The commentary for Sexagesima Sunday addresses the importance of our having our roots firmly implanted in the fertile soil of the Faith. Our Lord illustrates that those not firmly nurtured will fall away when temptation and the sirens of the world, the flesh and the devil lure them from the straight and narrow path. St. Paul in his epistle reminds us that no one is immune from temptation for satan assailed him greatly, but with the assurance from the Lord that "My grace is sufficient for thee."
Epistle: 2 Corinthians 11: 19-33; 12: 1-9
19 For you gladly suffer the foolish; whereas yourselves are wise.
Commentary on Verse 19 I trust that you will permit me to speak in my own praise, since as wise as you are, you have permitted others, who have not greater wisdom than myself. And if it be folly to praise oneâ€™s self, as you have pardoned them, I trust you will also pardon me. (Calmet)
20 For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face.
Commentary on Verse 20 Saint Paul still continues to speak ironically, that they will permit him to praise himself in his own justification, since they have permitted these false teachers to reduce them to bondage under the law, to devour their substance, and to behave haughtily to them, striking them on the face, & c. (Calmet)
21 I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also.
Commentary on Verse 21 I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in this part. The interpreters are divided on this verse; the sense seems to be, I speak what others took upon as dishonorable in us, that we had not the like authority over you as these false teachers, and therefore could not keep you in such subjection as they have done. But yet I must tell you, that wherein if any man is bold, I am bold also; that is, I have no less motives to domineer and boast, than they have. And then he proceeds to particulars. (Witham)
22 They are Hebrews: so am I. They are Israelites: so am I. They are the seed of Abraham: so am I.
23 They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise): I am more; in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often.
Commentary on Verse 23 They are ministers of Christ: I am more. To wit, an apostle chosen and sent by Jesus Christ, appointed in a special manner to be the apostle of the Gentiles, your apostle. (Witham)
Missing 2 Corinthians 11: 24-33
1 If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed): but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
Commentary on Verse 1 If I must glory. Saint Paul in the whole of this discourse shews the repugnance he had of speaking in his own praise, and that if he did it, it was only through constraint, and for the advantage of the Corinthians; as also to defend himself from his calumniators. (Calmet)
2 I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up to the third Heaven.
Commentary on Verse 2 I know a man, & c. He speaks of himself, as it were of a third person. â€“ Whether in the body, I know not. If Saint Paul himself knew not, how can we pretend to decide, whether his soul was for some moments separated from his body, or in what manner he saw God. (Witham) â€“ It appears that this took place about the period when the Holy Ghost commanded that he should be separated for the work whereunto he was called. (Acts 13: 2)
3 And I know such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth):
4 That he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter.
Commentary on Verse 4 Caught up into paradise. Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas are of opinion that this third Heaven and paradise are the same place, and designate the abode of the blessed. In order to understand the language of the apostle, we must observe that the Hebrews distinguished three different heavens. The first comprised the air, the clouds, & c. as far as the fixed stars. The second included all the fixed stars; and the third was the abode of Angels, in which God Himself discovered His infinite glory, & c. The first is called in Scripture simply the heavens, the second the firmament, and the third the Heaven of heavens. (Calmet)
5 For such an one I will glory; but for myself I will glory nothing, but in my infirmities.
6 For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish; for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or any thing he heareth from me.
7 And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan, to buffet me.
8 For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Commentary on Verse 7-9 A sting of my flesh, an angel, or a messenger of Satan, to buffet me; that is, by causing great trouble or pain. Some understand by it a violent headache or pain, or distemper in the body. Saint Augustine mentions this opinion, and does not reject it, in Psalm 98 tom. 4. page 1069.: In Psalm 130 page 1465. Saint Jerome also speaks of it in chapter 4 ad Galatas, tom. 4. page 274, Ed. Ben. But Saint Chrysostom, by the sting, and the angel of Satan, understands that opposition which Saint Paul met with from his enemies, and those of the gospel; as Satan signifies an adversary. Others understand troublesome temptations of the flesh, immodest thoughts, and representations, suggested by the devil, and permitted by Almighty God for his greater good. â€“ Thrice I besought the Lord. That is, many times, to be freed from it, but received only this answer from God, that his grace was sufficient to preserve me from consenting to sin. And that power and strength in virtue should increase, and be perfected in weakness, and by temptations, when they are resisted. Saint Augustine seems to favour this exposition, in Psalm 58. Conc. 2. page 573. Saint Jerom e, in his letters to Eustochium, to Demetrias, and to Rusticus, the monk. And it is the opinion of Saint Gregory, lib. 23. moral. Tom. 1. page 747. and of many others. (Witham) â€“ If there were any danger of pride from his revelations, the base and filthy suggestions of the enemy of souls must cause humiliations, and make him blush. But these are to be borne with submission to the will of God, for His power is more evident in supporting man under the greatest trials, than in freeing him from the attacks. â€“ Power is made perfect. The strength and power of God more perfectly shines forth in our weakness and infirmity; as the more weak we are of ourselves, the more illustrious is His grace in supporting us, and giving us the victory under all trials and conflicts. (Challoner) â€“ When I am weak. The more I suffer for Christ, the more I perceive the effects of His all-powerful grace, which sustains, enlightens, and strengthens me: the more also the glory and power of God appeareth in me. The pagans themselves were not ignorant that calamity was the soil in which virtue usually grows to perfection. Calamitas virtutis occasion est. (Seneca) â€“ Optimos nos esse dum infirmi sumus. (Pliny 7 ep. 26)
Gospel: St. Luke 8: 4-15
4 At that time, a very great multitude was gathered together, and hastened out of the cities unto Jesus. He spoke by a similitude.
