Commentaries

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Below are classic Biblical commentaries on the propers of the wedding Mass. Because of their length, only a portion of the commentaries for the Epistle and the Gospel are included.

The two commentaries I pull from are Haydock 1 and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea 2. For more commentaries, visit Sermonry 3 and Psallam Domino 4.

Introit

Tobias 7:15; 8:19 Deus Israel coniungat vos: et ipse sit vobiscum, qui misertus est duobus unicis: et nunc, Domine, fac eos plenius benedicere te.

May the God of Israel join you together: and may He be with you, who was merciful to two only children: and now, O Lord, make them bless Thee more fully.

Ver. 15. Hand. This was the mode of confirming agreements, in Media. Alex. Genial v. 3. — The custom prevailed in marriages, (Lament. v. 6. Isai. lxii. 8.) as it does still among Christians. — It. Gr. “her for a wife to Tobias, and said: Behold: take care of her according to the law of Moses, and go to thy father. And he blessed them. And he called Edna, his wife, and taking a book, wrote a note, (H. or contract. C.) and sealed it, and they began to eat.” H. — It was almost universally the custom to have such writings, particularly where polygamy prevailed. The wives of lower condition were taken without formality. C.

Ver. 19. Make. Gr. “Shew them mercy, Lord. Perfect their life in health, with gladness and mercy. But he ordered his domestics to fill up the grave, and he made them a marriage feast for fourteen days. And,” v. 23. The ancient Vulg. seems rather more conformable to the present. “Raguel ordered his wife to make several loaves, and going himself to the flock, he brought two cows and four rams, and ordered them to prepare a feast. He called Tobias, and swore to him, saying, Thou shalt not depart hence these 14 days, but remain here eating and drinking with me, and shalt fill with joy me and my daughter, who has been greatly afflicted. Receive half of my goods, and thou shalt return safe and sound to thy father; and after my death, and that of my wife, thou shalt have the other half.” H. — Gr. and Heb. mention nothing of the beasts slaughtered, or of Raguel’s testament. C.



Epistle

Ephesians 5:22-33

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ver. 23. For the husband is the head of the wife. Though S. Paul here speaks of a man, who is a husband, we may rather translate man than husband, being the same sentence and same words as 1 Cor. xi. 3. where even the Prot. translation has, that the man is head of the woman. — He (Christ) is the saviour of his mystical body, the Church: though some expound it, that the husband is to save and take care of his wife, who is as it were his body. Wi.

Ver. 24. As the church is subject to Christ. The Church then, according to S. Paul, is ever obedient to Christ: and can never fall from him, but remain faithful to him, unspotted and unchanged to the end of the world. Ch.

Ver. 26. Cleansing it by the laver[3] of water, in the word of life. By this washing is generally understood the sacrament of baptism; and by the word of life, not the word of the gospel preached, but the words or form used in the administration of baptism, according to Christ’s institution: but this is not so certain. Wi.

Read commentaries for verses 27-32 in the links below!



Gradual

Psalms 127:3

Uxor tua sicut vitis abundans in lateribus domus tuae. V. Filii tui sicut novellae olivarum in circuitu mensae tuae. Alleluia, alleluia.

Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine on the sides of thy house. V. Thy children as olive plants round about thy table. Alleluia, alleluia.

Ver. 3. Sides. Against which vines were planted. C. — The married people who fear God, shall commonly have a numerous posterity; or their souls shall produce many good works in the Church, which springs from our Saviour’s side. Children denote such good works. W. — Plants. Ps. cxliii. 12. Hom. Odys. vi. 163.



Alleluia

Psalms 19:3; 133:3

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Mittat vobis Dominus auxilium de sancto: et de Sion tueatur vos. Alleluia. V. Benedicat vobis Dominus ex Sion: qui fecit coelum et terram. Alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 19. 3) May the Lord send you help from the sanctuary, and defend you out of Sion. Alleluia. V. (Ps. 133. 3). May the Lord out of Sion bless you: who hath made heaven and earth. Alleluia.

Ver. 3. Sion, where God was supposed to reside, in the tabernacle; though he was also in heaven, v. 7. C. Ver. 3. Thee. “A Levite on guard answers the cantor,” (Houbig.) or the priests say this to the people, when they were departing home. Num. vi. 23. C. — Earth. All things were made to praise God. W.



