Christmas / Nativity of Our Lord – Mass during the Day

Reading 1

Is 52:7-10

7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and that preacheth peace: of him that sheweth forth good, that preacheth salvation, that saith to Sion: Thy God shall reign!

Ver. 7. Peace. He comes like a conqueror to save his people. It may also be applied to the prophets and apostles, (Calmet) as St. Paul explains it, Romans x. 15. (Menochius)

8 The voice of thy watchmen: they have lifted up their voice, they shall praise together: for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall convert Sion.

Ver. 8. Watchmen, prophets. The angels sung at the birth of Christ, Luke ii. 14.

9 Rejoice, and give praise together, O ye deserts of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people: he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord hath prepared his holy arm in the sight of all the Gentiles: and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Ver. 10. Arm. The Saviour, Luke i. 51.



Responsorial Psalm

Ps 97:3,1-6

[R:] 3c All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

1 A psalm for David himself. Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because he hath done wonderful things. His right hand hath wrought for him salvation, and his arm is holy.

Ver. 1. David. His name occurs not in Hebrew, though the psalm is worthy of him. (Berthier)
It may refer to the return from captivity, as a figure of the world’s redemption.
Things. In rescuing his people from slavery, and in the incarnation. (Calmet)
For him. Or alone. (Menochius)
Christ raised himself by his own power. (Calmet) (Isaias lxii. 5.)
He redeemed mankind for his own glory, sibi. (Berthier)

2 The Lord hath made known his salvation: he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles.

Ver. 2. Salvation. Cyrus, or the Messias, whose gospel is preached every where, (Calmet) and who has saved the world. (Worthington)

3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Ver. 3. Israel. The prophets foretold the liberation of the Jew, and of mankind. The blessed Virgin Mary seems to allude to this passage, Luke i. 55. (Calmet)
Some Jews were converted, Romans xi. (Worthington)

4 Sing joyfully to God, all the earth; make melody, rejoice and sing.
5 Sing praise to the Lord on the harp, on the harp, and with the voice of a psalm:
6 With long trumpets, and sound of cornet. Make a joyful noise before the Lord our king:

Ver. 6. Cornet. This was a crooked horn; the trumpets were of metal, Numbers x. 2. (Calmet)



Reading 2

Heb 1:1-6

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 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 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 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 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 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].



Gospel

Jo 1:1-18

1 In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God.

Ver. 1. In the beginning was the word: [1] or rather, the word was in the beginning. The eternal word, the increated wisdom, the second Person of the blessed Trinity, the only begotten Son of the Father, as he is here called (ver. 14.) of the same nature and substance, and the same God, with the Father and Holy Ghost. This word was always; so that it was never true to say, he was not, as the Arians blasphemed. This word was in the beginning. Some, by the beginning, expound the Father himself, in whom he was always. Others give this plain and obvious sense, that the word, or the Son of God, was, when all other things began to have a being; he never began, but was from all eternity.
And the word was with God; i.e. was with the Father; and as it is said, (ver. 18) in the bosom of the Father; which implies, that he is indeed a distinct person, but the same in nature and substance with the Father and the Holy Ghost. This is repeated again in the second verse, as repetitions are very frequent in St. John.
And the word was God. This without question is the construction; where, according to the letter we read, and God was the word. (Witham)
The Greek for the word is Λόγος, which signifies not only the exterior word, but also the interior word, or thought; and in this latter sense it is taken here. (Bible de Vence)
Philo Judaeus, in the apostolic age, uses the word Λόγος, p. 823, to personify the wisdom and the power of God. Λόγος ἐστιν εἰκὼν Θεοῦ διʼ οὗ σύμπας ὁ Κόσμος ἐδημιουργεῖτο. By a similar metonymy, Jesus Christ is called the way, the truth, the life, the resurrection.
And the word was God. Here the eternity and the divinity of the second Person are incontrovertibly established; or, we must say that language has no longer a fixed meaning, and that it is impossible to establish any point whatever from the words of Scripture. (Haydock)

