"When you shall see the abomination of desolation"
Last Sunday after Pentecost
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. This very last Sunday of the Liturgical Year completes the one-year cycle with the apocalyptic warning Christ echoes and which the Apostle Paul warns against in believing false teachers. So applicable to today's Great Apostasy. Father Haydock provides several commentaries that, like a puzzle, all begin to fit together. Had Father Haydock been alive today, no doubt he would have seen how all the pieces fit to the tableau of the end times as Christ laid out and would have dealt even much further into the first verse of today's Gospel for indeed, as we have seen from Sacred Scripture in what the prophet Daniel foretold in the Old Testament of that abomination being seen in Macchabeus with the sacking of the altar and the end of the sacrifice with the false worship set up against and away from the altar, so also this is Christ's fulfillment of his omen seen so vividly in the sacriligious Novus Ordo abomination that has caused so much desolation of souls over the past 40 years. Despite the darkness in Christ's warning that very much dovetails into the Book of Apocalypse, His greatest message is the hope He sheds in assuring that His words shall not pass away. Christ Now and Always!
Epistle: Colossians: 1: 9–14
9 Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding:
Commentary on Verse 9 In all wisdom. He begins by an admonition against false teachers, who it is likely, says Saint John Chrysostom, with their philosophical notions mixed errors and fables. (Wi.)
10 That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God:
Commentary on Verse 10 Worthy of God: So Saint Ambrose and the Greek doctors; or thus, worthily, pleasing God, and this not by faith only, but fruitful in every good work. Ibid. – God, in all things pleasing Him. This is the construction of the Latin by the Greek. (Wi.)
11 Strengthened with all might, according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy,
12 Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins;
Commentary on Verse 14It is through the blood of Christ, and not by the law of Moses, that we are freed from the power of death. If the law could have saved us, the coming of Christ would have been useless. See then, he says, if it be proper to engage under a law which is so inefficaciousl. (Calmet) – From this verse and from ver. 12, et alibi passim, we are taught that we are not only by imputation made partakers of Christ’s benefits, but are by His grace made worthy thereof, and deserve our salvation condignly, ex condigno. (B.)
Gospel: St. Matthew 24: 15-35
15 At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.
Commentary on Verse 15 The abomination of desolation was first partly fulfilled by divers profanations of the temple, as when the image of Caesar was set up in the temple by Pilate, and Adrian’s statue in the holy of holies, and when the sacrifices were taken away; but will be more completely fulfilled by Antichrist and his precursors, when they shall attempt to abolish the holy sacrifice of the mass. Saint Hyppolitus, in his treatise de Anti-Christo, mentioned by Eusebius, Saint Jerome, and Photius, thus writeth: “The churches shall lament with great lamentations, because there shall neither be made oblations, nor incense, nor worship grateful to God. … In those days the liturgy (or mass) shall be neglected, the psalmody shall cease, the reciting of Scripture shall not be heard.” – The prophet Daniel (12:11) calculates the reign of Antichrist, from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away; which, by able commentators, is understood of the sacrifice of the mass, which Antichrist will endeavor to suppress. – The abomination of desolation, or the abominable desolation. Instead of these words, we read in Saint Luke, (21:20) When you shall see Jerusalem surrounded by an army. Christ said both the one and the other. But the words in Saint Luke, seem rather to give us a sign of the ruin of Jerusalem, than of the end of the world. – Spoken of by Daniel, the prophet. The sense is, when you shall see the very prophecy of Daniel literally fulfilled hereafter. What follows in the prophecy of Daniel, confirms this exposition; when the prophet adds, that the desolation shall continue to the end; that the Jews from that time, shall be no more the people of God, for denying their Messias; and that they shall see that very prophecy of Daniel literally fulfilled hereafter. What follows in the prophecy of Daniel, confirms this exposition; when the prophet adds, that the desolation shall continue to the end; that the Jews from that time, shall be no more the people of God, for denying their Messias; and that they shall put the Christ to death. But what then was this desolation, which by the following verse, was to be a sign to the Christians to fly out of Judea? Some expound it of the heathen Roman army, approaching and investing Jerusalem, called the holy city. Others understand the profanation of the temple, made by the Jews themselves, a little before the siege under Vespasian; when the civil dissensions, those called the Zealots, had possessed themselves of the temple, and placed their warlike engines upon the pinnacles; and a part, at least, of the temple was defiled with the dead bodies of those killed there. It was at that time that the Christians, according to Christ’s admonition, left Jerusalem and Judea, and fled to Pella, beyond the river Jordan. See Euseb. l. iii. Hist. c. v. (Wi.)