Gospel

Matthew 19:3-6

In illo tempore: Accesérunt ad Jesum pharisæi tentántes eum, et dicéntes: Si licet hómini dimíttere uxorem suam, quacúmque ex causa? Qui respóndens, ait eis: Non legístis, quia qui fecit hóminem ab inítio, másculum et féminam fecit eos? et dixit: Propter hoc dimíttet homo patrem et matrem, et adhærébit uxóri suæ, et erunt duo in carne una. Itaque jam non sunt duo, sed una caro. Quod ergo Deus conjúnxit, homo non séparet.

At that time: The Pharisees came to Jesus, tempting Him and saying; It is lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Who answering said to them, Have ye not read, that He who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? and He said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore, now they are not two but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

Ver. 3. Is it lawful? Here again the Pharisees, ever anxious to ensnare Jesus in his words, come to him and ask him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Thinking now they had to a certainty succeeded, they argue thus with themselves: shall he say that it is not lawful, we will accuse him of blasphemy, contradicting the Scriptures. For, it is written, Deut. iv. 1. If a man take a wife, and she find not favour in his eyes, for some uncleanness, he shall write a bill of divorce. And Malachy, ii. 16. When thou shalt hate her, put her away. — On the other hand, if he shall say it is lawful, we will accuse him of favouring the passions. But Jesus Christ, the wisdom of the eternal Father, silences them with the authority of that Scripture they attempted to bring against him. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder; intimating, that the connexion between husband and wife is so strict, that by it they become as one flesh, and can no more be separated than one member from another. Dion. Carth. — To put away his wife for every cause,[1] or upon every occasion. They did not doubt it, if the cause was considerable. Wi.

Read the commentaries from verses 4-5 at the links below!

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxii.) The Lord had before left Judæa because of their jealousy, but now He keeps Himself more to it, because His passion was near at hand. Yet does He not go up to Judæa itself, but into the borders of Judæa; whence it is said, And it came to pass when Jesus had ended all these sayings, he departed from Galilee.

RABANUS. Here then He begins to relate what He did, taught, or suffered in Judæa. At first beyond Jordan eastward, afterwards on this side Jordan when He came to Jericho, Bethphage, and Jerusalem; whence it follows, And He came into the coasts of Judæa beyond Jordan.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM.e. As the righteous Lord of all, who loves these servants so as not to despise those.

RABANUS. It should be known, that the whole territory of the Israelites was called Judæa, to distinguish it from other nations. But its southern portion, inhabited by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, was called Judæa proper, to distinguish it from other districts in the same province as Samaria, Galilee, Decapolis, and the rest. It follows, And great multitudes followed him.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. They were conducting Him forth, as the young children of a father going on a far journey. And He setting forth as a father, left them as pledges of His love the healing of their diseases, as it is said, And he healed them.

CHRYSOSTOM. It should be also observed, that the Lord is not either ever delivering doctrine, or ever working miracles, but one while does this, and again turns to that; that by His miracles faith might be given to what He said, and by His teaching might be shewed the profit of those things which He wrought.

ORIGEN. The Lord healed the multitudes beyond Jordan, where baptism was given. For all are truly healed from spiritual sickness in baptism; and many follow Christ as did these multitudes, but not rising up as Matthew, who arose and followed the Lord,

HILARY. Also He cures the Galileans on the borders of Judæa, that He might admit the sins of the Gentiles to that pardon which was prepared for the Jews.

CHRYSOSTOM. For indeed Christ so healed men, as to do good both to themselves, and through them to many other. For these men’s healing was to others the occasion of their knowledge of God; but not to the Pharisees, who were only hardened by the miracles; whence it follows; And the Pharisees came to him, tempting him,, and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

JEROME. That they might have Him as it were between the horns of a syllogism, so that, whatever answer He should make, it would lie open to cavil. Should He allow a wife to be put away for any cause, and the marriage of another, he would seem to contradict Himself as a preacher of chastity. Should He answer that she may not be put away for any cause whatsoever, He will be judged to have spoken impiously, and to make against the teaching of Moses and of God.

CHRYSOSTOM. Observe their wickedness even in the way of putting their question. The Lord had above disputed concerning thus law, but they now ask Him as though He had spoken nothing thereof, supposing He had forgot what He had before delivered in this matter.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. But, as when you see one much pursuing the acquaintance of physicians, you know that he is sick, so, when you see either man or woman enquiring concerning divorce, know that that man is lustful and that woman unchaste. For chastity has pleasure in wedlock, but desire is tormented as though under a slavish bondage therein. And knowing that they had no sufficient cause to allege for their putting away their wives, save their own lewdness, they feigned many divers causes. They feared to ask Him for what cause, lest they should be tied down within the limits of fixed and certain causes; and therefore they asked if it were lawful for every cause; for they knew that appetite knows no limits, and cannot hold itself within the bounds of one marriage, but the more it is indulged the more it is kindled.