[1] Et Deus erat Verbum, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος. Λόγος, was a word very proper to give all that should believe a right notion of the Messias, and of the true Son of God. Λόγος, according to St. Jerome, (Ep. ad Paulinum. tom. iv. part 2, p. 570. Ed. Ben.) signifies divers things; as, the wisdom of the Father, his internal word or conception; and, as it were, the express image of the invisible God. Here it is not taken for any absolute divine attribute or perfection; but for the divine Son, or the second Person, as really distinct from the other two divine Persons. And that by Λόγος, was to be understood him that was truly God, the Maker and Creator of all things; the Jews might easily understand, by what they read and frequently heard in the Chaldaic Paraphrase, or Targum of Jonathan, which was read to them in the time of our Saviour, Christ, and at the time when St. John wrote his gospel. In this Paraphrase they were accustomed to hear that the Hebrew word Memreth, to which corresponded in Greek, Λόγος, was put for him that was God: as

  • Isaias xlv. 12, I made the earth;
    in this Targum, I, by my word, made the earth:
  • Isaias xlviii. 13, My hand also hath founded the earth;
    in this Paraphrase, in my word I founded the earth:
  • Genesis iii. 8, They heard the voice of the Lord God;
    in the Paraphrase, the voice of the word of God.

See Walton, prolog. xii, num. 18, p. 86.; Maldonatus on this place; Petavius, lib. vi. de Trin. chap. 1.; Dr. Pearson on the Creed, p. 11.; Dr. Hammond’s note on St. Luke, chap. i, p. 203, &c. However, St. John shews us that he meant him who was the true God, by telling us that the world, and every thing that was made, was made by this word, or Λόγος; that in this word was life; that he was in the world, and was the light of the world; that he had glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, &c.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

Ver. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. In the text is only, “this was in the beginning;” but the sense and construction certainly is, this word was in the beginning. (Witham)