16 Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains:
Commentary on Verse 16 Then let those. It is well known that this prophecy was verified to the letter, in the destruction of Jerusalem. For, as the Roman army advanced, all the Christians who were in the province, forewarned by divine admonition retired to a distance, and crossing the Jordan, took refuge in the city of Pella, situated in Trachonitis, and became subjects of king Agrippa, who was in amity with the Romans. (Saint Remigius)
17 And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Commentary on Verse 17 Not come down, into the house. They had no occasion, as Mauduit and others seem to suppose, to throw themselves from the roof, for the Jews had usually stairs on the outside of their houses. (V.)
18 And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat.
19 And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days.
20 But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.
Commentary on Verse 20 In the winter: an inconvenient season for flying away. – Or on the sabbath, when it was lawful to travel only about a mile. (Wi.) – Pray to God that you may be enabled to escape those evils, and there may be no impediment to your flight. (Estius in dif. loca.)
21 For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.
22 And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.
Commentary on Verse 22 No flesh: a Hebraism for no person; denoting that no one would have escaped death, had the war continued. (Wi.) – All the Jews would have been destroyed by the Romans, or all the Christians by Antichrist. (Maldonatus) – From this place, Jesus Christ foretells the coming of Antichrist, and forewarns Christians of latter ages, to guard all they can against seduction.
23 Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him.
Commentary on Verse 23 Lo, here is Christ. These words are very aptly applied by Catholics to the conventicles of heretics; and would Christians attend to the injunctions of their divine Master, Go ye not out: - believe it not, we should not see the miserable confusion occasioned in the Catholic Church, by unsteady Christians; who are guilty of schism, in forsaking the one true fold, and one shepherd, to follow their blind and unauthorized leaders. (E.)
24 For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.
25 Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.
26 If therefore they shall say to you: Behold He is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not.
Commentary on Verse 26 Behold He is in the desert. This prediction of false Christs, may be understood before the destruction of Jerusalem, but chiefly before the end of the world. (Wi.) – As we have mentioned above, in note on verse 5.
27 For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
28 Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.
Commentary on Verse 28 Wheresoever the body, & c. This seems to have been a proverb or common saying among the Jews. Several of the ancient interpreters, by this body, understand Christ Himself, Who died for us; and they tell us, that at His second coming the angels and saints, like eagles, with incredible swiftness, will join Him at the place of judgment. (Wi.) – When He shall come to judgment, all, as it were by a natural instinct, shall fly to meet Him, and receive their judgment. Saint Hilary understands this literally; that where His body shall hang upon the cross, there will He appear in judgment, i.e. near the valley of Josaphat; in which place the prophet Joel (3:2) declares, that the general judgment shall take place. (T.)
29 And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from Heaven, and the powers of Heaven shall be moved:
Commentary on Verse 29 The sun shall be darkened, & c. These seem to be the dreadful signs that shall forerun the day of judgment. – The stars shall fall, not literally, but shall give no light. (Wi.) – According to Saint Augustine, by the sun is meant Jesus Christ; by the moon, the Church, which will appear as involved in darkness.
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in Heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty.
Commentary on Verse 30 The sign of the Son of man, & c. The Fathers generally expound this of the cross of Christ, that shall be seen in the air. (Wi.) – This sign is the cross, much more resplendent than the sun itself. Therefore the sun hides its diminished head, whilst the cross appears in glory; because the great standard of the cross, excels in brightness all the refulgent rays that dart from the meridian sun. (Saint Chrysostom, homily 77) – The Jews, looking upon Him whom they had pierced, now coming in the clouds of heaven with power and exceedingly great glory, shall have great lamentations. Bitterly will they weep over their misery, in having despised and insulted Him on a cross, who ought to have been the object of their veneration, adoration, and love. (Saint John Chrysostom, homily 77)
