“They surrounded me like bees around a honeycomb, and they burned like fire among thorns, and in the name of the Lord I was revenged on them” (Ps 117[118]: 12)7. Here the order of the words follows the order of what was done. For we understand that the Lord himself, head of the Church, was surrounded by his persecutors like bees around a honeycomb. With mystical subtlety the Holy Spirit says what was done by those who did not know what they were doing. Bees produce honey in their honeycombs, and without knowing it, the Lord’s persecutors made him even sweeter because of his passion so that we might “taste and see how sweet is the Lord”(Ps 33[34], 9) “who died on account of our sins and rose again for our justification” (Rom 4:25). (EnPs 117[118], 7; PL 37, 1497)

Is Augustine stretching things here again?

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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