3 All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.

Ver. 3. All things were made by him, [2] and without him was made nothing that was made. These words teach us, that all created being, visible or invisible on earth, every thing that ever was made, or began to be, were made, produced, and created by this eternal word, or by the Son of God. The same is truly said of the Holy Ghost; all creatures being equally produced, created, and preserved by the three divine Persons as, by their proper, principal, and efficient cause, in the same manner, and by the same action: not by the Son, in any manner inferior to the Father; nor as if the Son produced things only ministerially, and acted only as the minister, and instrument of the Father, as the Arians pretended. In this sublime mystery of one God and three distinct Persons, if we consider the eternal processions, and personal proprieties, the Father is the first Person, but not by any priority of time, or of dignity; all the three divine Persons being eternal, or co-eternal, equal in all perfections, being one in nature, in substance, in power, in majesty: in a word, one and the same God. The Father in no other sense is called the first Person, but because he proceeds from none, or from no other person: and the eternal Son is the second Person begotten, and proceeding from him, the Father, from all eternity, proceeds now, and shall proceed from him for all eternity; as we believe that the third divine Person, the Holy Ghost, always proceeded without any beginning, doth now proceed, and shall proceed for ever, both from the Father and the Son. But when we consider and speak of any creatures, of any thing that was made, or had a beginning, all things were equally created in time, and are equally preserved, no less by the Son, and by the Holy Ghost, than by the Father. For this reason St. John tells us again in this chapter, (ver. 10.) that the world was made by the word. And our Saviour himself (John v. 19.) tells us, that whatsoever the Father doth, these things also in like manner, or in the same manner, the Son doth. Again the apostle, (Hebrews i. ver. 2.) speaking of the Son, says, the world was made by him: and in the same chapter, (ver. 10.) he applies to the Son these words, (Psalm ci. 26.) And thou, O Lord, in the beginning didst found the earth: and the heavens are the works of thy hands, &c. To omit other places, St. Paul again, writing to the Colossians, (Chap. i. ver. 16, 17.) and speaking of God’s beloved Son, as may be seen in that chapter, says, that in him all things were created, visible and invisible
all things were created in him, and by him,
or, as it is in the Greek, unto him, and for him; to shew that the Son was not only the efficient cause, the Maker and Creator of all things, but also the last end of all. Which is also confirmed by the following words: And he is before all, and all things subsist in him, or consist in him; as in the Rheims and Protestant translations. I have, therefore, in this third verse, translated, all things were made by him, with all English translations and paraphrases, whether made by Catholics or Protestants; and not all things were made through him, lest through should seem to carry with it a different and a diminishing signification; or as if, in the creation of the world, the eternal word, or the Son of God, produced things only ministerially, and, in a manner, inferior to the Father, as the Arians and Eunomians pretended; against whom, on this account, wrote St. Basil, lib. de spiritu Sto. St. John Chrysostom, and St. Cyril, on this very verse; where they expressly undertake to shew that the Greek text in this verse no ways favours these heretics. The Arians, and now the Socinians, who deny the Son to be true God, or that the word God applies as properly to him as to the Father, but would have him called God, that is, a nominal god, in an inferior and improper sense; as when Moses called the goa of Pharao; (Exodus vii. 1.) or as men in authority are called gods; (Psalm lxxxi. 6.) pretend, after Origen, to find another difference in the Greek text; as if, when mention is made of the Father, he is styled the God; but that the Son is only called God, or a God. This objection St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril, and others, have shewn to be groundless: that pretended significant Greek article being several times omitted, when the word God is applied to God the Father; and being found in other places, when the Son of God is called God. See this objection fully and clearly answered by the author of a short book, published in the year 1729, against Dr. Clark and Mr. Whiston, p. 64, and seq. (Witham)
Were made, &c. Mauduit here represents the word:
“1. As a cause, or principle, acting extraneously from himself upon the void space, in order to give a being to all creatures:” whereas there was no void space before the creation. Ante omnia Deus erat solus, ipse sibe et mundus et locus, et omnia. (Tertullian, lib. cont. Prax. chap. v.) And St. Augustine in Psalm cxxii. says: antequam faceret Deus Sanctos, ubi habitabat? In se habitabat, apud se habitabat.
The creation of all things, visible and invisible, was the work of the whole blessed Trinity; but the Scriptures generally attribute it to the word; because wisdom, reason, and intelligence, which are the attributes of the Son, are displayed most in it. (Calmet)
What wonderful tergiversations the Arians used to avoid the evidence of this text, we see in St. Augustine, lib. iii. de doct. Christ. chap. 2; even such as modern dissenters do, to avoid the evidence of This is my Body, concerning the blessed Eucharist. (Bristow)

