Christmas / Nativity of Our Lord (Hispanic-Mozarabic II)

Praelegendum

Ps 117:26-27

26ab [Alleluia.] benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini[, alleluia, alleluia]. Benediximus vobis de domo Domini: 26ab [Alleluia.] Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord[, alleluia, alleluia]. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.

Ver. 26. We. The Levites, (Calmet) or Christ and his ministers pronounce this blessing, (Worthington) or the psalmist gives it, after having expressed his thanks for the graces brought by the Messias. (Berthier)

[V:] 27a Deus Dominus, et illuxit nobis. Constituite diem solemnem in condensis, usque ad cornu altaris. [V:] 27a The Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us. Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar.

Ver. 27. Us. Christ, who comes in the name of the Lord, “is himself God,” our instructor. (St. Augustine) (Titus ii. 11.) (Berthier)
Day. The feast of tabernacles, for which this psalm was probably composed. The Jews dwelt under tents. (Calmet) (Leviticus xxiii. 40., and 2 Esdras vii. 15.)
Altar. Hebrew, “Bind a festival with cords unto the horns,” &c. To make sense, the Chaldean inserts, bind the lamb for the festival. But this Houbigant ridicules, and he believes that the solemn entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is here foretold. Scarcely any prediction in the Old Testament is more clearly verified in the new, Matthew xxi. 8. Hebrew Bahabothim certainly means, “in ramis opacis,” and St. Jerome translates, “frequent the solemnity in shady boughs.” (Berthier)
The victims were never tied to the altar, but slain in the porch of the northern gate, Ezechiel xl. 39. (Calmet)

Ps 117:26

[R:] 26b In nomine Domini[, alleluia, alleluia]. [V:] 26ab In the name of the Lord[, alleluia, alleluia].
[V:] [Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto in saecula saeculorum. Amen.]
[V:] [Glory and honour be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.]

Ps 117:26

[R:] 26b In nomine Domini[, alleluia, alleluia]. [V:] 26ab In the name of the Lord[, alleluia, alleluia].



Prophecy

Is 7:10-16

In diebus illis: (In those days:)

10 Et adiecit Dominus loqui ad Achaz, dicens: 10 And the Lord spoke again to Achaz, saying:
11 Pete tibi signum a Domino Deo tuo in profundum inferni, sive in excelsum supra. 11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above.

Ver. 11. Above. Require it to thunder, (1 Kings xii. 17.) or the earth to open, Numbers xvi. 28. (Calmet)

12 Et dixit Achaz: Non petam, et non tentabo Dominum. 12 And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord.

Ver. 12. Lord. He was afraid of being forced to relinquish his evil ways. (St. Jerome)
Though an idolater, he knew he ought not to tempt God.

13 Et dixit: Audite ergo domus David: Numquid parum vobis est, molestos esse hominibus, quia molesti estis et Deo meo? 13 And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also?
14 Propter hoc dabit Dominus ipse vobis signum. Ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen eius Emmanuel. 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Ver. 14. Virgin, halma, (Haydock) one secluded from the company of men. Alma in Latin signifies “a holy person,” and in Punic “a virgin.” The term is never applied to any but “a young virgin.” If it meant a young woman, what sort of a sign would this be? (St. Jerome)
It was indeed above the sagacity of man to declare that the child to be born would be a boy, and live till the kings should be destroyed. But the prophet undoubtedly speaks of Jesus Christ, the wonderful, &c., (chap. ix. 5.) as well as of a boy, who should prefigure him, and be an earnest of the speedy destruction of the two kings. He was to be born of Isaias, (chap. viii. 4.) and of all the qualities belonging to the true Emmanuel, only that regards him, which intimates that the country should be delivered before he should come to years of discretion, ver. 16. (Calmet, Diss.) (Bossuet)
The Fathers generally apply all to Christ.
Called. Or shall be in effect, chap. i. 26. (Calmet)
The king hardly trusted in God’s mercies, whereupon the incarnation of Christ, &c., is foretold. (Worthington)

15 Butyrum et mel comedet, ut sciat reprobare malum, et eligere bonum. 15 He shall eat butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.

Ver. 15. Honey. Like other infants. (Calmet)
The new baptized received some to remind them of innocence. (Tertullian, cor. 3.)
Christ shall be true man. (Menochius)

16 Quia antequam sciat puer reprobare malum, et eligere bonum, derelinquetur terra, quam tu detestaris a facie duorum regum suorum. 16 For before the child know to refuse the evil and to choose the good, the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of the face of her two kings.