5 The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7 And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it.
8 And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, He cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Commentary on Verse 8 Ears to hear, let him hear, & c. i.e. he that is willing to hear the word of God, and diligently comply with what is therein commanded, let him be attentive to the words of Christ. For the sight, hearing, and other senses, were not given to man to be used only as beasts use them, but likewise that they might profit his soul to eternal life. (Tirinus)
9 And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be.
Commentary on Verse 9 After the multitude had left our divine Savior, His disciples wishing thoroughly to understand the meaning of His instructions, came to Him, and desired He would give them an explanation of the parable. (Tirinus)
To whom He said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 And they by the way side are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved.
13 Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, they fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit.
Commentary on Verse 14 The sense of the Greek test is: they produce no fruit that arrives at maturity. (Bible de Vence)
15 But that on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2002.htm#article7 Article 7. Whether some good of the soul constitutes man's happiness?Objection 1
. It would seem that some good of the soul constitutes man's happiness. For happiness is man's good. Now this is threefold: external goods, goods of the body, and goods of the soul. But happiness does not consist in external goods, nor in goods of the body, as shown above (4,5). Therefore it consists in goods of the soul.Objection 2
. Further, we love that for which we desire good, more than the good that we desire for it: thus we love a friend for whom we desire money, more than we love money. But whatever good a man desires, he desires it for himself. Therefore he loves himself more than all other goods. Now happiness is what is loved above all: which is evident from the fact that for its sake all else is loved and desired. Therefore happiness consists in some good of man himself: not, however, in goods of the body; therefore, in goods of the soul.Objection 3
. Further, perfection is something belonging to that which is perfected. But happiness is a perfection of man. Therefore happiness is something belonging to man. But it is not something belonging to the body, as shown above (Article 5). Therefore it is something belonging to the soul; and thus it consists in goods of the soul.On the contrary
, As Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 22), "that which constitutes the life of happiness is to be loved for its own sake." But man is not to be loved for his own sake, but whatever is in man is to be loved for God's sake. Therefore happiness consists in no good of the soul.I answer that
, As stated above (Question 1, Article
, the end is twofold: namely, the thing itself, which we desire to attain, and the use, namely, the attainment or possession of that thing. If, then, we speak of man's last end, it is impossible for man's last end to be the soul itself or something belonging to it. Because the soul, considered in itself, is as something existing in potentiality: for it becomes knowing actually, from being potentially knowing; and actually virtuous, from being potentially virtuous. Now since potentiality is for the sake of act as for its fulfilment, that which in itself is in potentiality cannot be the last end. Therefore the soul itself cannot be its own last end.
In like manner neither can anything belonging to it, whether power, habit, or act. For that good which is the last end, is the perfect good fulfilling the desire. Now man's appetite, otherwise the will, is for the universal good. And any good inherent to the soul is a participated good, and consequently a portioned good. Therefore none of them can be man's last end.
But if we speak of man's last end, as to the attainment or possession thereof, or as to any use whatever of the thing itself desired as an end, thus does something of man, in respect of his soul, belong to his last end: since man attains happiness through his soul. Therefore the thing itself which is desired as end, is that which constitutes happiness, and makes man happy; but the attainment of this thing is called happiness. Consequently we must say that happiness is something belonging to the soul; but that which constitutes happiness is something outside the soul.Reply to Objection 1
. Inasmuch as this division includes all goods that man can desire, thus the good of the soul is not only power, habit, or act, but also the object of these, which is something outside. And in this way nothing hinders us from saying that what constitutes happiness is a good of the soul.Reply to Objection 2
. As far as the proposed objection is concerned, happiness is loved above all, as the good desired; whereas a friend is loved as that for which good is desired; and thus, too, man loves himself. Consequently it is not the same kind of love in both cases. As to whether man loves anything more than himself with the love of friendship there will be occasion to inquire when we treat of Charity.Reply to Objection 3
. Happiness, itself, since it is a perfection of the soul, is an inherent good of the soul; but that which constitutes happiness, viz. which makes man happy, is something outside his soul, as stated above.