[2] Omnia per ipsum facta sunt: πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο: all things were made by him. Let not any one pretend that δι’ αὐτοῦ, in this verse signifies no more than, that all creatures were made by the Word, or Son of God, ministerially as if he was only the instrument of the eternal Father, the chief and principal cause of all things; of whom the apostle says, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πὰντα, ex ipso omnia.
Origen unless perhaps his writings were corrupted by the Arians, seems to have given occasion to this λεπτολογία, as St. Basil calls it, to groundless quibbling and squabbling about the sense of the prepositions; when he tells us, (tom. ii, in Joan. p. 55. Ed. Huetii.) the δι’ οὗ never has the first place, but always the second place, meaning as to dignity: οὐδέποτε τὴν πρώτην χώραν ἔχει τὸ δι’ οὗ, δευτέραν δὲ ἀεί. It is like many other false and unwarrantable assertions in Origen; as when we find in the same commentary on St. John, that he says only God the Father is called ὀ Θεός. Origen may perhaps be excused as to what he writes about δι’ οὗ and ἐξ οὗ, as if he spoke only with a regard to the divine processions in God, in which the Father is the first person, from whom proceeds even the eternal Son, the second person. But whatever Origen thought, or meant, whom St. Epiphanius calls the father of Arius, whose works, as then extant, were condemned in the fifth General Council; it appears that the Arians, in particular Aetius, of the Eunomian sect, pretended that ἐξ οὗ had always a more eminent signification, and was only applied to the Father; the Father, said he, being the true God, the only principal efficient cause of all things; and δι’ οὗ was applied to the word, or Son of God, who was not the same true God, to signify his interior and ministerial production, as he was the instrument of the Father. Aetius, without regard to other places in the Scripture, as we read in St. Basil, (lib. de Sp. S. chap. ii. p. 293. Ed Morelli. an. 1637) produced these words of the apostle: (1 Corinthians viii. 6.) εἱς Θεὸς, Πατὴρ, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα … καὶ εἱς Κύριος, Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς; δι’ οὗ πάντα: unus Deus, Pater, ex quo omnia, … et unus Dominus Jesus Christus; per quem omnia. He concluded from hence, that as the prepositions were different, so were the natures and substance of the Father and of the Son.
But that no settled and certain rule can be built on these prepositions, and that δι’ οὗ, in this third verse of the first chapter of St. John, has no diminishing signification, so that the Son was equally the proper and principal efficient cause of all things that were made and created, we have the authority of the greatest doctors, and the most learned and exact writers of the Greek Church, who knew both the doctrine of the Catholic Church, and the rules and use of the Greek tongue.
St. Basil (lib. de Spir. S. chap. iii. et seq.) ridicules this λεπτολογιαν, which, he says, had its origin from the vain and profane philosophy of the heathen writers, about the difference of causes. He denies that there is any fixed rule; and brings examples, in which δι’ οὗ is applied to the Father, and ἐξ οὗ to the Son.
St. Gregory of Nazianzus denies this difference, (Orat. xxxvii, p. 604. Ed. Morelli. Parisiis, ann. 1630) and affirms that ἐξ οὗ, and δι’ οὗ, in this verse, has no diminishing nor inferior signification: εἰ δέ τὸ δι οὗ νομίζεις ἐλαττώσεως εἶναι, &c.
St. Cyril of Alexandria, (lib. i. in Joan. p. 48.) makes the very same remark, and with the like examples. His words are: Quod si existiment (Ariani) per quem, δι’ οὗ, substantiam ejus (Filii) de cum Patre dejicere, ita ut minister sit potius quam creator, ad se redeant insaui, &c.
St. Ambrose, a doctor of the Latin Church, (lib. ii. de Sp. S. 10. p. 212. 213. Ed. Par. an. 1586.) confutes, with St. Basil, the groundless and pretended differences of ex quo and per quem.
I shall only here produce that one passage in Romans, (Chap. xi. 36.) which St. Basil and St. Ambrose make use of, where we read: ex ipso, et per ipsum, et in ipso sunt omnia, (ἐξ αὐτοῦ, καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰς αὐτόν τὰ πάντα,) et in ipsum omnia. Now either we expound all the three parts of this sentence, as spoken of the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, (as both St. Basil and St. Ambrose understand them) and then ἐξ οὗ is applied to the Son; or we understand them of the Father, and δι’ οὗ is applied to the first Person: or, in fine, as St. Augustine observes, (lib. i. de Trin. chap. 6.) we interpret them in such a manner, that the first part be understood of the Father, the second of the Son, the third of the Holy Ghost; and then the words that immediately follow in the singular number, to him be glory for ever, shew that all the three Persons are but one in nature, one God; and to all, and to each of the three Persons, the whole sentence belongs.
Had I not already said more than may seem necessary on these words, I might add all the Greek bishops in the council of Florence, when they came to an union with the Latin bishops about the procession of the Holy Ghost. After may passages had been quoted out of the ancient Fathers, some of which had said that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son, ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ, many others had asserted that he proceeded ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς διὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ; Bessarion, the learned Grecian bishop, in a long oration, (Sess. 25.) shewed that δι’ Υἱοῦ was the same as ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ. The Fathers, said he, shew, δείκνυσιν ἰσοδυναμοῦσαν τῇ ἐκ τὴν διά. See tom. xiii. Conc. Lab. p. 435. All the others allowed this to be true, as the emperor John Paleologus observed. (p. 487.) And the patriarch of Constantinople, when he was about to subscribe, declared the same: ἔστι τὸ διὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ, ταῦτον τῷ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ. Can any one imagine that none of these learned Grecians should know the force and use of these two prepositions, in their own language?