Ver. 16. Good. Being arrived at the age of discretion, Achaz engaged the Assyrians to invade Damascus. Its citizens and four tribes were carried into captivity the year following. Phacee only survived another year, the year of the world 3265. This was a pledge, that what regarded the son of the virgin would also be accomplished. (Calmet)
Land of the enemy. (Calmet) (4 Kings xvi.) (Menochius)

Is 9:1-7

1 Primo tempore alleviata est Terra Zabulon, et Terra Nephthali: et novissimo aggravata est via maris trans Iordanem Galilaeae Gentium. 1 At the first time the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali was lightly touched: and at the last the way of the sea beyond the Jordan of the Galilee of the Gentiles was heavily loaded.

Ver. 1. Loaded. Theglathphalassar took away whole tribes, (2 Paralipomenon v. 26.) the year after this. Yet these people were the first enlightened with the rays of the gospel, (Matthew iv. 13.) though so much despised, John vii. 52. (Calmet)
Here Christ preached first. But after his passion, few Jews believed in him. (Worthington)

2 Populus, qui ambulabat in tenebris, vidit lucem magnam: habitantibus in regione umbrae mortis, lux orta est eis. 2 The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.

Ver. 2. Risen. the kingdom of Juda hoped for redress, when they saw the people of Israel humbled, (Haydock) or rather after the defeat of Sennacherib. (Calmet)

3 Multiplicasti gentem, et non magnificasti laetitiam. Laetabuntur coram te, sicut qui laetantur in messe, sicut exultant victores capta praeda, quando dividunt spolia. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils.

Ver. 3. And hast. Parkhurst says it should be, “(whom) thou hast not brought up (the Gentiles) with joy they,” &c. (Symmachus) (Haydock)
The numerous forces of the Assyrians could not save them from the angel. Under Ezechias the people increased. Was not his reign a figure of the Church persecuted and increasing: but on that account, in danger from a relaxation of discipline? (Luke v. 5.)
Spoils. They shall return thanks to God for the unexpected liberation.

4 Iugum enim oneris eius, et virgam humeri eius, et sceptrum exactoris eius superasti sicut in die Madian. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor thou hast overcome, as in the day of Madian.

Ver. 4. Oppressor. Who levied taxes for Assyria, 4 Kings xviii. 7. Sennacherib made war, because Ezechias refused to pay them any longer, and his troops fell upon each other, (Calmet) as the Madianites had done, Judges vii. (Haydock)

5 Quia omnis violentia praedatio cum tumultu, et vestimentum mistum sanguine, erit in combustionem, et cibus ignis. 5 For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire.

Ver. 5. Fire. Being cut and useless. See Diss. on the defeat of Sennacherib. (Calmet)

6 PARVULUS enim NATUS est nobis, et filius datus est nobis, et factus est principatus super humerum eius: et vocabitur nomen eius, Admirabilis, consiliarius, Deus, fortis, pater futuri saeculi, princeps pacis. 6 For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

Ver. 6. Child. The Messias, whom the son of Isaias prefigured.
Shoulder. Where the badges of royalty were worn. (Calmet)
Christ bore his cross. (Tertullian, &c.)
Wonderful. In his birth, &c.
Counsellor. From whom all good advice proceeds. Grotius falsely translates, “the consulter of the strong God,” meaning Ezechias. Though he deemed the Socinians unworthy of the Christian name, (Ep. ad Valleum.) he too often sides with them. Johets always means one who “gives counsel,” chap. xl. 13. Ezechias was at this time ten years old, and he did not always take advice, nor was his reign peaceful, &c.
God. The three Greek versions maliciously render El “the strong,” though it be uncertain that it ever has that meaning, as it certainly has not when joined with gibbon, “mighty.” Why should two terms of the same import be used? The Septuagint copies vary much. Some read only, “he shall be called the angel of the great council, for I will bring peace upon the princes and his health.” St. Jerome thinks they were afraid to style the child God. But this reason falls to the ground, as other copies have, (Calmet) after council, “Wonderful, Counsellor, God, the Mighty, the Potent, εζουσιαστης, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come, for, &c., ( 7. ) His.” Grabe (de Vitiis lxx. p. 29.) asserts that the former is the genuine version, and that the inserted titles are a secondary one; so that there must have been two version before the days of Aquila, as the text is thus quoted at large by Clement and St. Irenaeus, the year of the Lord 180; Kennicott adds also by St. Ignatius, the year of the Lord 110. (Haydock)
The omnipotent God became a little child, and without violence subdued the world, which he still governs. (Worthington)

7 Multiplicabitur eius imperium, et pacis non erit finis: super solium David, et super regnum eius sedebit: ut confirmet illud, et corroboret in iudicio et iustitia, amodo et usque in sempiternum: zelus Domini exercituum faciet hoc. 7 His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Ver. 7. Peace. Christ gives it, and propagates his Church, Hebrews xii. 2.