31 And He shall send His angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them.
32 And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh.
33 So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors.
34 Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Commentary on Verse 34 This generation; i.e. the nation of the Jews shall not cease to exist, until all these things shall be accomplished: thus we see the nation of the Jews still continue, and will certainly continue to the end of the world. (T.) – Then the cross, which has been a scandal to the Jew, and a stumbling-block to the Gentile, shall appear in the heavens, for the consolation of the good Christian. Hoc signum crucis erit in coelo, cum Dominus ad judicandum venerit. – If it be to be understood of the destruction of Jerusalem, the sense may be, this race of men now living; if of the last day of judgment, this generation of the faithful, saith Theophylactus, shall be continued: i.e. the Church of Christ, to the end of the world. (Wi.) – This race, I tell you in very truth, shall not pass away till all this be finally accomplished in the ruin of Jerusalem, the most express figure of the destruction and end of the world. (V.) – By generation, our Savior does not mean the people that were in existence at that time, but the faithful of His Church; thus says the psalmist: this is the generation of them that seek the Lord. (Psalm 23:6) (Saint John Chrysostom, homily 77)
35 Heaven and earth shall pass, but My words shall not pass.
Commentary on Verse 35 Shall pass away: because they shall be charged at the end of the world into a new Heaven and a new earth. (Ch.) http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2001.htm#article2
Article 2. Whether it is proper to the rational nature to act for an end?
Objection 1. It would seem that it is proper to the rational nature to act for an end. For man, to whom it belongs to act for an end, never acts for an unknown end. On the other hand, there are many things that have no knowledge of an end; either because they are altogether without knowledge, as insensible creatures: or because they do not apprehend the idea of an end as such, as irrational animals. Therefore it seems proper to the rational nature to act for an end.
Objection 2. Further, to act for an end is to order one's action to an end. But this is the work of reason. Therefore it does not belong to things that lack reason.
Objection 3. Further, the good and the end is the object of the will. But "the will is in the reason" (De Anima iii, 9). Therefore to act for an end belongs to none but a rational nature.
On the contrary, The Philosopher proves (Phys. ii, 5) that "not only mind but also nature acts for an end."
I answer that, Every agent, of necessity, acts for an end. For if, in a number of causes ordained to one another, the first be removed, the others must, of necessity, be removed also. Now the first of all causes is the final cause. The reason of which is that matter does not receive form, save in so far as it is moved by an agent; for nothing reduces itself from potentiality to act. But an agent does not move except out of intention for an end. For if the agent were not determinate to some particular effect, it would not do one thing rather than another: consequently in order that it produce a determinate effect, it must, of necessity, be determined to some certain one, which has the nature of an end. And just as this determination is effected, in the rational nature, by the "rational appetite," which is called the will; so, in other things, it is caused by their natural inclination, which is called the "natural appetite."
Nevertheless it must be observed that a thing tends to an end, by its action or movement, in two ways: first, as a thing, moving itself to the end, as man; secondly, as a thing moved by another to the end, as an arrow tends to a determinate end through being moved by the archer who directs his action to the end. Therefore those things that are possessed of reason, move themselves to an end; because they have dominion over their actions through their free-will, which is the "faculty of will and reason." But those things that lack reason tend to an end, by natural inclination, as being moved by another and not by themselves; since they do not know the nature of an end as such, and consequently cannot ordain anything to an end, but can be ordained to an end only by another. For the entire irrational nature is in comparison to God as an instrument to the principal agent, as stated above (I, 22, 2, ad 4; I, 103, 1, ad 3). Consequently it is proper to the rational nature to tend to an end, as directing [agens] and leading itself to the end: whereas it is proper to the irrational nature to tend to an end, as directed or led by another, whether it apprehend the end, as do irrational animals, or do not apprehend it, as is the case of those things which are altogether void of knowledge.
Reply to Objection 1. When a man of himself acts for an end, he knows the end: but when he is directed or led by another, for instance, when he acts at another's command, or when he is moved under another's compulsion, it is not necessary that he should know the end. And it is thus with irrational creatures.
Reply to Objection 2. To ordain towards an end belongs to that which directs itself to an end: whereas to be ordained to an end belongs to that which is directed by another to an end. And this can belong to an irrational nature, but owing to some one possessed of reason.
Reply to Objection 3. The object of the will is the end and the good in universal. Consequently there can be no will in those things that lack reason and intellect, since they cannot apprehend the universal; but they have a natural appetite or a sensitive appetite, determinate to some particular good. Now it is clear that particular causes are moved by a universal cause: thus the governor of a city, who intends the common good, moves, by his command, all the particular departments of the city. Consequently all things that lack reason are, of necessity, moved to their particular ends by some rational will which extends to the universal good, namely by the Divine will.