4 In him was life: and the life was the light of men.

Ver. 4. In him: i.e. in this word, or Son of God, was life; because he give life to every creature. Or, as Maldonatus expounds it, because he is the author of grace, which is the spiritual life of our souls.
And the life was the light of men, whether we expound it of a rational soul and understanding, which he gives to all men; or of the spiritual life, and those lights of graces, which he gives to Christians. (Witham)

5 And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Ver. 5. And the light shineth, or did shine, in darkness. Many understand this, that the light of reason, which God gave to every one, might have brought them to the knowledge of God by the visible effects of his Providence in this world: but the darkness did not comprehend it, because men, blinded by their passions, would not attend to the light of reason. Or we may again understand it, with Maldonatus, of the lights of grace, against which obstinate sinners wilfully shut their eyes. (Witham)

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him.

Ver. 7. That all men might believe through him; i.e. by John the Baptist’s preaching, who was God’s instrument to induce them to believe in Jesus the Christ, or the Messias, their only Redeemer. (Witham)

8 He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light.

Ver. 8. He; that is John the Baptist, was not the true light: but the word was the true light. In the translation, it is necessary to express that the word was the true light, lest any one should think that John the Baptist was this light. (Witham)

9 That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. 10 He was in the world: and the world was made by him: and the world knew him not.

Ver. 10. He was in the world, &c. Many of the ancient interpreters understand this verse of Christ as God, who was in the world from its first creation, producing and governing all things: but the blind sinful world did not know and worship him. Others apply these words to the Son of God made man; whom even God’s own chosen people, the Jews, at his coming, refused to receive and believe in him. (Witham)

11 He came unto his own: and his own received him not.

Ver. 11. His own. This regards principally the Jews. Jesus came to them as into his own family, but they did not receive him. It may likewise be extended to the Gentiles, who had groaned so long a time in darkness, and only seemed to wait for the rising sun of justice to run to its light. They likewise did not receive him. These words, though apparently general, must be understood with restriction; as there were some, though comparatively few, of both Jews and Gentiles, who embraced the faith. (Calmet)

12 But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. 13 Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Ver. 12-13. He gave to them power to be made the adoptive sons of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. They are made the children of God by believing and by a new spiritual birth in the sacrament of baptism, not of blood; (literally, no of bloods) not by the will, and desires of the flesh, not by the will of men, nor by human generation, as children are first born of their natural parents, but of God, by faith and divine grace. (Witham)

14 And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.

Ver. 14. And the word was made flesh. This word, or Son of God, who was in the beginning, from all eternity, at the time appointed by the divine decrees, was made flesh, i.e. became man, by a true and physical union of his divine person, (from which the divine nature was inseparable) to our human nature, to a human soul, and a human body, in the womb, and of the substance, of his virgin Mother. From the moment of Christ’s incarnation, as all Christians are taught to believe, he that was God from eternity, became also true man. In Jesus Christ, our blessed Redeemer, we believe one divine Person with two natures, and two wills; the one divine, the other human: by which substantial union, one and the same Person became truly both God and man; not two persons, or two sons, as Nestorius, the heretic, pretended. By this union, and a mutual communication of the proprieties of each nature, it is true to say, that the Son of God, remaining unchangeably God, was made man; and therefore that God was truly conceived and born of the virgin Mary, who, on this account, was truly the Mother of God: that God was born, suffered, and died on the cross, to redeem and save us. The word, in this manner made man, dwelt in us, or among us, by this substantial union with our human nature, not morally only, nor after such a manner, as God is said to dwell in a temple; nor as he is in his faithful servants, by a spiritual union, that the same person is truly both God and man.
And we saw his glory, manifested to the world by many signs and miracles; we in particular, who were present at his transfiguration. (Matthew xvii.)
Full of grace and truth. These words, in the construction, are to be joined in this manner: the word dwelt in us, full of grace and truth; and we have seen his glory, &c. This fulness of grace in Christ Jesus, infinitely surpassed the limited fulness, which the Scripture attributes to St. Stephen, (Acts vi. 8.) or to the blessed virgin Mother: (Luke i. 28.) they are said to be full of grace, only because of an extraordinary communication and greater share of graces than was given to other saints. But Christ, even as man, his grace and sanctity were infinite, as was his person.
As of the only begotten of the Father. [3] If we consider Christ in himself, and not only as he was made known to men by outward signs and miracles, St. John Chrysostom and others take notice that the word as, no ways diminisheth the signification; and that the sense is, we have seen the glory of him, who is truly from all eternity the only begotten Son of the Father: who, as the Scriptures assure us, is his true, his proper Son, his only begotten, who was sent into the world, who descended from heaven, and came from the Father, and leaving the world, returned where he was before, returned to his Father. We shall meet with many such Scripture texts, to shew him to be the eternal Son of his eternal Father; or to shew that the Father was always his Father, and the Son always his Son: as it was the constant doctrine of the Catholic Church, and as such declared in the general council of Nice, that this, his only Son, was born or begotten of the Father before all ages … God from God, the true God from the true God. It was by denying this truth, “that the Son was the Son always, and the Father always, and from all eternity, the Father;” that the blaspheming Arius began his heresy in his letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, against his bishop of Alexandria, St. Alexander. See the letter copied by St. Epiphanius, H 69. p. 731. Ed. Petavii. (Witham)
Dwelt among us. In a material body, like ours, clothed with our nature. He is become mortal, and like us in every thing, but sin and concupiscence. The Greek literally translated, is, he has pitched his tent amongst us, like a stranger and passenger, who makes no long stay in one place. The body in Scripture, is sometimes called a tent or tabernacle, in which the soul dwells, as 2 Peter i. 14. (Calmet)