Psallendum

Ps 2:7-8

7 Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te. 7 The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.

Ver. 7. Thee. Chaldean weakens this text. (Haydock)
“I love thee as my son, and look upon thee with the same affection, as if I had this day created thee;” which might be applied to David, now settled more firmly on the throne by his late victory. But it literally refers to Christ, either born in time, (ver. 1., St. Augustine; Calmet) or baptized; (St. Justin Martyr) or rather rising again, (Acts xiii. 33.) and born from all eternity, Hebrews i. 5. This shews him superior to the angels. The prophet had both these events in view. Eternity is always the same. (Berthier; Bossuet; Du Hamel)
He to whom God may speak thus to-day, at all times, must be God also. (Robertson, Lexic.) (John v. 25.)
To this Socinians can make no reply, without giving up the Epistle to the Hebrews or allowing that the apostle’s arguments were inconclusive. (Berthier)
The same text may thus have many literal senses. (Du Hamel)
The eternal birth seems here to be the chief, as from that source the nativity, baptism, priesthood, (Hebrews xv. 5.) and miraculous resurrection of Christ, necessarily spring. (Haydock)

[V:] 8 Postula [Pete] a me, et dabo tibi Gentes hereditatem tuam, et possessionem tuam terminos terrae. 8 Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Ver. 8. Ask. The Messias must be invested with human nature, and merit all graces for man. When did David ask for such an extensive dominion? (Berthier)
But Christ’s kingdom extends over the world. His Church cannot fail, as St. Augustine proved hence against the Donatists, and his arguments confute Protestants as well. (Worthington)
Our doctors used to refer this psalm to the Messias, said R. Solomon; but it is better to apply it to David, on account of “Christians.” (Du Hamel)

[R:] 7c Ego hodie genui te. [R:] 7c This day have I begotten thee.



Apostle

Heb 1:1-12

1 Multifariam, multisque modis olim Deus loquens patribus in Prophetis:
1 God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all,

Ver. 1. At different times, [1] and in many ways. The first word signifies that God revealed the incarnation of his Son, as it were, by parcels, and by degrees, at different times, and to different persons, to Adam, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, &c. The latter word expresseth the different ways and manners, as by angels, by immediate inspirations, and revelations, by types, figures, and ceremonies. [2]
Last of all, by his Son, this true, natural, eternal Son, of whom we must always take notice, that being both true God, and true man, by the union of the divine and human nature to one and the same divine person, St. Paul speaks of him sometimes as God, sometimes mentions what applies to him as man, sometimes as our Redeemer, both God and man. This must necessarily happen in speaking of Christ; but when we find things that cannot be understood of one that is a pure or mere man only, or that cannot be true but of him, who is truly God, these are undeniable proofs against the errors of the Arians and Socinians. (Witham)

[1] Multifariam, πολυμερῶς; which signifies, that God revealed the coming of his Son as it were by parts and parcels, or by degrees, first revealing some things and then others.
[2] Novissime, ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου, which reading Dr. Wells prefers before that in the ordinary Greek copies, which have ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν, followed by the Protestant translation and Mr. N.

2 novissime, diebus istis locutus est nobis in Filio, quem constituit heredem universorum, per quem fecit et saecula:
2 In these days, hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world.

Ver. 2. Whom he hath appointed heir of all things. Heir is here not taken for one that succeeds another at his death, but for the same as Master or Lord. And though Christ be inseparably God and man, yet this applies to him, as man, because, as God, he was not constituted in time, but was always from eternity, Lord of all things, with the Father and the Holy Ghost: by whom also he made the world. That is, all created beings, and in such a manner, that all creatures were equally produced by the three divine persons. See John i. 3. and the annotations on that place. (Witham)

3 qui cum sit splendor gloriae, et figura substantiae eius, portansque omnia verbo virtutis suae, purgationem peccatorum faciens, sedet ad dexteram maiestatis in excelsis:
3 Who being the brightness of his glory and the figure of his substance and upholding all things by the word of his power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high:

Ver. 3. Who being the spendour, [3] or brightness of his glory, not as beams or rays are derived from a lightsome body, but by a necessary and eternal communication of the same substance, and of the whole light; in which sense the council of Nice [Nicaea] understood the eternal Son of God to be light from light. This partly helps us to conceive the eternal generation of the Son from the Father, because the brightness is at the same time with the sun, though all comparisons fall short of this mystery. (Witham)
We may here observe the two natures of Christ. As God, he is the Creator of all things; as man, he is constituted heir of the goods of God. Not content to possess the inheritance of his Father in his own person, he will have us as coheirs to share it also with him. May we so live as to hear one day that happy sentence: Come, ye blessed of my Father, &c.
And the figure of his substance. [4] In the Greek is the character of his substance; which might be translated, the express image. There are different ways by which a thing may be said to be a figure or image of another: here it is taken for such a representation of the substance of the Father, that though the Father and the Son be distinct persons, and the Son proceed from the Father, yet he is such a figure and image, as to have the same nature and substance with the Father, as the Catholic Church always believed and declared against the ancient heretics, and particularly against the Arians. Their words may be partly seen in Petavius, lib. ii. de Trin. chap. 11.; lib. iv. chap. 6.; lib. vi. chap. 6. being too prolix for these short notes. And this may be understood by the following words concerning the Son: and upholding or preserving all things by the word of his power. As he had said before, that all things were made by him, so all things are preserved by him, equally with the Father. See Colossians i. 16, 17. See also ver. 10. of this chapter, and the annotations on John i. 3. (Witham)
Figure. This does not exclude the reality. So Christ’s body in the eucharist, and his mystical death in the mass, though called a figure, image, or representation of Christ’s visible body and sacrifice upon the cross, yet may be and is the self-same substance. (Bristow)
Sitteth on the right hand of God, both here, in St. Mark, chap. xvi. and in the apostles’ creed, express what agrees with Christ, as our Redeemer, God made man by his incarnation, and who as man is made the head of his Church, the judge of the living and the dead; and so St. Stephen said, (Acts vii.) I see the heavens open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. (Witham)

[3] Splendor gloriae, ἀπαύγασμα, refulgentia, effulgentia, &c.
[4] Figura substantiae, χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως. Hypostasis signifies persona, subsistentia, and also substantia.

4 tanto melior Angelis effectus, quanto differentius prae illis nomen hereditavit.
4 Being made so much better than the angels as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they.

Ver. 4. Being made so much better, &c. The Arians pretended from hence that Christ was made, or created. But the apostle speaks of Christ as man, and tells us that Christ, even as man, by his ascension was exalted above the Angels.
As he hath inherited a more excellent name. That is, both the dignity and name of the Son of God, of his only Son, and of his true Son. See 1 John v. 20. (Witham)

5 Cui enim dixit aliquando Angelorum: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te? Et rursum: Ego ero illi in patrem, et ipse erit mihi in filium?
5 For to which of the angels hath he said at any time: Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee? And again: I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

Ver. 5. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. These words, though commonly expounded of the eternal generation of the Son of God in the day or moment of eternity, yet may be truly applied either to Christ made man by his incarnation, or to Christ risen from the dead, as they are used by St. Paul, (Acts xiii. 33.) because the same Christ both these ways is the Son of God. It was the only true and natural Son of God, who was made flesh, who was made man, who rose from the dead; and the eternal Father manifested his eternal Son by his incarnation, and shewed him triumphing over death by his resurrection.
I will be to him a father, &c. Although these words might be literally spoken of Solomon, yet in the mystical sense (chiefly intended by the Holy Ghost) they are to be understood of Christ, who in a much more proper sense is the Son of God. (Witham)

6 Et cum iterum introducit primogenitum in orbem terrae, dicit: Et adorent eum omnes Angeli Dei.
6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith: And let all the angels of God adore him.

Ver. 6. Let all the Angels of God adore him. These words seem to be cited out of Psalm xcvi. 7. according to the Septuagint. And they seem to be an invitation, and a command to the Angels to adore Jesus Christ, when at the end of the world he shall come to judgment. This is one of the proofs which St. Paul here brings, to shew that the Angels are inferior to Christ, because they are commanded to adore him. (Witham)
God shews the superiority of his divine Son over the Angels, in ordering the latter to adore him. Wherever the person of Christ is, there it ought to be adored by both men and Angels, therefore in the blessed sacrament [of the Eucharist].

