Scripture readings

Focus on Scripture Friday (vol 2)

First Reading

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(Jeremiah) Jeremias 31:31-34

31 Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda: Covenant. That made with the captives was not such. Their covenant is grown old, and at an end, as S. Paul shews. Heb. viii. 8. They were not indeed divided, as they had been. Ezec. xxxvii. 16.
32 Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, saith the Lord. Dominion. As a husband, (Heb. C.) or “Lord.” H. — “I despised them.” Sept. Heb. viii.
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Heart. They were more docile after their return: yet still their service was very imperfect and forced. How many false traditions were received, at the coming of Christ! This of course, regards his disciples.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Second Reading

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Hebrews 5:7-9

7 Who in the days of his flesh, with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence. Who in the days of his flesh, of his mortal and suffering condition, even with strong and fervent crying out, and tears, offering up as man,prayers and supplications to him, to God, who could save him from death; to wit, in the garden of Gethsemani, and on the cross, yet with a perfect resignation and conformity of his human will to the divine will,was heard for his reverence. [1] I leave this translation, which is in the Rhemes Testament, very literal from the Latin Vulgate, and which cannot be said to be any ways disagreeable to the Greek. As to the sense, there are two expositions in the best interpreters. S. Chrysostom and many others understand, that he was heard as to every prayer that he made absolutely, and not conditionally only, (as when he prayed that the cup of his sufferings might pass from him) and he was heard forthat reverence, reverential regard, and just consideration which the eternal Father had for him, who was his true Son. This interpretation agrees better with the Greek text, in which is left out the word his.Others by his reverence, understand that he was heard on account of that reverential fear, that respectful submission and piety, which he always had towards his eternal Father. And if it be asked in what Christ was not heard, and in what he was heard: he was not heard when he said, let this cup of sufferings, or this death, pass from me, because it was not what he asked and prayed for with an absolute desire, but only thereby expressed the natural fear which, as man, he had of death, and therefore presently added, but not my will but thine be done,expressing what he knew to be the divine will. And to shew this, S. Chrys. on these words, brings all those sentences by which our Saviour, Christ, had declared that he had power to lay down his life, and power to take it up again; that no one taketh it from him, but that he laid it down of himself. See John x. 18. and S. Chrys. hom. vii. p. 475. But Christ was heard in all he prayed for with an absolute will, according to what he said to his Father, I know that thou always hearest me. Jo. xi. 42. He was heard as to all that he asked with an absolute will, either for himself or his Church. Wi. — What excellent dispositions these of Jesus Christ in his sacrifice, which we learn from his apostles. How truly worthy are these tears both of our love and our adoration! Hence it appears, that Jesus Christ in his prayer both in the garden and on the cross shed tears, though the evangelists are silent on this head. Menochius.
8 And whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered: He that was truly the Son of God, and knew all things, learnt practically, and taught us perfect obedience in suffering and dying a cruel death on the cross. Wi.
9 And being consummated, he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation. And being consummated, or perfected as man in all kinds of virtues, and at the same time true God by his divine person, became the author of salvation to all those who both believe in him and obey him. Wi.


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John 12:20-33

20 Now there were certain Gentiles among them, who came up to adore on the festival day. Gentiles . . . came up to adore. These either were proselytes who had been Gentiles, and now had embraced the Jewish law: or they were such among the Gentiles, who owned and served the one true God, as Cornelius did, (Acts, c. x.) but did not submit themselves to circumcision, and all the other Jewish rites and ceremonies. These could only enter into that part of the temple, called the court of the Gentiles. Wi.
21 These therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying: Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh, and telleth Andrew. Again Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
23 But Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Unless the grain of wheat. The comparison is this, that as the seed must be changed, and corrupted in the ground, before it fructify, so the world would not be converted but by Christ’s death. Wi. — By this grain of corn our Saviour means himself, who was to die by the infidelity of the Jews, and be multiplied by the faith of the Gentiles. S. Aug. tract. 51. in Joan.
25 Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal.
26 If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour. We must minister to Jesus by seeking not our own things, but the things of Christ; that is; we must follow him, we must walk in his footsteps, we must perform the corporal works of mercy, and every other good work, for his sake, till we come to put in practice the most perfect act of charity, the laying down of our lives for our brethren. Then will he crown us with this greatest of rewards, the happiness of reigning with him. And where I am, there shall my minister be. S. Aug. tract. 51. in Joan.
27 Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. Now is my soul troubled. Christ permitted this fear and horror to come upon his human nature, as he did afterwards in the garden of Gethsemani. Father, save me from this hour; yet he presently adds,but for this cause I came unto this hour; that is, I came into this world for this end, that I might die on a cross for all mankind. In like manner, when he had said in the garden, let this cup pass from me, he presently joined these words: but not my will, but thine be done. Wi. — Lest the disciples, upon hearing our Saviour exhorting them willingly and courageously to suffer death, should think within themselves, that he could well exhort them to these things, being himself beyond the reach of human misery, he assures them in this place, that he himself is in agony, and yet does not refuse to die for them. S. Chrys. hom. lxvi. in Joan.
28 Father, glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. Father, glorify thy name, by my sufferings and death, as well as by many miracles that shall follow. A voice came from heaven, and so loud, that some there present compared it to thunder: and at the same time these words were heard: I have glorified it, thy name, and I will glorify it again, by a number of ensuing miracles at Christ’s death, at his resurrection and ascension, as well as by all those miracles, which the apostles and disciples wrought afterwards. Wi.
29 The multitude therefore that stood and heard, said that it thundered. Others said: An angel spoke to him.
30 Jesus answered, and said: This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. As the soul of Christ was troubled, not on his own account, but for the sake of the people; so this voice came from heaven, not for his sake, but for that of the people. What it announced was already known to him; the advantage and instruction of the Jews was its end, object, and motive. S. Aug. 52. tract. in Joan.
31 Now is the judgment of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. Now is the judgment of the world: Their condemnation, says S. Chrys. for not believing. — The prince of this world, that is, the devil,shall be cast out from that great tyranny, which he had over mankind, before Christ’s incarnation. Wi. — By these words Christ informs the Gentiles that wished to see him, that soon he would punish the incredulous Jews, and cast off their synagogue, for their malice and insatiable hatred against him; and that the prince of this world, that is, the worship of idols, should be destroyed, and all called to the true faith. Calmet.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth: that is, on the cross. See the same expression, Jo. iii. 14. and viii. 28. — I will draw all things, all nations, to myself by faith. Wi.
33 (Now this he said, signifying what death he should die.)