[3] Gloriam quasi Unigeniti, ὡς μονογενοῦς. St. John Chrysostom says, the word quasi, ὡς, does no ways here diminish, be even confirms and increases the signification; as when we say of a king, that he carries himself like a king. Τὸ δὲ ὡς ἐνταῦθεν οὐχ’ ὁμοιωσέως ἒστιν, ἀλλὰ βεβαιωσέως.

15 John beareth witness of him and crieth out, saying: This was he of whom I spoke: He that shall come after me is preferred before me: because he was before me.

Ver. 15. Is preferred before me. [4] Literally, is made before me. The sense, says St. John Chrysostom is, that he is greater in dignity, deserves greater honour, &c. though born after me, he was from eternity. (Witham)

[4] Ante me factus est, ἔμπροσθέν μοῦ γέγονεν, is preferred before me: St. John Chrysostom says, he is λαμπρότερος, ἐντιμότερος, illustrior, honorabilior.

16 And of his fulness we all have received: and grace for grace.

Ver. 16. And of his fulness we all have received; not only Jews, but also all nations.
And grace for grace. [5] It may perhaps be translated grace upon grace, as Mr. Blackwall observes, and brings a parallel example in Greek out of Theognis, p. 164. It implies abundance of graces, and greater graces under the new law of Christ than in the time of the law of Moses; which exposition is confirmed by the following verse. (Witham)
Before the coming of the Messias all men had the light of reason. The Greeks had their philosophy, the Jews the law and prophets. All this was a grace and favour bestowed by God, the author of all good. But since the word was made flesh, and caused the gospel of salvation to be announced to all men; he has invited all nations to the faith and knowledge of the truth. Thus he has given us one grace for another; but the second is infinitely greater, more excellent, and more abundant than the first. The following verse seems to insinuate, that the evangelist means the law by the first grace, and the gospel by the second. Compare likewise Romans i. 17. The Jews were conducted by faith to faith; by faith in God and the law of Moses, to the faith of the gospel, announced by Christ. (Calmet)

[5] Gratiam pro gratia, χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος, gratiam; so Job, (ii. 4.) pellem pro pelle, i.e. omnem pellem.

17 For the law was given by Moses: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the Bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Ver. 18. No man hath seen God. No mortal in this life by a perfect union and enjoyment of him. Nor can any creature perfectly comprehend his infinite greatness: none but his only begotten divine Son, who is in the bosom of his Father, not only by an union of grace, but by an union and unity of substance and nature; of which Christ said, (John xiv. 11.) I am in the Father, and the Father in me. (Witham)