7 Et ad Angelos quidem dicit: Qui facit Angelos suos spiritus, et ministros suos flammam ignis.
7 And to the angels indeed he saith: He that maketh his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire.

Ver. 7. Maketh his Angels, [5] spirits: and his ministers, a flame of fire. St. Augustine, on Psalm ciii., and St. Gregory, hom. xxxiv. in Evang., would have the sense and construction of the words to be, who maketh the blessed spirits to be also his Angels, or messengers to announce and executed his will: (messengers and Angels signify the same in the Greek) Calvin and Beza by spirits, here understand the winds, as if the sense was only, who maketh the winds and flames of fire, that is, thunder and lightning, the messengers and instruments of his divine will, in regard of men, whom he punisheth. But this exposition agrees not with the rest of the text, nor with the design of St. Paul, which is to shew Christ above all the Angels, and above all creatures. St. Paul therefore is to be understood of Angels or angelic spirits: but then the sense may be, who maketh his Angels like the winds, or like a flame of fire, inasmuch as they execute his divine will with incredible swiftness, like the winds, and with a force and activity not unlike that of fire. (Witham)

[5] Ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα, not τὰ πνεύματα, the Greek article being put before Angels, and not before spirits, may seem to favour that exposition, which compares Angels to the winds and to a flame of fire.

8 Ad filium autem: Thronus tuus Deus in saeculum saeculi: virga aequitatis, virga regni tui.
8 But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Dilexisti iustitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: propterea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus oleo exultationis prae participibus tuis.
9 Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Ver. 8-9. But the Son. That is, to his Son Jesus Christ, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, and lasts for eternity.
A sceptre, or rod of equity, is the sceptre of thy kingdom. That is, O Christ, God and man, head of thy Church, judge of all mankind, thou shalt reward and punish all under thee with justice and equity, as thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee. Many here understand God first named, to be in the vocative case, and that the sense is: therefore thee, O God, thy God, hath anointed: thus Christ is called God. Others take God in both places to be in the nominative case, and to be only a repetition of God the Father; and the sense to be, thee Christ, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above them that are partakers with thee: by which spiritual unction, some understand graces infused into Christ’s soul at his incarnation, by a greater plenitude of graces than was ever given to any saints whom he made partakers of his glory in heaven; others expound it of an unction of greater glory given to Christ in heaven as man, because by his sufferings and merits he had destroyed and triumphed over sin. See Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, &c. (Witham)

10 Et: Tu in principio Domine terram fundasti: et opera manuum tuarum sunt caeli.
10 And: Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of thy hands are the heavens.
11 Ipsi peribunt, tu autem permanebis, et omnes ut vestimentum veterascent:
11 They shall perish: but thou shalt continue: and they shall all grow old as a garment.
12 et velut amictum mutabis eos, et mutabuntur: tu autem idem ipse es, et anni tui non deficient.
12 And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shalt be changed. But thou art the selfsame: and thy years shall not fail.

Ver. 10-12. And again: thou in the beginning, O Lord, hast founded the earth, &c. The text, as well as the authority of interpreters, shew these words to be still spoken of the Son of God, of Christ, who was both true God and man. And thought part of Psalm ci. from which these words are taken, contain a prayer to God for the restoring of the city of Jerusalem, yet in this psalm is chiefly signified the glory of Christ, and of his Church, which will be spread over all nations. See St. John Chrysostom, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, &c.
As a vesture shalt thou change them, &c. The apostle, in the second verse of this chapter, had said that the world was made by the Son of God: now he tells us that all created things shall wax old like a garment, shall decay and perish, (at least from their present state and condition) shall be changed; but thou, who art both God and man, art always the same, without decay or change. (Witham)
The apostle here applies the work of the creation to the Son of God, and thus furnishes a clear and striking proof of his divinity, against the Unitarians. To elude this proof, some of them pretend that these verses have been fraudulently added; but they are found in all the Greek copies, and in all ancient versions of this epistle. Others try to give forced interpretations to these verses, but the words are convincingly clear to all who do not purposely shut their eyes.



Gospel

Lk 2:1-20

In illo tempore: (At that time:)

1 Factum est autem in diebus illis, exiit edictum a Caesare Augusto ut describeretur universus orbis. 1 And it came to pass that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.

