressed to the people the following discourse.  V.



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18 Who were come to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits, were cured. 19 And all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him, and healed all. 20 And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Ver. 20.  S. Matt. (v. 3. 10.) mentions eight beatitudes, S. Luke only four; but S. Luke only gives an abridgment in this place of the discourse, which S. Matt. gives more at length.  We are also to remark, that in these four the whole eight are comprised, and that both evangelists place poverty in the first place, because it is the first in rank, and, as it were, the parent of the other virtues; for he who hath forsaken earthly possessions, deserves heavenly ones.  Neither can any man reasonably expect eternal life, who is not willing to forsake all in affection, and in effect also, if called upon for the love of Jesus Christ.  S. Ambrose.

 

--- Not that every one under great poverty is happy, but that the man who prefers the poverty of Christ to the riches of the world, ought certainly to be esteemed such.  Many indeed are poor in worldly substance, but are avaricious in affection; to such as these poverty is no advantage.  Nothing that is against the will, merits reward; therefore all virtue is known by the will.  Blessed, therefore, are the poor, who bear poverty for the sake of Christ: he himself hath already trodden the path before us, and taught us by his example that it leads to honour and enjoyment.  S. Cyril, ap. T. Aquin.



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21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh.

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22 Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.

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23 Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets. 24 But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation.

Ver. 24.  Jesus Christ having declared how meritorious poverty of spirit was to eternal life, proceeds to denounce heavy chastisements upon the rich and proud.  Idem Ibidem.

 

--- Although in great riches there are great inducements to sin, yet there are not wanting even in that state great incitements to virtue; neither is this wo aimed against those who abound in affluence; but against "those who abuse that affluence which Providence has bestowed upon them: Non enim census, sed affectus, in crimine est."  S. Ambrose.



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25 Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep.

Ver. 25.  As before he promised blessings to those that hunger, that weep, that are outcasts for Christ's sake; so here, and in the next verse, he denounces curses to such as are filled, that laugh, and are praised; i.e. to such, as so far seek their beatitude in present enjoyment, as to become indifferent with regard to the good things of the next world.  A.



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26 Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets.

Ver. 26.  Wo to you, when men shall bless you.  The ministers of the gospel must not value themselves, when they are applauded by men; for so did the fore-fathers of the Jews, formerly commend the false prophets, when they flattered the people, and spoke things that were pleasing to them.  Wi.


27 But I say to you that hear: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.

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28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that calumniate you. 29 And to him that striketh thee on the one cheek, offer also the other. And him that taketh away from thee thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.

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30 Give to every one that asketh thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.

Ver. 30.  Jesus Christ does not order us never to refuse a petition: but the meaning of his words is, that we are to give what is just and reasonable, what will be neither injurious to yourself nor your family; for what is unjustly asked, may be justly denied.  S. Austin, l. x. c. 40. de serm. Dom. in Monte.

 

--- But in this, the sin we commit is often far from trivial; particularly, when to the refusal of a just request, we add also reprehensions and complaints.  For why, say we, does he not labour? why has he reduced himself to penury, through his own indolence?But, tell me, do you live upon the fruits of your own industry?  On the supposition that you do, is it not that you may have some plea to reprehend another for the morsel of bread he begs at your hands?  You give him no charitable relief, give him then no contumelious words: if you have no compassion for him yourself, do not prevent others from shewing him commiseration.  Abraham, in the number of guests he received, had the honour of receiving under his roof even angels.  Let us not, therefore, be strict and unfavourable judges in regard of our suffering and distressed neighbours, lest perhaps we ourselves come to be more severely judged.  S. Chrys. collected from hom. xxi. in ep. ad. Rom.

 

--- Hom. xi. in ep. ad. Heb. and hom. ii. de Lazaro.


31 And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner.

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32 And if you love them that love you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if you do good to them who do good to you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also do this. 34 And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thanks are to you? for sinners also lend to sinners, for to receive as much.

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35 But love ye your enemies: do good, and lend, hoping for nothing thereby: and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil.

Ver. 35.  Hoping for nothing, but merely impelled by a desire of doing good.  They who only give when sure of having a greater return, do not give, but traffic with their generosity; in which there is no charity.  A.


36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven.

Ver. 37.  What can be imagined more kind, what more merciful, than this conduct of our Sovereign Lord, that the sentence of the judge should be left in the hands of the person to be judged?  Jans. Comment. in sanct. Evang.



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38 Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.

Ver. 38.  Here all solicitude of diffidence, all delay of avarice, is cut off; for what truth promises to repay, humility may safe expend.  S. Leo. Serm. vi.



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39 And he spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind? do they not both fall into the ditch?

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40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master.

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41 And why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not?

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42 Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother's eye. 43 For there is no good tree that bringeth forth evil fruit; nor an evil tree that bringeth forth good fruit.

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44 For every tree is known by its fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns; nor from a bramble bush do they gather the grape. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

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46 And why call you me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say?

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47 Every one that cometh to me, and heareth my words, and doth them, I will shew you to whom he is like. 48 He is like to a man building a house, who digged deep, and laid the foundation upon a rock. And when a flood came, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and it could not shake it; for it was founded on a rock.

Ver. 48.  That man buildeth safely who hath both faith and good works; whereas the man that trusteth to his faith alone, to his reading or knowledge of Scripture, and doth not work and live accordingly, buildeth on sand.  B.



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49 But he that heareth, and doth not, is like to a man building his house upon the earth without a foundation: against which the stream beat vehemently, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
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