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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 1. The Mother of Jesus was present. It is supposed she was then a widow, since in all the rest of the history of Jesus, not a single word occurs respecting S. Joseph. Calmet.
Ver. 3. They have no wine. The blessed virgin Mother was not ignorant of the divine power of her Son, and that the time was come when he designed to make himself known to the world. She could not make her request in more modest terms. Wi.
Ver. 4. Some of the Fathers have spoken without sufficient precaution on this action of the blessed Virgin; supposing she was actuated by some inclination to vanity, in begging her Son to perform a miracle on this occasion; that some of the glory of it might accrue to her, and that on this account our Saviour answers her with severity, saying, Woman, (not Mother) what is it to thee or me. Other Fathers, with more reason, attribute the interference of the blessed Virgin to her charity and compassion for the new married couple. Whatever turn be given to our Saviour's answer, it must be acknowledged it has in it the appearance of something severe. But the Fathers have explained it with mildness, observing that our Saviour only meant to say, Mother, what affair is it of ours if they want wine? Ought we to concern ourselves about that? Others think that he wished, by these words, to let his Mother know that she must not forestall the time appointed by the heavenly Father, as if her demand were unseasonable and out of time. But most of the Fathers and best commentators understand, that he speaks here not as man and Son of Mary, but as God; and in that quality, he observes to his Mother, I have nothing in common with you. It is not for you to prescribe when miracles are to be performed, which are not to be expected in compliance with any human respect. I know when my power is to be manifested for the greater glory of God. Calmet. —See the like forms of speech, Mark i. 24. Luke iv. 34. &c. — My hour is not yet come. It is not yet time. He waited till the wine was quite done, lest any should believe that he had only increased the quantity, or had only mixed water with the wine. He would have his first miracle to be incontestable, and that all the company should be witnesses of it. S. Aug. et alii patres passim. — Christ's first miracle in the New Testament, was a kind of transubstantiation in changing water into wine; the first miracle Moses performed when sent to the Jews, was transubstantiation. Exod. iv. The first Moses and Aaron performed, when sent to the Egyptians, was transubstantiation. Exod. vii.
Ver. 6. Two or three measures, called metreta. Both the Latin and Greek text, by the derivation, may signify a measure in general, according to the Rhemish translation: but metreta was a particular measure of liquids: yet, not corresponding to our firkins, I could not think it proper with the Prot. and M. N. to put two or three firkins. Wi.
Ver. 10. When men have well drank, or plentifully; this is the literal sense: nor need we translate, when they are drunk, being spoken of such company, where our Saviour, Christ, his blessed Mother, and his disciples, were present. See Gen. xliii. 34. 1 Mac. xvi. v. 16, where the same word may be taken in the same sense. Wi.
Ver. 11. This was the first miracle which Jesus had performed in public, and to manifest his glory; but Maldonatus is of opinion that he had before wrought many miracles, known to the blessed Virgin and S. Joseph; which gave her the confidence to ask one now. This opinion is no way contrary to the evangelist. His disciples believed in him. They had believed in him before or they would not have followed him. This confirmed their faith. Calmet.
Ver. 15. He drove them all out of the temple. According to S. Chrys. (hom. lxvii. in Matt.) this casting out was different from that which is there related, c. xxi. v. 12. Wi. — How could the Son of the carpenter, Joseph, whose divinity was yet unknown to the people, succeed in expelling so great a multitude from the temple! There was undoubtedly something divine in his whole conduct and appearance, which deterred all from making resistance. The evangelist seems to insinuate this by putting these words: "The house of my Father," into our Saviour's mouth, which was making himself immediately the Son of God. This made Origen consider this miracle, in overcoming the unruly dispositions of so many, as a superior manifestation of power to what he had shewn in changing the nature of water at Cana. A. — Jesus Christ here shews the respect he requires should be shewn to the temple of God; and S. Paul, speaking of the profaners of God's Church, saith: If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy. 1 Cor. iii. 17. Which in a spiritual sense may be understood of the soul of man, which is the living temple of the living God. A.
Ver. 20. Six and forty years, &c. This many understand of the time the second temple was building, from the edict of Cyrus to the sixth year of Darius Hystaspes. Others, of the enlarging and beautifying the temple, which was begun by Herod the great, forty-six years before the Jews spoke this to our Saviour. Wi. — Interpreters are much embarrassed by these words; as the building of the temple, which then existed, had been finished in much less than 46 years. Herod renewed the temple from the foundations, and spent in that work only nine years and a half. It was begun 46 years before the first Pasch at which our Saviour appeared. Usher, ad an. Mundi 3987. — But this prince, according to Josephus, continued to make new building and embellishments to the very time in which the Jews uttered these words: it is now 46 years, &c.
Ver. 24. Trust himself to them. The Fathers generally understand these words, to them, to refer to those who believed in him, mentioned in the preceding verse. Though they believed in him, he did not trust himself to them, because he knew them. He knew their weakness, their inconstancy, their unsteadiness. He knew they would abandon him on the first occasion; and that his passion, his cross, his doctrines, would be a subject of scandal. S. Austin compares these first believers to catechumens. They believe in Christ, confess his name, and sign their foreheads with his cross: but Jesus Christ does not trust himself to them; he does not trust to them the knowledge of his mysteries; he does not reveal to them the secrets of his religion. Calmet. — The catechumens were not allowed to be present at the holy mysteries of the sacrifice of the mass, but went out after the instruction of the gospel; whence the first part of the mass was frequently called the mass of the catechumens.