Ver. 1. By the whole world, is understood the Roman empire. (Witham)
This decree was promulgated in the 752d year of Rome, in the 3970th year of the world, and the 42d year of the reign of Augustus, when there was universal peace, and the temple of Janus remained shut for 12 years. (Jansenius, concord. Evan.)
It was the custom among the Jews to be numbered according to their tribes and families. Hence arose the necessity of the journey of the Holy Family to Nazareth [to Bethlehem?]. This enrolment probably included the number, as well as the property of each family, that the taxes might be proportioned. (Jansenius, concord. Evan.)

2 Haec descriptio prima, facta est a praeside Syriae Cyrino: 2 This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria.

Ver. 2. By Cyrinus, or Publius Sucp. Quirinus. (Witham)
This was the first census made by Quirinus, governor of Syria: nine years after the birth of Christ, this same Quirinus was charged to make a second, when Judea was reduced to a Roman province, by the deposition and exile of Archelaus.

3 et ibant omnes ut profiterentur singuli in suam civitatem. 3 And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city.

Ver. 3. Into his own city, i.e. the city of every one’s family. Now Joseph and Mary, being both of the family of David, were obliged to go to Bethlehem, the city of David, where by Providence, according to the predictions of the prophets, the Messias was to be born. (Witham)
This decree took place by a special providence of the Almighty, that every one might be compelled to go to his own country; and that thereby the Saviour of Israel might more easily escape the snares of the treacherous Herod. (Ven. Bede)
This circumstance, moreover, was a public testimony, to be kept in the archives of the country, of the birth and descent of the Messias. Augustus only meant to enumerate his subjects, but among them was numbered his God.

4 Ascendit autem et Ioseph a Galilaea de civitate Nazareth in Iudaeam in civitatem David, quae vocatur Bethlehem: eo quod esset de domo, et familia David, 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David.

Ver. 4. The evangelist here mentions the city of David, to remind us how exactly that was fulfilled, which God had promised to David, that an everlasting king should be born of him: and the reason why the inspired writer was content to mention the relationship between Joseph and David, omitting that of the Blessed Virgin and the royal prophet, was, because in the law it was commanded that persons of the same family should intermarry; hence it is added in the subsequent verse, with Mary, his espoused wife. (St. Irenaeus, haer. lib. iii. chap. 11.)

5 ut profiteretur cum Maria desponsata sibi uxore praegnante. 5 To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.
6 Factum est autem, cum essent ibi, impleti sunt dies ut pareret. 6 And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 Et peperit filium suum primogenitum, et pannis eum involvit, et reclinavit eum in praesepio: quia non erat eis locus in diversorio. 7 And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn.

Ver. 7. In a manger within a stable, or place where beasts were sheltered. And it is the common opinion that an ox and an ass were there at that time. See Baronius, Tillemont, &c. (Witham)
O wonderful mystery! O astonishing condescension of a God-man! From his birth he takes upon himself poverty. Had such been his pleasure, Christ might, at his birth, have shaken the heavens by his power, and terrified all nature by his majesty. But these were not the attendants of his coming; for he came not to destroy, but to save; not to display riches, but to teach us a contempt of human grandeur. He therefore condescended not only to become man, but even the vilest of men. (Metaphrastes)

8 Et pastores erant in regione eadem vigilantes, et custodientes vigilias noctis super gregem suum. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock.
9 Et ecce angelus Domini stetit iuxta illos, et claritas Dei circumfulsit illos, et timuerunt timore magno. 9 And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear.
10 Et dixit illis angelus: Nolite timere: ecce enim evangelizo vobis gaudium magnum, quod erit omni populo: 10 And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people:
11 quia natus est vobis hodie Salvator, qui est Christus Dominus in civitate David. 11 For, this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.

Ver. 11. Because the light of life is risen to us, dwelling in the region of the shadow of death. (Ven. Bede)

12 Et hoc vobis signum: Invenietis infantem pannis involutum, et positum in praesepio. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

Ver. 12. On the eastern side of the town of Bethlehem, say St. Justin, St. Jerome, &c. there was a cave cut in the side of a rock, in which was a manger used by the people of those environs; so that these shepherds easily understood the angel, who told them they should find him laid in a manger. Sts. Jerome, Gregory of Nazianzus, Cyril, say that they found the child between an ox and an ass, according to the version of the Septuagint. Habacuc iii. 2.: You shall find him laid between two beasts. [ἐν μέσῳ δύο ζῴων γνωσθήσῃ] In the place where this crib was, St. Helen built a magnificent church in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary. Ven. Bede says that she built another in honour of the tree shepherds; whence St. Bernard concludes, that there were only three shepherds that came to adore the divine infant in the manger. (Tirinus)
It might be necessary to give them notice of this humble appearance of the Messias, to encourage them to go and pay him their homage. (Barradius)

13 Et subito facta est cum angelo multitudo militiae caelestis laudantium Deum, et dicentium: 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying:
14 Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. 14 Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.