ORIGEN. Seeing the Lord thus tempted, let none of His disciples who is set to teach think it hard if he also be by some tempted. Howbeit, He replies to His tempters with the doctrines of piety.

JEROME. But He so frames His answer as to evade their snare. He brings in the testimony of Holy Writ, and the law of nature, and opposing God’s first sentence to this second, He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female? This is written in the beginning of Genesis. This teaches that second marriages are to be avoided, for He said not male and females, which was what was sought by the putting away of the first, but, male and female, implying only one tie of wedlock.

RABANUS. For by the wholesome design of God it was ordained that a man should have in the woman a part of his own body, and should not look upon as separate from himself that which he knew was formed out of himself.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. If then God created the male and female out of one, to this end that they should be one, why then henceforth were not they born man and wife at one birth, as it is with certain insects? Because God created male and female for the continuance of the species, yet is He ever a lover of chastity, and promoter of continence. Therefore did He not follow this pattern in all kinds, to the end that, if any man choose to marry, he may know what is, according to the first disposition of the creation, the condition of man and wife; but if he choose not to marry, he shall not be under necessity to marry by the circumstances of his birth, lest he should by his continence be the destruction of the other who was not willing to be continent; for which same cause God forbids that after being joined in wedlock one should separate if the other be unwilling.

CHRYSOSTOM. But not by the law of creation only, but also by the practice of the law, He shews that they ought to be joined one and one, and never put asunder, And he said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife.

JEROME. In like manner He says his wife, and not wives, and adds expressly, and they twain shall be one flesh. For it is the reward of marriage that one flesh, namely in the offspring, is made of two.

GLOSS. (interlin.) Or, one flesh, that is in carnal connexion.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. If then because the wife is made of the man, and both one of one flesh, a man shall leave his father and his mother, then there should be yet greater affection between brothers and sisters, for these come of the same parents, but man and wife of different. But this is saying too much, because the ordinance of God is of more force than the law of nature. For God’s precepts are not subject to the law of nature, but nature bends to the precepts of God. Also brethren are born of one, that they should seek out different roads; but the man and the wife are born of different persons, that they should coalesce in one. The order of nature also follows the appointment of God. For as is the sap in trees, so is affection in man. The sap ascends from the roots into the leaves, and passes forth into the seed. Therefore parents love their children, but are not so loved of them, for the desire of a man is not towards his parents, but towards the sons whom he has begot; and this is what is said, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.

CHRYSOSTOM. See the wisdom of the Teacher. Being asked, Is it lawful, He said not straight, It is not lawful, lest they should be troubled, but establishes it through a proof. For God made them from the beginning male and female, and not merely joined them together, but bade them quit father and mother; and not bade the husband merely approach his wife, but be joined to her, shewing by this manner of speaking the inseparable bond. He even added a still closer union, saying, And they twain shall be one flesh.

AUGUSTINE. (Gen. ad lit. ix. 19.) Whereas Scripture witnesses that these words were said by the first man, and the Lord here declares that God spake them, hence we should understand that by reason of the ecstasy which had passed upon Adam, he was enabled to speak this as a prophecy.

REMIGIUS. The Apostle says that this is a mystery in Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32.); for the Lord Jesus Christ left His Father when He came down from heaven to earth; and He left His mother, that is, the synagogue, because of its unbelief, and clave unto His wife, that is, the Holy Church, and they two are one flesh, that is, Christ and the Church are one body.

CHRYSOSTOM. When He had brought forward the words and facts of the old law, He then interprets it with authority, and lays down a law, saying, Therefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. For as those who love one another spiritually are said to be one soul, And all they that believed had one heart and one soul, (Acts 4:32.) so husband and wife who love each other after the flesh, are said to be one flesh. And as it is a wretched thing to cut the flesh, so is it an unjust thing to put away a wife.

AUGUSTINE. (Civ. Dei, xiv. 22.) For they are called one, either from their union, or from the derivation of the woman, who was taken out of the side of the man.

CHRYSOSTOM. He brings in God yet again, saying, What God has joined, let no man put asunder, shewing that it is against both nature and God’s law to put away a wife; against nature, because one flesh is therein divided; against law, because God has joined and forbidden to sunder them.