Ver. 14. And on earth, peace to men of good will. [1] I had translated, peace to men of his good will, looking upon the sense to be, that a peace and reconciliation were offered, and given to men from the good will and mercy of God. The ordinary Greek copies altogether favour this exposition. And Bellarmine (lib. ii, de Verb. D. chap. 11.) is so convinced of this sense, that he brings it for an instance of one of those places, in which the true sense of the Latin is to be found by the Greek text; which is many times true: but Bellarmine might not take notice, that several of the best Greek manuscripts are conformable to the Latin Vulgate, and have peace to men of good will; as it is also expounded by divers of the ancient Fathers, that peace is offered to men of good will, to those who by the grace of God are disposed to believe and obey the Gospel-doctrine. And upon this, having advised with others, I did not think fit to change the former Rheimish translation. (Witham)
The reason why the will is designated in preference to any other power of the soul, is, because the will moves the rest; consequently the goodness or badness of an action depends chiefly on the will. By this also the angels wished to shew, that the peace which Christ came to bring into the world, was the internal peace of our souls, of which the external peace that subsisted under Augustus, was a figure. (Nicholas of Lyra)
Peace is made on earth, since human nature, before an enemy of God, is now reconciled and united to him by his incarnation. (Theophylactus)
In this hymn of the angels there is a remarkable difference observable in some of the Greek and Latin copies. The latter have it according to this text, men of good will; the former, good will among men, or to men. Εὐδοκία, signifies the gratuitous benevolence of God towards man. So that this sentence seems divided into three parts: glory to God, peace on earth, and good will to men. (Jansenius, conc. Evang.)
The birth of Christ giveth not peace of mind, or salvation, but to such as are of good will, because he worketh not our good against our wills, but with the concurrence of our will. (St. Augustine, quaest. ad Simplic. lib. 1. q. 2. t. 4.)

[1] Pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. The Greek copies, εἰρήνη· ἐν ὀ ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία, hominibus bona voluntas; but the author of the Latin Vulgate must have read, ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας, which reading is found in some ancient Greek manuscripts in the Alexandrian, that called of Cambridge, and others. The common reading of the Fathers is, bonae voluntatis, and not bona voluntas; but then some expounded it thus: pas sit hominibus, qui habent bonam voluntatem, scilecet per Dei gratiam. Others thus: sit pax bonae voluntatis divinae hominibus; which sense and construction Lucas Brugensis prefers. And what confirms this exposition is, that εὐδοκία, and εὐδοκεῖν, are commonly applied when the will of God is signified; yet sometimes also, εὐδοκία signifies the good will of men; as Philippians i. 15; Romans x. 1. &c.

15 Et factum est, ut discesserunt ab eis Angeli in caelum: pastores loquebantur ad invicem: Transeamus usque Bethlehem, et videamus hoc verbum, quod factum est, quod Dominus ostendit nobis. 15 And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.

Ver. 15. The word which always was, let us see how it is made for us; that which we could not see, when it was the word, let us see because it is made flesh. (Ven. Bede)
See how particularly the Scripture weighs the meaning of every word. The shepherds hastened to see the word, for when the flesh of the Lord is seen, the word is seen, which is the Son. (St. Ambrose)

16 Et venerunt festinantes: et invenerunt Mariam, et Ioseph, et infantem positum in praesepio. 16 And they came with haste: and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.
17 Videntes autem cognoverunt de verbo, quod dictum erat illis de puero hoc. 17 And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child.

Ver. 17. They saw this with the eyes of their body, but with their internal eyes they discovered other wonders, viz. that he, who lay there in such great poverty, was their Messias, their great King, and the Son of God. (Barradius)

18 Et omnes, qui audierunt, mirati sunt: et de his, quae dicta erant a pastoribus ad ipsos. 18 And all that heard wondered: and at those things that were told them by the shepherds.
19 Maria autem conservabat omnia verba haec, conferens in corde suo. 19 But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

Ver. 19. Mary kept all these things, and compared what was accomplished in her, concerning the Lord, with what had been written of him by the prophets. (Ven. Bede)
She considered in her heart the arguments of faith. (St. Ambrose)

20 Et reversi sunt pastores glorificantes, et laudantes Deum in omnibus, quae audierant, et viderant sicut dictum est ad illos. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.



Laudes

Ps 110:9

[Alleluia.]
[V:] 9 Redemptionem misit [Dominus] populo suo: mandavit in aeternum testamentum suum. Sanctum, et terribile nomen eius:
[R:] [Alleluia.]
[Alleluia.]
[V:] 9
He [The Lord] hath sent redemption to his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever. Holy and terrible is his name:
[R:] [Alleluia.]

Ver. 9. Redemption. Under Moses, Cyrus, and Jesus Christ, of whose redemption the former were figures. (Calmet)
Christ redeemed man, in order that he might be able to observe the law. (Worthington)
Terrible. Holy to the just, and terrible to sinners. (St. Jerome)
Most are lost by too much security. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xix.)
The Hebrews treat the name of God with a respect, which might appear superstitious, (Calmet) as they will not blot it out, or lean upon the book where it is written, &c. (Schikard, Jus. ii.) (Theor. v. 6.)
The Turks have nearly the same regard for the Koran, which should make Christians ashamed of their irreverence and want of faith.



Sacrificium

Is 9:6-7,2

6a PARVULUS enim NATUS est nobis, et filius datus est nobis, et factus est principatus super humerum eius: et vocabitur nomen eius, Admirabilis, consiliarius, Deus, fortis, pater futuri saeculi, princeps pacis. 6a For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.
[V:] 7a Multiplicabitur eius imperium, [Potestatis] et pacis non erit finis: [sedebit] super solium [thronum] David, et super regnum eius sedebit: ut confirmet illud, et corroboret in iudicio et iustitia, amodo et usque in sempiternum: zelus Domini exercituum faciet hoc.
[R:] [Alleluia, alleluia.]
[V:] 7a His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of [power and] peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
[R:] [Alleluia, alleluia.]
[V:] 2 [Gentium] Populus, qui ambulabat [sedens] in tenebris, vidit lucem magnam: habitantibus [qui sedebant] in regione umbrae mortis, lux orta [lumen ortum] est eis.
[R:] [Alleluia, alleluia.]
[V:] 2 The people that walked [sitted upon] in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.
[R:] [Alleluia, alleluia.]

Ver. 6-7,2. [cf. Prophecy]



Cantus ad pacem

1 Jo 4:8-9

8b Qui non diligit, non novit Deum: quoniam Deus charitas est [Deus]. 8b He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is charity.
9 In hoc apparuit [et ex hoc manifestata est] charitas Dei in nobis, quoniam [quia] Filium suum unigenitum misit Deus in mundum, ut vivamus per eum. 9 By this hath the charity of God appeared [manifested itself] towards us, because God [he] hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him.

Jo 13:34

[V:] 34ab Mandatum novum [mandatum] do vobis: Ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos, ut et vos diligatis invicem. [V:] 34ab A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Ver. 34. The commandment of mutual love had been previously given, but evidently misconstrued and abridged by the Jews to friends only, to this life only, and for earthly respects: but Jesus Christ reneweth it and enlargeth it after the form of his own love towards us, and giveth grace to observe it. (Bristow)

1 Jo 4:9

[R:] 9b [Quia] Filium suum misit in mundum, ut vivamus per eum. [R:] 9b Because [he] hath sent his Son into the world, that we may live by him.

Jo 15:7

[V:] 7 Si manseritis in me, et verba mea in vobis manserint: quodcumque volueritis petetis [Patrem in nomine meo petite], et fiet vobis. [V:] 7 If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask [the Father in my name] whatever you will: and it shall be done unto you.

Ver. 7. On account of our being in this world, we sometimes ask for that, which is not expedient for us. But these things will not be granted us, if we remain in Christ, who never grants us any thing, unless it be profitable to us. (St. Augustine, tract. 81. in Joan.)
If we abide in Christ, by a lively faith, and his words abide in us by a lively, ardent charity, which can make us produce the fruits of good works, all that we ask, will be granted us. (Bible de Vence)
These conditional expressions, if you remain in the vine, if you keep my commandments, &c. give us to understand, that our perseverance and salvation are upon conditions, to be fulfilled by us.
(St. Augustine, de cor. & gra. chap. 13.)

1 Jo 4:9

[R:] 9b [Quia] Filium suum misit in mundum, ut vivamus per eum. [R:] 9b Because [he] hath sent his Son into the world, that we may live by him.