JEROME. God has joined by making man and woman one flesh; this then man may not put asunder, but God only. Man puts asunder, when from desire of a second wife the first is put away; God puts asunder, who also had joined, when by consent for the service of God we so have our wives as though we had them not. (1 Cor. 7:29.)

AUGUSTINE. (Cont. Faust. xix. 29.) Behold now out of the books of Moses it is proved to the Jews that a wife may not be put away. For they thought that they were doing according to the purport of Moses’ law when they did put them away. This also we learn hence by the testimony of Christ Himself, that it was God who made it thus, and joined them male and female; which when the Manichæans deny, they are condemned, resisting the Gospel of Christ.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. This sentence of chastity seemed hard to these adulterers; but they could not make answer to the argument. Howbeit, they will not submit to the truth, but betake themselves for shelter to Moses, as men having a bad cause fly to some powerful personage, that where justice is not, his countenance may prevail; They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

JEROME. Here they reveal the cavil which they had prepared; albeit the Lord had not given sentence of Himself, but had recalled to their minds ancient history, and the commands of God.

CHRYSOSTOM. Had the Lord been opposed to the Old Testament, He would not thus have contended in Moses’ behalf, nor have gone about to shew that what was his was in agreement with the things of old. But the unspeakable wisdom of Christ made answer and excuse for these in this manner, He saith unto them, Moses for the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives. By this He clears Moses from their charge, and retorts it all upon their own head.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) For how great was that hardness! When not even the intervention of a bill of divorce, which gave room for just and prudent men to endeavour to dissuade, could move them to renew the conjugal affection. And with what wit do the Manichæans blame Moses, as severing wedlock by a bill of divorce, and commend Christ as, on the contrary, confirming its force? Whereas according to their impious science they should have praised Moses for putting asunder what the devil had joined, and found fault with Christ who riveted the bonds of the devil.

CHRYSOSTOM. At last, because what He had said was severe, He goes back to the old law, saying, From the beginning it was not so.

JEROME. What He says is to this purpose. Is it possible that God should so contradict Himself, as to command one thing at first, and after defeat His own ordinance by a new statute? Think not so; but, whereas Moses saw that through desire of second wives who should be richer, younger, or fairer, that the first were put to death, or treated ill, he chose rather to suffer separation, than the continuance of hatred and assassination. Observe moreover that He said not God suffered you, but, Moses; shewing that it was, as the Apostle speaks, a counsel of man, not a command of God. (1 Cor. 7:12.)

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Therefore said He well, Moses suffered, not commanded. For what we command, that we ever wish; but when we suffer, we yield against our will, because we have not the power to put full restraint upon the evil wills of men. He therefore suffered you to do evil that you might not do worse; thus in suffering this he was not enforcing the righteousness of God, but taking away its sinfulness from a sin; that while you did it according to His law, your sin should not appear sin.



Offertory

Psalms 30:15-16

In te speravi, Domine: dixi: Tu es Deus meus: in manibus tuis tempora mea.

In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped: I said, Thou art my God; my times are in Thy hands.

Ver. 16. Lots. Sept. Rom. klhroi, as the same word, hittothai is rendered Judg. xxi. 22. Others explain “times,” with the Rom. Psalter, &c. in the same sense, to denote (Bert.) that all the vicissitudes of life, both prosperity and adversity, are at God’s disposal. Theod. — If he protects me, all my enemies will rage in vain. C.



Communion

Psalms 127:4, 6

Ecce sic benedicetur omnis homo, qui timet Dominum: et videas filios filiorum tuorum: pax super Israel.

Behold, thus shall every man be blessed that feareth the Lord; and mayest thou see thy children’s children; peace upon Israel.

Ver. 6. Israel. This is best secured by a well-regulated and numerous people. Bert. — The good works, performed on earth, will be rewarded in heaven. W. — We shall rejoice in the spiritual children, whom we shall have begotten. M.



Sources


  1. Haydock, George L. Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary. Edward Dunigan and Brother: New York, 1859, https://www.ecatholic2000.com/haydock/title.shtml. ^
  2. Aquinas, Thomas. Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels. J.H. Parker, 1841, https://www.ecatholic2000.com/catena/untitled-111.shtml. ^
  3. Sermonry, https://sermonry.com/. Accessed 3 June 2019. ^
  4. “Psallam Domino: Masterpost: Links to Notes by Psalm Number.” Psallam Domino (blog), January 16, 2018. https://psallamdomino.blogspot.com/2018/01/masterpost-links-to-notes-by-psalm.html. ^